FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST!!! Our friends at Phantasy Tour have given us a pack of their recently released trading cards including The Disco Biscuits TAUK Leftover Salmon Goose
Like, share and comment on this post on FB for a chance to win! The winner will be announced on Friday 1/13.
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(25 Years of NOLA Funk)-Galactic with Southern Avenue at The Jefferson (Jam Band Purist’s 150th Review)
(25 Years of NOLA Funk)-Galactic with Southern Avenue at The Jefferson (Jam Band Purist’s 150th Review)
After reviewing my notes for this show, it looks to be the 150th review on www.jambandpurist.com It’s hard to believe I’ve reviewed so many concerts and festivals in just under 5 years. Many of them have been this band right here: Galactic. It’s been my pleasure to see Galactic, as much as, I have over the past few years. The classic New Orleans based, Funk outfit has been making their rounds for a 25th-anniversary tour and they stopped into the Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had just seen them aboard Jam Cruise and while I had gotten quite used to seeing Erica Falls with the group, with her recent departure, the new addition of Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph has been a growing experience.
Opening for Galactic was Memphis’s own, Southern Avenue, who I have seen a few times on Jam Cruise and at FloydFest. Southern Avenue has a sound that is very original but their roots in southern blues, rock, and funk shine through. Check out my album review here. https://familyjamhouse.com/southern-avenue-keep-on-album-review-many-musical-stories-begin-at-home/ It was my pleasure to write something up for this growing band and hope the best in the future. Southern Avenue would go on to open up for Tedeschi-Trucks band later that week in Richmond, Virginia, which is a huge accomplishment. Look for this band at festival near you.
What’s there to say about Galactic that I haven’t already said in many other reviews? “Galactic would come on like a jet plane.” Ever since I found my heart in New Orleans and Tipitina‘s, Galactic holds a special place in my heart. And if I can’t get to New Orleans, then by God, I’ll make New Orleans come to me. I wish I could work with Galactic or, with the Tipitina‘s Foundation in the future. That would be a dream come true.
Galactic‘s music is hard and heavy at times with Robert Mercurio on bass and Stanton Moore both a driving full force. There’s songs especially the classic funk, are easy to dance to and lose yourself within the music. When the songs add a singer, it only significantly amplifies the excitement and energy on stage. I am hooked on their cover of “Walking On The Moon” by The Police. It has a different feel and I think you all would enjoy it below. Anyway, I’m sure I will be seeing, Galactic, as soon as, possible. I will be making it to the Crescent City for Jazz Fest or die trying. Keep on keeping on Galactic! 25 Years strong. It’s my dream to interview this band and work with the Tipitina’s foundation!
Eric Gales Stirs Emotions At 5 Points Music Sanctuary
Having seen Eric Gales countless times on social media (usually shredding the guitar to “Voodoo Child,” the Jimi Hendrix Classic) when I saw he was playing at my favorite venue Five Points Music Sanctuary in Roanoke, Virginia, I had to make the trek back down to the Church Of Music. I didn’t know what to expect from the show but I knew that there was going to be a lot of guitar prowess onstage and that was perfect for me.
Mark Nicholson and The Distance opened up the show and I was impressed by the vocals from Mark and his blues-guitar work. His voice reminding me of Robert Plant crossed with Peter Green. The Distance was the perfect band to open up for Eric Gales. Tyler Godsey, did a great job orchestrating this event for 5 Points. I see Mark Nicholson and The Distance, as one of the best local acts I have come across. They could easily take it to the next level and tour; gaining followers who like Marks vocal styles and bluesy guitar tones. Mark, if you ever need another member, I am here! It felt great to get back to 5 Points, which has been growing exponentially and almost looks like a new venue from the inside. If you haven’t seen a show in this venue, I implore you to make the trip down to Roanoke just to see this Church Of Music.
Eric Gales came onto the stage with so much excitement; the crowd was bristling with energy. I was pumped to see what would happen when he was actually playing music. Addressing the crowd and telling his story: reliving hard times, addiction and the sacrifice of music, Eric made everyone feel at home. This is where the shreds began to happen and between the limited vocals and instrumental parts, there were long solo segments that showcased Eric Gales unique left-handed guitar style. It’s hard to describe Eric’s guitar playing, it’s somewhere between Eric Johnson and Jimi Hendrix: raw and visceral, while still being light and twangy. In the video below you can witness the sheer energy and adrenaline that is rushing through Eric Gales as he plays like his life depends on it. Mr. Gales is no slouch on the vocals either. His voice is as juxtaposed as his guitar work; rough and scratchy while still being light and soulful. Eric Gales is one of a kind and there is no getting around that. While Eric Gales is technically skillful on his guitar, his true talent lies in his energetic and infectious energy. I have rarely seen guitar players play with such vigor and excitement on stage. He would even shed a few tears during the show, recollecting his past experiences. I will see Eric Gales again and while he only played about five songs, I think I have a great grasp of what Eric Gales can do on the guitar. The video that I shared on Twitter received over 3000 views in under a week. Thanks to Eric Gales and 5 Points Music Sanctuary for making this a great valentines experience happen.
Thanks for all your recent views, shares, likes and comments. We have seen over 5,000 of you this month and counting! I just wanted to take the time to thank each and everyone of you for following and reading www.jambandpurist.com Without you, we would not be able to cover such great musical events but let's be honest, I would still be writing because it's my passion. This site is a labor of love and we would love for you to share, like and invite you to help us grow. We are looking for sponsors and advertisers to keep this site thriving and evolving. Contact email@example.com for more information and please share this with as many people as possible! Again, thank you all for your continued support and look for new content daily, as festival season approaches.
BIG NEWS! I was recently contacted by phantasytour.com (If you don’t know about this site then check it out! I have been using it for years to log shows and even keep up with set-lists for my reviews) they are releasing sets of collectable trading cards. I am happy to be working with phantasytour.com and think this is one of the coolest collectables I have seen come out in sometime, and I will most likely, be doing a give away on a deck of these trading cards, which include:
“In the inaugural set, collectors will find cards featuring STS9, Leftover Salmon, The Disco Biscuits, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Tropidelic, TAUK, Goose, Bumpin Uglies and The Jauntee. Each pack of Series One Phantasy Tour Trading Cards contains 9 randomly sorted collectible cards featuring a musician or entire band. There are a total of 50 unique cards in the series. There is also a checklist card in every pack.”
Packs of Phantasy Cards can be purchased directly from the bands in the series at their upcoming shows or in their online stores. Here is a list of confirmed dates and locations at which cards will be available:
2/26/20 Tropidelic at The Orpheum Theatre, Flagstaff, AZ
2/26/20 Bumpin Uglies at The Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh, NC
2/28/20 The Jauntee at Old Town Pub, Steamboat Springs, CO
2/29/20 Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at 10 Mile Music Hall, Frisco, CO
3/5/20 Goose at The Agora in Cleveland, OH
3/6/20 Leftover Salmon at Crystal Bay Casino, Crystal Bay, NV
3/12/20 The Disco Biscuits at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA
3/13/20 TAUK at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
Online pre-orders are also being accepted at Phantasy Tour’s Merch Store found at https://merch.phantasytour.com. Online orders will begin shipping March 16.
Work has begun on compiling the next series of Phantasy Cards. Fans can vote for the bands they are most interested in seeing in a future series by visiting https://phantasy.cards/vote.
LOOK FOR AN UPCOMING GIVEAWAY ON ALL JAMBANDPURIST SOCIAL MEDIAS. Thank you!
Andy Frasco and the U.N. vs Big Something (RVA Royal Rumble)
I once hailed, Andy Frasco and his wild onstage performances as, “the closest thing to the WWE in the music world.” Last night, these visions came true. Included in this augmented reality were the heavy hitting, Big Something, who have amassed quite a following over the past few years. While Andy is my clear favorite, I wasn’t sure what the night had in store or if he could keep the run of outstanding performances going. Never short on energy, Frasco comes alive onstage, transforming into a beast, a creature of music. His base instincts kick in: party, rage, drink, and fight. It’s the heady mixture, the musical brew; the alchemical reaction we all have when it’s time to party. No need to review the songs just one will do, “Blame It On The Pussy” was played and I’m glad to see it’s still alive and well. It was certainly the crowd favorite of the night. I totally caught a few people, who will remain nameless, in the bathroom making exuberant amounts of sniffing sounds... cold and flu season is going around. Nonetheless, everyone was having a blast in RVA.
Big Something aren’t always my favorite band, not because of their obvious talent but some of their songs don’t connect with me due to their almost, Alt-Rock nature. This show however completely shattered all my expectations of what BS can bring to the stage. While I’d love to see them take more chances and improv more, they still brought The Broadberry down. I am very impressed with the growth from guitarist, Jessie Hensley and the rhythm section in general. They seem to have grown exponentially as musicians. I am sure I will be seeing this band again on summer tour.
At the end of the performance, both bands would join the stage together in a massive throw down that would see wrestling moves, erroneous dancing and even, a pole climbing competition. I think that’s about the only thing that pole is good for. Both bands would play Peter Gabriel’s, “Sledgehammer” and The Talking Head’s seminal classic, “Psycho Killer,” all wearing Luchador masks and jumping on top of one another. Oh, and I must touch on Kyle Ayers who was the referee and opening comedian. I certainly was not expecting to hear comedy that evening and honestly, didn’t pay attention. I guess my headspace was not ready for this combination. After reviewing some of the other videos and shows, I have come to the conclusion that, Kyle, did a great job opening up the audience and his birthday roast of “Sweet Dick” Andy Frasco was hilarious. I want to commend everyone involved for taking chances and trying something different.
These two bands are very important to the up-and-coming Jam scene that we have all have been cultivating for the past few decades. Things have been changing but what remains the same is the love for music and new ways in which bands carry us forward. Improvisation, long solos and collaborations are what make this world turn but stage presence and energy are just as important. Bands like BS And Andy Frasco and The U.N. are the reason that I am still going to shows and covering live music. Both bands keep this scene alive and we have to support them in anyway possible. Go see live music, support the music you love and tell everyone you know. Better yet, take a friend to a show and you change their lives. It truly changed mine.
(Turkuaz Evolves In Charlottesville Virginia)
There is not much to say about this amazing performance from Turkuaz here in Virginia. After returning from Jam Cruise, I was completely enthralled with Turkuaz and was delving deep into their catalogue, pulling out gem after gem. Their shows are always high-energy, full of extreme Jams and improvisation. I can’t help but lose my mind and dance all night to their music.
As I said in my previous review, Turkuaz could be the chosen one; the band to rule them all. The band that could transcend this musical scene and become “popular.” If you ask me what band could go totally mainstream, it’s Turkuaz. Or they could morph into a super-futuristic-funk-robot and destroy us all! Turkuaz is the only band that can make every single person I know dance. No matter what your musical tastes may be, you will find yourself dancing to their infectious grooves. Oh yes the tired cliché, “infectious” but it is, it’s like a dance virus, a parasite of the hips. When Shira and Sammi, are synchronized you are completely transfixed, hypnotized and must comply in full to dance.
I could go through, song for song, telling you how pandemic, “Murder Face” was or, how, “Babies Making Babies” probably impregnated the whole audience but instead I implore each of you to listen to Turkuaz for yourself. I witnessed the crowd raptured in funk, mesmerized in Jam and spellbound in Electo and you too can join the cult of UAZ.
Jam Band Purist
Jam Cruise 18: (Jamais Vu On The High Seas)
Déjà Vu is the feeling that one has lived through the present situation before while Jamais Vu is the complete opposite. Boarding this year’s Jam Cruise on the MSC Divina, I had the strangest feeling of jamais vu: “Jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer's impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that they have been in the situation before.” This feeling would remain intertwined in my thoughts throughout the entire Jam Cruise experience, crystallizing into some strange emblematic dream. It is indeed a New Year, a New Decade and there is a lot to be grateful for. Climbing aboard Jam Cruise is like entering a world all its own. A world with an expiration date of only 5 days but these days transmogrify into a lifetime of experience. Swirling musical energy surrounds this vessel and the constant capitulation and undulation of the vast sea becomes atoned to the rhythm of our bodies. While this is only my second year, it’s as though I’ve been doing this my entire life. The people, all familiar, the bands, I’ve been seeing for over 15 years are just eating at the same buffet as me. Seeing the same shows and having a similar experiences. This relationship is transcending, changing what it means to be a fan, and bridging the gap between artist and audience.
Over the years I’ve been known to get caught-up in the glamour of stardom. Seeing these people as more than they are. Idolizing a life that is completely devoid of normality. After going on Jam Cruise these past two years, I have seen and talked to more musicians than I have in my entire life. Just seeing Ivan Neville walking around everywhere puts things into perspective. Or running into Samantha Fish while she is getting breakfast or, talking with the guys from Galactic on the pool deck. These little day-to-day activities really opens ones eyes to the reality of their musical lifestyle. The truth is these musicians are just like you and me but with a heck of a lot of talent and lots of drive! It’s hard to sit-down and write this out, seeing 5 days of music, everything gets convoluted in my head. I won’t waste too much of your time but I will go into my favorite shows of Jam Cruise 18 and share some of my thoughts.
Life Aboard The MSC Divina:
Boarding the boat itself is always an adventure and having a new boat, the MSC Divina (new to me) was like starting all over again. The Divina is a much bigger boat but traversing those narrow hallways at 5 AM, sliding and hitting the walls like bumper cars, takes some getting used too. It’s almost like you have to take two steps to either side with the motion of the ship to stay balanced. While last years experience aboard the Norwegian Jade was all around a more luxurious experience, better ship, nicer crew, food and amenities were better, but it really doesn’t matter because it’s Fucking Jam Cruise. Where else can you do this crazy shit? The only real issue I have with the MSC is the disembarkation time of 7 am. Ughh what the fuck! Are you out of your minds!
Best Sets On The Ship:
The Lennon Claypool Delirium Pool Deck set was one of the best shows I’ve seen on planet earth not even just on Jam Cruise. This neo-psychedelic amalgamation blew my mind. I was familiar with their catalogue of music but not ready for such a raw, visceral performance with absurdities to boot. Lennon and Claypool really brought out the weird for the first day and I hope to see them again soon.
Every Turkuaz show I’ve ever seen on the boat has been phenomenal; I even skipped out on half of moe.’s Atrium set to check out one of the most hype version of “Flashlight.” Listen, don’t sleep on Turkuaz they may be able to make it the next level of the music industry. Turkuaz could transcend the Jam world and go mainstream or become something we weren’t prepared for morphing into a super-futuristic-funk-robot and destroy us all!
The Marcus King Super Jam was filled with classic Disco and Motown songs. The lineup included but was not limited to: Nigel Hall, Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, Robert “Sput” Searight, Luther Dickinson, Eric Bloom, Roosevelt Collier, Nicki Bluhm, Danny Mayer, members of Turkauz, Karina Rykman and that basically says it all. Marcus seems ready to transcend the Jam world but in a different way, taking Nashville by storm and even getting his own billboard in “Music City.” That’s one way to make an entrance ol’ boy. We will try to keep the lights on for you. Don’t stray too far from home.
Moe. in the Theatre and the Atrium both were exactly what Jam Cruise is all about, true headliners having fun with the audience and melting faces. Chuck and Al both duel shredding guitar solos on the backs of sofas. It was great to get back on the couch with moe. having only seen them a few times in past few years. They were one of the first bands to really turn me onto the scene and their songs play in that special place in my heart. I would love to see moe. return to Jam Cruise next year and finish what they started.
Galactic always puts on a strong performance and this years was no different but what was different was the female performer who is still learning her place onstage. I was surprised to not see Erica Falls onstage but welcome the new comer. I was really impressed with Circles Around The Sun, who put on a hard, yet effervescent performance. Their sound is difficult to explain but its somewhere between the Grateful Dead and funky psychedelia. With the addition of Eric Krasno, CTS set was really transcending. I had heard about these guys with Neil Casal but never had the chance to see them. This was a great way to honor Neil and Jam to their music, I cant wait to see them again soon in Charlottesville, Virginia at The Southern. I wish that Karl Denson would come around my area more often because his shows are always high-energy and I need more of him in my life. Lettuce really impressed me with their Pool Deck set, which seems more original Funk than Dub. This may have been the best Lettuce show I’ve ever seen and their theatre set didn’t seem to compare.
Samantha Fish basically blew me out of my sandals. She is something else and can shred on the guitar which, I got to tell her to her face. She graciously accepted my compliment and gave me a little wink. This would be my first time seeing Samantha Fish and I wasn’t sure her live shows could match her videos but she is even better in person. I really enjoy the cigar box sound and respect her six-string skills immensely. Joe Marcinek was also another performer I wanted to touch on, supporting his own All Star cast of players. This was also my first time catching Joe and his guitar work is truly unmatched; very harmonic and instinctive.
Lastly I want to touch on my friend Marcus Rezak who sat in with Maddy O’Neil and was a great guest on the boat. Marcus is a fantastic player and adds so much to every performance. Check out his other groups like Shred Is Dead and various projects where he works with members of Frank Zappa’s band. Let’s get him and “Sweet Dick” Andy Frasco back on the boat next year for Jam Cruise 20!
No matter how many times I write it, Jam Cruise is the experience of a lifetime! I implore each and everyone to come with me on the most amazing musical adventure! I know many of you say you can’t afford it but if you just skip those local shows, skip those trips to bars, save those pennies, you can make if work and it is well worth it. I can’t imagine not returning next year and reliving this adventure. I hope to see you all there.
Jam Cruise Purist
Oh what a difference 10 years can make on one’s soul. 10 years of change, 10 years of music, love, life and the pursuit of happiness. It seems as though, 10 years have got behind me but I strive forward. I want to thank each and everyone of my faithful readers here at www.jambandpurist.com I have watch this site grow from literally, 1 reader to over 10,000! It has been a dream come true but now is as good a time as any to announce big changes coming.
While being the self-proclaimed, Jam Band Purist has been fun, I need to expand my horizons and will be working on changing this site in hopes to encompass many more aspects of the music world. My main goal as JBP was to express honest and forthright opinions of concerts, music festivals and the Jam music that I love but the every day politics of the music industry including but not limited to, publicist, artist relations, managers and the ever encroaching Live Nation type conglomerates have made it almost impossible for me to express my honest opinions. For example, say I ranted about John Mayer being a douche bag, I wouldn’t be able to get Dead and Company tickets but do I really want them if it comes with that price? At what cost do I give up my integrity? I will still of course, be writing on great festivals like, Floyd Fest, LOCKN’ and many other Jam festivals/concerts but perhaps in a different way or for another publication.
Jam Band Purist will survive however, it will be integrated into the next evolution of my writing dreams. Who knows, I may start covering the latest Rap or Pop music, at least then, I can be completely honest without worrying about hurting anyone’s feelings. I truly do not want any of this to sound negative because I have learned so much about Freelance Journalism, the music industry and reviewed some amazing shows and even interviewed some amazing bands. This has been a dream come true and I look forward to the evolution of a dream. 2020 will be the beginning of something grand. Anyway, the show must go on. I’ll be pumping out reviews here at Jam Band Purist. Until further notice. So look out for Jam Cruise reviews soon and for now for No BS New Year’s Eve Extravaganza. Thanks to everyone for the support!
No BS NYE Specacular!
Picking a New Year’s Eve show this year seemed more difficult than it should’ve been. I had lots of musical choices but truthfully: limited funds, a broke down car and the always prevalent, procrastination. Looking at the local choices, it was either the Infamous Stringdusters in Richmond, Virginia or No BS brass and some other acts in Charlottesville. While I love the Infamous Stringdusters, I have previously seen one of their New Year’s Eve shows with one of my exes and prefer not to relive that experience. The only choice remained, No BS Brass, the high-energy act from Richmond who I have seen a few times before. I couldn’t make it to New Orleans this year so, I had to get a taste of those horns. To say 2019 hasn’t been an easy year is an understatement. Wild, crazy and completely unpredictable. I was looking forward to leaving it all behind and mustered up enough strength to proceed to Charlottesville, Virginia. The Jefferson Theater is easily one of the finest venues in all of Virginia. I have been to countless shows over the past 10 years, a decade of music at this venue from Little feat to Marcus King. This venue has become a part of my history.
I arrived at the venue in time to see the tail end of Shagwuf and when I mean “tail-end“ I mean the lead singer’s backside. I can’t can’t comment on the music but enjoyed what little I did see. The Falsies came on directly afterwards and I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. Charlottesville Natives, The Falsies are a raw, wild and at times, incoherent group of misfits. The lead singer/drummer came out on stage in a chicken suit and began to hack balloons reading 2019 with a butchers knife. What a way to begin their performance and really caught my attention. The onstage antics continued from there with a hotdog, lobster and bright swinging balls of glory. There songs like “My Balls,” “We Want To Fuck” and “Are You Sexually Available?” remind me of some of Frank’s Zappa’s later performances, chaotic and sometimes, nonsensical. The Falsies walk the line between Art Rock, Glam Rock and Punk. There were 11 people onstage and at times, it was a bit much to focus on. The spectacle takes away from the music itself. I was most impressed with the guitarist, Carter and her rock star vibes and obviously the lobster. The Falsies are quite the musical circus and could be someone’s strange ethereal dream or someone else’s existential nightmare. The entire band ended the show writhing in an orgasmic pile onstage. I can say this was perhaps one of the strangest shows I have seen to date and really sets a precedent for what 2020 will bring.
The main event, No BS Brass is just as the name implies, no bullshit, straight Funk Rock, Jazz and Hip-Hop all combined into an energetic mixture. Reggie always brings the energy and the inclusion of the female singer really completes this group. I was not disappointed with the level of excitement and musicianship onstage. I would recommend anyone who has the chance to see No BS take the opportunity to get down with this group of outstanding musicians.
The end of 2019 came to a conclusion with little to-do, I watched drunken couples mash faces together in some wretched display of tradition. Others slam alcoholic beverages into their gullets in hopes to drown their lost dreams and sorrows. I make it a point to try to see a concert every New Year’s Eve but decided not to stay out much past 12 because a lot of the people who go to concerts during holidays are just there to get drunk and talk to each other. Somewhere in my mind, I was still preparing for the upcoming Jam Cruise and the amazing music that I was about to see aboard the best ship in the world. So, fuck it! Bring on 2020!
Happy New Year! Let the roaring 20s’s commence🎉 Bringing in the New Year with Shagwof, The Falsies, and No BS Brass.
Squaring The Circle Live At The Pompeii Lounge
Hello all! I have been out of the loop as of late due to new career path but I wanted to touch on Squaring The Circle Live at the Pompeii Lounge in Staunton, Virginia. This show was like seeing this band in the comfort of my own home (but with too much cigarette smoke) while this is only my second time STC, I really enjoyed their performance and the way they conducted themselves, even in, such a small intimate environment. Squaring The Circle has a rich and dynamic sound that is well beyond most bands limitations. Hailing from Baltimore Maryland it was my privilege to become friends with STC and review their music here at www.jambandpurist.com.
Playing some songs off their debut album, ‘Gyonk’ I was impressed with the dynamics from each player and using a small sound system, they still sounded full and together. Guitarist, Carl Dougherty and Bassist, Dan Kutcher, work harmoniously together. Dan is a strong player and really knows how to work his thumb. Tyler Facinoli, the keyboard player is always ready to take the lead and is the heart of this band. Drummer, Nathan Shulkin stayed in the pocket all evening and I was impressed with some of his time signature work. All in all, Squaring The Circle are far to good to be playing such a small venue. Since the first time I saw them, they have really put some hard work into their craft and I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future. If you haven’t heard of Squaring The Circle check out their album and go see a live show if you can. https://www.squaringthecirclemusic.com/
Lost Monarchs ‘Eye On The Sun’ Album Review
Since I first stumbled upon Lost Monarchs, not only the band name, but also, the band itself immediately intrigued me. The Lost Monarchs most recent album, ‘Eye On The Sun’ came across my desk and at first lesson, I knew I had to try and spread the word here at jambandpurist.com While, I’m predominately on the East Coast, I wanted to give a shout out to some West Coast bands that need recognition are worthy of noting on my website. Sometimes we get very regional with our music selections and it’s always good to branch out and experience new sounds and bands.
Recorded in Vista, California at Emerald Age Studios, ‘Eye On The Sun’ is a forthright and exceptional album, with many unique and creative compositions. The opening track, “Nothing Said” is a great opener with and a solid start to this album with great guitar riffs and heartfelt lyrics, that stick with the listener. I think this was a great choice for a song opener from Lost Monarchs. It sets the mood and draws the listener in.
Some other noteworthy tracks that stood out to me were, “Shake The Booze,” which is a great drinking song with classic blues changes and great vocal delivery. The guitar work on this track is top-notch and has a very, West Coast vibe. Which is covered and smothered in reverb. “San Andreas” opens with an eerie guitar tone and a very catchy melody. This song sticks out due to its storytelling and unique composition. I would have to say, that this is possibly my favorite track off of ‘Eye On The Sun.’ This song has an ethereal, dreamy quality that suspends the listener in time, while still remaining linear and never deviating from its purpose.
Both, “Dream I Know” and “Endless Summer” are a great juxtaposition with one another and both exemplify what Lost Monarchs brings to this album, ‘Eye On The Sun.” I recommend all my readers but especially those on the West Coast to check out Lost Monarchs. I’m sure their live shows are just as intriguing as this album is. I’m excited to share, ‘Eye On the Sun’ with all of you and wish, Lost Monarchs the best in their upcoming album release. Look for it on https://lostmonarchs.bandcamp.com/ now.
Well, after a little hiccup, FloydFest 2020 has came back with a lineup that is truly unstoppable. This will be Jam Band Purist’s 3rd year at FloydFest and we couldn’t be happier to announce this lineup: 2 nights of The String Cheese Incident, Grace Potter, Andy Frasco, Leftover Salmon and most especially, Jerry Harrison & Adrian Belew with Turkuaz. This is going to be something extra special for those that love The Talking Heads. I hope you all can make it to the mountaintop to see this amazing lineup next year.
Thanks to Floyd Fest and across the way productions.
Andy Frasco-Triple Header in Virginia (and Various Communicable Diseases)
It’s been a few weeks since I saw Andy Frasco and The U.N. in Richmond at River
City Roll. I’ll be honest with you; my ears are still ringing on and off. I looked everywhere for my hearing protection before I left and couldn’t find them. I want to express the importance of hearing protection especially when seeing such a raw and rambunctious band as, Andy Frasco And The U.N. This hearing loss however does not keep Andy Frasco and his band of merry men from touring non-stop and even, hitting three dates here in Virginia. Andy Frasco has been on my must-see list since last January on my first Jam Cruise and although, he is not back on the boat this year, his spirit will forever be intertwined with that of Jam Cruise. Having been to the Brooklyn Bowl in NYC, I can my compare River City Roll with that venue but can honestly say, I like River City Roll alot better.
The opening act, Wild Adriatic was off the charts talented and covered: Rick James “Mary Jane” and Frank Zappa’s “Muffin Man;” two songs that have a special place in my heart. I wasn’t sure how rowdy the crowd would get at this venue, as all was calm on the western front until The U.N. took the stage. Frasco can always rile up the crowd. It was quite a surprise to see Dave Schools of Widespread Panic silently hovering overtop me taking a video of the band onstage. I wanted so bad to talk with him and basically, “fan boy” out but I kept it together. Having been behind the scenes in this music business, I have seen how annoying people can be to artists just trying to live their lives. When the time is right, I’ll meet Schools and sometimes, it’s not always best to meet ones heroes.
Andy’s act hasn’t changed much but I can see him slowly refining it, evolving and making it less about the pussy and more about a solid, fun, entertaining experience. The Charlottesville shows and Roanoke shows would both showcase Andy Frasco and The U.N.’s raw stage talent. I haven’t talked a lot about the band members themselves and want to applaud all of them for putting up with (Sweet Dick) Andy for this long! Shawn Eckles is one of the best guitarists on the scene, a hidden gem in a dusty quarry. Ernie Chang is a consummate player, although he can be over powered by the cacophony of sounds the band produces. Daniel Avila is obviously the heart of the band and extremely talented being able to shred guitar and sing. The numerous bassists that Frasco uses have become a revolving cast of characters but this tours, punk rock style player fits in just fine. The only thing the band is missing is Arno and the antics between him and Frasco but if we are being frank, he wouldn’t even fit on most of these stages.
There’s not much more I can say about this triple header here in Virginia, having started a new job and working to make some solid income, I haven’t been able to see as many shows as usual but I’m glad that Frasco is one of them. I truly wish he was booked on Jam Cruise 2020 but I’m sure he will be back sooner than later. It’s awesome to see Andy and The U.N. coming into their own and finding their niche within this community. This band is exactly what we all need. Their energy is incomparable and every time I see them, I laugh, dance and have a memorable experience. Keep on doing what your doing. See you boys at Floydfest 2020!
Dweezil Zappa Returns To Richmond
It is truly always a pleasure to witness Dweezil Zappa and his band do their thing. It seems like I have come a long way since my first experience about five years ago. Dweezil has only gotten better with time and you can tell, he is constantly practicing his craft. I’m still a huge Frank Zappa advocate and fan. I’m glad to see the Zappa Family Trust business is being put to rest for the time being and I hope that the family can move forward from those negative experiences. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Bizarre World of Frank Zappa Tour but if it comes around again, I will do my best to see it. In the meantime, I am very content just seeing Dweezil and reminiscing about the times when I truly needed Frank Zappa in my life.
With the new additions to his band, Dweezil is pushing the envelope and trying different things and even songs that have never even been played live by Frank himself. Starting off with a live rendition of ‘Hot Rats’, The band would play every song on the album which was released 50 years ago. This is truly one of the great works of Frank Zappa and it was amazing to see songs like “Peaches En Regalia,” “Wilie The Pimp,” and “Little Umbrella’s” take form and come to life onstage. The rest of the show would include one of my favorite songs, “Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy” and some witty banter between the bandmates with a special sit-in from the Pudding man himself, Bill Cosby. Outside of The National, I saw an older African-American eagerly laughing at his phone while watching none other than, The Bill Cosby show. Talk about coincidences.
I will continue to see Dweezil Zappa whenever he comes around and encourage all of you to at least check out one of his shows and give it a shot. Dweezill is a phenomenal guitar player and that is just a fact. I will add a video below that shows some of his prowess. I still can’t get enough of Frank Zappa’s music; I don’t listen to it all the time but when I do, I’m always taken back to the first time I heard “Inca Roads” and my life was changed forever.
Snarky Puppy- (An Evolution Of Music)
I’m not sure exactly where to begin this review so, I’ll just start here: This band takes live music to the next level. Music evolves much like humanity itself. Music is a driving force in culture and the human experience. Snarky Puppy has found a way to transmogrify this experience into something greater than anything I have ever seen. Taking cues from many distinct genres and blending them together is what makes American music so important and diverse; an ever changing flow of musical creativity. The evolution of music can be seen from rhythmic structures of Africa, into Jazz and these genres shift into Blues, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Funk, Hip-Hop and various types of music blend together to form new genres. Music is in a constant state of evolution.
Anyway, most of you already know this but Snarky Puppy has taken this evolution and spun it on its head. I have not seen such musicianship in many years. While I’m not that well versed with their song catalog, it really doesn’t matter. The variety of the music itself keeps the audience on edge and in anticipation. I have been to tons of shows at The National and I don’t see the need to comment on the venue itself. If you’ve been there, you know I’m talking about, if not, then I’m sure you’ve been to a venue much the same. The sound is decent but it was a little packed. The opening band, I can’t even recall their name, began with a strange yell of some sort. The act was highly experimental, artsy and not my thing. Snarky Puppy however, totally my thing and they immediately seemed to shatter all perception I had of their live performance. Members of this current band for the evening included: of course, band leader and bassist, Michael League, Bobby Sparks on whammy keyboard, Justin Stanton on keyboard/Trumpet, Shaun Martin on keyboard and a wonderful violinist, Zach Brock, which added quite a different sound than I have seen from their live videos. I was highly impressed with every single one of the musician’s performances.
Snarky Puppy has built the perfect combination of raw talent improvisation and striking classical compositions. Their live shows reflect their albums and their live performance exceeded all my expectations. This surely won’t be the last Snarky Puppy show that I attend so; I’ll leave some for the next review. Until then, if you have the opportunity, go see this band perform.
An Intimate Evening with The Travers Brothership
Having seen, The Travers Brothership for the past two years at FloydFest, I was happy to see that they were playing a local venue here in Virginia, The Golden Pony. While I’ve been to the Golden Pony many times, there usually isn’t a lot of Jam acts coming through the area; this area kind of sucks for live music. To give you an example of some of the other shows the Golden Pony has hosted: rapper, Petey Pablo. I was still hoping that The Travers Brothership would have a bigger turn out but the intimate show setting let me experience a different side of the Brothership.
The Brothership covers funk staples like “Its Your Thing” and “Can You Get To That” while adding their own unique style that seems to be cultivated within their gritty southern upbringing. Bassist, Josh Clark is also quite important to their sonic development, as he adds energetic and spastic tonality to their sound. Keyboardist and percussionist, Ian McIsaac seems to be the quiet, laid-back type but who knows what happens off stage. The Travers Brothership is well versed in Jam transitions and crescendos but could continue to configure these into their routine. I was also able to score a copy of the most recent album ‘Let The World Decide’ and it has been playing none stop in my car.
The Travers Brothership are still raw and growing but that’s what makes them so much fun to see. The progression and evolution of their growth is right there in front of your eyes. The Travers Brothership are set to launch in this scene and beyond. Their attention to detail and the needs of the musical scene are evident in their consistent pursuit of growth. I encourage my readers to check this band out while they are still evolving, so you can watch these young musicians progress to the top ranks. It’s certainly within their grasp if only they keep up the hard work and never give up. The Brothership will be back in Charlottesville, Virginia this November. I hope to see you there.
Marbin Update and Archived Interview: (Playing Through The Changes)
It’s always an extreme pleasure to witness one of my favorite Fusion bands and all all-around great people in the band, Marbin. I met Marbin, consisting of Dani Rabin, Danny Markovitch and Jon Nadel, about three years ago during one of their local gigs in Virginia. We became fast friends after many long nights discussing the ins-and-outs of music today. Any chance I get to see this band, I do it and with the addition of a new drummer Everett, I was pleasantly surprised as he has assimilated nicely into the group adding dynamic playing and accentuation.
For this review, I’m gonna go back into my vault of interviews and reviews and give to you my first interview with any band ever. If you haven’t checked Marbin out, do it NOW! They have many great albums out like ‘Israeli Jazz’ that I recommend and are almost ready to release a new one, ‘Strong Thing.’ Check them out here: https://marbinmusic.bandcamp.com/ I would also like to recommend, Jon Nadel (bass) Solo Album, ‘Urraca.’ It has some great rhythmic compositions. I see another interview with these guys around the corner!
Enjoy Marbin from 2016-
Jam Band Purist: How many shows have you guys played now?
The band discussed it for a second.
Jam Band Purist: Holy hell, that's a lot of shows. I thought you guys would be bigger than you are by now.
Dani: “So did we. It just takes a lot of time and effort to get to where we need to be, it's taken us 4-5 years just to break into the music festival scene.”
Jam Band Purist: Have you just not found your niche?
Dani: “No, we have our fan base but its just having our niche accepted. We do things a little different than other bands.”
Jam Band Purist: “If you play that many shows, you must have a lot of crazy experiences, what are some of yours?
Jon the Bass Player: “Almost driving into a river.”
Dani: “No, not too crazy stuff just the normal incidences when you go on tour you see all kinds of crazy people and when drugs and alcohol are involved...”
Danny: “Well, alcohol mostly.”
Jam Band Purist: What's the story behind the song “Escape from Hippie Mountain” that's got to be relevant to these crazy experiences?
Dani: “We were at a festival called Spring Fling, I think it was there. There were two chicks getting into a fistfight.”
Danny: “The one kept introducing herself as Jessiker”
Dani: “Her and another girl were fighting but were still trying to be all ‘hippy’ about it and when we first got there, their was the other hippy with blood all over his shirt and when we asked him what happened, he said it wasn't his blood and that made things even worse. Jessiker was eventually banished from Hippie Mountain, people yelled ‘Go West’ it was cold and freezing and we left as soon as we could. We saw her hitchhiking on the way out.”
Jam Band Purist: Sounds like quite the escape. You use a lot of interesting scales and modes within your music, what are some of your favorite scales and why?
Dani: “We like all scales equally, our music changes scales so quickly that we have to understand them all equally. For us as a band, it's more about the melodic statement.”
Jam Band Purist: So, what's up with the rotating cast of band members? Are you just trying to keep things new/fresh and interesting? Or are there other reasons?
Dani: “There have been all kinds of reasons for us to have different members but mostly musical differences.”
Danny: “We can put up with a lot of personal stuff but musically we can’t have it. Those guys are dead to us.”
Jam Band Purist: So, part of why I love music is lyrics, you guys are great but any thoughts on lyrics or are you strictly instrumental?
Dani: “We are strictly instrumental. We have no thoughts on changing that.” (Later, Dani would sing me a few of the songs he wrote which I really liked.)
Jam Band Purist: There are a lot of bands using social media to gain fans and followers, for me you guys helped pioneer or start that whole trend but you have played over 1200 shows, while most of these bands have barely played out of their basement. What can you say to that and to the bands that are up-and-coming using that model?
Dani: “We are just now getting to the point where we can use social media to gain hundreds or thousands of followers/likes but that took a long time. I say good for them, if they get likes and can get big off just social media that's their prerogative, some bands just can't tour and they aren't meant to tour like we do.”
Jon Bass Player: “I think the promotional videos that were are putting out have really helped gain access to the music.”
Jam Band Purist: Anything planned for tonight, maybe set-list wise?
Dani: “The band has never made a set list, we play what we are feeling.”
Jam Band Purist: Ok, final question but a serious one; any musical guilty pleasures?
Dani: “You should ask the bass player.”
Jon Bass Player: “Oh Here we go.”
Dani: “The problem is that he doesn’t feel guilty about them”
Danny: “He likes Linkin Park and bands like that, haha”
We all laughed at him for a moment.
Jam Band Purist: I would make fun of you too. Thank you guys so much.
Short Review: Jazz is Phish at The Broadberry
It’s been impossible for me to keep up with all the musical reviews and shows that I have recently attended. As many of you may know, this site is free to you but for me, it’s becoming increasingly hard to find paying Freelance Writing gigs. I work hard to try and find my voice here at Jam Band Purist and I feel one of my greatest attributes is my honesty. I hope that readers enjoy my candor and my overall view of the shows I’ve experienced. If you are reading this and enjoy it, please like, share, comment or, whatever you do but just let me know you are still here.
I want to touch on Jazz Is Phish and what they are doing with the Phish cannon of music. Their attention to detail and song composition is, on par with bands like Snarky Puppy. I always find myself impressed with not only the musical abilities of the revolving members but the attitude in which the music is presented. Phish is still one of my favorite bands and I have seen numerous cover acts and tribute bands. Jazz Is Phish is much more than a tribute act; it is an extension of the Phish essence and catalogue. I implore my readers to see this band any opportunity you get. If you like Phish but would like to hear their songs delivered in a different manor then this band is for you. More coming soon! Thank you for reading!
LOCKN’ Music Festival 2019 (Lets Do The Time Warp Again and Other Shifts In Energy)
There’s always so much for me to say about LOCKN’ Music Festival here in Virginia. This festival has truly been a godsend for me and feels like my home festival. From its inception, LOCKN’ has always held a special place in my heart. As things change and evolve, LOCKN’ seems to have shifted direction and the winds of change have come to call. This year’s annual festival known as Interlocken, once upon a time, seemed much smaller in attendance size. I’m not entirely sure of the numbers but it felt more intimate and those who have been to all 7 years, felt at home and in good company. This was as much a family reunion for me, as it was a premier festival. It was unfortunate that many of my friends just couldn’t make the trip back to LOCKN’ due to funds or lack of interest in the lineup. I couldn’t miss this festival and am proud to have been to all 7.
Having officially covered this festival as a Music Journalist for 4 years now, I feel like I know the ins-and-outs of LOCKN’ from the people like, Jam Band Jimmy to all my friends in the photography pit. There is something about LOCKN’ that is undeniable communal; a community coming together and bonding through music. The music is always top notch and filled with rare sit-ins and collaborations. This year was much the same but with a few minor changes. The loss of big name acts like, Widespread Panic, String Cheese and even, Umphreys McGee was evident and there were at times, lulls in the festivals overall musical excitement level. But still the thought of Trey Anastasio and Derek Trucks playing together keeps you going and there are also plenty of distractions. I would wander to the media tent, which for some reason is not even close to the main stage; it is perhaps the furthest away from any stage I have ever been while trying to write about an event. These accommodations meant that, I spent more time in the crowd than worrying about overall coverage. With that in mind, I will share some of the musical moments that stood out to me. I will leave out the ones that didn’t quite get me there or, the ones that left me saying, “mehhh.” I will start with Khruangbin, which I have reviewed here before.
In my previous review, I have louted Khruangbin as, not my favorite live act but with the addition of Trey Anastasio, this took their performance to another stimulating and exciting level. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from friends and others this year that Khruangbin is their favorite band right now and it befuddled me until I saw this show with the addition of Trey. I must eat my words but still would love to see more passion in their stage performance. This was probably the best show besides JRAD on Thursday but that’s only because Andy Frasco was cancelled due to another micro burst on the festival grounds.
One of the highlights was catching a glimpse of Paul Simon on the sound stage watching his wife, Edie Brickell. I had never seen him in person and although, I love some of his music, he looked liked he might have had some work done. There were many acts during Friday’s daytime schedule but it was really all about the Derek Truck sit-in with Trey Anastasio Band. Wasting no time here, I’ll just jump right in and discuss the song choices and jams of Friday. This was honestly one of the best sets I have ever seen at LOCKN’. Trey and his band were so gracious and excepting of Derek and allowed him to really shine, something I’m not sure I can say for Saturday nights reverse sit-in. Trey was much more comfortable, relaxed and his band really know how to accommodate another powerful musician. The song choice was fine but I feel some of the slower acoustics songs could have been literally anything; they could have covered any number of tunes that would have compared to “Layla” or, “Little Wing” but instead played, “More.” Watching Trey and Derek trade licks it becomes immediately apparent that Derek is quite literally the best guitarist in the world; his caliber of musicianship is rivaled only by the great blues musicians. Going right into my thoughts on Tedeschi Trucks Band with Trey, to me it felt a little uneven. Trey seemed tired and was given many opportunities to solo but would always pass it back to Derek. Don’t get me wrong these dudes are professional but perhaps their styles didn’t match up, as well as, we all had hoped. That being said, I have re-watched both shows and the music is still top-notch and phenomenal but watch the interaction, body language says it all. I know that many who read this might disagree with me so, comment and tell me about it! I’m always willing to have my mind changed.
Ok, ok, I’ll have to admit Vulfpeck might have been the best performance of the weekend and deserve respect. They have come a long way since their first appearance at LOCKN’ and can put on a thrilling performance. Although some of the crowd participation stunts fell flat, the crowd was still excited and everyone around me had fun. I don’t listen to much Vulfpeck anymore, their catalogue is a little small but they are definitely back on rotation now.
I don’t feel like I really need to comment much on Sunday. The day was laid back and at times even a lull. Marcus King would sit in with moe. for “opium.” This was an awesome rendition and basically made the whole day worthwhile. I did enjoy just spending time at Infinity Downs with friends and checking out Participation Row and the many vendors LOCKN’ has to offer. Some notable mentions for this review are St. Paul and The Broken Bones, who had an outstanding onstage, or should I say, offstage performance. I was riveted by their front mans persona and shiny cape. JRAD of course impressed but I was pleasantly surprised as they played numerous Non Grateful Dead covers. This review would be remiss not to mention Neal Casal and the tragic news of his passing after his stellar performances at LOCKN’ 2019. I was unable to make the Circles Around The Sun set in Garcia’s Forest and I truly regret it. Neal’s sit-ins with Oteil And Friends were standout and his guitar playing was always original and prominent whenever I saw him in various projects. With the loss of Neal and Jeff this year, I want to extend my sincerest condolences to all who have been affected by this. For those struggling with any issues, may it be depression, anxiety, stress or, all around mental health, just know there are so many people out there that would love to help. All you have to do is reach out and to anyone reading this; feel free to reach out to me about anything! Never hesitate. We are all alive together. Let’s keep it that way.
This years LOCKN’ felt like a shift in energy; the rift has opened and there are changes occurring. I didn’t mind the relaxed spacious atmosphere this year. It felt more family friendly and the lineup was still solid although, LOCKN’ has set the bar fairly high in the past years. Having been to every LOCKN’ I have witnessed the changes, the good and the bad but one thing remains, the spirit of community and collaboration that makes this scene turn like the main stage. LOCKN’ is still the Mecca for Jam and a place where artists can feel at home, as much as, the audience. The local area seems to support this festival and the grounds themselves are perfect for this continued musical adventure. I hope to see you all again next year for year number 8!
Thanks to Ron Adelberg Photography and Grateful Music LLC for the photos!
The Rolling Stones Invade Philly (“We’ve Been Playing Here For 50 Fucking Years”)
I have always wanted to see The Rolling Stones, the seminal 60’s Rock Band, the original “Bad Boys”. They have been playing for over 50 years and I still love many of their songs. The Stones are a staple in the Classic Rock catalogue. They may be only second to The Beatles but that’s another story altogether. I remember first listening to The Stones songs in my seminal youth. As a teenager, I seemed to desire the revelations of the 1960s and the “Hippie” culture. The Rolling Stones have stayed with me and have become part of my life’s soundtrack. So when I had the opportunity to see them in Philadelphia with one of my closest friends, I had to make the trek up north.
The lot scene in Philly for The Rolling Stones was insane. It may have been crazier than any Phish or Dead lot I have been to. Every car in each lot I walked through would play the local radio station, which was playing Stones songs for 24 hours. I have honestly never seen so many people singing songs in unison. The average age of concertgoers was about 50 but the energy of their fans is undeniable. The 200$ ticket price was a big fucking deterrent and I was hoping to have better seats; climbing into the nose bleeds of the stadium, even I had a little vertigo. On the stage were giant megalithic screens that the band would be projected on. They seemed like a prop from the wizard of oz or even like the monolith in 2001 (A space odyssey).
The Stones would roll through their classic songs and when I say classics, I mean CLASSIC like “Paint It Black.” I was impressed with the band and their exuberant amount of energy. Mick can still command the stage, dancing like no one has ever danced before and never will. I can’t say his dancing is good but is certainly original and entertaining. It’s strange to see people my grandparent’s age getting down like that. Keif looks like some half-ogre, half-pirate but his guitar tone cuts through everything. Charlie Watts looks rough in the back but still keeps a solid rhythm. Ronnie Wood is probably the best thing that ever happened to The Stones and you can tell he still invigorate the band especially Keif. It was great to see the one and only, Karl Denson onstage with these legends, cementing himself as a true legend himself. While this band doesn’t necessarily “Jam” they do Rock the fuck out and have inspired every single band today.
I can honestly say that this show was well worth the money but I don’t know if I’d ever do it again. I’m not sure there ever will be another chance for me to see this group. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one of the greatest acts and all of Rock music. I have a new respect for these musicians that constantly tour around the world. The Rolling Stones can travel in complete comfort but at 70 some years old, it still must be extremely difficult. I hope that if you have the money and the opportunity to see the Rolling Stones that you take the leap and forget about the ticket price. Money comes and goes but this musical experience will last a lifetime.
FloydFest 2019: (My Voyage Home)
Some festivals come and go while others stick with you for a lifetime. The memories may fade into obscurity but the essential conviction and power of these events stays with you, within your soul. As I traversed the Blue Ridge Parkway, all my cares and burdens seemed to be released. My senses were greeted with the flood of evocation, the smell of the Appalachia, small towns with bustling markets, the convection breeze of the mountain air. The weather was absolutely perfect and would remain so for the entirety of the weekend. Arriving on site, FloydFest is bustling with energy both musically and socially. The mountaintop looks quite like a small village or even a traveling circus. Tents spiral upwards; the stages are constructed of wood seemingly permanent, reassuring festival patrons that FloydFest will remain, as long as these wooden planks survive. The journey back to FloydFest always feels like going back home. This is my voyage home.
In my eyes, FloydFest is the ultimate, all-around, bang for your buck, beginners festival. Not only is this a well-organized festival, it is also in my home state of Virginia and it gives me great pride that we host such a noteworthy event. Virginia is for music lovers. FloydFest is also very diverse musically, allowing people who come to see more mainstream artists like, Tyler Childers, a chance to see new and provocative musical acts. I have to say early on here that I am not a fan of the Modern Country genre but I can however see the appeal. Some of these shows allowed me to take a break and rest before catching more Jam oriented acts. I will not comment on any of the acts that I found lacking but if pressed, will give my honest opinion, of course. Now that that is out of the way, I will be including some of the best acts of FloydFest here in this review. I wish I could delve deeper into all the music I was able to see but I want to begin with the highlights, in no particular order.
The War and Treaty was perhaps one of the best shows I have seen all year. I don’t say that lightly. While the vocal skills from Michael and Tonya Trotter were great, I was even more impressed with the band behind them. I couldn’t find much information about them but they all could really play. The band is the definition of “tight.” The New Orleans Jazz influence is undeniable and The Trotters add their patented R&B, Soul and Gospel to the vocal arrangements. War and Treaty would play high-energy covers of Gospel songs like, “Amazing Grace”, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “When The Saints Go Marching In.” The War and Treaty is a class act. I was front and center for this outstanding performance and will be seeing this band every chance I get. Thanks FloydFest for turning me onto another great band.
OK, I have to say it, God damn! Electric Hot Tuna was great. Jorma and Jack Cassidy’s hard-driving blues knocked the crowds socks off. These two psychedelic legends would converge inwards as the music pushed into crescendo. Jorma and Jack have seen it all from Woodstock to the psychedelic revolution in San Francisco and they still display amazing musical prowess. Jorma’s guitar tone can be heard in countless songs from the 1960s by artist who emulate his solos from classic Jefferson Airplane songs. These two are as cool as cucumbers and even during their solo acoustic set still brought original and stylistic approaches to their songs like, “Bowlegged Women.” Hot Tuna is just plain badass.
The Travers Brothership takes the MVP award for this entire festival. When these guys weren’t shredding faces off like cheddar cheese on a grater, they could be seen in the audience consuming music with the rest of us. It was a pleasure to talk shop with Eric Travers and watch his brother, Kyle perform with Keller Williams and Leftover Salmon during Buffalo Mountain Jam. The Brothership blasted off, playing numerous rocking sets at FloydFest. They have come a long way sonically and as a group but there seems only room for more growth. Integrating classic Funk songs with their own version of Southern Rock, The Travers Brothership are set to launch, all over this scene.
One of the most interesting yet perplexing performances I saw this year was The Fantastic Negrito. I seemed to cycle through all of the human emotions during this set from: anger, sadness and even humor. Commenting on today’s politics, social normalities, psychology and honesty The Fantastic Negrito was full of energy that was reflected in the strange music. The Fantastic Negrito is unique and creative, evocative and mysterious. Even today, reflecting back on the show makes me confused yet, interested. The music itself is hard and bluesy with a twist of operatic arrangement and even Zappa-like influences. I am more intrigued than ever with Fantastic Negrito who seems to be a true artist, poet, and soul. I will very likely be reviewing this band again. Fantastic Negrito would end the show with, “I love some of you.” What a true statement.
The New Orleans Suspects would bring their raw, NOLA Funk sound straight to the mountains of Virginia. Having just played one of my all-time favorite venues in New Orleans, Tipitina’s the night before, the suspects hightailed it all the way to FloydFest for their daytime set. I don’t think I stopped dancing at all during this set and freaked out as they played Professor Longhairs, “Tipitina’s” for us all. Anyone who has read my recent reviews knows my love for New Orleans and this set was an extra special treat for me.
Lukas Nelson and The Promise Of The Real was the most anticipated performance for many at Floyd Fest this year. I have been watching Lukas for many years now; watching him grow and mature as an artist and a human being. This was the first time seeing him perform that it all seemed to come together. Lukas has finally found his own voice, his own foot path into the world in which his father has built a highway on. Lukas is still blazing his own trail. A troubadour in his own right. The only man on earth who can sound like Willy and get away with it. While you can hear the patronage within his raspy voice and those melodic, Texas Swing guitar tones, Lukas has his own style, his own persona and the women find him insatiable. Rounding through fast songs and slow songs alike, it was the time when Lukas would step to the microphone in earnest, singing, “Outside Of Austin” or, “Forget About Georgia” was when the crowd leaned in, ears and hearts open to his words. Lukas has raw talent in spades. Cultivating this into something different that stands out in today’s cookie-cutter, country conglomeration. Lukas is the real deal and can focus at improving exponentially by staying humble and grinding out his own legacy.
The headlining performance from The String Cheese Incident was just what the doctor ordered. I haven’t danced that hard in quite some time. I couldn’t help but move when they played songs like “Colliding” or, “River Trance” and anyone who could stand still during these moments weren't in the same dimension as me. I can’t comment on the show too much because I was getting down so hard but SCI was a great headlining choice because their music spans many genres. The first set was much more Bluegrass/Rockabilly but the second set was more Jam oriented. I truly hope that those who had never seen them before, took the time to see this band do what it does best. Keller would make his likely appearance with String Cheese for “Breathe” while some of the members of SCI would return the favor and jam with Keller and an All-Star cast of players onstage for the Buffalo Mountain Jam which has become one of the highlights of FloydFest.
I want to include some of the other artists whom I cant review here. There were many impressive acts but let's start with Erin And The Wildfire who’s version of Chaka Khan's “Ain't Nobody” was absolutely spot on. Erin and her band play in Virginia locally all the time and I recommended seeing their live show. The Broadcast as another noteworthy band to include here. Caitlyn Krisko and guitarist, Aaron Austin really Deliver a solid performance. Chupacabras were a fun and funky local talent. While the Jon Stickley Trios rendition of “Sinister Minister” was flawless. Leftover Salmon always performs danceable soundtracks to my festival life. As Vince Herman yells, “FESTIVAL!!!!!”
Another year another voyage to FloydFest. A voyage of the heart, body, mind and soul. A voyage of music, friendship and nature. FloydFest continues to deliver a solid, stable festival every year. The hardwork and planning does not go unnoticed and that is why I continue to return to this beautiful festival every year. With every year I gain treasured musical memories and I hope to share more with you. I hope to see you all at FloydFest next year.
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Quick Word On 4848 Festival
While I didn’t receive media tickets for the inaugural 4848 Festival at Snowshoe Ski Resort in West Virginia, I wanted to write a short review of this festival because it was truly one of the greatest musical experiences I’ve had in many years. It’s almost like a dream come true, being able to stay in a nice condo and walk just a few hundred yards to stage areas. Most festivals rely on shuttles and buses to transport festivalgoer’s, to and from, hotels and other accommodations. At 4848, many stayed in rooms where they could watch the music from their balcony. I have never heard so many positive comments and reviews about any festival, ever. I went to six All Good Music Festivals and just couldn’t miss this event. I won’t delve too much in to the music though. Perhaps next year Jam Band Purist will have full coverage but for now, all I can say is, if this festival ever happens again, don’t hesitate just GO!
Some of the collaborations at this festival were top notch and Billy Strings seemed to be everywhere. Turkuaz was probably my favorite show of 4848. Their performances keep getting better and better and their new songs are raw and jam heavy. Railroad Earth also put on a great performance but I hadn’t seen them since the passing of Andy and it was bittersweet. They definitely have a different sound now. The Marcus King Band also graced the festival with an outstanding performance and many of the bands stuck around to enjoy music for the weekend.
4848 seems to be an all around success. Everything ran smoothly and spirits were high. I really enjoyed the luxury aspect of this festival and would definitely spring for VIP accommodations if they were affordable. Hopefully next year we will be covering the return of 4848. This festival still stands as one of my all time favorite musical experiences, right up there with Jam Cruise. I hope to see you all there next year!
New Orleans Jazzfest: (50 Years Of Music History)
If you have read any of my recent reviews within the past year, then you will know of my love for New Orleans, the origin and birthplace of American Music. Having traveled south three times this year, I couldn’t miss the 50th Jazz Fest in my favorite place on earth, the Crescent City. Crossing Lake Pontchartrain and casting my first gaze on the city, always brings up memories of music, jazz, and blues slowly drifting out of bars and down cobbled streets; fragrances of Creole food and the feeling of mischievous voodoo. There is something about this place that resides within me, resides within my soul that feels connected to this place, connected to the culture, the community, the lifestyle and most importantly, the music.
There is truly nothing like New Orleans during Jazzfest and the days between. The entire city is filled with the best musicians from all over the country and the world. The music begins the first week of Jazzfest and never ceases until the final days. Two weeks of a full-on, musical heaven. If you are a true music fan, you must make it down to NOLA and try as you might, to see the most music humanly possible. Many nights, I would get home around 6 or 7 AM after seeing 4 to 6 bands per night. I was only in New Orleans for five days and was able to jam pack those hours with great music. With stacked lineups at every venue, I had to pick and choose wisely between some of the greatest musicians I have ever seen play. Many of the musicians played multiple shows per day and there were even smaller festivals during the week like, Crawfish Fest.
While I would love to delve deep into all the music I saw during Jazzfest and in the days between, I have to pick and choose from some of the best I witnessed and an all-around review of Jazzfest: 50 Years of New Orleans Culture and Music. What an iconic festival. We will start with Frenchman Street and the late night antics of Ghost-Note featuring members of Snarky Puppy and a slew of musical guest performers.
My head was swimming as I arrived to my favorite street in the world, Frenchmen Street. Frenchmen is the opposite of Bourbon Street where people go to get boozed up and stumble upon the puke infested asphalt. On Frenchman, people come to see live music. Hordes of music fans go from venue to venue, consuming music like rhythmic vampires. I easily found myself entranced into the Blue Nile, one of my favorite small clubs on Frenchmen. I honestly had no idea who was playing at the time until I looked at the handbill and saw that it was a Ghost-Note. I then knew, I was in the right place. The intense sound from the 10+ musicians onstage was heart palpitating. The energy in the club reminded me of some roaring 20s vibe, everyone screaming and dancing. The band would play a mix of Prince songs with bassist, Mono Neon leading the way in almost every song. Corey Henry and Justin Stanton from Snarky Puppy did come out for a few songs but with so much going on, it was hard to differentiate from who or what was playing. I stayed until well after, 3 AM and headed to some of the other clubs until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. The city lights and people disjointed me and I had to find my bearings. The music was loud raw and loud. Just the way I like it.
One of my favorite venues in New Orleans is Tipitina‘s. The history associated and surrounding Tipitina‘s is what draws bands from around the country to this iconic venue. I have never seen a bad show at Tipitina‘s. I am immediately jumped on the chance to see Turkuaz late night. The show didn’t start until 2 AM so I was able to catch some more live music before hand. Using www.jazzfestgrids.com I tried to plan out my days in New Orleans and see as much music as humanly possible. Of course, most of the plans were tentative and I hated leaving BB Kings House Of Blues, which boasted players like, Marcus king, TAZ and even Sweet Dick, Andy Frasco. Turkuaz did not let me down. Coming on full force with their futuristic, robotic funk, Turkuaz can be truly psychedelic and when they find a groove they stick to it. While their sound can be jammy it could also be Pop and I wonder why Turkuaz has not moved beyond the jam scene. I believe many more people would find this band as fun, as I do, if only given the opportunity to listen to them or see them live. Turkuaz has been on heavy rotation since Jam Cruise this past January. Getting to see the chaos of Tipitina‘s at 4 AM was priceless. Tchapitoulas never looked so beautiful as I drove home still buzzing from the show and getting to experience and share it with my younger brother, Alexander. I had planned to go to Jazzfest Friday and Saturday but after the wild night at Tipitina’s and that all around overwhelming amount of music, we decided to just see some more music on Frenchmen. We decided to see some Jazz and a number of local blues artists and even stepping out on a few street corners to see buskers round the New Orleans staples. It’s not always about the destination but the journey.
Sunday was the day for Jazzfest and I was excited to rough the heat and the crowds for the stacked lineup of Jazz Fest 50. People crowded the neighborhood surrounding the fairgrounds, where I would learn was used for Horse Racing. So, minus the horses and add the horseshit smell. It was something that I was immediately taken aback by and it never seemed to subside. I did not even want to sit down on the ground because then I would be closer to the smell. Back to the story, I easily find a cheap ticket outside the crowded neighborhood for well under face. There were cops present but they were extremely friendly and I even saw festival patrons giving them hugs and taking pictures with them. Finally entering the festival, I realized the convoluted confused situation that Jazzfest 50 had put me in. With over five stages they really expected me to choose between Buddy Guy, John Fogerty, The Neville Brothers and Herbie Hancock?
Two weekends and I still have to choose from these amazing artist? This might have been the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire musical life. I, of course without hesitation added Little Feat as one of my highlighted shows. I couldn’t get as close as I wanted as I didn’t have VIP access for this one and I didn’t get a great view of any of the shows. One of the members in my party collapsed from heat exhaustion. The Jazzfest medical crew didn’t respond nor helped with the incident at all, in fact, they only made matters worse by making my friend walk over 2 miles around the venue for cab/Uber service. This incident has now made me change my review process and at the end of every festival review, I will be giving a star rating. Jazzfest is not off to a great start. The heat combined with the crowds, the smell and the overlapping lineups all add up. Anyway, back to Little Feat, who came out strong with Billy Paine’s organ turned up full blast. They started with “Spanish Moon” going into possibly the slowest “Fat Man In The Bathtub” I’ve ever heard. Still great but with no gusto, the speakers in the back couldn’t hang and the sound was warped back-and-forth throughout the crowd. John “Papa” Gross would join the band which did add quite the level of excitement, the band even getting a broad smile out of “Papa” during “Dixie Chicken.”
After walking for what felt like miles, I tried to watch Chaka Khan but couldn’t find a good spot. The crowd of onlookers surged the stage like hungry hyenas after lions had just ravaged a gazelle’s carcass. The feast was not worth the price for me and I retreated back into the blues tent where some zydeco was playing. The heat was so exhausting, I had to sit down in the shade for a rest before zombie walking to the furthest stage imaginable to see, I can’t believe I’m saying this, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer. I’ll be honest, as I try to be with every review, the show was good and revitalized some of the energy, which the sun had taken away for me. I remember hearing about Jimmy Buffett getting in trouble for mushrooms and ecstasy not too many years ago but he looked in pretty good shape and his band had a full sound. I can’t say I could take more than 30 minutes of this reggae, island type of cookie cutter sound but it was cool to check out one time.
The real treat of the day was Trombone Shorty featuring the Neville Brothers. Trombone Shorty is the new royalty of New Orleans. While, the Nevilles are the last generation. Having these two musical icons come together was genius and almost redeems Jazzfest for musical collaborations alone. This is what New Orleans is all about, Jazz, Rock and Funk together. Trombone Shorty is strong and poised. He commands the stage and his band knows what to do. They are hard-core funk, almost Punk Rock. There is nothing like them in the music scene and only New Orleans breeds this kind of brilliant raw music. Shorty and his band would cover a powerful Meters classic “Aint No Use. The Neville’s would join Shorty and his band, Aaron Neville‘s voice shining through for “Fire On The Bayou”, “Yellow Moon” and the piece de resistance, an acappella version of “Amazing Grace.” Aaron Neville sounding like a young boy, holding his tattooed cheek, somehow channeling angels or some heavenly power. This performance made it all worthwhile.
Jazzfest Star Rating 3.5 Stars
I tried to get some rest before heading to The Maison for Andy Frasco and the UN. The show didn’t start until 10:30 and went on way later than I could hang out without an IV of Café du Monde straight into my arm. I was at least able to catch Mike Dillon nosedive off the stage with no one there to catch up. This was one of the wildest shows I’ve seen from Frasco with many more guest performances. If you haven’t checked out and the Frasco Artist Spotlight on my website do it now.
Some other notable bands that I am not able to review here: Voodoo Dead, Marcus King Band, Brandon “Taz”Neiderer, Spafford, and The Claypool Delirium. All of these shows were top notch and every musician, while seemingly exhausted; we’re all on there A game.
Jazzfest in New Orleans during this time is filled with the most music imaginable. Half the battle is trying to see the music the other half is finding the energy. Jassfest is more of an experience than it is a festival. For 50 years, this experience has become more of a cultural phenomenon, culturally significant and quite iconic. I’ve been to countless festivals, show an even six days on Jam Cruise but nothing could properly prepare me for the sheer volume of music available in New Orleans during Jazzfest. I don’t think I could ever miss another one even if, I didn’t see any other music all year, give me two weeks in NOLA and I could get my fill. See you next year!
Artist Spotlight: Andy Frasco The U.N.
Where to begin this? Should it begin as a love story? How about a horror story? A Fairytale? A Mystery? Fuck it! Let’s go all Non-Fiction as I tell you, the story of JBP and Andy “Sweet Dick” Frasco and his Dionysian Mystery Cult.
I can still vividly recall the first time I saw Andy Frasco come onstage during Jam Cruise like some fevered dream that comes in waves. I can envision him in pink boxing trunks and pink boxing gloves; his Afro was glorious but obstructed by a gauze bandage. I sat next to the guitarist for The New Master Sounds; we both looked at each other. Mouths agape, awestruck as Andy Frasco performed the wildest show I have ever seen in my life. The list of antics goes on but: crowd-surfing across the entire theatre, taking numerous illicit substances (or was he?) including but not limited too, mushrooms and even a dab from the audience, and all this with a head injury. Even with a bandage on his head, Frasco was still play fighting with his band mates and causing all around destruction onstage. I have been writing and covering shows for over three years now. I have worked with bands like, String Cheese and Widespread Panic but never have I ever seen anything like, Andy Frasco. As my friend, Vince Herman from Leftover Salmon said to me after performing with Andy on Jam Cruise, “He is the biggest thing right now...maybe ever,” his eyes getting larger and his smile growing with them. I have to agree with Vince but I have to start from the beginning and how I found out about Andy Frasco and his World Saving Podcast.
I had only vaguely heard of Andy Frasco musically but his podcast was picking up some major traction in the scene. I gave it a quick listen and was immediately impressed with not only the quality of the podcast but the pure honesty and candor with each guest. From Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, Marcus King, Mike Dillion to Ivan Neville, the World Saving Podcast is diverse, fun and at times, heart-wrenching. This was my beginning with Andy Frasco but certainly not the end. I then checked out his studio recordings and found his song catalogue catchy and fun, perhaps more Pop-Singer/Songwriter oriented but still entertaining. I immediately put Andy Frasco on my list of up-and-coming artist to see and review. It was almost a year before I had the chance to see him aboard Jam Cruise and honestly had no idea what I was in for. As I stated before, I have never seen a live performance so raw, uncut and honest. I didn’t think Andy and his band could top those Jam Cruise sets. With the various sit-ins and collaborations, I wasn’t sure and he could keep up this shtick but to my complete surprise, Andy Frasco And The U.N. completely demolished Roanoke Virginia in March for St Paddy’s day.
I know, I’m just getting to this review but I needed to take a break after traveling to Egypt and Europe for almost a month. I also wanted to devote my full attention to this review and Artist Spotlight. I headed down to Roanoke to Martin’s Downtown where an outdoor parking lot stage was set up. It was still a bit brisk out and the drinks were definitely present from the moment I stepped into the area. Andy Frasco’s nervously paced backstage perhaps aware of the police presence in attendance. That didn’t seem to stop Frasco And The U.N. from playing one of the most raw and rambunctious sets of live music I’ve ever seen. “Here’s to drinking in parking lots,” Andy exclaimed, as he poured a bottle of Jamison whiskey down his throat, waiting for the mushrooms to kick in. While seeing the show again, the obvious shticks are there from: the ketamine story to the switching of instruments but I don’t give a flying fuck, looking at Andy’s happy face smiling from ear-to-ear as he plays says it all. This man is truly happy when he’s performing and it’s obvious.
While the only song his mother likes is “Waiting Game” I find many of his songs catchy, toe tapping and thought provoking. While the album versions don’t have the same ass as live performances, they are well produced and easy on the ears. I can still visualize Andy, his pants pulled up, making a moose knuckle while explaining his shortcomings in the penile region. I haven’t laughed and danced so hard in my life. Goddammit Andy you’ve done it again! I drove three hours back home listening to the World Saving Podcast the entire way. It all worth it even having to deal with the drunken asshole that keeping falling into me and who began throwing ice at Andy Frasco onstage.
Andy Frasco And The U.N. are the real fucking deal; a no holds barred, orgy of musical chaos. There is nothing like it. It is perhaps the closest thing to the WWE or professional wrestling within the musical world. The gross display of complete negligence while still remaining coherent is remarkable. I’m left wondering, “Can this last forever?” I have to answer, “I sure as hell hope so!” Frasco is the shining light, the Dionysus, the one promised to enlighten us all. Being a fan of Andy Frasco is like joining some Dionysian Mystery Cult. Watching and listening to Frasco grow and be reborn again is only half the fun. This is either the greatest media ploy in existence or the realist shit out there. You decide.
As for me, I will be seeing Andy Frasco whenever and however I can. Avidly consuming his music and the World Saving Podcast on my summer adventures, covering festivals, concerts and beyond. I shall always take my memory of Frasco and guitarist, Shawn “Wildman” Eckels with me, replaying the chaotic antics of these musical lunatics. I also got to catch Frasco in New Orleans during Jazzfest at numerous venues. That review will be coming shortly. Thank you all for holding out for this Artist Spotlight and more is coming at www.jambandpurist.com soon.
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.