Originally Posted by 1600 at 6/25/2007 8:38 PM
So, everything always happens at once, right?
Yeah, don't I know it. In spades!
Take concerts. Even in the entertainment mecca that is Washington, DC (and its surrounding metropolitan area) weeks and months may go by during which time maybe no show, or at most, only an act or two will catch my eye and motivate me to stop channel surfing, and get off my big behind to go to the box office at some venue (since I still will drive many miles and spend hours in traffic to avoid paying Ticketbastard so much as a plugged nickel for their monopoly fee- oh, excuse me, convenience charge). Convenient for them, maybe. (But to save yourself anywhere from $4-$8 off a ticket for any given show, get them at box office.) Save up all that dough you would have shelled out to the Evil Empire, and instead, buy yourselves dinner when you get there- or maybe even end up with an extra ticket or two over the course of a year- it really adds up. Or, you can use it to buy drinks for your pals from 1600 next time you see us out- we'll appreciate it!
But, as usual, I digress.
When concert season hits in DC, usually toward the end of spring when school is getting out, gas prices are going up, lawns need to be mowed, people flock to the beaches, the touristas come flocking in to see the monuments, the museums, the cherry blossoms- and all hell breaks loose simultaneously, demanding your attention in eighty seven different ways at once.
But I tell you, good people, don't neglect your live music appreciation. You've gotta make the time to be good to yourselves, at least once or twice a month, to see some of the great acts that perennially appear at Wolf Trap, the 9:30 Club, the Birchmere, The Warner Theater, Black Cat, the State Theater, The Iota, Jammin' Java, RFK and the Phone Booth- and for you really brave musicphiles, Merriweather Post and Nissan Pavilion. It takes wild horses to get us to drive that far, but for some bands, I'll even suffer that, if not without regrets: the crappy sound, obscured viewing, uncomfortable SRO, (and the $6 beers) 'cause I might not EVER get a chance to see some of these bands again. And it's especially important to jump on those show held in the intimate setting that some of the smaller venues provide- they do sell out. (And make sure you bring ID- even if your as old as the 1600 gang, you still have to show a valid picture ID in many places to be served. Don't say I didn't warn ya!)
Note: Wolf Trap actually lets you bring in your own food and beverages, including alcohol, for a picnic on their lawn. Just clean up after yourselves, and you'll be welcomed back again and again- a far cheaper way to enjoy dinner and a show! And charges zero fees at their box office!!!
So, after catching up on a rather soggy and cool Memorial Day weekend with our old pals, the Smithereens when they rolled into town for a free show at Herndon, we only saw a few of you out there dancing in the rain, hearing their classics and rallying around the band getting autographs and congratulating them on their latest release and loving homage to the Fab Four, "Meet the Smithereens."
Summer hadn't quite broken, but fortunately for you, your friends at 1600 were there to get the latest dirt straight from Pat, Thrilla, Jim and Dennis about their upcoming Christmas album, and the next new project already in the works. Since they played in San Francisco the night before and caught a red-eye into Dulles about 3 am, these poor guys must have been exhausted!
Nonetheless, fueled by beer, tobacco, fresh fruit, and your requests, they played an outstanding, energetic show jamming through the rain on their repertoire from Behind the Wall of Sleep to Yesterday Girl, Blood and Roses, and A Girl Like You, as well a few amped up Beatles' covers! (We had to wake poor Pat out of a dead sleep to do the interview, but he recovered pretty quickly!) Watch for that (to be aired soon!) and hear more about what the Boys from Jersey have up their sleeves next...and also check out www.PatdiNizio.com for more Smithereens news- there's a link to his site and the band right on the 1600.tv links page!
(Right: The Smithereens: Jim, Pat, Thrilla & Dennis will be back in DC soon! Look for an announcement here!)
By the time June came around, we were all itching for the shows to start, and they did with a vengeance! Steve saw remnants of Black Sabbath touring under the name Heaven and Hell, with Megadeth. I'll let him tell you more about that one. We all saw- well, uh- heard Live from the Fairfax Public Access booth when they appeared at the Fairfax County Fair. We wondered out loud how they managed to get the incredible heat lightning to start forming when they did "Lightning Crashes." It must have taken a pretty big special effects budget- I wonder if Lucas and Spielberg were involved?
But as the dog days of June wore on, an opportunity of a lifetime surfaced as three solid days of can't miss music loomed closer. To start things off on the right foot, the one and only Twang Bar King, Adrian Belew and his Power Trio treated us to an earful of sonic fury, on Thursday June 21 at the cozy Vienna club, Jammin' Java. Wild noise was coupled with beautiful, delicate sounds that spanned his entire career, and the band previewed their upcoming release, "Side Four, " co-produced by Saul Zonana, who opened for the Power Trio with an impressive display of original songs that showcased a unique voice and some skillful guitar work in his own right. We were lucky enough to catch up to all of the touring musicians in Mr. Belew's company that night, and after a great interview (see it soon on Fairfax County Public Access Channel 10 and right here on www.1600.tv) supplemented by more stories and the general good spirits that followed, the Power Trio turned up the juice and performed a blazing show. It was a special night, indeed.
photo courtesy of http://adrianbelewpowertrio.blogspot.com/Eric Slick
From Beat Box Guitar to Matchless Man and Drive, from early solo favorites like Big Electric Cat to new arrangements of signature King Crimson tunes like Thela Hun Ginjeet, Elephant Talk, Neurotica, Dinosaur, and Three of a Perfect Pair, this well-rehearsed band had the chops to faithfully interpret the songs, while reinventing them with their own style and savvy. School of Rock alumnae Julie Slick on bass, and her brother Eric Slick on drums filled out the sound with poise and muscle. Eric never missed a beat, grinning and laughing as he traded licks with Adrian, while Julie stood serenely, calmly thumping her bass with a confidence, authority and ease that Tony Levin would have admired. All of this sheer enthusiasm created an unusual atmosphere of playfulness, not often seen among musicians of this calibre. The buoyant mood clearly made it an enjoyable night for players and audience alike, allowing Adrian the freedom to take off in different directions not always pursued in other bands, and he made the most of it- jamming, improvising, and putting on a virtuoso show. As always, he coaxed a jungleful of animal sounds out of his Parker guitar- seagulls, elephants, cats, rhinos, and yes, even a dinosaur.
One of many highlights of the show was a solo Lone Rhinoceros, the words lending empathy for a proud, endangered relic of a simpler time. This was followed (or was it preceded?) by a seemingly- spontaneous instrumental rendition of Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper, imbued with his own touch and still unmistakable from the first note.
But it wasn't just the effects, the solos, the volume, or the complexity of what they were playing- the Adrian Belew Power Trio are a force to be reckoned with because they actually listened to each other, played off each other and they had a steady groove going all night long! The space they generously gave to create, to urge each other on, to jam, take risks, and explore the songs and make them their own- that was truly unique, and powerful. It's something I'll never forget because it is both rare and genuine. We really saw a spectacular, yet very intimate show. Thanks again, guys- you SHRED! The Adrian Belew Power Trio are in New York and next week, on their way to Japan as the tour continues, but stay tuned to this space for when they return to the area. You'll hear it here FIRST! In the meantime, check out the pics, news and a great bio video called "Life in a Nutshell" at adrianbelew.net (also on the infamous 1600 links page, with other planned domestic dates coming up and Side Four release info SOON!)
Well, after that earful, I had to rally to get psyched for Friday night: An Evening with the Richard Thompson Band at the 9:30 Club. As usual, the ubiquitous Simon Tassano, Thompson's co-producer on Sweet Warrior, his latest release, was on hand to masterfully handle the sound chores for the band. Whatever the problems their monitors might have had, it was unnoticed by the thousand or so fans who packed in on that steamy evening, and heard a band playing in good form, despite losing bassist Danny Thompson for an unexpected hiatus.
And let me just say a couple of words about Chris Richards' indelicate review of the show for the Washington Post: Apparently, you were at a different concert than the one I saw. Your tasteless, humorless, tone-deaf insults show a lack of appreciation and obnoxious disrespect for players that have spent their lives mastering their instruments. So stick to typing up reviews for the Journey/Styx/Foreigner arena shows or maybe the next Madonna tour, asshole. The subtlety of this show was clearly wasted on an ignorant neanderthal like you. Next time, stay home.
Thompson was accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Pete Zorn, Michael Jerome on drums, and Taras Prodaniuk filling in capably on bass. The band played a solid two hours + change set, featuring much of the new record. Singer- guitarist Thompson, ever the storyteller and glib stand-up comic worked the crowd with jokes and asides between songs. Zorn, always a crowd pleaser, did yeoman's duty on guitar, saxes, flute and vocals (and maybe even some mandolin?) and is as good an accompanist as Thompson has ever had in his band, which is saying quite a lot. Michael Jerome is a solid addition, playing atmospherically and then hard, fast and solid as the particular piece demanded. On this particular night, Thompson's anti-war paeans stood out, including an old favorite, Al Bowlly's in Heaven (And I'm In Limbo Now) about a WW II vet that was crippled in the war and reduced to being homeless for his loyal service, and the brand new Dad's Gonna Kill Me, a rocking lament by a soldier on the mission in Baghdad that doesn't expect to ever see home again. Unfortunately, these songs seem to become more and more timely with every new headline.
And classics such as Wall of Death, Gypsy Love Songs, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, Read About Love and I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight sounded fresher than they have in years, perhaps because Thompson played with unusual aggressiveness and fire for much of the show, occasionally breaking up the frenetic pace with a slower tune like I Still Dream, as he almost crooned with his eyes closed, swaying behind the mike. But those moments were more the exception than the rule, as the quartet blazed with a gritty resolve and pulled out a few old chestnuts that hadn't been heard in years, prompting him to remark as he introduced one song "I don't even remember which album this was on." Yeah, there were a lot of solos-good ones, too- which is what you'd expect from a band playing with a last minute substitute on bass. Because maybe he wasn't quite as familiar with the material as the guy Thompson's been playing with for about the last 15 years. If you'd been paying attention, Chris, you'd have noticed that the only wanker there was you.
Note: If you visit www.richardthompson-music.com, you can hear the show in it's entirety as it was streamed on National Public Radio. So judge for yourself. He's just played Bonnaroo and the band is touring the country now (tour dates are also posted there), so once again, try to catch this talented band next time through town- Richard Thompson is typically in the area a couple of times a year, and whether with his band or solo, outdoors or in, he doesn't disappoint.
Finally, on a bittersweet note, Saturday night local music fans were treated to a triple threat show at Chief Ike's as Colonel Klink, Los Hermanos Rodriguez, and The Originators took the stage for a music- packed free show. First, the trio Col. Klink provided some tasty surf guitar in their farewell performance, dishing out some deadpan humor and hot licks that made me wish they could have stuck together a little longer. Hoss, whether an original or a cover (smacking of classic surf rock hooks) was particularly good. The Hermanos, also bidding farewell to the DC area as their drummer leaves for Albania, would follow them almost immediately, playing a punkier, rowdy set that was uptempo and fun. The crowd got behind them, and danced and sang along with Odd Boy and other LHR favorites. They too, shall be missed.
Finally, the Originators launched into their high-octane original set. Boasting two bassists, dueling drummers, a keytarist and new guitarist (belated happy birthday, Robert!), Jessica was unfortunately drowned out in many instances by the limited sound quality that the venue provided. Still, their energy is infectious, and the group is beginning to develop a tighter sound that will be interesting to see as they evolve and progress. Stick around and see what happens, we'll be there to let you know when they get back on the road for a few more shows. And look for them next at Nanny O'Brien's, 3319 Connecticut Ave., NW, on June 30- get out and show your support! And if you miss that, there's the benefit for Miriam's Kitchen, Fri. July 13th at Club Asylum, 2471 18th Street, NW, in the heart of Adams Morgan, @ 9:00 pm! For a mere $7, your ears will be treated to the sounds of the Originators, the Omega Band and Chief Joseph- all for a worthy cause.
So be there- aloha.
Well, that was my "Lost Weekend."
I better rest up some before the next one. Sunday we were back at the studio working on some new 1600 shows for you. More surprises are on the way, so keep tuned in- and if we catch you watching American Idol in the meantime there will be hell to pay!