And just like that… free tickets to Cat Power and The National tomorrow (9/25)

UPDATE: Turns out the tickets were actually for tonight with Big Thief as opener. It was too much to try to get the tickets and get to the venue so no The National for me this time around…

So, I had a heavy music week last week (and the week before in Nashville). It was Bettye LaVette and then The Brothers Comatose and then Shovels & Rope at the Fillmore (and too much touching and too much singing, the bad kind of singing — singing over the band, not with the band) and then the Sonoma Harvest Music Festival all day on Saturday with so much good music/good feelings starting with Royal Jelly Jive and then The Suffers (who were a new one and AH-mazing) and then Shovels & Rope with the right kind of singing (and touching), and then Lake Street Dive (which compensated for choosing The Brothers Comatose over my pre-existing Lake Street Dive tickets) and then The Avett Brothers (who are always just good for my soul)!

Those are just a couple of the highlights from last week.

I said I wasn’t going to go see any music this week. Well, I said I might try to go see a show on Friday night if Mah Jongg doesn’t go too late, but I wasn’t planning to go to any shows this week. In fact, the only night I had plans beside Mahjing on Friday was taking my friend, Michelle, out to dinner on Tuesday night. I’ve owed her this dinner for quite some time now… pretty much since January, I think but let’s not split hairs. I’m finally making good.

Then I get this text (from Michelle): If I can snag free tickets to The National tomorrow, want to go to that instead? Followed 5 minutes later with: Which I got…

So I’m going to see The National who I like and I always list, but have never seen and Cat Power who I sort of had the chance to see in Ireland, but it was too much logistically if I remember correctly and so I passed on it and haven’t really had the chance since. So there it is! Greek Theatre, here I come (well… tomorrow). Thanks Michelle! I’m liking our friendship better and better all the time! Oh, and I promise I’ll pay for dinner!

KOLARS and Calliope Musicals at Stubb’s Indoor

Wow. Just wow. What a great night.

I was tired. It was Sunday night and I haven’t been sleeping well so I wasn’t super stoked about a show with 8pm doors and 3 bands. I have a regular job and have to get up in the morning darn it. That’s how I afford this rock and roll lifestyle!

Well folks, that few hours of sleep I lost was worth it.

Pope Coke was on stage when we arrived. At first we thought one of the two female lead singers was the same woman from Calliope Musicals, just with a wig and interesting homemade star dress, but when they announced it was a bandmates birthday Calliope Musicals gal was there to pass out party favors. The drummer from KOLARS was there too dancing and singing along. This group is just so genuine. It feels so good.

Pope Coke at Stubb’s

Then Calliope Musicals took the stage. It’s very appropriate that Musicals are part of their name because they are all about the performance! All. About. It. Also, they are having a good time. It reminds me of the flaming lips only without the weird oily feeling you have after seeing one of their shows.

And finally KOLARS! They are such a great live band. Not only is the music something I want to listen to, they are fun to watch. Rob KOLARS and Lauren Brown we’re in a band called He’s my Sister She’s my Brother. Yeah, that name needed to go. Now they make a lot of sound for just two people.

Rob Kolar is a handsome dude with sparkly eyes that match the sequin eyes on his shoulders. He’s got a great voice, is a talented musician, everything you want in a rock star minus the over indulgent parts. When Jenn and I met him and Lauren at SXSW they were the nicest, most genuine, unpretentious people.

Lauren Brown is a badass and is likely the life of the party. From dancing on the side singing along to the opener to tap dancing and drumming her way through the show with crazy facial expressions, she really helps this band pop. I just love watching her and it is infectious. I couldn’t help but dance while watching her. I literally could not stand still and clogging lessons from my youth wanted to come out of my feet!

Check out all the videos on our new YouTube channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNvGgIjtDVWCz9cetFAd64A

The Brothers Comatose at Slim’s (Wed, 9/19)

UPDATE:  I’m going to this show! I don’t know what I was thinking!!!! Anyone need a ticket to see Lake Street Dive tonight?

What can I say? This is my favorite local band! No second guessing that! Not a doubt in my mind!  I’ve gone so far as to say they are one of my top five favorite bands at this time. Actually, that was back in 2013 but it still holds true today. There’s a funny story in there about when I first really met Ben and Alex at an OCMS show at The Warfield,.. but I digress.

From the posts that I’m reading about tomorrow night’s show, this will be the last time for awhile that The Brothers Comatose perform as a band. I don’t have any skinny on what that means. Believe me, I wish that I did. I’m super bummed not to be able to go to this show, even though I know I’m going to have a great time at Lake Street Dive at the Fillmore (a band, I might add, that Ben turned me onto one night at Amnesia while we discussed how much I loved Lucia Turino of TDM3 and women who play upright bass and bands with women who play upright bass). I saw Lake Street Dive a couple nights later at Slim’s and continue to see them pretty much any chance that I get. But again, I digress.

The Brothers Comatose are one of the most fun bands that I’ve gone to see and I think they are all really talented musicians. I still remember the first time that Teri and I saw The Brothers Comatose at a festival in Big Sur in 2011. They were amazing! Phil was not playing with them that evening, though there was a fiddler. I can’t remember if Ryan was the mandolin player and I can’t find my pictures. There were chopsticks and audience participation and a tambourine shoe and a really drunk girl who kept walking back and forth on this bench taking pictures of the band. It was so much fun and I’ve been going to see these guys ever since. I’ve gone to Petaluma to see them; I’ve gone to Tahoe to see them. They are a large part of the reason that I started going to the Red Wing Roots festival in VA. I’ve seen them in NYC. I tried to see them in DC, but my flight was unreasonably delayed. Friends went though. I’ve sent people in Austin to go see them and tried to get people in Fort Collins and Philly to see them. I LOVE THEM! The last show my car, Ellie, ever attended was The Brothers Comatose in Petaluma. They once dedicated ‘The Van Song’ to me at the Red Wing Roots festival. I think they also played a Louvin Brothers song for me at one of KC Turner’s house concerts. They’re my favorites. Also, if it isn’t clear, they are all just really nice guys. I have enjoyed every interaction that I’ve ever had with them. They’re genuine! They’re the real deal IMO!

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I really can’t emphasize enough that you should do yourself a favor and go to this show. It’s bound to be fun. It’s part of Slim’s 30th Anniversary shows. I’m sure they will play old favorites and I have no doubt that they will play ‘The Scout’ which is a little bit my theme this year. Well that and Nathaniel Rateliff’s ‘I Need Never Get Old’. I’m working on a soundtrack for my birthday party since I couldn’t convince a certain band to play for me…

,So go! A good time will be had by all (including me, but not at Slim’s). I’ll try to content myself with the fact that it looks like Ben and Alex might just keep playing together on occasion and that Ben seems to be doing a fair amount of solo stuff these days.

 

 

Bettye LaVette at The Chapel tonight (9/18) — Just Do It!

I was there last night and she was great. She sounded awesome! She was entertaining AF! She looks amazing! What can I say? This show tonight should be sold out and it’s not. Make it so!

This show is Bettye doing a sampling of music that she performed over the years. Music that she was forced to learn in order to get gigs and all the other stuff as well. I’ll let her tell you the story tonight.

Highlights included ‘My Man – He’s a Lovin’ Man’, ‘Someone Else is Steppin’ In’ and her version of Bob Dylan’s ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’. I really wish I had seen her touring for that Bob Dylan album based on last night’s experience.

You really should go tonight! She’s 72; who knows how much longer she’ll be doing this…

Americanafest Summary

TLDR: I loved Americanafest (probably not a surprise!) and I loved Nashville.

So, today is the end of Americanafest and I’m leaving Nashville. I’m sitting in the airport, enjoying a local IPA and pretending that I didn’t catch a cold on this trip. If you want to know what pretending looks like, it’s drinking a beer instead of eating cough drops. I’ll save the cough drops for the flight.

Overall assessment of Americanafest = success. I would definitely come back again though it probably won’t be next year as I’m hoping to go watch the bears in Alaska, but 2020… that’s a possibility!

So, this morning my partner in crime left me to head back to PA. It was sad and I already miss her. I spent the morning getting myself ready so that I could head over to JP Harris’ Sunday Morning Coming Down party in East Nashville and then just head straight to the airport once I collected my bag.

Of course I met some cool people before the music started and also got to have a little brisket from the food truck. (It’d be tough to live in Nashville if you are a vegetarian that likes to go out to eat and likes to eat vegetables.) One of the cool people I met was a writer for No Depression. I’d read his article about Americanafest before I even arrived.

1:00 rolled around and first to take the stage was Kristina Murray. Unknown to me and thoroughly enjoyable.

Next up (and final show of Americanafest for me) were The Watson Twins. I adore these ladies. Their songs. Their voices. Their outfits. Their moves. The fact that they are friends with JP Harris. The fact that they are super duper nice. I’m looking forward to their new album coming out on October 12th. I think Leigh Watson told me that they would be in SF in early 2019 and I look forward to their next visit.

After their set, I paid for my most expensive Lyft ride ever (I’m assuming this had something to do with the Titans game though it wasn’t over yet and it wasn’t ‘decided’ until the last minute when the Titans scored 3 points to take the lead which literally happened as we drove past the stadium. P.S. This is more football then you will ever hear from me again; I didn’t even know there was a NFL team named the Texans til today.). It was also the worst ride I had in Nashville. One of two drivers all week that I rated 3 so I wouldn’t be matched with them again. We took a lot of Lyfts (judging by my email inbox)!

Now I’m at the airport and I’m trying to remember all the amazing music and artists that I haven’t discussed. For example, Darrin Bradbury going rogue (i.e. unplugged due to feedback issues) at the Basement East was so so amazing! Forgive the picture quality; he was moving around quite a bit and I’m short. The set was short and sweet, but I couldn’t really have asked for more. (You all know that’s not true and I would have asked for one more song, like Life is Hard, but it was very satisfying.)

Then there was finally seeing Mary Gauthier after so many times of not seeing her. I loved that leftist lesbian (her description, not mine) and can’t wait to see a full show!

Then there was Steve Poltz. He is always so entertaining and you *never* see the same show twice. Not even close to the same show! He was AH-mazing and he brought his friend, Lisa Saunders up on stage. She co-wrote a song with him and they sang that for us, along with their friend Brown Sugar and that was awesome!

There was Analog at the Hutton Hotel which was such a great respite from the heat and the crowds. A great line-up including new favorites, Oliver Hazard from OH (side note: no one in the band is named Oliver), followed by The Shook Twins, Lindsay Lou, The Watson Twins, and lastly River Whyless.

For those of you who follow along on Instagram, you may have noted that I got to see Jackie Greene and it was the Jackie Greene that I love. Though the feedback was AWFUL during the first two songs (especially sad because the second song was ‘Gone Wanderin”, a personal favorite), things turned around with song #3 and the rest of the performance was great. He has an amazing new band, including a fabulous female percussionist (whose name escapes me) and an awesome keyboardist, Shannon Sanders, who was also super nice. I walked away with a signed set list and Shannon’s phone number (to try to get a non-claustrophobic spot at their 11:30 pm spot at Mercy Lounge. It didn’t work out that way, but just getting his number and hearing that the show was crazy in a good way was enough for me.)

Plus I found another new radio station to support (like I needed another one) so that I can support my new friends, WMOT roots radio with Jesse and Whit. I gave a shout-out to them in the other blog as well. They curated some fine music in a fine location. We did go to The Local every day that we were in Nashville except for our two travel days.

Some new performers for me this week included Shemekia Copeland who was really impressive; Drivin N Cryin who seemed like they were just phoning it in; and Jim White who was an excellent storyteller as well as a great musician, plus he makes cool art. All the stuff on the wall was his art and was for sale, but there were no small pieces.

I also caught a little of Tommy Emmanuel and The Bottle Rockets, but in both cases we were on the move to the next location.

Overall, I give Americanafest two enthusiastic thumbs up and I’d extend that to Nashville as well. If you are looking for a cute studio Air BnB in Nashville, I suggest ours. It was great! We really liked our hosts and we had a cat friend, Slash, though he wasn’t really our friend until today.

Last but not least, I’ve checked off one more of our 50 states. I think it may be time to do an inventory of which I still need to visit, so I can focus. In the meantime, I believe Alaska is up next in the all 50 states challenge.

Lucius @ the Paramount

Austin is a special place to Lucius and this was a special night for them. Did you know they were college roomies? Apparently their other roommate lives in Austin. The show had the feeling of a house concert but in a church cathedral. The Paramount Theater made for a beautiful setting. The Paramount is one of those beautiful old theaters that just celebrated it’s centennial in 2015. The sound was perfect.

Lucius is a band with two female lead singers. They could be sisters, the way their voices harmonize together, but they are not. They could be twins but they just dress like they are. Lately they have been touring with Roger Waters but I’ve seen them backup Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) as well. All of that time on the road has made them really great performers. While their music is slow and “pretty”, they still offer a performance. They wear beautiful costumes, face each other in almost a theather-in-the round style and clap and stomp in unison. It is so perfectly orchestrated and not boring at all. It’s mesmerizing.

Their opener unfortunately was not mesmerizing. It was boring. Cornelia Murr sang a half-hour of slow, girl-wailing tunes with a keyboard pumping out rhythmic waves of slow techno. Did I mention slow? Her voice wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t fun or interesting. Most of the audience was out in the foyer talking and having a drink. I didn’t blame them.

St. Paul & the Broken Bones @ Waterloo Records

St. Paul & the Broken Bones are from Alabama. They are not bluegrass or country. There is no banjo in the band. The lead singer looks like a nerdy white guy, but they make some of the most groovy, swoony soul music you can imagine. I’ve seen this band a few times before, the first at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass visiting Jenn in San Francisco and they made an impression. While this was a Waterloo Records in-store show, on a tiny stage with a limited sound system, they still are a great sounding band who brings it when they take the stage, any stage.

In the video, Paul Janeway, the lead vocalist decides to climb up and stand on the small stage railing. I am pretty sure if John, the record store owner, were there, he would have had a stroke but Paul got away with it “without any broken bones” (said the manager on duty after the show). It was intimate, fun, and soulful and I am so grateful to see them in this way but if you have a chance, go see this band on the big stage where Paul and the Broken Bones are not limited by a tiny stage and shaky railing, where the leisure suits and fancy shoes channel James Brown and something completely beautiful and unexpected from Alabama white boys.

More from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert:

Americanafest — Day 3 Recap (with a nod to Day 2)

So, since we are here for more than just music, we started out with a visit to the Music Walk of Fame. Again, an awesome Lyft ride to our destination as Jeff was a fount of knowledge and gave us some great information, including the parting comment of ‘This is it; the Walk of Fame. So the question really is, what are you going to do now?’ It took less than 5 minutes to walk that walk. 

We then proceeded to spend 15 minutes walking to a place that was only a block from where we were.  Nashville is a maze (definitely not a grid) and google maps has not been kind to us here. This was particularly cruel since the SF weather that I brought with me has dissipated and we are now facing 91 degree days with humidity.

After walking the walk, we walked right into Betty Boots with the hopes of finding some boots made for walking, but sadly (or luckily) they did not have our size in the boots we selected and so we headed on to lunch at The Southern on a recommendation from our friend at Betty Boots (and to be clear, everyone in Nashville is our friend). Let’s talk about our new friends Whit and Jesse from WMOT, Nashville’s Roots Radio (89.5) because that’s our next destination.

We hopped into another Lyft after lunch and headed to The Local for more music sponsored by WMOT, NPR and WorldCafe.  Ann Powers (NPR) was there (this is exciting for me!) along with our new friends from WMOT.  We spent a few minutes chatting with our new friends from Spire. They had a mobile recording studio set up outside of The Local and they also give great food recommendations. They gave us a ‘tour’ of their mobile recording studio and of their product (a portable wireless mobile recorder) which I wanted even though I don’t make music. (Apparently they are also used for podcasts and they’re heading to Austin so be on the lookout for them Andee.)

Timing is everything and we walked into The Local right before Paul Cauthen took the stage.  As Rod likes to tell me… ‘you like him’ and I do! He was great!

After Paul Cauthen, Sam Morrow took the stage. He was new to me (though he is from LA) and I really enjoyed him and his band.  Side note: His guitarist had the prettiest eyes that I think I’ve ever seen and I am a sucker for pretty eyes.

We sat outside for Earls of Leicester so we could hear a little and not see at all. This was fine as we spent most of that time trying to make a decision about later in the day. I wanted to crowdsource the decision and Andrea suggested our friend, Brian. My response — if he were here but I don’t want to start texting with him about all our choices. Seconds later, Brian (who we had not seen in the little venue at all) approaches the table! And so we start the crowdsourcing. Brian is a SF show buddy who has been to Americanafest and knows the venues (and ALL the music, I swear). Though we did not come to final decisions, we did decide to stay for Whitehorse (on the recommendation of Whit) and also for Alejandro Escovedo as I’ve never seen him live and EVERYONE said that I needed to.

Good thing we did because after the show, Dennis, the bass player from Italy, greeted me with kisses on both my cheeks. He was lovely and actually followed me out of the bar to introduce himself again. It was enough to almost make me throw out the plan that I had developed for the evening and instead head to 12th and Porter where Alejandro and his band were closing out the evening. I’ve always wanted to live in Italy!

But enough about my future relocation and before I forget, we really liked Whitehorse as well. They did a great cover of ‘Nadine’.

Though 12th and Porter wouldn’t have been a bad choice (as it would have been another chance to see Nicki Bluhm and also for me to see Will Hoge who I’m also told I need to see), we went with the originally developed plan of heading to East Nashville to check out a new venue and some new musicians. While listening to Alejandro, my ‘neighbor’ told me that he was heading to The Basement East to see Kelsey Waldon. The Basement East had been our choice as well because after Kelsey, Liz Brasher was taking the stage and I wanted to check her out. My new friend just reinforced my decision, so off in a Lyft we went. Because I’m as cheap as the day is long, we did a shared ride and were shortly joined by Bobby who lives in Austin and was also here for Americanafest. He was so much fun and full of knowledge; we got to compare notes, give and get recommendations and because of the timing, we also got to see a beautiful sunset over the Nashville skyline with the bridges. Oh so pretty!

Arriving at the Basement East, we got in line and got in only to find that there was no food at the bar (I swear the app said there was) though there was a food truck (selling BBQ) in the parking lot. That said, we liked the venue.

Just as we stepped away from the bar and were about to make a food plan, I recognized Ron Pope from the CCR performance the evening before and couldn’t help myself. I told him how much we enjoyed his high energy performance and then we just started talking. Andrea excused herself to get a rice bowl from the place next door (which she loved in part because they kicked her down a cup of coffee on the house, so she was fully fueled for the evening). Ron Pope also told us that he was there to see Kelsey Waldon further reinforcing our choices.

As Kelsey took the stage, I spotted our new friends, Debbie and Angie — two high school friends from Latrobe PA who were ‘reuniting at Americanafest, sitting at a table near the stage.

Kelsey was more country-ish and more than enjoyable. I’d see her again.

Next up was Liz Brasher and OMG! She’s amazing! The energy!!!! She was great and her bass player was also an energetic moving force. I’m so glad that we made the decision that we made. I will definitely see her again. Also, did I mention that she’s so pretty!

Decision time again! Do we stay for Amanda Shires or do we leave and try to catch Hayes Carll at 3rd & Lindsley (which would be another new venue for us).  Andrea made the call and we stayed to see Amanda. Another awesome choice! Though the soundcheck was a bit long, she made it fun and funny and then she really rocked it. Boy did she! She was also really funny as she introduced her last song saying that her band was already supposed to be playing across town and so this would be the last song. ‘Everything starts late in Nashville. Welcome to the shit show!’ and I felt welcomed!

Originally the next act was supposed to be Lee Ann Womack & Friends, but it was changed (I assume thanks to Hurricane Florence) and instead John Paul White was set to perform.  We were tired and definitely tired of standing and I had just turned to Andrea to say that I was totally okay if we called it and headed home (which she was also about to say to me) when Debbie came up to tell us they were leaving and if we wanted their table… DID WE EVER!!! So once we were seated, we decided to stick around for John Paul White. I’ve never seen him with a band, so this was a different experience and he was definitely more lively than when it’s him solo, but it was still a bit too mellow for us. Though he was good, we probably only stayed for 4 – 5 songs and then it was heading home.

What a day! What a night!

Posting from Americanafest

I’m overwhelmed with Nashville! There’s so much music! Everyone is so nice! The weather has been really mild (though I think it’s gonna get HOT before this is over).

Yesterday after doing a walking tour of the city with an amazing tour guide, Bill DeMain, we had a delicious lunch at Etch and then strolled over to City Winery to pick up our wristbands. The walking tour was awesome; we saw some iconic spots like the Ryman (of course), Woolworth on 5th and Tootsie’s to name a few and got to hear some great history of Nashville and of various performers.

We had a very productive conversation with our Lyft driver, Justin, who helped us resolve our plans for the evening (way too many choices!). We had been torn between three venues with the idea of jumping to see Fantastic Negrito at a completely different venue as our final show. Justin helped ‘guide’ us to the idea that we wanted to have a local experience and even though the line-up at City Winery was amaze-balls (John Prine, I’m With Her, Jerry Douglas and Mandolin Orange), we decided to opt for The Local.

Before leaving for The Local, we attempted to buy groceries in our food desert neighborhood (unsuccessfully) and then prepared for our first evening of Americanafest. What time to arrive to a venue that has a capacity of 200?

We realized that there was already music happening at The Local for the WMOT party and so we headed there and walked in the door just in time for Nicki Bluhm to start her set. As usual, she was great; perhaps my favorite of the evening for many reasons. 

Next up was Mike Farris who I had never seen before. He was awesome and had one of the McCrary Sisters on stage. Really enjoyed his set, though it was very short due to sound check issues.

He was the final performer of the WMOT party and then the official Americanafest evening began with a line-up of The Brother Brothers (really nice guys), Dead Horses (I was a total fan-geek with Sarah while washing our hands post bathroom break, pre-performance), Jacob Thomas Jr (who had some great lyrics but needed to wash and/or cut his hair) and we ended the night with Caleb Caudle.

As I said, there were a lot of sound issues at The Local and so all of the performances were running late.  Sadly, we realized that we had to pick between Caleb Caudle and Fantastic Negrito and we decided to stay put rather than taking the chance of getting shut out the Cannery.  It was a good choice! During Caleb Caudle’s performance, I looked up to see Tanya and Michael from The War and Treaty. When Andrea turned to see if it really was them, Michael smiled and waved and Tanya blew her a kiss. OMG! I love Nashville!!!

I was sad to have JUST missed Paul Thorn (who I think many of you know that I love love love), but overall it was an excellent first day and we are getting ready to head out for Day #2.  I think we’re headed back to The Local.  The War and Treaty are performing today and that will be amazing; no doubt!!!

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