It’s been a good week…

And it’s about to get even better!!! Is that possible?!? It is if you are me and have tickets to go see The Devil Makes Three (one of my three to five favorite bands in case you don’t know that) in Santa Cruz tomorrow, April 6th. That’s like a hometown show and it’s bound to be rowdy. Plus I have a major crush on all three of them. Much like I can never identify my favorite band, I can’t really say which of the members of TDM3 is my favorite.

Last night was not as rowdy as I expected, but it was a lot of fun! Low Cut Connie has never disappointed me, even the time that I saw them open a festival, playing the first slot of the day to an almost empty field. Adam is always fully engaged and working the crowd to get them engaged as well. Their songs are fun and they definitely appear to be enjoying themselves in the stage. I love the addition of the back-up singer to the line-up!

Wednesday night had a surprisingly rowdy crowd for three women who play quiet songs in a fairly quiet manner. I’m With Her, comprised of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan, was amazing. These three women play together as if they’ve been doing it their entire lives. There were more (stringed) instruments on stage for three people than I think I have ever seen before and they played every one of them.

OMG! OMG! OMG! It’s TDM3 tonight

and I haven’t even started to pack my overnight bag.  I guess it’s time since my chariot will arrive in approximately 2 hours.

What to wear? It’s gonna get hot and sweaty most likely, but it’s cold and rainy outside and it’s a long drive. What necessities besides my ear protection and my business cards? Maybe I’ll tuck a Pliny or two away for the hotel room. And then of course there are the questions about the show tonight…

Will TDM3 have a drummer again? Answer: I hope not! IMO, he doesn’t add anything.

Will Spencer Swain come out and play fiddle for us?  Answer: I sure hope so.

Will MorganEve Swain join TDM3 on-stage?  Answer: Probably not, but I’d love to see her join her brother on-stage with her strings. And in looking her up just now, I discovered that she put out an album in November under the band name, The Huntress and Holder of Hands. I’ll need to check that out.

Okay, I really gotta go get ready.

UPDATE: The Devil Makes Three is no longer a three-piece band. The addition of the drummer appears to be permanent and while I don’t necessarily feel like he is/was necessary, I still thoroughly enjoy the show. Boy do I enjoy the show… jumping up and down as they’re closing out the night with ‘Do Wrong Right’. They really never disappoint and I will continue to go see them every chance that I have! I’m not sure that I’ve ever truly regretted going to a show, but making the road trip to see TDM3 at Red Rocks with OCMS was still to this day one of the best decisions that I ever made.

The fiddle player also seems like a permanent addition, playing on most songs. The fiddler is not Spencer Swain. I could not understand the name when he was introduced, but I’m sure it’s not Spencer Swain and that made me a tiny bit sad (though I’m not sad about the fiddle addition). Regardless of line-up changes, the show was excellent. The crowd-surfing and mosh-pit never extended to where I was dancing and they played pretty much all of my favorites. My only complaint would be that I wanted more; I always want more! But there was lots of dancing and singing and drinking and carousing and I’m tired today, so I’ll be taking today off for a little recuperation which will increase the odds of attending The Dustbowl Revival tomorrow evening at the Starline Social Club. Thanks for joining in the fun if you were there and if not, I’d really make a point of looking for live dates in your town. If you happen to be in the Tahoe area, you should definitely check out Winter Wondergrass, possibly one of the last chances to ever see Elephant Revival.

 

 

 

 

Low Cut Connie Tonight (4/4) at the Chapel – Don’t Miss This Show

I’m really not sure how we found out about Low Cut Connie. Maybe Teri would remember? All I know is that we knew about Low Cut Connie before they made President Obama’s playlist. And they are a force to be reckoned with…

Adam often seems to be channeling Jerry Lee Lewis; sometimes he stands on the piano bench while he’s playing, sometimes he stands on the piano while he sings. This is rock n roll!

What more can I say… come out and see for yourself!

Steve Winwood

No, as far as I know he’s not currently touring (though I just looked and he will be touring Europe this summer)…

Yesterday while riding the bus to work, I was streaming WXPN (which is an amazing radio station that I support because it covers the Philly music scene). They were playing a bunch of Steve Winwood songs because yesterday was the anniversary of the day that Steve Winwood left The Spencer Davis Group and formed Traffic. Listening to the Steve Winwood songs that spanned his career, starting with The Spencer Davis Group and ended with his solo career, I remembered going to see Little Stevie Winwood at the Mann Music Center back in the day.  I can’t remember exactly when I went to this show or exactly with whom; I know it was during my college days, when I used to go to shows in Philly with Mickey and Susan and their friends. Mickey and Susan and I worked together at the Coventry Ice Cream Parlor and Mickey had great taste in music (probably still has great taste in music). I know Mickey was at this show; I think Susan was. I have no idea if anyone else was.

Other shows seen with Mickey included Peter Gabriel (which I still think was *the* best show that I have ever seen in my life) and David Bowie (which may have been the worst show that I have ever seen in my life). To be fair, I’m sure David Bowie was wonderful, but he was promoting an album that I still think is one of his worst and the show went so late that we missed the last train from Philly to Paoli and had to take a cab. (I think we took a cab, I honestly can’t remember anything other than missing our train and being ‘stuck’ in Philly at Vet Stadium.) On the upside, The Hooters and Squeeze opened for David Bowie and I am fairly certain that I thoroughly enjoyed both of their performances as I only remember being disappointed with David Bowie.

Back to Steve Winwood, it’s weird how you have those memories that you can actually see. When I hear Steve Winwood (especially ‘Higher Love’), I can immediately see a snapshot of three of us standing and dancing and singing along. I’m not even sure if it’s a real memory, but it’s there every time. Though my memory is not what it should be, I do still remember that Steve Winwood played his hits ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ and ‘The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys’. Though I can’t remember it, I’m like to believe that he played ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ as well. Listening to this on the radio yesterday, I was pretty sure that I had found my way home. Steve Winwood is proof that I found it early on, but I didn’t recognize it for what it is/was until more recently.

PSA: If you don’t know the Blind Faith album (Steve Winwood’s super-group after Traffic, take my advice and find it/listen to it. I don’t think there’s a bad song on it.

Reverend Hylton, Odessa and Gill Landry, a review of sorts

In part I’m writing this blog post because I want to talk about Reverend Hylton. Reverend Justin Hylton hails from Atlanta, Georgia though he now lives in his van while traveling the country.  He tours 3 weeks and then spends a week visiting and reacquainting with friends. Last night, he sang a song ‘Reba’ and after the show when I was buying his CD, he told me that he had just spent a week visiting Reba after not seeing her in a number of years. It sounded so ideal and appealed to the the romantic in me (that part that I try to keep tamped down at all costs…).

He had driven to SF from San Diego and had spent some time in Joshua Tree and Mojave. The desert parks are some of my favorites and these particular parks get high marks, especially at this time of the year. It made me more than a little envious when he talked about his current lifestyle.

But that’s not entirely why I wanted to write about him. It was about his singing voice. His voice drew me in. It was warm and deep and comforting. I really liked everything about him. I bought his CD and started to listen to it this morning and was taken back to the Utah and listening to him last night and what an enjoyable surprise he was, both as a performer and as a person. He overheard Rod and me talking about the Low Cut Connie show coming up this week at the Chapel and joined in to remark on how much he liked them and asked where and when they were playing. (I gave him my card, so perhaps he will see this post.) It would seem that maybe this is one of his vacation weeks, so I am hoping to see him at The Chapel along with the rest of you. You won’t want to miss Low Cut Connie. Adam and his crew put on a great, high energy show!

After Justin finished playing (and I didn’t want him to finish), Odessa took the stage.  About 4 – 6 songs into her performance, Rod leaned forward and said ‘You are hating every minute of this, aren’t you?’.  And I was! And I was shocked that he knew because I was still trying to figure out why I didn’t like her!  I wanted to like her; I really wanted to like her! When I questioned how he knew (because I am certain that I have a great poker face and also because Rod was behind me so how could he see my face, and also because her entire family was sitting right in front of me and so I was semi- on my best behavior which really is the best that it gets so I was on my best behavior), Rod pointed out that she is very similar to Aoife O’Donovan. Bam!  Another woman performer who I want to like, but don’t.  And he’s right, there is a real similarity between Aoife and Odessa and it didn’t work for me.  I totally recognize that it works for other people and I will still recommend both of these women, but they are not my jam when they perform individually!

But then Gill Landry took the stage and Odessa joined him with her fiddle and her vocals and I LOVED her. And I love Aoife when she plays with the Sara(h)’s which is why I have had my tickets for I’m With Her on Tuesday, April 4th for months now. As expected, I also loved Gill Landry the way that I always do. His songs, his lyrics, his stories and the way I sometimes can’t tell if he’s playing to entertain us or to entertain himself or a little of both — all of these things are how I feel every time that I see him. I may have originally started to see him because of his part in Old Crow Medicine Show, but I continue to see him because he is an amazing performer who writes and sings songs that expose all of his vulnerabilities is the most beautiful way. He’s a pretty darned good guitar player too.

Gill Landry Tonight (3/31) at Hotel Utah

I have to admit that I have no idea what to expect from Gill Landry when I go to see him, but I have never been dissatisfied with one of his shows and so I continue to go, especially when he’s playing at Hotel Utah cause I love that place and it’s not just because of the cheese fries and beer selection.

I know that part of the reason I go to see Gill Landry is because whenever I read what he writes about his music and his musical journey, I am so totally intrigued that I can’t resist going to see him. Today is a case in point; I talked about going to this show. It’s listed on the blog, but it never made it to my calendar.  That said, there’s also nothing else on my calendar tonight though that’s pretty normal for a Saturday night; I prefer to stay home on the weekends and hang with Spike. I specifically bought tickets for the matinee performance of Custom Made Theatre‘s Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies today, so I guess I was always leaving my evening open for Gill. Then this morning, I went to the Utah’s website to check the showtime and I got wrapped up in reading Gill Landry’ write-up.

Love and hate need each other for either to have meaning and I feel like it’s the same way with people. I’d like to believe love always wins coming down the stretch—it just might not be the way you envisioned it. In my experience love often isn’t what I expected and wouldn’t be half as good if it was. That basically is what I wrote this album about.

That’s the first paragraph. I read it and I was like… yeah, I’m going to this show.

So, maybe I’ll see you there.

Community

I was recently telling someone about how I used to go to shows by myself all the time when I first embarked on my ’52 in 52′ challenge (which it turned out was not actually a challenge). This is no longer the case because I’ve made so many friends at shows who I then see at the next show, and also because I convince people to go to shows with me.

I think the last show that I attended by myself was Cigarettes After Sex in September. I was certain that tonight’s show, Kristin Hersh with a Grant-Lee Phillips, was going to be a solo venture for me. English Steve had been planning to join me (to fulfill his NYE resolution of seeing more live music [with JennMarks] which has translated to one show per month) but then I introduced him to KOLARS and he decided to make last night his March show).

So I’m at the Chapel waiting for the show to start and I feel a tap on my shoulder and there is Uyen, who I met while waiting in line to buy Jeff Tweedy tickets at the Fillmore on a Sunday morning. (We were the line!) We cemented our friendship when we ran into each other again at an Aimee Mann (or the Both) show at GAMH and eventually figured out that/where we’d met before.

I’m grateful to the community that I’ve built since returning to SF. Thanks all for being a part of it and it was good to see you tonight, Uyen!!!

Kristin Hersh at the Chapel tonight (3/29) with Grant-Lee Phillips

I don’t know what to say about Kristin Hersh (formerly of Throwing Muses). There is something about her that just breaks me (but in a good way). Tonight she sort of hit the nail on the head when she explained that Grant-Lee’s songs were like a happy balloon and she wasn’t planning to pop it, but our happiness balloon would deflate over the course of the evening after she took the stage. Though I disagree, I understand. In my case, my happiness balloon started to inflate the moment she took the stage.

I have seen her perform a handful of times now, though I haven’t seen her since 2015. Usually her performances have involved her reading as well as singing. She has a way with words and when she reads or sings her words to me, I feel vulnerable but at the same time, I feel open to anything. I can’t explain it, but her shows are always cathartic for me, especially since reading Rat Girl, her memoir, which I highly recommend. (And whoever has my copy of Rat Girl really ought to return it to me!)

Grant-Lee Phillips is best known (by me) for his role on The Gilmore Girls as the town troubadour. I am by no means dissing him because I’ve enjoyed him when I’ve seen him in the past (and I enjoyed him again tonight), but I wouldn’t be going to this show if Kristin Hersh weren’t performing. So there’s that.

It’s early. I have a little bit of a headache (which seems unfair since I only had one beer last night). I’m not feeling particularly witty or wordy and I need to get ready to go *to* work (blech, I miss my work at home days on weeks like this) so I’ll let this stand as is.  Maybe you’ll see Kristin Hersh tonight.  And maybe I’ll see you….

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