October 22, 2008

Briefly: Panic Halloween on iClips

From 1997 – 2000 and in 2002 jam veterans Widespread Panic delivered blistering cover-laden Halloween shows in the city of New Orleans. The group finally returns for another Halloween show

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HT Interview: Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit

While it can be tricky at times to gauge a crowd’s reaction to a band they are likely seeing for the first time, the litmus test is always the post-show merchandise table –that and loud screaming of course. This past weekend, the Selkirk, Scotland by way of Glasgow band, Frightened Rabbit, dropped by the Music Hall of Williamsburg as part of the U.S. leg of a three-month world tour, which culminates in a supporting role for Death Cab for Cutie spanning the whole of Europe throughout the month of November.

[Photo by Dave Gourley]

Well, Frightened Rabbit scored pretty high on the merch test, because after the show, the front room was packed wall-to-wall with wide-eyed pleased patrons grabbing up wares and already yearning for the band’s second headlining show in the Big Apple in January at the Bowery Ballroom.

The band continues to attract to fans and impress old ones on the heels of their April 2008 studio release and the subsequent October 2008 acoustic live release of The Midnight Organ Fight (the live acoustic version of Fight is titled Liver! Lung! Fr!) – a record with an appeal that never stops growing. Three of the four members of the Frightened Rabbit crew, founder, guitarist, and lead singer Scott Hutchinson, drummer and younger sibling Grant Hutchinson, and keyboard player and multi-instrumentalist Andy Monaghan were kind enough to chat with us before their show Saturday night over a Red Stripe.

Ryan Dembinsky: So, let’s start with the live album, Liver! Lung! Fr!. What made you decide to record an all acoustic version of Midnight Organ Fight in its entirety; given that the live shows are typically pretty high energy?

Scott Hutchinson: Well, part of it was the label’s idea, but we wanted to do something that even people who had come to the shows before hadn’t necessarily heard and make it a one off thing; strip the songs back and make it a big night in Glasgow. One of the main reasons we did it is we wanted to put out something for people to remember in Glasgow. Once you tour for so long, you get sick of playing the songs in that same context, so it was nice to refresh them again in our minds and strip the songs back.

READ ON for more of Rupert’s interview with Frightened Rabbit…

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Umphrey’s McGee Conquers The Northeast

As the members of Chicago-based sextet Umphrey’s McGee left the stage on Saturday night at the Electric Factory they all had looks on bliss and satisfaction on their faces. I can’t really blame them, as they had just finished an exceptional run of nine outrageous shows in ten days throughout the northeast. The concerts I saw displayed the best of their improvisational skills, setlist debauchery and a light show that led many jaws to drop to the floor night after night. Excuse the fluffery, but these guys deserve it.

[All Photos by Adam Kaufman]

First up for the UM boys was a stop at Northern Lights which is located in a strip mall in Clifton Park, NY halfway between Albany and Saratoga Springs. From there, the guys headed to Higher Ground in Burlington for a two night stand at what’s turned into their home away from home in New England. I caught up with the tour last Monday at the Grand Ballroom in New York City where they headlined MoogFest 2008.

While I had enjoyed the last few Umphrey’s shows I saw, I felt many of the jams were aimless and I wasn’t as excited for this run as I had been to see them in the past. That feeling quickly faded soon after the band took the stage at the gorgeous room located on top of the Hammerstein Ballroom. Guitarist Jake Cinninger rocked the Moog Guitar all night sporting a shit-eating grin. The members of the band each had a chance to show off their Moog gear with Joel Cummins’ Moog Synth solo in Push The Pig standing out as a highlight. READ ON for more of Scotty’s review of UM’s NE jaunt…

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Alejandro Escovedo Releasing Live EP

Known for his enigmatic and engaging live shows, Texas rocker Alejandro Escovedo will release a live EP LIVE ANIMAL on November 11, 2008, featuring a selection of stellar tracks from

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The Low Anthem: Oh My God, Charlie Darwin

This album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, is beautiful. The new long-play offering from Providence, RI based trio The Low Anthem explores changing times, places, love, and loss over the course of its 42 minutes.

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