March 24, 2009

Briefly: New Orleans Jazz Fest Grids

The grids for this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival have just been posted at Neil Young and his band join Wynton Marsalis, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band,

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Review: ABB Night 11 – Beacon Soul Stew

The Allman Brothers Band keeps pushing — gentle nudges here, violent heaves there — and with still four nights left to go in the epic and already legendary 2009 Beacon Theatre residency, calling shows like last night’s a “blowout” just seems so remote. It was a raging inferno and a soulful celebration, capped off by perhaps the greatest version of Les Brers In A Minor yet played by the current Allman Brothers Band lineup.

[Moogis Screenshot by Musichead]

Overall, the third Monday felt almost entirely unpredictable: a comfortably weird and somewhat esoteric setlist that for what its many, many guests connote, also felt just right. The first set was long and cinematic; I’ve heard better Don’t Want You No More > It’s Not My Cross to Bear openers, but the band got right to business with a chugging, dynamic Done Somebody Wrong, complete with good ol’ Thom Doucette blowing crisp and modal harp. Into this song, especially, the ABB’s breathed a lot more life in recent years: a shuffling intro that finally feels like one instead of a random pre-jam, stirring Gregg vocals, and a better jam segment.

From there things erupted: Warren blowing large shotgun shell holes in Can’t Lose What You Never Had, Derek and Ron Holloway (hi Ron!) laying waste to a wrenching Desdemona (to these ears, still the best of the “new” ABB songs), and a mesmerizing walk through the new and unnamed (though some say it’s called Orfeo) instrumental. I like it: very fusiony Bitches Brew, a tangle of minor key progressions and dark tones, rippling percussion, a little inchoate getting from the spare melody to the jam segments, but overall long and satisfying.

READ ON for more of Chad’s thoughts from last night’s show…

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HT Interview Exclusive: David Butler – President of Ticketmaster North America

Last week, Ticketmaster took some major heat for an unplanned and accidental presale for tickets for Phish’s four performances at Red Rocks this summer. Fans that thought they had stumbled onto a surprise jackpot had their orders canceled and received an email from David Butler, President of Ticketmaster North America, explaining why.

In an exclusive Q&A with Hidden Track, Luke Sacks spoke with Butler, who is responsible for Ticketmaster’s primary ticketing business in the US and Canada, via phone about the cause of the error, how Ticketmaster is working to thwart scalpers, what band he has seen nearly 50 times himself and more.

LUKE SACKS: Let’s start with the incident last week when tickets for the Red Rocks shows went on sale early. Speculation among fans has ranged from a simple computer glitch to Ticketmaster secretly activating that link so scalpers could get in and do their thing. From your perspective, can you walk me through what happened?

DAVID BUTLER: Absolutely. It was fundamentally human error by an employee of Ticketmaster in our Rocky Mountain region. An experienced person, who has been with us for years, accidentally, in releasing the show to be visible on the website that the on-sale was coming, accidentally made it appear to be on sale against the desires of the promoter or the artist. It was really just human error. She was trying to set it up so the show would be apparent with the future on-sale date so the fans would know it was coming. She just goofed.

LS: So that happened, all these orders were filled and eventually the decision was made to cancel these orders. Who made the decision to cancel the orders and subsequently to send out the $50 credit? Were those solely Ticketmaster decisions? Was the band or their management involved?

DB: To be clear, the mistake was totally ours at Ticketmaster and that’s why we sent out the gift certificates. Our policy is, if there is ever an error and the event goes on sale prior to the on-sale date, even if its on our website, that we will invalidate all the orders and if any money is taken we will refund it because we have to protect the integrity of the artist and the promoter that the show goes on sale as announced to the fans. So that’s exactly what we did.

READ ON for more of our exclusive interview with David Butler…

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Hidden Flick: A Stealth Persuader

The great photographer sat curled on the Hampton, Virginia stage like an invisible snake holding a widescreen camera. Indeed, the renowned lensman, Danny Clinch appeared more like a Pirate King on the prowl for his next big scenic adventure—dark hair slicked back, black boots rooted to no one spot for too long, and a sharp arch in his eyebrows.

Watching him shoot Phish’s return to the stage on March 6, 2009, brought to mind Clinch’s collaboration with the Vermont band in 2004 as they neared what appeared to be a conclusion before what became a very long, frustrating, and confusing second hiatus for the Best Live Band in America. Indeed, two entities edging towards The End with links to two legendary bands are the subject of another double feature edition of Hidden Flick.

Timothy Leary’s Last Trip was co-created by A.J. Cataline, David Herman, and O.B. Babbs, the son of original Merry Prankster Ken Babbs, who also hosts the documentary. The film is weird, far from perfect, amateur hour, and somewhat ridiculous at times. However, it is also a fascinating 56-minute study of Leary at the end of his life. Last Trip isn’t exactly a final acid adventure captured on celluloid, so let’s dispel that notion. Instead, the documentary features the ex-Harvard professor and lifelong psychedelic pioneer, and his relationship with LSD, the countercultural movement, drug prosecution laws, Hog Farm leader Wavy Gravy, and, of course, the noted writer, co-partner in acid, and famed rabble-rouser, Ken Kesey, as he accompanies Leary on a few road trips—the Pranksters clean up the ancient Furthur bus, and take it on a trip with some of the original MP crew, offspring, and Leary and Kesey in tow—and a cyberspace journey—a final call from Kesey to Leary which ran on the net, and was alleged to feature a Leary suicide, but that turned into a mythic charade—before his demise of prostate cancer on May 31, 1996.

READ ON for more on this week’s double feature…

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Ben Harper and Relentless7 Tour Dates

Coming off an incredible showing at this year’s SXSW including a headlining performance at Stubb’s, an over-capacity crowd at DirecTV’s "SXSW Live," and a legendary taping of Austin City Limits,

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