January 5, 2010

Jam Cruise Journal: Day Two

Day Two of Jam Cruise consists of a “day at sea” which essentially means music morning, noon and night. You’d think one would get sick of so much music, but with all the creature comforts of home and a slew of the most talented musicians on the planet, you will never run out of bands to see.


[All photos by Dave Vann]

The day started with a Ryan Montbleau Band set on the Pool Deck. Montbleau and his ensemble won themselves plenty of new fans thanks to a high-energy performance that featured most of the classic songs in the band’s repertoire and a bouncy cover of Bob Marley’s Bend Down Low. Keyboardist Jason Cohen took full advantage of the stage’s Hammond B3 and Larry Scudder tore many strands on the bow he was using to play viola because he was jamming so hard.

Zach Deputy joined the Montbleau Band for a tune before rockin’ his own set on the Solar Stage which is essentially a small stage near the Pool Deck. The afternoon brought a couple of once-in-a-lifetime workshops with Robert Randolph leading the Slide Workshop and Maceo Parker fronting Sax Syntax. Who did Maceo invite to play Sax Syntax with him? How about Stanton Moore, George Porter Jr., Jeff Coffin and Karl Denson. Now there’s something you don’t see everyday.

Later in the afternoon came an amazing trifecta of Railroad Earth > Brock Butler > The Motet plays the Talking Heads. Keith Mosley of String Cheese Incident filled in admirably for bassist Johnny Grubb during Railroad Earth’s bluegrass-tinged set as Grubb played his last show with RRE on New Year’s Eve. Butler performed a heady mix of covers on acoustic including a tender The Golden Age (Beck), Fool In The Rain (Led Zeppelin) and Helpless (Neil Young). READ ON for more from Scotty on Day Two of Jam Cruise…

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HT 25 Best Albums of 2009: Numbers 16-20

This year at Hidden Track, we concocted a little experiment for our year-end Best Albums of 2009 list. Instead of picking the old fashioned way – subjectively – we opted for something a little different: a collaborative, collective list that incorporates the opinions of everybody here at HT.

To begin, we devised an all-encompassing list of around 100 nominees and populated it in a Google spreadsheet – essentially anything that anybody who writes for Hidden Track liked at all, made the list. Then we invited our crew of writers to independently vote on the whole list (omitting anything unfamiliar) on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 = five stars). We ended up with 33 voters with varying degrees of familiarity with the nominees; some folks voted on just about everything, while some just a few. From there, we eliminated anything that did not receive at least three votes, calculated the average scores, and sorted it. We took the top 25 scores and presto: the Hidden Track 25 Best Albums of 2009. No bullshit, no big opinions; just the results.

Let’s check out numbers 20 through 16 and see what made the cut…

20) Dirty ProjectorsBitte Orca

Key Tracks: Stillness Is The Move, Useful Chamber, Two Doves

Sounds Like: Art Rock for people that like Folk Rock, Talking Heads


Skinny: Is it possible that The Dirty Projectors made an art-rock jamband album? With just nine tracks, Bitte Orca covers a lot of ground with a handful of songs that wind their way past the five minute mark – employing schizophrenic twist and turns that include sharp tempo changes, odd time signatures and everything from hand claps to harpsichords. The band has also impressed the likes of David Byrne – who recorded a song with them for the Dark Was The Night compilation – and The Roots who jammed with them at show at Bowery Ballroom shortly after they appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

READ ON for the next four albums in our week long countdown…

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Cover Wars: Time Edition

Time is the fourth track on Pink Floyd’s 1973 release Dark Side Of The Moon. Well, this song called Time is anyway. Let me tell you, rounding up the renditions for this week was no easy task as: a) There are lots of other songs simply called “Time” and b) There are thousands of songs with the word “time” in them, and you can’t always make search terms do exactly what you want them, no matter how hard you try.

Cover Wars

The Contestants:

Dream Theater: According to the 3,585 comments there are on YouTube for this video at the time of publication, this cover is both the best ever and fucking awful all at once. The YouTube comments section is an interesting cross-section of humanity. Anyway, one very frequent comment is that guitarist John Petrucci really rips, and that is hard to deny. Couldn’t tell you the date of this video, I read about 50 of those 3,000+ comments and nobody mentioned it.

READ ON for the rest of this week’s contestants.

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Jam Cruise Journal: A Night with OHMphrey

I’ll get my full report on Day Two of Jam Cruise 8 at 5PM, but I just wanted to tell you all about the insane OHMphrey set that took place last night.

OHMphrey rocked the pool stage from 10PM – 12:15AM and it was an amazing performance. Jake Cinninger, Joel Cummins and Kris Myers of Umphrey’s teamed up with Chris Poland (Megadeath, OHM) and Robertino “Pags” Pagliari to form OHMphrey in Jan. ’08. These guys slid from the head of one tune on their album to the next with massive jams in between. Cinninger was clearly in heaven getting to play with one of his idols (Poland.)


[All photos by Dave Vann]

There was so much communication going on between all of the members throughout and you would’ve thought Jake, Kris and Joel had been playing with Pags and Poland for years. I’d say at the first your typical Jam Cruise crowd seemed a bit freaked out by the heaviness and free-form nature of the music, but folks came around pretty quickly as they moved from light to heavy jams with ease.

Towards the end of the set, Pags stepped to the mic and delivered a Spoonful that would’ve made Jack Bruce proud. It was crazy to hear Kris play a straight blues beat. He was such a whirl of motion all set long but really laid into the straight Spoonful beat. As with every song, each member of the band took a solo in Spoonful. READ ON for more on OHMphrey…

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Trey Anastasio Announces TAB Tour

This afternoon, former 70 Volt Parade vocalist Trey Anastasio announced a solo tour that puts together the members of his Classic TAB ensemble with a three-piece horn section for three weeks worth of shows. For this run of shows Anastasio will be backed by Classic TAB members Tony Markellis on bass, Russ Lawton on drums and Ray Paczkowski on keyboards as well as a three-piece horn section featuring Jennifer Hartswick, Russ Remington and Natalie Cressman.

Trey Promo Pic

The tour which features 16 shows in 21 days opens in the city that Coran Capshaw built, Charlottesville Virginia at the Jefferson Theatre. Trey is bringing his band to a few states that Phish hasn’t been able to hit in their first year back, most notably Georgia as well as Kansas and the District Of Columbia. The venues are exclusively clubs and theaters and for some reason their New York City stop is at one of the cities most hated venues, Terminal 5.

Let’s take a look at the players:

Tony Markellis [bass]: The “Meatman” first performed with Trey in 1998 as part of his Eight Foot Florescent Tubes project that opened the original Higher Ground in Winooski. Trey enjoyed the experience so much that he asked Markellis and drummer Russ Lawton to join him on his first solo tour back in 1999. Tony was a member of TAB through the 2003 Spring Tour and returned for the Classic TAB shows in 2008.

READ ON for profiles on the rest of the members of Trey’s band and the full list of tour dates…

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Review: Bustle In Your Hedgerow @ the Bowl

Words: Alex Borsody

Images: Rob Chapman

Bustle In Your Hedgerow continues to win fans with their sporadic gigging since coming together in 2003. Formed off the solid core of Joe Russo and Marco Benevento, they brought in friends Dave Dreiwitz on bass and Scott Metzger on guitar to form an epic Led Zeppelin cover band. The catch is that they play the songs in a completely new way, incorporating organ funk and jazz to create unique renditions of familiar rock standards. I got a chance to check them out at Brooklyn Bowl, a venue that sits in the heart of Williamsburg, across the street from a famous street art installation.


[All photos by Rob Chapman]

The show was 21 and up, as are many of the shows at the venue featuring jazz or funk influences and the place was still full of people. Over The Hills And Far Away was one of the highlights of the first set and featured an intro with Russo on vocals. These were the only vocals of the night and segued into Benevento’s melodic organ playing followed by one of the longest jams of the first set.

The set break saw hipster liaison Marco Benevento introducing the band, saying “if there was a magazine called Jersey’s Finest we would all be on the cover every month,” referring to the band’s Garden State origins.

Ramble On has perhaps one of the most memorable and melodic bass lines of all time. It is difficult to keep the melody and rhythm in sync and it took Dave Dreiwitz a little while to find the groove to the song. To his credit trying to keep up with John Paul Jones is not easy. The song climaxed with a solo from Benevento. You Shook Me was very bluesy and saw the guitar replacing Jimmy Page’s vocals. The five minute drum solo on Moby Dick, had Russo doing his best John Bonham.

READ ON for more from Alex on Bustle In Your Hedgerow…

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New Year’s Eve Report: Furthur

With barely a dozen shows under their belt and a larger scale cross-country tour on the immediate horizon, longtime Grateful Dead bandmates Bob Weir and Phil Lesh brought their latest project – Furthur – to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium for a hometown three-set throw down.

Weir and Lesh, who are no strangers to the spectacle of a New Year’s performance, augmented the band with a pair of back-up singers and included covers of Pink Floyd’s Time and J.J. Cale’s After Midnight among their selection of familiar big jam staples from the Dead catalog, as well as their customary countdown stunt, check it out…

READ ON for the full set list and more videos…

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Japandroids Keep The Shows Coming

Japandroids have expanded their 2010 tour schedule, in support of their critically acclaimed 2009 debut, POST-NOTHING (Polyvinyl).  In addition to repeat visits of North America and UK, the tour will

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John Digweed, Round Mountain, The Kin

RANDOM STABBINGS & ARTLESS CRITIQUE – January 2010 Maxfield Gast, Eat Your Beats (Militia Hill Records) Philly-based acid-jazz trio incorporating hip-hop, breakbeat and drum n bass into a 70s/80s sound…

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