Beyonce‘s new album Lemonade, which deals with issues of infidelity in her marriage to hip-hop mogul Jay Z, has fans everywhere wondering what’s really going on in the Carter household. Fortunately for us, SNL‘s Jay Pharoah was in attendance at a recent “secret rappers’ meeting,” where he got the inside scoop on the situation. In this hilarious segment from Saturday’s SNL, Pharoah delivers a string of uncanny impressions of popular rappers including Jay, 50 Cent, T.I., Lil Wayne, and host Drake, who drops by the Weekend Update desk to take exception to Pharoah’s imitation of him.Watch the clip below:
Prophets of Rage has continued their steady roll-out of announcements and surprises, releasing pro-shot footage of Rage Against the Machine hit “Killing In The Name” from the project’s second-ever performance, at the Hollywood Palladium on June 3rd. Spoiler alert: it rages.The newly formed collaboration, featuring members of RATM as well as Chuck D (Public Enemy), B-Real (Cypress Hill), and DJ Lord also announced some additional dates on their upcoming Make America Rage Again Tour. The added shows include an appearance in Cleveland, conveniently coinciding with the Republican National Convention in the Ohio city, which the band has already promised to protest. Shows in Montreal, Quebec and Uncasville, Connecticut were also added to the nationwide tour, which will begin in Cleveland on July 19 and extend through October.Hit their website for more info on the tour.
Dead & Company gave fans an incredible showing over the summer, redefining the Grateful Dead catalog with a fresh cast of musicians for Deadheads nationwide. Joining core members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart were veteran keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and two newcomers: guitarist John Mayer and bassist Oteil Burbridge.Burbridge has talked at length about his love for the music and the community, but it seems the bassist took one step further into the Grateful Dead canon when the band visited The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA on July 23rd. We’ll let Oteil tell it, as per his Music Aficionado interview.“Another thing that impacted me tremendously was the one night I did some Owsley [LSD] at the Gorge. Listen to how different that night sounds, because that music and Owsley go together and I found that out.”Burbridge continues, “I never liked to play tripping. I did all that as a teenager and even then I didn’t like to play. My friends wanted to jam and I just wanted to keep it separate.” Interviewer Alan Paul – who has written biographies of both the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers – then asks the bassist if he was scared for the experience.“Oh no. The whole point was to see what they were seeing and boy did I! The first thing I realized was the stuff I was doing as a kid was absolute garbage and this was a completely different experience. Playing that music with them on it was eye opening. And I finally caught John, because I don’t know his playing with the same intimacy I know Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, and Warren Haynes, whom I’ve played with for many years.I’ve been chasing John and I caught his ass that night and he knew it. Afterwards, he sat Bill and me down and was like, “What happened? What is this all about?” It was hilarious. I was like, “Yeah I got you.” And I connected to the audience. I felt like an octopus with tentacles connecting to each person in the band—and each person on that vibe in the audience. And it was heavy.”For those who may not know, Owsley refers to Owsley Stanley, a chemist who helped finance the Grateful Dead in their earliest days by synthesizing and selling LSD. He also helped designed the infamous “Wall Of Sound” system and influenced the song “Truckin’.” Though Owsley passed away in 2011, some LSD that he made still remains.Oteil even goes back into the history of the Grateful Dead and LSD in the interview. “The beginning of the Grateful Dead was jamming at acid tests, where there were no expectations about how to play—or even to play at all. That level of zero expectations allows for a complete universe of choices with no fear at all for what someone else is going to think of it. They were exploring together and that has carried over all these years through all their projects.”The full interview sees Oteil talking about his favorite Dead music, emphatically sharing his love for all things Grateful. It’s a mutual love, Oteil! Welcome to the scene.
Load remaining images To help close out their Saturday set Leftover Salmon brought out Jon Stickley and Lyndsay Pruett for a wild and crazy rendition of “Oh Me Oh My” that served as not just a bookend to their weekend but also a statement about the spirit the bands and the festival were trying to establish. Give the fun a listen below:In the spirit of so many events held in this storied park, the last day condensed to one stage, helping build a communal, family feeling to the goings on. Enlisting Donna The Buffalo to continue their long running series of stellar shows in the park was a wise move on the part of organizers, honoring tradition all the while.DTB’s fans are a rabid bunch, and they managed to make the closing set of the weekend one of the most energetic as well. A parade of guests emerged throughout the set, with the band welcoming out old friends and fresh faces alike while never losing the love of the rapt audience.Seeing the eager young faces romp around the grounds having the times of their young lives promised a future generation of fans to keep the hammocks and dance floor filled long into the future. And, judging by the crowd size and the warm reception the artists received it looks as if this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! The Spirit Of Suwannee Park has been home to numerous events over its decades of existence, and the newest party, The Suwannee Roots Revival, is a distillation of the essence of what has come before. Boasting a line-up of fabled park alumni like Leftover Salmon, Donna The Buffalo, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan and so many more, the weekend had a very familiar vibe of string music, family and fun.One of the most beloved venues in the country, Suwannee opened the gates to a sea of happy faces of all ages for a weekend that promised a good time for all. The opening Thursday night festivities included a wild bluegrass re-imagining of The Who‘s rock opera Tommy by The Hillbenders that had the crowd dancing and cheering with wild abandon. Check out their version of “Pinball Wizard” here. With sets from Town Mountain, Grass Is Dead and more the opening stanza got the weekend of to a fabulous start.Check out the heartwarming bluegrass style version of “They Love Each Other” below:Florida native The Sauce Boss does more than just fill the air with music, he also fills the bellies of the crowd with gumbo! Setting up a huge pot onstage he called up members of the audience to help him cook on a table as he cooked on his instruments. Now only was his grinding style of one man band jamming palatable the gumbo was delicious!Col. Bruce Hampton & The Madrid ExpressGuitarist, actor, amateur psychic and all around music legend Col. Bruce Hampton brought his current band, Madrid Express to the venerated amphitheater stage for an amazing set of blues guitar riffs and odd ball lyrical bent. Never one to take the straight and narrow path, one of the highlights of his two sets over the weekend was his unique take on the Cream classic “I’m So Glad.” Give it a listen below:Blueground UndergrassJeff Mosier and his brother Johnny rarely find time to reunite their beloved jam grass band Blueground Undergrass, so any opportunity to enjoy their magic is a welcome one. With two sets scheduled for the weekend, fans were quick to make it as close as they could to see the mystical dynamic the siblings and their bandmates share. The crowd of diehards sang along with every song and hung on every note, including the stellar rendition of the classic Garcia-Hunter tune “Black Muddy River” that follows:The scheduled performance by The Wood Brothers was unfortunately cancelled due to a medical issue with Chris Wood, but Luther Dickinson and J.J. Grey were enlisted to perform a reduced version of their singer song writer super band The Southern Soul Assembly. They traded songs and stories and had a grand time sharing their love with the crowd. You can see a pair of their more moving moments here.Leftover SalmonPro Tip: Whatever party you’re throwing, if you truly want it to be a success, don’t forget to stock up on plenty of Leftover Salmon. Vince Herman is the living embodiment of the festival spirit, and the effortless way he works the crowd into a frenzy is a joy to behold. With his long time partner-in-crime Drew Emmitt in tow, Herman and the rest of the dauntingly talented musicians showed a diversity and depth that belied their ragamuffin appearance and party mentality. We’ll have a bit more from Leftover later, but for now check out the rollicking cover of T.Rex’s “Bang A Gong” they dropped on a most receptive crowd below:Shook TwinsPortland based sister act Shook Twins chose to use part of their set as an opportunity to honor John Hartford, the man who helped pioneer the “Jamgrass” permutation of the traditional art form that has sprouted into so many wonderful varieties of roots music, including their own. Between the ethereal harmonies they can bring and the infectious smiles that they never seem to lose the pair and their band delivered a fun set of their own material and the aforementioned tribute to Hartford, a silly take on his classic “Get No Better,” which you can watch below:Jon Stickley TrioThe North Carolina connection to the Spirit OF The Suwannee was in full effect with the stunning interplay of the Jon Stickley Trio. With the main man on guitar, along with fiery fiddler Lyndsay Pruett and drummer Patrick Armitage all working on seemingly separate but intertwined melodies, their sets were among some of the most musically challenging and engaging of the entire weekend. Check out a slice of their instrumental mayhem below:Peter Rowan BandInspired by Elvis, Peter Rowan picked up the guitar and has been making music and magic ever since. He is one of the elder statesmen of bluegrass and possessor of one of the sweetest and most beloved voices in the history of the form. Rowan brought his band of top shelf players to the park for a pair of sets that had the whole audience singing along at the top of their throats. His magic was too much to contain in a single clip, so we have a pair of highlights for you. First up, a rousing rendition of one of the signature songs of the Americana songbook “Midnight Moonlight.”:Next, let’s check in on Rowan’s Sunday solo set, as he sat alone and led the crowd in a series of glorious campfire styled sing-a-longs that had everyone in attendance lifting their voices in song. Enjoy the full bodied take on another songbook standard “You Are My Sunshine” below:Sam Bush BandAlong with his friends in New Grass Revival, Sam Bush is another of the architects of the much mentioned jamgrass scene. His mixing of rock and roll and blues influences with the more traditional instrumentation of the mountain music art form has been a beloved part of the music world for close to four decades, and on his most recent album, Storyman, he demonstrated a relevance that many of his contemporaries surely envy. Here’s a reggae flavored track from his newest record, “Everything Is Possible.”
This weekend, rapidly rising Arizona jam quartet Spafford completed a sold-out two-night run of Umphrey’s McGee after parties at New Mountain AVL in Asheville, NC. Both performances showcased Spafford at their best. First, on Friday, the band kicked off with “Funkadelic” > “America,” before busting out a cover of Primitive Radio Gods‘s 90’s radio hit “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand.” The rest of the set was a non-stop party featuring an “Electric Taco Stand” > “Alternate Ending” > “Electric Taco Stand” jam sandwich and an enthusiastic “The Postman” closer.SETLIST: Spafford | New Mountain Theatre| Asheville, NC | 2/17/17Funkadelic > America, Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand > Backdoor Funk, Diana, Electric Taco Stand > Alternate Ending > Electric Taco Stand, The PostmanEncore – Galisteo WayOn Saturday, the band pulled out all the stops for their late-night performance, including welcoming Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass, who opened for Umphrey’s earlier in the evening. After a set that included extended takes on favorites like “Slip & Squander” and “Leave the Light On,” as well as a sing-along cover of “Land Down Under”. To close the set, Beck joined the band to add dobro to “Double Time,” and returned with the band for a rocking “The Reprise” encore. You can watch fan-shot footage of Anders Beck joining Spafford on dobro for “Double Time” below, thanks to Youtube user Soda Seven:SETLIST: Spafford | New Mountain Theatre | Asheville, NC | 2/18/17In The Eyes of Thieves, Slip and Squander, Soul to Squeeze, Todd’s Tots, Leave the Light On, Down Under, It’s A Bunch, Double Time($)Encore – The Reprise($)$ – with Anders Beck (Dobro) You can view a gallery of photos from the run below, courtesy of Phierce Photo‘s Keith Griner. Full audio of both shows will be available soon via nugs.net.After a busy early 2017 on the road, Spafford will take a brief hiatus from their tour, returning to the stage on March 10th at the Montbleu Theater in Stateline, NV opening for Umphrey’s. For a full list of upcoming dates, head to the band’s website. Spafford – Asheville, NC – Feb 17-18, 2017 – Photos by Keith Griner Load remaining images
Simply put, Mike Casey‘s recently released live album, The Sound Of Surprise, is a perfect example of passion for the form meeting the ability to express oneself through their instrument. Jazz is about expression more than perfection. Musical rules and conventions are painstaking learned so that they can be broken in as many ways as possible. Casey and bandmates, drummer Corey Garcia and bassist Matt Dwonszyk, pursue the razor’s edge of speaking from the heart and in the heat of the moment.In more traditional musical settings, the rhythm section is generally called on to create a stable floor for the melody to touch upon and rise above. “Hydraulics” opens in seeming mid-riot, all percussion and pulsing bass that instantly establishes dissonance as the new foundation. When Casey and his bubbling, breathless sax enter, his lines seem to skip impossibly like a stone across raging waters. The ensuing track, a cover of Ornette Coleman‘s “Turnaround,” shows them capable of slowing the tempo and creating negative space just as easily in a remarkable display of call and response.The razor sharp sound and interplay of tracks like “Dagobah” and “Heartbreak” are made more impressive when you learn that each cut was a live, first take, completely free of studio bells and whistles. Casey and his cohorts display of confidence extends from their playing to their song selection. Songs like “Mack The Knife” and those penned by luminaries like John Coltrane, such as “Miles Mode,” are made over with a eye towards respect and reinvention all at once.The closer of this collection, “Little Mellonae,” is a playful and energetic encapsulation of the spirit on display throughout the show. Casey’s sax moans and wails while the brash interplay between the rhythmic instruments rises and falls with passion and precision. The Sound Of Surprise is a worthy addition to the library of any jazz aficionado. By albums close, the listeners have shared a journey with the performers that, luckily for all of us, lasted beyond the moment of creation and now will exist forever for us all to enjoy.
Well, happy Tuesday to you too! Phish has just announced eight new dates, including a three-night tour-opener at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in Chicago, IL from July 14 – 16, as well as the return of their annual Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado on Labor Day Weekend. Also new to the schedule are Nutter Center in Dayton, OH on July 18 and Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA on July 19.An online ticket request period for pre-sale tickets and weekend ticket bundles are available now through Monday, April 3 at NOON ET. There will be no additional dates announced for summer or fall.PHISH – SUMMER 2017Friday, July 14 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly IslandSaturday, July 15 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly IslandSunday, July 16 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly IslandTuesday, July 18 – Dayton, OH – Nutter CenterWednesday, July 19 – Pittsburgh, PA – Petersen Events CenterTHE BAKER’S DOZENFriday, July 21 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenSaturday, July 22 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenSunday, July 23 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenTuesday, July 25 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenWednesday, July 26 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenFriday, July 28 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenSaturday, July 29 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenSunday, July 30 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenTuesday, August 1 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenWednesday, August 2 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenFriday, August 4 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenSaturday, August 5 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenSunday, August 6 – New York, NY – Madison Square GardenLABOR DAY WEEKENDFriday, September 1 – Commerce City, CO – Dick’s Sporting Goods ParkSaturday, September 2 – Commerce City, CO – Dick’s Sporting Goods ParkSunday, September 3 – Commerce City, CO – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
A new poll conducted by Gallup for the Jam Act Association (JAA) has just been released. The survey, which asked 36 questions to over 8,000 individuals on lot from May 2016 through September 2016, provides a detailed look at the jam scene and various bands’ approval ratings. Unsurprisingly, Vermont-based jam quartet Twiddle topped the list for highest approval ratings across the board, narrowly beating out older ensembles, The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers, who locked down the second and third spots for highest approval ratings.The results of the study definitively showing Twiddle as the least controversial jam band should not come as too much of a shock, particularly when considering the generally pleasant, if not impartial, reaction the band receives from jam band aficionados on a number of online forums. Survey participants cited a number of reasons as to why the band was able to lock down such a high approval rating, with Twiddle’s consistently positive lyrics, feel-good melodies, and skilled musicianship topping the list of why the band consistently receives appreciation, even from those less familiar with their catalog.In follow-up questioning regarding the survey, one anonymous participant reaffirmed Gallup’s findings: “That makes sense. Whenever Twiddle is mentioned, I don’t think I’ve ever felt a really strong compulsion to make sure everyone knows exactly how I feel about them.”One response by a survey participant in Colorado summed up many people’s thoughts nicely: “I mean, it is rare to see any form of Twiddle hate, either in-person or online. When I do, it’s always coming from people who haven’t actually listened to the band or who just want to hate on something just to be different.”Twiddle’s low controversy rating comes in stark contrast to fellow Vermonters, Phish. The full study discussed this phenomenon at length, though Principal Investigator of the study, Dr. Frank N. Foote, had this to say: “One thing that I found remarkable while analyzing the survey results is how Phish’s approval rating ended up taking a direct hit based on their geographic closeness to Twiddle. It’s an anomaly that the two are so regularly compared, particularly when looking at the rate of comparison to bands of dissimilar geographical origin. While further research is in order, it’s almost as if because Twiddle is generally well liked and from Vermont that Phish can’t be appreciated for their own musical merit.”The full results of the survey as well as the survey report are available both on the Gallup website and on the Jam Act Association’s website. Stay tuned, as JAA is sure to be publishing increasingly more research-based studies about the music we love in future months following the 45th president’s expansion of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Vibe & Direct have created a fresh new sound – with elements of funk and jazz that are refreshingly free from any conventions and restrictions. Their recently released disc, Chrysanthemum, is a dynamic encapsulation of the positive energy and soulful power the band brings to the world.Rising out of the Ohio music scene, Vibe & Direct have won over a dedicated fan base with expansive guitar lines, thumping bass, precise drum beats and an impressive flow between styles. Fellow Buckeye Anthony Thogmartin of Papadosio hopped on-board to help shape Chrysanthemum into a seamless display of genre-spanning wonderment. Listen to the album below:Tracks like “Bull And The Minx” and “Queens And King” showcase their talent for ever-evolving sonic landscapes. Both tracks organically ebb and flow in not only tempo but in shape and form. Remarkably, Vibe & Direct’s influences seem to inform, not limit, their musical direction.The title track of Chrysanthemum is a tour de force for guitarist Mike Miller. He can seamlessly go from rhythm to lead to blistering solo without giving anything less than his best. Miller’s care and emotion come through with each note, whether in rise or fall.Danny Giannetto weaves fills in and around a clockwork beat in a way that is fascinating to observe. That rich pocket enables bassist Douglas Rab to explore patterns he couldn’t if he was shoring up the beat. Rab responds to that freedom happily, dropping in playful teases while keeping his own identity.“Wishing Well” shows their mastery of electronic bells and whistles, primarily in swirling loops of sound. Wisely, these effects are used as accents, not the basis of this song or any other. Vibe & Direct keep their studio work clean and wholly translatable to the stage.Chrysanthemum is a clear picture of a band challenging themselves to be the best they can be. The evolution of Vibe & Direct’s sound and skill is a direct result of the intricate sonic gymnastics they continually practice. With this level of talent, song-craft and performance skill at their disposal, Vibe & Direct have a promising road ahead of them. Check out the band on their website, and don’t miss them at the upcoming Alchemy Rising Music & Arts Festival this May!
Load remaining images The Interstellar Boys performed their second show ever at The Oriental Theater in Denver, Colorado on Friday night. The band includes Todd Nance, Danny Hutchens, Sam Holt, Jerry Joseph, John Neff, and Jon Mills. The Friday night performance featured a special guest appearance from Eric Martinez.The Interstellar Boys are first and foremost borne from a collection of friendships. Musical friendships that date back as far as 30 years. The six players have shared stages and songs over the years and now form a new band that draws on those decades of collaboration. Todd Nance brings undeniable experience and depth to the band as a founding member/drummer/songwriter of Widespread Panic. Daniel Hutchens has been a driving force with the band Bloodkin for 29 years (and counting) and he is widely recognized as one of the South’s great modern day songwriters. Jerry Joseph and his various bands have been recording and touring on a national/international scale since the 80’s. Jerry’s expertise as a musician/songwriter is as unquestionable as his passion for sharing the power of music. He has recently toured and taught music in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Ghana and is soon to perform in Iraq. Sam Holt brings a reverence and intensity to playing the guitar that energizes the faithful fans of this community in a way that is second to none. John Neff (formerly of Drive-By Truckers) is the secret weapon that adds depth and soul via the pedal steel. And Mr. Jon Mills (professor emeritus of bass in the Athens, GA music scene) is the glue that keeps the whole thing tastefully held together.This accomplished group of musicians and songwriters are currently on the road together after only performing once previously at the annual Bloodkin & Friends event in Athens, GA. After a successful night on the stage together in Denver, the band will continue on next week through North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.See below for videos, a setlist, and photos from Friday night’s show. You can also download the soundboard matrix here.[by D Ragoose][by Bennett Schwartz of Coloartist]Check out the full gallery, courtesy of Bill McAlaine.The Interstellar Boys | The Oriental Theater | Denver, CO | 7/14/2017I: Reverend Jacob Nightrain, Clinic Cynic, Ching A ling, Gunner, The Viper, The WakerII: 10 Killer Fairies (jerry & neff only), Beautiful Vicious Cycle Of Life, Yellow Ribbons>Powderfinger>Yellow Ribbons, Blight, Way To Loud, Can’t Change the Past, Down, Henry Parsons DiedE: Roam (B 52’s cover)Interstellar Boys Tour DatesJuly 14 Denver, CO – Oriental TheatreJuly 21 Asheville, NC – ISIS Music HallJuly 22 Raleigh, NC – Lincoln TheatreJuly 23 Charleston, SC – Home Team BBQ (Downtown)July 28 Atlanta, GA – Terminal WestJuly 29 Birmingham, AL – WorkPlayJuly 30 Augusta, GA – Southbound Smokehouse (acoustic)The Interstellar Boys | The Oriental Theater | Denver, CO | 7/14/2017 | Photos by Bill McAlaine