Category Archives: Music

Trey’s Acoustic/Electric Tour

I’m sitting here doing absolutely nothing (though this is being published the following day) listening to the acoustic sets from the Trey Anastasio shows that were released on LivePhish (the audience recordings all have too much audience noise to properly hear the acoustic set). Anyway, I attended the Boston show as a very last minute decision (decided a couple hours before the show that I was going and managed to score a ticket for face value). It was a good decision. I have only seen Trey play solo acoustic once at the Newport Folk Festival a couple years ago. This show was different though. He seemed to be having more fun. The whole show was awesome, including the electric set. It was very loose and laid back, and I think it’ll have a good effect on Phish. Continue reading Trey’s Acoustic/Electric Tour

The Power of Social Media: The Story of the Phish Twibe

This topic came up today on Twitter, sparked by a tweet from @JennyMack. My response was Twitter, hands down, for one major reason, the Phish Twibe. I have probably discussed the Twibe here before, probably several times, in fact. But I don’t know that I’ve ever talked about how the Twibe formed and grew into what it is now. So here it is! It’s a great story of the power of social media.

Continue reading The Power of Social Media: The Story of the Phish Twibe

Phish Hartford Review

I’m going to write this review a bit differently than I would normally write it. Since I’m reviewing two shows, I’m going to compare them a bit and talk about what I liked better in one over the other.

First off, the Hartford shows on June 17 and 18 were awesome. They were both a ton of fun and featured some great songs, great playing, and great fun from the band. Going completely on memory, my favorite of the two was the second night. I felt the band had more energy to their playing. They seemed to have fewer problems with the sound system. They also seemed to be having more fun. The crowd also had more energy and it was reflected in the band’s playing. Continue reading Phish Hartford Review

Railroad Earth Review

I know I’m a little late with this, so here goes nothing. I went to see Railroad Earth a few weeks ago at Lupo’s. They’re a bluegrass/slamgrass/jamgrass band from New Jersey. First of all, they’re awesome. If you get the chance to see them, go. They put on an excellent show and will keep you dancing from the first notes right through the last.

The crowd was very mixed. I was actually surprised by it. There were a few flatbrims that I wouldn’t have expected at a bluegrass show, but I’m guessing they were there more for the scene than the music. There were some obvious fans who follow them all over the place. There were the older people, the younger people, but the majority seemed to be in their 20’s and 30’s.

The opening act was the guy from Dispatch. I never understood why people loved that band as much as they did. I never got into them and never really thought they were anything special. They were good, but not amazing. I felt the same way about the guy opening for Railroad Earth. It was a slim crowd for him, not surprising.

When RRE came on, the place filled up, but it was still mostly empty. It was a perfect sized crowd. Since it’s so far beyond when I saw them, I can’t really talk about much other than how much fun I had. They put on a great show. They put on a seriously fun show. I was dancing my heart out the entire time. There were a couple of seriously standout moments, one of them was the encore, Roadhouse Blues.

Anyway, since I can’t really write much else, I will just say this. Go see them if you get the chance. While I would have preferred it outdoors, because that music is meant for the outdoors, it’s awesome and fun no matter the setting.

Music Filled Summer

I’m about to start a music-filled summer tomorrow night. Lots of great bands coming to Providence in the next few months, along with the highly anticipated Phish summer tour. Here are the shows I plan on attending. Look for reviews to follow.

Friday, May 14 (tomorrow) – Railroad Earth at Lupo’s
Friday, May 21 – Blues Traveler at Lupo’s
Thursday, June 17 – Phish at The Meadows (aka Comcast Theatre) in Hartford
Friday, June 18 – Phish at The Meadows (aka Comcast Theatre) in Hartford
Tuesday, June 22 – Phish at Great Woods (aka Tweeter Center, aka Comcast Center) in Mansfield, MA
Wednesday, August 18 – Phish at Jones Beach in Wantagh, NY
Friday, September 24 – They Might Be Giants at Lupo’s

Here are some other shows in Providence, I’m considering hitting up. I might just need some convincing.

Friday, June 4 – The New Deal at Lupo’s
Friday, June 11 – Max Creek at Lupo’s
Tuesday,  July 6 – The Flaming Lips at Lupo’s

Finally, here are some shows I won’t be able to make, but wish I could.

Sunday, May 23 – Peter Wolf at Lupo’s
Wednesday, May 26 – Dark Star Orchestra at Lupo’s (rescheduled from April 1)
Friday, June 25 – Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa at Lupo’s (I’ll be ragin’ in Seattle with @FunkCaptMax)

Win a Phish Alpine Valley Travel Package

I was lucky enough to win a travel package for the Alpine Valley Phish shows this summer from CID Entertainment. Unfortunately, I can’t make it. However, my loss is your win!

This Week on Lot, a weekly podcast about the music scene, is re-running the contest for this travel package. The package includes 2 nights in a hotel room for 2 people, shuttle service to and from both shows for 2 people, 2 Phish Alpine Valley t-shirts, and 2 download codes for LivePhish.com. If you’re planning on going to the Alpine shows, this is a pretty good deal.

Head over to TWoL for more details

Phish 3D Review

I just got back from the theatre where I saw Phish 3D. Rather than wait until I lose my thoughts, I figured now would be a great time to write the review having just discussed what I liked and disliked about it with Susan, who reluctantly went with me.

For those of you who don’t know, Phish 3D is a 3D movie that was filmed at Festival 8 in Indio, CA. The three day festival was held over Halloween weekend and included eight sets of music. On Halloween night, the band played the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street in its entirety. And on the final day, they played a full acoustic set.

To make this easy, I’ll use bullet points with explanations of what I liked and didn’t like, along with a letter grade.

  • Song selection (B-): There were some good point and some bad points, but overall it was decent. I think they should have shown more from the Exile set. After all, that was the focal point of the festival. Only choosing four songs from that set was a little weak, though the song selections were good. I would have liked to hear more of the “raunchy” songs. I would have liked to have seen more from the acoustic set, though I thought the song selections from that set were just fine. It would have been nice to see McGrupp and hear Trey tell everyone to sit down on the nice soft grass. Finally, the songs from the other sets could have been better. My biggest complaint is that they didn’t show Party Time. The song kicked off the first set of the festival and set the tone for the whole weekend. It was a big party. I would have liked to have seen Fluffhead and You Enjoy Myself. Both songs were high points with fun from the fire towers in the back of the concert field. The only easy going songs they showed were from the acoustic set. It would have been nice to see Joy or When the Circus Comes.
  • Song order (C): I don’t know why they couldn’t play the songs in the order that they were played at the festival, starting with the first night and ending with the last. I know it worked out best showing a set opener first, but, again, why wasn’t the first song Party Time? Instead, they started with songs from the last night. They showed the acoustic set before the Halloween set. I imagine that was to put some of the higher points of the movie towards the end, but that goes into the whole song selection. They could have picked more upbeat rockers from the acoustic set.
  • Views (C+): While I really liked seeing the stage, I would have liked to have seen more of the audience, especially on Halloween night. Part of what would have made this movie great would have been seeing glowsticks and balloons flying at your head, just like you’re there. It would have been nice to see more views out from the stage as well. They also showed way too much of Trey and Mike finger work on their guitars during the acoustic set. Why this set in particular you ask? Because they were sitting down with their legs spread and the guitars resting on their thighs. What am I getting at? Crotch shots. There were WAY too many of them. One of the parts I really enjoyed seeing was Fishman playing the drums. He’s the one guy who is hard to see from the audience because he’s surrounded by tall equipment and he’s not a really tall guy. It was fun watching him get into it. The last thing that I have a complaint about is the lights. The lights are one of the best things about a Phish show. I don’t know if it was the editing or the cameras, but the lights didn’t really come through in many of the shots. I was really hoping to see some 3D lights. It also would have been nice to have a camera way in the back to film the whole field of people and the speaker/light towers near the back of the audience. Those are a bit part of the festival experience.
  • Picture quality (A-): The picture was clear as day. It was better than any of the DVD’s the band has released date. I was very impressed by it. However, for what they were trying to do, this would have been much better in IMAX 3D. I’m sure the movie crew didn’t have the money for IMAX cameras, but that would have really drawn you into it.
  • Sound quality (B+): The sound was excellent, though the bass could have been turned up a bit (no surprise there, that’s exactly how I feel about the soundboard copies of the show). I did feel that Page was a bit louder in the mix than usual, especially during the acoustic set.
  • Overall (B-): It was a good movie, but I didn’t feel drawn into it the whole time. The song selection, the order, and the shots were distracting at times.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll explain what I think could have made the movie better. Concert movies are tough. They either really draw you in or really don’t. The one other time I saw Phish in the theatre was for their show in Brooklyn that kicked off their “final” tour in 2004. The difference was that it was a live simulcast. People watching it in the theatre were just as excited as the people at the show. This time was different. It was just a film made at a concert. I think in this case it didn’t have to be 3D. While it was great to see the depth of the stage setup and all that up close, it wasn’t necessary, though, as I said, it would have worked if it was IMAX.

The best parts of the movie were the parts the audience and fans never get to see. I loved watching the band rehearse with the horns and backup singers. The movie needed more of that. I also loved watching the crowd come in for the acoustic set on Sunday morning. That part was fun because it added the excitement of the festival to the movie. What concert movies don’t usually do is give you that full experience of being there. That’s what this lacked.

This movie would have been better off as a documentary. It’s so difficult to make a concert movie out of a three day festival with eight sets of music. Which songs do you pick? What order do you show them? How much of the audience do you show? There needs to be a balance, but if you mess any of that up, it can make what could be a great movie into a mediocre movie. I had really high hopes for this, having been at the festival and dealing with the camera booms going up and down over the audience blocking our view. It would have been nice to have seen people coming in for the Halloween set. Other than the fact that the movie mentioned it was Halloween weekend, you couldn’t tell from watching. They should have setup an area near the entrance to the venue where they could have lights and a camera man filming people coming into the show in their costumes. That would have made the movie and given some people their 15 minutes of fame. The could have filmed people coming onto the site on the first day and setting up their campsites. There should have been more wandering around the campgrounds. There was so much at the festival, I feel this didn’t really capture it, even when it came to the music. Had they included more of this other stuff in the movie and cut out some of the music (they could have cut out AC/DC Bag, in my opinion) it would have really brought you into the festival and drawn you into the movie, like you were part of the experience. I guess if I had to summarize the movie in a word, it’d be flat (kinda funny considering it’s a 3D movie).

I’m not going to tell you if you should go see it or not. That’s up to you to decide. I did enjoy the movie. I don’t know if being there made me a bit jaded about the movie because it lacked that full experience. It really is a toss up. I’m inclined to suggest seeing it in the theatre for that full big screen experience and buy the DVD because I’m sure it will have special features with additional songs and hopefully some of that documentary type stuff I’m looking for.

Disco Biscuits 2/19/2010

Last Friday, a couple of my invisible friends from Twitter (@UNOlker and @mountainlaura) came up to Providence for the Disco Biscuits show at Lupo’s. Having never seen Bisco, I decided I’d check it out, knowing the two of them love the band.

We got to Lupo’s during the opening act. The opening band was Indobox. They were decent. The people already there seemed to love it. There wasn’t much of a scene outside. The scene inside was far younger than I am used to. In fact, most of the crowd seemed barely 21. There were a few older folks and probably a lot of younger ones. It was a very different scene. Everyone seemed pretty spun for the most part, too.

Bisco came on sometime after 10. It might’ve been closer to 10:30. They played what seemed to be a very long first set. I’ll be honest, while they are pretty damn talented, I’m not sure it’s really for me. It was fun. It felt very much like a big dance party. The people there seemed like those you would see at a rave if raves still happened. I had a hard time following the different songs. They all seemed to flow into each other and, for the most part, ended up with that “UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ” sound at some point. This caused them to sound fairly similar. There was one song during the whole show that was slower and more mellow than the rest, but the show was extremely upbeat. As much as I like a good party, I think I can officially say that I’m getting too old for it. During the second set I headed upstairs to the balcony and hung out in back. It was nice to get away from the crazy dancing mobs for a bit, even if some chick thought I was someone else and started dancing with me. The encore was cool. They played “Cars” by Gary Numan (you know the song, look it up). I think that was my favorite part.

There were people puking in the bathroom, in garbage cans in the lobby, and I’m sure outside on the street. While in line at the coat check, some chick saw my Sunday River shirt and goes “Hey, I lost my virginity at Sunday River”. That pretty much summed up the whole experience for me.

I had fun hanging out with UNO and ML. The cabbie that took us back to my place was hilarious and a little wacked in the head, but it was fun. I’m not sure I’ll do it again, but there’s always the possibility. Maybe if it’s not on a Friday, I will. I had been awake from 6:30 am until 3:00 am that night. Needless to say, it was a long day.

Disco Bicuits 2-19-2010