Category Archives: Review

Tauk, The Jauntee, and Formula 5 Go Furthur in Providence

On Saturday, September 25, the bus stopped in Providence, RI at The Spot Underground. To celebrate, The Spot had a planned mini festival outside. Unfortunately, likely rain showers forced them to move artists and other vendors indoors and the acoustic performers they had planned were nowhere to be found. That didn’t stop the people from coming by for the main event, a triple bill of Formula 5, The Jauntee, and Tauk. The three bands each played a set on the main stage with Cosmal playing a short set in between as the bands switched up equipment.

Continue reading at NYS Music

Review: Rebirth Brass Band with Background Orcs and The Electric Church

Last night I had the pleasure of checking out the Rebirth Brass Band, a New Orleans funk/jazz/fusion brass band, for the second time. I had caught them at a Phish after-show in New York during the 2012 New Year’s run at the Gramercy Theatre. It was a bigger theatre with a balcony with seats, which came in quite handy after being at a Phish show for 3 hours and walking quite a ways to get to the theatre. Last night, they played at The Spot Underground here in Providence. The Spot is a much smaller venue, making for a much more intimate show.

I arrived at The Spot while the Background Orcs were playing their opening set on the smaller stage in the main bar area. The website called their music “infectious groove” and I can’t say I disagree. While the music was good, it wasn’t the most interesting. I wouldn’t have chosen it for an opening act. When I think an opening act, I think something to get the crowd going and excited. Their music was mellow groove-based rock/funk. At times it picked up, but remained mellow for the most part. It’s great background music, and, based on their name, maybe that’s what they’re trying to do. It was great music to sit with a beer while catching up on Twitter or chatting with some friends. It definitely got my head bobbing and toes tapping, but wasn’t enough to get me dancing. Would I see them again? Probably not if they were the headliner. They seemed young though. I suspect after getting some shows under their belts, they’ll figure out how to be more engaging.

Rebirth Brass Band

The second band to play was actually the headliners, the Rebirth Brass Band. I haven’t been to a show where the headliners didn’t close the place down, but maybe they had to hit the road that night. They opened with a powerful “Grazing in the Grass” cover with their own spin on it. The set continued with their own take on funk, jazz, and hip hop. They kept the crowd moving throughout their nearly 2 hour set, taking only an encore break. They covered The Rolling Stones’ “It’s all over Now” as the encore. Overall, it was a great set. I was situated front center. The sound at The Spot in its new location isn’t the best and I suspect the sound where I was standing was worse. They come with a fairly hefty price tag at $24. Most shows I see in smaller venues like that are in the $10-15 range at the door. It was worth what I paid, especially since the show in NYC was $35 for what felt like a much shorter set. I’d definitely pay the money again to see them next time they come around.

In the cleanup position was The Electric Church. I had seen them once before open for Primate Fiasco, also at The Spot. We didn’t stay for their entire set, which likely went until 2:30am, but they play a rock-funk fusion. They claimed, after their first song, that they only play originals with some music ripped off from other artists. It was evident in their first song, which sounded exactly like the way Phish plays “Ya Mar” by the Mustangs. In fact, the group I was with was singing “Ya Mar” to their song. They put their own twist on the music and had their own lyrics, but it was clearly not entirely their own creation. They play a fun set, keeping everyone dancing.

All in all, it was a great night. I hadn’t seen any live music since mid-July when I saw Phish at Randall’s Island in New York. It was great to get out of the house and catch some local and national music in a great little venue. If The Spot can work out the sound issues, which I trust they can, that will be one awesome little venue for smaller acts. The two rooms is great for getting the headliner setup while the opener is still playing, cutting down time in between the acts for load out/in. My favorite part about The Spot is that just about all the draft beer is local.

So get out there. Go see live music. Go see local music. Go drink local beer.

Journey to the Holy Land

and by “Holy Land”, I mean Bethel, NY.

This past Memorial Day weekend, I traveled to Bethel, NY to see Phish play three nights at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Bethel Woods is located on the property that was once part of Max Yasgur’s farm, the piece of property where the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held in 1969. Visiting Bethel was like a pilgrimage for me, having been quite interested in Woodstock and the 60’s hippie culture since I was about 10 or 11. This post is mainly about my visit to the area, along with some pictures, and what it was like being there, and my thoughts on the venue. I will cover the three Phish shows in another post that will follow. Continue reading Journey to the Holy Land

Jazz Jam at Roots Cafe

Last Thursday, I went to the Roots Cafe on Westminster Street in Providence to check out a free show that Scott Murawski announced on Twitter that day (though apparently, it was known before then). Roots Cafe has only been open for a month or two, so I got double the excitement in seeing a new bar/restaurant/venue in town and also checking out some live music. Continue reading Jazz Jam at Roots Cafe

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

Berkshire Czech Pilsner Review

This post was written as a guest review for Lost in the Beer Aisle. I met the writer, Josh, through Twitter a while ago. We’ve been chatting about beer and he had asked me several times to write a guest review for him. Well, I finally got around to doing it (I tend not to write beer reviews as I prefer to just drink the beer). It was fun reviewing a beer again. I’ll have to do more of these. Anyway, you can catch Josh on Twitter as @Lost_in_beer. Now onto the review… Continue reading Berkshire Czech Pilsner Review

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

Magic Hat Blind Faith

Magic Hat is one of those breweries that craft beer lovers love to hate on. I can’t figure out why other than that they don’t like some of their more mainstream beers. You know what? Forget those people. Ignore those people. Magic Hat is a talented, if a bit quirky, brewery. One need not go further than the brewery to see for themselves. While the majority of their beers may not be the best of the best, they are, at the very least, unique.

Craft beer lovers rejoiced when they announced the return of their IPA, Blind Faith. This beer is an excellent example of just how talented the brewers at Magic Hat are. It’s an excellent IPA that I would stack up against some of the most popular (be warned: it’s not “west coast style”, but an IPA doesn’t need to be to be excellent). It’s a very balanced, yet hop-forward beer. It’s closer to an amber ale in color, with a nice body that neither too thin nor too thick.

Anyway, I suggest everyone who likes good beer try this one. It’s not mind blowing or life changing, but it’s definitely an excellent solid IPA. And stop hating on Magic Hat. While I agree with most people that they need to stop discontinuing some of their best beer (Blind Faith, Jinx, Fat Angel, etc.), I disagree that they’re not a good brewery. They’ve been churning out #9 for quite some time and people still love it, even if it’s not a particular favorite of mine. Give Blind Faith a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

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.