During my two week break from writing this column, I have been super busy. I saw two Phil Lesh shows in Manhattan, two great shows with my friends, Dinamita, my new favorite band, The Blues Project and the Paul Butterfield Tribute at The Bearsville Theater, The Cheating Hearts played in Manhattan for the first time on a bill with Norah Jones, and I just came from the Graham Parker and The Rumour show at The Bardavon. Whew! I’m exhausted! LOL.
The first night of Phil Lesh didn’t really speak to me. Maybe I wasn’t listening. But the second night spoke right to my heart and soul, especially the second set, when they went from “Wharf Rat” into “Death Don’t Have no Mercy” into “Viola Lee Blues” to end the set. Then they came back and did “Saint Stephen” into “Satisfaction” for the encore! It was just like a good old Grateful Dead show! BTW, if you’d like to listen to soundboard tapes of any of the recent Northeast Phil Lesh shows, they’re all available for free streaming on Taper Rob’s Ustream channel. Google him!
The Paul Butterfield Tribute at The Bearsville Theater was great, especially the songs Jimmy Eppard sang. Butter’s music really lends itself to Jimmy’s voice. “Love Disease” was a highlight! And The Blues Project were awesome! They just sat there and played their asses off! It wasn’t an exciting rock and roll show, but they held me rapt with just the music! Those guys can still play!
My band, The Cheating Hearts, played a Levon Helm benefit at Hill Country Barbecue in Manhattan last Monday. We followed a little country and rock and roll trio that Norah Jones put together with Catherine Popper (bass payer for Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Jack White, and Ryan Adams), called Puss n Boots (and they WERE all wearing boots). After they played, Norah hung around and danced for our entire set, and when we finished, she told our lead vocalist, Just James, that we were “awesome”!
And the Graham Parker and The Rumour reunion! They did a bunch of my favorite GP songs, (even though I was sad not to hear “Heat Treatment”, “You Can’t be too Strong”, and especially “Stick to Me”), and the classic sound was all there – the swirling Hammond riffs and vocal harmonies from keyboardist, Bob Andrews, the alternating lead guitars of Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, the firmly in the pocket rhythm section of drummer Steven Goulding and bassist Andrew Bodnar, and, of course, The Man himself, Graham Parker, who brought the songs, and looked and sounded great!
If you never saw them, GP and The Rumour were one of the most rockinest bands ever in their day, and sure, a lot of the set was a little light on rockin’ tonight, but when they opened up with “Fools Gold”, they had me! And the rest of the audience! And they sounded as great as ever! Highlights were “Local Girls”, “Protection”, and my personal favorite Graham Parker song ever, “Hotel Chambermaid”, which I was so happy they did, as it is a bit obscure! They encored with “Soul Shoes”, and everyone went out into the night with a smile on their face! My thanks to Chris Silva and Lucy Edgcomb at The Bardavon for their hospitality.
In other news, The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival is finally coming to New York! Madison Square Garden, April 12 and 13! Booked as of now are Albert Lee, Alan Holdsworth, The Allman Brothers Band, BB King, Booker T, Brad Paisley, Buddy Guy, Doyle Bramhall II (who’s been Clapton’s lead guitarist for many years), Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck, Jimmy Vaughn, John Mayer, John Scofield, Jonny Lang, Keith Urban, Los Lobos, Robbie Robertson, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph, Sonny Landreth, Vince Gill (who might be the best player on the list), and others. More info at www.crossroadsguitarfestival.com and www.ericclapton.com.
And now for this week’s live music picks!
Wednesday, November 28 – Rocker alert! Rocker alert! My favorite current band, THE SUPERSUCKERS, are playing tonight at Valentine’s in Albany! This is this week’s number one Pick of the Week! If you like Rock and Roll, and you’re anywhere near Albany tonight, you owe it to yourself to go to this show!Git yer rocks off baby!
THE MOODY BLUES are at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, and New Orleans royalty, AARON NEVILLE, performs at The Brooklyn Bowl. Aaron is fresh off a new record of his favorite doo wop songs that he recorded with Keith Richards and Don Was!
Friday, November 30 – Pioneering LA punk band, X, is at Irving Plaza in Manhattan, with THE REVEREND HORTON HEAT, for the first of two nights.
Saturday, December 1 – X and THE REVEREND HEAT are back at Irving Plaza, HOT TUNA is back at The Beacon Theater for their annual shows, THE ALEXIS P. SUTER BAND IS BACK AT The Bearsville Theater for their annual Christmas show, and my next Pick of the Week is at The Bardavon Opera House, and it’s not even a musical act! It’s the film director and writer, JOHN WATERS, who has been touring the country with a spoken word act, but it’s not really an act! It’s just John Waters being himself and telling stories, and let me tell you, he is a very funny man! I saw this on HBO and it was hilarious!
Sunday, December 2 – TEDESHI TRUCKS BAND at The Palace Theater in Albany.
Monday, December 3 – The great NEIL YOUNG brings his best band ever, CRAZY HORSE, into The Barclay Center in Brooklyn, and this has to be my next Pick of the Week!
Wednesday, December 5 – THE WHO at Madison Square Garden and LUCINDA WILLIAMS at The Beacon Theater. Both of these shows have to be Picks of the Week!
Thursday, December 6 – THE WHO at The Prudential Center in Newark and TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS celebrate Toots’ 70th birthday at The Capitol Theater. Both of these shows are strongly recommended, but fall just short of Pick of the Week status. Five is enough, anyway!
Don’t forget, next week kicks off with the first of three Rolling Stones shows in our area, and if that wasn’t enough, the great Trombone Shorty will be at Terminal 5 in Manhattan with his amazing band, Orleans Avenue, on the same night The Stones are in Brooklyn! Both will definitely be Picks of the Week, so mark your calendars!
Have a great week!