Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm back.....with several reviews

Sorry I haven't been keeping everyone posted about what has been going on but it's been a crazy 9 days. Several shows, little sleep, and tons of fun. To make up for it I have 6 reviews in this post. I hope you're ready. Lets kick this off with the Fourmile Canyon Revival.

Fourmile Canyon Revival

For those of you unaware, there was a huge fire in Boulder and several people lost their homes. The kind musicians in the area put together a benefit show at 1st Bank Center. It included local bands Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters and String Cheese Incident. It also guested all four members of Phish who were doing a three night run at the venue the next three nights. More on them later. The evening kicked off with Leftover Salmon (who are playing at the Fillmore for a halloween show) with a few guests. I've never seen these guys before and fell in love with them instantly. The lead singer looks a bit like Uncle Jesse from the Dukes of Hazzard and plays a mean guitar. They played for an hour and it felt like 20 minutes, they had great jams, great guests including Paige from Phish and the woman who plays washboard for Elephant Revival and one of the guys from SCI. They were honestly one of the best bands of the night. I loved them.

After they played,Yonder Mountain String Band were up. I've had the chance to see Jeff Austin a couple times prior guesting with other bands that played in the area. It was nice to see his full band play. These guys played some awesome bluegrass but really didn't feel like a whole band until Fishman from Phish came out to play drums for them. I guess I'm just a huge fan of drums and percussion because while you can kick ass without drums, I think it just completes the sound. There is a time and place for no percussion and this set wasn't it. These guys were pretty awesome all the way through.

When they were done, it was time for Big Head Todd and the Monsters, definitely the low point of the evening. I was unfamiliar with their music as well and was keeping an open mind for them. I really enjoyed their sound but after hearing both Yonder Mountain and Leftover Salmon, they had a lot to live up to. In the end, I felt they should have been the opener. They had a couple good covers and played their big radio hit but overall they didn't really win the audience over. Also, they did not have a single guest play with them. Way to kill the mood of the night.

After Big Head Todd, there was a surprise acoustic set by Trey and Mike of Phish. They opened up with Sample in a Jar, threw in Wilson in the middle, and closed with Bathtub Gin which kept the audience singing well after they left. I've seen Phish before as a full band, but let me say I love it with just Trey and Mike. It felt more intimate and you got versions of the songs you will probably never hear again. They kicked that places ass in several different ways on the acoustic set. They also got everyone pumped for the next three nights.

After that awesome acoustic set, it was time for String Cheese Incident. I've been hearing of these guys for years and have never checked them out. Boy was I missing out. Another incredible band. They filled the stage and jammed out for the last 90 minutes of the show. There were more guests on stage than room for the most part. Some of my favorite parts of their set was Trey singing Rocky Mountain Way with them, and the final jam of Bob Marley that had the whole place dancing through their exhaustion. This show was 6.5 hours long and filled with some of the best jamming I have seen in ages and all for a great cause. I am so thankful I had a chance to witness this.

Phish Night One

After the rocking of Saturday night, it was time to try to find a ticket for Sunday's Phish show. I scoured the parking lot looking for someone with an extra ticket (as were a lot of other people) Finally, I found someone that had a suite available for a decent price. So be it, I wanted to be with the people I was with last night and keep the party going. I am so glad I did too. This ended up being the best night of the three night run. They opened the set up with Chalk Dust Torture and set the stakes high for the three days with great classics as Funky Bitch, Makisupa Policeman, Mike's Song, and Bouncing Around The Room. They also played a brand new song called My Problem Right There which turned out to be a fun little song that will probably evolve into a great jam. The band was super tight, the light show was amazing, and there wasn't a single person having a bad time. Glow sticks were flying, the crowd was dancing, it ended up being better than both nights of Telluride combined. Both Mike and Paige were in the groove and it made for pure greatness.

Phish Night Two
After witnessing two solid nights of music in a row, I was looking forward to seeing night two. I heard rumors of rerelease tickets so I went down to the venue to see if I could pick one up. No such luck. I did run into a guy selling posters that bought an extra just in case he saw someone who needed only one. I gladly got the ticket at face value and was ready to rock out for another night. This ended up being the second best night of the three night run. They opened up the set with Runaway Jim, threw in classics like Reba, Tweezer, and Run Like an Antelope. During night two they played my favorite song Backwards Down The Number Line and my new favorite Sleeping Monkey. The bass grooves were out of control on night two and Trey was unstoppable on guitar. At the end of each song everyone wanted more. There was a lot more dancing, and great people all around us. I was thankful to be there again.

Phish Night 3
This was the night I actually had a ticket for. This was also the weakest night. Now, before you make any judgments let me tell you that Phish on their worst night is still better than most bands on their best night. (I'm looking at you Nickelback and Creed)Night three opened up with yet another of my favorite Phish songs. Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan. How can you hate a song with the line Got a blank space where my mind should be? After opening strong, they immediately went into a boring song "Time Turns Elastic" which set the pace for almost the rest of the evening. Even though they played great songs like Divided Sky and Timber, they really didn't get into their groove until the end of the first set during 46 Days. When they played that, it got the entire audience revitalized and dancing again. Everyone seemed sad when that set ended since they ended so strongly and it didn't even feel like any time had passed at all. When the second set started, they opened it with Carini, which to me is kind of a weak song and a mediocre jam. I was glad when that song was over and they kicked into David Bowie which in my opinion was the best jam of the entire weekend. It got you dancing, slowed you down, built you back up, slowed it back down, with an awesome finale. They played this song in Telluride as well and they kicked Tellurides ass with this version. I was hoping the rest of the night would continue like that but they mellowed out after that. I was excited to hear Joy and Summer of 89 but would have been happier if they were in different sets since they are both mellow songs. During the encore, they ended with Meatstick and got the whole place dancing again. When they left the stage, everyone was singing for a good period of time after. I actually wouldn't be surprised if they had some staff still singing that song a week later. All in all, it was an awesome 4 nights of music at 1st Bank Center.

Tea Leaf Green
A couple nights later, Candie had won tickets for Tea Leaf Green. She was told that she would love these guys by a few people but never got around to checking them out. We headed on down to the Bluebird in the middle of the first opener Salvage and Co. I know nothing about these guys and am kicking myself for not hearing of these guys sooner. They were fucking awesome. They had a bit of a country sound, a bit of a rock sound, a tiny bit of jamming, and great vocals. I will be seeing these guys again when they are in town next.

Following them, local band Yamn took the stage. Another band I knew nothing about. They are a jam band that has more instrumental than vocals. Their light show looked like they were trying to replicate what Phish does on a smaller budget. They had me dancing for their entire set and got the crowd hyped up when they closed with a near perfect rendition of Led Zepplin's Nobody's Fault But Mine. They are playing Cervantes in a few weeks and I think I may want to check out a full set by them.

After the first two openers, it was time for Tea Leaf Green. This is yet another band I wish I had discovered sooner. This band is bass heavy and doesn't really focus much on their lead guitar. In fact, I would say they have a lead bass player and a guy that plays guitar. They rocked the house for god knows how long. We left early since I had to be to work and needed to get some kind of sleep. All in all, it was yet another amazing night of music. I'm excited I was able to witness it.

Social Distortion

Saturday night we headed to the Fillmore to see one of my favorite bands. Social Distortion. We saw them in august in Boulder and jumped at the chance to see them at the Fillmore. Weird how they played just after Phish both in August and October. Lucero opened the show and were nothing spectacular at all. They were an average band with average skills. After the last week of music, they needed to do a lot to impress me and failed miserably. I think the whole audience was bored with them as well since no one really cheered until they said they were playing their last song. I'll skip them when they come back in a few weeks. When Social Distortion took the stage, the entire place went crazy. Mike Ness came out in what looked like a suit with no jacket. Definitely not punk at all. They kicked off the set with The Creeps, played a lot of hits like Mommy's Little Monster, Ball and Chain, and closed with my personal favorite Story of my Life. I was a bit worried we wouldn't hear that since they did not play that in Boulder at all and played it the night before. Mike Ness was all over the stage, played to each side of the venue, and made mention that the night before was filled with a bunch of deadbeats. I love that he enjoys playing his music and really hope that this band is around in another 20 years. The first 30 have been incredible. If you ever get a chance to see these guys, go. Their ticket prices are reasonable and they give you a lot of energy.

Tonight, Anthrax.

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