Tuesday, December 30, 2008

RIP: Freddy Hubbard

It seems strange that we have lost another Jazz great during the Holiday season, for the second year in a row.

I'm cuing up Africa Brass, and Maiden Voyage right after I finish posting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

RIP: Mitch Mitchell

Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell died in his sleep last night. If ever there were a drummer defining the late 60's, it's him.

Recently, I was just contemplating ripping some of my vinyl collection, so that I'd have things like a recording of Keith Emerson and Mitch playing Miles Davis' Freedom Jazz Dance. Won't be able to do that today, in the meantime, I'll have to move a Jimi Hendrix play-list into the rotation on my iPhone.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

It's week 10 and my Ravens are 6-3

Wow, I've been silent up to this point not wanting to jinx anything. My Ravens seem to have an offense. You have to love what John Harbaugh is doing with this team, and I can't say enough good things about Cam Cameron. Joe Flacco seems to be the first real QB on the roster, since Vinny Testaverde. I'm enjoying watching balanced football games, with nice long clock killing drives.

The only bad thing this week, having to root for the Slurs and Clots because they're playing the Appalachians. It makes me feel dirty, but the playoffs are not an outlandish possibility now.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Allan Holdsworth at the Continental Club, Austin

Thanks to a heads-up from my friends, Ron and Alissa, I found out about this show Thursday night featuring Allan Holdsworth, Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Johnson. I was very excited to see this show, because I haven't seen Allan live in almost 20 years.

I arrived at 7:30PM to a 3 quarters filled Continental Club, and many musicians in the audience. The band started promptly at 8PM, with Allan humorously complaining about not having time to go back to the hotel and shower, and admitting to some nervousness, after getting a rousing ovation as the band took the stage.

I estimate that the band played 90 minutes. Here is a partial setlist, I wish I could remember the remainder of the set.

  • The Fifth
  • Fred
  • Water on the Brain
  • ...
  • Red Alert (to close the show).

During the show Allan mentioned that he wished he could be out in the audience, enjoying the music and an ale. Afterwards, the entire band was available to meet and greet the audience at the merchandise table. I let Allan know how much I enjoyed hearing him play the material from Believe It, Jimmy Johnson immediately piped up and informed me that he enjoys hearing it too!

My only regret is that fellow Lifetime band-mate, Alan Pasqua was not on this tour, because last year's DVD from Yoshi's doing much of this same material is even more outstanding (hard as that may be to believe).

Allan Holdsworth, Downtown, Nov 7, 2008

Monday, October 06, 2008

Henry Rollins Spoken Word Redux

It was hard to imagine that over a year had passed since I had last seen Rollins, time seems to fly by these days. Once again, Henry was performing a spoken word show at La Zona Rosa. (BTW, going to La Zona Rosa made me realize how little this venue is used now. I wish I knew why this was the case). The show was better attended this year, which was surprising given it was on a Sunday night.

Henry started the show announcing that it was a celebration of the end of the Bush Administration. I understand the sentiment, however since abandoning my Libertarian party membership and adopting the Voluntaryist moniker, I can honestly say that I don't share his optimism about the coming change. In fact I dread it, since I have no faith in the political process or any politician. I was impressed that he didn't dwell too long on partisan politics, and went fairly quickly, into personal anecdotes.

The rest of the show covered familiar ground. How boring he finds his own life now that he is in his 40's, his workaholic tendencies, traveling to verboten places (this year it was Islamabad, Pakistan), and getting tickets to the Van Halen reunion from David Lee Roth. He was also introspective about his childhood and his relationships with his mother (good) and his father (bad).

I enjoyed myself for the duration, which was probably just shy of 2 hours, and will probably go see him again next year, when he returns to Austin agin.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

ACL 2008 Day 3

ACL for the third and final time this year. Man, I'm tired and my feet hurt.
View from the ATT Stage

Abigal Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck

I knew what to expect having already seen this act at SxSW. Hard to believe, but the exceptional got even better.

Getting to the stage about 45 minutes early really worked out well. I was 3 rows back, with an excellent view.
Abigal Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet with Bela Fleck

The Octopus Project

Honestly, I'm not a fan of blip and bloop music, but this band can be entertaining. They started the set joined by the Austin High School marching band.

I found their music tiring to listen to after the 3 or 4 songs. I think they work better in a smaller venue. They did provide the first Theremin sighting of the day.

Octopus Project

Mike Farris featuring the Roseland River Revue

This band was a hidden gem at the WaMu pavilion. Straight forward, well executed Soul and R&B by a band from Nashville, backed up with an Austin horn section (made up of the Elephant Room crew).

Mike Farris featuring the Roseland Rhythm Revue

Joe Bonamassa

Wow, can Joe play guitar. I will most likely have to catch him on tour one of these days. Joe was the official guitar hero of ACL, and everyone had gotten the memo (it was impossible to get near this stage).

Interestingly enough, the Theremin made another appearance during this show.
Joe Bonamassa

Okkervil River

I don't normally listen to this type of Indie rock, but I had to catch this show because I know one of the band members.

Okkervil River

Early Exit

I decided to call it night early, maily because of exhaustion, a Ravens' MNF game tomorrow, and my not being a Foo Fighters fan. Reading other write-ups, it sounds like I should have tried to catch Band of Horses.
The Main Gate
The Main Gate

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ACL 2008 Day 2

My friend Dan and I arrived relatively early again. Weather was nice (a bit on the warm side), but it was crowded. Still plenty of dust and ragweed to go around too!

The Black & White Years

I had met two of the people in this band at an AMF Mixer about 2 years ago. They are basically an early 80's new-wave band. Shades of Oingo Boingo, and the Cars.

The Black & White Years

Fleet Foxes

This was really laid back acoustic act with incredible 4 part harmonies. They seemed like festival first timers, since they took quite a bit of time between songs. I was impressed with the fact the lead singer was out talking to the crowd afterward.

The Fratellis

I witnessed this band from the AMD stage, since my friend and I decided to go for good positioning for Sharon Jones. What I heard was great, reminiscent of Cheap Trick, with a slightly more British edge. Wish the schedule hadn't conspired against me.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

I had a heads-up about this band from Andrew Dubber on one of his blogs about a year ago. They also played at Antones, but I missed the show. The band lived up to the hype,

This is an unbelievably good Motown style band. No words can do this band justice, they are great. Sharon owned the crowd.

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

I had to go see these guys, if only to see this bearded fellow playing keys.
Ian Varley with Black Joe Lewis

Black Joe Lewis

Les Freres Guisse

An incredible West African group from Senegal. I wish I had been able to catch the whole show, rather than the last 3 songs.

The Nachito Herrera All Stars

Nachito's bio says he is Piano virtuoso, after seeing him play I agree. There was one big problem, he needs to learn how to play with his band, rather than over top or plowing through them.

John Fogerty

Solid set of CCR and Fogerty solo material. I was pleasantly surprised to see drummer extraordinaire, Kenny Aronoff. The whole crowd (filled with gray ponytails) was singing along, always a good sign.

John Fogerty

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Homerun number two of the night. Well worth the extra 45 minute wait in order to get a good position near the front of the stage.

This show was like an encyclopedia of different types of American "roots" music. In addition to the two stars, we had T-bone Burnett on guitar. The set included an amazing rendition of Black Dog and the Battle of Evermore. Hearing it alfresco on a clear Austin night, priceless.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Friday, September 26, 2008

ACL 2008 Day 1

Long day, great weather, some dust, and pollen or ragweed ;( My friend Dan, and I arrived early, parked near Antones and touch the shuttle.

The Calm Before the Storm
AMD Stage - Cable Tray and Snakes

Asleep at the Wheel

How else would you kick off an ACL Festival? This year, Ray had a younger girl (who couldn't have been more than 15 years old) on stage as the 2nd fiddle player. She's a great player now, I can only imagine where she'll be in 10 years.

Other highlights of the show included a great rendition of Hot Rod Lincoln.

Asleep at the Wheel

What Made Milwaukee Famous

An Austin band that I had never seen before. Good, but not my cup of tea.

Jakob Dylan and the Gold Mountain Rebels

Jakob appeared on the same stage that his father had last year. I have seen him several times with the Wallflowers, and can honestly say, I liked that band better.

The first two songs of this set were played very tentatively. If I had to hazard a guess, it seemed like there was a problem with the on-stage monitors. This was quickly remedied, and they finished with the type of Singer/Songwriter set that you would expect.

The Freddy Jones Band

I caught these guys in the WaMu (wonder who the new sponsor will be next year?) pavilion. These guys were a really tight and experienced band, playing "Adult oriented" Pop/Rock. Enjoyable, but the genre is not something that would compel me to buy an album.

The Freddy Jones Band

Patty Griffin

Patty was one of the recommended act, and was fantastic. She lives in Austin, but apparently tours quite a bit. Fantastic band, including a old friend, Mike Longoria, on drums. I'm not usually one to listen to much Americana, but I have made a mental note to catch her, the next time she plays here in Austin.

Patty Griffin

David Byrne

Holy crap, David hit it out of the park with this show. Easily the best show of the day, and could quite possibly be the best show of the Festival when it's all over.

At the beginning of the set their were 8 people on stage, David on lead guitar, keys, bass, drums, percussion and 3 backup singers, all dressed in white. They were joined on stage by 3 dancers (also in white), around the third song. The entire set was a well choreographed show, integrating music and dance throughout. As an observer, I could not help but think of Stop Making Sense.

I can't say enough good things about the Rhythm Section in this band. They were fucking awesome; the best I'd seen in a long while. Everyone in the crowd was visibly dancing or boppin' along to the backbeat. The show also consisted of a well rounded selection of Byrne's solo material and a healthy serving of reworked Talking Heads songs.

Two thumbs up for this one! I also just realized, that all of the Talking Heads albums in my collection are on vinyl. Time to refresh the collection with digital.

David Byrne

Evening Wrap Up


I caught about half of the set, from this NYC based funk band. Probably would have listened to more of their set, but they were on the way across Zilker.

Alejandro Escavedo

Supposedly Alejandro's first ACL. I listened to two numbers before proceeding back towards the AMD stage. I've seen him enough at SxSW to not feel like I was missing anything.

The Swell Season

I probably should have listened to the previews of this band. I caught two numbers from this act, and wished I had seen the whole set.

Mars Volta

I've tried to get into this band on the recommendation of other Prog fans, particularly King Crimson fans. I don't hear any similarity, and have never found them that interesting. Hearing them live, changed nothing. I'm just not in to them.

Manu Chao

Sounded fine and had a good band. Another case where I can't understand what all the fuss is about though. Seems to play a hodgepodge of World Music, but always seems to end up on the Reggae/Ska end of the genre spectrum

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have the Wristband

I picked up my ACL Wristband tonight, and took the opportunity to take a picture of the gate, with my phone.

Old West Austin, Sep 24, 2008

Looking forward to a great weekend of music.

Monday, September 15, 2008

RIP: Richard Wright

Pink Floyd founder and Keyboardist, Richard Wright, passed away today in London, at age 65. I'll be listening to some Floyd tonight it seems.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Austin Jazz Fest Night 3

This was night two for me. I arrived there at 9PM and saw the following acts:

  • Soul Kitchen - a Hip-hop fusion act. All competent musicians, I just wasn't into their music.
  • The Landfall Quartet - the first real Jazz act, although they were apparently missing the 4th member (a guitarist). Great Wayne Shorter type of feel to the set. Everyone in this ensemble played well.
  • Azul - a Salsa fusion band led an old friend from the Mid-Hudson Valley, Peter Mazzetti. Pete's bands have always been tight and played interesting stuff. It's too bad Azul is not able to play more often here in Austin.
  • Burly - another quartet (?) with a member missing, playing as a trio. They played a blues influenced rock set reminiscent of Jeff Beck.

All in all, I had a good time, but I am wondering about the "state" of Jazz in Austin. I would have preferred a little more traditional trio or quartet music with Acoustic Instruments. I also have to wonder why this was held at the Dirty Dawg, as opposed to the Elephant Room.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Austin Jazz Fest Night 2

First, let me say I was lazy and didn't make it downtown Friday night. I saw the following acts perform last night:

  • Bruce James Soultet - mainly a funk band. Bruce sounds at times like Dr. John, and at others like Chris Rea, great keys player.
  • Brady Muckleroy - a bassist from Buda, who intermixes solo electric bass playing, with an ensemble. I had seen him perform before in San Marcos as a solo act.
  • A band I believe was named Micky Ficky, but was listed as the Fair. Regardless of their name, I found the rhythm section to be a bit under rehearsed to be honest, and ended up leaving after their fourth song.

I enjoyed the first 2 bands and felt both were very tight. However, my biggest gripe about the Jazz Fest so far, not much of what I call "Jazz" was going on at all.

I did however meet Austrian Guitarist and now Austin inhabitant, Ulrich Ellison. He had played earlier and was engaging to talk to. I bought his CD based upon our conversation of our favorite musicians, and enjoyed it greatly on the drive home. It was fusion in the Jeff Beck and John McLaughlin vein.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Ravens Post of 2008

Honestly, I'm nervous about the Ravens this season. I'm particularly nervous about our secondary and D line because of injuries;( So far, they haven't looked very good in either of the preseason games that I have watched. That said, this year is probably a gimme' for Harbaugh.

I be there a week from Sunday rooting for them against the Bungles. Hopefully, it will end better than last year's opener at Cincy. At least this one is at home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

King Crimson at the Keswick Theater

I just landed in Austin about 3 hours ago and am still digesting the show I saw last night. After well over a decade, I was finally able to see King Crimson again, at the Keswick Theater. The 6th in a 9 show tour celebrating 40 years of music. By Fripp's accounting, this is eighth lineup. We'll ignore the transitional lineups and the virtual seventh lineup.

I first became aware of the band when I was 14 years old. After discovering ELP, it was only short time later that I discovered Greg Lake's first band. Of course, a similar path following Bill Bruford's career after Yes, landed in the same place, on Robert Fripp's door stoop. As a result, I can say that I have been a fan of King Crimson for 33 years now.

My trek began Sunday, and I am thankful that despite weather problems, I was still able to arrive in Glenside (a minor inconvenience getting to the hotel at 3AM rather than 7PM). I was grateful that I had decided to fly in the day before the show, correctly foreseeing scenarios that would end up with me missing the show.

Besides finding write-ups at the obvious place, the set list can be found over at Zogworld and Tony Levin has already posted pictures from the show

The highlights of the show for me were hearing two songs from Larks Tongue in Aspic, and significant amount of material from the Discipline and Double Trio eras. Strangely, a review of Tuesday show mentioned that they did not play Sleepless, which I felt they did exceptionally well.

The lowlights for me were some problems with the sound (obvious clipping in the PA when Tony Levin's stick or the Kick Drums hit a strong note) and an interpretive dance troupe of 3, situated about 6 rows in front of me. Later joined by another spastic performance in the middle section.

Quite surprisingly, Robert Fripp seemed quite jovial despite hiding behind his rack. It was quite unusual to see him standing at stage right with a beaming smile, applauding the other members, at the end of the show and the two encores.

All I can say is that I hope they continue touring. I regret not going to the Tuesday show and hearing about the Nashville warm-up gigs, too late.

Monday, August 04, 2008

In one week

I will be sitting in the Keswick Theater watching the 40th anniversary celebration of the Beast, King Crimson.

I'm psyched! Early reviews of the 2 shows at the Belcourt in Nashville are already in. The sound clips of the rehearsal sessions are just whetting my voracious appetite for seeing the masters at work.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Startup Camp

I attended another Barcamp event, Startup Camp. This one was held at the Texas Union Building at UT. Well attended and very interesting.

Steve Hazel of bit-torrent fame, gave a very interesting talk on codepad and his application engine. Also much discussion of Co-ops, as a business structure. Much to ponder.

Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP: George Carlin

I saw this rolling by on Twitter this morning. Bummer!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Perceiving a Pattern

On two separate occasions this week, I observed buzz surfacing about things that I had experienced for the first time about a quarter ago. I am beginning to wonder whether there is something significant to this 3 month time period.

Bar Camp Austin III

I participated in this on a lark, while SxSWi was going on in force and really enjoyed the experience.

Birds of Feather (BOF) sessions have always been popular at Technical Conferences, and I've always felt that these were typically the most (and sometimes the only) valuable parts. Running an entire conference as a set of BOFs seemed to be a next logical step.

Then last year, I heard the Java Posse describe their Roundup, during their Podcast. It was the first time that I heard the words Open Space and Unconference. I was a little surprised then to see Seth Godin propose the idea a few days ago. He is usually one of the earliest adopters and has appeared as a TED speaker (which is at least in the right neighborhood). Needless to say, I think Open Space will begin to make inroads everywhere.

Branded or Artist Specific TV Stations

In an equally odd and coincidental fashion, I started seeing tweets and blurbs on Bob Lefsetz's site talking about Live from Daryl's House. This show was heavily marketed at SxSW Music this year, and I agree that it is amazing. I've been watching it regularly since first hearing about it. I am somewhat amused by the fact that I would have never considered my self a big Daryl Hall fan in the past.

The timing of this seems to indicate a pattern. BTW, check out the recent episode with Nick Lowe and Daryl!


I think the confluence of people and ideas here in Austin during SxSW, is a major catalyst. I don't believe that it's the breeding ground, but it is certainly a place where you can first observe the early adopters using new things in the wild. Of course, there's a jaded part of me that has tended to scoff at the value of SxSW, because some parts of it seem so commercialized (and political). The impact of the event seems obvious now.

This has led me to the conclusion that I should continue to keep my eye on certain new things in the Tech Industry. Right now, I am fascinated with the Ruby community and what is being done with cloud computing, github, and heroku. I'm sure they will be very prominent at Bar Camp Austin IV.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Thursday Night at Emos

I received an email from Graham Reynolds early last week, about his Golden Arm Trio show at Emos, on thursday night. Since I happened to be attending the Live Music Task Force meeting at City Hall, I decided to stay downtown and catch some music. After grabbing some food at Best Wurst, I headed over to Emos, for the first show I've seen there in probably 7 or 8 years. I arrived at around 10:15 and the first band was already playing:

Mr. Lewis and the Funeral Five ...

were already on stage. The Tom Waits influence was obvious. They were all good musicians, but this type of music just doesn't work for me for longer than about a set.

Golden Arm Trio

This is about 4th time I've seen Graham play this year, and this time he was using essentially the same lineup that he did at SxSW, and included an AMF friend, Wayne Myers on trombone. For this smaller show, Graham brought along his own console piano. He also opted not to play drums, and had a very exceptional drummer instead. Great job, Graham is quite demonic sometimes when he plays. The crowd was surprisingly into them, and expressed their enjoyment freely.


Firewater finished up the night. I had missed them at SxSW, and it was obvious that this show was a result of their trip here in March, and they had a minor buzz. Their base sound is an offshoot of Ska and Dub with an injection of some other world music. I enjoyed the show, as did everyone present. The band played superbly.

Two individuals stood out in the band in addition to leader Tod A, Reut Regev on Trombone and Flugelhorn, and Dhol percussionist, Johnny Kalsi.

I had originally planned on cutting out early during their set, but decided to stay until closing time after I had heard them play. I'll be keeping an eye for them in the future.

Airto Moreira at the One World

I attended a Master Class given by famed Brazilian drummer and percussionist, Airto Moreira, last Sunday (6/8/2008) at the One World Theater. Airto is famous because he played with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew, and was involved in the seminal beginnings of both Weather Report and Return to Forever. It's too bad that Chick Corea couldn't have had him sit on some dates with that tour.

The Master Class was free and afforded all present an opportunity to peak inside the mind of the artist. It consisted mainly of him talking, with a little bit of singing and playing intermixed. It was a little bit different than the other Master Class I had attended there with Terry Bozzio and Pat Mastelotto, which consisted entirely of a performance and very little talking

I was unfortunately unable to attend the show later that night, but my friend Fito did. He enjoyed the show but mentioned that Flora Purim was not present (even though advertised) and they did not have guitarist.

Monday, June 02, 2008

RIP: Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley passed away today. What can you say? He's an icon and a member of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Just think about the number of songs that use the Bo Diddley beat. Too many to count, it's part of Rock n' Roll's ancestral DNA.

Additional information here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Return to Forever Returns

I attended the kick-off show of the Return to Forever Returns tour, at the Paramount Theater. I was quite surprised that it happened in fact, given some of DiMeola's and White's previous comments that the obstacle to a reunion was Chick's religion.

The evening started at the New Amsterdam bar with friends who are mostly musicians and heavy Prog/Fusion fans. We had also gotten together at a Memorial Day BBQ and watched DVDs of RTF (and other fusion bands), as a pregame. After speculating on what the show would entail, we trekked over to the Paramount which was almost sold out.

You could feel a general sense of excitement within the crowd, as they anticipated the show to come. As I took my seat, I noticed that the soundman was playing Tony Williams' album, Believe It (nice choice). I was probably right at the mean age of the crowd, so there were lots of gray ponytails in the audience ;)

I was sitting 6 rows back and 3 seats in from the aisle, on the left with DiMeola and Lenny White directly in front of me. The show began fairly promptly at about 8:10PM with an unusual touch, the band received a standing ovation before they had even started playing. I think this helped them immeasurably, and they appeared to all be in good spirits, as a result. At times, they even seemed quite emotional about it.

All in all, the show consisted of 2 sets lasting 65-75 mins, with an intermission and a 2 song encore. I think the whole thing came in about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Understandably, the first 3 or 4 songs were a little rough around the edges, before they settled into a good groove. I estimate that the house sound wasn't properly tweaked until later in the first set.

I should mention at this time, that I had seen every member of this band except Lenny White, as solo acts. The last time I had seen DiMeola, I didn't really enjoy it that much. I knew Lenny White was a bad-ass though, you don't replace Tony Williams in Miles Davis' band if you aren't. I am not familiar with the RTF catalog with this lineup, since all of my RTF albums have Bill Connors, not Al DiMeola. This didn't detract from my enjoyment of the show, in this context everyone shined.

The songs were all arranged, but there was a good deal of improvisation, even with DiMeola and Clarke using charts. There was enough nervousness on the part of the band, to make the solos interesting and feel honest. I am convinced that if I had in fact returned to see the Friday show, it would not feel like a replay of the night before.

For the second set, they went all acoustic with DiMeola on a nylon string, Clarke on upright bass, and Chick on a Yamaha grand. This was really special. DiMeola's and Chick's playing is almost frightening at times.

Surprisingly, a full account of the show was posted on the website before noon Friday. It includes a Set List and photos. I took a few additional photos with my iPhone.

Return to Forever

If possible, I was thinking I would like to catch this group after they had been touring for a few months, just to see what they sound like. Other than that, I enjoyed this night of music immensely. I have also reconsidered some of the things I said previously about DiMeola.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Miscellaneous thoughts

Last night, I had the misfortune of watching the Spurs lose and drop into a 3-1 hole, in the Western Conference Finals. It would have been more palatable if it weren't for the ending of the game. Brent Barry was obviously fouled, and should have went to the foul line.

On a positive note, 24 hours from now I will be sitting in the Paramount Theater watching Return to Forever. I can't wait!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A strange coincidence

As some of you may know, I'm half Lithuanian, originally from Baltimore, and a big Frank Zappa fan. As a result, it isn't too hard to imagine why that this article caught my eye, in google reader.

Two questions arise:

  • Should Montana get a bust of Zappa too?
  • Will there be statutes of John Waters, Divine and David Byrne?

I wonder if my Zappa predilection is genetic? It seems that I will have to plan a celebration on August 9th!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Graham Reynolds and Brannen Temple

I trekked down to the Long Center to catch Graham Reynolds and Brannen Temple perform as a duet. Unfortunately, I arrived about 15 minutes late to see them already at work. I estimate there were about 70 people in the audience.

The stage had an interesting layout with a Steinway Grand, 2 drum sets, a vibraphone, and assorted make shift percussion strewn in front of Brannen's kit. Both musicians moved very fluidly between the various "stations" during the show, which lasted approximately 75 minutes.

Some of the highlights ...

  • They began with a group of improvisations. Graham played a Steinway Grand, accompanied by Brannen on the traps. The songs all had great interplay between the piano and drums. One piece had a mutated "Trading eights" feel, without being cliche. Graham was playing in his very orchestral, Bartok-ish style with heavy use of left hand octaves and ostinatos.
  • They then switched positions on stage, so that Brannen was on Vibes and Graham was on his drum kit to perform one of Brannen's compositions. This was as an interesting change of pace, and the song presented had a completely different feel and texture.
  • Changing places again, Brannen performed a percussion solo on a collection of make shift instruments. The instruments consisted of things like barrels, propane tanks, and buckets. I distinctly remember the title of one piece being Boogie's Boogie, a dedication to his infant son.
  • The show finished up with Brannen on the percussion and Graham returning to the piano and ending with a variation on a theme by Lionel Ritchie, that would have fit right in with the rest of the Scanner Darkly soundtrack.

I really enjoyed this show, as well as my first venture inside of the Long Center. The music was great and the acoustics were fantastic.

My only criticism: the show was too short!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Austin Art Alliance Party

I was invited to a Thank You party as a result of participating in Art City Austin a few weeks ago. It was held on the grounds of the Art Museum of Austin (AMOA) at Laguna Gloria.

The main reason I'm posting though is to get one up on Mikael Behrens! I see his Pelicans, and raise him some Peacocks!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The 2008 Baltimore Orioles

Well my Orioles are presently sitting in 2nd place, but for how long? This is the first year in a long time, that I have not purchased MLBTV. I'm treading around this softly, like there's an open container of Nitro nearby. Shhhh ... don't jinx it!

In other news, the Spurs are up 1-0 over the Suns in the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs. Damn the 2:00PM start time to hell, it sounds like I missed one of the best playoff games ever. (At least for Spurs fans).

RIP: Brian "Blinky" Davison

Brian Davison, drummer for Keith Emerson's first band, the Nice, passed away on 4/15/2008. He also played with the band Refugee, with another keyboard wiz, Patrick Moraz.

Like many prog fans my age, it didn't take too long to discover the Nice, after learning about ELP. If you have never heard the Nice before, then let me suggest the albums Five Bridges and Elegy (the two of which has been re-released in a single package, as Keith Emerson with the Nice).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Art City Austin - Art After Dark

As a result of volunteering to help the Austin Music Foundation man their booth, I obtained an all access pass to the Art City Austin and Art After Dark events, downtown on South 1st Street around City Hall. It's events like this that make living in Austin great.

Arriving late Saturday afternoon, I crossed the First Street bridge which had been closed to traffic. Over the last 50 yards or so, the bridge was sparsely populated with shrub/sculptures that looked like humans. (Way cool!) The weather was outstanding!

I arrived at the booth around 5PM and discovered that I had missed the Octopus Project again (Doh!). I was however, able to watch Del Castillo do their sound check. They played a very solid set that I estimate ran about 90 minutes. I agreed with several friends that this art oriented crowd seemed more concerned with the party inside City Hall and the after hours viewings. This was too bad, these people missed a very good show.

On Sunday, I arrived early to catch part of Guy Forsyth, walk some of the exhibit tents and booths to view the sculptures and paintings, and then move further down to the other stage to catch Opposite Day and my friend Ric Furley's band, Mundi. Both bands were great, Opposite Day was a great Power Trio, who were probably a little too loud for the mixed age crowd.

I would hazard a guess that almost everyone enjoyed Mundi, a 5 piece with Ric on Drums and Percussion, bass, cello, violin, and acoustic guitar. I will have to it point to see Ric's other project, Sabbath Crow.

The day wound down with a Conjunto type of band from Denton, Brave Combo. Good musicians, but not really my cup of tea. On the way out, I was surprised to see that someone had erected a temporary hedge sculpture on the 1st Street Bridge.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Les Claypool (with Tim Fite opening) at Stubbs

Tim Fite

This is the third time I've seen Tim Fite and side-kick, Dr. Leisure, perform. Since he evokes memories of Andy Kaufman, I really enjoy his act. It took about 15 minutes for him to win the crowd over with his zaniness. (A little longer than the other times that I've seen him).

If you've never seen him and get the chance, do it!

Les Claypool

I was tentative about going to this show, because in the past I have found some of Claypool's music to be repetitive and annoying. His band looked interesting enough with 4 players on sax, marimba/vibraphone/percussion, drums, and bass. Unfortunately, my worst fears were realized, and were combined with bad lighting, bad sound (the sax player may as well have not been there), and inaudible vocals.

I estimate that he played about 2 hours, but I found myself wanting to leave halfway through the show. A large part of my irritation was Claypool's sound selection. I don't think I will be going to another Claypool show for a good long time.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

U2 3D

Over the past few months, I have tried to talk several friends into going to see the U2 3D movie at the TX History Museum IMax Theater. With this being the final week of showing, I said screw it and went by myself. All of the reviews I have read said this was not to be missed.

I enjoyed it immensely but it wasn't quite what I expected. They still use stereoscopic technology, so the glasses were required. Unfortunately, a calibration problem at this facility resulted in some images appearing with pink shadows or halos rather than a sharp 3D image. Perhaps it was better in other parts of the theater, although I'm not 100% convinced of that.

In general, U2 is a great live band. They are always tight, have an excellent song selection, and look like they truly enjoy being on stage. This was captured on the movie which from the credits appeared to have been derived from two shows, one in Argentina, and one in Australia.

The biggest disappointment for me was the camera angles. In some cases, like the shots of drummer Adam Clayton, they did a fantastic job. In other cases, however the 3D effect didn't work that well. U2 is very fond of using large light displays behind their stage. In many cases, this seemed to distract from the 3D effect.

Bottom line: If you haven't already seen it, I would still recommend that you go. This is obviously the future of entertainment. There is more to follow ...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Albino Squirrel Sighting

Well, I saw an albino squirrel today, and took these 2 pictures as proof. I tried to get closer, but the little critter was pretty cagey, and suspicious.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

SxSW Music - Day 4

The final day, and the weather is still holding up. In fact, I'm wearing shorts


  • I started the morning with the Daryl Hall interview. It was great to see that Daryl is still an Indie musician at heart, and is one of us in spirit. Lots of questions from the Interviewer and the Audience about the whole Sacred Songs and Exposure debacle. Daryl is quite an interesting guy, and I give him major kudos for the Live From Daryl's House webcast site. Here is a major artist that gets the Internet, and wants to bring back shows like Don Kirchner and the Midnight Special.

I would have liked to have stayed for the Alan Parsons panel at 3PM, but was on the hook to go watch my friends in Proteus and Coalition play at the Hi-Lo.


  • I started out the afternoon, to watch Ed Martinez, Dave Johnson and their bands, Proteus and Coalition. Both bands are tight and play great fusion/prog music. Like One2One, Hi-Lo is a bar where the windows can be completely opened, so that people can see and hear the band from the sidewalk. People were stopping and then jammin' along to both bands. What a great afternoon.

    Here are 2 pictures of Proteus in action:

  • Ran into my good friend, Ted from Thirteen of Everything, and went to see the experimental group, Jandek. I like some pretty strange Avant-garde music, but this was beyond me.
  • I then trekked down to Stubbs to catch another friend Scott Brackett and his band, Okkervil River. They're a high energy, folk influenced pop rock act and won the best Indie Band, in this year's Austin Music Awards. They were followed by Austin legend, Roky Erickson, who sounded much better than any previous videos I had seen.
  • I managed to catch one song of the Pedro Menedez Ensemble at the Elephant Room. I probably could have caught more, but they seemed to be on Jazz Time while setting up.
  • For the final show of SxSW, I went to the Hideout and caught AMF friend, Josh Robbins and his band the Invincible Czars. Very Zappa-esque, crazy and fun. Josh you're a madman and great guitarist.

Friday, March 14, 2008

SxSW Music - Day 3

A third straight day of fantastic weather, what could be better.


I attended 2 panels.

  • What is the Future of Record Companies and Artists Deals - actually a CLE for the lawyers. I just found out from my friend Alissa, that this was the first year they were open to non-lawyers. Kind of funny, I never realized that in previous years, and attended anyway.
  • Mobility, Ubiquity and Monetizing Music - great talk. Only Pearlman really got it. Had interesting stats from Ed Felton out of Princeton and China. 30 Million classic music hobbyists and aficionados.

    I was very annoyed at the typical rhetoric against the Free Market, from some of the pundits on this panel. If I hear another lawyer arguing about how government saves us, I'm going to puke.


  • First act I saw was Paddy Casey, on the DirecTV stage. I'm not normally a fan of singer songwriters, but this guy is just Incredible. He sang and played acoustic guitar, with a background singer/pianist. I would buy this guy's CD in a heartbeat.
  • I went to the Brush park party, hosted by the Australians. Can't remember much other than some free Vodka samples and food.
  • To begin the evening, I went to the Tim Fite Hosts show at Antones. Bear In Heaven was the first act, after a humorous intro monologue by Tim. Finding no honey with these bears, I left.
  • I stopped by Cedar Street, and caught part of Fastball. They are an Austin band that had a Top 40 hit in 1999. Pop rock, that is very well done. Cedar Street was even more crowded than the night before with Tim Fite. At least 3 rows of people on the 4th Street sidewalk.
  • I then went to the Tiniest Bar in Texas to catch deSoL. Apparently, I screwed up and they had played the night before. I stayed a bit and watched the White Ghost Shivers, instead.

St. David's

I finished the night catching 3 fantastic shows at St. David's Church. This is officially my favorite venue.

  • First up was Sxip Shirey. Holy f*cking crap, was this guy amazing. He basically has some pedal effects, a microphone, harmonica, and table of toys. A former guitarist who came up with career ending tendinitis, he turned to making music in non-traditional ways. I would fail miserably to describe what he does in words. (He does for Music, what Tim Burton does for film). He was joined by an equally amazing Human beatbox performer for several songs. This show totally blew away some of my previous conceptions about live musical performance and instruments. A must see, if you ever get the chance. He lives in Brooklyn.
  • Graham Reynolds and the Golden Arm Trio were next. Another amazing Austin musician who I have gotten meet through AMF. The Trio was actually a quartet, with a Cellist, Trombone Player (Wayne Myers another AMF acquaintance), Saxophonist, and Electric Bassist. Graham plays Piano and Drums and is an unbelievable talent. He is always entertaining.
  • The Brannen Temple Trio with D Madness on bass. An Austin Jazz Trio with Drums, Steel Drums and Electric Bass. My friend Brian over at Mixtank has been ranting about D Madness for a while. Now I know why.

Screw ups of the day

Not putting the deSoL show on the right day in my calendar.

SxSW Music - Day 2

A second awesome day of weather. This makes up for a SxSW I went to 10 years ago, where it rained every day


  • I caught the tail end of Lou Reed Keynote, no need to book the Hilton Ballroom, this year! LOL ;)
  • The first panel was the Performance Royalty Debate, led by AMF Board Member, Chris Castle. Very interesting talk with reps from SoundExchange, A2IM, AFTRA, and others. Chris Castle did a great job as host and antagonist, keeping the whole panel on their toes. Each group was still protecting their own interests first, exactly as you would expect.
  • I then attended the Steve Reich Interview. (This is how I discovered that I had missed the night he had hosted at St. David's. Doh!) Fantastic interview, I took some notes, but hope that a Video Podcast will eventually appear on the SxSW site. He had lots of interesting things to say about the Beatnik generation that he grew up in, and particularly Jazz great, John Coltrane. I stand in awe of the great Composer, and Musicologist!


After the morning lightning round of panels, I went to go see more music.

  • It started with the Austin Music Foundation Party at the Music Gym. Austin music diva and Rockstar SuperNova contestant, Patrice Pike. Great day outside, and great music.
  • After the party wound down at 4PM, I went back to the Convention Center and caught, Martha Wainwright on the DirecTV soundstage, the Long Star Lounge. I had seen her last year at La Zona Rosa show with Rachel Fuller. She was fantastic and her band was awesome.
  • I went upstairs to look over the Trade Show. It has gotten worse each year. Lots of booths with irrelevant vendors. Most hawking nameless digital music services, that I had never heard of before entering the room.
  • I started the evening at Stubbs for the Body of War show. This is part of the promotion for a documentary film with the same name, produced by Phil Donahue. (Who was in the audience). The music consisted of Tom Morella (Rage Against the Machine, Audio Slave), Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Ben Harper, Billy Brag, and others. Interesting Serj played piano, Tom played the blues and sang, Billy Brag was awesome. A group encore completed a very enjoyable show.
  • I managed to walk across town to Cedar Street and caught the end of Tim Fite. I was blown away by Tim, 2 years ago at Antones. Word has gotten around, and the house was packed. He was entertaining as always, but Cedar Street is probably not the best venue for his multimedia fun.
  • On the way back, I happened by One2one (non-SxSW venue) with the windows open, and the house a rockin' with the Everyday People. Outside, I ran into the drummer from Cellus and Loose Grip, Mike Burnall, whom I had met at the Ron Paul fundraiser in SA. They were on a split bill at the same bar. Mike introduced me to del Castillo bassist, Bert Besteiro. Both bands were interesting enough to make me stay for a parts of both sets.
  • I finished the night with the Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck show, at St. Davids Episcopal Church. There was a bit of a line, that included Jackie the Jokeman Martling. This room, a chapel, had incredible acoustics and the show was unreal. A very memorable experience. (Driving home the realization about what I probably missed at this venue the night before with Steve Reich).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SxSW Music - Day 1

Today was the first day of SxSW. It started out slightly overcast, but cleared up nicely as the day moved on.


  • I started off the day, with the Tour Smart panel hosted by ex-PiL drummer, Martin Atkins, Eddie Spaghetti from the Super Suckers, and some nameless manager from Live Nation. All I can say is Wow, Martin is the bomb. He basically monopolized the time, but thank god he did. He had a very engaging set of slides, had a great humorous delivery, and showed real creativity. This was the best panel I've ever attended in 4 years of attending the Conference.

    I had no problem forking over $20.00 for a copy of Martin's book and DVD afterward, because what he said was so valuable. He is continuing the Punk, DIY attitude that I love.

  • For the second session, I attended a talk by three lawyers on Red Flags in Contracts. Honestly, even though they had huddled beforehand and had handouts, they didn't really make the subject accessible to those in the audience, who weren't members of the Bar. They needed someone like Martin Atkins on their panel. Too bad, I think it is important for artists to understand this stuff.
  • The last session I attended was Accounting in Record Deals. It was another case of being dry, but important. Fortunately, the presenter actually had examples of real deals, with a brief explanation. I have a set of the slides hopefully coming via email. Of course, maybe the whole subject is moot, because the whole concept has changed in the Digital Age.


The panels are interesting, but the music is king.

  • I started out the night going to see Van Morrison at La Zona Rosa, with some friends. Apparently the show was under Martial Law. The bar was closed during the entire show, by edict from King Van. There was also some heavy handed enforcement of the no photographing policy via cell phones. While I understand the objection, this was a little over the top.

    I guess I would of overlooked this, if I felt like I attended an exceptional show. Frankly it was boring, and lacked passion. Talking to some other people, it sounds like this is par for the course. (Next)

  • The refurbished Austin Music Hall, was next on the list with the Austin Music Awards. It was crowded and I was able to see Lyle Lovett and Pinetop Perkins, as well as several other acts. Not stellar, the acoustics weren't that great. This is the first time I went to check out the awards, and it will probably be the last.
  • During the walk back towards Red River, I happened across The Photo Atlas at the Cedar Door. They weren't bad, just not my cup of tea.
  • I also randomly walked into Buffalo Billiards, and saw Goldspot, a band from LA. A very well done light rock/pop show. Austin beatbox artist, John Pointer joined them on stage for one number. I enjoyed it, but can't say I would buy their CD.
  • Hopewell and Earthless at Bourbon Rocks. Both of these bands were interesting, but loud. This was the show that made me regret forgetting my earplugs.
  • I attempted to get in line for REM at Stubbs, and after seeing the futility there, ended up seeing The Acorn from Ottowa, CA at Habana Patio. These guys were great. Easily the best act of the night on my itinerary.

Screw ups of the day

  • Forgetting the earplugs!
  • Going to see Van Morrison
  • Not seeing Daryl Hall
  • Not noticing the Steve Reich show at St. David's Church

Monday, March 10, 2008

Brain Science

Brain science seems to be a popular topic in the Blog/Podcast Sphere. I recently ran across the following:

I found both of these to be very interesting. Much to ponder.

In other news, my mood is both excited and happy, with SxSW Music commencing tomorrow morning!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Barcamp Austin III

Having attended the SxSW Music Conference for the last 4 years, I have often considered also attending SxSW Interactive. Being a contractor however, I couldn't justify taking over a week off from work, since the 3 days off for the Music Fest are bad enough. After hearing about the Austin Barcamp, I was immediately interested.

Barcamp is an Open Space Conference (or unconference if you like). It is chaotic, anarchistic, emergent, and free (although attendees are encouraged to leave tips via PayPal, if they find it useful). I liked the concept, as soon as I read about it. Since I enjoyed the experience, I plan on leaving a donation.

This installment was held in the GDS&M offices on West 6th Street in Austin. I arrived around 1:30PM and ran into many old friends from the Austin Tech Community. In addition, I was also able to meet Michael Cote from the Drunk and Retired podcast, and rub elbows with other Internet Celebrities.

After attending 3 adhoc presentations, and engaging in multiple chats around the water cooler, the evening was topped off by the Karaoke Apocalypse, where a few lucky attendees got to sing, backed by a four piece band. A good time was had by, and I plan on attending future Barcamps, and other Open Space events.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

RIP: Led Zeppelin Reunion Tour

First Roger Waters said no to a Pink Floyd reunion, now Robert Plant has said no to THE reunion tour. The people that saw the London show should consider themselves lucky.

Monday, March 03, 2008

RIP: Jeff Healy

I heard about this first from a Facebook post by Paul Garay, from Inside Home Recording. Last night, guitarist Jeff Healy, passed away. It was always inspiring to watch Jeff perform, given his challenges.

Another great one that will be missed. It is truly sad because he was still so young.

RIP: George Allen Buddy Miles

Good thing I listen to podcasts or I would have missed this news. Former Band of Gypsys drummer, Buddy Miles passed away this past Tuesday. When I hear his name, I will always associate it with Jimi Hendrix and the song Them Changes, which I played on many occasions with Tom Limbaugh.

The biggest surprise for me however, was finding out that he was an Austin resident. I was totally unaware of that fact.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A new type of Flash Mob

I participated in a very interesting experiment today, and am still pondering what to make of it.

I really enjoy new media, and love Podcasts. I listen to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code (for over 2.5 years now) and No Agenda podcasts. I was at my computer, and actually listening to the DSC 724 and was also following twitter.

Strangely enough, Adam tweats about working on a new studio setup and I responded about how funny it was that I was listening to his show. He then tweats again a few minutes later that he is testing a Live Podcast on Talk Shoe and posts a tinyurl. I was one of the first people to jump in the room, but was amazed to see that there were already 3 others joining me. Within about 3 minutes there was easily 30 people in the room, from all over the US and Europe, and I'm in a live conversation with 4 other people and Adam on my cell phone, while the whole things is being streamed out to the Internet. I estimate that the crowd grew to 70 or so people.

I was simply flabbergasted at how quickly a virtual flash mob was spawned by one random tweat. The implications of this are staggering to me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Off Season Thoughts

Well the SuperBowl is over (good game, but I found it hard to care about the outcome), and the Ravens have their new coaching staff in place. So far, things look good. I like what I've heard about John Harbaugh, our new OC, Cam Cameron, and am happy that we retained Rex Ryan. I like all of the moves we made on the offensive side of the ball with the Quarterback, Running Backs, and Receivers coaches. If we're healthy, we could easily be the number 1 Defense again.

The big question for Raven's Nation will be, "Will we finally have an NFL caliber offense?"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stomach Virus thwarts VH Plans

I came down with this nasty Stomach Virus after seeing Ari Hoenig. Despite having tickets, I was unable to see Van Halen at the AT&T Center, in San Antonio. C'est la vie!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snarky Puppy and Ari Hoenig at the Flamingo Cantina

A least minute email from a friend tipped me off to this show, this past Monday night. I arrived at 9PM and the opening act, Snarky Puppy had already begun. They're a groove oriented, Jazz outfit which normally has 9 members. They were supposed to have 7 people at the gig that night, but the Percussionist was ill. (Strangely enough, I came down with a brutal stomach virus the next day that put me out of commission for 2 days).

The lineup I saw, had Keys, Guitar, Sax, Trumpet, Bass and Drums (and guest Trombonist, who came up for one song). The music was very creative and I would go see them again. The Rhythm Section, Saxophonist and Keyboardist really stood out. I enjoyed the textures and the polyrhythmic chops of the drummer.

The headliner was Ari Hoenig, who appeared with his trio, Punk Bop. I really enjoyed his show and his playing. He was accompanied by an Electric Guitarist, Gilad Hekselman, and Bassist, Orlando LeFleming. They performed for about 90 minutes with some originals as well as classics from Coltrane and Monk. All 3 were exceptional musicians, but I was really impressed with Gilad. He was a master of playing in an understated way, no pyrotechnics, but everything spot on.

I would go see both of these acts again. Very well done.