Sunday, June 5, 2016

The John Kadlecik Band 2016-05-26 - Brighton Music Hall - Brighton, MA

     While I've been gone I saw three great concerts that all deserve their own in-depth reviews.  That being said, I'm going to condense them all into three smaller posts over the next couple days, because that seems like the easier thing to do.  Hopefully as the summer progresses I won't let all these shows build up like this (spoiler alert: the two Fenway shows will definitely be condensed).

The John Kadlecik Band   2016-05-26  - Brighton Music Hall - Brighton, MA
All pictures here

     This was the Thursday before Memorial Day, so my parents and I got tickets to the show and took Friday off so we could drive up to Maine.  It was in the 80's, which is semi-typical for the Spring we've been having so far, and a beautiful day.  Took the Green Line out to Brighton and met up at a place called Deep Ellum (believe it or not) before the show.  On the way there we passed by the Hall and heard a bit of the sound check, but it was mostly just John screwing around with his array of pedals and testing the mics.  After a good dinner we walked back and were almost the first ones in line, and made some friends outside.  There was one taper outside who said he was following John on tour, but I forget his name (sorry, man).  The tape has not yet surfaced, though, so I'm not that sorry...anyway, everyone was psyched for some good music.

     John of course played with Furthur and is a frequent Friend of Phil's, but I had never seen him outside of a purely Dead context.  The JKB, from what I understand, is mostly his home-town band that he does for fun, but this was a slightly different line-up for touring, featuring Todd Stoops on keyboards (his sneaker-game is stronger than yours will ever be), Nathan Graham on drums (is some of his beard missing), and Klyph Black on bass (Geddy Lee has a twin).  We had never heard of any of them before, but were excited to see some new musicians!  We actually saw John in this same venue last summer in Golden Gate Wingmen (and will see them again later this summer), so we knew the set-up inside pretty well.  We got right up to the front of the stage where they had five Giant bass speakers lined up.  I convinced my parents we should stand right in front of them, to their slight trepidation.

     John had a gold/yellow guitar set up on stage, but I could see he had his typical eagle-headed guitar set up behind the amps.  I thought for sure he'd use that one at some point, but he stuck with the golden one the whole time, which was fine.  It has a sharper tone, and doesn't sound quite as big as the Eagle.  He also, as I mentioned, has an impressive array of switches, pedals, and knobs on the floor, not to mention all the jacks and knobs on the guitar itself!

     Here's the setlist, courtesy of the physical setlist the crew member handed me (thanks again), with some notes.  John sang all the songs except for a couple that Klyph sang.

First Set
  • Brown-Eyed Women
    • John fucking kills this song every time he plays it!
    • They did the solo section at least five times, probably more.  Todd got two or three goes, and John owned the rest.
  • Nobody Told Me
    • Another of John's fortes is doing Lennon songs.  Maybe it's a John-thing.
  • They Love Each Other
    • One of the best songs of the night.  Just when I was starting to think that John was going to dominate every solo, Todd steps up (literally, he was standing for a lot of the night) and blew everyone away.
    • I would love to see Todd and Chimenti duel on this song, but I think my head would split open.
  • Tin Roof Shack 
    • Kind of a "Me & My Uncle" vibe; simpler, but still enjoyable.
    • Apparently a Peter Rowan song.
  • Box of Rain (KB)
    • This was unexpected, and very welcome.  A good version, but nothing makes you appreciate how tricky of a song it really is like seeing someone other than Phil play it.
  • Bird Song
    • Like I said, I don't have a recording of the show, but I would guess this was maybe 15 minutes or so.
    • It had some places where they seemed a little stuck, and John whiffed a few notes in the beginning, but it was incredibly expansive and reached a lot of high points.
  • Seen Love
    • This song had a nice blend of reggae and shifting-soundscape-psychedelia.  Mellow while also dance-able.
  • Ripple
    • Always a treat, and John does a cool arrangement of it that's more syncopated and has a revolving solo section.
    • He sang it in French for a while after the Paris attacks last year, but this was in English.
Second Set
  • After Midnight >
    • Also one of John's favorites, and he likes taking it far out into space.
    • Really good interplay between John and Todd here.
  • Your Mileage May Vary >
    • An original by John, totally instrumental.  Sounds kind of prog-rocky, but in a jammy way.  The whole band nailed the song as far as I can tell, even with some tricky time-shifts and ascending riffs that wrap around each other.  A great highlight of the night, and I would love it if he brought this to a Phil show!
  • Crazy Fingers >
    • I feel kind of weird about this song sometimes.  It's a good song, but it seems tricky to play very well sometimes.  These guys did a pretty good job.
  • It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
    • This, however, was incredible!  The jam into it really took off too.
  • Any Road >
    • Not only does John like playing Lennon songs, he likes some of George's too!
    • Another one where he does the solo section a couple of times, and then just launches into heavy jam territory.  In fact, the jam gets so heavy sometimes that it even goes into...
  • The Other One (KB) >
    • HOLY SHIT!
    • Never saw this coming, but you all know how happy I am whenever I get this song.
    • Not only that, but Klyph turned his bass up to 11 and did the Phil intro, and I can't believe the bass speakers in front of us didn't shatter my knees into a million pieces.
    • Stuck with the theme for a bit, did the first lyrics, and then went into total break-down-space for a while before coming back to the second lyrics.
  • American Spring >
    • John's wrote this one with Robert Hunter, so that automatically makes it cool.
    • That being said, I'd rather hear some other Hunter songs, but this one is still good.
    • Pretty political in that it's a-political, and John's been doing it a lot as kind of a protest song...or something.
  • Throwing Stones >
    • Yet another surprising Bobby song.  I realized later that when Bobby sat in with the JKB a bit ago they did this and "The Other One," and wondered if they always did them, or if they learned them with bobby and then just had that much fun and kept them in the rotation.
    • This and a lot of the other Dead songs sounded a lot more stripped-down, due to the different band and having fewer instruments. This, was the only one of them that I think suffered from that a little; I kept listening for Bobby, but he never showed up.
    • John did sing the new Bobby line "You can buy the whole fucking government today," instead of the classic "Selling guns instead of food today."
  • Touch of Grey
    • Only one of these I've seen anyone do live, and done with a very different vibe.  Slowed down, and reggae-ified.  Interesting, if not necessarily as successful as possible.
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
    • Done in The Band's style as opposed to the Dead's version.
    • Such a fantastic song, and done very well here.  Everyone was thinking of Bobby though.

     Like I said, after the band left the stage and the crew came out, one of them handed me the setlist, which is pretty cool.  It was really such an impressive show.  John was of course the star of the night, but the rest of the band did more than just pull their own weight.  Nathan was locked right in with Klyph at all times, and Todd would typically be playing on multiple keyboards at once to great effect.

     This will probably be all I'll post today, but will hopefully have reviews of DSO and Jorma Kaukonen up tomorrow-ish!  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @21stCenturyDead for updates!


  1. Correction: Black actually turned up to 12 for TOO.