Sunday, August 21, 2016

Golden Gate Wingmen - Brighton Music Hall - 2016-08-13

    The Dead & Company tour may be over, but there’s still plenty of Grateful Dead music being played!  This past Saturday my parents and I went back to the Brighton Music Hall to see John Kadlecik, but in a different band.  This was the Golden Gate Wingmen, who we saw in the same place last summer, and it is made up of John, Jeff Chimenti, Jay Lane on drums, and Reed Mathis on bass.  They play a lot of non-Dead songs, but can be put in the same category as JRAD; if you’re the kind of person who puts labels on things, mannnn.

    The show wasn’t quite sold out, but there was still a lot of people in the dance hall, and I think Jeff Chimenti might be more responsible for that than anyone else.  The other musicians are obviously big draws themselves, all having played in various band including ones with Grateful Dead members, but Jeff has been in the most Dead bands and is the least divisive among fans.  I actually ran into John and Jeff in the smoking area out back (and I didn’t pass out of freak out at them), and after a bit someone asked Jeff, “What’s it like playing with John Mayer, did you finally dose him?,” at which point Kadlecik kind of rolled his eyes and went inside and Jeff shrugged the question off.  Maybe John has some hard feelings about there being a new guitar-John on the Dead scene, but I think probably not.
    The show got a bit of a late start, but we were all ready to dance all night, so we weren’t bothered!  We were dead center, just a couple people back from the stage, so we had great view and sound.  For whatever reason, there’s a soundboard of the show available here, which is awesome!

First Set
  • Nobody Told Me
    • We had seen John do this a few months ago with his JK Band, but we could already tell that this show was going to be a lot better.
    • John really sings and plays Lennon songs so well, and the rest of the band was already playing like mad men.  Reed Mathis plays bass like no one else, feeling more than comfortable just sitting on two notes for a whole song, but liable to slip into an incredible lead at any point.  Besides his regular bass playing, he also has a filter that makes his bass play two octaves at once, so he sounds like an electric guitar and a bass playing together, which is mind blowing.
    • Jay Lane, of Furthur, Ratdog, and Primus fame, was playing way better than I remember him playing last year, augmenting the rhythms and timings of all the songs they played, but staying right with the other musicians.  It’s a very Furthur-esque way of playing, which makes sense with three members of that band.
  • Brown-Eyed Woman
    • Another one we had just seen John do, but this was again worlds apart from that version.
    • This one was played so ferociously, with John, Jeff, and Reed exchanging the most blistering solos, while Jay played with and deconstructed the beat below them.
    • I always think of the 11/11/11 Furthur performance of this song as the gold standard, and I think this one might actually have been better, but it’s truly hard to say.
    • They took a small tuning break and make some Yellow Submarine jokes.
  • Seen Love
    • Three in a row that John played last time he was in Brighton, but three in a row that were better performances!
    • This song mostly has an undulating reggae-esque feel, but this band took the jams way out there.  They got into some truly deep space, getting close to a kind of “King Solomon’s Marbles” feel, then ditching that for some pure, jammy goodness.
    • I don’t want to get too into this now because I already have a post in the works somewhat devoted to this very topic, but John K can get to those formless spaces so much easier than certain other guitarists in the Dead world.
  • Just Like a Woman
    • Reed asked how we were all doing, and got a much bigger thrill out of our response than he expected, so asked if we could do it again.  I hadn’t seen him out in the smoking area, but he was definitely in some kind of State of Mind.
    • Reed’s first vocal lead of the night, with John singing all the other songs.  Reed has such a beautiful voice, very folksy while also sounding a bit like alternative rock.
    • He and Jay were the main forces behind the heavy syncopation that was present in a lot of these songs, and John and Jeff never lost a beat, playing their solos over the breakdowns and coming back to the regular rhythm all together.
    • Jeff got a literal solo in this song when Reed told the rest of the band to cut out and shushed the crowd, leading into a breathtaking lead from John.
  • Lazy River Road
    • Not my favorite Dead song, but I like it a lot better than plenty of others, and it gave the band room for more mellow, harmonic solos.
    • This is also a great song for John’s voice, which is not the most refined voice, but is still very nice and emotive.
  • Givin’ Me The Business
    • This is from the album that John made with Melvin Seals (of the JGB), American Spring, and besides the chorus being a serious case of questionable phrasing (givin’ me the business, in my own backyard) it’s a great song.
    • It’s got a harder vibe to it, kind of like a mix between “After Midnight” and “Me & My Uncle.”
    • They rocked through the jam section with everyone, including Jay, getting solos, before briefly rocketing into unknown, feedbacky territory.
  • Loser
    • One of the highlights of the show, and like with “Brown-Eyed Women,” it passed the 11/11/11 test.
    • A great intro jam to this one, with Reed and John teasing the main riff, but taking their time actually getting into the song, sometimes getting close to a “Spanish Jam” feeling.
    • Reed repeated the “cup of cold coffee” verse, but acknowledged it by singing “I told ya twice.”
    • The solo to this “Loser” has got to be one of the best pieces of music there is, it’s just so heart wrenching and haunting, while also being a perfect platform for blistering rock and roll.
  • Feel Like Dynamite
    • Super funky, this one got everyone dancing!
    • Again, this band is so good on just turning on a dime and going of on a jam that’s almost totally divorced from the song they were playing.  It’s different from how Furthur did it in that this is a lot more democratic, whereas Bobby and Phil (mostly Phil) were always the chief deciding factors in what direction a song or jam would take.  These guys have the classic non-leader vibe going on, with each of them stepping up to lead the band only when it was right, and no clash of egos at all.

    They closed out the set with big smiles and loud cheers from us.  They were all found in the smoking area during break, but not a lot of us stayed out there as the rain and thunder started to roll in.  During the first set, Jeff had removed the top of his Rhodes piano and had been repairing it while he was playing it, which is impressive!  He had some feedback issues with it, but folded up some pieces of paper and fiddled around with a needle or something, and soon had it in working order.  He had that Rhodes and an organ, neither of which I think we’ve seen him play, and both sounded great.  Not only that, but Jeff was the real hero of the show, playing those instruments like no one else in the world can.  You could even say he showed us his power...

    A short setbreak, I think mostly because of the rain outside driving everyone in.  There was then a good amount of smoking and vaping going on in the venue, which no one complained about.  The Cool Mom next to me kept telling her teenage son he should feel free to start smoking and he pretended not to know who she was.  The band came back out on stage with illegal smiles, and we were off into the second set!
Second Set (* w/ Todd Stoops)
  • She Belongs to Me
    • Another great Dylan song, this time sung (very well) by John.
    • The Dead killed this one when they played it, even later in Jerry’s life, but this one was a version for the ages too.  A lot peppier than when the Dead did it.
    • Reed’s been working on a project called Electric Beethoven, which is basically a reworking of Beethoven’s classics in a 21st Century Acid Rock kind of way, and some of his solos in the second set had a more classical and elemental feel to them than other leads he played.
    • Jeff’s Rhodes had some feedback issues at the beginning of this set, but he got that baby working again.  Some banter from the band while they fixed it, Jeff complaining that it’s always his fault...
  • Golden Wings
    • I’m kind of embarrassed I didn’t recognize this song when they played it; it’s got (kind of) the name of the band in it!
    • More great vocals from John here, and some great “wooshing” noises from Jay on his microphone…
    • Once again, they took a relatively simple jam and took it out back and beat it with a  tire iron until it told them all of its secrets.
    • Reed started hinting at, and then full on playing, the “Estimated Prophet” rhythm, and they were about to really commit to it when they all kind of had a chat, then went back into “Join Together.”  The reason why would soon be clear…
    • John switched on his MIDI filter and started playing what sounded exactly like a grand piano, and it went great with Jeff’s Rhodes.  Again, hints of what was to come.
  • Dark Star >
    • Another one you could have called it “Jam > Dark Star,” but we all know how I feel about that.  John and Reed kind of gave the song away (or intentionally hinted at it) on the intro jam, and I totally called that shit.
    • A really heavy “Dark Star,” with a relentless jam on the way in.  Reed went from complicated multi-octave leads to the most minimalist bass playing he did all night, just thumping away on the downbeats while John and Jeff screeched into the stratosphere and Jay pummeled his drum kit.
    • They finally did the opening “Dark Star” riff, toyed with the main theme for a bit, dove into the first verse, and then drifted back into space.
  • Join Together >
    • I didn’t realize this was a The Who song, I always just categorized it as another generic classic rock radio song that wasn’t actually written by anyone.
    • This song has a triumphant, victorious feel to it that John really does well.
    • Not surprisingly, they jammed this song out a lot more than The Who ever did.
    • No one plays the organ quite like Jeff Chimenti, he’s truly a master of the art.  I could listen to him play that thing all day everyday, and never get bored.
  • Dark Star * >
    • They went into a serious meltdown jam on the way back into this song, then suddenly snapped together to do the final verse.
    • John sang both verses of the song, and he did it great, but I was hoping they trade the verses and Jeff and Reed would each get one.
    • John got on his MuTron and started womping about, until they finally decided it was time to play “Estimated.”
    • On the way there, a roadie brought another bench out and put it next to Jeff, then Todd Stoops came out on stage!
  • Estimated Prophet * >
    • They must have promised Todd they wouldn’t do this one without him, and he was indeed a great addition.  He had impressed us back with the JK Band, but he really stepped up his playing for this band.  He and Jeff really blended well together, and Jeff of course has experience playing with other keyboardists in Dead bands.
    • We had hoped Reed would sing this one, and he exceeded our expectations.  His drawn-out voice is perfect for the “Estimated” character and his lonely insistence that he knows the way.
    • Reed and Jay really funked this one up with their telepathic syncopations.
    • The outro jam started to build up from the uncertain dissonance they had reached to a brighter climax, and we all knew where they were headed...
  • Eyes of the World * >
    • This had been at the top of my list for songs I wanted to see the band do this time, so I was of course thrilled, especially once John took off on a stellar intro lead once they had established the song’s beat.
    • Jeff and Todd both got solos that they shared with John in the body of the song.  John also threw in some of what sounded like teases at TLC’s “Waterfalls,” which was fun and unexpected!
    • Todd did some singing, which didn’t mesh too well with the rest of the band to my ears, but definitely not the worst singing I’ve heard from a Dead band.
    • As with pretty much everything these guys played, this was a lot faster than the Dead & Company versions we had heard lately.
    • They kind of broke down to just drums and a mellow jam while welcoming Todd back off the stage, then built the jam back up and made the surprising transition to...
  • Touch of Grey
    • After this song Jay was raving about how they gave it a ska rhythm, and he was really excited about it!  It didn’t make the biggest difference to the song, but it did make it stand out from other versions I’ve seen, and was a nice touch (ha).

  • Liberty
    • One of my favorite nineties songs from the Dead, so glad to get it!  John sings it so well, too.

    Well that’s the show!  I highly recommend you all go out and see this band if you get the chance.  They’re all excellent musicians, and the music is of the highest quality, but there’s none of the pressure or angst that can come with bigger concerts in bigger venues.  Like JRAD, these guys have taken the Grateful Dead catalogue and tradition and stood them on their heads while simultaneously still honoring them.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dave's Picks 19 (1970-01-23 & 24)

     Once again Dave Lemieux has deemed another show (and a half) worthy of being Picked.  He's got a great track record so far, and Dave's Picks 19 continues his winning streak.  It is from the band's trip to Hawaii in January of 1970, and features two of TC's final shows.  The show on the 23rd is one I've had for a few years that I fell in love with at first listen, but haven't heard in a while, so it's great to have it in (mostly) pristine quality, mastered once again by Jeffrey Norman.  The 24th was one I was less familiar with, which of course is always more exciting for an official release.  In Dave's Seaside Chat he points out that they are missing most of this show, but what they do have is great, so it makes sense to fill out DaP 19 with this third disc.

     This is the third Dave's Picks from this era, with DaP 6 featuring shows from December of 1969 and February of 1970, and DaP 10 featuring another show from December 1969.  While I think Dave should maybe branch out a little more, I haven't been disappointed by any of his releases yet, so I trust all of his choices at this point.  This one isn't necessarily the best of the series, with some songs feeling pretty standard, as opposed to other Picks where every song is a standout version.  That having been said, the highlights of this show make it more than worth listening to, so it all equals out.  So let's dive in, and feel free to leave your own opinions in the comment section below!

A terrapin riding a surfboard near a mountainous tropical island, with the sun on the horizon

January 23, 1970
  • China Cat Sunflower >
    • A great early version of this pairing of songs, possibly the best from this era.
    • It's an unusual song to open with, but the band jumps right in and are immediately on the same wavelength (maybe a bad pun about surfing?).
    • As well all know, this was a transitional period for the band.  They were working on Workingman's Dead and their new countrified sound while still playing a lot of Primal Dead music.  They still had that raw, thriving sound, but were getting better at mellowing into slower grooves and playing more basic songs.  This "China > Rider" is a perfect example of their transitioning sound totally working; if you think about it, "China > Rider" as a pairing is kind of symbolic of this mix of pure psychedelia moving into a sprawling country sentimentality.
    • Bobby's solo on the way out of "China Cat" isn't as fully developed as it would get as the first half of the seventies progressed, but it's still excellent.  This is one of the best things about these early releases, you can hear what start as little hints or teases at ideas that eventually turn into full on staples of these classic songs.
  • I Know You Rider
    • While I prefer these seventies versions of this song, one benefit to the eighties and nineties ones is they went through the solo sections more times, giving the song room to build and build.  This one, like most others until after the hiatus, feels a little strangled.  The band is playing so well and with so much energy that it just doesn't seem natural for the solos to be so short-lived.
    • I loved TC in DaP 10, and I think he's just as good here, if a little softer in the mix.  His playing is part of what makes this particular point in the band's transition so interesting, he acts as a tether to the psychedelic spaces they were reaching the year before, while simultaneously helping the band develop the new direction they were moving in.
    • Phil does a descending vocal line on the final verse that catches me off guard each time I listened to it, but I really love it.
  • Black Peter
    •  Unlike the later sixties versions of this song, here in 1970 it is already in its final form.  It still sounds kind of raw, and of course it feels different with different keyboardists, but it has all of the recognizable parts that are found in the song for the rest of its lifespan.
    • Besides the raw sound I mentioned, you wouldn't know that this was a relatively new song in this band's repertoire from the way they play it.  The whole band knows where the changes and twists are, and there are no hiccups or hesitations.
  • Yellow Dog Story
    • Jerry broke his string and had to fix it, on account of he broke it, so Bobby took this as an opportunity to tell a story.
    • One of the better takes of this particular joke, featuring some Pig Pen interjections and pig noises.
    • Besides the joke, there's some good old banter from Bobby and Pig about drummers and bearded clowns.
  • Hard to Handle
    • Pig kind of jumbles some of the lyrics like he did for most 1969 takes of this song, but he's so authentic about it, how can we really criticize him?
    • Unlike those 1969 versions, they jam the hell out of this one, starting to get towards the peak performances of the song that they reached in Summer of 1971.  This version is a little further out than the later versions, again due to the lingering psychedelia of the sixties.  In 1971 the jam became a little more structured in the way it developed, whereas this one kind of tumbles and boils over according to its own whims.  One could even say it's more choogly...
    • Bobby, Jerry, and Phil really drive this performance, with Bobby providing a platform for the other two to leap off of.  Again, TC is pretty low in the mix on this one, but he has some good fills of his own, and the drummers don't miss a beat.
  • Mama Tried
    • Classic lyrical amnesia from Bobby, because that's what we signed up for.
    • Very laid back country music here, as opposed to more hyped (coked) up, rocking versions of this from the rest of the band's career.  I like both versions for different reasons, but at this very moment the country version is winning out.
  • Casey Jones
    • There is about a minute of "Casey Jones" before the tape cuts.
    • This is disappointing, but not the end of the world, I'm just not sure why Dave would pick an incomplete show for a Dave's Picks release.  The songs that aren't missing are great, and it's definitely a show worth listening to, but Dave puts such an emphasis on releasing entire shows in this series that it seems like an odd choice.
  • Dire Wolf
    • Talk about laid back, this is as mellow as the show gets.
    • This is actually quite a bit different from the versions we would hear for the rest of the band's career, unlike "Black Peter."  With two drummers, Pig Pen on claves, and TC's ghostly organ, this early version really stands out as a beautiful alternative.  Maybe a little more dire, if you will (you don't have to).
  • Good Lovin'
    • If it weren't for "Lovelight," this would maybe be the best Pig Pen song on DaP 19.
    • I think the best versions of this song are the spacier and more precise ones from the Europe '72 Tour, but earlier ones like this are a lot more powerful and driving, and there's something to be said for psychedelia that spills over the lines.
    • They do the drum break that's typical of "Good Lovin'"s from this era, and once again the drummers are locked perfectly together.  As this year progressed they got a lot looser, but here they are still tightly in sync.
    • Jerry jumps back into the song and finds his place right in the the middle of the groove the drummers created, then Phil and the rest join in and the song starts to shift and evolve.  They shift back and forth from mellow grooves, to frantic peaks, to anxious psychedelic corners that Jerry and Phil shove the song into, while the drummers thunder along to the beat.
  • That's It For The Other One >
    • No time to catch your breath, because this is probably the highlight of DaP19.  They do the whole suite, and it's just about as perfect as it gets.
    •  They glide through "Crytpical" into another great drum break, with a little bit of feedback peaking through the cracks from the guitarists.
    • The drummers reach a climax, then shift down into the "Other One" rhythm and Phil comes thundering in, nailing his intro run.
    • As you might know, "The Other One" is my favorite Dead song, or at least in the top 5, and this version is an excellent demonstration of why that is.  Sure, it doesn't reach the same distant universes that Keith and the band would later reach, but they take what would otherwise seem like a simple riff on just a chord or two, and turn it into Dragon Music.  The band is telepathically linked with one another, and they just let the Old Powers flow through them while they chase the music and each other across the shifting and swirling time signatures.
    • They fly through the first verse and launch into a space that's a little farther out than the song got in 1969, but not quite get as far out as it would get later in the decade.  They return to the theme and thrash it about and explore all of its possibilities.  Jerry plays his classic riff that signals they're coming the end of the song, they mellow back into the rhythm, and shift into the second verse, transitioning smoothly into the "Cryptical Reprise."
    • They mellow into the easy lope of the outro jam, with Jerry getting some country-esque roynks out of his guitar.  They slowly build the song up, let it drift away, and build it up again, until they let it drift away one last time, and Phil slides them into...
  • Dark Star >
    • No complaints about that transition at all!
    • According to the info I have, this is the last "Dark Star" with TC as a full-time member in the band (he did sit-in with them at least one time in April of '71).
    • A pretty mellow start to the song leading up to the first verse, mostly staying on the theme.
    • Once they finish the riff after the verse, though, Bobby and Phil lead the way into a dissonant, dissipating space.  Most "Dark Star"s from this era did this kind of thing, dissolving into a very loud silence punctuated by bursts and blips of feedback, organ runs, and gong splashes, and this one is particularly good.
    • Phil is the first to start to really crack through the sonic barrier, and the feedback builds until it subtly turns into a jam.  It's not quite the "Feelin' Groovy" jam, but it's similar, kind of like a mix between that and the "Beautiful Jam" from the 1971-02-18 "Dark Star," and Bobby is playing some of his best guitar here.  He's truly leading the way through new musical territory in a way that no one else can.
    • They march triumphantly back into something recognizable as "Dark Star" and shift into position for the closing lyrics.  They nail the outro, as well as the intro to...
  • St. Stephen >
    • A very punchy "St. Stephen," but also very tight.  There are maybe some (more) cracks in the different instruments' tuning showing, but what can we really expect from early Dead?
    • Not too much to distinguish this St. Stephen from other versions of it from this era, but that doesn't mean it's lacking at all.  It's very high energy, and there's no confusion over lyrics or parts.
    • They get to the jam after "one man gathers what another man spills," and really hit a peak in their playing, and then instead of finishing "St. Stephen" they take a sudden left turn into "Lovelight!"
  • Turn on Your Lovelight
    • Despite what some people, and even their typically sane alter egos, might say, there is nothing wrong with a 38 minute "Lovelight."  Sure, Pig Pen has a lot of "wait a minute"s and "tighten up now"s, but throughout it all the Grateful Dead is playing its collective hearts out.
    • Seriously, this song gives Jerry almost as much freedom as "Dark Star."  He can follow the main song and play straight rock or blues, or he can take it into outer space and dance among the stars, and the rest of the band will follow him, until Pig Pen decides to tell us all about it.
    • Some interloper comes on stage at one point and Pig Pen tries to get a back and forth going with the guy, but he's too shy, too high, or both, and just yells for a bit and then leaves.
    • Pig Pen and the boys bring the song up to a raving climax and close out the first night of the Hawaii trip.
 January 24, 1970
  • Cumberland Blues
    • Another song that is better when it's a bit longer, but a great version of it nonetheless.
    • This is still played ferociously, and is another song made more noticeably unique by TC's contributions.
    • The singing in this show is a bit rougher in general, I think, but it's not the worst I've heard these guys sing.
  • Cold Rain & Snow
    • An early slow version of this song, compared to the hyper versions from their earlier days.  I like both versions, but the slower way of playing lasted until the end of the band, and is more iconic.  It also gives them more room to build the song up, sand the solo doesn't feel as rushed.
    • Again, some tuning issues from both singers and players, but undeniable energy and tightness in the playing.  "A" for effort, right?
  • Me & My Uncle
    • Another fun one with TC, feels a little like a cartoon Western.
    • Jerry's solo has a real bite to it, and the drummers create a relentless beat behind the song. 
    • This time Bobby broke a string, and they take a small break to fix it.
  • I'm a King Bee
    •  A lot of people overlook this when talking about Pig Pen, and I think that's a real shame.  It's a great slow-burner of a song, giving Pig plenty of space to blow his harp and sing his blues while the band slides under him.
    • Not to mention Jerry's blues solos combined with that Primal Dead sharpness to his sound.
    • I forgot how much I loved the dynamic those two had when trading leads.  When I think of Jerry I think of 50 years of Guitar Hero stardom, but at this point in 1970 he had only really been a big name for a couple of years, and those years started with him following Pig, who was the original leader.  You can hear how much those two love and respect one another in their playing.
  • Mason's Children
    • Dave Lemieux said this is possibly the best "Mason's Children," and he might be right.  I think  I like the first one from DaP 6 better, but Dave didn't oversell this one.
    • They come the closest to getting all of the lyrics right that I've heard from pre-1995, and the song feels faster and more complete than it did in earlier versions.
    • Phil clearly loved this song from its birth, and you have to wonder from the amount he plays it now if he brought it up at band meetings from 1970 on to bring the song back into rotation.  Just imagine a '74 version on the Wall of Sound with Keith!
    • They really stretch out the second jam of the song, with Jerry ripping off some stellar leads.
  • Black Peter
    • Not too different from the previous night's version, but Jerry's solo is a little more biting, like in "Me & My Uncle."
    • The outro jam is a little more lively and expansive too, with Jerry taking the song to different heights before bringing it back down to a close.
  • Good Lovin'
    • Unlike the previous night's version, when Billy and Mickey think it's their turn to shine Jerry and Phil immediately launch into a big jam, and the drummers can only follow along.
    •  This one isn't quite as driving as the night before, but has a little more funk to it.  Jerry and the rest of the band are focused more on finding new riffs to explore and settling into a groove than shooting off into outer space.
    • This one also has a cut in it, but thankfully it's at the very end of the song, so we get to hear the real meat of the jam.
  • Feedback >
    • Dave hypothesized that these next two tracks came after "Alligator > Caution," but no one can say for sure until the complete recording surfaces.
    • A very melodic "Feedback," helped out by TC's presence.
  • And We Bid You Goodnight
    • I think Jerry throws in a few extra verses on this one, but I haven't actually heard one of these in a while and I'm not going to do the research to find out.
    • Surprisingly, after some of the iffy vocals from the rest of this release, I really like this.  It's not the best version, or even particularly in tune, but they still manage to sound good together.  They know what their voices can and can't do, and try to craft the song in a way that works within those limitations.
    • They finish the song and the crowd keeps clapping, so Jerry delivers the cosmic message "that's your groove, take it with ya," which I'm sure some Hawaiians are still thinking about and clapping along too.
  • Dancing in the Streets
    • 1970 was arguably the best year for this song.  The earlier versions from 1967 are of course even more primal, and the "disco" versions from the later seventies had more funk to them, but ones like this are grade-A Grateful Dead.
    • Besides having the combined power and fury of two drummers, they take the jam from straight rock and roll and turn it into a marching dance through the clouds.  They really make it a much more spacey song than it was in any of its other iterations.
    • It's another case of Jerry and Phil not necessarily singing in tune while they do their backup vocals, but I just love that touch to these versions of the song!  Someone, I think Pig Pen, even picks up a tambourine, which usually is kind of hokey, but really brings the feeling of this song together: a pop song, performed while dancing on the edge of a black hole.
    • Seriously, how can they make such a simple pop song sound so metaphysically profound??
    • Jerry's guitar is like liquid silver dropping from the sun while Phil catches his leads before they hit the ground the drummers have created, and Bobby and TC shepherd the silver back up to the sun for Jerry to send back down.
    • They break through peak after peak in a series of musical climaxes, and eventually rock right back into the song itself and bring the night to an epic close.

     Well that's Dave's Picks 19!  All in all it's not the best Dave's Picks, but it definitely has some of the best songs Dave has released yet.  "That's It For The Other One" and "Dancing In The Streets" are Hall of Fame material, and we get some golden Pig Pen numbers.  Dave said DaP 20 is one they've been working on for a while, and that should be out in November, so it's a long wait for the fourth of the year!  I'll have a review of that once it comes out, and should have a review up shortly of Golden Gate Wingmen's show in Brighton on 2016-08-13, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Jerry Noises 2

     Sorry I haven't been posting too much, got a few things going on, including some blog-related things, so stay tuned!  My post about Dead & Company after the tour has grown into a combination of several things, and has developed a mind of its own.

     For now, here are two more Jerry noises to add to the list I already started.  Again, please feel free to share some ideas of your own, and let me know what you think of these ones.

  • Feathered Fingers
    • Maybe this is just Jerry finger-picking, but something about his playing sounds almost like the notes are covered in feathers.  This comes out the most in the deepest of musical spaces, such as "Dark Star" or actual "Space."  I don't hear it as much post '77, but from '72-'77 Jerry routinely gets this sound out of his guitar.  The solo-Jerry "Space"s from '77 exemplify this the best (post-"Uncle John's Band" 1977-05-11 and post-"Eyes of the World" 1977-05-22 [DaP 3]).
    • Mayer can get a bit of this sound, and I've heard Stanley Jordan do it a couple of times, so I think it really mu8st have to do with finger-picking.  Either way, when applied correctly in Dead songs, it has a beautiful effect that I think separates this particular sound from the style itself.
  • Shparrlorangs
    • Like with Roynk Rankles, I had to onomatopoeiatize this one.  Shparrlorangs are the sound Jerry's guitar makes when he's really playing from the heart.  It has the "ang"-ness of a Roynk, but there's a lot more vibration and heart-rending to it.  The notes themselves are of course just vibrations in the air, but a Shparllorang is almost like the vibrations themselves vibrating.  These really only come out in soulful songs like "To Lay Me Down," or "Black Muddy River," and they have the power to pull tears from otherwise dry eyes.
    • Kadlecik can definitely create this sound, but Mayer is a master of it.  Between his Rankly Roynkles and the way he Shparrlorangs, Mayer really captures what is at the heart of Jerry's playing style.

     That's all I got for now, but I'm sure I'll have more as soon as I figure out how to make some more words!