Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chromeo Review - Glide Magazine

DJ performances are often hit-or-miss affairs for me, as I thrive on the act of spontaneous musical creation in the moment. But Chromeo is an exception of sorts, a hybrid "band" of two dudes who perform their songs accompanied by pre-programmed backing tracks. The experience is super-fun for those who come to dance their retro-butts off, though it left me somewhat wanting in musical creativity. But apples and oranges, I suppose. The guys are clearly talented musicians if they're cranking out track after track of insanely catchy, finely-honed retro-electro-pop. The fact of the matter is that they have a huge arsenal of sing-along worthy, funky-as-hell anthems that are guaranteed to please any crowd. Here's my review of their East Bay performance:

One element of Chromeo's music that is hard to put your finger on is the level of irony present in their deliberate nods to cheesy 80's music. At first, it seemed that they were clearly tongue-in-cheek with their music's smooth Yacht Rock references (soaring sax solos and analog synths). But as time went on and they blew up, the line of irony started to blur, especially when they collaborated with Daryl Hall himself. At this point in their career, the Chromeo sound seems pretty irony-free.

But that doesn't mean these guys now take themselves seriously or anything. Case in point, their appearance on Yo-Gabba-Gabba:

And here they are in a joint set with Daryl Hall at Bonnaroo 2010 in full-band mode, with a Chromeo-ized version of "I Can't Go For That." (The vocoder being Chromeo's signature stamp on the tune.)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spotlight On Cactus - Another Phish Mix

As Phish summer tour plans start to take shape over the past week, it's easy to forget that bassist Mike Gordon is currently on his own big tour with his own band, which is getting tighter all the time. Gordo and his band of merry melody makers recently hit up the Northwest for a number of shows, and have been dusting off some old chestnuts in the process. (Mound, anyone?)

Seeing that Mike and his band are lighting it up onstage these days, I thought it an opportune time to dust off an old mix I made back in 2004. It was originally made to trade and share with other fans at the debacle that we know as Coventry. As fate would have it, I was actually able to personally give Mike a copy of this mix when he stopped his golf cart next to me in the concert field. I chatted him up for a couple of minutes before a crowd formed around us, and learned that his all-time favorite Phish show at that time was 6/20/04, at SPAC. I also asked him if the band would ever perform "Mound" again, and he said not likely, as they had forgotten how to play it (they busted it out this past December in Worcester).

From bluegrass to Jewish songs to straight dirty cow funk, these disks showcase some of the best stuff that Mike brings to the band we know as Phish. Enjoy.

Phish - Spotlight On Cactus

Set I:
1. Sneakin' Sally (12/30/97 MSG)
2. Ya Mar (11/27/98 Worcester, MA)
3. Ginseng Sullivan (12/31/93 Worcester, MA)
4. Mound (3/31/93 Portland, OR)
5. Moma Dance (9/17/00 Merriweather Post)
6. Weigh (3/1/97 Germany)
7. Scent of A Mule (6/11/94 Red Rocks)
8. Wolfman's Brother (12/1/03 Albany, NY)
9. I'm So Tired (10/31/94 Glen Falls, NY)
10. Yirushalayim Shel Zachav -> (7/8/94 Great Woods)
11. Avenu Malchenu (4/18/92 Palo Alto, CA)
12. Uncle Pen (2/20/97 Milan, Italy)

Set II:
1. Destiny Unbound (9/22/90 UMass Amherst)
2. Ghost (11/17/97 Denver, CO)
3. My Mind's Got A Mind of Its Own (12/7/97 Dayton, OH)
4. Train Song (11/20/98 Hampton, VA)
5. Round Room (2/28/03 Nassau Coliseum)
6. Mike's Song->
7. Old Home Place->
8. Weekapaug Groove (4/3/98 Nassau Coliseum)
9. E: Contact (1/3/03 Hampton, VA)

Download Links:

Disk One
Disk Two

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cake Review - Glide Magazine

Cake is simply a timeless band. Whatever they do, it is of a consistently high caliber, and is always catchy and fun. For the past 15 years or so, we've always been able to rely on them to deliver their own brand of dry-humored pop-funk-rock-country goodness.

Their sold-out four night run at the Fillmore was proof that everyone still loves Cake, even if they've been off the map recently. And they still deliver live, playing all the songs you loved in your adolescent days that still hold a place in your heart. The show I attended was an ecstatic sing-along affair, and went above and beyond my expectations, mostly due to the outpouring of love which the audience showered upon the band and their music. Cake responded with a fantastic show, which I got to cover on Glide:

Here's a performance of their recent single, "Long Time." They're as tight as they ever were:

Now compare this to a 1994 cable-access performance of "Jolene," filmed in San Francisco:

They haven't changed much, have they? If anything, they've gotten better with age...