Earlier this week, Yonder Mountain String Band announced they will be hitting the road for a Fall tour! The Colorado-based Jamgrass veterans will embark on an 18 show stretch starting in North Carolina, and ending with five much awaited shows the northeast. In the spirit of a true jam band, Yonder is always on the road, and always spitting out new music. Before even wrapping up their current summer tour they’ve already got the Fall mapped out, which you can view below. It’s truly amazing to see the momentum these guys still play with after being together for almost twenty years without any hiatus.
Breaking boundaries in both bluegrass and jam music, they have started a musical revolution. Yonder is indisputably unlike any other Jam band to date; no drummer, no gimmicks, exclusively acoustic and raw. These four individuals have pioneered their own style, brand, and community in music. By means of pure artistic genius they managed to take true American music and take it to a once unfathomable level. Despite the fact they only use acoustic instruments, their compositions are rich with layers, and endless in depth. Their eccentric frontman and mandolin player Jeff Austin, successfully transformed an instrument once only used for percussive rhythm in bluegrass bands and turned it into a fierce lead force in the group. Other than jam giants The Disco Biscuits, they were also one of the first bands to implement, and fully master the concept of inverting and splitting their songs. YMSB has mastered both a timeless genre and the art of deep improvised jams, simultaneously propelling forward and backward. As the decades carry on, and artists fall from the stage into the streams of time and memory, they have continued to rise.
Since 2010 they haven’t played more than two gigs a year in New England or New York. Needless to say, this is a much anticipated run for their followers in those regions.
10/09 – Wilmington, NC Greenfield Amphitheater
10/10 – Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend
10/11 – Athens, GA The Georgia Theater
10/12 – Silk Hope, NC
10/13 – Chattanooga, TN Track 29
10/16 – Oxford, MS The Lyric
10/17 – Ozark, AR Harvest Fest
10/18 – Ozark, AR Harvest Fest
10/19 – Ozark, AR Harvest Fest
10/23 – Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall Ballroom
10/24 – Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
10/25 – Chicago, IL House of Blues
10/26 – Chicago, IL House of Blues
10/29 – Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bowl
10/30 – Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bowl
10/31 – Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
11/01 – Boston, MA House of Blues
11/02 – Portland, ME State Theater
CHeeSeHeaDPRoDuCTioNS has collaborated with electronic rock band STS9 to bring us a high definition video of their entire performance in Ft. Lauderdale last Friday at Revolution Live. After frontman David Murphy’s winning battle with cancer in spring 2011, Sound Tribe is playing tighter and moving forward with the most momentum they’ve had in years. Theatrics never hurt either; Saxton Waller, the band’s light engineer for over 10 years(minus a brief hiatus) is better than ever, especially with larger venues. After wrapping up their tour this past weekend, the band will take a break before gearing up for the summer festival season and hitting the road with Umphrey’s McGee. Watch two kinetic sets from Friday’s show on the links below, and don’t miss them at Camp Bisco this July with fellow “jam-pions” The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, and Umphrey’s!
Setlist: Really What – Abcees – Frequencies pt2 – Frequencies pt3 – Shock Doctrine – Rent – Blue Mood – Scheme(reprise) – Biggs
Setlist: What is Love? – Instantly – GLOgli – Move My Peeps – EHM – Moonsocket – 2012 – E: When The Dust Settles
Sound Tribe Sector 9 will embark on an extensive tour across most of the West and part of the South early 2013, starting with a three day New Years Eve run in Denver (a change from their once annual five day stretch in Atlanta, GA), and ending at the Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina.
STS9 are pioneers in live electronic jam music, having a fierce reputation in the tour scene. Each audience serves as a canvas to their carefully planned compositions and array of sounds. Seeing them live is like watching the weather play music, and just as variable. This band has persevered through so much over the years, including their bassist David Murphy overcoming a rare form of skin cancer. Even that can’t stop them. Sound Tribe hasn’t missed a beat since forming. Minus the situation with Murphy, they manage dozens of amazing artists on their own 1320 Records label, and have continuously toured this year and every year previous, grasping tightly to the concept of live music. Through all the internal style changes and obstacles this group has faced they are still unlike any other band around.
A lot of buzz has been surrounding their performances this year, including at the Disco Biscuits’ Mayan Holidaze Festival in Mexico this past week. The band has a new set of stage theatrics and lightshow, and a passion in their playing that we’ve been missing for a long time now. STS9 got a second wind in their career and were looking forward to what happens next.
After a month long hiatus, Phish launched the second leg of their summer tour with their brief stay in the West Coast this week. Viewers at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center witnessed an epic climax to the first half of the 2012 Summer Tour, giving the phans enough time to make their way to southern California for the final stages of the nationwide run. Trey and the gang took the stage at the Long Beach Arena this past Wednesday for what turned out to be one of the most talked about performances yet. The atmosphere was dismal at first with the 13,500 capacity establishment not even filling up minutes before the quartet were begin playing, perhaps being one of the least attended shows in the last decade, but the intimacy gave way for some of the most revered jams played this summer.
Despite being back from dead after a five year long departure from the scene, until recently, many had been left disappointed by the rock deities; predominantly lacking in the long improvised jams and transitions they were once hailed for. The anticipated reunion at the Hampton Coliseum in 2009 was a dark footnote in the bands history, playing 25 songs just the first night. Kevin O’Donnell of Rolling Stone wrote “There was nothing outlandish about Phish’s show last night at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia — except for the fact that it was the jam-band kings’ first show in almost five years.” Much of the sets that followed that year gave older followers the impression of a new band entirely. Although all masters of their forte, and still thriving in their niches, Phish seemed complacently apprehensive to breaking any boundaries in their jams, barely breaching ten minutes in most of the songs they played. The band improved in 2010(highlights included their first festival in years, Super Ball), but they still remained inconsistent. These performances didn’t disappoint per say, so much as they didn’t satisfy the expectations of their long running, devoted patrons. On the other hand, what good is a jam band without the jam?
All that is irrelevant when juxtaposed to the current summer tour however. Its basically 97′ all over again, and the band is on fire. Arguably the best tour these guys have played since their return, chock full of vitality and consecutive on-point executions. A seventeen minute Divided Sky jam in Portsmouth, VA during the first leg of the tour was a prevalent example of the bands commencing streak. Not only resurrecting their long overdue improvised segments, they played songs left in the freezer for almost two decades, like the first Shaggy Dog since 1995 played in Cincinnati. The West Coast opening show was undoubtedly one for the books. A rare and energetic Suzy Greenberg, the first time Phish opened with that song in 17 years, initiated the second leg. Just two minutes into the performance Page McConnell ripped into a fierce keyboard solo, throwing every pair of feet in the building into rhythmic calamity. Most noteable so far though was the 25 minute Long Beach Rock and Roll jam, the longest jam of 3.0 so far. The initial song was consistent in structure, but what followed was an expansion of one of the most engaging, thematic sequences of augmented jams I’ve heard, both in the context of the band’s modern era and music as a whole.
Immediately following the captivating RnR overture was a particularly border-crossing Ghost. Phish entered the intro with the low funky overtones characteristic of the song, but also as a transformation of the previous leviathan. Themes of the verse and choruses had a sort of anthem feel to them, which carried into an uptempo rock-funk bridge. The song quickly took a turn into a theme reminiscent of the bridge, with Trey laying out the rolling licks up the neck and Page heavy on the Clav in the background. It then settles into Mike Gordon taking the lead on bass with the others trailing in low pitches behind him. The jam slows and slows until until it eventually begins to climb back up, saturating more and more into a culmination of Trey’s wailing pitch benders and landing into a well placed Limb by Limb. It doesn’t just depend on the quantity of the jam though, the cover of Cities by The Talking Heads will attest to that notion. I don’t think David Bryne himself could have played a better version of than the one played in Long Beach; seven minutes of the sexiest and low down funky licks that I have heard them deliver with this cover. Few bands can surpass or achieve equal status with a rendition of a past icon’s work, one success is The Disco Biscuit’s cover of Pink Floyd’s Run Like Hell. The band has really turned the cover into a masterpiece of their own while still leaving the core elements intact, thus giving respect to their predecessors and in turn the right to bring it stage. Phish does this even better. They can really cover any song flawlessly and still give homeage to the creators.
Four people being together for so long and still maintaining that kind of chemistry is a genuine phenomenon, and an indisputable component to the force they’re playing with on this run. Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon’s Guelah Papryus dance choreography antics at the Arena Wednesday were just a small example of the covalent bond they’ve shared for over twenty years. Any skepticism is left weightless in the wake of the second leg of this summers tour, and I hope it keeps. These guys are killing it and happier than ever.