Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Austin City Limits Taping – John Legend and The Roots

As I mentioned, John Legend and The Roots taped a performance for Austin City Limits last night. It will air locally on KLRU on Saturday, November 20, 2010. They’re promoting their new album, Wake Up, which will be released on September 21st. It’s a mix of mostly 70s soul covers and a few originals. They had performed the night before in Las Vegas for the Miss Universe pageant.

Austin City Limits is moving to its new location downtown at the beginning of next year, so there will probably only be a handful of performances at Studio 6A before the move. Bob Schneider tapes a set tonight and I’m assuming there will be a few tapings with the ACL Festival coming up at the beginning of October. There were the usual ACL taping amusements last night: people spilling the free beer (the only time I’ll drink Ziegenbock because it’s at least a little better than Budweiser – pro tip: always get two on the way in, it’s too hard to go back and get more) and watching people narrowly miss getting bonked in the head with the boom camera. The most adept at avoiding the camera is the official ACL photographer, Scott Newton, who just released a book collecting 35 years of photos from the show on UT Press.

Black Thought, who was present at the GMA Central Park performance that I linked in my preview post, wasn’t there for last night’s taping. They played pretty much straight through the set without too much talking in between songs and obviously the rap portions of the songs were dropped with the absence of Black Thought. “Captain” Kirk Douglas had a blistering guitar solo at the end of the Bill Withers cover “I Can’t Write Left Handed” and ?uestlove got pretty animated by the end of that song, definitely the best one of the set. I’ve heard “Hard Times” twice now and it’s been stuck in my head all morning.

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Questlove, John Legend & The Roots Preview

I first heard about The Roots living in NYC in 1995. I picked up their first major label album Do You Want More?!!!??! and couldn’t stop listening to it. I completely wore out “You Got Me” from their third album, Things Fall Apart. Their latest album, How I Got Over, was just released in June.

I pretend to be a drummer on occasion and had always admired ?uestlove (aka Ahmir Thompson), drummer for The Roots, but developed a serious man crush after seeing him at a live show during SXSW in 2006 for Before the Music Dies. I didn’t know about his bandleading skills until that performance, something that would become much more evident when The Roots began their stint as the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of Late Night from Conan O’Brien  (the only redeeming aspect of that change, in my opinion).

?uestlove also does guest DJ stints displaying his encyclopedic knowledge of music and will do one tonight immediately following the Austin City Limits taping at Red 7 at 9pm. It’s $8 in advance (try End of An Ear records) and $10 at the door and probably will sell out.

Tonight’s Austin City Limits taping will be with John Legend. Their collaboration, Wake Up, will be released on September 21st. I caught one song at a Central Park performance on Good Morning America a couple of weeks ago. The collaboration is inspired by the presidential election campaign of 2008 and is a mix of covers and originals. VH1 has a bunch of behind the scenes videos promoting the album. I’ll post a review of the taping tomorrow.

Here are the air dates for Season 36 of Austin City Limits which airs locally on KLRU on Saturday nights at 7pm:

October 2, 2010         Jimmy Cliff
October 9, 2010         Spoon
October 16, 2010      Patty Griffin & Friends
October 23, 2010      Alejandro Escovedo / Trombone Shorty
October 30, 2010      Robert Earl Keen / Hayes Carll
November 6, 2010     Steve Martin / Sarah Jarosz
November 13, 2010   Rosanne Cash / Brandi Carlile
November 20, 2010   John Legend & The Roots

Bob Mould at The Cactus Cafe

Bob MouldUnless you’ve been under a rock for the last four months, you’ve heard that UT announced it would be closing the Cactus Cafe at the end of the summer. It appears that public outcry has caused them to reconsider that decision. As far as I can tell, the two proposals gaining interest now are either that it be run by the students or by KUT. They continue to take feedback until May 7.

I’ve apparently been under a rock because I didn’t realize until yesterday morning that Bob Mould was in town for a two night stand at the aforementioned Cactus Cafe. I quickly checked with The Wife and that tickets were still available and got myself down there for the second night. I’ve only been to the Cactus a couple of times, but I had not doubt that it’d be a great intimate venue for Bob’s solo show and given the uncertain future, it may be my last chance to see the Cactus in its familiar glory.

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Austin City Limits Taping – Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick opened the 36th and final season for Austin City Limits in its current location on the University of Texas campus. They’ll be moving to block 21 just north of city hall sometime near the end of this year or beginning of next year.

I had an amusing moment before the show at Terra Burger across the street. I saw a guy with platinum blond hair decked out in cowboy rocker gear and just wrote him off as a SXSW hipster wannabee. I passed him as I got a drink refill and headed out to wait for the interminable light to cross The Drag back over to the communications building. He came out at the same time and stood next to me. I looked over at him and it dawned on me that it was probably Robin Zander, Cheap Trick’s front man. Turns out that I was right that it was Robin and wrong that he was a wannabee. If anybody’s entitled to walk around like that, it’s him.

If Robin was inconspicuous with his presence in the Terra Burger, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos is conspicuous by his absence on this trip through Austin. He wasn’t at the taping last night or at an interview with CNBC on St. Patrick’s Day and he hasn’t been mentioned in any of the interviews that I’ve seen so far (including an interview from Austin360 where they give a shout out to Sam’s BBQ on east 12th street). It’s almost like they’re trying to avoid talking about it (is this punishment for that Hanson/James Iha side project?). Guitarist Rick Neilsen’s son Daxx filled in admirably during the taping. He’s definitely of the Bun E. school of drumming. The band is rounded out with amazing 12 string (!?!?) bass player Tom Petersson and two keyboard players, Phil “Magic” Cristian, who’s played with them on and off since the 80s and Roger Manning from Jellyfish and Imperial Drag.

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Pearl Jam on Austin City Limits

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get admission to Pearl Jam’s Austin City Limits taping back in October. The episode airs tomorrow night at 7pm on KLRU locally. Check your own listings on your local PBS station of you’re outside of Austin. The ACL people have posted a time lapse video of the day’s taping. If you’ve never been to an ACL taping, it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the elevator up to the studio and the hallway to the studio where they pass out the free Ziegenbock and Budweiser on the way in. You can also see the historical marker that was added recently on the end of the bleacher risers on stage right. I’m pretty sure that’s part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame declaring ACL a rock and roll landmark. It wasn’t there when I was in the studio in June for the Okkervil River taping. I’m definitely going to miss the old studio when they move the operation downtown in a couple of years.

Here’s a couple of reviews of the taping that were posted right after it happened from Austin 360 and TwoFeetThick along with an outtakes addendum from Austin360 as well.

Speaking of ACL tapings, if you’re a fan of Pearl Jam, set your calendars for February 13th when the Them Crooked Vultures taping will air.

My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine at the Austin Music Hall

My Bloody Valentine at the Austin Music Hall

You can view the whole set here.

Mysterious music

The house I lived in before this one was built around a tree. The tree was enclosed in glass, and inquisitive nocturnal creatures such as raccoons could be seen nightly. There was a sleeping porch atop the back shed and carport. In the carport was an upright piano. And it was in tune. And, until that day when it vanished sometime between morning and evening, at least once a month, at around three in the morning, someone would come and play beautiful music on that piano. Some of the music owed a debt to Thelonious Monk; some betrayed evidence of serious training in the classical repertoire.

I love those evenings when strains of melody are borne on the breeze from afar. This happens more often at night than in the daytime. Some people don’t love it at all, of course, thinking of it as noise, and I myself prefer the full range of sound, from the lowest bass to the most delicate treble. Unfortunately, it’s the bass and percussion that seem to be the last to decay over distance.

This weekend brought accomplished music from somewhere nearby. Had it not been so late, I would have been very tempted to track the music to its source, which must have been very close at hand. Avatars of Django and Stephane were playing, along with all proper accompaniment.

Long ago, I worked in a converted rooming house that was reputed once to have been home to Janis Joplin. Back when certain neighborhood structures were communes, some of them were musicians’ establishments. Even now, there are many working musicians nearby, but they practice elsewhere. I had never heard this particular aggregation before, but I certainly hope to hear it again, and often.

Austin City Limits Taping – Pinetop Perkins and Bettye Lavette

acl_pinetopI was very fortunate to attend an Austin City Limits taping on Sunday evening. This was my third in the past ten years. I saw Roky Erickson last November and got to see Hank Thompson & Ray Price with Junior Brown in 1999. I seem to have a knack for catching legendary musicians late in their careers.

This time it was “Pinetop” Perkins and Bettye LaVette. Ninety-five year old Perkins was up first. He arrived at the stage in a wheelchair and was helped up onto it by an ACL employee. He made it across the stage on his own and seated himself at the piano wearing an impressive red suit and hat. The backing band consisted of many local veteran musicians including Chris Layton, Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff, Gary Clark Jr. and also included another Blues legend, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, on harmonica. “Big Eyes” has played with “Pinetop” Perkins for many years both on drums and harmonica. I didn’t know this until I started checking him out after the show, but they were both in Muddy Waters band and formed their own Legendary Blues Band, appearing behind John Lee Hooker in The Blues Brothers. Wikipedia claims he’s the only other musician shown clearly on camera in that scene. Time to go check out The Blues Brothers again. KUT did an award winning documentary on Perkins last summer. It was kind of hard to hear Perkins over the band. They turned up his mike after the first song. He’s definitely showing his age, something to be expected at 95, but it was definitely a honor to be able to see him play, one of, if not the, last boogie woogie piano players. In a really weird coincidence, “Down in Mississippi” came on the stereo in the coffee shop where I’m working this morning.

Here’s the set list:

CHICKEN SHACK
DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI
HOW LONG
BIG FAT MAMA
MOJO

Bettye LaVette was up next after a long intermission between bands.

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