Showing posts with label Concerts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Concerts. Show all posts

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Park City Live - Worst Venue Behind the Zion Curtain and Beyond

We prefer to spotlight the Best Of, but this time the WORST gets Zenberg's attention. 

I've attended hundreds of live performances and been to probably a hundred different venues all across the United States. I've seen the best and the worst music halls. I certainly didn't expect the very worst to be located in Park City, Utah. 

Granted, Utah venues are always somewhat challenging, in part due to all the quirky laws that are both restrictive and oppressive. But I've been to dozens of shows behind the zion curtain, and thought I knew what to expect from a mainstream venue in Park City. I like surprises, but I wasn't prepared for the surprises that Park City Live served up. 

At the entrance Mighty Mo and I were "greeted" by security personnel who demanded to see our IDs. They weren't interested in our tickets, only ID, and it wasn't exclusively to insure that we were old enough to attend a 21 and older event. To be admitted, required that we remove our IDs from our wallets and hand them over to a security person who then scanned them into a database. When I asked why such extreme measures were required, I was told that it is Utah State law; an excuse we would encounter throughout the evening. We were also informed that scanning our IDs would give the venue an accurate head count of attendees in addition to being a handy go-to database in the event of an emergency. Once our ID's had been scanned, we received an official stamp on our right wrists. 

Once inside the doors, we presented out prepaid ticket vouchers which were scanned. We then received a second stamp on our right wrists and were allowed to ascend the steps toward the concert hall, where bellowing music of the opening act thundered through open doors. 

I was thirsty, so stepped up to the bar to order a water. I had been standing there for a few minutes when four other people stepped up and were immediately served ahead of me. Thanks for making me feel invisible. I didn't have to wait much longer before the bartender took my order and promptly served up my beverage. A woman standing next to me had ordered two drinks, one of which was in a can. The woman requested that the canned beverage remain unopened to make it easier to navigate the crowd. The shocked look on her face was revealing when the bartender informed her that she was required to open the beverage before handing it to the patron. "It's Utah law" she informed the flabbergasted woman. As the woman gathered up her purse, coat and an open beverage in each hand, we made eye contact and the woman mouthed, "WTF?"

The remainder of our time in the concert hall consisted of blue shirt security personnel telling us, "You can't sit can't stand can't be here... you'll have to move..." I wish I had counted how many times this happened. 

Fed up with the noisy unwelcome atmosphere inside the hall, I stepped out of the hall and into the mezzanine to chill for a moment. I was immediately approached by a security person and was informed that I couldn't take my beverage outside the hall. "It's water" I pointed out to the blue meanie who parroted the now familiar excuse, "Utah State law." 

Back inside, we were again told that we couldn't "stand here, and couldn't be here" too many more times. Fed up, Mighty Mo raised both middle fingers and put them in face of the latest blue meanie. Good thing he didn't press the issue with her because she probably would have punched him. After that encounter, she said "let's get... out of here. I can't stay another second." So we departed as the opening act finished their set.

I would have loved to have seen Matisyahu perform. Plus, we paid a lot of money to attend, but Park City Live was far too unfriendly to endure. 

The restrooms were clean and the sound system was good, but the overall vibe was toxic and unwelcoming. 

The Utah State law mantra seemed like a control lever. I am aware that Utah has some really ridiculously oppressive laws, but this was over the top weird. I don't want to be made to feel uncomfortable at a venue. I'm there to enjoy good live music, and hopefully a good vibe from the venue and the people there. I've never left a venue before seeing the band I paid to see. This was a first. Congratulations Park City Live.   


Sunday, April 5, 2015

SHADOWLAND in 3D - Another Evening with the Residents at the Rio

Part Three of the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy
 This is not a 3D photo

OK, I've seen the Residents perform probably more than most people should. And I've been fortunate to see the Residents perform at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA more than every other venue combined. That was easy to do when I lived in Santa Cruz, only a couple of blocks from the Rio, but now I live behind the Zion Curtain - a long thirteen-hour drive away.
3d photo of the Rio Theatre doors.

3D photo of a Hello Dolly record that Skinny found in the hall.

I go back home to Santa Cruz as frequently as possible and had been waiting for the Residents to announce US tour dates so that I could plan around that. One day, I learned through the grapevine that the Residents would be playing the Rio on March 12, giving me about three weeks to get time off, make travel arrangements and secure lodging. That's usually easy for me to do, but this time there were numerous obstacles to overcome... however, I made it.
I was pretty stoked when my tickets showed up in the mail. It was much easier when I could drop into Logos or Streetlight and buy tickets, but it was awesome that there was an on-line option. 

The long drive across Nevada was agonizing as usual. By the time I got to Auburn, I began to remember what it felt like to be alive again. My skin immediately responded to the wonderful moist air. So nice to be able to breathe. I sometimes feel somewhat suffocated out in the arid Deseret Territory. 

Revitalized! The wild mouse ride* from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz kept me awake and B4** I knew it, I was on Highway one, heading to my daughter's house in Pleasure Point where she and my son were waiting for me. All of us attended the show at the Rio the following night. My kids both grew up listening to the Residents and this was my 22 year old daughter's first Residents performance. Shadowland was my 25 year old son's sixth Residents show. He's been attending Residents performances with me since he was ten years old. Lucky lad!
Rio doors

There would be only two shows on this tour and when it was announced that Shadowland would be Charles Bobuck's final tour with the Residents, I was happy that I could attend to say adios to Chuck and wish him well. 
3d photo of the Rio Theatre ticket booth.

There were lots of familiar faces in attendance. Old Santa Cruz friends and folks I've met while waiting in line at other Residents shows. Residents people is good people.
3d photo of the Rio Theatre doors. 

The show opened with a 20 minute video that cataloged a short history of of the superintendents of the subterranean. Then after a short period of prelude music, (selections from Charles Bobuck's the Highway), the lights dimmed, and one by one, the Residents took the stage.
3D photo of projection orb. 

The first song of the evening was Rabbit Habit, from the Bunny Boy album. The singer was wearing a horned skull mask, white gloves, and a long-tail white jacket over a tight body suit made to look like muscles, veins and cartilage. He also sported a fancy golden codpiece.
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly  

 Photo courtesy of Don Fickles

At the conclusion of Rabbit Habit, the singer ripped his mask off and revealed his face. "Surprise! It's me, Randy, singer for the Residents," he announced. We were all SO surprised.
Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles. 

Randy introduced Chuck as "my former friend, the despicable Carlos." I suppose it was a jibe in reference to Chuck's announcement that he was retiring from touring. Throughout the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy, Randy has consistently bad-mouthed Carlos, the Residents former drummer, because he retired from the band. Get over it, Randy!
 Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

 Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

Dressed in white jackets, the residents delivered an up-beat Vegas style show. Bob, who is often found sitting, Fripp style, at Residents performances, stood tall to assume rock star position for this tour. I really enjoyed watching his tall lanky frame squeeze out every last squeak and scratch from his guitar. Incredible.
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles. 

Shadowland is Part 3 of the Randy Chuck and Bob Trilogy and is all about birth and rebirth. The previous two shows on the Trilogy tours were about death and love, respectively. Therefore, the Randy Chuck and Bob Trilogy is "life in reverse" according to Randy. "What a concept" 

Shadowed Shadowlanders in 3D- life in reverse

3D photo of projection orb. 

Nifty images were projected onto a 5' diameter inflated orb as the power trio played their thematic musical selections of familiar tunes. Every few minutes, the lights would dim, and the Residents would stand at attention as short Shadow Stories were projected onto the orb.  

The Libertine - photo courtesy of Don Fickles

The Diver - Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles

Photo courtesy of Don Fickles

There were six Shadow Stories in all. The short monologues by the Butcher, the Libertine, the Garbage Man, the Diver, the Model's Mother, and the Engineer were humorous and a bit dark. Whenever I see a Residents performance, I'm reminded how dark they can be and I ask myself, "Do I really like this?"

The Residents chose Mourning Glories, one of my long time favorite songs, as an encore. The song originally appeared on the Not Available album which was my very first Residents record that I purchased at Cosmic Aeroplane way back in 1979.

As usual, there was some fancy schwag available for purchase. There were only 75-80 copies of a special edition Shadow Stories CD that were exclusively available at this show as part of the Shadowland CD debut. 
Limited edition Shadow Stories compact disc on fancy transparent wrapping shroud.

The limited edition Shadowland/Shadow Stories CD set came wrapped in a fancy transparent cellophane shroud that was easy and fun to unwrap & re-wrap. The Shadow Stories CD is made to look like a tiny record - black with grooves.
Shadowland/Shadow Stories CD's on shroud and backside of  Theory of Obscurity T-shirt.

From Santa Cruz, the Residents were off to premier their new documentary film, Theory of Obscurity at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. The Residents will also perform at SXSW which will be the final show on this tour. 
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

I'm interested to see the Residents' next incarnation. Will there be a Randy and Bob duo? Will the Residents break up? Will Chuck be uploaded onto the Residents' main-frame and become an electronique participant at future tours? Unanswered questions. 

Special thanks to Rich O'Rielly and Don Fickles for allowing me to use their photos.

* Highway 17 

** Santa Cruz lingo 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Three Dog Night Live in Tooele - That Ain't the Way to Have Fun... Son!

Three Dog Night played in Tooele tonight. 
They were no doubt the biggest and best band to ever play in the city famous for chemical and bio weapons stockpile and development. 
The old-school rockers sounded great and pulled off quite a show.
They played all of their hits and even some new material that they said would be released by 2030.
The Oquirrh Mountains were a beautiful backdrop for the show. 
The ugly and intrusive power lines installed to to operate the new NSA spy center, along with their resulting permanent scars on the mountain sides, were visible from every angle. 
The crowd enthusiastically held up index fingers as the band played an old favorite, and one of Three Dog Night's biggest hits. One of my earliest memories of playing records on the old family console stereo is the Three Dog Night 45" single, One, (the loneliest number). The record belonged to my sister and I clearly remember watching it spin on the turntable. I recall that the song was credited to have been written by Nilsson, my first introduction to a composer/performer who is numbered among my favorites. I love Harry Nilsson and prefer his original version of One over Three Dog Night's cover. Both are good though.
When I was in fourth grade, I performed* the popular Three Dog Night song, Joy to the World, in the West Elementary Talent Show. It wasn't the first time I had performed publicly, but it was certainly the best received performance and gained me respect from my peers. Joy to you and me.
One of the most entertaining songs Three Dog Night played tonight is their popular cover of the Randy Newman song, Mama Told Me. Newman originally wrote the song for Eric Burdon** in 1966, but it was made famous by Three Dog Night in 1970. Tonight's version lasted about ten minutes and featured disco and rap variations of the familiar tune. 
The show ended with a spectacular lightning storm accompanied by rain... lots of rain. 

Three Dog Night has never been one of my favorite bands, but they are certainly featured prominently on the soundtrack of my life.

*I sang the song whilst playing my baritone ukulele. The following year, I performed Obla Di Obla Da. In sixth grade, I performed with my first band, Deep Six. I played my 1964 Dakota Red Fender Musicmaster.

**Ecic Burdon of the Animals - first solo album 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lucky Man

Here's an incomplete list of bands and musicians that I have had the opportunity to see perform live over the years, (Comedians not included). I don't remember all of them, especially lots of opening acts, but it provides a pretty good assortment and demonstrates how fortunate I have been to live in the crossroads of the West, (SLC), as well as the SF Bay Area. The list will continually be updated.

* indicates acts I have seen more than once. 

A Flock of Seaguls*
A Quantum Visionary*
Dave Alvin
Ian Anderson
Laurie Anderson*
April Wine
The Atomic Clock
The Babys
The Beach Boys
Adrian Belew
Adrian Belew Power Trio*
Belle and Sebastian
Birds Fled From Me
Black Flag
Black Sabbath*
Blitzen Trapper
David Bowie
Terry Bozzio*
Bill Bruford
California Guitar Trio*
Charlie Daniels Band
Cheap Trick
Eric Clapton*
The Clash
Col. Claypoos's Bucket of Bernie Brains
Les Claypool*
Cowboy Junkies
The Damned
Dark Seas
Dead Kennedys*
The Decemberists
Depth Charge Revolt
The Descendants
Dusty Sampson Creatures*
Electric Leaves (Ensemble)*
Emerson Lake and Palmer
The English Beat
Rachel Fannen
Fever the Ghost*
Ghost Town Refugees
The Greenhorns
Sammy Hagar
Happy Meal
Head East
Emmylou Harris
George Harrison
Allan Holdsworth
Ipso Facto*
The Irresponsibles
Jethro Tull*
Billy Joel
Denney Joints
BB King
King Crimson*
The Knitters
Kronos Quartet
LA Express
Tony Levin*
Little Ghost
Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul
Living Color
Los Lobos
Man Miracle
Ziggy Marley
Massacre Guys*
Meat Puppets*
Men at Work
Michelle Shocked
Midnight Snack*
Missing Persons
Moody Blues
Moon Cadillac
Mountain Animal Hospital*
Mystery Lights
My Pet Saddle
Stevie Nicks
Nig Heist
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Ted Nugent
That One Guy
Oingo Boingo*
Iggy Popp
Billy Preston*
The Pretenders
John Prine
James Rabbit
The Residents*
Lee Rocker
Jackie Rocks*
Greg Rolie
Rolling Stones*
Room for a Ghost*
Todd Rundgren
The Saliva Sisters
Scissors for Lefty
Ty Segall
Tom Scott
Shaky Hands
Anushka Shankar
Ravi Shankar*
Jake Shimabukuro
Sleepy Sun*
Sonic Youth
Spell Talk
Rod Stewart
Stick Men*
Brad Stock
The Strange Boys
The Stray Cats
That One Guy
Thin Lizzy
Three Dog Night
Pat Travers Band
Trombone Shorty
The Tubes
Uriah Heap
The Vox Jaguars*
Joe Walch
Wall of Voodoo*
The Walter Martin Cult
Muddy Waters
The Who
Steve Windwood
Edgar Winter Group
Yip Yip
Neil Young
Frank Zappa*
John Zorn

If I had to pick favorites, I'd have to include Crimson, ELP, George Harrison and X, and among the worst acts were Black Sabbath, the English Beat and Thin Lizzie to name a few.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Best Album of 2011 - Denney Joints' Bedtime - A Midnite Snack Any Time of Day

"I wanted to go the sausage fest* but instead, I was in Watsonville, where nothing happens." Denney Joints.

Living in Santa Cruz, California has afforded me numerous opportunities to see some of the world's most influential** performers. Nevertheless, the local talent from this quaint beach community is among the best I've experienced, anywhere. Most notably, a sort of mad musical scientist of a young man who calls himself Denney Joints and his band, Midnite Snack. I've been fortunate to see Denney play live a handful of times at various venues around Santa Cruz, and the shows have always been a real treat.

Denney Joints, a 4.0 art student at San Francisco State University, is no stranger to the Bay Area music scene. He became locally infamous with an early band called "Happy Meal" and his latter-band, Midnite Snack, has enjoyed positive press and reviews throughout the Bay Area.

A few months ago, Denney Joints released his long-awaited "Bedtime" CD. I love Bedtime, and have listened to it too many times to number. My own words can't adequately describe the simple beauty and angsty edginess of this thoughtful recording, so I talked to Denney and others to gain a better understanding of Mr. Joints, and his Best Album of 2011, Bedtime.

"All of bedtime is biographical," Denney told me. "I picked up my guitar in the back room at work where I wrote all of these songs and drank quarts of Hi-Life and smoked dope every day," he joked.

One of the major themes throughout Bedtime seems to be escapism, and Denney weaves an emotional tale of partying with friends in Santa Cruz, idealistic abandonment of responsibility, and whimsically wishful fit-in fantasies. The first track, "Cookin" is about the anticipation of a party at Denney's house, to which he had invited a girl from the local grocery store. "She never came to the party," lamented Denney. However, while working out the song in the back room at work, he came up with the two chords, FM7 and G13, which he described to me as, "a lazier-than-punk take on chords that require no effort to play and sound wonderful." Denney Joints' unmistakable signature sound.

Denney seems to possess a natural, encyclopedic knowledge of music, and is comfortable navigating through stylistic changes. He employs numerous subtle musical influences that keep the music entertaining and interesting. But Denney has no desire to become a commercial success, and claims to despise commercial music. "I love simple music," explained Denney, "but commercial music skips the feeling and goes straight for spectacle." Denney Joints' Bedtime is simple, yet thoughtful and deliberate, and according to music critic, Joey McNeill, "exhibits a kind of dreamlike quality, and a kind of farcical poke at pop music." Denney's distance from commercialism has allowed him to maintain a pure vein of creativity with the attitude that, "if people feel it, great, but if they don’t, I will not change anything to make them bite the hook."

The lyrics on Bedtime are witty and are occasionally presented in a code language that Denney calls Scumbag Select, a clever language in which the pronunciation of words are phonetically skewed based on a set of complicated letter-swapping rules that he has obviously mastered and employs with great skill. Half the fun of Bedtime is dissecting the lyrics.

Nick Overhauser,*** lent his expertise to the Bedtime project by playing on and recording the album. Nick told me that, in his opinion, "Bedtime is an ode to an angry young weirdo who sees little value in the ways of the modern world." Gazing out the window from behind the counter at Denney's workplace and, "seeing people in groups getting along and looking quite ordinary." Denney Joints' observations have become something wonderfully creative, entertaining and satisfying. Joey McNeill related that he "hadn't thought about these things for a long time," and went on to say that, "Denney has found common experiences and truths in the boredom and frustrations that we all share in our youth." Denney says that Bedtime is "emotionally autobiographical," meaning that "the lyrics themselves don't address actual events directly." This gives Bedtime a universal, cross-generational quality and appeal. Even my mom would like it.

All of the tracks on the album are noteworthy, and if life was fair, all of them would be known by everyone. I won't attempt to pin any particular style or genre on the music of Bedtime other than to say that it is eclectic, and uniquely Denney Joints. There is one particular track on the album that deserves special attention and can only be described as "timeless". The Creek Song is jovial, happy harmony and blissful balance. A perfect late summer day spent with the best of friends whilst nestled in the arms of a loving Mother Nature. The Creek Song is a masterpiece, and will forever be one of my favorites.

Denney Joints' Bedtime was mastered at Indigital Studios in Santa Cruz, CA by Mason Rothschild, who**** described Denney as, "an amazing jewel of a mad genius," and went on to say that when Denney gave him the original recordings, they were "wrapped in notes and emotional requests about each song." Although I wonder sometimes if Bedtime is comedic, it is obvious that Denney is serious about his music, and, like Beefheart and Zappa, has eccentric demands, from everyone who contributes to his projects. "I knew that I was up against something completely different," recalls Nick Overhauser who described the first stretch of recording Bedtime as "convoluted and wacky", but by the time the album had been completed, Nick considered it to be one of his favorite projects.

I asked Denney about his selection of personnel for Bedtime, and his on-stage band, Midnite Snack. He told me that generally, people bore him with their "lack of focus and musical accomplishment" but praised his own band, saying that they all "exceed the bar" and that their playing is "precise." Midnite Snack is a fluid membership of friends***** who give their all to Denney's live performances that take me back to the newness I experienced at some late-seventies, and early-eighties punk shows. Denney isn't punk, but he possesses some of the same qualities and attitudes. Bedtime is smart, clever and involved, yet maintains a cohesive structure. Nick Overhauser told me, the most impressive thing about Denney's conceptual work to him, is that, "every album follows a theme with repeated lyrical ideas and melodies... without being too obvious or on the nose." Joey McNeill observed that Denney Joints "has taken frustration and made it enlightening" and called Bedtime "a kind of commentary about how carefully and methodically the introvert moves his way out into the public like a reluctant, escaped hamster who, oblivious to his boundaries, nibbles away at the crackers in our cupboard."

Listening to Bedtime is like eating crackers, you just can't quit. BEWARE! Denney Joints' catchy songs get stuck on mental repeat and run through the mind continuously. I usually just give in and play the damn CD to get it out of my head. I've discovered that Bedtime is a Midnite Snack that can be enjoyed any time of day or night, and Rhetro Zenberg is happy to announce Denney Joints' Bedtime as the Best Album of 2011.

Have a Nice Snack!

Click here to enjoy Denney Joints' Sausage Fest commercial from KPIG Radio, Santa Cruz

**There are far too many to name them all, but a sampling of my most memorable performances would certainly include: Laurie Anderson, Adrian Belew Power Trio, King Crimson, Ravi Shankar, the Residents...

***In addition to being a recording expert, Nick Overhauser played drums on Bedtime and has played for Sheena, Mountain Animal Hospital, Ship of the Sierras, Midnite Snack, and is currently on tour with Birdhand.

****Audio engineer Mason Rothschild, has played in Midnite Snack and is currently touring with the band, Birdhand.

*****To stay fresh, Midnite Snack changes personnel every Venusian cycle. There have been at least eight members of Midnite Snack so far, including two bassists named Mason, (Rosenberg and Rothschild), and three members of the popular indie band, the Vox Jaguars, (Sam Copperman, Trevor Hope and Mason Rosenberg), but Denney says he has no plans for a Vox Jaguars cover, and now that Denney has moved to Oakland, he may resurrect Midnite Snack there, with fresh faces.

Denney Joints - The Coolest Cat On The Couch

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleepy Sun in 3D

On Friday night, one of my favorite Santa Cruz bands, Sleepy Sun, came to play at the Urban lounge in Salt Lake City.
As I drove to the city, the sleepy sunset over the Great Salt Lake
was so beautiful that I pulled over to take this photo on Interstate 80.
Lots of illuminated mannequin arms were on hand.
Matt takes a moment to smile for the 3D camera.
Notice the arm reaching to steal the Sleepy Sun set list.
Sleepy Sun put on an amazing show, and everyone was pleased with their outstanding performance of precise musical psychedelia.

I was first introduced to Sleepy Sun at the Loves In Heat Music Festival in Santa Cruz, CA back in 2007, and haven't seen them play since. I hope that I don't have to wait another five years to see them again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gilgal Garden in 3D - California Guitar Trio in 3D

Tada! Last month I had the opportunity to stroll through Gilgal Garden, one of my favorite places in Salt Lake. There was still a bit of snow on the ground, therefore the not-so-famous stone garden appeared especially surreal and beautiful. The perfect place for some 3D photography, so here's this month's installment of stereoscopique. N Joy!!!

The Joseph SphinX

I'm stoked to be back to California, because on Wednesday night, some friends and I attended the California Guitar Trio show at Don Quixote's in Felton. The show was awesome, and surprisingly, cost only fifteen dollars. My friend, Brainphreak, drove from San Jose, and shot some video with his new 3D camera. You can watch his You Tube Video by clicking below:

Here's an awesome stereoscopic image created by Brainphreak.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years ReZ

Today is 1,1, 11... the first day of the new year.

2010 went out with a big bang. Two of my favorite bands played together at the beautiful and historic Fox Theater in Oakland, California.

The superintendents of the subterranean, the Residents, took the stage first, and brought their Talking Light Tour to a close.

*Lanol (Bob) shredddZ on the guitar

*Horem , (Randy) is always a snappy dresser, with a flare for style

Here's some video from the Residents' performance at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

As soon as the Residents finished their short set, stage hands got busy and before long, Primus took the stage and performed the songs from their Sailing the Seas of Cheese album in it's entirety. Les sported his newest bass, and to end the show, the boys played one of their new songs for the first time.

*Names have been encrypted to protect the cryptic.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monerey JazZ Festerous Equinoxymoronic Convergence

I don't like jazz, but last weekend I attended the world famous Monterey Jazz Festival anyway. Here are a few things that I saw there.

Summer is over... Have a nice Fall