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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Coke Adds Life

Jan 6 - I've seen so many great shows this month. One of the perks that comes with living in Santa Cruz, CA, is the fact that so many wonderful musicians want to come here to play for our sophisticated, and musically elite audiences. January started with a bang... and boom, & thump when one of my all-time favorite guitarists, Alan Holdsworth, took the stage with three other all time favorites; Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto from King Crimson, and Terry Bozzio of Zappa infamy. This was my first live Holdsworth experience so I was pretty stoked, especially considering that last time he played Santa Cruz, I missed the show because I got the day wrong. Duh! I've been lucky to see Tony Levin a handful of times over the years, both with his own band, as well as the California Guitar Trio. I saw Pat Mastelotto play with King Crimson at the Fillmore in San Francisco back in 2000, and again with the California Guitar Trio at the old beloved Palookaville... may it rest in peace. I first saw Terry Bozzio with Zappa at the Salt Palace back in 1976, then again in 1979 when UK opened for Jethro Tull at the D Event Center. The show at Kuumbwa on January 6, was blissful, and consisted of a couple hours improvisational pieces.

Jan 7 - The following night, I got to see the Vox Jaguars play at the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz. It was their first show in months, and the boys played a rousing set until 12:30 AM. Fortunately for the enthusiastic crowd, the Crepe Place allowed one last encore and TVJ's had fun with one of their favorite crowd pleasers, Metropolis. A fitting farewell tune for a band that may never play together again.

Jan 21 - Felton is only a few minutes from Sana Cruz, and that's where our whole family went to see the California Guitar Trio. Before my mom died last month, she gave us some money for Christmas, and told me to get something meaningful with it. When I heard that CGT was coming, I promptly used some of the money on four tickets for my family. Something meaningful. A night out with my family, seeing one of our favorite ensembles.

Jan 23 - Good, probably isn't the correct adjective to describe the Residents show in the Rio Theater last Saturday night. Spooky, creepy, entertaining, and even funny; the Residents' Talking Light Tour was something I won't soon forget. The Residents' simple stylish sets are always impressive. This show was no exception and exhibited masterful use of theme, lighting, depth, strobe, space, and technology to create a uniquely Residents experience that left me wanting a tall sparkling glass of Coca Cola...  

Friday, December 11, 2009


On the first night of Hanukkah...
Progressive rock legends, Terry Bozio, Allan Holdsworth, Tony Levin, and Pat Mastelotto have united, and will play two shows at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, California on January 6, 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Residents

Oh, Shit!
The Residents will be kicking off their latest tour at the Rio in Santa Cruz, California on January 23, 2010. I got my ticket.

Monday, October 19, 2009

e-Z Listening: Adrian Belew Power Trio in SFO

An old-school Crimson fan poses for a photo

I hadn't planned on writing about the Adrian Belew Power Trio, but something so impressive is difficult NOT to mention. I've seen these three perform together about five times now and last night's show at Slim's in San Francisco was one of the finest performances I have ever beheld. I wrote extensively about this crew a couple of years ago, therefore I'll refrain
from saying much more this time except that I had an opportunity to talk with the trio after the show, and was impressed with their warm and friendly reception to those of us who stayed late to say hello. I also had the privilege to meet one of my favorite bloggers, the mother of two-thirds of the Power Trio, Robin Slick. She must be so proud of her two outstanding children who are not only professionally adept, but friendly and personable as well.

The Power Trio played a handful of old favorites, and a few selections from their recently released CD simply titled, e. It's nice of Adrian to allow someone else to play on one of his records. He usually plays all of the instruments himself, but invited the Siblings Slick to play on this latest release. I may review e after I've had a chance to hear it a few more times.

Adrian Belew and Julie Slick playing new music from e

Eric Slick - percussionista magnifique

Santa Cruz' favorite bassist, Mason Rosenberg, (the Vox Jaguars and A Quantum Visionary), poses with the Adrian Belew Power Trio after the show. Mason admits that Belew has been one of his major musical influences because King Crimson was his very first live concert when he was just ten years old. That show at the Fillmore back in 2000 helped to inspire Mason to become the talented musician he is today, and the rest is history in the making. Maybe Mason and Adrian will have an opportunity play King Crimson's Level Five together next time the Twang Bar King visits the left coast.
The play list.
Moments after I snapped this photo, a young woman crawled up on to the stage and stole the list. A staff person chased her down and grabbed it from her.

Eric's sparkling drum kit is like the one used by the Vox Jaguars' drummer, Trevor Hope.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Studio E Santa Cruz - NEW Live Music Venue

Last Saturn-day night was the premier show of its kind at Studio E Santa Cruz, Surf City's newest venue for live music. A Quantum Visionary made history by being the first band to take the stage in the venue famous for Kids on Broadway, a non-profit, year-round performing arts organization for children.

As of late, many of Santa Cruz's favorite venues have had a moratorium on live music due to noise ordinance violations spurred on by
annoyed neighbor's repeated complaints. Studio E Santa Cruz will be immune to noise violations because it is located near Harvey West Park in a non-residential area where the only neighbors are Costco and industrial businesses.

Finding Studio E Santa Cruz was easy and the route was well marked by signs directing us to the venue located just south of the giant Costco building. Inside I discovered an inviting atmosphere where a large, well lit prepared stage, decorated with a variety of musical instruments, waited to be manned by A Quantum Visionary. Comfortable couches lined the walls while several folding chairs were positioned thirty feet or so from the stage allowing plenty of
standing room. The large facility can easily accommodate a larger crowd than either Pergolesi or the now defunct E3 Playhouse. There is even a snack shack where goodies and beverages can be purchased.

What could be better? Well, for one thing,
Studio E Santa Cruz requires no rental fee for the bands who play there. The door earnings are split between the band and the venue. Studio E Santa Cruz donates its cut to performing arts programs for children in Santa Cruz. There's even FREE Wi-Fi!

With their community-minded approach to the arts,
Studio E Santa Cruz appears to be the perfect venue for the Santa Cruz live music scene.

Saturday night's show featuring Picture Atlantic and A Quantum Visionary at Studio E proved that quality LIVE music is alive and well in Santa Cruz... again.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rick Wakeman Eat Your Heart Out

I felt like a groupie when I showed up twenty minutes early for the free organ recital at the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I try to catch at least one of these recitals whenever I travel to the Beehive State, and I'm never disappointed by this amazing instrument, and those who play it.

When the doors finally opened, I scurried to the front row to get the best seat in the house to view and hear the king of musical instruments. Unfortunately, they no longer allow photos or video to be taken during the performance, and I wasn't allowed to get on the stand for close-up shots of the
keyboard array, but I did manage to snap a few of pictures before the music began.

Richard L Elliot was the featured organist and demonstrated his mastery of this awesome instrument with amazing skill and finesse. Neither Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman holds a camel to this skilled professional who played on a level I have never before experienced.

The highlight of the event was a rendition of Richard Wagner's, Flight of the Valkyrie, which he performed flawlessly without any sheet music to assist him. Bravo!

I spoke with Dr. Elliot after the recital and expressed my appreciation for an amazing performance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Halloween $ong for the San Francisco Girls

On Halloween I went with the Vox Jaguars to the Halloween festival in San Francisco where they played with such notables as Cathy Richardson with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and the Jimi Hendrix Tribute. This is some of the video and a handful of photos from that show.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Got Gumption?

Gumption. That's one thing I don't have an abundance of at the moment... at least when it comes to writing for my blog. Sure, I've already begun writing many of the upcoming posts including, but certainly not limited to:

When in Morm - Do's and don'ts and insightful tips for visitors to Utah

Mighty Mo names the spiders that live in our house

My simple answer to the gang problem, (and it isn't dynamite)

Phrases and terms I have coined

A walk down rememory lane to the old Blue Mouse Theater in Salt Lake City

A recollection of the Bucket of Bernie Brains show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz

A book review of Paula Phelan's 1919

Examples of literary structures in ancient texts

Hale Bopp

Plus many more Xtra Files

But I'm going to take a nap right now instead of writing. I'll listen to some Lawrence Welk for inspiration later on. Meanwhile, take a gander at this pretty bottle brush that Mighty Mo photographed last week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To Be Frank - Zappa Plays Zappa in Surf City

I was so excited when I heard that the Zappa Plays Zappa show was coming to Santa Cruz, and to my favorite theater to boot... a hop, skip and a jump away at the Rio.

I've been listening to Zappa since sixth grade, and have become a bit of a connoisseur of his compositions... most* of which are quite brilliant. As a premordial Zappa fan, who could be more excited to experience an evening of live Zappa music performed by the late Mr. Zappa's own son, Dweezil, and a host of Frank Zappa alumni?

Imagine my horror when I consulted the Rio website and read the following:

V.I.P. $96.00 Reserved $ 55.50 additional fees may and most likely will apply.


OK, lets look at this rationally, in 1977, I saw Frank Zappa, THE Frank Zappa, NOT his son... THE Frank Zappa - for six dollars and fifty cents ($6.50). When you include those additional fees, this show ends up costing more than fifteen times more than the cost of seeing the bona-fide Frank Zappa. The reserved seating price isn't that much better, costing nine times what I paid in '77. What is wrong with this picture? Is Dweezil Zappa worth a hundred bucks? I think not. There are very few entertainers I would pay over fifty bucks to see. Actually none. I'm sure Dweezil is a nice enough fellow... He can't be too bad if Mr. Nice-Guy, Donny Osmond, hangs out with him. But, I have principles, and refuse to pay such a high cost to see the son of someone. I recently saw the Residents for twenty-five bucks, ($25)... THE Residents, NOT the son of a Resident, and it cost 75% less than this Zappa Play$ Zappa $how co$t$.

Across the street from the Rio Theater, is the Crepe Place, where on March 11th the Vox Jaguars will rock the house for only eight bucks ($8.00), and I know it will be as good if not better than the pricey show on the other side of Soquel Avenue tonight.

Viva le Crepe Place!

* Too often Mr. Zappa crossed over the line into tasteless potty humor, which is OK when you're in 6th grade, but... come on Frank, grow up already. Or as some would say, "Shut up and play your guitar".

** What The Frank?

Monday, February 16, 2009


Introducing RHETRO TV-Z
(pronounced: retro tee vee stroke zed)

A nifty and safe alternative to your mainstream Televalium.

RHETRO TV-Z has half as many harmful side effects, and twice the color as most national brands. That means big savings for you and your familia.

Give yourself a hand,
and tune in, turn on,
but don't cop out by dropping out


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Vox Jaguars CD Release: A Review

After months of anticipation, the new Vox Jaguars' self-titled CD has been released on Anodyne Records. In mid-January, I received a special edition*(1) advanced copy of the Vox Jaguars to review, and now that I've heard it more than a dozen times, I feel that I'm prepared to comment on one of this year's best records.

I've been paying attention
to the Vox Jaguars since I happened upon one of their live shows at Cafe Pergolesi in Santa Cruz, California about three years ago. What surprised me most about the show was that the audience, (and there seemed to be about a hundred of them crammed into the small room), knew the songs and sang along as if they were part of the band. I thought of the Cavern in Liverpool and the energy and comradary that must have existed there among early Beatle fans. It isn't every day that I see an audience so enthralled with a band, and that night, the patrons at Pergles were at one with the Vox Jaguars.

It wasn't long til the Vox Jaguars recorded a demo*(2) CD at the home studio of a friend. The exceptionally well recorded demo featured four completed tracks exhibiting plenty of musical variety and skill. The demo received quite a bit of notoriety and it seemed only natural when the Vox Jaguars' popular song, Swagger,*(3) was featured on the major prime time FOX Television program, Canturbury's Law. Producers of the show had stumbled upon the song on the Vox Jaguars' My Space page, and negotiated its use on the show.

Now, The Vox Jaguars have released their first CD, and it is sure to be popular among the indie generation in general, and spread in popularity to a broader audience in the years to come.

Beyond their darling and daring youthfulness, what makes The Vox Jaguars interesting, is the precision and power with which they play their upbeat clever and catchy songs. Smarter than punk, but not too technical for the uninitiated ear, this band has successfully drawn upon a long eclectic history of music to come up with a sound uniquely their own.

Something that can't go unnoticed at a live Vox Jaguars performance, is the display of teamwork between their powerful percussionist and bassist who keep the band timely and intriguing. Trevor Hope is truly an incredible drummer who's intricate percussion is perfectly augmented by master bassist, Mason Rosenberg. The two sound as though they've been playing together forever. This foundational
backbone establishes a powerful template for high school student Jordan Topf to present his songs about teen struggle, and modern dilemma. I find it surprising that this CD exhibits a subtle LA nuance. I keep expecting Jim Morrison to belt out something ridiculous... that notion amuses me.

The current line up of the Vox Jaguars includes
newest member, Noah Bond on lead guitar*(4) and voices, Jordan Topf on guitar*(5) and voices, Trevor Hope on drums, and Mason Rosenberg on bass.*(6) The lineup on the new CD features former band member Sam Copperman on keyboards. Sam recently left the band to attend to his higher education. The Vox Jaguars have not replaced him with another keyboardist, and don't plan to any time soon. Rather, they picked up high school senior Noah Bond to play guitar, and he is working out wonderfully. Noah plays like a pro and provides the ensemble with a rich round sound. A favorable addition to an already great band. There is still room for keyboards in my opinion.

I like the new self-titled release by the Vox Jaguars very much, and will surely play it on my hi-fi many more times. I think four clever boys could have come up with a more suitable title for this release however. If I had been given the opportunity to name the new Vox Jaguars CD, I would have turned their name into an anagram, such as, Jug Has a Vortex, or called it something controversial and relevant like, Obama's War Now, but I'm just an old punk who still likes to ruffle feathers. It's like eating peanuts...

The Vox Jaguars, on Anodyne Records.

*(1) My special edition copy of
The Vox Jaguars arrived in a standard hard plastic case, however a more environmentally-friendly paper-box version is currently available on line and in fine stores everywhere.

What makes this special packaging unique, is the inclusion of a segment of broken guitar string from one of the instruments played by the Vox Jaguars.

The guitar string is clearly visible through the usually empty plastic window on the left-edge of the CD case. I love it when this space is used for something other than nothing at all.

*(2) The Vox Jaguars Demo CD titled, Good as Gone, rivals the new release, and in some ways is preferable to it. The songs on Good as Gone are recorded so well that they could have been included on the new release as bonus tracks. I hope Good as Gone will one day be
made available again. My copy is worn out.

*(3) A new version of Swagger is the only song from the demo that has made it's way onto the new CD. Not even Metropolis, the most beloved of all the Vox Jaguars songs, appears on this new release. I should also note that the Canterbury's Law season one
DVD, (featuring Swagger), will be released on February 24th, 2009. If we're lucky, they'll also release a Canterbury's Law soundtrack and include the original version of Swagger.

*(4) Noah plays a Gibson Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster

*(5) Not surprisingly, Jordan plays a Fender Jaguar

*(6) Mason usually plays an Ibanez Roadstar but lately has been seen with a Specter*(7) at some of their shows. Most of the tracks on the new CD
sound as if a different bass was being played.

*(7) I've noticed that Mason usually plays his Specter in his other soon to be famous band, A Quantum Visionary, who take musical intricacy and variety to new heights.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Festival For Freedom: The Rhetro Review

Last night I attended the Festival For Freedom at the University of San Francisco. It was a charity event sponsored by the Erasmus Community at the University who raised many hundreds of dollars to fight modern slavery.

The festival featured nine different SF Bay-Area acts who played to a large hall full of college kids who all seemed to have a good time. The show was supposed to begin at 5:30, but the first band, Man
/Miracle, took a long time to set up, and then overplayed their allotted twenty minute segment which threw the event further off schedule. It was fun to watch Man/Miracle play their brand of poppy indie rock even though they overplayed their welcome. I especially enjoyed their cool vocal effects.
Man/Miracle, the first of nine bay-area bands to play at the Festival for Freedom at the Univesity of San Francisco Friday night

A Quantum Visionary, the second band, gets the award for most efficient ensemble. These guys from Santa Cruz had all their equipment set up in less than five minutes, and played for precisely twenty minutes. This band's efficiency and precision is reflected in their highly technical music which is difficult to describe because one song may include metal, funk and progressive elements. A far cry from a garage band. I was shooting some really good video of AQV when, 51 seconds into the first song, someone turned off the lights, making it impossible to continue filming.

A Quantum Visionary efficiently setting up their equipment

Following A Quantum Visionary, another Santa Cruz band, Depth Charge Revolt, played an impressive set of hard-hitting technical-punk. DCR featured two drummers who played tight and powerful rhythms. Their bassist boomed big and the guitar shredded magnificently while their vocalist hollered and howled as he paced back and forth between contortions. Next time they're playing in Santa Cruz, I'll be there.
Depth Charge Revolt doing what they do best

Another band worth mentioning was U of SF's own, Ghost Town Refugees, who had the most interesting visuals of all the bands. On their home turf, GTR stood silhouetted against the visual images being projected on the wall behind them. They get extra credit for their inclusion of an atomic detonation.

Ghost Town Refugees making the most of their home court advantage

Next, the Vox Jaguars took the stage to play a rousing set of songs. No wonder these Santa Cruz boys have been signed by Anodyne Records. They played like pros, and really got the crowd on their feet and moving. Their first CD will be released on Tuesday, February 10th, but they had a few copies on hand to sell at the festival.

A Quantum Visionary's master bassist, Mason Rosenberg, also lends his skills to The Vox Jaguars

The Vox Jaguars

The Vox Jaguars' Jordan Topf showing off the new Vox Jaguars CD to Depth Charge Revolt's Hector Lee Heaviside
The self-titled CD was available for the first time at the Festival For Freedom in San Francisco

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Flower Punks of the Festival For Fredom

The following article was published earlier today in the San Francisco Bay Guardian Online. I was going to write about the festival, but Mr. Andre Torrez appears to have beaten me to it. There isn't much to add to his article other than, (if I'm not mistaken), Santa Cruz' A Quantum Visionary, will unveil their new keyboardist at this show. AQV keeps getting better and better and more interesting every time I see them. They have been compared to Yes, but that would be an unfair comparison... not to Yes, but to AQV who's style and range exceeds that of the classic prog band. AQV is an eclectic collage of all things progressive, and influences like ELP, King Crimson, Yes, and even Coheed and Cambria can be detected in their epic songs all of which last over six minutes, and never become boring. AQV is a side project of the Vox Jaguars master bassist, Mason Rosenberg who will make an appearance with both bands at the Festival for Freedom. I have also received information that the other band I was looking forward to seeing, Mountain Animal Hospital, may not play due to a bicycle accident suffered by guitarist Chris Holcomb who is still recovering from the January 12th incident.


An interwoven clan of West Coast outfits with garage rock tendencies and psychedelic leanings

It doesn't take six degrees of separation to link the new breed of local bands performing at the University of San Francisco's Festival for Freedom benefit show. They're an interwoven clan of West Coast outfits with garage rock tendencies and psychedelic leanings. And they're just about all in each other's MySpace top eight. If I had to label, I'd consider the term "flower punks" for 'em. I mean, c'mon, San Francisco has a huge Haight-Ashbury legacy to live up to. So, in the spirit of hippiedom and smiling on your brother, the undergrads from the university's Erasmus Community has decided to take on the cause of fighting modern-day slavery and is planning an immersion trip to Uganda and Rwanda, where they will focus their efforts on rehabilitating child soldiers.

This benefit show for that trip is a culmination of the group's efforts in social justice awareness and activism, combined with a dose of peacenik-punk rock. Taking the stage on campus: Ty Segall, Man/Miracle, and a very Birthday Party-era Nick Cave sounding Depth Charge Revolt, among others. The bands will bring the noise, so you should bring your bucks to help support this worthwhile cause for the marginalized children of Uganda.

FESTIVAL FOR FREEDOM: USF BENEFIT FOR THE REHABILITATION OF UGANDAN CHILD SOLDIERS With A Quantum Visionary, Depth Charge Revolt, Travis Hayes, Ghosttown Refugees, the Vox Jaguars, James Rabbit, Ty Segall, and Man/Miracle. Fri/6, 6:30 p.m., $5–$8. McClaren 250, Phelan Building, University of San Francisco campus, SF. (831) 588-3537


Monday, January 26, 2009

Post-Punk X - Pickin' on the Knitters

The Knitters at Moe's Alley Last Night

Something that is difficult for me to get my brain around is the fact that I started listening to X before Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. Five presidents later, I still listen to X, but even more surprising is the fact that the raucous and rowdy rockabilly punk band from LA is still going strong... in one form or another. These days, they're touring as a bona fide cowpoke band.

When pUnK Wasn't Cool

The first time I heard X was in the Spring of 1980. Jon and I were hanging out at our friend David's house in Tooele, Utah listening to music and talking about bands when David asked, "Have you ever heard X?" I replied, "I know Generation X, is that what you mean?" He pulled out his newly acquired record and began to educate us about the band and their legendary producer, Ray Manzarek, from the Doors, who, he informed us, also plays keyboards on the record. He removed the black vinyl disc from it's sleeve, placed the record on the turntable, and after a quick dusting, placed the stylus on the first track of side one... Los Angeles. It was obvious from that moment that X had a truly unique sound, and that they were worth paying attention to. I did. To me, X was evidence that punk could be poignant artsy and smart... eXactly what the stagnant music industry needed.

Sometime in the early eighties, I had the opportunity to see X live for the first of what would become many times. The show was in Salt Lake City at the old dilapidated fairgrounds coliseum... an appropriate place for the big rockabilly sound of X. 004, a local ska band, opened the show that night. 004* was followed by Angst, a semi-punk bay area band. Both gave exceptional performances, but when X took the stage, it became obvious who everyone was there to see. X sounded great, and seemed to give it all they had. The crowd's enthusiastic appreciation was reciprocated by the band who seemed joyously surprised by their favorable reception behind the Zion Curtain.

When Mighty Mo and I first met, one of the things we had in common was
X, and we still go to see them perform whenever the opportunity presents itself. Strangely, from San Francisco to Madison, the most fun X shows have always been in SLC.***

Knit Pickin' and Grinnin' Twenty-Nine Years Later

I was thrilled when I learned that
X had a country music alter ego band called The Knitters. First, I can't resist silent letters, (especially K), and secondly, I thought the idea was brilliant - Cowpoke music played by punk rockers. It's stuff like that that keeps life worth living. Speaking of living, one thing that I love about living in Santa Cruz, is the fact that I've had so many opportunities to see my favorite musicians perform in quaint venues, like Moe's Alley. Last night, Mighty Mo and I took the bus across town to see the Knitters play at Moe's. We had found out about it only a day before the show, and were happy that it hadn't sold out.** Whew!

Moe's Alley was filled to capacity. Apparently, word had gotten out about the Knitters, and the fact that the band features three X Patriots. The eclectic stylings of wardrobe exhibited by attendees was entertaining and amusing to observe. I assumed there would be lots of rockabilly folks, but saw only a few watered-down versions thereof. No jet-black haired gals sporting Betty Page bangs. Dang!

As we sat at a table in the back, listening to the opening act, X's vocalist, Exene strolled right behind Mighty Mo on her way to use the restroom while the crowd was distracted. I told Mighty Mo who had just walked behind her, and she proclaimed, "I love her." When Exene came out from the restroom, she passed by us again. As she did, I got her attention and told her, "We love you, Exene." She blushed, and sheepishly said, "Thanks" and disappeared into the crowd, hoping not to be recognized by anyone else.

When the Knitters took the stage, Moe's Alley came alive. We muscled our way to within fifteen feet of the stage before being thwarted by a wall of compressed thirty-five to fifty-five year old bodies that prevented us from getting any closer. It had been cold earlier, but now, within that mass of
huddled humanity, I was warm and cozy.

The Knitters played for two hours, to an appreciative and enthusiastic crowd. The songs were truly country floavoured, but there was no mistaking the tell-tale harmonies of John X Doe and Exene that are so prominent in X.

Dave Alvin, the smokin' guitarist of Blasters fame really impressed me with his marvelous playing. His skillful manipulation of his fancy Fender Stratocaster gave the band a rockin' down-home sound. I think he gets better with age.

The low ceilings at Moe's are conducive to a powerful punch from the bass, and Jonny Ray Bartel made use of the special space. His stand-up bass sounded clear and powerful. An integral part of rockabilly, it was a pleasure to observe Mr. Bartel's technique.

The five Knitters played a handful of Merle Haggard covers and even treated us to a country version of The New World, a classic X song. The crowd swayed and sang along with most of the Knitters tunes, too. A truly warm and memorable show.

I called Moe's ahead of time to find out what the camera policy would be, and was happy to find out that I didn't have to sneak it in. Even though Moe's was crowded, and we didn't have the best position in the house, we managed to take a few photos and video before the batteries died.

The Knitters front-man, John X Doe, was personable and engaging

X band members, Exene and D.J. Bonebrake at Moe's

John X Doe and Exene

John X Doe's Highy 17 Warning

* 004 featured fellow Tooelian, Phil Miller, on saxophone

Maybe it did sell out. That would explain why the joint was so crowded. I don't think I've seen so many people stuffed into our popular roadhouse before. It's probably happened, but not while I've been there.

*** I think it may have been the Dee Burgers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Big Brother and the Holding Company Meets The Vox Jaguars: Zenberg Post #200

It wasn't until there were fifteen cops standing behind my open trunk that I realized that this probably wasn't the best place to bring a gas mask. There's nothing illegal, or dangerous about gas masks, but with all the hyped fear of terrorists these days, such an item, even if it was my Halloween costume, could easily be misconstrued as offensive gear for a subversive. After all, this was a huge Halloween music festival, put on by the City of Francisco, and there were enough police there to handle any situation. They were on Halloween-orange alert, so to speak. Fortunately, the Israeli- made gas mask, (my best one), was under a grocery bag, and tucked between amplifiers and other musical equipment. I casually slid it inside the grocery bag, covered it with my raincoat, set it down on the ground near one of the officers, and began unloading the musical equipment.

Big Brother and the Holding Company was already on stage playing and
watched us curiously from the stage as we unloaded the automobiles and carried the guitars, amplifiers, drums, etc. to the white tent located behind the stage. Inside the tent was an assortment of instruments and a slough of goodies for the musicians to enjoy.

The band that made Janis Joplin famous,
Big Brother and the Holding Company was one of the biggest and most popular bands in the late sixties, but their popularity faded as the sixties vaporized into the seventies. Now, there's a 21st century incarnation of the band, and they sound great.

Cathy Richardson belts out the blues better than Janis Joplin did. She's a lot more friendly on the eyes too.
The Vox Jaguars' Noah Bond and Mason Rosenberg watch Big Brother from back stage as the next act, Jimi Hendrix Tribute, prepares to take the stage.

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose..."

Original Big Brother drummer, Dave Getz, demonstrates that he's still got it.

After Big Brother's set, Cathy Richardson takes time to pose with The Vox Jaguars' Jordan Topf back stage

Even though the guitarist was right handed, after watching the Jimi Hendrix Tribute play, I felt as though I had actually seen the legendary Jimi Hendrix. I have serious doubts that Mr. Hendrix himself ever played that well, though. I was truly impressed with the proficiency and imitative power of this trio. Every melodic nuance was reproduced to perfection... it looked and sounded exactly like the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They even played the Star Spangled Banner and dedicated it to all the US troups fighting in wars across the globe. I put my hand over my heart and listened to a flawless rendition of the patriotic piece/peace.
Meanwhile, back stage, inside the white tent, Mason Rosenberg and Trevor Hope play along with the band on stage to get warmed up for The Vox Jaguars' big show.

When The Vox Jaguars took the stage, it was dark, and the wind was blowing, but it was still pretty warm, for San Francisco. The band played a short set, and sounded great. Unfortunately, the wind destroyed most of the audio portion of the video that I took. By the time the band left the stage, there were a couple thousand enthusiastic people watching the show. I heard comments like, "That was great!" - "Those guys are going to go far." - "Have you ever seen a bassist play like that? Amazing!" and, etc.Click on photo to view video
The Vox Jaguars on stage Halloween Night at the AT&T Giants Baseball Parking Lot A
The Summer Of Love's Halloween Festival in San Francisco, California.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

=@# - Bunny Boy is a Big Fat Copy Cat - #@= Part 8

Did anyone else noticed how the Residents blatantly stole my blog idea and posted it on their own blog? "How many Residents are there?" Good question guys... where did you come up with that one?

When I covered the built-in camera on my laptop with tape,
I thought it was just a coincidence when the Residents did exactly the same thing on one of their Bunny Boy internet episodes less than two weeks later. Now I am more suspicious!

It makes me wonder if the Residents have ever had an original idea, or do they just steal them from me all the time???

I'm locking all my ideas up in safe deposit box out of certain eye's view.

With no new ideas, the Residents will be forced to announce their retirement at the conclusion of the Bunny Boy Tour.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Residents to kick off World Tour in Santa Cruz

Who's the happiest girl in the whole USA?
That'd be me...

Masters of spooky weirdness, The Residents, have selected the third evening in October, 2008, to kick off their latest world tour. Lucky for me, the show will premier at the beautiful historic Rio Theater, right here in Santa Cruz.

The Residents' presentation of The Bunny* Boy will be the ensemble's only Bay Area show and I suspect that it will quickly sell out. To ensure that I didn't get left out, I picked up four tickets at Streetlight Records last Saturday Morning.

The Residents at the Rio. I'll be there with bell bottoms on... you can be sure of that Jim. And, if the big eyeball in the sky directs a wink my way, maybe even an exclusive interview** with someone mysterious... right here on the world infamous Zenberg
blogue.*** Keep your eyes peeled.
* I love bunnys... Good eating. A bit stringy, but darn tasty.
"I like to eat the eyes first" Ernest P. Worrell.

** Holding my breath in one hand and a smirk in the other!

*** Coming to you at the speed of gr@vity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Residents or What Does Salt Smell Like?



The first time I heard t
he Residents was in 1979. I was sixteen or seventeen, and an avid listener of I'm So Bored, Susanne Brown's Tuesday night radio program on KRCL in Salt Lake City. There was nothing else like it in Utah at the time, (or the rest of the country for that matter), and assuming that I would likely never hear the songs again, I began recording the shows on ninety-minute 8-Track tapes. I'm So Bored was unique, and presented me with a plethora of new punk and rock wave music, (as Michael G. Cavanaugh* called it), that I could listen to at my leisure on the tapes I had recorded. One of them contained a track called Plants by the Residents, which was nothing like anything I had ever heard before. I knew I'd have to hear more from these mysterious musicians.

The Cosmic Aeroplane was no doubt the most likely place to find Residents music in Salt Lake in 1979. I was astounded that good old el Cosmico had a handful of
Residents records to choose from. I delightfully selected Not Available, and Fingerprince, and purchased them both, having heard neither. I bought Not Available for myself, and Fingerprince for my summertime girlfriend, Jamie, who accompanied me on my quest for the Residents. Back then, the record department at the Cosmic was located downstairs. At least that's where they kept the punk-produkts and related paraphernalia. After finalizing my purchase, we ascended the narrow stairwell, and exited the store. I had a friend named Bob Ruffner who lived near Skyline High, so we went there to hang out and listen to my new Residents records. Bob's house would be a good place to hear them for the first time because his dad had a great stereo, and surely, the Residents could be best appreciated on a good hi fi.

By the time side one of
Fingerprince had finished playing, there was no way to convince Bob and Jamie to listen to side two, or the other record I had purchased. They had decided that the Residents were too weird. Bob had became partial to the last of the successful prog bands, Rush, while Jamie had metal tendencies, and fancied Van Halen and Ozzy. YUCK! Serves them both right! I had to wait until I had driven all the way back to Tooele, dropped off Jamie, and returned home before I could finally listen to Not Available on my own adequate stereo. I was shocked. It was stranger than anything I had ever... anything. It appeared to be some kind of opera about a woman named Edweena. I wasn't sure if I liked it. I played it for my friends Greggary Peckary, Merlin, Jon and Bart. Jon and Merlin gave it three thumbs up, Peck snickered, and Bart sardonically laughed, declaring, "They sound like little kids." I could forgive Bart. He didn't know any better. After all, he was a cowboy from Stockton, Utah, who's most radical venture in alternative music was Molly Hatchet and Lynnard Skynard. I suspect that Peck secretly liked it.
1979 was a time when music was stagnant on most fronts, yet changing on others. Leading the change, so far ahead they were out of sight, were the Residents, who's brand of subterranean-modern tunneled deeper than other alternatives, and kept their fans entertained with comically spooky treatments of familiar and contrived themes. I had become jaded by the polished cookie-cutter music that permeated the seventies, and in 1979 I began a five-year boycott of commercial music. Who needs commercial radio when there's KRCL? No commercial radio stations, and no TV. As it turned out, I missed a lot of terrible stuff during those years... so I hear. Remember Wham? I don't.
On Wednesday nights, KRCL presented Brad Collins' program** which featured more emphasis on the punker side of neo-underground musick. When the Residents released their critically acclaimed Eskimo album, Brad Collins played his copy in its entirety. It was awesome, and I soon procured my own copy on snow-white vinyl. One of my favorite records of all time. Eskimo was an unprecedented instant masterpiece that made it clear to me that the Residents were not only part of the underground scene... The Residents, in fact, were THE underground. Everything else sounded like pop in comparison.
In 1980 my best friend, Jon, purchased the Residents latest release, the Commercial Album. A departure from their anthropologique Eskimo, the Commercial Album featured forty - one minute songs... a mockery of formulaic top forty pop music. What was most surprising about the Commercial Album to both Jon and myself was the album cover which featured a picture of my friend Jon. I have no idea where the Residents got a photo of Jon, or why they used it on their album cover, but there he was.

Jon 1978

The Commercial Album 1980

When the Residents released their Mark of the Mole album, they pressed a handful of special edition silk screened covers which had been signed by the
Residents with brown crayon, and pressed on brown vinyl. My copy was mistakenly sold at the flea market for one dollar. :-( I wish I still had it, especially since now its worth hundreds of dollars. At least I still have my Third Censored and Roll album, the West German version of the Third Reich and Roll. Still in perfect condition.

The first time I saw the
Residents perform was at the Barrymore Theater in Madison Wisconsin in 1990. I arrived early, and was the first person in line that night. When they opened the doors to the theater, I sprinted to the front and center of the Barrymore. Best seat in the house. That night the Residents presented Cube - E (being) The History of American Music in 3 E-Z Pieces. The first piece featured old western cowboy songs. One Resident wore an exaggerated over-sized cowboy hat. A neon fire glowed at center stage while a projected desertscape and evening sky illuminated the backdrop. The other three Residents, cloaked beneath Harry Tuttle-esque disguises, tapped away at their electronique instruments . Black slave songs were the theme in the second set. The third and final set featured Elvis as a fulfillment, or personification of cowboy and black rhythm. In the end, the space-age Elvis is made insignificant by the British invasion, specifically the Beatles. At least that's what Zoroaster said.

I didn't see the Residents again until 1997, when Mighty Mo purchased tickets for the Halloween show at the Fillmore, for our anniversary. I was impressed by projected images onto a large balloon on stage. Brilliant idea! Clam rockers, Primus, and fellow Residents fans, must have liked the idea too because they incorporated the concept for their own stage.

A Simple Song - Ralph Viddy - Buy or Die!
I must have been one of the first people to order this fancy NEW Ralph Records Video.

When it arrived in the mail, it was a simple TDK video cartridge featuring seven different Ralph viddys. Five different bands, including the Residents.

The cover-art consisted of basic black ink on a 81/2X11 white paper-board. I
carefully cut out the video cover, and with Elmers Glue, affixed it to the vhs box (included). Crafty!
The fancified package was complete.

These videos were a great alternative to the trendy commercial music being played on MTV.

The Residents have released lots of other videos over the years. Millions of them in fact. In May 2001, My son and I had the opportunity to see the Residents right here in Santa Cruz, Ca, at the Rio Theater. As usual, the Residents presented a unique and unprecedented concept for their stage show. The Icky Flix Tour featured the Residents playing live on stage as their familiar videos were projected onto a large screen above the band. Not long after the tour, the Residents released the Icky Flix DVD, which featured lots of snazzy Residents videos that could be played with the option of listening to old familiar songs, or newly recorded versions of the same tunes. Sparkling idea! I'll take two. Mm... Salty!


* Michael G's show preceded I'm So Bored. His show featured sixties and seventies rock. This was back when KRCL was located above the old Blue Mouse Theater, next to Cosmic Aeorplane. Jon and I paid Michael G a visit one evening. He played Cucamonga by Zappa/Beefheart at our request.

My friend Squirrelly's cousin, Jamie, who lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, stayed with Squirrelly's family every summer. She returned home with Fingerprince. Jamie reported to me that she had played it for a friend, and that they both laughed at it. What can you expect from a couple of ignoramiatic metalheads?
*** Mr. Collin's program was originally called Dead Air, but was later changed to Beyond The Zion Curtain. When Brad sold out and began playing speed metal exclusively, Jon and I began to pester him by requesting Eskimo every time his program was on. Years later, I asked Collins about his Eskimo album, and he told me that someone had stolen it. He may have assumed that his taunters were the thieves. He assumed wrong