Showing posts with label Vox Jaguars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vox Jaguars. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best Song of 2013

There were a plethora of great songs last year, but the one that ascended to the BEST OF position, is the Cogito's RemiX of Adrea Castiano's "Falling"

The Falling RemiX was recorded, produced and engineered by Mason Rosenberg who also played on, produced and recorded the original track for Adrea Castiano. The Falling RemiX is masterfully reconstructed and exemplifies an exaltation of the original piece while exhibiting superior technique and ability in the realm of remiX. 

The Cogito, a moniker used by musician extraordinaire,  Mason Rosenberghas demonstrated exhaustive expertise for half a decade with original and remiX compositions that are always amazing and pleasing to the ear.


The Cogito's Mason Rosenberg is maybe best known for playing bass in the Vox Jaguars, A Quantum Visionary and numerous other bands. Mason currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA and in addition to being a popular bassist, he also writes, produces and records music. Mason's bio is so vast that it requires a Wiki installment* to cover his musical activities sufficiently. 

Mason's work is highly respected among his musical peers. The ineffable Denney Joints** of Midnite Snack said "Mason is one of the most accomplished musicians I know... he has refined taste and knows the value of art and integrity..." Apollo Records recording artist, Oliver Nickell*** of Tree said "One thing I've always admired about Mason is his musical diversity and exploration of sound... [he] has covered much musical ground in a short lifespan." 

Congrats to the Cogito, a worthy recipient of Zenberg Bolgue's BEST SONG of 2013.

See Mason's Bio at: 

** "Mason is one of the most accomplished, most serious musicians I know. And his attitude isn't fucked up either, even on par with most frustrated people trying to have a better attitude. He has refined taste and knows the value of art and integrity over curly, golden locks." --Denney Joints

*** "One thing I've always admired about Mason is his musical diversity and exploration of sound. As the years progressed, his music has acquired a quite unique quality from experimenting and blending together many different genres. From his early work producing various music with Sir Paul in high school and their legendary live set at Harbor High's annual battle of the bands, his experimental effort in Pterodactobot, his contribution of raw power-driving baselines in the Vox Jaguars, and eventually his refined down-tempo, glitch-influenced production, the Cogito; Mason has covered much musical ground in a short lifespan."        --Oliver "Tree" Nickell

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tree Demons on the Mainland

Earlier this month, the postman delivered two very different, new releases from a couple of musical artists who both grew up in Santa Cruz, California. In fact, they both attended the same high school, at the same time, although neither have ever collaborated. 


Demons by TREE

Giving roots to a new genre, on September 3, Oliver Nickell, an artist who goes by the moniker Tree, teamed up with Beat Culture and released his first vinyl EP. Demons was released on the Apollo Records label, and is already receiving rave reviews in the UK and US. 

Tree's fresh approach to music doesn't fit into any particular genre and is therefore free of any presupposed assumptions or discrimination. To Oliver Nickell, the world around him is music, and he has mastered the art of morphing found sound into complex arrangements that edify the listening experience in a profoundly holistic way. 

The three tracks on Demons are mesmerizing and transcend pretty much everything happening in the music industry today. In addition to two original compositions, the record features a splendid cover of Radiohead's Karma Police that is complimentary to the original  version while broadening the spectrum of the popular piece. 




We'll no doubt be hearing more form Tree

Cheque out more Tree for free on Soundcloud and purchase Demons here.

Girls Unknown by MAINLAND

Jordy Topf first gained notoriety with the Vox Jaguars whose popular song, Swagger, was named among the 20 Best Indie Songs of 2009 and has been played regularly on XM Radio, featured on the big screen, as well as international and prime-time TV. 

In 2010, Toph left the promising Vox Jaguars and moved to New York City where he formed, Mainland, a hipster/indie band that has received notoriety in the Big Apple. Mainland just released their first EP, Girls Unknown, which, so far, hasn't received as much attention at his former band, but nevertheless, exhibits some exceptionally promising material that will no doubt please listeners of all ages. 

The first track, Wasted, is probably the most addicting song I have ever heard and now it plays in my head almost constantly. Wasted may be the most catchy song on the CD, however, my preferred track is Twin Cities, a Beatlesque song that features what has become my favorite guitar solo of 2013. Corey Mullee's straight-forward technique is crisp clean and honest - like a George Harrison riff from an early Beatles song. 




Other members of Mainland include Alex Pitta on bass and Dylan Longstreet on drums. Girls Unknown was produced by long time friend of Topf, Luke David, who also performed production duties for the Vox Jaguars' first CD, Out of Luck

Mainland is currently in Austin, Texas, recording a full-length CD.

Purchase Girls Unknown here and listen free on Spotify.





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. 

004*
A Flock of Seaguls*
A Quantum Visionary*
Dave Alvin
Ian Anderson
Laurie Anderson*
Angst
Aphrodesia*
April Wine
The Atomic Clock
The Babys
Banda
Baths
The Beach Boys
Adrian Belew
Adrian Belew Power Trio*
Belle and Sebastian
Berlin
Birds Fled From Me
Black Flag
Black Sabbath*
Blitzen Trapper
David Bowie
Terry Bozzio*
Bill Bruford
Birdhand*
Boston
Buckethead*
California Guitar Trio*
Charlie Daniels Band
Cheap Trick
Chirgilchin*
Eric Clapton*
The Clash
Col. Claypoos's Bucket of Bernie Brains
Les Claypool*
CouteauX
Cowboy Junkies
The Damned
Dark Seas
Davka*
Dead Kennedys*
The Decemberists
Depth Charge Revolt
The Descendants
Divinyls
Dusty Sampson Creatures*
Earthworks
Electric Leaves (Ensemble)*
Emerson Lake and Palmer
The English Beat
Fang
Rachel Fannen
Fever the Ghost*
Foreigner
Ghost Town Refugees
The Greenhorns
Sammy Hagar
Happy Meal
Head East
Emmylou Harris
George Harrison
Allan Holdsworth
INXS*
Ipso Facto*
The Irresponsibles
Jethro Tull*
Billy Joel
Denney Joints
Journey*
Kansas*
BB King
King Crimson*
Kiss
The Knitters
Krokus
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*
Mirv
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
Primus*
John Prine
Pterodactobot*
Quarterflash
James Rabbit
The Residents*
Lee Rocker
Jackie Rocks*
Greg Rolie
Rolling Stones*
Room for a Ghost*
Todd Rundgren
The Saliva Sisters
Santanna
Scissors for Lefty
Ty Segall
Tom Scott
Shaky Hands
Anushka Shankar
Ravi Shankar*
Sheena
Jake Shimabukuro
Sleepy Sun*
Sonic Youth
Spell Talk
Rod Stewart
Stick Men*
Brad Stock
The Strange Boys
The Stray Cats
Styx*
That One Guy
Thin Lizzy
Three Dog Night
Pat Travers Band
Trombone Shorty
The Tubes
U2
UK
Uriah Heap
The Vox Jaguars*
Joe Walch
Wall of Voodoo*
The Walter Martin Cult
Muddy Waters
The Who
Steve Windwood
Edgar Winter Group
X*
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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Bassin' Mason



I've loved Brian Eno's music since the seventies, and was stoked when I learned that he was responsible for the soundtrack to the art film, For All Mankind, a documentary about the Apollo missions to the moon. That was 22 years ago. When the movie played in Madison, Wisconsin, where we were living at the time, Mighty Mo was nine months big with child. Mason must have been intrigued with the wonderful Eno soundtrack because while we were watching the movie, he decided it was time to be born, and Heidi began her labor pangs. Mason, (Madison without the di), was born the following day, while Beethoven and Peruvian flute music played on a boom box. No wonder he is so musically inclined.

Here's some video I shot that features Mason playing a live looped version of Trentemoller's popular song, Miss You. I shot the video near the shore of the Great Salt Lake, where we just so happened to stumble upon these ruby-red slippers hanging from a tree and dangling in the breeze. Two Bald Eagles soar whilst a heard of Antelope graze in the distance.


I recently stumbled across this video of the Vox Jaguars that I shot at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA in late 08 or early 09 that features some fancy bass playing by the birthday boy.


Happy Birthday Mason!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My World in 3D

Here are a few more 3D photos to enjoy.

The above photo features four Norma Forsberg originals from the popular "Pear Collection" currently on display in my living room.

Above is a nice scene from inside the historic Mormon Tabernacle, looking outward through a beautiful old-glass window that provides an interesting refracted view of some buildings.

Nothing says "Welcome to Tooele" better than an operative military tank.

Above - Mason standing in front of the infamous Bldg. 649 on the Tooele Army Depot.

Above - Mason at old dilapidated barracks.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Solstice Schmalstice


Mighty Mo and I have a wonderfully eclectic* group of friends, and last night, we had the opportunity to bid farewell to 25 of them. Strange, I probably won't see many of them ever again. Those friends that were able to attend were treated to a trendy Utah themed going away party that featured stereotypical food favorites ranging from funeral potatoes to green jello. There was also a salt flats tasting bar, and authentic orange slush... just add 7Up. Unfortunately, some of our friends were unable to make it to our mid-week extravaganza, but I hope to see them sometime over my last two, (and very busy), weeks in Santa Cruz.

Leaving (too) soon

I realize that after our soon approaching long-term departure to Utah, I'm going to miss seeing the seductively beautiful Monterey Bay... a regular and everyday scene for me. The Great Salt Lake has beautiful sunsets, but will never replace the magnificence of this region. In an effort to deal with my separation issues, I purchased a wonderful, (and very large), ocean scene painting by my favorite artist, and close friend, Richard Bennett.

Pictured above is the southeast corner of our living room in Santa Cruz, where my new painting, South Coast, by Richard Bennett, temporally resides. Also pictured in the picture is my authentic Tom DeLong Fender Stratocaster, Dean 12 string electric guitar, a skim board, and three Talking Heads records in frames. I can't wait to see how the new painting looks in my home in Tooele, but I'm in no hurry to leave either.

Since I may never see many of our friends again, I thought it would be a good idea to get photos of the attendees to our Utah themed party, so after signing in, each guest was photographed in front of the new painting.
Kirsten Atemecia - Multi Talented quadruple threat who recently graduated from high school with a straight A report card. Smart, beautiful, talented with a great sense of humor... she's got the world by the tail.
Greg - One of the best drummers I've had the pleasure to watch perform. Greg has drummed for numerous bands, including A Quantum Visionary, and these days plays for Isolation Factor, who it is rumored will be releasing a new CD soon.
Mason - Another local rock star, Mason is a founding member of the Vox Jaguars, and AQV. He's performed with, and contributed to ensembles too numerous to mention, and recently had the opportunity to perform with the Santa Cruz County Symphony who performed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Ode for Joy. One of my favorite pieces of all time.
Skippy - If you look up Frisbee in the dictionary, Skippy's picture should be there next to the definition. A master of disc golf and Freestyle pioneer, he can do things with a plastic disc that astonishes the masses.
Oliver aka Kryph aka Tree - Dubstep officianado racking up the hits, and stretching the genre beyond traditional limitations, took time out to drop in and hang out for a couple of hours.
Shawna, Erin and Ryan - Whether you are a pet, or a human being in need of emergency care... you're in good hands with these gals, and Ryan, the million dollar baby, knows it.
Aaron - The master of presentation of everything from metallurgy to hollandaise is beloved by all who know him. Together, Aaron and I have attended dozens of Bay Area performances ranging from Adrian Belew to the Vox Jaguars and played numerous rounds of disc golf at the De Laveaga, Black Mouse and Aptos courses. He's going to miss me.
Emily - Even though it was her nineteenth birthday, she stopped by to say goodbye.
Kallista, Olin and June - I've known Olin for many years and was so happy to meet his new little family. It seems like Olin and I have been everywhere in this region; surveying areas in the mountains to beach properties, in addition to playing lots of rounds of disc golf.
Richard - The artist himself graced us with his presence. In addition to being a master of every artistic discipline,
Dicky B speaks numerous languages and dialects and has scoured the globe in search of artistic inspiration. He's been a wonderful friend and inspiring associate. I'm going to miss Dicky B's stories, and endearing demeanor.
Ann - She's seen it all and done it all. Everything from being a military pilot, land surveyor, theater reviewer and world traveler to hanging out with Elvis. Also a mother, she always raves about her two sons. She is a fascinating woman and we love the amazing stories of her adventurous life.
Reid - Snappy dresser, and performance specialist. He not only attended the party, but came to our yard sale too.
Kevin, Graham and Karissa - Pulling strings behind the scenes, Kevin and Graham are PR wizards extrordinaire and great urban homesteaders and home brewers. Karissa a new friend we met at the party.
Seana - Another amazing PR professional, who brought along a little bump and a big announcement to the party. : )
Katie - Another stellar public relations pro who was Mighty Mo's right hand account manager for years.
Cassie - Another birthday girl. Despite the fact that it was her 21st birthday, Cassie stopped by for the party.
Eileen - Brilliant artist, and winner of Catalyst's best Halloween costume contest. She was Mona Lisa, and even had her own frame. Eileen was one of the first people we met when we moved to Happy Valley in Santa Cruz all those years ago, and she's been a great friend to the entire family.
Claire - A former PR pro who escaped with her soul intact. Now pursuing environmental work, Claire has actually walked on the Great Salt Lake.
Ronaldo Antonio - Former NASA astronaut who has spacewalked more times than Michael Jackson has moon-walked (in 2011). A sparkling personality, and one of the funniest if not the funniest persons I know. He's one of the few people who actually understands my twisted comique.
Alexandra - Believe it or not, another PR industry pro, Sheesh! How many PR people are out there anyway? She speaks numerous languages fluently, including Russian, German and English. A Romanian native, she lives here in Santa Cruz with her family.

* Attendees included artists, musicians, propagandists, pre-borns, a baby, a toddler, teens, twenty somethings, thirty somethings, forty somethings, fifty somethings, sixty somethings, seventy somethings, eighty somethings, vegans, vegetarians, veterinarians, a nurse, a pilot, a teacher, an astronaut, professional athletes, rock stars, Jews, Mormons, Wiccans, and etc. I had planned to make the party as eclectic as possible, and for the most part, that goal was accomplished, but unfortunately, none of my illegal alien friends showed up. Camera shy, I guess.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Veterans Day and Vox Jaguars in 3D

It was Veterans Day, sometime in the early seventies. Don Van Vliet was on stage with his musical ensemble, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, when someone from the audience hollered, "Happy Veterans Day." Don heard the voisterous statement and replied in his deep gruff voice, "WHAT is a happy Veterans Day?"

Speaking of questions on Veterans Day, whatever happened to the Vox Jaguars?

In keeping with Zenberg's monthly 3D post, here are a couple of Vox Jaguars related images to view stereoscopically, (a stereoscope is NOT required to view these images in 3D). Click on images to enlarge.

This bowling pin came from Mr. T's Bowl in LA where the Vox Jaguars played back in 2006 on their first Southern California tour. The band picked up this pin as a souvenir. The obsidian jaguar was carved by a latter-day Mayan at Chichen Itza, Mexico.

This is a 3-D image of the bass played by Vox Jaguars' bassist, Mason Rosenberg. Mason played this instrument on at least one of the tracks released on their awesome Anodyne Records CD last year.
This is a Jaguar carved from limestone.

Recently, a couple of unique Vox Jaguars videos have been uploaded to YouTube. The first is from a show they played at the Veterans Hall in Santa Cruz, CA, back in 2007, and features an unreleased, very Fallesque tune titled, Nevertheless, (which just so happens to be my favorite word). Nevertheless. What a great word. I could say it, spell it and type it all day.

The following video is from the Vox Jaguars' Halloween show in San Francisco, 2008. This may have been the first time they played the song, Swift Street, named after the street where the official Vox Jaguars practice space is located.

Happy Veterans Day Don Van Vliet!
Bring the troops home



Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gilgal Revisited

Last winter, I found myself in mysterious Gilgal Garden in Salt Lake City. As usual, the park was empty so I took the liberty of shooting some video of the artsy-monoliths that make Gilgal their quiet home.

The soundtrack is provided by Mason and Trevor from the Vox Jaguars who recently formed a band with friends Lizzy and Duncan. Their new song, Little People, is featured in this video.

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...  

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, August 18, 2009

Wild Orphan

Yesterday I spent the morning shooting this video at Streetlight records. Everything went so smoothly... I don't get it. Usually I encounter one obstacle after another when making a video, but this time everything came together. Even the weather cooperated. I had been hoping for a foggy morning for the shoot, and got exactly what I asked for. Thanks fog controller, and thanks to everyone who assisted and helped with the viddy, most notably, the Vox Jaguars, KZSC Radio personality Scotty (the) K, Mason Rosenberg, Streetlight Records, Kirstannalice, and street performer #1 who didn't give her name but agreed to be in the video.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Art Rock is Alive and Well in Santa Cruz Dreamstate EP by A Quantum Visionary *****

I knew that the first CD release from A Quantum Visionary would be good.

DREAMSTATE EP
is the title of the new CD by five of Santa Cruz's finest musicians who refer to themselves as A Quantum Visionary, and their new CD is even better than I expected it would be.

I knew that the CD would be good because over the past couple of years, this bunch has been demonstrating their unique and intense sound at various bay-area venues, surprising and shocking audiences everywhere they've played. Their catchy and intelligent songs are an eclectic blend of genres, that I can only describe as epic. Most of their works are upwards of seven minutes long, but there is never any meaningless meandering or boring jamming in their lengthy constructs. Rather, every note of their intriguing music is calculated and precisely delivered without a flaw, keeping the listener alert and engaged. Although the new CD is technically an EP, it is nearly a half-hour long and features a broad cross section of music that is consistently interesting, and occasionally challenging.


I'm fortunate to be among the first to receive a copy of the new
DREAMSTATE EP and this will certainly be the first review of AQV's snazzy new CD release which is already a classic in my own music library.

The Review

As I embark on my musical adventure, I discover that t
he first half-minute of the first song, Insensatus Insania, makes me feel like I'm listening to early King Crimson. The song progresses through a multitude of movements and verses as powerful and involved as a Homeric epic. After nearly six minutes, the heavy-hitting first piece quickly transforms into the second track, Dragnet Enigma, a piece that begins as an almost Enoesque, ambient tune that begins to feel more like the Residents are nearby as it progresses. The hesitantly-calming track terminates as the third track, Battleship of Madmen, abruptly begins. The rowdy and unruly song reels me to and fro upon the rough seas of one of AQV's longest songs that includes a fifty-second drum interlude where three of the band members participate. PTA, the fourth track, is the shortest tune, clocking in at 1:22, and seems at first to be a bit of a tribute to Keith Emerson and further demonstrates this band's versatility and broad musical scope. The last song is listed as being 11:45 long but that is a bit of a misnomer because it is actually two songs... and a bit of dead air. Dreamstate Luz Mala, a poppy song that, at one point, makes me feel like I'm listening to Asia, is actually 4:54 long and is followed by 1:16 of dead air which quietly fades into The Hypocrite, a 5:40 version of a song that has become familiar on You Tube, where an instrumental version is used in a video by Rhetro Zenberg, called, Ching - Drive to De Laveaga.

The design of this artsy disc also deserves mention. All of the impressive album art was created by AQV member,
Stefen Lazer Smith, the artist who created the now famous Vox Jaguars Cowboy. The photo, sketches and drawings on this disc are reason enough to own the CD which itself is a work of art.

In addition to the art on the CD, Stefen Lazer Smith also wrote lyrics, provided keyboards, percussion, and vocals to the DREAMSTATE EP.

Mason Rosenberg, the renowned bassist of the Vox Jaguars fame, who released a CD on Anodyne Records earlier this year, lends his mastery to this CD by contributing vocals and percussion as well as bass and production skills. He also plays guitar on the secret track, The Hypocrite.

Shane Terry plays ripping and intricate guitar without breaking a sweat. He lends his shredding skills to this CD in addition to providing backup vocals. Shane also plays bass on the secret track, The Hypocrite and helped produce the CD.

Trevor Brenchley also plays guitar, and as a lefty, provides a symmetric visual and musical balance to this unique band who's
two guitarists shred harmonically and melodically as one. Trevor also provides backup vocals and production assistance to the DREAMSTATE EP.

The newest member of the band, Greg Wesenfeld, who plays hard-hitting drums and masterful percussion has proven to be an asset to this already powerful band.

Something else that impressed me about the DREAMSTATE EP, is the fact that all of the songs were written, engineered, recorded and produced by A Quantum Visionary.

imho

AQV is currently the most interesting musical ensemble in the greater San Francisco Bay area. I see limitless potential with this crew of talented friends who see it as their duty to make music interesting and even a bit challenging. And, you can tell that they're having a good time too.

Good going guys, and congratulations on a splendid first CD.