- Written by Rick Beck
Review by Rick Beck.
January 15, 2012
Since this site is fan driven and based, how many would like a chance to see their Guitar Hero play in a tiny intimate place with just a few lucky fans in attendance? How many would like to see Joe laying music for fun with some musical buddies and no pressure to perform to sold out venues such as the Royal Albert Hall? Here's the story of just such an event. Joe Bonamassa having fun with his friends and playing music you never would hear on tour, just for fun and the chance to play some amps and guitars from his extensive collection of rarities.
A dream come true for a lucky few.
The Baked Potato, is a tiny dive bar named for its menu of a dozen or so kinds of stuffed baked potatoes. It's called "The Spud" by those in the know, and has been the venue of choice in the Los Angeles area for famous musicians to jam and relive the early days when they played to small audiences in tiny clubs. Jazz, funk, fusion, even sometimes rock and big band jazz sounds can be heard there on any given night. Mondays are open jam nights for any musician to come and sit in with the house band. It is common for big stars to show up and jam as well. The club is really small, seating maybe 40 or so with standing room for another half dozen. You are seated at tiny tables on tiny chairs squeezed in like sardines around a tiny area that makes up the stage. Intimate, loud, and very, very cool. Think of a place the size of a large garage but the garage band is made up of some of the best musicians in the world. It happens!
For those Joe Bonamassa fans in Southern California, this singular event last year has become a semi-regular cult following whenever he is home between tours. Joe's friends and fellow musicians at home in LA, one of them, his new drummer Tal Bergman, have a band and like to play Funk and Jazz. Last April, following a tweet by Tal, the word was out that Joe was going to sit in and jam with his buddies at a legendary jazz club in Studio City near Hollywood.
For the last year, whenever Joe and Tal are on break from his relentless touring schedule and at home in Hollywood, they have been jamming at the Spud with Rock Candy Funk Party. The regular members are keyboard wizard Arlan Schierbaum on Moog and B3 (with dual Leslies!), Ron DeJesus on guitar, Tal Bergman on drums, and Mike Merritt on bass. Now Joe Bonamassa is a regular member when he is in town. Guest artists usually sit in on vocals. This month the word was out that the band was going to jam once more for the third time, and was passed to the fanbase in Southern California and friends of the band via fanchat and heads-up emails. It was to happen concurrent with the NAMM convention which brought musicians from all over the world to LA and several were in the audience as well. Tuesday January 17th was the day. As soon as the website put the tickets up it sold out in no time at all. The performances the first two times were legendary and no one who could make it would miss this chance to see the band play again. The day before the gig, Joe Bonamassa tweeted that rehearsals were done and that singer Beth Hart would be sitting in. WOW! Joe and Beth had recently recorded a cd that has been nominated for top awards in Blues music featuring covers of legendary artists like Etta James and more. The buzz was really on now!
Seating is first come first seated and there are only two unobstructed tables in the stagefront area so those of us who are videographers and wanted to record the event again for the global fanbase headed for the venue very early to line up by the door. The club opens about 8, the first set started at 10:30. I was in line at 3:30 and wasn't first. Three other fans who live in LA beat me and my pals who car pooled 2 1/2 hours up from San Diego. They had been there for an hour and a half already! Other fans began arriving over the next few hours and a party was on in front of the bar on the sidewalk. A small Mexican cafe was next door and a liquor store next to it so we were well provided for. Here's a shot taken two hours before the doors opened. Click here for photo. We watched as the band arrived and took the gear in for sound check, greeting each performer as they drove up. Soon the walls were vibrating with music we soon would be hearing and the excitement level jumped several notches as we began to move outside to the funky groove emanating from the club.
Shortly after the sound check was done, the door opened and we were let in one at a time with our names checked off the presale list and took our seats. No printed tickets exist for these shows. By agreement, those who had video gear and arrived earliest were taking the best 4 seats right in front of the stage, the rest sat in the next best as the place filled up. Most are off to the side or back by the bar with limited or obstructed viewing. No matter where you sit, the listening is just fine. As the place filled up the buzz started when folks recognized some of the people in the crowd and began whispering and pointing. Steve Perry- Journey, Adrian Smith- Iron Maiden and Dave Amato- REO Speedwagon were there in the crowd. They were left undisturbed because we were all there for one thing. Music by Rock Candy Funk Party!
Soon after all had food and drink, the band members took the stage, picked up their instruments and the first set was on. Here's the set list, more or less adhered to as the band changed their minds several times as the mood struck. The encore list will give you an example. None on the list were played as they decided to play I'm A Man (Winwood) from the first set again so 'whatever' won out.
Each song was only a framework for wide ranging jams that ebbed and flowed as each musician took off with his own interpretation for extended solos. They'd joke and chat with the crowd between many songs.
First up, Root Down, a classic by Jimmy Smith which set the funky tone for the evenings fare. A great jam featuring B3 work by Arlan and rotating solos by the rest. Next, Jean Pierre (Miles Davis). More Jazz than Funk with blistering solos by Ron and Joe. Now it was time for the fabulous Beth Hart to take the mic and they played the eponymous track from the cd, For My Friend (Bill Withers), with a fine solo break by Ron while Joe played fills. She was superb.
The setlist had Well Well from the cd next, but crowd pleas changed it to the stunning Etta James song I'd Rather Go Blind from the same cd. Beth's singing and Joe's tender, heartfelt and virtuosic solo break with the band backing produced a soul searing version that left some in tears and the rest stunned by the incredible performance. Here is my video.
The band now finished up the first set with a free form instrumental version of Respect (Redding) straight into I'm A Man (Winwood) which brought the house down. After a break, when many mingled with the band members and stretched their legs, we were off to the second set. They opened with the classic jazz standard Mr. Clean, a favorite of the band with free running solos by all. Pusherman was next (Mayfield), with vocals by Arlan featuring his smoking B3 and Moog work. Now a treat. An original composition by Ron and Tal called The Hint. An extended jam with all taking solos. Joe stepped up next for some Blues with a slowed down version of Memphis Jimmy's (James Clark) Look Over Yonders Wall which he performed on his Black Rock cd. Just superb! They finished up the set with Led Boots, a stomping version of the classic by Jeff Beck. For the encore they decided to do another extended version of I'm A Man which left the audience screaming for more but that was to be it. Not a dud all night long and we cruised back down the freeway in the wee hours a bunch of very happy fans, looking forward to the next chance to hav e a run up the road to the Baked Potato jams with JoeB and Rock Candy Funk Party.
Check out My Youtube Channel for over 9 hours of videos from the three shows so far if you care to watch more of these rare and superb jams by Joe and his friends.
For the gearheads reading, here is the list of what Joe played that night and his post on his forum.
The Baked Potato rig was ....
Dumble Overdrive special 1981 #0104
Jim Kelley single channel amp restored by Jim in 2010 #013
1953 Fender Telecaster #5088
1963 Fender Stratocaster #L01310
1959 Les Paul standard #9-1951
LOL that should take care of the insurance form...
~ It was a blast literally.... Beth Hart was the highlight for me.
For more information about Joe Bonamassa check out his website, click here.
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- Written by Bluebird
Mexican Americana and the rise of the donkey jawbone.
David Wax Museum elevated a full house at the Iron Horse on December 1, 2011. The Boston based, folk ensemble lit the stage and achieved rock star status in the Americana field. Their Mexican influence, masterful harmonies,talented musicianship and the amazing donkey jawbone, peaked communal excitement.
- Written by Bluebird
Article by Bluebird.
The Boston Music Awards has been running for 24 years. It is a combination performance and awards show that includes categories of several genres of music, from rock to jazz, folk to hard core metal, hip-hop to gospel, pop and video. It even offers awards for DJ performances and producers as well as honoring local venues that host the music throughout the year.
- Written by Bluebird
The Boston Music Awards is an exciting event that has been running for over 25 years. It was at the Liberty Hotel and the magnificent venue encapsulated a wide range of great artists that night. For complete coverage and venue photos click here.
While researching the local bands on the nominee list, Moufy was an artist that stood out to me among the other nominated greats in rap and hip hop. I just loved his sound and energetic spirit. I have been following rap since it started with Sylvia Robinson's label on Sugar Hill and genuinely mourned her death this year. With the history of rap and hip hop still ringing in my head, I was aware that this young artist came from a region that was not well known for this form of music. However, listening to Moufy gave me hope that the sound which had made its way through the urban streets for decades would continue to be true to the roots, because he puts his own spin on it, which ironically, brought it all back to the start.
We watched the announcement of the awards and the experience was like witnessing the ball drop in Times Square. The excitement built up and the Moufy win brought cheers throughout the swank brick hotel that collected music lovers from all over New England. Once the announcements were done we ran to catch this rising star.
While waiting for Moufy to arrive, DJ Hustle Simmons was set up with old school funk and disco. Stevie Wonder's, Sir Duke, Earth, Wind and Fire's, Got To Get You Into My Life, Prince's Wanna Be Your Lover. Deep house music from the 1980's blared a familiar mix of club music and ended with Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, Michael Jackson, tunes that kept people moving and targeted a wide range of ages in this crowd.
Jam'n 94.5 Boston announced Moufy and plugged their show 'The Launch Pad'. Moufy was gracious and then tore into all Boston related songs as a celebration for tonight. Twist It and Light It, Throw My 3's, Boston Lights and more.
The Liberty Room was packed. Moufy mixed with the crowd with non-stop energy that was infectious. We sung the lyrics to the point where you could barely hear Moufy himself. He was down and serious with getting his message of loyalty to New England and Boston. He raised us up to join together in unity as New England-ers. It was a wild party with positive vibes that did not stop. Most importantly, as serious as he is about the message, he smiles and emits that he just loves this music to the core. I can't imagine him doing anything else, he was completely in the zone. I sent his music to my writer friend Stephanie Hussey and she said the best line of "We In The Building" is 'It just feels so good to be us!'
At age 20, this man is just looking at the start of his career. My hope for him is that he keeps on track with what he is doing best, bringing people together with regional music that obviously means a lot to him. Lyrics that reflect the stories that are important to life. Music is the universal language that unites us and artists who reach for the higher ground will find it, as long as they don't give it up to the hype.
- Written by Bluebird
Gentlemen Hall. Best Live Video of the Year. Pop Artist of the Year.
Review by Bluebird.
While listening to the bands on the 2011 Nominee List, Gentlemen Hall caught my attention. When I heard them for the first time, I double checked the category. I didn't hear this band as pop. They seemed to me to be more indie, techno, rock and even a little funk. Oh, what do we call a band that is open minded, talented and offers a range of listening? Pop the way it should be. Quality, popular rock.
- Written by Stephanie Peabody
Review by Stephanie Peabody
The Goo Goo Dolls rocked the Hampton Beach Casino at the beginning of this summer to a sold-out crowd. On November 19, 2011, they returned with Ryan Star to once again, perform to a sold-out show. This time it was the last of over 300 performances on the tour, and the last show for the Casino as it closed out its fantastic season of music.
- Written by Rachel Lange
Yngwie Malmsteen is credited for aiding the establishment of neoclassical metal, so named because of the influence of classical music on the genre. It’s safe to say that Yngwie Malmsteen’s first album, 1984’s “Rising Force”, ensured Malmsteen’s place in the pantheon of rock guitarists. This classical music influence manifests itself in very fast, highly technical guitar playing, eventually becoming closely related to what many now refer to as “shredding”. Put another way, achieve a 1,000 note streak in “Guitar Hero 2” and you’ll win yourself the Yngwie Malmsteen award.