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REVIEW: Sean Lennon/Charlotte Kemp Muhl’s Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger @ The Woods (Portland, OR – 1/28/11)

29th Jan 11 (Sat) 4 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Sean Lennon‘s last studio album,  Friendly Fire, was brilliant.  Not only was it chock full of great pop songs, but it also came with a DVD with a full album’s worth of cinematic music videos… for the entire album.  Back in 2008, his new band Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (with Charlotte Kemp-Muhl) had a presence on MySpace… and put out some songs that eventually blossomed into the debut album – Acoustic Sessions (out in late 2010).  They hit the road this past December & January, winding up with their last few shows here on the West Coast.

Opener Laura Gibson is a Portland local who has been the support on this recent GOASTT tour.  Of all the venues on the tour, she said she could have “roller skated to this venue” (The Woods in the Sellwood neighborhood).  She played 45 minutes with her drummer / multi-instrumentalistSean Ogilvie.  Their set was quite wonderful: a folky, poppy duo… similar to the Weepies with a bit more charm, and very reminiscent in some of her vocal delivery to Maery Lanahan (from Seattle via Dayton, OH).  Charming, well-crafted songs… and with anagram nicknames like “Albino Sugar” and “Eagle Vision,” you simply can’t go wrong with Laura Gibson & Sean Ogilvie!

After what seemed like a long-time, Sean, Charlotte & horn-player C.J. took the stage.  They dug right into a new song, the only song I didn’t previously know… Sean rattled off the song name quickly.  I didn’t catch it, except for they did sing “she’s got a meanstreak” a few times throughout.  They played mostly everything from their Acoustic Sessions album except for “Robot Boy,” and also threw in a couple covers and a great song from Sean’s Friendly Fire album.

Sean sang and played guitar & drums.  Charlotte also sang, played bass, accordion, toy piano/xylophone, melodica and other percussion.  We never really got the real name of the horn-player, but “C.J. Calamari” played french horn and trumpet.  He used several foot pedals to run the horns through effects processors… giving it a jazz-fusion sound that reminded me a lot of NYC-trumpet player Dave DouglasFreak In album.  It was a great electronic-rooted-in-brass timbre that really worked well with Sean & Charlotte’s poppy, eclectic-folky sound.

Setlist: 90 minutes

  • new song “she’s got a meanstreak”
  • Rainbows In Gasoline
  • Jardin du Luxembourg
  • Lavender Road
  • Shroedinger’s Cat
  • Dark Matter, White Noise
  • Songs For James
  • Girl From The North Country [Bob Dylan]
  • Candy Necklace
  • Dead Meat [Sean Lennon]
  • The World Was Made For Men [false start x3 / giggle fest]
  • Bennie and the Jets [Elton John]
  • The World Was Made For Men

When they announced “Lavender Road” as being their “rocking song,” I internally chuckled, but wow… they tore it up at the end with guitar, drum and horn solos that truly rocked out.

Throughout the night, the band joked a lot in between songs, many times to the point of inability to hold back the laughter (both the crowd & band).  You’d think this was a comedy tour instead of a music tour.  There were stories of bar fights at Tex-Mex restaurants.  Sean added a silly little impromptu “reggae rap” at the end of “Candy Necklace.” And the “worldwide venereal disease of tuning / history of world music” from Sean after Charlotte pulled out the accordion for “Song For James” was quite piece of stagecraft with many bad accents.

The 90 minutes they were on stage flew by far too quickly.  They spared us the “ruse that is the encore,” but when they couldn’t get past the first 15 seconds of “The World Was Made For Men” due to a giggle fest from both Charlotte & Sean, they rocked into a seemingly impromptu “Bennie & the Jets” with the house piano on stage, and then finally hit “The World” again with a giggle-free completion and many cheers!

I’ve been privileged with many shows, but this was one of the best shows in a while – definitely for the year.  Great songs, great people, great humor, great musicianship, great souls… and you could tell that they were having fun on stage.  Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger plays Seattle tonight before heading back home.  Check out their album Acoustic Sessionsit’s bueno!

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Nels Cline Singer and Yuka Honda on 1/30.

~Dan – np: GOASTTJardin du Luxembourg 7″ vinyl

GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

GOASTT 2010/2011 Tour (backwards order)

  • Saturday 1/29/11 – The Crocodile, Seattle WA
  • Friday 1/28/11 – The Woods, Portland OR
  • Tuesday 1/25/11 – Cafe Du Nord, San Francisco CA
  • Saturday 1/22/11 – Pappy & Harriets, Pioneertown (Joshua Tree) CA
  • Friday 1/21/11 – Club Congress, Tucson AZ
  • Wednesday 1/19/11 – Cactus Cafe, Austin TX
  • Tuesday 1/18/11 – Dan’s Silver Leaf, Denton TX
  • Saturday 1/15/11 – The Earl, Atlanta GA
  • Friday 1/14/11 – Melting Point, Athens GA
  • Thursday 1/13/11 – Evening Muse, Charlotte NC
  • Wednesday 1/12/11 – Local 506, Chapel Hill NC
  • Tuesday 1/11/11 – Ioata, Washington D.C.
  • Saturday 1/8/11 – Rockwood Music Hall, New York NY
  • Friday 1/7/11 – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia PA
  • Thursday 1/6/11 – Great Scott, Boston MA
  • Friday 12/17/10 Bercy, Paris, France (with -M-)
  • Thursday 12/16/10 Bercy, Paris, France (with -M-)
  • Wednesday 12/15/10 Bercy, Paris, France (with -M-)
  • Tuesday 12/14/10 Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Monday 12/13/10 Frannz Club, Berlin, Germany
  • Saturday 12/11/10 MOD, Hasselt, Belgium
  • Friday 12/10/10 Zenith, Saint Herblain, France (with -M-)
  • Thursday 12/9/10 Zenith, Saint Herblain, France (with -M-)
  • Wednesday 12/8/10 Grand Hall, Tours, France (with -M-)
  • Tuesday 12/7/10 Zenith d’Orleans, Orleans, France (with -M-)
  • Friday 12/3/10 Arena de Montpellier, Montpellier, France (with -M-)
  • Thursday 12/2/10 Nikaia, Nice, France (with -M-)
  • Wednesday 11/17/10 Largo, Los Angeles, CA

GOASTT @ The Woods (coming soon)

29th Jan 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

Setlist, photos & review from last night’s The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Ono Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl) at The Woods in Portland, Oregon, will be posted later today… Update: GO HERE

~Dan

GOASTT

Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger’s “Schroedinger’s Cat”

2nd Dec 10 (Thu) 1 comment

Behold… Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp-Muhl of Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger‘s debut video from Acoustic Sessions is “Schroedinger’s Cat“…

See if you can count / list all of the historical figures and celebrities.  1-2-3-Go!

~Dan – np: The Album LeafA Chorus of Storytellers

GOASTT on NPR Tiny Desk Concerts

17th Nov 10 (Wed) 1 comment

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl (aka Goast of a Saber Tooth Tiger) just recorded a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.  I’m super stoked about their upcoming tour (go here for dates).

photo by Mito Habe-Evans/NPR
Watch / Listen / Download from NPR

You all should just go on and subscribe to the Tiny Desk Concerts podcast while you’re at it.

~Dan – np: Ennio MorriconeCrime and Dissonance

The GOASTT Tour

13th Nov 10 (Sat) 2 comments

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl‘s band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger just put out their debut album Acoustic Sessions

On their debut album, “Acoustic Sessions”, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger show their love of quirky and whimsical ’60s folk pop, reminiscent at times of Syd Barrett, Incredible String Band and Simon & Garfunkel. Though stripped-down to spotlight their idiom juggling and intriguing wordplay, the sparse arrangements are adventurous and playful, anchored by the beautiful blend of Sean and Charlotte’s voices, acoustic guitar and a smattering of other instruments – a vibraphone here, a banjo there. GOASTT weaves narratives around a metaphysical geography of their own devising, finding a surrealist beauty in the mundane.

They are doing a quick set of dates in France / Germany / Netherlands in December, but they’re making a swing around the US in early 2011.  Check to their dates below…

GOASTT 2010/2011 Tour (backwards order)

I’m really stoked, as The Woods is an awesome, intimate venue in Portland.  I imagine the rest of the venues are similar.  For a feel for their sound, check out this in-studio video:

GOASTT play “Lavender Road” on WNYC

http://www.thegoastt.com/

~Dan – np: Ikue MoriClass Insecta

Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl

28th Oct 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

Back in May 2008, my first post on jazzsick blog (I was transitioning from MySpace blogging) was about Sean Lennon‘s collaboration with Charlotte Kemp Muhl in a project called Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.  Their music has been up on the MySpaces since that May 2008, and it was finally released in physical form this week (10.26.2010)…

Listen to it over here.  Check it out on CD or vinyl.

~Dan – np: Charles MingusMingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Sean Lennon

9th May 08 (Fri) Leave a comment

For fans of Sean Lennon… or potential fans of Sean Lennon… his 2006 album Friendly Fire was one of my absolute favorites that year. It’s short, but it comes with a DVD that’s ostensibly the entire album set to a music video (and shot very well with real artistic, movie-making direction). Anyway, check it out…


http://www.myspace.com/seanlennon

I just recently stumbled on a few more Sean Lennon projects…

The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger: Sean and his girlfriend (Charlotte Kemp Muhl) have a new pop project… the band name is The Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger. They go by “Amatla & Zargifon” instead of Sean & Charlotte, and they have four songs available on their MySpace page. My favorite as of now is “Robot Boy.”

http://www.myspace.com/theghostofasabertoothedtiger

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead: Sean’s done the score for this upcoming movie… apparently Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio has a role in it (thanks for the heads-up Steve)… http://undeadflick.com/

Live at The Stone, Jan 2008: The Stone is John Zorn’s club in NYC’s East Village (C Ave a few blocks from the Bowery). I went there for a show last March. It’s an amazing, but small, space dedicated to the arts. 100% of the proceeds each night go to the artist. There is no food/drink vending. They have artist curators every month (artists pick who they want to perform). They usually have two performances a night. The way they bring in money to maintain The Stone is by having annual benefit concerts and by selling their annual benefit CDs (Volume 3 is a Lou Reed/John Zorn/Laurie Anderson improv set and it’s available at thestonenyc.com).

Anyway, Sean Lennon and some friends had a gig at The Stone in early January 2008. I’ll warn you that it’s avant-garde / experimental — and not his usual pop fare. It features some of my favorites in the downtown NYC scene (Trevor Dunn from Mr. Bungle & Fantômas, as well as Yuka Honda from Cibo Matto & her wonderful solo releases). The show is available as streaming and downloadable (low quality mp3) at http://seanonolennon.com/music/stone/mp3player/

Enjoy!
~Dan – np: Bar Kokhba SextetMasada Book Two: Lucifer

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