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Double-REVIEW: Beck @ Les Schwab (Bend, OR – 5/27/12) and Jack White @ the Hult (Eugene, OR – 5/28/12)

30th May 12 (Wed) 7 comments

It was a long Memorial Day weekend.  But it was a musically fruitful weekend.  I could have made it more fruitful by adding The Shins / Blind Pilot / Head and the Heart as well as the Tenacious D shows on Friday and Saturday in Bend, respectively; alas, I needed to save some time and energy for Beck in Bend on Sunday and Jack White in Eugene on Monday.  It was still quite a great full weekend for my ears!

 

I had never seen either Beck or Jack White in concert.  I was familiar with Beck’s music fairly well… having all of his stuff.  I was completely unfamiliar with Jack White’s music – outside of some of the White Stripes and Raconteurs that I’d heard.  Needless to say, I was equally excited about both shows.

Beck in Bend was the tail-end of a nice “Bend Ale Trail” weekend for me… sampling some new places for me: 10 Barrel Brewing & Good Life Brewing.  Both highly recommended for their beer and their food!  Bend also had some lovely weather and some odd rainbows in the clouds…

(not photoshopped… photo taken near Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR)

Metric was Beck’s opener… the Toronto indie rock quartet ripped through a dancey hour-long set.  Their fifth album, Synthetica, comes out on June 12, 2012.  If the way they had the Bend audience going is any indication, the new album should be a crowd pleaser as well.

Beck went on after a short set break… kicking the show off right with some Odelay goodness by way of “Devil’s Haircut.”

Among his two-hour long set, he bounced around his back and “recent” catalog (2008’s Modern Guilt) fairly well.  Every era got some great representation.  As mentioned, I had never seen him live before.  I was pleasantly surprised with the great mix, especially the songs off of Sea Change

Beck’s Setlist: about 2 hours

  • Devil’s Haircut
  • Loser
  • Black Tambourine
  • Soul of a Man
  • Hotwax
  • Sissyneck
  • The Golden Age
  • Lost Cause
  • Sunday Sun
  • Think I’m In Love
  • The New Pollution
  • Modern Guilt
  • Paper Tiger
  • “Song for Bend” [Improv]
  • End of the Day
  • Tropicalia [partial]
  • Jack-Ass
  • Gamma Ray
  • Minus
  • Girl
  • Where It’s At
  • Encore: Soldier Jane
  • Looking Back
  • Mutherfuker
  • E-Pro

Next, on to Eugene…

I missed Jack White’s opener, Quasi.  I’d heard of them before, and would have liked to have seen the show (I like Sam Coomes work with Elliott Smith).  Alas, driving back from Bend and personal commitments made it so we skated into the venue right as Quasi was ending their set… d’oh!

Jack White’s show… what to say, what to say?  Professional, yet muddy.  Loud, yet not necessary.  Thoroughly energetic, yet confusing.  Quite enjoyable, yet painful.

The man writes hooky songs, and plays guitar and piano very well… yet, the sound was cranked through the roof.  It lost so many of the lushness and subtlety that I think would have been suited for this show at the Hult Center.

Another thing that can’t go without mentioning, the “III” imagery abounding.  Sure, rockstars should have iconic imagery.  But a suffix namesake seems like an odd thing to so vehemently brand… unless you’re branding your ego or something.

Several times it seemed as if Eugene wasn’t stroking his ego enough… he quipped that if we didn’t want, they didn’t have to come back out (after their 45 minute initial set).  He tried to get the crowd to do a sing-a-long on one song, but it seemed as if the song had ended already, and it was more of a confusing thing (or so it seemed to me).

The loudness, was, again… unnecessary.  Fantastic musicianship and seemingly intricate things going on with fantastic players… completely lost in the brash, feedback-induced sound cloud.  So many subtleties lost.  So many subtleties lost.

Jack White’s Setlist: two sets, ~45 mins & ~35 mins

  • Set 1: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground [The White Stripes]
  • Missing Pieces
  • Sixteen Saltines
  • Love Interruption
  • Cannon/300 Pounds of Joy [Howlin’ Wolf]
  • You Know That I Know [Hank Williams]
  • Hotel Yorba [The White Stripes]
  • Weep Themselves to Sleep
  • We’re Going to Be Friends [The White Stripes]
  • Blunderbuss
  • I Cut Like A Buffalo [The Dead Weather]
  • Steady as She Goes [The Raconteurs]
  • Set 2: Freedom At 21
  • Trash Tongue Talker
  • I’m Slowly Turning Into You [The White Stripes]
  • Carolina Drama [The Raconteurs]
  • Seven Nation Army [The White Stripes]
  • Goodnight, Irene [Lead Belly]

(pro photos from Eugene will be posted at jwiii.com)

The bottom line… I really enjoyed the Jack White show.  The flaws that I saw in the show are totally fixable.  Who am I to say what he should do anyhow? :)  I’m just thinking that something that shows off his musical chops, his writing prowess, his voice, his players, and his songs at the forefront – not clouded by sheer volume – could have been far, far, FAR more enjoyable… and probably far, far, far more enjoyable to more to others (not just me).

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Emily Wells @ WOW Hall on 6/3.

~Dan – np: Sigur RósValtari

REVIEW: Bobby McFerrin & Stangeland Youth Choral @ OBF/Hult Center (Eugene, OR – 7/5/10)

6th Jul 10 (Tue) 1 comment

This special Oregon Bach Festival performance brought together two diverse but compatible vocal acts – the more straight-forward orchestral-meets-gospel Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy [SFYCA] and the vocal gymnastic Bobby McFerrin.  Outside of the rendition of 23rd Psalm being penned by Bobby McFerrin, which prompted his walk on to the stage to show gratitude to the choral and conductor Anton Armstrong, the entire first set belonged to the youth.  The first piece, Kyrie, showcased their angelic voices and was the start to what would become a very religious-centric repertoire…

SFYCA’s 1st Set: ~90 mins (SFYCA only)

  • Kyrie from Mass in B Minor [Bach]
    *set change*
  • The 23rd Psalm [McFerrin]
  • Estampie Natalis [Nelhybel]
  • Jesus Christ the Apple Tree [Scriven]
  • Zigeunerleben, Op. 29, No. 3 [Schumann]
  • The Seal Lullaby [Whitacre]
  • Beautiful City [A.Thomas]

The group was very talented, but I felt they could have mixed it up in both song selection and interaction with Bobby McFerrin.  Perhaps it’s my own slant, but the church music is good in moderation.  Again, outside of Kyrie (which was from a Mass, but in another language and not so god-y), I could have done without most of the rest of the choral-only selections.  Additionally, trading off more with Bobby in both sets would have been better in my opinion.

Bobby came on right away during the second set, which was welcome…

He started off with his standard first song improvisation – which set the stage for his vocal gymnastics throughout the show.  He twisted his vocals chords into warbles, gurgles & bubbles.  He moved all over the range of several octaves with ease.  His style, for those unfamiliar, is much more than the “Don’t Worry Be Happy” guy, but one of vocal experimentation – not quite singing, not quite beat-boxing, not quite human.  He’s a one-man band with only one organic instrument.

Beyond his initial improv song, he sang and vocalized alongside the SFYCA, who for the second set was conducted by Bobby’s VOCAbuLarieS co-writer Roger Treece.  Bobby interacted a lot with both the choral group and the audience – directing us in “call & repeat” verses and improvising on some random people’s names…

SFYCA with Bobby McFerrin Setlist: ~85 mins

  • Bobby McFerrin solo improvisation
  • Circlesongs (with SFYCA)
  • VOCAbuLarieS[McFerrin & R.Treece]:
    • The Garden (with SFYCA)
    • Blackbird [Beatles]
    • I Can See Clearly Now [Johnny Nash] (with SFYCA)
    • Messages (with SFYCA)
    • He Ran the Train / Name Improvisation (with SFYCA)
    • Wailers (with SFYCA)
  • True Light [K.Hampton] (SFYCA only, Anton back conducting)

My favorite pieces of the evening were the initial improvisation and the Beatles cover.  This show gave me a great taste for Bobby’s music, and I’d definitely recommend seeing him if he comes through your town.

The Appropriate Linkage:

More OBF shows are running through July 10th.  Find out more at http://oregonbachfestival.com/events/

Next shows for me?  The Melvins on Wednesday (not part of OBF… haha), and OBF’s Tiempo Libre on Saturday.

~Dan – np: +Live+Birds of Pray

 

 

REVIEW: Popovich Comedy Pet Theater @ the Hult (Eugene, OR – 1/31/10)

1st Feb 10 (Mon) 2 comments

FYI… A FEW PICTURES from the HULT SHOW at the BOTTOM

So, we got the flyer for the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater in the mail and had to go.  It’s sponsored by Greenhill Humane Society – a great pet-friendly organization in Eugene.  The show started at 2:30pm and was the same day as the Oregon Truffle Festival.  Ack!  Quandary!  We opted hit the OTF 2010 beforehand.  Amazing time at OTF, as usual.  Check out my review of last year’s Oregon Truffle Fest, including the Lagotto Romagnolo (truffle dog) demo.

Anyway, back to Popovich… or as I like to call it… Pupovich…

Gregory Popovich has been featured on tons of television shows (Leno, Letterman, America’s Got Talent, et cetera), featuring his amazingly trained pets (all rescue animalseven the geese).  Most notably, he has actually managed to train house cats to do tricks.

Let me let that sink in for you.

House cats.  Here’s a USA Today article/interview with Gregory with a cat-training Q&A.

The show started shortly after 2:30pm… with a little doggie announcer (see video below).  The first set was about 45 minutes until the intermission.  It was jam packed with juggling, acrobatics, tight-rope walking animals, and more.  Some of my favorite bits were the train intro (cute stuff going on), the snowy park scene, and the class scene (full of about 8 dogs).  The end of the train scene with the dog dressed up as an elephant was hilarious.  I’m more of a dog fan; so the way they were all working together with Gregory in the class scene was really cute.  The dog & cat interaction during the snowy park scene was also really endearing.

(more pictures below)

The second set (about 30 minutes) started off with a cute doggie balloon soccer game.  Up next was an adorable doggie medical clinic set, followed by impressive human rope jumpers.  The finale was the cat show… about a dozen cats climbing posts, jumping through hoops, tight rope walking, parallel bar work, and all around being cats!  At the end one of the cats didn’t want to leave; so Gregory brought out a dog and it got on its hind legs, and then the cat jumped on its shoulders and rode away on the walking dog.

Overall, the afternoon was highly entertaining and adorable!  If you are in Vegas or if the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater comes to your town… go!

The Promo Reel:

Now, we need to get our cute, but lazy, dog to do some tricks…

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Mycale play John Zorn’s Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 13 – Mycale

POPOVICH COMEDY PET THEATER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2010 Margaret O’Brien,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Limited to 1200 pixels wide or tall (8 pics)

REVIEW: Bill Maher @ the Hult (Eugene, OR – 11/13/09)

14th Nov 09 (Sat) Leave a comment

I don’t have HBO, but my love for Bill Maher has grown exponentially in the past 2+ years with the advent of podcasts.  His HBO show, New Rules, gets released for free in audio version about a few days after it airs (iTunes link).  He’s right alongside Keith Olbermann & Rachel Maddow (both from MSNBC), George Hrab’s Geologic Podcast (not about geology), and Kevin Smith & Scott Mosier’s SModcast in mymust listen once they get downloaded” queue.

OK, enough podcast talk… I also love what Bill Maher did last year with his comedy / documentary Religulous.  It was more comedy than an actual documentary for me, and it was quite entertaining from a non-believers point of view.  While I don’t think it’ll change (m)any minds, I still enjoyed it quite well.

When Bill gets time off from his show, sometimes he hits the road.  When I found out about his Eugene date, I already had tickets to go see Cincinnati band Over the Rhine up at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge.  I was torn.  I mean, I’ve seen Over the Rhine fifty times (no lie), but I really love them.  Well, my wife had a Eugene art community show conflict the same night as OTR; so I sold our tickets and opted for Maher instead (sorry, Karin & Linford, we’ll catch you next year).

There was no opener, and Bill Maher hit the stage right around 8:15 and did a solid hour and a half of his crude but poignant comedy.  He touched on many topics and comedic bits from New Rules… the economy, politics, religion, and food culture in America.

Some of my favorite bits were on religion, specifically the Mormontology bit, the Muslim Dior fashion show, and the Pope’s Facebook relationship status (“it’s complicated”).

Some of my favorite lines:

“Crocs – for people who find flip flops a little too dressy.”

“Those liberals, always wanting to get across the river in one piece.” (sarcastic re: the politics of spend, i.e.- wanting to build crazy things like infrastructure)

“The Republicans have looked to the future for their political leadership and found… radio.”

“Ronald McDonald has killed a lot more people than Osama Bin Laden.”

I don’t agree with all of Bill’s stances, specifically some of his thoughts on medicine.  I don’t think he’s being all too scientific in his vocal stance against vaccines, for example.  However, he really didn’t bring those topics up last night.

Overall, I think Bill Maher’s stand-up is a lot like George Carlin – many of the same topics – crude, cutting, and powerful humor.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: A Perfect CircleMer De Noms

REVIEW: Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt @ Hult (Eugene, OR – 10/15/09)

16th Oct 09 (Fri) 2 comments

Well, had you asked me at the beginning of the week, “are you going to see Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt?,” my answer would have been “um… no.”  I wouldn’t say I was seeking out going to this show.  However, some friends of ours who had tickets ended up with a conflict and gave the tickets to us (thanks J&M!).

For me, Lyle’s music is a touch too close to country to seek him out, and I had never even really heard of John Hiatt.  Regardless of that prejudice and ignorance about their music, I had a lot of fun.  Lyle and John came out around 7:45pm and immediately started talking.  This would kick off the format – a lot of talking and each person trading off songs.

They were both great storytellers through their songs, and I was glad that they weren’t too twangy (really my only big gripe with country music is the twang).  It’s actually hard to say which part was more entertaining, their songs or their banter.  After about an hour, they’d only made it through 8 songs, and their songs aren’t generally long. They really seemed to be good friends who let us into their living room to watch them shoot the shit and play some songs for each other.

Setlist: two and a half hours

  • Drive South [JH]
  • Fiona [LL]
  • Walk On [JH]
  • LA County [LL]
  • Thunderbird [JH]
  • Home Is Where My Horse Is [LL]
  • Tennessee Plates [JH]
  • I Will Rise Up [LL]
  • Always Movin’ On (new) [JH]
  • South Texas Girl [LL]
  • Have a Little Faith in Me [JH]
  • Choke My Chicken [LL]
  • Crossing Muddy Waters [JH]
  • North Dakota [LL]
  • Memphis in the Meantime [JH]
  • Her First Mistake [LL]
  • Through Your Hands [JH]
  • My Baby Don’t Tolerate [LL with JH guitar solo]
  • Ain’t No More Cane [LL & JH]
  • Encore: Thing Called Love [JH & LL]
  • If I Had a Boat [LL]

Overall, it was a great show.  They were both great storytellers and quite humorous.  They seemed to be very well paired and play off (and with) each other well.  Thanks again J&M for the tickets!

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Nellie McKayNormal As Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day

REVIEW: Wynton Marsalis & LCJO @ Hult (Eugene, OR – 9/17/09)

18th Sep 09 (Fri) Leave a comment

Well, I got into Wynton Marsalis from Ken Burns’ (long ass) JAZZ documentary.  I had heard of him, but never really heard him, and he was featured heavily in the movie.  I came to find out that he was the artistic director & co-producer of the documentary series.  Anyway, I love trumpet (Dave Douglas & Steven Bernstein being top of my other Top 3 living trumpeters).  This year, I’ve had a chance to see all three of them… Yay!

I like the Hult.  I saw Wynton’s brother Branford at the Hult around this time last year.  I like the Hult this week in particular (due to it being a 4 concert week): I like that the show started early (7:30pm), ended on time (9:25pm), and I got home at a reasonable time.  Double Yay!

Wynton and his near-double octet hit the stage after a short introduction.  Wynton was position at the top center of the bandstand and went directly into announcing the first song…

Setlist:

1st set – 40 mins

  • Free for All (Art Blakey) *a fave of night*
  • Peace (Horace Silver)
  • I Like to Take My Time (Mr Rogers)
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Up from Down (Gardner) *a fave of night*

2nd set – 45 mins

  • Weary Blues (sextet band, ragtime tune) *a fave of night*
  • Joe Turner’s Blues (septet, Wynton sang impromptu)
  • Tattooed Bride (Duke Ellington)
  • Portrait of Mahalia Jackson (Duke) *a fave of night*

The first set started off with “Free for All” which had some great solos… sax, trombone and trumpet.  The entire night was filled with some great solos, and “Free for All” kicked it off right.  For the second set we moved to some open seats near the center… right by the very energetic soundman.  He was humorous.  While I dug the first set a lot, the second set was smokin’ hot.  More ragtime and New Orleans street jazz in spots versus the more held back, big band vibe from the first set.  The first two songs of the second set were a stripped down cast (sextet and the septet before the rest of the band re-joined them for the Duke tunes.  I think my favorite tune of the whole night was “Weary Blues, ” which was really hoppin’.  Seem ironic that the entire crowd (of largely white hair) was just idly sitting in their seats. :)

All in all, a great evening of great jazz.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Fima EphronSoul Machine

REVIEW: Branford Marsalis & Philarmonia Brasileira @ Hult Center (Eugene, OR – – 10/2/08)

3rd Oct 08 (Fri) 2 comments

I first got into (Grammy Award-winning saxophonist) Branford Marsalis when I sat through the 10-disc (20 hour) Ken Burns JAZZ documentary that I got from the University of Oregon Library.  Let’s just say that I spent a lot of rainy spring weekends watching these discs and getting more into the roots of jazz when there wasn’t anything to do outside.  Prior to this, my jazz experience was more on the avant-garde side of things (with John Zorn), with occasional listenings of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, et cetera.  The JAZZ documentary series opened my eyes to many more beautiful jazz greats, both past on as well as those still alive and kicking.

Branford’s brother, trumpeter/band leader Wynton Marsalis, was prominently featured in that documentary as a historian of sorts as well as a leader in the current jazz movement.  Branford also popped up in several spots.  That set up my familiarity with the “Marsalis” name… then I started getting more into Wynton’s music, as well as picking up some Branford here and there.  When I saw that Branford was coming to Eugene with a Brazilian music meets jazz concert – – well, I jumped at the tickets.

This was my first concert at the Hult Center (and thus the Silva Theater).  It’s a very gorgeous facility, and I hope I can make it here for a Eugene Symphony Orchestra or other great show in the future.  The Silva Theater at the Hult is similar to venues like the Aronoff in Cincinnati or the Palace in Columbus (i.e. – a great big, ornate concert hall).   I also got to check out the Mayor’s Art Show at the Jacob Gallery.  It had some great stuff in it, but alas, no jewelry art.  I’m still wondering why my wife and her co-worker’s great pieces didn’t make it in the show.

The musical program for tonight was Branford and the Philarmonia Brasileira conducted by Gil Jardim, celebrating the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos 49 years after his death.  It was Branford & the PB’s first show of the 40-day tour.  They had met only the day (or two) prior.  With that being said, it was unnoticeable.  They were ON

A Heitor Villa-Lobos celebration! Program

(the following was a change from the printed program – updates from the Hult Program Director)

  • Philarmonia Brasileira only playing Abertura Concertante: dedicated to Aaron Copland (by Camargo Guarnieri)
  • Philarmonia Brasileira joined by Branford Marsalis playing Fantasia for Saxophone (soprano) and piano or orchestra (1949 by Heitor Villa-Lobos) *a fave of the night*
    i. Animé
    ii. Lent
    iii. Trés Animé
  • La Creation du Monde, op 81 (1923 by Darius Mihaud)
    i. Overture
    ii. The Chaos Before Creation
    iii. The slowly lifting darkness, the creation of trees, plants, insects, birds and beasts
    iv. Man and woman created
    v. The desire of man and woman
    vi. The closing section (coda) the man and woman kiss
    < < intermission > >
  • Bachianas Brasileiras no 9 (1945 by Heitor Villa-Lobos)
    i. Prelude: Vagaroso e mistico
    ii. Fugue: Poco apressado
  • Scaramouche for Saxophone (alto) and Piano op. 165c (1937 by Darius Mihaud) *a fave of the night*
    iii. Vif
    iv. Modere
    v. Brazileira
  • Bachianas Brasileiras no 5 (1938 by Heitor Villa-Lobos)
    i. Aria (Cantilena)
    ii. Dança (Martelo)
    ———————
  • Encore #1 (title not given)
  • Encore #2 (title not given)

The Philarmonia Brasileira was quite amazing.  They swapped out members and instruments for each piece, and all 8 pieces of the night had a different feel.  It was much more enjoyable than I was expecting (and I was expecting it to be quite enjoyable to start).  Several of the pieces were a full orchestra, several were more string-oriented, some with piano & orchestra, one with just piano and Branford, and some with more of an exotica with Brazilian percussion.  Branford was also quite great / amazing.  This was definitely a more classical sax setting, but he did break loose in a more “jazz way” on the song with just him and piano.  I hear he comes through often (from a Veg Club friend); so I hope to see him again in the future.

All in all = A-freakin-plus.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Medeski Martin & Wood play John Zorn’s Masada Book Two – Zaebos

The Rest of the Branford Marsalis & Philarmonia Brasileira Tour

October 2008
03 – Seattle, WA – Benaroya Hall
05 – Stanford, CA – Stanford Memorial Hall
06 – Modesto, CA – Mary Stuart Rogers Theater
08 – San Bernardino, CA – Riverside Municipal Auditorium
09 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Christopher Cohan Center
10 – Los Angeles, CA – Royce Hall Auditorium/UCLA
11 – Orange County, CA – Segerstrom Concert Hall
13 – Santa Fe, NM – Lensic Theatre
14 – Albuquerque, NM – Popejoy Hall
16 – Lufkin, TX – Angelina Center for the Arts
18 – Fayetteville, AR – Walton Arts Center
19 – Overland Park, KS – Yardley Hall Carlsen Center
20 – Conway, AR – Reynolds Performance Hall
22 – Milwaukee, WI – The Kuttemperoor Auditorium
23 – Detroit, MI – Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts
24 – Wheaton, IL – Edman Memorial Chapel
25 – Minneapolis, MN – Orchestra Hall
26 – Winona, MN – Winona Middle School Auditorium
28 – Storrs, CT – Jorgensen Auditorium
30 – Ithaca, NY – Bailey Hall Auditorium/Cornell

November 2008
01 – Bronx, NY – Lehman Center for the Performing Arts
02 – Stony Brook, NY – Staller Center for the Arts
05 – Newport News, VA – Ferguson Center for the Arts
06 – Durham, NC – Page Auditorium/Duke
07 – Rockville, MD – Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center
09 – Birmingham, AL – Stephens Center for the Performing Arts

The Roster for the Philarmonia Brasileira

Conductor
Gil Jardim

Violin
Esdras Silva
Cinthia Zanco
Daniel Stein
Flavio Meyer
Gilberto Paganini
Maria Brandào Neto
Natalia Visona
Paula Vazquez
Pedro Gobeth

Viola
Glesse Colleti
Mariana Jelen

Cello
Marisa Silveira
Ji Shim

Doublebass
Neimar Dias

Flute
Maria Carvalho
Clarissa Andrade

Clarinet
Marcos Junior
Marcelo Silverio

Bassoon
Erick Ariga

Horn
Michael Alpert
Flavio Faria

Oboe
Alexandre Ficarelli

Trumpet
Wellington dos Santos
Ismael Brandào Neto

Trombone
Sidnei Borgani

Piano
Nahim Marun Fo

Percussion
Vinicius Barros
Glaucia Vidal philharmonic filharmonia brasil brazil brazilian brasilian

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