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My Favorites of 2012

5th Feb 13 (Tue) Leave a comment

Life has been a been busy/hectic lately, to say the least. Not enough time to do the usual extended blogs for best of instrumental, vocal and whatnot with lots of descriptions. And since, hell, it’ll be 2014 before too long; so I figured I’d get out my favorites of 2012 list in some fashion now before it’s officially too late.

Here’s what was my favorite music from last year…

vocal top 10
(in no particular order beyond #1)

O.S.I. - Fire Make ThunderO.S.I.Fire Make Thunder

Damien Jurado - Maraqopa Peter Mulvey - The Good Stuff Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

Ani DiFranco - Which Side Are You On? Bad Veins - The Mess We've Made Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree & Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth) Sigur Rós - Valtari Aimee Mann - Charmer

instrumental top 10
(in no particular order beyond #1)

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola - Not Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead

Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola
Not Getting Behind is the New Getting Ahead

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Alleujah! Don't Bend Ascend Guillaume Perret - The Electric Epic Buckethead - Electric Sea

Celldweller - Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head, Vol 2 Floratone - Floratone II Cosa Brava (Fred Frith with Kihlstedt, etc) - The Letter

John Zorn / Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas by David Krakauer) John Zorn / Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 19 (Abraxas by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz) John Zorn - A Vision in Blakelight

ep, internet, etc

Best Novelty: Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Gold boxset

Best Internet-only releases: Glen Phillips Coyote Sessions,
Greydon Square Type II : The Mandelbrot Set,
Sufjan Son Lux & Serengeti (s/s/s) beak and claw

Best EPs: Levi Weaver’s I Am Only A Tiny Noise
Peter Mulvey’s Chaser (OOP)

Best Vinyl-only: Wussy “Dangerous Highway” 7″
Sufjan Stevens & Rosie Thomas “Hit & Run” 7″

Enjoy! I’ll sort of promise to do better with timeliness on next year’s lists!

~Dan – np: Pinnick Gales PridgenPinnick Gales Pridgen
pinnick gales pridgen

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REVIEW: Trevor Dunn & Travis Laplante @ Wandering Goat (Eugene, OR – 1/31/12)

2nd Feb 12 (Thu) 8 comments

PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW AT THE BOTTOM

I’ve been a fan of Mr Bungle/Fantômas/John Zorn collaborative bass player Trevor Dunn for a while.  When I get a chance to see him, especially within biking distance, I go.  From Trevor Dunn’s website, the “Double Solo” tour was noted as a “West Coast spit-roasting agenda. I’ll be playing a 30 min solo bass piece & Travis [Laplante] will play a set for solo tenor saxophone.”  Ah, a night of avant-garde jazz… yum!

Ryan A. Miller from Portland was up first… he played about 30-40 minutes on solo acoustic guitar.  A lot of loops, noises, and a little bit of what might seem like “futzing around,” but I dug it.  There were definitely some odd parts, but I definitely thought his set was more interesting than not.  You could tell he had skills, just couldn’t tell how they were going to evolve and manifest.  Update 2/8/12: Ryan’s band (U SCO) was the opener for the Secret Chiefs 3 show in Portland the very next week.  U SCO is a wicked, rad schizophrenic proggy, jazzy rock trio.  Excellent stuff!

Travis Laplante took his spot on the floor just off stage and gave us an initial onslaught of loud, raucous alto sax.  His first piece reminded me of Peter Evans solo trumpet show from 2008.  Ballistic, unfocused melodically, intense… what avant-garde jazz is meant to be.  His second piece was gentler and more melodic at first.  It was contained but not necessarily restrained before he finally let loose at the end.  His third and final piece was a dronier delight.

Trevor Dunn played last and gave us the 30-minute piece that he’s tentatively calling “The Pentagram.”  He dedicated it to Pisces.  It definitely had a “composed” feel to it (later confirmed with Trevor), but it was open and free enough to let him explore where it could go.  He plucked, he scraped, he bowed, he played below the bridge, he played with clothespins on the strings.  To sum it up in a word: fascinating.  You’ve gotta love it when he makes a few of his other bands (Mr Bungle/Fantômas) seem “too mainstream.”

Update 2/7/12: Check out this East Bay Express write-up of the Oakland show by Rachel Swan… waaaaaay better write-up (she’s a journalist and rightfully gets paid for it).  Gives you a better feel for the Dunn piece as a whole.

Trevor and Travis are wrapping up this tour this coming weekend… tonight in San Francisco, then Friday in Oakland, Saturday in Los Angeles and Sunday in Santa Cruz.  Check his Tour Page for more info.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Thee Silver Mt. Zion (splinter group from Godspeed You! Black Emperor) at Mississippi Studios on 2/4.

~Dan – np: Frank ZappaThem Or Us

TREVOR DUNN & TRAVIS LAPLANTE PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2011 *

31st Dec 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Goddamn Electric Bill & Mike Patton CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my fourth year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, Facebox pages, yadda yadda yadda. Some of these also made it on to my 2011 Mix CD (free streaming/download).

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Product Details Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of Spirits plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 17 (Caym) :: The Masada Book two series is some of my favorite music coming out of Tzadik.  Banquet of the Spirits is the touring band of Latin percussionist Cyro Baptista, a long time Zorn collaborator.  Each track touches upon a different world tradition, steeped in Zorn’s klez-jazz score.  Lyrical and moving and fun!

Artichaut OrkestraT For Teresa :: Featuring four young musicians  from Toulouse, Artichaut Orkestra mix jazz, klezmer and classical music, blending rock energy with improv.  This is their debut record, and I’m definitely looking forward to more coming from them in the near future.
Curtis MacdonaldCommunity Immunity :: To be honest, this was an impulse purchase.  One of my favorite record labels is Greenleaf Music – founded by my favorite living trumpet-player Dave Douglas.  I was picking up some new music from DD and figured, “eh, what the hell!”  I was impressed with Curtis’ melodic compositions and emotive alto sax playing.
MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will :: Stunning double-disc set from post-rock’s Scottish kings.  I’ll still probably forgo seeing them live again (too loud, beyond their needs), but they put out some amazingly beautiful music.

(3 CDs)
John ZornNova Express / At the Gates of Paradise / A Dreamer Christmas :: Three discs made the cut of the six Zorn releases in 2011.  Nova Express combines quirky atonal classical lyricism with a touch of the cut up techniques of Naked City and virtuosity of the Masada songbook. Zorn scored this for Joey Baron (drums), Trevor Dunn (bass), John Medeski (piano), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Paradise features the same band as Nova Express, brings some Medeski organ into the mix and adds more of Zorn’s “mystical” ambiance.  The Dreamer Christmas album was an oddity for me.  Why would a Jewish jazz musician put out a Christmas album?  Because he can!  The Dreamers is one of my favorite Zorn-assembled ensembles: Joey Baron (drums), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Trevor Dunn (bass), Marc Ribot (guitars), Jamie Saft (keys), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Very accessible, but not smooth jazz!  Adventurous!  Mike Patton joins them on the final track for a croon-y “chestnut roasting.”  The holiday album was also put out as a 12″ vinyl and a 7″ single – both with gorgeous artwork and design by Chippy.
yMusicBeautiful Mechanical :: The yMusic Ensemble had a kickstarter earlier this year for their debut album – with songs composed by Son Lux, Annie Clark, Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond), Saraha Kirkland snider (who penned a favorite album Penelope last year), and Gabriel Kahane.  Their string-heavy, indie chamber rock approach excites me.  Being the musical backdrop for My Brightest Diamond’s All Things Will Unwind album (my #2 vocal album in 2011) doesn’t hurt.
Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichNine Days Wonder :: Peter Mulvey has toured all over the US and the world for about 2 decades.  Some of the first times I saw him in concert, he had “Goody” with him on backing guitar.  They don’t get a chance to tour together much lately, but they did find some time to hole-up inside a studio to write and record some instrumental guitar duets.  While I love Peter’s vocal storytelling, it’s nice to hear his and Goody’s instrumental interplay tell a different story.
Goddamn Electric BillJazz :: GdEB is the one-man brainchild of Jason Torbert.  He hits the spot for organic electronic meets post-rock for me.  Ambient at times, melodic other times.  His latest work has featured some vocals, but he’s primarily a groove-induced soundscape kind of guy.  Chirps and glitches, too.  Excellent stuff!
The Dead Kenny G’sOperation Long Leash :: The Dead Kenny Gs is a duo started by saxophonist Skerik and drummer/vibes Mike Dillon in 2004.  shortly thereafter, they started adding Brian Haas, keyboard genius, when he is able, as well as Brad Houser, bassist from another Skerik band – Critters Buggin.  They push through the jazz/rock minefield to fight “injustice, cheese, and dishonesty in music, and society.”
TalkdemonicRuins :: Portland-based chamber-indie-post-rock… goodness.  So much sound from two people.  If you’re in Portland, they’re playing a big NYE show tonight… if in Eugene, they’ll be through our way (at Sam Bond’s) on Feb 24th.  Not to be missed!
Mike PattonThe Solitude of Prime Numbers :: I had to put this album as #13.  This chiefly instrumental album is a tribute to the book (by Paolo Giordano) and film of the same name.  The score is 16 tunes spread out over a 53 tracks, with the only tracks with content being 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, and 53. *slow clap* Clever, Mr. Patton!  For people who bought the CD, you can thank me for entering in the info to CDDB (t’was a pain).  The score/album fits more with his prior score for A Perfect Place – more accessible when compared to Patton’s usual schizophrenic output.  The packaging design is also brilliant – a gorgeous die-cut leaf that fold outwards.  I’d always recommend getting physical releases from Ipecac versus the digital download version.

Garage A TroisAlways Be Happy, But Stay Evil :: Skerik, Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento (who replaced Charlie Hunter) and Mike Dillon make their way through Oregon quite a bit.  They are a sight to see – you don’t know exactly what kind of show you’ll get, but it’s definitely a fun time.  Fun, groove-oriented “new jazz.”
Explosions in the SkyTake Care, Take Care, Take Care :: If not jazz, this list is also overtaken by post-rock.  it’s a love of mine, and Explosions in the Sky are one of the best in that game.  Epic, sweeping guitars crashing over a hearty drum & bass end.  This is another album where I’d recommend the physical edition – the  case can be unfolded to form a model of a house, where if viewed from the inside, the view from the door of the house is overlooking a tornado across a plain.

Erik FriedlanderBonebridge :: I started 2011 seeing Erik perform his John Zorn-penned Volac album in its entirety… brilliant and moving.  Later in the year, he came out with Bonebridge – a new band/concept that takes his Broken Arm Trio (with Trevor Dunn & Mike Sarin) and adds slide guitar player Doug Wamble to the mix.  What you get is a perfect chamber-Americana-jazz album.  I hope there are more where this came from…
Kevin Moore – Shine (Küçük Kıyamet Soundtrack) :: Kevin Moore’s main projects are the trippy/sample-heavy Chroma Key & heavier prog collaboration band O.S.I. (with Jim Matheos). Shine is the soundtrack to the 2006 Turkish film Küçük Kiyamet (“Little Apocalypse“).  It came out in early 2011 after a successful Kickstarter in 2010.  The next album from O.S.I. comes out in February 2012 on Metal Blade.  I can almost guarantee it will be my Top album of 2012, and I haven’t heard a shred of it yet.
ReptetAt the Cabin :: This Seattle-based jazz sextet is fuuuuuuuuuun – both on record and in the live setting.  I wish the distance on I-5 between me and them wasn’t 5-6 hours, as I’d see them far more often if I could.

Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, Dan PhelpsModular: Sonic Explorations :: Gorgeous soundscapes from Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, and Dan Phelps.  The Modular Project is the collaboration of the aforementioned musicians working together to “discover what the spontaneous and organic manipulation of sound can yield. Inspired by the world around them, they set out to discover what it might sound like when continents shift, clouds form, and roots push through soil.”  The track, “Everest,” features one of my favorite cellists – Eyvind Kang (who has worked with Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Mike Patton).  It’s a great mix of cello, vibes and soaring atmosphere.  The album is only available digitally or on vinyl (it’s a luscious triple-gatefold!)…

(3 CDs)
Dave Douglas – Three Views: GPS Series – Rare Metals, Orange Afternoons & Bad Mango :: Originally released as the “Greenleaf Portable Series” (download only), these three different releases in 2011 finally got a proper physical (boxset) release.  Dave’s prolific writing comes out with different bands on each record: Rare Metals features Dave’s most recent band Brass Ecstasy; Orange Afternoons features a specially put together quintet with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore; and Bad Mango paired Dave’s trumpet with So Percussion’s marimba, drumset, glockenspiel, musical saw, toy bells, shruti box, crotales, and more.  Three very different records tied together with Dave’s fantastic playing.

Tides From NebulaEarthshine :: This Polish post-rock group won my heart in 2009 with their debut, Aura (in 2009).  They continue to tease me with emails or news that says “tour” until I open and can’t pronounce the names of the cities that they’re hitting.  Drat!  At least their music will keep me company!  Earthshine is perfect for those fans of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and the like… and seeing as it beat out both those groups on my 2011 list, well, that should tell you something as well.

Michael KelseySubmerged :: Michael Kelsey is a HUGE amount of what I miss from the Midwest music scene.  He’s a musical genius – rarely paralleled on the frets.  Seeing him live (which I did any chance I could) was a site to behold.  His records do their best to capture his virtuosity, but they usually fail to capture his energy, too.  Catching fire in a bottle is tough.  Regardless, this one is a gem and also marks his first all instrumental affair.  Check him out, and if you live within a state or two from central Indiana, I count you a lucky one.  Go see him if he stops by your town.

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 :: More riff-oriented and melodic compared to the prior drone doom albums, Earth bring a cello into the mix for the first time and create an ominous soundscape that is both elegant and dreadful.  The follow-up, Angels & Demons 2, comes out in Feb 2012… and you can almost guarantee it’ll rise to the top of my list next year as well.

Note: Ric Hordinski’s Arthur’s Garden (which made it on my 2011 Mix) is technically a 2012 release, hence its absence above.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years’ weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2012.

My Other Favorites of 2011 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Trent Reznor & Atticus RossThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Black Friday / Cyber Monday – Support Indie Music

25th Nov 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

Update 11/25: Black Friday & Cyber Monday music-loving shoppers… support indie music by supporting Ric Hordinski’s new Kickstarter – Arthur’s Garden.  He has 6 days left and need has around $2k left to get it funded.

Guitarist extraordinaire Ric Hordinski has been a favorite of mine for a LONG TIME. He’s the kind of guitarist who is subtle and unassuming in his approach, but you end up wracking your brain how he gets such lush and complex sounds out of the frets. I’ve seen him many times (Monk, Over the Rhine, Kim Taylor, Ellery, solo), and sometimes I wish I was back in Cincinnati, just to see his intimate Monastery shows.

Well, late last week, he announced a way that even those not in SW Ohio can help him make his next record… behold another Kickstarter than I think is worth specific highlighting:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/609278336/arthurs-garden
(watch Ric’s personal video about the project)

About This Project

I’ve been trying to play guitar for over 30 years now. Really, 30 years. It’s been long love-affair, with highs and lows, rich times and lean. The guitar was my doorway into Music. That Music has taken me around the world, it has accompanied me through joy, laughter and tears: as well as allowing me to share the stage with an amazingly varied group of people: Johnny Cash and Moby, Bruce Cockburn and the Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan and Over The Rhine. Through it all, I’ve generally said what I had to say with the Electric Guitar. It’s smaller and a lot less fragile, if you know what i mean…

A couple of years ago I toured playing guitar for one of the great guitarists of our generation, Phil Keaggy. The record we were touring required me to dust off my classical and steel string acoustic guitar chops. This was more challenging (and rewarding) than I could have imagined.The influence of that music and tour on this recording was enormous and I think it planted a seed in me to try my hand at one of the most demanding kind of recordings i could make- one centered around the simple sound of strings vibrating a tiny little cathedral of wood: The Acoustic Guitar.

So, here i am!

I’m joined on this journey by several friends and collaborators. Michael Wilson will be documenting the process with both still and moving images. Grammy Winning Designer Greg Sylvester has signed on to design the art and packaging. I’ll have Josh Seurkamp, David LaBruyere, Dan Dorff and couple of lovely surprise guests (to be announced soon…) I’d love for you to take an even bigger part in the process than you usually do. We’re documenting the recording and mixing and will have a home-spun DVD available as well as some other surprise. Please join me on this journey!

He’s trying to raise $4,500 by the of the month. Take a gander at his site, and if you like what you hear, consider helping him out! For as little a $10, you can make a difference and get some great music in return.

Ric’s records stand out in my collection, and I’m stoked to be a part of making the next one a possibility.

~Dan – np: AhleuchatistasLocation Location

Arthur’s Garden by Ric Hordinski

14th Nov 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

Guitarist extraordinaire Ric Hordinski has been a favorite of mine for a LONG TIME.  He’s the kind of guitarist who is subtle and unassuming in his approach, but you end up wracking your brain how he gets such lush and complex sounds out of the frets.  I’ve seen him many times (Monk, Over the Rhine, Kim Taylor, Ellery, solo), and sometimes I wish I was back in Cincinnati, just to see his intimate Monastery shows.

Well, late last week, he announced a way that even those not in SW Ohio can help him make his next record… behold another Kickstarter than I think is worth specific highlighting:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/609278336/arthurs-garden
(watch Ric’s personal video about the project)

About This Project

I’ve been trying to play guitar for over 30 years now. Really, 30 years. It’s been long love-affair, with highs and lows, rich times and lean. The guitar was my doorway into Music. That Music has taken me around the world, it has accompanied me through joy, laughter and tears: as well as allowing me to share the stage with an amazingly varied group of people: Johnny Cash and Moby, Bruce Cockburn and the Indigo Girls, Bob Dylan and Over The Rhine. Through it all, I’ve generally said what I had to say with the Electric Guitar. It’s smaller and a lot less fragile, if you know what i mean… 

A couple of years ago I toured playing guitar for one of the great guitarists of our generation, Phil Keaggy. The record we were touring required me to dust off my classical and steel string acoustic guitar chops. This was more challenging (and rewarding) than I could have imagined.The influence of that music and tour on this recording was enormous and I think it planted a seed in me to try my hand at one of the most demanding kind of recordings i could make- one centered around the simple sound of strings vibrating a tiny little cathedral of wood: The Acoustic Guitar.

So, here i am!

I’m joined on this journey by several friends and collaborators. Michael Wilson will be documenting  the process with both still and moving images. Grammy Winning Designer Greg Sylvester has signed on to design the art and packaging. I’ll have Josh Seurkamp, David LaBruyere, Dan Dorff and couple of lovely surprise guests (to be announced soon…) I’d love for you to take an even bigger part in the process than you usually do. We’re documenting the recording and mixing and will have a home-spun DVD available as well as some other surprise. Please join me on this journey!

He’s trying to raise $4,500 by the of the month.  Take a gander at his site, and if you like what you hear, consider helping him out!  For as little a $10, you can make a difference and get some great music in return.

Ric’s records stand out in my collection, and I’m stoked to be a part of making the next one a possibility.

~Dan – np: Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodIn Case the World Changes Its Mind (live)

Peter Mulvey & David Goodrich – Nine Days Wonder (2011)

24th Sep 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

Peter Mulvey and David “Goody” Goodrich are pleased to announce the release of their first ever instrumental duets record.  NINE DAYS WONDER (released on Signature Sounds) captures a moment in the decades-long musical dialogue between these two artists.  Over the years, their relationship as co-writers, accompanists, and performers has centered on presence, spontaneity, and good humor, and all those are on ample display here.

Eight original tunes, two traditional bits of Americana, two Hoagy Carmichael classics, and a Tom Waits tune.  NINE DAYS WONDER is available for purchase at shows and online through Peter’s website.

~Dan – np: Secret Chiefs 3Radar/Saptarshi 7″ vinyl

REVIEW: Kaki King @ WOW Hall (Eugene, OR – 3/9/11)

12th Mar 11 (Sat) 1 comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Kaki King burst into the music scene in 2003 with her exquisite fretwork and primarily instrumental pieces. “Playing With Pink Noise” (from 2004’s Legs to Make Us Longer) thrust her more in the indie rock spotlight, showcasing a guitar that she played as if it were trying to run away from her. The video for “Pink Noise” was simply a white backdrop with Kaki effortlessly plucking and slapping away among randomly timed pink rose petals and balloons. It helped land her hands on the silver screen — as the up-close guitar “stunt double” for Freddie Highmore, who played a guitar prodigy in 2007’s August Rush. Later that year, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her score for Sean Penn’s Into the Wild (alongside Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder).

With her fifth album, Junior, a more mature songwriter has emerged. She still brings the famous fretwork to her songs, but Junior brings vocals more to the fore. Kaki woos us with the subtle and intricate pop of “Spit It Back In My Mouth,” the drive of “Falling Day,” the indie pop feel of “Communist Friends” and the hard rock of “Death Head.” The vulnerable and heartfelt “Sunnyside” brings the album to a close and shows off her more personal side. Kaki King is for fans of the indie rock of Sleater-Kinney and Tegan & Sara, or for those who like a bit more virtuoso musicianship mixed in with their lush pop melodies.

Kaki came through Eugene last May, and blew us away with her rockin’ band.  For this go-round, it was just going to be her and her guitar.  Or, shall I say… guitars… this is dubbed her “Guitar Traveling Freak Show” tour…

kaki king’s “band” on this tour

Before Kaki hit the stage, Washington went on.  (Megan) Washington is an Australian singer-songwriter, who I hear is quite popular down under.  She actually started her set with a joke about an odd fellow from Arcata, CA, who brandished a sword in front of her the day prior.  She told us that she normally plays guitar, but due to obvious reasons wouldn’t be tonight.  Her sound reminded me of a slightly grittier Regina Spektor (specifically from a vocal side of things).  She definitely had some songwriting chops.  She played about an hour… sometimes dreamy piano pop, sometimes more sullen indie rock.  She didn’t have anything to sell us (no shirt, CDs, etc)… probably too difficult to manage hauling it to this hemisphere.  I’d recommend checking out her records, especially How to Tame Lions and I Believe You Liar.

Kaki hit the stage at 8:30pm for this early show.  She played almost entirely an instrumental set… with vocals only on “Life Being” and “Communist” (if I remember correctly).  She switched between her trusty six string, a smaller than usual 12-string (Irish?), a banjo-guitar hybrid, an interestingly “koto”-style modified bridge guitar, a harp guitar, and probably a few I’m missing.

Setlist: about 90 minutes

  • Bone Chaos in the Castle
  • I Need A Girl Who Knows A Map
  • Doing the Wrong Thing
  • unidentified… possibly “Ingots”
  • Life Being What It Is
  • Playing With Pink Noise
  • unidentified… possibly “Carmine St”
  • My Girl the Horse [Fences]
  • Andecy [Andrew York]
  • Because It’s There [Michael Hedges]
  • Nails
  • unidentified… possibly “Magazine”
  • unidentified… new song for Megan Washington
  • unidentified… possibly “Bowen Island”
  • Encore: unidentified… with Dan Brantigan on trumpet
  • unidentified… “world premiere” drunk guitar song
  • Communist Friends

Kaki is the kind of guitar player that makes non-guitar players want to learn how to play.  She’s also the kind of guitar player who makes current guitar players want to throw away their axe.  And despite her focused brilliance with her instrument, she has quite a humorous and awkwardly delightful stage presence.  She’s charming, she’ll jokingly cuss the audience out, and then she’ll be self-deprecating.  She’ll act playful and humble, and then she’ll smoke the 6 to 12 strings in front of her without much trouble.  There’s no doubt that she belongs on stage and that you belong watching her.

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Chris Thile‘s Punch Brothers at McDonald Theatre on 3/16.

~Dan – np: Nik Bärtsch’s RoninLlyrìa

KAKI KING PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

KAKI KING – 2011 TOUR DATES
Feb 23 Museum of Modern Art: Celeste Bartos Theatre New York, New York
Feb 26 Salon Vive Cuervo Mexico City, Mexico
Feb 28 The Loft – UC San Diego San Diego, California
Mar 2 Largo at the Coronet West Hollywood, California
Mar 3 College of the Sequoias Theatre Visalia, California
Mar 4 Yoshi’s San Francisco, CA
Mar 5 Ashkenaz Berkeley, California
Mar 6 Harlows Sacramento, California
Mar 8 Jambalaya Arcata, California
Mar 9 WOW Hall Eugene, Oregon
Mar 10 Mississippi Studios Portland, Oregon
Mar 11 The Triple Door Seattle, Washington
Mar 12 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Mar 24 Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 25 Space Evanston, Illinois
Mar 26 The Old Rock House St. Louis, Missouri
Mar 28 Southgate House Newport, Kentucky
Mar 29 The Birchmere Alexandria , Virginia
Mar 30 World Cafe Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 1 Center for the Arts Natick, Massachusetts
Apr 2 Iron Horse Northampton, Massachusetts
Apr 3 Infinity Hall Norfolk, Connecticut
Apr 7 City Winery New York, New York
Apr 8 City Winery New York, New York
Apr 9 Binghamton University Binghamton, New York

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