Tag Archives: Wilco

Glenn Kotche revisited: Spectaculs in concert with So Percussion

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Glenn Kotche

I have to confess that Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche‘s forays into New Music were beginning to rub me the wrong way.

Maybe it was the Delta faucet commercial that set me on edge. I can’t say for sure.

But it had begun to feel to me that he was trying far too hard to prove that he’s not just the drummer in one of the world’s best rock bands. He seemed to be crying out to be taken seriously as a percussionist with depth and breadth as well as great rock chops.

His most recent serious album, “Adventureland” (Cantaloupe Music, 2014), is well done and pleasant, but for some reason it never really grabbed me. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.

When I got the opportunity to attend a concert on Saturday in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall the featured some of his work,  I decided to open my ears again.

I’m glad I did. Kotche’s work was a big part of what made the evening a spectacular musical event.

The evening opened with some older work — four selections from his 2011 Drumkit Quartets — performed by So Percussion (Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting) alone.

So  Percussion clearly had an enormous amount of fun with the compositions. All of them featured a wide array of drums and myriad other percussion. The first, “Drumkit Quartet #50 (Leffinge, Chicago), kicked off with each member of the ensemble playing a hand-cranked siren, while the third, “Drumkit Quartet #51 (Tokyo, Brisbane, Berlin),” featured Japanese rock band Cibo Matto‘s Yuka Honda (who is married to Wilco guitarist Nels Cline) reciting haiku.

It’s no surprise that So  Percussion knew the pieces well, as the ensemble has recorded a “Drumkit Quartets” album due out Feb. 26 on Cantaloupe.

Kotche joined the ensemble for the world premiere of “Migrations,” a Carnegie Hall commission, that testified dramatically to Kotche’s admiration for minimalist composer Steve Reich with rhythms playfully produced on marimbas struck with fingertips and combs.

A hard-driving “Drumkit Quartet #1,” featuring a strobe-like animated film by Patrick Burns, closed the Kotche section of the show in memorable fashion.

The evening also featured a short piece by composer Steven Mackey, “Before It Is Time,” sung by Shara Worden, a performer and composer who works in rock and New Music like Kotche. (She performs in the rock world as My Brightest Diamond), in its New York premiere.

A 45-minute Worden song cycle, “Timeline” — commissioned jointly by Carnegie Hall and the University of Texas at Austin — closed out the evening. Worden sang and, at times played the guitar, a distracting move that took the focus off of the rhythms and interesting tonal qualities of the percussion, which included a mean steel drum number played by Quillen.

 

Wilco brings ‘Star Wars’ to Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre

 

The Capitol Theatre marquee (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Capitol Theatre marquee (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

I’ve seen Wilco more than just about any other band. I’m not sure why, it just happened. It seems I can’t get enough of them. Thankfully, every tour seems fresh, because this band is tighter and more spectacular every time it blasts out of the gate.

The "Star Wars" cat — or, rather, a reasonable facsimile — awaits the band's arrival onstage Tuesday night at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The “Star Wars” cat — or, rather, a reasonable facsimile — awaits the band’s arrival onstage Tuesday night at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. (© 2016, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

This tour — which returns to the Capitol Theatre for another sold out show Wednesday, before hitting the far less intimate Kings Theatre in Brooklyn for two more sold-out gigs on Friday and Saturday — rolls out the new “Star Wars” material, like “More,” “Taste the Ceiling,””Random Name Generator,” and the heartbreaking “Where Do I Begin.”

Even so, Wilco’s never a play-the-album band, so there were plenty of favorites from the back catalogue in the show, too.

Photos and setlist on the jump.

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Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion bring Wassaic Way to Saturday’s Wassaic Festival

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in 2011. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion are making a Hudson Valley appearance on Saturday, Aug. 3 at the all-free Wassaic Festival in Dutchess County, which starts today and runs through Sunday (Aug. 2-4).

There’s something nice about hitting the namesake town in the early stages of touring their latest album, the seriously charming Wassaic Way. The husband-and-wife-duo (she’s daughter of Arlo Guthrie and granddaughter of Woody Guthrie) are really proud of the self-released album (which is to be released Aug. 6) they made with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone.

Stay tuned for a full interview with the creative couple. But for now, I just wanted to alert you to their gig coming Saturday. I’ve never been to the Wassaic Project, a center that aims to create context for art making and strengthening local community by increasing social and cultural capital through inspiration, promotion and creation of contemporary visual and performing art. It’s at the very last stop on Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem Line. This is the sixth year for the festival, a free, three-day event featuring art, music, dance, and community featuring over 100 artists, 25 bands, film screenings, dance performances and more.

If you go

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion perform at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug 3.,  on the Luther Barn Stage. The Wassaic Festival began today (Aug. 2)  with various art events. Music and dance start around 6 p.m. This wrap up Sunday with a community breakfast, kids events and more music.

The Wassaic Project is at The Maxon Mills,  37 Furnace Bank Road , Wassaic, NY 12592. It’s in walking distance of the Wassaic Metro-North station with connections from Grand Central Terminal. ADMISSION IS FREE, but tickets are required for some events. Check the full schedule here.

RIP Faye Hunter, bass player with Let’s Active

Faye Hunter via Fidelitorium Recordings' Facebook page

Faye Hunter via Fidelitorium Recordings’ Facebook page.

Faye Hunter, a North Carolina-based musician best known for her work as the bass player 1980’s jangle-pop band Let’s Active with Mitch Easter and Sara Romweber, died Saturday.

The 59-year-old died of apparent suicide, according to a blog post by David Menconi on the website of The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

UPDATE: Peter Holsapple of The Db’s reacts

Those of us who grew up with Faye also knew her as a sweet, droll and artistic friend who unintentionally served as something of a den mother and big sister to many of the younger musicians in town, myself included. … It is hard to imagine a world without Faye Hunter. We all wish we could have done more to help her, but we couldn’t.

Click here for the full text of Holsapple’s tribute.

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Americanarama Festival of Music: Bob Dylan, Wilco and My Morning Jacket in Bridgeport, Conn.

Bob Dylan at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., on July 19, 2013.(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Bob Dylan gets sassy on the harmonica. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Nothing compares to your first time

When Bob Dylan hit the stage of the Webster Bank Arena on Friday night, July 19, I reached a major milestone.

It was my first time seeing the legend perform live.

Yes, you might think that given the underlying theme of this blog, I would have seen him before — probably many times.

Bob Dylan at the Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., on July 19, 2013.(Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Bob Dylan spent plenty of time playing the grand piano. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Sure, I treasure his music. I have many of his albums. A friend and neighbor of mine managed him once, way back before Albert Grossman hooked up with him.

But Dylan was playing arenas by the time I learned to care about him. And I just don’t like arena shows, the distance, the impersonality, the commercialism.

But when I saw the lineup for this summer’s touring Americanarama Festival of Music, I decided it was time to make an exception so that I could finally see Dylan. I figured that even if Bob was awful, I’d be able to cross him off my bucket list and still get plenty of value out of Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Continue reading

Jay Farrar still can’t say Jeff Tweedy’s name

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The cover of Jay Farrar’s memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs

 

Uncle Tupelo co-founder Jay Farrar‘s easy-reading memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs, came out in March, but it landed rather quietly — at least in my world.

It was only a few days ago that I really became aware of the collection of vignettes by the ultra-serious Farrar. Some of the reviews have been unkind, but that didn’t stop me from buying it and devouring it in a matter of a few hours.

Farrar made great music in Uncle Tupelo, and has continued on a reverential path since the band’s acrimonious 1994 breakup. But that’s not the subject of this collection of short passages from just about every part of his life but the Uncle Tupelo part.

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Jon Langford and a Maxwell’s memory lapse

The Jon Langford Threesome, from left, at Maxwell's: Tony Maimone, Steve Goulding, Jon Langford. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Jon Langford Threesome, from left, at Maxwell’s: Tony Maimone, Steve Goulding, Jon Langford. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Jon Langford looked truly puzzled on the stage of Maxwell’s.

The Jon Langford Threesome's set list at Maxwell's. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Jon Langford Threesome’s set list at Maxwell’s. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The Welsh-born rocker has played at the Hoboken, N.J., club many times — “37 1/2… the half because tonight’s not done yet” — over the years in many bands, from the Mekons to the Three Johns.

On Tuesday, July 9, his show was billed as “Jon Langford’s Threesome feat. Tony Maimone and Steve Goulding performing Mekons, Waco Bros. and Jon Langford songs from throughout the centuries

“Did the Waco Brothers ever play here,” he asked, during a portion of the set where his cranked out several of that band’s best-loved tunes.

“Three times!” came the cry from the crowd.

The crowd gathers in the back room at Maxwell's for the Jon Langford Threesome. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

The crowd gathers in the back room at Maxwell’s for the Jon Langford Threesome. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

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