Showing posts with label guitar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guitar. Show all posts

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cool, trippy sh*t: Dave Matthews and King Crimson

I've been cleaning out the email of a certain member of the band I work for and his friends have sent him some really, really awesome video and articles, so of course I get distracted while I'm working. I wanted to share a couple of these with you.

This one is called "Eh Hee" and comes from Dave Matthews back in 2006. The story is that he was inspired by a Khoisan riff he heard in Southern Africa by the San people (Botswana, South African & Namibia). He recorded this song and made this video, but didn't really publicize it and now it's just floating around the internet.

He seems to be channeling Peter Gabriel's wonderfully weird theatrics with make-up and what looks like fake blood. I love the choreography: mostly very slow movements, but sped up so that when the dancers do move more quickly, it looks really jerky. I also like the affect of the dancers moving around in white powder, creating all sorts of bizarreness.

This next one is called "Elephant Talk" by King Crimson, in a live performance back in 1981. Now, I've never really been a Crimson fan, not because I don't like them, but because I just never got into them. Now might be the time. This is just, really, really rad.

My friend from growing up, Will Hattman from the Portland bands Jana Osta and At Dusk has much love for this video and calls it a "space-alien novelty... it's one of my favorite TV performances of any song ever. I've watched this dozens of times and never get sick of it." So I'll let him tell you why he loves it (the following came from an email):

1) Tony Levin's queasy opening trill on the then-virtually-unheard-of Chapman Stick, sounding like an electric snake with a bad sense of humor. (Jamie says: excellent description!)

2) The syncopation game that drummer Bill Bruford and second guitarist Adrian Belew play throughout by punching the unlikeliest of beats—a sixteenth-note before 2—corrupting at regular intervals what would otherwise be a comfortable, even seductive, funk groove.

3) Belew's manic, deranged lead guitar work, dealing in above-the-nut chimes, seasick whammying, and deliciously apropos animal noises (I'm sure you'll hear the elephants in there), and culminating in a solo of jaw-dropping imaginativeness. (This clip's is even better than the album's!)

4) Belew's vocals, a bit of alliterative, metalinguistic slam poetry that from a lesser performer would come off irritatingly mannered, but which Belew somehow makes genuinely funny, and which becomes more endearing as it goes on.

These ingredients are all pathbreaking, and all in ways that poke out and draw attention. They're proudly odd, built on harsh, unfamiliar sonorities and disarming rhythms, and any one of them alone would make an otherwise ordinary song stick in the mind. It takes the most confident of players to throw them all into one song and make something not merely listenable, but beautiful. The passing of three decades has done virtually nothing to soften the stubborn weirdness of this song. I'm still waiting for the pop world to catch up to it.

Thanks Will!

Hope you enjoyed these cool, trippy videos.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gary Clarke Jr. at The Ghost Room, Wednesday March 17

photo via

Walking into the Ghost Room on 4th street, I instantly remembered how good Gary Clarke Jr. is. With his husky, yet smooth voice and mad guitar skills, why is this guy not famous? As a rock and blues guitarist, his sound is like a modern Jimi Hendrix. His vocal stylings are somewhere between Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Ben Ottewell of Gomez.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to hear a whole other side of Clarke at a singer/songwriter in the round show and heard him play a beautiful acoustic with intricate finger-picking. I remember thinking, "where did this come from" and why can't I hear more?

Clarke told me after the show that he will be going on tour soon, and that he hasn't recorded any of the softer, acoustic tunes. I really hope he does, it'll show off how versatile he can be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"It Might Get Loud" review: for fans of U2, Led Zeppelin, Jack White and the guitar

Gods of the Guitar: Jack White, the Edge and Jimmy Page

I know I'm all about getting girls and women to play rock music (and music in general), but that absolutely doesn't mean I don't become a total fan girl when I get to see Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White sit around together to chat and play music together.

"It Might Get Loud" (2008) is a brilliant twist on the documentary, bouncing three lives, stories, personalities and techniques off one other. The result is three different ways to tell the same story: the love of the guitar.

I love how these guys represent three different generations of music, yet the film focuses on their drive to be equally musically innovative. Each musician has had something to overcome, whether it be the crappy pop music of the time or political turmoil. Each also has their own musical drive. Jack White has a fierce desire to replicate as close as possible the blues of the 30s. The Edge grapples with peddles and wires and effects trying to replicate sound qualities in his head. Jimmy Page, a former session musician who freaked out when he realized how little creativity he had in the job, pushes himself to innovate, innovate, innovate.

It's incredibly charming to watch these guys jam to each others songs. But the moment that takes the cake, is the smiles on the faces of the other two when Page busts out with "Whole Lotta Love." Being the senior member of the group, Page obviously holds a certain position among the three. But, interestingly enough, this is the only moment when his position is completely evident in the film. Otherwise, the three are shown in equal light, with equal contributions.

Watch the moment below, and add "It Might Get Loud" to your Neflix queue.