Do-Re-Mi Steps, Salzburg, Austria
Tuesday, June 23
Most of my family took a wonderful vacation to Germany last month. We took a day trip to Salzburg to see the wonderful town and amazing churches. Salzburg is famous for two musical things – Mozart’s birthplace and the setting for a good bit of the “Sound of Music.” It was pouring rain that day, so everything I saw that day was filtered though my umbrella and a sheet of rain. As I skipped down the famous “Do-Re-Mi” steps, “Singing in the Rain” was running through my head. All musicals tend to run together in my mind. The churches were amazing and I adored the baroque architecture. And I scored one of my favorite souvenirs -- an inexpensive cardboard music box that plays Edelweiss. It only got slightly warped in the rain.
I must admit that I enjoyed the time on the train traveling to and from Munich, Germany. I laughed harder than I did on the whole trip about the Paper Mache that formed on my jacket from a wet shopping bag rubbing against my coat as we ran to the train – and the fact that Mom handed me a hot pad to try to clean it off. I guess you had to be there…
Our (Radius Tours) tour guide was amazing and we were lucky enough to be the only folks on the tour. Mike Richardson’s knowledge of the area, history, art and quirky stuff was incredible and he did a great job of tying it all together for us. The conversation on the train turned to music and it turned out Mike booked and hosted punk rock shows while in school in Minnesota (his home state). His band toured with the Dropkick Murphy’s in 1998. I loved collecting band names and his now has a sticky note on my inside closet door wall of fame – Ten Kegs. Who wouldn’t go to a show with Ten Kegs on the flyer?
I’ll continue the art, music and beer tour of Germany in the next issue.
Bill Mallonee, The Benders
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Bill Mallonee earned a dedicated fan base with his former band, The Vigilantes of Love. Bill is a great songwriter -- Paste Magazine lists Bill at number 65 as on the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters Poll. So you don’t need me to tell you about Bill – there has been lots of great stuff, written by much more knowledge people than me for you to read.
I want to talk about revamped band, The Benders. The lineup is David England (guitar, vocals), John Byrne (guitar, pedal steel and vocals), Matt Brookshire (bass) and Wade Parish (drums, vocals). I’ve been a fan of the band for quite a while and quite frankly was worried about the lineup changes, but not to worry – they sound great! David, John and Wade harmonize beautifully. The set was full of guitar-laden goodness. Their set included a good chunk of David England’s new album, Little Death. His new record is great! It showcases David’s songwriting and his power-pop sensibilities. Think Elvis Costello. Good stuff.
Slippery Noodle Inn
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I must wear my blues bias on my sleeve because when I parked in the lot next to the club the parking guy quizzed me to make sure I was in the right place. The nice guy at the door double-checked that I was in the right place. And I know I was one of last people Soul Bus bass player, David Murray expected to walk through the door at midnight.
And guess what? I loved it! That night’s Soul Bus line-up that night was Gordon Bonham, Paul Holdman, David Murray and Jeff Chapin. They played a lot of Rolling Stones and surf-rock. You can catch Soul Bus every Monday night at Daddy Jack’s.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I don’t know if you remember how soggy Independence Day was, but I was one of the folks that stayed at Victory Field until the fireworks were officially called off at 10:00. Through the magic of texting I met up with friends at the Chatterbox. Listening to jazz was the perfect way to melt the craziness and tension of the day away. David Andrichik has created a magical place – always worth popping in.
Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses
July 10, 2009
When people ask me about how I started writing about music I credit Alan Hague for letting me write this column and have free-reign to write about what I want to. And Lost Highway records for keeping me on their radar. My first-ever phone interview was to be with Ryan Bingham last year. I was super-freaked out and nervous. The interview was cancelled at the last minute because Ryan got a last minute invitation to appear on Conon O’Brien. I can’t tell you how relieved I was, but I still hang my ability to get to interview national touring musicians on Ryan’s hat rack.
I got to stand on the stage at the Austin City Limits Festival last year when Ryan and his band knocked the socks off of the huge crowd. I felt as proud of him as I do when I see my sweet niece and nephew do something adorable (which is every time I see them).
Ryan has a new CD, Roadhouse Sun. His observational singer/songwriting and his alt-country swagger shine through on this record. Roadhouse Sun is more roots rock than his first record, the twangy Mescalito.
The Radio Radio show was great. Ryan and the band pulled out all of the stops. And I stood on the side of the room, singing along and grinning like a proud aunt.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
First of all, it warmed my heart to see over 100 people out on a Tuesday night seeing live original music. Woo Hoo! It’s easy to see why Deer Tick has the ear of the cool kids. Deer Tick has great songs, excellent musicians and indie band charm. Besides their own music they play ironic covers of Tom Pet. I giggled during the encore set of psychedelic rock at the thought that their parents were probably listening to the same songs in their bedrooms in the 1970s and melting crayons over light bulbs in their closets.
Clowes Memorial Hall
Friday, July 17
Thanks to Jeff Grantham for the awesome birthday gift – second row, center seats to see Neko Case. I’m not usually a sit-down sort of concert person. I like to be able to move around and listen from different parts of the room. That said, wow! The seats were great – and the legroom was incredible. I could stick my feet straight out and my cowboy boots did not touch the seat in front of me. I can’t even do that in my kitchen.
I’ve been listening to her new record, Middle Cyclone a ton. I used to say that I have a musical crush on Neko; now I’ve decided that I want to be her. Sadly I think the only things she and I have in common is our prudish dislike of certain words – I’m shivering just thinking of them. Neko and long-time singer/collaborator Kelly Hogan have great stage rapport and really connected with the audience. Neko seemed like she was having a lot more fun than the last time I saw her. The whole band seemed to be in good spirits and full of fried chicken (their pre-show dinner was at Hollyhock Hill).
Neko Case and her band were wonderful – I was particularly intrigued by the pedal steel/guitar/banjo player, Jon Rauhouse. As you know, I adore pedal steel and banjo and Jon brings it to another level. They played a good deal of Middle Cyclone and older Neko songs. Neko switched off between accompanying herself on guitar and singing. I soon figured out how to tell what she was going to do next. Hair up, sing. Hair down, guitar. Okay – that just seemed a little stalkerish. I’m going to declare this as my favorite show so far this year – it will be hard to top.