Sunday, October 22, 2006


Friday night husband J and I went to the Jack-o'-the-Lantern event at Washington Park, a fundraiser for the Carillon Society. Here are some pictures:

scary face!

I never would have thought of this. loved it.

I loved this one too.

This one was a lot more impressive before we saw two others just like it and figured it must've been a pattern sold somewhere. But we respected it a lot before that.

This one cracked my shit up.

Ruthie Foster, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Bo Diddley, Oct. 17, 2006

The first opener was Ruthie Foster. Someone had given me a burned copy of one of her cds to prep with, but I didn't really love it. She had a good voice, but it was kind of soul gospel, which doesn't really trip me. (J called this the Keb' Mo' syndrome.) But in person, it was just her and an acoustic guitar. First of all, she could really play; she wasn't just someone who thinks of herself as a singer but has to accompany herself. Secondly, I loved her stage presence; she gave off a great, personable vibe with good, conversational rapport. Thirdly, great voice. And fourthly, her song choices were much more bluesy than I'd anticipated. She had me at Sister Rosetta Tharpe, really, but Brownie McGhee? Get outta town. Very nice. I wish her set had been longer, really.

Second was Alvin Youngblood Hart.
here's a picture:

J and I saw him open for B.B. King several years ago, but then he was doing an acoustic thing. This time he was electrified. I don't know whether he played with The Bo Diddley Band or whether his band also backed Bo, but it was the same band (including him). He was, again, really good. J and I both prefer his bluesier stuff to when he goes for a more straightforward rock sound. In particular, he did a mean version of "In My Time of Dying" dedicated to the late Freddy Fender. Good stuff.

After the break, Bo Diddley.
He began inauspiciously with pedal trouble. Strangely, it looked like he didn't have a guitar tech; the guy who came out to help is a local sound guy we know. (The place was crawling with local sound guys, actually.) He was funny, though. "I think it broke," he said, then shook his head. "A hundred and forty dollars."

Anyway, I try to cut an 80-year-old blues legend some slack. And for me the point was really to be in the same room with Bo Diddley while he's alive. The only comparable artists I've seen are B.B. King and Buddy Guy. B.B., I'd say, is physically more comparable to Bo; while obese rather than slim, he likewise sits the whole time, and his band carries a lot of the show. He does play more than Bo did, but his show is a big time kind of vegas production in some ways, very choreographed, including banter. Buddy Guy was physically vigorous and still able to play well, but he was ... instead of playing a bunch of songs, he'd play a song, then do a thing where he played and talked and made a medley and screwed around. Well, bo was like that, only much more so. If I'd really expected a lot of killer guitar playing, I'd have been sorely disappointed. He hardly played at all. He did talk a lot. From a non-legend perspective, it wasn't worth it at all. But I did 'see' Bo Diddley, and, well, I have a greatest hits cd when I need to really hear him. I just felt very sad afterward, and so did J. He seemed so old. I know he is old, but he really seemed like he should be retired. I hate to say that. sigh. stupid blues.

Here's a web site that's on tripod but looks like it wants to be his official site:
click and here's his wikipedia entry.

Here are a coupla pictures of him:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Old Crow Medicine Show and Wilco at Cincinnati's Tall Stacks Festival

I went on an Ohio road trip last weekend, and on Saturday my friend Shannon, her husband, and I went to OCMS and Wilco at festival last Saturday.

We got there and got a space not five minutes before the band before Wilco started. We were there for Wilco, but I rather like OCMS, so it worked well for me.

OCMS setlist (best I could do):

1. Cocaine Habit (aka Woody Guthrie's "Take a Whiff On Me")
2. (Johnny got your gun? unsure)
3. Down Home Girl
4. Big Time in the Jungle
5. Poor Man
6. Union Maid
7. (eastbound train? unsure)
8. God's Got It
9. I Hear Them All
10. Bobcat Tracks
11. Minglewood Blues
12. Wagon Wheel
13. Hard to Tell
14. Tear It Down
15. Band Intros/Tell It To Me
16. (mother earth? unsure)
17. Hard to Love

Here's how far away we were:

J and I saw OCMS in St. Louis a couple of years ago opening for Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. We had their first - only, at the time - CD, which (like the new one) was produced by David Rawlings, and he sat in with their whole set when we saw them before, which was great. In St. Louis when they did band intros he introduced them by names of well-known St. Louis Cardinals past (baseball team), and I'd forgotten all about that until, in Cincinnati, he introduced them as great 70s Cincinnati Reds players and manager. hah. Anyway, they were as frenetic as ever, but their mellower stuff held up pretty well too. I couldn't listen to them every day, but I find that I'm more tolerant of some kinds of country music as long as it's not mainstream radio country ("hat music"). If it's or bluegrass or classic old monaural or folk-thrash, I can dig it. I think it's about the authenticity. Popular country music today is the suckiest of the most unauthentic music ever.

For Wilco we squirmed half again as close, I suppose. Visibility varied, but later I got a better view when things shifted around.
Wilco set list:
1. The Late Greats
2. A Shot in the Arm
3. (I know you're not listening? unsure.bad fan!)
4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
5. War on War
6. Handshake Drugs
7. Jesus etc.
8. Walken
9. Airline to Heaven
10. Theologians
11. I'm the Man Who Loves You
12. Misunderstood
13. Forget the Flowers
14. Hummingbird
15. Heavy Metal Drummer
16. (Carried Away? unsure/new?)
17. Kingpin

Or, if you're keeping score:
Four from A Ghost is Born
Five from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Three from Being There
A shocking mere one from Summerteeth
One from the Mermaid Avenue sessions (not California Stars, either!)
And possibly three new. Walken is definitely new (although they played it last time we saw them).

Anyway, despite our difficulties seeing, they were really on, and the older stuff and the brand new stuff all got as good responses as the last couple of albums stuff, so it's good. Crowd was really into it, musicianship was smoking. Wilco just does not disappoint. I dont' know how many times I've seen them now, must be going on half a dozen, and each time I'm reminded what a really, really great band they are. They're still doing that really huge thing at the end of "Misunderstood" - if you've seen them, you know. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! It's awesome. And I always love "Kingpin." They didn't do any truly old stuff - I like when they do New Madrid, and Casino Queen is always fun, but at a festival, short set, etc. Boy, now I want to see a whole night again soon.

Some bad, distant photos:

At the end, the crew was slow to come out, so I went down to try for a set list, thinking I'd still have a chance. No such luck, it was not to be, so I tried to get a picture of pedal board instead. No luck there either - couldn't get over the monitor.