Monday, December 31, 2012

the BESTY's 2012

Besty's top 5...
it's impossible to top the champs!

this year i attended far fewer big ticket shows. maybe it was because of the diet our overall economy was/is on, or perhaps, due to the conundrum created by me becoming more reclusive. regardless, i was fortunate to catch some great live music, peppered more so with local flare. these local shows are sometimes lesser known, yet still fun and affordable. plus the north bay and west sonoma county are blessed with a wealth of local artists and intimate venues. there were a few less trips taken into the metropolitan bay area this year in terms of catching a concert amidst the big lights of the cityscapes.

... this year's selections will feature two bands heavily, due to my different addictions to each of them. this list also showcases the one venue that's been stealing our hearts and concert calendars since its re-opening back in february of 2009. this might be the first time i can remember in which a san francisco show has not graced my best of list in quite awhile, long before eightychoices. don't worry, i love you SF. envelope please...

Wilco 01.31 at the fox theatre in oakland

as often times is the case with any american artist, it's a heavily baited hook, waiting to be consumed by fans when that artist makes an early stop in your city with new material. wilco showed up in oakland with an open mind and an open ended set list. the band was overtaken by the magical fox theatre (it was their first time here). frontman jeff tweedy commented, "we're going to play our beautiful tracks." this key stone feeling cemented itself with meaning throughout night.

you could feel the gravity of their pace being pitted against the whaling emotion. each song unfolded as it's own identifiable short story. skillfully crafted words, full of insight, became woven to and sometimes suffocated by, the genius of their intricate textures. the band was willing to exact fits of rage along the way, creating a cocoon around the singing. sometimes they teetered near the edge of too much, yet just right, in an avant-garde, noise-art sort of way. even amidst their most recognizable selections, the ones that wilco fans cling to and hope for, the band is able to conjure intrigue. it's their own intellectual way of making sure those same fans are truly listening. i felt privileged to fall victim to their trickery.

some of my personal favorites of the evening or those that absolutely blistered people were, I Might, Muzzles of Bees and Via Chicago. a group of songs later made way for a berkeley roar as they pleasingly played, California Stars. shortly thereafter they rocked the trio, Whole Love, Pot Kettle Black and Hate It Here. the encore never stood still with classics like, Passenger Side, Kingpin, Outta Mind and Casino Queen.  

for the setlist click here
The Beautiful Fox Theatre Marquee
STS9 04.20/ 04.21 at the fox theatre in oakland

Night 1
sound tribe sector 9 came back to the bay area for an all out throw down. my anticipation for this show was peaking to say the least. the fact that agent M and a slough of my best friends were in the house made it even more special. i had also been talking a big game about how they were going to drop a shakedown street on us. despite some transportation woes, the second faction of our crew, myself included, made it to the fox. we were channelling the whole, they can't cover shakedown until we get there vibe. sector 9 had been playing that cover selectively throughout the year and it seemed only appropriate to bust it out in oak town.

missing the first couple of tracks i was a bit bummed. i wanted to see the visual display during the initiation phase of the great spectacle. it didn't bother me one iota when i heard the opening bass lines being teased to a really cool version of Shakedown Street. this nostalgic track began the next 25+ minute shred-a-thon. shakedown clocked in at just over 5 minutes, manufacturing the gripes of others who were pining for a longer version. not me, i was thankful to hear such an iconic, counter-culture song being reworked within a very modern context. holy F batman. the EHM that followed tilted er'body with its club banging, new school approach. a form that this track has taken on regularly in recent tours. next up was a filthy-ass, Dracula-like Aimlessly. if you weren't dancing during this track something was wrong with you. Murph had that bass effect going early on when it sounds like the bass line is being elongated in such a way that it makes me visualize the slow ripping of paper. during which they took us on a transformative sonic journey. to complete the exploration they brought us back to the hollow/echoing pulse that began the crescendoing assault. i still can't get enough of it. there was a narration break after this frenzied wave of dance tracks. keep in mind that this was all happening to us during the first set of night one. yum! the fact that this party was in oakland on 4/20 gave the experience even more of a reason to catch fire.

the hyper computer pop of March ignited the second set. without a break in the action we were quickly bound by the rhythmic glitch of Tooth. next up was the abrupt pounding of, the Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature. this track dips and dives in many directions. blending genres in a post pop musical world that is only STS9. once again the fox theatre had turned into a dance party. no one seemed concerned with the superficial, we were all moved to just keep on moving! the encore gave us a chance to recover during a reggae twinged King Pharaoh's Tomb and ended with a Scheme reprise. tomorrow was upon us as we reconvened in SF for a post show gathering.

Night 2
question: "okay, now what the F*#% do you want?"
reply: "first i would go to the moon..."

bringing back a different portion of our crew for night two didn't lessen the inner hyper-hypo in me. we had positioned our selves to go lunar. prepping our inebriation beforehand at cafe van kleef was also nice. the first set kept a steady pace, with a groove that was deep but not maddening. this allowed us to have a little left in the tank for the melt down that would occur later. one of my favorites, Arigato, produced a mid set body mover. there was also a very skillfully executed Piano Peace, performed by Phipps. he seemed to be channelling his inner ability to score music during the final two minutes of this intimate portrayal. the stark sound of the keys reminded me of the original score to the film Heat, especially beginning at the 3:55 mark. this type of music may not resonate with the broader fan base, yet it exemplifies the diversity of what influences them both as a band and individually as musicians.

the second set opened with Be Nice and never really let up. the ebb and flow of its beat made for an initial blast that was poignantly followed by the crowd pleasing Instantly. this reignited the dance party to move even faster. Rent hammered the listening audience. its off beat percussions swirled into a neat mess around the maze of keys, strings and electronic sounds. it continued to collect and accumulate until it became a buzzing storm. the crowd had gone off and a nastier storm front was moving in. a melodically warm Equinox, rich with layers of vibes and bass, segued to an interlude. soon after there would be a reckoning, comprised of three songs that would take shredding to a new, low-down-dirtier, maybe even darker place. What is Love? kick started the mob with a humming organ and drums that could punch through your chest. this continued until it ended abruptly, like a last gasp, causing everyone to want more. the controlled beep and glitch of The Rabble incubated a squall of energy. its pulse was tactfully embedded among the emotionally soft strokes of the piano, guitar rills and the gyro-clapping. this could only be contained for so long. nearly six minutes in, a beat beast was unleashed upon the spastic crowd. STS9 erupted once more (at the 9:15 mark) when they resuscitated the rabble's crescendo, as if challenging the audience to keep up. Inspire Strikes Back was the proverbial sprint to the finish line of what felt like a dance marathon. there was the last sprinkle of narration, celestial zoom and deactivation, sandwiching a Scheme encore. it didn't truly matter, the real damage had been done with the debauchery we had successfully navigated.

What is love?, the Rabble and Inspire Strikes Back coupled with the Shakedown Street, EHM and Aimlessly from the night before, pretty much sums up the greater sense of motion and penned up energy that 2012 had been harboring. by not using words to deliver a message, sound tribe was able to not only describe, but also be the description of, what "now" sounds like. someone later told us that they saw our group and had never seen so and so dancing harder (known to many as shredding). sometimes letting your guard down, in order to let it all out, is what's necessary for recognizing a moment. thanks to all my friends who made this show and to everyone for throwing down.

for sets on both nights click here

Wilco 09.22 at the greek theatre at u.c. berkeley

wilco has an innate ability in honoring each song for its songwriting, while at the same time allowing an exploratory platform for each member of the band to show their unique skill/personality. this process seems to be coherently blurred by showing their ever changing direction at just the right time. the outdoor setting of the greek added to the magic, as it always does. the mega set they created established their album the whole love, while still leaving space to indulge us with their storied gems from other records. keep in mind that this was the second night of a two day showcase.

blasting through a rocking and inflated 19 song set, i remember the melodically undone and incredibly thought provoking Misunderstood. tweedy's voice was able to capture listeners amid the many layers of sound the band whipped up. Jesus, etc. exemplified the melding process of lyrics to music by recognizing the inner relationship between words and measure. hearing the line, "you were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun," helped me to imagine the vision of something revelatory, yet commonly shared by all and perhaps left unnoticed. jesus made way for a quartet of rousing tunes. the Whole Love paved its way into an anthem-like pulse. as far as frontmen go, i love when tweedy is willing to jaw with and sometimes at the audience. he segued into I Must Be High, commenting, "the wind must be blowing out. i don't smell nearly as much mary-ja-wanna. that's good for me. i'm still high from last night." high or not, this track is a classic tale of letting go, which the band most certainly did. next up was the cascading piano roll of Walken. nels cline and his guitar work took center stage. his hollow, sliding riffs seemed almost machine like, suggesting that humans shouldn't be able to do this, only imagine it. then came the crashing gust of I'm the Man Who Loves You. i was both elated and engaged by this song's message. it makes me think of my life, which is attached to the partnership of my better half. it signals a journey that is shared.

the love vibe loitered until it went all rock and roll with a smashing rendition of a Shot in the Arm. to say the audience became energized would be an understatement. this is what rock music is supposed to sound like. days later, while commuting on her bike, my wife stated, "shot in the arm is still in my head." wilco's portrayal of art has an ability to cling. On and On and On is a testament to love and its battles, it was the perfect set closer.

Via Chicago exploded like a missile of potency to ignite the encore. if ever a song capable of stealing air, this would be it. how this song suffocates you with its poeticism, before mutating into a beautiful contradiction of experimental noise-rock, is unique to only wilco. the untouchable vocals somehow upend the tonal vibration, if you listen closely. this was some serious heat. due perhaps to the election being right around the corner, woody guthrie's, Christ for President was thrust upon us. it's a comedic satire that makes lasting sense. coming straight at us was the abrasive hurricane Kicking Television. for many reasons, too deep to blather about, this song kicks your ass and still leaves you loving it. they finished the eight song encore with a saloon style Dreamer In My Dreams. to close it down i'll leave you with this nugget of praise...

Tweedy at the Greek

"i said it last night, i'll say it again tonight, best rock audience in the world, right here. you guys invented it, you invented rock concerts and we appreciate that. we thank you for that, it's like deep cuts, no problem, we're with ya buddy. you make bands feel good and a lot of bands don't deserve to feel good. that's their problem, not yours."     -jeff tweedy         
for the setlist click here

J. D. McPherson 12.11 at the mystic theatre in petaluma

JD McPherson and his lively band mates were in Sonoma county giving their best for an even better cause, the redwood empire food bank food drive. though their music is steeped in yesteryear, they have a freshness that feels good, almost raw. signs and signifiers is the album that has thrust these oklahoma natives onto the larger scene. i was so stoked when my wife scored these tickets, for free! they ran through a good number of the songs off of signs, but also gave us a christmas original, Twinkle (little christmas lights). thankfully his musical path shared space with influences such as, buddy holly, chuck berry and little richard. it's these fore fathers of music who gave JD the the blueprint to his swinging sound. rooted in jazz, the delta blues, soul, western swing and the influence of black culture on rock and roll, you begin to realize why they have such a vintage sound. these guys are making real rock and roll, so if you aren't hip to them yet, you best get familiar. they are restoring my faith in what rock'n music can sound like. there's no doubt that they left it all on the stage. they played North Side Gal (video below), Country Boy, Fire Bug, one of the upbeat numbers, Signs & Signifiers, which was tweaked to a darker side, Wolf Teeth, I Can't Complain, I'm Just a Fool to Care, You Don't Love Me and Stuttering Cindy. the night was a complete success. how could it not be? i had me a hot date, it was for a great cause and the band was jump'n. time and time again they summoned more grit, fire and energy, pounding out each perspiring song to the delight of the mystic crowd. Sonoma county scored on this night before christmas. thanks to the sponsors of the event and McNears for hosting it. everyone had fallen victim to some good old fashioned fun. i wouldn't have wanted it any other way. cheers!

honorable mention:
Jane and Jim at uncle B's 09.15 - austin
two of my great friends, who happen to be my cousins, were doing a little last minute rehearsal in front of the family. with a cold beer in hand i gladly sat quietly at the table. Jane at the piano and Jim on his uncle's guitar. they churned out a more-than-honest rendition of Be Here Now. later that day they would perform the same song for our dear friend's outdoor wedding. set amongst the pastoral and colorful backdrop of rural minnesota, it was hands down a show stopping event. this was an added gem  within a week filled with candid moments.

Cherub and Battlehooch at the bottom of the hill 12.28 - san francisco
i was pleasantly surprised by the second band. it didn't matter that i hadn't heard of them. they slightly stole the show with a more organic process of melding multiple live instruments into the voices of a front man and their guitarist. there were some diamonds in the rough that will assist battlehooch in finding a bit more coherent theme among the many styles. regardless they seemed to be having a blast while keeping our heads bobbing.

cherub would best be described as a cocktail with one part Andre 3000, an equal measure of MGMT, add a dash of ghostland observatory, then shake vigorously over the rocks and roll of nashville. they were who spurred us to be here in the first place. while the youthful falsetto that is jordan kelley proved his worth, his counter part, jason huber, left a lot to be desired. even if huber is producing these beats back in a tennessee studio, he's lost in translation by his inability to produce it live (a la Pretty Lights or Adam Deitch). it seemed obvious during this performance that cherub revolves solely around the sexual crooning and energy emitted by the charismatic vocalist. jordan's over-the-top lyricism and high range vocals bled perfectly into a self-induced injury that no one was avoiding. the club hit, doses and mimosas closed out their virgin voyage to san francisco. at least i'll be able to say i was there when... because one day, these two will surely climb in status. as for now, i'll keep rep'ing their more than capable abilities to pump out a great production record (mom & dad is radical, download it here). as they continue to experiment with their own equation of hyphy-electronic pop R&B, i will remain eager to hear what they do next.

here's to peace, love and goodwill in 2013, the year of the snake. happy new year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

lulo hosts Niki Ulehla

thank you to gallery lulo in healdsburg for hosting an entertaining art display created by niki ulehla. i may have thought of it as an installation, yet i prefer the artist's description, a silent shadow performance. regardless of the dreary night, the images made me smile, think, & most of all, brought me a sense of belonging. i crave these sorts of artistic happenings to unfold & thankfully i was privy to this one. "the short days and early nights of autumn facilitate" these types of "dreamlike magical tales." with the use of found objects and some handy action figures that were reconfigured, the jovial and otherworldly creations sprang off the window of the gallery. sweet use of an overhead projector; it reminded me of the choreographed art for the 'look at what the light did now' tour by feist. thank you to the gallery and the artist, i had such a fun night. i was also impressed by the turn-out. nice job of supporting art people, free art. mad props to agent M for keeping me in the dark on this one until arrival. did i mention the hot cocoa?

i whole-heartedly respect artists and the risks they take to add greater depth to our world. we should all be participants. those projected silhouettes really added to my night. thanks, this is how i want local events to feel. what a night...


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


~ numbers game ~

the next time this calendar based tri-numeral will occur is way off, 01.01.3001, i think. that's a long time to live, let alone wait. thankfully we won't have to wait that long for the next STS9 tour. sound tribe sector 9 has announced their first big road trip of 2013. the band appears to be sending some love to the northwest and northern california. there will also be two night stops in lawrence and chicago. then the four night run, split between two nights in athens at the georgia theater and their tour closing, two night stand at the orange peel in asheville. this has the makings of a great tour. there's a high likelihood that they will unveil new material, they're coming off of some studio time and look to release an album early in the new year. the public sale begins this saturday for tickets. enjoy the tribe when they hit your hood. there will surely be some lively times from coast to coast. i'm stoked for the CA/NV leg, big ups sector.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

merry december

tis the season...

it's a hard rain a fall'n on the ole trough. needless to say, the damp conditions really bring out my addiction to hot coffee and my hankering for scrumptious soup. december is upon us and today marks the day we put up our chuck brown (aka christmas tree). it felt good to dust off the holiday jangle. the smell of pine is so wonderful. is it because it's just plain good or is it the nostalgia? now's the time to cue up some clark w. griswold, mix some holiday liquor and hunker down. remember, if it's raining near the coast, chances are it's snowing up at tahoe!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

glutton vs. sloth

the holiday season is upon us, it will officially begin tomorrow & moderately punish us while simultaneously rewarding us, until the calendar reads 2013. typically we're getting ready to host a bunch of kick ass friends to share in the feast, watch movies on the deck, bang some holiday poles, maybe start a fire & partake in some good old fashioned debauchery (we'll be back). this year we're deviating to spend time with some of my family. i'm looking forward to it & so is my mom. hopefully the weather will cooperate for some horseshoes. regardless, we'll get our grub on.

as we near the winter season & gear up for some mountain snow, let's take this day of thanks to enjoy friends, family & loved ones, before the potentially taxing toll of the holidays wear us out. besides, thanksgiving pretty much equals glorified gluttony. gobble gobble...

cheers to being a sloth for a day or two, happy holidays!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Uncle Drew x2

look here young bloods, uncle drew is back and he brought wes off the hardware store floor to wreak havoc on the courts, buckets style. it never hurts to have the greatest champion of team sports make an appearance, thanks to mr. bill russell, an original legend in so many ways. got to love the hard screen and roll, lots of credit to kyrie & k. love. thanks to the Dr. doesn't this make you want to hoop?    

Uncle Drew | Chapter 2 | featuring: Wes

peep a game if you get a chance, there are some great young talents playing the game the right way.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

only in the NBAaahhh

i'm so stoked for the start of a new, full season of nba hoops. the wizards will be in cleveland to tip things off against the cavs tonight at 7:00pm eastern. this will be our first glance at uncle drew's new back court mate and syracuse product, dion waiters. one thing's for sure, kyrie's a baller, he gets buckets. apologies go out to those of you waiting for a less main stream post - it'll happen...

Unlce Drew | Chapter 1

kyrie irving is already a top flight talent, this year he's trying to make a push for the playoffs and probably an all-star game. he's a joy to watch and an ultra competitive gamer who's one of my favorite young players. can you imagine a first round match up in which the heat and cavs meet in a 1 vs. 8?

in miami, the heat play the celtics in a rematch of last years eastern conference finals. it might also be the most sub plot heavy game in recent memory. lebron is now on a mission to ascend into the all time greatest debate, the heat are looking to repeat, wade is presumably back to form after some off season knee rehabbing, ray allen is now on the heat, KG and the truth are pissed, codename rondo hates ray allen, the celtics retooled for one more shot at a title, which is sure to run through miami and we get to see all of this play out on a night where the heat will be given their championship rings. i'm pretty sure most of the celtics won't be on the floor for that. this is almost too much for me to handle, damn i love the male version of a soap opera aka the NBA. this is can't miss tv. the game starts at 8:00pm eastern on tnt.

the final game of the night belongs to los angelos, where the lakers host dallas. it's no secret that i despise the lakers. also high on my never rooting for them list are the mavericks. really the reason to tune in for this one is to see if the newest super team can mesh. regardless of kobe being a game time decision and dirk sitting out, i want a sneak peak at the nash, howard, gasol experiment. ahhh i hate the lakers, why nash, why? this game get underway at 10:30 eastern on tnt. the association returns.


Viva Gigantes!

Romo & Posey
world series champions again! that makes two in three years. mad props to the Giants and to the city of san francisco. what a ride, thanks for taking us on the journey. the 2012 giants persevered and came to life when the stakes were highest. the Giants organization outdid their rivals when it came to making the right moves off the field and in the club house. scutaro became the "blockbuster," pence turned into the pre-game preacher, the pitching staff was tweaked and impeccable during the postseason, panda hit .500 in the series with a babe ruth cameo and above all, the TEAM came first, everyone made sacrifices to achieve the greater goal. this was a team that had commodore, character and confidence in becoming what jim leyland called, "the main attraction." they provided results, how could you not get behind this team?

these Giants proved that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. there were multiple heroes throughout the postseason. much of the roster reflected a more homegrown approach. the management also sprinkled in a few key additions and trades. there were other times throughout the year that made the outsiders doubtful. but if we as a generation look back at this world series champion, we will do so with fondness. this team performed at a 1966 orioles level when acknowledging the dominance of their pitching. when we reminisce about the excitement playoff baseball runs can create, the 2012 Giants will rival the paths taken by the 2011 cardinals, 2004 red sox and the 1985 royals...

orange and black, trick or treat, october is the time of fall classics and halloween... was it destiny? because there's a strong likelihood we'll hear the word dynasty being thrown around now and this group of Giants definitely earned it. we rode the wave of six elimination games into flying out on brooms. i tip my SF cap to the manager, bruce bochy and to the entire 2012 san francisco Giants, congratulations. world series champion again!

it turned out to be a giant year ~eightychoices

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall Classic - SF style

what a roller coaster ride of thrilling moments and spectacular team play. throw in the lights out pitching, timely collective hitting, with a certain panda going all reggie jackson, and you're left with a good old fashioned fall classic. matt cain takes the mound tonight for the giants in game four.

like most sports crazed residents of the bay area, i too am living vicariously through these Giants. i'll be wearing my same shirt, swigging on california beers and donning my world series cap, superstition is a part of the american past time. enjoy the 108th world series, it's way better than the nfl, go gigantes!



Sunday, October 14, 2012

lets's go Giants!

los Gigantes de San Francisco
the league championship series have started in major league baseball. regardless of major league baseball being as mainstream as it gets, it's hard not to embrace this 2012 giants team that is filled with its share of magic and a cast of alternative characters.  

after pulling of an improbable comeback against the cincinnati reds (down two games to none and then winning three in a row on the road to advance), they've earned the right to host the NLCS against last years champions, the st. louis cardinals. both of these storied teams have had the odds stacked against them in their quest to advance through the post season. it's only fitting that the last two world champions should meet.
the bay area is going to be rocking tonight as game one gets under way a little after 5:00 pm pst. you couldn't ask for a better setting than at&t park to kick off what is sure to be a memorable battle between two tested teams. this seven game series will probably produce some feverish entertainment along the way considering what's unfolded thus far in the playoffs. throw into the mix the fact that st. louis is a baseball city and san francisco belongs to the giants, and you have the recipe for an electric october atmosphere. for many, the national league is a purer form of baseball and with guys like tim lincecum (two time cy young award winner), matt cain (pitched a perfect game) and buster posey (nl batting champ), it's sure to be a thrilling series. it's time to get rowdy orange and black... go Giants!

Monday, October 1, 2012

hot cheetos & takis

welcome to the world of hot cheetos and takis. this jam is so deaf (and clever) that it warrants the accolade of, the summer jam. not only does it have outrageous beats, snappy lyrics and an ultra fresh video, it's totally listener friendly for all ages. thanks to the after school programs at the nellie stone johnson beacons center in minneapolis, local kids are offered the chance to hone their skills in a multitude of culturally creative outlets. where was this when i was little? the Y.N RichKids took it to a whole new level by churning out not only a potential club banger, but also the playground anthem of the summer.

no matter what your musical flavor is, this track will probably resonate with you due to it's adorable performers and G rated subject matter. what's not to like about "ridin' around on my bicycle..." it's safe to say that these youngsters have talent (they're not signed) and will hopefully influence the grown ups of the rap game. there are seven rappers on this after school track. their transitioning flows are seamless and the overall sound is easily high-end. throughout the track you're reminded about the day in the life of a 12 year old. there is an ensemble of story telling, yet the lone young lady is the secret weapon who unleashes the smoothest lyrical lines. regardless, they all have legitimate skills and unique deliveries.

so if the beats don't move you or the video isn't quite your thing, just bring yourself back to the lyrics, they're too dope to overlook. big ups to the youth of minneapolis, the after school programs at nellie stone johnson beacons center and the north community beats and rhymes program for keeping it real.


ps. it's available for download on itunes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

maybe all we need is A Shot In the Arm...

wilco performed last saturday night at the greek theatre (9/22) and proved that they are some of the premier craftsmen of music, both in artistry and professionalism. as with most of this tour, wilco blasted through an inflated first set, aka the mega set, deploying nineteen songs from throughout their catalog. the encore spawned another eight tracks. this two (plus) hour platform allowed them to establish their newest effort, the whole love, while pleasing the listeners with past gems as well. there were some replicated songs during this performance however. normally i'm disappointed in a band playing the same song in back to back shows and eight songs is pushing it, especially when they have such a deep chest of treasures. aside from the mini rant, i was glad to get: i might, the whole love, i'm the man who loves you and a shot in the arm, even if they were doubled up.

wilco has an inner knack for honoring each song amidst exploratory sounds and individual personalities. this means-to-an-end is always beginning, then changing. in the first set i remember misunderstood being incredibly thoughtful and melodically undone. tweedy's voice was captivating listeners in the current of layered sounds his band mates conjured. jesus, etc. is such a treat to hear live. this track epitomizes the melding of lyrics to music in a way that recognizes observations and relationships. the line, "you were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun" only helps to create visions of something that seems revelatory yet we've all shared in.

jesus instigated a steady stream of rousing music. a highlighted quartet of songs started with whole love. this title track carried its anthem-like pulse directly into a candid bit of banter. tweedy commented, "we should've played this one last night." a reference to earlier antics where he compared the two nights.

"...wind must be blowing out. i don't smell nearly as much mary-ja-wanna. that's good for me. i'm still high from last night."

this made for the transition into i must be high, a classic tale of letting go. next came more chit-chat followed by the piano roll of walken, which has a definite cadence and is a favorite of mine. nels cline totally dismantled it with his hollow, sliding riffs on this cool night. he's a machine. the entire band is unfairly awesome. next came the squall and crash of i'm the man who loves you! this one i wanted to hear for selfish reasons, it makes me think of my life, attached to the journey of partnership.

the love vibe kept pace with, dawned on me, a good tune with lyrical wit. then it got all rock n roll. for reasons too long winded, a shot in the arm simply rocked. it seemed to liven the crowd with the energy of what rock music is supposed to feel like. six days later its energy was still clinging to me. commuting on her bike, my wife said this was the song in her head. without question it was a great tune to segue the set closer, on and on and on, another testament to love and its battles.

the encore started with a straight-up missile of potency. via chicago steals all the air out of its surroundings. how it blends its poetic tale with seamless tone before it becomes a beautiful contradiction of its words and experimental noise-rock, is untouchably unique to wilco. the voice does upend the indulgence of sound if you care to care. i do. it was serious heat.

two songs later, the political season and perhaps the environment they were performing in elicited the woody guthrie penned, christ for president. it seemed too right not to oblige this politically holy comedy. another two songs passed and we found ourselves face to face with kicking television. abrasive as this cascading rocker is, it's hurricane of kicking ass wins you over. sometimes you need to  raise a raucous and be done with it. they closed it down with a saloon style dreamer in my dreams. the night felt good, the band was hot, the setting was just right and we were getting after it with friends.

"i said it last night, i'll say it again tonight, best rock audiences in the world. right here... but you guys invented it, you invented rock concerts. and we appreciate that, we thank you for that. it's like deep cuts, no problem, we're with ya buddy. ya make bands feel good. and a lot of the bands don't deserve to feel good. that's their problem, not yours."
                                                                          - jeff tweedy 

it's that mindfulness that helps me connect to his words and stay honest to being perceptive. thanks to all of the great fans in the bay area, across the globe and the bands that bring out the best in all of us!

click here for night 1 set list

click here for night 2 set list

Wilco Via Chicago 09/22/12
Live from the Greek Theatre in Berkeley


Friday, September 21, 2012

CA to MN... and everything in between!

sorry for the MIA results late in the summer, which has been beautiful (and dry in many places). there's always a glimmer of time to catch your breath, this may be that time.

first off, i was fortunate enough to spend some time along the pit river in northern california. having not been there before, i found the mountain and riparian ecosystems to be gorgeous and untouched. there were some amazing butterflies throughout the different sites i was working with, not to mention the secret swimming hole scattered here and there. it was an interesting time to be in the burney area during a fire season in which CalFire showed how incredibly valuable they are. thanks to all of the firefighters who risk it all to help us fellow citizens. it was cool, literally and figuratively, to absorb burney falls. it's a wonderful force of river dynamics and hydraulics. the woderfully cooling mist created by this working system allows for a lush ecotone within a seasonally dry area. if you're ever traveling on highway 299 hit up the alpine drive in, great burgers and fries. amidst a busy work schedule we also made a trip to see our new little cousin in santa cruz. the following week we played host to our amazing younger sister. one of the highlights for me was kicking it with her at lake tahoe. i'm pretty sure the three of us were digging on chimney beach like no other.

     after a busy five weeks it was off to minneapolis, the mississippi and then  onto my good friends wedding, which was set amidst a lovely back drop of rolling agricultural hills and natural standing tree lines near the iowa border. i was reinvigorated by the vibe of the twin cities, as well as, the beauty of the drift less area encompassing lake pepin on the mississippi. if you're ever chill'n in the lake city marina area i recommend grabbing some papa tronnio's pizza or doing some good old fashion bowling at port 104, drinks are super cheap and the fun is super clean. lake city is beautiful. if you adventure elsewhere along the river, check out read's landing brewery for a strong beer menu, tasty food and some local history. also, you must definitely afford yourself the opportunity to eat at the harbor view, on the wisconsin side of the river, they have outstanding food, mmm.

     while back in minneapolis i saw some friends who always allow me to have a good time and to be myself. whether i was crashing at the house of the groom to be, digging for goodies at the electric fetus, dancing to antibalas at first avenue, destroying a juicy lucy at matt's bar, re-visiting the Guthrie, falling in transit love with the light rail or sip'n on a bells beer from michigan, i thoroughly enjoyed the different neighborhoods i hit up. by the way, bell's brewery kicks out some rad suds, their oberon and the two hearted IPA were my personal favorites! if you're near the uptown district i suggest perusing the confines of everyday people and the corner store, for chances at an awesome second hand score. when you've started to become hungry, grab some amazing ethnic food on 27th. definitely give peninsula your business, it's so damn good, best malaysian food i've ever had in the midwest.

     Since returning to california however, i realize how much that this western state feels like home. i'm always glad to be back when touching down on the golden state. we'll soon be hitting up a wilco show at the greek, should be awesome. in the mean time, you all have to check out the debut album of matthew e. white. it's titled, the big inner and is the inaugural launch from his own spacebomb records. white has a lot going on in this stunning yet simply written path of songs that feel instantly like old favorites. there's a melting pot of great influences rambling around in this seven song gem. regardless of who comes to mind, his craft for the song, mixed with his willingness to share the glory, make this one of the best albums of the year. check it out. thanks to the guys at the last record store. also, the first 2,000 copies are hand numbered and come with an embossed letter that is hand signed. this singer/song writer, along with his fellow "villagers" are producing stories and sounds that richmond virginia should be proud of. give it a listen, tracks i've been groove'n on are: one of these days, big love & hot toddies.

thanks to all of those who made the last six plus weeks a real journey. it fed my heart, my mind and brought me to some revelatory places. here's to flipping kayaks, racing pelicans and the triumphant bond of two immensely beautiful people getting married, cheers to the burke couple!

be here now,

ps. a special thanks to all of our amazing friends who looked after Mr. Salty, tended the homestead and reaffirmed the strong community we have here in california. much love and many thanks!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summer Magic

 Chief Seattle tried to remind us that, "humankind has not woven the web of life. we are but one thread within it. whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. all things are bound together. all things connect. (1854)

when we slow down enough to enjoy the present, we can all realize the grandeur that makes life possible, let alone stunningly amazing. it's sometimes tough to 'be here now'. recently i took the time to stop and smell the roses (actually i was in awe of the artichokes). what i saw inspired me to capture my appreciation for the buzz of life. being involved with a home garden is gratifying in a multitude of ways. a tasty portion of any home cooked dinner is the satisfaction of edibles moving from the garden to your plate (mmm yellow string beans with dill). wonderment only grows with each journey taken.

     beauty is all around us, the size & scale of which range from the largest creatures to the smallest insects. the natural world never ceases to amaze me. on any given day the artichokes will be brimming with bees, lace wings & arachnids, pretty cool.
     California has a gluttony of environmental splendor. recently a friend & i were privy enough to have seen 3 blue whales migrating along the pacific coast. the next day we were standing amongst the ancient redwoods.
     the blue whale is thought to be the largest living animal ever, that's right ever! once mature they can reach 98 feet in length while weighing up to 180 metric tons. then you're dwarfed yet again by the coastal sequoia which ranks as the tallest living organism on earth. forty-one living trees have been measured at over 360 feet. the current record holder is the Hyperion tree, stretching toward the sky at over 379 feet. west Sonoma county is one of my favorite native playgrounds. the natural beauty of this region is pretty ridiculous. i'm blessed to call it home...

time may be the barometer for human life, yet ecology & the environment need not such a device. if we as a species wish to thrive for generations to come, we ought to respect the natural systems that allow us all to breathe, eat, drink & inspire us to survive, let alone live.
"when all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money."   ~ Cree prophecy

there is a poignant proverb that relates to the polarization of man made modernity and convenience versus mother earth and the reality that life is impossible without her...

"I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man."
~ Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe

enjoy the outdoors

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Good Times

     wow, it must be that i'm totally blessed. thanks M, you're the best & that makes me the luckiest hyper hypo ever! our team is mighty b/c of you. nothing like spending a beautiful day in the friendly confines of west sonoma county with great people whom i'm lucky enough to call my friends. thanks to everyone who's a positive force in my life.
     to the good times that come with gaining experience through the process of aging with someone who loves you. from the 507 to the 253 down to the 828 & of course the 707 it's been quite the ride. there's more to come...


Friday, June 22, 2012


     bron bron gets his ring, messes around to notch a triple double in the finals' clincher & shows us an incredible smile that only the NBA championship can deliver. way to silence the haters, albeit temporarily.
     en route to becoming the finals MVP, not only did he stymie the 3 time scoring champion (love durant too) while guarding positions 1-5 & playing focused team ball at a beast mode level, he shredded the finals to the tune of 28.6 points, 10.2 rebounds & 7.4 assists. as far as performances go, this has few rivals. jordan in '97 comes closest with averages of 32, 7 & 6 (and MJ is the greatest). he became just the third player ever to lead his team in points, rebounds & assists during the finals. the other two who have accomplished this feat go by the names of magic & duncan (two of the five or ten greatest ever). quite the showing considering the microscope of unfair scrutiny that james is constantly under. mad props to the best all around player on hardwood.
     shaggy 3 pop, aka mike miller, went off in game 5 connecting on 7 treys. prior to shaggy, there was the other former grizzlies forward, shane battier, putting his fingerprints on games. then there's mario chalmers, who may have become the heat's 4th man (kinda like rondo in '08). of course there's wade, one of the fiercest competitors in hoops, acknowledging the fact that it took "sacrifices" to accomplish their goal. that same sentiment of sacrifice came up a lot in post game interviews (love wade's mint slacks). and who can forget bosh-a-saurus-rex? he definitely showed us his value. way to go heat. i'm especially happy for lebron, he's both the gift & the gifted & such a joy to watch. we have all been witnesses, now we may be in wonderment. he's only 27, so there's most likely more to come. the association is in good hands right now.
     as an avid nba fan i can only hope that the zombies, aka the thunder, will learn from this setback as other aspiring champions have. i trust that they will improve during the off season, as all of them appear to be dedicated gym rats. this explosive & relentless group of personalities seem utterly devoted to the concept of team. they're too good & youth is on their side, potent ingredients when trying to conjure something special in sports. westbrook (aka westbeast & one of my three favorite players to watch), harden (who needs a contract) & durant (a real baller, who gets buckets) have some seriously absurd game. add to the mix ibaka "i block ya", sefolosha & perkins and you begin to realize why this team is not going away any time soon. they'll be back & i'll be rooting for them.
     i get the feeling that this heat/thunder match up has the potential to be celtics/lakers version 2.0! although this battle between two extremely skilled & athletic teams finished in 5, it was a joy to watch. i was genuinely excited for each game day. thanks to oklahoma city & miami for making it a hard fought series showcasing amazing talent. these were the two best teams, apologies san antonio & this was the match up i wanted to see. in case you weren't paying attention, they didn't disappoint. hopefully we get to see these two teams duking it out for the championship again. i wouldn't be surprised.

adios en bee ah, i'll catch you on the flip side.


ps. the draft is june 28th, 4pm pst - where a teams' future can be made or delayed...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Audiafauna live at the Watertrough Project!

     audiafauna is hitting the road once again & it's time to welcome them back to the watertrough project. in being one of the freshest sounding bands in northern california, it's a total treat to be hosting them. audiafauna will be playing a lively backyard show on june 15th. not only will there be good times, great people & cold draught beer, but the band will be gracing those in attendance with new material. this intimate show will double as a cd release party! the album is titled: Grow Down.
     this 5 piece bands hails from santa cruz & is sure to please a plethora of musical tastes. they have an ethereal sound, with words that tend to tug on emotional strings that we can all relate to. their songs elicit thoughts of modernity, creating a unique musical palette & identity. however, with that being said, the song writing & instrumentation is steeped in traditionalism & folk like roots.
     so if you're not up to something totally stellar on friday, june 15th, come be a part of something that will surely be original. shared experiences, especially creative, tend to resonate connectivity & freedom. why would anyone deprive themselves? come out & help in supporting this passionate band of creative musicians as they travel. the show starts at 9pm & we'll be asking for a modest entrance fee, sliding scale ($7-$10).
     as a friendly reminder, parking is limited so please carpool or bike. for those of you who wish to stay the night there is always room on the floor, deck or yard. come celebrate the art of music, in the beauty of west sebastopol. it's time to enjoy the outdoors & have a good old time in style, west county style!

enjoy, we hope to see you there...



Thursday, April 19, 2012

STS9 Great Cycle Spectacles

sound tribe sector 9 returns to the beautiful fox theatre in oakland this weekend for two blazing shows that are sure to please the eyes & ears. the great cycle spectacles have already graced denver & chicago, now it's time for the bay area to have its turn. i've heard only good things about the new visual display & light show that sts9 has brought on tour for this special run of mayan calendar inspired gatherings. if you haven't made plans for 4.20/4.21, then i suggest you score a ticket to one of the nights. sector 9 fans will also have the opportunity to see two different opening acts. the first night will showcase nosaj thing, while night two will host mimosa.
if you happen to arrive at the revamped theatre district a bit early i recommend stopping in at cafe van kleef for one of the best fresh squeezed fruit cocktails in oaksterdam. i'm super stoked for this weekend, not only will i have the chance to dance all night long, all night, but i'll also be hanging with some of my favorite people. anytime you have a good sized crew, primed for a weekend of shredding, you know it's going to be fun. so whether you want to get your groove on, get totally lost in the music or just have a good time in an amazing place, i encourage those of you without weekend plans to check out the possibilities that exist. here's a little sample to feast on...

have a great 4.20 weekend, maybe we'll see you there... enjoy!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Record Store Day

it's damn near record store day again & i couldn't be more excited! the complete list came out recently which began to stoke my audiophile fire. initial favorites that made my wish list are... the carolina chocolate drops & run dmc each performing the hip-hop classic you be illin', which will be pressed on coke bottle green vinyl; the white stripes busting out the must have classics, hand springs & red death at 6:14, cleverly pressed on swirled black & red vinyl. both of these limited releases are 7" records, as well as record store day exclusives. hopefully i'll be able to get my hands on these two special gems. other releases worth mentioning: arcade fire,
marco benevento, the black angels,
mastodon & feist, ed sharpe & the magnetic zero.

if you live north of golden gate check out the last record store, it's a vinyl junkies best friend. here's to record store day & it's emphasis on local business, not to mention the gluttony of music!



Saturday, March 24, 2012

Terrapin Crossroads

phil lesh & friends have been busting out plenty of familiar tunes at his new digs in marin, playfully called Terrapin Crossroads. it's located in san rafael & has had both a soft opening (which i find to be both hilarious & interesting), as well as a run of 12 shows which has brought in an array of phenomenal musicians. some of those who have shown up thus far include phil's son grahame, bob weir, jackie greene, jeff chimenti, joe russo, john kadlecik, jimmy herring & chris robinson. next up to appear are the likes of larry cambell & warren haynes. quite a list of names if i do say so myself?
these particular events are steeply priced & will hopefully give way to more affordable shows in the future. if you live in the bay area check out this intimate new venue's upcoming events, it's sure to please those with an interest in the grateful dead or others who just have a fondness for american music & the artists who create it. i wish phil & his family the best in this new endeavor. after all, one could argue that the dead were a san rafael outfit, as much as they were a san francisco band. cheers to live music & its rich history. thanks northern california for nurturing an atmosphere that perpetuates creativity & a freedom to have such fun.

be well


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

do ya thing. when you have an extra day it doesn't always feel very extra. so here's a little something for you. leave it up to Murdoc, 3000 & james murphy to drop a new track in collaboration with converse sneakers... thanks for keeping it out there Gorillaz.

take a chance, have some fun, do your thing; here's to leap year 2012, the year of the dragon.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wilco live at the Fox

Wilco was amazing. they were simply on point in every facet of the show. the Fox theatre was beautiful as always and the band was smoking! i couldn't have asked for a better sample from their amazing library of tracks. the stage was both ghostlike & technologically comfortable. i really dug the lighting, it was in & on the the tied cloth that hung over their cacophony of sound & intrigue. they have once again distanced them selves from the rest of modern american music. Here's a quick taste of the show.

Poor Places, Art of Almost, I Might*, Muzzle of Bees*, Via Chicago*, Kid Smoke (slightly rearranged), One Wing, How to Fight Loneliness, Born Alone, California Stars*, Impossible Germany, Whole Love*, Pot Kettle Black*, Hate It Here*, Theologians, Can't Stand It, Heavy Metal Drummer, Dawned On Me, Hummingbird
Shot In the Arm, Wilco (the song), Passenger Side*, Kingpin*, Monday, Outta Mind (Outta Sight)*, Casino Queen*, Hoodoo Voodoo

some observations worth noting; i loved that Tweedy wore a hat throughout the night. it reminded me of the singer/song writers from yester year. Jeff's banter was top notch for this show, as it often times can be. he mentioned how the set was created once the band had absorbed the aesthetic of the theater, "we're going to play our beautiful tracks & then, when we're ready, we'll rock." they certainly did just that! i encourage everyone who loves live music to see this show. i know it's early in the year but this may end up being the best tour of 2012. if you do catch a Wilco show, peep their merch, it's rad. those songs with an * are personal favorites that absolutely shredded.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

state of the union 2012

last night president obama gave his state of the union address. i won't get into the potentially positive & negative aspects of his speech, as interpreted by this committee of one. instead, here is my favorite direct quote. it was really a two or three paragraph statement prefaced by the personal journey of his grandparents. i liked this when i heard it, maybe you will too.

" – the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them."

i'll let you digest the thoughts of our president. ultimately what was said sounds good & right. hopefully he can direct us toward that promise. but i wouldn't hold your breath.