Monday, October 4, 2010

Preview of Bear Creek Music and Art Festival! Nov 12-14 Live Oak, FL


Bear Creek Music and Art Festival
is held in Live Oak, FL at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.



We know how important festival season is to some people, so how about extending the festival season into November?! New England is not nearly as aware of this festival as they should be.



Taking a look at this festival, we think it'd be impossible for you to leave Bear Creek unsatisfied. This year, they are about 65 total bands, with 17 of those bands playing two nights, and 12 different artists at large- an aspect of this festival that I haven’t seen at any others. There will be 6 stages, a fully staffed area for children, and also an art studio for live art!



And other entertainment as well!



Typically, most other festivals are not capable of fitting in two nights of any band. How Bear Creek managed to fit in 2 nights of 17 different bands is beyond us! Among this group of bands playing two nights is Lettuce, Umphrey's McGee, Toubab Krewe, Dumpstaphunk, and Zach Deputy.

Also playing
at Bear Creek this year is Moe., Soulive, Bernie Worrell & Social Lybrium, Big Sam's Funky Nation, The Dead Kenny G's, The New Deal, Break Science....well the list goes on and on, so check out the website!


The artist's at large at Bear Creek this year is one hell of a treat. Skerik is among these artists, and has played with many great musicians, spending a while on tour with Les Claypool and his fancy band, as well as juggling a few bands of his own (The Dead Kenny G's being one of them!). Also on this list is Mike Dillon (who has worked with Skerik, Les Claypool, Galactic, etc), Fred Wesley (known for his work with James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic and Bootsy’s Rubber Band), and The Shady Horns (Ryan Zoidis and Sam Kininger of Lettuce!). Knowing that these artists will be jumping on stage to jam at various points is an aspect of this festival I am very excited for.

Not only is the music going to be amazing, but the venue is incredible as well.




Located in Live Oak, FL at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, this is probably one of the best venues for a festival Ever. Picture it: bath houses, disc golf, hiking trails, golf-cart rentals, modern cabins, mini golf, sports lounge, swimming pool, fishing lake, bat houses, and canoe trips. We couldn't think of anything else we might need at a festival!




Bear Creek 2010 is being sponsored by Starr Hill. Do not fear, there will be delicious beer.


Here's the link to the Bear Creek forum. Chat with others about rideshare, line-up, or any other details!
http://www.funknjam.com/phpBB2/index.php?sid=a569b82b4e1013f59746b490972f2d1f


Head over to this website for tickets, or any other information you might need! Day by day line up is up, hourly schedule will be announced a couple weeks before the festival.
www.bearcreekmusicfestival.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rustic Overtones Review!

By guest writer Devon Mitchell!

The Rustic Overtones, an amazing band that has been drawing attention to crowds both young and old for several years, have been touring to promote their newest album "The New Way Out" which was released in September of 2009.

The band originated in Portland, Maine and began playing live, local shows when they were just teenagers. Adding more venues as often as possible, they quickly found that people would fall in love with the group and their diverse sound.

What I have found and love about the Rustic Overtones is the fact that their music has a little of just about everything. There's definitely something for everyone and every mood, ranging from a little punk rock to jazz to funk…everything you could really ask for from a band.
I have been lucky enough to see these guys play several times this year, with a few more upcoming shows that I plan on attending as well, and I never leave disappointed. I am just as excited to see them play next time as I was before my first Rustic show ever. I have to say, getting to see them play live two nights in a row this month certainly made my summer.

The first show was at The Stone Church, a smaller bar located in Newmarket, NH which fits about a total of 100 people. Talk about being able to get up close and personal with the musicians! The venue was packed full, again with the audience ranging quite a bit in age. The second show was the 4th annual Hill 'N The Ville Music Festival located in Waterville, Maine on September 11th. This show took place outside during the day, and was definitely a more family friendly event. Due to this atmosphere, I was able to truly notice the diversity of fans that this group has acquired over the years. A large portion of these fans were under the age of 18 (who can't see them play at a bar) and were dancing and rocking out to the sound of these guys, along with their parents and grandparents even! We got lucky with beautiful weather for this outdoor event. Both sets Friday and Saturday were very pleasurable to say the least.

You can see that these guys totally enjoy what they are doing, and are never lacking in soul or rhythm. Rustic closed both shows with one of their bigger singles "Combustible" off of their CD Viva Nueva. Dave Gutter joined the crowd for this song, and everyone just ate it up. Makes for the perfect ending to an already good show.
Even though the Rustic Overtones have become more popular with their new CD, they always remain loyal to their hometown of Portland and state of Maine. To me, that means a lot. It seems as though people forget where they came from when they 'make it' This is certainly is not the case with these guys.
As someone that has been a Rustic fan for quite sometime now, I can honestly say that I enjoy their newer CD just as much as their old. Even with the new approach i still feel like I am listening to the same band. The break they took did not seem to interrupt the uniqueness that makes the Rustic Overtones so special.

So, one way or another, whether your an old fan or someone that is just tuning in, I highly suggest you catch a live show of these guys. I promise you will not be disappointed, and you always get more than you pay for!
Also, check out their new CD "The New Way Out" which you can find at Bullmoose, Amazon and Itunes as well, or you can always pick up an old one too!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interview with The Rustic Overtones!

The Rustic Overtones played a great show at The Stone Church in New Market, NH on Friday 9/10.



Dave Gutter was kind enough to meet with TWLSB after the show so we could ask a few questions about the band. Enjoy!

TWLSB: You guys all took a break for a while, right?

DG: Yea, we took a break for about 4 years.


TWLSB: You all kind of went your own ways, each going through individual musical growth, so was it difficult to pick back up where you left off?

DG: It wasn’t actually...it was a very natural progression getting back together. I think someone once said that it’s like riding a bike with five of your other friends. It was a really good thing, we all kind of missed it a lot. We all love the music and love the shows. It’s a real natural energy that I think we missed a lot. As soon as we got back together it was very invigorating and fun.


TWLSB: How did Nigel Hall come into the picture?

DG: Nigel is a good friend of ours. He’s actually played with us for a while, just casually jamming with us a lot. He has like 5 gigs, so it’s really difficult to nail him down for one show with us. It was a huge pleasure to have him work with us on the album. We got him out on the road with us right after the album came out, and a little bit before, but he's definitely got a lot going on.


TWLSB:
Your songs seem to have quite a range in style…is this due to a wide range of influences?

DG:
Yea, it’s a huge democracy of all these influences that come from every different member. It started off as a real cluster fuck of all the influences, but it finally got to a point where we kind of honed in on which influences to use. And when we’re under those influences….well it’s just a compromise. Like, Tony listens to Slayer and Ryan listens to Charlie Parker, so you can’t really put those two together. So we took a while experimenting what styles we can put together, and we came up with some pretty unique things, and that’s kind of how our songs evolved.


TWLSB: What have you been listening to lately?

DG:
I’ve been listening to a band called White Denim lately. I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop. There’s some Kanye West stuff that hasn’t been out on the album yet. There are these singles that’ve been leaked on the internet, real good newer stuff. I like the new OK Go record too. And The Flaming Lips.


TWLSB:
Are you writing new material? How does that usually work?

DG:
I usually write a lot of songs on my acoustic guitar, and I’ll bring it to the guys and they usually shape-shift the whole thing. I come with skeletons or blue prints of songs that are very open to interpretation and change. Aside from the lyrics, the whole thing can change sometimes, and I’m open to that. It’s good to have everyone from the band kind of put their stamp on it.


TWLSB: How was it starting out in Maine? Is Portland a good output?

DG: It’s challenging as far as getting out of Portland and getting to other places, but it’s a really inspirational place to live. Portland is a very beautiful, peaceful place as far as writing from your soul, and creating some really pure music. There are so many great bands there, but like some of the bands that practice in the studio next to us, they don’t even play out. It’s hard to get out in Maine.
Until recently, there was a huge lack of clubs for people to play. Even now, for like really good hip-hop, punk rock, or hard-core there’s still a lack of clubs and underage clubs. That’s the thing that’s hard about Portland; is actually getting your music out there and getting out of Portland and touring. As far as writing though, all the bands from Portland are amazing writers.


TWLSB: So how long did it take you guys to push out of Portland?

DG: We probably toured out of state when we were about 19. As soon as we could, really. You gotta try to get out of your hometown to achieve success.
TWLSB: You got out, but you still seem to stick within.
DG: Yea, we are really, really faithful and loyal to Portland, as much as we can be. We love Portland.


TWLSB: What was your most effective output though, did the record labels help most?

DG:
Nope. It was getting out there and playing in front of people. The live thing is way more personal than a record. It’s so hard to reach people sometimes with a record. You know, they’re doing something else and listening to the record usually. But when it’s live, I’m the guy with the loud microphone and big lights, and you can pay attention and soak it in.
TWLSB: You guys definitely have soul to your performances too, and that energy can’t be delivered as well through a record.
DG: *Jokingly* Well, we’re lip synching, but I’m still feeling it.


TWLSB: Any local music in the Portland area you can recommend?

DG: An artist named Thommy, he’s an artist I work with that I really like. There’s a band named Brenda…Brenda is amazing. I really like Gypsy Tailwind, Grand Hotel, Plains, which is actually Dave Noyes’ band. There’s a ton of bands in Portland that I’m really into.


TWLSB: What record labels have you guys worked with?
DG: Our first major label was Arista. Then we signed with Tommy Boy, and then we signed with Velour…the labels passed us around for a while.


TWLSB: What's the biggest show The Rustic Overtones have played?

DG: This one, The Stone Church definitely. *laughs* It’s hard to say… There was a show in Connecticut, I think it’s called The Meadows. It’s kind of an interesting story. A good friend of mine gave me some pot brownies, and they didn’t work. They were so delicious though, so everybody, even people that don’t get high ate all the pot brownies. We were like ‘ yea they don’t work anyway, so don’t worry about it.’ About 4 hours later it kicked in, and we were about to go out in front of something like 40,000 people. And well, that was our biggest show.
TWLSB: How’d it go?
DG: Oh it went great. I don’t really remember much of it, but it was definitely a good show.


TWLSB:
How come you guys don’t play up in the Umaine Orono area anymore?

DG: Well they used to do Bumstock and stuff, but there’s no place to play up there really…
TWLSB: Come to The Dime! It’s an excellent place to play.
DG: Is it? That’s good to know. They asked us to play a while back but I think we were really busy at the time. Good to know, though, we’ll keep it in mind.


TWLSB: Any advice for bands starting out or young musicians?

DG: You have to get out there, play at any place any time you can when you first start out. And even though it’s hard, don’t play Sweet Home Alabama and then mix in your original stuff. Just get out there, play straight original stuff, and believe it. Don’t feel like you have to rely on throwing Free Bird into the set. Try to really stand behind your original music when you start out, and people will eventually believe in it too.


Thanks again to Dave Gutter and The Rustic Overtones for their time and an excellent show, and Devon Mitchell for setting everything up!
We highly recommend that you all catch a live show of this local minded down to earth rockin' band from Portland, ME.
Go to http://www.therusticovertones.com/ to check out tour dates!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

American Folk Festival Review

The American Folk Festival is well known as a wonderful cultural and diverse event and people come from all over to attend. The Way Live Should Be was only able to attend Friday evening, but the sample of music we were able to here is a testament to the entire weekend. In one night, we were able catch blue grass, gypsy, cape Breton, Korean drumming, Cajun, and Quebecois styles of music. If you have never been to the folk festival, or don’t think you would like the music there, please allow me to assure you its more than worth attending, every single year. Included here is a few impressions of the many different styles the Way Live Should Be caught in just two and one half hours at the Folk Festival right here, in Bangor, ME.

As is tradition at the Folk Festival, the Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band started off the festival beginning near West Market Square and parading over to the Railroad Stage. These guys are really pretty phenomenal, all dancing together and playing in time and in general having and giving a great time. Its pretty awesome that Maine musicians get to start the festival off with such a bang; it gives the festival a sense of place and reminds us all that Bangor, Maine is the host for a significant cultural event.

The next artist we caught was A Taste of Celtic Colours, playing music from Cape Breton. Their music was downright beautiful, a sound based in solidarity and ties to the land. The musicians in this band played a variety of instruments, including keys, violin, guitar, and fiddle. Many of their songs reach really elevated crescendos and often members of the band would come to the front of the stage and dance, taking such joy from their own sound. Their music in general was incredibly joyful, an incredible pleasure to listen to. One thing we found particularly interesting was the element of the keys, something formely we had not seen associated with Celtic music. They were a key element of the sound, and the musican playing the keys played one solo that was very technical and classical, proving his undeniable talent. All the musicians in the band were incredibly talented and we really, really enjoyed their set!

The Other Europeans Band was next and these guys were really wild. Classified as “Klezmer and Gypsy” music sometimes these guys reminded me of old silent films music, but others I was blown away by their technicality. At any given time there were anywhere from 6-14 musicians on stages; although there are 14 total musicians, they often divide themselves into a six piece or an eight piece depending on the style or composition they play. However, they also often all play together, or any combination in between. Instruments played included, but were not limited to, violin, accordion, standing bass, trumpet, clarinet, tuba, fiddle, trumpet, traditional keyboard and percussion. There was also some crazy type of zylephone keyboard thing that was played with mallets. Their music had a definite classic quality, but often featured an extremely fast tempo and intense crescendos. Along with the silent films feel, many songs were carnival like and very fun… a roller coaster of sounds, tempos, and styles. Maybe not my favorite band of the night, but a very intriguing show.

The next group I checked out was Noreum Machi, Korean Samul Nori drumming and dance. This was really cool, but definitely as much about the costumes and dance as the music. Featuring very heavy drumming and a sort of flute often associated with snake charming, the sounds were interesting and certainly well put together. The sound was almost tribal, and their traditional garb was gorgeous, I especially liked the hats which featured 3 foot long bouncy tassel decorations. This show helped me to appreciate the variation and extreme diversity of sounds from around the world… incredibly interesting show!

When I think Cajun, I think spicy. That being said, Cajun music was NOTHING like I expected. The Pine Leaf Boys put on a great show and obviously had a grand old time on stage. Their music was some unique combination of country, blues, celtic, and polka! They consisted of a fiddle player, acoustic guitar, accordion, electric bass, and drums. This show was obviously a crowd favorite and the vocals were great; lots of crooning and hootin and hollerin. People were seriously getting down to these guys and I can understand why, these guys had lots of rhythm!

The peak and last performance of the evening was Le Vent Du Nord, Québécois music. These guys had a lot of French lyrics, but you didn’t have to understand French to be able to hear what phenomenal musicians they were. The heavy bass, extensive and lovely voice harmonies, and emphatic violin made for a truly beautiful and traditional sound. I heard some Celtic references with these guys too, but it may have a lot to do with the fact that they shared that back-to-land, solidarity based, joyous type of sound. They were somewhat more ambient than any of the others bands that evening though, creating a very emotional and echoey sort of feeling in their music. They also played the acoustic guitar, piano, and drums. Even the fiddle/violin player’s feet were miked, adding a really fun, extra percussion element. Sometimes I would think their sound was very traditional, and then they were introduce musical elements I had never experienced before. One example was the wild accordion like instrument with a crank sort of handle on the side. Depending on how fast or slow the musician turned the crank influenced the speed of the notes he was playing and could give the music either a heightened feeling or an even more haunting, ambient affect. Definitely my favorite instrument of the night. The musicianship behind this band is mindblowing, they were constantly switching instruments and created an Immense amount of sound for just four guys. Their music was festive and fun one minute, and then ancient and haunting, but lovely the next. The passion these guys had too… I only hope they return to the festival in the future because this was a show I would have paid to see in a heartbeat. I hope you didn’t miss this!!

http://www.americanfolkfestival.com/
http://leventdunord.com/
http://www.americanfolkfestival.com/assets/Bangor_Daily_News_-_Pine_Leaf_Boys.pdf
http://www.americanfolkfestival.com/assets/Bangor_Daily_News_-_The_Other_Europeans.pdf
http://www.americanfolkfestival.com/assets/Bangor_Daily_News_-_A_Taste_of_Celtic_Colours.pdf
http://www.americanfolkfestival.com/assets/Bangor_Daily_News_-_Noreum_Machi.pdf

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review of Maine Vocals' Hempstock Aug 19-22

HEMPSTOCK in Harmony, ME! Hosted by Maine Vocals!



Hempstock is a celebration of marijuana culture that has been happening annually for more than a decade. Put on by Maine Vocals, Maine’s primary grassroots marijuana activist organization, you can’t miss what this festival is really all about. From Captain Joint, to the plants on stage, people everywhere at Hempstock are blatantly standing up for their rights. Marijuana prohibition is ridiculous, unjust, profoundly unconstitutional and this festival is one way Maine activists can join together and be proud of their values and make a stand against failing laws.

Hempstock has a proud history in Maine. That all being said, no one can escape it; attendance is seriously down at this festival. It is not obvious why this might be… it’s only recently still that Maine Vocals split from Harry Brown’s farm, so maybe it is due to the fame of the Starks location. Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe it’s the remote Harmony, ME location or the music selection? Whatever it is, it’s a damn travesty, because the people that put on Hempstock are fighting for a right many of us take for granted everyday… the right to smoke marijuana.



The location at Harmony may be remote, but if you haven’t yet, you should really see it. The field is big, flat (such nice camping compared to a steep slope!) and the secret that few actually realize… there is another field just as big and connected to the main festival area by a short dirt road. By short I mean a very short, enjoyable walk. The potential for this festival to grow and fill both fields is limitless… as I walked the road I could just picture the Shakedown Street that could form there; the vendors that could line that road, it would be incredible!



My main criticism of the festival was their music choices. The few bands that stood out were real gems, but the rest were pretty much just cover bands. It really felt endless after a while. I heard three or four covers of Bill Wither’s Use Me, and so many Grateful Dead covers (not even by the Grateful Dead cover band) that it really got old quick. For the people who go to festivals mainly for the music, it’s a real turn off. However, I do have to reiterate the few bands really worth seeing were excellent. Following is a short summary of a few of those great bands.

The first show that WLSB caught was Soul Robot. We knew we loved these guys from their show at The Dime last year… really talented musicians. The dueling guitars in many of the songs seemed to challenge the guitarists to greater heights, bringing out some seriously sick jams. They played quite a few covers like I Know You Rider and Fire on the Mountain by The Dead and Back on the Train and Down with Disease by Phish. Lots of Phish and Grateful Dead. I often find myself wishing for more originals, yet I cannot deny that these guys do what they do so ridiculously well that I think I really enjoy it just as much. My main complaint; this show was relatively similar to the one I saw at the Dime. These guys are great musicians, but I would like some more originals, and maybe for them to mix the covers up a little bit more.

That night (Friday) included Supernaut, a Black Sabbath Tribute band. The band was really solid, but the vocalist was pretty rough on quite a few of the songs. These guys were fun though, and I do have to say the singer can pulling off a flying leap with some serious style.




The next show was New York Funk Exchange. We were a little bit concerned at first about a female singer, but really felt she held her own and we really dug most of her songs. She had a great voice, and was good at belting it out when needed, and then letting the band really represent when it was time for that. These guys started off a bit slow, but they were a lot of fun and really represented the funk genre well at this festival. They did seem to take a while to warm up, starting off fairly structured and not doing a lot of jamming, but in the end they loosened up and each musician really got a chance to shine. Don’t kid yourself, these guys weren’t just good for the Northeast funky style, they were damn good.




Their second set on Saturday was even more playful. They were more jammy, with more spacey riffs and jazzy references. They really laid down on Stevie Wonder’s Keep On and Higher Ground. All the musicians proved on Saturday that they are seriously tight and talented, separately, and together. The bassist may have stuck out to me the most, just because it was quite apparent that he was having a great time ripping his bass apart! Other covers included Bill Withers and James Brown. Congrats NYFE, we were impressed.





Big Rhythm Wine has a rep at these festivals. These guys have been playing Hempstocks and Harvestfests for as long as I can remember. They are a “Grateful Dead Experience” band, but they really transcend the Dead sound into their own unique understanding. At this show they played a lot of older stuff, including some slower songs, so in my opinion it wasn’t the best late night show… but they really are great musicians and have a great way of invoking the old days. Especially when they play a marijuana activism festival like this… it becomes even more of a genuine GD experience. Unfortunately, their second set Saturday night was rained out… so we didn’t get another chance to really assess these guys.

Most of the day Saturday we recall hearing cover after cover… quite a few talented musicians really ripping it on stage, but after a while the cover thing does get old. However, festivals like this are a great place for local musicians to get on stage and get a chance to be appreciated for their music, and we do appreciate that role. Two of our favorite shows of the weekend were Saturday night though, and they really represented the true feeling, solidarity, and cohesion Hempstock in Harmony has the potential to be. The first was Prof. Louie and the Crowmatix. These guys were awesome. Buddy Cage, the slide steel guitarist of New Riders of the Purple Sage, came on stage and played a bunch of songs with these guys.



The accordion player, Prof. Louie, was excellent and at one point he and Cage and the guitarist of the Crowmatix got into a crazy guitar vs. slide guitar vs. accordion battle that was outstanding… I have never heard an accordion used in such a way! All three instruments so elevated and wonderful sounding…. I didn’t know an accordion could wail like that. They played covers of The Band, Dead, Dylan, and some great originals too. Our only criticism; their original Century of the Blues was good, but the sound effect on the keys was a little cheesy, we think they could have chosen something with a little more soul and a little less electronic. All in all though these guys were awesome and were definitely one of the high points of the festival for us.



The highest point of the festival was Gent Treadly with guest Buddy Cage. These guys are wild. One of my favorite aspects, after their ridiculously incredible sound, was how the bassist of Gent spoke about Hempstock. I think the importance and real point of the festival was sort of over my head the whole festival. But when Gent spoke about how long he has been coming to Hempstock, about how fucked our marijuana laws are, and how much Maine Vocals has done to work to change the current state of marijuana laws, it was then that I really felt some solidarity with the whole mission. In between acts Jon Pothead of Maine Vocals did a lot of serious and intelligent speaking about changing laws and activism, but Gent’s emotionality and connection with the festival really got me. Calling the laws “obtuse” and “fucked up” and just praising Don and all of Maine Vocals for all their hard work, I think he really got the attention of a lot of festival-goers. Of course, that could also be due to the fact that seconds before this speech he had completely rocked your face off with his nasty bass riffs… but either way, he had our attention.



The band as a whole was so powerful and playful; the bassist and guitarist did a lot of intensive back and forth playing while the drummer really held down some intricate, tight rhythms. Also, the guitarist’s voice was awesome. Prof. Louie came out and rocked the accordion with them and Cage’s unendingly ambient and otherworldly slide completed the deal. These guys were amazing. I have never heard a bassist play so many different styles all in a single song; slap, funk, slide, and pickin it… in every single tune. The man is so in tune with his bass it literally looks as natural as an arm or leg on him. They were all shredding one second, breaking it down into an ambient, encompassing jam the next, and then totally whippin’ out the funk and getting you dancing again. And again, they were all so in tune with what the festival was all about… they were really easy to identify with. People really came out of the woodwork for these guys and I’m glad… if you have never heard Gent Treadly before…. Check these guys out. Covers included Superfly, Zappa, and Dead.

To wrap it all up
… start going to Hempstock guys. It’s all about solidarity, freedom, and marijuana activism. Music was touch and go, but as I said the few gems that were there were more than worth the money. As is the freedom to be peaceful and smoke. As for those of you who are hardcore Harry Brown Farm fans… me too. Just, make sure you fit in one festival at both locations; each has something different to offer and it’s really worth supporting a good cause, good tunes, and good times.

Visit www.mainevocals.net to check out more upcoming festivals in Harmony, or for information regarding medical marijuana in maine, petitions, etc!

For more pictures from the festival (and to 'Like' us! :)), visit our facebook page- The Way Live Should Be

Pictures taken by Kim Morrison and Tyler&Heather Omand
Written by Heather Omand
Edited by Kim Morrison

Monday, August 16, 2010

Festival Review: Be Here Now! at Harry's Hill in Starks, ME

BE HERE NOW! At Harry Brown's Farm


Be Here Now festival at Harry Brown’s Farm (also know as The Hill) was certainly one to remember. Both Heather and Kim attended the festival this year, with a few guest Way Live Should Be members. Here are some of our thoughts on the festival, as well as some words about some of the musicians that we were able to see!


Zach Deputy was the first act of the weekend for us. What an excellent way to start the festival off! He is like church music for the churchless soul. His voice is often reminiscent of gospel and soulful blues and many of his songs can have an almost triumphantly spiritual sound. His slower songs were filled with a sense of true emotionality, and even though they have a bit of a softer sound, they always seemed to still have a punch to them, whether in his voice or his beats, or both. Zach Deputy has the ability to get down-right funky with some faster paced songs as well, keepin' everyone on the hill groovin'. Seeing him at the hill was great, it was like our own personal Zach Deputy show! He seriously laid it down, and his talents were never in question. We are grateful that well-known artists are still willing to go out of their way to play smaller shows! After chatting a bit with him after the show, we were able to schedule an interview. Keep your eye out, it'll be out this week!


For many, The Hill is already a well-known good time festival spot, and it proved true over all. This seemed to us to be a festival where people were coming more for the atmosphere and experience just as much as the music.


Those working for The Hill did a great job at providing an active, entertaining atmosphere. During much of the music there were fire dancers, puppet shows, and various other things to engage the crowd. It is important for their to be activities for the children as well, and they did a great job creating a fun environment for everyone.

There was also an 'art zone' open to anyone and everyone. They provided all of the supplies and you could simply walk in and create anything you please. Creativity is a great thing to encourage in people of all ages!





Hot Day at the Zoo played a great show at Be Here Now on Saturday afternoon. WLSB has reviewed these guys a few times before, but we always seem to be able to say more about them, and remain one of our favorite blue grass bands. The style of "zoograss" these guys play never fails to transform the vibes and energy in any room or hill! HDATZ seemed to instill a very playful vibe on the hill, almost refueling their fans with energy for the evening that lies ahead. Heather was able to chat a bit with the guys after their set, talking a little about traditional bluegrass and newer stuff, like Yonder Mountain String Band. We are all hoping Hot Day will get to open for Yonder at Port City on October 24th!



All of the Animals were a great Boston based band kind enough to travel up to a Maine festival. These guys were very light hearted and up beat. Their sound was a bit reggae influenced with an ‘island music’ feel to it. They had a lot of fun on stage and this transferred well to the audience. They did a Led Zeppelin cover that was a lot of fun (everyone loves to let the Led out!), but we must say, the vocals were a little rough (big shoes to fill). Talking to these guys after wards was great, they're fun guys with a wide range of influences.




Hot Damn Scandal performed on Friday evening, however there were some technical difficulties with sound, and it took a very long time for them to get started. It was a bit of an awkward time; us staring at them, wondering what the hell they're all about. On stage you see various fascinating outfits, and the band consisted of trombone, saxophone, musical saw, banjo, stand up bass, and acoustic guitar. Their first few musical introductions were very Zappa in some ways… especially in the female saw players vocals. Then, as their music progressed they were a little bit slower paced than I expected, but phenomenal all the same. The lead vocalist (the guitar player) has a voice impeccably similar to that of Tom Waits and their jazzy sound often became wild… seeming like structural mass craziness on stage. The use of the banjo was especially intriguing… all in all this band was a great show with a lot of passion and power.




Hot Damn Scandal was scheduled to play again Saturday, but again due to not following the schedule and technical issues, they were bumped to Sunday. (Picture above from Sunday, missing some band mates)

This festival is definitely lacking some organization. This was frustrating at times, for both the musicians and the festival goers, but if you look a little closer, there are many positive things that come along with this. This factor is almost key to the roots and history at Harry Brown's Farm, forming a very free atmosphere revolving around marijuana activism, individuality, peace, unity and freedom of expression. If festivals on the farm were more corporately organized, you wouldn’t see as much personal freedom or individual marijuana activism and these are very important factors to many people. The one severe criticism we must make is that of the delay in all of the music during weekend. Because it is a small festival, the sound setup is primitive and sound checks were often anywhere from a half hour to an hour and a half long, often pushing bands back and/or cutting them short. We hope this is something they will work on and prepare more for.
There is another key aspect of festivals on The Hill that would go wayside if they attempted higher levels of organization; the ability to interact with artists and musicians on a very personal level. This was one of our favorite parts of the festival! It was very easy for us to go up and chat casually with the bands after their set. Although many feel they might benefit from more organization, we would be quite sad to see the personal side of this festival go away.


Bearquarium was another great group that was cut short due to technical difficulties. This was one of our favorite acts of the weekend (we've got it Bad for the funk), even though they were only able to play 5 songs. They were full of crazy, tight, get-down funkiness, which is almost crucial for a festival. These guys were quite hospitable and allowed us to enter the aquarium of bears itself (a sick redesigned bus in which their seats are not assigned) to chat a bit. Hailing from Burlington, VT Bearquarium laughed when we asked about their name. Apparently there is an old elevator shaft in an apartment building where they used to live that, through party banter, was named the Bear Aquarium and eventually this became the name of the band as well. Sounds silly, but I love a good band naming story! (we may have also spaced on some important details to this story) Check em out online, they seem to be rockin' New England quite a bit!

Incus is a wonderfully mesmerizing band that played late night on Saturday. We would describe Incus as some wild blend of The Dresden Dolls, The Talking Heads, and Radiohead, with their own unique twist. They would describe themselves as: "Drawing on influences from Middle Eastern, Native American, African and Eastern European musical traditions, Incus is redefining the American Tribal music movement. The combination of keyboards, accordion, violin, and cello with male and female vocals creates a beautifully haunting soundscape, replete with mesmerizing rhythms capable of inducing trance-like states." (Quote and picture from their website www.incus.net) Instruments played at the festival included accordion, keys, bass, drums, and bongos. They have the ability to musically manipulate you, carefully building quite emotional crescendos. The music created by Incus is obviously specially crafted, and we think many could benefit from seeing them live.




While all of these previous bands were playing on the "Maine Stage", there was also a late night stage, which is always fun, and seems to keep the late night freekers in line. There were two projections set up, some bands earlier in the day and evening, and then typically DJ's until the wee hours of the morning!



Check out more upcoming events at Harry Brown's Farm here: www.mainecommonsense.org
"Harry Brown's Farm is known through out New England as a counter-culture gathering site. Since 1991, thousands have come to the land for concerts, political assembly in support of marijuana law reform, and a unique Maine organic farm experience."

For more pictures from the festival (and to 'Like' us! :)), visit our facebook page- The Way Live Should Be

Pictures taken by Hope Duncanson, Cindi Brown, and Kim Morrison
Collaborative write up by Heather Omand and Kim Morrison.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Raptor Blew My Mind.

Last night's open mic at Woodman's brought the bar up a notch for Raptor, the new band on the scene in Orono. The band is Pete (guitar/vocals) and Josh (bass/vocals) from Restless Groove and Ben (drum/vocals) and Geof(keyboard/etc) from Suit Mullet. They also featured a new character, Jim (guitar), a music major from Umaine who was pretty insane. Raptor is a blend of so many incredible sounds and talents and I have a feeling they are going to be a favorite on the scene this fall. They have an electronic side, something I tend to shy away from, but combined with hip hop and mainstream references (almost a Bloodhoug Gang sound at one point) and laced all through with nasty, nasty instrumentals. It is incredibly danceable, incredibly fun, and incredibly addictive. It is not possible to leave a show without craving more. I
guess it just really blows my mind to hear those funky dance rhythms... but mixed with some unbelievable shredding. The vocals are intriguing; very fun and they hook you in, grab your attention, and occasionally had me laughing with sheer enjoyment. The whole sound is so skillfully crafted and conducted.. I can guarantee you havent really heard anything quite like it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Victor Wooten Band, live Friday at the Port City Music Hall

The Victor Wooten Band show Friday night was unreal! Recently I have had friends expose me to jazz fusion greats like Mahavishnu Orchestra and Jean Luc Ponty, and I have watched those youtube videos always wondering what it would be like to be in the audience. I think I got a glimpse Friday night.

The Victor Wooten band is Victor on bass, Regi Wooten (older bro) on guitar, Steve “White Chocolate” Winegard on keys, and Derico Watson on drums. Their incredible blend of jazz funk fusion helped me to understand what the people in the audience of those older shows I watched on youtube experienced. The night was full of insane soloing, musical battles between members, and complicated, intricate musical climaxes involving the entire band. A song would start off with some structure, beginning as songs Victor fans may recognize. But they would quickly transcend into jazzy, but exuberantly playful and technical forays into unexpected territory. Some songs had much heavier bass and were infinitely funkier. Victor’s signature style can be picked out anywhere, but when you see him on his “solo” project you are better able to see him play the bass as if he as a person, encompassing all of himself and his powers of expression, were completely funneled through his instrument. At one point he teasingly almost told us the time signature to one of his songs, but refused in the end… however you can tell that these musicians are skilled masters of timing and unreal alterations in traditional music techniques. The music was filled with continual redirection as band members would just point to one another and all of a sudden a different person would take the lead and bring the music to an entirely different place. Steve’s outrageous key solos started off traditional, very classy jazz-esque, and then transported me to outer space with his technicality, and then back to Mexico with something very “mariachi” like. Sometimes, it made me feel like I was falling, but like in-a-dream falling… pure insanity! I have never before had the privilege to be exposed to such a free form jazzy funk escapade and I am thankful for the experience! As for Regi, I have seen some guitarists slap their instrument a little, something like when a bassist plays slap, but never ever before with the gusto and consistency as Regi Wooten. He was pulling sounds from his guitar that I didn’t even know existed. His style was almost chaotic, frenzied in some of his wilder, but wonderful solos. At one point he was flinging his arms wide and swooping them in every time he slapped it, another he and Victor battled back and forth; ever faster and more technical and more flamboyant, another he and Victor stood face to face playing eachother’s instruments so intensely that I could NOT believe my eyes, or ears! I hope you are getting the point here; MINDBLOWING would really be the key word. Yet I cannot stop without addressing Derico Watson’s intense drumming skills. I swear this man played a 15-20 minutes drum solo… at least 10 minutes of that with the entire place COMPLETELY blacked out, pitch freakin dark, with no light except tiny glowsticks attached to the very end of his sticks. This man’s sense of rhythm, of multiplicity, and timing was incredible. I could have listened to Derico Watson play the entire show solo, his drumming skills were so impressive and fulfilling. Victor made a point of mentioning that Derico only uses one foot pedal, calling him the “One Foot Wonder”.

The Victor Wooten Band played several Michael Jackson tunes (as apparently it was Jackson’s death day) and some references to other classic funk like “Rollercoaster of Love”. Victor also spoke extensively with us about his experience that morning waiting in line in NY for a new Iphone from 1 a.m. until 5a.m. His story was funny, but also refreshing with quotes like, “Now usually waiting in line for a cell phone for hours is against my nature. (many people laughed and one audience member yelled, “Nice phone though isn’t it?” Victor replied, “It’s a damn fine phone, yeah”) But everyone in the line, we all started telling stories and by the end of it all, we were all friends.” He also told of the floods in his hometown down south and while he had been lucky that his house has not been affected, many of his neighbor’s houses were and his camp had lost 3 buildings… all swept away. He spoke about community and coming together in crises… it was moving and really completed the experience for me. As did getting to take a picture of Regi Wooten with my friends Nate and Lisa, although I was too shy to get one myself.

All in all, this was a an incredible night full of banter, a chance to personally connect with musicians, and truly talented, mind blowing music. I really, really hope you were there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

EarPhunk Funks It Up In St. Louis!

Hi, my name is Kim, and I am addicted to funk. EarPhunk played at the Broadway Oyster Bar in St. Louis, MO on Friday night, and they willingly fed this addiction! The show began around 10, and they didn’t waste any time by starting off soft, as I was grooving in my seat while finishing my dinner. The band consists of rhythm and lead guitar, bass, drums, and some funky ass keys! These guys are straight from New Orleans, ready to funk your day up.





Playing shows around the South and Midwest for the past few weeks, including the music festival Wakarusa down in Arkansas last weekend, this was their last stop before heading back to New Orleans, and they killed it! Their stage presence is great, their involuntary funk faces are priceless, and they feed off of each other's musical energy quite well. For a couple of songs they were joined by a trombone player, and it was a great addition. This kid was no older than 15, and he jammed right into the funk and groove with out missin' a beat. Keep it up kid!



EarPhunk has some excellently contrived originals. At first glimpse, I viewed them as just straight-forward funk, but they throw in some twists that make their music seemingly less predictable than original funk, and a bit more raw. There’s a captivating flow to their songs; they’ll pull you into a jam, break it down to ground you a bit, then gradually build it back up into an epic musical climax. A couple of those build-ups literally had me on my tip toes. I don’t understand how anyone was sitting down for this show.



The Oyster Bar's stage is outside, but still in somewhat of an enclosed area. Regardless, those walking by the bar could easily hear the Phunk, and many were stopping in their tracks to peer in and see what these guys could do. I’d say Earphunk has the ability to lure an audience in, and keep them stickin’ around.






While taking their music seriously (quite impressive ambition for such youngin’s!), they also seem very laid back at their shows, and want their audience to be having as much fun as they are. Spectators are encouraged to dance and even join into the rhythm section via cowbell, tambourines, and whatever else, putting on a hell of a show as well as creating a great vibe.





While chatting with bassist Michael Comeaux, he stated that a lot of their songs are about 90% improv, “I think I play a different bass line almost every time.” They have constructed choruses and songs that follow certain patterns, but sure as hell like to jam, their creative juices overflowing and infecting audiences. Jamming as much as they do, I expected more repetitive grooves that each player might feel more comfortable with. However, I felt that whoever was leading at the time would work to take the jam to new places, while the band comfortably and willingly followed suit. Quite a talented and musically fused group of young musicians!



My suggestions for the band: a consistent horn section, more bass slapping and drum solos, and a New England tour!

My suggestion for you and all your funky friends? Go check out EarPhunk! You can listen to some of their tunes on their website and/or Myspace page:

www.earphunk.com or http://www.myspace.com/earphunk

Each beautiful photo was taken by Sarah Orschel!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Semester Summary and Summer Disclosure

This past semester was an influential one in the lives of the humble folks here at the WLSB. Many of the people we interviewed, hung out with and talked with all mentioned that this past semester was one of heightened creativity, connectivity and musical activity. We just want to say, we fucking loved it. Personally, I know that this past semester was my most productive ever and was definitely the most rewarding one of my college career. Again, thank you all for paying attention and being a part of the burgeoning live scene in this area.

So far, the hopes are to continue with The Way Live Should Be in the UMO area next semester. We’ll see where we’re all at. As for this summer, we’re goin’ on tour. Not really…but we’re kind of going to be all over the place and if we feel like doing reviews for shows then we’re going to and hopefully maybe some of you will read it? We’ll be in Maine, NH, CT, VT, Nevada, Missouri, Oregon, and maybe a couple other states in there….Phish shows will be attended…and multiple festivals...as well as many super hip indie shows, and local bands everywhere! Nateva festival will be kind of our midsummer reunion (SO BE THERE!), but I’m not sure if we will be capable of reporting on such an epic, musically loaded event, as it’s intensity will leave us dumbfounded. However, please keep paying attention and we will do our best to let you know whats going on all over the U.S. Let us know where we should be this summer!

So…to all those that played music for us this past semester, it’s been pretty great. We’ve gotten to see many of the bands in the area progress like crazy, and it was pretty exciting. To the bands that are sticking together: let us know what you’re doing and where you’ll be playing! Also, look down at the later blog posts, we put up a bunch of info for some pretty sweet venues in NH, phone numbers, websites, etc. Get out there!

To those bands parting ways…we hope you all take something with you from the musical experiences you’ve had up here in the Orono/Old Town area. Keep spreading your musical juices wherever the hell you may end up. Let us know what’s up with yourselves and seriously continue getting out there and play your music.
Next semester… it is likely the three of us at the WSLB will all be back. We hope to continue to be a part of the local scene and to continue to try and connect people in order to keep supporting local live music. It’s been a mind blowing semester and experience for us getting to talk so much about something we are all intensely passionate about… thanks for listening. Go see live music… and let us know how it is!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Hot Day at the Zoo and Railroad Earth at Port City Music Hall

There I was again, at the mercy of Hot Day at the Zoo’s infinitely uplifting sound. HDATZ opened for Railroad Earth at the Port City Music Hall, Portland, ME this past Thursday and it was NOT a show to miss. I had actually never, ever listened to Railroad Earth before in any form, but I figured that they had to be good if HDATZ was opening for them. I won’t lie about the fact that I mainly went to see HDATZ and I wasn’t disappointed. I tell you, these gentlemen speak in String. They played three of my favorite songs off of their newer albums called Mama, One Day Soon, and Ana Maribel…. all crazy excellent jams with great, saucy lyrics. I am still waiting to hear Old Mill… but that just means I have one (of many) main reasons to continue putting HDATZ at the top of my “Go See” list. Covers included No Expectations by The Rolling Stones (truly far better as a bluegrass song.. it was meant to be) and Foxy Lady (always SO fun!). Their sound is very fulfilling, incredibly uplifting, and yet still has an edgy side that I am extremely addicted to. Those four instruments (mandolin, banjo, guitar, and standing bass) combine in ways my brain cannot fathom… I especially noticed that night that the mandolin player is able to weave in and out of the music like the wind. Hot Day at the Zoo is playing a bunch this summer and I recommend going to see them as a necessary life experience!
I repeat that Thursday was my first experience with Railroad Earth live or otherwise. I was extremely impressed and it was quite evident that each of the members of the band are incredibly talented and skillful musicians. Railroad Earth consists of banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, drums, and standing bass. But don’t let that fool you… the banjo player also played guitar, flute, slide steel, and (possibly most epic) two saxophones at once (in the song Hard Livin’… a favorite of mine for the evening). Literally one sax in each hand… I’ve never seen that before! I was very impressed. Other members were similarly versatile, both the mandolin player and fiddle player switched instruments and picked up guitars at various points. I’ve never really seen so much instrument switching, and it added to the fluidity and variety of their sound. I would describe their style as full of entire body-moving, wholesome, earthy tunes with many traditional references. However they also have a strong originality, likely due to the ridiculous skill level of each individual musician. I am NOT a religious individual, but each song was like a prayer… full of spirituality and soulfulness. Some of their songs almost seemed to reference Grateful Dead and multiple times throughout the evening I felt in many ways that they were the bluegrass version of GD, due to their free-form jams and the fact that their songs build, crash and build again like waves, but with many different hypnotic riffs and sounds that completely captivate the audience. Often their songs would vividly invoke imagery of rivers, a breeze through trees...especially the songs where the banjo player played the flute.
As I mentioned earlier I am addicted to music that has some undercurrent of tension, some kind of edginess. For me, that was the only aspect missing in Railroad Earth’s music… but that’s a personal preference. If you like String Cheese or Grateful Dead I believe you will LOVE Railroad Earth… those three bands make up a genre all on their own in my opinion. And I do have to say that there are only two bands I have seen in my life that I would describe as a venerable “wall of sound”… music that hits you from head to toe… that has no gaps or unfilled spaces… music that you literally feel like you just walked into a wall (a cushy, wonderful wall). Previously those bands were just Radiohead and Dave Matthews Band, but I would say Railroad Earth also is a “wall of sound” band and it’s an experience/label I am very specific about and that I make a point of pursuing.
To sum it up… I was blown away by Railroad Earth’s musicianship and unique sound. And as always… I somehow ended up head banging for HDATZ… those guys are probably tied for first with my absolute favorite up and coming band. GO SEE LIVE MUSIC!

Free Download/Stream

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Interview with Jason Hann of EOTO!

"Consisting of Michael Travis and Jason Hann, the duo mixes the organic sounds of live drums, bass and guitar through a variety of programs and gadgets to create a style of music that is more likely found in a dance club, than a live music theater. What sets EOTO apart from other artists in this emerging genre is how the music is created. While some artists may spend hours pre-mixing samples and elements of music for their live show, EOTO uses nothing pre-recorded, giving them the ability to approach each song with on-the-spot spontaneity and 100% live improvisation."

Above was taken from EOTO's publicity website: http://www.tsunamipublicity.com/epk08/EOTO/eoto_epk_08.html

“If I suspended disbelief, I could damn near believe this duo was a conduit for divine energies, holding down some seriously sacred vibes while still getting me deeper in my own embodied groove”
-Michael Garfield, Colorado Music Board CD Review, January 2010





EOTO
will be gracing us with their presence at The Dime in Old Town, ME on May 9th! When we received the news, we figured it was a good idea to take a closer look at what EOTO is all about...


WLSB: So, how did you ease into the transition from the rootsy bluegrass and jamband style of String Cheese Incident into the electro-type scene?

Jason Hann: Well, it wasn't easy, and honestly was a bit difficult and painful. String Cheese had such a huge following, and that type of following was really one of the best. When we first started playing shows as EOTO, it was for much smaller crowds. People were coming out basically because it was a String Cheese side-project, everyone was wondering what we were going to do. Myspace was still kind of a big thing at the time, so we were hoping that it would take off on there, but that didn't really happen. We then started to focus in on really promoting to the electronic audience. It definitely took a while but we've gathered a larger, more diverse crowd over time. The age group we tend to attract is from 17-22.


WLSB: How long have you and Travis been playing together in this style?

JH: It started a while back as basically something to do after String Cheese practice. Travis and I would set various instruments up after practice and would end up playing until 4 or 5 in the morning. It was just fun and there was no pressure. Travis then started working with looping pedals to make things more interesting. We started feeling that the electronic grooves really worked out for what we were doing, and it kind of just went from there.


WLSB:
What instruments and devices are typically used up on stage?

JH: We'll generally have bass, guitar, percussion, keys, vocals, drums, electronic percussion, and we both have laptops to control a lot of what's going on. We also use the computer program Ableton Live.

WLSB: How does the strictly improvisational factor of your music work out? Do you practice improv?

JH: We don't really practice anymore, mainly because we are playing so often. But there are different sounds that we'll experiment with, and if we like it, we'll usually work it out at home before we take it on the stage.

WLSB: Do you end songs, or is it more of a constant flow throughout the evening?

JH: The show is a lot like seeing a DJ set, so you generally get one thing into the next. At the very end of the show though, we try to slow it down a bit and ease into an ending and close out the evening.

WLSB: Does your improv style ever lead to any covers? If so, do you shy away from it or go with it?

JH: We might hint at songs sometimes, but never really do full out covers. Jump by Van Halen has come up a couple times, but that's one of the few songs that we'll jam on for a bit.

WLSB: Does EOTO typically do any on stage collaborations with other bands or performers?

JH: We've had a lot of guests up on stage with us. The guys from Umphrey's Mcgee have sat in with us before. We've had anything from cello players to rappers, as well as a couple of the guys from String Cheese Incident, and the percussionist from Stomp.


WLSB:
How long until you guys felt comfortable just going up and doing your thing?

JH: It was probably about a year before we took it live. But our first show was like that. There was a lot to work out, so the next couple years were spent working things out and getting a feel for all the technology we were using.

WLSB: How would you describe your relationship with Travis up on stage? Did it take a lot of work to get to this point musically?

JH: When we started off, we would kind of talk to each other and use hand signals to let the other know what we wanted to do stylistically, faster or slower tempo, or what's next. By now we've played over 600+ shows, so we can usually hear what the other person's doing and read body language pretty well.


WLSB:
What are some of your current influences?

JH: SPL, DJ Tipper, Rusko, Shpongle, and Bassnectar to name a few.


WLSB: Has EOTO ever played a seated show?

JH: We did a workshop at High Sierra, and played places with seats or had people sitting on the ground, but never a full out seated show. That's a whole other world..


WLSB: Do you tend to tap into the vibe of the audience, and does that affect the styles in which you play?

JH: It's definitely a bit of give and take in that regard. If we feel the audience is craving the dubstep, we try to give them that. We give it some time, and then when we think the audience is comfortable with what we're doing we tend to take the lead, going from genre to genre.

WLSB: How does EOTO keep it sounding new and different? Do you tend to naturally fall back into certain grooves with beats and sounds you each prefer?

JH: There are certain sounds that seem to keep coming up in our shows, but the nature that we're improvising everything kind of weeds it out. There are certain themes that will come up during shows. We have a drum themed thing we like to do, and some other one's as well.

WLSB: What do you think this type of music has to offer to the music scene as a whole?

JH: Oh, wow. Let's see...I'd say it's really about dancing as much as possible, as hard as you can. You don't have to be the most urbanite, the most hippie, or any of that. It's really light in that regard, and everyone can share the same space and just get down together. It shows what improvisational music can really be. We’re just doing our own thing and that overall experience covers a lot of ground.


Thanks again to Jason Hann for putting aside some time for us! For those who haven't had the chance to listen to EOTO, you can check out some of their shows at www.livedownloads.com
Get your tickets for EOTO May 9th at The Dime Bar! It's going to be one crazy dance party.

Keep in mind, local musicians Lost Between Sound will be opening downstairs from 7-9, and Lqd Chrch upstairs from 9-10 before EOTO!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Restless Groove: A Year in Retrospect

I first heard the members of Restless Groove live at Chickenfest 2009, although they were playing in a variety of different bands. For me though, their saga starts there because my experience began with that first Tommy the Cat cover I heard at Chickenfest ’09 and goes to the one I heard last Saturday at Chickefest ’10. When I first showed up at Chickenfest ’09 I did not expect to hear Primus…. especially not the best Primus I had heard played since I heard Les Claypool do it. Since that festival and since Restless started playing in fall of 2009 I have gone to over 10 of their live shows and have gotten to experience their growth as a band during that time period. The Tommy the Cat I heard last Saturday was no different, if not better, from the first, but the key difference was the fact that it was no longer my favorite song Restless Groove played. Their original music has come to captivate me more than any of their covers. It’s been incredible; hearing the changes in their sound, their tightening skill set, their increasing confidence and stage presence… I have never really gotten the privilege of being privy to that process with any another band and its been an eye opening and endlessly rewarding experience. It’s been one hell of a memorable year, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.

The members of Restless Groove, as I am sure many of you already know, are Justin Michaud (drums/vocals), Ryan Kirkpatrick (lead and rhythm guitar/vocals, Josh Bernier (bass/vocals), and Pete Gerard (lead and rhythm guitar/vocals). I interviewed most of the members in order to see what their experience of the last year was, to get some idea of their past, and lastly also of their future. This is a rough blend of all the different answers I received. Their history is an interesting one, filled with multiple band names, many different combinations of people, and a legacy of creativity…

Josh: I've been playing music with Justin on and off since we were in 8th grade. Him and I used to spend hours jamming in his basement. Pete and met at the beginning of my freshman year in high school. After that came Burnsteen, which is when Pete, Justin, and I started playing together along with our singer Nik, in 2004. Burnsteen lasted for about 3 years. Later, at UMO, Pete and I started jamming with Ryan and Ben Kaufman, which turned into Boheme. I was playing bass and Pete was playing drums. Pete and I had been jamming with this nasty drummer, Devin Hutchison as a side project to Boheme, and after Boheme split the three of us formed Trifekta, which I think is the core of Restless Groove. We started doing all of the Primus, Moe, and Chili Peppers covers with Devin and realized that people LOVE that driving, relentless, heavy-ass groovy shit! Devin left for Colorado after he graduated last May, so Pete and I started playing with Justin and Ryan in the fall semester of 2009 and the rest is history!

Ryan: Yeah, this is my third band… I really started playing with these guys with Boheme, who I played with for about 2 years. Im personally very influenced by Red Hot Chili Peppers especially, also RX Bandits and Incubus. We all bring a lot of influences and musical references to the table.

Justin: This past fall (September 2009) was when Restless Groove really formed and with this new band we had a completely different mindset. The other bands/combos were serious, but were mostly about fun and jamming together. We have a new mindset of having fun while being serious about the music, but our new outlook includes wanting to be successful and really get our music out there. We really planned to put a lot of work into it.

WSLB: What makes Restless Groove sound like Restless Groove?

Pete: I’ve always played and developed music by jamming and going by ear. Josh was very technically minded… he just knows an incredible amount about playing bass! He’s gotten amazing at jamming now too, and then you have Justin who is also very technically skilled, but also has a great ear. Ryan is a blend of all of these traits as well… I think its this blend of technicality and jamming that is a large part of our sound. That and the diversity of influences.

Justin: Each of us brings something different to table and our songs are a mixture of all our different ideas and influences. We each have very different styles and each song ends up sounding very unique as it is a crazy creative concoction of these four different styles. Sometimes we even take parts of a song, discard the rest and combine it into another song. It’s a very interesting process. There is a lot of melding and experimentation… we definitely don’t have a set method of writing a song and the randomness keeps it fresh.

Ryan: Our sound is definitely an orgy of all our musical influences. We all really like experimenting, like with a lot of different guitar sounds or even with different instruments. Experimentation is key to our sound.

WSLB: Where did the story behind the album come from? The saga of the Forest of Dance versus Funkcity?

Josh: The story is mostly a product of Pete's own creativity. We knew that we wanted to do a concept album at one point or another to follow in the footsteps of Rush and Dream Theater. I think having a story tied to a whole CD gives it more meaning. When you can write 10, 12, or however many individual songs and tie it into one big picture it just brings everything to life. Pete came to practice one day and had written out a whole story line with all of the characters in it and that was pretty much the solidification of the whole concept.

Justin: Yeah, I don’t know if we intended initially on creating a concept album, but it really stemmed from the need for lyrics. I feel like many of the themes and lyrics stem from a week long canoe ride we had gone on spring of 2009… that experience had a strong influence on us. We had the outline of characters and basic storyline and then we each went our separate ways, wrote songs, and then came back to put it together in a logical way. We each actually sing the songs we wrote the lyrics for so its interesting how they have an individual nature, but arose from a collective creative framework.

Pete: It was definitely a creative brainstorm session. The lyrics are in many ways actually pretty vague, open to a lot of interpretation, but I think it’s clear they are environmentally minded.

WSLB: So would you call yourselves a progressive band?

Pete and Josh: Yes, specifically in the environmental activism sense. The lyrics highlight in many ways our feelings about activism and what we feel in terms of what is currently going on. We are both pretty avid environmentalists. This album really takes a conservationist's standpoint on the idea of logging and/or deforestation. This album isn't directly related to that, however, I think it's meant to be a broader "wake up and smell the coffee" type of message to the greedy, wasteful, overindulgent, ignorant, arrogant, and selfish people out there.

Justin: Absolutely. I think it would be good idea to keep with progressive/environmental messages in future albums as well. We are naturally strong advocates and with popular culture going the way that it is we would like to keep up with that, keeping our music applicable to the real world and what’s going on.

WSLB: Do you have any reflections from this past year you would like to share, from Chickenfest to Chickenfest? Any thoughts for the year ahead?

Josh: This year has been AMAZING! Even last year with Trifekta was incredible, but everything’s just been getting exponentially more awesome since then in terms of how many AWESOME people we've met and friends we've made. Between the other bands we've played with, the people who've worked with us, and everyone who supports us, everyone has just been so incredible and has made this year kick fucking ASS for us. As far as Chickenfest goes I'm glad to see that it's never failed since I've been attending, it's such an awesome gathering of well...EVERYONE. As far as playing music there goes, I don't think there's any where else we could play this close to here where you feel like such a rock star, everyone is just so receptive to the music, and just SO chill!

Justin: For me it all originated on that canoe trip. Pete and Josh came to me when Devin left and we already had so much chemistry, plus we wanted Ryan as a great addition to our sound… it really just all came together. We basically started the day school started last fall and our main goal was to mix some originals with some covers and see how it was received. Once we achieved some popularity in the area we decided we wanted to record an album! Now that that has miraculously been accomplished our goal is to get it out there, expand and go from there. We have really accomplished a lot in a ridiculously short amount of time…its been one hell of a crazy ride. We got a lot of help from a lot of people we didn’t expect and a lot of support… people who climbed on board and made all the impossible seem possible. We definitely couldn’t have done it ourselves.

Pete: Yes. We struggle because we are all ridiculously busy, but the support has been incredible. We wil see where it all takes us! We hope to continue to slowly build up, get on the festival scene, play out of state… we really just love playing together and hope to perpetuate that and find other people who love it too. P.S. we are totally open to picking up a keyboardist, maybe a saxophone player, other horns… but yeah, definitely hope to start playing Portland this summer and get out into the rest of New England.

Thanks so much to Restless Groove for taking the time to talk with WSLB.
Their CD release party is tomorrow night at the Dime… they are selling their new album, which is, without a doubt, my favorite album so far this year! You would be seriously missing out if you weren’t there…. Seriously…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Interview with Joe Pascarell, of The Machine!

THE MACHINE, America’s top Pink Floyd show, has forged a 20 year reputation of excellence, extending the legacy of Pink Floyd, while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine has touched the hearts and souls of many, selling out theaters, large clubs and casinos across North and Central America, Europe and Asia. They have also appeared at renowned music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Riverbend, Gathering of the Vibes, Buffalo's Artpark, and Germany’s Rock of Ages.

The New York based band focuses on making every show an authentic Floydian experience for their fans. Known for performing a diverse mix of The Floyd’s extensive 16-album repertoire (complete with faithful renditions of popular hits as well as obscure gems), The Machine’s stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting and video, and their passionate delivery sets them above and beyond the rest.

In the classic tradition, The Machine explores collective improvisation paralleling and even rivaling that of an early 1970’s Pink Floyd mentality. Their use of expanded theatrical elements and elaborate stage displays continues in the spirit of the later Floyd lineups of the 1980’s. The band is also known for recreating entire albums as a part of their show, accepting requests from fans, and for taking an A to Z approach in which one song is played for every letter of the alphabet. Additionally, the quartet has been sharing the stage with full symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Diego Symphonies.”

Above was taken from the Machine’s website; http://www.themachinelive.com/about/

When the Way Live Should Be (WLSB) sent an email to The Machine’s management asking to do an interview, we didn’t expect much of a response. So imagine our surprise when two hours later Heather received a phone call from Mr. Kilpatrick asking if the next day at 2:00 would work for a phone interview with Joe Pascarell (JP), guitarist, vocalist, and one of the two original-from-the-beginning members of The Machine. We were blown away and incredibly thankful. The following is the result of that interview and we hope you all will be as impressed as we were with Mr. Pascarell’s deep insightfulness. I know that I, at least, took away some life advice from this experience.

WLSB: Its obvious Pink Floyd had a huge impact on your life, so, how did Pink Floyd happen to you?

JP: Well first, of all the 100’s of times I have been interviewed I have never been asked that question and its probably the best. When I was about 12/13 I was a Beatles fan, I thought they were basically all the music that existed. But I have this amazingly cool, older brother Mike who nurtured me musically. He brought home Dark Side of the Moon when it first came out in 1974… you just cannot imagine what that sounded like in 1974. Nowadays we all know that album by heart, but go back and listen what was going on musically at that time and there was just nothing like it. It blew me away… had a real impact on me. When I was 13, my brother took me to see Pink Floyd in New Jersey and after that I just devoured every album I could get my hands on. I was very fortunate to have that exposure.
I first started playing guitar when I was ten and my parents didn’t have money for guitar lessons so I would just wear chairs out, sitting in front of the stereo, moving the needle back over and over when I listened to music, until I figured out how it was played or what they were doing to make those sounds. The feelings that came from the music… I wanted to be that person, to make people feel the way I did. And if you are good at what you do, then its good for everyone involved.

WSLB: How did the group come together? How did you come to be a PF cover band?

JP: Well Todd (the drummer) and I started the band. It was never a conscious decision to play all Pink Floyd. We were both disillusioned with the shitty bands we had been playing with so we decided to just play all music we liked. Now in 1988 no one was playing Pink Floyd and we started playing a lot of it. It got a great reception because you didn’t hear anybody doing it much. We didn’t have a singer, we auditioned for one, but everyone was terrible. So as it got closer and closer to that first gig we just trying to find that singer while I did the singing during rehearsals. So when that night came, Todd told me that I could do it and I did. It took 5 to 6 years before I finally started to feel comfortable singing.
I have learned in life that I try not to ever force things to happen. The things that I have just let happen, that just did happen, those are the most rewarding and if I had tried to steer it, it would never have been the same.

WSLB: How long have you been playing together?

JP: Todd and I have been in this for 22 years and the band has changed a few times since then. Ryan has been with us for 11 years and Scott for 4; some people get tired doing what we do… but I never do. Sometimes we have 2 other members as well and when we play with the symphony there are 106 of us.

WSLB: How long before you felt you could pull off an authentic PF experience?

JP: I’ll let you know when that happens! (Laughs) It’s a work in progress and it’s always evolving. If I could tell you when that had happened then I think it would be over.

WLSB: How do you prepare for a show? Do you listen to Pink Floyd?

JP: I haven’t listened to PF, except when we are learning a new part or it’s played on the radio, in ten years. But I could count all the bands I still listen to, that I listened to when I was younger, on one hand. You grow as a person and musically and your relationship with those bands changes. We don’t rehearse, well maybe once a year, because we are playing all the time. I’ve played over 2000 shows with The Machine, more than Pink Floyd did. It doesn’t feel like someone else’s music when I play it; its constantly changing, constantly becoming something new… it’s a very organic process. That’s probably why I don’t get tired of it.

WSLB: I have to ask, what is your favorite album?

JP: The Wall. I feel like most bands have an arc that they follow and are often lucky to have one album at the peak of that arc. PF had the albums from Dark Side of the Moon to the Final Cut that were all on their peak of their arc and I feel like The Wall was the peak of those. It was so intensely creative, alternative, and amazing. When we perform The Wall it sucks the entire life out of me, physically, emotionally… it’s very intense.

WSLB: How do you feel about PF’s relationship to the prog rock genre; specifically Dark Side vs Animals?

JP: Im really not comfortable with labels; it is all personal opinion. I personally have never really thought of them that way, Pink Floyd was really much more experimental. They were so different from everything else; always growing, evolutionary with an ethereal sound. Prog rock makes me think more of Yes or King Crimson.

WSLB: What are your thoughts about the song Fearless?

JP: Well I have performed it a number of times, and usually I really try to get inside the lyrics and have some kind of internal understanding of them. However, I have never really understood what that song is about… it was always sort of out of my grasp.

WSLB (Heather): I’m certain I am not nearly as familiar with PF as Joe Pascarell! Didn’t dare to venture an answer…

WSLB: So what can we expect for our show here in the good state of ME?

JP: Well for anyone who loves Pink Floyd… its like looking at a picture of the Rocky Mountains versus being there and having them physically in front of you. The music is always better when it’s being made right in front of you; actually experiencing it versus just listening to it. I would like to think it’s going to be the next best thing from actually hearing Pink Floyd do it. A sonic sound by a good band!

Thanks again to Mr. Pascarell! The Machine is playing Thursday, May 29th at 8:00 pm in the CCA… get your tickets now!!!