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;

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!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Chaos Sauce played an incredible show Friday night and I have started to believe that this is Orono/Old Town area’s most underexposed, yet incredibly skilled local band. Their set was filled with exceedingly and excellently executed covers by Rage Against the Machine and also quite a few Red Hot Chili Pepper’s songs from Mother’s Milk… one of the best RHCP albums ever. Their covers reference the awesomeness of the originals, yet when Chaos Sauce plays them, the songs don’t feel like covers. They are played with such energy and talent that they feel almost like Chaos Sauce originals. Which, in fact, are quite incredible as well and include Idiot Blood (named after some idiot who came to a CS show after getting into a fight and then proceeded to bleed all over CS’s stuff), Moose on Fire, Computer Malfunction (MGMT esque…. But way better!) and many more. The most interesting aspect of this band is their highly dynamic, almost amoeba-like nature. Every song changes who plays what instrument, some band members come back on stage, others go become part of the crowd… its such an awesome aspect of this band because it adds to their fluidity while each combination acts like a different component of an overall creative project.

Chaos Sauce’s music is pretty hardcore, but it’s also way, way more than that. They are playful, talented, and their stage presence, energy, and interaction with the crowd makes for such an incredibly good time. I have never seen a flying, cow bell jamming leap ever before…. But I tell you it’s a sight damn worth seeing. They are constantly jumping around stage, standing on the drums, and just intensely jamming your face off. Their vocals are awesome, the musicianship is mind blowing, and they have more vehemence than we have seen in the local area bands yet. You are seriously missing out if you do not see this band.

As with many good bands, Chaos Sauce’s members have changed throughout the years, but many core members have been jamming together in different forms since high school. Most of the band is from the Rockland or Portland, Maine area and their influences include; RHCP, Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, Sound Garden, and The Mars Volta. It all started with a talent show in high school where they tied for first….

CS: “Todd actually tied an egg to his forehead and kicked it…”

Way Live Should Be: “How do you decide what covers you do? What is the process in creating your originals?”

CS: “The vocals often decide our choices of songs, and obviously we look to certain bands. Usually someone proposes something and then we decide as a band. Our originals just start as jams, evolve, go through a very organic process and usually the vocals come last. We just kick out some beats and build up from there.”

WLSB: “Where did the name Chaos Sauce come from?”

CS: **some muttering about a dog named Chaos** “Well basically its meant to have many different meanings and to be very interpretive. We are large groups of friends switching it up on stage… it’s a huge creative.. sauce. It’s a creative chaos… its what it needs to be I guess.”

WLSB: “How would you describe your music?”

CS: “Its very experimental; we play with a lot of different time signatures; really keeps people guessing, interested, and it’s a challenge. It sounds like Chaos, but we are constantly reaching new levels. We like to try and bring a new musical act to the scene, something our audience would have no prior experience with… a feeling of going somewhere you haven’t gone before. Maybe that means you can’t follow everything if you just hear us once.. it takes practice. I think its important that crowd doesn’t know what the hell is about to happen, but wants it. It’s really about a different way to think about time.”

WLSB: “What has been the band’s most formative experience so far?”

CS: “A few years back some of the band members went to California to see what would happen musically out there. We lived in the ghetto, didn’t really have any electrical equipment, and we couldn’t find work enough to sustain our life style. Yet it was basically a year long writing session… a spiritual journey even. Now, our music reflects that experience… it was a huge part of our life experience so far.”

WLSB: “Anything else you would like to say about the band?”

CS: “Yeah…. We think the best part of our band is that fact that members are constantly filling in, sitting out, rotating… when one of us gets off stage they become part of the audience and its an important part of our band that we have that experience… we are both the producers and the observers of our creative process. Its less formal, very collective, and for us it really works seamlessly”
(I couldn’t agree more.. this is definitely a crucial part of the CS live experience!)

WSLB: “What does the future hold for CS?”

CS: “Well we will be playing gigs throughout the summer in Rockland and we may have a Jersey shore gig… This Friday at the Umaine Augusta campus from 5-10pm we are playing in a competition and the winner opens for Rustic Overtones! Some of our members will be moving around, but the band will keep rocking. We hope to play some festivals… we never turn down a gig. Even if the crowd may not be expecting what we bring, we think we can offer something to everyone. We played Woodman’s recently and weren’t sure how we would be received… but it ended up being an awesome experience. We play as we are and who we are every show no matter the venue or crowd.”

Thanks so much to Chaos Sauce for hanging out with The Way Live Should Be on Friday… we had a fucking blast at your show.

Collaborative review by Heather Omand and Kim Morrison

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hot Day at the Zoo: Stringin Unity Along Sat April 17

Hot Day at the Zoo played in Unity, Me last night at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts. If you have never experienced this band, as was the case with me prior to last night, I highly recommend going to see them open for Railroad Earth Thursday, May 13th in Portland. Hot Day at the Zoo as I saw them last night is Jon Cumming (banjo, dobro, vocals), Michael Dion (guitar, harmonica, vocals,) Jed Rosen (upright bass, vocals), and JT Lawrence (mandolin, vocals). If you are into the bluegrass scene then I would compare them to Yonder Mountain String Band in some ways (even playing a few of the same traditional tunes), although if Yonder has their heads in the clouds then Hot Day at the Zoo have their feet firmly planted on the ground. Their sound is so full of earthy soul, traditional bluegrass, and a certain unique element that leads their fans to describe their sound as “zoograss”.

One of the first aspects of their dynamic sound that struck me was their exquisitely high level of energy. Bluegrass often has elements of solidarity and soul combined with extended jamming, but HDATZ lead me to wonder how bluegrass can be so badass… I was almost headbanging at one point! The band is exquisitely capable of pushing their music to higher and higher levels of intensity using a traditional (bluegrass) medium of expression of intense emotionality and spirituality. Jeff Austin, mandolin player of Yonder Mountain, once said “bluegrass is as old as dirt” and I think Hot Day at the Zoo have found a way to bring a deeply traditional sound into the modern scene like none other. I think the banjo is a an iconic example of this; Cumming is an excellent picker able to elicit almost alternative sounds from a most traditional instrument. Songs played included “No Expectations” originally by the Rolling Stones, “Foxy Lady” the infamous Jimi tune (INCREDIBLE interpretation of this song… loved it!), and many of their own tunes including “Long Way Home”, “Mercy of the Sea”, and Cumming’s “Fire Down the Road”. Influences include many traditional bluegrass songs, the Dead, the Beatles, and Johnny Cash.

Most of the band has been playing for seven years, with the exception of Lawrence who joined about a year and half ago. However, they play with a kind of cohesion and chemistry that is so infectious that you, the audience, feel like part of the family. The mandolin is often so extreme and vibrant (paired with those wonderful “mandolin faces”) and downright pretty that you can’t avoid being swept away. The ability of the mandolin and banjo to blend, and then duel, and then become one again really blew my mind. Their music as a whole is so full of earthiness and quintessence that it literally invokes images of an almost desert peacefulness; vast, wide open spaces where man is humbled. Some aspects of this solid sound include the bassist’s jazzy references. Rosen alternated between a gorgeous traditional upright bass and “Black Betty”; an electric standing bass that he had purchased that day at Down Home Music in Waterville, ME (yay for supporting local business!). When I asked Rosen about the differences between the two he mentioned that the traditional upright was, “naturally acoustic, more organic, and slappable” while the electric was, “a whole new experience and really requires adjusting the way I play. It has a different tone and a rounder sound that really fills the chords.” Apparently it doesn’t work with the slapping style however as, “I slapped the E string right off of it today!” The audience’s reaction to the new toy; “That bass just put a shot put through my chest!” (thanks to Noah S).

Again, HDATZ’s real power is in their ability to become their music and collectively control the audience. The mandolin serenades and lifts you, the bass grounds you, the twang of the banjo (personally my favorite instrument of all time) moves you, and the acoustic guitar and elements of harmonica hold it all together. And please don’t forget their ability to beautifully belt out tunes that invoke and fulfill the needs of the human soul. In fact, Dion, who plays the guitar and harmonica and sings, also plays a really incredible instrument called the cajon that has a lot of history to it. It essentially looks like a wooden box that Dion plays beats on, but that becomes a percussion sound I have never before experienced. When asked about it Dion said, “It’s a traditional Afro Peruvian instrument that essentially has an internal snare drum. Its really an entire drum kit in a box”. Look it up folks; combining solidarity, history, and culture… I love it! The elements of traditionality in their music bring the human psyche to a feel good frenzy as only great bluegrass can… but HDATZ keeps an edgier feel to their music that is a new element for me and really keeps the listener interested. Their use of suspenseful pauses accents their music and allows it to overload your senses. As a band HDATZ combines jazz and classical references with a unique zoograss sound. I highly, highly recommend seeing this band live; remember: Thursday, May 13th they open up for Railroad Earth in Portland, ME… it’s going to be an existential experience.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dimestock...Saturday Night!

Saturday night at Dimestock was also wonderful. We were unfortunately kind of hung over and couldn't make it down to Dimestock until around 7.... So our night started with Hangtime!

Hangtime...aka My Name is Josh (?)...
These kids improve every time we see them. We were tipped off on Friday night and informed that the guys would all be playing with their shirts off. I think the band decided that the sexiness would be far too distracting and take away from their music, so instead they all wore sunglasses and hats with an "E" on them.....Clever.
Q: So, what's the E stand for?
A: Ummmm....Excellent?

Anyway, They generally start off the show pretty low key, creeping up with higher energy in each song, and then BAM, they're totally musically fused. You feel it as they're all feelin' it. Hangtime is pretty fun to watch on stage. You can catch them dancing all silly and fun-like, it adds to their character.
The singer blended with their style much better this time around, he follows the crests and falls of the music well, and they totally redeemed themselves with a full out cover of Fire on the Mountain. Their originals were great, a bit jammy with some funk and grit (Frit?). They've got some free-form structural style going on that is quite enjoyable....the music seems to come in waves at times. Influences include Lotus, Phish, MGMT, and the Chili Peppers.
Our favorite song of the evening: Surprise Reggae. This song is on their myspace page, Check it:

You can catch these guys next at the area's local festival...

The Running Gags
are always super fun to see. They put on a hell of a performance, playing a mix of originals and covers. Seriously, who does covers of 'Sweet Dreams' and Bloodhound Gang's 'Bad Touch'? These guys.
The sax and drums keep you grounded with continuity of sound, while the guitar shreds and the bass slaps with ridiculous flamboyant banter-filled shenanigans.They can easily rock out with raunchy power chords and heavy bass lines, and then switch it up with some funk and down right pretty riffs, even a touch of jazz when the sax really gets going. They wail, they rap, they funk, and can even be lyrically vindictive. Whatever they're doing, it seems they have the ability to summon and build a crowd.
The highlight of the show for us was seeing the sax player (the drummer's father, I believe!) put down his sax and get up on the mic to sing 'Roadhouse Blues' by The Doors. He really belted that song out, and honestly it was rather unexpected!
The Running Gags have been playing together for about two years, and a few of their influences include Tool, Primus, Chili Peppers, Jim Morrison, and Tom Scott. They generally play in the Portland area.

Smells Like the 90's

Oh, the 90's.....there were so many ups and downs. Which is basically how I feel about these guys. I didn't get to see their whole show, but I'm pretty sure they were playing some Cake, and then some other decent covers, having fun and playing well....Then I went downstairs again and they were playing Godsmack and maybe even Bush (Breathe in, breathe out....Gavin Rossdale shut the fuck up!) I would say the 90's couldn't have stooped lower than Godsmack and Bush if they tried. (Maybe Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit though?) 90's covers...I guess someone has to do it...?

Bootiddy may have the capability to guide me during a temporary loss of my mind….but drunk at the bar..errrrmmmm.
I think I like what these guys are doing individually…but I don’t see the chemistry coming together properly on stage.
Hangtime joined Bootiddy on stage for the last few minutes of the show. I liked this. Hangtiddy=rad.

Chaos Sauce Owns. I don't know where these guys have been hiding, but this is the first time I'd seen them and I wasn't even prepared for the insanity that is Chaos Sauce. They are tenacious. I think you seriously missed out if you were located upstairs for the duration of their performance.

Chaos Sauce, even though playing for very few people towards the end of the evening, raged with raw energy and incredible talent. They even managed to drown out the horrible sound of the fire alarm. A fair amount of originals were played, and they did some epic covers too. Tenacious D, a couple RHCP tunes, a couple Rage tunes, and even a great Biggie song.
Anyone that is on stage contributing to the musical insanity that is Chaos Sauce are wildly active, headbanging, banging on cowbells...and ready to fuck shit up (...mostly musically). I look for this in a band. I'm pretty sure they could play anywhere and be ready to annihilate. The lead guitarist has the capability of jumping probably clear over my head while shredding an insane guitar solo, and the drums are phenomenal! The drums seem to heavily steer the band in many of their songs, switching up tempos a bit and exaggerating off beats.
This is not music for the weak of heart, or those that like to bumpngrind. You need to be ready to rock the fuck out and have your face melted.
Come support Chaos Sauce at The Dime Friday, April 23rd. Do it!

Overall, we feel that more people should have been out for Dimestock. Many of the people in attendance were band members, supporting other band members. This is awesome, but it made me sad that a 10$ cover charge is something that people are bitching about. Suck it up. Ok, maybe The Dime could do something like 5 bucks to get in after 10PM? Whatever, we’re looking forward to next year already.

Again...All photos were not taken by us and are being used without permission.

Collaborative Review written by Kim Morrison and Heather Omand

Monday, April 12, 2010

DIMESTOCK...Friday Night!

For Starters....We would like to thank everyone who helped make Dimestock happen! We’d also like to apologize (kind of) for any drunken rambling regarding music (Kim), and also if we didn’t get a chance to see your band or have nothing to say about you. We broke this review up into two for Friday and Saturday night, and separated bands so you can skim down to your own band, you pompous bastards. We still love you though.

If you didn't go to Dimestock....that sucks.

The Hampden Mountain Boys
started Friday night off. Where were you? Ok, so maybe it was 5:30 on a Friday afternoon...but the guys played great. It's refreshing to hear something different in the area. They whip out the banjo from time to time, and have a harmonica player who apparently has 14 harmonicas (but only 4 work?)...Also, I have heard rumors of a PBR microphone, but haven't experienced it yet (apparently it is difficult to set up...or maybe it's a myth.) They have some well contrived and captivating originals, with a folk-rock feel to them. Generally, the covers they do are indie-folk bluegrass type tunes. They did a great job with Uncle Tupelo's "New Madrid" and played some Grateful Dead as well, starting off with Friend of the Devil, into I Know You Rider, and then back into Friend of the Devil.
The vocals are smooth with some excellent grittiness...Reminds me of Tom Waits at times.

Q: Are you all from Hampden?
A: 'None of us are from Hampden, but when we were more bluegrassy we felt like we needed to be named after a mountain, and the landfill was the biggest thing in the area. So we called ourselves the Hampden Mountain boys after the landfill. We figure we are little better than trash. We’ve been playing 1.5-2years. I guess we'd describe ourselves as cosmic American music.'

We like to describe them as psychedelic indie country. They are (accidentally) super hip, and we love it. Influences include Bob Dylan, Blitzen Trapper, The Band, and probably PBR and whiskey.

Suit Mullet

Suit Mullet! A sweet band with a slightly awkward name, but we appreciate it's originality. Here we've got drums, two guitarists, funky bass, some synth, and
they often have a saxophone player join them, who is also a member of The Running Gags. Their covers included Blackstreet's No Diggity (we liked the way they worked it...), Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles, a very sexy cover of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On, a couple of excellently done MGMT covers, and their cover of Bill Wither's Use Me as well as Stevie Wonder's Superstition were fantastically jammed upon and danced around. The tunes are smooth, and the vocalists can roar. Great energy on stage, always had fun seeing them, and we even got some rapping out of the guest sax player. ("Ohhh snap, this kid raps?")

For their last song, one of the guitarists from The Running Gags as well as one of the guitarists from Restless Groove joined them on the stage. This jam was tight, and classified as 'electronic reggae rave' if I remember correctly. It reminded me a bit of Lotus, with a heavier funk kick.
Influences include Tool, Franz Ferdinand, Incubus, Weezer, Cake, Radiohead, James Taylor, Hewie Lewis.

Raw Chicken was a great addition to the mix at Dimestock, and it was not your typical college bar band. They were playing some great, tight bluegrass, and the older crowd was feeling it. They would be the type of thing you would see outside in some North East downtown. I would love to see a full show from this band.

Funk Thrust
never fails to put on a hell of a show. Also known as Funk Shway/Schway? Who cares. But Funk Thrust is a cooler name. It's been said that these guys don't really have time for originals...So, here's some of their covers: James Brown- Soul Man, The Animals- House of the Rising Sun, Rage Against the Machine- Killing in the Name, ACDC- TNT, a couple Sublime tunes, among a couple other funky classics, some Reel Big Fish, and Incubus. Needless to say, the crowd is always moving for these guys, which is crucial. If you're not going to play any originals you better be playing Epic covers. They have a way of executing their covers as if they were originals. The 3 horn players are a perfect addition to this band, and make Funk Thrust one of the only bands in the area with a horn section. They're speeecial. (I love horns, and think it adds 5 times more energy to their performance)

The performance at Dimestock was just about as good as always. However, I don't think the horns played on enough of the songs...umm, how can you play a Reel Big Fish song and not have the horns play?
These guys have gone through a couple different singers, and the latest singer is great. Anyone that can belt out House of the Rising Sun with raw energy like Eric Burdon...well, fuck yes. The guitarist is incredibly nasty in the most modest manner. The bass lines are important in such a funk-driven band. The bassist knows this and takes care of business, no problem. Special guest Friday evening at Dimestock? Restless Groove's drummer. Their original drummer had to see a guy about a car...

Frank and the Red Hots
are fun, tight, and funky. I didn't see their whole show, but some of the covers I heard from them were Roadhouse Blues by The Doors, Aeroplane by RHCP, Why Don't We Do it in the Road by The Beatles, and One Way Out by The Allman Brothers. All very well done!
Unfortunately I haven’t seen them do anything that really makes them stick out in the music scene around here. I’d like to see them headline, maybe upstairs at The Dime some night to see what they’re really capable of.

Restless Groove straight fucking delivered Friday night! These guys always rock The Dime, but Friday it felt as though they were playing with extra confidence and energy (this is what we've personally been looking for!) They played many of their originals that will be on their new cd...coming very soon. It seems like they are extending their jams....They played What Time Is It by The Spin Doctors and jammed out for a while. Their solos and jams can be almost spacey and ethereal, and then they'll spin you in the other direction with heavy face-melting insanity. (That's quotable.)

They had a guest rapper up on stage for a couple of songs...Downey's mad skillz kept the energy flowing. This kid can rap.
Restless is the only band I've heard that incorporates a Super Mario Brothers jam into their show. Dude...this shits awesome. They also play a cover of The Talking Head's Life During Wartime...the performance of this song on Friday night is the best we've seen yet. We got to hear a few Primus tunes, which is always greatly appreciated. On another note....The drummer for Restless Groove is insane. He's all like 'Yea, I shatter cymbals, what of it?' Yes folks, he shattered a cymbal...and we think it's because he recently spent some time with the drummer from Styx. He also likes to go crazy with double bass with little expression on his face, twirlin' a drumstick and drinkin' a beer...I feel a song forming here...
How did they close out Dimestock night 1, you ask? With a fucking epic Herbie Hancock jam. Joining them on stage were the horn players and guitarist from funk thrust, and the two guitarists from Suit Mullet..and maybe some other people...I always bitched about how everyone plays guitar. Everyone. But when you get 5 nasty guitar players, a funky bassist, a crazy drummer, and some horns up on stage to jam on a jazz-rock fusion classic...magical things happen. Thank You, we love you!

Thanks again to all the musicians who played...we love what you do, and we love to see everyone jamming together!

Here's our Requests: No More RHCP covers unless it's off a CD that came out before Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik. Hampden Mt Boys and Funk Thrust need to collaborate on a cover of The Band's Don't Do It. Funk Thrust to cover any Aquabats song. More Funk, all the time, everywhere. And lastly, where the hell are the keys? More keys please.

All photos were not taken by us and are being used without permission. Thanks!

Collaborative review by Kim Morrison, Heather Omand, and Beth Saker

Sunday, April 11, 2010

4/10/10 ~ The Brew ~ Portsmouth Music Hall ~ Portsmouth, NH

I've been seeing this band for almost two years to the date and it seems like the rest of the world is finally catching on. Some have criticized the band for changing its sound recently for the purpose of winning over more main stream audiences but I am pretty sure this is not the case. The band has grown leaps and bounds and wants to move forward as opposed to doing the same old thing. I will admit many of the newer songs don't do it for me but I feel like the band and most of the crowd is really feeling them. Even with changes in the song many "jam kids" have stuck around and we put up with the "newbs" just fine.

The first set started with a lot of energy with the band playing tight as hell. The Sharks intro was the way I like it but far from the nastiest I've ever seen. Hello Goodbye was played pretty fast and lacked the cool solo but the vocal jam section made up for this. The Hunters included a very interesting prog'd out intro before moving to the normal strumming intro. The real jam highlight of this set was the Control where Dave really got to stretch his legs. Overall I think I enjoyed this set the most and seeing them in a big room was a dream come true.

Set number two opened with very well received Foreplay / Longtime and although I'm not a fan of such radio staples I will admit it sounded amazing in a large room. I got very excited for The Flood having not seeing one since 2008 and some douche bags on the floor turned it into a lighter band song.... The old school Fly By Night was a real treat as always and I'm glad it will (presumably) end up on The DVD. I wish the band would have had a little more time for the Swiss encore but it was pretty nasty yet bottled up.

Overall the band put on a great show for a commercial DVD that should be out soon enough. I'm sure we will keep seeing a good mix of styles in Brew shows and hopefully some more sick jam style show for us veterans. Overall I've had nothing but great times over the past two years with the band and hope our good relations will continue. I can't give anyone (audio) copy's of the show at this time but if you want to come listen to it with me we can work something out.

4/10/10 ~ Portsmouth Music Hall ~ Portsmouth, NH

The Brew with The Han Solos opening

{8:00pm - 11:05pm}

1. Intro > Chance Reaching > Castle Walls > Sharks In The Pool, Hello Goodbye*# > Slipping Through The City#, New Funk, No Future, Hunters Moon > First of Things% > Seen It All# > Control > Looking Down

2. Foreplay / Longtime**#, Eyes Of The Giant%, The Flood#, Sad But True > Fly By Night, The Girl's What I Want, I Do Believe%, No Rest > Poison Stone, Faces, Whose The Boss

E: Radio Swiss

{* The Beatles, ** Boston, # Matt Paine on pedal steel, % Seth Campbell on flute}

Friday, April 9, 2010

Restless Groove's New Album: Initial Impressions!

Recently, the members of The Way Live Should Be were allowed to get a sneak preview of Restless Groove’s new album in its first round of done. While there was some decent feedback offered, the results of all their hard work and valuable time blew expectations clean out of the water. Don’t get me wrong, Restless will always be fantastic live, but one thing I learned the other night was how much the band still has to offer their fans; I get the feeling there is more and more and more to Restless Groove than meets the eye. Fans of RG really have no idea of what is coming their way.

It is evident that the band has put a lot of time into this album and the "tightness" of their playing was evident. Genres touched on include a Michael Jackson influenced sound to 70’s prog rock with some definite references to early Red Hot Chili Peppers. The real highlight of the early mix is use of guitar effects, more then I have seen them use live. Also, the strength and undercurrent of the bass and drums lent serious cohesion to the album. Although the sound overall is structured and well organized many of the songs had an “extended jam” quality. I feel that I, and at least a few other Restless fans, have longed for this in their live scene and I love that we will get it on their new album. And though I use the term “structure” have no fear; even their slightly less jammed out tunes are filled with "face melting" solos that keep it fresh and interesting. The albums features many songs that have already debuted live but includes a new song March of the Kodiaks. I feel this LP has a little bit for everyone and the end result should be even more exciting.

It really struck me that there is a side to Restless Groove on this album that I had never experienced before; I think there is some serious channeling of their past experiences together. I can only tell you that it was an excellent feeling getting a sneak preview of this undercurrent of past, meaning, and sheer chemistry. My most, favoritest part though… was finally really seeing the band getting high off their own sound. The best bands I have ever seen were completely overcome by their own music and just as subject to its compelling nature as you, the listener, are. This confidence and ability to be taken away by their own creation is the most direct way to tap into a crowd’s collective mindset and energy. If they can bring that confidence, that overwhelming quality of their music to the stage then there is no stopping Restless Groove and this new CD.

collaborative review by Seth Baker and Heather Omand

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jamantics at The Barley House- Concord, NH

The Jamantics show at the Barley House in Concord, NH Friday night was exceptional. They are another incredibly high-energy band who bring a unique, talented sound and a deeply elevated feeling to their fans. Jamantics is drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, fiddle, and bass. Their sound is a beautiful blend of jamming, bluegrass and pure jamantics! Some of their songs even have a slight Celtic feel. When they first started playing, I was blown away by their ability to create a wall of sound that you cannot avoid being moved by. If you have ever felt music circuit through your veins like a fiery, sweet drug, then you can relate when I use the word “elevated” to describe this band.

One of the many wonderful aspects of Jamantics singular sound is the fiddle. All instruments allow their player some element of sound level control, but it really struck me the way the fiddle was able to, in the same song, be a soft undercurrent sound that sweetly carried you along, or become a powerfully uplifting ingredient of the music that forcefully lifted you away. Another secret to the wall of sound was the interplay between the electric guitar and the fiddle; they would often take turns playing very similar parts of the music, or play very similar riffs at the same time; becoming a completely new sound (new sounds are exciting!) It’s music that is very empowering and pure in feeling all at once. The band as a whole just plays with you… building you up and up, then grounding you, then very simply lifting you up again. The wonderful thing about the whole experience is that they seem to be completely overcome by their own sound and to be just as subject to its compelling nature as you, the listener, are.

Jamantics is a band that is reminiscent of the subtle solidarity and connectedness I often associate with traditional bluegrass tunes, yet their music is far more than bluegrass… its very jammy and often reminds me in some ways of Moe or older Strangefolk. They have some awesome originals, including Geology and Outburst (which I think everyone can identify with: “sometimes things just come to me and I just have to let them out”). The drummer has some mean talent as well as the ability to keep a solid rhythm, while also singing many of the tunes Jamantics play. His voice has an incredible range of highs and lows. The bassist was solid. He kept a great rhythm and occasionally executed great, funky solos. The acoustic guitarist is a crucial aspect of the bluegrassy unification in their music, and was perhaps the most consistent source of sheer energy. (and definitely had the biggest smile!) I am under the impression that he writes a fair number of their clever, classy lyrics as well. The electric guitarist is capable of some serious face melting solos as well as, apparently, an Amazing behind-the-back solo. His stage presence is Epic, and the guitar face is priceless.

The peak of the show for me was a cover of The Devil Went Down to Georgia, on which, of course, the fiddle player and electric guitarist really proved themselves to be, without a doubt, exceedingly talented. Truly though, it didn’t take that song to show that the whole band is amazing individually, and their chemistry as a whole is where they really shine. On one of their last songs, the electric guitarist broke out the slide (which is sometimes just a lighter), the fiddle player switched to acoustic guitar, the bassist played bongos, and the acoustic guitar player picked up the bass. I find interchanging instruments to be an exciting aspect of any band. Jamantics is an amazing up and coming sound, voted the second best band in NH by The Hippo, and their energy, talent, and versatility is mind blowing. Go. See. Jamantics!

Collaborative review by Heather Omand and Kim Morrison.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Woodmans Open Mic Night 3/31/10

The first outing for the "Way Live Should Be Crew" at Woodman's Orono featured Camel Lights, PBRs, shots, police and near panic attacks. The excuse of course was Heathers "A" on her Capstone and this put us into rare form. The crowd was warm, receptive and ready to dance to some local music. In the worlds of one famous local concert goer at the end of the night "Wednesday is the new Thursday".

The PA was low to start with Michael Powers singing Wilco's Someone Else's Song and Dylan's You Ain't Going Nowhere and this served as a chill highlight of night. Other people came and went from the "stage" including some lady doing a Jewel tune. The vibe and PA level allowed for socialization as well as musical enjoyment simultaneously at this point. Electric instruments slowly got added to the mix with members of Funk Thrust, Hangtime and The Hampden Mountain Boys playing together. Sadly no members of Restless Groove where present but we all got over it. The early threat of Hottie and Blowfish music never came to the fore front much to my personal disappointment but I'm told it will happen soon enough. The gentlemen who sang with Hangtime last weekend did some solo acoustic tunes and sang with the collective band much to the drunken crowds delight. The evening in the bar peaked with a New Hampshire native bringing the Hip Hop vibe ironically at an establishment called Woodmans. In conclusion Woodman's opening mic night is well run and a great midweek excuse to party in public to a great mix of music.

Well I can't tell you anything
You don't already know
I keep on trying
I should just let it go