2006 was unquestionably the coolest year of music i have ever experienced. now that we are 12 days into the new year, i think its time i finish this enormous task of trying to sum up what a great year it was and all, or at least most of, the shows that i was lucky enough to catch.
06 started with a minnesota music lovers dream come true. trampled by turtles, the white iron band, god johnson, and the big wu all taking the stage at the roy. it was a helluva show and a helluva party.
what else happened in january? who knows man.
2/7 STS9 - sound tribe sector nine at teh fine line music cafe. fucking awesome. those guys kick ass with their spacey techno jams. also got to see htem play first avenue in the fall.
2/17 Trampled by turtles headline their first show ever at First ave. now TBT had played the main room at 1st ave several times before, opening for Ike Reilly thanksgiving eve in 05, opening for low and camper von beetoven at some point, and low as well i think, but to headline 1st avenue? i was so excited to see my boys get that gig. it was fantastic. the fucking white iron band and charlie parr opened the show.
the very next night
god johnson at pizza luce in duluth. they opened for fat ma rooney, and i remember thinking that the lineup that night was unjust. the GJ shouldve closed out the night, but what can you do? this was the year of god johnson, in my ever so humble opinion. they have BLOWN UP in the mpls music scene, and the wednesday night show at the cabooze (a.k.a. 'the service' , 'church', 'the altar') has absolutley become a staple in my life over the last year, and i absolutley fucking love it.
Say what??!! No phish tour? Whatever am I to do in the summer??
For the seventh year in a row, I kicked off the summer with the Big Wu Family Reunion. Now in its 9TH year, there was speculation that ticket sales for this years reunion would decide whether or not there would be a tenth. I have no numbers to report, but it has recently been announced that there will in fact be a #10. Held over Memorial Day weekend, the reunion is, for many Midwest heads, the official start of festival season. Tis a much looked forward to event, not only for its symbolic marking of the changing of the seasons, but of course for the talented and fresh lineup of music that the Wu treats us to each year. A diverse and scattered lineup it has always been, with past acts including Michael Franti and Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphreys McGee, Happy Apple, Particle, Railroad Earth, the Radiators, Leftover Salmon, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and of course regional favorites like The White Iron Band and local heroes Trampled by Turtles.
This year the highlights were the North Mississippi All Stars, O’Teil and the Peacemakers, Cornmeal, God Johnson, Hackensaw Boys, All Mighty Senators, Pnuma Trio, Tea Leaf Green, Hyentyte, Down Lo and, of course, two nights of the Big Wu. It was one of the strongest lineups yet for the Reunion. A fantastic weekend all around. Plenty of old and brand new friends to chill with and tons of great music to boot. I have met so many wonderful folks over the years at the reunion. The vibe there is always fantastic. It really is like a family reunion. If you had an awesome fucking family who knew how to party.
June 11th. Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band. This is American music if there has ever been such a thing. The most hoedownin, goodtimin, gospelspittin, americannin, soul protest roots folk music imaginable. Before the show, having dinner with a seventy something year old Bruce fan and her posse, it was striking how similar bruuuuceheads and other heads are, how they talk about shows past as if they were an integral part of their lives. An absolutely fantastic show.
Tom petty and Pearl Jam june 26th. The first of a two night stand at the xcel, it was the second time I seen petty and the first for pearl jam. Mostly new original material from Eddie and the boys, but it was fun to see and remember how they helped shape a generation about ten years ago. Relix, (THE Rolling Stone of the jam band scene) ran a cover story of Pearl Jam calling them Men of the Hour, also claiming that they were this generations grateful dead or some shit. I don’t buy it. They are definitely an important part of the early nineties music scene, but that comparison seems like quite a stretch to me. Best Petty I seen. American girl with vedder was sweet, except that his mic was not on for the better part of the song. When he came back out for the encore, he proclaimed ‘is this thing on?!’ into the mic to the delight of the crowd.
July 4th at excelsior lake. Trampled by Turtles. Fireworks. Awesome.
Basilica Block Party downtown featured the biggest crowd I have ever seen at a trampled by turtles show - several thousand for sure - that was pretty fucking sweet, and the animal liberation orchestra was there too. They didn’t sound that great then, but I have heard them on cirius satelite radi station #17, jam on, lately singing some silly song about reefer. That was my first basilica block party. I would go back again if I could get in free again. And if TBT was playing again. Otherwise I would probably skip it.
Green man in Duluth. Disappointing turnout. Teague Alexy and God Johnson and trampled by turtles was reason enough to make the trip to Duluth, but I was not persuaded to stay the second night. Id like to make it back to greenman if there is such a thing next year.
10K - anyone who was there, (there were about 14000 of us) knows this was THE festival of the summer. This is a festival that will give the biggest names in the festival business- bonnaroo, jamcruise, etc a run for their money in the next few years. A young 4 years old with a growing base, 10k has brought the biggest names on the jamband circuit to us. Phil Lesh and friends put on the most spectacular dead-related show I have ever seen. Hands down. Better than The Dead in 2003. with bob Dylan. Better than phil lesh and friends (with very special guest bob weir) at bonnaroo in 2002. fucking phenomenal. The Wheel?! Sick. Ryan adams’ ‘when the stars go blue’ was a highlight of the summer, even tho it was the very first time I had heard the song. Also ryan adams’ cold roses, which would make an appearance later on in the summer by the artist himself at lollapalooza. And…Areyoufuckingkiddingme?!?!?! SHAKEDOWNSTREET was pure magic and sexy and had the place in a fucking ultra funked out disco frenzy.
The (Benevento/Russo) Duo, supposedly with Mike Gordon, featured Gordon on only a few tracks, one of which was FOAM, (and it just keeps getting thicker…and im fallllllllllllling into a deep well….)
Trey and Mike and the duo, I told my lovely traveling companion/ sexy girlfriend, is the closest thing you will ever see to phish, unless phish does that reunion tour in 2009. (sidenote- a good friend of mine’s good friend recently ran into trey at an Atlanta sushi joint and trey reprted that the band would indeed be reuniting at some point). It was very nice to see, a comforting and heartwarming thing indeed, two of the fellas from that crazy Vermont band on stage at once.
Other highlights, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, Green Lemon and The Big Wu.
One weekend off, then off to Chicago with Brianna for lollapalooza. we rode the megabus down there, a nice and cheap way to go, and had an absolute blast. It was my very first time in chicago. It is a beautiful city I plan on spending much more time in, and lollapalooza is a spectacular thing. Many many many many bands. 140+ on eight stages. Three days. Ryan adams did dead covers?! 'hes gone' and 'franklins tower'. I wondered how many people there were familiar with those fairly obscure dead songs. Raconteurs covering gnarls barkleys’ ‘crazy’. Gnarls Barkley covering Nancy Sinatra’s song from that tarantino flick. Red hot chili peppers *teasing* but not quite playing, both the clash’s London calling (for bri, one of her most revered bands of all time) and public enemy’s your gonna get yours (one of my most revered bands of all time). Excellent show. Other surprises/highlights included lady sovereign, thievery corporation, Matisyahu. Sleater Kinney’s last show ever. Rock. Manu Chau??!! Do you know about this guy? You should.
Log Jam at harmony park. Perhaps the fewest people I have ever seen at harmony park. That was allright tho, it fit the vibe of this intimate, smaller festival. Trampled by turtles played twice, and half a set or so backing the brilliant guitarist/singer/songwriter/vagrant Charlie Parr. White iron band knows how to throw a party like few other bands on earth. Last years log jam, held in Ely MN, 4 hours north of the cities and attended by no more than the white iron band itself and a hundred or so of their closest friends, was a helluva good time on the grounds of the winton (outside of ely) gun club. This year was better, quite a few more people but still had the same ‘were all buddies, now lets get fucking wasted’ kind of atmosphere. Cheers of Log Jam! Log Jam! Log Jam! Log Jam! helped build the excitement prior to this celebration of debauchery throughout the year at nearly every White Iron Band show. Cheers got louder and more focused as the festival drew near. When the weekend finally arrived, those same cheers gradually became celebrations of drunkenness, as in Booze jam! Booze jam! Booze jam! Booze jam! and eventually Booze Booze! Booze Booze! Booze Booze! Booze Booze! Awesome. A rockin good time. A hootenanny if I have ever seen one.
Harvest Fest at Harmony Park was certainly the most off the hook harvest I have been to, and I have been to a few. Arrested Development was back for the second year in a row, along with the All Mighty Senators from Baltimore, Balkan Beat Box, Unity from Wisconsin (featuring a gorgeous young blonde dreadlocked keyboardist extraordinaire) and Wookiefoot put out a wonderfully welcoming vibe and I’m guessing everyone else felt as at home as I did. The welcoming vibe was surpassed only by the outlandish spectacle of the fire dancers and the relentless eye candy. everyone dressed up like it was some sort of wierd hippy fairy costume party. fire spinning, fire twirlers, fire spitters, fires and drum circles until dawn, did i mention fire?? fire fire fire! light up your lighter!!
kasabian at the fine line on october 5th was a fantastic show. it was my first proper brit rock show, and it was really cool to see a band that is so popular overseas in such a small venue like that. they spent a good part of the summer opening for bloody oasis (!) but the states just havent quite caught on to their hardcore phsycadelic rock yet. im confident that we will.
RAQ, from Vermont, was at the cabooze on my birthday in october, that was a good show. the next night the ike reilly asassanation played at valleyfair. or should i say valleyscare. that was a trip. i've had the pleasure of meeting ike and his band a couple times, and on this occasion, brianna and jim walsh and ike and his band went to the liffey after having a few beers on the tour bus. as it happens, jims brother terry walsh was playing at the liffey that night, and after a few irish coffes and more beers, jim and ike had an drunken old man freestyle rap battle that was extremely vulgar and disrespectful to eachothers mothers. coincidentally, there was a wedding reception that night there and the groom was a huge ike reilly fan. sweet.
the next night, tampled by turtles headlined their secnd show at first avenue. im not sure if either show sold out or not, but it was definitel close on both occasions. they had a phenomenal year, and they are a phenomenal band. phenomenal.
I think this was this first summer since 2000 or 01 that I didn’t see Widespread Panic. However, I did see a live simulcast of a show back in May and and saw them october 22nd at the northrop. good show.
ike reilly played first avenue the night before thanksgiving for something like the sixth year in a row, and it was a fantastic time.
the big wu recently announced an extended hiatus, after never doing so before in over 14 years of playing together. although they lost lead guitarist jason fladager, aka jflad, in 2002 i beleive, he occasionally sits in with them and did so for an entire show on december 29th at the cedar cultural center. remarkably it was the first time brianna or i had ever been to that cozy little gymnasium like venue. that was a fun show. it was nice to see jason rockin with his former bandmates.
God Johnson throws down every single Wednesday at the cabooze and I have been there most every week for the last year or so. It is a great time. They are certainly one of my favorite bands and i really look forward to checking them out. i really like their new song church tongue. and when they play talking heads covers. scott is a brilliant david byrne. also i love when they cover phish or the stones or stevie wonder, with kevin sinclair kicking ass on the saxophone.
Threres lots and lots more show i wnet to i know but i didnt do a very good job of keeping track of them all and as much as i try to save ticket stubs, sometimes they get lost in the chaos and im left wondering where my money and mind went. in any case, it was a spectacular year and hopefully this year ill be a lil more diligent about writing about all the great music that i come across.
cheers, and rock on.