Monday, November 9, 2009

The Egg Higher Ground Ballroom South Burlington, VT by Katherine McNamara Photos by Simon Yugler

The Egg flawlessly melds instrumental and electronic music to create an ethereal groove. The music gains momentum until it overtakes the venue in ambient vibrations. Earthy base thumps below intermittently funky guitar licks and fantastical electronic meanderings. Already wildly popular in the U.K., The Egg has stepped into the U.S. scene with quiet grandeur, steadily building a reputation from silvery explosive performances at festivals like Echo and venues across the States. The undulating crowd evidenced the growing buzz surrounding the group at Higher Ground on November 4th.
Seldom does an opening act elicit so much fire. If an unsuspecting Lotus fan wandered into Higher Ground early, they were certain to be struck by the lightning storm The Egg conjured there. The sound had seemingly boundless energy, like a rogue wave that flowed between band and crowd, able to swiftly usurp the floor from any unsuspecting feet. Guitarist Matt White carves out enigmatic melodies alongside Ben Cullum’s inventive bass, enhanced by Ned Scott’s superb dance on the keys, and Maff Scott’s vibrant drum beat.
When I, playing devil’s advocate, asked keyboard and vocalist Ned Scott what he would say to a more traditional fan, less inclined to appreciate the electronic aspect of their sound, Ned replied that, just like instruments, electronic equipment “are all tools. Using computers doesn’t necessarily mean not having a human groove. The timing is live – we feed off of the audience.” His brother, drummer Maff Scott, added that navigating electronic music is like operating within “a grid, you can bump anywhere within it – how you break, and where you adjust the volumes prevents the music from sounding rigid.”
Certainly, their music is anything but rigid. The Egg is currently on tour with Lotus. They are working on a new album with Benji Vaughan (better known as the extremely talented Younger Brother).
Do not miss this deliciously elusive sound that delicately fuses shimmering tunes with unstoppable beats.

By Katherine McNamara

Photos by Simon Yugler

EOTO Review Mishawaka Amphitheater by Dave Halchak

EOTO Mishawaka Amphitheater August 14th

EOTO is a band that is constantly evolving, everytime I see them, they seem to expand their sound, their approach of the music, and yes, the crowds continue to grow. Friday night at the Mishawaka Amphitheater was no exception to this general rule of EOTO. The show started off with a dubstepish vibe and I can tell already they've technologically advanced with sample processing and especially their overall sound. Whomp seems to be the theme of the night. Seems like this was what everyone wanted and was hoping for as they strolled up to this beautiful venue on the crisp August night. As the night goes on, it becomes refreshing to hear different "virtual" instruments being used along with live instruments. Overall, this was a very deep, dark set though they do finally break into a nice trancey jam about an hour in which really gets the crowd moving. On a night like tonight, it's very refreshing to hear LIVE intsruments being used in this genre of music. EOTO of August 14, 2009 is very different from EOTO of last week, and EOTO of last year, but in a lot of instances, I believe that is what continues to bring folks back and wanting more.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Phish, Festival 8 - Indio, California - Night 3 - The Final Frontier


Brilliantly, Phish slotted an early afternoon acoustic set. Upon arrival fans were seated and fanning themselves from the blazing heat. I sacrificed being close to the stage for the first few tunes for iced coffee. The half hour wait was plenty worth the pick me up.The boys were arranged on stage completely opposite as they were the night prior with Fishman stage Left. After a gorgeous The Curtain With, Mike questions if we are all sitting because we want to or because we have to or because of "peer pressure". I was sure after standing for so long the night before folks just wanted to enjoy the grass. The venue was glowing with happy shiny people donning remnants and reinterpretations of the night before'sdisguises. Fishman had railroad chatter solo during My Sweet One and the vocal harmonies were pristine. Let Me Lie is one of my favorite new songs. I've heard it several ways now and hearing it stripped down lie this really showed its vulnerability. Bouncing was reignited with some extra Page doing bass work on the lower register of his piano. Trey chimed in with a few recognizable strums introducing an unplugged version of Wilson that the crowd cheered heavily for. Closer to the close of the set Trey commented on the fact that he was told to ask us all to sit down, but he decided against it because he can't sit still, hence Mike's earlier inquiry regarding our sitting.

Acoustic Set:
Water In The Sky, Back On The Train, Brian and Robert, Invisible, Strange Design, Mountains In The Mist, The Curtain With, Army of One, Sleep Again, My Sweet One, Let Me Lie, Bouncing Around The Room, Train Song, Wilson, McGrupp
Encore: Driver, Talk, Secret Smile

With what we thought was "so much time" before the next set we took the trek back to our hotel in Palm Springs. After a moment or two by the pool we realized that we were approaching show time so we headed back from the hotel to the venue. Sadly we realized while driving in that they had begun already. We really weren't situated in our spot until Guelah Papyrus. Undermind proved to be quite refreshing as it was totally retooled with reggae and Cajun notes. This crowd was somewhat subdued like a post work Tuesday happy hour, well to be fair it was more like a Thursday crowd. Several times during the set the huge egg pod torches reacted to Phish's vocals and licks. Sparkle ignited a few glowers to duty. SOAM was lovely, with the boy's nailing golden notes; I couldn't help but have a beach boy moment.

Electric Set 1: AC/DC Bag, Rift, Gotta Jibboo, Heavy Things, Reba, The Wedge, Guelah Papyrus, Undermind, Sparkle, Split Open and Melt

During set break we made our way to watch the ballgame on the dedicated sports screen. World Series fans were abound and with a score of 4-2 yanks, fans sang take me out to the ballgame which proved to be one of those stunning moments for me.

The final set of the weekend opened with an explosive tweezer that weighed bass heavy. Trey took his blazer off to get looser revealing a black T-shirt. A Maze enlivens more glowstickers. Sadly a sure indication that a festival is winding down is that all of the high intensity glow sticks have already been spent and tonight it’s down to the basic dollar store variety. The crowd was battered by sun and the long weekend, but seemed comfortable nevertheless.

Some of the initial installations were wrapped up and their stories and extravagancies coming to a close. Page danced over an organ solo to round out the epic Maze and really brought the tune to a huge full James Browneque level. Free was quite cathartic. Mike had a fat funky solo and Trey had emerged with a full black tea shirt swagger. They looked liked they are getting younger by the minute. Another new delight is Mike's playful sugar shack. Limb by limb came off to me a little cold but came to mount with some awesome pyrotechnic interplay.

To my excitement, I heard the beginning tremblings of a 2001. This call to space donned some seriously disgusting synth and mind melting balloon dna-like illusion work above the crowd. The synergy and unique frequency phish reached could have called UFOs. Throwing in a dangerous Slave, the entire scene had become a full cauldron bubbled over and simmered back down with an Esther and closing naturally with a Tweezer Reprise.
Set 2: Tweezer -> Maze, Free, Sugar Shack, Limb By Limb, Theme From The Bottom, Mike’s Song > 2001 > Light > Slave to the Traffic Light
Encore: Grind, Esther, Tweezer Reprise
After a name naming thank you address from Trey, it was over. Just like that, everyone was hushed out of the concert field.

The weekend wonderland Phish created was now over.
I've been to a lot of festivals, small and large. I had never been to a Phish festival before either, and for a Phish festival this was small in attendence. I give this festival an A+. Every aspect of this festival was well managed, executed and produced, Parking/Traffic, effective staff, Clean and well equipped... I could go on.
It has been quite a journey so far and I've a few of my own thank yous:
PHISH - Thank you for this chance to do something amazing with my time.
Thank You:
Ken, Camelback, Ben and Jerry, Iced Coffee, Various Pairs of Comfortable Shoes (Chacos, Crocos, Convos and Flippos), Trader Joes, Penut Butter and Honey, Coachella Valley Native Americans, Sunscreen, Jamba Juice and Phish's Awesome - Wrist Bands, Lights, Artists, Vendors, Cops, Volunteers, Fans and thank you Healthy Hippie for the voice.

Best Ever,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Phish, Festival 8 - Indio, California - Night 2 - All Hollows Eve


We split from our hotel around 3, and got into the venue around 345. The field was hot and littered with the beginnings of people’s costumery.

There was a signifigant amount of walking involved on this campus with several vigourous security checkpoints. Naturally that has its pros and cons. Major delays will make af ew tempers will flare, especially when someone's going through your things and your favorite band is already playing. Having not received a map or bill of the event yet, I was eager to receive a Phishbill, mocked up as a Broadway playbill. The second page revealed the secret album teaser, Rolling Stones - Exile on Main street. Now, I am a stones fan, but sadly a newbie. I was rooting for MGMT, but surely glad to experience Phish take on the stones.

Set I (Afternoon): Sample In A Jar, The Divided Sky, Lawn Boy, Kill Devil Falls, Bathtub Gin, The Squirming Coil, Runaway Jim > Possum, Run Like An Antelope

The afternoon set was mild and accurate. Dare I say standard fare, but I've nothing bad to say. It felt like good day festival music. After the day set we took to the campgrounds to survey the living scene. Shakedown tended to operate in pockets and the majority seemed to be t shirts and stickers, as glass is not welcome in these parts due to horse hoof sensitivities. After enjoying the sunset and temperature cool-off it was time to head back into the main field for set 1 of the evening festivities.

Costumes began emerging out of tents to be tweaked and adjusted in car mirrors and windows. It's really something to see people putting their creative energy into an identity for 1 night. Couples, kids, staff, groups of friends, in masquerade sporting packaged costumes, 3D concepts, politics and current event in style. It’s a portrait of the times and with the stage Phish has set, everyone is part of the show. The lights dimmed to Thriller splashing over the audience. Quickly on the lcd monitors a video montage pulsed to a 99 album tribute mash up that really got the crowd pumped and in a dancing spirit. Phish walked out and started in on their journey with interpreting this epic album.

As rumored 3 horn players stepped out and brought the show to a bright and soulful place. Sharon Jones joined soon thereafter and elevated every note to a new place. Naturally Loving Cup was a crowd pleaser and really kicked off an evening of intense glowsticking.

Set II (Night) - The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St.: Rocks Off, Rip This Joint, Shake Your Hips, Casino Boogie, Tumbling Dice, Sweet Virginia, Torn and Frayed, Sweet Black Angel, Loving Cup, Happy, Turd On The Run, Ventilator Blues > I Just Want To See His Face, Let It Loose, All Down The Line, Stop Breaking Down, Shine A Light Soul Survivor

I have to admit to being at a loss of too many words. The album was quite long, it was well attempted and ...nice? Their spin was safe and lent for some real opportunities for Trey to wail and Mike to bring a bluesy bass to life. I was however pretty ready to hear some Phish tunes again.

After a refreshing sit-down and another round of taking in the pyrotechnical delights of the surrounding fields we headed around the rim of the crowd to try to make our way to the front. After a valiant attempt and a few pauses we decided to park about 8 rows deep. Phish returned and looked energized.

Set III : Backwards Down the Number Line > Fluffhead, Ghost, When the Circus Comes, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Suzy Greenberg

This set was really great. The fluffhead injected everyone with party-time and from then on it was a constant rise to excellency. Ghost got really spacey and funky. YEM was perfect, and Trey gave a little shake of the finger at us while jumping on the trampoline after nearly tripping mid hop. Suzy may have been my favorite tune of the night, the vocalists and horns from set I returned and helped close the entire evening with a fiesta.

Today’s acoustic set was very early so I will review Sunday on Monday so I can squeeze a little pool action in. Its near 95 degrees today and the sun is blazing. Can you only imagine if it weren't November now?