Posts Tagged ‘Robert Meade’

   Thursday’s show with Robert Meade and Nathan Lynch at The Black Forest was in celebration of and kick-off for their upcoming acoustic tour for the Sundance Film Festival.  Of course Rob was entirely unpredictable and amazing as always – managing to sound perfectly composed one second and exploding into manic super-guitarist/vocalist mode the next without blinking an eye.  Thank you for playing one of my faves, “On The Beach” (although I admit I don’t remember it being performed quite that energetically before!) – as I said, unpredictable!  When music becomes predictable we need to find another form of amusement I think…

      It was our first time to experience Nathan’s work and I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect (he has quite a bit to be compared to, playing and touring with Rob).  We settled in with his opening of “Infatuation” thinking, “yeah, nice guitar work there… and good vocals, a nice mix definitely…” and THEN he went into full-Nathan-mode (as I’ve learned is what he really is!), running vocals from one end of the spectrum of range and volume to the other with full theatrical presentation and amazing acoustic guitar riffs.  I understand he plays often with a bassist but as he and Rob will be touring as a solo acoustic show, I expect he was performing a solo show tonight for that reason.  In any event, not having a bassist accompany him tonight (understanding I haven’t seen/heard him play that so I don’t really have a good basis of comparison) did not detract from the effect he had on us, trust me!  If I say he’s a force to be reckoned with that would be an understatement…

We thoroughly enjoyed what we could catch of both these guys before we had to dash out (at midnight!) as it was a work weekday night (talk about a contradiction in terms!) and the TCC crew all have to get up at the crack of dawn (well, actually since the time change that would be about an hour BEFORE the crack of dawn in actuality) for their various day gig duties.  No pictures from this show I’m afraid, but we’ll plan for that absolutely the next time we catch them!

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    Saturday at Luckey’s was a real surprise – the club started out relatively empty, but by the time the band had finished their first number the place was quickly become packed.  Fun to see Nathan Lynch (and Rob Meade a bit later) for hugs and hi/bye’s as well!

Mood Area 52 – Michael Roderick (front vox/guitar/accordian/trumpet/piano), Amy Danziger (cello), Billy Barnett (acoustic guitar), Jeremiah Harris (acoustic standing bass), and Tony Figoli (drums/percussion) 

Sometimes I do a lot of research on bands before I see them so I know what to expect, but I hadn’t had a chance to do that before encountering (no other way to say it) Mood Area 52.  As we watched them set up I thought, “ok, they look fun and interesting – kinda gypsy/folk -ish” … and while that is true to a certain extent, it is no more a complete description of this band than, say, calling the New York Philharmonic Orchestra a “nice string group.”  Their webpage uses the terms “instrumental tango, lounge, cabaret, and exotica” among others to describe their music, and those are equally flat, two-dimensional adjectives to paint this multi-dimensional group of extremely talented, theatrical, and charismatic musicians.

Starting with those who most often don’t get enough attention simply because they aren’t possibly as flamboyant as others, let’s take a look at Jeremiah Harris on standing acoustic bass.  His runs were simple, poignant currents that ran along and under all the pieces, giving a timeless clarity and evenness to what would otherwise be untethered flights of fancy.

Billy Barnett is superb on acoustic rhythm/lead guitar.  His chord work blends seamlessly with the rest of the group and you might miss his prowess completely until he breaks into a lead solo that sends notes flying and spinning in the most beautiful melodies.

Tony Figoli on drums makes a basic kit sound anything but basic, utilizing everything including the stands themselves for a repertoire of effects that were absolute perfection.  His timing was superb and the fact that he doesn’t always play with this group made all of that just that much more amazing.

 Most impressive was Amy Danziger on cello – a consummate virtuoso, blending classical bow cello with percussive plucking that continually caught you by surprise with the sheer beauty of her work.

Of course, the man who stole our hearts was front man/vocalist/accordianist/guitarist/pianist/trumpeter Michael Roderick.  An absolute dead-ringer for Johnny Depp, he comes across as very quiet and subdued… until he opens on vocals, running everything from a growling bass to a searing tenor in styles ranging from New Orleans’ jazz to old-school blues.  He is absolutely stunning on every instrument he plays, from guitar to accordian, and vintage instruments ranging from trumpet to what I can only describe as a toy piano.  Just amazing – he continually caught us off-guard and there was no way to not dance with this group!  I especially loved his mini-vignette intros for certain pieces.  One of the few times I thought a set was entirely too short – every song was its own separate entity.

I did get a chance to talk to Michael briefly after the set to confirm the folks who were at this performance – he gave me their website (http://www.rocketboyarts.com/mood_area_52) as well as a couple CD’s that he wouldn’t take any payment for (“I’d rather our music was out there being listened to!”) – thanks Michael, we are definitely doing that!!

They capture your attention and hold it hostage, playing it, stroking and teasing, building up until it erupts in this amazing wall of sound that envelopes you in the experience.  Jeanice and Rachel both agreed – Luckey’s is the perfect venue for this band, they completely fit in this club and their music makes you sincerely wish for the cigar smoke atmosphere of the past as you are transported back in time!

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Sam Hahn (lead vox/guitar) with Zak Johnson on acoustic standing bass (thanks Fatty – ExiledInEugene – for providing Zak’s info!)

     This duo was just fun – Sam’s evocative lyrics, soulful vocals, and nice guitar work were perfection combined with Zak’s bass work.  Another duo who definitely have a bigger sound than what two people would expect to have.  Sam’s vocals remind me a bit of Donny Iris (and THAT dates me, right?!).  While I’m not sure this is an accurate portrayal, his lyrics do give a definite impression that Sam has a bit of unresolved history with the opposite sex but that may just be part of the fun – dunno!  All I know is we were continually laughing as he made us girls feel nearly insulted but coming just short of actually being offended.

   Equally amusing was a guest appearance by someone who tried to be incognito in a ninja-mask (I have to say, the ukulele was a dead giveaway tho!)  Craig Chee’s addition was a treat for sure…

The Craig Chee Band – Craig Chee (lead vox, ukulele), Sean Ponder / Joey Hepner / Theo Halpert

Nice energy and a well-balanced group of musicians.  We couldn’t stay for much of the first set but what we caught we thoroughly enjoyed.  It was obvious this band has a serious local following, as the club was packed to SRO for this CD release performance.  They have a beautiful big keyboard sound (reminiscent of Elton John), with nice vocals and a solid presentation.  And I have to say – I have never seen a ukulele rock with that much energy since Elvis!  I’m looking forward to seeing them again…

 

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So here I was, dead (really, actually dead – just hadn’t had a chance to be declared legally dead by the coroner but in every other way, I was DEAD, trust me) with so little sleep as to be in the negative zone at this point… and it was Friday and Robert Meade was playing a solo acoustic show at Mulligan’s Pub… and me without my trusty pad of paper and pen… or photographer sidekicks???  WTF?!!!  Nevertheless, I did want to hear Rob, he is so amazing – if you haven’t heard him before look him up on FB and plan to be there, right?!

So I could only stay for one set (and the pictures are stolen from Rob’s FB page) – but here is what I loved in just 60 minutes:

  • He starts the set early (slated for 9pm, he opens at 8:45p)
  • Someone (not sure who it was, Mulligan’s regulars will know him I am sure) drops in some mouth harp at the bar… to which Rob manages to cajole and sweet-talk into sharing the mike with him on the cover of Petty’s “MaryJane’s Last Dance” which was every way awesome!
  • This really sweet instrumental piece that I absolutely fell in love with… so I grab him after the first set when I need to leave (or risk driving completely somnambulent at this point) and ask for the title, he tells us, ‘There is no title for the instrumental right now. I’ve just stuck it in front of an existing song called “Run” for the time being…” which is no help at all but he does give us a link to listen here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JVxMvndWEQ.

Rob is gearing up for his upcoming “Sundance” tour with Nathan Lynch (who partnered with Rob on his recent Santa Monica tour), heading it off with a 2012 New Year’s show at Luckey’s on January 4th.

If you are anything like me (completely NOT patient), Rob gives us some comfort – ” JUST IN: Nathan and I are playing for a full night at Black Forest on Thursday Dec. 1st to raise funds for the trip.”

Guess who will be there (with FUNDS, natch) –

Here are some links, including a video of “RUN”

Robert Meade:
Facebook: www.robertmeade.net
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JVxMvndWEQ

Nathan Lynch:

http://Myspace.com/N8Lynch

http://facebook.com/n8lynch

Spotlight on:   Mulligan’s Pub – 2841 Willamette Street  Eugene, Oregon

This is your average neighborhood kick-back spot, with a couple of pool tables and a nice bar – but they feature live local musicians every week which gives them a huge THUMB’S UP from your’s truly, right?  And the fact that the folks there (at the bar and on the tables) were applauding (rather than ignoring) the featured artist playing that night speaks volumes.  I did at first think I was the only girl in attendance, but there were others there, they just were very quiet (very much not like me!) and I must have missed them at first glance  =)~

They also feature an open mic every Wednesday (see http://www.myspace.com/mulligansopenmic) if you are so inclined

This is a comfy place to hang your coat and have something to warm you on a COLD Eugene night – I liked this place and I’ll be back again.

One thing you can honestly say about attending a Floater show – it is never dull!  And don’t make the mistake of equating “acoustic” with “quiet” or “dull.”  I don’t think it would be possible for these guys to be any of that.  As Floater’s soundman, Dan, says, “Even their acoustic shows become rock shows!”  As well, the fans attending exude their own raw, uncontained energy as they bounce, dance, and sing along with every song.  This Eugene-born band has a dedicated fanbase here that transcends the boundaries of age and style:  babies were held in the arms of the communal family alongside older folks, who followed their own unique groove to the music.  Every time I see this band it is fresh and new!

Of course, having the chance to catch them for a live video interview after the show was unforgettable (video of “Capturing The Afterglow” – Floater Live Interview, July 22, 2011 is in post-production and should be published soon).  While the entire interview was way too much fun (which included pop-in appearances by Robert Meade who opened for them tonight, as well as various folks performing after-show tasks), I especially enjoyed hearing Rob’s story about how they decided on the name “Floater” for the band, and his description of some of the weirdest things fans have tossed onto the stage during a live performance (which included underwear – I did not ask them what condition those items were in!  and various forms of drugs).  They finally agreed that the 14-page anonymous essay of one fan’s interpretations of the meanings of certain song lyrics topped their list as downright creepy!

I always notice how folks who attend these shows seem to know how to organize the floor:  the front half closest to the stage will always be packed with folks getting up close and personal with the band, while the back half of the floor is filled with people dancing with joy and abandon.

They played two sets (the last being a very extended set, ending well after midnight).  For the first set, Rob made his entrance from the green room with bass guitar in hand, strumming his way through the crowd as they gawked and pointed and cheered.  Peter and Dave wove their own separate paths through the audience to where they all met on the stage.  It was a singular beginning to a unique show.

Pete’s drums in this acoustic set, utilizing a mix of standard kit with tribal accent percussion, created an intricate web for the guitars to play with as they dipped in and out like swallows swooping over the water.  Rob’s vocals when he sings a low melody line are so haunting that, when the guitars break out into hard rock riffs it almost catches you by surprise… almost!  I’ve also always admired their time signature and tempo changes through the songs, which were superbly executed.  They have such an amazing rapport with the audience – if you have never been to see these guys live, I can’t describe it well enough to give it justice.  If you have seen them live, either acoustic or electric, I don’t need to try to describe it, do I?

And having a floating wood floor for a Floater live concert only adds to the experience!

Another one of my favorite things about their music (yes, I have a lot of favorite things about this band!) is Rob’s lyrics – they could easily stand alone as poetry.  The music simply adds its own beautiful artistry.

Their vocal harmonies (all three of them sing on many of the songs) are perfectly performed, and Dave’s dancing melody lines on lead guitar are more exquisite every time I see them play.  And their instrumental jams are spectacular – each of them stunning.

Of special note for me were the covers they did (only three of them – they have no need for filler as they have more original material than they could possibly put into even a three-set show!).  Each was chosen either because it worked especially well in an acoustic venue, or just because they have so much fun sharing them with their audience.  Rob’s drumstick-tapping opening (joining with Dave on drums) for their cover of the Beatles’ “Magic Bus” was perfect, and of course this cover became Floater’s own funk version as only they could do it:  reggae-popping, the audience bopping along with the guys on stage.  It was awesome!  They segued from there to their original “Hollywood” with a flawless transition.

Setlist – First Set:  Come See Everything, On The Table, Golden Age, Time Marches, Diamond, Magic Bus (cover), Hollywood, Strychnine, Exiled.

Peter opened the second set doing a solo mini-set on acoustic guitar.  An accomplished vocalist and guitarist in his own right, you probably want to look for some solo album work by him – it would be well worth your time.

An acoustic set venue gives them a chance to put a new spin on some old favorites – Rob’s acoustic guitar work sounded almost like a Spanish guitar on many of the pieces.  The second set included their cover of the Police’s “Walking On The Moon” which they put a full reggae spin on (and it so fits that song!) segueing into yet another original, “Bound For Glory.”  And of course they did Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” which is obviously an audience favorite as well as their own – Rob’s intro included mention of just how much fun they have playing it, with his hope that the audience would love it as much.  I don’t want to try to judge that competition – we’ll call it a draw, I think it was a mutual party!  Everyone was on the floor dancing and singing for that one except for yours truly, being the dutiful writer/reviewer that I am.  Don’t worry tho, I am an expert chair dancer while taking notes!

I’ve mentioned before in previous reviews how much I also enjoy how they build layers.  While these are more distinct in a non-acoustic live performance, the layers are definitely still there when they play this type of venue.  Their energy is certainly never less – it is just more contained and concentrated.  I think Rob puts it best when he calls it “focused.”

I thought for sure they were going to close the second set with “Let It Go” and I suspect they considered that as well based on the set list copies they gave me (thanks Rob and Pete!), but you can’t close the party down in full swing (regardless of the time) – right?  They went on to play two additional songs, and finally brought the show to a climactic close.

Setlist – Second Set:  Weary Head, Endless I, Accepted, Walking On The Moon (cover), Bound For Glory, Personal Jesus (cover), Black Sheep, Alone, Let It Go, Seconds, Weightless.

They were gracious and amusing, loving and astounding.  Again, an awesome performance by Eugene’s own Floater – find their webpage here for additional info on bio, discography, tour dates, and more: http://www.floater.com.  And remember to mark your calendars for their next Eugene appearance!

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Robert Meade – WoW Hall, July 22, 2011

   

We had an amazing weekend, with lots of stuff to see and hear and write about!  Friday found us at the WoW Hall to catch Robert Meade opening for Floater on July 22, 2011.  Robert is a pretty new addition to the Eugene music scene, having started out south of us, traveling to the East Coast, and then finally landing here .  This solo guitarist/vocalist has a great voice (reminds me of Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan) and commanding stage presence, and his guitar work is first-rate as well.  We really liked his opening number, “All & Everywhere” with its snappy/poppy folk sounds and nice energy.  His vocal range is excellent, and he started building a rapport with the audience (primarily just killing time until Floater hit the stage) early in the set.  The crowd (pretty thin at the beginning of the set) soon increased, as more folks trickled in and stayed, cheering after each song finished.  His second song, “On The Beach” is a pretty ballad, with a nice transition up to a plaintive, high energy “hard” folk piece.  Maybe you could call it “modern folk” if there is such a term.  I especially liked how he used the last part of the word “beach” to create the sound of waves breaking.  “Lingerie” followed that, with more excellent vocal effects.  The entire set was entirely too short (in my opinion), closing with a unique cover of John Lennon’s “Happiness (Is A Warm Gun)” that was just perfect.  While I thoroughly liked this solo set, I could almost hear him backed by drums and a bass guitar.  Go figure – I checked out his history after the show and he used to have a backing band of anywhere from two to four other members previous to starting his solo gig in 2010.  I’ll definitely be keeping an ear tuned for more from this talented musician!

Set List:  All & Everywhere, On The Beach, Lingerie, Cambio, Holla, I Want Love, Happiness (Is A Warm Gun) (cover)

Find Robert here:  www.RobertMeade.com,  http://www.reverbnation.com/robertmeade#!, and http://www.myspace.com/robertmeade

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Saturday found us slummin it downtown at Diablo’s to catch a couple cover bands that are hardly anything short of amazing.  I don’t usually “cover” cover bands, but couldn’t resist this opportunity to hear some old-school rock!

The Seven Surfers – Diablo’s, July 23, 2011

A trio of talented guys consisting of Pete Weinberger (lead guitar), Mike Nemeth (bass), and Matt Vargus (drums), we were pleasantly surprised by both their amazing musicianship and the energy flowing between them and the audience.  As Mike will tell you, they subscribe to the “church of surf,” their music bringing us back to simpler and happier (but definitely not more innocent!) times.  They were a refreshing break from my self-ascribed penchant for searching out new local hard/alt rock music.  I had to ask after their set where the rest of the band was (as only three were there tonight), and Mike laughed and yelled, “SHARK!”   One never knows whether he’s serious or just messin with you, but I suspect in this case it was the latter.  While no one got up and danced (which was an absolute shame), there was no head not bobbing or foot not tapping through their entire set.  I think they do have several songs in their set that are originals in addition to the traditional covers, such as “Wipeout!” – I’ll have to confirm that as I’m just not familiar enough with this style or music period to be anything close to an expert.  I can tell you that Pete’s guitar work is absolutely flawless, Matt pounding along on drums with more energy than I would have thought possible without missing a beat or speeding up or slowing down, and Mike’s bass guitar riffs running alongside the guitar for a wicked-sweet, full sound that was pure pleasure.  Don’t try to find them online tho – they seem to have stayed true to the 60’s music scene and are nearly non-existent on the web!  I did manage to get some contact info for Mike and Pete individually tho, you can find both of them on Facebook – check the Diablo’s events calendar periodically as they are a favorite of the patrons there and visit regularly.

The Kingpins

  With a psychedelic light show backdrop from “The Godfather” (aka Don), the band is: Greg Scott on guitar and vocals, George Nash on guitar, keyboards, harmonica, and vocals, Marcus “The Man” Mueller on bass and vocals, and Jeff Alberts on drums and vocals.  Covering 60’s oldies such as The Doors (Greg looks and sounds like Jim Morrison!) and Velvet Underground, these guys play some serious old-school rock-n-roll.  I especially liked their cover of Peter Weir (Fleetwood Mac)’s “Oh Well.”  Lots of folks got up and danced for this set which was fun to watch and only added to the performance.  Another group of excellent musicians – and again, as I don’t usually review cover bands they will only get a passing glance here, but you definitely want to catch these guys live at Diablo’s if you haven’t previously – outstanding musicians and funny as well!

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Spotlight – Diablo’s Downtown Lounge (959 Pearl Street, Eugene, Oregon)

  Located next to the Greyhound Bus Station, this club is a favorite for folks who want to kick back and relax in a rather diabolically-decorated, yet comfortable lounge.  If seriously twisted is your thing, head downstairs to the basement where they have regular events including Fetish Night.  I’m not sure what was going on below us during our visit (rumor had it possibly a rave), but the bass pounding through the floor kind of set my teeth on edge.  We opted not to explore downstairs, but instead availed ourselves of front row seating in front of the stage in the main street level lounge.  Anvil, who runs house sound while doubling as bar-back, was friendly and informative (and hella cute to boot!).  I loved the awesome etched black ceiling tiles, and they have an absolutely first rate wood dance floor in front of the decently-sized raised stage.  We’ll be back on August 6 to see IB6-UB9 playing with Eastman Band and will definitely get there early for optimal seating!  For more info, check out their webpage at http://diabloseugene.com/club_info.html.