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Friday, August 28

Review and Photos - Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit - The Howard Theatre - Washington, DC - August 14, 2015

Two words come to mind when Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit are brought up: weird and masterful. This is a band that takes both humor and music very seriously. Their fearless leader, known as the Colonel or Colonel Bruce Hampton, originally brought together a group of talented young musicians in the early 1990s and led them with a simple motto: wrong is right. The band was encouraged to experiment, to really reach outside of their comfort zone. Between this experimentation and the wry, quirky sense of humor they all had in common, the band carved its own niche role in the rise of the “jam band.” A dedicated group of fans formed around Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Unit, connecting through the weirdness and eccentricity that these unique artists brought to the stage. For the first time in almost ten years, the band has reunited for a full tour this summer, and the young musicians taken in by the Colonel have now blossomed into their own voices. 
They have taken what they learned under his wing and applied it to their various outside projects, and now they have come back to their roots with a renewed vigor.
The band wasted no time busting out some serious soul in “Black Bottom.” In between ripping solos from Jimmy Herring and Matt Slocum, the band showed flawless dynamics, and Col. Bruce rang out the blues. After getting a little weird with “Elevator To The Moon,” it was time to dig deep into jazz territory with “Basically Frightened.” Jimmy shredded out a monster solo to open up the bluesy “Another Man Done Gone,” followed by a lengthy solo from the Colonel himself! Here is where Jimmy really began to stretch his wings. “Give Thanks To Chank” had him all over the spectrum, aided by the driving build of drummer Jeff Sipe. “Chank” gave way to a funky “Space Is The Place,” and then we got our first mouthful of the one and only Oteil Burbidge, who broke out into a jazz plucking intro to “The Dragon.” Story time again, as the Colonel brought us back to “1911” and Jimmy scrambled our brains, followed by some psychedelic clavinet tones from Slocum. A classic “Yield Not To Temptation” closed out a fantastic first set.
The band returned to the stage with a jubilant “Isles of Langerhan,” before bringing some laid back funk in “My Brother’s House.” The quintet kicked up the groove into their second set stride with “Time Flack,” featuring jazzy chord work. Jimmy Herring rocked out a quick but shredding solo after the first verse, and then we were treated to a quick bass solo from Oteil, followed by an incredible drum solo from Sipe. Slocum took a turn soloing to bring us back around as the crowd roared. Oteil led the intro to “Rampage” with a killer bass groove, and the whole crowd danced their asses off. Slocum spat out another psychedelic clavinet solo like nothing I’ve ever heard, and then Jimmy brought the song up to a raging peak. A classic cover of “Good Morning Little School Girl” gave the Colonel a chance for some vocal fun, followed by some epic jazz in “Time Is Free.” The band truly dug deep and branched out in this one, creating an intense emotion of sonic exploration among the audience. Sticking with the jazz theme, “Jazz Bank” brought out an old-school type of feel, as Col. Bruce got into his quirky storytelling mode. A fast-paced “Compared To What,” reminiscent of ‘70s soul led into a dark, dissonant jam, followed by a dynamic “Davy Crockett,” featuring some fast finger work from Oteil in a jazzy solo section, to finish off the second set. After some kind words from the band, they came out with an encore of “Phantom On The Curb,” bringing some serious funk to end the night on a high note.
It is truly encouraging to see how much this group has evolved, while keeping true to their roots. Each of the individual musicians in the group have grown and matured to epic proportions, making the chemistry and musicality of the group more palpable than ever. Each of their respective careers have over 20 years of touring and musical experimentation under their belts, and it shines brightest with this amazing band back together again. It is amazing to watch the smiles on all of their faces. It is clear they are all on top of the world as they work through an incredible reunion tour. As the crowd filtered out of the Howard Theatre, the excitement in the air was invaluable, as if every single person left that building enlightened. Old friends and new friends chattered eagerly about the evening and how fortunate we are to be able to experience this incredible reunion tour. Overall, if I could give the show three thumbs up and six stars, I would. Their semi-contradictory method of utilizing seriously masterful musicality, without taking their time on the stage too seriously, makes for a one of a kind live music experience that cannot be experienced with any other band. Let us now hope beyond hope for more future dates.
Photos and Words: Randy Harris
 ©Grateful Music LLC

Saturday, August 15

Crime of Convenience: Ticketmaster Strikes Again

Crime of Convenience: Ticketmaster Strikes Again

   On Friday morning, August 14th, at 10:00AM a virtual hand slowly slithered out of my computer screen, ripped my heart out, and slapped me in the face. I imagine many had a similar experience, and were left ticketless and despondent in their quest for permission to attend Dead & Company at Madison Square Garden. Don't worry deadheads; you'll get your chocolate bar with the coveted gold foil . There are plenty still out there in ticket purgatory and on the secondary market. Regardless, we should not be having these experiences. There is something seriously wrong with this system. 

   While what I am referring to is the most perplexing first world problem I could think of, a quandary we are all very fortunate to have, it still sucks, and is a hardship we have to go through for every major show that we attempt to attend. Ticketmaster has a problem. Strike that, Ticketmaster has no problem whatsoever. It is an extremely successful company with limited to no competition, and makes out like a bandit with every major concert or event it puts on sale. If countless businesses in this country were to follow the model of Ticketmaster, they would not stay competitive very long, because they exist in a marketplace withcompetition. As did Ticketmaster once, but that hasn't been the case since the world was proven circular. When it comes to most major events, they are the only game in town. While Ticketbastard (as many of us endearingly call it) is not fully responsible for our woes, they are the easiest target by far. And while they are not to blame for the bots that suck up tickets for the secondary market in milliseconds, they are complicit in not figuring out a way to stop them from stealing tickets from living and breathing beings. They put up those bot preventing coded barricades, but that does not thwart them. In fact, those stupid security boxes often prevent fans from checking out in the allotted time because of their ridiculous complexities. Ticketmaster, you might as well get rid of those enigmas because they don't serve their purpose, and only piss off your sentient customers more.

   What really bothers me about all of this is that it's 2015. All these years of selling tickets, all this technology at our fingertips, and this is the best system we got?! No, that is ludicrous, It's the most profitable system Ticketmaster can muster. And that is deplorable. I would love to ask Ticketmaster some questions, who are you really serving ? The bots and your bottom dollar? Or your valued customers ? Obviously you must not value the consumer very much because they HAVE to do business with you if they requisite seeing their favorite acts at face value. You have concertgoers stuck squarely in an arduous situation and you don't even have the common courtesy of giving your clients a reach around. 

   It's a lack of options for us, and a crime of convenience for you. Only in America your business practices are perfectly legal, in the world where moral fiber matters, and karma is a bitch, you are committing misdeeds on a daily basis. While I appreciate that your proceeds matter, because after all you are a corporation, with a proper system for Friday's general public sale of MSG tickets, you would have gotten every red cent you received from bots, but from real humans. After costs on an overhaul and reconfiguration of your network, your profit margins wouldn't be affected in the least, and you'd do a great service to the show going community by virtually putting the online scalpers, such as Stub Hub, out of business.

In respect to solving this dilemma. I may have some notions, but I don't have any answers. Yet you should have the solutions because this maze you created is nothing short of a racket! Wouldn't it feel nice to provide a quality service as opposed to giving folks coronaries every time they decide to spend their hard earned money to attend a show? While from your perspective everything looks hunky-dory your shit is all fucked up! I'm sure you're comfortable letting business continue in this manner, one day your company will face its reckoning. A few of the popular bands in the country have tried to go up against you, but they've failed miserably, because a monopoly is expensive to diminish, especially when most alternatives you have already toppled.  Yet if you allow this business model to continue, one day in the not so distant future an institution will come up with a plan to put you out of business. All the while an army is forming to assure they succeed.

  So wouldn't it be better to innovate from within, do something constructive, please your customer base, and set your company up for perpetual prosperity by way of helping to get tickets into the hands of those that really desire them? It seems like a win-win to me. And while it's not directly your system that is creating this virtual bottleneck every time we try to get tickets, you sit idly by and let other people, computers, and vampires disguised as companies suck the joy out of all you do. If it's just about the balance sheet for you, what's the bloody point? 

  It shouldn't be all about the Benjamin's, it should be about pleasing the consumer as well and if it's not then why bother, because all the money in the world won't dig your company out of its karmic pit. You may not be solely responsible, but you are the only institution currently in the position to make a difference. So please attempt to address this glaring phenomenon already! Throw a bone to the people that put the food on your tables. No one has a problem with you making profit. But don't only be a cost-effective business, be a good business too. And if you change your act, the next time we have to fork over our hard earned cash for something we love, we won't even bitch about your inexplicable fees. I promise. 

Words: Russell S. Glowatz

Editor: Kevin Long


Friday, August 14

Welcome to the Dance. A Dead & Company Editorial.


Dear John Mayer Fans: When The Circus Comes To Town, You're Invited

 

   Hello there John Mayer Heads! Is that what you call yourselves, because I really don't know? You've probably been a Mayer fan for a while, and may be a bit surprised or confused by the fact that he will be touring, as Dead & Company, with these old geezers you likely don't know. Well, if that's the case, don't fret, those elderly dudes can carry a tune, and they've been throwing parties like the ones about to take place for fifty years. Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir are three of the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. If you've never heard of the Grateful Dead before, welcome. If you have heard of the Grateful Dead before, but don't really know what they are about, happy to have you with us.  

 

   To give you a little background, the Dead and their various incarnations have been traveling the greater United States, and beyond for five decades now, opening minds and hearts to transcendent music, and the vibrant community that surrounds the band. From the outside, we must look a little odd to the masses, but I guarantee that once on the inside, you will see the merits of what we have to offer.

 

   The Dead was officially formed in 1965. They have drawn upon countless different musical genres creating a synthesis of sound that you cannot find anywhere else. Their unofficial and often reluctant leader was Jerry Garcia, a true guitar virtuoso and exemplary songwriter that wrote the music for many of the tunes you will hear on the upcoming Dead & Company tour. Sadly in 1995 he passed away and left a huge void within the deadhead community and the world at large. Since then the surviving members have toured under various names, together and apart, with different lead guitarists, constantly reinventing their music for the masses.

 

   Their tunes often lead into improvisation, and extended jams, and the songs they've composed are absolutely inspiring. I understand that for a newcomer, extended jamming can be an acquired taste. That's the way it was for me and before I could appreciate the live marathon improv sessions, and studio albums were the perfect avenue for my journey into deadhead land. The seed was planted for me when my brother gave me the gift of Shakedown Street for Hanukkah when I was twelve. But I ultimately became a budding Deadhead when I discovered my father's vinyl copy of American Beauty, arguably the greatest album of all time. There are plenty of other studio albums you can take the leap on as well, but American Beauty is my personal recommendation as a place to start in the lead up to MSG. If you jive with what you listen to perhaps you should jump into the Dead's live catalog. Live is where they truly shined, and a starting point for many has been the Europe '72 album. If you're not feeling it after one listen, don't give up. I guarantee you will discover something potentially life changing.

 

   We are absolutely a welcoming clan. While you may catch a few negative comments online about deadheads feeling queasy over the fact that thousands of John Mayer fans may be infiltrating our scene, those comments are not representative of our group as whole. Please don't listen to the small but vocal group of Negative Nancy's, as most of us are pretty decent people. At the very least you will have a real good time, and take in some tremendous tunes. If you find yourself a deadhead in training after these shows, you may desire to delve deeper into what we are about, and there is plenty of literature and archived show recordings to get you where you want to go.

 

   Simply put, we aren't about much that's definitive. Many of our creeds are interpretive and not set in stone. If a song lyric inspires you, your understanding of that lyric is as valid as it was for the thousands of other heads that found differing meanings. There are no rules in our community, yet a few generally understood ideas do exist. We strive to be kind to the best of our abilities, we aim to be tolerant of all, and firmly believe in the golden rule. If I had to pick a single principle that defines us, it's karma. So be good and do good, and good things will come back your way. 

 

   And just to remind some of my fellow heads about our implicit principles, specifically in respect to newcomers: be karmic, be kind, aim to enlighten, and do your best not to belittle. Everyone was new once, even you, so remember that, and lend a hand to the beginners over the next few months. For many of the commonly young Mayer fans, these shows may very well plant the seeds of the next Deadhead generation, so please be hospitable. Lets set a good example for these folks.

 

   So to all the Mayer fans out there that are intent upon seeing Dead & Company this fall, I am absolutely looking forward to having fresh faces at our perpetual party. Welcome! Be safe and "be kind." But most importantly, come with an open mind. Let loose and have fun. Take in the music, the collective, and atmosphere, because in essence we are all apart of the show. The band feeds off our energy and vice versa. To sum up what we are all about in one word, it's synchronicity. Synchronicity in music, mind, body, spirit, and community.

 

   I know even after reading this, you may still have many queries. Feel free to ask me or anyone else. While some folks may give you shit about a so-called silly question, pay them no mind, and go to the next guy or gal for the answer. If you truly have the desire to find out what we are all about, no question is a stupid question, and there's always Google. Stay kind John Mayer fans, and see you out there at MSG and beyond.

Words: Russell S. Glowatz 
Join Russell's world at Facebook.com/gratefulglobotz

Wednesday, August 12

Dear Deadheads: Please Don’t Get Your Panties in a Twist

   My Dearest Deadheads 

Here we are again at the precipice of something big. I was inspired to write this post after reading this piece written by a lovely lady with a name that rhymes with Jerry. You should check it out! Her sentiment is filled with truthiness. Yet I can’t help but add my take on the events that have unfolded and the potential proceedings yet to occur. We have a new Dead incarnation to be thankful for today!

Out there in the vast vista that is the interweb, all the bitching and moaning has begun. Folks are dismayed that they forked over their first-born and took out a second mortgage on their house (among other things) to catch what was billed as the last Dead shows ever to take place. Guess what? They still were the last Dead shows that will ever take place! As someone who could not attend in person (only via the internet simulcast, and IMAX), I would love to go back in time and space with a wad full of cash to catch those shows live and in the flesh.

While I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to have shared those shows with you in real time from hundreds of miles away, and whilst I feel that I had a well-rounded experience in saying goodbye to The Dead, what I did, and what you did, are two different things, and I’m certain what you did was exponentially better. Be grateful for the experience. A happening that you will be recounting for decades to come. An exploit that when retold won’t involve the tidbit about the exorbitant amount of dough you slewed over to Stub Hub in your quest to Santa Clara or Chicago. In the short-term, the money game can be challenging and stressful, but in the long-term it really won’t mean much at all. In the end it’s all about the show.

And we have another big show to go to real soon. A show that will blow the socks off many East Coasters and deadheads from around the nation that couldn’t otherwise make it to Fare Thee Well. This will be a show for the ages, and a potential tour to boot at that, but it won’t be the Dead. In the Deadhead Book of World Records, your shows are safe, and already apart of the annals of history. Your experience and everything you forked over for it was worthwhile, and you don’t have to feel “raped,” as one head put it, because some of the boys decided to throw the East Coast a bone as well (all the boys really with Phil at the Cap and Lockn’!).

So now as we embark on getting tickets, making plans, booking hotels, renting cars, taking off work, and amassing the money we need to pull off each of our personal expeditions to MSG, let’s be mindful of what it’s all really about. It’s about the show…the music…the passion…the communion…the spirituality…the gathering…the transcendence. Keep in mind the end result, and while you may eat some bowls of shit along the way, in respect to making all these things happen, let the notion of the end result stay at the forefront.

Be positive. Commiserate, fine. But try to keep it in a positive context, because I can say one thing about this show and potential tour for sure…those heads that maintain the positivity and intend on being in MSG on Halloween, will be in MSG on Halloween. I can’t say with any certainty how easy or hard of a ticket this will be. I can’t say whether some will have to take out a home loan to purchase a show pass on the secondary market. But when you wake up to buy tickets on Friday, August 14th, know that there’s a good shot you won’t get tickets…know there’s a good shot you will get tickets! And know that you not getting tickets from ticketbastard doesn’t mean its end game. Keep mindful. Keep that positivity front and center. Play the waiting game on the secondary market, and when the possible tour gets announced, we may find a plethora of cheap tickets available.

In saying all this, I’m reminding myself of such things, as much as I am directing it towards you. I already feel the potential stress of the journey to Dead & Company in my bones. And some of you probably feel it too. Don’t let it get the best of you. Be better than that, because we are better than that. When you feel the need to bitch and vent online…bitch and vent online. But keep it short and sweet, and end it on a note of positivity. For if you do, I guarantee I will see you in MSG on All Hallows’ Eve.

Sincerely,

Grateful Globotz (Glowatz+Robot=Globotz)



Tuesday, August 11

Dear Youngins: A message To Post-Jerry Deadheads.

  This is a message for all those post-Jerry deadheads out there that came of age after 1995, and on occasion feel like they’re perpetually longing for something that occurred before their time. I was inspired to write this after seeing a young deadhead post a “woe is me for not seeing Jerry” YouTube comment under the video of Grateful Dead performing “So Many Roads” at their last concert on July 9th, 1995. That soulful performance represented an increasingly rare, yet strong showing by Garcia in those later years, and I can not deny sometimes feeling a sense of yearning when scrolling through those now old videos. Yet even as post-Jerry heads, we have A LOT to be grateful for.

  As post-Jerry Deadheads we’ve had plenty to be thankful for in the recent past, and plenty to be appreciative for in the future. We’re alive. Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are still kicking and avidly making music for the masses. We are still basking in a stellar five show run featuring arguably the closest replications of bona fide Grateful Dead shows that we will get to see in our lifetimes. Whether in Chi-town, across the greater USA, or just about anywhere on Earth (sans North Korea), we’ve had the opportunity to take in these shows, LIVE! Pay-per-view, IMAX simulcasts, SiriusXM, cable TV, bootleg video streams, taper audio streams, #taperrob, with up to the minute live social networking. None of us have had much an excuse not to celebrate one way or another this past week regardless of our geographic locale. Technology, man. It’s a trip.

“And the band keeps playing’ on!” Weir, Hart, and Kreutzmann are heavily rumored to be going out on tour together this very fall. Phil Lesh has a residency planned starting in October at Peter Shapiro’s Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY. Phil is playing Lockn’ this summer, Bobby and Billy are playing The Peach. Mickey, Bill, Phil, and Bobby have various on and off again side projects of their own. They all play Dead music! They all reinvent this music time and time again. Have you heard Mickey Hart Band? Talk about reinvention! And while Phil plays residencies in New York, he also plays them out west at his very own Terrapin Crossroads. Bobby founded TRI Studios, a state of the art live streaming concert facility. He’s part owner of the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. Ratdog. Ratdog. Ratdog. We will be seeing lots of Bobby. But yeah, these guys are old, and it’s not the same, and they won’t exactly be around forever, but they’re around now, and its pretty fucking good! Take it in.

  So yeah, one day they’ll all be gone. But guess who will be here? Us post-Jerry deadheads. And Dark Star Orchestra. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. Umpteen Grateful Dead cover bands. Some of the national variety, some of the local home-brewed camp. Some will entirely reinvent the music, while some will aim for total replication, and those that do will create scenarios where if you close your eyes you’ll feel like you’re at a genuine authentic Dead show. There’ll be lots of gatherings, albeit smaller than the old days, but they’ll be unforgettable and nostalgic.

  There will be bigger shakedowns for younger bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, and The String Cheese Incident, and a plethora of face melting jam bands. And if a handful of older jaded deadheads give you shit about liking Phish, go tell ’em to fuck themselves (Let Trey Sing). And then think to yourself that when “the band’s all packed and gone,” we’ll still be here dancing and shaking our bones to so much amazing music. And there will be younger deadheads; a new generation. This is gonna happen, because truly the music never does stop.

  And those who, from time to time, make you feel that you missed out by not seeing Jerry…those folks?!? They’ll be dead. And the new generation of deadheads will look to us and ask us “what was it like to see the core four play live and together?” “How good were all their solo projects?” “Where were you for Fare Thee Well?” “Did they really manufacture a rainbow?!?” Some of our generation may make them feel bad because really, assholes exist in every subculture, mainstream and otherwise. So the assholes will be assholes, but you my friend don’t have to be one. Remember how you feel now, and down the road remind the youngins of all the great music that is around for them. Regale them with your stories, but don’t belittle them. For you once were them.

  In this never-ending story that is the Grateful Dead, we are the lucky ones. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have been born a few decades earlier (could have dodged this climate change business to boot), but we are pretty damn fortunate. We will be the last to hear the Grateful Dead canon first hand. We will be the last to hear the songwriters and musicians play these songs in the flesh. We will be torch carriers, as was the band and the generation before us, to us. We will take the gospel of the Grateful Dead into the first fully post-Dead generation. It will be passed down. “So it shall be written. So it shall be done.” The Deadhead Community will survive. “We will survive.”

Words: by Russell S.Glowatz. 

Editorial note: 

  I stumbled across this heartfelt editorial a few weeks ago on Russel's Blog ( gratefulglobotz.wordpress.com). It crystallized emotions that I have been pondering for a long time. What does the young deadhead feel?  The majority of young heads hide their feelings or I was not fishing for them with the correct bait. I recall being a teenager on Grateful Dead tour & everyone was eager to shed light on my new journey. Unfortunately, more often than not a young person

is more likely to get fake acid at a show than shown a simple act of kindness. Times have changed, but the roadmap and principles of a real Deadhead remain the same. "She has no pain Like a child, she is pure She is not to blame." As our long strange trip is still writing itself, it's with great pride we welcome Russell voice to Grateful Music. To quote the newest member of the Grateful family,  John Mayer "These songs change your life". You damn right they do. 

Words: Kevin Long 


Friday, July 31

JACOB FRED JAZZ ODYSSEY - New Album on 9/4/15 and Tour Dates!

JFJO
 The Battle For Earth
 Royal Potato Family
 September 4th, 2015
Upcoming Tour Dates
Sep 19  - West Fest - Oklahoma City, OK
Sep 22 - The Vanguard - Tulsa, OK
Sep 26  - Taloa Fest  - Guthrie, OK
Oct 16 - Howlin Wolf - New Orleans, LA
Oct 22 - The Outpost - Albuquerque, NM
Oct 23 -  The 1up - Denver, CO
Oct 24 - The 1up - Denver, CO
Oct 30 - Doc's Lab - San Francisco, CA
Oct 31 - Doc's Lab - San Francisco, CA
Nov 6 & 7 - Earshot Jazz Fest - Seattle, WA
 ©Grateful Music LLC