Audio blog with links to great live tracks from great live bands.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mr. Sparks

OK, at the risk of exaggerating, I'm going to make a bold statement: Melvin Sparks is the best guitarist I have ever seen. The man gives so much with so little effort that it's frightening. I mean, if you have ever seen him live, you know what I'm talking about. He kind of reminds me of "It" from The Addams Family. You know, that hand that exists on it's own without a body attached to it. Melvin's left hand is all over the neck, while the rest of his body is just this mass of grooving, smiling love, just sittin' on a stool. I have seen him by himself a few times and I have seen him sit in with all sorts of acts. When he played with the 20th Congress last year, I swear Cheme was going to blow a gasket. He must've said "Oh my God!" about 116 times during a 10-minute solo. Bob Walter looked like he could barely keep playing. So it goes without saying that you should absolutely, 100% NOT miss Melvin Sparks if he comes to your town. And if you get a chance, talk to him. He's exactly how you'd expect one of "those old jazz cats" to be like - right down to the old "paperboy" hat.

"Pick Up The Pieces" - Melvin Sparks Band, Portsmouth, NH 5/28/04

Download the whole show here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Between an (indie) rock and a hard place

Alright, a little something different (for now). I'm gonna see what you think of trying a little indie rock on for size. But first, a few quick words about the indie rock scene. There are lots of good indie bands out there worth checking out that don't attract as many wookies as, say, String Cheese. Stephen Malkmus is a fantastic live show. Secret Machines are indescribable. Of course, just like the jamband scene, a handful of the fans can tend to be annoying. But indie rockers won't bug you endlessly for "pharmies", but they'll sure as hell make you feel like crap if you've never heard of some random band from Portland who put out one EP 15 years ago on Merge Records. Anyway, the two acts below, are more indie, but that doesn't mean they can't write a good song or two. Ben Lee is Australian and I heard this song on the radio (XM, that is) the other day and loved it. I'm sure it is probably the indie rock equivalent of "Touch Of Grey" or "Bouncin' Round The Room," but hey, it's catchy as hell.

"Catch My Disease" - Ben Lee Denver, CO 3/21/05

Download the whole show here.

As for Spoon, I saw them down in Austin for South By Southwest. They've been around since the 90s and were the "Surprise Artist" one night at some showcase. People seemed pretty happy. I think the jamband equivalent would be if, say, Galactic played a surprise show in New Orleans one night.

"Everything Hits At Once" - Spoon, Englewood, CO 6/14/05

Download the whole show here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

One other quickie

I have been pretty vocal (to anyone who'd listen) about my indifference to Pink Floyd over the years. But I have to say, after watching Live 8 over the weekend, I am sold. Tell me where/when they are playing and I'm there. Sure, the vocals were a little shaky, but together, these guys' ages add up to roughly 912. And if you didn't get a chill when Gilmour gave that little wink to Mason, well, then you're a Communist.

Stream their set here. I'd say start with "Comfortably Numb."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Great new band

There's this band that's making some noise down in Georgia that you may want to check out. Here is one of their songs that they call "Arleen." Oh and as a bonus they have the guy who did "Rockit" playing keyboards with them.

"Arleen" - Widespread Panic, Manchester, TN 6/12/05

Try downloading the whole show via BitTorrent here or here or at Grand Puba here.

(By the way, at this point in time, nothing puts the brakes on a set faster than having Bob Weir sit in with you. I mean, I have all the respect in the world for the man as a pioneer of the scene. But come on...if Roger Clemens was throwing a no-hitter through 8 innings right now, would you replace him with Joe Niekro?)