Phish - MSG New Years Run (12/28,29,30,31) setlists

Phish - 12/28/2012, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Stealing Time From the Faulty PlanThe Moma DanceFunky BitchArmy of OneTube >StashNellie KaneKill Devil FallsFreeWolfman’s Brother -> The Little Drummer Boy -> Wolfman’s Brother
Set 2: Tweezer -> MazeTwist[1] > Theme From the Bottom -> FluffheadDavid Bowie
Encore: Bouncing Around the RoomGood Times Bad Times

[1] Little Drummer Boy teases and quotes
Notes: The Little Drummer Boy was played for the first time since April 16, 2004 (187 Shows).  Twist contained multiple Little Drummer Boy teases as well as quotes from Trey, referring to Fishman.
(ed.) Official setlists have overlooked the real significance of their teasing Little Drummer Boy. To my knowledge Little Drummer Boy was played for the first time on 12/28/94 the first night of that years holiday run (the second in existence) in Philadelphia at the Civic Centre.  I recall having attended all the shows on the run.

Phish - 12/29/12 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Set 1: Crowd Control, Mound, ACDC Bag, Rock and Roll, Sugar Shack, Reba, Halley's Comet, Limb by Limb, Velvet Cheese, Bathtub Gin

Set 2: Golden Age* > Waves > Prince Caspian , Boogie On Reggae Woman, Suzy Greenberg, Bug, Cavern, 46 Days

Encore: Coil, Grind, First Tube

* TV On The Radio cover

Phish - 12/30/12 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

1:Runaway Jim, Cities, Divided Sky, Back on the Train, Ride Captain Ride, Ocelot, YaMar, Horn, My Friend My Friend, Run Like An Antelope

2: Down With Disease > Twenty Years Later > Carini* > Backwards Down The Number Line, Julius, Slave To The Traffic Light

Encore: Harry Hood, Show of Life 

* Download.  Rated by Mr. Miner #6 top jam of 2012

Phish - 12/31/12 - Madison Square Garden

Set 1: Garden Party[1], Possum, Roses Are Free, Rift > Sample in a Jar, Alaska, Mike's Song > Walk Away, Weekapaug Groove, Character Zero
Set 2: Birds of a Feather, Ghost > Piper > Light[2] > Also Sprach Zarathustra > The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself[3]
Set 3: Party Time, Kung > Chalk Dust Torture > Auld Lang Syne > Tweezer Reprise[4] > Sand > The Wedge > Fly Like an Eagle[5] > Wilson, Lawn Boy[6]
Encore: Driver, Iron Man[7]

[1] Phish debut.
[2] Auld Lang Syne tease
[3] Birds of a Feather tease
[4] With backup singers.
[5] Steve Miller cover, first time played
[6] a capella
[7] First Phish performance in full.
Notes: Arena floor and stage appear to be covered by a green lawn of live grass. Preshow webcast shows fans playing garden sports like badminton and mini-golf.

Third set song selection seems to reflect golf and the overall theme of a Garden Party: Sand, Wedge, Fly Like An Eagle, Wilson, Lawn Boy, Driver, Iron Man.   They did everything short of a 'Top Flite' jam in the middle of Piper.  Notably absent is the ultra-obscure Dog Log which contains the notable lyrics 'walking cross the lawn lawn lawn lawn'.  Perhaps if the song were called Dog Leg.

More to the point does a New Years celebration- built as it has been on an extended 3 set concert typically laced with obscure fan favourites and extended ultra-psychedelic and funk improvisations- with a golf motif seem a little bit middling?

Perhaps Phish in it's 3.0 configuration (same core membership several hiatus and one actual retirement later) is truly a renaissance act- a Phish cover band. As always the tapes and tales will tell.  Although staging a Runaway Golf Cart Marathon onstage at MSG was an adventurous enough idea and one that tipped the cap to their own lyrics and collective madcap history.

For a band that began the New Years Run tradition in Boston in 1993 with a flying hot dog containing the band that 'rode' around the venue a setlist built around golf motifs seems to be two things; entirely age and lifestyle appropriate for the band and most of its members and a good reflection of the median income of its core adherents.


Daryl Hall, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger - People Are Strange

The paragon of Blue-Eyed Soul is of course Mr. Daryl Hall, who while occupying himself with restoring Georgian style mansions has made a venerable sideline with his Live From Daryl's House series of one-off musical collaborations documented for the web.  Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek from The Doors visit and while chatting before setting down to performing in a loose setting the three have an engaging conversation about Millbrook, NY close to where Daryl resides. 

Daryl fills Ray in on Timothy Leary's connection to the area, apparently Billy Hitchcock had a 55-room mansion which he made available to Leary's ego and entourage.  Ray chimes in that he believes that Stepenwolf was also filmed thereabouts.   A fitting entree to a set that begins with People Are Strange including Family Affair, Crystal Ships, Roadhouse Blues, Break On Through, Borderline and a perfunctory Kiss On My List.


Aaron Freeman - Nature Man (lyrics)

Nature Man (Aaron Freeman)

You could be my Nature Man
And I could be your Nature Girl
Walking with our boots on 
Streams of love trickling down 

Mr. Nature Man comes to me like a little girl
throwing daggers in the buildings
Southern eyes of greed and shame
Skin of paste and liquor
 throw your line to me I see your pain

You could be my Nature Man
And I could be your Nature Girl
Walking with our boots on 
Streams of love trickling down 

Have you held a newborne flower? 
Plucked yourself a sprig of Thyme in summer
A Yam in winter
 Take the shell of your soul and come with me

You could be my Nature Man
And I could be your Nature Girl
Walking with our boots on
Streams of love trickling down

The Cerebine's life, the berries glow
The seeds I have to show make growth seem like a possibility
The flesh peels, the bark peels off the flesh 
and succumbs to me

You could be my Nature Man
And I could be your Nature Girl
Walking with our boots on
Streams of love trickling down

Aaron Freeman (the now-deceased Gene Ween) was known in his now-former band Ween for writing the huge compendium of songs in their repertoire from which they would dip freely.  One of the things that made Gener such a thrilling performer was that he could sing in 4 or 5 different styles quite well including various vocoded and semi-demonic (but friendly demonic) altered voices.  In his very public meltdown at a Vancouver Ween performance, having lost a severe amount of weight over a matter of months, there were legitimate concerns that much deeper issues were at play than bananas and blow and pot brownie poisonings afoot.  One of the reviewers of that show rightly described one of his voices as a high pitched falsetto reminiscent of the Heat Miser (from A Year Without Santa Clause)- except in that performance his voice seemed to get stuck in that voice about half way through and never deviated after.

But for all of the debauch in the Ween repertoire- and it is a bloated lot suh that even listing relevant song titles and drug references would be largely futile- Freeman was just as much known for his blue-eyed soul. Ween are not a Philadelphia band they are rather proudly from New Hope, Pennsylvania but their song Freedom of '76 is a modern marvel in the Philadelphia Soul tradition.   Nature Man belongs strongly in the vein of those tender heart warming ballads that made up an important place in any live Ween show, songs such as: Birthday Boy, Baby Bitch, Stay Forever, Tender Situation, Flutes of Chi.

Freeman has been playing Nature Man live since at least June of 2012, numerous good sounding versions are out there including this one from Reggatabar which comes off as unintentionally comedic.  The inversion of Freeman as the Nature Girl 'walking with out boots on' is intended to play for some laughs.  But it's clear in listening to the recorded and interrupted (with laughter) live version that there is notsomuch humour hear as a harrowing and searching walk past the void upon whose edges he'd danced like a satyr over a volcano's lip.

Black Milk - Demo Beats 2012

Black Milk, a producer/rapper as well as drummer/percussionist, who appears on the cover of his landmark album Popular Demand with an MPC tucked under his arm, plays the 'instrument' live and in the studio better than most any human being (Pete Rock's up there too).  Which is part of what makes Demo Beats 2012- a recently dropped teaser of his current output so fascinating.  This future-forward material veers out into some new bracing territory (sounding at times unabashedly similar to even Dilla's Donuts with it's style of constant revolutions of sound) that suggests a much broader sonic palette and production environment.  Where his last full length release Album Of The Year was definitive for how he captured the live sounds of instrumentalists Daru Jones (drums), AB (keys) and bassist Tim Shellabarger (not as much for his personal lyrics of the crushing year he had marked by loss) here we see a man tossing off, literally, a series of tossed off beats (one of 400 produced in the last year he'd rather hold onto for now) that echoes at points his deep crates neo-soul lineage while pointing to something else entirely.


Aaron Freeman - Genene

Since Aaron Freeman announced the necessary demise of his arch persona Gene Ween - the well loved and prolific songsmith he had produced music under since 1984 with his partner in crime Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo) as Ween - he may have puzzled fans with his first solo outing being an album of unearthed covers (Marvelous Clouds) by supposed legend Rod McKuen with whom he had a puzzling but befitting kinship. A crop of new original music is just what Dr. Rock ordered although it's no surprise that we're getting the kinder, gentler version of The Golden Jew.

Certain to further confuse his rabid fanbase Aaron was contacted by Hidden Track about Genene at his hospital room in Belgium where he is undergoing “a transformative procedure.":

He immediately made sure to tell us, “This song is left to interpretation on purpose. To me it’s just an honest song about where I’m at, creepy, real and pretty, just the way I like it.” Freeman finished our chat by saying, “On one hand it’s about change and acceptance on a personal, spiritual level but can obviously be interpreted literally as a sex change.”
These themes of transformation, transmogrification, shifting seem fitting for Freeman (now sober for over a year) at this point in his life and other demos with spoken word samples like Signs of The Transgression riff on similar themes.  Currently on his A. Freeman soundcloud he is only streaming two songs.  Rivers and God2.  Fortunately one of the resourceful brown minions of the Boognish captured and posted for download the majority of 2012 demos that had streamed briefly (excluding Genene unfortunately).


Peter Peter - Une Version Amelioree De La Tristesse

Une version ameliroree de la tristesse is the title track off Montreal act Peter Peter's second album which goes by the same name.  The song title might be translated as An Improved Version Of Sadness or An Enhanced Version Of Sadness.  I would only argue, my french being far from perfect that the tense is feminine (both the version and the sadness- but maybe like boats sadness always carries a feminine tense?) that a reasonably poor translation could also be: A Version Made Better By Sadness (f).

This effortless piece of popsmithing steps out of the limiting mould of quebecois and 'le deuxieme pays' placing their efforts handily on a national and international stage. 

 In any case it's a wondrous song that got it's official launch at the increasingly important Festival de Musique Emergente in Rouyn-Noranda en Abitibi-Temiscamingue at the fittingly named Cabaret De La Dernier Chance.  This past season saw Feist close her Metals tour in an intimate context, Barr Bros. play to enraptured audiences, and Plants And Animals playing in a mine. 


Jay Dee - Thought U Wuz Nice (instrumental)

The instrumental to Phife Dawg's Thought U Wuz Nice is hallmark '99 Jay Dee production.  Likely months if not weeks after crafting this silky guitar line and parsed drum beats into some sort of signature sound he was of course well beyond it. 

Thought U Wuz Nice appeared as the B-Side to (Pharcyde member) Phife Dawg's to Bend Ova the lead single from his debut album Ventilation: Da LP. Its B-side contained the instrumental, along with Thought U Wuz Nice, which is not featured on the LP. Both tracks were produced by Jay Dee.


MPC Minute featuring DJ Premier & Pete Rock

How funky can you get in 10.3 seconds?

Premier and Peter Rock talk in geekish detail about their introduction to (by now fairly) arcane music production centers like Pete's affinity for the MPC 2000 and the MPC 2000 xl whereas Premier hasn't moved past his affection for his Akai MPC 62.  When Premier was asked is there anyone whose done things with the MPC that you really didn't think could be done he responds:

"Lord Finesse the 4000 he got that thing where it actually stands up and talks and walks around the house and makes coffee"
Recorded live with Akai MPC 4000 with acapella from vinyl


DJ Shadow kicked off decks at Miami's Mansion (12/14/12): "too future"

Only twenty minutes into his set at Mansion in the Miami Beach area DJ Shadow was interrupted and pulled off the stage.  "Josh" Davis (Shadow) took to his Twitter account remarking:

I don't care if I get kicked out of every rich kid club on the planet.  I will never sacrifice my integrity as a DJ... ever. #AllBassesCovered

A similar incident took place in late February when Dennis Ferrer was contracted (where a %50 guarantee is paid at the time of booking and the remainder at latest upon arrival- there is no question they were both paid) and kicked off for 'not playing commercial enough'

Here's a brief video of DJ Shadow being interrupted and concluding his set.


Ten Years Ago: Rick Danko (December 29, 1942 – December 10, 1999)

Rick Danko RIP (December 29, 1942 - December 10, 1999)

Thirteen years ago actually the world lost one of the purest voices in all of Rock and Roll history.  Born of humble beginnings in Turkey Point, Ontario and picked up by Ronnie Hawkins to be a member of his Hawks he would eventually get plucked to back Bob Dylan and his group would become known simply as The Band.  His mournful voice captured a life that was full of great humour and great sadness particularly when he suffered the loss of his own son.  All his past lives will be forgotten, all his past lives will be erased.

Intro: A  D  A  D  A  D  A  D

A          D           A       D
I want to lay down beside you
I want to hold your body close to mine
Like a grape that grows ripe in the sunshine
A                           D           A
There comes a time when we must sip the wine

I can tell by lookin ... that you're not mine girl
I believe everything I told you was true
There's a child here that wants to start livin
And you know that this child will get it's start
from me and you             

            D       E                       A
Close your eyes ... and don't you think of nothing
          D                  E             A
Let your thoughts remain here inside this room
F#m                           A
Lay your head beside me on my pillow
 D         E                     A
And I will share this night with you

A                D
We must sip the wine ... till it feels alright
A                D
We must sip the wine ... into the night
A                D
We must sip the wine ... together ...

Outro: A  D  A  D ...

*: Rick is credited for lyrics and music to "Sip the Wine" on Rick Danko from 1977. This may not be correct. The song first appeared under the title "I Want To Lay Down Beside You" on Tracy Nelson's 1972 album Tracy Nelson / Mother Earth (Reprise MS-2054,) where it was credited to Tim Drummond who also played bass on Rick Danko.


Neil Quin - Marching Through Your Head (original version)

Here's an odd clip of Neil Quin of Zeus playing at what seems to be some sort of bush party in Orillia called Suncrash in 2008.  What's noteworthy is how, after cussing out the scuzzy locals in attendance, he plays straight through what ultimately became the definitive Zeus classic Marching Through Your Head from their first full length from 2010's Say Us.

The video (directed by Adam Makarenko and Alan Poon) for Marching Through Your Head seamlessly integrates live action performance with stop-motion animation and features meticulously detailed miniature sets.

The video documents the journey of the band's boots up to the peak of the mythical Mount Olympus in search of the Greek God of the sky, Zeus only to find that Zeus the God is actually Zeus the band.


It Makes No Difference - My Morning Jacket w. Brittany Howard (Newport Folk)

My Morning Jacket's Jim James dedicated this rendition of It Makes No Difference to Levon Helm, not long after his passing, onstage at the Newport Folk Festival joined by the Alabama Shakes Brittany Howard.

Ween's - Banana's and Blow (performed on harp)

Harpists Kaela and Morgana are students of a performing arts school  in Australia. Kaela's also a fan of Ween and she arranged one of her favourite songs for the harp.  Kaela is the daughter of Adam Phillips, director/animator of Ween's Transdermal Celebration video.   Father Phillips recounts:
Kaela's been hearing Ween all her life. She was 5 when I animated their Transdermal Celebration video. With the album White Pepper in the car's CD player, she'd ask me to "play the song that sounds like it's got coconuts in it", that is Bananas and Blow.

She was terrified of the song Ice Castles though because I told her it was about poison toys so it became the soundtrack to her nightmares. Bad daddy.

In case you're not familiar with the touching original version here's another clip.

The Barr Brothers - Kisses From Chelsea


The Barr Brothers perform "Kisses From Chelsea" from their self-titled debut album live at the National Arts Centre's 4th Stage theatre (Ottawa, ON) on Saturday March 3rd, 2012.


Black Milk - Demo Beats 2012

Nothing could please us more than word today that our man Curtis Cross- the impossible Black Milk- was pouring over a folder of some 400 (!!!) demo beats he'd been working on over the course of the year.  Late in the day he dropped a file to his soundcloud account called Demo Beats 2012 that is certain to create a quiet storm in the Hip Hop community.

In a year that's been dominated by micro cycles of hype and canonization in 'independent' Hip Hop (see Kendrick Lamar) it was reasonable to question what place was there at the table for the last great hope Black Milk the protege and heir apparent to the neo-soul throne of his mentor J Dilla.

Cross has left no place for doubt.  This 6:57 is more future forward than one might expect from the garrulous  producer.  With his most recent production efforts (after his 2010 signal Album Of The Year) he's produced a variety of projects revered by his acolytes all of which however failed to launch anywhere near commercially or critically.  His highly anticipated collaboration with Danny Brown the Black and Brown EP admittedly didn't amount to more than the sum of its parts (and was fairly thoroughly drubbed critically).  Similarly Random Axe the Hip Hop supergroup composed of Guilty Simpson, Sean Price and Black Milk yielded varied results.  Two recent collaborations with Jack White (Brain and Royal Mega) were promising in principal as was a live set at White's Third Man Records.  His much vaunted collaboration Searching For Sanity with vocalist Melanie Rutherford has yet to appear.

Demo Beats 2012 drops like something of a clarion call from a man who may feel like he has something to prove.  The futuristic style of the transmission harkens back to his own 2008 release Tronic which largely put him on the map particularly with collaborations like The Matrix (featuring Pharoahe Monche and Sean Price).  His first releases 2005's Sound Of The City (as well as 11 untitled tracks from August 2005), 2006's Broken Wax EP and the landmark Popular Demand (2008) established Black Milk as a strong advocate of the neo-soul tradition highly adept with the MPC 2000.  The Music Production Center 2000 has signal processing qualities that are highly pleasing to the human ear as most sample based music we're familiar with has been produced with this device.  Some producers would say that it is the loss of signal, a pleasing 'woody' quality to the sample, as much as the transmission that satisfies the listener aurally.

Milk, a drummer and percussionist, who appears on the cover of Popular Demand with an MPC tucked under his arm plays the 'instrument' live and in the studio better than most any human being.  Which is what makes this teaser of his current output so fascinating.  This material veers out into some new bracing territory (sounding at times unabashedly similar to even Dilla's Donuts with it's style of constant revolutions of sound) that suggests a much broader sonic palette and production environment.  Where Album Of The Year was definitive for how he captured the live sounds of instrumentalists Daru Jones (drums), AB (keys) and bassist Tim Shellabarger (not as much for his personal lyrics of the crushing year he had marked by loss) here we see a man tossing off, literally, a tossed off beat (one of 400 he'd rather hold onto for now) that echoes at points his deep crates neo-soul lineage while pointing clearly to a whole new bag.