ATN's Music News of the World: Something's Phishy
Something Phishy Going On With New Live LPJam-happy rockers choose to commemorate Hamburg, Germany show on this one.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : If you ask 24-year-old Phish fanatic Cliff Gutmann, the cultish jam band couldn't have chosen a better live show to reflect their collective musical personality onto an album.Slip Stitch and Pass is Phish at their best on stage, he added. And he should know; not only has he heard bootlegs of the performance, but he's been to more than 120 of their shows."It definitely would have been my pick," Gutmann said, "because in all those shows in Europe, they were really experimenting with that style of funk. Anything you put out on disc now would be hot."Phish's second live LP, due out next Tuesday, is as wide-ranging and odd as you might expect for a band who built their career 14 years ago on extra-inning jamming, trampolines and vacuum cleaner solos.Clocking in at 73 minutes, featuring three totally unrelated covers, classic interpolations of a Doors song, as well as the first-recorded version of a long-time concert staple, the nine-track album offers a fat slice of the ping-ponging Phish worldview for the rabid Phishhead and the casual observer, checking in perhaps for the first time.The album, which commemorates a single Hamburg, Germany show from March 1, 1997, opens with an elastic, funky, wah-wah guitar cover of the Talking Heads' "Cities," which segues into a concert favorite, "Wolfman's Brother." The sung-spoken elliptical tale, with at-turns choppy and swirling guitars and piano, from the band's Hoist album, is one of several songs whose guitar solos bear more than a passing resemblance to a jazzier, less meandering solo from the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia. "Wolfman's Brother" subtly shifts into a grinding, bluesy cover of ZZ Top's "Jesus Left Chicago," painted with gospel church piano solo and, later, a searing blues guitar solo builds and builds, only to end on a dime as the song fades back out.Long-time fan Gutmann, who said he's heard several bootlegs of the show before, said it definitely ranks as one of the band's best. "They just keep getting better and better," said Gutmann.The bizarre barbershop-quartet-meets-Frank Zappa jam of "Weigh" is the precursor to the concert favorite "Mike's Song," a bouncy, psychedelic jam with the pessimistic chorus, "we don't want no nice guys." The 13-minute tune was left unrecorded for several years by the band until this point. Gutmann speculated that the inclusion of the song might rankle a few long-time fans. "It's one of their oldest tunes from '88-89 and it's never been on an album, so people are wary of that, but I don't understand why. It's one of their best songs."In typical wide-reaching Phish fashion, the meandering version of "Mike's Song" manages to make joking references to Pink Floyd, Oliver Stone's The Doors and that same band's epic, Oedipal mini-drama "The End," all within the span of a few lines featuring the lyrics, "Indians lying on dawn's highway bleeding/ ghosts in the young child's fragile eggshell mind/ careful with that ax Eugene."As is their custom, the song melts into a loping "Lawn Boy," which in turn gives way to a re-visitation of the Doors jam, in which singer/guitarist Trey Anastasio recites, over the jaunty piano and guitar boogie of "Weekapaug Groove," the anti-Morrison lines, "mother, I want to cook you breakfast/then I want to borrow the car." The album closes with the traditional barbershop quartet ditty "Hello My Baby" and the multi-layered, spacey and slightly Garciaesque "Taste.""I think this one will be better than their last live one [1995's A Live One] because it's not a clipping of different songs, but a full show," Gutmann said. "It's a better feel rather than jumping around. That one was great. But it was '95, they're into new styles now."Phish will launch their fall tour on Nov. 13 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, followed by a Nov. 14 show in West Valley, Utah, and two nights, Nov. 16-17 at the McNichols Arena in Denver, Colo. The 21-date tour ends on Dec. 12-13 at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y.***Neil Young Builds Bridge Through MusicLeads all-star cast including Smashing Pumpkins in annual benefit for physically challenged kids.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- It was impossible to tell what was going on in Neil Young's head Saturday when he took the stage for the second time, sat down on a stool with his acoustic guitar and made some of the most beautiful music of his long career.Still, if you were there, it was not hard to imagine.Perhaps he was thinking about the thousands of enthusiastic fans who had shown up again for his 11th annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, or the eclectic lineup of musical artists who had donated their talents to the cause for another year. Or he could have been thinking about the beautifully cool night with its starry sky. Then again, maybe he was thinking about the children behind him."It blows me away," he said, in between his set, "all the support we get. It just blows my mind."It was the rare kind of instantaneous benefit where hard work and good music were immediately transformed into giddy smiles and elation. Guitars were strummed and before the notes faded, the faces of the children for whom Neil and Pegi Young's benefit show was organized filled the theater with a sort of visual melody.Positioned on a small riser at the back of the stage, the mostly wheel-chair bound kids had the best seats in the house during the nearly eight-hour show on Saturday (Oct. 18) at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, Calif., which featured uncharacteristic acoustic sets from bands such as Metallica, the Smashing Pumpkins and Lou Reed. There were also energetic performances by Alanis Morissette and Blues Traveler, as well as the Dave Matthews Band, and a surprise appearance by the shock rock king himself, Marilyn Manson.And while each act dug deep to give something special to the day, it was Young who reached deepest to offer a hauntingly emotional set, as potent and profound as any he has ever played.As tradition has it, Young opened the show, which raises funds for the school founded by his wife Pegi to help physically challenged children like their own to cope with the disabilities through various technology. After a quick run-through of his classic "Long May You Run," folkie singer/songwriter Kacy Crowley performed a brief set which was followed by Blues Traveler and their itinerant leader John Popper. Popper not only sat in with nearly every artist on the bill over the evening's course, but set the tone for the event by lavishing his attentions not on the paid audience, but on the children to whom the night was dedicated.Popper, in his characteristic dungaree jacket and baggy blue jeans, made a point of slapping hands with the Bridge School children, most of whom sat in wheelchairs staring in amazement at the large man with the mighty harmonica. His band ran through a set of newer material such as "Canadian Rose," mixed in with audience favorites "Run Around" and "But Anyway."Next came the ever-intense Lou Reed and his band of black-outfitted urban hipsters. Offering a mix of classic Velvet Underground songs, Reed favorites and a few new tunes, Reed treated the crowd and the kids to a greatest hits performance that was as driving as it was passionate. Opening with the Velvet Underground's "I'll Be Your Mirror," Reed, flanked by long-time bassist Fernando Saunders, then re-worked VU's "Perfect Day" as a dark, somber march and unleashed "The Kids," which featured the classic Reed lines "they're taking her children away/ they said she's not a good mother." The New York legend also re-vamped "Vicious" as a chugging, bluesy track with a harmonica solo and "Hang On To Your Emotion" as the kind of '50s doo-wop ditty that inspired him to get into music in the first place, with Saunders singing a falsetto lead.Reed also debuted the bittersweet "What Do You Call Love," ("is it more than a heart's hieroglyphics?") and "Talking Book," which featured the line "I wish I had a talking book/ with buttons you could push," fitting given the electronic communication devices in use by many of the children. The ex-Velvet Underground leader finished the set with a dervish, nimble take on "New Sensations," a countryish "Pale Blue Eyes," "Dirty Blvd." and a shuffling "Sweet Jane."Metallica, who by their own admission were a bit ragged around the edges, rocked as hard as you would expect, despite all the acoustic trappings. Opening with a bluesy new tune that featured the accompaniment of a hurdy-gurdy, singer James Hetfield invited Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell on stage for an unironic Nashville-tinged run through Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone."The band, with Hetfield losing none of his devilish swagger even as he sat perched on a stool half-facing the children, was joined by Popper for a set-closing run through "Last Call."Then came the night's peak performance. Young, dressed in his characteristic flannel shirt and blues jeans, wandered out like a roadie looking for a guitar. Seated on a lone stool facing the audience, he reached for his instrument, bowed his head and launched into a mesmerizing set that included a mournful "Slowpoke," as well as a new song called "Buffalo Springfield Again," in which -- while picking the guitar like a banjo -- Young extended his hands to his old bandmates as if to say, let's let bygones be bygones. Later, he hammered the strings to create an almost drum-like resonance during "Good To See You Again." He finger-picked "Slip Away," and then stepped up to his pipe organ and, bent nearly double behind it, delivered a haunting version of "Mother Earth.""After the Goldrush" featured dueling-harmonicas between Young and Willie Nelson sideman Mickey Raphael, with Popper joining in on harp on "This Notes For You," Young's classic lampoon of corporate sponsorship of rock bands, which the evening's host introduced as "a dumb song I wrote a long time ago."Her long hair falling Crystal Gayle-like to her hips, a focused and supremely self-confident Alanis Morissette, dressed in a flowing brown dress, wowed the crowd with a powerful set that ranged from the mantra-like "All I Really Want," to the scat vocalese of a new song "Gorgeous," the Joni Mitchellish jazz of a second new one, "London," and the arty folk of "No Pressure Over Cappuccinos." A fourth new, still-untitled song was introduced as "She Gave Me A Wink," and featured Morissette's operatic yodel and stunning vocal leaps over a sly, sexy blues that gave way to the set-closing cover of the Beatles "Norwegian Wood."After a high-energy set from the Dave Matthews Band that more than once brought the mostly sedentary crowd to its feet, the Smashing Pumpkins closed the show with a handful of unfamiliar tunes and re-worked classics. Opening with two new songs, the elegiac "To Sheila" and "Never Apart," the quartet moved through a frail, dirge-like version of their mega-hit "Tonight, Tonight" and the b-side "Set The Ray to Jerry," during which the bald-one, Billy Corgan, laid his guitar across his lap so he could wave his hands around in the air like a magician moving in slow motion. From there, the main Pumpkin fast-strummed his way through a sped-up version of "1979.""Bullet with Butterfly Wings" brought a monster beat from Filter drummer Matt Walker, with a hushed, finger-picking chorus. And just when young Pumpkin fans in the crowd had screeched themselves hoarse, emerging from the backstage shadows, in a white cowboy hat, fake black fur coat and slinky silver jumpsuit, came the night's most unexpected guest. Marilyn Manson and his guitarist Twiggy Ramirez joined the Pumpkins for a pair of duets featuring vocal as well as physical interchanges between Manson and Corgan.Looking as sexually ambiguous as ever, Manson and Corgan teamed up on "Eye," weaving their surprisingly complimentary vocals almost seamlessly. Then came a creepy and chaotic run through of Manson's "Beautiful People," with a chorus featuring a slightly silly call-and-response between Corgan and guitarist James Iha. It all ended with Manson kissing Corgan on his shiney reflective head, leaving a black lipstick smudge as a reminder.As the final notes of the Pumpkins' "Muzzle" rang around the theater, Neil and Pegi Young stood side by side at stage right applauding wildly. Led by Corgan, the band strutted past them, in true rock-star fashion.The Youngs then emerged arm in arm to thank the audience as the lights went on.There would be no time for an all-star jam this night, although you'd never have known it, judging from the wide eyes and infectious smiles filling the faces of the night's biggest stars of all, those flickering brightly at the back of the stage.***Electrifying Performance From Jane's AddictionLeader Perry Farrell's 'so full of energy, he literally looked like he was plugged in ... 'Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : While Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea may have been, as he confessed to Addicted To Noise on Friday, "fucking nervous" about his first-ever gig as a member of Jane's Addiction on Saturday, it was hardly evident to the hundreds of fans who shoehorned their way into Los Angeles' Roxy club for the reformed group's first show in six years. As expected, Jane's served up a wildly charged performance, offering a sneak preview of next month's sold-out "relapse" tour to fans who had won tickets through L.A.'s modern rock radio mainstay, KROQ (106.7 FM)."I haven't been this nervous about a show in so long," said Flea the day before he and original Jane's members Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins took to the club stage to revive and reinterpret songs from the group's influential alt-rock catalog.If the acrobatic bassman was far from staid, he did temper his typically animated presence for his new role in the Jane's family, said Jed "the Fish," KROQ's popular afternoon DJ who attended the show. "He toned it down to just be the bass player," said Jed. "He wasn't static or acting like a studio musician -- he was there to do his job and do it well."Jane's Addiction mastermind Perry Farrell, on the other hand, pulled out all the stops. Clad in a sparkling blue polyester coat and matching pants, the founder of Lollapalooza commandeered the show with huge curls atop his usually closely-shorn head. From the first tones of "Ocean Size," the band dispensed with any lingering notion that their opening night would be, as a band spokesperson had said a week or so prior to the show, an acoustic affair."Perry was just so full of energy, he literally looked like he was plugged in and shaking," said Jed. Throughout the show, Farrell spoke of one-world harmony and environmental awareness, according to the DJ, topics that have especially colored the work of Farrell's post-Jane's outfit, Porno for Pyros. "He also made oblique allusions to the relapse," said Jed, "like, 'Did you ever never quite make it home? I almost didn't make it home, but I'm here tonight.'"Meanwhile, guitarist Navarro (also a member of the Chili Peppers) and drummer Perkins (currently in Porno) reportedly offered such punch that one could barely tell they'd spent six years apart. "Navarro played like he never left the group," said Jed. "As far as he and Stephen Perkins were concerned, it was like they started playing last week and never stopped."According to Flea, his own job was to "serve the songs and the music," rather than worry about tracing the footsteps of original bassist Eric Avery, who decided to sit out from the reunion. "I love what Eric did, but the fact is I play with my fingers and he played with a pick," said Flea. "Eric is a very direct player, very honest. My playing has a direct feeling, too, but from my soul."The band's abbreviated, 50-minute, seven-song set focused strictly on Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual, with songs such as "Ain't No Right," "Summertime Rolls," "Then She Did," "Three Days," and the encores "Stop" and "Mountain Song." When the proper tour gets underway in New York on Oct. 30, the show is expected to also include songs from the group's 1987 self-titled debut.KROQ estimated that 800 people were crammed into the 600-capacity room. Although rock star representation was kept to a minimum to ensure high fan attendance, Lolla alumni Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson (from Hole) as well as members of Rage Against the Machine were spotted at the show. Stone Temple Pilot Scott Weiland was said to have been turned away at the door, but later swept in on a KROQ ticket.Inside the room, the energy was so peaked that during some songs, the audience served as a de facto fifth member of the band. "It was as if they all had headphones on and they were in a studio," said DJ Jed. "And Perry told them to sing their asses off as loud as they could."ATN Senior Writer Gil Kaufman contributed to this story.