Dead & Company guitarists Bob Weir and John Mayer may be shredding it up on tour, but they’ll be chatting it up come next week. The Grateful duo will appear on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, a late-night talk show focusing on world arts and culture, hosted by Andy Cohen. Cohen is a known fan of the Dead, and appeared in Dead & Co’s setbreak video at Madison Square Garden promoting his love for the band.The news of the duo’s appearance comes to us by way of Headline Planet, who reports that the band will appear on the June 28th episode. Since the band has a performance in Hartford, CT that night, it seems unlikely that the show will be taped live, as Watch What Happens Live tapes in New York, NY and airs at 11 PM.Want to win tickets to see Dead & Company next Sunday, June 26th at Citi Field? Enter below!
One of the major music headline themes of 2016 has been reunions. Between A Tribe Called Quest, Guns N’ Roses, The Flecktones, John Mayer Trio, and more, fans have been blessed with an opportunity to see these once-dominant acts light up a stage again. Of course, few have been as exciting as the great Ween, who returned in February of this year after not performing for several years.After three performances at Broomfield’s 1st Bank Center and an appearance at Okeechobee Music Festival, the group returned to New York’s Terminal 5 on April 14-16, hitting NYC for the first performance since Halloween of 2011.The first night was complete with fan-favorites like “Roses Are Free,” “Chocolate Town,” “You Fucked Up” and more, with big time free-form segments coming in tracks like “Pandy Fackler,” it was ultimately an unforgettable and reaffirming night of music. Through a total of 29 songs, Ween brought fans back through their extensive catalog and into the cosmos.Watch the full set below, courtesy of LazyLightning55a:Setlist: Ween at Terminal 5, New York, NY – 4/14/16Set: The Stallion pt 1, Roses Are Free, Happy Colored Marbles, The Stallion pt 3, Bananas And Blow, Your Party, Japanese Cowboy, Beacon Light, Even If You Don’t, Freedom of ’76, The Grobe, Captain Fantasy, Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy), Touch My Tooter, Mononucleosis, Boy’s Club, Pandy Fackler, Chocolate Town*, Little Birdy*, Get A Little Taste of You*, The HIV Song*, Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain*, Kim Smoltz*, Pumpin’ 4 The Man, The Golden Eel, Baby Bitch, Frank, You Fucked UpEncore: Licking The Palm For Guava > Mushroom Festival In Hell, Someday* – acousticPhotos by Chad Anderson, full gallery below:
Though we’re still a few weeks away from 2017, the next calendar year is filling up with all sorts of great events. With the Jazz Fest lineup due out any day now, many artists are announcing their own late night performances for the famed New Orleans festival.One of the annual traditions of Jazz Fest late nights is Dead Feat, a collaboration that generally features members of both the Grateful Dead and Little Feat, as well as musicians from the New Orleans scene. This year’s lineup unfortunately doesn’t feature any members of the Dead, though Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat will be performing. In addition, Jackie Greene, Anders Osborne, and Brady Blade will all be featured on the 2017 Dead Feat lineup.Dead Feat will perform for two nights, April 29th and 30th, at Republic NOLA. You can find more information here.[Image courtesy of Rex Thomson from Dead Feat 2016]
Funky phenoms Vulfpeck continue to serve up delicious content at the end of 2016. The band’s recently released The Beautiful Game has been the centerpiece of music released in 2016, but there’s no real limit to what the band can, and will, do.Case and point, “The Speedwalker,” a funky track from the band’s 2013 EP My First Car. Today, seemingly out of nowhere, the band released a music video for the three-year-old recording. Not only that, but the video is literally just Jack Stratton listening to the song and speedwalking through what we can assume is his neighborhood. It’s one of those things that’s better watched than described.Check out Vulfpeck’s new video for “The Speedwalker,” streaming below.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Setlist – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO – 1/27/17Too Long >UpfunkWhoopie > 1999 > WhoopieMelting Lights >OffshootWalk OutsideThe LiquidHenriettaSpacejam > The Hop > F.U. (w/ Eli Winderman) Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Dopapod graced the stage at Denver, CO’s The Ogden Theatre last night to a packed house. The two bands put on non-stop, high-energy sets that had the crowd going wild for the entirety of the evening.Pigeons played a funk-fueled set, with highlights consisting of a cover of Prince‘s “1999” sandwiched in between “Whoopie”, “Walk Outside,” and finished off with a monster “Spacejam > The Hop > F.U.,” the latter of which featured a sit-in from Dopapod keyboardist Eli Winderman.Dopapod’s set continued in much the same fashion, as the band was locked in from the start of their own set. A touching moment came when the group invited Pigeons guitarist Jeremy Schon out to pay tribute to recently fallen Allman Brothers Band member Butch Trucks with a cover of “Blue Sky.” Dopapod guitarist Rob Compa eloquently stated that Trucks was now reunited with fellow ABB band members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, so it couldn’t be that bad; certainly a positive way to look at it, given the devastating news from this past week.The DopaPigeons combo continue their two-night Colorado run with each other at The Boulder Theater tonight. For more information, check out the Facebook Event page. To purchase tickets, click here.
Natalie Cressman Discusses Her Influences Behind The Traces EP, What It’s Like To Be A Girl In A Boys Club
Singer/Songwriter/Tromobonist Natalie Cressman is certainly well-known within our scene as a long-standing member of the Trey Anastasio Band, but her solo resume is extremely impressive unto itself. She recently released a new five-song album titled The Traces EP, which we’re preparing to celebrate on Friday, March 24th, at New York City’s American Beauty (purchase tickets here). Cressman’s album release party is co-billed with a performance by Omaha Diner, an all-star supergroup featuring Skerik (saxophone), Charlie Hunter (7-string guitar), Steven Bernstein (trumpet), and Bobby Previte (drums). Omaha Diner is dripping with talent, putting a modern jazz twist on various #1 Billboard Top 40 hits from throughout time. To say that we are looking forward to this show is an enormous understatement.A 25-year-old Cressman currently resides in Brooklyn and already has two self-produced solo albums, 2012’s Unfolding and 2014’s Turn The Sea, to go along with 2016’s Etching in Amber, a duo album recorded with guitarist Mike Bono. Cressman has some serious vocal skills to pair with her trombone playing, and is well-versed in a diverse array of musical stylings, including modern jazz, Latin jazz, Brazilian, funk, rock, and more. Take a listen to The Traces EP to get a vibe for the contemporary sound of Natalie Cressman, then read below to hear a more in-depth explanation of what she’s been up to.Live For Live Music: I listened to The Traces EP the other day and absolutely loved it. It was really, really cool. How do you feel this record continues your own evolution as an artist?Natalie Cressman: Well, it felt natural. Following the previous record I did with this band, which had more of a jazz vibe with improvised solos, I began veering in a more singer/songwriter direction where everything is more focused on the actual songs, more so than the jamming and the improvised elements. I think this takes it to another level with the lack of open solos and with the addition of more involved production and sound effects, ultimately building the songs to a different dimension than what can be done with a live band. From writing the songs to teaming up with a producer, I realized that this was the next step.I think that even though it’s a very different sounding record than my past ones, it still feels like a natural step forward. I’ve been getting more into following what a song needs instead of focusing on just the individual musicians and the sound that comes from a live band.L4LM: Totally. Your concentration on songwriting is really cool for fans to experience. Did you write all of those songs on the record, both musically and lyrically?NC: Yeah, I wrote them all. The lyrics and the music. The songs started as my own demos in Ableton, but I dropped them to a producer and then recorded live instruments on top of that. I actually started out programming all the instruments myself and recording everything myself in my room, and from there we expanded it.I didn’t actually play the drums, but I programmed them by sequencing the drums in a recording software. Then I put in a little bit of live bass, sang all the vocals, and played all the trombone parts. All of those I recorded, obviously. Then the keyboards I played using a midi keyboard and programmed the sounds through the software.I took those demos to Ivan Jackson of Brasstracks, and he took some things out, changed some things about the groove, added his own layers, took some layers out, and then replaced a lot of the stuff that was really replicating live instruments. The drums, keyboard, strings, bass, trombones; we recorded everything live, including my vocals. Most of the time when I’m getting into the zone, songwriting wise, it’s like one or two or three in the morning and my voice is cracked. I’m trying to not wake my roommates, so everything had to kind of be redone. It was the first time that I’d made a record like that where I’d really mapped out each song with all their elements before bringing in the band to record.In the past, I just write songs on piano and I bring in a chart to my band and that’s when I get to hear what it sounds like. This time I made a lot more decisions on my own about the groove and specific parts. It was coming more from me than from my band. Then, also, a lot came from Ivan, because he definitely spent some time with the music before we even brought the live musicians into the soundscape.L4LM: Can you tell us about the inspiration for some of these songs?NC: Well, I have to say not very many of them were autobiographical. There were some feelings that felt very genuine that I kind of put a story to. I’m definitely inspired by the more complicated side of love. Even if I’m in a really good place in my life, I feel like there’s more to say about the negative sides of love, like losing it and being torn between decisions. I think most of the songs are somewhat somber and reflective and have a little bit of tension to them. For me, it’s a lot easier to write those kinds of songs than like, “I’m happy, there are puppies and rainbows, everything is great!” There’s not enough meat to them emotionally for me, so I kind of enjoy writing sad songs.One of the songs I did write more personally is about being in the music business and feeling very frustrated by the things I have to deal with being a girl in a boys club. “Radio Silence” was that song, which kind of dealt with how there are times when I’m not hired because I’m a girl. And, sometimes, I’m hired because I’m a girl as a novelty. Sometimes, I’d rather just have people listening with their eyes closed to what’s really important, which is the music. That was one song that was pretty close to me, autobiographically speaking. The rest, though, I was definitely using my imagination a lot.L4LM: Do you have any specific song-writing processes, as far as when or where, or how you like to approach writing?NC: I’m definitely kind of a slave to whenever inspiration strikes. I’m not someone that can sit down and write a song every day that’s great. These songs come about in different ways, depending on where I am and what kind of setup I have because I travel a lot. A lot of things come up, start out as these little lyrics that I write down. I keep a notebook when I travel with phrases or sentences and images that I really like, and then I look back when I’m trying to write a song or base a song off of that idea, so some of them kind of came from that.I also sometimes would wake up in the middle of the night with a song idea in my head or from a dream. I’d open my phone really quickly and record a groggy voice memo, then check it out the next day. That sometimes is the way that certain melodies and hooks come about. Other times, I’ll play around in Ableton and come up with a good chord progression that I like or a sound that makes me think of a mood and a groove. I’ve built out songs that way, too. Other songs come from a snippet that two weeks later will go into a section of a song. Then, maybe I can’t finish the song that day because I don’t know where it needs to go. As more time goes by, eventually it’ll get finished.The third song, “Love Me Blind,” is very loop-based. It started with just me playing around with this trombone melody, and stacking and looping my trombone so there were three different parts that I turned into the melody of the song. I was just in my sandbox musically as I was in my apartment, playing around.L4LM: For “Radio Silence,” was there a particular moment that made you sit down and dedicate yourself to that emotion?NC: Yeah, there are so many stories that play into the mood that “Radio Silence” is about. It was the feeling of just not being able to get it right. No matter what I do. Whether I try to be one of the guys, whether I try to be feminine, be myself, it doesn’t really matter. People still have their prejudices and there’s nothing I can do about it, and that’s frustrating. Yeah, there’s not one particular thing. In fact, the song kind of goes back and forth. The verses are like, “I’d rather be left out then held up like a token,” which is about the times that I’ve been hired and then get too excited because it’s a pop gig with artists I really like. Then it turns out, oh no, it’s like this all-chick horn section, and we’re at the bottom of the totem pole, even below the other musicians, because we’re just there to look cute and wear matching outfits. That feeling sucks because I really work my butt off to play my instrument well, and have musical and artistic integrity so that feels demeaning, and is just not why I got into playing music.Then, there’s the double standards. The way that male musicians can behave a certain way and do whatever they want without any implications on their career, but if you’re a girl and you get involved with somebody, even if it ends amicably, you lose out on gigs automatically just because it’s awkward. People assume that it’s awkward, and they side with the guys because it’s all guys. I lost some playing opportunities in a situation like that and it was upsetting. I kind of was like, oh, all these musicians and friends who I thought were the real deal, all of a sudden, I don’t have that gig anymore. Instead, it’s radio silence, and it has nothing to do with my musicianship or even who I am as a person. It’s just the climate that it is when you’re in a boy’s club and you’re the only girl, or one of the only girls.L4LM: In Trey Anastasio Band, you’re so obviously not there as a girl. You’re so obviously there as another badass on stage.NC: Right, and that’s the thing. I’m lucky that most of the time, like 90% of the time, I’m around the best people that totally see me for what I bring to the table musically and who I am as a person. They’re not thinking that I’m any worse because I’m a girl or any less capable because I’m a girl. They’re definitely just judging me on who I am individually. But, there are times when people think I’m going to suck because I’m a girl, and girls don’t play trombone. Sometimes, I’ll get stopped on the street when I’m carrying my trombone and my bass, and someone will say something like, “Do you actually know how to play those instruments?” They’re not meaning to be condescending, but that statement in and of itself is revealing that the person doesn’t think that women typically do that, or are able to.When I say, “Yes, I do play them,” and they go, “really?”, it’s like they can’t even believe it. It’s so frustrating, because any woman I know kind of feels like they have to work twice as hard to prove themselves. It seems so silly.L4LM: Yeah, definitely. The more that you’re able to get out there and get those gigs that are totally random. The more you put yourself in front of those new audiences, you prove that yeah, you can play the fucking trombone, and the bass, and you can sing too. Oh, and you’re a woman.NC: Yeah, that could be the fourth thing that someone notices, not the first thing that you’re judged on. Your gender doesn’t really come into music as much as people like to act like it does.L4LM: When you walk into a club, you hear the music before you see the stage. You can tell from the door if you want to stay. Let’s all just wear masks from now on and see what happens.NC: Let’s do it!L4LM: Tell us the story of how you got the gig with TAB.NC: Well, back in the day, around 2005, my dad did a tour with Trey [Anastasio], and he got the gig through one of his oldest friends, and my godfather Peter Apfelbaum, who was in the horn section at the time. My dad loved it, and Trey really enjoyed my dad’s playing. He’s just a great guy. When Trey was putting his band back together in 2009, he gave my dad a call and offered him the job. My dad also has had a long touring gig with Santana, and so he wasn’t able to make the dates work with what he already had going on with Santana. Apparently Trey and his manager had been looking for someone who could play trombone and sing, and they hadn’t found that, so they were excited to call my dad and just get a great trombonist.Then, they asked my dad if he had any recommendations, and my dad said, “Well, there’s this girl who lives in New York City. She can sing, she can play, she can read music, she’s very professional. She goes to Manhattan School of Music and she happens to be my daughter.” Lucky for me they didn’t just laugh at that and keep looking. They actually followed up, and I was only 18 at the time. I hadn’t had any touring experience and only some performance experience. They gave me a call, and I sent them some music. My audition was essentially just showing up at a gig that Jen Hartswick was doing on the upper east side. I met her right then, came up on stage, and sat in on a song I’d never heard before, but I was able to jam with everyone and hold my own, even though it was a completely alien unfamiliar setting.Me and Jen just really hit it off as friends, as people, so Jen called Trey that night and said, “I think this is our girl, I think she’ll be great.” That’s how I got the gig.L4LM: That’s so awesome. Especially that you hadn’t had any previous goals to perform in that sort of improv-induced setting or to go on the road. NC: Yeah, I mean I’d done a bunch of dad’s gigs with Peter Apfelbaum, and I’d played professionally, but never on the road and definitely never in the jam world where it was something at that level. It was definitely super cool of them. Talk about model behavior. They just saw me for the musician I was, and not how old I was, or what I looked like, or even what gender I was. That was really awesome.L4LM: Had playing music and touring always been part of the plan for you? Was that something you wanted to do growing up watching your family, or was this kind of a total left turn for you?NC: Well, I always have been involved in music. My parents are musicians, so it was definitely a very familiar setting being backstage and going to my parents’ gigs. Actually, until about halfway through high school, I really wanted to be a ballerina and I was training really hard to do that. I’ve always liked performing arts, and as a kid I sang and did musical theater. Then, I got super into, like, hardcore ballet dance. I was on that path for a while, but I got injured and had to take a couple months off. Then, I really got the music bug super hard. I ended up playing in a rock band and doing more stuff with other advanced musicians my age, and it was just super motivating.There’s definitely more of a sense of warmth and community in music than there is in ballet. I just fell in love with that idea and changed gears and changed courses. I decided that I wanted to go to college for music, and I’ve kind of just been all about music ever since.L4LM: That’s so awesome. OK so – we want to know about your experience performing with Phish on New Years.NC: Yes. It was such a treat. It was pretty amazing to be part of such an insane production. I’ve seen the gags before from past years, so I knew it was going to be something really amazing, but it wasn’t really until we were there rehearsing with the dancers that I realized how expansive the whole thing was and how perfectly choreographed it was with all the lighting, and all the rain. I saw these big balloons up above waiting to be released, and I had a feeling it was going to be amazing, but actually being in it, during the actual performance, it was really hard to keep my jaw off the floor. I was just in awe and trying to take it all in but also not forget to play my part in the music too because there was so much to enjoy about it. It was definitely a really great way to start this year.L4LM: I’m sure that even if you know a little bit about what’s going to happen, you could never possibly know until it’s happening just how crazy it’s going to be. Especially with raining cats and dogs.NC: Yeah, I know, it’s like a whole other level.L4LM: It’s something that a lot of people don’t understand, and it’s basically impossible to explain. It really is something you had to be there for. Speaking of New York City gigs, your album release party is coming up in a couple of days, at American Beauty with Omaha Diner, which I’m just learning is a really cool band.NC: Oh yeah, and also, Skerik and Charlie Hunter, who I love, and Steven Bernstein, who is one of my dad’s oldest friends who he’s known since elementary school along with Peter, so that’s pretty cool. It’s going to be a hang and a half. Honestly, anything is possible with those four musicians. It will be a treat for sure, I’m excited.L4LM: So are we!Tickets are now on sale at this link.– SHOW INFO –Artist: Natalie Cressman ‘The Traces EP’ Album Release Party w/ Omaha DinerVenue: American Beauty (251 W. 30th Street – New York, NY 10001)Date: Friday – March 24th, 2017Ages: 21+Tickets: $15adv / $20dos (purchase tickets here)
GM: Well Barber is a wild card, and when an urge strikes him he usually obliges, so I would bet it was just time for a nap.Joel Cummins: For sure. [laughs]GM: All joking aside, I have always found it cool to watch the relationship between your two bands over the years. It must have been nice to have another band you get along with so well coming up at the same time to motivate and inspire you guys, or even to look at and say maybe we should or shouldn’t do it that way.Joel Cummins: One really funny thing is that I applied to Penn, and that was the only place I got rejected, so The Disco Biscuits could have been a two keyboard band. I think over the years we’ve got a lot of things in common and have had a friendly rivalry going, but now more than anything, it really feels like family. It’s great to hang when we are at festivals together, and it’s just gotten better and better over the years. It’s always good to have someone who can push you and motivate you, and hopefully, we do that for each other.The Disco Biscuits’ Aron Magner Talks Prank War With Umphrey’s, Spotify, And BCAOne thing that always stays the same is trying to come up with ways to have fun with each other. Like at Langerado one year, we had Barber come and sit in with us, and he and Brendan [Bayliss] staged a fight on stage. In Aron [Magner]’s interview, he referenced the time when I came to sit in with Conspirator. For the record, I’d like to share the real story. [laughs] That was their idea for me to come up on stage from the crowd, and the funny part is, I went down to the crowd about fifteen minutes before I was supposed to go up there, and I couldn’t get anyone’s attention. Nobody in the band was making any kind of eye contact with anyone in the crowd. [laughs]. I told them after the gig, “Guys, this is a problem, you need to interact with the crowd a little more.” [laughs] I’m down there jumping around trying to get their attention, and of course when it’s time for the sit-in they are looking for me side stage, like “Where is Joel?” God bless the security guys because they could have ripped me to shreds but were very gentle. [laughs]GM: That’s hilarious. So last thing before I let you go. Last time we spoke, it was last June and the Cubs were in the midst of a historic and miraculous run to their first World Series Championship in 108 years. I heard you got to go to Game 7. What was that experience like?Joel Cummins: First of all, I have to give a shout out to my buddy Jason Morris who is the Cleveland Indians fan who got me a ticket. So I went to the game with an Indians fan. It was really fun and obviously, it was such a back and forth game. There were moments where I thought we had it and others where it felt like, “Oh no, we are going to blow it again.” It was simply the most incredible sports experience ever. One of the things I kept thinking was that whoever decided that the World Series should be a 7 game series, this is exactly what they were hoping for. Every pitch had the whole stadium on the edge of their seats. I don’t think there will ever be a more frenzied and intense game 7 ever.Unfortunately, my dad passed away last year. When we first sang the anthem at Wrigley in ’06, the Cubs gave us all uniforms with our names on them. I gave mine to my dad, and he wore it to countless cubs games and Umphrey’s shows. One thing that was really cool was that before the game, I swung by my mom’s place, grabbed the jersey, and wore it to the game. It had a couple mustard stains on there from a dog or a brat, which just made it perfect. I got to watch the Cubs win the World Series in my dad’s jersey, which made it even more special.GM: I’ve seriously got goosebumps just thinking about that game right now. Joel Cummins: For sure. What was also really cool is that I was flying back into Chicago for a recording session with Umphrey’s and was in town for the parade. They had asked Brendan to play a private party for the players and their families. After a bunch of crazy flight cancellations and delays, I got there right at the end of this party and ended up going to Ryan Dempster’s party after that and got to hang out with the players throw back a few drinks with those guys. So I get there and am talking to one of Kyle Schwarber’s friends from high school and asked if he could introduce me. The guy turns and yells, “Hey Kyle, come take a picture with this guy!” I was like, “Whoa no no no no [laughs]. I just want to shake your hand and thank you for everything you’ve done.” He was really cool and I got to tell him about my dad and how I saw the only game he played in before he got hurt that year and thank you. We talked for awhile about how insanely hard he had to work to get back for the World Series and how impressive it was. At this point, I wanted to let him go and he’s like, “Soooooo, you don’t want a picture?” [laughs] and basically forced me to take a selfie with him. It was awesome and just an amazing way to cap that all off.GM: Wow, that is like every Cubs fan’s dream right there. So our magic number is 20 and it seems like we are starting to hit our stride. How do you like our chances this year?Joel Cummins: I get the MLB package every year, so I watch a ton of games. Pretty much, you just gotta get into the playoffs and get hot and you never know. Fortunately, the NL Central has been a little weak this year, but we’ve gotten hot recently. We’ve got Contreras and Lester coming back, and if we can stay healthy, I think we should be in good shape and should make the playoffs. That’s all you can really ask for.GM: Absolutely. I’m gearing up for another stressful fall. I am pretty sure I cried more last October than I have in the rest of my entire life combined. Joel Cummins: [laughs] I hear you.GM: Well, thanks again for taking some time to talk today. Looking forward to hearing you at Brooklyn Comes Alive and Go Cubbies!Joel Cummins: Hell yeah man. Go Cubs![Photo: Phierce Photo]Inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans, Brooklyn Comes Alive is set to take place across three venues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Bowl, Schimanski, Music Hall of Williamsburg) on September 23rd and 24th. The unique homegrown event puts the focus on the musicians, curating dream team collaborations, tributes, and artist passion projects for two full days of incredible music both new and old.The 2017 lineup is set to include hand-selected band lineups featuring all-star musicians like John Scofield, George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Vinnie Amico and Al Schnier (moe.), Bernard Purdie, Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik, and Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Mike Greenfield and Jesse Miller (Lotus), Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident), Alan Evans (Soulive), Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Henry Butler, Jon Cleary, Reed Mathis (Electric Beethoven), Michael League, Nate Werth, Chris Bullock, Robert “Sput” Searight, and Bob Lanzetti (Snarky Puppy), Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), and scores of others! Joel Cummins is a founding member and keyboard player for Umphrey’s McGee. Before Joel hits the road with Umphrey’s later in the fall, the keys player will perform a number of non-Umphrey’s shows, including two sets at the upcoming Brooklyn Comes Alive, set to take place on September 23rd and 24th.We had the chance to catch up with Cummins ahead of his two Brooklyn Comes Alive performances on Sunday, September 24th. The keyboard wizard will perform a special brunch solo piano set (as he’s done in the past on Jam Cruise) and then follow it up with a supergroup set with The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner, Lotus drummer Mike Greenfield, and Motet guitarist Ryan Jalbert. We got the opportunity to talk to Joel about what he’s looking forward to at Brooklyn Comes Alive, plus responded to Magner’s statements on the friendly Disco Biscuits/Umphrey’s prank war and shared about his experiences hanging out with The Cubs after they won the World Series. Check it out below!Gary Mellini is a music lover in Denver by way of Chicago and is one of the creative forces behind the Noise Behind The Sound Podcast and events like J2G Live’s Dance Party Time Machine concerts.GM: Hey Joel, thanks for taking some time to talk today. How’s the time off the road with Umphrey’s McGee been treating you?Joel Cummins: Well, it’s only been a couple days off the road, so I’m just getting into it. I did get to go back to Chicago over the weekend and got to check out Ween and Primus at the North Coast Fest on Sunday, which was really fun. It’s nice to be the person being entertained as opposed to being the entertainer sometimes. But yeah, I’m working on a few solo piano sets coming up, so I’ve started getting ready for those. I’ve got one back in Chicago next weekend at The Tonic Room and one as part of the brunch thing at Brooklyn Comes Alive. John Cleary is doing one day and I’m doing the other, so excited for that stuff.GM: I’m glad you brought those up because I wanted to discuss the solo gigs you’ve been doing. Obviously, those gigs have to be a different experience than when you play with Umphrey’s or your other side projects. What’s the biggest thing you get out of playing those types of gigs?Joel Cummins: For me, it’s a different opportunity to really focus on just playing well by myself. I think there is a little more pressure that kind of comes with it. When I’m up on stage with Umphrey’s, there are five other guys up there. If I do something that is unexpected or make a mistake, more than likely, the other five guys are going to pick me up or cover it up, you know? [laughs] So there is a little extra preparation required because you are out there on your own. It’s really nice because when I do solo piano stuff, I do a mix of classical stuff, some jazz, some Umphrey’s tunes, some covers that I’m saving—there is a whole different spectrum with it. It’s good for me to get out there and see what I can do. Obviously, the other big thing is that when I am up on stage with Umphrey’s, there are five other guys playing music, so I typically have to do a whole lot more to fill up the space when I am playing by myself, and I like the challenge.GM: The other thing you’ll be doing at Brooklyn Comes alive is playing with Marc Brownstein, Aron Magner, Mike Greenfield, and Ryan Jalbert on Sunday, September 24th. When I interviewed Magner about the gig, we couldn’t really think of another time the two of you have worked together officially on a project like this. Obviously, you guys have both sat in with each other for various different projects, but is this the first time you guys will actually be collaborating on a project like this in an official capacity?JC: I think so. We’ve just done a lot of sitting in with each other over the years and having fun with it that way. I’ve played with Brownie in a couple of Everyone Orchestras, but it will be nice to turn the tables and have the two keyboardists out numbering the one guitar player on this for once. [laughs]GM: I was going to ask about that. Are you looking forward to ganging up on the guitar player for a change?Joel Cummins: [laughs] Always. Honestly though, I really enjoy playing with other keyboardists. I was in Digital Tape Machine with Joe Hettinga, who is an outstanding player, for a number of years, so I do have some experience with playing with an additional keyboardist. I think it really opens things up sonically with what we can do. Everyone playing in this group is such a good listener, so it should come together nicely.GM: Have you guys started kicking around ideas as to what things might sound like or some song choices?Joel Cummins: Yeah, we have. We just got that process started and are going through some ideas and flushing some things out at the moment. I’m sure we’ll have some fun songs that we will do, then keep some of the parts of the show looser, since everyone is a pretty experienced improv player too.GM: So Umphrey’s McGee and the Disco Biscuits have had a long-standing, good-natured, and friendly rivalry going for a while now. You’ve had a lot of fun with each other over the years. Most recently, you guys had some pretty funny All Access Passes made for your summer tour with a picture of Barber sleeping backstage at one of your shows. When I spoke with Magner about them, he said “shots fired” and “there will be revenge.” Do you care to comment at all on the latest iteration of the Umphrey’s versus Biscuits prank war or would you rather let sleeping Barbers lie?Joel Cummins: [laughs] I’d be happy to comment. It’s kind of funny because the Biscuits guys—I think it was back in 2006—during a tribute to a friend of mine that had passed away, thought it would be funny to lower a dildo from the top of the stage, and you know, I don’t think there will ever be any payback that will make that even. [laughs] But I do find it interesting that they are perturbed about something that wasn’t even a public thing or something the band did. It was done by our crew guys.I think the best advice to learn from this is simply if you are going to go to someone else’s show as a guest, it’s probably not a good idea to pass out backstage during the show. Maybe they should be more upset with Barber as opposed to us. [laughs] As far as I know, one of our crew guys was just worried about this guy that was passed out backstage. One question I would have for Barber is was it the music, the tempos? What was it that had him so bored he decided he needed to go to sleep backstage? [laughs] ***Tickets Are On Sale Now!***Brooklyn Comes Alive is now offering single day tickets, as well as a ticket payment plan for as low as $30/month. When checking out, just select “Monthly payments with Affirm” as your payment method. To find out more about ticketing, VIP options, and lodging, head to the festival website.
Yesterday, the Band Together: Benefit Concert For North Bay Fire Relief was announced with Metallica, Dave Matthews Band, and G-Eazy scheduled to perform. Today, the event adds Dead & Company, Raphael Saadiq, and Rancid to the mix. The event, established to help raise funds for those affected by the most destructive and deadliest firestorm disaster in California history, will take place on November 9th event at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and will be televised and streamed online.Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge was initially slated to perform with Oteil & Friends at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on this date, however was forced to reschedule for this special event. “I must join Dead & Company to help out our brothers and sisters affected by the wildfires,” he writes in a Facebook post. “Planning is underway for a rescheduled Oteil & Friends show and all tickets and VIP meet and greet packages will be honored. Thank you for your understanding.”Oteil Burbridge Is Bringing “Oteil & Friends” On The Road This FallTickets for the Band Together: Benefit Concert For North Bay Fire Relief go on sale this Friday, October 27 at 10AM at BandTogetherBayArea.org and Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster will donate all processing fees to the relief effort and the best seats in the house will be donated to first responders, volunteers and families impacted by the firestorm. 100% of the ticket sales will be going to an emergency relief fund established by Tipping Point Community. The fund aims to address urgent needs, such as temporary housing, food, education and healthcare services, as well as rebuilding efforts.To support the relief efforts, Band Together Bay Area has raised an initial $6.5 million from partners and founding sponsors, including Kaiser Permanente, Marc and Lynne Benioff, Salesforce, Google, Jeff and Erica Lawson, Twilio, the San Francisco Giants, Levi Strauss Foundation, Benchmark, Ron Conway, Live Nation and Another Planet Entertainment, according to the website.The fires have burned an estimated 200,000 acres and 6,000 homes in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake Counties, displacing thousands of residents. Damage estimates are in the billions of dollars and rising, and the cleanup and recovery efforts will be the largest and costliest in California history.The funds raised by Band Together Bay Area will go into an emergency relief fund established by Tipping Point Community and will be directed to the North Bay community foundations, service providers and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the fires. The fund aims to address urgent needs, such as temporary housing, food, education and healthcare services, as well as rebuilding efforts. Beneficiaries to date include: Community Foundation Sonoma County, Napa Valley Community Foundation, the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Inc. as part of the North Bay Fire Relief Fund established by the Press Democrat and Senator Mike McGuire, Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, among others.
Pearl Jam has announced a 14-date European tour next summer! Following their previously scheduled headlining performances at Lollapalooza’s South American Festivals in Chile, Argentina, and Brazil in March, the alternative rock band will embark on a European takeover in June and July of 2018. Kicking things off in Amsterdam on June 12, Eddie Vedder and co will perform two nights in London, with stops in Rome, Prague, Berlin, Barcelona, and more, with festival appearances at Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, NL, I-Days Festival at Area Expo in Milan, IT, the Mad Cool Festival in Madrid, ES, and NOS Alive Festival in Lisbon, PT.Pearl Jam Releases Soundtrack For “Let’s Play Two” Wrigley Field Concert FilmCheck out the announcement video below, followed by a full list of tour dates. Head to the band’s website for more information.Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, the band’s first year of eligibility, Pearl Jam has sold nearly 32 million records in the United States and an estimated 60 million worldwide–earning their spot as one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Check out the full tour schedule below.Pearl Jam 2018 Tour Dates:03/16 – Santiago, CL @ Lollapalooza Chile03/18 – Buenos Aires, AR @ Lollapalooza Argentina03/21 – Rio de Janeiro, BR @ Maracana Stadium03/24 – Sao Paulo, BR @ Lollapalooza Brazil06/12 – Amsterdam, NL @ Ziggo Dome06/15 – Landgraaf, NL @ Pinkpop Festival06/18 – London, UK @ O2 Arena06/19 – London, UK @ O2 Arena06/22 – Milan, IT @ I-Days Festival at Area Expo06/24 – Padova, IT @ Stadio Euganeo06/26 – Rome, IT @ Stadio Olimpico07/01 – Prague, CZ @ O2 Arena07/03 – Krakow, PL @ Tauron Arena07/05 – Berlin, DE @ Waldbuhne07/07 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter07/10 – Barcelona, ES @ Palau St. Jordi07/12 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival07/14 – Lisbon PT @ NOS Alive Festival
With Phish‘s 11th music festival, Curveball, slated to begin tomorrow, Friday, July 17th, today, the band has announced that it will be canceling the festival “due to the severe flooding that occurred in Schuyler County over the past week.” The statement notes that “the local water treatment plant that services water to the Village of Watkins Glen, including the Curveball site has been contaminated and the water supply is not safe for human consumption.”You can read the statement from the New York State Department of Health here, and the statement Phish posted on their website here or in its entirety below.Due to the severe flooding that occurred in Schuyler County over the past week, the local water treatment plant that services water to the Village of Watkins Glen, including the Curveball site has been contaminated and the water supply is not safe for human consumption. The New York State Department of Health has issued a statement here.Sadly, Curveball has been cancelled.Fans currently onsite are welcome to stay overnight; campgrounds will close at noon tomorrow.Information on refunds will be forthcoming, and additional information will be posted as it becomes available.A STATEMENT FROM PHISHDear friends, our Phish family..The four of us are writing this from directly behind the stage at Watkins Glen. We were about to walk onstage only moments ago for our traditional soundcheck jam for Curveball when we were told the heartbreaking news that due to the unsafe water conditions in the Village of Watkins Glen, our beloved festival is being canceled.We are still in shock. The entire site is already set up and ready to go after literally months of work by our beloved hardworking crew, many of whom have been here for weeks. Our families are here, our gear is set, our tents are up. We keep waiting for someone to come over and tell us that there is a solution, and that the festival can go on. Unfortunately, it is not possible.We are so terribly sorry for the inconvenience that this is causing so many of you. We hope from the bottoms of our hearts that at the very least this news will reach you before too much disruption takes place in your personal lives. We know that people traveled far, at great expense. We understand that people are missing work, and changing their schedules around.. we wish so much that there was some way that this wasn’t happening.This summer has been absolutely joyous, with each gig building on the previous one, and we were all buzzing with excitement about Curveball. Please accept our deepest apologies for the disruption that this has caused all of you.. We wish there was something else we could say.Thank you all from the depths of our souls for the joy that you continue to share with us every night. This has been the greatest summer we can remember.Travel safe and know that we are as heartbroken as all of you. We are standing back here behind the stage, at our party that we’ve been planning for over a year, and we have just told that it won’t happen. There’s just nothing we can do.Thank you all for your understanding.With Love,Phish