Saturday, January 28, 2017

Camera and Papir- Huset, Copenhagen Jan 26th, 2017

I had not planned to go to this show but Nicklas (Papir) said it would be one of their few shows this year so it was going to be my last chance to see them for a while.  I am glad that I went. I got there early and talked with the band for a while. Such super cool guys. Love these guys. The new record is delayed but should be out by the summer.  They are starting to record the next record in Feb.

            Anyway, the set was about 55mins long and included a brand new song (see video), as well as the closing track, which has been called Acid Rock, which will be on the record that comes out this year.  I also filmed the last half of the opening track as well. They had such a great dynamic this band. Amazing bass lines, intense drumming and amazing guitar parts. Wow…  The place was pretty packed, which was great.

            Camera, is a band I saw at the Psychedelic Network Festival in Germany a few years ago. The band is a three piece, lead by the keyboard player and supported by two younger guys on guitar and drums, percussion. The mood on the stage was not good for these guys and the guitar player spent a lot of time facing the back of the stage or away from the others. Seems they had had a fight earlier. Anyway, their set was about an hour long and it was a very slow start, where I felt like no one wanted to take the lead and take the music anywhere. We were pretty bored (Gary from Yawning Man and his wife). We were patient and did not leave and it actually evolved into some pretty cool stuff but we all agreed they could use another instrument (horns, lap steel) to spice it up a bit. The mid part was very uptempo for quite a long time with some cool drumming. I think in the end most people really liked it a lot.  Fun night and good to see some friends as well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pothead- Huxley’s, Berlin, Germany Jan 21-22nd, 2017

This is my first show of the year. It has become a bit of a ritual to come to Berlin and see my friend Silvana, go to the annual Pothead show and hang out with the band. The guys are so cool and I really enjoy hanging out with them. You were never are quite sure what they are going to play in the old days as the original drummer (Sebastian) knew all 160 pothead songs but the new drummer, Robert, he has limited them in that sense so they play a lot of the same sets. Last year I had talked with the guys about playing Year of the Rat, and one of my faves, Run. Little did I know that they would play both!!

The band has recently re-released the Pot of Gold EP from 1999 (See my review soon). Brad went back to the original tapes and made new mixes. They would introduce some of those songs tonight including the unreleased track Bettina.

Anyway, the show tonight was not quite sold out but there were still a lot of people. Silvana and I got up in the front by Brad. I had a foto pass so I could go in and out of the barrier to take fotos and shoot videos. I think the band played about 30 songs in a quite long concert. To my great surprise, they did play Year of the Rat (it is on the Pot of Gold EP) and also Run. Run is a hard one for Brad to sing as it the register is really high so they had a guest female singer named Nina C. Alice, who helped sing this one (she does not do the high parts though). She actually sang with him on the actual album! So cool to finally hear this one live!!!

There were probably 15 different songs from last year. I was pleasantly surprised. Brad had been sick during the week after catching something at his daughter’s day care so he was still not 100% he said. A keyboard player, Kaj came out and played with the band on 3 numbers, I think. Burning Bridges, Little Sister and Bettina.  The band has a great sound, cool light show with a few projections as well on a couple of songs like Constantinople. It was a great and varied set (See below). The audience liked it a lot and like I said before, they introduced quite a few new songs and some stables like Henry and Mabel, which they had almost always played had been dropped.

Silvana and I hung out backstage with Brad a lot.  Brad has some great stories about hitchhiking around in Europe in the early 90s. Always hard to get a ride in France! He also talked about the old days with the pre-Pothead band, Son of Man. They opened 3 times for Mother Love Bone.  Sounds like they had a lot of funny and stoned times back then as well. It was a great night but we went home at 1 so the band could get some rest for tomorrow. We needed it as well.

2nd Show

I met up with an old college friend, Billy for dinner and then we all went to the show. He had never really heard this band Pothead before. We arrived and got our coats into the coat check just as they started the first song.   IT was the same show as the night before and we again up in front of Brad but not right on the barrier. I did not take any fotos this evening. Brad was singing even better tonight and seem to have more energy and was really having fun. He even surprised the band a few times with some slightly more improvised and wild solos, especially on the track Rude, when Jeff and Robert both looked at Brad like what the fuck was that??? That was cool, man…   The place was totally sold out and packed but the audience is well behaved and people are mostly just into it and not talking lots of cell phone pictures and shit like that.. A few songs really caught me this night like Twisted Tomato, …….. After the show we met Tom again and it turns out he knows my friend Billy.. Far out… Billy loved the show and was totally blow away by Pothead. It was even better than the night before.

I bought the Rumly Oil Pull 2LP on vinyl and Siggi gave me a sticker for my car. Afterwards we hung out backstage again with Brad, and Jeff’s father in law. The conversations were very much more about history and politics tonight. Such a great guy and he really entertains us, I just hope we do the same. I had a great time but was so tired as we did not leave until nearly 4 in the morning…. I will get to see the band’s studio tomorrow!  Another really successful Pothead Berlin experience. Look forward to the next time. Pothead, one of Germany's best kept secrets! Rock and Roll!!!

Set List:
C’Mon, Rock Child, Appreciate, Fire, Rock On Lets Rock,  Emotion of the Potion, Wild Weed, Twisted Tomato, You should Talk, Catch 22, Stadium, Year of the Rat, Burnin’ Blue, Frame in your Mind, Funkenbus, Constantinople, Chess, Remember, Rude, Valley of Fire, I’m a Sinner Too, Run (w/guest singer Nina), Indian Song, Bettina (with Kaj on piano-keyboard), Bombay, Satisfied, Toxic, Rock Satellite, Magic Lantern,
Encore: Black War, Tacoma, Planet of the Apes, Detroit

Encore2: Burning Bridges (with Kaj on piano-keyboard)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Silverleaf- Silverleaf (Bilocation Records)

Silver Leaf is a fairly new Copenhagen band featuring Lene (Fuzz Manta, Cherry Overdrive) on bass/vocals, Morgan (Fuzz Manta) on Guitars, and Morten (Nicolai Wilhelm Tell & the Tea Company) on drums. It took the band quite a while to get this album out to the people but it was worth the wait. All recorded analog in Germany. 6 tracks between 4 and 10mins in length and starting with the politically charged Rats and Seagulls. This has a pretty cool stoner rock groove but then some nice melodic vocals and back into the groove and then a long and excellent guitar solo. A great opening number. Ocean Turquoise is the shortest track at 4:18 and again has a cool stonerish groove and nice wah solo by Morgan. Really solid bass and drums driving this one. Modern Hero is a 10min track and starts with a 90 second instrumental section. When the vocals kick in they are a bit more relaxed with the nice delay on the voice giving he track a bit more of a dreamy psychedelic feel. Really cool guitars on this one (there are several layers at times). The middle section is a bit heavier. I prefer Pepper has the heaviest guitar riff on the record and this pretty mean riff on this slow rocker. Keep Running has a really catchy groove and hook in this mid paced rock and roll number. The Protector closes out the record with a ballad like start and also features Richard Olsen on the organ with a long solo. A really nice laid back and totally different track.  What a great record. I was really surprised. Great job.

Heath Green and The Makeshifters (Alive Naturalsound ALIVE0187-2)

Apparently, Heath and the Makeshifters have been playing around for many years in the bars of the south. They hail from Birmingham, Alabama. You can tell that the band are well seasoned and I really dig Heath’s vocals. The album starts off with a 2min foot stomping rocker called Out to the City. They manage to get a short guitar and harmonica solo in. Secret Sisters is another groovy one and I wish they had jammed this one out as it was less than 3mins also. Ain’t got God is a piano driven track with just piano and voice to start off. It is a really nice track, very passionate and one of the longest at nearly 5mins with some nice guitar playing as well. but I no not need to be preached to about god and religion. Glad it is not a full on Christian rock record. Phew… Hold on Me has a really passionate vocal and another solid bluesy rock and roll number. Ain’t it a Shame is a slower blues track with a great feel and ripping solo by Jody. Living on the Good Side is one of my fave tracks with it’s really nice vibe (like classic Skynryd) but also a heavy riff that kicks in (Led Zeppelin like) but I like the piano and slide guitar parts and great vocals. Took off my Head is very much a tribute to Tom Waits. Cool song, very much like Get behind the Mule. I’m a Fool is very laid back but what a great passionate blues track, great vocals, guitar… Ain’t ever be my Baby is bluesy shuffle track that ends up rocking out for about 1min.  Sad Eyed Friend ends this album with another bluesy rock and roll number. This album took me a few listens before I really got into it, so for sure give these guys a chance as in the end, I am really loving this one but the songs are a bit too short for my taste.

Valhalla- Valhalla (WYLN-002)

This band has an interesting story. Starting off in the suburbs of Pittsburgh PA in the early 80s. They released an EP apparently to some acclaim in the media at the time. They played around a lot but wanted something bigger so they all moved to Phoenix, AZ and that was the death of the band, due homesickness, diabetes and other band offers…  There is not a lot of info about where or when this material was recorded (1982-1984). The album features 10 songs. I would say that the music is a bit of a hit or miss for me. Tracks like Looking for the light with these pad keyboards, that I hated in the 80s music, were not for me, while tracks like Night Stalker were more aggressive and the keys a bit more progress and it has a cool panned guitar solo. Valhalla is a bit spacey at times with some effects on the vocals and has some great guitar work. A very cool song. The singer has quite an impressive vocal range on side A. Side B seems to be older tracks as the sound production is a bit different and the vocals and playing not as strong as on the side A. Quite an interesting time artefact to release in 2017.. Check them out… More cool releases coming from WYLN in 2017.