MoogFest: 10/26 – 27/2012

This was the final MoogFest held in Asheville, which is sad because Asheville was home to the late music innovator, Bob Moog, inventor of the famous Moog Synthesizer. The Moog factory is still here, and every Moog instrument—synthesizer, theremin, and effects pedal—is designed and manufactured right here. So even though this lineup was weak compared to the previous festivals, I went anyway, and did get to see some cool performances that I would never have seen otherwise.

MoogFest is a showcase of electronic music, and has performers from many genres, everything from prog to rap to new wave to DJs. It is really a big celebration of creativity and technology in music. In addition to performances, there were workshops and discussions and exhibits, everything to make a music-nerd’s heart skip beats.

So here are the acts that I recall seeing:

  • Santigold
  • Thomas Dolby
  • Primus (in 3-D)
  • Miike Snow
  • Morton Subotnick
  • Squarepusher
  • Divine Fits
  • Orbital
  • Four Tet

Primus was disappointing. I’m not a Primus fan, but had hoped for a cool show based upon all the hype, but they were barely mediocre. The high points were definitely Santigold, Thomas Dolby, Divine Fits, Miike Snow, and Morton Subotnick. They were all excellent.

I was only able to find a few setlists online, so here they are.

Santigold:

  • GO!
  • L.E.S. Artistes
  • Lights Out
  • Say Aha
  • Get It Up
  • Disparate Youth
  • Anne
  • The Keepers
  • Creator
  • Fame
  • Shove It
  • Freak Like Me
  • Big Mouth

Primus:

  • Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers
  • Prelude to a Crawl
  • Last Salmon Man
  • Southbound Pachyderm
  • Eternal Consumption Engine
  • Jilly’s on Smack
  • Over the Falls
  • Hello Skinny
  • Lee Van Cleef
  • Eyes of the Squirrel
  • Groundhog’s Day
  • American Life
  • Hamburger Train
  • Tommy the Cat

Orbital:

  • One Big Moment
  • Halcyon + On + On
  • Beelzedub
  • Never
  • Wonky
  • Where Is It Going?
  • Impact (The Earth Is Burning)
  • Lush 3
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Yonder Mountain String Band: 4/7/2010

On my only trip (so far) to Portland OR, my wife and I thought it would be cool to check out a concert there. A friend of ours, who was from the area originally, recommended that we try to see a show at the Crystal Ballroom. He said it was an historic venue that has the only floating dance floor in the country. (Check out history on Wikipedia.) So I did a search before heading out there and saw that Yonder Mountain String Band was playing during our sojourn there, so I bought tickets.

The venue was very cool, and lived up to the hype. The dance floor rests upon a bunch of springs, so it moves along with the music, driven by the patrons who are dancing. It was a unique experience, for sure.

Although I had heard of YMSB, I was not really familiar with their music, but had a great time nonetheless. My wife and I danced and had a blast, although we did get tired and left a little early. We had not quite acclimated to the time difference.

Anyway, I managed to find the setlist online, so here ya go.

Set 1:

  • Intro
  • Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Boatman’s Dance
  • Pockets
  • Mental Breakdown
  • Blue Collar Blues
  • Fingerprint
  • Nothin’ But Nothin’
  • 40 Miles From Denver
  • Long Time
  • Rag Doll
  • Part 1 (Lord Only Knows)
  • Kentucky Mandolin
  • No Expectations

Set 2:

  • Intro
  • Free to Run
  • Criminal
  • Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Loved You Enough
  • River
  • Crazy
  • Sidewalk Stars
  • Mother’s Only Son
  • Southbound
  • Big Spike Hammer
  • Sharecropper’s Son
  • Snow on the Pines >
  • Girlfriend Is Better >
  • Snow on the Pines
  • Good Hearted Woman

Encore:

  • Old Plank Road
  • Where They Do Not Know My Name

Little Feat: 3/13/2019

I have seen Little Feat multiple times, but my wife had never seen them and she is a big fan of their music, so we figured we should go and check out their 50th anniversary tour. I had to chuckle, because when she told one of her coworkers we were going, who is in our age range, the coworker’s response was, “Little Feat. Oh yeah. My dad liked them.” Makes one feel old.

Thomas Wolfe Auditorium is very close to the house, walking distance in better weather. So we drove there, breezed in, and found our seats in the balcony. We saw our friend there, Jake, and he was all excited because he heard from a very reliable source that Warren Haynes was going to join the band onstage. I have to say, I was pretty excited about that prospect myself.

The lights went down and the band took the stage. No opening act. I have to say that the first two songs were pretty weak, totally lacking in energy. I had that sinking feeling that I just spent my money to see a bunch of old guys who could no longer perform. But they picked up steam and soon they were cooking and playing with the energy I expected from the band.

After a while, sure enough, Warren joined them on stage, and then they really ramped things up. The first song they did with Warren was “Spanish Moon,” without a doubt my favorite Little Feat song. The crowd was pumped. Warren played the rest of the show with them, except for the encore.

Warren Haynes joining Little Feat

Definitely a great show. My only disappointment was that they did not play “Fat Man in the Bathtub,” but other than that, it was a killer show. Here’s the full setlist.

Feats don’t fail me now!

Setlist:

  • Time Loves a Hero
  • Day or Night
  • One Breath at a Time
  • Home Ground
  • Tripe Face Boogie
  • Down On The Farm
  • Willin’>
  • Don’t Bogart That Joint
  • Long Black Veil >
  • The Weight
  • Truck Stop Girl
  • Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky
  • Lonesome Whistle Blow
  • Spanish Moon (w Warren Haynes)
  • Skin It Back (w Warren Haynes)
  • Dixie Chicken (w Warren Haynes)

Encore:

  • Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong: 2/1/2019

I was recently at a party at my friend Ilene’s house, and she asked me if I was familiar with this band. I told her I had never heard of them, and she told me they were really good, and that her and her husband had gotten some comp VIP passes and that they could get me one if I was interested. Far be it from me to turn down an opportunity to see a show for free. So they secured me a freebie and I listened to some of their stuff to familiarize myself with their music.

How to describe them? They are definitely a jam band, but they have a bit of a funk sound too. Their stuff is upbeat and danceable. I figured it would be a good time, and when I saw that the show was sold out, I suspected it would be pretty high-energy too.

I met Ilene and her husband Jonathan outside the venue. They got us the VIP wristbands, which allowed us to sit in the reserved section on the side of the stage. Not that it was really reserved. It was still pretty much open season for the freaks who chose to wedge themselves in there.

The opening act was a band called The Fritz. They are local, but very good. I had remembered a friend telling me about them. They were better than your average opener.

PPPP came on around 10ish, and they were pumped. Definitely feeding off the energy from the audience. And they played a looooooong time—finishing up about 1:00 am. Two solid sets and an encore. I was definitely feeling tired toward the end, but forced myself to stay until the end, which is a testament to how good they were.

In between sets, I ran into my friend Andy. I had not seen him in years, so it was a nice surprise. He had come into town specifically to see the band and was planning to see them the following night in Raleigh. I didn’t realize that following Pigeons was a thing, but I guess it is.

After the show, as I exited the venue to walk to my car, I was surprised to find people selling balloons full of nitrous oxide. Nitrous?! People still do that shit? I suppose some things never change in the jam-band scene. It made me think of a quote from the Netflix show, “Big Mouth”: “They’re jam bands. They’re the tools of Big Nitrous.”

Anyway, here’s the setlist, followed by a few pictures I snapped at the show. Rock on!

Set 1

  • Melting Lights >
  • Whirled
  • Penguins >
  • Funkijam >
  • Funk E. Zekiel
  • Fortress
  • Yo Soy Fiesta
  • J-Town
  • Poseidon >
  • Jessica >
  • Poseidon

Set 2

  • Live Life / Upfunk
  • Snake Eyes
  • Horizon >
  • I Wanna Be Like You >
  • Bare Necessities >
  • I Wanna Be Like You >
  • Horizon
  • Drunk People
  • Walk Outside
  • Ocean Flows

Encore:

  • Doc

 

The Fritz

 

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

 

PPPP w/ Jamar Woods from Fritz on keys

Rodrigo y Gabriela: 3/15/2010

If you have not listened to this acoustic guitar duo, you need to. They are nothing short of amazing. As a guitarist, when I heard they were coming to town, I was psyched and immediately bought tickets. I went with my friend Joe and we got to the Orange Peel early enough to stake out a good spot.

They important thing about being a successful duo is that your playing really needs to complement your partner’s, and vice versa. Rodrigo and Gabriela do just that. Gabriela’s percussive rhythm is like a heartbeat that allows Rodrigo to spiral off into intricate Latin-influenced guitar solos. I left the show both awe-struck and inspired.

On the way out, Joe picked up a copy of the group’s current cd, “11:11.” He later gave it to me as a gift. I have to say, I listened to it extensively. Such a great album!

Sorry I could not find the setlist for this show online, but as a consolation, here is a YouTube video to check out and get a sense of this group’s amazing musicianship. Enjoy!

Rodrigo y Gabriela – ‘Tamacun’

Rush: 6/8/2011

I had seen Rush several times prior to this show, but my wife had never seen them so we decided to go and check them out. What was cool about this tour, dubbed the Time Machine Tour, was that they were performing the “Moving Pictures” album in its entirety. I had seen Rush on the “Moving Pictures” tour, but they did not play the entire album, so I was pretty psyched about seeing it performed.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the ticket says Comp, with a cost of $0.00. No, we did not get freebies. We had bought the cheapest seats way in the back corner near the last row. But when we got there, they upgraded us to better seats. I suppose they figured it was easier to close the section and move everyone in that area in with the rest of the rock and roll mass. Fine with me. I had no complaint there.

The band opened with “The Spirit of Radio,” and it was just an audio and visual treat for the rest of the night. They played two solid sets (second set included all of Moving Pictures), and a rockin’ encore. By the time the last note of “Working Man” faded to silence, I was totally rocked out.

This would be my last time seeing Rush. Unless they decided to come back out of retirement (something bands NEVER do), I don’t think I will have another opportunity to see them again. Here’s the setlist. Rock on!

Set 1:

  • The Spirit of Radio
  • Time Stand Still
  • Presto
  • Stick It Out
  • Workin’ Them Angels
  • Leave That Thing Alone
  • Faithless
  • BU2B
  • Freewill
  • Marathon
  • Subdivisions

Set 2 (Moving Pictures):

  • Tom Sawyer
  • Red Barchetta
  • YYZ
  • Limelight
  • The Camera Eye
  • Witch Hunt
  • Vital Signs
  • Caravan
  • Closer to the Heart
  • 2112 Part I: Overture
  • 2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx
  • Far Cry

Encore:

  • La Villa Strangiato
  • Working Man

Warren Haynes 30th Anniversary Christmas Jam – Second Night: 12/8/2018

The second night of the Christmas Jam was faced with a winter storm, which dumped significant snow on Asheville. Because of the expected difficulties, those who did not feel comfortable venturing out were given the option to stream the show from home. Since I live only about a mile from the venue, I of course went and brought a warm jacket so I could walk home afterwards.

I went with my friend Seth, and we grabbed some barbecue before heading over to the show. When we got there, I was elated to see throngs of scalpers desperately trying to sell off their tickets for below face value in a lame attempt to recoup some of their money. It makes me happy to see scalpers suffering and losing money. I have no sympathy for those vampires who feed off others.

Anyway, the second night boasted a stellar lineup of headline acts:

  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Jim James
  • Dave Grohl and Friends
  • Eric Church
  • Gov’t Mule

In addition, there were also the guest musicians who graced the stage on the first night of the Jam.

The show began with a collaboration of guest musicians jamming and warming up the crowd. That was followed by Joe Bonamassa, who I was probably the most excited to see. As a guitarist, I was eager to see the blues great perform live. He did not disappoint. After he played, all I could think was that I would hate to be a musician having to follow that guitarist. But, the rest of the show was right up there in caliber.

Sadly, my friend Seth left right after Bonamassa’s set. Snow was already piling up and he was concerned about not being able to make it home. Thankfully, I had other friends who were there, and I made the rounds, sitting with various friends throughout the evening.

There were many high points that night, but probably the best for me was when Gov’t Mule kicked off their set with Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” segueing into Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” then back into “Rockin’ in the Free World,” with Dave Grohl playing guitar with them. UNBELIEVABLE! Here is a video recording on YouTube for those who are interested.

Not long after that, I decided to cut out a little early and start walking home. It was already past 1:00 am, and I knew it would be a cold trudge through the deep snow. But actually, it was kind of nice, in the surreal early morning darkness. Here is a picture I snapped on the walk home.

Here are the setlists from the headline acts. Hope you all have a rockin’ New Year, and may 2019 bring you lots of live music!

Setlists:

Joe Bonamassa:

  • Beck’s Bolero >
  • Rice Pudding
  • Spanish Boots
  • SWLABR
  • I Can’t Quit You Baby
  • How Many More Times

Jim James:

  • Just a Fool
  • Throwback
  • All Over the World
  • Here in Spirit
  • Over and Over
  • Better Get Together While Still Got Time
  • No Secrets
  • A New Life >
  • State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

Dave Grohl:

  • Play
  • Times Like These (with Warren Haynes)
  • Everlong

Eric Church:

  • Desperate Man
  • Record Year
  • Carolina
  • Smoke a Little Smoke
  • Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More (with Warren Haynes)
  • Atlantic City (with Warren Haynes)
  • Diddy Wah Diddy (with Warren Haynes)
  • The Weight (with Warren Haynes)

Gov’t Mule:

  • Rockin’ in the Free World (with Dave Grohl) >
  • Machine Gun  (with Dave Grohl) (instrumental) >
  • Rockin’ in the Free World (with Dave Grohl)
  • Thorazine Shuffle
  • Revolution Come, Revolution Go
  • Million Miles From Yesterday
  • Dreams and Songs
  • Red Baron
  • Mule