Saturday, February 11, 2006

Motorpsycho 1993-09-02

motorpsycho - democrazy, gent, belgium - september 02, 1993
source: Front-of-the-house recording made with a tape deck.

1 intro/home of the brave [aborted] (6:20) / 2 home of the brave (7:32) / 3 sheer profoundity & flesh harrower (7:31) / 4 nothing to say (6:10) / 5 giftland (7:53) / 6 demon box (19:16) [incl. "step inside again"; "walk on guilded splinters" & "free your mind"] / 7 the golden core (14:50)

"Hello, we're Motorpsycho and we fucked up again." says Bent after Home of the brave is aborted due to being out of tune. They restart it after getting in tune, and we're treated to a thick, heavy and wild version! In the middle they suddenly play some sample of Matt Burt reading one of his poems, one I've never heard before. I don't know if that was normal back in '93. After the song a banter-happy Bent tells us that he broke a string, and "Okey, this gonna be one of those nights, huh?" He continues talking about that he's having a cold, so the audience shouldn't stand too close to him. "Sheer Profoundity" is introduced as "a little song" which I find most inappropriate! It's a heavy metal beast! Anyhow it's not too exciting for me personally, except Bent's hilarious lyrical twist in this performance: "I've waited all my life, sir, to tune my guitar for you, sir!", keeping up with the out-of-tune-guitar theme which seems to become a running joke of the night. The following "Flesh harrower" continues the heaviness and screaming, and there is something about this quite simple and angry song that catch my attention!

Btw, the sound of this recording is very good for a MP audience recording.

"Nothing to say" is introduced by joker Bent as a song from Demon box called "Nothing at all" and kicks off just like it's supposed to do. It moves along with no major fuck-ups of any kind. Finally, after a while, Snah goes into a short solo, and they take it down "to the river". Nothing big happening so far, as opposed to later versions where they went into great impovisational spaces. This night though, they keep it safe and close to the album version, perhaps because they are afraid of fucking up more...?

"Giftland" is a real treat - still banter-happy Bent informs us that it's a new thing "we've never ever played live before"! The intro is different, it lacks the deathprod-noise-loop, and it's somewhat fast. For some reason Snah sings lead, and confesses before that chorus that he can't remember the words! Snah's voice back then wasn't very good, so it's nice when in the chorus Bent joins in, and after that Bent keeps up singing, doing lead on the next verses, which gets strangely funky, mainly driven by Gebhardt serving us some delicate drum-work! The big climax kicks in just as expected, but Snah's solo/playing is slightly different from the finished version, but that's no surprise. but then comes something I've never heard before! An ending part that fits nicely into the known climax, with Snah singing, unhearable words, but a very nice melody! They must have dropped this afterwords, or maybe it was improvised there and then?

"Let's party!" Bent says after "Giftland", and then they kick into "Demon Box", which is a good 19 minutes long this time. It starts like one expects, it's an angry & heavy piece! It's a screamer, and a great one! The "Demon Boooox!"-part kicks hard with backup vocals probably by Snah. Bent delivers a very rythmic second verse, like "I - saw - you - carve - Love - on - your - knuckles"! Now I expect the space out portion of the song to emerge, in the post-chorus aftermath which for a while here continues grooving on, before things fall down into unknown territories. They seem to go for space this time. Noise. Space. Synth. Aia! I suspect Deathprod is there. And whaddaya know? "Step Inside" emerges from this spaciness! And it's a very space rendition of this multi-faceted tune. After a bit Bent converts the lyrics into "I walk on guilded splinters" & further quotes Hawkwind (?) - "Free your mind & your ass will folllow!" - and then, after some ad lib vocalization, they jump back into "Demon Box" to finish it! A truly wonderful version of this motorpsychodelic anthem!

After that excursion, Bent announces that they'll finish with another unreleased thing called "The Golden Core". Why on earth Snah sang that song back then is uncomprehensible to me, but he did. Too bad he couldn't sing particularly good back then! Nowadays he's improved his voice a lot, but back then it was quite ... uhm ... not good. The song picks up when Bent kicks in on backup vocals though! Those moments are magnificent and witness of times yet to come! The structure of the song was at this point in time very much as we have come to know it through "Timothy's Monster". The build-up is quite glorious, it's very impressive to hear what this band was capable of as early as 1993! A strange memory just popped into the consciouspart of my1 mind, btw. Strange. Anyway, they build up "The Golden Core" into something extraordinary, and it becomes clear why they quickly gained a great reputation/audience after releasing "Demon Box" and the subsequent touring. What a band!

Email me if you want a copy of the show!

Grateful Dead 1977-04-23

OK, the "Help on the way > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower" on this one is stupendous. Slipknot alone, 9 full minutes of it, can bring tears to your eyes! The GD Taping Compendium comments that it's particularly long for 1977. It sure is a perfect giant, shock full of confidence, truth & beauty! In the end they pull of the transition roll into "Franklin's Tower" - and my god!!! What a raging, fire breathing, insane creature that has taken place in the Tower this night!

"If you get confused, listen to the music play!" INDEED!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Grateful Dead 1973-09-11

Quick review:
Tremendous "Looks like rain"! Also good: "The race is on" & "Loser", to name a few. The 14-minute "China > Rider" ain't too shabby either! ;)
Very, very cool "Playin' in the band" with some great jazz-funk-thing and a bit of wonderful interplay between Garcia & Keith, in addition to Garcia's ever-incredible solos! Set 2 features "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away" through "Let It Grow" with Joe Ellis on trumpet and Martin Fierro on saxophone, a new experience for me, as I haven't heard these "horned" fall '73 shows before. Gotta love it though, great solos in "Let It Grow". The "Dark Star" shines majestically and ends up with Phil doing some wonderful noisy soloing, which leads them directly into the always-welcome sweet and tender beauty of "Morning Dew".

Grateful Dead 1977-10-29

Kickstart/first highlight: "Might As Well", "Jack Straw" (very good!)
Second highlight: "Loser" - hear Jerry milking that guitar!!! And put your gold money where your love is, baby.
Third: "Ramble on Rose" - blistering, sparkling, bouncing!
The best part of the first set: "Let it grow"

Set 2 kicks inn with a very nicely paced, unrushed "Bertha" jumping around, right into "Good Lovin'"

Friday, February 03, 2006

Grateful Dead 1973-02-22

This recording is only partial, but luckily it's got most of set 1, and the juciest looking parts of set 2, all in quite splendid soundboard audio. You can stream it here:

First set starts with a quite standard "Promised Land". After follows a very smoking version of the always welcome "They Love Each Other", still very upbeat, in contrast to the slower versions they played later in their career. "El Paso" is nice as well, but nothing spectacular. I didn't give much attention to "Bird Song", but it was anyway the first real (but short) jam-out of this show, nice and jazzy! Next up comes more fun with "Mexicali Blues" & "Deal", both well-played and all good. "Looks Like Rain" is almost always good, and for this version I made notice of the sweet interplay between Garcia's guitar & Weir's ad lib vocaling close to the end of the song. Sweet! After that we got "Tennessee Jed", a song I don't care much about really, but this one is good, with a thick carpet of Phil underneath it. "Box of Rain" comes next. Wonderful, with Donna doing lovely backup vocals (I like Donna!) and Jerry's guitar rolling along perfectly.

After that the first set comes to an end with a 17-minute treatment of "Playin' in the Band":
It starts tight and fine, and after the second (?) chorus they slide into the jam as expected. Garcia puts on some wah-wah-ish effect and turns the PITB-theme upside down & inside out, before he moves out into a more free form space, while Phil & Kreutzmann keeps it all together, Billy being very very jazzy behind the drums and Phil grooving along, and Garcia gets wilder, he teases "The Tiger" but falls back into jazzy jamming freely based over the PITB-theme. Phil is moving all over the frets, high and low, now, while Garcia has gotten an idea and started something else, free improvisation, yeah, free your mind and your ass (or: fingers) will follow, - it's Garcia who dominates, and Phil laying down a very very good foundation with Billy out there keeping it all wildly together somehow- damn, that drummer is good! - now they're moving out into a more open space, there's a lot going on here, but it's good, ... Garcia starts freaking out, the band takes it down to a low, but fast groove, and kick off! Everyone follows everyone and Garcia goes blues-psych-jazz! Ah, just sit back and enjoy! We're only about 10-11 minutes into it...

Set 2: They start with straight versions of "US Blues" & "Me & My Uncle". Then comes the real goodness.
"Dark Star" starts very laidback and lovely, kinda slow, with that incredible -73 jazz all the while, dipping into the blues here and there, she is walking, slow and fast, a little sad, thoughtful, conclusions appear and disappear, she enters a groove and dissolves into jazzy laidbackness, and very, very gently moves into the first theme and then goes into a detour, the first verse doesn't come as expected! But the pieces fall smoothly together after a little while, and the first verse is masterfully delivered. Shall we go? Yes, let's see where this goes, where the road takes us this time. Ah, out into space and dissonance, the strangeness. Let's explore the unknown territories we always seek. Come on. Everyone leads and everyone follows. We don't care if we get lost; we'll find our way back somehow. "Relax man, everything's gonna be allright!" as Garcia said during an acoustic set in 1970. On the recording you can really hear him smiling when he says it! OK, the dark star, she moves into space still, further, down, in slow motion. Phil lays his carpet down deep. Garcia is way out, and then he starts something really wild, it goes up and away, what is this? A rocket? A crazy carousel? The madness is complete, the melt-down quick and whoa! Garcia holds the controls and the ship dives straight into the Eyes of the World, the sweet safety, the home world, the wonderfulness of those early -73 "Eyes"... Oh yes. Mmmmm... It reminds me of an all-time favorite of mine (maybe not so strange): 3 days earlier - February 19, 1973. It's in that vein, it's truly great, yeah. Just go listen. I can't say much more. It's really great. Really. In a wild, jazzy, tight way. Listening to this is 16 minutes of your life well spent.

Eventually they collapse into the perfect beauty of "China Doll", and it's a really nice version, not the all time best, but check out the short but terribly sweet guitar playing just before the "Take up your china doll" line. It's a slow and well-behaved version, they don't rush it, the details are being taken care of and the occasional improvised lick here and there.


Hey and welcome to any and all reading this!
Alright, I feel I should explain a little bit. I'm a fantatic lover of live music, and therefore I collect and listen to it almost all the time. Of course not all kinds of live music, but my taste varies a lot. I can listen to Kraftwerk one moment and Mozart the next. One of my greatest loves in music has during the last years become the Grateful Dead, which simply put is the best band there ever was. Seriously; if any music can save the world, it's the music of the Grateful Dead.

So, the main purpose of this blog is to write about music, mostly live music, and I've got a feeling that alot of it will be, as was the plan from the beginning, reviews of live recordings of Grateful Dead shows. But I will also post reviews of other bands, and posts generally about music.