Test of the Boomerang: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Written by Music, Test of the Boomerang

Hola Amigos! I know it’s been a while since I last rapped at you, but with being a new dad and all, I’ve been busier than a one-armed bass player. No disrespect to any one-armed bass players out there, but you know what I’m saying. We’re still a long way off from the beginning of Festival Season, but lots of information is coming out every day.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by know, Bonnaroo announced its 2009 lineup this past week — Springsteen, Phish, Nine Inch Nails, Beastie Boys, and a cast of thousands. It’s a hell of a strong lineup so far, and more are to be announced. Last year’s ‘Roo was probably remembered for Metallica’s old-school set, My Morning Jacket fresh and tumescent off the release of Evil Urges, and of course Kanye West making folks wait for two hours while his crew set up his enormous light show. Oh yeah, and who could forget Lez Zeppelin?

While no artists have been announced yet, Rothbury 2009 is going to go down July 2nd-5th, again at the Double JJ Ranch. This comes a week after Langerado 2009 was cancelled due to sluggish ticket sales. Folks weren’t too happy when Langerado was going to be held at a different location this year. I’m told that the organizers are going to try and host Langerado 2010 once again at Big Cypress Indian Reservation.

Mountain Jam has announced its preliminary line-up for this year: The Allman Brothers, Government Mule, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Coheed and Cambria, Girl Talk, U-Melt, Ray LaMontagne, and others are scheduled to jam out in Hunter Mountain, New York, May 29th-31st.

Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, Sly & Robbie, my man Matisyahu, Buckethead and others are set to rage Wakarusa in Ozark, Arkansas, June 4th through 7th.

The Disco Biscuits have announced dates for their 2009 Camp Bisco. Once again at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Mariaville, New York. The eclectic festival has hosted the likes of Snoop Dogg, Shpongle, Infected Mushroom, Soundtribe Sector Nine, and others in the past, and this year’s lineup is still in the works. I’ll send out information as it comes in for this, and other festivals.

If you can’t wait until the warm days of festival season, there’s plenty of good music coming at your face — Soundtribe Sector Nine are getting on the road with their winter tour including a historic four-night stand at The Fillmore in San Francisco at the end of this month. Lotus are kicking off their tour with a pair of shows at the Recher Theater in Towson, Maryland. Their new album Hammerstrike was one of my favorite releases last year. They’re a great band, tight and precise, and totally uplifting. Check ’em out.

The Improv-Electro-Trance-Your-Ass-Off unit EOTO is bringing the heat to your town with some newly-announced dates. Every EOTO show is completely improvised, and if you have the time, check out some live recordings. The musical ground this duo cover is amazing. I saw Michael Travis a couple years back (remember that night Arnold?) with the improv trio Zilla (with Aaron Holstein and Jamie Janover) and they were amazing. Travis is an incredible drummer and I hope to see EOTO, or Zilla for that matter, soon.

Okay, now on to the Valentine’s treats.

I went through the Live Music Archive, and selected a few shows that happened to fall on February 14th to share with you all. Make sure you have a valentine card for each one of your classmates and pass your papers forward. This is the Test of the Boomerang Valentine’s Day party!

Grateful Dead – 02/14/68
Carousel Ballroom – San Francisco, CA

I. Morning Dew, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Dark Star>China Cat Sunflower>The Eleven>Turn On Your Lovelight

II. Cryptical Envelopment>The Other One>Cryptical Envelopment>New Potato Caboose>Born Cross Eyed>Spanish Jam>Alligator>Caution>Feedback

encore: In the Midnight Hour

Of course the most famous Grateful Dead Valentines Day show went down in 1970 at the Fillmore West in New York City. That show has been commercially released in bits and pieces as History of the Grateful Dead Volume One – Bear’s Choice and Dick’s Picks Volume Four. The whole show is out there if you know what to look for, but today, we’re looking at this absolute gem from two years before. This is high-octane, running on all cylinders, Primal Dead.

The band was currently working on their second album, Anthem of the Sun, and were experimenting with melding together studio and live recordings. After dedicating the second set to the memory of Neal Cassady (‘The Other One’s’ own “Cowboy Neal” had just died in Mexico on February 2nd) the band tears through the entire Anthem suite with vengeance. It all culminates in a mammoth “Alligator>Caution>Feedback.” First set has plenty of goodies too, including a teeny, tiny, infant “Dark Star” (just barely five minutes in length), an “Eleven” that storms the gates, and a rollicking “Lovelight” with Pig Pen in full command of the siege.

Not all was so transcendent that night. This is the show where Jerry Garcia threw Phil Lesh “down a flight of stairs” as Jerry recounted in The Grateful Dead Movie. Garcia was so frustrated with the sound during the first set, he took his anger out on Phil. However, later when the band listened to the tapes, they discovered that the tapes were “crackling with energy.” Some of these tracks did in fact end up on the finished version of the album, but this is a show for the ages. Definitely in the top ten (if not top five) of all time.

Little Feat – 2/14/1976
Winterland Arena – San Francisco, CA

Skin It Back > Fat Man in a Bathtub, One Love Stand > Rock & Roll Doctor,
All That You Dream, Cold Cold Cold >Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie,
Teenage Nervous Breakdown

This is an interesting one. This is an actual vinyl to FLAC file conversion with pops and hisses intact. KSAN broadcast this show as it went down and some intrepid bootlegger recorded it, cut it to vinyl, and the infamous show became one of the most circulated Little Feat boots ever.

This was the night that Little Feat opened for ELO. Hard to imagine what the rowdy crowd thought of their set after being treated to this barnburner of a show. This version of “Dixie Chicken” is one of my favorite Feat tracks ever.

It’s a great show and totally worth dealing with the FLAC files. The vinyl ambiance gives it a warm “stoned in the dorm” kind of vibe.

(You can also get the whole show here from Wolfgang’s Vault)

David Gans – 2/14/2004

Stella Blue – Albuquerque, NM

These Apartments, Lazy River Road, Stella Blue > Blue Roses, I Have Always Lived Here, Surely You Jest, Loser, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Seeds and Stems, Rubin and Cerise > Autumn Day, Brokedown Palace, Seven Story Mountain > Trying, Trumpets of the Ocean, Four Strong Winds, Desert of Love, Waltzing Across Texas, Monica Lewinsky, River and Drown, Like a Dog > Terrapin > An American Family > What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?
E: I Bid You Good Night > Thunder Road, Attics of My Life

Long ago, before the Live Music Archive made it possible to access thousands upon thousands of concerts with a click, before Dick’s Picks, or the From the Vault series, the way to hear live Grateful Dead was to get some envelopes, a book of stamps, a guide to postal rates, a case of Maxell XL II-S 90 minute tapes, and find someone to hook you up with a B&P – blank cassettes and postage in exchange for music. First of all, one had to find someone who was willing to hook up a newbie. Or, you could just turn on KPFA and listen to The Grateful Dead hour. David Gans hosted and the syndicated radio program since the late 1980s. But David has been a singer/songwriter for much longer. Since the early ’70s, to be exact. In 1997, David released his debut album Home by Morning and he’s been working clubs, cafes, bars, farmers’ markets, and festivals ever since.

This show at the appropriately-named ‘Stella Blue’ in Albuquerque is a great introduction to David Gans’ music. That melodious broadcasters voice lends a warm richness to songs you may or may not have heard before. He throws in a few originals with the covers, including some written with lyricist Robert Hunter. This isn’t just someone’s uncle playing Dead tunes in a coffee house somewhere, this is truly an artist in his own right.

This is a great set and he plays a whole mess of tunes. He tells some good stories and lends an emotional weight to these songs. You can tell he loves these songs because he has lived them. They are the soundtrack of his life, like they are the soundtrack to every fan’s life. Good stuff!

Well kids, that’s it for this week. I’ll be back next week with a look at the new Legacy Edition of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue and some other goodies. I just wanna say to my own Valentine: Happy Valentines Day and Happy Anniversary! I love you!

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