Gig reports and other special events


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The Mars Volta @ Huxleys Neue Welt - Berlin(DE)




Posted: 2008-03-01 18:10:37

The Mars Volta © by Karen McBride

My first gig according to Mars Volta and a big disappointment.

Don't really know what was the big point for my feeling. The gig was sold out. Maybe 2-3000 people, some looking like Cedric (Cedric Bixler-Zavala - lyricist/vocalist) with afro hairstyle, most wearing dark clothes. Good feeling when I entered the place.

In the beginning I stood on the right side only some metres away from the power amplifier - so it should be the best sound. When they started to play (Roulette dares - one of my favorites) I already recognized that the sound in this venue is really bad. Everything sounded like a big messup. But I felt good.

They were 8 people on the stage. Two percussionists - also with sax and oriental flute, extra-guitar, keyboard, bass and "The Animal" on the drums (Thomas Pridgen - one of the best drummers I saw) and of course the two Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. The stage had a big background with the typical Mars Volta painting (naked wife, snake and a man). After 1 1/2h they changed it to another background. But song after song I realized that the whole sound was mixed up in a bad way. You didn't hear the voice really good, - from slow and silent parts you didn't get anything. I believe it was not their fault. Maybe they didn't get the best out of the amplifier so maybe Versace should stood there :-)

Another think I realized: There was no connection with the audience. They played more than two hours without any "Thank you" or "How do you feelin?" for the audience. After the last song they were waving with their hands leaving the stage, the light and music from the amplifier were switched on. No extra songs!

I stayed there for a while and another beer and talked with some people. Some said it was good, some said it was bad. One of the working people there said this was the baddest show he ever saw there. I also saw a Mars Volta ticket lying on a bar desk where was written: "Better on CD". So for me it is clear - no Mars Volta live anymore - maybe at another place. But I still like their music sooo much!!!!

So here are the songs as I could remember (in record order):

Roulette dares (this is the haunt) • Tira Me a las aranas • Drunkship of Lanterns • Eriatarka • This Apparatus must be unearthed • take the veil cerpin taxt


Tetragrammaton • Meccamputechture • Viscera Eyes • Day of the Baphomets

Aberinkula •Metatron • Ilyena • Wax Simulacra • Goliath • Agadez • Ouroboros


Bernard Fowler's Bad Dogs @ Quasimodo - Berlin(DE)




Posted: 2008-01-28 21:47:44

Bernard Fowler's Bad Dogs (Tackhead & Little Axe)
© by Bernd Friemel or Ulrich Mücke

My first gig this year and already a highlight. Tackhead!!! Never have seen Doug Wimbish, Skip McDonald, Keith LeBlanc and Bernard Fowler together. Together as Tackhead. I know the music of Tackhead now for 20 years and have seen Doug, Skip and Keith more than 5 times and now together with Bernard. Although the gig was titled "Bernard Fowler's Bad Dog for me it was a Tackhead gig. The Quasimodo venue was a good deciscion of the organizer. I think the location was almost completely full.

I came there late and I hoped they didn't start already. But the woman at the door told me they will begin soonest at 10:30 pm. Enough time to get a beer and looking for a good position near the stage. I stood in front of the small stage between the mic of Bernard and the equipment of Doug. Keith came in and began a drum solo, the Quasimodo get filled and the other band actors came on stage. The first song was a Tackhead classic "Tell me the hurt" followed by songs from Bernard's new record (e.g Pop that thang). It rocked. After an hour they made a short break and came back with the absolute highlight for me: "Stealing", singing as loud as I could ("in the name of the Lord")- and also the audience got it that "Tackhead was in the area". They were also playing a song from Little Axe called "Grinning in your face" and another favorite of me "Trance" - a Doug Wimbish song. Also Skip and Doug were doing their soli. After two hours they left the stage but the audience applaused them back. Their last song I think was "Rock this house". Everyone felt happy after the gig was finished. I took another beer, talked for a short moment with Skip, Doug and Eddy - the organizer - who showed me a maybe 6'6'' man and introduced him as Mark Stewart who will play in Berlin two months later together with Skip, Keith and Doug known as Mark Stewart & The Maffia. I left the Quasimodo with a really good feeling late in the night :-)


John Butler Trio @ Columbia Halle - Berlin(DE)




Posted: 2007-09-27 02:03:55

(JBT Grand National 2007)

This concert is my second concert this year so far. I was very excited because I only know JBT by name from spearits at the forum.

Before I could go to the gig there was a parent-teacher conference of my daughter at school. It should stop at 8:30 pm so there should be enough time to go to the venue. At 9 pm it still went on so I left the school and drived with my bike to the Columbia Hall - only 1 km away. It was raining so I came there a little bit wet.

Anyway, they already started playing (I missed maybe one or two songs). I went to the right side of the stage - as I always do - and enjoyed the music and atmosphere of JBT. I recognized there were a lot of young people there - teenagers in my eyes and I also wondered that a lot of people know the lyrics of the songs. They played almost all songs from the new record Grand National, all of them had there solo more minutes and the highlight of the show was the song Peaches & Cream. John atarted solo with his guitar. After a minute Michael Barker entered the stage positioned behind his drums with two sticks in his hand and started to clap with them so the audience did the same. Within the next minute also Shannon Birchall came on stage and they played together this song until the refrain was repeated unplugged. "All I know is, all I know is, I love you and I love you ..." That was so wonderful. I never was within a audience - except Spearits in Netherlands/Belgium - who was singing that loud. They all enjoyed it. After threee songs within the ENCORE JBT finished short after 11 pm. I had a wonderful feeling after the gig and the next day I bought me "Grand National" at the iTunes store including an extra video of Peaches & Cream.


DEFUNKT @ Domicil - Dortmund(DE)




Posted: 2007-07-12 09:15:03

(Defunkt European Tour 2007)

Dortmund was the only location in Germany of the Defunkt European Tour "Defunkt in the 80s". First when I saw the tourdates I thought to make it for the Amsterdam gig because I always know that the Netherland's audience will be great. But I couldn't make it because it was on Sunday and family is more important. So I made a decision to go to the Dortmund gig.

Dortmund was the only location in Germany of the Defunkt European Tour "Defunkt in the 80s". First when I saw the tourdates I thought to make it for the Amsterdam gig because I always know that the Netherland's audience will be great. But I couldn't make it because it was on Sunday and family is more important. So I made a decision to go to the Dortmund gig.

After a normal working day I was driving 2 1/2 hours by train - first to Bochum, where I could sleep at a friend's room - and than to Dortmund. The location of the Domicil was near the railway station - so easy to find. I got my ticket I reserved two days before and went in. There was a bar room and the concert hall for maybe 500 people where it was not allowed to smoke. Fresh air - yeah.

I think they started at 9:30 pm and from the first moment I got the groove. The first minutes I was in the front line but you couldn't hear anythink from the master loudspeakers so I went back some meters and the sound was phantastic. It was interesting to see the artists after 15 years again and how they were getting older but I still could remember all of them. Can't remember all songs by name - there were also some new - but there were a lot from Thermo nuclear sweat and the Defunkt debut record Defunkt. Kim Clarke - the one and lonely funkiest female bass player in the world - had some problems with her electricity power from time to time but she took it with her kind of lovely humor.



A night in Berlin (Report from the day in Berlin) - DE




Posted: 2006-12-05 21:36:34

(Setlist of the Berlin gig)

Days before the gig started I tried to organize the three people I can take with me according to the guestlist. So in the end it was clear that my wife, Ville (one other friend of the FIN-connection) and Sven would be on the list. Sven also promised me to take a camera for photos and video with him so that I could tape the show. The nights before the gig I slept less because I tried to finish a playlist for two audio cds I wanted to give Versace and Michael. When I woke up the gig day I had headache and was absolutely tired - not to be keen to go work - so I stopped my working day at 3 pm and drove back to Berlin, making the covers for the cds and took my bike riding to Kalkscheune.

I was there at 6:30 pm and get in and the first who I saw was the man behind the big power amplifier - Versace. It was so nice to see him again after the summer trip in Brescia. I gave him the CDs and he looked very happy with this.

I went outside into the inner courtyard for some fresh air and saw someone staying at the gate, very disturbed, confused that he will not get tickets for the show. His name was Michael Lefkoff(?) from Haarlem/HOL and he said he knew the guys very long, was making pictures from the shows. He also was in NY for the show and also have seen that the two Amsterdam and Utrecht gigs are already sold out. So he was just scared he couldn't get tickets for the Kalkscheune gig after he is coming back from his hotel, having a shower, etc. I could calm him that the show is not sold out. But for help reasons we changed our mobile phone numbers.
Than Michael and Carla came in and I was very surprised to see Carla because she wrote me some weeks before that she wouldn't come to Berlin. Well we went up to the Backstage rooms where all the others were sitting on their computers (everyone with a mac). Carla showed me on her mac what she would like to change on the spearhead website and I liked the new style and changes to come. I gave her the other set of CDs.
I also talked with Carl about shows in Berlin and mentioned the saxophone intro at the Pfefferberg gig in 2001. He said that is very curious because I am the third person telling this today. Makes him thinking.
Got a phone call from my wife that Sven is once again ill. Last time in 2003 he also was ill when the Spearhead gig was. Today the same. Also curious. So Petra was now on the guestlist.
At 8:30 pm Antje and also Andreas were coming. Wonderful. So there are two more persons which get to know the live feeling of a Spearhead gig. 15 min later Tiina, Petra and Ville were also there, having some problems at the entrance with the camera but in the end it worked and everyone got their backstage pass.
The "Photo"-Michael from Haarlem got also his ticket but had the same problem at the security check with his camera. Anyway he got in and was very happy.
In the meantime DJ Boima was warming up the people with reggae music. Together with Andreas and Antje I was going in front of the stage (3rd or 4th row, more right side - I always stay on the right side, haha), good filled by lovely people. My wife and Petra were in the back - knowing that they are not that kind of jumpers :-). Ville also was somewhere in the back. After the whole Kalkscheune get really filled with people, DJ Boima was going to the mic holding some box in his hands from which he could make a sirence sound. The Sirence sound getting longer and longer and the Kalkscheune show in Berlin began.



Michael Franti & Spearhead @ Kalkscheune - Berlin(DE)




Posted: 2006-12-03 16:48:10

(Michael Franti and Spearhead@Kalkscheune)

The gig started at 09:15 pm. The band members were coming on the stage and began to play some kind of Intro for the first song "Time to go Home". Michael began to sing "Those who start wars ..." but he wasn't on stage. So in the first moment I thought it was playback(?). He was coming from the back, walking through the lines of people and was on stage after one minute. From the first moment the atmosphere in Kalkscheune was wonderful. A lot of people were singning and jumping all the time if Michael said to us "I want everyone seeing jumping" and we were jumping and waving our hands. Don't know when Antje was leaving the front area but Andreas and I had a lot of fun and enjoyed it where we were until the end.



Little Axe @ Postbahnhof - Berlin(DE)




Posted: 2006-11-02 02:13:45

Once again, Dough Wimbish, Keith Le Blanc and Skip McDonald as Little Axe with their distinctive sound


Part of my Dream Team: Special report from the Festival in Brescia - IT




Posted: 2006-08-27 23:59:11

(Radio Onda D'Urta Festival - Aug 24, 2006)

After I have seen the announced European tourdates in May it was clear that I couldn't make any gigs in Netherlands, Belgium or Germany because of my vacation in Finland. The only gigs which seemed to be possible would be one in the UK or Italy. UK or Ireland was to expensive so I looked for cheap flights to Italy and the Brescia-gig seemed to be this one. I ordered the tickets for the plane to Milano/Bergamo and the rest for the tour-travel I would manage in Italy. Problem for me was that my schedule was very strong because my son had his first schoolday (celebration and party) two days later so I had to leave very early the next morning after the gig.

One day before the gig we were coming back from the Finland vacation. There was a lot to prepare for the schoolday party. So I was going very early to bed because my flight the next day would be 6:20 am.

The gig day started at 4 am for me with coffee and some bread and I was leaving my home half'n hour later - taking the bus to the airboard not knowing if I would get the plane in time. Well, everything was ok, I could boarding and got the window place I had already reserved. Knowing that the flight was going directly over the Alps I was looking outside most of the time but it was very cloudy so there was not much to see. We arrived Bergamo at time - taking the bus to the railway station and arrived one hour later Brescia - raining all the time in the first hour. I was asking people where the festival should be located. Less people spoke English and knew where this should be but I found out that the festival area was more than 5 km outside of Brescia. How to go there?



Michael Franti & Spearhead @ Radio Onda D'Urta Festival - Brescia(IT)




Posted: 2006-08-27 23:10:54

(Radio Onda D'Urta Festival - Aug 24, 2006)
- thanks Andrea

The gig started at 09:45 pm - so it was 45 min later than planned. The area before the stage was filled with a lot of people (maybe 1000 - at the end there were maybe 2000). They opened with "Time to go home" and "Yell Fire!" and the sound was excellent. During the whole gig I was changing my position from the backstage to the frontstage area. I was making pictures with my old slowly digi cam until it run down - here are Pics from the gig, providing Versace at the mixer with cigarettes and beer, helping Catherine to bring T-Shirts and CDs to the promo desk at the back of the mixer. It started raining again when they played "Sweet little lies" and Michael highlighted this with a lot of smile: "tell me that the rain won't fall today".



Little Axe @ Gruener Salon - Berlin(DE)




Posted: 2006-06-10 01:34:56

Well, I was very excited about this gig. See Doug, Skip and Keith after 1 & 1/2 year again. I was calling at the venue Gruener Salon of Volksbuehne Berlin and they told that the gig will start later because of the beginning of the world championship in football and that Bernard Fowler (singer of Tack>>Head - at the moment on tour with Rolling Stones) would also join the gig. Wow. The whole Tach>>Head crew. I was writing some comments at the myspace sites of Tack>>Head, Little Axe and Doug Wimbish about this wonderful news.



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