Vulfpeck is one of the most popularly mysterious bands to recently emerge in the funk scene. If you head over to their website, you’ll find little-to-no information about the band, except for a short bio that reads: “Vulfpeck is a half-Jewish post-geographic rhythm section formed in Southeast Michigan. Originally studio musicians at Vulf Records, Jack Stratton, Theo Katzman, Woody Goss & Joe Dart went independent in 2011.”With only a handful of shows last year, including two sold-out shows at Brooklyn Bowl and an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the world is still learning to love Vulfpeck and their quirky ways.Earlier today, they released a music video for “Welcome to Vulf Records” from their 2015 release Thrill of the Arts, which reveals a few more joking details about the band. “vulf records was founded on oswego st in ann arbor mi,” it informally begins. “vulfpeck has recorded fewer #1 hits than the wrecking crew the funk brothers the swampers combined,” it continues, perhaps making fun of their fans obsessive attraction to the band.Each member is subsequently introduced, “joe dart is regarded as one of the best fender bass players of his age bracket,” “woody goss makes the quick costume change from the vibes to the rhodes,” “drummer, theo katzman, can be heard *singing* on ‘back pocket’ and ‘christmas in LA’,” “jack stratton released VULF COMPRESSOR with goodhertz in 2015 / more products to come!” and “joey dosik (featured performer) awakes from his slumber to bless the track.” To learn more about the band who stole our hearts, watch their new video below:Quickly emerging on the scene, Vulfpeck will be making an appearance at Fool’s Paradise this weekend in St. Augustine, FL. Performing alongside Lettuce, GRiZ, Chris Robinson’s Soul Revue, The Nth Power, and Goldfish, this is one destination event that you won’t want to miss! Tickets are on sale now and available here.
Last week, PBS debuted the new film American Masters – The Highwaymen: Friends Till The End, as part of the 30th season of their American Masters documentary series. The new film chronicles The Highway Men, one of the most fascinating and significant all-star musical collaborations in the history of American music. Frequently referred to as “the Mount Rushmore of country music,” the group (made up of legendary solo artists Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson) had a pioneering influence on the outlaw country movement during their ten-year run from 1985-1995. Says Kristofferson in the film, “People who used to not listen to country music because it wasn’t cool started listening again because it looked dangerous.”You can watch full video of American Masters – The Highwayman: Friends Till The End below:Now in its 30th year, PBS’s acclaimed American Masters documentary series has profiled hundreds of culturally influential American artists of all kinds, from silent film star Charlie Chaplin, to pop-art icon Andy Warhol, to composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein. The Highwaymen: Friends Till The End, makes for a worthy and highly entertaining addition to American Masters’ ongoing homage to American culture’s greatest artistic minds. [H/T – PBS]
In music festival years, BottleRock is somewhere between infancy and adolescence right now.During its four years of existence, Napa Valley’s loudest bacchanal has become as much a magnet for great music as any festival this side of Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. This year, BottleRock drew a sizzling slew of headliners for Memorial Day weekend that ranks right up there with the best of 2016, backed by plenty of stellar support on the bill across the festival’s four stage—five, if you include the Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage, where famous chefs (Gordon Ramsay! Masaharu Morimoto! Michael Voltaggio! Tyler Florence!) and other random celebrities (Cheech and Chong! Mark Sanchez! Adam Richman! Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters!) combined to tempt attendees with tastes only those in the front row could so much as smell.As for the music, the central appeal of the lineup for many, yours truly included, came from Stevie Wonder. The Motown legend capped off Friday on the JaM Cellars Stage with his usual melange of timeless classics, timely social commentary (that night’s theme: Vote!) and on-stage antics. Not that the Chili Peppers were at all lacking on that front. For their encore, they busted out “Around the World”—complete with drum and bass solos for Chad Smith and Flea, respectively—and “Give It Away.”But even Stevie and the Peppers paled in comparison to the sheer majesty of Florence and the Machine on Saturday night. Florence Welch stole the show, prancing around the main stage and serenading the audience, as if Wendy left Never Never Land to become a rock star.That she certainly was, from the deep opening dirge of “What the Water Gave Me” to the ecstasy of “Shake It Off” to the tenderness of “How Big, How Bold, How Beautiful.” She and her band comprised every bit the modern rock diva outfit that Stevie Nicks was in her day with Fleetwood Mac, but with an even more impressive stylistic range. Welch brought “Sweet Nothing” from Calvin Harris’ corner of electronic dance music, did more than justice to Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and offered up plenty of her and her band’s own flavor with the song that shot them into the stratosphere nearly seven years ago, “Dog Days Are Over.”Like any festival worth its salt, BottleRock offered much more music beyond the headliners. Each of the other stages supported brilliant acts, both local and global, that spanned the sonic spectrum.The Lagunitas Stage was the smallest of the four musical ones, but packed plenty of punch. I could’ve sworn the Black Keys circa 2004 were playing there on Friday. Instead, there was Black Pistol Fire, blazing its way through a set of heavy blues rock, thick with the flavor of the band’s Austin roots. On Saturday, Philadelphia’s Son Little kept that spirit alive on the Lagunitas Stage with a raspy rhythm and blues that was as much a reflection of his upbringing as a preacher’s progeny as it was a celebration of his influences, from Mavis Staples to Paul McCartney. Come Sunday, it was time for Langhorne Slim and the Law to mellow out the joint, albeit up against the Chili Peppers on the main stage across the way.The Midway Stage was exactly that: a home for acts who were too big for the smaller venues but wouldn’t draw quite enough fanfare to justify jamming at the JaM Cellars Stage.Not that you’d have known it from watching Kaleo crank out some riffy blues, including his own rendition of Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang”, from behind his Ricky Martin lookalike facade. Or from listening to the Cold War Kids treat onlookers to newer tunes like “All This Could Be Yours” and “First” while indulging their long-standing fans with “Hang Me Out to Dry.” Or from Grouplove keeping the curious crowd “Tongue Tied.”And that was just on Friday. On Saturday, Midway stretched from the grungy drones of the Joy Formidable to a NorCal reunion of SoCal hip-hop legends the Pharcyde, to the roots rock reggae of Ziggy Marley. The next day, Midway shuttered its speakers after a Latin extravaganza, with Ozomatli’s outspoken-activist fusion bleeding into the brilliant, wordless instrumental duels of Rodrigo y Gabriela.Those that made it to the main stage without seizing top billing were, by and large, worthy of the venue. The underwhelm of Lenny Kravitz and Michael Franti and Spearhead on Friday were washed away first by Stevie, and then by a stellar assortment on Saturday. The Struts riffed through a rocking set, then thanked America for giving the band a platform to break out. Walk the Moon did all it could to get people moving, though the group and the crowd alike knew full well it would all spill out at the end with “Shut Up and Dance With Me.” Death Cab For Cutie dialed down the energy a bit, but for good reason; the emotions baked into their music—be it in Death Cab hits like “New Year”, “I Will Possess Your Heart” and “Soul Meets Body” to newer additions like “Black Sun” and “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive”—are what made them one of Seattle’s shining musical lights during the city’s post-grunge burnout.The JaM Stage undercard, though, wasn’t lacking for verve on Sunday. MisterWives got the throng into a groove. Then, Gogol Bordello made them move in a whole different way: heads banging, fists in the air, calves and feet turning potential energy into temporary human flight.(It’s too bad there were so many Lumineers seekers lurking before Gogol, though. Nothing disrupts a good, old-fashioned gypsy punk party like dispassionate observers waiting around for non-threatening naptime tunes.)Of all the stages, the one sponsored by Miner Family Wine featured the most eye-opening lineup.It was the best all-around stage on Friday. Fantastic Negrito transported a decidedly West Coast crowd to the Mississippi Delta with some downhome blues, spiced with plenty of East Bay grit. Frontman Xavier Dphrepaulezz (no, that’s not the work of a cat traipsing across my keyboard) was part gospel preacher, part Robert Plant. He spun painful tales about the challenges of modern American life and got a crowd antsy about Golden State’s NBA playoff prospects to chant for their Warriors to come out and play-ay.Particle kept the party going with their jaunty jams, but the real show-stopping came from none other than Buddy Guy. Whatever it is, Guy still has it, just shy of his 80th birthday, no less. When the legendary Chicago bluesman wasn’t plucking from his chosen genre’s catalogue—from “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Boom Boom” to “What’d I Say” and “Voodoo Chile”—he was busy cussing and cracking wise, even crooning a tongue-in-cheek tune about milking a bull.That is, if his mouth wasn’t already occupied flinging the strings of his guitar, presumably to give his hands a break from melting faces.The Miner stage spent the rest of the weekend quirkin’ out. Diego’s Umbrella brought a taste of the bar mitzvah life with their version of “Hava Nagila.” Pimps of Joytime put the funk and the fury into the feet of those fortunate patrons who caught their rollicking set on Sunday.Save for Kravitz and Franti, then, BottleRock’s musicians turned out a stellar set list. No festival is perfect, especially not one that’s barely been around longer than some of the wine that was peddled that weekend, almost all for $15 or more per glass.Exorbitant prices are to be expected at this sort of shindig. So are the small portions of food granted in exchange. It’s just a shame that the dishes served weren’t at least of a higher culinary caliber, given the food hub that Napa has become.The biggest problem, though—aside from all the dust and hay that got kicked up and turned yours truly into a poster child for Benedryl on Saturday—was the cluster**** of traffic that became of the festival’s ingress and egress. Better to call it BottleNeck, not so much for the clogged roads in (though those were pretty terrible) as for the never-ending lines to leave the parking lots. Without anyone to direct cars toward the exits after the shows, getting out turned into a futile free-for-all.As if it wasn’t bad enough that the lots themselves were about a mile away from the festival grounds and cost $30 per day ($40 if you paid day of) to occupy. Pro tip: if you go to BottleRock, try parking your car on the other side of the river, where unrestricted street spots are plentiful.Fortunately, most of these logistical matters can, with more time and better planning, be ironed out. These are matters of infancy, of a festival still finding itself.Whether Napa is truly equipped to handle a gathering of this magnitude is another story. That point might be rendered moot soon enough, as Napa continues to grow.But any festival that draws acts as outstanding at BottleRock’s shouldn’t have any trouble gaining a foothold, be it in a bustling metropolitan park, a polo field in the desert or, in this case, a grassy field tucked away in some of America’s most hallowed wine country. He got the crowd rocking with his rendition of Parliament’s “Give Up the Funk,” kept them rolling through a selection of Steve standards (“Sir Duke,” “I Wish”, “Living For the City”) and surprised with both a cover of the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and an appearance by his alter ego, DJ Tick Tick Boom.To the former of those treats, the audience responded with glee. To the latter…not so much. As great as it was that Stev…errr DJ Tick Tick Boom spun tributes to this year’s fallen artists—Prince, David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire—the crowd quickly grew tired of the act, hoping instead to hear Stevie belt out those classic tunes himself.Fortunately for them, Mr. Wonder hung around long enough after his time on the ones and twos to send people on their way smiling and singing to “Superstition.”Stevie was the first, but not the last, of the weekend’s acts to take everyone to “Higher Ground” and get Funkadelic on his own terms. So, too, did the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who closed out the festival on Sunday with a bang…and another…and another. Between staples like “Can’t Stop,” “Dani California”, “Otherside” and “Under the Bridge,” the Chili Peppers debuted the title track to their upcoming album “The Getaway.” Like the title suggests, the song was a bit of a departure for RHCP, more mellow jam than funky freak show. Josh Martin is an avid concert goer who occasionally writes for Live For Live Music. In his other life, he covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Despite Widespread Panic’s various announcements regarding less touring in 2017, it seems their tropical festival is here to stay!Panic en La Playa “Seis” will be returning to the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico in February 27-March 3, 2017. On top of the four nights of music from headlining hosts Widespread Panic, the winter getaway will also feature late night performances from the Playa All-Stars (feat. George Porter, Jr., Karl Denson, Eric Krasno, Ivan Neville, Col. Bruce Hampton, Jennifer Hartswick, and Terrence Higgins) and Orgone, in addition to sunset shows from Southern Soul Assembly (feat. JJ Grey, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne, and Marc Broussard) and Bloodkin.The four-night event brings Widespread Panic fans together for an all-inclusive resort experience in the winter sunshine to enjoy their favorite band. With breathtaking scenery, activities, excursions, and more, the festival experience is unlike any other.There will be a returning guest pre-sale July 11-12, with the general on-sale July 13th at 12pm ET available here.
DJ Williams from Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is moving to Los Angeles, and he has organized a few awesome shows for this fall as a sort of welcome party. The band, called DJ Williams & Shots Fired, will feature members of KDTU, Slightly Stoopid, and The Greyboy All Stars, with Dusty Simmons on drums, Chris Stillwell on bass, David Veith on keys, Daniel Delacruz on saxophone, Andy Geib on trombone, and of course Williams on guitar and vocals.The band is scheduled to play two dates this October, at Winston’s in San Diego on the 6th, and The Mint in Los Angeles on the 7th. These shows are sure to be a great time, filled with excellent, funky music. Expect the unexpected as Williams has promised that some special guests will make appearances at one or both shows.For more information on DJ Williams & Shots fired, head here.
Bob Weir has been on a roll of late, supporting his new release Blue Mountain with a stripped down “Campfire Tour.” After playing two nights in Brooklyn and one at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, Weir returned to NYC and stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to perform a track from the new release.Weir has been joined by an all-star ensemble on tour, including Steve Devendorf, Bryan Devendorf, Josh Kaufman, Jon Shaw, and Steve Kimock. The whole crew came out in full force for a beautiful rendition of the new song “Lay My Lily Down.”Watch Weir’s performance on The Late Show, streaming below.
Load remaining images Reed Mathis’ Electric Beethoven has most certainly been one of the more interesting projects to come into fruition in 2016. The bassist’s concept of taking the classic composer’s pieces and rewriting them to allow for some improvisational exploration, is certainly akin to what Beethoven himself would have most definitely approved of.With a lineup featuring Mathis, joined by Todd Stoops on keys, Jay Lane behind the kit, and new kid on the block, Clay Welch, taking on axe duties, the quartet has coalesced rather nicely in roughly 15 shows or so on the road; an astonishingly short amount of time for any band to fully gel.On Monday night, the group played Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins, CO and displayed Mathis’ brainchild to an intimate crowd. The group opened with “Rain Dance”, which was followed by a very dark and brooding “Funeral March”, the second movement of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony. The ability of the band to reinterpret these works, and stretching them out for 30+ minutes is impressive, to say the least.“Shepherd’s Song,” which featured Phish’s Page McConnell on the album version, has a light and airy tone to it, but a driving beat kept bodies moving. The 6th Symphony piece saw Lane provide a backbeat groove that allowed the rest of his bandmates room to explore and take the music to new heights.A “Rebirth” sandwich filled with a “Scene By The River” jam ended the show after nearly 45-minutes of creative genius from the members of Electric Beethoven. While the group is “jamming” in a traditional sense, there is something much more inspiring going on here that lends itself to being labeled into a totally different category on its own merit.It’s not everyday you get to see artists recreate the music of legendary composer’s in new and creative ways. This type of stuff takes balls, and musician’s that have serious chops. While no one would argue the skill level of players such as Mathis, Lane, and Stoops, it is even more impressive that Welch, a relative newcomer to the jam scene out of Oakland, CA by way of Tulsa, OK, is clearly up to the challenge and proving himself to be a rising star.This Electric Beethoven project is the real deal, and most importantly, it is different. And in this case, different is not just good, it’s incredible.[All photos courtesy of Conrad Meyer – Conrad Meyer Photography – Facebook Page]“Shepherd’s Song”:Reed Mathis’ Electric Beethoven Setlist – Hodi’s Half Note – 11/14/16:Rain DanceFuneral MarchShepherd’s SongRebirth >Scene By The River Jam >Rebirth
For the last two years, Dumpstaphunk has hosted a pre-Thanksgiving celebration in New York. Friends, family, and special guests are what make this new tradition a not-to-be-missed event. With Ivan Neville leading the way on Hammond B3 and keys, Alvin Ford Jr. on drums, Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III on dual bass, and guitarist Ian Neville laying down the funky Crescent City grooves, there’s never telling who else might show up. It’s a family affair, and everyone wants in on the celebration. This year’s Phunksgiving Eve already has some serious talent lined up, and we can’t emphasize enough how awesome this show will be, from front to finish. You can find tickets here.Maurice ‘Mobetta’ Brown & SOUL’D U OUT will open up the night with a jazz, hip-hop, and blues mix. Widely recognized for his tenure with Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Grammy-Award-winning trumpet virtuoso has also been featured on dozens of stellar recordings alongside greats like Aretha Franklin, Talib Kweli, De La Soul, Diddy, Lettuce, and Cee-Lo Green, to name a few. Watch the band perform Mobetta’s original “Stand Up”:When Dumpstaphunk hits the stage, they’re bringing a whole lot of talent with them. This year’s special guests include guitarist Eric Krasno (Lettuce/Soulive), drummer Nikki Glaspie (The Nth Power), and guitarist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer (School of Rock The Musical). There will be no strangers to the room, as these artists have all performed with Dumpstaphunk across various occasions. To get psyched, we’re bringing it back to some of our favorite sit-ins!Dumpstaphunk performs Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be” with Eric Krasno at Phunksgiving 2014:Dumpstaphunk performs “For The Love Of Money” with Eric Krasno & the Steel Town Horns at Phunksgiving 2014:Dumpstaphunk performs “Funk #49” with Brandon “Taz” Niederuaer at Phunksgiving 2014:Dumpstaphunk performs “Money Love and Change” with Brandon “Taz” Niederauer:Nikki Glaspie drum solo with Dumpstaphunk, Mardi Gras 2013:Dumpstaphunk performs “Water” with Nikki Glaspie:Dumpstaphunk performs The Band’s “Don’t Do It” along with Cris Jacobs, Amy Helm, and the Steeltown Horns on the Pool Deck of Jam Cruise 14: The 2016 Phunksgiving Eve celebration will be themed “70s Funk Classics and Rock N Roll Stew” so be sure to get your flyest threads ready to rock! With Thanksgiving Eve being one of the biggest party nights of the year, make sure to get a ticket to this extremely intimate, funk-fueled dance party to help get that appetite going with some plentiful portions of the F-U-N-K. If previous years are any indication, expect plenty of surprises on this extra special night. Tickets, while they last, can be purchased here.
The Revivalists is one of the hottest touring bands right now, selling out venues across every city in their national tour. While not on the road with the band, some members like to keep busy with their own musical configurations. Such is the case for bassist George Gekas who will host a residency at New Orleans’ own Maple Leaf every Wednesday for the rest of December. With the holidays near, the weekly showcases will feature several bands that members of The Revivalists have formed with their NOLA-based musical friends and family that only have a chance to play a few times per year.Starting next week on December 14, Gekas will host fellow Revivalist member Ed Williams and his band RumpleSTEELskin for his annual Birthday Bash celebration. Expect funk, rock, and a reason to dance with the pedal steel guitar player and his band featuring keyboardist Michael Girardot (The Revivalists) and drummer David Shirley (The Cardinal Sons).The following week, on December 21st, Gekas will welcome saxophonist Rob Ingraham (another Revivalist) for their own Space & Harmony project, along with Naughty Professor guitarist Wild Bill Daniel and drummer Sam Shahin. Yes, please and thank you.The ultimate throwdown will take place on December 28th, when George Gekas presents the Jam of Fools, featuring Wild Bill Daniel, David Shirley, and Isaac Howard Eady.It doesn’t get any more “All In The Family” than this, as members of The Revivalists are known to play with one another all the time outside of their band’s extensive tour schedules. If the past is any indication, expect some big surprises from George Gekas and his month-long residency at the Maple Leaf. For tickets and information, head to the venue’s website.
To say there is a buzz surrounding Vermont psych-pop quintet Madaila would be an egregious understatement. With the release of their sophomore album, Traces, this past November, the group has begun the steady ascent to make Madaila a household name across the country. With support gigs for Big Gigantic, Twiddle, Head & The Heart, BØRNS, Matisyahu, and more, they are well on their way. The band has just announced an intimate performance at New York City’s American Beauty on Thursday, April 13th (purchase tickets here).Madaila was created by founding members Mark Daly (lead vocals, guitar) and Eric Maier (vocals, key) after their former group, Chamberlin, disbanded. With Jer Coons (bass, vocals), Dan Ryan (drums) and Willoughby Morse (guitars, synth, vocals) completing the lineup, the band delivers a high-octane performance from start to finish. With a penchant for creating catchy, psychedelic pop dance songs, and the ability to let things fly off the handle with some improv-based melodic grooves, Madaila provides the perfect environment for a much-needed release. Take a listen to songs such as new number “Nature” and “Give Me All Your Love” (the latter off 2015’s The Dance) and attempt to deny your body from shaking and moving.Known for donning fun, 80’s inspired outfits with plenty of neon to go around, Maier explains, “This approach ties in with our philosophy of what we want Madaila to be about—creating an environment, even for a short time, where people can unearth a weird, fun part of themselves that normally is kept inside. On a larger level, such an event can be an expression of collaborative activity and joy.”Ticket for Madaila at American Beauty on Thursday, April 13th are on-sale and can be purchased here. For additional information and show updates, join the Facebook Event group page.– SHOW INFO –Band/s: Madaila w/ Support TBDVenue: American Beauty – 251 W. 30th Street – New York, NY 10001Date: Thursday – April 13th, 2017Ages: 21+Tickets: $12adv / $15dos (purchase tickets here)