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Columns > Dan Alford - Audio Files

Published: 2004/02/26
by Dan Alford

Club Jams

Quick Picks From the Disc Changer:
Phish, 8/3/03, Disc 3- YEM and 46 Days
Garaj Mahal 7/4/02- Ivory Tower > Guitar Slut Jam >
Jam > Blueberry Cave
SKB 3/30/03, Disc 2- Acoustic with Fareed and Kalen
Percy Hill, 4/4/03, Disc 1- Probably the best PH show
since regular touring ceased
Sam Kininger, 2/6/04- Sam kills, why haven’t you
listened yet?
Discman: Warren Haynes, 7/5/02- Acoustic Warren hurts
my soul.
Lotus- Trance Mission
This live album, recorded in Tennessee in August 2003
and available as a free download at
which offers Ropeadope, Velour and Harmonized Records
catalogues for download, makes a nice companion to the
Colorado band’s current release Germination. The more
I listen to the band the most I dig ‘em, and the
clearer their own personality becomes amidst the STS9,
Kimock and Phishy influences. It’s a very warm, well
rounded recording with a great surging Soma opener, a
goofy, smiling Sift and a funked-out Mikesnack. A
good introduction to the band.

Garaj Mahal, 12/8/02
GM’s December 8th show at Moe’s alley was the end of a
short West Coast swing that also includes the
justifiably famous Alien Chickens from Mt. Shasta show
on December 5th. The tour capper, however, is a fine
culmination to a very strong tour, if a bit slap happy
at moments. Of particular interest is the Junct >
Blueberry Cave in the first set. The former has
uniquely hot rhythm work from Fareed supporting Eric’s
flute laden solo, a rhythm that resurfaces nicely at
the end. The latter allows the rhythm section to flex
its collective muscle as Kai’s fleet fingered solo is
overwhelmed Alan’s ferocious drumming. The two
finally coalesce in an explosive mid-song jam. Other
highlights include a fleecy Jonesin’ for Wayne, a
devastating Celtic Indian and D-Natural Blues Played
in C. Despite GM’s very high jazz pedigree, they
rarely dig into what Scofield calls "real jazz," so it
is extra nice to hear them work out on a straight
Garaj Mahal, 2/9/03
Another tour ender, GM’s February 9th show from last
year is one of my absolute favorites. It has a wealth
of synchronous jamming where the often complicated
compositions seem organically formed and are naturally
played. I often find it difficult to make it past the
Celtic Indian opener- it is so sublime that it calls
for pause and reflection, not to mention a second
listen. Nonetheless the following Never Give Up is
insanely deep and heady, like something buried deep in
the second set. Also in the first set, at 9:20 in
Thursday, the band leaves the composition entirely,
moving into darker, heavy territory with a superb
jamlet from Alan and Fareed. The weight finally snaps
into a Hooked on Rasaki fueled by Kai’s wildly fast
bass. In the second set, The Chicken opens up and
moves beyond its traditional NOLA style funk borders
to slide into a majestically ethereal Of a Simple
Mind. Just about everything on this show is
exceptional, even the Poodle factory with its awkward
redone Cow’s Tail ending.
Percy Hill 2/25/00
Like the Grateful Dead in 1974, Phish in the fall of
1997, or SKB in the winter of 2002, Percy Hill in the
winter of 2000 is best considered in terms of the
tour, rather than individual shows. Just pick one and
you’re sure to get something great. The musicianship
was so strong and so constant that to choose a best
show is to quibble about peaks in the Himalayas. That
being said, the February 25th show from Amherst,
Massachusetts is a killer, especially the Geminatrix >
Exodus that opens the second set. At just shy of 30
minutes, it is an epic journey through the techno
colored stellar regions that, despite their widely
lauded song writing skills, characterize what is best
in Percy Hill’s music. The instrumental is
aggressive, but tinged with looseness- bursting with
energy. Nate’s Moog and B-3 flare and swirl, often
overlapping with Joe’s guitar, but just as often
spinning free above the churning rhythm section. As
the hyperspace voyage finally unwinds after passage
after passage, John and then Joe inch in from below
with the Marley cover- a beautiful version decorated
with Joe’s distinctly lyrical vocal fills. Listen to
January 28th, space out to the Color In Bloom from
January 29th, drool over the Jam > Fallen from January
15th, but be sure to hold on tight for this one.

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