10/27/2013

Concert Review, I Guess

I generally try to stick to comedy here and post the more serious stuff on my technical blog. But occasionally I'll write something that's neither work nor comedy, and I have to put it somewhere (in addition to my Super Secret Diary And Psychotic Serial Killer Diatribes Notebook). So here's this.

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I enjoyed the hell out of the Joe Satriani concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland last night. It's the first concert I've been to in years, if not decades; I generally think concerts are too overpriced and overcrowded to be worth the hassle. I learned some interesting tidbits at the show (beside the obvious bit about Satriani being pretty damn magical, but that wasn't anything new):

- Living Colour rocks: There was a warmup band that I didn't think much about before they started playing; then I realized that I knew this band. Living Colour rose to fame in the last 80s with a couple of hits and an interesting blend of musical styles, including straightforward metal rock. Blending this with amazing vocals and great instrumentals makes for good songs. I lost touch with them in the early 90s, and they disbanded sometime in there. Apparently they reunited some time ago and, also apparently, still have it. Their lead singer covers a broad spectrum from metal-friendly screaming to funk to gospel-like riffs (sometimes all in one song). The guitarist was a monster, totally in keeping with the speed-metal theme for the night and the bassist and drummer held their own as well, with the bass player playing an entire song on his own in the upper registers, reminding me of some of the Bend Folds Five use of bass-as-guitar songs.
And the best part: They were all dressed totally low key. I don't know that I've ever gone to a rock concert where the lead singer was wearing a tweed beret, jeans, and a sweater vest.
They're my new [old] favorite rock band to go research. And totally appropriate for my habit of not getting into a band until decades after everyone else gave up on them (I'm a bit slow on the uptake, sorry. I'm still heavily into Floyd and Gabriel-era-Genesis...).

- Satriani: 'nuff said.

- Satriani, like any musician of his caliber, hires amazing musicians for his tour. Better yet, he features them in a way that someone like him needn't. You'd think with the eponymously -named band that it would be all about him, but every member of the band has his part to play. For example:

- Mike Keneally: The second guitarist and keyboardist for Satriani was amazing on both instruments. For the most part, his guitar parts were rhythm, but he'd come forward and take the lead occasionally, including trading fours and eights with Satriani in a couple of tunes. Amazing to play that well on one instrument, jaw-dropping to see him also play the keyboard as well as he did.

- Macro Minnemann: The drummer was simply amazing. I've played with some very good drummers and have always thought that a master of that instrument was more fun to watch than any other musician because drumming is a full-body contact sport. When someone's playing a large kit with all four appendages rapid-firing every which way in perfect time, it's a joy to behold. And he had it in spades. At one point, the band took a break (as bands do), except them left him there to play a 10 minute solo. I've heard a lot of drum solos over the years, and generally you're ready for them to be over quickly. But a good drummer can make a song out of anything, and he did.

Anyway, that's probably enough gushing for now. I have to go - I have some new music to stream.
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