Sunday, June 17, 2007

Concert Review: The Roscoe Trio at Lakeside Lounge 6/15/07

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Played a gig w the Roscoe Trio at the Lakeside Lounge on friday night we got a Concert Review from Alan Young at Lucid Culture.

A clinic in good guitar and good fun. Besides being Lakeside head honcho, producer of note, Steve Earle’s lead guitarist and member of the Yayhoos, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel sometimes finds the time to play in this self-described “party band.” With an open date on the Lakeside calendar, he’d apparently had enough of a break in his schedule to pull a show together. This was a pickup band of sorts, Phil Cimino on drums and Allison Jones on bass. It didn’t seem that anybody had the chance to rehearse much for this, but Jones is a quick study and Cimino can pretty much play anything. Tonight they played a lot of blues, but it wasn’t lame whiteboy blues, a bunch of aging fratboys hollering their way through Sweet Home Chicago and similar. “Craft” is a favorite word of Ambel’s, and tonight was a chance to watch an artisan pulling good stuff out of thin air and making it work every time.

Ambel is one of the most dynamic, interesting guitarists out there, a four-on-the-floor, purist rock guy at heart but equally adept at pretty much any Americana genre. In Steve Earle’s band the Dukes he plays a lot of wrenchingly beautiful stuff along with his usual twang; this band gives him the chance to parse his own back catalog and cut loose on some covers. Tonight he was in typically terse, soulful mode: he can solo like crazy when he wants to, which is hardly ever. This show was all about thoughtful, sometimes exploratory licks and fills with a few tantalizingly good moments of evil noise. With Ambel, melody is always front and center, but he’s a hell of a noise-rock player - think Neil Young in a particularly pathological, electric moment - when the mood strikes him.

We arrived to find the band burning through Merle Haggard’s Workingman’s Blues. They then did a quietly captivating take on the old blues standard Ain’t Having No Fun, followed by J.J. Cale’s eerie The Sensitive Kind, which began with a long, darkly glimmering Ambel solo. A little later, they played an obscure Steve Earle tune, Usual Time of the Night, a cut from Ambel’s most recent solo album Knucklehead. It’s Earle’s attempt at writing a Jimmy Reed song, and tonight they did justice to the old bluesman, calmly wringing out every ounce of sly, late-night seductiveness.

They also played a really cool, slow surf instrumental; an amusingly upbeat, chromatically-fueled theme called How ‘Bout It (an expression, Ambel told the audience, that he used to death for a couple of years); the angry, blazing indie rock tune Song for the Walls (the opening track on Ambel’s Loud & Lonesome album); and closed the set with a rousing version of his classic song Garbagehead, written in about five minutes for a Lakeside New Year’s Eve show a few years ago. They wrapped it up with a completely over-the-top, heavy metal finale. Fucking A, fucking right. Fucking A, fucking A, Friday night, gimme five more beers and a snootfull of garbagehead. Who needs garbagehead when you can go out and see a show like this instead. For free.
Even though it was past midnight by this point and therefore past Lakeside’s strict curfew (they’re trying to be good neighbors), the audience wasn’t about to let them go without an encore, so Ambel obliged them with the soul-inflected Hurting Thing, from the Yayhoos’ most recent album.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

warm fuzzy geek scene in Tucson

I'll tell you, I loved the Tape Op magazine from the first issue that I saw (which was probably their 2nd). I've been following their convention from afar but this year was the first year where my schedule let me go.
Convention host was Craig Schumacher from Wavelab Studio in Tucson. Like I said in the post from Friday they had the thing at this Resort east of town.

I could tell right away it was an interesting mix of people just like I've imagined Tape Op readers to be. Had a great time on my panel with some guys I knew (Mitch Easter, Pete Anderson, Mitch Gallagher and Joe Chiccarelli) and also met John Morand. We had a very large crowd for the panel.

They had a mini show-exibition with a bunch of pro audio vendors there which was very cool. You could ask questions of guys who worked on the stuff. Ran into friends there from Mercenary, Chandler, Royer/Mojave, the aforementioned Aspen Pittman of Groove Tubes (who is a tireless goodnatured ace), Scott from Cranesong, AT. Also heard some top secret stuff from a couple people including API.
..all kinds of stuff. Saw the Steve Albini playing cards.

My Saturday workshop was on 'open room recording' which is the 'no control room' style setup that we use at our Studio. On that panel was Allen Farmelo, Adam Fuest and Pet Weiss. For the panel we had collected photos of our studios to illustrate how we roll. We got to the room and realized we were missing the adaptor to get to the VGA projector. I asked a guy if he had one and he looked at me and said "You didn't bring yours"? Saw his badge and realized it was one of the all time Pro Audio Guru's George Massenburg. George is a great engineer/producer who has also designed and built great analog and digital gear and recently opened what people say is the most perfect sounding control room of all time in Nashville at Blackbird.

I heard about George's new super control room last year when a friend of mine Rick Clark from Mix Magazine went to check it out. He got there and George says "You gotta hear this" and puts on the Yayhoos Put The Hammer Down cd. Rick said our record sounded awfully good in George's perfect environment.

So anyway when I saw George's badge and introduced myself he was all smiles and said "I love the Yayhoos. The sounds are great! Take my adaptor. Find me later"

Did make me look good to my fellow panelists to get the assist from George.

My favorite Rant:Joel Hamilton from Tony Maimone's Studio G on the "Anatomy of a Mix" panel. Joel played individual tracks that were recorded at the Steve Albini's studio by the Steve Albini without mentioning the Steve Albini. One track that was supposed to be Tom Toms was described as "tom-ish" Joel also took issue with the use of a double headed kick drum for asthetic reasons saying that he "wished he could have sent the kid 26 bucks to buy a new head so he could cut a hole in it..... The guy is not Louis Belson!!!"

Got to meet Nic Luca who has played at the Lakeside Lounge and heard Calexico for the first time.

Also spent time hanging out with 2 other producers of the Bottle Rockets Jeff Powell and Ross Hogarth. That was a blast. Couple great guys.

Albini (who played the orig version of "Had A Real Good Mother and Father"....recently recorded by Gillian Welch on her fabulous Soul Journey), Massenburg and Larry Crane, founder of Tape Op were on the last panel of the show on Sunday. Mark Rubel from Champaign, IL spoke last. After his rap about a live cut from the Band he called Les Paul on speakerphone to wish him a happy 94th Birthday. Mary Ford answered and put Les on the phone and we all sang happy birthday.

I didn't get a lot of pics but I did see this Rainbow on the way back to the Airport
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Friday, June 08, 2007

In Room Coffee

So I'm in Tucson, or I should say, way outside of Tucson at the Hotel Conquistador Resort* for the 2007

I'm on a panel today with other type A producer types talking about records they made. (I'm discussing
the Bottle Rockets "I'll Be Comin' Around" tune from the first record I did with them called "the Brooklyn Side".
Running into lots of people I know out here. Other Producer types and a lot of guys who build the hot as
hell gear we use to make the records. Some really outstanding overheard conversations like listening Aspen
Pittman (Groove Tubes) expain tubes to some suit over lunch. Any damn way.....
My room has probably the best hotel provided In Room Coffee Rig I've ever used. Pod style w good coffee too.
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*Resort......old indian word meaning "room long way from lobby"

Monday, June 04, 2007

Some Yayhoos Fan....

put together a hell of a video for "Everything/Anything"
from our record Put The Hammer Down

gotta love it!