Friday, December 30, 2011

Phish (cont'd) NIght One: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged!


I widened my stance early into the first Set to accommodate the growing need to dance. Lingering somewhere below my knees, this ripple was set into existence by Mike Gordon's Bass. Not to beat a dead horse, but given the right set of circumstances, and MSG is ripe for the challenge, implosion could ensue with the immense energy emanating from the stage, the speakers, and the Bass Bombs headstrong and hell bent on forging paths of sonic brilliance past and through any innocent bystander; May ye be warned, lest the vacates the premises, no prisoners of war will be taken, this is a fight to the bitter end, fraught with more than its fair share of casualties, no judgement just carnal devastation.

My mind was engulfed in the mental projection of the bass registering through the amplifier, like a billowing orb of light and heat. Inside this fortress of bass relief, I was free to meander this musical mecca to behold the searing flesh and destruction taking place. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Mike Gordon War Time Variety Show.

With the disillusion of Cities, seeming on the verge of total crowd annihilation, the band blundered to a halt, and before attempting to reset their predilection towards trial and discovery Curtis Loewe let us all quietly survey the wreckage. Stash, while certainly not the cleanest version, song proper or jam, certainly contained musical thoughts that each member grasped for moments at a time, and while this was one step above brushing off the cobwebs-ball of nerves on first night-type shit...The jam remained contained, and certainly poised to energize a intent and focused crowd.

Bathtub, with it's personal mental projection to Bethel Woods Ginteca, held a wealth of promise that paid off like a more or less successful scratch off ticket. I didn't win for life, but I certainly won more than the tickets worth! Paige's early piano work seemed indicative of something more creative, and the jam certainly veered towards outer space, pointing it's head dead set on the abyss, the rocket never took off, and I was left with the recollection that this was night one set one, I had 7 more sets of non-repeated music, and after a nosh and some re-hydration, I would ready for my first second set of the four night stand! (Jesus, they could have jammed that Cities for 25 more minutes and walked off stage and the first set would have been worth the battling of the Exctasy Whores next to me!)

O, and what a set was in store for the collective whole of this hallowed venue. Birds set the tone and lept from the gate hell bent on catching the piece of cheese held form a string lingering in front it's face; I would have been happy to here three songs all week, sprinkled like flurries throughout the four night stand! But to think that these three songs would come in relative succesion bridged by one of my go to "Check Yourself for Signs of Damage" songs (the songs where you are pumped to hear, and allows you to ensure all limbs are still intact and your mind and soul aren't draining below the seats in front of you towards the stomped wrist end of someone's forgotten jacket.

Carini-Tweezer. Need I say more. The layering of the music it's progression from funk and bitter evil, eye's briefly blinking from darker corners of the venue, of the mind, the "Scream Machine" effect, followed by note bending Trey, not to mention a brief lumpy head vocal jam, speckled with Old School Fish's terrifying deathly hallow of a scream. The final outro of Carini, where Trey beings to devise his path into Tweezer, while certainly patient, felt as if risen from the back drop of the aural tapestry being wove, and as the Tweezer Proper was propelled into existence yet again, The Boys were sending a clear message. Don't fuck with too much that might melt your face, because we are the drug of the nation. And the nail on this evening's coffin wasn't even a concept of conceivable reality at this juncture. (Parts of me prayed that this would not a three minute mini-Tweezer, merged toxic avenger style into Julius) oh Fuck no, it was the real deal, and like the murky abyss leaping to bliss ala Carini post apocalyptic Tweezer gave way to My Friend->Rock and Roll. You could tell this was the portion of the set list each band mate was eager to unfold. And yet their patience was palpable, even in the stumbling end of Cities, it was clear, they were here to play the songs, and see what adventurous path one might stumble into-and little stumbling occurred. Rather, intent passages of music americana were burst from the cracked and brimming head of the Godly Unit, and the Thunder Bolt struck many times this enchanted evening. Rock and Roll brought a sense of contained urgency that reconstituted ideas from BOAF and KDF, bringing that menacing break neck speed jamming for the early nineties to within ear shot. As the set began to recede like the known coming of the dawn, Bug appeared, and as my compatriot always says, "wait five minutes, everyone will be loving this!" He was half right, as the lyrics still linger heavy on my mind, does this matter. But I need no soothsayer to ease my mind, a Tube encore, though not the 20 minute opener I was predicting, was a oddly placed delight, like a really good appetizer for Dessert, when you really wanted it all the time as the main course. And through the trips-encore, Tube-Top-Reprise...we burst into the late December Manhattan freezer to barder for Falafel and head home to work, then to play again the next evening. Here's to Phish, my drug of choice!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

phish: People They All are Fools #1


I woke up one morning...in december...and I realized I loved you! My growing suspicions rumbled to a boil, spilling their froth from the still teetering lid of the cauldron that is MSG, on their way, dousing the jerseys and banners with their wicked slippery paws. Simple words, easy to utter; I am addicted. My name is Matthew and I am addicted to Phish. Who else feels this way; a massive wave of quiet abounds and I am left pantsed and alone in a crowd (with my 13 year old naked legs; pant legs crumbled like Obi Wan on the floor!)

Night one was captured via my pen, moleskin notepad, and two rapidly fading thirty year old orbs of visual sensory; made new by curved lenses and forged plastic and metal-an archaic jerry rig if you ask me.

1. The pen captures the set list. It's ink globules trickle from the bouncing pen's erratic movement stuck nestled in the neck of my smoke embraced t-shirt, and in blind-frenzy fashion navigate the extra-terrestrial bounds of tiny lined paper and perforated inner binding. Segue to the moleskin, the death of three moles needed to forge its Mordor-like visage that, in it's absence, makes me pocked with age and worries of its ill-fated demise...only to resurrect it's divine bodice and return my feeble appearance to normalcy.

2. Rapidly fading orbs, criminally caged, in orifices destine to trap light and wear out the tuning of their visual stimuli!

3. I am addicted to Phish. Was that more subtle. MSG, been transformed into disjointed portals to cavernous seating modules; pod-like with entrances leading to stairs leading to nowhere. No less than 10 times did people pass thinking the seats I hovered over, was a tiny stairwell, seemingly, to the set of larger stairs, which in essence were blocked by my seats. It made sense to escape to my domicile, section 109 row 20 seats 6-7. It was logically expected that beyond that which you could see, into a dense nmelange of smoke and (mirrors) must emanating from what might find less appealing that Ringling Brothers in the deep south, come high noon, once could, once here, saunter stealthily through my seats into an open air, uncluttered set of stairs. Why I mention this? Simple, in the chaotic pretense just laid out, crammed between X-laden whores (ironically juggling two blue balls for fun) I did not whine, nor whimper, pout....in fact (interruption style) I defended this in my head to anyone who was willing to attempt to break the confines of my cranial dome-lair; ready to justify the forced-forged entrance to seats, harder to navigate towards than some free climbing treks attempted by professionals.

But oh, the music. While Free rang in a welcome home, forged with Bass Brilliance, filter effected and rattling brains, balcony sections alike, and Glide welcomed our entrance to the band...and Possum welcomed 3.0 to the set list (this devilishly sheepish vermin, poised hell bent on infiltrating all setlists til kingdom come) It was Cities that brought the Storage and psychedelia to the Garden. Folks in Penn Station might have been scratching their heads at the reverberation which leaked it's way to the very pours and core of MSG. Bending out of the song proper, Trey signaled with his quick solo, that Cities was not going to end of it's normal a-chord, but rather mange out into the landscape of the upper decks, harkening to AC's Cities, and burgeoning more than a couple times to a 46 Days Segue, the band, led by their Air Supreme Mr Gordon meandered the cavernous halls of the New MSG before limping to a halt after a brief face to face with Pail Sublimity! (MORE TO COME!!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Letters to Phish (Halloween 2010)

So I wrote these random letters to the band members of my favorite band. A few were lost before I could ever transcribe them (lost, that is, to the myriad of fans I handed them out to amidst the transcedent, tranformation of a weekend in AC!) So, without further ado...


10/28/2011
Dear Trey,

Happy Halloween. Organs blaze orange, as the red candle glow of a strumming hand engages the bass with a jack-o-lantern grin that presupposes a hi-hat crash will dive bomb emminently. I feel I've...dunnununt...never told you...dunt...the story of the ghost. So you know, if your wandered into my cavernous landscape and took a seat amidst the rocks and stalagtites of my miind, you might rejoice in teh retelling of the dawn of man, from humble beginnings to electric virility. We should harness the spirits and evoke the memories of the funk and mollasses, cruising the stratosphere and boardwalk of all hallows eve.

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________

10/28/2011
Dear Trey,

I cannot imagine a world without the sweet coursing pulses of your digitally delayed loops of sonic irreverence. In moments of confusion, I let my mind drift to coherence aloft in the angelic arms of those looping booms. IN seconds a bass beat sets in like the vocal stylings of a familiar friend and along with te wacka-wacka of a an effects driven guitar lead, the percussion gains speed and taps the cymbal slowly to frenetic pace...then quiet ensues for seconds, the crowds smles jeering ear to ear, as the lights slowly loop in unison with the only sound echoing through the smoke laced air a siren loop fading into the distance only to be reborn again in the forefront of my temporal lobe...then, the delicate, crystalline silence is shattered with the re-emergence of the beat and within the groove, I am free to engage the life line of music, coursely blazed as a trail, riding it's slanted rail to the ends of it's final destination. Thank you.

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________



10/27/2010
Dear Mike Gordon,

I heart bass bombs and slinky grooves that destroy my last remaining neurons before night has come clumsily to an end! In the event we should lose our way, please leave a trail of bass bets to me back to my old home place.

P.S. At least consider melting my face.

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________


10/28/2010
Dear Trey,

At night, right before I fall to a sublime and angelic sleep, while I nestle into my pillow, watching my eyes slowly ease shut...I harken back to 1997, whence every jam would ooze with a funky molasses groove like being stuck in quickly drying concrete galashes. At these moments with sleep eminent, I curl myself to a fetal position and let my body course with dying thoughts of a digital delay loop screaming to the farthest reaches of my audible recognition, almost til it's gone, but I can faintly hear it, and my body in its circuitous power, is transcended to heaven amidst the loops sonic projection. Amen!

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________


10/26/2010
Dear Paige,

Do you have little tiny rockets attached to your fingertips that makes them rapidly descend and cruise the plane of your many keyed instruments and defy the laws of physics? I once heard you called "the beacon of lightin the world of flight"...but then "the chairman of the boards" but then "Leo!" So which one is it?

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________


10/29/2011
Dear Phish,

I think if we met you would think I was cool and even think about inviting me over to the barn to play Trivial Pursuit, or let me watch Jeopardy, with Alex Trebek, with you promptly at 7:30 each evening. I might even bring a different dynamic to the group. If we hung out I would always bring snacks. I enjoy Keebler Fudge Sticks, Beef Jerky and Arnold Palmer Beverages. I feel Saturdays are a good day of the week, maybe the best, do you? Have you ever tried an Arnold Palmer drink? I find it refershing. 1997 was good year for me, how about you? Anyways, it's getting late; could you lay down some molasses swampy granola funnk over a deep mahogany of rich psychadelia; I wold happily lap it up old school.

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________


10/26/2010
Dear Trey,

For breakfast, did you have fruit loops. If yes, did it remind you that you should us that particular effect (digital delay loops)for your upcoming concerts? In my opinion Loops are good for breakfast and for Phish shows.

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________


10/27/2010
Dear Trey,

I heart Loops. If you wwant to know what I enjoy, that would be digital delay loops. Do you still have that pedal effect, if so, could you attempt to free is from it's cage, a beast in the cage in an old dutch zoo, and let it echo througout the country, to be a good samaritan, and do good deeds (er Loops)!

Yours,
Matthew Golia
_____________________________________________________________________________________


10/27/2010
Dear Trey,

I heart Loops (again!). Remember in '97 during that Tube when you ended the song, then you realized the liked the jam so much, you started it back again...then you seamlessly blended the soundscape into Slave,I think?! When you started teh jam again you began a digital delay loop. There was also that Ghost, where the band brought back the funk. If you could do that again, It would be much appreciated.

Yours,
Matthew Golia _____________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, November 24, 2011

If it isn't self evident
Concerning dead presidents
I'd hold these truths to be misleading then
Abolish all meaning then
Couldn't stand hearing them
Tailored my suits again
Mis spoke truths again
Wasn't quite rude and then
Tried to be a better man
But resting on my laurels can
Ruin all chances of
Earning my place above
Crimson tide rub a dub
Hoping for chance at love
Fitting tighter than a glove
Relaxing at home verse the club
Soaking the suds from my tub
Hoping patience is enough
Prize fighters all acting tough
Holding weak hand call my bluff
Should I shave or wear this scruff
With Pressed collars and French cuffs

Wouldn't it be nice
Calling shots and rolling dice
Tubs and sonny running vice
Go speed racer failed twice
In the land of milk and ice
Could have worked out very nice
But words are labeled in concise
Victims of their own device
Failed attempts to fix the splice
Twisted the wrist to hide these eyes
Waiting for the chance to see the sights

I could have contended
But my roots were upended
Roses smelled sweet and endings splendid
Worked for less but dipped my hand in
Thought I'd tripped but then I landed
Developed film that left me candid
Bought the island when I felt stranded
Split cuffs when stuck when friends demanded
Waxed on and pushed off when boards needed sanding
Actions seemed subdued though the intent intended
I grounded the crew when the ship upended

Currently tension needs diffusing
Though your actions left moods confusing
I'd slapped the clock and went on snoozing
I know how to hit but to reduce bruising
Cruising the line content on loosing
The borderline when my mind stopped choosing
Preffered red then my mind let blues in
Handled the candle though the wax left contusions
Brink of the flint as the lighter leaked fuel in
To the cup of my hand, and fire balls explosion
Though My minds private party refused some, I let those in
That could handle the pressure and implosion
Of war, conflict, and pit their toes on
Like gis jonesing for ms ho chi min
Vietnam trampled most in a gross mission
To smuggle from the hills smoky blood diamonds

Monday, November 21, 2011

Roll to the Tide

I
Escapades into outer space, limited engagement- limited space,
as Exits ceased to cut and evade even my frenetic pace
evincing glimpses, turn the bend, of an altering mental state
my mind spins and spun begins to replicate
patterns and sound, sunlight circling, chasing the ground
fretting each other in a primordial panic state.
Wait for the baked cake to settle and dictate,
batter whipped and dip-sipped, flour and eggs to create
this half truth moment i helped to consecrate

II
From bettin against threats, neurons firing split ends
retinas retain haggered edges and mends colors that form clear in weight,
sleight of hand, picasso's houdini against the ornate
and here I am straight from the gate
anticipation rises eclipsing my lingering fate.
Couldn't wait for the bus, such a simple tin crate
then he ate in four shifts, dipped his head as his lips taste
the meals that would not cooperate. stomach ached
crackle vase tipped and slit traced the edges of this tourniquet
held bandage to the figure eight we skate
up 95 to another date with destiny forged St Peter's pearly gates.

III
This Van seems to cram musical granduer
and grand stands, a band to let loose their best hand
full house over 3 of a kind, This can't be the plan?
Maine to Great Woods, Save a 1st set Hood, Could
at times anchor me down, frowned down sea floor bound
but this sealess churning and bouncing around,
sets one more spin, twists skats the stage for what I can endure.


Saloon to the right stands
last chance to dance trance and rehashing plans.
But no eyes could see this Suited Man
walking with leisure pomp & circumstance
Dimitri gives way to Lucy, just out of ear shot
I hear Molly scream, beam of light, reflexes quiver and tight
heavenly crystalline majesty,
as she rises high up to meet her dreams.
T-Pain listless, let's his hat speak its mind
packing double stuffed krush groove and miracle kind.


With these ties that bind, my shoes left behind
I was a force driving, slip stitched between day and night
struggling to escape authoritative sight
shifting lanes, ducking main veins, for lift cranes
my brain able to sustain such synthetic delight.



Awake now in Mansfield
groove to the this trans field,
altered sunday shift yields
a faint tinge of piece meal
tying up loose ends
and hoping the scratch will reveal
another winner with each peel
of the quarter which was our last meal.
But $50 dollar scratch winner give us our next pay dirt
the cat caught up and slept but then the dog ate her
you guys shoulda thought twice gone back and spade her
attendant waiving me back saying
you can't park here and pay later
of course that Sand is gritty as sand paper
I nit picked the nickels and came out a day later
even lover's couldn't spell, lizards, the damn hater
causing bombshells in our minds against a deep crater.
evading capture from the hellish, band together just to stay here.




They could have succumb, one two, to the victory I've won
watching the moon, part adieu, say goodnight to the sun,
now simply comfortably numb, wise as they come
and if I come home, undone, spun three different directions
till the pant legs undone, needle to thread as the fortune teller spun
stories of places I've come from, son, forced digital delay the static precision
the cradle of my mind is left to comprehend my situation,
wading in this world for something else to come...
in due time formation of a new contradiction.

Wars ends, all life ends, I stand one in a million.






Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Furthur From The 1ST (11/6/2011)

To say Sunday's show was an intimate affair was only to recognize that the Mullins Center 10,600 Capacity was half vacant, and all who were in attendance were in for jaunt down memory lane. Intimate would not describe the song selection of the first set; seemingly produced straight from the mind of a jaded lover attempting to (unsuccessfully, mind you) try to get over the scorn that he felt for his Lost Lover. Dazzlingly down trodden, if at all intentioned, Foolish Heart, with the guitar's lighthearted introduction of notes, led to a simple jam on the theme and dispersed into the air, the crowd combining to make each moment, the most exciting in anticipation of the next note and song. It seemed the smaller crowd, rounding out this mid level arena leaving the upper rows and back stage bare, were in full focus for the evening, bringing the event much more significance. The boys on stage had little concern of the size of the crowd, butmust have revelled in their intent and attention.

Heads shook as the bitter lover's theme extended into the unlikely PigPen Anthem "Next Time you See Me!" Coursing through the number, it had full band interplay as the chorus rose to a lightining cry, "Well you LIED, CHEATED, WHOA OH, for so long!" and the jam that ensued built to a solid crescendo igniting the evening and launching a set that, save Looks Like Rain, barrelled right on through to the Clever Antagonist's (That is, if the setlist were a the main cahracter telling his woes of lost love and hurt) ultimate understanding that he was "Sittin' On Top of the World!" The highlight of the set came in the compact form of Doin' That Rag" when the band launched out of the song proper to explore a more menacing theme, less jingly than the Rag itself, this jam coursed through with a sharp more determined focus. At one point I found myself asking whether this was still the "Rag Jam" as any semblance of the song had vanished, in it's place a series of percussive grooves that, effortlessly led the band to a frenzy of sound, leading right back into the Rag Proper. Bobby, the ring leader, tailored each song of the set through, his strumming away, seguing simple strums to engage each song with eachother. As the first set came to a close, all thoughts lay on what just went on, but more: what was to come...
(to be continued)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mt Fuji

Lost my shit trying to act casual
I couldn't have imagined
life is what would happen
at first stuck in mental traction
back breakin', inaction
In these dreams I was Charlie Chaplin
walking waddle funny fashion
tight thick moustache
caneing around with bowler cap on
But I've tied my means together
needle and thread
in one ear, for the better
verses sewn through your head
enleashed bombs, en masse
with underlying captions.


These words are like Webster's
one life exits, one enters
but I come through lyrically factual,
thrusting opponents towards the actual
Enemy troops that enter in gradual
and recede with my tidal pool. Water's cool
Then supernatural,
like Northern Lights
I brighten the sky, stars explode
your eyes, wide shut, to capture it all.




If this was try outs you'd be passed on
blasted off like Vultron
If this were Mask, I'd ask them to keep their mask on
I'd ignite as if I'd spilled gas on
this fire burning inside
In wild fire fashion
call in support to thwart distraction
common concoction
of mental torment and detraction.


As I lay my hand on
your knee jerk reaction,
I lay brick, groundwork, pray for action


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Matt From the Second PT 1




He ripped open the smaller than normal top to the energy drink, that years later they, meaning those energy drinks for the ADHD of the sort digging into my now meaningless diatribe, would be the same size, if not bigger than regular soft drinks, would have come as a complete shock to both of us, but then again, nothing is as it appears 30 hours into the ultimate "return", having left Wyoming, and the grand tetanus, now somewhere on I80 nearing the border of two north eastern states--those of which I can only hope are virginia and pennsylvania…I digress, and seem to unwillingly, witty faux phrases that keep coming to my head when I look over and see what I can only imagine is hallucination coming to the being of someone who probably hadn't seen it come naturally, hallucination that is, in quite some time: His Ultimate Road Trip did start at a hippie festival, revolving around one band, in some hilly-billy meth inspired, back yard-religious compound of a portion of the north north east. So you know, and I disclaim but once, I do not intentionally mean that there is meth being manufactured, or pseudo-zealot pagan cults being convoluted. Though people do scheme, and a lot of drugs, meth included-but do not count out ketamine, Palniuk's lipstick red seconal, MDMA, thorazine, nitrous, LSD, Psilocibin, or your every day run of the mill crystal laden marijuana-cause a sort of paranoia, painstakingly heavy price of loss of personal mental privacy type of paranoia, and the formulation of a distinct secular outline, I am sure, but cannot factually verify, has come springingly from the drip that is a midnight ramble. But again, I digress. He looks awfully into it, for 30 hours in. And there again, another click clack, paddy whack, give the brain a dose, of caffeine and that smaller than average head of a can of energy drink is spilling into the drainage ditch around the top, where the piss colored liquid subsides, when it doesn't make it into the mouth. This is Matthew.

I yearn for words to be formulated, calculus style, as a formation of thought an jargon into brief moments of genius, let these formations, much like the universe itself, still plague those trying to understand it's birth, it's construction, it's meaning. These words mumble from his mouth, at 75 miles per hour, drafting a Semi, down route 80, or 90…god knows where we are right now. Words like springingly; the delightful verbosity of the under achieved, and sleep deprived. Yakima; as in Ah, Yakima, (within it's use, the realization as the second word comes from the mouth, of it's inherent connection to the first!) These gifts brought forth by over indulgence, and under the influence of caffeine, and solely caffeine, are the gems of our trip, of this other wordily resurrection of understanding, that this country we live in, is sometimes more alien and foreign than countries we have never stepped foot in.

Take for instance, Iowa. Little is known about Iowa; and I mean little in the sense that in my recollection of geography, of history, of topography and all the other graphy's that were bundled together into a nice little sixth grade ball of a class…mind you, taught by a teacher that you sort of like, and hope to get to know, only to realize that his disinterest is not just in the subject that he teaches, but in those he attempts to teach it to. Digression of sorts! Iowa, that's where we are, and now what I learn about Iowa is that they put up signs on the highways, just like other states, where there seems to be road work. The signs are diamond shaped, orange, held up by stands that seem to waft in the wind of the minivans, and other assorted vehicle-americana that pass: But, oh and this is one of those but's you place in the beginning of the sentence, capitalizing the first letter, and maybe all three letters for all to see; for all to think you are going to write BUTT, but don't: BUT in Iowa these signs pertain to a drug check. Yes, sir, yes ma'am, yes yes yes, a drug check. Now, I am sure we are far away from any borders, except that one going into Indiana, the one that now cannot come fast enough though I cannot speed, as State Trooper after State Trooper patrol the area, some scouting for possible victims, some with dogs, sniffing, growling, grunting, seizing the paraphernalia of a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan, as kids and parents wait on the side of the road, with their mutt in tow; that "mutt" watching as another of it's kind, who has prospered and been put to real use, searches, sniffs, marks, seizes! Matthew's eyes are straight ahead. It's as if we are walking through a crowd of people, trying not to be too obvious about our billboard signs around our necks stating "We have drugs, whoo hoo!" But when you are driving in a 1999 Volkswagen Beetle, adorn with Thule Rack and Storage Bin, denoting each and every state, as well as band you travel the country yearly to see, like a "dunce cap", a dunce cap that once seemed such a singular monumental token of achievement, now just down right dimwitted and the eventual down fall of your existence, when you are in this portal to the penitentiary, this vehicle to your demise, this, highway to the great divide, this…uh...wait did we just make it to Indiana…holy motherfucking shit was that a close call.

Those motherfucking cops didn't even think to stop the walking billboard…our bearded protagonist amped on Sobe Adrenaline, leg bouncing heavily to the beat of some unknown music that seemed to be formulating, in tight staccato licks, somewhere between both his ears, this dreadlocked young lad, in shambles from a twenty hour jaunt with highways and byways, flirting with veers and curves of the road--from Montana, now into Indiana, only part way through what will be a record setting ground attack, just flirted with the first real brush, the stroke of heavy paint laden brush…but the only ones stopped were the minivans, relatively un-obscure, normalcy of Americana, scattering a family of five, their "not pure bread, and their gear (check, 1 family size tent, CHECK, 5 his-hers-kids-matching camping chairs, CHECK 4 kids sleeping bags, adorned with their favorite cartoon character, Dora, Diego, Dark Wing Duck, CHECK 1 double sized, cushioned and insulated adult camping back DualSleeper, CHECK 1 doggy kennel with false bottom hiding 1 kilo cocaine?!?!, CHECK 5 matching short cut straws with red stripe piping used to…) Matthew's hair is adorned in a less than fashionable dread-tie up (see accompanying image), tendrils of loose hair standing straight on end, and occasionally, as the waft smell of smoke ceases, escaping as it floats toward the cracking window, smoke shutters in it's drifting cloud with the winds entry through the now-open window, and is pulled from the vacuum of the vehicles cabin, occasionally, sometimes we are treated to the faint smell and subtle nostril singe of dried, dying fetid hair, lost in the globule that is the dread. He watches the road as he reaches, somnambulist, sleep walker (these are his words, that Philosophy/English Major getting good use at least in his vocabulary) and grabs for another heater, that energy boost, Mario's Blinking Bouncing Star, leg shaker of a beverage.

Side note: we have two coolers in the back seat; like passengers themselves, one stocked with a myriad of beverages, Sobe Adrenaline (akin to red bull, but the taste is welcomed), stocked too, with Beer from far away lands, land seeming almost foreign, even in their most down to earth, back country american ways; lands where subtitles would be of benefit to some of the slack jawed, hootenanny, hound dog, rock-a-billy-jargon being pushed past the gap of missing rotted teeth, with complimentary rotten teeth breath thrust forth through our nostrils.

Our dreaded chauffeur's idea of careening the country lends itself poorly to those who want to get out and explore. In marathon pace, we have had more liquid meals from the cockpit of this now claustrophobic, part home, part vehicle, part food truck, part camping accoutrement, part hospital bed, part smoking section! His hair is as hard to follow as my thoughts as I cling to one like the deep brown facial hair that adorns our protagonist. This cooler, hand now inserted and scrambling through what is left of ice, dirt laden water, comes across an empty energy drink, then, EUREKA, another 8 ounces of, quite possibly, Cancer Causing Agents! Matthew's eyes are not quite blood shot, as we approach a Wendy's parking lot, they are glazed over, marbles distinct now with use and wear, that he needs glasses but does not where them (instead wheres others...see accompanying image) should be of concern, but when in a situation like this (what situation you ask. On a cell phone hunkered down between the passenger seeting, in the cup holders filled to the brim with smoked cigarette butts, cause the mother fucker won't litter them (littering your lungs, think of that lately) the cell phone, turned to silent has missed calls from the passenger's father begging for us to stop at a hotel, paid for the passenger's father's credit card, so we may be safe, may rest, may make it through to another day.) That parenthetical situation; with another parenthetical situation tucked neatly between the sheets of the first parenthetical situation. But let's get back to the beginning!!!




(The Beginning)

The invitation arose for Phil Martin's being wed to Janelle Smart. Cloaked in the warm glow of early summer, stuck in the gaze of infinite possibility, plans were made, and stuck to. After careful, drunken thought, and haphazard, sober consideration, we were going to drive to Santa Barbara. Innocence, or rather ignorance, became the saving grace. Matthew was attending a Phish Festival, a few miles south of the canadian border, the weekend before the "Wedding Weekend" Tightly woven at first, the plans quickly unravelled, single string style, to a loose consensus; and in a time when cell phones were not the preferred method of communication and interaction, I only had what I thought was going on, and telepathetic smoke signals rising from the northeast New England area to guide me as a map towards our westward road trip. Matthew, dread locked and furiously approaching wookie status, navigated the southward route, down from the rural areas surrounding Limestone ME, and after rendezvousing in CT, was in McLean VA on Tuesday evening, the eve of our Santa Barbara road trip. To the son of a West Point Graduate, "Colonel" as my traveling companion loosely titled him; a handle that would certainly fit, tailored tight as the suits adorning soldiers on their graduation day. Unsure of the state in which my partner in crime would arrive, only that, come hell or high water, which he would be dressed to endure, high watered patchwork and all, if the floods of Noah's time were to rear their meteorological-mythical multi beast heads our way, he would do just that: Arrive.

Let's skip to Kansas. Until recent years, when heat has, with it's burgeoning side kick, humidity, adorned the summer months blanketing it's sweaty palms from Noank to Westchester, I was not acquainted with it. It might have been a topic of conversation; In a reality that I did not perceive, a sequestered jury of a trial I didn't know was deliberating…nor what the trial was about! Back then, years from my cushy couch culturally, convenient computer coursing commitment to cultural creation, whence youthful exuberance teaming with energy, sometimes caffeine, and certainly any substance we substantiated was worthy to be coursing through our blood streams, back then all was fair game, and my mind did not "make quandary" the lamenting of little things like humid intemperate and farcical heat. Now that introductions are aside, to be quite to the point, hinting towards a brevity I often lack...it was fucking HOT.

Amidst 400 plus miles of veiled heat, albeit dry heat, from Kansas City, MO to Kanorado, that little town, that like it's name, teeters the mythical state lines of the two states, that sandwiched together, and melted from scorching weather combine to create, we drove! We drove, and faded off, conversing for minutes on end before silence interjected, and packs of cigarettes were simultaneously packed against palms; beyond that repeat thudding of cardboard enclosed tobacco, the quick click of the lighters initial embers, of flint thrust to fluid, the flame would commence, nearly invisible and shuttering in the heat entering from the now lowered window. The gusts were heat clusters, entering willfully from outside the confines of our black flying saucer.

As Keller Williams wound his way around track 5 again (the bounty hunter epic) and our cigarettes neared their most poignant and satisfying half way point, I would look over at the driver, hands just over the steering wheel, a semi perfect ten and two lean, and his eyes, piercing straight ahead, then lurching below his outstretched arms, aware of the road though they made no direct contact with it, instead fixated to the cup holders to the right of his knee. The Yellow Pureness of his American Spirit Lights (No Additives) as if, calling to a duel, the pack and its contents, testing the patience and minutes that past until he might legitimize having another.

Exit sign after exit sign careened by, and each number embossed and shinny metal white shone the miles we needed to surpass in order to get out of this hell heated, hole of a state. We were both silent, and Matthew, shaking his leg feverishly, as he did so many times before, now slowed his leg to a near stand still. In the distance, a distance our black coffin of german engineering flung us towards was pure darkness; as my eyes drew up, away from my sloping companion, lightning struck from deepest of the cloud structure and hung in the veiled heat for what seemed like minutes. We didn't speak for a few minutes, but in that antagonistic silence, where one of our words was sure to slice through the air, akin to that shriek of lightning, silent as its thunderous roar was much to far to be audible, I knew we were both thinking; "this road better fucking turn!" He said.

This road...btw...wtf...IDK...was Interstate 70. The nid southern East West portal to Rockies and Beyond. And Beyond was our destination of course, but for now, hunkered down, like flies in caramel colored fly paper, our Goodyear's seemed to be melting into the gray-peekish pavement below our souls, and solace was no where to be found, save for a formidable lightning storm and soon-to-be-forming funnel cloud. Tornado Alley! (Music, as will be explained later, was a constant source of not only frustration, but calm soul soothing introspective healing along our trip. That being said, Volkswagen decided for a design that I know one architectural genius in the room, the day it was presented, debated against it...and lost. The vents of the vehicles climate control run directly above the CD Player. I am not scientist, business all the way, but something tells me the friction of a spinning metallic disc will create heat...couple that with vents that, when prompted by plastic knobs, dispense heat at the User's command, and you have got disaster mashed up and written on the side of the pancake mix ready to be concocted on the dashboard of this car. Now, previous to this Kansas Segment of the great western sojourn, I watched once as the Track Number of the CD player and Elapsed time were replaced with a single Capitalized and Lowercase Electronic Font forged itself on the head unit stating one tragic and ill-fated word. That word, in the midst of a Blizzard somewhere deep in the catskills would have spelled some relief as snow pelted the windshield in kaleidoscopic amazement...that same word, which now adorned the Panasonic Head Unit was thusly Devil Sent and spoke of the condition of our Kansas Situation. What was that word, written in Devil's font: HEaT!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


COLORADO NIGHT II 2011

      Colorado II
      
      To Start, Possum ripped with a fury that spelled out the "thick" to which we would be in "IT", soon enough; and one would have hoped, but not necessarily guaranteed, that that dead animal lying in the middle of the road would be a mere after thought, if not simply a mile marker indicating our embarkation through a tour de force performance on the second night of Colorado's three night run. To step back, and one needed only to open their eyes, to behold the foot hills of the Colorado Rockies, approaching the venue from the East, the natural beauty of the environs could have been enough for a flop show and some memories of a marathon weekend. It may not be the Gorge, but it sure as hell is one comfortable venue, with some gorgeous scenery. Back to the music…The pace did not lessen as the band dropped into the last Moma Dance of the tour, and quite possibly the year. As Possum ended and the opening licks of Moma captured the audience, there was an air about the collective whole; and as the band settled into the grove of the song, there was an intention in the music that was more apparent ,as each band member wove their part, and the entwined whole leapt from the stage with more meaning. From Moma, The Wedge was next, and while the preceding evening had been dedicated (Sesame Street Style) to the letter "S", there was more a thematic tone to the song choice, rather than just common denominator of a shared letter. (One could read into possibly anything, or nothing regarding the setlit, but it is worth a gander here) The Great Divide, just beyond the view of the venue, the Rocky Mountains; The Great Divide between where the band began in 2009, and where they are now, truly on top of their game. The song both spoke to the scenery abounding from the area surrounding the venue, but also a split in the decidedly more confident and focused band. Team Phish was approaching every song as if it had to be played to it;s core. It seemed the Platonic Form of each song was the goal of the collective unit, and they set their sites on Glory.
      
      Beyond the upper deck of the venue, almost at arms reach, the Rockies stood second only to the band performing on stage, and Phish was in full control, unwilling to let anything, even a gargantuan mountain range, stand in their way. While the show began well past sunset, there was still that lighter quality song based first set, and in these environs is where we found Ocelot wandering and ambling in his bluesy swagger. Trey let loose his thick blues rock chords that seemed to capture the theme of Commerce City at that moment. The night was young, but treachery lurks in the shadows, of a distant and foreseeable future. Slowly building the jam out of the song proper, Trey soared with Mike keeping pace right along side him. As darkness truly hunkered down, and all light was lost to the evening, the opening notes of Divided Sky rang out; this musical nod, the Divided Sky and Great Divide captured the visual majesty that are the not so distant Rockies. The band tapped into the Rockies for this show, and it was pouring out of them; as the song approached the PAUSE I recalled the "Sky's" I had been witness to in the past few tours, and how fittingly longer the pauses had seemed. When the music stopped I reveled in the relative grandeur, and yet utterly intimate feel of the venue. I stopped for a moment, with the band, and just soaked in the energy, stayed focused: There was still a lot more to this set! Out of the peak and energy of Divided Sky, the band used this as a catalyst to keep the uptempo focus driven, while not sprinting through their songs. An above average Funky Bitch made way for Axilla I which built to a fiery pace. Turning up the Energy even more, Llama stepped in and brought back, from the annals of their catalogue, a long forgotten sense of how the song should be played; with grit and determination, sheer musicianship and a towering peak that crescendoed through the venue. Seemingly utilizing the setlist for aptly setting the tone, after such a height of a peak for the set, "Fast Enough for You" fit seamlessly into the next position, and could not have registered the mood more accurately. But again, as Phish has proven all summer, when winding down their sets, where are we going…where will we end…Wolfman's Brother burst forth, and in very un-Wolfman's Type II Jamming fashion, closed out the first stanza of what was wrapping up to be perfection(in my eyes.)
      
      As the bass heavy intro to Down with Disease opened the second frame, thoughts of the DTease came to mind, delusions and fantasy, bliss and folklore; all things enveloped my mind, and as the band stepped outside the song and began to paint a musical landscape on par with the likes of the actual surroundings, they built upon a groove that Trey effortlessly led, slowly morphing the rhythm towards the beginning of Tweezer. This was truly a segue, finding a rhythm that slowly begins to resemble the next song, and while the band caught on, eventually, Trey did not force the intro, but waited for all to hear where he was headed. This musical direction, segueing into the next song is something that the band is beginning to develop (if I had my way, that sideways carrot would not appear in anything less than a transition as carefully manicured as this transition!) Tweezer catapulted the venues energy level, and as we stepped out of the freezer, along with Uncle Ebenezer, Hell seemed to shoot out on its heels, as if it hitched a free ride on Ebenezer's coat tails and white frilly hair. I say "Hell" here, because this is the most sinfully bliss-filled Tweezer since, possibly, 2/28/2003, and I would feel I was doing something illegal just by possessing a copy of it, or simply listening to it! As they boys neared this end of this golden journey, having hinted a few times to Golden Age in their jam, Golden Age was no longer an allusion, and was thrust forth with vigor, it's lyrics speaking clearly, in part, to the magnificence that just abounded free form, from the collective subconscious of the band. Materializing from thin air, the song returned back to the ether, and Limb By Limb appeared in its place. Type 1 in it finest moments, LXL always seems to conjure visions of Persian Country side, sand riddled and vast in it's expanse, and this version left nothing to be desired, Trey's staccato licks towards the end of the song reaching higher and higher to the sky, as they rose in pitch, and out of the licks, with Paige comping with the precision of 10th degree black belt, slicing with a Katana blade through Trey's solo, the boys stepped back into the outrĂ© of the song. After a 10 second breath of fresh air, the band ducked back under the sonic deep blue and emerged at Kill Devil Falls. I knew this placement had intention written all over it, and while some may say this song has no place in the second set, Bethel 1's KDF proved this song has all the chops to be a jam vehicle, if only just a showcase of the bands ability to tightly and aptly shred anything in their way. True Samurais, Phish negotiate obstacles with clear headed thinking, and show such ease of use sometimes, it is as if their ninja training can be construed as unnoticeable. "This time it's gonna be different!" ringing throughout the venue, lessons were being taught at every turn of the jam. Paige all over the Clav, and Phish all softly singing, "Don't Go Back to Kill Devil Falls." But as mission control set the countdown to 10, the Launch Pad was already empty. Into the Stratosphere, the band soared to sonic heights, in a whole band interplay, each member listening, not overbearing, and as Trey brought the peak to it's knees, he resuscitated it, and back up again, the band literarily brought the song to end, and revamped a minor reprise; as if to say, it's not over yet; we got one last cork screw and whirl wind ride before finding the run way.
      
      The proverbial runway was sponsored in part by an ambient effects driven intro, which segued into the purely funk based opening, loops and all, with Paige on his Scream Machine 2011, and while wallowing in the mire for a brief second, Fish punched right into the opening of the much heralded King of Funk "2001." Mike dropped his filter effect, and in pure soul train, cow/porno.discofunk style, Trey dropped the loops out of sight and entered into the conversation with his short licks indicating they were all back on board and in flight. Ladies and Gentlemen, I promise you the Cabin will be smoking and the Fasten Seat Belt light will remain off for our entire journey. Do not attempt to sit down, you may get hurt! While it was short, and to the point, 2001 definitely held its own, as length was indicative of nothing tonight: jams formed of their own accord, and thoughts were drawn out to their conclusion. Light filled the gaping whole that Phish had blown open in their nuclear holocaust of 2001. They got in, set the timer, evacuated, and detonated as they swiftly strolled from the scene of the crime. Light seems so natural to come out of 2001; the dawning of man, into the thinking man! This Light reveled to subconscious communication, revving up quickly and as the night would have it, attempting to naturally tie of loose ends, out of Paige's "Rising" effects, and an ambient section, Trey almost comically found himself playing back into Down with Disease. (I'll be honest, I had flashbacks of lengthy "Playing in the Band" second sets, where some how, out of the chaos, came the wrap up of PITB, an hour and a half after it started.) This gentle Disease reminder, cause thats all it was, then regrouped (via Trey in the only forced, albeit slight, section) into Julius, and the game was beginning again, I was left asking one question, one I did not want an answer to: When will this end? Julius did not hold the answer, and the Cavern that slammed the crowd afterword would certainly have been the obvious favorite to come in to wrap up this Stellar evening. But No! As my legs began their slow atrophy-like state of cramping, Antelope rung out like sharp shrill, and if one theme abounded throughout the whole of the show, it was that this was indeed the Zoo, and the animals had taken over, to an animalistic energy that drove each song to it's unbridled heights. Possum, Ocelot, Llama, Wolfman, Antelope…and…as the Antelope raged, with teases throughout, we were "left in the now, in a wondrous glow" with a final destination of Sleeping Monkey. As Fishman entranced the audience, he summed up my fears the end of this weekend would bring. "The day that you arrived, my sleeping monkey is revived. But you sent him home on the train!"
      
      We were certainly home on the train as we slow stepped, and creeped into the Colorado Midnight! The only solace left by a show of this caliber, is that there is another night to top it. Sunday being already here, we had only to brush off the smoldering ash of a raging forest fire of a show, and wander and amble, as Ocelot, in an exaggerated swagger, towards the nearest bottle of water, aspirin, and nice warm sheets of a freshly made bed. These are the nights we tell the parents not to wait up for us, we probably won't be coming home, and if you are up, you are sure to think that we ingested speed, for the sheer manic state our conversation will be stemming from; we promise the only drug imbibed is the adrenaline rush of the raging guitar, heavy hit bass bombs, tickling of the ivory keys, and perpetual snare hits and cymbal crashes, administered like a demented cocktail; Mainlined into our souls.














Wednesday, September 21, 2011

of Sunday Salt Water Summers

Water seems to be a theme that pervades my existence; in all I can say that I would not be comfortable living in a space that was not remotely close to water, preferable salt water. There is a certain serenity to the ebb and flow of the ocean, spreading it fingers into the farthest crevices, mingling with fresh water, blurring the line between the salt that defines itself, and separates it from other water. It corrodes too, sticking to it's victims even after it's wet existence has faded, as if painting what it touches and leaving a sticky reminder of its presence. Memories persist of my youth, center stage, waiting to thrust into the week from the catapult of a summer Sunday. I would saunter in a youthful lolly gag across my shore house's sharp sting gin grass, crabby as my temperament of another weekend gone. My hair would be dried to a salted matte and my skin lightly salted as lay face down on the grass, my arms wrapped in front of me, my chin safely nestled in the bend of my arms, my lips chance meeting with blonded arm salt residue; my youthful thoughts (barely 10 or 11 drifting to the approaching fall and school, how this bend in my arm might be the lips of a girl. That her lips may be salt crusted, and we may share what ever it is our adult selves are supposed to share.

I've been haunted to the sharp edge and careful decay of a weeks end. Why Sunday begins the week, I think, is to pacify those who know it really marked the last moments of rest before another eventual week of work and responsibility is to be traversed. Even in my youth their was fear and, having clarity in this fear, awareness that something was being stolen from me. What's worse, that in my youth I could not formulate even the most remote idea of this package, carefully dressed in brown thick paper, carefully folded and edged, that I possessed, that was being taken from my by some unknown assailant; I had no clue what was inside. My mother, in later years would confess to me that on Christmas Day, as the excitement of the morning had dissipated with the smoke billowing from the fire place, the smoke of the now burnt wrapping paper used to safeguard the identity of our new possessions; told me that after all my presents had been malled, there was a sadness that enveloped me, that underneath that wrapping paper, through the cardboard box, nestled below tissue paper, whatever it was I was hoping was there, was never found...that years previous I was sure what was taken from me each passing moment, each Sunday, that I might later find underneath our Christmas tree, would never be returned!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Work in Progress...

We are weeks out of summer tour, out of summer even and as the final punctuation mark is slowly pressed, from the pen of life, dipped into that deep ethereal ink fountain, and pressed upon on the canvas of our lives, I forget sometimes to stop and reflect. As each day passes, and passes quickly, I inevitably get trailed down to the bottom of the page, and finger licked, forced onto the next page, edges unintentionally dog earred, to slip, stitch, and pass into the next thought. So suddenly sometimes, waking to a wandering sense of musical undertones, one's just to faint to recall their rhythm or lyrics, but just sonic enough to gesture that silence is split, I attempt to collect that musings that abound, an reformulate them as one might a dream from waking out of it's intense and distant meaning. I wonder if music is THE gateway, needing it to dispel urges, spawn others, quietly manipulte reality all around me; to segue (or fuse, rather) my existence as a seam-filled, but all together fluid string of moments that lengthen to a lifetime...ans possibly beyond.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mainline to the Soul (Phish-Colorado II 9/3/2011)


Colorado II


To Start, Possum ripped with a fury that spelled out the "thick" to which we would be in "IT", soon enough; and one would have hoped, but not necessarily guaranteed, that that dead animal lying in the middle of the road would be a mere after thought, if not simply a mile marker indicating our embarkation through a tour de force performance on the second night of Colorado's three night run. To step back, and one needed only to open their eyes, to behold the foot hills of the Colorado Rockies, approaching the venue from the East, the natural beauty of the environs could have been enough for a flop show and some memories of a marathon weekend. It may not be the Gorge, but it sure as hell is one comfortable venue, with some gorgeous scenery. Back to the music…The pace did not lessen as the band dropped into the last Moma Dance of the tour, and quite possibly the year. As Possum ended and the opening licks of Moma captured the audience, there was an air about the collective whole; and as the band settled into the grove of the song, there was an intention in the music that was more apparent ,as each band member wove their part, and the entwined whole leapt from the stage with more meaning. From Moma, The Wedge was next, and while the preceding evening had been dedicated (Sesame Street Style) to the letter "S", there was more a thematic tone to the song choice, rather than just common denominator of a shared letter. (One could read into possibly anything, or nothing regarding the setlit, but it is worth a gander here) The Great Divide, just beyond the view of the venue, the Rocky Mountains; The Great Divide between where the band began in 2009, and where they are now, truly on top of their game. The song both spoke to the scenery abounding from the area surrounding the venue, but also a split in the decidedly more confident and focused band. Team Phish was approaching every song as if it had to be played to it;s core. It seemed the Platonic Form of each song was the goal of the collective unit, and they set their sites on Glory.

Beyond the upper deck of the venue, almost at arms reach, the Rockies stood second only to the band performing on stage, and Phish was in full control, unwilling to let anything, even a gargantuan mountain range, stand in their way. While the show began well past sunset, there was still that lighter quality song based first set, and in these environs is where we found Ocelot wandering and ambling in his bluesy swagger. Trey let loose his thick blues rock chords that seemed to capture the theme of Commerce City at that moment. The night was young, but treachery lurks in the shadows, of a distant and foreseeable future. Slowly building the jam out of the song proper, Trey soared with Mike keeping pace right along side him. As darkness truly hunkered down, and all light was lost to the evening, the opening notes of Divided Sky rang out; this musical nod, the Divided Sky and Great Divide captured the visual majesty that are the not so distant Rockies. The band tapped into the Rockies for this show, and it was pouring out of them; as the song approached the PAUSE I recalled the "Sky's" I had been witness to in the past few tours, and how fittingly longer the pauses had seemed. When the music stopped I reveled in the relative grandeur, and yet utterly intimate feel of the venue. I stopped for a moment, with the band, and just soaked in the energy, stayed focused: There was still a lot more to this set! Out of the peak and energy of Divided Sky, the band used this as a catalyst to keep the uptempo focus driven, while not sprinting through their songs. An above average Funky Bitch made way for Axilla I which built to a fiery pace. Turning up the Energy even more, Llama stepped in and brought back, from the annals of their catalogue, a long forgotten sense of how the song should be played; with grit and determination, sheer musicianship and a towering peak that crescendoed through the venue. Seemingly utilizing the setlist for aptly setting the tone, after such a height of a peak for the set, "Fast Enough for You" fit seamlessly into the next position, and could not have registered the mood more accurately. But again, as Phish has proven all summer, when winding down their sets, where are we going…where will we end…Wolfman's Brother burst forth, and in very un-Wolfman's Type II Jamming fashion, closed out the first stanza of what was wrapping up to be perfection(in my eyes.)

As the bass heavy intro to Down with Disease opened the second frame, thoughts of the DTease came to mind, delusions and fantasy, bliss and folklore; all things enveloped my mind, and as the band stepped outside the song and began to paint a musical landscape on par with the likes of the actual surroundings, they built upon a groove that Trey effortlessly led, slowly morphing the rhythm towards the beginning of Tweezer. This was truly a segue, finding a rhythm that slowly begins to resemble the next song, and while the band caught on, eventually, Trey did not force the intro, but waited for all to hear where he was headed. This musical direction, segueing into the next song is something that the band is beginning to develop (if I had my way, that sideways carrot would not appear in anything less than a transition as carefully manicured as this transition!) Tweezer catapulted the venues energy level, and as we stepped out of the freezer, along with Uncle Ebenezer, Hell seemed to shoot out on its heels, as if it hitched a free ride on Ebenezer's coat tails and white frilly hair. I say "Hell" here, because this is the most sinfully bliss-filled Tweezer since, possibly, 2/28/2003, and I would feel I was doing something illegal just by possessing a copy of it, or simply listening to it! As they boys neared this end of this golden journey, having hinted a few times to Golden Age in their jam, Golden Age was no longer an allusion, and was thrust forth with vigor, it's lyrics speaking clearly, in part, to the magnificence that just abounded free form, from the collective subconscious of the band. Materializing from thin air, the song returned back to the ether, and Limb By Limb appeared in its place. Type 1 in it finest moments, LXL always seems to conjure visions of Persian Country side, sand riddled and vast in it's expanse, and this version left nothing to be desired, Trey's staccato licks towards the end of the song reaching higher and higher to the sky, as they rose in pitch, and out of the licks, with Paige comping with the precision of 10th degree black belt, slicing with a Katana blade through Trey's solo, the boys stepped back into the outré of the song. After a 10 second breath of fresh air, the band ducked back under the sonic deep blue and emerged at Kill Devil Falls. I knew this placement had intention written all over it, and while some may say this song has no place in the second set, Bethel 1's KDF proved this song has all the chops to be a jam vehicle, if only just a showcase of the bands ability to tightly and aptly shred anything in their way. True Samurais, Phish negotiate obstacles with clear headed thinking, and show such ease of use sometimes, it is as if their ninja training can be construed as unnoticeable. "This time it's gonna be different!" ringing throughout the venue, lessons were being taught at every turn of the jam. Paige all over the Clav, and Phish all softly singing, "Don't Go Back to Kill Devil Falls." But as mission control set the countdown to 10, the Launch Pad was already empty. Into the Stratosphere, the band soared to sonic heights, in a whole band interplay, each member listening, not overbearing, and as Trey brought the peak to it's knees, he resuscitated it, and back up again, the band literarily brought the song to end, and revamped a minor reprise; as if to say, it's not over yet; we got one last cork screw and whirl wind ride before finding the run way.

The proverbial runway was sponsored in part by an ambient effects driven intro, which segued into the purely funk based opening, loops and all, with Paige on his Scream Machine 2011, and while wallowing in the mire for a brief second, Fish punched right into the opening of the much heralded King of Funk "2001." Mike dropped his filter effect, and in pure soul train, cow/porno.discofunk style, Trey dropped the loops out of sight and entered into the conversation with his short licks indicating they were all back on board and in flight. Ladies and Gentlemen, I promise you the Cabin will be smoking and the Fasten Seat Belt light will remain off for our entire journey. Do not attempt to sit down, you may get hurt! While it was short, and to the point, 2001 definitely held its own, as length was indicative of nothing tonight: jams formed of their own accord, and thoughts were drawn out to their conclusion. Light filled the gaping whole that Phish had blown open in their nuclear holocaust of 2001. They got in, set the timer, evacuated, and detonated as they swiftly strolled from the scene of the crime. Light seems so natural to come out of 2001; the dawning of man, into the thinking man! This Light reveled to subconscious communication, revving up quickly and as the night would have it, attempting to naturally tie of loose ends, out of Paige's "Rising" effects, and an ambient section, Trey almost comically found himself playing back into Down with Disease. (I'll be honest, I had flashbacks of lengthy "Playing in the Band" second sets, where some how, out of the chaos, came the wrap up of PITB, an hour and a half after it started.) This gentle Disease reminder, cause thats all it was, then regrouped (via Trey in the only forced, albeit slight, section) into Julius, and the game was beginning again, I was left asking one question, one I did not want an answer to: When will this end? Julius did not hold the answer, and the Cavern that slammed the crowd afterword would certainly have been the obvious favorite to come in to wrap up this Stellar evening. But No! As my legs began their slow atrophy-like state of cramping, Antelope rung out like sharp shrill, and if one theme abounded throughout the whole of the show, it was that this was indeed the Zoo, and the animals had taken over, to an animalistic energy that drove each song to it's unbridled heights. Possum, Ocelot, Llama, Wolfman, Antelope…and…as the Antelope raged, with teases throughout, we were "left in the now, in a wondrous glow" with a final destination of Sleeping Monkey. As Fishman entranced the audience, he summed up my fears the end of this weekend would bring. "The day that you arrived, my sleeping monkey is revived. But you sent him home on the train!"

We were certainly home on the train as we slow stepped, and creeped into the Colorado Midnight! The only solace left by a show of this caliber, is that there is another night to top it. Sunday being already here, we had only to brush off the smoldering ash of a raging forest fire of a show, and wander and amble, as Ocelot, in an exaggerated swagger, towards the nearest bottle of water, aspirin, and nice warm sheets of a freshly made bed. These are the nights we tell the parents not to wait up for us, we probably won't be coming home, and if you are up, you are sure to think that we ingested speed, for the sheer manic state our conversation will be stemming from; we promise the only drug imbibed is the adrenaline rush of the raging guitar, heavy hit bass bombs, tickling of the ivory keys, and perpetual snare hits and cymbal crashes, administered like a demented cocktail; Mainlined into our souls.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bethel Woods Part One: Where is my band and what have you done with them?

What an opener it was. Nestled in the rear section of the pavilion, next to a brother sister combo, whose combined age could not have surpassed 12, embarking upon their first show, I felt a little nostalgia for that feeling of stepping into something new, something that you have no vocabulary for, and no road map to help you to guide, or stumble rather, through a virgin experience. Unless you were on stage, no one could have foretold the opening pitch of opening day, and after a week and half of worry over the weather, the skies of my mind cleared and Tweezer was the only thing raining for miles around; and you could see for many of them here in Bethel. With the summer evening converging with what was left of the afternoon, the boys stepped into high gear, and while not dropping a half hour explosion, got the point of their musical thoughts while not cutting the jam haphazardly, strolling rather effortlessly into My friend, My friend with an air of Guyute teased through the beginning section. The one two combo set the first set tone early, and the musical exploration was apparently not going to center around any of the individual members. With Fishman holding the band together with his percussive glue, each band member made the stage their own, at any given time, with the others watching on, no ego to fill the room, just the burgeoning creation of an instant summer classic. Page got going early showcasing his precision and prowess in with a mid set bluegrass Poor Heart, and then in a climaxing plateau of a Phish standard stress and release, his Funky Bitch Solo, bringing the notorious site of the Woodstock Festival to the rafters before letting it back to the ground, and ultimately to its knees. Wolfman's into Walk away again stressed the bands cohesion and clear cut desire to create and step out of their comfort zone, to make mistakes, and keep rolling through, which rolled seamlessly into Walk Away; Trust me, this was the last thing anyone wanted to do at this moment.

In a set where one was left wondering where are we headed, when might this end, Phish put us through the ringer in a guessing game of when will this end; leaving everyone begging for more! Stash could have been a punctuation point of this stanza, ala Halloween, and this Stash certainly tested the boundaries of the darker reaches of musical imagination. Where many Stashes begin down this dark and formidable path, this "Stash" set out from the beginning leaving the collective soul of the venue, less telling, asking, in eerie unison, "Maybe So, Maybe Not?" This sentiment quickly resonated throughout the room in a musical equivalent to these telling lyrics. The quest it seemed here was the ability to gain one's self back to solid ground, because as the primordial ooze, that was the four part groove, set in and began to take hold over anything recognizable, the evening was upon us and darkness had settled in the Catskills. When finally the band came into the outro, it was as if they were rising from the mire gasping for breath, and needed to cool things down. Second possible ending to Part one came in the form of Bouncing Round the Room, and while this song conjures ideas of mainstream and bathroom break, I still am in awe of the bands chops, and ability to link musicianship, with multitasking of lyrical expression, while making each turn on their sonic merry-go-round look so simple. So in a third attempt to end the set, KDF comes in to be the set saver, and unlike many KDFs which get the bluesy treatment, but lack the quintessential exploratory scavenging that the boys can give to most of their catalog, this one dove back into the dank side of the Falls. Stretching the set one song further, and in what seemed like the first nod to the historic site, Bold As Love resonated throughout the venue, high fives meeting strangers hands, and left everyone shook, as this felt like the shows end: There is still one more set to go.

Set One: Tweezer-> My Friend, My Friend, Poor Heart, Roses are Free, Funky B*tch (w/ monster Page Solo), Wolfman's Brother (Streets of Cairo Tease)-> Walk Away, Stash, Bouncing Round the Room, Kill Devil Falls, Bold as Love

As the lights dropped, on set two, all bets were off. A level of attention to detail, while somehow honing in on a reckless abandon, the boys could blow this set and we might still be talking about a solid opening night of summer tour 2011. As if watching someone attempt to pitch a perfect game, I held my breath into the dimming of the lights, and the guitar heavy opening of Carini gripped the crowd and quickly picked up the dance Party right where it had left off. In a fitting slot, and maybe a musical jest or inside joke, Back on the Train's sentiment felt like an unofficial anthem of the evening. But it was during their first creative rockiness, that I think the boys realized they needed to keep the muiscal embers ablaze, to keep that eternal flame flickering in the wind, for each of them to harness and create effortless, ego-less jamming. Boogie on found the outro bass heavy jam morph into this herky jerky, pull of the music, but more akin to a whole band struggle to connect to the next thought, and as this back and forth sonic dissonace connected the bands musical phrasing, they seemed to morph into a slow-mo jam, similar to the latter section of early early Tweezers, then hinting at Kung the band pulled through to majesty: WAVES! It was Waves that set the stage for one of the finest set closing song combination since…well…in 3.0 there seems no need to compare and contrast Phish Eras of old. The next note is the next note is the next note, and the band played like the next note, tonight, was the most important, Because of this it made the audience, or at least this faithful fan, realize there was no better place to be than here, because that is how the band was seeing it. An aquatic theme was stretched a little further, as the notes of the jam that extended out of Waves found themselves slowly ebbing towards the shores of Prince Caspian. If the musical tributaries were brimming at their edges, the run off found Cross Eyed and Painless, echoing it's sinister demand of "Still Waiting". There was no worry, no mental comparison to MSG, just the knowledge that this would be played to it's fullest, and Phish did not let us down. The dance party still in full effect, this jam entered uncharted territories, and like Stash in the first set, the only nervousness was were we going to get out alive. And if we thought the first set teased to a close, Velvet Sea, with it's beckoning guitar, and whole band interplay, swayed the crowd to Squirming Coil, where Page was left to let us down softly. The Julius encore was a punctuation in an evening that is any writer's fantasy; punctuation abounded!? And that was only night one?

































Set Two: Carini, Back on the Train, Boogie on Reggae Woman (Slow Mo Jam, Kung Tease)-> Waves-> Prince Caspian-> Cross Eyed and Painless-> Velvet Sea, Squirming Coil
Encore: Julius

Friday, March 4, 2011

Breathing Smoke

This collision course,
acts seemed forced-
interrogation turned coerced
confession caused reason divorced
couldn't address the situation
subversive torrent of a poor horse
short the quarter, maybe slaughter is worse.
These words used, absurd views,
choice cues, set up to succeed
then turn a mind confused
through subtle commands, subdued
failed in all attempts to diffuse
the right from the wrong
weak from the strong
voice from the song
have angled to the truth.

Misfit magfly, turning ugly from the butterfly
left the cocoon in ruin, spurned from the flame of confusion
tapping the light as a wheel in the spoke
promising fire then exhaling smoke.

All hail the allegiance
comic credence
10 story fall
bounce back from the ground
have your back to the wall
rubber-stasis, laden, bottle craving, misfit misbehaving
cretin left shoes tied, staving off the laws there disobeying
praying for patience, but with any chance they unlace them.



It's no joke, that I once awoke, sweat beaded, caught my breath to choke
only to invoke the loan cloak of criminal master folk
caught in the dealings of others, to busy to focus , on themselves
others wealth, territorial health, space as power, beat by a belt, word is stealth!

Misfit magfly, turning ugly from the butterfly
left the cocoon in ruin, spurned from the flame of confusion
tapping the light as a wheel in the spoke
promising fire then exhaling smoke.

Misfit magfly, turning ugly from the butterfly
left the cocoon in ruin, spurned from the flame of confusion
tapping the light as a wheel in the spoke
promising fire then exhaling smoke.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

He's Back...Travesties Averted

If I wasn’t relentless you’d expect this to be the last of my attempts; that blank page taunting my brows to drench, waging war, digging deep in my mental trench, but repetition becomes absurd, as quick as the repeated word—in the third verse of the terse line-in that rhythm-in that conversation-that time. If you’ll remember when the sun beat down and caught the corner of the room, kiddy cornered the portion of your soon, to be thought out plan of attack, conscious of the morning’s slack over your potentially blacked out coat over the walls of your mind, and in time you’d find that words bled sentence, bled thought, bled rhyme.

So you put down your gun for your turn, took your finger off the trigger and yearned for the burn of the motion of a hand slicing down, and around the corner of the room, music lay as a blanket for the looming sense of abandon, frozen stare at the pen wondering which hand your set it in, the child lock of your mind, incessant tick tock of time, couldn’t dispel the who the what the when where and why. You tried free hand to represent your sentiment in a sentence that wouldn’t convey what you meant it to say, further from the truth, as you stray from your thought and got lost in the fog that surrounds, the edges of your emotion, careful coddled, fervent devotion in the semblance of the truth. And all at once the moment came to a halt and we thought like the scene, in that one dream, all would shift shimmer fade to black, and end.