Three in Brief: Cave Singers, Breakestra, Dead Remnants

The Cave Singers: Welcome Joy

The Independent

San Francisco, CA

October 6, 2009

This is the fourth appearance for the Cave Singers on MV&R. The most of any artist and deservedly so. In previous reviews, I have referred to the Cave Singers as raw art and then as poetry- the highest compliments that I can give any act and an assessment which is reconfirmed every time I see them. The refined rawness of their acoustic sound and the beauty of their poetry definitely puts this band in a class all their own. They released only their second album about two months ago, called Welcome Joy. There are several tracks definitely worth downloading. When singer Peter Quirk croons, "I hear them talking about me/ Well, I ain't no daughter of seasons/ I am just myself/ no one else" in Beach House; or "We do our best to carry on/ oh, is that the way, is that the way home?/We don't care where we are/ we don't care if we arrive soon" in Summer Light, I feel centered and connected like listening to no other artist. Their songs speak to a place deep inside and make you understand, in a way that only great music can, that we are stardust, flashing for an instant in the sky and then fading out. All my problems and worries recede for a grateful moment. And they can also call forth demons in the raucous Dancing on Your Grave or At the Cut. For over a year, the Cave Singers have been my favorite band.

Breakestra: Dusk to Dawn

The Independent

San Francisco, CA

October 2, 2009

This band is so much fricking fun, it should be illegal. In fact, I don’t think it is possible to go to a Breakestra show and not have a blast. I double-dog dare you! The funked-up sound laced with horns and breakbeats is infectious. I only wish their recordings were half this good. This concert was a CD release party for Breakestra and headliner Crown City Rockers (who I did not stay to hear). Breakestra's new CD is Dusk to Dawn and while it has several good tunes, it simply does not capture the overwhelming energy of the band on stage. When they get on stage, something special happens and the music comes to life. The band is full of first-class musicians as well, who seem to be having as much fun on stage as the urbane hipster crowd – lots of fedoras and bowling shirts and Krazy Kat tattoos (a bit like the movie ‘Swingers’ come to life). This band is so money! I cannot recommend Breakestra enough- if you have the chance, get yourself some tickets, some dancing shoes and go to the show.

Further: For Deadheads only

The Fox Theater

Oakland, CA

September 19, 2009

Seeing a show after the passing of Jerry Garcia is considered anathema by many Deadheads: Jerry Garcia was the heart and soul of the Grateful Dead and, far and away, the most talented- a true artist. The devotion of many Deadheads to this roly-poly, psychedelic Santa Claus, who could make his guitar sing, equaled the other 5 band members combined. This was most evident during the Dead's long run by the beer lines during “Bobby tunes.” When Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack fifteen years ago, brought on by years of heroin-addiction and other drug abuse, I thought I would never go again to another Grateful Dead show. Since that time, I have seen the remnants, the surviving members, perform on 4 occasions (which previously would have equaled one weekend stand at the Shoreline). It is true that time heals all wounds as this was by far the most enjoyable of the four post-Jerry shows. During the night, it (almost) never occurred to me that if only Jerry had been playing, that song would have been so much better. His creditable stand-in was John Kadlecik, the guitarist for the Dark Star Orchestra (which is probably the best Grateful Dead tribute band around). The crowd was the usual lively scene of tie-dye and blissed-out faces doing the Dead shuffle or twirling on the fringes with dreadlocks swaying. I’ll provide the song list of the second set here since it was absolutely huge: Shakedown Street, New Speedway Boogie, China Cat/I know you rider, Playing in the Band, Eyes of the World, Unbroken Chain, Help on its way/ Slipknot/ Franklin’s Tower E: One more Saturday night. That’s like 3 shows rolled into one! Starting with Shakedown and ending with Franklin’s- that’s a pretty special night. For even more deets: Deadheads can check out this pretty fair song-by-song review.

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