Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bonnaroo 2008 - Live

Written by Fumo Verde

Okay, so you may have read about or heard via Internet radio show B-Sides Concept Album about Bonnaroo 2008 and the adventure El Bicho and I had while there. Well the DVD of this four-day event has hit the stores and though there were more performances there than one could possibly see, sixteen acts made this DVD. I noticed there were only seven bands on this disc that EB and I had a chance to see, the other nine would be new for me, but this was a chance to see what I missed.

The show for you watching this disc begins with meeting some of the cool people who attended this festival, while showing you images of grounds where it all happened. The first band up is The Raconteurs playing “Old Enough”. I was stoked to see these katz on here because EB and I, when they were playing, were halfway across the festival grounds watching some other band, the name of which eludes me right now. [El Bicho’s note: the bands watched during the Raconteurs set were Les Claypool, The Swell Season, and Rilo Kiley.] It’s followed by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings playing “Let Them Knock,” a performance from a band we only got to see play their final song. It has that R&B beat as the brass section adds to the fullness of the sound. Jones has one of those voices that remind you of Della Reese or Aretha Franklin.

Another band I was told to see but didn’t get a shot at was Broken Social Scene. “Love Is New” is a tune I have heard a few times on the local college station, but seeing them here on this disc really makes me want to see them now, be it Bonnaroo or any local venue. Other bands that made it onto the DVD, which we missed but now seeing them I definitely want to catch live, are Gogol Bordello who have an international sound that mixes folk rock with a splash of theater for the eye. Their song “Think Locally/ Fuck Globally” has enough energy to power the town of Manchester, TN. Chali 2na w/Galactic’s “Lock Shit/ Right Now” blends rap with rock and uses a baritone saxophone to get those super low notes.

Bands which we saw and are here on this DVD are Pearl Jam (“Better Man”), Jack Johnson (“If I had Eyes”) Metallica (“Fade to Black”) [El Bicho’s note: Fumo hit our tent for refreshments during their set.] along with two new bands for myself: Mastodon (“Colony of Birchmen”) and My Morning Jacket (“I’m Amazed”). Mastodon I would consider to be a metal band. Following in the footsteps of Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Anthrax, Mastodon has a hard edge and full-throttle energy driven by the drums and bass. These are katz I need to keep an eye out for when they come to my town. My Morning Jacket is the complete opposite but just as good. They have a sound which is hard to describe because each song is different, yet this tune “I’m Amazed,” well, one could say they sound a little like Phish, or the Dead, or even the Eagles, but that still doesn’t capture the essence of My Morning Jacket, another band I’m getting tickets for when they come to town.

This DVD will give you a little taste of what Bonnarooers were privilege to witness and enjoy. After watching this disc, I really want to go there again, and though the adventure was a total trip, and EB and I partied a little too hard near the end, it was an experience I think any fan of good music should take. This DVD brings 1/10th of what the total Bonnaroo experience was and is, but for those who couldn’t make it or for those of us who did Bonnaroo 2008 - Live is a fantastic way to see some of the best bands around. All I can say is, thank you, Manchester, TN and thank you, Bonnaroo.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thin Lizzy - Still Dangerous

Written by Fantasma el Rey

Laying forgotten for over thirty years this Thin Lizzy live performance is finally available and stands as a testament that this small band from Dublin, Ireland still kicks ass and can rock your socks off. Recorded live from the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia in 1977, Still Dangerous documents a moment in time just before the band was ready to kick off its proper tour, a warm-up run if you will, and would record the amazing and very popular Live And Dangerous. But make no mistakes this show is no mere warm-up as Thin Lizzy rocks and rolls relentlessly through ten tracks in 47 minutes.

Thin Lizzy, led by singer/songwriter Phil Lynott hit the scene in 1971 with a self-titled debut that didn’t fair too well, but the boys kept at it developing that true Lizzy sound we know and love over their next seven albums. Killer albums such as Night Life, Jailbreak and Bad Reputation would produce the songs that the band would come to be known for, especially Jailbreak with the title anthem and perhaps their biggest hit “The Boys Are Back In Town.” Yet as with any truly great band the real test lays in their live act and in 1978 with Live And Dangerous Thin Lizzy provided this proof to fans that couldn’t (and in the not-too-distant future wouldn’t be able to) catch them live. LAD ran through all the heavy-hitting, twin-guitar-led power tunes that would cement the Thin Lizzy legacy for all time.

Now just over thirty years later we get the companion piece Still Dangerous and are treated to more Thin Lizzy magic. Not as long as LAD but just as enjoyable, it contains the hits by the classic line-up (Lynott lead vocals/bass, Scott Gorham guitar, Brian Robertson guitar, Brian Downey drums) and some tunes not found on LAD. What remains the same is that overall power and drive that places Thin Lizzy among the best of the ‘70s rock world. Twin guitars attack fast and hard as Lynott swings his bass like an axe while the drums hammer out beats to keep the feet moving and the fist pumping.

Thin Lizzy (pronounced in the proper Irish as “tin lizzie”) jams through the biggies, “Jailbreak” complete with sirens and alarm bells, “Cowboy Song,” “Dancing In The Moonlight” with its sax break, and the heavy-hitting anthem “The Boys Are Back In Town” which sounds just as good live as it does from the studio. Not found on LAD are the social-conscious war tune “Soldier Of Fortune,” the story of the “Opium Trail” and the ’50s rock ‘n’ roll inspired “Me And The Boys.” “Opium Trail” has some major KISS-sounding riffs while “Me And The Boys” must have been heard by the boys in Van Halen. Screaming guitar, hyper drums, and Lynott’s scat-like, jumbled vocals are reminiscent of David Lee Roth; think “Hot For Teacher” on this track. Rounding out the CD are “Massacre,” “Don’t Believe A Word,” and “Baby Drives Me Crazy.”

Its clear that Thin Lizzy was the inspiration for many bands that would follow and fill the void left as the 1980s set in and Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy fell apart. The classic line-up heard here would split just after the release of Live And Dangerous while Lynott’s drug addiction would send him spiraling to an early grave. But we now have another great live recording in Still Dangerous left behind to ease the pain and keep us rockin’.

Thin Lizzy is rock ‘n’ roll at its finest. They may not be the best or most popular band in the world or from their era, but they can knock down walls with their powerful rock drive. If Thin Lizzy doesn’t get you moving then you either have no soul or simply don’t know shit about rock ‘n’ roll! Not once, not never!