I decided to run down and catch the first of two nights at Highway 99 last night. I'd heard alot about this club, but hadn't been there yet in my first two years here. It's a basement club in a long room under the Alaskan Freeway overpass. Outside it looks like some generic recently constructed office/retail building, but down in the club they had wood paneling, a long bar, a stage sitting in the middle of the room, surrounded by tables with a dance floor to stage left.
I've never seen Maria. I loved the charisma she showed on the PBS Dylan biopic, and I've been hearing alot of her new album of Dylan covers on the local NPR station and digging it. I also knew she was a one time Jerry Garcia Band vocalist and ex-wife of John Kahn, so there was the 7 degrees of GD factor at work too.
Anyhow, I'm glad I went, and will probably go back again tonight. She has a real deep catalog, so I'm sure she'll shake up her setlist some. Hell, the way she and her band performed last night, I wouldn't care if they did the same set again! I came in about halfway through the first set (Apparently I missed a Dylan trifecta early in the set, including a "Buckets Of Rain", reason enough to go back). The New Orleans connection is immediate with this band. The keyboardist plays with that Professor Longhair channeled through Dr. John vibe, and the drummer has the second-line rhythm down. The guitar player plays hot blues leads, and Maria sings and scats up and down the scales like a hybrid of Bessie Smith and Janis Joplin.
I didn't write down the list, but some highlights were "Please Send Me Someone To Love", "Cajun Moon" "Don't You Feel My Leg", some Greg Brown cover and a set of Memphis Minnie tunes she sang with guest Del Ray, a woman from these parts who plays old time blues guitar. The "Please Send Me Someone to Love" was deep. A lot of the show reminded me of the soulful/spiritual feeling I used to get at JGB shows.
The Dylan covers I saw to close the show, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" and the encore of "You Ain't Going Nowhere" were pure honey. Maria's a good storyteller too and she talked about how her buddy Bob Dylan had pestered her for years about whether she was playing her violin anymore (way back in the day, Doc Watson's father-in-law Gaither Carlton had been her teacher and she used to play it in her 1960's folk era years). She said how Bob had said "I like your violin playing, it sounds rustic" in a perfect slurred and raspy Dylan impersonation. She'd responded "I don't know about that, it just sounds rusty." So she'd gotten it back out and found a teacher and some folks to play with in the Bay Area. I forget the name of her new teacher, but she said that the two of them had done a double fiddle track for the album version of "You Ain't Going Nowhere" but she was going to give it a try solo for us. She was absolutely great, and the song had a great earthy/bluesy lilt, a perfect encore.
$18 bones, doors at 9 p.m. If they are in your town, I'd strongly reccomend checking this band out.
sounds like fun dave...if i didn't have my little one i'd meet you down there tonight.
We should go get a drink sometime soon Jeff. I just moved up to 5th and West Crockett on QA Hill. From the pictures you posted back during the snowstorm, it looks like we're practically neighbors!
I saw Maria about 1.5 yrs ago for free in Ketchum, ID. It was a ho-hum show but, I was definately impressed by her guitar player.
I went back for last night's show as well. On the bright side, I caught the whole first set this time, including the 5 song Dylan mini-set. On the not so good side, I got waylaid by a bout of food poisoning at intermission and had to pass on the second set. I'll post the first set list tomorrow.
Thanks for the reviews, Dave.
And I'm sure that 2nd set wasn't the ONLY thing you "passed" on Sunday!! Way to take one for the team!
Hope you're feeling better.
I saw Maria a few months back
She was amazing.
I loved the stories and she sent chill's up my spine.
I saw her years ago at the Philly Folk Festival.
Don't remember much about it though.
Okay, so my stomach seems to have returned to relative normalcy. I've been going through relationship hell too this week, and I can say that hearing Maria sing her soul out about love, faith and the spirit helped "ease my soul."
Here's the 1st setlist from Saturday night:
February 24, 2007
Highway 99 Blues Club
In The City (I'm guessing on this title)
Get Up, Get Ready
Blues So Bad
Without A Friend Like You
Buckets Of Rain
Lay Lady Lay (She sings it as "Lay Baby Lay" because as she said, "I don't swing that way")
To Be Alone With You
Heart Of Mine
To Make You Feel My Love
Meet Me In The Moonlight
New Orleans (possible title, like the song before, a J.J. Cale song)
Please Send Me Someone To Love
As I said above, I got waylaid by some sort of stomach bug at intermission and couldn't make it back in for the second set. I was glad I got to see the six song Dylan feature in the first set though, and thoroughly enjoyed it and the whole set. Maria has a heart of gold and a solidly funky rocking band.
Thanks for helping me sing my blues away Maria!
I've only caught Maria twice over the years. Once as a member of the JGB and once on a twin billing w/ Eric Burdon. Both times were very memorable. She's a heck of a singer.
Not to start a fire or anything, but how would you say she would fit in the PLF, comparing her to Joan and her role ? I always did wonder about that, but never saw her live to have any idea...
Maria would fit right in with Phil. They share an appreciation of great songwriters. She's a little more solidly in the blues camp than Phil, but I'm sure she could ROCK the Pigpen material. She'd be a much more charismatic frontwoman than Joan is/was. Her stint in the JGB with Donna Jean was probably Jerry's most Gospel oriented work. PLF versions of Attics, I'll Be With Thee (Prodigal Son), My Sisters & Brothers, Wharf Rat, and other straight out Gospel or Gospel inflected tunes would no doubt be a treat!