This turned out to be the best $25 bucks I've spent in a while.
Tiffany Travalent is a local girl who worked for Bill Graham Presents and in other areas of the Bay Area rock scene for a number of years and is having some ongoing medical issues. Eric McFadden (a local musician) organized this event to help her out.
The room was about 75% full, which is perfect for 12 Galaxies, a long, narrow club with a balcony, because it gets stuffy & HOT in that place AND it only has one bar. On this night there was the perfect number of very festive people on hand to give the room a great vibe, but there was still some space for movement & refreshment.
I didn't know exactly what to expect; the show looked good on paper with Les Claypool on the bill (he turned out to be a no-show) along with Bernie Worrell, Zigabo Modaliste, Jerry Harrison, Pete Sears, Steve Stevens and about 25 other names; but these small, grass-roots benefit shows are often VERY sloppy hit-and-miss affairs, so you never know. I am however a sucker for these type of shows because if they work they remind me so much of what rock shows are/were really all about, plus I figured it was a good cause.
The Mission district was JUMPIN' when I arrived around 9:30, a major party scene for blocks on a beautiful Saturday night in the City. I got a beer and went straight to the narrow balcony and found a couple of friends right away. Two groups had already played by the time I got there and a local punk band was setting up their equipment on the dance floor in front of the stage. They started playing about 10 minutes after I got there and they ROCKED OUT, right IN the crowd for about 15 - 20 minutes. It was fun, fast, raw, rocking, slamming music and a great lead-in to the next group; a female singer & a cello player who came onstage just a couple of minutes after the band finished. (I never got the name of the the band or the duo)
The singer was strong and the cellist was VERY good; he used numerous loops and effects to create a dark, trippy, groovy sound. A great opening sequence of bands and a really nice, odd pairing of two totally different styles of music. ("if they work they remind me so much of what rock shows are/were really all about") It was working!
As was the case the last time I was at 12 Galaxies for Bobby Previte, the balcony quickly became a "blue cloud" and the beer was flowing, so exact recollections at this point are understandably hazy (it was a really raging party!) but there was a lengthy auction of some cool and some tacky stuff, and there was some jabbering, and Tiffany came out for a cheer, and slowly players began taking the stage. They were ready to go and Zigabo was counting off the first song when they realized the bass player wasn't onstage. He was drinking at the bar!
Once he got up there and plugged in the band began jamming hard. The group onstage had MANY different players come & go over an hour and a half or so, but the players I recognized and can remember now are Zigabo on drums for about the first 30 - 45 minutes, then another great drummer took over; Pete Sears played (great) electric piano most of the show; there was a good organist who would switch off with Bernie; Eric McFadden played along with a number of different guitar players, plus many others. They played a mix of New Orleans funk, rhythm & blues, rock & just plain groovy jamming!
It's all a raging blur now, but there were some really GREAT moments. Jerry Harrison did a couple of songs early with the Bernie/Zigabo formation that I didn't recognize but were great, and then they did a RAGING (if a bit sloppy) version of Life During Wartime; it FELT like a disco and it was most definitely a party!
Another highlight of the earlier part of the set was a smokin' Aiko Aiko sung by Zigabo.
I missed a few minutes around 12:30 because I had to move my car (and get some air!) and when I came back the show had turned into a groovin' funk jam with Bernie leading the way. He kept trying to leave the stage but he kept coming back, because HE'S GOT THE FUNK!
Bernie Worrell is AMAZING! He is a natural funkster; EVERYTHING he does is right in the groove! I can listen to him play all night long - he is a master.
No clear song recognition at this point, but the band was much tighter than I could have hoped for; the music & the room were REALLY MOVING! It was fun to see Jerry Harrison standing in the middle of the crowd dancing & grooving along, an anonymous reveler among many.
The show jammed 'till 1:30. The crowd AND the players wanted to keep it going.... but there are RULES, you know!
As cool as it would have been for Les to be there he wasn't missed, which is saying something about how good this show was. It really was the type of local rock 'n roll show that felt like "the old days".
Whatever, I'm just really glad I went.
Sounds like a winner. Thanks for the review!
Late Saturday night I ran into some friends who had come from 12 G's...they were grinning ear to ear and had great things to say about the show, although the details were sparse. You've filled in some of those gaps nicely
>>a female singer & a cello player who came onstage just a couple of minutes after the band finished. (I never got the name of the the band or the duo)
I wasn't there but I believe that was Loop Station. Good stuff.
Great Review Lance. Hey the foggier (sp?) the review the more "fun" you probably had...at least that's usually my story.
I wish I was there but had to check out the Zoner bands that were playing on Sat.
Btw, thank you for contribution to the Zoner Jam. It is very much appreciated!!! Hope you to see you there.
Thanks for the review!
>the bass player wasn't onstage. He was drinking at the bar!
LOL!!!! Gawd dang bass players!!!
Yeah this was a great show, despite all the no-shows (Les, Steve Stevens, Paula O'Rourke, Brian Kehoe, Wally Ingram, Kris Doty).
Lineup was some Dutch blues singer (nice guitar playing, mediocre singing). Then Eric McFadden trio for a few songs (joined by Pete Sears on accordian for an Alektraphobia song). Then Pat McDonald (aka Cracker Daniels), solo for a few songs (kinda good- dark bluesy folk), and joined by McFadden (Blacker Daniels) for a couple of tunes.
Then the Teenage Harlets set up in front of the main stage for a very high-energy punk rock set. This kind of thing isn't usually my bag but they were fun, and they only played for like 20 minutes, so it didn't get too old. Loop Station came up next and did their thing. They were really good but I found myself wishing they had some drums or something else in the mix. With just cello and voice everything kinda sounds the same...
Then Zigaboo took over the stage, joined by Bernie Worrell, McFadden, Shauna Hall, Carlos Hernandez, the MIA bassist (Charles something or other?), and Pere Sears, for a series of jams including "It's Your Thing," "Iko Iko," and a smoking "Africa."
Then Kevin Carnes replaced Zigaboo and Eric and Charles joined him for a kick ass version of The Stooges' "TV Eye." Jerry Harrison then came out, along with Bernie, Shauna, and Carlos, and they played a Modern Lovers song, and an extended "Life During Wartime," (with Dawn Silva, Ronkat, and Robin Coomer on backing vocals). After Harrison left there was another set of McFadden songs, with Pete on a few, and Bernie switching off with another keyboardist. At one point a harmonica player came out and joined the band. Then Ronkat came out for a big funky finale. They did "Red Hot Mama" with some killer solos from all of the guitar players, then some disco sounding tune with Ronkat on keys.
A great time was definitely had by all! Hopefully Tiffany raised the dough she needs to put her medical problems behind her...
I didn't think that Steve Stevens was there. My friend kept telling me that Carlos Hernandez was him but I knew he wasn't. It was one of those shows that just worked.
There is a video being produced of the show by a production company in Santa Cruz.
It was shot in HD but will be released on Standard DVD. (unless there's a huge demand otherwise for HD)
The video will probably be ready for sale in the fall of 2007.
You can stay tuned by adding http://www.myspace.com/j_nothing .
THIS JUST IN!!!! FREE FROM PAIN UPDATE!!!!!
Hello everyone! the dvd, "free from pain - an all-star benefit show" is finished and on sale at filmbaby.com. i am beside myself to have read the positive responses from the actual show. even though the memory was a bit hazy for most, i am thinking the dvd will make it clear enough for you. ;-)
a release party is now in the works, so stay posted for the information!
thank you so much to everyone who helped support my cause and thank you jeff for doing such a fine job on the dvd!!!