Another sweet weekend of shows for the Twin Cities this weekend. Friday night I met some friends for The English Beat and local opener Umbrella Bed at the venerable roadhouse The Cabooze where a packed house celebrated the 30th year of Dave Wakeline's ska party. Opening with a slow skanking Rough Rider, Wakeline's rhythm guitars and sweet harmornies would be the focus of the sound for the night, yet the lead guitarist, sax player, and toaster/MC Sir Anthony Most Fresh would all add their own flourishes to the sound. The skittering intro to Tears of a Clown sent the crowd into the first of many frothing moments down in the pit.
I Confess, Hands Off She's Mine and Twist&Crawl kept the dance party going while a cover of the Staple Singers I'll Take You There highlighted the band's vocal capabilities to great effect. Doors to Your Heart and 2Swords were strong album cuts which led into the "hits" which closed the show in high fashion. Ranking Full Stop was just a full on raveup while Stand Down Margaret simmered and boiled with the political intensity that helped define the TwoTone bands. Over and Over bled into Tenderness where the band invited fans up to sing along. Save It For Later and Mirror in the Bathroom were a twofer parting shot leaving the crowd happy and sweaty as it left.
I must say that the opening band Umbrella Bed was fantastic! With a six person horn section and two guitarists their sound veered between harder edged ska like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and traditional horn driven Two Tone bands like The Specials. With everyone dancing and sharing vocals and mikestands they really knew how to whip up a crowd. Their cover of The Ramones Judy Was a Punk even got the aging hipsters in the crowd dancing.
I was bummed that I had to miss local record label Susstones 5th anniversary party Saturday night to bartend. For fans of space pop and garage music they have a great roster of bands led by Polara and The Mood Swings. Last night John Scofield and his Piety Street Band put on a stellar show at the beautiful Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis. Featuring George Porter Jr. on bass/vocals and two Bonnie Raitt band members in John Cleary on keys/ second guitar and voals and Ricky Fataar on drums, Sco led the band through app. an hour and half of gospel based jazz. With a mix of instrumentals and covers, Sco's guitar work was sweet and soaring then down and dirty and then spacing out into the stratosphere. With Porter's bass holding down the rhythm, Fataar's cymbal work would provide accent or counterpoint to Scofield's or Cleary's leads. I Don't Need No Doctor evoked images and passages from both Ray Charles' original and Humble Pie's cover in the co-lead guitars from Cleary and Sco and the sweet harmony singing from Porter and Cleary. Motherless Child soared on its New Orleans style piano oriented arrangement and Fataar and Porter's rubbery groove. The vocals were truly a highlight on Angel Band and Shirley Caesar's Walk With Me. 99 and Half(won't do) rumbled and bumped with its almost ragtime piano and Sco's hearty rhythm guitar lines that added layers to the arrangement of the song.
The only bummer for me was that the club was a little too nice, this music was meant to be fully engaged with and the club seating and tables kind of limited the crowd's ability to fully participate in it. That said, the show was a terrific way to spend Easter in communion with the spirits and angels of the musical realm.
nice review, craybee.
I'm headed to Sco 4/27.
I caught Sco last night. I am not a big fan of New Orleans music, but these guys won me over as the night went on. Scofield's playing is insane. It would have been better as a G.A. show w/out chairs. My favorite tune was the Hank Wiliams cover. It would have been better on a Sunday, too. It became a revival towards the end. Sco sure gets around musically.
>>I am not a big fan of New Orleans music,