I heard the new My Morning Jacket album and it’s amazing

MMJ3By Pete Mauch //

On the eve of April Fools’ day, Jim James and Bo Koster of My Morning Jacket invited about 50 people to a listening party of their new album, The Waterfall. Sonos Studio in Los Angeles began to fill up with everyone from Hollywood executives, interns, photographers and just a few die-hard fans like myself who won the My Morning Jacket Roll Call contest.

Huge projectors throughout the room displayed the album’s cover of psychedelic waterfalls amongst bean bags, cushions and fancy couches, adding to the overall chill atmosphere of the evening — not to mention the free beer.

Jim James arrived, explaining that he first fell in love with waterfalls in Portland, Ore., especially Bridal Veil Falls. My Morning Jacket plans on painting murals all across America using the album cover, the first to be adorned in Venice Beach, Calif. For you Angelenos, it’s on Lincoln Blvd. and Vernon Ave.


1.”Believe (Nobody Knows)”
The initial track could have been an extension of the recent Jim James solo LP, Regions of Light and Sound of God. We find out later this was the last track he wrote for the album, and James feels it gave the whole album credibility and cohesiveness. The lyrics are uplifting, especially the prose of “Roll the dice, sail the ship, and all doors will open,” which to me means take the chance and you will be rewarded.

2.”Compound Fracture”
This is a bass-heavy, fast-rocking tune that jumps right out of the gate and doesn’t let up. This song is made for the live setting, and I’m sure many people will compare it to the style Jacket uses on Evil Urges. Koster really stands out on this track, especially towards the end as he wails on his keyboard while James belts out “how long till the mix runs dry” or something of the sort. This one’s a keeper.

3.”Like a River”
The album was mostly recorded in Stinson Beach, Calif., and Koster was very quick to point out that “Like a River” is the song that captures the time they spent there best. It’s a slow “streaming” folk song that makes us recall the At Dawn era of My Morning Jacket, which is never a bad thing. In fact, it’s an amazing thing. James flexes his vocals on this one, which reminds you how a voice can be a damn great instrument.

4.”In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)”
The title track might have the best section in the whole album during the breakdown. The song starts off slowly, then builds and builds until it climaxes into pure bliss. I can’t wait for die-hard Jacket fans to hear this one. James explains The Waterfall is a metaphor for people who have so much shit on their plate that they wish they could just stop time and slow it down. He goes on to explain he’s been infatuated with wanting to stop the flow of a waterfall just to watch it stand still. And he wishes humans can do this with their own hectic lives. The chorus is a beautifully uplifting lyric that reads, “I stop the waterfall by finally feeling / I stop the waterfall by just believing / I gotta stop the waterfall.” 

5.”Get the Point”
“Get the Point” is the breakup song on the album, and it’s a fine one at that. James very openly states, “The feeling is gone, but I wish you all the love in the world.” He doesn’t love this gal anymore, but he still wishes her well. I think we can all relate to that. After this song, James explained that all the songs on this album are live takes, with overdubs added after the fact.

6.”Spring (Among the Living)”
On the sixth track and second single, James states that he’s ready for the change of season and that he’s “done hibernating.” Patrick Hallahan leads the charge with a strong drumbeat that carries the song forward until it reaches a magnificent climax that once again showcases Koster’s sick keyboard playing and Yim Yames’ always amazing vocals. Listen below:

7.”Thin Line”
“Thin Line” is the oldest cut that MMJ decided to bring to the table. The story goes that Tom Blankenship was handed a very short demo by James around 2001 and remembered that it would fit perfectly into the song they were working on. The result is a pure rocker with wailing guitars by Carl Broemel and James that leads toward a seriously amazing ending that has James screaming “between love and a waste of time.” That seems like quite the thin line to me.

8.”Big Decisions”
“Big Decisions” is the song that all “Jacketeers” already know, as the crowd present in LA got a little more into the experience. James said this song is about wanting to make decisions for your friends. Everyone has a friend who complains that they hate their job or they hate where they live, and this song is about wanting to be able to just go ahead make that decision for them. Get a taste here:

9.”Tropics (Erase Traces)”
The penultimate song starts with a ripping guitar solo, then mellows out as James starts to sing, “first time in a long time.” This song could very well be my personal favorite after one listen. The ending is beautiful chaos full of fuzzy guitars, loud keyboards and serious drumming that could please any rocker.

10.”Only Memories Remain”
“Only Memories” brings the album together with another Stinson Beach-like vibe. It’s a slow chiller that creeps up on you, especially the poignant lyrics “names of places have all changed, but the identity has stayed the same.” The slow song showcases some serious slinky guitar work by both James and Broemel.

After the album ended, James and Koster came out and did a full Q&A, which I got to be a part of. I told them how I felt the album reflects on days of old jacket like At Dawn and Tennesseee Fire and if this were a conscious effort to bring back the folky vibe as opposed to the avant-garde Circuital style.

Yim Yames answered with a simple “YES!” and then elaborated how he never goes back and is always pushing forward, but that it’s difficult to stay away from the basic guitar. After the interview disbanded, James and Koster hung out and mingled with the crowd and was gracious enough to sign my poster that I had brought and even took a picture. They stayed until everyone got to meet them. What an awesome time with an amazing band.

The Waterfall will be released May 4th via ATO/Capitol Records. Pre-order it here, and check out My Morning Jacket’s tour dates here.

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Festival fiasco at Forever Never Land

Fest-coverWritten by Pete Mauch //

Do you think putting on a music festival is a dream job? You’ll think twice after reading this cautionary tale and nightmare situation in Central California.

Attendees at the inaugural Forever Never Land festival September 13th-14th in Avila Beach, Calif., were promised fun-filled activities like laser tag, foam parties and water slides, but they had quite the eye-opener when they showed up to only a beach volleyball court.

We all know that these activities just add to the overall atmosphere of a music festival and that music is the main reason we flock to many of them all over the country. Well, Forever Never Land also completely blew it in the musical department.

Big-name acts like Sublime with Rome and A-Trak were nowhere to be found, and people were straight-up pissed off. Almost all of the headliners for the weekend were completely dropped the day before the festival due to a lack of ticket sales, and the County of San Luis Obispo capped Forever Never Land at 3,000 attendees when the festival’s promoters wanted 10,000.

Instead of seeing great acts that were promised, fans had to endure through unknown DJs and Everclear, perhaps the second-most loathed band of the past two decades after Nickleback. The festival did try to remedy the situation by passing out free alcoholic drink tickets (it was “California’s only 21+ music and fun festival”), but that is just not going to cut it for music lovers. To top it off, the festival’s website was about as minimalist as the festival ended up being. So, basically, imagine what would happen if “Waynestock” didn’t work out.

A Facebook page devoted to suing the promoter for a refund has been gathering momentum, and I think these guys have a solid argument.

It is defrauding to promote an event while allegedly knowing that the artists on your bill will not be performing (Forever Never Land was still promoting the performers the day before it got underway). As small festivals are popping up more than Bill Murray at random weddings and kickball games, this issue will become more commonplace going forward.

Should festivalgoers consider it a risk to their wallets when buying a ticket to a new, small festival? This is why festival pros quickly cancel an event if ticket sales aren’t happening, much like Sasquatch! did with their additional weekend earlier this year.

What do you think?

9 Sports Anthems for the 21st Century


Whether it’s Brian Wilson running out to the pitchers mound to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” or a proud little league coach blaring “We are the Champions” after a big win, music has always played an important role in sports. Arguably the biggest weekend in all of sports is upon us, the Super Bowl, and here at Showbams we decided to compile a list of our favorite modern day jock jams.

Sports anthems have fueled athletes for decades and unfortunately a lot of those songs have gone stale. Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” is a classic example of a great anthem, particularly in “Rocky III”, but it’s been extremely played out in high school gyms, college arenas, and pro stadiums since 1982. Here is a list of modern day sports anthems that have either already made it to arenas or should be there soon.

9. “We Are The People”Empire Of The Sun
In the vein of Queen’s “We Are The Champions”, the anthemic line “We are the people who rule the world” sums up that “just won the game” braggart euphoria after a big win.

8. “Paddling Out”Miike Snow
Besides the fact that this could be any pro surfer’s theme song, this track could be used for any teams entrance as they come roaring out of the locker room.

7. “One Big Holiday”My Morning Jacket
” A bad man from California” needs to make this his pitching entrance.

6. “Empire State of Mind”Jay Z
When the biggest sports team in the world claims this as their anthem after they win the world series then it deserves to be on this list.

5. “Wilson” Phish 
An unusual-yet-awesome connection between Russell Wilson, Seahawks fans, and this classic Phish track is why it makes our list. If Seattle wins the big one then Phish was the 13th man. WIIILLLSOOOOON!!!!!

4. “Genesis” Justice
I can imagine a hockey team pouring onto the ice just as this beat drops. The crowd would go bonkers.

3. “Unstoppable”Santigold
If this song doesn’t get you off of your bench seat in the outfield then I don’t know what will. The sheer rhythm of this track and the catchy lyrics make it a “should-be” stadium anthem. Hell — it was the song that soundtracked one man’s proclivity to party-start at Sasquatch.

2. “Howlin’ For You”The Black Keys
This song has definitely made it to the big time as far as air time goes, but just recently the Phoenix Coyotes have started to use it after every goal and win.”Ohh baby I’m Howlin for you.”

1.”Seven Nation Army”The White Stripes
This track has already achieved sports anthem fame, but I bet Jack White would have never guessed his song would be chanted in international soccer stadiums by arguably the most enthusiastic fans in the world.

Karl Denson’s boogaloo dance party at the El Rey with Anders Osborne

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

Photos by Josh Herwitt // Written by Pete Mauch //

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Anders Osborne, Zach Deputy //
El Rey Theatre — Los Angeles
October 24th, 2013 //

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe rolled into LA on the “Soul Spectacular” tour, covering funked-out staples from the legendary Ray Charles at the El Rey Theatre. This boogaloo dance party featured Zach Deputy on vocals and as Karl D. put it, the crowd got “Deputized”. Deputy started things off with his one-man jam band that he has coined “Island-Infused Drum n’ Bass Gospel Ninja Soul”, and he warmed up the night quite nicely with that tasty concoction.

After getting “Deputized”, the crowd was treated with a rare LA appearance by New Orleans rocker Anders Osborne. Osborne invited guitarist Neal Casal, best known for his work with Ryan Adams and with The Chris Robinson Band, to sit in on his entire set. Recently, Osborne and Casal have been frequent collaborators at Phil Lesh’s venue Terrapin Crossroads, so we can probably thank good ‘ol Phil for this great pairing of guitar slingers.

Anders Osborne

Anders Osborne

Osborne and his band ripped through a ferocious 90-minute set filled with brand-new songs off his recently released album Peace and old goodies like “Burning on the Inside” and “Love Is Taking Its Toll”. One of the set highlights included the title track off his most recent LP that showcased Osborne’s heart-wrenching lyrics, which he bellows out with reckless abandon. Osborne is truly inspiring with his words, and he’s no slouch on the guitar either. The man just plain rips.

KDTU promised a Ray Charles-inspired boogaloo dance party, and that is exactly what they gave. About halfway through his set, Denson welcomed Deputy on stage to belt out the Ray Charles cuts with near-flawless execution. Hammering through classic songs like “Got Me a Woman” and “Hit the Road Jack”, Denson led his group with blistering sax solos. He even flexed his muscles on the flute.

Denson is no stranger to covering artists. He has played sets covering the Rolling Stones’ album Sticky Fingers, and he even covered the Beastie Boys for a select number of dates in the past. This is the first time, however, Denson has gone on a lengthy tour extensively covering one artist, so I recommend finding a show near you.

Festival Review: Showbam-A-Rama at The Airliner in Los Angeles

Showbam-A-RamaPhotos by Dan Stensby

Showbams presented the first annual Showbam-A-Rama June 2, featuring nine various up and coming bands in the Southern California area at The Airliner. View set recaps and photos below.


Starting things off with a bang on the Hoe Down stage was Chop Surf, who brought in bassist Ryan Jeffs, which really complimented Paul Caruso on Drums. Their set was filled with high energy surf rock complete with swaying guitar riffs by Ryan Lynch. Jeffs and Lynch even traded instruments for the last song of their set, which showcased their wide range of musical ability.


Meanwhile upstairs at the Giddy Up stage, Spoh was absolutely killing their set of improv infused jazz that had the crowd gyrating early in the night. Second song in they busted out Phish’s “Julius”, which showed Stew Phillips’ lead guitar work à la Trey Anastasio. They closed their set with a jazzed out version of The Meters’ “Cissy Strut” that had this New Orleans music fan feeling it!


Grizwald came into the Airliner and turned many heads with his one man band that was full of looping drumbeats and well executed synth jams. Showbams will be keeping a watchful eye on Grizwald.


By the time I got upstairs to check out Chief, brothers Danny and Michael Fujikawa had already taken their shirts off, so I knew they were down to business. They tore through their set with mighty angst and the crowd ate it up! Chief knows how to harmonize with the best of them, and they showcased that on Sunday. They ended with the one-two punch of “Nice People” and “You Tell Me”, which was well received from the crowd.


Strandside played their set of psychedelic surf rock with great passion, and I really liked how they brought their new singer Nima Kazerouni up at various parts of their set. That truly kept things fresh throughout their performance and had many people talking about their show all night long. A highlight of the evening was the song “Knights Move North” that was played flawlessly. Looking forward to catching this South Bay act again soon.


Tall Tales and the Silver Lining had a stripped down band for their set on Sunday, but that didn’t stop Trever Beld- Jimenez from doing what he does best – captivating the crowd with his amazing voice and great stage presence. On this evening, Jimenez showcased his bass skills and really held his own while Tim Ramsey playing lap steel guitar helped with the overall tone of this set. A surefire highlight of their show was the beautiful cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy”.


Busy Living started things off with the title track from their first EP, Its A War Out There and didn’t let up from there. Mike Moonves led the band through many new songs, including one standout song of the entire night called “LYD” that included electronic drums, which blended perfectly with their sound.

Divola had the most high energy set of the evening, even though that energy was dark, twisted, and had Dion Tomasini in a black ski mask on drums for the whole show. Thomas Lynch has again proven himself behind the synth, and Justin Jacoby is the most animated on stage as he slays his bass ferociously. This is some seriously good psych-rock.


Shaky Feelin’ is a force to be reckoned with on the Ventura jam scene, and they brought their goods to L.A on Sunday night with standouts like “Train Station” and “Insider Mind”. Mark Masson on guitar has some ridiculous chops and Franklin Murphy on keys was truly a standout of the evening. They treated the crowd to two great covers by jam kings Phish in “Possum” and “Back on the Train”.

Jim James ignites The Fonda Theatre with ‘Monster’ mate Conor Oberst


Conor Oberst does his best Jim James impersonation, cape and all.

By Pete Mauch //

Jim James //
The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles
May 11th, 2013 //

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James performed in LA at the sold-out Fonda Theatre on Saturday night, playing two eclectic sets, including the majority of his 2013 solo LP Regions of Light and Sound of God. The first set featured James and his band playing through the entire album, while the second set gave way to older material from My Morning Jacket & Monsters of Folk.

Jim James started the second set solo with his acoustic guitar and treated the crowd to “Bermuda Highway” and “Wonderful”, two of the best ballads in James’ repertoire. James even showcased his Saxophone skills, which I never knew he had.Bright Eyes crooner Conor Oberst made a late second set surprise appearance to help out with Monsters of Folk heavy hitter “Dear God” while doing his best Jim James impression, donning his cape and over-the-top theatrics.


James was his normal weird self on stage, traversing all over the place utilizing hand motions and head banging. I believe I had a staring contest with him for about thirty seconds during the encore.  Jim James is one of the most exciting frontmen in the business and there truly is something special about him. I don’t know if it’s his stage antics or how sincere he seems with all his “Thank You’s” and “God Bless You’s’. He must of said both those phrases thirty times on Friday.

When James released his solo album back in February, I wasn’t very impressed, but after hearing the songs come to life in a live setting, I have a new found respect for the album and I look forward to re-listening to it. I highly suggest you catch Jim James on his solo tour if possible.


Showbam-A-Rama Music Festival: June 2nd in Los Angeles

Showbams is proud to announce our very own mini festival, Showbam-A-Rama! The festival will take place at The Airliner in the heart of downtown Los Angeles June 2nd and will feature nine diverse bands over two stages!

There will be two full bars to get your libation on, and a used vinyl store will be on site courtesy of Butter Vinyl for you to peruse through as you rock out. Be sure to get there early to catch all the acts. You wont want to miss this one! Showbam-A-Rama is a 21+ event, and you can buy tickets here. Cash only at the door for tickets, credit cards accepted at the bar.

Shaky Feelin’
Giddy Up Stage

Headlining the “Giddy Up” stage will be Ventura natives Shaky Feelin’,  bringing their high energy jam machine for what’s sure to be an amazing set full of shredding guitar solos from Mark Masson and thunderous drumming by both Paul Menchaca and Cameron Probe. Throw in Rob Jeffries on bass and recently added keyboardist Franklin Murphy and you’ve got yourself one hell of a jamband.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear a Phish or Dead tune mixed into their set. Buckle up for this one.

Hoe Down Stage

Closing out downstairs at the “Hoe Down” Stage is the electronic funk trio Divola. Led by synth maestro Thomas Lynch III and the fierce drumming of Dion Tomasini, this band is really starting to make heads turn with their dark and gloomy electro sounds. Rounding out this trio is multi-instrumentalist Justin Jacoby, who lends his skill on bass to Divola as they take you on their satanic voyage across the underworld. So in other words, don’t expect any hula-hoopin flower girls at this set. Check out their EP “Black Magic Power” below.

Tall Tales and The Silver Lining
Giddy Up Stage

Tall Tales bring their laid back vibes to Showbam-A-Rama with their style of folk-rock surf tunes that could easily be heard blasting out of any Venice beach surf shack in the 70’s. Led by singer Trevor Beld-Jimenez and his wife Tania, Tall Tales will have you begging for more of their amazing harmonies and beautiful musicianship. Don’t get fooled by their mellow nature because these folkers can really turn it up a notch, and I expect their set to be turned up to 11, out of a possible 10 of course.

Busy Living
Hoe Down Stage

Los Angeles rockers, Busy Living, are ready to explode on the fertile LA scene with serious fire power. Front man Mike Moonves leads Jared Sohnen (drums), Josh Jove (lead guitar), Matt Leddy (keys) and Tim Hutton (bass) with a sound that’s bound to make people gyrate on the dance floor. Look for serenading croons by Moonves and extremely catchy riffs by his supporting cast of melody makers.

Giddy Up Stage

The story of Chief is one of two coasts. Though Evan Koga, and brothers Danny and Michael Fujikawa, were all born and raised in Los Angeles, they left for New York University, worlds away. It was in New York that they first got to know one another as collaborators, rumbling through a number of semi-serious projects and solo ventures before feeling swept away by a small run of songs Koga had penned and presented to them. In early 2009 they made there way back to the city of angels and Chief was born.  Expect beautiful harmonies and well executed jams throughout their set at Showbam-A-Rama.

Hoe Down Stage

South Bay surf rockers, StrandSide, who have been making a name for themselves at the legendary Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, come to Showbam-A-Rama with quite the buzz. Consisting of Tyler and Alex Wolf holding down the rhythm section and Ryan Mckenzie bringing his fluid surf style on guitar, and Kevin Brown with his masterful lead guitar work, StrandSide is a must see show this year. 

Giddy Up Stage

Opening up the “Giddy Up Stage” this year is SPOH, a band from Los Angeles that is heavy on improvisational Jazz Psychedelia. Yeah you heard that right. Improvisational Jazz Psychedelia. Drummer Pedro Honess was hand picked for the Medeski, Martin, and Wood camp in 2012, so you know he’s ready to show off his skills behind the kit. Look for blistering lead solos by Stew Phillips on guitar, thumping bass lines from Pete Orlanski, and the delicate touch of Ben Sheridan on keys.

Hoe Down Stage

Hailing from Oakland, Grizwald makes his world debut at Showbam-A-Rama. This one man electro-funk set will feature many loops and bass heavy tunes that is sure to get your heart racing. 

Chop Surf
Hoe Down Stage

Also making their world debut and having the honor of opening up the first ever Showbam-A-Rama festival is the Indie-Surf Rock duo Chop Surf. Paul Caruso is a force to be reckoned with on drums, and his sidekick Ryan Lynch, also playing with Chief, will be manning guitar duties in this outfit. Expect to get your groove on with this duo.

Info and Set Times:

June 2nd, 2013 at 7:30pm – 2:00am

21+ only
$15 Presale
$20 at the door (cash only)



8:00 – 8:30 Chop Surf
9:00 – 9:30 Grizwald
10:00 – 11:00 StrandSide
11:15 – 12:15 Busy Living
12:30 – 1:15 Divola

8:30 – 9:15 SPOH
9:30 – 10:30 Chief
10:45 – 11:45 Tall Tales & The Silver Lining
12:00 – 1:45 Shaky Feelin’

Food – Fries The Limit
Vendors – Butter Vinyl – Used Vinyl Store!!! 


Leftover Salmon JamGrass & FootStomp their way through Hollywood


Colorado jamgrass rockers Leftover Salmon stormed into Hollywood at the House of Blues and played a footstompin’ set of their unique blend of bluegrass and cajun infused rock.  The band played one of the most energetic sets of music I have seen in a long time, and they did so with such easy flowing grace that it almost makes you forget that you are listening to very talented musicians.

Vince Herman, the guitarist, vocalist and overall bandleader, makes the crowd feel right at home with his infectious smile and witty banter, especially when he got things going early with one of Leftover Salmon’s newer tracks “Liza.” The song is off their latest album Aquatic Hitchhiker and is quite catchy. Herman does his classic ranting vocals that are both downright hilarious and really impressive.


Drew Emmitt is arguably Leftover Salmon’s most skilled performer, as he can play many different instruments including guitar and fiddle – although his main weapon of choice is mandolin, which he plays the hell out of. The band invited Jason Carter from the Del McCoury Band to play the whole set with them on fiddle, so Emmitt stayed on mandolin and guitar for most the night to my liking.

The opening band was Camper Van Beethoven, and their lead guitarist David Lowery is from the 90’s band Cracker. Lowery came out and played his most famous track “Low” with Leftover Salmon backing him. It was fun to see, but I was ready for some more footstompin’ goodness.

The rest of the set was the same high energy slamgrass that Leftover Salmon has made a living off of for over twenty years. A highlight of the show was the always fun “Zombie Jamboree,” which had the hollywood crowd in a frenzy. The instrumental title track “Aquatic Hitchhiker,” written by banjo player Andy Thorn, had me feeling like I was in circus for about five minutes. Leftover Salmon is just a plain old fashioned good time. Go see ’em live…Festivaaaall!!!

Femi Kuti and The Positive Force bring their Booty-Shaking Grooves to LA


Veteran afrobeat musician Femi Kuti and his band marched into the El Rey Theater last Friday and performed an inspiring set of African grooves. Femi, the son of the late legendary musician and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti carries on his fathers mission of performing politically-charged dance anthems to the masses.



Femi Kuti and his band, The Positive Force, started the night off with their classic opener “Truth Don Die.” The song proved to be a perfect way to begin a show, as it starts with an instrumental jam and makes way to Femi singing and playing keys. As always, Femi has a couple dancers hypnotizing the crowd with their non-stop booty shaking, and I must say, the dancers are quite impressive.



Femi Kuti knows how to keep the audience engaged at all times, whether it be from his amazing leads on saxophone, trumpet, keyboards, or with his powerful lyrics. In between a couple songs, Femi took the time to give short speeches about violence and awareness of many different topics around the world. But he kept the talking short overall and got right back to the show, so it never seemed too preachy.


The band went thru many staples like “Beng Beng Beng” and “Dem Bobo.”  They also played a lot of newer tracks, which I’m sure will be on his upcoming album No Place For My Dream which is due out later this year.

Femi Kuti and The Positive Force are truly a fun and inspiring show to see live and I can’t wait to hear his new album. BAM!


Eric McFadden and his star-studded cast shred The Mint in LA

McFadden-and-FriendsBy Pete Mauch //

Eric McFadden //
The Mint – Los Angeles
January 16th, 2013 //

The Mint is hosting San Francisco native Eric McFadden every Wednesday this month, and I was fortunate enough to catch the most anticipated third Wednesday show in January. The evening’s All-Star lineup featured guitarist Nels Cline from Wilco and bassist Mike Watt from The Minutemen.

Eric McFadden is considered by many, especially his peers, to be a straight-up, bad-ass guitar virtuoso, and he showcased his many different skills on this night.


McFadden started things off with a couple solo songs with just him and an acoustic guitar, which he actually plays more like an electric. His playing is hard to pin-point because he can switch from a hard-rocking solo to a finger-picking flamenco jam. I particularly liked the second song he played called “Sister Maggie, Brother Sam”, which has a Western feel to it — almost to the point where it should be on the soundtrack for “Django Unchained”. McFadden has a very dark side to his songs, and this one definitely fits the category.

Throughout the night, McFadden would alternate his cast of All-Stars, but he started with Seth Ford-Young from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros on bass and studio drummer Curt Bisquera on the skins.


Also, the amazing Norton Wisdom was painting live on stage, which was truly amazing to see. He never stays with one painting, but instead just wipes it away and starts on a new one. He repeated this at least ten times and he truly added to the overall atmosphere, which was a little twisted.  


Staying with the theme, McFadden then covered “Blight”, which pleased the Widespread Panic fans in attendance. The song is a nod to his bandmate Dave Schools, who he plays with in the band Stockholm Syndrome.

Nels Cline and Mike Watt finally joined forces in the second set, and they absolutely rocked out. It got really loud and a little drowned out, but the fire between Cline and Watt is undeniable. They play in a supergroup together called Banyan with Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction and Wisdom, who paints at every show of theirs as well.


Mike Watt only stayed on stage for about t30 minutes, but he definitely made his presence known. Nels Cline stayed on stage for the majority of the second set, and he never disappoints. He is a master of the whammy bar, alternating his tone all while wailing away.
McFadden and company encored with “Maggot Brain” by Parliament Funkadelic. McFadden previously toured with P-Funk as their first mandolin player but later played guitar with the band.


It was one hell of a night out, and I can’t wait to do it all again next week when McFadden once again brings some amazing talent, including Steve Molitz of Particle, to the stage.

You can buy tickets here for the next Eric McFadden residency show on Wednesday, January 23rd at The Mint.

STS9 evolve time at The Fillmore Auditorium

STS9By Pete Mauch //

STS9 //
The Fillmore Auditorium – Denver
December 30th, 2012 //

STS9 continued their New Year’s Eve run, which they’ve dubbed “Time Within Evolving Living Vehicle Earth” (T.W.E.L.V.E.) in Denver, playing two sets of mind-melting material that pleased old and new fans alike. “Pulse” > “MOD” started off the night, and from the way STS9 delivered the opening sequence, the Denver crowd knew they were in for a treat.

Tribe then delivered two newer songs, “Golden Gate” and the title track off their newest EP When the Dust Settles. Both songs were executed perfectly. If older Tribe fans were getting a little worried that this was going be an all-new material set, a few songs later they dropped into a rare and downright awesome “Blu Mood”.

They dusted this gem off after a few years on the shelf, and in doing so, pleased many fans in attendance. The song drops into an atmospheric sounding “blu mood” that was full of blistering lead solos by guitarist Hunter Brown before the track leads to a more rhythmic tempo led by bassist David Murphy.


The second set started off with “Metameme”, which is a groove-oriented song that gives way to big breakdowns throughout. “Scheme Reprise” came next and is always welcomed in my set. It gets me amped up, especially when they busted out Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”. “Move My Peeps” clocked in around 10 minutes and definitely deserved a close listen, along with “Instantly,” which instantly became one of my favorite Tribe songs.

STS9 is truly on top of their craft in being a live electronic act with real instrumentation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw them in arenas soon. I sure hope they don’t, but they definitely deserve it.

Set I: Pulse, MOD, Golden Gate, When the Dust Settles, NIN Intro > Tooth, Blu Mood, Circus, Hidden Hand Hidden Fist, Rent

Set II: Metameme, Beyond Right Now, Scheme Reprise, Robot rock, Inspire Strikes Back, Move My Peeps, Shock Doctrine, Instantly, What Is Love?, Pulse

Encore: Equinox, Open E


Dragon Smoke unleash their fury at The Mint

Dragon SmokeBy Pete Mauch //

Dragon Smoke //
The Mint — Los Angeles
December 12th, 2012 //

New Orleans supergroup Dragon Smoke made their annual winter trip west, and they once again brought the heat to The Mint in LA. The band is Galactic’s rhythm section of Stanton Moore on drums and Robert Mercurio on bass and features Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk and New Orleans guitar staple Eric Lindell.


Dragon Smoke got things going early with a funky version of “Let a Woman be a Woman, Let a Man Be a Man”. This classic song originally by Dyke and The Blazers had the crowd dancing early in the set. Lindell and Neville shared vocal duties on most songs, and they are both excellent singers. Lindell has a very Southern soul sound to him that just reeks of New Orleans. Of course, Ivan Neville also has his soulful growl he delivers with great phrasing, as he did with the song “Out in the Country”.

As always, Moore and Mercurio were locked in tight. They seemed especially fired up for this concert. Moore did his signature “standing up and going apeshit on the drums”, while Mercurio head-bobbed his way through the groove. It was quite a treat to see this up close at The Mint.


The highlight of the night came deep in the second set and was a huge sandwich of “Slipping into Darkness” > “Fire on the Bayou” > “Fly Like an Eagle” >”Fire on the Bayou”  > “Slipping into Darkness.”  All of the songs were weaved in and out of each other effortlessly.


Lindell then had a soulful take on George Jones’s “She Thinks I Still Care” that was very moving. They ended the night with Billy Prestions “Will it Go Round in Circles” that was the perfect way to end the show.

A Soulful Good Time with Charles Bradley


Charles Bradley and The Menahan Street Band graced UCLA’s Royce Hall last Thursday night, and they treated the diverse crowd to an awe-inspiring show. The Menahan Street Band started things off with a short 30 minute set of groove-oriented jams that got the crowd geared up for “The Screaming Eagle of Soul.”


Charles Bradley was then introduced to the stage by his somersaulting keyboardist, who was also the emcee for the night. The Menahan guys broke into “Heartaches and Pain,” and the show never let up once the soul-legend in the making grabbed his mic. Bradley tells his story of hardship with such genuine passion. Then with little transition, he’s able to pivot to a funky dance song like “No Time for Dreaming.”



It was great to see such a diverse crowd at Royce Hall. I saw tattooed punkers singing along with fifty year old professors to “The World (Is Going Up In Flames).” Charles Bradley clearly has the power to bring together so many different walks of life.

"The Screaming Eagle of Soul" is a must-see artist.

“The Screaming Eagle of Soul” is a must-see artist.

There were numerous times when Bradley approached the audience toward the front of the stage to shake hands and give hugs to people in the crowd. After Bradley played an inspired version of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold,” where I found myself screaming out “God Bless You Charles Bradley,” he came right over to me and grabbed me, teary-eyed, and said “I see, I see you have a good soul.” I know this is part of his stage routine, but it was one of my musical highlights of the year. It was truly genuine.

Bradley then payed homage to his biggest influence, James Brown, and covered “Gonna Have a Funky Good Time,” which had the crowd dancing around ecstatically. Charles Bradley ended the night with “Why Is it So Hard,” which is the story of his life. It was a great way to end an incredible show.





Fortunate Youth bring their reggae stylings to Saint Rocke

By Pete Mauch //

Fortunate Youth played their annual Thanksgiving rager to their enthusiastic hometown crowd at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, Calif., last Wednesday. Before the concert, Showbams got to sit down with the South Bay reggae band at their practice studio. We talked about the early days, almost dying on the road, South Bay reggae and Rastafarianism.

Showbams: I know you guys were all from various reggae bands throughout the South Bay in Los Angeles, one of them being Rude Boy Roots. How did you guys end up joining forces?:

Fortunate Youth: It was Jared’s birthday, our manager, and we were just playing in the backyard, and we ended up kinda jamming all together, a free for all kinda thing, and we ended up opening for the Abyssinians about a week later. The band we were playing that show with, Rude Boy Roots, were actually practicing right in here, and the drummer and bass player decided to quit about a week before the Abyssinians show. So then we just had that show scheduled as Rude Boy Roots so we just decided to go jam on stage at Brixtons, and we opened for the Abyssinians. We were definitely better together. The next thing you know, we’re a six-piece.

Showbams: So, tell me a little bit about the South Bay Reggae scene? Where did it start? Who influenced you in the scene?

Fortunate Youth: I don’t know where it all started, but in the beginning in the South Bay I listened to Tomorrows Bad Seeds all the time. Started to listen to other bands throughout Southern California like Tribal Seeds from San Diego. And of course Slightly Stoopid. And there’s the old school bands like Ghetto Fabulosos. Travis and I listened to that one album of theirs non-stop in high school.

We listen to a lot of Motown and funk. We also really love People Under the Stairs. Hip-hop influences us a great deal.

Showbams: Do you have any crazy tour stories on the road?

Fortunate Youth: We almost died going to Denver. It was winter tour, like four o’clock in the morning. Dan was driving, and everyone was passed out. We hit some black ice and slid across the road back and forth. Luckily, there were no cars around us. We pretty much hit a couple spikes or reflectors. Travis went out after and the wheel well was on the wheel of the trailer, and he put it on bare handed and happened to be able to bend it back. We all looked around and realized there’s nothing we could do, so we just hopped back the van and kept going.

Showbams: The show must go on! Where has been your favorite place to play?

Fortunate Youth: We just got back from Costa Rica. That was our first time out of the country.

Showbams: That’s awesome. How did you set up shows in Costa Rica?

Fortunate Youth: Jared, our manager, set that all up. He just got in contact with other bands, doing show trades here and there. Thicker Than Thieves really helped us, and Monteverde radio did a great job promoting it.

Showbams: Were they cool venues?

Fortunate Youth: Yeah, they were all rad venues to be honest. One was right on the beach in Playa Hermosa called The Backyard. The most consistent beach break in the world.

Showbams: Did any of you guys paddle out?

Fortunate Youth: Yeah, Greg got out there and all the guys from Thicker than Thieves are from Hawaii so they charged.

Fortunate Youth: Well, it’s pretty much who was on what instrument at the time the song was written. I don’t want to learn a part on keyboard that Corey wrote just so I can stay on that instrument. It’s all pretty natural.

Showbams: Being a reggae band, do you feel like there is pressure to be Rastafarian or at least preach some rasta beliefs?

Fortunate Youth: When we first started out, we didn’t say “Alright, let’s start a reggae band.” We all just picked up instruments, and this is the music that came naturally. As far as Rastafarianism goes, we definitely believe in some of those teachings, but we don’t hold those beliefs. So, no, we don’t feel any pressure. We respect all religions, but we know roots music obviously stems from Rastafarianism.

Showbams: With all the recreational weed laws passing, Do you plan on making any tours to Colorado or Washington anytime soon? What’s your favorite strain?

Fortunate Youth: Lots of tours and OG Kush.

By Pete Mauch //

Fortunate Youth //
Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, CA
November 21st, 2012 //

Fortunate Youth came to Saint Rocke last Wednesday and played their annual Thanksgiving show to their enthusiastic hometown crowd.

This local reggae band does a great job of mixing classic roots music with surf rock reggae, and it was ever apparent last week. Sometimes “surf” reggae can be contrived and feel forced, but that is exactly what Fortunate Youth does not do. Fortunate Youth plays real roots music performed with great passion from each and every member of this South Bay band.

They wasted no time as they jumped right into “Jah Music”, which slowly builds into a raucous groove. Dan, the lead singer, sings with a graceful grit and his lyrics flow effortlessly. Throughout the night, Dan was very interactive with the crowd. If he wasn’t shaking hands with fans, he was throwing out goodies like lighters and rolling papers like he did during the song “Burn One.”

About halfway through the set, Fortunate Youth proved that they are relevant with the times as they busted out “Legalize It” by Peter Tosh. Since Colorado and Washington just passed recreational marijuana smoking laws, I thought this was quite a statement by the band. The band weaves in and out of songs seamlessly, which set a nice flow to their show.

Fortunate Youth finished the night very strong with “Love is the Most High” buried deep in the set. This song is a serious rocker and the crowd responded quite favorably. They closed the night off with “Sweet Love,” which has become their anthem, and it was a perfect ending. This song makes you reflect on yourself, and at the same time it makes you gyrate uncontrollably.

Fortunate Youth is climbing to the top of the So-Cal reggae scene, and I look forward to keeping a close eye on them as they continue on their journey upwards.

Help fund a new Jerry Garcia documentary

Written by Pete Mauch //

“Jerry: The Movie” is a feature-length documentary about legendary music icon Jerry Garcia directed by rock ‘n’ roll filmmaker Malcolm Leo. Leo’s credits include films on The Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Rolling Stone documentary “Twenty Years of Rock & Roll.” One of Leo’s most famous pieces of work, “This is Elvis”, the seminal documentary on “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, has been considered by many critics as one of the top 10 music documentaries of all time.

The film is being built around a never-before-seen 1987 interview Leo filmed with Garcia at the height of his charm, brilliance and success. Drawing from this intimate interview as well as photographs, home movies and concert footage, Leo creates a singular portrait of an American icon who graced our lives through music, art and the counter-culture of the 60’s. Garcia opens up his heart and describes to you the things he believed in, valued and loved.

Also joining the Leo/Hartmann Productions’ team is producer Aaron Godfred (whose last film “John Dies at the End” screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, Toronto, London and AFI film festivals), co-producer Justin Kreutzmann (son of Grateful Dead founding member Bill Kreutzmann) and associate producer Gina Podley.

We are funding the documentary on Kickstarter.com and are going to the one place where Garcia knew he could always find support: From Deadheads. We need as much help as we can get from fans like yourself.

Leo/Hartmann Productions has created an exciting Kickstarter rewards package that begins with having contributor’s names added to the list of supporters at jerrythemovie.com for a simple pledge of only $1. Other rewards include T-shirts, posters, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, box sets, tickets to private screenings and all the way up to an “Associate Producer” credit on the film. The Kickstarter program launches today and runs through December 22nd.

Watch a video of the story behind the project here, and you can check out the Kickstarter page at jerrythemovie.com. For more information about “Jerry: The Movie”, please contact Aaron Godfred at aaron@jerrythemovie.com or Gina Podley at gina@jerrythemovie.com.

Greensky Bluegrass throw down at The Mint

By Pete Mauch //

Greensky Bluegrass //
The Mint – Los Angeles
November 2nd, 2012 //

Greensky Bluegrass stormed into The Mint in LA on Friday and delivered a tasty set of foot-stompin’ originals and clever cover songs that you wouldn’t normally expect at a bluegrass show. There’s something special about this quintet from Kalamazoo, Michigan because you feel immediatly connected with them as if they’re playing on your back porch. Anders Beck, who plays the dobro, could easily be a comedian on the side. His banter in between songs is priceless. Greensky Bluegrass is a force to be reckoned with on the bluegrass scene, and they proved it once again at The Mint.

Freshly shaven Paul Hoffman on Mandolin delivers songs with great passion and skill. His mandolin playing is delicate yet his voice bellows out thoughtful lyrics. I particularly liked his playing on Greensky’s original “Old Barns.” This powerful tune evokes the feeling of listening to your grandfather telling stories about the good ol’ days, and Hoffman played it beautifully. One of my favorite songs, “All Four,” which is the last track off their newest album Handguns was also a highlight of the set. “I’d Probably Kill You” is fun little number that was sung by Dave Bruzza that is probably about an ex-girlfriend who drove him nuts, and it features a great mandolin solo by Hoffman.

Another great part of the band is their beautiful harmonies, which are well thought-out and add to their unique sound. Guitarist Dave Bruzza has a deep voice that compliments Hoffman’s softer tone. Bruzza was sporting a mullet leftover from Halloween night when they played an all 80’s cover show in San Francisco at The Independent. It seemed to fit right into the bluegrass scene and of course Anders had to point that out with his witty stage banter. Now, Beck may be a jokester, but when it comes to the Dobro he is very serious. His addition to the band just a few years back really adds great depth and texture.

One of my favorite parts of a Greensky Bluegrass’ show is their amazing choice of covers. Fresh off the Halloween covers show, I figured they had some new cuts that they wanted to share to this LA crowd. They ended the first set with “Second that Emotion”, originally by Smokey Robinson, and it was well-received. Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway” also made an appearance, much to the delight of this West LA crowd. Greensky even dared to take on Pink Floyd’s classic rocker “Time” in great bluegrass fashion, and they conquered it. Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” ended the night, and they rocked this classic tune out, and before I knew what hit me, the night was over. Greensky Bluegrass is the real deal, and their show guarantees a great night out on the town.

“You Can Call Me Al”:

“I’d Probably Kill You”:

Movember: Top 5 Musician Mustaches

By Pete Mauch //

Last week we posted this question on our Facebook page:

We got some great responses, and T.J. Rigney receives a Frank Zappa vinyl courtesy of Showbams for his comment:

The results are in, so here they are:


This founding member and original lead singer of the Grateful Dead rocked a proper ‘stache.


Badass. ‘Nuff Said.


Freddie is not quite the champion of mustaches in rock, but he’s damn close.


Crosby gets in at No. 2. Have you seen his stache lately??? It hasn’t changed.


This self-taught, eccentric rocker tops the chart for best mustache in rock history. Gotta love the ponytail taboot, too.

Honorable Mention: Prince, John Oates, Rick James, Lional Richie.

Like us on Facebook, comment on our weekly question, and you may win a prize!

Bob Dylan at the Hollywood Bowl … warts and all

By Pete Mauch //

Bob Dylan //
Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles
October 26th, 2012 //

Bob Dylan came to The Hollywood Bowl on Friday night and played a solid 15-song set that contained many raspy growls, bluesy harmonica solos and not-so-quiet sing-alongs. The 71-year-old living legend managed to put together a fine little show, despite having a frog in his throat the entire time on stage.

Any Dylan fan these days should know to expect the raspy voice, very little guitar playing and unusual song arrangements from his shows. Knowing this, I went in with an open mind and a sense of amazement that I was actually seeing Dylan. He has played the Bowl three times before this show, the first time being all the way back in 1965 when he was just 25 years old, back in 1965 was when he first plugged in and went full electric at the classic Newport Folk Festival.

He opened the show with the upbeat classic “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, which I’ve always loved, and it was a great way to get things rolling. Dylan traded off between his mic stand and his piano the entire night. Not once did he care to pic up a guitar, which I felt was odd, but he does have Charlie Sexton on guitar duty. I was glad to hear “Tangled Up in Blue” early in the set. It had a nice bluesy solo by Dylan on harmonica, which was well-received by the crowd.

Being the enigmatic figure that he is, Dylan didn’t make good use of the many big screens at the Bowl. Instead of focusing in on his playing or at least giving us different perspectives on the screen, all they showed was a zoomed-out view of the stage. I’ve been to many shows at the Bowl, and these screens really do help with the overall show experience, so I felt bad for the many fans in the upper tiers. Dylan and his band continued with a standout version of “The Levee’s Gonna Break”, as he growled to the crowd in his raspy voice, which by this time had cleared up a bit.

Dylan has done a decent job of switching up songs this tour, except for his finale, so I was glad to hear “Desolation Row” and the swirly rocker “Highway 61 Revisited.” Dylan’s four-song finale was quite fun, as it consisted of classics of “Ballad of Thin Man”, “Like a Rolling Stone”, “All Along the Watchtower” and the stripped-down encore featuring “Blowing in the Wind”. It’s quite impressive knowing he penned all these songs, and I feel privileged to have seen him perform them live. I also found it pretty amusing to watch people try and sing along with Dylan because his arrangements and vocal phrasing are very different today then they were in all his classic albums.

Dylan is arguably the greatest American songwriter of our generation. Go see him live … warts and all.

You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
To Ramona
Things Have Changed
Tangled Up in Blue
The Levee’s Gonna Break
To Make You Feel My Love (Billy Joel cover)
Cry a While
Desolation Row
Highway 61 Revisited
Love Sick
Thunder on the Mountain
Ballad of a Thin Man
Like a Rolling Stone
All Along the Watchtower

*Blowin’ in the Wind

Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen serves up a hot dish at Saint Rocke

By Pete Mauch //

Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen //
Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, CA
October 14th, 2012 //

Hermosa Beach played host to Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen at Saint Rocke on Sunday night and played a refreshing set of jazz fusion. Kreiger, who is known as the guitarist for The Doors, leads a group of All-Star musicians from various bands, such as Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention and War.

On this particular night, the band seemed really loose on stage like they were just jamming in their garage, but it stayed tight enough to bring the heat when it needed to. Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen includes Frank Zappa alumnus and Hammond B3 player Tommy Mars on keys, Arthur Barrow from Zappa’s band on bass, Larry Klimas from War on horns and Tom Brechtlein of Chick Corea fame on drums.

Going into this show, I figured the set would be heavy on Doors songs, but it was just the opposite. This band played an array of originals as well as a couple Frank Zappa songs that were quite unexpected, yet very welcomed. Mars on the Hammond B3 is quite the treat. He plays the Hammond very aggressively with a loose style that compliments this jazz ensemble.

Krieger’s guitar style hasn’t changed much since his days with The Doors. He still rocks out on his Gibson SG that he made famous many moons ago. And of course, his Flamenco style of playing is still heavy in the mix, especially when he brings his slide out.

I was very impressed with the band’s jazzy take on “Riders on the Storm” to close out the night. Krieger’s signature licks were shining on this version as were Tommy Marsas’ while he pounded away ever so gently on the Hammond.

I found it quite refreshing that a living legend like Krieger, who could very easily just cover Doors songs all night and get a bigger reaction, would create such new and delightful music that is relevant today. I applaude Robby Krieger’s Jazz Kitchen and give them the Showbams approval.

Steve Kimock Band at The Mint LA

The Steve Kimock Band came to LA on friday night and played to a packed house at The Mint. The Band, which features legendary keyboardist Bernie Worrell from Parliament Funkadelic and The Talking Heads, played a very eclectic set that weaved in & out of many genres with ease. Andy Hess and Wally Ingram are the backbone of this band, as they were seriously locked into each other all night. Andy Hess was laying deep bass grooves as Ingram kept things pretty loose behind the kit. There was also a live artist painting a beautiful chinese dragon that gave the show a nice vibe.

Steve Kimock Band really covers a lot of ground as they play so many different styles of music. One of my favorite moments of the night was a fun little reggae number that showcased Wally Ingram’s diverse style. Steve Kimock, with his arsenal of guitars, seems so relaxed on stage, even at the most climatic moments. I really enjoyed the band’s take on The Beatles “Come Together,” especially Kimock’s guitar work. They segued into a New Orleans-style song that had Bernie Worrell howling at the crowd like a street perfomer on Bourbon Street.

For the second set, the band invited a talented saxophone player to join them, which added great texture. This set was full of wailing guitar solos trading off with blistering sax leads followed by amazing organ work by Worrell. The highlight of the show for me was the cover of “Take Me to The River.” Originally by Al Green but made famous by The Talking Heads, Bernie Worrell showcased his vocals once again on this take. The Saxophonist and Worrell really shined on this song as they traded off solos with Kimock.

This is a really fun band to see and I hope Kimock keeps this outfit together, but I know it will be hard because Worrell is known to move on to different projects pretty regularly. The Steve Kimock band gets the Showbams approval.

Video of “Take Me to The River” Thanks to Tree Sister From PT