Jim James, The Claypool Lennon Delirium take us on a psych-rock roller coaster at The Wiltern

Jim James


Jim James

By Josh Herwitt //

Jim James & The Claypool Lennon Delirium with Uni //
The Wiltern – Los Angeles
July 3rd, 2019 //

Ever since he launched his solo career more than five years ago, Jim James has been trying to bring people closer together.

The frontman and primary songwriter of My Morning Jacket frequently preaches peace, love and equality on and off the stage, but at a time when technology continues to dominate our way of life and our political divides grow bigger by the day, unity has become a challenging proposition to achieve no matter how famous or popular you are — unless you’re Oprah.

It’s not for a lack of effort from James (born James Edward Olliges Jr.), though.

Claypool Lennon Delirium


Claypool Lennon Delirium

The Louisville native remains steadfast in his commitment to doing and saying the right things, whether it’s helping to get out the vote or raising awareness and funds around a number of important environmental, climate and humanitarian issues.

Because when James sings “No use waiting and wondering why / Better get together while we still got time” on his third solo album Uniform Distortion that dropped last year, it’s a message that many of us could learn from. After all, actions speak louder than words, and a songwriter with as much talent, insight and creativity as James certainly knows that.

Embarking on a 33-date North American tour that included festival stops at Shaky Knees and Bonnaroo in support of the 11-track LP, the 41-year-old multi-hyphenate was back in LA — the city he now calls home since moving there in 2016 — on the eve of Independence Day for only one night at the always-beautiful Wiltern. The last time we caught James in the City of Angels, he was headlining another historic SoCal venue just a few miles down Olympic Blvd. after the release of his second solo effort Eternally Even. And boy, was that a lot of fun at the Orpheum Theatre as celebrity fanboys like Christopher Mintz-Plasse (aka “McLovin” from the 2007 film “Superbad”) showed their appreciation for one of rock’s last remaining guitar heroes.

Jim James


Jim James

But things were a little different for this occasion, in large part because James would be billed as a co-headliner alongside his psychedelic counterparts in The Claypool Lennon Delirium for much of the tour. Even so, with Primus bassist and lead singer Les Claypool being a legend in his own right and guitarist/vocalist Sean Lennon conceived by a couple himself, we had quite the pairing for a Wednesday affair. Heck, the duo even covered Pink Floyd, King Crimson and The Beatles among cuts off 2016’s Monolith of Phobos and its stellar follow-up South of Reality that arrived in February. So if you like psych rock with an extra dose of weird, then these guys are probably for you.

That said, one could argue fairly easily that James’ songs are a bit more accessible than The CLD’s, and with that in mind, it wasn’t hard at all to understand why the man who has also put out music under the pseudonym Yim Yames assumed the closing duties for this tour. It became even more evident once James took the stage, shredding his way through tracks on Uniform Distortion like “Over and Over” and “You Get to Rome” before going to an acoustic guitar for “A New Life” from 2013’s Regions of Light and Sound of God. James would end up performing almost all of Uniform Distortion, but the real standouts of the show were in fact slightly altered versions of the Marvin Gaye-inspired “Here in Spirit” and the ever-haunting “Same Old Lie” to close what felt like a roller-coaster set full of peaks and valleys — and of course, plenty of screeches and squeals emanating from his Gibson ES-335, too.

James didn’t break for long before beginning a three-song encore with one from My Morning Jacket’s catalog in “I’m Amazed” and then dueting with Amo Amo’s Lovell Femme on “Of the Mother Again”. While it may have been somewhat predictable for him to offer us “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” as a parting gift, it wasn’t as if it came unwanted. If anything, it was a strong reminder of how powerful music can be as a unifying force and a gateway to a more positive and promising future, especially with someone like James serving as a guiding light.

JIM JAMES

Setlist:
Over and Over
You Get to Rome
A New Life
Out of Time
Just a Fool
Throwback
No Secrets
Here in Spirit
No Use Waiting
All in Your Head
The World’s Smiling Now
Yes to Everything
Same Old Lie

Encore:
I’m Amazed (My Morning Jacket song)
Of the Mother Again (with Amo Amo lead singer Lovell Femme)
State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)

THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM

Setlist:
Astronomy Domine (Pink Floyd cover)
Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons / Movement II, Too the Moon
Little Fishes
Cricket and the Genie (Movement I, The Delirium)
Cricket and the Genie (Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket)
South of Reality
The Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson cover)
Easily Charmed by Fools
Boomerang Baby
Breath of a Salesman
Cricket Chronicles Revisited: Part 1, Ask Your Doctor – Part 2, Psyde Effects
Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles cover)
Third Rock From the Sun

Temples’ take on modern psych-rock is both exciting & sloppy

Temples-12Photos by Justin Yee // Written by Scotland Miller //

Temples with Wampire and Fever The Ghost //
The Fillmore – San Francisco
September 24th, 2014 //

There is no denying the fact that the early 1960’s had a remarkable effect on the sound of modern rock ‘n’ roll. The music from back then has a quality to it that just feels right. Imagine if you took a band like The Animals or The Moody Blues and smashed them together with the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Well guess what? It has actually happened, and they are called Temples.

The four English lads that make up Temples played The Fillmore last Wednesday night and brought with them an echo of what the City used to be like, when LSD was popped like Jelly Beans and the colorful oil-and-water stage projections were cutting edge. The house was by no means packed, but that’s no surprise as these guys are not only foreigners, but they are also just cutting their teeth after releasing their first album, Sun Structures, earlier in the year.

Temples

Moments of the show were bursting and oozing with incredible feelings of flying through the air on the back of the mighty Pegasus, brushing the mountain tops of some distant, snow-covered range, while other moments were slow and sloppy, with wobbly and muddled vocals that sounded like the singer had marshmallows in his mouth. They did, however, succeed in truly embracing their genre and stretching out a few of their songs with some brilliant psychedelic jamming.

Temples offered up an acid-flashback evening of flower-power rock ‘n’ roll with a splash of straight up heavy. Their old-skool take on modern psych-rock is exciting and shows promise for more good music to come.

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”: