Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Time I Met Gordon Gano Before The Violent Femmes Hacked My Brain Apart.

Thursday night, I was treated to the concert experience of a lifetime when the Violent Femmes made up for a Rain Soaked Summerstage show and completely blew my mind. Known to be Wisconsin's greatest non-cheese import, the Femmes brought a booming setlist that included their entire debut album just in time to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of its release. Every Day Another Song was there in the middle of a death sentenced Roseland Ballroom, as these guys showed why they are firmly regarded as one of the top Alternative Rock acts of all time. 

Lead singer Gordon Gano's gritty, angst drenched words suggest a painful and often overtly sexual vulnerability that has connected with decades of listeners. His physically small but lyrically powerful presence was flanked by fellow original member Brian Ritchie, who may have given the single greatest bass performance I have witnessed in my career. Ritchie spent most of the punishing a full sized acoustic bass, shredding solos with a mastery on par with some of history's greatest axemen. A recent falling out with their original drummer Victor DeLorenzo meant his spot was filled by Brian Viglione of Dresden Dolls fame. Viglione never missed a beat (pun intended) on this unique Tranceaphone, a minimal drumkit which is played fully standing and features some sort of metal washbasket upside-down over a tom. The cavalry came in the form of a full compliment of horn players that included a personal favorite of mine, The Bogmen's Brendan Ryan who also chipped in on the keys and accordion. The evening nothing short of magical and even crossed the border into absurdity when I even was able to meet and talk with Gordon before the show.
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As previously mentioned, the guys tore through a set which featured their whole eponymous first offering as well as some of their more country and bluegrass influenced cuts from Hallowed Ground, 3 and Why Do Birds Sing. They even played "Color Me Once" their obscure contribution to The Crow soundtrack. This night will probably go down as my favorite show of the year and ranks up there with some of the best concerts I have ever seen in my life. I was sad to see most of the youtube recordings have garbage sound, so I have shared a personal favorite video which dates back to 1983 to a local Milwaukee TV show where they play the heck out of one of my absolute favorites. They don't tour often so if they EVER come to your town for any reason, pay however much money it costs and go, they just plain old don't make 'em like this anymore.

Violent Femmes - Prove My Love

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

LONG LIVE THE YELLOW DOGS! (Updated with Donation and Benefit Info!)

Obviously I wish it were under better circumstances, but my interview with one of my favorite NYC bands, The Yellow Dogs, went viral after brothers Looloosh and Arash (second and third from the left respectively) were murdered by a fellow Iranian musician early yesterday morning. Obviously I didn't choose the headline, but I'm sure you know how that goes. I only hope I was able to further the reach and legacy of their music. You can read it in its entirety from

UPDATE: The surviving Yellow Dogs have since released a statement and set up a fund to help offset the costs associated with this tragedy. My sources are even telling me that there will be a Benefit Concert to help gather additional support the band.


The Yellow Dogs - Molly