Posts Tagged ‘Steven Stock’

LIVE: The Tedeschi Trucks Band @ The Egg, 12/8/15

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
The Tedeschi Trucks Band

The Tedeschi Trucks Band

Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The twelve-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band ventured through a lot of territory in their well-received two-hour performance at The Egg’s Hart Theatre, covering songs made popular by Betty Harris, Bobby “Blue” Bland, the Box Tops, George Harrison and John Prine before sending everyone home happy with a rollicking version of the Coasters’ (or perhaps you prefer Ray Charles’ rendition?) nugget “Let’s Go Get Stoned.”

That disparate range of influences only begins to suggest this ensemble’s versatility. “Don’t Miss Me,” a rare carryover from the Derek Trucks Band repertoire, began as a conventional blues then suddenly veered left into Trout Mask Replica terrain. With three horns (saxophone, trumpet and trombone) and three backing vocalists, the overall sound of the group resembled an updated version of the Stax/Volt sound crossed with Joe Cocker’s early-’70 Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Cocker more or less poached the Mad Dogs from Leon Russell, but that didn’t prevent Russell (along with compatriots Rita Coolidge and Dave Mason) from joining Tedeschi Trucks in paying tribute to Cocker’s band earlier this year at the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia.

At The Egg, it was refreshing to witness two performers who built their sizable reputations as superb guitarists subordinate their egos to work effectively in a big-band context. On the lengthy coda to “I Want More,” Derek Trucks did get his licks in while engaging in lovely dialogue with Kofi Burbridge’s flute, a passage evocative of Traffic at its finest.

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LIVE: Shuggie Otis @ The Egg, 7/26/15

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

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Review by Steven Stock
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Shuggie Otis’ biography raises an intriguing question: how could a musician who achieved so much at such a young age end up being essentially blacklisted from the record industry for 39 years? Otis’ brief but occasionally dazzling performance at The Egg’s Lewis A. Swyer Theatre provided some clues but no definitive answers.

Born on November 30, 1953, Johnny Alexander Veliotes Jr. first strummed a guitar at age two and within ten years was backing his father at club gigs, donning dark glasses and a moustache to avoid being booted by club owners eager to keep their liquor licenses. Dad Johnny Otis was a fixture on the West Coast R&B circuit, as a bandleader, disc jockey and impresario. The senior Otis is himself a fascinating figure, a Greek who said he was “black by persuasion.”

Shuggie (a derivative of sugar coined by his black/Filipino mother) was all of 15 when Al Kooper recruited him to play on Kooper’s second super session record, filling the shoes of Steven Stills and Mike Bloomfield. Frank Zappa invited Otis to play bass on “Peaches en Regalia” from 1969’s classic Hot Rats LP. This quickly led to a contract with CBS/Epic and a strong debut album in 1970, Here Comes Shuggie Otis. Guitar Player magazine quoted B.B. King calling Shuggie his “favorite new guitarist.” Soon Otis was playing with luminaries such as Richard Berry, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Etta James, Louis Jordan and Eddie Vinson.

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On Lou: An Uneasy Appreciation

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Lou Reed

By Steven Stock

Peggy might charitably be termed an unreliable narrator, so what follows may or may not be true. The details lend a certain verisimilitude, but Peggy was notorious for inventing details. For all I know she wasn’t even there – as a minor, she certainly shouldn’t have been, but bouncers often found her very persuasive. Anyway, it’s just a story.

May 1978 – perhaps the 15th, the nights are still chilly. Lou Reed is holding court backstage at the Bottom Line. Not in his dressing room (which is either too cramped or simply sacrosanct, hence off limits to the hoi polloi), but in an improvised reception area with five or six picked-over deli trays and three last bottles of Heineken standing sentinel in a vast silver tub. The crushed ice had turned to tepid Croton water hours ago.

Lou is perched on a gray metal folding chair, legs crossed, hunched over and intently studying his cigarette while everyone else studies him. Peggy never sees him take even a single puff – the Marlboro’s sole purpose is to generate ash that Lou nonchalantly flicks on the beer-stained carpet, like a naughty boy daring anyone to offer an ashtray. This being Manhattan, no one is unhip enough to do so, even though there must have been half-a-dozen ashtrays within easy reach.

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LIVE: Shonen Knife @ Mt. Sabattis Pavilion, 7/28/12

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Review by Steven Stock

With joyous children dancing and scampering about and a regal black labrador calmly surveying the festivities, Shonen Knife’s outdoor concert at the Mt. Sabattis Pavilion in bucolic Long Lake last Saturday felt more like a particularly hip wedding reception than a punk rock concert.

Chicago-based brother/sister duo White Mystery took the stage first with a brief but intense blast of stripped-down punk/blues boogie, as an intermittently rainy day gave way to bursts of glorious sunshine. The weather had cleared completely by the time Shonen Knife – three effervescent ladies from Osaka, Japan – took over, expressing their appreciation for the beautiful setting before launching into “Riding On The Rocket.”

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