Posts Tagged ‘The Egg’

A Few Minutes With… Paul Nelson of the Johnny Winter Band

Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Paul Nelson and Johnny Winter (photo: Greg Olliver)

Paul Nelson and Johnny Winter (photo: Greg Olliver)

Interview and story by Don Wilcock

“He wasn’t just playing it. He was living it.” That’s the way Paul Nelson remembers Johnny Winter. Nelson was Winter’s lead guitarist, band leader, songwriter, album producer and perhaps most importantly, the man who brought the albino blues rocker back from the brink of a lifestyle that threatened to kill him a decade ago. Winter finally succumbed to pneumonia on July 16.

“I made my first records when I was 15,” says Winter in the film documentary, “Down & Dirty: The Johnny Winter Story.” I started playing clubs when I was 15, started drinking and smoking when I was 15, sex when I was 15. Fifteen was a big year for me.”

That documentary will open the Johnny Winter Remembrance Concert on Saturday evening (November 1) at The Egg. This show headlines Johnny’s band under Nelson’s direction with guest guitarists Sonny Landreth, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Debbie Davies, all blues-based artists who, like Winter, know how to put a kick into blues guitar.

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LIVE: Robin Trower @ The Egg, 10/21/14

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Robin Trower

Robin Trower

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Robin Trower isn’t the “British Jimi Hendrix.” He’s his own man. He derived his distinctive guitar sound on his own. Yes, there were early influences; but who alone without influence has created something, anything, on their very own? Very few, if any.

In the jazz world the credit always goes to Charlie Parker for creating the “modern jazz sound.” However, not many know that Sonny Stitt was mining the same avenues of jazz progressions, chords and music as “Bird” did before the sound became mainstream. When the public caught on – slowly at first – to the be-bop message of Parker and his cohorts, Stitt was left holding the bag and pointing to several recordings of his that had evolved that sound during the same time, if not earlier, then Charlie Parker did. Stitt is now practically forgotten, but Parker’s inventive legacy lives on.

The same goes for Robin Trower…

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LIVE: Brett Dennen @ The Egg, 10/18/14

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Brett Dennon

Brett Dennon

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Pop singer-songwriter Brett Dennen went back to basics for his latest album, Smoke and Mirrors, so it was no surprise that the supporting tour, which made a stop at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre last weekend, was in the same vein – a solo acoustic concert. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, the red-head from northern California sported musical influences ranging from Paul Simon to Tom Petty to Neil Young, and the fans in the theater were enthusiastic, to say the least.

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LIVE: Richard Thompson @ The Egg, 10/12/14

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson

Review by Erin Harkes
Photographs by Rudy Lu

I would never listen to Richard Thompson on Pandora or Spotify. I would probably end up being insulted by whomever they pick to be similar music. Because in my opinion, nothing compares to Richard Thompson.

As a professional musician, I never take a night off of work. No ‘vacation leave’ or ‘sick time’ when you’re self employed. But when Richard Thompson comes to town, I am there.

For his solo concert at The Egg last Saturday evening, he started softly with “Stony Ground” and “The Ghost of You Walks” before blasting us with “Valerie” in a manner that would make you think the concert was over – it was an encore caliber rendition. “Saving the Good Stuff For You” is one of his newer songs yet is reminiscent of a traditional Irish tune. It was my first time hearing it, and yet I was singing it to myself later that night.

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LIVE: Hugh Masekela & Vusi Mahlasela @ The Egg, 10/7/14

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Hugh Masekela blowing the flugelhorn while Vusi Mahla  strums the guitar

Hugh Masekela blowing the flugelhorn while Vusi Mahlasela strums the guitar

Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Veteran jazz trumpeter-vocalist Hugh Masekela teamed up with guitarist-vocalist Vusi “The Voice” Mahlasela at The Egg recently for a celebratory concert to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Of course, Masekela played his classic 1968 jazz/R&B hit, “Grazin’ in the Grass,” but if that was your only point of reference you were in for a sublime treat. Mahlaseha utilized his magnificent, versatile voice on solo numbers, as well as in tandem with Masekela and a top-notch band fueled by bassist Bakithi Kumalo, who played on Paul Simon’s landmark album, Graceland.

Many of the songs weren’t sung in English, but no translation was required, as the music rang out loud and clear about freedom, determination and forgiveness.

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LIVE: Marc Broussard @ The Egg, 10/4/14

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Mingo Fishtrap jamming on percussion

Mingo Fishtrap jamming on percussion

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Marc Broussard may have been the headliner, but this was really a super triple-bill at The Egg. Solo opener Andy Suzuki had the audience eating out of his hand with several audience participation numbers from his singer-songwriter grab-bag of tunes. He would have made a splash at a venue like Caffe Lena, but here he was serenading sever hundred people with his strong mix of covers and originals.

Up next Mingo Fishtrap literally floored the audience with their second-line entrance upon the stage and powerhouse delivery thereafter. By the second song they had the audience dancing in their seats and aisles, and they kept them there throughout their all-to-brief 45-minute set. Talk about New Orleans funk, classic rock, Motown soul and whatever else – Mingo Fishtrap had it down in spades and then some.

The question by the second intermission was whether Marc Broussard could follow the explosive aggregation. Well, he could, and he did!

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LIVE: Chris Isaak @ The Egg, 9/16/14

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Chris Isaak

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Resplendent in a flashy, royal blue, sequin-spangled suit, crooner Chris Isaak explained to the nearly sold-out crowd at The Egg’s Hart Theatre, “If you see someone wearing a suit like this, you’re either going to see some figure skating… or some semi-professional entertainment.”

His self-deprecating kidding aside, Isaak didn’t lace up any skates. And the entertainment level was way above the semi-pro level. It was, in fact, like a rock ‘n’ roll show from some bygone era, as slick as his signature pompadour, but never so overly polished that it got in the way of some great music.

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LIVE: Billy Cobham’s Spectrum 40 Band @ The Egg, 8/30/14

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
Billy Cobham

Billy Cobham

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Billy Cobham established himself as one of the prime architects of the jazz-rock fusion sound as the drummer with such bands as Dreams (featuring the Brecker Brothers), Miles Davis (on his classic 1970 “A Tribute to Jack Johnson” album) and the high-flying Mahavishnu Orchestra. Melding jazz sensibilities and rock aggression, Cobham struck the perfect balance.

Now 70 years old, does Cobham still have the right stuff? Oh yes, indeed, he does. In concert in front of a nearly packed house at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre recently, he deftly walked the tightrope between explosive power and exacting precision.

He was leading his Spectrum 40 Band, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Spectrum, his groundbreaking 1973 solo album debut, but Cobham wasn’t content to merely throw together a “tribute band” for a routine retrospective run through Spectrum in its entirity. Oh no. In fact, he and the band were nearly a half hour into their show before they launched into their first selection from Spectrum, a muscular, funky strut through “Stratus,” which showcased the thrumming bass pulse of Ric Fierabracci, the angular, glitch ‘n’ pop attack of keyboardist Gary Husband and the seismic guitar freak-out of Dean Brown.

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