Monday, June 1, 2009

Max the Dead Buffalo

***** THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, 2009 - VOLUME 54 *****

Friday, May 29, 2009
Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine

Bill Kreutzmann - Drums
Scott Murawski - Guitar (Max Creek)
James "Hutch" Hutchinson - Bass (Bonnie Raitt)
Tara Nevins - Electric Violin, Acoustic Guitar & Washboard (Donna the Buffalo)

1st Set: Louisiana Sun Franklin's Tower, If You Only Could,
Thunder, Rhymes
In The Midnight Hour, Alabama Getaway

Set 2: He's Gone Yellow Moon Eyes Of The World
Tore Up Over You, Peggy-O, Murderland

Encore: Scarlet Begonias

New lineup, new tour for BK3 a.k.a. the Bill Kreutzmann Trio. Well, sort of a new lineup. Returning is Scott Murawski, from Andover, Massachusetts and of the band Max Creek. Oteil Burbridge, of the Allman Brothers Band, he was on bass last time; now we have, from Bonnie Raitt's band and from Somerville, Mass, James "Hutch" Hutchinson. Throw in A Guy Named Bill on drums and there's the 3. But wait, there's more! Special Guest along for the ride, playing an assortment of instruments and providing lead vocals on a few songs, is Tara Nevins from the New York band Donna The Buffalo.

This show is the first stop on this mini-tour and things gets started with a rendition of Max Creek's Louisiana Sun. The Franklin's that follows really gets the show underway. Tara's electric violin gives this song a sounds I've never heard it have before. She sears that sucker, man. (Can violins be seared?) Her couple of solos are sweet and in no way meant to play the part of Jerry Garcia... or even Warren Haynes. The first time I listened to this I was kinda sorta blown away by this version... and even thought it to be better than from the recent tour by The Dead.

If You Only Could is a Tara Nevins original that her band Donna The Buffalo plays. It's not bad, slows things down a little. Following that, Billy gets to display a bit of an animalistic side on Thunder. I've not found confirmation of this but Thunder might be a Robert Hunter penned tune specifically for this new project of his friend Mr. Kreutzmann. At over 19 minutes, there's a lot of room to play here and James "Hutch" Hutchinson has his first moments in the spotlight. Anyone familiar with Oteil Burbridge in this band might want to make a comparison seein' as how Oteil is an absolutely outstanding bass player, but Hutch does alright. We also get to hear, I believe, some of that washboard playin' from Ms. Nevins. Interesting.

Al Green makes an appearance in what's become a Kreutzmann Trio standard -- Rhymes. That makes a smooth segue into the oh so familiar Midnight Hour, sung this time, I'm pretty sure, by Hutch, his debut here on lead vocals. It's a brief and not very rockin' version but a crowd-pleaser to be sure.

I've never heard Alabama Getaway sung by the female species but that's what closes out the first set. Murawski does a nice job on guitar here, playin' Jerry but not playin' Jerry, playing the song but not playing Warren playing Jerry. Scott's really doing his own thing which really makes me appreciate this a lot more than by The Dead... but there I go again comparin' which really ain't fair. In any case, it is such a brief spin on the song but quite rockin'.

Tara's acoustic geetar makes a nice appearance in He's Gone to start Set 2. She's also once again on lead vocals but I'm not sure the crowd is lovin' this band's take on this beloved and now very important Grateful Dead song. It's strong... but it's not. It's nice... just not having a huge effect on me. Perhaps not the best tune to kick off the second set. Murawski's definitely (nearly) playing Jerry here but it's one of those songs that seems like there's no choice but to.

When that winds down they stroll into the Neville Brothers' Yellow Moon. Their stroll isn't a short one by any means -- they jam this out for a solid 14 minutes. More great bass playing here from Hutch. Very John Kahn-like. Murawski on guitar is at times just non-stop here. I love the way this just wanders. Fantastic fevered jamming especially at the end before the quick wrap up and left turn into those first few notes that so many Deadheads know so well and hold so dear to their hearts -- Eyes of The World. Who needs Jerry & Phil? Okay, so the vocals aren't quite the same, and the songs doesn't really have a Grateful Dead feel exactly, but once Tara starts in with her violin, and then backup vocals, we have a truly unique version. While mostly everything in the song is familiar,
I think what's most GD about this is Billy's drumming. There's no Mickey but close your eyes and focus on the drums alone and it's the Grateful Dead. Ha, I know drums alone doesn't make the Dead but sink yourself into it and you're there on a warm summer night with Billy backing up Jerry. Ha, no, there's no Jerry here but it's imaginationland. No Jerry but there is a lot more of Tara on violin. Wow. So cool. Maybe overall it's not a beautifully put together rendition but it's an interesting place they head off to after the last of the lyrics. Starting with Hutch's bass solo at that point, it could probably be called Eyes-> Jam. They don't head off into any Grateful Dead-like spacey jamland type of place but it's out there in another corner of the galaxy nonetheless.

Eventually they wind down and begin their intro to Tore Up. Conciseness takes over but it's enjoyable enough before Tara takes Peggy-O for a spin which is sweet but some of the crowd would rather chat away. How rude!

The Robert Hunter-penned Murderland is probably better in the 1st Set but it does feature a bunch of sweet bass. There's a striking contrast from that to Bertha. With more violin here, and perfectly played I must say. If this tour was longer than just practically a handful of shows, this would get to a point where it's absolutely smokin'. What potential. This isn't blistering hot, it doesn't hit those Jerry highs, even has a brief moment of sloppiness, but it's boogieingly danceable, without a doubt. Fun, fun stuff to finish the set.

Mega-GD favorite Scarlet is the encore and they do it justice. It's to the point, for the most part, but with just enough room to have a little fun. I've gotta say, think I like Murawski better than Warren here. This is way cool, the band's mostly in perfect sync with one another and they're able to turn in a jammin', rockin' Scarlet encore.

A final note -- the 4½ stars I give the Audio Quality should speak for itself. Huge thanks to the taper for getting a great recording of this show!

ARCHIVE HEADPHONESBilly Kreutzmann stuff, as of June 1, 2009,
is not @ the Live Music Archive
Download The Show Here

Audio Quality:
Lineage: AKG c480b/ck63 > V3 analog > R-4 BMT-Mod(24/48) >
Wave > Soundforge 9.0(Fade,Track,Resample,Dither 16/44.1) > Flac
by Ted Gakidis
5/29/09 - Part 1Part 2 - 5/29/09
BK3 - May 29, 2009 - Part 3
5-29-09 aka 05-29-09 aka 5/29/09 aka 05/29/09 aka 09-05-29 Portland, Maine

Bill Kreutzmann formerly of some band called the Grateful Dead? [copyright unknown]

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Thank you for posting this show. I heard a live performance of the bk3 on gd radio channel on sirius and I couldn't wait to hear more. I think the show has an organic sound throughout and the addition of the violin really helps that. Franklin's Tower is a great example of a tune where the violin really takes the jam to the next level. Contrary to your review, I think that the He's Gone in the second set is a new and interesting reading of a gd classic. I also really love their versions of eyes and bertha. These were the first two songs I heard by this group, and they definitely drew me in. Thank you for a great blog with lots of interesting tunes. I am downloading the jg duane allman bob weir radio appearance and I cannot wait to hear it. I have been looking for this one for a long time.

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated