Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

Show #285: David Bowie in Madison

January 24th, 2016


bowie74 Show #285: David Bowie in Madison
(Photo found at this gallery.)

When David Bowie died a couple of weeks ago I was surprised by the outpouring of sadness. I suppose I shouldn’t have been but the number of article and comments about the man and his influence was really startling. People wrote about how much his music influenced them and their own musical ambitions; about how Bowie’s mercurial sexuality made others feel more comfortable with themselves as gay or bi or transgendered or whatever; while others simply wrote about how much they loved his music and his parade of personas. It seemed that despite not having had a hid or much media exposure for some time, the guy’s music and influence pervaded the lives of people of all ages.

Truth be known, I am not nor have I ever been much of a Bowie fan. I’ve never held any enmity towards the man or his legacy, I’ve just never been enamored of his music. However, I do think “Heroes” is a great song and I like some Tin Machine. And I liked him in Labyrinth and the Twin Peaks. The guy was certainly not untalented. Perhaps it was all those singles from Let’s Dance that put some kind of block in my head.

Regardless, the guy was a legend and hugely influential. And so I am posting his show from here in Madison on 11 October 1974. From what I can tell, this was his one and only performance here.

It took place on 11 October 1974 at the Dane County Coliseum. While not a great recording, it is passable. I believe that this recording has had some hiss reduction applied to it that the version up on YouTube does not.

Setlist:
Memory Of A Free Festival
Rebel Rebel
John I’m Only Dancing (Again)
Sorrow
Changes
1984
Moonage Daydream
Rock’n'Roll With Me
The Jean Genie
Diamond Dogs
Young Americans
Can You Hear Me?
It’s Gonna Be Me
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Suffragette City
Rock’n'Roll Suicide

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David Bowie

YouTube has some live Bowie from September 1974 apparently recorded at the Universal Amphitheatre in L.A. The poster notes that it is the live footage from a documentary called Cracked Actor.

Show #284: R.I.P. Lemmy

January 21st, 2016


lemmy78 Show #284: R.I.P. Lemmy
(Photo by ~It’s_me!.)

A little over three weeks ago Lemmy passed away. He was 70.

I first encountered him, like lots of folks, via Motörhead, the band he lead starting in mid-1975 until his death. It took a while but I eventually learned that he had been a member of Hawkwind in the first half of the 70s. I went out and bought Hall of the Mountain Grill and loved it.

Lemmy was renowned for leading a rock’n'roll lifestyle of booze and drugs along with the ubiquitous cigarette. Motörhead hadn’t had much popular success, at least not here in the States, in a while yet he kept plugging away playing the music he wanted as trends came and went. The band were arguably proto-thrash with Metallica covering several of their songs.

For me Lemmy was just one of those great characters of rock music and I’m sorry that he’s gone.

This is Motörhead live on 3 June 1977 at the Birmingham Town Hall in – you guessed it – Birmingham, UK. This was billed as a soundboard but sounds like an audience recording. Regardless, it is really nice.

Setlist:
Motörhead
Vibrator
Keep Us On The Road
The Watcher
Iron Horse
Leaving Here
On Parole
I’m Your Witch Doctor
Train Kept A-Rollin’
City Kids
White Line Fever

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Motörhead

My introduction to Motörhead was on The Young Ones University Challenge episode. Here’s the band’s performance.

Show #283: Noura Mint Seymali

January 16th, 2016


nms Show #283: Noura Mint Seymali
(Photo by Roland Owsnitzki.)

Last autumn I received an email out of the blue from an old friend. I’ve written about him previously as he and I aided and abetted his decent into Genesis madness back in the mid-80s. This led to the pair of us starting to collect bootlegs, the fruits of this hobby being realized decades later at this very blog. While our initial emails includes tales of just where we are in our lives these days, music has been the subject of the bulk of our correspondence.

In one email he noted that he was heavily into world music and singled out Noura Mint Seymali as his current favorite world artist. “She has a funky band put together by an American drummer,” my friend noted. I found some videos of her on YouTube and was immediately impressed by the funky back beats and Seymali’s voice.

She hails from Mauritania and, quite frankly, I am uniquely unqualified to discuss Mauritanian music. What I can say with some degree of certainty is that her band here consists of her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly on guitar, bassist Ousmane Touré, and that American drummer, Matthew Tinari. Because of the instrumentation, the music is easy on Western ears. Chighaly processes his guitar sound most of the time – sounds like a phase pedal or something similar to my ears – which gives it a sound that is a bit psychedelic and a bit exotic or non-Western.

I’m sure there is someone out there who can discourse on Seymali’s music and singing styles, on how they combine various North African traditions and so on. That person is most definitely not me. Just listen because this is a fantastic show.

This concert was recorded at Kantine Berghain in Berlin on 19 August 2015 and broadcast on the radio so the fidelity here is quite good.

Setlist:
Ya Demb
Ghizlane
Hebebeb
Richa
El Madi
Tzenni
El Mougelmen
El Barmmin

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Noura Mint Seymali

This is the video that got me hooked. It’s “Tzenni”, the title track of her most recent album, and was recorded at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY on 29 April 2015.

Show #282: Torres

January 16th, 2016


torres Show #282: Torres

Tonight is night two of the 2016 edition of FRZN Fest here in Madison at the High Noon Saloon. However, I am posting a show by someone who played last night – Torres.

Torres is the pseudonym for Mackenzie Scott, a young woman who lives in Nashville, from what I can tell. I am completely unfamiliar with her music beyond this show which, from what I’ve heard so far, ranges from ambient synth to heavy droning guitar that reminds me of Mogwai to alternapop. I must also admit that she has a powerful and emotive voice.

This is Torres’ set from last fall when she was opening for Garbage. It took place on 17 October at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.

Setlist:
Mother Earth, Father God
New Skin
Cowboy Guilt
Sprinter
Honey
Strange Hellos

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Torres

This is Torres doing “Sprinter”, the title track of her most recent album, from this very night in Chicago.

Show #281: All Them Witches

January 15th, 2016


atw2015 Show #281: All Them Witches
(Photo found here.)

As I type the 2016 FRZN Fest is underway at the High Noon Saloon. The winter festival is now in its fifth year of trying to lure folks out of their homes to brave the cold.

I’ve never been and most of the bands are completely foreign to me. I played music trivia at the High Noon earlier this week (and we took first place, I don’t mind telling you) where FRZN Fest artists were played as we endeavored to come up with the correct answers. And so I’ve sought out the bands in this year’s line-up and come up with a couple shows.

I found a show by All Them Witches who hail from Nashville. The band is:

Robby Staebler – drums
Michael Park, Jr. – bass, vocals, guitar
Ben McLeod – guitar
Allan Van Cleave – keyboards

While I have not yet listened to this entire show, I have heard a couple songs and the band has a heavy psych-rock sound – very 60s sounding. So far, so good.

This is their show from last month on the 3rd. It was at the Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a very good audience recording. Sadly, there are people chatting near the recorder but it’s not too distracting.

Setlist:
Mountain
The Marriage of Coyote Woman
The Death of Coyote Woman
Call Me Star
Open Passageways
Dirt Preachers
Blood and Sand/Milk and Endless Waters
Charles William
Swallowed by the Sea
Funeral For a Great Drunken Bird
When God Comes Back

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All Them Witches

Here are the band on 21 October of last year out in Pomona, California performing “Blood and Sand / Milk and Endless Waters”.

Show #280: Pieces of Hackett

January 2nd, 2016

It is tradition here at Up the Downstair to begin every new year with a show by Genesis or a related artist whether it be a solo concert by a former member or a tribute to the band. I don’t recall every starting the year with a Steve Hackett show and, since I saw him last month, I am going to post one of his performances.


sh2010 06 29 Show #280: Pieces of Hackett
(Photo by Ben Fenner.)

I’d seen Hackett prior to his concert in South Milwaukee last month but it was a solo acoustic show back in 2005 at Shank Hall in Milwaukee. And so I was excited to see him electric with a full band. He did not disappoint.

Without making this into a review of last month’s concert, I do want to point out that the first set was his solo material while the second was all Genesis. Hackett, of all former band members, has been the most unafraid to incorporate the band’s music into his solo gigs. Indeed, he has revisited his work with Genesis on two albums which feature reworked versions of classic 70s tunes. On the other hand, Hackett unapologetically featured several songs from his most recent album, Wolflight, in South Milwaukee.

He takes a similar approach here. This concert is from 29 June 2010 at the Park West in Chicago, Illinois. About half the show is comprised of songs from the then-current Out of the Tunnel’s Mouth while the other half features solo tunes from the 70s and a couple Genesis songs. This is a relatively short performance as Hackett was sharing the bill with Renaissance. But it is a really nice audience recording.

Setlist:

Everyday
Emerald and Ash
Fire on the Moon
Ace of Wands
Spectral Mornings
Sleepers
Still Waters
Los Endos
Firth of Fifth

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Steve Hackett

This show was captured on video and I think it’s all on YouTube. This is “Every Day”, a song I was thrilled to finally hear live. The guitar solo sent chills down my spine. One of his best.



Show #279: Melt Banana @ High Noon Saloon

September 1st, 2015


meltbanana mad15 Show #279: Melt Banana @ High Noon Saloon

Japan’s Melt Banana swung through Madison earlier this summer for a gig at the High Noon Saloon.

I first heard of them a few years ago and they were referred to as being a punk band but, after listening to this performance, it’s quite obvious that they’re much more than that. There’s punk to be had here – just listen to their hardcore take on Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” – but there’s also thrash, noise rock, industrial, melodic pop, and other sub-genres unbeknownst to me thrown in for good measure.

The band was formed in 1992 by singer Yasuko Onuki who soon recruited guitarist Ichirou Agata to the cause. They apparently had a bass player at some point and have performed with a whole host of drummers. However, this summer’s tour featured only Onuki and Agata with bass and drum duties given over to a laptop. I’d imagine that there are certain limitations when your rhythm section is a MacBook but Melt Banana don’t seem particularly interested in improvisation. Instead they are keen to pack their short, concise songs with as much maniacal energy as they can.

Here they are from the High Noon Saloon here in Madison on 15 July.

Setlist:
Feedback Deficiency
Lie Lied Lies
Lefty Dog (Run, Caper, Run)
Chain-Shot to Have Some Fun
The Hive
Vertigo Game
Cat Brain Land
Monkey Man
Uncontrollable Urge
Cracked Plaster Cast
Schemes of the Tails
Halo of Sorrow
Infection Defective
My Missing Link
Candy Gun
Blank Page of the Blind

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Melt Banana

Here’s the band doing a couple of cover songs about two weeks after their Madison show out in Long Beach, California on 30 July. “Monkey Man” by oots & the Maytals is followed by “Uncontrollable Urge”.

Show #278: For My Brother – Santana at the Shiny, New World Music Theatre

August 27th, 2015


bro santana tix Show #278: For My Brother – Santana at the Shiny, New World Music Theatre

My brother passed away back in the spring and I am posting some shows that he attended as well as shows by bands that he liked but for which he did not leave behind a ticket stub.

When my brother saw Santana at the World Music Theatre in the summer of 1990, the amphitheater was all shiny and new. From what I’ve been able to glean from the Interwebs, the first show at the new venue was less than three months earlier on 2 June when Cher graced the stage. The venue has hosted countless bands since then and undergone four or five name changes as well.


bro santana Show #278: For My Brother – Santana at the Shiny, New World Music Theatre

I never knew my brother to be a big Santana fan. It’s not that he disliked them, mind you, it’s just that I don’t recall him having any of their albums. Perhaps he went along with friends to party while having no great affinity for the band. Or he genuinely liked their music. I’ll never know.

Looking at the ticket stub, I recalled that I was starting college that fall and that I had moved into my dorm room a day or two before this concert. If memory serves I spent this night at a house party on the 600 block of West Dayton and it got busted by the police. I walked out unscathed and I recall a friend exiting a basement window and headed for the Howard Johnson (now the DobleTree) pool.

And what about Santana in 1990? This was nine years before Supernatural and its ubiquitous hit single “Smooth”. The band and its namesake, Carlos Santana, were legends at the time, of course, they were, as I remember it, a nostalgia act. Classic rock radio would play “Black Magic Woman” and “Oyo Como Va” while their newer material was generally avoided. The most recent bout of Top 20 fame of theirs that I can recall was “Winning” from their 1981 album Zebop! which was on the radio frequently.

At the time of this concert Santana were out in support of the album Spirits Dancing in the Flesh which had been released a couple months previously. I remember finding the album in the collection of a girlfriend of mine a couple years later but I can’t say that I recall ever listening to it. To the band’s credit, they play six of the ten tracks on the album here instead of simply relying on the old hits.

The concert was broadcast on the radio by WXRT in Chicago. Credit must go to the person who converted this from the original recording as she or he did a good job of getting rid of the announcers.

Setlist:
Angels All Around Us >Spirits Dancing in the Flesh
The Healer
It’s a Jungle Out There
Somewhere in Heaven
Batuka >Nobody That I Can Depend On
Gypsy woman
Just a Jam > drums & bass > Solo bass >
We Don’t Have To Wait > Walfredo De Los Reyes> Benny Rietveld
Black Magic Woman > Gypsy Queen > Oyo como Va
Mandela
Goodness & Mercy
Choose
She’s Not There
Toussaint l’Overture
E:
Soul Sacrifice
Peace on Earth/Mother Earth/Third Stone from the Sun
Europa > Jingo

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Santana

I couldn’t find much live Santana from 1990 on YouTube but there was this clip of the band on The Today Show doing “Spirits Dancing in the Flesh”.



Show #277: For My Brother – From Chicago to Copenhagen

August 9th, 2015

My brother passed away back in the spring and I am posting some shows that he attended as well as shows by bands that he liked but for which he did not leave behind a ticket stub.


nakedraygun89 Show #277: For My Brother   From Chicago to Copenhagen

I found a ticket stub for the Naked Raygun show at the Riviera on 9 September 1989 amongst my brother’s possessions. Although I was unable to find a recording of that particular show I was able to find a nice audience recording of a gig in the spring of that year from Copenhagen.

Truth be told I am not a big Naked Raygun fan. I don’t dislike them by any means, I just find them to be alright, basically. My brother, on the other hand, loved them. In addition to a ticket stub he also had several of their albums on vinyl. They are certainly the first band that comes to mind when I think of the Chicago punk scene. I hope I don’t come across as damning with faint praise or any such thing because that’s not my intention. Naked Raygun were just a band that my brother was into much more than myself.

Anyway, let’s get to the music.

This performance was recorded on 24 May 1989 in front of a bunch of Danes at the Barbue in Copenhagen. It’s really much better than “nice” – this is indeed a great recording.

Setlist:
Live Wire
Soldier’s Requiem
The Strip
Hips Swingin’
Coldbringer
Dog At Large
Never Follow
I Remember
Peacemaker
Treason
The Mule
?
Surf Combat
Vanilla Blue
?
Backlash Jack
I Don’t Know
Ever Fallen in Love
Rat Patrol

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Naked Raygun

Here’s the band from Austria in 1989. This must be shortly before or after the Copenhagen gig as I presume that Naked Raygun weren’t doing multiple European tours in a single year. But stranger things have happened, I guess.



Show #276: The Fish Has Left the Building

June 29th, 2015


yes 2014 live Show #276: The Fish Has Left the Building
(Photo found here.)

It was incredibly disheartening to find out yesterday morning that Chris Squire had passed away Saturday night from leukemia. He was only 67 and he leaves behind a very young daughter. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to lose a parent when you are six or seven years old. Someone pointed out at a forum just how cruel Fate is: John Entwhistle died on the same date back in 2002. 27 June is just not a good day for bass players.

I never met the man but came close back in 2002 after the Yes show in Milwaukee. Squire seemed the most convivial and eager to sign autographs. He was always the rock star of the band – the least New Age-y and most ready to have a cocktail. My friends and I had really nice seats for that show and I will never forget Squire prancing around with his Rickenbacker. The neck seemed to go on forever and it was really neat to see just how he played “Roundabout” right before my very eyes. Plus he was the one who really hammed it up onstage, especially during “The Fish”.

As a listener, it was Squire who demonstrated to me that the bass could be a melodic instrument. That chewy, spongy tone was up high in the mix and usually heard playing its own melody in contrast to the one everyone else was churning out. The bass was a lead instrument in his hands. And then there was his backing vocals. Squire’s voice was a defining element of Yes’ sound. After Drama his bass may have been further down in the mix and Jon Anderson may have come and gone, but Squire’s tenor shone through. It was the beam from a musical lighthouse letting the listener know that it was Yes they were hearing wherever the bass may be and whoever is singing lead.

No doubt Squire influenced scores of musicians. Geddy Lee, Steve Harris, and Les Claypool seem the obvious ones. Tributes have been posted online from other proggers such as Steve Hackett, Pete Trawavas and John Petrucci but also from folks like Geezer Butler, Brian May, Tom Morello, and Robert Trujillo. Umphrey’s McGee covered “Roundabout” last night in Squire’s honor. Dereck Higgins has a really nice tribute up on YouTube.

And so to commemorate the great musical legacy of Chris Squire, I am posting Yes’ show from their stop here in Madison last year. It was at the Overture Center and the date was 25 July. I was at this show and have my criticisms of it but I’ll leave those for another day.

Sestlist:

Siberian Khatru
And You and I
Close to the Edge
Believe Again
The Game
Roundabout
Cans and Brahms
We Have Heaven
South Side of the Sky
Five Per Cent for Nothing
Long Distance Runaround
The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)
Mood for a Day
Heart of the Sunrise
Encore:
I’ve Seen All Good People
Owner of a Lonely Heart

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Yes

I could find no video from this particular show online but I did find “The Fish” from Yes’ show in Houston a couple of weeks later. Squire always seemed to be the one to show off and it was fun to have him up on the stage playing with his bass god reputation.


rip squire Show #276: The Fish Has Left the Building
(Photo by Matt Apps taken at the Madison gig.)

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