As October rolled on, it brought with it my semi-annual musical vacation. On October 16th, I found myself on a cross-country flight from Sea-Tac to JFK, Seattle to New York City, for yet another Outlaw Roadshow at the Bowery Electric. It had been way too long since the last one, seven months ago during SXSW in Austin, and I was more than ready for a few days of non stop music. This year the showcase had been expanded to three days, a day more then both Austin and last year's New York showcase. The line up over the three days included 30 bands, some I didn't know, but also several of whom I had seen at past Roadshows, who over the last year and a half have become not only some of my favorite bands, but also friends, and some of my most favorite people. Ryan Spaulding and Adam Duritz chose 30 remarkable bands this time around. The line-up at these shows just keeps getting better and better.
|Daniel and the Lion|
The next band I saw was Chicago's Fort Francis. I had missed their set at the Outlaw Roadshow in Austin, but over the last couple months had become a big fan of their song City By The Sea, so I was looking forward to seeing their set. Although they didn't play that song that night, their set was fantastic. From start to finish I was so into their sound I don't think I moved from where I stood. While their sound is modern, they also have a distinctively classic sound, akin to singer/songwriter bands from the 70s (the Eagles come to mind)
|Golden Bloom Outlaw sing-a-long|
I caught a couple songs from Doctor Gasp's set that first night. He was highly entertaining. Doctor Gasp brought Halloween rock to the Bowery Electric that night. Dressed in costume with Halloween decorations on the stage, Doctor Gasp sang songs fitting with the spooky time of year, about vampires and other such ghouls. If you're having a Halloween party and need some new music for it, check out his new record Vampire Fish for Two.
Later on that night I caught the set from Austin's Nakia. If any of you watched The Voice, you may know Nakia from season 1, but I know him as the singer who totally blew the roof off The Bowery Electric that night. Nakia's voice is as big as he is. The soul and feeling behind it shines in full force when he opens his mouth. Before that night I hadn't really listened to Nakia's music, but now I'm a fan. He's also a super nice guy. Just check out his new EP, Down in the Crimson Tide and you'll see exactly what I mean. His song Dream Big is absolutely beautiful, and his cover of George Michael's I Want Your Sex was the best thing ever.
After Nakia was a set from Philly's Toy Soldiers. Their fierce blend of rock fueled country, with a twist of soulful bluesy-ness, set fire to what was left of the club after Nakia blew the roof off. The band has been labeled by USA Today as one of the “Top Bands to Watch in 2013,” and after their set, I can totally see why. After listening through their new record, The Maybe Boys, this band is one that I intend to keep an eye on.
The set not only included classic Crow's favorites, such as Goodnight Elizabeth, A Long December, Hospital, Richard Manuel is Dead, Friend of the Devil and Blues Run the Game, but also three NEW, yes kids, new Counting Crows songs, Scarecrow, God of Ocean Times and Cover up the Sun. These new songs are brilliant. According to Adam, they're planning on going into the studio in December, with a new record hopefully out sometime next year. This is very exciting. Though really, I think the best part of their set was Rain King. Adam inviting fellow Outlaws up to the stage to sing with them, and were joined by members of Daniel and the Lion, Golden Bloom, Nakia, and Matt Sucich. In typical Crow's fashion, Adam dropped down in the middle of the song and inserted another, this time it was a song everyone knew, a song everyone learned growing up, the classic American folk song Oh Susanna. Having the whole room singing along, not only to Rain King, but then also to Oh Susanna was a mind blowing experience. I could feel the energy in the room, everyone was singing, everyone was having a good time. It's moments like this that change your life.
(watch the video here. Do it. I'll wait. It's worth it, I promise:)
**Keep scrolling, there's more after the giant pictures**
|Adam & Dan|
|Immy & Charlie|
|Shawn Fogel, Matt Sucich, Immy|
|Daniel Pingrey, Dan, Jimmie Linville, Adam, Dan McMahon, Nakia|
The last band on day 2 was Jessie Malin, who is actually one of the owners of the Bowery Electric. He was backed with a full band that night, playing songs from his extensive catalog. Jessie Malin has been a staple in the New York music scene for decades, starting out playing CGBG when he was just 12 years old. I had no idea who Jessie Malin was coming into this show, but the audience sure did. I think there may have been just as many people there for him as there were for the Counting Crows the night before, if not more, really. Malin was so full of energy, and put on a good show. Some of his music was just a little much for me, leaning too much to the punk persuasion, but as a showman he was great. It was a great way to end the night, that's for sure.
The third and final day of the Outlaw Roadshow NYC was opened by Eddie Japan. I'm not exactly sure what genre to put Eddie Japan into. They are rock and roll for sure, Ryan Spaulding calls them "cinematic rock". Listening to them play you definitely feel like you're listening to a movie soundtrack, like an old west movie, or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, when they're driving through the desert. In the near future I intend to get their record and listen to them more, I really enjoyed their set.
Fields (who were playing a set later than afternoon, which sadly I missed) was one of the most beautiful things I'd heard in a long time. His songs were folky, told stories; all around goodness really. Listening to his Daytrotter session I'm reminded of John Denver, or Cat Stevens, only better.
After Boom Forest was the second set of the week from Golden Bloom. But since I talked about that earlier, I won't go much into that, except to say that I really love Golden Bloom and you should too. Check out their music, it's all really, really good.
|Dan Nicklin of OldJack|
Downstairs The Field Effect was finishing up their last song. Though I missed nearly all of their set, what I heard was an incendiary example of Boston rock and roll. After their set Ryan Spaulding thanked and acknowledged all those involved in The Outlaw Roadshow, and then it was time for final hugs, thank you's and goodbyes.
That wasn't the end of my whirlwind musical vacation; there was one more show. I walked a few block away to the Living Room, where Little Brave was playing a solo show in their upstairs lounge. She had played bass with K Philips & The Concho Pearls the night before, and as Little Brave is one of my favorite singers/songwriters, and also a friend, I had to go see her play. The show was just Steph (Little Brave) and her baritone ukulele, but that's when she is at her best. After the show Little Brave, K, Tim & Candyce Slusher and I all had one last NYC dinner, then I caught a cab to the airport for my early morning flight home.
To quote Trampled By Turtles song Widower's Heart, "New York was a rough place that treated me well."
It really was an amazing week, an amazing experience. For those involved, The Outlaw Roadshow is more than just a music showcase; it's become a family, an ever expanding family, growing with every showcase. I really love that I have become part of the family. I have had a hard year, and I truly don't know where I'd be if I didn't have all of this. I'm not one that generally gets mushy or sappy or anything, but I will say that I do feel blessed that The Outlaw Roadshow, and all the people, bands and friends I've found along the way are in my life. I can hardly wait to do it all again in just five months. See you all in Austin.
For another recap of the week, check out my friend Katie's blog:
And now for time more pictures.
|Me & Adam Duritz|
|Me & Shawn Fogel (doing "the Duritz")|
|Pete Simon, Me, Shawn Brewster, Michel Kinsella (Oldboy)|
|Me with Oldboy & Ryan Spaulding|