Friday, April 21, 2006

The Patchouli Grammys

Peter Frampton and his talking guitar... uh, Woodstock folkie Richie Havens, jazz legends McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea... People who are dead? An heir named Dweezil, one of the unnamed Marley kids... Oh, um, people capitalizing on old careers? The Dude abiding, the Rhythm Devils, tap dancer Savion Glover... uh, Blues Traveler. I don't know, people that have never been in my kitchen? Joe Satriani, exaggerated beanpole Manute Bol... PEOPLE ON STAGE AT THE JAMMYS!

Dun, nuh-na-nuh-na-nuh-nuh-na-nuh, dun, nuh-na-nuh-na-nuh-nuh-na-nuh.

Regardless of how the lineup looks on paper, I'm not sure I'll ever miss this show again. The Jammy Awards are all about the interesting mash-ups and clever collaborations, and the ceremonial festivities certainly did not disappoint. And I mean, seriously, any time Manute Bol shows up to give an award for anything other than Tallest Jamband, it's gotta be a good time.

Richie Havens opened the show with a percussion world band called Mutaytor, flanked by freaky dancers, hula hoopers and a two-man Chinese Dragon. Welcome to the Jammys, ya hippies, here's some Burning Man action to make you feel at home here at the Theatre @ Madison Square Garden. Sadly, regretfully, Havens played no longer than five minutes, but he left the stage only after winning the hearts of a late-arriving and very subdued crowd.

Jamband leach DJ Logic joined Blues Traveler and a Dionne Farris-esque Betty Someone for a few tunes, including Magic Carpet Ride. Decent set, though instantly forgettable.

Dual hosts and former Dead drummers Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart then introduced an awesome segment: McCoy Tyner, Bela Fleck & The Fleckstones and Savion Glover. Tyner didn't solo or lead nearly enough, but in 20 minutes it's hard to get everyone playing time. I'm sure the former Coltrane bandmate felt comfortable on stage, though, with Flecktone Jeff Coffin playing more notes than any sax player I've seen live. Damn, these guys were just fun to watch, and they played so well together.

Widespread Panic took home an award for Best Live Album after that, and we were informed the members of WSP had won free Vonage service for life. Wait, what? Why did they announce that? What about us, why don't we get it? Fucking Schools gets free Vonage for life and we don't? How's that fair? Can you even picture Schools on a house phone? This is bullshit, I says.

The only thing that cured my righteous indignation was the next segment: uber-fellated guitar hero Joe Satriani, stool-sitter Steve Kimock and Jammy winner for Most Likely to Give the Audience a Boner, Grace Potter. Man, this chick has pipes (and bazooms). Sexual harassment aside, she was the breakout star of the show as far as I'm concerned. Potter played keys on and sang Cortez the Killer (!) with Satriani and Kimock trading licks, the first real "Hey, wow, this is a cool gig" of the night. Well, that's not true. But for the sake of this paragraph, it is.

After accepting a lifetime achievement award for his old man, Dweezil Zappa and Napoleon Murphy Brock dug up the Frank Zappa shit from out the back of the attic and put on a great set with his music. I was skeptical, but they really pulled it off. Former Miles man Chick Corea sat in on keys for a little bit, but the real highlight was Jake Cinninger from Umphreys, who came out to trade solos with Dweezil. The two went back and forth, and eventually the dueling solos led to a fairly serious prog-rock orgiastic climax.

After that, the crowd started to get to its feet. Until then, the energy was missing from the room, and one of the dudes in my party was actually asked to sit down. Zappa woke everyone up, and it was time for Frampton to take over. Guster played one of their tunes with the Brit in tow, and when I say it was the lowlight of the night, I'm understating it. But they then brought out Martin Sexton and the ensemble kicked in to Do You Feel Like We Do? Thank the gods, because if Frampton hadn't played it, there may have been a non-nitrous-related hippie riot. Here's a fuzzy YouTube video of the pre-talkbox Frampton jam. And here's the talkbox in action, sans title phrase. What a performance, seriously.

moe. and Made Professor followed, with moe. proving once again their might in the so-called jam genre. moe. is really "it" right now. To me, they're the only band out there that can carry any semblence of a torch from the VT Boys. Every time I see them they put on a sick show, and last night's abbreviated set was no different. First they covered The Clash's Guns of Brixton, then broke into a sick Buster, and their set may have been the real no-gimmicks musical highlight of the evening.

A 40-minute Rhythm Devils set followed, featuring the former Dead drummers, Phish bassist Mike Cactus Gordon, members of Mutaytor and a slew of other unshowered ne'er-do-wells. How 'bout some Jingo, some Aiko Aiko and some Voodoo Chile? How 'bout some African vocalists, more drums than you know what to do with? I didn't know if I were completely stoned or if it seemed like this went on forever, but I could have watched four hours of this and been okay. Mickey's also a Grade-A putz, so that's fun as hell to watch. Here's a YouTube video of the end of Jingo...

Mickey then followed with one of the dumbest moments I've seen at an awards ceremony. Mickey begins to give this passionate speech about how our biggest threat isn't Iran and Iraq, or this shitty administration, it's global warming. Global warming is reeeeal, man. And there's a great movie coming out, you all should go see's called, um, well, I don't remember the name of it, but go see it, Al Gore made it. Pretty classic stuff right there. I wish I recorded that.

But then he introduced the finale act, Little Feat. Fannntastic. Like last year's MMW set, Little Feat was joined by a ton of people, most notably some stoned looking Marley kids. Bela came out, the Dead guys, Kimock, Satriani, Charlie Musselwhite and the singers, there had to have been 25 people on stage (like the Rhythm Devils set, which had 24 at one point). A few Marley tunes and a Dixie Chicken later, the show ended and everyone went home happy. Here's a YouTube video of Little Feat, the Marley kid, Billy and Mickey jammin' on Jammin'.

Long live the Jammys...always worth every penny of admission.


(This post can also be seen on Slack LaLane)


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