Also, check out, if you will, the poster for March 13th's Shakti World Music Festival at the Vollrath Tavern. Between Mumbai Taxi, Kwanzaa Pops and the Indiana Reggae Band, and the Playboy Psychonauts, I think we have quite a few continents and islands covered. Or, at least, a brief shore leave or layover. In any case, that's the name and we're going with it. We're really looking forward the show (and the fascinating conversations we inevitably have with the Vollrath's neighbors when the sitar comes out), so hopefully you'll be able to make it.
And, if course, if you can't make it, there's always Robot Unicorn Attack. Seriously, I can't get enough of this game, and it makes me want to buy a copy of Erasure's greatest hits. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
Last weekend in Chicago provided some fruitful bass moments, including the following instances:
- A fantastic show from Mehsell Ndegeocello - The Old Town School of Folk Music was a wonderfully intimate venue for the show, and Ndegeocello responded with some amazing songs. Highlights included a delicate bass-and-guitar reading of "Talk To Me" from her debut album, her covers of "Dirty Mind" and "Love You Down," and aggressive takes on material from her new album "Devil's Halo." I caught the second of two sets, and I can only think the first set warmed her band up for an exceptional second effort.
- A magnificently brutal show from Mastodon and Dethklok at the Aragon Ballroom - The bands seemed to respond to that night's videotaping of the shows to put on a singular display of force and precision. Mastodon played their latest album front to back and then tossed in some of their later material. Dethklok balanced their songs with the requisite animated skits to create a multi-layered experience. It was metal that was at once expertly played and self-aware of some of the cliches in the genre. They didn't take it too seriously - they just went out and played it well.
- The purchases of a new Bass Blogger distortion pedal and a Nordstrand MusicMan pickup - The pedal has an unfortunate name, but I can't argue with the fuzz sound I get out of it. And I'll report back on the pickup once it's installed in my Stingray, but I'm looking forward to some really good things. Bass Club Chicago was a great host and let me try a few pedals before deciding the Bass Blogger was the pedal for me. Thanks, folks!
- Not quite a bass moment, but the Propellerheads Producer's Conference was a good time and a valuable way to pick up some tricks and tips on using Record.
Aside from a creepy hotel, the whole trip was a smashing success. Now to get back to playing with the new toys.
There would have been more bass this weekend if I could have gotten into the Cincinnati Bass Cellar - unfortunately, it's by appointment, and I didn't have one. As it was, I did get to play around with a couple 8-strings at a music store near the University of Cincinnati for a bit, which was fun. I usually don't find one, but they had an Ibanez and Travis Bean right there. I was down there for Midpoint Music Festival, which had some interesting talk and good performances available for all. Nice work!
Sunday concluded with Marcus Miller at the Indy Jazz Fest, and the sound and performance was amazing - both inspiring and humbling.
I'm also finalizing plans for a "basscation" in Chicago in a couple weeks, including shows by Meshell Ndegeocello and Dethklok and a stop at the Chicago bass-related music stores. Any suggestions?
The first? A veritable avalanche of Metalocalypse-related goodness. The video game and the longer episodes are intriguing but puzzling - can they sustain the brutal goodness over more time and different media? The new season and album are solid guarantees, though. And the tour promises an intriguing combination with an as-yet-unnamed partner. Bryan Beller (live bassist) promises they will crush.
Second, Propellerheads' Record software is in open beta, and it sounds great so far. I'll write more on my experience later, but I've come up with some interesting tracks with it, and it's quite easy to work with. Combine it with Reason, and I dig it much.
Finally, there's this Ropeadope sampler. I enjoyed a lot of their early releases from DJ Logic and the like, but the new crop sounds pretty good, too. Give it a shot - it's free.
There are a couple shows coming up in Illinois that I may have to make spectacular work and driving arrangements to catch. Unfortunately, they're both on the same day, so that narrows it down quite a bit. November 13th has both Meshell NDegeocello playing at the Chicago House of Blues and the non-animated, touring version of Dethklok playing in Carbondale. I wouldn't normally be too impressed at the latter, except that the touring version features Mike Keanelly and Bryan Beller, two EXTREMELY impressive musicians that will no doubt have all kinds of fun playing big metal song instead of their usual highly technical, Zappa-esque fare.
The Ndegeocello show promises to be a little different than the last one I saw in Chicago, in that she probably won't leave the stage when confronted with fans expecting her more funky vocal tunes instead of the fusion jazz she was touring at the time. So that's a must-see.
In any case, they're both on a Tuesday, which means at least a day-and-a-half of travel time, 'cause I can't make that drive, come back, and still be functional in the morning. Feh.