Monday, December 27, 2004

Splendidzine Review of Known Unknown

Vernon Reid, perhaps best known as the guitarist from Living Colour, lends his considerable talents to this "debut" from Masque, a fusion trio on Steve Vai's Favored Nations label. It's Reid's invitation to shine: he spearheads almost a dozen freewheeling and free-ranging tracks, from reverb-heavy blues ballads ("Flatbush and Church") to post-psychedelia that would sound at home on an Urge album ("The Slouch" and the title track), if the Urge were still relevant (were they ever?). The blistering riffs typically associated with Reid come through on nearly every track, including a clever update of Thelonius Monk's "Brilliant Corners", whose piano-and-drums intermission provides us with some much-needed breathing room. Reid sails through the disc with confidence and an Eddie Van Halen-like knack for attacking each note and squeezing the life out of every riff, though he wisely shows more restraint in knowing when and when not to showboat, especially on an album where he's sharing the marquee.

Masque -- Leon Greenbaum on keys, Hank Schroy on bass and Marlon Browden on drums -- prove without a doubt that they're capable of holding their own against Reid, manning the modal experiments on the natty "Outskirts" and the frenzied jam of "Down and Out in Kigali and Freetown". Echoes of Miles Davis, along with Steve Vai himself, abound. The guest spots by DJ Logic on "Voodoo Pimp Stroll" and the astounding "X the Unknown" come closest to fulfilling my own personal hopes for the disc -- farther down the funk and dub trail than anything else -- but the album works just as well. Known Unknown seems to change colors every time I hear it, forever pulsing and yet cool to the touch, something I can appreciate without being fully immersed in it. Then again, the patented Vernon Reid guitar squall may be best observed from a distance, so as to not catch fire from the flames licking the strings.

Audio Portraits of Vernon Reid from ASCAP

talking about Front End Lifter

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Yohimbe Brothers January 2005 Tour Dates

Thursday, Jan. 13 @ Tritone - Philadelphia, PA Virtuos Tickets
Friday, Jan. 14 Downtown Farmingdale, LI Ticketmaster
Saturday, Jan. 15 Tribeca Rock, NYC musictoday TICKETS

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Setlist from Warren Haynes Xmas Jam - 12/18/04

01 Cult Of Personality
02 Middle Man
03 Glamour Boys
04 Funny Vibe
05 Sacred Ground
06 Open Letter (To A Landlord)
07 Flying
08 Elvis Is Dead
09 Love Rears It's Ugly Head
10 Crosstown Traffic

Monday, December 20, 2004

Dec 21, 2004
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the Living Colour reunion @ CBGB's. Click on this link to see the poster, (courtesy of Will Calhoun's site.) Here's a review from that show.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Vernon and Doug backstage @ Rockpalast.

Random Living Colour and TM Stevens pics from Rockpalast.

01. Type
02. In Your Name
03. Funny Wipe
04. A ? Of When
05. Middleman
06. Sacred Ground
07. Memories Can't Wait
08. Terrorism
09. Go Away
10. Ignorance Is Bliss
11. Flying
12. Drum Solo
13. Open Letter To A Landlord
14. Time's Up
15. Glamour Boys
16. Cult Of Personality
Warren Haynes Christmas Jam

Saturday, December 18th, 2004

Living Colour performs at the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in North Carolina at the Asheville Civic Center Arena. Other artists confirmed for the show include Galactic, Gov't Mule, Little Feat, Neville Brothers, Audley Freed, Kevn Kinney and Edwin McCain. This charitable event benefits Habitat For Humanity.

Tickets can be purchased @ Ticketmaster.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Yohimbe Brothers 2005 Tour Dates (so far)
Thursday, Jan. 13 @ Tritone - Philadelphia, PA
Friday, Jan. 14 Downtown Farmingdale, LI Ticketmaster
Saturday, Jan. 15 Tribeca Rock, NYC musictoday TICKETS

April 1, Banlieues Bleues Festival, France

according to
Vernon Reid
Sun, 10/02/05 Urbana, IL @ Univ. Of Illinois

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Eye Review - The Tao of Yo, Yohimbe Brothers

The Tao of Yo Thirsty Ear/Outside

Yohimbe is touted as a cure for male sexual dysfunction, and 2002's Front End Lifter, Brothers Vernon Reid and DJ Logic's first opus, was indeed a potent mixture of grooves. Two years later, their follow-up retains the host of guest stars, off-the-wall ideas and wacked-out improv, although its effects on the lower body are less pronounced. The Brothers trade in irreverent innuendo for socio-political rants, and engage in some musical wankery that bogs down the funk. The best material, such as the Le-Tigre-goes-to-Cuba opener "Shine for Me," features poet Latasha Natasha Diggs. The Tao is all about balancing the yin and the yang, and in this case, it's no surprise a woman saves the day. MD

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Yohimbe Brothers @ The North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA 2/22/03 (old Live REVIEW)

listen to Yohimbe Bros

The Yohimbe Brothers are a peek at what a wide variety of possibilities music has. Shows like this have to be seen. Really the review is so you go experience them live. Their main sound element is percussion, with DJ Logic on the turntables, Deantoni Parks on drums, and Jared Nickerson on bass. Each helps expand the sound and carrying on the Jam. This is some "shake your body" music, It's a powerhouse of rhythm. The sound has you jamming along and then WHAM! Your spun 360's in another good direction. It sure wasn't hard to let the funky Hip-Hop influence take my legs on a ride. Sure there's a DJ, involved here, but there's also Vernon Reid on guitar.

I love the North Star Bar because it brings such a wonderful "at your own home", feel to all music. The sound is superb and the crowd interacts directly with the musicians as opposed to security. I arrived at 9ish knowing that the Yohimbe Bros wouldn't be on for a bit. Two beers and a nice chat about DJ Logic later. The Yohimbe Bros took the stage. I was positioned in the attic (as I like to call it). It's a second floor balcony level that when standing against the railing places you about 7 feet above the heads of the performers looking right down on them. DJ Logic ripped out a nasty little beat combined with the bass and we were off on an evening of soul shaking or at least ass shaking grooves. I never had the opportunity to see Vernon Reid play live with Living Color, but from what I heard of his first few mean rips on the Guitar, I should have. He would float in and out of the beats and grooves ripping tight solos, and few extended Jams. All night I just wanted him to take control of the situation instead I got the feeling of the other way around with DJ Logic leading jams.

It was hard to pick apart songs except for the fact that the band stopped playing after each sound malay and usually Vernon Reid spoke a little bit. The music was made up of fast grooves with samples, computer generated sounds, keyboard solos, and guitar solos. They slowed down a little here and there, but the beat was kept pretty uplifting and kept us moving. DJ Logic was on the right side of the stage. He was behind a blazing blue lit set of chrome turntables. From the attic balcony his skills on the turn tables were like watching a master Sushi chef make sushi. DJ Logic sliced, diced, and cut the hell out of each record he slapped on to the turntables. I have respect for his abilities, to know what sounds fit into the jam isn't always done correctly. I think he has a similar style to DJ Apollo. Behind him was bass player Jared Nickerson, a very competent Bass Player. He hung in the back shadows for the show, but was a major part of the band's sound. While his playing was not showy, his tone was very full and rich and he held down a solid groove. Drummer Deantoni Parks was set up just behind Jared with a small drum set. This could have been due to lack of space on the North Star stage. He had only a snare drum, a cymbal, a computer drum machine, and a bass drum, but he beat a mean drum.

Latasha Diggs was set up as a perfect separator between DJ logic and Vernon Reid. She sang the main vocals for the band. Her singing was anything but normal. She sang beautiful melodies or scratchy, moaning, howls, using her vocals as a major part of this band's sound. Only bits here and there were actual words. She seemed tense but, she smiled and swayed back and forth. She also had a little computer pad that was mounted on a stand in front of her and could add computer enhancements to her voice which helped to get things pretty spacey. Keyboards featured fancy manipulations by Leon Grunbaum who was set up on the left side of the stage, but just behind Vernon Reid. This guy was wild! He had an organ and also played a small graffitied computer contraption that he wore around his waist, and this made some of the most unusual sounds to ever grace the North Star. Vernon Reid, played guitar in the front of stage left. Most of his leads sounded pretty standard but every now and then he would take me to another world. Sometimes his fingers flew across his Hamer guitar at amazing speed for leads, and other times he would sit back and help with subtle little licks.

The Highlight of the show for me had to be a solid funked out cover. The name, I don't know? The crowd sang to the verses it knew but Vernon really just belted out the funky lyrics. The band played for about 2 hrs and I couldn't name one song they played but being a live music fan I often just go and learn more by going. They held the crowds attention well and when it was over I felt that I had taken a nice journey into the minds of some great sound artists.

I suggest seeing the Yohimbe Bros before they blow up. They meld a great variety of musical styles that really allow the Jam scene to see the possibilities in a DJ. Oh, the possibilities I thought as I left the venue for my minute walk back to my apartment. I will see DJ Logic next Friday in Chicago with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Look for a review soon after.

Reviewed By Jake Krolick
Will Calhoun w/ Sussan Deyhim

(thanks nader!)
Event: Sussan Deyhim performs with Richard Horowitz & Will Calhoun
Date: 12.16.04
Time: 8:00 PM
Venue: Makor is located in the Steinhardt Building at 35 West 67th
Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.
Ticket Information: 212.601.1000
Ticket Cost: $20

Monday, December 06, 2004

Live From CBGB's review

Living Colour Live from CBGBs (click to purchase online) from

Choice Cuts: "Fight the Fight," "Funny Vibe," "Little Lies"


Living Colour's legacy as one of the finest rock bands of the 1980s has been sadly fading, and each year more people know them as the guys who did that "cola personality" song instead of the genuinely singular juggernaut they really were.

This becomes increasingly confounding considering that the band was more approachable than Bad Brains, less intense than Public Enemy and less ridiculous than Fishbone. One could argue that the American public looks at its black rock acts like some sardonic minstrel show, but this becomes a moot point by the time Live from CBGBs reaches "Pride" and you start rocking too hard to give a flying fuck.

Live albums tend to be the stuff completists are made of, and this one is no exception. While smartly configured as a greatest-hits romp with a few unreleased tracks, the takes are far from definitive. They sound like a lot of fun to have lived through, but listening back through a stereo, Vernon Reid's overzealous guitar sounds just a shade on this side of empty shredding while Corey Glover's heavy-handed caterwauling does just as much to discourage repeated listens.

That doesn't mean the album is without its merits. More so than any of their contemporaries, Living Colour made seamless and straight-faced jumps between genres. Whether it was punk, metal, R&B, soul, funk, blues or reggae, they did it with equal parts grace and skill. This album captures the magic spontaneity they often brought to the music.

If nothing else, it serves as a reminder to the world of a great band that has been unjustly forgotten.

- Justyn Lopaczynski

Friday, December 03, 2004

(old) Collideoscope Review

After African-American rock 'n' roll musicians had broken new ground in the '70s, it seemed either their white contemporaries were eager to keep rock to themselves, or they sat back and watched a highly influential form of music called hip hop begin to define the black cultural experience. There were, however, exceptions, including seminal Washington, D.C., punk/reggae act Bad Brains and pioneering NYC alt-metal act Living Colour--two enduring bands that may not have influenced a swath of black rock artists, but inspired a bigger music scene that led to the '80s hardcore uprising and the '90s modern rock explosion.

Greatest Riffs is a thrilling primer for both restless devotees finally getting a thorough creative summation of the band, and curious newbies wondering where to trace their favorite punk, alternative and nu-metal acts back to. Bad Brains weren't the first rock band to blend reggae/worldbeat and rock together--the Clash, the Police and Public Image Ltd. had them beat by a couple of years--but they famously threw hardcore and funk into their mix of hyperactive, often sociopolitical punk, which found an audience in the burgeoning D.C. underground. Some of that scene's most beloved anthems are included here--including first single "Pay to Cum" and "I Against I"--proving Bad Brains weren't just genre-usurping pioneers, but skilled musicians and penetrating songwriters as well.

One band Bad Brains influenced was Living Colour, which arguably pays homage to its heroes on CollideOscope, its fourth studio album and first in a decade. For example, "Song Without Sin" sports and blends the plodding guitar dirge, chunky basslines and soulful vocal wailing you might spot in a Brains song. Living Colour often incorporates bits and pieces of their heroes--Van Halen, Sly & the Family Stone and Rush are a few--into its music and tweaks them enough to devise its own voice. And while some of the material here does sound a tad rote, especially given the dominance of hybridized acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine, the variety of song structures and timbre is striking. More notably, renowned guitarist Vernon Reid still complements (and often rises above) the rhythm section's viscous grooves, and Glover approaches post-9/11 themes with both genuine rage ("In Your Name") and depth ("Flying").

CollideOscope may not compete with a collection of material it's been seemingly influenced by, but it has a potency lacking in most of either bands' predecessors, black or white.--Mike Prevatt

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Yohimbe Brothers 2005 Tour Dates (so far)

Friday, Jan. 14 Downtown Farmingdale, LI Ticketmaster
Saturday, Jan. 15 Tribeca Rock, NYC musictoday TICKETS

April 1, Banlieues Bleues Festival, France