Tag Archives: Jennifer Hartswick

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Trey Anastasio Band Are Firing on All Cylinders

January 24th, 2013

Trey Anastasio Band – The Capitol Theatre – January 23, 2013


Just a little more than 20 years ago, Trey Anastasio led Phish through two sold-out shows at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. That weekend was equal parts present talent and future potential. And two decades of nearly constant playing later, potential fulfilled and then some, Anastasio returned to the historic, restored venue—the same, but different: better—for another two sold-out nights, with a second, completely different band also well on their way to maximizing their possibilities. Last night’s show opened with “Cayman Review,” setting an upbeat, major-key celebratory mood. Anastasio isn’t the lead guitarist in this group, he’s the bandleader, modeling himself, the band (percussion and a horn section that doubled as backup singers along with the traditional guitar, bass, drums, keyboards) and the music after other big bands of yore: shades of Tito Puente on the Latin-tinged opener; classic big jazz band for “Magilla”; James Brown’s heyday group in “Push On ’Til the Day”; and even notes of full orchestral music on the prog-rock “Scabbard” and “Goodbye Head,” both of which showed the prowess of an ensemble that’s grown along with Anastasio’s solo career.

Throughout two full sets, the band had plenty of opportunities to show off their wares, and like a good bandleader, Anastasio was generous with the spotlight: James Casey added a perfect dollop of flute to “Heavy Things”; Jennifer Hartswick nailed the vocals to the Gorillaz cover “Clint Eastwood”; Natalie Cressman rocked the Knopfler on trombone during the “Sultans of Swing” encore; Ray Paczkowski’s organ pushing and prodding the guitar solo in “Simple Twist Up Dave”; bassist Tony Markellis laid down the shag-carpet groove in “Push On”; and percussionist extraordinaire Cyro Baptista did a little bit of everything. Of course, what I meant to say was that Anastasio isn’t merely the lead guitar player in his own band. The show was obviously loaded with Biggie Size comes-with-fries-and-a-Coke guitar solos and jams to satisfy an audience giddy to gobble up more. In this way, the true model for the band might be Santana’s mid-era bands. The highlight jams came in “Money Love and Change,” with the group going full on jam band, scintillating guitar work leading the way.

During second-set opener “Sand” the show finally turned darker, the lights starting to find the nooks and crannies of the venue and Anastasio flexing his six-stringed muscle through the signature techno groove and the full-bore rock and roll tilt coming out of “Alaska.” Quiet moments also found their way into the set list: “Architect,” a ballad from Anastasio’s newest album began quietly, slowly building to a soaring climax, and the band’s wonderful “Ooh Child” cover was a feel-good sing-along highlight. Anastasio was chatty throughout the night, joking about how he was gung ho to play the show’s original date (the day after Hurricane Sandy struck) without realizing how big a storm it was and also extolling the virtues of the new and improved Capitol Theatre. So why stop there? I’m guessing it won’t be another 20 years until the next visit back to Port Chester. —A. Stein

(Don’t miss seeing Trey Anastasio Band play The Capitol Theatre tonight and The Wellmont Theatre tomorrow.)

 

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Bowlive III Starts Tonight

February 28th, 2012


The soul-funk trio Soulive—Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and has been bringing its own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of studio albums and live discs followed, including 2010’s instrumental take on the Beatles, Rubber Soulive. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. Which works out great because with Bowlive III beginning tonight, you’ve got 10 chances to see them in person. That’s right: Soulive (above, doing “Eleanor Rigby” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” during the first Bowlive) plays Brooklyn Bowl 10 times between now and 3/10.

And as always, there will be special guests galore, like John Scofield and Luther Dickinson tonight and tomorrow, Rahzel, ?uestlove and Karl Denson on 3/1, Karl Denson, Jennifer Hartswick and the Alecia Chakour Band on 3/2, Jennifer Hartswick, Marco Benevento and the Nigel Hall Band on 3/3, Lettuce, Zach Deputy, Skerik and Allen Stone on 3/6, Lettuce, Zach Deputy and Skerik on 3/7, ?uestlove, George Porter Jr., Billy Martin, Citizen Cope and Alice Smith on 3/8, and George Porter Jr., Nigel Hall, Alecia Chakour and Kenny Olson on 3/9. Put on your dancing shoes or your bowling shoes and prepare to get down.