I got a chance to sit in with my friend, vocalist and guitarist Adam Danger Bacot, on Saturday night. I enjoyed myself for so many reasons, but the one in particular that prompted this post was the notion of cover songs and why they are so much fun to play (at least in certain settings and contexts). For the most part, I play original music – songs and compositions written by someone in the band (oftentimes someone other than me), which I don’t regret by any means. I feel pretty strongly that I want to spend the majority of my time playing music that either I write or my peers write, because I want that to be the main way that I express myself.
That said, what a shame it would be if all the great music of the past was never performed again! There was a conversation a while ago among jazz bloggers about jazz tribute shows (basically jazz “cover bands”). I believe Jason Parker got the last word here, but it looks like he cited the other posts, and I stayed out of that, but jamming on Van Morrison, MJ, Dave Mathews, and other covers with Adam got me thinking about it again. Often, the only opportunities people have to hear rock and pop songs they like being performed is either at a casino or karaoke, so to play some of those songs, and then to be in the audience and hear Adam do them while singing and dancing myself, was a real treat, and I hope to do it again.
Disclaimer: Don’t misunderstand, I absolutely LOVE karaoke.
For about 10 years now, I’ve had an annual trip to a campsite on the Columbia River across from Vantage, WA on Labor Day weekend to see the Dave Mathews Band at the Gorge. Over time, this trip has morphed into as much a reunion with old friends as a concert to go to, and the camping is almost as important as the show. Many of the friends I end up camping with are the ones I’ve known the longest and are most important to me. That being said, DMB still put on a hell of a live show and are, in my opinion, one of the best pop/rock/jam/whatever-you-want-to-call-it bands around. The songs are melodic and singable, touch on a wide range of styles (even if it is just on the surface), are played by top notch players, open up to some great jams, and translate well to a huge venue like the Gorge. A fair amount of people hate on that band, but it does not seem to me to be legit at all.
After the Gorge, Vunt Foom got the opportunity to play behind RA Scion of Common Market for Bumbershoot on Sunday. This was by far the biggest show I’ve ever played; about 6,000 people packed the lawn in front of the Fisher Green stage, and RA killed it. He had put together an entire theatrical Act, set to a soundtrack of Common Market’s music, with all of us playing parts, and it was an incredible amount of fun. Here are some clips, including my debut on triangle!
The awesome cap to all of this was Raphael Saadiq performing that night. I think I’ve raved about this show to everyone I know by now, but it was that good! The whole band had ridiculous energy, and they were up there dancing and grooving and basically sounding awesome for 3 hours and 2 encores. Amazing vocals, and we’re talking deep, deep groove here. Some clips from that show: