Jasper Sailfin Photography: Blog http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Jasper Sailfin Photography jaspersail@comcast.net (Jasper Sailfin Photography) Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:14:00 GMT Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:14:00 GMT http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u597039383-o853529395-50.jpg Jasper Sailfin Photography: Blog http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog 85 120 Grooving with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/grooving-with-tune-yards-in-pontiac tUnE-yArDs brought their infectious grooves back to the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan. It was a homecoming of sorts, said leading lady, Merrill Garbus. Not only have they played the Crofoot multiple times before, but tUnE-yArDs played its first show just down the street. The group, consisting of Garbus and bassist Nate Brenner, now calls Oakland, California, home.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014 Nate Brenner of tUnE-yArDsNate Brenner of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

And tUnE-yArDs knows how to throw a fun musical party. They got the Crofoot crowd bouncing and bobbing with their unique blend of catchy tunes, percussive dance beats, and infectious energy.

tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

To drive the beat, Garbus began most songs by building layered rhythm loops with a floor tom, snare, tambourine, and anything else within reach of her drumsticks. She was joined by Dani Markham, who stood behind a kit with a variety of drums, cymbals, and other percussive devices. Together they made the studio grooves come alive.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014 Dani Markham with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014Dani Markham with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

Vocal harmonies are a big part of the tUnE-yArDs sound and Garbus made vocal loops on several songs to accompany herself. She is also backed by Abigail Nessen-Bengson and Jo Lampert on the Nikki Nack tour. In addition to providing backing vocals, they added to the show's energy with fun choreography and dramatic acting, but more on that later.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014 Jo Lampert with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014Jo Lampert with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014 Abigail Nessen-Bengson with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014Abigail Nessen-Bengson with tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, October 2014tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

Bassist Nate Brenner stayed in the shadows of stage right, but his bass lines are an important part of the tUnE-yArDs grooves. He is credited as co-writer on all Nikki Nack songs.

Nate Brenner of tUnE-yArDsNate Brenner of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

The show kicked off with "Doorstep" from tUnE-yArDs second album, W H O K I L L and featured a full stage including opening act, James Tillman. After a string of Nikki Nack songs, including "Left Behind," "Sink-o," "Real Thing," and "Time of Dark," the supporting band members left Garbus and Brenner onstage for two more W H O K I L L songs, "Gangsta" and "Powa." These two songs really had the Crofoot crowd bouncing along and dancing in the wings.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014 Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

One of the show highlights for me came from a very unexpected source. After "Es-so" and "Wait for a Minute." Nessen-Bengson and Lampert stepped forward and joined Garbus in the spotlight up front. Garbus announced an interlude, which consisted of a hilariously dramatic reading of "Why Do We Dine on the Tots?" Admittedly, this is the one track on Nikki Nack that I skip, but this moment of cheesy performance theater has changed my tune. I will dine on the tots, thank you very much.

After the interlude, they launched into Nikki Nack's catchy "Water Fountain," which is getting lots of radio play, and then "Bizness."

I haven't even mentioned Garbus' wonderfully versatile voice, but it certainly matched the studio recordings. Her high note in "Powa" drew whoops and cheers from the crowd, just one highlight of many.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014 Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

I was equally impressed by Garbus on ukulele, including her ability to tune the instrument mid-song. Given her physical playing style it needed frequent tunings apparently.

The encore included the oldie "Real Live Flesh" from the first tUnE-yArDs album, Bird Brains, released in 2009.

tUnE-yArDs finishes their current portion of their US tour at the end of October 2014, begins playing Europe in November, then returns to the States for a several dates in December. 

Abigail Nessen-Bengson, Merrill Garbus, and Jo Lampert during "sink-o"Abigail Nessen-Bengson, Merrill Garbus, and Jo Lampert during "sink-o"tUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

Hopefully they'll come back to Michigan again soon.

 

Click photo below for the full gallery of tUnE-yArDs show photos.

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDsMerrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDstUnE-yArDs at the Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Michigan. October 21, 2014

 

 

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jaspersail@comcast.net (Jasper Sailfin Photography) Crofoot Ballroom Merrill Garbus Michigan Nate Brenner Pontiac tUnE-yArDs http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/grooving-with-tune-yards-in-pontiac Fri, 24 Oct 2014 04:34:01 GMT
Friday the 13th Unlucky for Elvis and Fans http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/friday-the-13th-unlucky-for-elvis-and-fans Elvis Costello apologized to fans before ending his Michigan Theater show after 40 minutes of music.

It was clear from his first notes on "Jack of All Parades" that something was very wrong. He struggled to sing both high and low notes and labored through the song. Elvis announced that he was suffering from an illness and would try to press on to finish the show.

Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, June 13, 2014

But at the end of the third song, "Accidents Will Happen," he announced, "sorry, this isn't going to work." He assured the crowd that he didn't want to cheat us and would see that we got our money back. With that he gave a wave and walked off stage. 

Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, June 13, 2014

The stunned crowd began to stir, unsure what to do. The house lights didn't come on so most stood at their seats. A security guard at side stage told us he was very sick and probably wouldn't be coming back out.

But after a couple minutes, Elvis did walk back onto the stage accompanied by show promoter, Rick Franks of Live Nation Entertainment. Franks called Costello a "trouper" for trying to perform, given the severity of his illness. A doctor had treated Elvis earlier in the day to help drain his throat.

Rick Franks of Live Nation Entertainment, Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Rick Franks of Live Nation Entertainment, Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, June 13, 2014

With Franks at his side, Costello said that anyone who wanted a refund could get one, and they would schedule a make-up show for us, but he would press on and sing as much as possible tonight.

After the break, Costello's voice sounded much improved and he belted through early classics like "Watching the Detectives" and "Watch Your Step." He also performed "Come the Meantimes" from his 2013 collaboration with The Roots; “Ascension Day" co-written with Allen Toussaint; “Poison Moon,” a song by Elvis in his late teens; and “Radio Sweetheart,” another early song included on the Rykodisc reissues of My Aim Is True.

Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, June 13, 2014

Elvis then introduced an accompanist, himself, and sat down for two quiet songs. The first was "Walkin’ My Baby Back Home," which Costello said he likes to sing when far from home. The second, "Ghost Train," followed a story about performing as a youngster with his father's band in Blackpool, England, and includes characters he met during that experience.

Elvis then stood up and apologized for not being able to sing all the songs he had planned. With that, he announced one last song and played a short version of "Alison."

With a wave and apologetic gestures, he walked off and the show was done.

Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Elvis Costello Solo at the Michigan Theater, June 13, 2014Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, June 13, 2014

During his Blackpool story about playing with his father's band, Elvis said his dad would be embarrassed to hear him performing this poorly, but proud he was making the effort. I think most fans were likewise appreciative of Costello's effort and look forward to hearing him again in full voice.

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jaspersail@comcast.net (Jasper Sailfin Photography) Ann Arbor Elvis Costello Michigan Michigan Theater cancelled show illness http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/friday-the-13th-unlucky-for-elvis-and-fans Sat, 14 Jun 2014 20:47:52 GMT
Alejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck at The Magic Bag http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/alejandro-escovedo-and-peter-buck-at-the-magic-bag A music veteran of many genres, including punk, alt-country, and roots rock, Alejandro Escovedo played The Magic Bag on February 21, 2014, as part of an eight-show tour with Peter Buck, best known as a member of R.E.M.

Alejandro EscovedoAlejandro EscovedoAlejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck, Magic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan. February 21, 2014

Peter Buck and band opened the night with a loud, energetic set that included "(You Must Fight To Live) On The Planet Of The Apes." Buck's band featured long-time collaborators Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5) on bass and guitar, drummer Bill Rieflin (Ministry, R.E.M.), and guitarist Kurt Bloch (The Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows).

Peter BuckPeter BuckMagic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan. February 21, 2014

Halfway through their set, Rieflin stood up and leaning over his kit to announce a broken snare. The next song was played on toms only while the crew made a hasty repair. 

There was a looseness to the opening set and the various members seemed to be having fun taking turns leading the charge, though mostly that fell to Buck and Bloch.

After a brief break to add mic stands, Alejandro Escovedo emerged with Buck, Buck's band, and Susan Voelz (Poi Dog Pondering, Alejandro Escovedo) on violin. Voelz's violin added warmth and emotion to the early Escovedo set, including the beautiful "Sensitive Boys," written by Escovedo and Chuck Prophet.

Alejandro EscovedoAlejandro Escovedo and Susan RoelzAlejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck, Magic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan. February 21, 2014

While the early set featured Escovedo's songwriting, the show's intensity seemed to shift with "Sally Was a Cop." Suddenly there was more energy both in the crowd and onstage. Escovedo's voice and guitar intensified, but is was Kurt Bloch who really added sizzle. Bloch stayed at his station on the far left, but when Escovedo called, Bloch met him at center stage and delivered. Voelz did as well on violin. Both Rieflin and McCaughey were solid contributors but got fewer true solo moments.

Alejandro Escovedo and Kurt BlochAlejandro Escovedo and Kurt BlochAlejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck, Magic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan. February 21, 2014

Fans near me were high-fiving and even exchanging kisses when the band kicked off "Sweet Jane" by the Velvet Underground near the end. And they were still excitedly congratulating themselves when it ended.

Buck mainly took a backseat to Escovedo during the show, except when the two shared the center mic during the encore.

Alejandro Escovedo and Peter BuckAlejandro Escovedo and Peter BuckAlejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck, Magic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan. February 21, 2014

Both front men were quickly at their respective merch tables to meet with fans.

 

Click photo for full Alejandro Escovedo galley:

Alejandro Escovedo and Peter BuckAlejandro Escovedo and Peter BuckAlejandro Escovedo and Peter Buck, Magic Bag, Ferndale, Michigan. February 21, 2014

Click photo for full Peter Buck galley:

Peter BuckPeter Buck

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jaspersail@comcast.net (Jasper Sailfin Photography) Alejandro Escovedo Bill Rieflin Ferndale Michigan Kurt Bloch Magic Bag Peter Buck Scott McCaughey Susan Voelz http://jaspersailfin.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/alejandro-escovedo-and-peter-buck-at-the-magic-bag Sun, 23 Feb 2014 18:55:18 GMT