Friday, November 03, 2006

Belew Trio on Tour: Texas!

Photo of Adrian Belew, Eric Slick, and Julie Slick taken last evening courtesy of the wildly talented Todd V. Wolfson. More on the amazing Todd below.

I'm having the best day.

First, I spoke with Eric this morning and he told me last night's Adrian Belew Power Trio show in Austin, Texas was a blast. Not only did he get to meet one of his heroes in the audience, Pat Mastelotto, but when it was discovered that Eric's drum pedal had been um, decimated during travel, Pat kindly offered his to Eric for the rest of the tour and Eric took him up on it.

"You're playing Pat Mastelotto's pedal?" I asked Eric, totally psyched for him.

"Yep!" He sounded only "slightly stoked". Ha.

After much motherly prodding, Eric reluctantly admitted that "Yes, Pat told me he really enjoyed the show. He's really very nice and laid back. I wasn't nervous at all."

Eric addressed the nervous part in answer to my question: "Was playing in front of Pat as bad as when this guy stood on the side of the stage while you played at the LA Knitting Factory with his arms crossed, staring at you?"

"No way," Eric replied.

So after talking with Eric, I did my usual Google stalk and stumbled upon an interesting Live Journal post:

"the adrian belew power trio

the adrian belew power trio
Originally uploaded by Nosflow V Ddot.
this intimate set at the Cactus Cafe was up there with any/all Belew shows I have seen.

his band was a brother and sister from philly.

added together their ages are younger than me. damn GREAT musicians.

"i remember you!" said adrian, when he came up to shake my hand.

amiable, amicable, approachable, benevolent, benign, breezy, civil, clubby*, congenial, cordial, courteous, genial, gentle, good-humored, good-natured, gracious, kindly, mild, obliging, pleasant, polite, sociable, urbane, warm and such a talented & fun guy!"

That Live Journal entry included the above Belew Trio photo so I then wrote to the writer of the post and asked if he would please send me a jpg of the shot he'd posted so that I could include it here.

Well, how cool is this. He wrote back to me immediately, and it turns out that he's an amazing professional photographer with some very interesting creds named Todd V. Wolfson and Holy small world, batman. Here's his response:

"i was sitting with my friend pat mastelooto before the gig and eric came and sat down with us, he even grabbed my new lil digi point and shoot and took a picture of me. we talked a bit about how all this came to be, and i am very happy and proud for you....

what sweet freaking kiddos you have.

OY! and talented.....what a fun show!

hey, keep in touch with me....

i am also friends with terry bozzio.. i do his portraits...(austin, home to the prog rock drummers?)

anyhoo, if you google me you will see that i am the music photographer of austin, who both takes it professionally and just for kicks everyday of my must be great parents to have such great kiddoz."

Todd's very cool photo of two Erics with one Adrian.

So yeah, Todd was the one sitting with Pat Mastelotto - they've been friends for years. Naturally we start emailing back and forth, and of course I had to mention how cool it was that he was also friends with another of Eric's heroes, Terry Bozzio. So with Todd's permission, here's a little story he shared with me about Terry:

"a quick story...
one night (after once having been introduced to terry) i was playing some film cans i turned into folky-type percussion (12" sized for long rolls of copy 35mm film) with brushes, with two of my singer songwriter friends and terry and ev bozzio were sitting in the audience at this club. i look up and terry is standing right next to our little stage like an 8 year old boy, rocking back and forth on his heels, waiting for the song to end. when it ends, he says"todd, can i play your cans?"

(this MF has more drums and shit than god. i have seen his garage)

i thought, here is this idol of mine and he is taken away with my fucking cool is that?

so, of course i let him sit in with the guys on my film cans.

we have been buddies for a decade.

i have been lucky enought to jam with him at neighborhood parties (with chris layton of SRV fame, no less)and take his portraits...ev bozzio is a doll, an i love their li'l family."

Todd's incredible photo of Terry with the film cans.

Anyway, next thing you know Todd and I are talking on the phone and we're like total kindred spirits. He tells me he met Frank Zappa at the Whole Food Markets in Austin in 1980 (ha ha - he said it was the very first Whole Foods and I googled it and yep, it's true...who knew?) So Todd and Frank get to talking and Frank sees Todd's camera case -- it was a brand new camera he'd just gotten -- and said "Hey, you wanna take my picture?"

Here's the sweet, sweet result:

So that's been my day so far and I repeat, am I like the luckiest woman in the world or what? My kids on tour with Belew, meeting awesome people like Todd on line (and this I can't believe altogether -- he's offered to help me with my book covers)...then doing a little more Google stalking and finding these little tidbit west coast tour read each in its entirety, click on the links provided:

At Projekction, a fan writes:

"...I really expected the night to be more sedate. I knew Belew could get freaky on his six-string but I didn’t expect such a thunderous performance. The trio stomped every song into the ground, scooped them up with a shovel, reconstructed their dilapidated bodies and squashed them again. All during a Cat5 hurricane. Yeah… or something like that.

Anyway, on to the particulars. On several songs, Adrian would sit down, work on crazy effects, and set up loops. He broke a string during “Young Lions” and had his golden Belew guitar replaced with…a red Belew guitar, all while continuing to sing. I have never heard KC play “Dinosaur” as well as the Trio, heresy though that may be. He also played the oft-neglected bridge. I never cared for “Matchless Man”, but a strong performance showed me how strong the song could actually be. Ditto with “Madness.” Before playing “The Last Rhinoceros” Adrian announced he was working on a project that involved arranging his songs to piano. (A pretty version of “Last Rhino” played during setup.) No major brown moments, only one awkwardly timed loop that was quickly worked around. Belew seemed to be having a great time, ad-libbing quirky effects and cracking jokes. Is he always this happy to perform?

The Trio’s tremendous performance of the Crimson songs was spectacular. Adrian played the final interlocking part of “FxF” with himself via delay. “3aoPP” was very strong, and Belew encouraged the audience to sing Tony’s part. On “Elephant Talk”, Julie Slick played her bass as though it was a stick, and “Thela” (accompanied by the original recording’s speech) brought the house down for a thunderous finale. But not the last word (um… notes) from Belew. He set up what he called an “improvised symphony” using his guitar and synth voices like bells, thunderclaps, a string section, and a bit of the “Power Circle” muezzin, to loop and mutate as we left the venue. My sister, who was mildly impressed by the “Neal Jack and Me” DVD and hates “Heartbeat” was suitably moved.

Then we stayed up late and watched High Fidelity. Forget the relationship angst, it’s fun just to spot record covers in his store. "Ooo Ooo! It's Before and After Science! Tonight's The Night! Joe's Garage! Discipline!!!! I got back into town just in time for exams but I would have gladly flunked my tests for the chance to see this incredible concert.

Adrian has been making some of the best music of his career recently. The energetic performances of these great songs make them even better. If he is coming to a city near you, do not pass up this opportunity. I hope that the evening was recorded and that DGMLive or Belew himself will release it. Not only for a memento of the night, but… I just can’t articulate how good the concert was. I’ll be preordering “Side Four”, for sure..."

Here's a blurb off the forum board at Planet Crimson:

"I saw Adrian Belew at the Granada. [omG! That was freaking fantastic. I ended up dreaming about the show all night. If you have an opportunity to see him play on this tour and you don't, you are an utterly ridiculous human.]"

Over at DGM Live, Kenneth Pyron writes:

"What a great show. The Granada Theater is a rather intimate venue with no more than twenty rows of seats on the lower level and a great balcony. My friend and I chose in the lower rear, near the bar (great selection of beer) with a good full view of the stage (Cue the beer).

You simply can’t knock the smile off of AB when he’s on stage. Even when a string broke or his new "Adrian Belew Signature Series Parker Fly" would go out of tune (his words, as if I could tell). His interaction with the audience was, as I see it, classic Adrian. Friendly, sharp, with humor....

AB was ably backed by Julie and Eric Slick. They handled everything thrown at them by AB with true professionalism. Unfazed, fully up to the task and having as much fun as Adrian seemed to be having. Adrian is obviously happy to be working with them again, enjoying it thoroughly.

This was a great evening, thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend attending any of his shows on this tour if you can..." the trio has the day off and they're flying to New Mexico; I'm going to make a pot of tea and spend the rest of the day/evening writing with breaks only to eat and further stalk my kiddies on line.

Ah, life is good.