Thursday, June 28, 2007
Eric Slick, Adrian Belew, and Julie Slick following their performance in Asbury Park, NJ on June 24, 2007
So I'm off to New York City early tomorrow morning for a host of reasons, each of which is cooler than the next. First, I have to meet with the man responsible for bringing the Adrian Belew Power Trio to Japan...Julie and Eric needed work visas to perform there in two weeks so I have to hand deliver their passports to the Japanese consulate in New York...this after filling out a ton of paperwork for their visas, having special photos taken...wow, it really is a whole new world.
And on kind of the same note -- whole new world, that is -- and leaving music for a minute, you can't believe what I just went through at the pharmacy. Julie wasn't feeling well and I got so alarmed with both the Quebec and Japan tours coming up that I made her go to the doctor and it's a good thing because yep, she's sick and needed not only a strong antibiotic but the doc also recommended Advil Cold and Sinus medicine. So while I'm waiting for her prescription to be filled, I go down the cold/flu medication aisle, and everything is there except the Advil stuff. Then I see a sign "Please ask pharmacist for Advil Cold and Sinus". I'm like, hmmm, that's weird...don't tell me people use that as a recreational drug. Ugh, I hate the feeling you get from cold medication...it's like you can't touch bottom. But even more perplexing, let's face it, I'm a writer and I hang around other writers and musicians...I know my drugs. Never once did I ever hear anyone say "Oh man, I really want to get high. Let's go to Walgreens and buy some Advil Cold and Sinus medicine."
Anyway, I get her prescription and ask for the Advil stuff and all of these pharmacists/aids, whatever -- there must have been ten people behind that counter -- stopped what they were doing and stared at me. Then the head pharmacist walks over with two voluminous, ominous looking books and told me I had to both sign and print my name in each before he could release the Advil.
Now you know I couldn't let that one go.
"What is this about?" I asked.
"Patriot Act," he replied gruffly.
"Patriot Act," he repeated.
"Let me get this straight. My daughter is sick, the doctor told me to get her this stuff, and now I'm being accused of terrorism?"
To his credit, he laughed, but I swear to god, it was like that old brokerage house commercial where someone says "E.F. Hutton" and everyone freezes in their tracks. I was literally was being watched by twenty eyeballs.
"I'm sorry, Miss. But the government wants to know who is buying this stuff."
"You're telling me people make bombs out of Advil cold medicine?"
I was totally incredulous. I mean, come one. Have any of you ever heard that one?
"No. Illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, etc."
Oy. Silly me. I did not know that. But wait. Patriot Act?
"Yeah, it was one of those amendments the government slipped in when they passed that law after 9/11. I need to see photo identification please - a driver license or passport will suffice."
Okay, so now I had to show my passport (since I do not drive) to buy Advil.
Arghhh...I just realized something. I bet I get flagged yet again next time I fly anywhere. Note to self: Remember to wear nice underwear when you have to take an airplane. Okay, let's get real here. Just remember to wear underwear, Rob.
I hope it's not a long flight.
So yeah, I was totally freaked out and naturally had to hit google when I got home. Yep, it's a law alright, and Bush signed it. If you have the stomach, you can read all about it right here.
Anyway, after I do the Japanese consulate thing tomorrow, then I get to be filmed for a really cool documentary. I don't want to say too much about it because of the jinx factor, but part of it involves being interviewed about Three Days in New York City and um, I may be instrumental (har har) in providing the film's music. Oh crap, I am dying to tell you all about this and who the filmmaker is, but I will wait until it happens tomorrow, ask permission as to how much I can blab, and see if I can't link you up to the parties responsible because yep, it's cool beyond belief.
Alrighty, enough about me, because as you know, while this blog started out three years ago to promote my writing and that of my friends, when Julie and Eric Slick are on tour with Mr. Belew or Project Object or Crescent Moon or Chris Harford or anyone, really, this journal becomes my shrine to them. So in keeping with that, here are the latest reviews/comments I've found and received.
From Beana's journal, and you must click on the link and read all about her as well as click on her photos (Hi Eric! Hi Julie! Hi Adrian! Hi Bad Brains, Mike Keneally, Ween, etc.):
"...Crescent Moon - Dave and Erik Slick were the best wake-up show ever. Seriously for some drums and a bass it is monsterous and a show that shouldn’t be missed. ever.
Adrian Belew - first time seeing him….would definitely see him and the Slick siblings again. A highlight was watching Papa Slick in the photo pit beaming like the proudest daddy in the world. Precious."
Oh, that reminds me. She also mentions Vernon Reid in her journal. I forgot to report here that while I was backstage at the SOR Fest in Adrian's trailer, Vernon walks in and we're all like Oh hi, Vernon, like he's an old friend or something and he starts talking to us like we all know each other. I'm like, hey, that's cool, the guitar player from Living Colour - the guy who did Cult of Personality - and I'm just hanging there eating some grapes with him. I really didn't have much to say; he did all the talking, but it was kind of interesting I guess. Just a normal day in my life anymore. Yawn.
Oh look, there I am in the crowd watching the trio in Asbury Park, left front...the blonde in black wearing sunglasses and holding a water bottle.
After we hung out backstage for a while, Adrian, his wife Martha, Gary, Julie and I went to dinner at what had to be the coolest restaurant in Asbury Park called Moonstruck. We ate outside, facing a lagoon and these neat looking houses...the weather was incredible...good food, drinks...just a really laid back and fun time.
Okay, who am I kidding. It was surreal.
Eric stayed behind to sit in on drums with a couple other bands but management took good care of him with vegetarian offerings of wonder and delight. (Heh...now where did I steal that phrase from?)
Back to the reviews. I like this one:
"Belew...the power trio
The Adrian Belew Power Trio was at B.B.Kings Monday in Manhattan. Seriously, the most incredible show I've ever seen. The two School Of Rock alumni that are playing with him (Julie & Eric Slick) are two of the most natural and gifted musicians and they're only 21 & 20 years old. Probably one of the best rhythm sections I've heard live. They played a set of old and new (Rhino King to...Side 3) and threw down some serious Krimson classics (Frame By Frame…Three Of A Perfect Pair). Adrian also did some solo pieces (lots of looping, couldn't figure out what he was using). Not a huge fan of looping, but he did some very unique things and even used it to loop Fripp's parts on the Krimson pieces which he then played his parts over."
And this one, especially...
"Twang Bar King w/ Slicks - BB Kings House of Blues
Killer evening folks! Firstly, it's always great to have a night on the town with my beautiful wife. It's just icing on the cake when you get to see the Twang Bar King in action. BBs was its usual self - overpriced drinks, food, tight seating, etc.. On a
positive note - The music always sounds great there (which may also have to do with the musicians I've gone to see, such as, Ade Trios, Jeff Beck, Eric Johnson, Cactus, Sonny Landreth and Johnny A, Otis Day and the Nights). I'm going to try to keep this review short (impossible- LOL), so briefly, I'd like to mention that we met some very nice people sitting at our table and got to chat with Eric and his Dad quite a bit after the show, along with having a moment to say Hi and chat briefly with Ade and Martha - which is always cool!
OK - the Show! The set list was the same as it was for the Virginia Show - shuffled around a little bit.Ade's playing/singing was great and the Slicks! (wow man) they are really coming into their own -Ampersand,Matchless Man, Beat Box Guitar, Madness, Young Lions -It was magical at times last night, especially during Madness, some serious bro & sis mojo going on here -Eric's Drums and Julie's Bass were really driving that tune & Ade was just along for the ride. I said to Mr. Slick after the show, "is it me, or did something happen up there tonight?" he smiled and despite the vagueness of my statement he knew exactly what I meant, saying "Man, it's been happening!" That was cool.
The previous shows we saw were great and they played mostly the same stuff that we heard from these shows but it was different - more powerful, more confident, more cohesion between the trio, it sounded fresh/new. I really dug the subtle changes to the songs! As stated, I chatted with Ade and young Eric briefly after the show and I wanted to tell them both exactly that, but got going on the other stuff and never got around to telling them this (hopefully they'll read it).
My song highlights were: Young Lions - The trio kills this song - really suits the Slicks. Slowly becoming my new favorite Ade tune. Can't wait to hear the Side 4 recording. Beat Box/Madness -Slicks take over on these & relaxed Ade pulls off brilliance. Men in Helicopters -fantastic! Within You/Without You - Ade's twangidge is real pretty. Neurotica - What a killin little Crim tune -First time I heard it. & All of the Discipline Stuff! - which I have to mention I can't seem to get enough of lately. I'm listening to that damn album all the time. Quite strangely, the music sounds to me as smooth and cool as some might describe Marvin Gay's "What's Going On" album. I find myself telling anyone who will listen that I think this is one of the greatest albums ever and thousand of years away they will be listening to and talking about this album. (and yes, I'm all about making grandiose statements, just hear me telling the folks at our table at BBs - "man, the Bears are freakin' Beatles of Cincinatti!" )
Anyway, that's my review of the gig, sorry it's a few days late. There's much more to discuss/mention, but my writing is god awful these days so I'm cutting it short (stop the bleeding if you will). Let me just say that I couldn't dream of a better way to spend a Monday night w/ my wife - who btw, is completely responsible for turning me on to Ade and Crimson (a great woman indeed - yes, I know!). Hats off to the Trio (once again)! - The Canucks and the Japanese are going to absolutely love these guys!
Thanks for reading -RK
(BTW, the insider says, Side 4 is being mixed as we speak - nice!)"
From the comments section of my blog:
"Evan Hilzer said...
I know you are going to be bombarded with messages, but I really want to thank you for keeping such a great blog. I love reading everyday.
As for the show. WOW. I was completely blown away. The playing surpassed my high expectations. I was fortunate enough to meet Julie and Eric and that guitar guy...he was pretty good too... My best friend Steve works for Rocks Off and also ended up helping out for the BB Kings show. He introduced me to Eric and Julie, and they were so down to earth, nice, welcoming. We had some great conversation as if I've known them for years. Having briefly met Gary, its not hard to see why you have raised two wonderful children. Adrian is very lucky.
Hopefully I will be able to thank you in person next time. Keep up the great work and great blog!
Maryanne Stahl said...
I am in awe of you, your family, your life. must keep you young, 'cause it exhausts me to read about it! but seriously, I'm v. happy for you all. xxx
Walter Joyce said...
I was at the show at BB King's on monday, and was blown away. I have seen Adrian many tmes over the years, with Crimson, The Bears, and solo, but this was the best solo show yet. I had not yet seen the "power trio", and Eric and Julie were beyond impressive. I can only imagine what is in store for them in the future. What talent! When I was their age I could barely play the radio. I went to see Adrian, but the next time, if there is one in the NYC area, I will be going to see them as much as Adrian. Was lucky enough to meet Adrian after the show, and get a picture, but would have loved to have gotten one with Eric and Julie too. They were not around. Cannot wait for Side Four. Love your blog. Peace and love to you."
So that's what's going on at the moment. And now if you will excuse me, I'm going back upstairs to have yet another listen to the rough mix of Side Four Live.
And it gives me the shivers every time.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Another amazing photograph of Adrian Belew and Eric Slick courtesy of Gary Slick - Vienna, Virginia July 21, 2007
Okay, first let me say this. Monday night after the BB King show Adrian gave Gary what I guess is a rough mix though it sounds like it's freaking perfect to me...of Side Four Live.
You have no idea.
It's the best CD, live or otherwise, I've heard in the past twenty years. Even though I've seen the trio countless times now, nothing prepared me for the sheer brilliance of their music. I had chills, I was in tears, I could barely keep from jumping up and down. Other than that, I'm totally speechless.
And guess what? It very well may be ready to be released in just a few more weeks...
From 1600 TV, who will have a video/interview of the trio up on their website shortly (cool site, huh)...but here's what they have to say for now, in part:
"To start things off on the right foot, the one and only Twang Bar King, Adrian Belew and his Power Trio treated us to an earful of sonic fury, on Thursday June 21 at the cozy Vienna club, Jammin' Java. Wild noise was coupled with beautiful, delicate sounds that spanned his entire career, and the band previewed their upcoming release, "Side Four, " co-produced by Saul Zonana, who opened for the Power Trio with an impressive display of original songs that showcased a unique voice and some skillful guitar work in his own right.
We were lucky enough to catch up to all of the touring musicians in Mr. Belew's company that night, and after a great interview (see it soon on Fairfax County Public Access Channel 10 and right here on www.1600.tv) supplemented by more stories and the general good spirits that followed, the Power Trio turned up the juice and performed a blazing show. It was a special night, indeed.
From Beat Box Guitar to Matchless Man and Drive, from early solo favorites like Big Electric Cat to new arrangements of signature King Crimson tunes like Thela Hun Ginjeet, Elephant Talk, Neurotica, Dinosaur, and Three of a Perfect Pair, this well-rehearsed band had the chops to faithfully interpret the songs, while reinventing them with their own style and savvy. School of Rock alumnae Julie Slick on bass, and her brother Eric Slick on drums filled out the sound with poise and muscle. Eric never missed a beat, grinning and laughing as he traded licks with Adrian, while Julie stood serenely, calmly thumping her bass with a confidence, authority and ease that Tony Levin would have admired.
All of this sheer enthusiasm created an unusual atmosphere of playfulness, not often seen among musicians of this calibre. The buoyant mood clearly made it an enjoyable night for players and audience alike, allowing Adrian the freedom to take off in different directions not always pursued in other bands, and he made the most of it- jamming, improvising, and putting on a virtuoso show. As always, he coaxed a jungleful of animal sounds out of his Parker guitar- seagulls, elephants, cats, rhinos, and yes, even a dinosaur. One of many highlights of the show was a solo Lone Rhinoceros, the words lending empathy for a proud, endangered relic of a simpler time. This was followed (or was it preceded?) by a seemingly- spontaneous instrumental rendition of Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper, imbued with his own touch and still unmistakable from the first note.
But it wasn't just the effects, the solos, the volume, or the complexity of what they were playing- the Adrian Belew Power Trio are a force to be reckoned with because they actually listened to each other, played off each other and they had a steady groove going all night long! The space they generously gave to create, to urge each other on, to jam, take risks, and explore the songs and make them their own- that was truly unique, and powerful. It's something I'll never forget because it is both rare and genuine. We really saw a spectacular, yet very intimate show. Thanks again, guys- you SHRED! The Adrian Belew Power Trio are in New York and next week, on their way to Japan as the tour continues, but stay tuned to this space for when they return to the area. You'll hear it here FIRST! In the meantime, check out the pics, news and a great bio video called "Life in a Nutshell" at adrianbelew.net (also on the infamous 1600 links page, with other planned domestic dates coming up and Side Four release info SOON!)"
From a cool little blog called Blah:
"Welcome to Blah3
Tuesday, June 26 2007 @ 04:37 EDT
Music Review: School Of Rock Festival, Asbury Park, NJ
Monday, June 25 2007 @ 10:12 EDT
We got up Sunday morning and ran out of the house, jumped back into the car and off we went back to Asbury. Traffic was worse than either going or coming back home on Saturday, but we still arrived in time to see Adrian Belew on the Main Stage.
Besides serving up a vertiable buffet of tone from his copper-colored Parker Fly, Adrian was mindful enough of style to wear sunglasses that matched his guitar.
And I've got to mention the other two players in the Belew Power Trio - the brother-and-sister duo of Eric and Julie Slick. Both grads of the Philly School Of Rock, they gave Belew all the foundation he needed to go off - in fact, they seemed to push him to go even further out on the musical limb of the moment. These kids (neither one is barely out of their teens) are two players to watch - they will be around a while, and they are exceptional."
From Planet Crimson:
"Still buzzing from the AB3 show last night. I'm not much of a reviewer so I'll keep it short:
You MUST see this band! Adrian was his usual amazing self which was what I expected. He really never lets you down and I am in total awe of his ability to multi-task on stage. He plays an impossible riff, loops it and then playx more impossible riffs over top of it. All the while he's smiling at everyone in the audience like we are long lost friends.
But that wasn't the best part. The best part was the Slicks. Even after reading so many great reviews I was stunned at how good these two are. Julie Slick made me ashamed to even think about calling myself a bass player and Eric is just sick.
Oh and Adrian signed my Dust cd cover print. A very nice night indeed.
"So last August's AB concert in Phila was one for the ages. It stood out from every other show of the year (and possibly the couple before). This trio was OUT of this WORLD. Could they possibly get better? I had my doubts, but last night they actually edged out that previous show. Ade and the Slicks seem to be energizing each other more than ever, and thankfully it's the kind of mutual-feedback loop that doesn't cause everything nearby to overload and short out. Well, not literally.
Same as last time, our opener was Saul Zonana. I enjoyed him more than before, probably since his stuff took some time to sink in last time. He's got a great voice and some fun songs, even if he couldn't top The Argument in the song-for-an-inflatable-sex-doll department. Mainly he just needs a real backup band instead of a MIDI program in a box. Still, quite an enjoyable set all around.
I could complain about BB King's really not being a great venue (uncomfortable chairs, people squeezed too many to a table, way-overpriced eats), or the headaches that resulted from someone nearby indulging in some not-quite-legal flammable plant matter. But once the trio started threatening to blow every fuse in Times Square, everyone's attention was rapt and any little quibbles were handily blown out of our heads. This show KICKED from the first note and never let up. Set-wise it was the same as last time, minus the solo "Walk Around the World," but expanded with "Men in Helicopters" (which somehow became a bonafide arena-rocker, I kid you not), plus a STONKING "Neurotica." Ye gods. I think they actually equalled the KC version from Mexico City.
This time we ended up on the stage left side of the room instead of the right, so it was Eric's turn to blow me away. He looked more Keith Moon than ever (mod haircut, striped shirt and tie) and did his share of bouncing and head-tossing. But the crazy stuff was never less than razor-sharp and he never stopped propelling the others along at 150mph, even while trotting out one insane fill after another after another. Comparisons to Peart or Bozzio wouldn't be entirely out of place. Meanwhile Julie cranked out a low end every bit as inventive AND hyper-catchy, while Adrian just looked as if he was having the time of his life.
It's always interesting to see how the material's adapted for a trio, such as "Frame x Frame" where Adrian loops & overdubs himself in order to cover both the 6/8 and 7/8 parts ("there's never a Fripp handy when you need one, is there"). But no matter the song, in this group's hands it comes out as powerful as you've ever heard it. Seriously folks, they've got a chemistry usually reserved for MIT labs. Don't miss them if they're swinging near you. Knock over a bank if necessary. And be ready to grab Side Four the minute it's possible."
From the comments section of my blog:
"Wow, I just got back from the SOR fest and BB King's last night and I can't explain how charmed I feel to have experienced such a great weekend. Your kids are absolutely amazing. My nephew and I caught Eric with everyone and he is unbelievable. I wished Julie played with so many different groups...and as to her on-stage persona, I wonder if that guy thinks Fripp looks bored, quiet and shy too.
The trio's sets at both the fest and BB King's really can't be explained with words. But, I can say how strange it is to have my attention so divided between the band members. I used to just watch Adrian...now I feel like I'm cheating on whoever I'm not watching. The trio is truly something very, very special and I hope it lasts for a long, long time.
In any case, we were in a parking garage getting ready to leave and my nephew was going on and on about Eric and Julie. I turned around and Julie was walking up with some friends and I had to start thinking about how to nonchalantly kick him in the shins...too funny!
(In case Julie reads this, I was a bit mortified to be associated with my parents car and their gigantic "W" sticker. I'm sure you really don't care, but I felt like I got caught at the scene of a crime I didn't commit).
To bring my rambling to an end, later that night my nephew said "they're not 'sick' they're slick" (that is funny when you haven't slept for 4 days)."
Oh my god, as I told the person who wrote that comment, that made me seriously laugh out loud. The "W" part, that is...too, too funny.
From the comments section of Adrian's blog:
"June 24, 2007 11:10 PM
What a weekend!
My husband Roy and I saw twelve bands in the last three days. We had booked our flight to the East Coast long before I knew of Adrian's tour. The original goal was to attend NEARFest - the North East Art Rock Festival in Bethlehem, PA. But Adrian played 40 minutes away in Sellersville. It was too perfect; we had to go. We also managed to see the band Asia and Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople at separate shows in nearby Philadelphia on Friday. Whew!
Adrian was wonderful. We had seen the earlier power trio, but this was our first time seeing him play with the Slicks. Excellent performance all around, even with some technical issues that must have been frustrating. It was great getting a chance to say hi after the show as well. The opening act Caryn Lin was very good as well.
This year has been amazing. I've seen Adrian three times this year, with completely different shows. We are getting very spoiled!
June 25, 2007 3:54 PM
Just home from the the triumphant final show at B.B. Kings. All I can say is wow! I've never heard Adrian playing better and Eric and Julie are amazing discoveries. I cannot wait for Side Four!
Thank you for another amazing evening of music!
From Robert's Journal:
"T bought me a ticket to Adrian Belew Power Trio with Julie and Eric Slick at BB Kings for Fathers Day.
5:00 Arrive at BB Kings and get a priority seating ticket, we're number 8. We hang out in Lucilles, have a beer and watch Hendrix at Woodstock.
6:00 We go in and have excellent seats, one table from the stage, very close to Adrian. The show is amazing. Julie and Eric are outstanding and Adrian, is of course, phenomenal. This is the second Power Trio I've seen. The other was at the Turning Point in Piermont, NY. I look forward to a third. The trio comes on at nine and plays for 1.5 hours. Every piece is better than previous, a lot of Belew material and of course King Crimson thrown in and at the end, Three of a Perfect Pair, Frame by Frame, Elephant Talk, and Thela Hun Ginjeet. Great show."
From Wild Koba's Music Box:
" adrian belew. bb king's, 6/25/07 (summer show #2)
last night's belew show at bb's was pretty off the hook. i wasn't sure what to expect, but overall, i was pleasantly surprised by what i caught.
the twang bar king was playing in a trio featuring the slick siblings: 21 year old julie on bass, and 20 year old eric on drums. and they played their asses off (and yes, they are schooled in the ways of rock). the drummer was especially brilliant. he did an excellent job backing up every freak sound from belew with his own diabolical rhythms.
the star of the show, though, was belew, who looks WAY TOO MUCH like f. murray abraham in "amadeus" if he were joyful and untormented. belew is one of the few musicians i've seen live who's constantly happy and enjoying himself onstage. it's refreshing every once in a while to see someone who doesn't look like they hate their job. thankfully, no sturm und drang when it comes to belew.
and in case you weren't sure, belew can still play. his blistering runs and glass-like chords were dotted with abusive whammy torture (lots of great sounds resulted).
the crowd's energy was clearly at its peak during the steady stream of crimson songs that appeared in the latter half of the set. bass-girl slick displayed great prowess on "elephant talk". there were a couple of long instrumental jams i didn't know, but baby slick and belew were playing like they were in a barfight; they were throwing everything they could think of at each other. great stuff."
From Mike Keneally's blog:
"amazing weekend at the inaugural School of Rock Festival in Asbury Park. You were only sixteen miles away and you didn't come? Wow.
I had a super-interesting band: Doug Lunn, Eric Slick, Eric Svalgard on keyboards and Rich Stone on bass clarinet and tenor sax. No rehearsal. You try playing the "Dolphins" medley with no rehearsal."
After which one of his pals commented:
"Power Trios rock my world! With everything else going on this past weekend, I neglected to tell you how much I enjoyed you're set on Saturday...three words... Eric F*ckin' Slick!
Okay, speaking of Mike Keneally. Do you know what a freaking thrill it was for me on Sunday at the School of Rock Festival? First, when Eric performed at noon with Dave Dreiwitz in Crescent Moon, first Mike sat there next to me bopping along, grinning from ear to ear, then he jumped up on stage for the song, "Hammer to the Skull" when a young School of Rocker let him borrow his guitar. Oh my god, it was insane!
Mike Keneally on guitar, Dave Drewitz on bass, Eric Slick on drums
But even more surreal than that was later that afternoon, when I found myself standing next to Mike yet again during the Adrian Belew Power Trio set. I could not get over to his reaction to my son and my daughter up there with Adrian. He kept turning to me with that smile, and I can't even tell you all of the awesome things he said...I don't want to embarrass Eric and Julie who are both managing to stay humble.
Not me. I'm freaking out over how great this trio is and once you hear Side Four Live, you will know exactly what I'm talking about.
Meanwhile, I have like a gazillion photos from the tour and this past weekend at the School of Rock Festival from both my camera and the cameras of fans who were kind enough to email me. I'm trying to figure out the best approach here...I may just start a new album on my photobucket site and put up a link because they are all so great I can't decide which ones to post. But in the meantime, thanks so much to Steve Kozlowski and Anna Jackow for sending me such awesome pics.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
A very blurry Adrian Belew with my nephew, Garrett, last night at BB Kings and oh how I wish the lighting was better and I had a clearer photo...
So I have lots to talk about, many reviews to post, many people to thank for sending me photos (I did not have my camera for the shows Eric played with Mike Keneally and Crescent Moon at the SOR Fest this past weekend and I can't believe how many fans were kind enough to email me pics)...but last night my brother and his soon to be nine year old son, Garrett, drove from West Hartford, Connecticut to BB Kings in New York City to see the Adrian Belew Power Trio for the very first time featuring Garrett's first cousins, Julie and Eric Slick. In fact, I didn't realize it, but it was also Garrett's first time in New York City!
Quick background: My mom died when my significantly younger brother David was still a kid; Gary and I were his legal guardians (while we were still pretty much kids ourselves) until he went off to college...and now David has two kids of his own, one of whom is the fabulous Garrett featured above...and guess what...at age 8 he's already a brilliant guitar player. Think it's genetic? Ha! I do...just wish that gene hadn't skipped me!
"Who is your favorite guitar player, Garrett?" we asked him last night.
"Adrian Belew," he answered immediately, and then proceeded to reel off the names of all the songs he loved by Adrian and King Crimson. He went backstage to meet Adrian...and of course as you can imagine, Adrian being Adrian was his usual incredibly cool and kind self. Garrett left the show last night with a signed album, t-shirt, and well...here's what my brother had to say in an email to me today...hope you don't mind I'm doing this, Dave, but I burst into tears when I read your letter this morning and I really want to share it with the world. I just wish I had a better photo of Ade and your boy (I'm gonna kidnap that kid for a couple of weeks this summer...better watch out because I might not give him back! What a brilliant, wonderful young man...we are so smitten with him it's ridiculous) but you know, there will be many more shows to come and if you are going to be in Florida visiting your in-laws this August...it might be sooner rather than later (sly hint to those of you Belew fans in Florida).
Anyway, here's what my brother said in his email:
"I didn’t tell Garrett he would see Eric or Julie. I said I doubted he would see Adrian, but I also said you never know. Then on our trip down I started telling him we might see Aunt Robin and Uncle Gary. I said you can’t tell what that Aunt Robin might be up to, but they were both excited to see you. Garrett said” Do you think she will tell Eric and Julie I am coming”? I told him to think about the relationship with Eric and Julie Aunt Robin has. So he goes “you mean she is their mommy and she’ll probably tell them”. I turned the music up and smiled at him.
So here is Garrett driving into NYC. He looks around at the people, the traffic, the buildings, and the boldness of it all. To say he was overwhelmed is an understatement. We had an appetizer and went to find Eric and Julie. They came over, introduced him to Adrian (he signed the cd covers), and they let him come backstage. At this point, he was just so happy I couldn’t have been more ecstatic.
When he realized we were moving from our table, and sitting with you, he was starting to hit shock factor. The way your kids, Gary, you, and Adrian treated him made this the best night of his life. He was telling Staci (eta: Dave's wife) about the faces Adrian and Eric when they make when they play but Julie doesn’t-she plays awesome. He knew all the songs, and was really blown away by everyone’s performance. I was too.
I have seen Adrian perform with David Bowie, and King Crimson twice. I only went to see Bowie because Adrian was playing. The best performance until last night was King Crimson back in 1982 at the Tower Theatre. The energy Eric had on drums was unbelievable. His power and finesse just gave the music a whole new energy. I loved seeing Bill Buford with Adrian, but as good as Buford is, Eric is a different kind of drummer. His passion brings something out in Adrian’s music that makes him sound “50 years younger”. (eta: Adrian made that comment laughingly on stage last night) I can’t think of a drummer I have heard who is that original, powerful, and free who takes drumming to a limit some others have been said to have achieved, but were either not technically as good or were restrained by their own technical prowess. You know the list I mean.
I also loved seeing Tony Levin with Adrian and Peter Gabriel as he is an amazing stick player. Julie is one of these understated bass players that are so good, she gets into your soul. She compliments the musicians on stage, and has a natural connection to Eric that is much different than seeing Eric play with another bassist... Her style is about tone and soulfulness. When you add that to Adrian/Eric, you have magic. She is gorgeous in both beauty and personality, and it is so refreshing to see her music do the talking versus seeing another woman who is all belly buttons and no talent. She is a real musician who doesn’t need to rely on anything but her musical gift. Without realizing it, she is new role model for young women who want to play music.
So the amazing thing about seeing your kids play with Adrian last night was seeing the music of Adrian Belew taken to another level. There is a freedom he has with this band that has re-energized his music. It is as if Adrian Belew has finally reached the zenith of his capabilities as a solo artist, and he should never look back. His songs were always my favorites from King Crimson, and in this power trio format, he has achieved something as magical as the first day Cream took the stage, or Hendrix played Monterey.
I was blown away, Garrett was in rock and roll heaven, and it was one of the most special nights I could have hoped for.
Oh god, here come the tears again. Okay, I will be back tomorrow with all of your wonderful photos, reviews, and a few cool stories of my own.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Julie Slick and Adrian Belew at the Sellersville Theater, June 22, 2007 - photograph courtesy by Gary Slick
Okay, I have about a million photos from the shows in Virginia, Maryland, Sellersville, and the School of Rock fest over the weekend but I honestly think the above photo of Julie and Adrian is one of the coolest pics my husband has ever taken so I think it deserves its own post and I'll put up a whole bunch more this week, including some great Eric Slick shots.
And thank you to Sid Smith at DGM Live and the Washington Post for linking my blog!
Yes. I know. The Washington Post has linked my blog. I think I may be having a coronary...in an absolutely fantastic way, of course.
So I was just talking with Gary on the phone and said "How the hell are you at work today?" because he literally logged close to 600 miles on the car since Thursday and the two of us have now been in six states in under a week...we're in total Adrian Belew Power Trio groupie mode. The final show will have us at BB Kings in New York City tonight...and as far as I know, it will be close to a sell-out so if you haven't bought your tickets yet, you can still grab them right here.
But yeah, we're both operating on like one hour of sleep over the past couple of days and it's taking all of my remaining energy to do this blogpost but I have so much to report and we had such an incredible blast this weekend that this is probably going to end up being a mini series. And I know I owe a bunch of people emails which I hope to get to shortly...
Anyway without further ado, here's part one of the saga.
Oh wait...I see Adrian has updated his website and I must admit, I LOVE IT. Go see for yourself right here and click on "NEWS".
Okay, back to the story.
At 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning, after being up all night with Adrian and his crew following the show at the Rams Head, Gary and Eric left Anapolis, Maryland to pick me up in Philadelphia for Eric's performance with Mike Keneally at the School of Rock Fest. Eric and Gary got here around 9:00 a.m., I hopped in the car, and off to Asbury Park we went for the first ever School of Rock Festival.
Can I tell you what an amazing event it was? I mean, Paul and his crew put together the most insane two days...it's hard to believe he pulled this off and I'm sure there will be reporters from all over the area who cover that aspect so I will defer to them and provide you with links as I find them. But all I can say is...oh my god...from 20 students in his apartment in 1998 to the thousands from all over the country who attended this fest...it's unbelievable.
Eric's gig with Keneally was at 1:00 p.m. They freaking blew the crowd away...you just don't see/hear musicianship on that level every day. Those guys are musicians' musicians...just on a completely different level than most. So you had Keneally on guitar, vocals and keyboards (yep, simultaneous to playing guitar sometimes), Eric Svalgard of Project Object on keyboards, Eric Slick on drums, Doug Lunn on bass, and Rich Stone on clarinet and sax. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
Unfortunately, we had to book out of there immediately because Eric had to be at the Sellersville Theatre (90 miles away) for an early sound check for his show with Adrian that night. But just as we were leaving, a film crew grabbed the three of us and wanted interviews which was way cool but I kept looking at my watch and was naturally hyperventilating. No worries. It was quick and fun and we were on the road ten minutes later.
When we got to Sellersville around 4:30 p.m., we learned that the legs to Eric's floor tom (drum) were missing...most likely left at the Rams Head in Anapolis, and three music stores in the area were out of them, so Ade's crew went off to Lowe's and bought some metal and made their own.
Gary and I were way too nervous for that.
We drove 50 miles back to Philly to get Eric another floor tom and also, really, to walk the poor dog and feed him since he'd been alone all day.
Then right back in the car, 50 miles to Sellersville, just in time for the show.
Oh my god, the trio was amazing. Gary and I both had friends from work (or in my case, my former job) there and it was ultra cool to get their reactions - they were totally blown away. Here's one review I found about that show, but I beg to differ when it comes to the remark about Julie...err...Julie has her own style and she's very much John Entwistle when it comes to stage demeanor. Ade and Eric are the showmen; Julie is their straight "man". But all in all, a very nice review:
"Well, this was one of the most surprising shows I have been to in a long time.
The opening act was a local gal named Caryn Lin who is making a pretty good name for herself using an electric violin and looping. She has been all over TV and schools with her program called Bach to Rock.
Adrian and his power trio came out to a faulty mic but started the show anyway with a song I was not familiar with. At the end of the song, they fixed his mic and they started the show again. I don't know the name of the tune but as the rest of the show it was kick ass.
The Power Trio consisted of Adrian along with brother and sister Julie and Eric Slick. They were highly recommended as the top graduates ever from the local Philly School of Rock. Julie is 21 while her brother is 20. I have never witnessed talent like this from youngsters besides the likes of Eric Steckle and just a few others.
For all but one track, Julie played a Fender Precision (or possibly the Jazz model but I could not read the head). She also played a beautiful Frettless Gibson on one track. The drum kit Eric played was not elaborate but the kid had chops. If you could mix a Weckl and Bruford together, Eric is what you'd get. Neither of them missed a beat or note while keeping up with the veteran Belew. I am also surprised kids of their age getting into the obscure (as 3LB put it) music of Belew and King Crimson. My only complaint about the bassist Julie, is that she did not have a good stage persona. I seriously don't think she has a clue just how good she really is and therefor was a bit quiet and shy on stage. Most of the time she played the most difficult Tony Levin bass lines, she looked bored or asleep although she ripped up every note.
Playlist went something like this and not in this order:
A few songs I didn't know.
Some song about a Cat
Three of a Perfect Pair
A song about ruining the earth
A few more of which I was not familiar
Thela Hun Gingeet
Adrian must be the Master at making a Guitar sound like anything but a Guitar. The sounds he can make are truly incredible. His voice was still all but stellar as he did play several songs in an octave a bit lower than the originals. His voice only cracked once that I noticed on a high note.
Unfortunately for me, the last time I saw Adrian Belew was with KC in 1982 just after the release of Beat and Discipline. I immediately fell in love with both disks and was overjoyed that this show included tracks from that era along with TOAPP.
On a side note, this weekend was also the School of Rock Festival where all the kids performed along with some giants including Adrian. Eric Slick had just arrived at the show to perform after playing with FIVE other bands on Saturday, and again was to play today with several others including Adrian and his sister.
Cheers to the School of Rock for molding such talent that by far blows away most bands and their music of today. These kids can play circles around most of the top performing Popular Artist of today and the last couple decades. If anyone gets a chance to see this performance, I highly recommend it."
And then we have this review:
"I have been on an East Coast Entertainment tear lately. With an imminent West Coast relocation quickly approaching I guess I am trying to get in those last hurrahs of the East.
In the past thirty days, I have been to plays at the Kennedy Center, and New York's Public theatre. I have seen concerts in Brooklyn, Manhattan, D.C. North Carolina and Philadelphia. I have seen platinum selling recording artists as well as some incredible Indie acts. I have seen acts whose styles range from Jazz, Prog. Rock, R&B, Pop, Punk, Country, Blue Grass and Blues. Oh yeah even some Opera. I have experienced these shows in seedy dive bars in the city, hip stylish clubs, outdoor theatres, stadiums, and concert halls. The place where "it' all happened. The show that officially blew my mind! The performance that continues to well up from the depths of my soul, happened in a coffee shop in Vienna, Virginia.
I am not especially good with words. I loath overly contrived writings about performances where the authors obvious main objective is to impress you with his/her ability to use a thesaurus. A good show always leaves me wanting to go home and write about it, but any "experienced" music fan realizes this is an almost impossible task. Words just aren't capable of communicating the kind of experience a good show can conjure. Aldous Huxley said it best. "After Silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
That being said, I am finding it difficult to refrain from residual grunts of pleasure over the Adrian Belew show I experienced at Jammin Java, a coffee shop in a strip mall in my home town of Vienna Virginia. It was obviously an intimate affair. The coffee shop boasts an amazing sound system as the proprietors are true musicians themselves and have not compromised in sound quality.
Belew, for those of you who don't know is a guitar player extraordinaire. Early in his career he was sort of a hired gun. He played for Talking Heads, David Bowie, Laurie Anderson, perhaps his most recognized project, King Crimson and the list goes on. As of late he has been doing solo albums and producing.
Thursday, June 21 2007 Belew graced the #4 best city to live in the nation, of Vienna Virginia with his presence. I was exhausted from 10 hour work days and basically continual concert hopping in the evenings. True Confession, I was "pissed off" at someone as well, and seriously contemplated not going to the show at all. But I knew better. How could I not? Wow.. great decision as, probably by the third song I was literally transported. All that mattered was the music I was experiencing. Energy, happiness, and contentment were what consumed me at that moment in time.
Belew was accompanied by an exceptionally talented rhythm section of Eric and Julie Slick. A brother, sister duo. Eric was the drummer and his sister Julie played bass. They are 20 and 21 respectively. Eric was phenomenal and had nearly every Buford lick down pat, and his own obvious talent and style was displayed as well. Julie the bass player also wowed and amazed. Being a woman myself, I hate to admit that when I saw this obviously young, beautiful female bass player walk on stage I was skeptical of how well she could actually hang with Belew and play in Tony Levin's shadow. Well needles to say all doubt was erased after about the second song. She even pulled off Elephant talk on a straight bass. She played a beautiful Gibson bass. Adrian stuck exclusively to his Parker fly by the way. The shows music ranged from early solo stuff. Even good ole Lone Rhinoceros was brought off the shelf for our pleasure. He played many great Crimson tunes including Dinosaur which I had never heard live. He also gave us an incredible rendition of the Beatles, Within you Without you. His Big Electric Cat had this forty five year old, tired sample of Suburbia, out of my chair and dancing.
A high level of technical skills combined with well crafted songs and the clear and obvious penchant for performing displayed by this power trio enjoyed by a nice group of obvious long time, clever and witty fans was the perfect combination for a musical experience that will probably sustain for a very very long time.
Thanks Adrian and The Slick Sibs..
If you get a chance to see this act Trust me on this and do it!!!!"
I disagree. I think that reviewer is most excellent with words and I thank her very much for her kind write-up of the show.
Okay, so we're at the Sellersville show when Eric breaks the news to us that his first show in Asbury Park at the SOR Fest is not at 2:00 p.m. the next day with Adrian Belew but at 12:00 p.m. with Crescent Moon.
"Oh my god, Eric. What does this mean?" I said, already knowing the answer.
"It means I temporarily leave the Belew tour for the night, come home with you guys, and you have to wake up at dawn to take me back to Asbury Park so I can get there in time to rehearse and do my show with Dave."
"And then do a show with Adrian right after?"
"And then what?"
"I'm playing with Prfsr Drz (I cannot spell that) at 5:15 and Chris Harford at 6:00 p.m. and guess what, I'm doing double duty on the drums with Joey Russo."
"So we're pretty much spending all day/night tomorrow in Asbury Park, huh."
I looked at Gary, who of course was smiling from ear to ear, because he lives for this stuff. Well, so do I, but because I am the official family neurotic, all I could think of was "Oh god, the dog is alone all day again and traffic coming home from the Jersey shore on a Sunday night in the summer is going to be a freaking nightmare".
I decided it was out of my control and I wasn't going to worry because over the next three days, I was going to hear the world's most incredible music, hang out with fantastic, cool musicians, and really, what could be better than that.
More on day two...lots more, actually, tomorrow. I'm still on way too much of a high to be coherent, and I have to say, yesterday was one of the most special days of my life and I want to do it proper justice.
And besides, I have to get ready now to head for New York City. I hope to say Hi to a lot of you at BB Kings tonight!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The Washington Post Loves the Adrian Belew Power Trio (and so do the fans....) and will I see you at the Sellersville Theater tonight?
Once again, some more fabulous photos by Chris Nochowicz at Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN on July 19, 2007
From this morning's Washington Post:
Saturday, June 23, 2007; Page C12
Electric fans blew Adrian Belew's thinning long hair into wispy wings, and for a moment the impression was that he was holding desperately on to the neck of his guitar for grounding in a windstorm. As it happened, it was Belew who created the storm Thursday night, a sonic squall of arena-rock chords that came perilously close to overwhelming the intimate confines of Jammin' Java.
As a member of prog-rock heroes King Crimson, and having played with the likes of Robert Fripp, David Bowie and Frank Zappa, Belew is accustomed to being accompanied by world-class talent. On Thursday he was backed by the brother-sister rhythm battery of drummer Eric and bassist Julie Slick, 20 and 21 respectively. On paper it seems cuckoo; in concert it was nutty fun.
The trio muscled through such space-age chamber pieces as "Big Electric Cat" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet" with cool ferocity; Julie, as alluringly remote as Talking Head bassist Tina Weymouth, and Eric, who frequently laughed out loud after particularly busy drum solos, matched the boss note for note, causing frequent exchanges of grins across the stage. It was clear the three were having a blast while putting across their best effort.
Belew, who played a futuristic-looking Parker Fly guitar, made use of the daunting number of effects pedals at his feet, changing the sound of the guitar several times during a single tune. But the technology never overshadowed the organic nature of the numbers, and the young adults playing with him provided alarmingly mature soul.
-- Buzz McClain
From fabulous fan Rich, who saw the show in Virginia Thursday night, though I am going to purposely leave out where he puts up the set list just in case there are those of you coming to the PA, NJ, or NY shows this weekend and would rather be surprised though of course now as I read this again, I see he lists most of the songs anyway which is way cool especially in light of his wonderful, intelligent remarks:
"First I have to say this might of been the most incredible performance I've seen Ade do, and I seen plenty!
6-21-07 Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA
Headed from Winchester to Alexandria, VA. Pretty smooth sailing until I got near the Wilson Bridge construction. I don't miss Beltway traffic one bit. Had a few beers and a awesome dinner with some old family friends who have a beautiful house overlooking the Potomac River in Mount Vernon. Me and Karl headed to venue and ran into Kate and Craig waiting in line (I am so glad ya'll went, and thanks for the gift Kate, YOU ROCK!) We had to wait in line for awhile, but the odd thing the line was inside the venue, never been in that situation before. It was cool since we had a drink as we waited. They let us in, the venue wasn't too spectacular (my first time there) decent sound though. They had closely placed chairs and no tables in front of the stage. Kate snagged some chairs 3 rows back from the stage. The opener Saul Zonana was pretty good, solo singer/guitarist who used loops of bass, guitar and drums. Adrian produced and plays on one of his cd's that I picked up and got signed after the show.
At the break between Saul and the Trio, I hit the bathroom and happened to walk by the green room as Adrian opened the door. Exchanged greetings and wished him a great show, and a great show it was. It was an all ages show and was awesome to see many younger fans.
They hit the stage to a loud and receptive crowd. Ripped open Writing on the Wall with a sonic assault. Eric and Julie are so incredible, and amazing to watch. I think Ade really feeds off of it too. No disrespect to the two Mikes, but this line up is SICK! Eric is a monster on the drums, and Julie is so fluid and strong on the bass, they both make it looks so easy.
Adrian joked about being in Vienna, and sorry that the audience doesn't speak English...LOL.
Ampersand was next, they blew the lid off of it!
Young Lions was next, I really love this song, awesome version. Adrian asked if he could get some light on the crowd so he could see us, but they didn't have lights placed that way.
Beatbox followed and had a MONSTER of a jam sandwiched in it. Adrian was really working his "toys", he has a cool bouncy stool he sits on when tweaking his gadgets.
Men In Helicopters was a treat. I was getting a little annoyed at this point, for a dude sitting near me was taking flash pictures like every 20 seconds. The guy in front of me was annoyed too and tapped him on the shoulder. He continued to shoot, so in between songs I got his attention and asked if he would chill out on all the flashes (it is a rock show, not a fashion shoot.) It worked for he only took two more pics the rest of the show.
Matchless Man had a extended part with more Adeffects and loops.
Madness was AWESOME. I am not the biggest fan of this songs version on Side One, but with the Slicks it is now one of my faves. Julie and Eric slayed on this. This got a great response from the crowd.
The next 2 songs was Adrian solo:
Drive was great with the Within Without You tease
Lone Rhinoceros was nice, Ade mentioned this was the song that put him on the map.
The Slicks returned and Adrian said they are going to play a new song that they just learned which turned out to be Neurotica. This was KILLER, Adrian had a vocal loop on this. It was SUPER HEAVY! At this point I needed to pee and went to hang out with Karl, who early on moved since it was pretty loud to him.
Of Bow and Drum followed, very cool trippy intro. This is one of my fave Ade songs, so was a treat to hear it again.
I found Karl by the merch booth and to my surprise saw that Martha was working it. Exchanged hello's and was tickled she remembers me.
Big Electric Cat got me bopping around, I should of stood and danced for the whole show, those chairs were uncomfortable.
Frame By Frame was incredible.
Three of a Perfect Pair ended the set.
Very loud reactions thru the whole show which Adrian gaive us props for being a weeknight show (he commented it was a nice response for any night for a show).
They encored with Elephant Talk and Thela which brought down the house.
Post show chatted with Eric and Julie and got them to sign the setlist I kept. They are def. bro-n-sis, Julie wrote "Eric Smells" next to his autograph. And it was fun seeing them kid around and one point Julie pushed Eric, lol, siblings for sure. I mentioned I love reading their mom's blogs (hi Robin) Eric said "I really love my mom". I got to briefly chat with Poppa Slick, very nice guy. Ade again made himself accessible to his fans and set up shop at a table and the fans lined up to get some time with him. I joked with Kate while standing in line that it was like being in line for sitting on Santa's lap at the mall, lol. It was kind of like a confessional, a fan would sit across from Ade and chat and then leave and someone else moved to the chair. I felt blessed, lol. Adrian remembered Kate and she had a nice chat w/ Ade. I then introduced Ade to Karl, who's brother in law used to do sound and roadie for Zappa in the early 80's. They had a nice, short exchange. Wished Adrian the best on the rest of the tour. Martha asked if I was heading to the Annapolis show, which sadly I can't for I am headed to Pennsylvania to see another show.
Sorry for the long winded review. GO SEE THE TRIO!"
From the comments section of Ade's blog:
Thanks for a great Vienna show last night. Ach du lieber! :)
Wish I could have stayed for an autograph/photo, but the son I brought was getting tired. (So I got him a cool t-shirt instead!) By the way, he told me that you "are the definition of awesome." You have impressed the 11-year-old set.
Julie and Eric are unbelievable. Eric was a blur of drumstricks, and I especially enjoyed you three trading all the smiles and energy. You guys are FUN to watch!
The music was FANTASTIC. Honestly, you make me want to go out and buy an electric guitar...Hope you guys can come around again soon!"
"Andrew J. said...
Just got back from the Vienna show, which was fantastic. Thank you again, Mr. Belew (and Mr. and Ms. Slick, who put the rhythm power in the power trio).
Thank you also for the autographs.
I hope the rest of the tour goes well and look forward to seeing you next time.
my mom and sis caught the show and had a great time. i told them about the show in jacksonville and they couldn't wait to see the show. my sis was so inspired by julie, she is switching to bass (bought one today, actually)."
I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to Eric and Julie. I had read all the positive comments and thought to myself, "eh, they can't be that good." They are. And more. I rarely find my attention distracted from Mr. Belew's guitar acrobatics, but I frequently ended up watching Mr. Slick slack-jawed.
Show burned last night. The whammy bar couldn't even keep up. The "new songs" for this tour--I won't ruin anything--were particularly incredible."
Okay, it's 7:00 a.m., I just heard from Gary and Eric - they are en route to Philadelphia to pick me up so that we can head down to Asbury Park for the Paul Green School of Rock Fest, where we will watch Eric perform with insanely talented Frank Zappa alumni guitarist Mike Keneally and incredible bassist Doug Lunn, as well as Project Object's remarkable keyboardist, Eric Svalgard and on clarinet, an amazing musician named Rich Stone, who is the son of brilliant composer Richard Stone (click that link - you won't believe his creds)...and then of course the real madness begins. Following the Keneally set, we must immediately drive 100 miles to Sellersville, Pennsylvania so that Eric can rejoin the Adrian Belew Power Trio for their set tonight at the Sellersville Theater. And then it's back to the SOR Fest in Asbury Park tomorrow to see the Adrian Belew Power Trio perform there between 2:00-3:00 p.m., after which Eric will then sit in with Crescent Moon and I think at least two other bands but I'm not sure who and when. What I do know is that he has to get to New York City at some point tomorrow afternoon/night because the Belew Trio is playing BB Kings on Monday.
I hope to meet and talk to a lot of you at all three shows between today and Monday night, okay?
And holy freaking cow, with about 500 miles of driving ahead of us, I hope to get back here for some more blog entries/show reviews...looks like I might have a window of free time tomorrow morning but who knows...all I can say is, I'll try my best.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Photography courtesy of Chris Nochowicz, taken at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville, TN on June 19, 2007
Yikes. So A.D. Amorosi was kind enough to write up the Paul Green School of Rock Music Fest this weekend in today's Philadelphia Inquirer but oh my god, there's a bit of an error...
"...The Paul Green School of Rock Music Festival
It's possible to be excited about Paul Green and how his Philly-first School of Rock has spread across the country. This inaugural School of Rock (SOR) Fest - where classes from San Francisco, Austin and beyond congregate - features Green's top student players in the SOR All-Stars, who will jam with six-stringers, such as Vernon Reid. Some of Green's instructors, among them Stinking Lizaveta and Ween, will show off their chops. Adrian Belew's Trio hosts Philly SOR grads Eric and Robin Slick. Hot stuff. But before the SORFest becomes a Cub Scouts Jamboree of metal, where kids rub guitars together to start fires, wait for the real blaze to burn when Bad Brains hits the stage. The highly spiritual, harshly political hard-core punk/reggae act just recorded Build a Nation, its first rocker since 1995's God of Love. Produced by Adam Yauch, Nation's incendiary instigators - singer/toaster HR, guitarist Dr. Know, etc. - show that they write and play with the righteous fury of the start as well as the wizened woe of their tenure. SOR students, study up on "Expand Your Soul." You'll be tested."
Oy. No, that would be "Eric Slick and Julie Slick", not "Robin Slick", though of course "hot stuff" does in fact apply to me as well. Har har.
From the Yes Forum Board:
"Nolan asked me to post this for him - he wasn't able to get out here yet to do it ... thanks for the great review, Nolan!
I need to "set up" the scene for this concert with the following, so indulge me:
AB goes to the local chiropractor Steven Williams-he's a relative of mine by marriage. He get's hired to go to the major "Music City" concerts and do adjustments on the performers before the shows, etc. He once adjusted Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham prior to their last FM/Nashville performance...lol... He doesn't crack and tell......He rarely tells me who he's been working with, etc....."Doctor/Patient Confidentiality"....lol
He's the "adjuster of the stars" I guess. He sings, plays guitar and is a pt preacher on top of all that......Steven's wife and her sister-another relative (it's TN you know. they're all cousins'...lol) were at the local Tex/Mex cantina, Cinco de Mayo in Mt Juliet where Adrian hangs out and as they were leaving the last time they saw him they went over to tell him that their son (who also happens to be an aspiring musician and who was in the same Boy Scout troop as Adrian's son Stevie Mars Belew-yes, that's his real middle name....lol) who Adrian knows had won a full "music" scholarship to the University of Memphis. He gets to play in their "Fusion Band"....Adrian remarked how great that was, etc and the young, high school aged hostess standing nearby, overheard the conversion and was familiar with Alex's mother so she jumped in the conversion saying....."I KNOW Alex Kramer; he's the best guitarist in Mt Juliet!!"....not knowing who Adrian Belew was, etc. Adrian replied, "Yeah! I hear he's pretty good!".....too funny
Before Adrian's concert Tuesday evening I was waiting near the entranceway of The Mercy Lounge waiting for the doors to open and Adrian came to the door as to let us in and when he stuck his head out the door, I asked him "Did he know if the guy performing tonight was any good??!" Since he knew me he played along and said "I don't know about the guy but the girl (meaning Julie Slick) is pretty good"-with "pretty" being an understatement I later found out. I told him that "Mt Juliet was here in force tonight to support their native son" and Adrian asked if I "had brought the "voyeurs" from Cinco de Mayo" (meaning the hostesses)...At least tonight at The Mercy Lounge, Adrian wanted to be considered the "best guitarist" in town I think.......lol
Adrian left the venue after sound check; we were let in to find out listening spots and prepare for the sonic fusion concert of the year in Nashville. Frank Zappa music was being played on the house system, so perfect for folks getting ready to see the world's (if not Mt Juliet's) best stunt guitarist around since Frank Zappa is no longer with us......any everyone attending knew FZ had given Adrian his first major break back in the 70's. What a nice way to pay homage.
The opening act was a very mellow Bosa Nova group with guitar, bongos, steel guitar and flute as backups. FOA "Friends Of Adrian" they said, called "SWAN DIVE".....Definitely a "contrast" in music style from FZ and AB but nice, kinda like "cleansing the musical/sonic palette" before The Adrian Belew Power Trio" took the stage. These folks had music in their heart and soul you could tell, they were very humble at receiving our applause and approval. The gal lead singer just thanked us for "not booing them off the stage" which she said she was afraid we might do.....I don't think AB would have asked them to open for him IF he would have thought his fans would do that.....Some of us had even been to see Robert Fripp's recent Nashville performance of his "Soundscapes" Tour which is even more of a contrast of music than this was.....
There was a short break to prepare the stage for the main attraction and instead of FZ music we were given, Meditarrium, greek-like exotic music, some sounding almost like salsa music-maybe AB had the Cinco de Mayo "incident" on his mind and being the competitive sort, he was going to PROVE on THIS night that HE was the BEST GUITARIST "anywhere"....lol ...Fans were taking pictures of his gear and peddle board "setup"...(the opening act had referenced it twice during their performance stating that on two of the "led" readouts it said "Prozac" and "Jimi") before he musicians came to the stage to render us with one of the most "intense" performances I have ever witnessed. Seriously, I have been to ALOT of concerts, big, small, bad and great and this one is in the top five of many since 1969. This band just played flat out with no fear....Eric Slick, the drummer is 20 years, came from Paul Green's ROCK SCHOOL and plays the drums like a mixture of John Bonham and Keith Moon, alternating between "Hammering of The Gods" and "jazzy offbeat"....smiling all the time, playing off of AB's musical cues and body language. Julie Slick, the bass player is 21 years old, also from ROCK SCHOOL (as AB introduced her he said "She's 21 ....NOW, we're talking!”) She can create "heavy metal thunder" on her bass and also play "jazzy" as well. She looks a mixture of Angelina Jolie and Cindy Crawford but with a bass strapped on. She gives AB sly smiles from time to time but mainly plays as if she's one of the gals from the Robert Palmer video, "Addicted To Love" looking down at her finger/pick work.....Fortunately for her, she plays as well as she looks......I found out later that she had played bass for Jon Anderson before too...I'd hire her too.....the total package......if you can't have Tony Levin or Chris Squire around you, Julie will soon make you forget all about them......ok, enough, there WAS a concert to listen to but as I said before the "World's Best Stunt Guitarist" ever......and like the bosa nova opening act, AB is a musician that clearly "ENJOYS" his work....even when they had opening night glitches he howled at them, at least they were going places with music that might encourage technical challenges...AB does NOT play it "safe" with his methods, style....JAZZ ON STEROIDS is the style music this group plays!!.Adrian seemed to have "fried" the electronics in one of his guitars during a number and just calmly unplugged it, got the spare and jumped back in with the support of his rhythm section Eric and Julie, nobody missed a beat.....Once during the most "intense" sequences (you could see the paint peeling off the walls, to use a well known expression) Adrian said basically that he promised not to get anymore intense than that for his own protection, thinking his (and our heads) may explode like in the movie "Scanners"....lol He asked us "did he leave any note unplayed"....lol "Had we heard ALL the notes possible", etc etc...Luckily most of the walls at The Mercy Lounge are bare, exposed wood, so Adrian shouldn't have to play much to have the place repainted......After the encore, there was a 15 minute standing ovation in appreciation to the effort of the night while the majority of the audience remained to greet their guitar god at the bar. AB was very gracious and took his time to speak with everyone, posing for pictures, talking about the future, etc. He was drenched in sweat from all the music poring out of him, his "Renaissance Man" cap was drooping but his was happy to see us all hanging around still....guess playing every note possible to infinity AND reclaiming his title as the "Best Guitarist" around since Alex Kramer takes alot of effort! He was up for the challenge....AND next time the Cinco de Mayo hostess will have to say "Beside's Mt Juliet's Renaissance Man,Adrian Belew, Alex Kramer is (second) best....." which is NOT bad with the guy in front of being AB....www.adrianbelew.net"
Naturally, I had chills reading that and I think the reviewer is correct - Julie does look like a cross between Angelina Jolie and Cindy Crawford except she's even prettier. And more talented.
Okay, this is just part one because I haven't talked to my family yet today about last night's show nor have I found anything on line.
What I do know, however, is the release date for SIDE FOUR LIVE but I'm not sure I'm allowed to blab it yet nor give you any more information so I will also get back to you on that as soon as I find out today if I have the band's permission.
Okay. Must go walk the dog since I am his sole caretaker over the next few days while Gary and the kids tour...it's so beautiful out I'm actually thinking of taking him to lunch at an al fresco cafe.
Yeah, yeah, I'm a lunatic.
More later today. .
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The Adrian Belew Power Trio with Eric and Julie Slick conquer Nashville and have you bought your School of Rock Fest tickets yet?
Have you bought your tickets for the SOR Fest yet? You really don't want to miss this amazing, amazing event - click on the above link to purchase tickets. The other bands really rock, but I'm currently freaking out over the reports coming in from the first night of the Adrian Belew tour -- and as you can see, Adrian, Julie and Eric will be performing at the SOR Fest on Sunday, June 24, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.
And of course if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Julie and Eric Slick were not only two of Paul's very first students back in 1998, but since their graduation from Rock School a couple years ago, they are the first ones to "make it". Yay, Paul Green School of Rock Music!
Okay, on to the Adrian Belew Power Trio's triumphant return to the world of touring this week, beginning in Nashville, Tennessee.
God, where do I start? How about with the fifteen minute screaming standing ovation they received after their encore? As Adrian succinctly says in his blog:
"last night was our first show in months.
the mercy lounge, where we showed no mercy.
the place was steaming and so was the power trio.
rarely do you hear such enthusiasm pouring
from a nashville audience; they've seen it all.
but this audience was loud and excited.
and on a tuesday night no less.
the new songs went off without a hitch.
what more can I say about eric and julie?
they are awesome.
tonight at 8:00 we board a plane for vienna.
vienna, virginia that is.
let the joy begin!
From the Yes forum board:
Adrian Belew at the Mercy Lounge, Nashville, 6/19/07
"Just got back from this show, and all I can say is WOW!
Adrian was on fire, fueled partly, I'm sure, by his young bandmates, Eric and Julie Slick. They were AWESOME!
Setlist was a mix of Adrian's solo songs and Crimson favorites, all played with raw intensity and ENERGY! This show absolutely blew me away!
And to top it off, I got to meet Adrian after the show and have pics made - they're on Nolan's camera though, so you'll have to wait a bit til they're posted . . . Adrian is so personable and gracious with his fans - a very refreshing entertainer, for sure!
Adrian is a phenomenal guitarist and showman, not only with KC but with ANYONE! Or just by himself! He did a cool solo number while the Slicks took a break - a wonderful rendition of "Within You Without You".
The encore was Thela Hun Ginjeet - done with a passion I've never heard before! People were moshing on the floor - the crowd went wild and applauded for at least 10-15 minutes afterwards!
If these folks come to your town - GO! This is a must-see!"
Re: Adrian Belew at the Mercy Lounge, Nashville, 6/19/07
I am SO glad I am NOT a guitar player this morning...
I would now have to decide whether or not to just walk away and not even try anymore or I would know how much I would need to practice, practice (-IF you can even "learn" to do the things AB did on his guitars last night,) to be a decent guitarist, much less look like I was enjoying myself as much as AB and his bandmates were last night when playing my guitar.....
btw-his bandmates were all of 20-Eric Slick the drummer and 21-Julie Slick the bass player... "Now you're talking"...lol a quote of AB's. Both came from the PA "Rock School" where AB is a visiting prof....
We asked AB whether or not KC/YES would tour together in 2008.....
Reply and pics later..."It's ONLY TALK".....
From the KVR Audio Forum board:
"Well this was a treat of a show. Those kids rock. Eric Slick pays attention to his hi-hats and I love that. Very groovy and skilled. Julie Slick thumps the bass, can sweep, can do amazing walking lines, and can zone out on a fretless, too. And she's seriously hot on top of all that.
Belew did a killer solo interlude, bouncing around a solo that sounded like a snake charmer on shrooms.
Blistering rendition of Three of a Perfect Pair.
Much fun was had! Go see'em if they come to a town near you."
From Harmony Central:
Okay, so I went to the show last night. Absolutely unbelievable -- I don't regret it for a second. I was standing ten feet from him and I still don't get it.
His band is incredible. Eric and Julie Slick (drums & bass, repsectively) are phenomenal. He's 20, she's 21, and I was just stunned by the musicianship. I'm 37 and I can barely play my way out of a pentatonic scale -- these kids are up there holding their own (and occasionally upstaging) Adrian Belew.
I gave up trying to figure out what the hell he had going on with his rig. He was playing Parkers (mainly a really nice gold one) through two Johnsons, two Line 6s, a Boomerang, a sampler of some kind, a Roland synth, expression pedals, midi controllers and god knows what else. I think I mentioned this show was in a small bar, so his rig dominated the stage. It looked like NASA mission control. My bass player went with me, and I don't think I'm going to hear any more grief from him about my measly six pedals.
I've seen the light. I caught myself giggling while I was watching him play, and the only other person who gets that reaction from me is Richard Thompson. Both are utterly unique artistic voices, and both are superb musicians. For the uninitiated, if Adrian comes to your city, don't hesitate -- GO SEE HIM. And thanks to everyone here who encouraged me to go."
"Belew is not only a innovative guitarist, inspired artist and mind-boggling multi-tasking vocalist but he is a great guy. I met him at an airport once and he was extremely cool.
His recent solo stuff is sick. Sides one, two and three (particularly one & three) are awe-inspiring. "Ampersand", "Writing on the Wall", "Incompetence Indifference" and the list goes on. The Slick kids hold up their end very nicely as they gain invaluable experience backing Belew. It is very exciting to watch. When I first saw the Belew/Slick trio I was on the edge of my seat. I didn't think the kids would be able to keep up with him. They did. It is rare to catch such an exhilerating show from a group that you can respect. Great stuff. BB Kings, Times Square, Monday night. I'll see you there."
From Friendly Mama:
"Hammy and I went to see the "Adrian Belew Power Trio" at Mercy Lounge. We'd ordered the tickets last week before we had any idea I'd be going with Hammy to Bonnaroo. If we'd known, I'm sure we'da bailed on the idea of being out late THREE TIMES in FOUR NIGHTS, but we had bought the tickets and so, went. And how glad I am that we did! What a fantastic show!
...As for the Power Trio: Wow! Of course Adrian is an amazing, whimsical, energetic guitarist who is tremendous amounts of fun to watch and listen to. And now, he's playing with 21 and 20 year old siblings Julie and Eric Slick (on bass and drums respectively) who are such instinctual, innovative and talented musicians that they seem to encourage Adrian to even greater feats of musical outlandishness. They were all three so good I don't know how they kept up with one another.
It was a crazy, loud, late night and getting up was really hard this morning but it was so worth it! I love to be reminded of how much I love music."
From the comments section of my blog:
I read your blog daily, mainly to see what the ABPT are up to. I saw them in Nashville last night and I must say your kids are pretty darn impressive:) My husband "air" drums at shows and he said he couldn't keep up with Eric! I think the crowd really liked them. This big guy in front of us stood right in front of Eric (blocking my view) and kept calling Julie's name out. She is really cute. I know you're a proud momma. I haven't seen Adrian before with your kids, so I'm not sure which songs were new to their set list, other than Men in Helicopters which Adrian announced as a new song for the three of them. Adrian had some technical difficulties throughout the night, but all in all it was an awesome show. Best Wishes to you and your kids!"
From the comments section of Adrian's blog:
Mercy Lounge - What an incredible show!!
You see, I have attended basically every Tennessee area show you've performed since 1997 or so. I caught the premier Projekct Two gig at the Cannery. I saw your do a show by yourself with the acoustic for Lightning 100 FM in '98 or so in support of the Salad Days album. (I even managed to meet Audie a couple times and discuss starting a band.) I saw all the 12th and Porter Heavy Construkction gigs for KC in 2000 and 2001. I saw the Bears at both 12th and Porter and 3rd and Lindsley in support of Car Caught Fire and Live. I was at the Crimson 328 performance hall gigs in 2001 that were released by the DGM Collector's Club. I saw KC in Knoxville at the beautiful Tennessee Theater in 2001. I traveled to Atlanta to catch the Power to Believe show in 2003 at the Variety Playhouse. I saw your trio with Mike and Mike opening for Buddy Guy at the Riverfront and at the Exit/In last year. In ALL of those shows, I have never heard a performance as INTENSE as last night's. It was... face melting. The funky / crazy groove on 'Three of a Perfect Pair' was... dare I say... fatter even than that of Levin / Bruford. It was just a total reconstruction. The Slick twosome have added such an incredible, groovy, HEAVY and INTENSE bottom to your tunes... I don't think touring with even Claypool and Carrey could have topped that sound. Your entire catalogue has been reinvigorated. I hope you stick with this group for a long while. I can't imagine any other musicians interpreting your material with as much of a modern edge as those two have.
So cheers to this trio!! Way to go on the new (for this tour) tunes too. Just killer!"
So all of these reports coming in are obviously making me eat my heart out, but what can you do, at least I get to see them Saturday night at the Sellersville Theater in PA, the Asbury Park Fest on Sunday, and BB Kings in NYC on Monday.
But tonight, if you are anywhere near the Washington, D.C. area, you can catch them at Jammin' Java, where you will also see their proud Dad, Gary, snapping photos and cheering them on, because the lucky bastard gets to join the tour this afternoon and he'll also be at the Anapolis, MD show tomorrow at Ram's Head Live while I stay home and babysit our dog.
Oh...and work on my new novel.
Err..in between stalking my kids and Adrian Belew on line, of course...but hey, apparently I'm a born publicist though I think love of my family and love of this band's music has much to do with it...
In fact, everything to do with it.
And don't forget about the School of Rock Fest this weekend. It's going to be insane!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
So there they are - Adrian Belew, Julie Slick, and Eric Slick, and they're about to embark on a brief mini tour today starting tonight at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee.
I know Eric arrived at Casa Belew after playing four days at Bonnaroo and Julie's been there since Sunday night, but have I heard from them? No! They probably know I'm going to pepper them with questions so they are avoiding me and rightfully so if they are planning any surprises because I am the master of making them talk! But if they were to call me, here's what I would immediately ask:
(1) How are the new songs Adrian added to the set list? Which ones made the cut?
(2) Did you hear Side Four Live? Is it almost ready to be released? Any idea when?
Arghh...I'm in groupie mom hell. Worse, I won't see the show until Saturday night. Gary is driving down to Virginia Thursday afternoon so he will catch the shows at Jammin' Java just outside of Washington, D.C. on June 21 and Rams Head on Stage in Anapolis, Maryland on June 22...I will finally catch up with them on June 23 at the Sellersville Theater on Saturday night and of course there's the whole School of Rock Fest over the weekend of June 23-24 - more on that tomorrow/Thursday because we're still working out logistics and wondering how we can successfully clone ourselves...but yep, we'll be at that, too, and for the tour finale at BB Kings in NYC on Monday, June 25. While we decompress from all of that travel and excellent music, Julie and Eric will have a few days to unwind before going on a major jaunt with Adrian in July - Quebec July 11 and then straight to Tokyo, Japan for the rest of the month. More on that later, too...
But ooh, ooh, I just found an article in the Nashville Scene, which has tonight's show as a "critic's pick" and here's what they say:
"ADRIAN BELEW POWER TRIO If you’ve already been a guitarist with four legendary rock acts (Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, King Crimson, David Bowie), not to mention enjoyed a prolific 25-year solo career, how do you stay excited about music? Adrian Belew’s answer: strip down to a trio and put some fresh gas in the engine—20-year-old Julie Slick on bass and her 19-year-old brother Eric on drums. Belew, undeniably one of the most singular guitarists in the annals of rock, met the sibling rhythm section when he was a guest professor at Philadelphia’s School of Rock. “They’re as good as some of the really great players I’ve worked with,” Belew says, “like Bill Bruford, Danny Carey, Les Claypool and Tony Levin. They’re unbelievable.” In addition to a generous helping of Adrian’s solo material, this show—a warm-up for upcoming East Coast and Japan tours—will feature some half-dozen Crimson tunes, the mere mention of which will surely bring the schizoids out of the woodwork. (A recent live recording of the current trio doing Crimson’s “Dinosaur,” during which Belew unleashes some outrageous prehistoric howls from his guitar, backs up his hefty claims about his new band.) Mercy Lounge —JACK SILVERMAN"
Okay, I admit it. I'm hyperventilating over that article. And hey, I love Adrian's hat! I wonder if he'll be wearing it on the tour...
I should also tell you that when the Belew tour goes back to simmer in the fall while Julie completes her remaining credits at Drexel University to graduate...though as I said, I believe they will go out on the road from September 7-16 for one more jaunt before that occurs...Eric will rejoin Project Object...which band now again features both Zappa/Zappa Plays Zappa great Napoleon Murphy Brock and Ike Willis for a massive tour in October and November, 2007 and one date has already been announced: November 11, 2007 at Regatta Jazz Club just outside of Boston, MA.
Actually, even before the fall tour...one day after his return from Japan, Eric hops a plane for Germany, where he will join up with Project Object for Zappanale and other Frank Zappa related festivities (a street naming in Berlin on July 28 I believe).
So I pretty much am not going to see Eric for most of the summer and since Julie will be spending most of August working on her senior thesis/project at her recording studio in Downingtown, PA, well, what can I say, empty nest syndrome has finally hit the Slick family hard.
Of course our fabulous Monty the dog is enjoying it...he's currently being treated like the emperor of the universe. Here he is enjoying a dixie cup of special doggie peanut butter ice cream which cost as much as a gallon the human stuff:
In writing news, the other day I posted a link to Blog Critics' review of Three Days in New York City and oh wow, as you can see, this little note appeared in the comments section "This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net , which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States, and to Boston.com. Nice work!" (By the way, if you've read Three Days, I would love it if you would add your comments to the Blog Critic review as well)
What this means is that the review appeared in newspapers and magazines all over the country - I googled it and found it in Cleveland, Boston, New York...and my Amazon numbers, at least for the last couple of days, skyrocketed.
Sigh...they're kind of inching up again, but everyone knows Amazon numbers are crazy and it's the sales figures from brick and mortar stores and in my case, my publisher, which are the ones most telling. I just can't wait until September, when yes, yes, yes, Another Bite of the Apple will be out in print and I've seen the galleys which was way exciting so we're ready to rock with that and I'm furiously working on both a new novel, editing Daddy Left Me Alone with God (yes, yet again...it's now been four different books I think har har) and reading entries for the anthology I'm editing, 39 and Holding...Him. If you have submitted a story for this anthology, please note that the submissions are open until August 1 which is why I haven't sent out any acceptance letters yet though I can tell you now I have a few definites selected...I've really gotten some great pieces from some pretty notable authors as well as first time writers who are wonderful! It will be nice to have a mix of both and that's what I plan to do.
Okay, that's enough for now but you'd better believe if I hear from Julie and/or Eric with any news, I will be back!