Thursday, June 11, 2009

More on the Adrian Belew Power Trio, "e" is coming, and I'm having a Nervous Breakdown!

Have I mentioned that "e" is coming?

Photo by Wendy King
Guitarist Julie Slick and her brother Eric (not pictured) are on tour with Adrian Belew with their latest performance taking place on the Bud Light Stage at Riverbend Wednesday evening


"Slick Is the Word: A Review of the Adrian Belew Power Trio at Riverbend — June 10, 2009

The last time Adrian Belew played Chattanooga, the rhythm section of his power trio consisted of two bald dudes (Mike Hodges and Mike Gallaher) who successfully aided the Lone Rhino in tearing up the Nightfall stage. Both were experienced players: Gallaher, an accomplished jazz guitarist, switched to bass to play with Belew, and Hodges was the drummer when Belew was the music director on (yes) David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision” tour. They were fantastic both that night and a few nights later when I drove down to see them play in Atlanta. If I had never seen another Adrian Belew Power Trio show, I would have been satisfied.

Fast forward a couple of years: Gallaher and Hodges eventually left Belew and were replaced by a brother and sister rhythm section, Julie and Eric Slick, both in their early 20’s, both graduates of Paul Green’s School of Rock, and both ridiculously talented. The new band’s first recorded effort, 2007’s live Side Four, is a testament to how quickly the new trio jelled. It is also a testament to another fact: As great as Hodges and Gallaher were, they were, in essence, Belew’s backing band. The longer the Slick’s have played with Belew, the more evident it’s become that they are, well, a bit more than that. The strength of their collective contribution to the band was probably best summed up by my buddy Joe Lance (a great musician in his own right) when the trio played Riverbend last night, “When Adrian eventually hangs it up, those two will still have a long, long career ahead of them.”

The trio kicked off their 115-minute Riverbend performance with ripping versions of “Writing on the Wall” and “Young Lions” before Belew introduced some new music, two “movements,” titled “A” and “B,” from the forthcoming all-instrumental album, E. The two pieces contained many elements common to Belew’s previous work: feedback, ferocious bent notes, smart and irresistibly gorgeous chord progressions, and layer upon layer of Crimson-esque interlocking guitar parts, all of which Belew played by himself by creating—and then playing along with—a dizzying series loops. And the Slicks more than kept up. They pushed Belew’s already envelope-pushing ideas forward by either deftly doubling his riffs or aggressively soloing against them. In all honesty, I can’t remember when I’ve been more knocked out by a single song or performance...."

To read the entire article, which is absolutely amazing and terrific and wonderful and my deepest gratitude to the author, Bill Colrus, please go here!

Whew. That has me all verklempt. Talk among yourselves for a few minutes.

So thanks to the fact that I am a total compulsive who checks her email every five minutes, I learned -- 5 minutes before showtime -- from the fabulous Andre Cholmondeley that last night's Adrian Belew Power Trio's concert at the Riverbend Festival was being live streamed so I rushed to the website and got to see the entire performance! It was fucking amazing...I was blown away by the new material...and then an hour or two later, Andre real timed me another photo of the trio called "Big Chill".

Don't know if Big Chill pertains to what they are doing or if it's actually the name of a bar in Chattanooga. Will check Google as we speak. Yep, it's a bar. Ha ha, what a huge surprise.

Oh yeah! Here is a most awesome review of last night's show!

"Thursday, June 11, 2009, 1:45 p.m.
Riverbend: Deciphering the weird, wild world according to Belew

If you weren’t one of the hundreds of people crowded around the Bud Light Stage Wednesday to witness the bizarre majesty of Adrian Belew’s guitar playing, you missed one of the highlights of Riverbend so far.

Belew has a decades-long career that includes stints with the Talking Heads, Frank Zappa and King Crimson, as well as session work as a guitarist for everyone from Paul Simon and David Bowie to Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

His wonderfully experimental style centers on electronically bending and distorting notes beyond all semblance of ordinary. He uses loops and effects pedals to create an incredibly diverse range of sounds that form stimulating, evocative atmospheres. At one point, it sounded like dinosaurs having a conversation in a haunted crystal cave. (You had to be there to get what I mean.)

That might not sound like your cup of tea and if not, fair enough, you didn’t miss much. The majority of us, however, were standing in slack-jawed amazement at his mastery over his instrument.

Admittedly, there were times during his 90-minute performance that got so cacophonous and bizarre (or plain loud) that my mind just couldn’t digest what was going on but, for the most part, I was blown away.

The other members of his power trio, bassist Julie Slick and her brother Eric, were certainly worthy of mention as well. Throughout an incredibly complex series of highly technical pieces of music, they managed to be both incredibly precise and to maintain a high energy level. It was like jazz rock cubed.

As much fun as I’ve had throughout Riverbend thus far, there have been unavoidable times that I’ve had to miss seeing performances I’ve been looking forward to for months. Belew’s mindblowing show would have been one of those, but I had yesterday off, which gave me the free time I needed to see it. It’s going to take days to really digest what I experienced, though...

...See you out there.

E-mail Casey Phillips at"

I dig his remark about needing days to digest his experience! I'll be waiting, know where to find me. Or not. Maybe I'll write to you, just in case.

Man, I love me a good review. I'm waiting on another one and will ETA (edit to add) when it pops up.

So Eric is already off to Bonnaroo and here is the schedule for his wild and crazy band...and I do mean that...think odd percussion, fire eaters, belly dancers...Gypsy Hands. He'll be playing with them all four nights on the "Solar Stage" and the first show will be at 4:00 p.m. today with another show at midnight! On Friday they have another two 12:00 p.m. and at 12:00 a.m. Saturday they perform 5:15 and again at midnight, and on Sunday, 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. All shows are one hour each and do you freaking believe it, with eight (8!) shows scheduled, I think Eric is playing more than any one band at the entire festival. If you are planning on attending, go over to the Solar Stage and show him some love!

Oh. By the way. "e" is coming "e" is coming "e" is coming "e" is coming

And so are the wonderful, fabulous, brilliantly talented California Guitar Trio. In fact, they'll be at the Sellersville Theater next Saturday night, June 20, and you can buy tickets right here. And do you know who will be performing a whole bunch of amazing songs with them?

Yep, you guessed it. Julie and Eric Slick. And yes, I am just so impressed with myself that I now know how to take a pretty screen shot. Too bad I can't figure out how to make the links contained therein work, but oh well, I gave you the link manually so no worries. I for one cannot wait for that show, especially as it will be a true music marathon day for me because earlier that afternoon, Eric will be playing drums with Oblivion Sun at NEARfest. I will be in total paradise that day for sure.

But I'm also pretty excited as concerns things myself. I just got an offer I can't refuse - to be a regular monthly contributor to one of the finest journals the web has to offer, The Nervous Breakdown. Ha ha, perfect for me or what? Right now they concentrate mostly on creative non-fiction (I told you it was perfect!) but will be branching out into fiction and poetry in the months to come. My only problem is that I have about 1,000 ideas for columns so my plan is to go searching through back issues to make sure I don't in any way duplicate someone else's. If you take a look at the list of contributors, I'm in the company of the literati royalty so that really puts the pressure on. Or not. Ha ha, you know me, I'm loose, and I never run out of things to talk about.

I may even talk about "e". I did tell you that "e" is coming, right?

Okay, I'll stop. Hopefully that other review will be up soon (Hi, Bill) and I'll be back.