Eclectic Vibes - November 2010

by Andrew Frey

Michael Franti

Michael Franti

Long time thrash hero’s Kurt Brecht and Spike Cassidy will be in town crankin’ it up at the High Noon Saloon on November 20. Hard to believe that D.R.I. has been together for over 23 years now! Who knows what the night will bring?

In the past I’ve had my ups and downs with Mr. Franti’s performances, but on the eve of 10/10/10 I gambled again on a magical musical experience. Part of the gamble was the fact that the event was occurring at the much discussed Overture Center right in the heart of Madison. Desire overcame anxiety and we persevered. Thankfully, we got there early enough to get onto the floor for this general admission event so we were able to be out on the dance floor and be fully submerged into the vibe of the evening.

The opening band was a fairly good group, but we hadn’t made this trek for them.

After a LONG set break, Michael Franti and Spearhead stormed the stage, initially issuing forth several tracks from their newest, ‘The Sound of Sunshine.’ He played his ‘Hello, Bonjour’ song at double time and regrooved a couple of other favorites as well including ‘Everybody Needs Music.’ We hadn’t heard his newest CD prior to that evening and this certainly propelled our sense of wonder and awe while driving home the power of each of the songs.

I’m not sure if the event sold out but it had to be fairly close. The range of ages and types of people that came out to see the show was broad and strikingly diverse. On this particular evening, all systems were go. Spearhead’s performance overall was fantastic while Franti himself was firmly in the stellar category. I have never seen a performer initiate more crowd interactivity and crowd participation. During his performance, he walked up and down both aisles, up to the balcony as well as through the crowd dancing up by the stage! Plus he came out after the show to sign autographs and meet fans. Wow. 

The energy levels for the show were simply off the charts and we all left the show glowing from such an enlightening and positive experienced. I have seen thousands of shows over the years but this one carved out a slot in my top 10 best ever. Blissfully amazing.

Canada’s power jam trio, The New Deal, blew threw Madison with another dose of their funky jam jazz rock extravaganza on 10/14/10. We go there early because I had no idea what to expect from the crowd levels for the evening. Last time they came through it was a nearly sold out performance As it turns out though, on this night the crowds began thin and ended up medium. We arrived in time to see all three bands on the bill, but the one that made the greatest impact was local jam rock band “Steez.” We’ve seen them several times before, so we were familiar with their songs, but they had a particularly great set this evening. Their solos were great and their energy of their jams utterly sublime.

The New Deal took the stage with a very timid stance. Sparse lighting for the first few songs got the crowd warmed up, but failed to bang the crowd into action. After the few initial songs, they started fancying up their set with a mildly entertaining light show and pumping out some deeper grooves. The crowd was interested but certainly not peaked yet. They played two sets and certainly blasted more action, but we unfortunately only were able to stay through the first one, so we got a good feel for the band, but didn’t get a chance to see them really cut loose in their second set. Maybe next time…,

This Month's Rating Scale is from 1 is Brain Dead to 10 is Spine Tingling

Copal - Into The Shadow Garden

Copal - Into The Shadow Garden


Album title: Into The Shadow Garden
Record Label: Self Released
Rating: 8

Winding flowing violin and cello are strung into a steam punk fantasy of exotic interwoven Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Nordic nuances while propelled by subtle percussion. Artistically beautiful yet darkly tantalizing, serene and sedate they manage to evoke a contemporary spectacle through romanticized passages from a global past.

(2898) Page Views

Copal online:

Download Into The Shadow Garden from Amazon
Purchase Into The Shadow Garden on Amazon

Huun Huur Tu - Ancestors Call

Huun Huur Tu - Ancestors Call

Huun Huur Tu

Album title: Ancestors Call
Record Label: World Village
Rating: 8

The 4 man Tuvan supergroup has rounded up another herd of musical exports filled with their amazing throat singing whistles, warbles, drones, hums, groans, and other quirks. Mesmerizing traditional shepherd songs are contemporized and cultivated but manage to retain their distinct cultural colors and vibrancy.

(2663) Page Views

Huun Huur Tu online:

Download Ancestors Call from Amazon
Purchase Ancestors Call on Amazon

Robert Massaro - Natural Magic

Robert Massaro - Natural Magic

Robert Massaro

Album title: Natural Magic
Record Label: Lightning Child
Rating: 7

The musical magic displayed here taunts the riddles of nature, and it’s forces through abstract classical compositions in an effort to teach us about ecology and potential self preservation. Mysterious and beautiful, while haunting and perplexing, these experiments delve into a variety of world and etheric patterns, benefitting from the companion video.

(2679) Page Views

Robert Massaro online:

Purchase Natural Magic on Amazon

Purchase Natural Magic

One Man Collective - Soul Product

One Man Collective - Soul Product

One Man Collective

Album title: Soul Product
Record Label:
Rating: 7

OMC is the brainchild of Johan Sandqvist. Born in Sweden, but transplanted to LA, he brings us an EP of bubbly dreamy soundscapes flowing with cascades of electronic mysteries and marvels.

(2633) Page Views

One Man Collective online:

Download Soul Product

Scythia - ….Of War

Scythia - ….Of War


Album title: ….Of War
Record Label: Scythia
Rating: 9

Do you like your metal folky? How about with a dash of violin or keyboards? Maybe some gothic overtones? This adventurous and progressive Canadian outfit enjoys galloping metal grooves along side classically constructed folk passages to arrive at a well sculpted destination. The songs are all available at their site on a ‘“pay what you want”’ basis, so everybody wins.

(2983) Page Views

Scythia online:

Download ….Of War from Amazon

Systema Solar - System Solar

Systema Solar - System Solar

Systema Solar

Album title: System Solar
Record Label: Chusma Records
Rating: 9

These guys throw down when they party in Columbia. Colliding a countless number of influences, ranging from scratch and hip hop, to dance, to spacey electronica with Afro-Columbian and Latin traditions, makes for an album full of surprises and rhythmic diversity. Taking time to be visually colorful and striking is part of their charm. Live, they present a powerful well rounded and innovative experience. (9)

(3112) Page Views

Systema Solar online:

Download System Solar from Amazon
Purchase System Solar on Amazon

Titan - Sweet Dreams

Titan - Sweet Dreams


Album title: Sweet Dreams
Record Label: Relapse Records
Rating: 8

Keyboards unabashedly take the forefront of this psychedelic prog-metal experience. Expanses of whirling grooves hook the listener with a demanding intensity that is unfurled with each breathtaking riff and blast.

(2890) Page Views

Titan online:

Download Sweet Dreams from Amazon
Purchase Sweet Dreams on Amazon

Various Artists - Putumayo Presents World Christmas Party

Various Artists - Putumayo Presents World Christmas Party

Various Artists

Album title: Putumayo Presents World Christmas Party
Record Label: Putumayo World Music
Rating: 8

Here’s a no-brainer. Twelve light hearted Christmas songs done with a global slant, giving you a chance to hear some seasonal music without it being the same old holiday musical drivel you have heard nearly a billion times. From Jamaica to Cape Verde, they wish you a Merry Christmas.

(2773) Page Views

Various Artists online:

Purchase Putumayo Presents World Christmas Party on Amazon

Hindi Zahra - Handmade

Hindi Zahra - Handmade

Hindi Zahra

Album title: Handmade
Record Label: Blue Note
Rating: 9

Bursting with musical expression, this Moroccan born, Paris based artist is a whirlwind of talent and creativity. Gently, yet effortlessly floating along jazzy avenues filled with Arabic sounds that are a juxtaposition of rhythmic flavors from East and West, she brandishes her vocal wit with each soulful guitar stroke.

(2599) Page Views

Hindi Zahra online:

Purchase Handmade on Amazon