Posts tagged "Phish"

Today In Reunions: Public Image Limited, The Bee Gees, And Other Bands Rise Again

• Reality-TV refugee John Lydon has announced that Public Image Limited has ceased its 17-year hiatus and will play a five-date reunion tour this winter, albeit without original members Jah Wobble and Keith Levene. Here’s hoping they at least get a TV appearance or two out of it. [Guardian]

• Robin Gibb used his appearance on the BBC’s cricket show Test Match Special to tout upcoming Bee Gees shows featuring him and his brother Barry; after Robin’s twin, Maurice, passed away in 2003 the brothers had said that they would not perform under the Bee Gees moniker again, but apparently the surviving Gibbs have “got through the breakwater of emotions” and will start performing live shortly. [BBC]

• The Stooges will bring Raw Power guitarist James Williamson back into the fold for a performance of that album in its entirety next May. [RS]

• Oh yeah, the new album by the reunited Phish is out today! [Amazon]

Ten Bands That Should (And Ten Bands That Shouldn’t) Grace Us With A Cover Of “Yakety Sax”

I don’t know about you, but the dog days of August are making me long for some levity. And what better way to bring in some hilarity than to think about the late Boots Randolph’s delightful “Yakety Sax,” a.k.a. “that Benny Hill Show song,” a.k.a. the best way to make any YouTube clip hilarious? Noted “Yakety Sax” enthusiast Jess Harvell and I put together a pair of lists related to the song—namely, a top 10 countdown of artists who need to cover the song soon, and a counterpoint list of 10 artists who should never get within a 25-mile radius of its implied hilarity, for fear of ruining it for all time. The countdowns after the jump.

Feel free to listen to Randolph’s original track as you peruse the two lists:

The Ten Artists That Definitely Need To Cover “Yakety Sax” ASAP:
10. Slayer
9. Tom Waits
8. Rahzel
7. The User (but only if he uses dot-matrix printers)
6. Kronos Quartet
5. Wendy & Lisa
4. Mighty Mighty Bosstones
3. R. Kelly
2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
1. “Weird Al” Yankovic

OK, so that last one? Something of a gimme. To counterbalance it:

The Ten Artists That Should Stay As Far Away From Boots Randolph’s Triumph As Possible:
10. Dave Matthews Band
9. Grizzly Bear
8. Creed
7. Cat Power
6. James Taylor
5. Baz Luhrmann
4. 4 Non Blondes
3. Mariah Carey
2. brokenCYDE
1. Phish

The countdown to someone digging up a moldy clip of Phish doing “Yakety Sax” starts now, I guess.

Yakety Sax [YouTube]
Mario Paint Composer – Yakety Sax [YouTube]

Trey Anastasio’s Vermont Estate Goes On The Market

The house in northern Vermont that served as a rural hideaway for Trey Anastasio, the rehabilitated leader of the reunited Phish, is up for sale. The five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath, 3,926-square-foot estate, located about 20 minutes outside of Burlington, sits on 259 acres and has dramatic views of Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump, two of the highest peaks in Vermont. Asking price: $1,699,000. And there’s a wetbar!

Anastasio, who now lives in New York, is not mentioned in the listing:

The Clementine homestead sits at the end of a long private lane on spectacular acreage in the heart of Chittenden County. The historic 1812 Williams Hill Inn was reconstructed with enhancements on 259 magnificent acres of pasture, woodland, impressive Mt Mansfield & Camels Hump views, a pond, & a ten-mile trail system. Additional improvements include an artistically designed carriage barn w/studio or guest space, copper roof, custom pool & barn. Peaceful serenity year-round.

Perhaps Phish fans can pool their grilled cheese and/or pot-selling revenues and buy the property. It’ll be like their own little Gamehenge! Although prospective buyers should note that the “artistically designed carriage barn w/studio” is not “The Barn,” where the band has recorded its last three albums.

679 Old Courtry Lane [LMSRE]

Jam-band titans Phish have announced details for their Halloween festival: It’ll take place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. (home of Coachella), and it will feature eight sets by the band over the course of three days. Three-day passes cost $199, and go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET). If you’re unfamiliar with the band but thinking about taking a breather in the desert this October, you might want to check out Carrie Brownstein’s week-long examination of Phish and its fans. [Phish / Monitor Mix]

The Case Against Phish’s Name: Why It Seems Like PETA’s Press Releases Are Being Written By “The Onion” Editorial Staff

So People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals has taken time out from defending the honor of houseflies against President Barack Obama to give some shine to its Sea Kittens campaign, in which it tries to get people to call fish “sea kittens” because then who would want to fillet, saute, and feast on an adorable little kitty cat? (An example of their felinized version of the sea’s creatures is at left.) To spearhead this campaign, they have asked the jam-band titans Phish to temporarily rename themselves “Sea Kittens.” (The regular spelling would, oddly, be intact.) Feast on PETA’s open letter to Trey et al after the jump.

To: Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Page McConnell
From: Michelle Cho
Subject: Request From PETA for Phish

Dear Trey, Jon, Mike, and Page (aka Phish),

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide–many of whom are Phish fans, of course. We have a new campaign in which we generate empathy for fish by rebranding them as “sea kittens.” Would you contribute to our efforts and end your tour on a high note by temporarily renaming Phish “Sea Kittens?”

We launched our “Sea Kittens” campaign because few people are aware that fish are actually smart animals with personalities. For example, they communicate and develop relationships with one another, feel pain when injured (their lips are particularly sensitive, and they use them like we use our fingers), show affection by gently rubbing against other fish, and even grieve when other fish they like die. However, billions of them are kidnapped (er, kitten-napped) from their watery homes each year. As they are dragged from the ocean depths, fish endure an excruciating decompression process (which often causes their internal organs to rupture) before suffocating on the ship’s deck. Our campaign aims to convince people to choose tasty vegetarian meals instead of fish flesh and to pick harmless outdoor activities such as hiking instead of impaling fish with metal hooks for fun. Whether they are catfish or cats, bass or basset hounds, all animals deserve lives free from needless pain.

Phish has a long history of promoting social justice. Renaming the band Sea Kittens would be a great way to help sea kittens rock on, free from fishing nets and hooks, even if just for a day. Please let me know what you decide, and best of luck with your future endeavors.

Michelle Cho
Special Projects Manager

It seems absurd on its face, sure–but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt bad when I read the part about fish grieving. That’s what being around three dogs all day will do to you, I suppose.

Will Phish Change Its Name? [PETA]

The Case Against Phish: Why A Once-Great Band Should Have Stayed Dead

In 2005, at the height of Coldplay’s popularity, The New York Times published a scathing essay by Jon Pareles. “The Case Against Coldplay” argued that the self-pity of the Chris Martin-fronted band was calculated, and that its grandiose sound was built to prey on an unsuspecting populace. On the eve of Phish’s first summer tour in years, kicking off with a show at Fenway Park in Boston, Dylan Stableford offers a similar argument.

Four years after playing what they said would be their last show in a muddy field in northern Vermont, Phish made their triumphant return in March, playing three sold-out nights at the Hampton Coliseum, a spaceship-like arena in Hampton, Virginia.

By nearly all accounts, it was a joyous, cerebral, downright cathartic reunion for a band that had seemingly imploded under its own Dead-like weight—and for its rabid fans that spent four years musically destitute, with nothing to blindly follow. Everyone, it seemed, missed Phish—everyone except me.

I loved Phish. One could even say I had a borderline unhealthy obsession with the band throughout high school and college in the ’90s, attending somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 Phish concerts (including an entire tour in the summer of ’96) and keeping my large collection of live recordings in heavy rotation when I wasn’t “on the road.”

The band was a gateway drug through which I became addicted to music. Their selection of covers and, more often, their selection of house music in between sets led me to the heavier stuff—Zeppelin, Hendrix, Miles Davis, James Brown, Talking Heads—as well as designer aural narcotics—Medeski Martin & Wood, Pavement, Primus, Sun Ra, Tom Waits, Ween.

In interviews, the band has said that its downward spiral began shortly after Big Cypress, their weekend-long, millennium-eve festival that took place at Big Cypress Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades. That show ended with an eight-hour set that spanned New Year’s Eve 1999 and New Year’s Day 2000.

For me, though, Phish actually peaked much earlier: In the fall of 1997, on a tour in which set lists were shortened so seemingly every song they played could veer into long, spooky, funky, unchartered territory—a sound not far removed from Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock, or James Brown’s Live At The Apollo. This isn’t to say that other peak moments didn’t happen in the ensuing years: If Phish only played remote, abandoned Air Force bases for the rest of their career like they did during the 2003 It Festival–set at the Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine–the world would be a better place.

“We were lost for a couple years,” Anastasio said in a PBS documentary about that Maine show. Jon Fishman, the drummer, added: “Are we just gonna coast along, make a living and be this thing people follow around? If we’re gonna go forward, there has to be a renewal of purity of purpose.”

And you’d be hard-pressed to find a band with purer intentions. Anastasio told The New York Times recently, “For people in hard times, we can play long shows of pure physical pleasure… They come to dance and forget their troubles. It’s like a service commitment.” (Don’t expect Phish to truly stimulate the economy until the drug laws change, though; Hampton police arrested 194 people and seized narcotics with a total street value of $1.2 million over the course of Phish’s three shows there.)

But Anastasio’s addiction to heroin and painkillers accelerated the band’s decline. (The band’s “last” show, a 2004 concert in Coventry, Vt., was the Seinfeld finale of rock concerts: sloppy, forced egregiously unsatisfying.) And it led, ultimately, to his eventual arrest for DWI and drug possession in 2006. (Anastasio said he told the arresting officer “thank you.”)

Anastasio’s rehabilitation and subsequent return to playing music is inspiring—particularly when you consider what happened his spiritual forefather, Jerry Garcia. And in 2003, Anastasio told PBS: “If we are going to be able to kickstart this group, something’s gotta change.”

The problem is, not much has changed since 2003—except, perhaps, that Phish got a Twitter account. The March shows in Hampton were a hodgepodge of greatest hits, with only three new songs out of the 85 making up the set lists and very little pushing, or even leaning against, the envelope.

And you can hear those problems in the band’s newest studio release, which is now for sale on iTunes. “Time Turns Elastic” is a 13-minute mini-rock opera filled with every bad Phish cliché imaginable: odd time signatures and rhythm changes, whimsical lyrics cribbed from a Sierra Club calendar, progressive noodling. (It sounds as if Anastasio has been listening to a lot of Zappa in rehab. Or the Disco Biscuits.)

One of my favorite Phish concerts of the ’90s wasn’t a Phish concert at all—it was a one-off show by Anastasio at the Denny’s-turned-rock club Higher Ground under the name “8 Foot Florescent Tubes.” He threw down a set of ’80s-inspired dance-rock replete with synchronized dancers, keyboard loops, lo-fi props and costume changes—nearly a decade before American Apparel and Williamsburg made Day-Glo-mining cool.

Inspired, unexpected, awesome.

If only Phish had reinvented itself this time around. Maybe as a punk band, or a pop band, or techno or jazz or country or bluegrass or death metal (hey, Mike Gordon already wears the cutoff t-shirts). Maybe even—gasp—with a different name. Perhaps something else people are allergic to, like “Knuts.”

Five Reasons Why Jam Band Fans Are Better Than Indie Rock Fans

I was skimming through this year’s Bonnaroo lineup as part of my usual round of cyber-stalking Neko Case, and I came upon an interesting discovery—this festival kicks ass! Although one of my friends described the layout as a desert of dust and piss, and the jam-centric lineup means stupid Phish is going to play for approximately 76 hours straight, I can pretty much get behind anything that brings together High On Fire and Janelle Monae (that isn’t made by the Hood Internet). Something this good could never happen on indie rock’s watch! Here are five reasons why the mud-caked hippies who will attend Bonnaroo are better than your sweater-clad ass!

1. Jam band fans don’t care about pesky shit like aesthetics.
Why does Bonnaroo get to have awesome, underrated thrash metal band Shadows Fall, but the Scion Rock Festival doesn’t? Because indie rock kids only care about fringe genres when they are fashionable. Shadows Fall, being a real metal band, bring a lot of zitty teenagers and honest-to-god longhairs to their shows, so indie blogs and mags don’t touch them. God forbid someone break up the steady stream of warmed-over stoner rock and black metal bands (only the ones Hydra Head endorses!) in your RSS, guys.

2. Jam band fans are loyal.
A jam band fan would sooner eat his hacky sack than give up on a band he loves. Who do you think kept the Grateful Dead alive until “Touch Of Grey”? Or between then and Devendra-fueled revisionist hipster appreciation? Ben Harper and Galactic and Moe are all playing this year, and who knows if I’ve heard a single note of any of them in a decade. Ben Harper could have been cryogenically frozen next to Walt Disney for all I know. In indie rock circles, bands are played out once their blog cycle ends. How did the Rapture lose all its fans before they even put out a follow-up to Echoes? Why does it seem like an eon since I’ve heard someone in a sweater vest tell me they’re “really feeling Dipset”? Who was in Goblin Cock again?

3. Jam band fans have better drugs.
OK, drugs are silly if you’re over, like, 19 years old. But I’m guessing the dude on psylocibin mushrooms who’s talking to a giant purple hot dog in the sky is probably going to have a more fulfilling night that the coked-out sweatball at the Late Of The Pier show telling me he knows Steve Aoki. Plus, who are you gonna trust to find you good weed? An Octopus Project fan?

4. Jam band fans support music from other countries.
I only hear indie-rockers tell me about African music if the hivemind is whispering that it’s OK to like Konono No. 1 this week, or Etran Finatawa the next. Meanwhile, when I go to the free African music fest in Prospect Park every summer, it’s overrun by hippies! They know the score. At this year’s Bonnaroo: Toumani Diabate, Amadou & Mariam, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Vieux Farka Touré, and the unstoppable King Sunny Adé & the African Beats.

5. Jam band fans waste their days away following bands and doing drugs and making arepas on the engine blocks of old VW vans instead of writing snarky blog posts all day.

People Missed Phish (Sometimes A Lot)

Our look at the closing lines of the week’s biggest reviews continues with several enthused recaps of this weekend’s shows from reunited jam band giants Phish. Actually it’s more “choice lines” than “closing lines,” since a lot of the closing lines were actually set lists.

• “The reunion pulled out all the stops. There was Fishman in his muumuu, doing the requisite vacuum solo on “I Didn’t Know”; Anastasio and Gordon on trampolines during “You Enjoy Myself”; and, of course, the hundreds of ticketless patchouli-soaked followers stranded outside hoping for a “miracle” (as in, tickets) and selling their wares-from “fatty” veggie burritos and grilled cheese to various glass pipes and bootlegged merchandise.” [Josh Grossberg, E!]

• “Much like Friday night’s performance, Phish’s first set stretched well past the hour mark, peaking several times before coming to a climax with a tight, high-energy rendition of the early favorite “Run Like an Antelope.” The set opened with a funky “Back on the Train,” which nodded to the weekend’s overarching theme of reunion with the line “it took me a long time to get back on the train” (a phrase that was met with some of the evening’s loudest cheers). Oddly enough, though the Farmhouse number began its life as a solo acoustic song on Trey Anastasio’s 1999 solo tour, the cut’s current, groove-heavy incarnation is tangible proof that Phish is once again a band of equals.” [Mike Green, Relix]

• “After the show, fans spilled out into the lots and what would have normally turned into a raucous outdoor party was quietly shut down by police. But who could argue? Nothing topped the excellent, four-hour bash Phish had just delivered inside.” [Kevin O’Donnell, Rolling Stone]

• “Maybe Phish will never eclipse their universally accepted musical zenith – a set of marathon shows in the Florida Everglades on New Year’s Eve 1999 that was such a high, even the band has acknowledged it had a deflating effect on all future performances..But if Friday’s fiery, fully committed set is any indication, they sure are going to try.” [Josh L. Dickey, AP]

Bonnaroo 2009 Is Hoping That The Concert-Going Masses Are Born To Run

and Phish are the headlining acts for this year’s installment of the Tennessee music festival Bonnaroo, which is sporting a curiously Lollapalooza-like lineup in pockets (Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails) while also giving props to many an elder statesman (David Byrne, Al Green, Elvis Costello). Other highlights include of Montreal, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and King Sunny Adé (!). Full lineup after the jump,

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Phish (2 Shows)
Beastie Boys
Nine Inch Nails
David Byrne
Al Green
Snoop Dogg
Elvis Costello Solo
Erykah Badu
Paul Oakenfold
Ben Harper and Relentless7
The Mars Volta
TV on the Radio
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Gov’t Mule
Andrew Bird
Band of Horses
Merle Haggard
The Decemberists
Girl Talk
Bon Iver
Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Del McCoury Band
of Montreal
Allen Toussaint
Coheed and Cambria
Booker T & the DBTs
David Grisman Quintet
Lucinda Williams
Animal Collective
Neko Case
Jenny Lewis
Robert Earl Keen
Citizen Cope
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Kaki King
Grizzly Bear
King Sunny Adé
Okkervil River
St. Vincent
Zac Brown Band
Raphael Saadiq
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Crystal Castles
Tift Merritt
Brett Dennen
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
Toubab Krewe
People Under the Stairs
Alejandro Escovedo
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Todd Snider
Portugal. The Man.
The SteelDrivers
The Knux
The Low Anthem
Delta Spirit
A.A. Bondy
The Lovell Sisters
Alberta Cross

Bonnaroo [Official site]

Live Nation’s Ticketing Servers Have Phish Fans Bouncing Around The Room (In A Bad Way)

Tickets for select shows on Phish’s summer reunion tour went on sale this afternoon, and the onsales represented the first big test of sorts for the online ticketing system run by concert-promotion behemoth Live Nation. the comments sections of Hidden Trck and, surprisingly, Brooklyn Vegan to register their displeasure.

The complaints were legion on both sites: “Live Nation’s site is just bombing. Is this their first first rush for tickets?”; “i jsut got a camden lawn – entered my credit card info… hit button – dumped me back into the queue!!!! what the frig?”; “Live Nation should be embarrassed. Who would have thought someone could suck worse than ticketmaster???” One person even went so far to post “TICKETMASTER RULES!!!” but presumably that was just some next-level Internet comment satire.

Those people who aren’t so into Phish were also, for some reason, clicking through to make their proclamations that Phish was “bullshit for six-year-olds” heard loud and clear (to be fair, this phenomenon was pretty much restricted to the BV comments section), but how can you be so cruel in the face of stories like this?

I was online at 9:58 eastern, by 10:02 the homepage wouldnt even load. I had a set of orchestra seats for jones beach, on my screen, but then got the error message server timed out when i tried to buy. by the time i got back in there was nothing. By 10:20 all shows in my area were sold out. Im sick of Livenation, Im sick of the whole ‘concert experience’. I wonder why they monopolize the ticket sales then do not have enough server horsepower to handle the influx of orders. I didnt want to drink $10 beers and $15 hotdogs anyway. 30 seconds after they sold out, I checked stubhub and theres seats for all the shows from $200-$2000. I refuse to pay scalpers. I’ll be missing phish for the first time in my life. Ive been a Phan since 96.

Actually, the prices on the NYC-area shows are now topping out at $2500, and will probably only go up from there. Public service announcement to any Phish fans reading this who want to get tickets to one of tomorrow morning’s onsales (c’mon, I know that some of you are out there): You should probably try and find your local Blockbuster between now and then.

Open Thread: Phish Summer Tour Onsale [Hidden Track]
Phish too big for to handle [BV]
[Thanks to Patrick Mulrenin for the headline assistance!]