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FAITU#30

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#30)
1996-10-07 – SHACK PARTY IV

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ many guests

    Knitting Factory, New York, NY
    Monday, October 07, 1996


    Set 1: “Binghamton Slide Groove”~# > Open Improv#* > Drum Solo > Improv#* > Improv#* > Improv#*! > Wig Wise

    Set 2: Drums+ > Improv+^@, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat^, Improv > ITAHTLMJ Improv#, Improv# > Improv

    Shack Party IV

    Guest Musicians:

    ~ first known performance
    # Danny Blume – guitar
    * Rob Scheps – tenor sax
    + G. Calvin Weston – drums
    ^ Dean Bowman – vocals
    ! Billy introduces musicians at end of track while John and Chris play out
    @ w/Murder By Numbers lyrics

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MMW 1996-10-07 ticket stub

MMW 1996-10-07 ticket stub

Source info:
1996-10-07.unknown.82482.t-flac16 [TSP1996#15]

– SET I (tracks 1-3) –
– SET II (tracks 4-9) –


FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#30)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!

– SHACK THOUGHTS — SHACK PARTIES I-VII ’96 –
Listen to these gigs. Listen to all of these gigs — it’s the best advice I can give you. These Shack Parties, where the band played for 7 Mondays in a row at the Knitting Factory in NYC, encompass such a wide range of the band’s talents and musical interests that a summation would simply do the music an injustice. Whether you dig a certain track or guest through this run, you have to admit that each guest brings something unique to the mix which in turn causes the band to react and shift, making the music they all create something adventuresome and real for that moment only. There are also plenty of moments where it’s just the trio and you’ll love it. As they explore both groove and open space with/out guests, it is clear this is a band out to make inspired music.

Oren Bloedow’s speech during Set II of the last Shack Party puts it best … so take a listen and Shack-out with these near 20 year-old musical explorations …

Knitting Factory

Knitting Factory

– SHACK PARTY IV THOUGHTS –

So this is WAY cool — I love when this happens! I was about to write that the opening of this 4th Shack Party contains one of my favourite improvisations from the run, maybe ever — I threw on the groove to listen as I write and it hit me: “That’s a tune! I know that tune! From where … ?!” A few years ago I discovered that a groove played during Nov-Dec ’96 labelled as an improvisation since the shows was actually an unidentified song — the “improvisation” was always the same groove, so that’s an MMW song to me! I named the tracked “Binghamton Slide Groove” because the first show I found containing the song was 11/2/1996 from Binghamton, NY — the song was played a few more times and then never heard from again … or so I thought, and it turns out this Shack Party version is actually the first known performance of the tune — it’s a great melody and groove, I don’t know why the band would drop it, but you can check it out at the opening of this show and Danny Blume adds some real nice guitar over the track (even has a cool little breakdown). From “Binghamton Slide Groove” the music moves to Open space before illyB cops a short Drum Solo leading to the start of the next groove, the first full Improv of the night, and the group moves through two more distinct improvisations before the last fizzles down to some nice piano from Medeski before it just drops into a thunderous vamp while Billy introduces the musicians. Rob Scheps has once again joined the guys on stage as well, a Shack Party regular, and his playing fits in perfectly with the players — you can hear Scheps getting more comfortable as he returns each week. The trio alone close the set with a Shack-take on Ellington’s Wig Wise, including an extended drum interlude — set break.

G. Calvin Weston joins for the start of the 2nd set, so he and illyB get things moving with a Drums jam (I’ve seen Weston with MMW in another setting, and he and Billy are kindred spirits — they have an extended history). Scheps once again steps up on sax, and Dean Bowman comes out to deliver some Dean-Bowman-like vocal riffing (coolest part is the initial take on the Murder by Numbers lyrics, but then he goes off the rails a bit for my tastes, per usual). Likewise, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat features Bowman’s vocal input with varying success (IMHO), but then IMPROVISATION takes over the remainder of the set — sans vocals — and the results are one of the BEST RUN OF GROOVES over this whole run. It’s just the trio at first, but then Danny Blume returns to the stage for what I can only call an Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus IMPROV! VERY COOL! Blume remains for the following section of groove that erupts into a celebratory climax, before fizzling down again and leaving only the trio on stage to wrap up the evening with one final kick at the Improvisatory-can, which begins with this wild melody being bowed by Chris on the stand-up and things just get wackier and more fun from there … by the time John lands on the piano … whoah … or maybe this is a song too? …

This is one of my personal favourite overall gigs from the Shack Party run, and hope it helps you enjoy this Friday Afternoon In The Universe, as we head into Canadian Thanksgiving – HAPPY T-DAY, MY FELLOW CANUCKS!

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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FAITU#29

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#29)
1996-09-30 – SHACK PARTY III

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ many guests

    Knitting Factory, New York, NY
    Monday, September 30, 1996


    Set 1: Improv > Improv > Improv > Improv#* > Open Improv#*, Cape Verdean Blues, Bass Solo > Improv#* > Organ’n’Trumpet# > Wiggly’s Way#*, “Unknown Bossa Nova”+

    Set 2: Piano Solo > Improv^ > Drums’n’DJ, Improv#^ > Open Improv#^% > Improv#^%$ > Bass’n’Drums/DJ$@ > Drums’n’DJ$ > Improv$% > Friday Afternoon In The Universe$%, The Second Effort^!

    Shack Party III

    Guest Musicians:

    DJ Logic – turntables (all ??)
    # Steven Bernstein – slide trumpet
    * Rob Scheps – tenor sax
    + Jennifer Jackson – vocals
    ^ Oren Bloedow – guitar, vocals [presumably Oren is the guitar heard throughout the start of Set II as well]
    % Rufus Cappadocia – cello
    $ G. Calvin Weston – drums
    ! Aaron Heik – alto sax
    @ Medeski plunks in a few times on piano

Download MMW gig FLAC
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MMW mid-90s Promo

MMW mid-90s Promo

Source info:
1996-09-30.schoeps-cmc6.21608.t-flac16 [TSP1996#14]

– SET I (tracks 1-5) –
– SET II (tracks 6-12) –


FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#29)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!

– SHACK THOUGHTS — SHACK PARTIES I-VII ’96 –
Listen to these gigs. Listen to all of these gigs — it’s the best advice I can give you. These Shack Parties, where the band played for 7 Mondays in a row at the Knitting Factory in NYC, encompass such a wide range of the band’s talents and musical interests that a summation would simply do the music an injustice. Whether you dig a certain track or guest through this run, you have to admit that each guest brings something unique to the mix which in turn causes the band to react and shift, making the music they all create something adventuresome and real for that moment only. There are also plenty of moments where it’s just the trio and you’ll love it. As they explore both groove and open space with/out guests, it is clear this is a band out to make inspired music.

Oren Bloedow’s speech during Set II of the last Shack Party puts it best … so take a listen and Shack-out with these near 20 year-old musical explorations …

MMW c.1996

MMW c.1996

– SHACK PARTY III THOUGHTS –

illyB kicks down a beat to get the groove rolling, and the other musicians just start piling on, layering the sound, and a superb groove is born! Over the next 30min the group on stage, MMW + Logic, Bernstein, & Scheps, take us through 4 distinct improvisations before we hit some Open space that winds us down to just the trio with Logic on the Horace Silver tune/jazz standard, Cape Verdean Blues — nothing standard in MMW’s take on the tune though! The horns return after a Bass Solo from Chris, and stick out for another Improv > Organ’n’Trumpet jam that smoothly leads into Wiggly’s Way before the horns exit again. Bernstein is a perfect fit for MMW any time, and in this set he’s a monster on that slide trumpet — just KILLER! The set ends with Jennifer Jackson’s beautiful vocals accompanying the trio on an “Unknown Bassanova”.

And then there’s a 2nd set! It begins on a subdued note with Medeski solo on piano which opens up into a killer improvisation when the guests join in with Logic quite prominent and Oren (must be him on guitar) — I mean, Oren is nailing it here! Great stuff! We get a Drums’n’DJ breakdown at a few points (Weston eventually joins the percussive fray later in the set), some Open explorations, Bass’n’Drums, and incredible groove improvisations — where do all these melodies come from!?! Rufus Cappadocia on cello is an INCREDIBLE addition to this set of musicians and his input on the latter part of the set’s improvisations as well as on the tune Friday Afternoon In The Universe, makes this afternoon’s listen all the more special … the closing number is an Oren Bloedow tune that wraps up the set in a similarly subdued manner as Medeski’s solo started … some sweet sax from Aaron Heik on this number too …

Gotta say I just love how far out the FAITU tune gets in that 2nd set … and this quote makes me chuckle each time I hear Billy utter these words near the start of the show, “New record coming out in a couple of weeks, check it out. We’re *not* playing any of the music from that record tonight …” — HA!

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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MMW Shack Selections

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FAITU#28

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#28)
1996-09-23 – SHACK PARTY II
~ John Coltrane’s Birthday ~

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ many guests

    Knitting Factory, New York, NY
    Monday, September 23, 1996


    Set 1: Improv#* > Open Improv* > Improv* > Improv+^ > Conga Solo+, Naima*+^, Bass Solo > Syeeda’s Song Flute > Spy Kiss > Improv% > Piano Solo > Improv%

    Set 2: Africa+^%$! > Percussion/Drums+! > Africa+^%$!, Improv$ > Drums’n’DJ [@9:06] > Chinoiserie@, Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus@&

    Shack Party II

    Guest musicians:
    # Johnny Thunder Cloud – vocals, chanting
    * Danny Blume – guitar
    + Eddie Bobe – congas
    ^ Hammadi – alto sax, percussion
    % Rob Scheps – tenor sax
    $ Marc Ribot – guitar
    ! G. Calvin Weston – drums
    @ Michael Blake – tenor sax
    & Sherri Jackson – vocals
    DJ Logic – turntables – all over this show… (Set I = all; Set II = all)

    ========================
    MORE DESCRIPTIVE DETAIL OF
    SET I’s IMPROVISATIONS:

    Jam – bass part similar to first song from 9/16/96 -> Jam – guitar groove -> Jam w/ piano -> 6/8 jam -> Fast 4/4 jam w/ sax -> Conga Solo, Naima, Bass Solo -> Syeeda’s Song Flute -> Spy Kiss -> Unknown – fast funk groove w/ a driving bridge -> Unknown – w/ piano and tenor sax -> Piano Solo -> Unknown slow tune
    ========================
    MORE DESCRIPTIVE DETAIL OF
    SET II’s IMPROVISATIONS:

    Jam in 6/8 w/ Conga. Solos, Jam – funky – organ, guitar, samples-> Samples and drums interlude-> Chinoiserie, Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus
    ========================

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1996-09-23 ticket stub

1996-09-23 ticket stub

Source info:
1996-09-23.gefell-m300.12.t-flac16 [TSP1996#13]

– SET I (tracks 1-12) –
– SET II (tracks 13-19) –


FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#28)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!

– SHACK THOUGHTS — SHACK PARTIES I-VII ’96 –
Listen to these gigs. Listen to all of these gigs — it’s the best advice I can give you. These Shack Parties, where the band played for 7 Mondays in a row at the Knitting Factory in NYC, encompass such a wide range of the band’s talents and musical interests that a summation would simply do the music an injustice. Whether you dig a certain track or guest through this run, you have to admit that each guest brings something unique to the mix which in turn causes the band to react and shift, making the music they all create something adventuresome and real for that moment only. There are also plenty of moments where it’s just the trio and you’ll love it. As they explore both groove and open space with/out guests, it is clear this is a band out to make inspired music.

Oren Bloedow’s speech during Set II of the last Shack Party puts it best … so take a listen and Shack-out with these near 20 year-old musical explorations …

1996-09-23 ticket stub

1996-09-23 ticket stub

– SHACK PARTY II THOUGHTS – JOHN COLTRANE’S BIRTHDAY

2nd of 7 weekly Shack Party gigs falls on the anniversary of John Coltrane’s birthday, so MMW (being obvious fans) sprinkle much of the evening with Coltrane music — three of the 6 actual songs played are Coltrane tunes (Naima, Syeeda’s Song Flute, & Africa), but songs aren’t really the focus. Coltrane’s music, like their own songs they play (Spy Kiss & ITAHTLMJ) along with one Ellington number (Chinoiserie), sends the band and their welcome guests out into the ether at times. The Africa that opens Set II, for example, is a MONSTER of space and groove with everyone contributing to the whole in true collaborative fashion — cool to hear Africa in here, but too bad the it took over a year for the song to return to MMW’s live shows, and then again too bad that it left again shortly after its return!). Outstanding group work here — this ain’t a case of 4+ guitar players on stage all strumming along together, this a mess of unique instrumentation all finding pockets to fill in the music — you have to hear this! Blume and Ribot offer contrasting styles in the guitar vein, but both have such invention and chemistry with MMW; Hammadi, Scheps and Blake provide sax at various moments, separately and together at times, with unique voices honouring Coltrane on this night. I could keep blabbing, but … just listen.

A nice treat at the end finds Sherri Jackson delivering some vocals on the MMW classic, their take on the old Spiritual, Is There Anybody Here That Love My Jesus … I’m still singing it now …

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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MMW Shack Selections

THE SHACK STREAM
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FAITU#27

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#27)
1996-09-16 – SHACK PARTY I

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ guests

    Knitting Factory, New York, NY
    Monday, September 16, 1996


    Set 1: Improv# > Improv# > Caravan* > Open Improv* > Improv*+ > Improv*+, Improv*+ > Improv*+ > Piano Solo > Goodbye Pork Pie Hat*

    Set 2: Open Improv > Improv > Pakalolo, Wig Wise*, Open Improv* > Improv* > Wiggly’s Way*

    Shack Party I

    Guest musicians:
    # Bob Moses – drums, piano
    * Rob Scheps – tenor sax
    + Danny Blume – guitar

    ========================
    MORE DESCRIPTIVE DETAIL OF
    SET I’s IMPROVISATIONS:

    Unknown – mid-tempo funk groove w/ bridge -> Rhythmic jam w/ piano -> Jam w/ organ and guitar, then w/ sax -> Caravan (fast tempo) -> Weird, rhythmless jam ->Fast-tempo jam w/ three eighth-note bass line -> Jam beginning w/ a two-note sax figure, then w/ an organ motif -> Jam beginning w/ a multi-note sax riff, Jam – fast, w/ rhythmic guitar figure, then w/ repetitive bass line -> Piano interlude -> Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat
    ========================
    MORE DESCRIPTIVE DETAIL OF
    SET II’s IMPROVISATIONS:

    Intro/Jam -> Slow, polyrythmic groove -> Fast, minor jam in 4/4 with triplet quarter notes overlaid and arco bass at end -> Pakalolo, Wig Wise [Duke Ellington tune from _Money Jungle_ w/ Mingus and Max Roach
    ========================

Download MMW gig FLAC
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READ dug's SHACK THOUGHTS
Read MMW txt file
MMW Shack Selections
Trouble playing tunes?

1996-09-16 ticket stub

1996-09-16 ticket stub

Source info:
1996-09-16.b+k4021.127771.t-flac16 [TSP1996#11]

– SET I (tracks 1-12) –
– SET II (tracks 13-22) –


FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#27)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!

– SHACK THOUGHTS — SHACK PARTIES I-VII ’96 –
Listen to these gigs. Listen to all of these gigs — it’s the best advice I can give you. These Shack Parties, where the band played for 7 Mondays in a row at the Knitting Factory in NYC, encompass such a wide range of the band’s talents and musical interests that a summation would simply do the music an injustice. Whether you dig a certain track or guest through this run, you have to admit that each guest brings something unique to the mix which in turn causes the band to react and shift, making the music they all create something adventuresome and real for that moment only. There are also plenty of moments where it’s just the trio and you’ll love it. As they explore both groove and open space with/out guests, it is clear this is a band out to make inspired music.

Oren Bloedow’s speech during Set II of the last Shack Party puts it best … so take a listen and Shack-out with these near 20 year-old musical explorations …

1996-09-16 ticket stub

1996-09-16 ticket stub

– SHACK PARTY I THOUGHTS –

Very open and loose with LOTS of improvisation — reports are there were only a handful of folks in attendance this first week, I believe. Bob Moses, MMW’s musical father, sits in for parts of the show adding some extra drums and piano at times; Rob Scheps wails on the sax, with some nice 3rd Stone From The Sun teasing during one of the Improvs; and Danny Blume plays a sweet guitar — love his input on the Uninvisible album years later, but check out this earlier sit-in. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer my Pork Pie Hat sans (Dean’s) vocals … very beautiful 100% instrumental take on the Mingus classic

This is MMW in a purely raw and elemental form — dig those ears into these sounds! 20 years ago, eh? Sounds pretty fresh to these ears … music for the ages …

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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MMW Shack Selections

THE SHACK STREAM
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FAITU#26

FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE
(FAITU#26)
2002-07-04

MMW Listen to playlist
  • MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
    w/ Brahim Fribgane, Trilok Gurtu & Charlie Hunter

    Festival Int’l de Jazz de Montréal, Métropolis, Montréal, QC
    Thursday, July 04, 2002


    Set 1: Big Time > I Wanna Ride You, Lifeblood# > Think# > Drums/Percussion# > Fire# > Smoke#

    Set 2: Uninvisible#* > Open Improv#* > Improv#* > Percussion Improv#* > Jelly Belly#* > Drums/Percussion#*, Nostalgia In Times Square#* > Start/Stop#* > Toy Dancing#*, Pappy Check > The Lover#*

    Encore: Bubblehouse#*

    # with Brahim Fribgane – dumbek & percussion (Billy names another instrument but not sure what he says – “cascadas”?)
    * with Trilok Gurtu – tablas & percussion
    with Charlie Hunter for the entire second set

Download MMW gig FLAC
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READ dug's SHACK THOUGHTS
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Trouble playing tunes?

MMW c.2002

MMW c.2002

Source info:
2002-07-04.fob.neumann-km184.11843.t-flac16

– SET I (tracks 1-6) –
– SET II (tracks 7-16) –


– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#26)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!

The Montréal theme picks back up after another absent week last Friday – sorry, folks, it’s summer and last minute plans to hit the sunshine/woods/beach can get in the way of sharing tunes … but I’m not going anywhere, so more tunes will always be coming, if a bit delayed, and of course The Shack Project is open 24/7/365 for streaming/downloading HUNDREDS of shows. But back to the gig at hand (or at ear?) …

Wood & Martin c.2002/03

Wood & Martin c.2002/03

– SET I –

Big Time > I Wanna Ride You kicks of the 1st set in fine energetic fashion, and then Brahim Fribgane joins the trio for Lifeblood and the sounds get a little more expansive and percussive over the rest of the set, and show when Trilok Gurtu joins in as well. Brahim adds a nice layer in Lifeblood that carries over into the plodding opening to Think – illyB and Brahim, along with John’s squonks, lay the bed that Wood bows over and moves to plucking, building up the tension as we wait for the Think melody to really kick in from John just before the 2min mark. There is some stellar piano work from John in the middle of this tune – like, wow! – before the tune opens into a Drums/Percussion session for a couple of minutes that eventually leads us to Fire! Hendrix-style, through an MMW lense … and where there’s Fire, there’s Smoke (sometimes the reverse) – a subtly groovy end to this pumping set. Clocking in at just under an hour, that is still some dense musicality to wade through – it’s about quality, not quantity. The set has a perfect overall feel and arc to it … the 2nd set gives us a little more quantity with our quality though …

Brahim Fribgane

Brahim Fribgane

– SET II –

After roughly a minute of sounds gurgling and building, the HEAVY Uninvisible bassline begins, everyone jumps in and this set is off to a HIGH energy start – there’s quite a sound palette on stage with the trio now that Charlie Hunter (8-string guitar) and Trilok Gurtu (tablas & percussion) have joined the mix in addition to Brahim. So when the Open Improv busts out the end of the track, it actually develops into this percussive heavy groove by the end of it before veering into a very smooth Improv on the next track, again with a heavy percussive feel. Oh yeah, this sounds real nice and eventually the melodic instruments drop out and we are in a full on drums jam – sweet! These guys are having fun together, lots of different toys in the mix, Billy (presumably) moves to the kit after a while as the other two(?) carry on with some more hand-based percussion. The Percussion Improv takes us into a jiggly Jelly Belly, and again so cool to hear the sounds the guests bring to this familiar tune, which opens into its common Drum Solo outro, but Billy is once again accompanied by our percussive guests who colour the classic Nostalgia In Times Square as well when the others join back in after the drum break. Interestingly, Nostalgia isn’t its usually medleyed-self since Sun Ra’s Angel Race (I’ll Wait For You) is absent from the performance, so instead we get a full fleshed-out take on this old tune with the life of these new young sounds.

Trilok Gurtu

Trilok Gurtu

Next up is Start/Stop, which is a groove I can’t get enough of. Love the way the tune pushes itself out into space, further and further with each “stop” break, again HEAVILY coloured by percussion, so these moments of open space have a little extra umph to them (and is Charlie absent here? Not sure I hear him? Sometimes he’s getting lost in the mix though, so …). Just when you’re not sure if the open space is just pushing out further only to “start” again into the main melody, or whether the band is just pushing out into open space more, suddenly a beat starts @11:20 of the track and we are instantly Toy Dancing – nice! Love when Billy starts that beat on his hand drum. So this has a nice slow burn for a start as the percussive groove builds up more and more, creating a bit of tension to finally be released when the tune kicks in a bit more, Billy moves to the kit and the groove settles out – not sure if that’s Trilok on vocals? I think so … only show we have with the guy, and I don’t recall Brahim ever vocalizing in the past. Charlie steps up nicely in Toy Dancing for an extended solo, before the track eventually simmers down to more percussion interaction and then eventual silence, followed by some line-up announcements by Billy.

A high energy combo of Pappy Check > The Lover, so new > old, closes the set. Oddly, it sounds to my ears like both Brahim and Trilok have left the stage when Pappy Check begins, leaving only Charlie to guest on this tune, but then it seems like those guys return to close out the set on The Lover.

Charlie Hunter

Charlie Hunter

And then as the encore, for the first time in 2002, Bubblehouse is played much to the crowd’s delight! (I sometimes wonder if folks calling for “Bubblehouse” at every show even know *what* song they’re requesting, but I digress.) Billy announces they’re going to play this song for the LAST TIME ever simply because of the very special guests – last time Charlie played with them in ’96 Bubblehouse was one of the tunes – but that they don’t play this song anymore, and this is basically it. (They do play the song again, but not until 2003 which only has like 2 performances, 2004 has 4 takes on the track, and it starts coming back a bit more after than until we get to the Radiolarians years, after which Bubblehouse makes a triumphant return being the *only* song requested for *every* show on the band’s 2011 tour where they solicited audience requests for their first sets along the tour, and improvised the 2nd sets.) And the version’s intense Bubbles bring the House down!

So anyway, this is a very HEADY version of Bubblehouse so soak it up and check out this whole show top-to-bottom as you enjoy your Friday Afternoon In The Universe

enjoy the grooves,
dug


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MMW Shack Selections

THE SHACK STREAM
LISTEN/DOWNLOAD ANOTHER SHOW!