– SHACK THOUGHTS – 10 YEARS AGO TODAY
An evening of acoustic MMW is tasteful and gut wrenching — the sounds elicited from John in the acoustic setting are just as baffling, if not more so, than his electric side. That’s basically what “acoustic” MMW means: John on piano, and perhaps various other toys at times too. Chris’ acoustic bass takes up most of his time at these “acoustic” gigs, but he’ll still play his electric Höfner for some tunes — which has a beautiful tone, but I find it puzzling that he/they include this bass in their “acoustic” shows. Is it the hollow body that helps “qualify” it as acoustic? And sure, everything is mic’d, and so “electric” in some fashion, but … regardless, the Höfner tone fits perfectly. illyB is, as always, strictly acoustic.
This gig has plenty to make it shine, from the delicious opening Improvisation that leads us into the beautiful Mami Gato, all the way to the fun hopping encore of Let’s Go (aka Everyone Poops). The show, one LONG set, is kind of broken into sections with that aforementioned Improv > Mami getting things started.
The next run from What’d I Say > Thaw > Drum Solo > Drums’n’Bass > Afrique is classic acoustic MMW, with lots of happy vibes and some wacky sounds — when things lead to Afrique, it’s all good! That song is unbelievable … originally recorded on the album The Witch Doctor by Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, it’s a Lee Morgan tune — Morgan was playing trumpet in Blakey’s group at the time. Here’s a link to the album version, and it’s cool to hear how MMW’s differs a wee bit in it’s rhythmic attack but still sounds as full with only 3 guys as opposed to 5:
The middle of the set gives us the most unique portion of the show and it’s fantastic. Brigas Nunca Mais gets us moving in its usual mellow way, just feeling good — one of my favourite live moments is catching an acoustic Brigas Nunca Mais > No Ke Ano Ahiahi — until this pitters out and Buster Rides Again shows up to take for a ride! But the trip makes a weird brief detour into Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing, which is being played here in a pre-Out Louder/non-Sco fashion — very cool to hear some of those tunes throughout late fall ’05 into ’06 without Sco, and some get a bit of play in ’07 without him as well. Anyway, I just enjoy the change up of how the tunes feel … but back to this show where Tootie Ma leads us back to hear Buster Rides Again, again to wrap up the sequence.
The Letter, a PJ Harvey tune, done acoustically is exactly what I want to hear. Any night of the week. Check it.
Nostalgia In Times Square (no Angel Race medley that I hear?) is a welcome old-school Mingus tune I love to hear electric or acoustic, and this version is no exception to that rule. It leads into a Bass Solo that bridges over into Seven Deadlies, a tune falling into the darker side of the MMW spectrum, and I dig that. This Seven Deadlies has a cool slightly more groovey feel to it about halfway through, not so harsh and biting as it can be … those last 4-5min of the track have a real nice feel.
Paris, Paris, Paris! Love the piano work and fun to hear Billy singin’ — I remember when the tune debuted in ’04 and who knew it would be Chris who would go on to be a singer in the Wood Bros. Never occurred to me that any of the guys could even sing until they started playing Paris! HA! Was glad singing didn’t become part of MMW’s sound though …
Hey Joe soothes us home with MMW’s gospel infused version. When they started covering the tune back in ’99 I didn’t know by the time I caught them in the spring — earlier ’99 shows didn’t circulate that fast at that time — and I remember listening and thinking, “Is that Hey Joe? Nice!” I turned to my buddy and said, “It’s Hey Joe”, and he was like, “Wha?” There are many nice versions of this tune as the band just nails it every time.
After the Encore break, when the band returns to the stage Billy tries to talk a bit, but as usual folks won’t quiet down and he (a bit harshly but justifiably) blurts out, “Would you just shut up for one minute and let me say somethin’!” – HA! He takes a breath, introduces Everyone Poops (later titled Let’s Go on the actual release of the children’s album), and the band takes us out with this feel good vibe.
enjoy the grooves,
- MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD (Acoustic)
Helen Hosmer Concert Hall, Potsdam, NY
Friday, February 24, 2006
One Set: Improv > Mami Gato, What’d I Say > Thaw > Drum Solo > Drums’n’Bass > Afrique, Brigas Nunca Mais > Buster Rides Again > Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing > Buster Rides Again, The Letter, Nostalgia In Times Square > Bass Solo > Seven Deadlies, Paris, Hey Joe
Encore: Let’s Go*Acoustic Show
* aka Everyone Poops; new from upcoming Children’s CD; while Billy announces the encore tune as Everyone Poops, the album found the song being titled Let’s Go.
– ONE SET (tracks 1-11) –