– SHACK THOUGHTS –
FRIDAY AFTERNOON IN THE UNIVERSE (FAITU#11)
The Shack Project celebrates MMW @25 years!
2008, year of the Radiolarians! 3 new sets of music over 3 seasons, Winter, Summer, and Fall. MMW basically rebuilt their live repertoire and from ’08 through ’10 MMW will play exclusively Radiolarians music aside from a few exceptions. The band plays the 3 new sets of music separately during each season, and then the 3 sets of tunes mix over ’09-’10 to become their new repertoire, along with some new music from their children’s album and the Zaebos disc they recorded for Zorn’s Book of Angels series.
On this Radiolarians 3 tour some of the tunes found usual placement, but in this gig some of those usual setlist spots get shifted around. And we also get quite a treat in the encore.
– SET I –
Unlike the other Radiolarians tours, this tour the band opened gigs with the exploration of open space, which in this case finds them landing into Broken Mirror, which is a simply beautiful piece of music — check out John using the Melodica on this tune in place of some of the piano string plucking! It’s fun to go back and listen to these inaugural Radiolarians tours because the tunes hadn’t solidified into what they became in the album recording process that followed the tour and/or what the playing over the next couple of years developed. Raw honest music. Gwyra Mi is a HEAVY reggae-ish beat that often leads to a Drum Outro, but not always. Walk Back is a wonderful dancey groove, leading to some more open space (guys are itching to loosen the confines of composition, maybe?) and coming to one of my favourite Radiolarian tunes, Chantes Des Femmes. On the album this tune leads to a song that it became inseparable from over the next couple of years, and with which it was paired a few times on this tour as well, but that tune instead opens the 2nd set …
– SET II –
Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down begins, as usual, with a solo from John before hopping into the melody proper, and this is eventually the usual device used to have this song follow Chantes Des Femmes, but it’s cool to hear the solo just erupt on the spot and off we go — when Chris picks up the slide and starts in with that main melody, WHOAH! I love that sound! (Had the pleasure of catching this tune once the following year and I was standing right in front of Chris all night, so this tune was a VERY nice treat to watch him dig into that slide sound on the bass!) SYKMCD always slammed into Satan Pt.II during this R3 tour (or as I liked to call it, “Satan’s Little Helper”) and it is a great groove! They played it a handful of times in winter/spring ’09, and then it disappeared … like so many other tunes, so enjoy ’em while you hear ’em!
The rest of the set continues the onslaught of new R3 tunes, with Jean’s Scene finding the guys having a hard time keeping it together, which is interesting to hear … at least it sounds to me like they haven’t quite hooked up on the tune just yet — let’s remember this music is ONE WEEK old at this time. Bold move, these tours. Kota, like Broken Mirror, is a thing of beauty, but leaning a little on the scary side of that, a dark haunting tune, again in its early stages of development. Clifton didn’t make it onto R3 the album, but did get added as a bonus track to R2 in the Radiolarians box set that came out later in ’09. It’s a raunchy blues, nothing ground breaking, but damn it’s solid with a heavy edge I dig.
Undone is incredible. A pop-tinged anthem of celebration. Wow. I love it. Hearing it at this point, it hasn’t quite hit its stride but you can feel it. Interesting it’s not in the closer slot, a set position it comes to inherit often over the next couple years. Wonton closes the night in fine fashion getting your head bopping and feet moving.
The encore is a treat with the cover I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, a tune you may have heard around by a number of other artists — I love the Derek Trucks Band version, myself. The tune is written by Billy Taylor and Richard Carroll Lamb (Dick Dallas), and according to Wikipedia is best known for the version by Nina Simone — check it out! It’s super nice:
… or check out Billy Taylor’s instrumental:
… I’m not sure it matters who is playing it since that melody is infectious! I’m humming it for days …
And in case anyone’s interested, or has this show but has the setlist we circulated around the time the show happened, here’s a list noting what the actual album title is for a given R3 tune and what the temp name used to be. For R3 we actually got an onstage setlist so these are the titles the band was using for reference before locking down the album titles (except for “Satan’s Little Helper”, that was my temp name — I think the band only identified “Satan” and the 2 were always paired on the tour).
RADIOLARIANS III Tour
ALBUM TITLE = TEMP TITLE
1 Chantes Des Femmes = “Chant”
2 Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down = “Satan”
3 Kota = “Koto”
4 Undone = “Yeah”
5 Wonton = “Won Ton”
6 Walk Back = “Moose”
7 Jean’s Scene = “Mon Tum”
8 Broken Mirror = “Mancini”
9 Gwyra Mi = “Dub”
Clifton = “Clifton” (Bonus track on R2)
Satan Pt. II = “Satan’s Little Helper” (Bonus track on R3)
enjoy the grooves,
- MEDESKI MARTIN & WOOD
Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz, CA
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Set 1: Open Improv > Broken Mirror, Gwyra Mi > Drum Outro, Walk Back > Open Improv > Chantes Des FemmesSet 2: Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down > Satan Pt. II*, Jean’s Scene, Kota, Clifton*, Undone, Wonton
Encore: I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be FreeRadiolarians 3 Tour – November 12-22
All these songs were written the week before this tour started, worked out during the tour, and then recorded in the studio the week after the tour finished.
* temporary name and only tunes not found on Radiolarians III
– SET I (tracks 1-6) –
– SET II (tracks 7-13) –