Long-time friends, Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta, Golden) and Phil Manley (Trans Am, Golden), recently joined forces in a project called Life Coach – first initiated by Phil back in 2011.
What resulted is Alpha Waves, a full length record available now via Thrill Jockey Records. They celebrated its release this past Saturday, April 20th (a fitting day, 4/20/Earth Day….) at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco to a crowd of friends and well-wishers, plus those of us who are long-time Golden/Trans Am fans.
It did the heart good to see them play together again – literally, you can see the warmth emanating through these images.
If you haven’t seen them yet, you should, (if you’re lucky they’ll play a few more gigs this summer) because you might not get to see them play together again for another year or more.
Life Coach on the Interwebs:
Facebook | Thrill Jockey
Photos © Maria Colòn
Meshell Ndegecello stopped by the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on her way to a three-night gig in Chicago. I’da missed the show had drummer artiste, Deantoni Parks not called me an hour or so before they went on to remind me he was in town. The drive from Sacramento to SF took me an hour as opposed to the standard two, ya dig.
This was not my first time seeing Meshell in concert, but the last time I did Tupac had just been shot, and she was in no kind of celebratory mood. It was also the time when she was bucking against the “angry lesbian” label having just came out with her masterpiece “Peace Beyond Passion” and receiving some flack for her incendiary track “Leviticus: Faggot.”
Dayum, let me tell you, I never seen so many hip black folk in Boulder, Colorado, which was the last place I saw her. It was a beautiful night. Religious. Truly, she had a choir of three to ensure the analogy stuck (though I doubt it was intentional). Passionate tears were shed by many. She commanded that stage, with clear-eyed fire and laser brimstone. Standing front and center in the spotlight she asked us to take a moment to consider the life of Tupac Shakur and dedicated the performance to him.
Sixteen years and seven albums later the peace beyond passion she yearned for back then must have been attained. On stage at the Great American she chose to stand further back, allowing her touring band to perform as the collaborators they are, rather than hired hands. The set ranged from a shoe-gaze soul (I just coined that term, thank you) rendition of “Lady Cab Driver” (Prince) to the romantically spare “Oysters” ending with the punked out jam “Lola” – this is where Parks went buck-wild on his kit. Though she sang one tune from her debut, “Plantation Lullabies” it wasn’t her neo-soul hit, If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) and there were no songs from my favorite “Peace Beyond Passion,” which I have to admit made me a little sad, but then, she’s beyond that now having traversed many musical landscapes since her inception.
I agree with the anonymous voice from the audience: She has gotten better.
I’m not a fan of dub. I’m not a fan of metal. When I was told I’d be covering a live performance of a dub/metal band in San Francisco at Brick & Mortar, I was just confused. How do you combine these two seemingly opposite genres of music?
Dub Trio has taken this odd idea and turned it into a science. Out of Brooklyn, NY, drummer Joe Tomino, bassist Stu Brooks, and guitarist D.P. Holmes prove it’s possible to break genre stereotypes and blend clashing sounds into palatable rhythms.
As the back up band for the likes of Matisyahu and Mike Patton, it’s a real treat to see Dub Trio stand alone and unveil their specially crafted music. Their performance in San Francisco was part of their guerilla album release tour for IV, their latest record with New York-based label ROIR.