The rain juked me, goddammit, and I missed the P-Funk show at MLK Jr. Park on Thursday. I did manage to catch The Goods at the aftershow at the Dinosaur BBQ, though. I walked in as the quartet was taking a stab at Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne.” Known for its sky-scraping jams and polyrhythm, the Goods were a little bluesier, but rockin’ nonetheless, especially when Miss Teressa Wilcox brought joy to the boys by joining them on a spirited take of Lucinda’s Williams' tumultuous tune “Joy.”
The best stage at The Corn Hill Arts Festival has to be the one at the gazebo with its cool canopy of trees, short skirts display, and terrific sound. Every year I track down this stage by following my ears. This Saturday, was no different as me and Mr. T shuffled toward the gazebo to the sound of Steve Grills and the Roadmasters. The band was locked in tight like a pugilist clinch as Grills flexed his huge vocabulary through Fender tube and tweed.
Tyler Pearce followed. It was my first time hearing this young singer-songwriter: her acoustically-rooted folk rock got excellent rock band treatment as she intoned with casual intent. She sounded just fine, but I’d like to see a little more of the drama that her pretty and thoughtful songs demand.
I thumbed my way onto a limo ride with some members of the lunatic fringe and barreled down the 90 to CMAC for Cheap Trick and Peter Frampton Saturday night. Now I’ve loved Cheap Trick since I was a kid (I was CT guitarist Rick Nielsen -- complete with spinning bow tie -- for Halloween in 6th grade) and have seen them a ton of times. And what I usually found tres cool at past shows actually distracted me a bit this time around. Nielsen is the source of the band’s chordal bliss and hooks, and live he noodles and stretches and augments, slithering around Robin Zander’s unbelievable (I think it’s actually gotten better) voice. And though it’s amazing to hear the guitar in the moment, it was a bit much in spots. The show highlight, besides hearing “Surrender” was bassist Tom Petersson’s version of the Velvet Underground’s “Waiting For My Man.”
Peter Frampton rose to the challenge of following Cheap Trick with a positively exquisite mix. If you bring in too much artillery into CMAC it winds up sounding like shit; loud and confusing shit. Frampton was loud, no sweat, it just made sense even when he stepped way, way out of the box to tackle an instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” I went in skeptical, but Frampton showed me the way.