Beacon 3/14/12 by Josh Chasin
Trouble No More
The High Cost of Low Living
Good Morning Little School Girl
Kind Of Bird
It Makes No Difference (The Juke Horns & Alecia Chakour, vox)
Stand Back (The Juke Horns)
Soulshine (The Juke Horns & James van der Bogert, drums)
The Same Thing (The Juke Horns)
Little Martha (Warren & Derek only)
Old Before My Time (Gregg, Warren, Derek, Marc & Oteil)
Catfish Blues (Gregg, Warren & Derek)
Woman Across The River (Eric Krasno, guitar)
Black Hearted Woman > drums > jam > Black Hearted Woman
Into The Mystic (The Juke Horns)
One Way Out
Back in 2009, I think, Warren compared playing in the Allman Brothers to playing in the Dead by noting that the Dead tends to wait for the magic to come, whereas the Allmans saddle up and go chase after it. I was reminded of that a lot at this show, because there were definitely spotty moments that seemed to lack direction... but invariably, they would suck it up and go to the mojo.
Coming out of the gate, Warren spanks it, ringing out clear as a bell, during "Trouble No More," then Derek plays with a dirty buzz. Warren rings out again on "Midnight Rider." On the outro to 'High Cost," Derek is nice and airy over a gentle Oteil bed, leading into an uptempo, exquisite section. This is a song that starts to get good after the song itself is over.
"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" comes on with greasy, extended squawky fun before the vocals. Warren double-times it during Derek's solo break, shaking things up; the music tumbles frenetically forward, Warren bending toward Derek, driving him and the band, then back into the goopy molasses cadence for the vocals; the molasses oozes over out of the song and into the coda. Early highlight.
"Kind of Bird" is up next. Warren offers up cascading lines that dance. The music gets a little aimless in the middle, until Warren turns it up to caliente, locking in with Oteil, and suddenly it is incendiary. Warren does a full 360 to cue the drums, then the band skids into a false close, Derek bending out funereal Spanish-sounding notes over the extended grind... Warren puts the song to bed over Oteil's exploration of the "Manic Depression" melody... then bam, they're back hard into the song, and a race to a real close. The second half of the song is another highlight.
For the second night in a row the Asbury Jukes horns come on, beginning with the Band's "It Makes No Difference" (Alecia Chakour, who I don't know, providing backing vocals to Warren's lead.) Then 'Standback," all rubbery and brassy; There's a round of horns, then some Derek sweetness, a mini-Oteil breakdown (my friend comments: "That bass player is SO happy!") Then a sax solo, then Derek, the horn section joining in together underneath, and everyone is back on the riff.
Derek goes to church on "Soulshine;" then, when they could easily have ended the set, they instead explode into "The Same Thing." Some drunken trombone gives way to stinging Warren, who rides the slide all the way up the neck and parks there a good while. Oteil funks it up, he's pure percopation (and I know that's not actually a word.) After Oteil's break the song has been duly funkicized, and the music slams back, first a muted trumpet solo over bass and drums, then unmuted wailing, with the two guitarists choogling together in hard rhythm. Then Warren and Derek trade licks like snapping towels, faster and faster till your head would just about like to explode; then everyone slams back into the brassy riff to bring the set to a close. Obviously, another highlight.
Derek and Warren begin after the break with a lovely take on "Little Martha." Gregg joins and sings "Old Before My Time," and then "Catfish Blues," which for my money is the standout of the acoustic set. It's the best Gregg has sounded all night, and it's all slow, bluesy and sweet.
The electric set commences with your basic "Statesboro Blues," after which Eric Krasno comes on for "Woman Across the River." Krasno lays out some easy, snappish stellar blues. Most of the house misses Warren's introduction, but halfway in the guy in front of me turns and says, "Whoever he is, he sure is good." Soon there's a manic guitar three-way that morphs into a three-man one-way, driving the song home. "Black Hearted Woman" gives way to an abbreviated drum solo, leading back into an extended jam on the waltz-time outro, then Warren plays the chorded phrase that flips the music over into the "Other One" jam, but Derek plays some "Third Stone" lines over the top so it's kind of a hybrid of "Third Stone" and "The Other One"... then the transition phrase again and back into the frantic waltz. It is big and kickass, especially post-drums.
The Jukes are back again for "Into the Mystic," with Derek playing some sorrowful slide that makes your heart feel like it's raining. Then the crowd-pleasing "One Way Out" closes the set. For the encore, the band comes on sans Gregg and lays into some constructive noodling, creating a misty space; finally Gregg takes his place and it's "Whipping Post," a rather less urgent version at first. Off the vocal section Warren rings and shimmers, then takes the band out for a brisk walk with a major key vibe; I ride around on the music a while, until suddenly noticing it has come all the way around again to the Post, as they smash into "Sometimes I feel..."
Good show. Not without a few hiccups, but then, the highs were exhilarating.
Added: Friday, March 16, 2012
Reviewer: josh chasin