Archive for the ‘Ryley Walker’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: March 15, 2022] Ryley Walker / Tonstartssbandht.

I’ve seen Ryley Walker four times, but never on purpose.  He’s been the support band for every show that I’ve seen him in.

So I thought it would be interesting to see what he was like when he was the headliner.

But this show was in between two days that I was going to shows and my brother-in-law was in town, so I decided to give it a miss.  Walker plays all the time so I’m sure I’ll see him again.

I’d never heard of Tonstartssbandht.  On their blurb for the concert, all it said was Andy & Edwin.  Wikipedia tells me they are

an American psychedelic, noise rock band consisting of brothers Andy (guitar and vocals) and Edwin (drums and vocals) White.  They formed c. 2008 when Edwin was 20 years and Andy was 18. Their influences include the Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground demos, and Can live recordings. As of December 2017, the band has released 17 live and studio albums, as well as a series of solo recordings and collaborations.


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[ATTENDED: November 26, 2016] Dinosaur Jr.

Back in March when concerts were just starting to happen again, Dinosaur Jr were first out of the gate to announce a fall tour. I grabbed a ticket and it sold out almost instantly (yes, we were desperate for live music!).

I was excited more about the show than the fact that it was Dinosaur Jr.  The last time I saw them ( I can’t believe it was five years ago) the show was so good, I felt like didn’t really need to see them again.

Except for one thing.  The two shows I’d seen with them I was too close to the stage.  The guys’ amps are so loud that you can barely hear the vocals (bassist Lou Barlow even yelled at the people up front who complained–“stand father back, it’s physics!”).  So I wanted to stand further back to get the full Dino experience.

After being right up on the stage for Riley, I walked to the back and took up a spot in the middle of the room (I couldn’t voluntarily go all the way to the back).

And it was a much more enjoyable experience–except for the people around me.  There were a couple of really tall guys who just wouldn’t budge an inch. There were also a lot of loud people, including a guy who kept shouting “Just Like Heaven” (as if Dinosaur Jr is a band who takes requests). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 26, 2016] Dinosaur Jr.

I’ve seen Ryley Walker twice before this (and one time when he played lead guitar for Nap Eyes).  Every time I’ve seen him, it’s been a totally different experience.

The first time, back in 2018 (when Walker had long hair and a beard), he was on stage with Bill MacKay.  They jammed a bunch of songs and Walker was really funny.

Most of the songs were instrumental, but one, “Telluride Speed” was a fairly conventional song and super catchy.

I saw him again at the end of 2019 as part of a post Phish concert in NYC.   He looked totally different, with short hair, no beard and a winter hat.

He had a four piece, with Ryan Jewell on drums.  It was mostly lengthy guitar solos and lots of improv.  Walker has some wild noisy guitar skills and I was right up there watching him.

For this show, it was again a four piece.  Ryan Jewell was on drums again (he’s the main reason I wanted to go) and Bill McKay was on co-lead guitar.  I’m not sure who was on bass. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: May 20, 2020] Nap Eyes / Lionlimb

indexI just saw Nap Eyes open for Destroyer (the last show I saw before the quarantining).

They put on a terrific show and had Ryley Walker playing guitar for them.

I’m not sure who was supposed to play guitar for them on this show.  I was really hoping it would be their actual guitarist Brad Loughead, but Ryley Walker would be great too.

Maybe when they reschedule (which I sure hope they do Loughead will be free to play with them.

I had not heard of Lionlimb.  They are a duo who play timeless chill out music.  I’m not entirely sure how much fun they would be live, but their recorded music is pretty great.


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[ATTENDED: March 8, 2020] Nap Eyes

I saw Nap Eyes open for Alvvays nearly three years ago.  I was mesmerized by their mix of deadpan, melody and noise.  Since then I’ve really enjoyed their first two albums.  I missed their third one entirely somehow, but I was really looking forward to seeing them again.

I was especially looking forward to watching guitarist Brad Loughead because he managed to play really pretty melodies and then fill them awash with all kinds of distortion.  It had been three years since I’d seen them, but when they came out on stage I looked at Loughead and though, wow, he looks an awful lot like Ryley Walker.

Well, sure enough, it WAS Ryley Walker, whom I had just seen him on New Year’s Eve doing some wild improvisational guitar playing. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RYLEY WALKER-“Love is Everywhere (Beware)” (from WILCOvered, UNCUT Magazine November 2019).

The November 2019 issue of UNCUT magazine had a cover story about Wilco.  It included a 17 track CD of bands covering Wilco (called WILcovered or WILCOvered).  I really enjoyed this collection and knew most of the artists on it already, so I’m going through the songs one at a time.

It’s interesting that Walker chose the band’s brand new (at the time) single to cover.  I don’t think the album was even out yet when they released this issue.

I saw Walker live last month and his set was a forty-five minute wild improv guitar session.  So I’m even more surprised at how beautiful and tender this cover is.

There are some great percussive effects from Ryan Jewell which I wouldn’t have really noticed if I hadn’t seen him do similar things live.  Walker didn’t sing at all when I saw him, and his voice here is soft and whispery.  It works perfectly with the muted tone of the song–guitar harmonics, a shuffling beat and gentle bass from Calexico’s Scott Colberg.

The song grows gradually louder, mostly from Jewell’s drums until with about a minute left, Walker goes absolutely berserk with a wild electric guitar solo–largely noise and chaos, while the rest of the song continues as before.  Very Wilco.

[READ: February 15, 2020] Snippets of Serbia

This book came across my desk at work.  The book is entirely in English and yet the cataloging information (the CIP page) is in Russian, primarily. It was published in Beograd by Komshe Publishing.

That’s all fascinating because Emma Fick is an American artist.  She is of Serbian descent and went there to teach English.  She brought her sketch book because she always does.  While there she drew pictures and then earned a grant to travel to Serbia to draw more.

The introduction to the book gives a good summary of Serbia and its inability to be pigeonholed.

Serbia is fascinating and baffling, captivating and frustrating, vibrant and confounding.  There is no singularity to Serbian culture, and its historical, religious, cultural, culinary, and philosophical narratives are knots that must be carefully detangled.

Illustration was her way of absorbing Serbia.

She knows the book is flawed and incomplete.  She knows there are mistakes in it and she knows that her experience of Serbia is not what Serbia is,  But boy did it ever make me want to go there–a country I have never given a second thought to.

The book is roughly 200 pages of watercolor sketches of people, places, customs, and especially the food of Serbia: Belgrade, North, South, East and West. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 31, 2019] Ryley Walker

I saw Ryley Walker open for Calexico in May of 2018.  He played with a trio–second guitar and bass.

Even though I was at the show, I clearly didn’t remember it very well, because I was puzzled why he was on this jam band bill.  The confusion is because I mostly remembered him singing the song “Telluride Speed,” a mellow folky song.

But re-watching some of the videos from that show I realize that much of the show was instrumental jams between he and his co-guitarist Bill McKay.  So I should have realized it made sense.

But I was so puzzled when he came out and started playing that I genuinely wasn’t sure if it was the same guy.

In part because the music he was playing was abstract and noisy and utterly experimental.  (It makes sense that his jamming for Calexico would be a bit more folky).  Plus, he looked completely different. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 31, 2019] Garcia Peoples

I saw Garcia Peoples about a year ago when they opened for Heron Oblivion.  I really liked them and knew I’d want to see them again.  The fact that this year they were on a bill with Chris Forsyth, who I also really wanted to see, and it was an after-party show after the final Phish show I’d be seeing of the year made it even more cool.

I was even willing to stay in NYC until 3 AM to see it!

I arrived at Le Poissin Rouge early enough to get a slice of pizza in the Village (yum) and even get a drink at LPR (the bartender assumed my change was a tip, apparently).

I parked myself on the right side of the stage (I usually prefer the left side, but it was a little crowded there).  I wound up being right in front of GP’s guitarist Tom Malach (who looked different since last time he wore a toque the whole night).

The big difference between these shows was that last time Andy Cush was on bass, but this time it was Derek Spaldo, who also sang lead vocals much of the time.  I understand Andy is still in the band–do they alternate venues?  Well, whatever the case, I thought Cush was great last time and I thought Spaldo was great this time.

This band is so much fun to watch.  Spaldo is often playing a great grooving bassline while Malach and other guitarist Danny Arakaki trade amazing licks. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 2, 2018] Calexico

Back in the 90s when Calexico first came out, I had no interest in their blend of alt rock and countryish music.  I never really gave them a chance (that was before you could freely listen to music and determine exactly what things sounded like).

Then a couple of years ago, Sarah bought me their then new CD Algiers and I loved it.  Their new single, “Under the Wheels” is wonderful (albeit too short).  So when I saw that they were playing at World Cafe Live, I decided to grab tickets right away.

I didn’t really know what to expect and what I got was a delightfully life affirming set of fun songs, great musicianship and a tremendous amount of diversity.

I don;t really know that much by Calexico as it turns out (no surprise really).  And it was a bit of a bummer that they only played one song from Algiers.  But they played a lot from the new album and (if the crowd reaction is accurate) a whole bunch of old favorites. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 2, 2018] Ryley Walker

I hadn’t heard of Ryley Walker before this show.  I walked in just as his set was starting and it was Ryley in the center of the stage, another guitarist to his right and an upright bassist on his left.

And basically, they were jamming some cool electric guitar solos.

I found out that the bassist was actually Calexico’s bassist Scott Colberg. (more…)

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