Live Music Reviews

Ride TLA Philly 7-22-17

Guest Review by: DSM (Thanks DSM for sharing this with the sis diss)


Ride TLA Philly 7-22-17 photo by: DSM

Twenty-one years is a long time to wait for something. Then again, when you never thought that ‘something’ would ever happen again, the reward for all that delayed gratification can be really sweet. This may be why the patrons in Philly’s TLASaturday night conveyed a restless anticipation before Ride took the stage. People fidgeted, people shifted their weight from one foot to another in nervous rocking, others just kept eyes forward, talking out of the sides of their mouth to one another, as if they didn’t want to avert their eyes and miss the first cue that all that waiting would come to an end.

When Gardener, Bell, Queralt and Colbert walked on stage the rocking quickened, the necks telescoped forwards and upwards, and some began bouncing up and down. With the first note of “Lannoy Point”, the first track from their newest album Weather Diaries released June 16th, it was realized – faces turned toward each other, some smiling at each other with a contented half smile, others with grins stretching ear to ear. It looked like some were giggling with glee.

Ride gathered a loyal following in 1990 with Smile, which consolidated prior EP material, and what is considered their debut album, Nowhere. The highly acclaimed album – Rolling Stone called it a ‘masterpiece’ – placed Ride in good company with The Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine… But the ride was short-lived. 1992 saw the release of another solid album, Going Blank Again, where the energy and musicianship again blended crisply from track to track. Four years and two diminished albums later, the band broke up. But those first two years left their mark on fans and critics alike.

Weather Diaries may be what could have or should have followed Going Blank Again. Its sounds are more of a refined progression than the band’s releases in ’94 and ’96. This may be the band’s rationale for providing a nice shuffle between 1990 to ’92 discography and their current release in their live set Saturday night. After their opening with “Lannoy Point” and the album’s following track “Charm Assault”, there was a crescendo of shouting and cheering when “Seagull”, the opening track from Nowhere sounded its first notes. For an hour and 45 minutes, the band weaved in and out new and older, with seemingly thoughtful progression through the set list. The set was crisp, the musicianship flawless, and a sonic wall of energy came from a surprisingly minimalist stack of Marshall and Vox amplifiers.

Mark Gardener and Andy Bell smoothly choreographed their harmonic vocals live. There’s no straining here with older voices. They’ve matured – and have said as much in recent interviews –  and looked like they were enjoying it. They intertwined their guitar work seamlessly as well. Loz Colbert’s drumming is a terrific balance of control and speed, again demonstrating an individual well skilled in his playing ability. His articulation of percussion in sound and movement is as fun to watch as it is to hear and feel. Steve Queralt serves up the support that has been evident throughout their recording history — bass lines that balance out the weaving  reverb of guitars, with just the right amount of intricacy sometimes to play a part in the weaving. From all four, studio session playing quality, with just the right amount of energy and variance from the studio tracks that you were undoubtedly listening live. They took “Drive Blind” and wonderfully embellished it past the seven-minute mark.

And that’s the key for my tastes in live performances from bands and music like this. Match the integrity of the studio production as much as possible, while serving up the energy and variance to remind us we’re live. As an endnote, a note about the night’s end. The encore concluded with the superb wall of sound from “Leave Them All Behind”, and as Colbert remained, he pulled out his phone and took a shot of the crowd. That should be a nice ending, but the crowd remained. The stomping and shouting had an even pace, and maybe that’s why it kept going minutes until the crew brought equipment back out, the four emerged, and gave us wonderful renditions of “Dreams Burn Down” and finally “Chelsea Girl”. Gardener graciously told us that was really a wrap, and Colbert saw fit to take another picture.

End notes after endnote… Tomorrow night is their D.C. show, and then they depart for the U.K. and a quick stop in Japan. They’ll be back to the U.S. on September 20th. And, if you have a notion to take a run and hope to ‘run’ into the band, Steve Q and Loz apparently like to take a jog, as they did in Philly this very morning.



Tim Kasher Johnny Brenda’s 6-1-17

DSC04881.JPGI don’t want to be wordy today. But I do want to share my fun from last night.  And it was fun, I can’t lie. I made it out to Tim Kasher at Johnny Brenda’s (which is one of my favorite Philly venues) even though I had found out that his set wouldn’t go on until 11pm.  So, let me just say there’s maybe 10 musicians that can keep me out way late, or make me use personal days to see their shows. Tim is one of them, he’s always been.  I have had his show planned for some time to be my summer kick off for concert season. Check the Sisters Dissonance archived reviews to see posts from years past- including a miniature interview I did with him awhile back. Anyway, I made it and I’m going to share some of it with you. I got an audio clip of him performing “Entertainer” a song from another band of his The Good Life seriously we also got to hear some Cursive too.

Audio clip of “Entertainer”


So here’s some more background info. He released a new album recently titled No Resolution. I feel like it is the evolution of sorts from The Game of Monogamy released in 2010. I couldn’t miss my chance to hear him play his set from this newest release- and of course we also got so much more. I am not surprised.

I took some photos, and some videos and some audio clips. Browse it all, take a look at the (photos link here) – listen to the clips I added and enjoy! Try to check him and his talented band out on this tour. I hope he’s coming your way. Meanwhile I’m operating today on 3.5 hours sleep. Meh. Oh, and soon there will be some youtube videos (link here) once I get them uploaded so keep checking back.

You can listen to a clip of “Truly Freaking Out” from his release Adult Film which fell in between The Game of Monogmay and the latest ->No Resolution. 

The best part of this clip is the smashing glass in the background. A really happy woman (if you’re reading– hi! don’t be embarrassed, we were all excited and your dancing was truly part of the fun) twirled into a glass. It was obviously a smashing fun night.


Okay, yeah. That was me being not wordy.

Till next show



Joseph Arthur City Winery NYC 1-1-17

ja2Happy New Year friends, can you believe it? 2017! I say this with a big sigh. I’m not sure if this is a sigh of relief or a sigh of trepidation. I guess only time will tell. Sometimes when I feel like this I take certain precautions like self-care steps, and these precautions that keep/restore my sanity always lie in music, art, and adventure. I got all three yesterday 1-1-17.(Hey, that’s the first time I wrote the date and it looks weird and makes me feel old.)

My New Year’s Day adventure sent me to the City Winery in NYC to see Joseph Arthur—  yes again! To see the full photo set from the show click here. I’ve been fortunate enough since November ’16 to catch him three times live. This is my remedy, you know for my sanity like I said: art, music and adventure. As my break quickly wraps up and the real world is catching up to me I can say I ended it with some lightness, some fun, creativity and photography.

So, Sunday’s show was sort of like a wedding with something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. I went online and found the set list, it’s floating out there, but I’ll save you the trouble and you can just link here. You can see which fall into the categories, old, new, borrowed, and blue (which was the color of his shirt) .

The borrowed portion of the show was a cover of George Michael’s Freedom take a listen here  (just now creating this hyperlink for George made me sad again. RIP George Michael). The track was laid down on his phone but he didn’t say which app he uses  (getting hip like the kids nonetheless). I had a very visceral reaction to the Freedom cover, I’m sure others did too. I was a child product of the 80’s and I loved Wham and GM but I don’t think at my age  back then when Freedom was released that I actually grasped its poignancy. When Joseph sang it last night I listened, every lyric and to every bit of the intention in his delivery just absorbing it. Not to mention I think this cover officially gave him the #badass.  I think in its original form as a pop song (and my age) I missed the depth, and to hear it like this I finally got it. It hit me. And I’m being careful not to talk too much about the new president-elect, but I worry about things as simple as the title of the song, the things that should be simple for us all like Freedom.  Fair to say last night was strangely emotional for me kinda like a hybrid of feelings that come up the way church used to be when I was young or how my yoga mat is for me now as an adult. Just a deep feeling of contemplation and emotional space you can get once in a while.  And it wasn’t just this moment during the show but there were others too.ja3

I’ve mentioned it before, but me and the other half of Sis Diss, my sister Shan are Northeast Ohio byproducts and listening to Joe play songs from The Family feel so much like home, so much like the rust belt we grew up in, all the good and the bad all rolled up in a ball of yarn you can’t quite find the beginning or end to. It feels all so familiar and sitting with these songs as he plays them from the piano on stage just after holiday brought me even deeper into the head space I was in.

I think my conclusion from last night was that it’s not about resolutions, it’s not about getting better or being better it’s just about being. It’s enough. I think jokingly he even mentioned on stage the quote about something being the journey and not the destination. That may have been about his  Leonard Cohen cover of Everybody Knows.

One of my dear friends said to me the other day, “it’s not about knowing what’s next it’s just about asking the question of what is next”. I think the New Year’s Day show for me was about revelations and not resolutions and just thinking about what is next for me in many ways.

Not every show I step into will make me feel this way. I think for me it is when a show is done in the moment, and JA does this well with the feel of being free of ego, or as free of ego as you can get. He’s pretty much an open book up there, this is the part of his showmanship that the audience can connect with. I have some mad respect for a man who can just be in the Flow which takes skills to do. (For those interested in what the Flow is there’s actually some scientific evidence for the idea of the “Flow” you can read about here on your own. (I won’t get into it here in this post since it’s too similar to my work-work, but it is fascinating). My best example of this was midway through painting on his canvas with bubble gum pink paints, Joe just stops glances down and decides in that moment to paint a perfect pink heart on his tee-shirt. It was like this uninterrupted flow of feeling, thought, idea and action that just all came out at once. There wasn’t this process of “hey I want to paint a heart, should I paint a heart?, would a heart be cool?, will the heart be a good idea?, does the audience want to see me paint a heart?…”… That’s flow folks. And modern research says in order to be our happiest we need this trait and I admire him for having it, it’s what keeps me coming back and buying my tickets.

So for 2017 can we all just paint some metaphorical pink hearts. Don’t stop and think too much, get into the flow of the good things life has to offer us. We’ve got some negative forces opposing us for the time being. I’m not quite sure 2017 will make America great again, but I do believe in the power of jaollove, art, music and kindness. I think that is where I will put my focus this year.

Happy 2017 Joe. Thank you for sharing pieces of your musical and creative world with us.

Peace and pink hearts