Today we look back to February 17, 2004.

moe., Galactic with Stage-Swap Reciprocity at the Fillmore

This past weekend during the moe./Galactic co-headlining performances at Denver’s Fillmore, the two groups offered mutual opportunities for those full-band segues long-patented by moe (prior co-conspirators include Gov’t Mule, the Ominous Seapods and Umphrey’s McGee). On Friday night Stanton Moore first emerged during moe.‘s ‘Timmy Tucker’ which in turn yielded a complete Galactic appearance. The members of moe. gradually stepped off stage for a few minutes only to return a bit later for the segue back into ‘Timmy.’ On Saturday, the inverse occurred with moe. gradually taking the stage during Galactic’s set (minus Jim Loughlin and with Al schnier on keys) for a brief take on ‘Brent Black’ in the midst of Galactic ‘s ‘Chicken Pox.’ These shows marked the end of

moe.‘s winter tour, although the group will perform twice in Vermont on February 21 (a free gig during the day at Magic Hat’s 9th Annual Mardi Gras and then an evening show at Higher Ground). Meanwhile Galactic’s Freezestyle 2004 is just underway, with a performance tonight at Dave’s on Dickson in Fayetteville, AR.

Brownstein, Gutwillig, Shields and Greenfield Return as JM2, Post-Jammys

JM2, the quartet featured Disco Biscuits’ guitarist Jon Gutwilling and bassist Marc Brownstein along with keyboard player Jamie Shields (The New Deal) on keyboards and percussionist Mike Greenfield (The Ally) will perform the second gig in its brief history following the Jammys on March 16. JM2, which debuted at New York’s BB King’s Place this past January 1, will return to the club following the Jammys and is slated to play well into the morning, with a guest or two certainly possible. Meanwhile the other half of the Biscuits, keyboardist Aron Magner and drummer Sam Altman will continue their Moshi Moshi collaboration next month with two performances scheduled, at the Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale on March 5 and the next day at the Langerado Music Festival in Hollywood, FL. Looking forward, there’s also an appearance by Brownstein’s Electron project set for BB King’s on April 10. Additional info on all these endeavors can be found at

Clay Evans, Benji Shanks and Robert Walter’s 20th Congress Step In For Wavering Bluestring Just Prior to Radio Broadcast

Less than a half hour before load-in on Saturday, Jeff Dunham received a phone call informing him that the current line-up of Bluestring, his scheduled band for the second Dunhams In The Daytime party/recording for broadcast, would no longer be performing together. The group’s frontman and principal songwriter Clay Evans chose to honor the gig, and he called upon his buddy Benji Shanks, the lead guitarist for Atlanta band Captain Soularcat. ‘We had played a show at the River’s Edge in Rome (Georgia, where Shanks lives) the night before,’ Shanks said, ‘and Clay called me at about 2:15. I like the guys in Bluestring, and I even played on their last CD. So, I gladly dragged myself off the couch, got something quick to eat, and then sped at 90mph down I-85 to Smith’s, and we did the show.’

Shanks had never played some of the material, but you would never know it as they moved through some of Evans’ most recent Bluestring songs, ‘Benji is my guitar hero and good friend who can make anyone sound good with his six-string tastiness,’ Evans said. The duo opened with the as yet unrecorded ‘Always Comes,’ followed by, ‘Reach Out’ and then a recent addition to the Bluestring catalog, ‘Valley.’ They closed their set with the title track, and then ‘Man In Your Mind’ from their forthcoming CD, Pair Of Claws, (‘Double Edge,’ also from the disc, was performed early in the set). A slightly modified version of Bluestring, fronted by Evans, will open for The Big Wu at The Funk Box tonight (and they will focus on Pair Of Claws material), and all of their west coast tour is still a go.
The Dunham staff had been discussing the possiblity of The 20th Congress popping in early for a mini-set (they were headlining at Smith’s later the same night) for many weeks. When one staff member explained the situation that had arisen to the band’s tour manager after their performance at Zydeco’s in Birmingham, The group agreed to get on the road early so they could help The Dunhams out. The band arrived at Smith’s two hours early to set up (with the eager assistance of Smith’s staff and some Dunham party regulars), soundcheck and perform a twenty-five minute set which was broadcast the next day.
The band sandwiched two new originals ’34 Small’ and ‘El Cuervo’ around an energized cover of The Apostles’ ‘Soulful.’ They ended the brief set with a strong cover of a deep cut from The Meters’ catalog, ‘Go For Yourself,’ which Walter introduced as a ‘Valentine’s Day song for the lonely.’ 20th Congress performed as a trio as Walter explains, ‘Will (Bernard) had another gig and our bass player has other gigs right now. We decided to keep it in the family rather than hire other musicians. It’s given me a chance to explore the organ-based thing, playing my own bass lines, which is in the tradition of all the great organ players. I have written alot of material in the past couple of months with this configuration in mind, so we’re excited to get out there with plenty of new material.’ The group performs at the Side Bar in Gainesville tonight, and will return to Georgia for a show with reggae band dubconscious at the Georgia Theater in Athens, February 23rd (The Dunhams will reair the band’s impromptu set on Z93 in Atlanta the night before this show). Guitarist Will Bernard will be with the band for the Georgia Theater show.

Report by Rob Turner

Bonnie Raitt, Lenny Kravitz, Etta James, Neville Brothers Among Artists Slated To Perform at New Orleans Jazz Fest

The official line-up has been announced for the 35th New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The event will take place over two weeks, from April 23-25 and from April 29- May 2. The festival places an emphasis on a wide array of area musicians although it also includes artists from other parts of the country and globe. Performers at the fairgrounds each day include: Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Galactic and The Trio: Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter Jr. and June Yamagishi (April 23); Macy Gray, Branford Marsalis, Rebirth Brass Band and Leo Nocentelli (April 24); Dr. John, Ray Charles, Etta James and Zigaboo Modeliste (April 25); Allen Toussaint, Steve Miller Band, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet (April 29); Harry Connick Jr., Karl Densons Tiny Universe, Susan Tedeschi and Nicholas Payton & Sonic Trance (April 30); Lenny Kravitz, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Blind Boys of Alabama, funky Meters and Sonny Landreth (May 1) and Neville Brothers, Dianne Reeves, Radiators, Papa Grows Funk and Big Chief Bo Dollis & the Wild Magnolias (May 2). In addition Jazz Fest will offer some late night shows, such as B.B King / Etta James & the Roots Band on the 24th and Lenny Kravitz / Lucky Dube on the 30th. At the same time other area promoters, most notably Superfly Presents, use Jazz Fest to stage their own late night series, with details likely to follow in the days to come as well.