Today we look back to January 23, 2006…

The Duo Remain Freaky; Prepare the Release of _ Raw Horse_

On Saturday, influential music Yahoo group the NYC Freaks held their sixth annual Freaks Ball at New York’s Coda. As in year’s past the Freaks Ball, which helped launch Robert Randolph to fame at the turn of new millennium, featured a number of the scene’s biggest buzz bands performing in a variety of unique configurations. Reprising their occasional Duo Buggin project, The Benevento/Russo Duo and the Frog Brigade axis of Skerik and Mike Dillon performed a mostly improvised selection of material as Coxygen, also finding time to reference Duo material from 2005’s Best Reason to Buy the Sun.

Earlier, RANA’s Scott Metzger offered a new edition of his rotating Metzgerville ensemble featuring Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, Fat Mama vibes player Kevin Kendrick and RANA/Sam Champion drummer Ryan Thornton. In December, the NYC Freaks also held a battle of the bands at New York’s now defunct Tribeca for the evenings opening slot. A number of groups featuring NYC Freaks participated, with New Jersey’s Secret Government taking top honors. As a friendly gesture, however, Secret Government invited out a number of its competitors throughout its opening set. First, Circus Mind’s Mark Rechler and Buzz Universes’ Freddy Moises emerged for ‘Truck Song,’ before being joined by Buzz Universe’s Greg McLoughlin on ‘Blue Ridge Mountain Sky.’ Next, Stir Fired’s Jan London appeared on both ‘Airplane Gypsy’ and ‘Bloom,’ while Rechler returned for ‘Eastbound Shakedown.’ Rechler and the HI Fi Fugitives’s Adam Sabella then helped Secret Government closed out its performance with a handful of selections including a show closing ‘Buffalo.’

After taking a road break to work on its next album , The Duo will perform next at Langerado’s ‘Soundcheck’ on March 10. The Duo has also readied the release of its first live album, Raw Horse, due in stores March 2. Currently, the live collection, which was recorded at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on May 11th, is scheduled to be released exclusively in Japan and will feature several unrecorded numbers including ‘Best Reason to Buy the Sun.’ The NYC Freaks, meanwhile, will return to the web for another week of loaded musical discussion.

moe., Melissa and New Material

On Thursday, moe. kicked off its extended winter tour with a performance at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre. In addition to a new cover of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android, moe. offered a rare fully segued second set featuring a handful of its most popular numbers including Buster, Spine Of A Dog, Wormwood, St. Augustine and 32 Things, among others. While performing at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory Saturday, moe. also invited out the evening’s opening act, Melissa Ferrick, who added trumpet to New York City. Finally, last night, moe. hosted an autism benefit concert at Syracuse, NYs Landmark Theater. A special occasion for Al Schnier, whose daughter is autistic, moe. used the opportunity to debut the guitarist’s newest number, Blue Eyed Angel. moe. will return to its musical womb tonight for a performance at Buffalo, NYs Town Ballroom.

The Radiators Return to Tipitina’s For 28th Anniversary Party

The Radiators will celebrate its 28th anniversary this weekend with a pair of hometown performances at New Orleans Tipitina’s on January 27 and 28. Fellow Big Easy-natives Bonerama will supply support duties, with Tipitina’s also offering a webcast online. After being displaced for some time following hurricane Katrina, the Radiators have lined up a handful of shows throughout the southeast and Gulf Coast. On February 10, the Radiators will perform at Fort Lauderdale, FLs Revolution, before boarding the week long Rhythms At Sea Cruises on February 11. The group will then return to Louisiana for performance at Baton Rouges SoGo Live on February 23 and New Orleans New Southport Hall on February 24.

A New Hot Buttered Monsoon

Over the weekend New Monsoon and Hot Buttered Rum kicked off their joint west coast tour with a performance at Denver, COs Cervantes. A true co-bill, Cervantes set up two stages with the longtime friends alternating sets throughout the night. At the end of Hot Buttered Rum’s Sweet Honey Fountain, New Monsoon took over the jam, before segueing into its own Patato’s Mission. During its second set, Hot Buttered Rum invited out New Monsoons Jeff Miller for BB Kings The Thrill is Gone, with fiddler Adam Gaulblum emerging for a performance closing version of the Grateful Dead’s Sugaree. As Hot Buttered Rum closed out its jam, the members of New Monsoon picked up their instruments, before slipping into the Allman Brothers Band’s Jessica.

A night later the paired performers continued their collaborations at Ft. Collins, COs Aggie Theatre. During New Monsoon’s set, a number of the Hot Buttered Rum players emerged beginning with Erik Yates on flute for Painted Moon. Nat Keefe then picked-up his guitar for Continental Divide, before fiddler Aaron Redner and mandolinist Zac Matthews then emerged for En Fuego. New Monsoon then handed over the stage to Hot Buttered Rum for an extended single-set show. During Hot Buttered Rum’s performance, a number of New Monsoons members performed beginning with drummer Marty Ylitalo and guitarist Jeff Miller on Huey Lewis’ Need A New Drug. Throughout the rest of Hot Buttered Rum’s set, members of New Monsoon weaved on and off stage before both Bay Area bands joined together for show closing versions of The Bands The Weight and Bob Dylans You Ain’t Going Nowhere. The paired performers will play tonight at Ketchum, ID’s Whiskey Jacques.

‘Bad Boy’ Bruce Willis

In a recent interview, Ivan Neville hinted that a number of celebrities were on the guest list for his January 20 post-Rolling Stones performance at New Yorks BB King Blues Club. But, as it turns out, aa whole different breed of celebrity ended up onstage with Dumpstaphunk. Shortly before 2:00 AM, Bruce Willis joined Dumpstaphunk onstage for an appropriately chosen cover of Bad Boy, adding harp fills for the remainder of the night. Best known for his string of Hollywood hits, including The Sixth Sense and the Die Hard series, Willis actually scored a top five single with in 1987 Respect from his 1987 album The Return of Bruno. His follow-up, If It Don’t Kill You, It Just Makes You Stronger, was released on Motown Records.

While in New York for a performance at the sixth annual Freaks Ball, Skerik opened the evenings festivities and later joined Dumpstaphunk for its entire performance. Other guests included guitarist Jimmy Ripp and Rolling Stones backup singer Bernard Fowler, who added vocals to Sly and the Family Stones Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), among others. While the evenings most heavily rumored guests, Trey Anastasio and Keith Richards, did not perform, both high-profile guests did indeed watch Dumpstaphunk from backstage.