La Bodega

Tales and pictures from our little corner of the world.


The Roots - 3/20/07 - First Ave.

The Roots took over First Avenue last Tuesday with what turned out to be an exhausting, yet exhilarating two and a half hour long set. There are not many bands out there (if any) that will display such a wide array of musical genres in a live setting. Accompanied with a 4 piece brass section, a percussionist, keyboardist/DJ, and guitarist, Roots mainstays Black Thought, ?uestlove, and Hub put on an amazing, non-stop musical adventure. There was not one moment of the evening that live music was not being played, aside, of course, at the end of their set, at which point the band was hurried back on stage by the thunderous applause of the audience.

Notable Roots songs that the band delved into throughout the evening were opener and self title track of their latest release Game Theory, I Don't Care, Don't Say Nuthin', The Seed 2.0, and You Got Me. But the Roots own songs made up only a portion of the set. The set as a whole was comprised of non-stop ventures into other musical genres such as Funk, Jazz, Rock, and Hip Hop. The Rock portion of the evening consisted of what was said to be a Bob Dylan cover; a very politically motivated, 70s pshychadelic, almost Jimmy Hendrix-esque, jam that had to have lasted nearly 25 minutes. The star of this performance was the guitarist, whom unfortunately I cannot name, and who seemed to suddenly become abducted by the ghost of Jimmy Hendrix.

Another notable part of the evening was when Everyone but ?uestlove and the brass section left the stage to fulfill the funk/big band requisite portion of the night. ?uestlove shined on his equipment, naturally, while the brass section kept pace by throwing the funk. The set ended with the always favorite drum solo from ?uestlove.

The whole show was fantastic. Black Thought emceed nonchalantly and seamlessly through every song, as if he knew what to say 10 verses ahead of time, though you knew everything was off the cuff. Black Thought's rhymes were so fresh, that it wasn't until after the show that I realized that the other rappers that lay down vocals on The Roots albums like Malik B and Dice Raw weren't present. Also absent was beatboxer and vocal percussionist Rahzel. Despite these absences, the show wasn't lacking anything. Catch The Roots in a live setting if you ever have the chance. Their albums, as fantastic as they are, cannot prepare you....


Album Review: The Annuals - Be He Me

This album actually came out last year, with a little indie buzz, but did not get too much attention. I got ahold of this album early this year, and have listened over and over again and is one of my favorites at the moment. The band consists of 6 individuals, none over the age of 22. Much of the album consists of not so traditional upbeat pop songs in the likes of beach boys or the beatles, though not nearly as structural. Citing influences such as Mike Patton, Radiohead, and Bjork should give you some kind of idea that mainstream radio is not where this band intends to be. Opening track "Brother" starts out as a downtempo, quiet folk song with wavy electronics, before busting out into of it's shell and ends up being the most rocking track on the album. The Mike Patton influence shows during the latter portion of "Dry Clothes," harkening back to the sounds of Mr. Bungle. The band shows their jammy tendencies during "The Bull, and the Goat," though are careful to fall into a tradition jammy lull. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to miss what I have heard is their excellent and energetic live show due to weather restrictions, so I recommend you take advantage of the band while they are playing smaller clubs before the First Avenue's of the world get ahold of them.