Halloween in Vegas - Smilin' in style

Reed and team toothless

report filed 11/2/99 - Before we get into the meat of this journal entry's musical biscuit, last weekend's Relix Halloween party at Legends Lounge, here's a quick recap of the past couple of weeks:

On 10/14/99, WMO played its first stadium show, opening for Wyclef Jean (formerly of the Fugees), on campus at UCSD. Playing for somewhere around 3,500 post-pubescent hip hoppers, WMO made a ton of new, young fans with their sophisticated brand of kinetic soul.

Two days later, the monkey barrel rolled north, up to Santa Barbara, for a two-shows-in-one-day groove marathon.

In the early afternoon, WMO played a well attended and super mellow outdoor show, hosted by local jammers, Cool Water Canyon. The event was dubbed the 'Cool Water Can Drive,' in coordination with a food drive for a local charity. After playing a loosey goosey, hour long set under the sun drenched blue sky, the band hung out to enjoy the sounds of CWC. Early in the set, AG joined the Canyon for a rousing version of 'Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley' - a spectacular jam that had the place rockin'... until the power went out!

That's right, toward then end of the tune the venue's sound system lost its juice all of a sudden - memories of the cops at the recent 'Live on the Bay,' festival flashed through my mind, but unlike that inter-human weirdness, this was a technical difficulty. After the electrical circuits were brought back to life, the music continued. Lots of cool water folks came out for the afternoon of free music and although Halloween was still a few days off, a trio of locals had a wild and crazy time with their store bought, inbred Appalachian funny teeth and red neck farm garb. (see top) Hoisting Bud tall boys and dancing an inebriated hee-haw meets 'Deliverance,' jig, team toothless was a chuckle generator of epic proportions.

When CWC's set was over, it was back to business, packing up the gear and then heading over to 'the Soho,' to set up for the show later that night. Very much an upscale gig for the band, the Soho is a real nice restaurant during the day. After sunset it turns into a hip hot spot for the baby boomer crowd. Lots of ladies, and of course, wherever there's lots of ladies, there's lots of men looking to meet the ladies. It was a fun night with a packed dance floor - a perfect way to finish a long day of monkey biz (or any day for that matter).

The next time I caught up w/WMO was at the San Diego Music Awards on Monday 10/25. The band had already won 'Best Rock Band,' in the San Diego Reader's 'Best Of '99' Poll a few weeks prior. Although they're not really a -rock- band, winning the award was a quite an accomplishment for the monkey.

Opening the awards show with 'Flying on my Imagination,' WMO was the first band to perform on this star studded San Diego evening. By the time the event was over, WMO came away with two awards, 'Best Funk Band,' and 'Best Jazz or Blues' album for "Pathways." The fact that the monkey picked up awards in such a variety of categories is a testament to the broad appeal of their genre bending, all original music. Everyone was in high spirits throughout the night. The band was not only pumped because of the awards they won, but also for their friends in 'Super Unloader' and 'High Vibe Galactic,' who were also award winners.

A couple of days after the SD Music awards, I headed back to Vegas for a few days. In addition to the Relix Halloween party at Legends, I needed to collect the rest of my stuff to complete my transition to Ocean Beach. Caught a great show by 'Stir Fried' at club Ledge on Friday.

Buddy Cage of Stir Fried

No doubt one of the top bands around, SF was exceptional as always. The highlight came early in the 2nd set when Tom Constanten, former keyboard player for the Grateful Dead who was in town as a member of Toni Brown's band for the Relix party, sat in. This was a musical moment that will be forever etched into Legends lore... WOW!

Tom Constanten

As it turned out, our new 'old' friends, Cool Water Canyon, opened the Halloween party with another outstanding performance. These guys are everywhere! Look for this hardworking and very talented jamband as they tour through an area near you - tell 'em Mr. Lee sent ya...

In addition to legendary ivory stroker, Tom Constanten, the Toni Brown Band featured John Beland of the Flying Burrito Brothers on rhythm guitar and mandolin, as well as the multitalented Gary Kroman on lead guitar.

Toni Brown and Gary Kroman

As much an artist as a musician, Kroman is the original Relix artist who has been drawing and painting the magazine's covers, as well as countless other stuff (including the classic 'Can you find the 100 Grateful Dead Songs' illustration), for over 25 years. Playing tunes from her new album, 'Dare to Dream,' and drawing on an array of Grateful Dead gems, Brown and her band put on a fine show!

Radio DJ and Vegas hipster George Lyons in-da-house for the Halloween festivities

In addition to the music and dancing, a costume contest between sets provided some of the evening's most interesting moments.

Les Kippel, John Lucchese and Phyllis Antoniello, AKA 'The Judges,' confer

Although the competition was keen, Ness was the clear crowd favorite in his highly creative magic mushroom outfit. The runners up were all given tickets to the upcoming moe. concert as well as other prizes, but Ness was the big winner - he walked away with the complete catalog of Relix records on CD... a value of over $1,500!

Congrats to Ness and all the other winners!!!

The morning after the show I drove back to OB. That was a few days ago. Aside from getting my coffee machine working, watching the waves crash to the beach, collecting delivery menus from the local eateries, and sorting CDs, I've been transcribing recent interviews with members of Ekoostic Hookah and moe. for soon-to-be-published articles. I'll also be featuring Mark Huff's wonderful new album, 'Skeleton Faith,' in my next column for Jambands.com, and am currently working with our deadicated and highly trained staff here at Anytime/Anywhere studios on some new and exciting stuff for the website... so that's the news - more later...