Halloween in Vegas - Smilin'
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
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!!!