Apes and Salmon - Wild Life Preserved at 4th & B

report filed: 2/23/01 7:10 am pst - Caught the Leftover Salmon show at '4th & B' over the weekend. The place was absolutely packed! And it's a pretty big club - I'll wager there was well over 500 people in the house.

Due to tight parking outside the venue, which is located in the freshly scrubbed and oh-so-yupped-up 'Gas Lamp' area of downtown San Diego, as well as a delay on line at the 'will call' window, I missed the first few songs from the Damn Dirty Apes, who opened the show. Probably got there mid-set. By the time I managed to wiggle my way into photo snappin' position at the front of the dance floor, doing a little shuffle-walk two step to minimize the hassles that invariably result from weaving through a pumped up crowd of dancing music freaks, the Apes had the joint jumpin'.

The Ape's lineup reads like a roster of San Diego all-stars with Wise Monkey Orchestra's Sean Hart (keyboards), Marty Schwartz (guitar), and Andy Geib (trombone), together with Chris McGrill on bass, drummer Chad Farran, Steve Haney on percussion, and saxman Jason Robinson. Sure, there's always a risk with this type of all-star lineup for the music to be stiff, and more of an exhibition of chops than anything else. Not the Apes! The only thing these guys are serious about is making people dance with their irrepressible 'party naked' rhythms and funky grooves. Look for more coverage of the DDA in upcoming weeks...

I hadn't seen Leftover Salmon since their recent lineup overhaul and approached this show with some curiosity, wondering how the new players would influence the Salmon's polyethnic slammgrass sound. Bottom line: new members Bill McKay on Hammond B3 and piano, Jose Martinez on drums, and Greg Garrison on bass, add a little more of a rock and roll edge, without altering the band's basic chemistry. Got plenty of vintage LoS during their high spirited, high energy show!

Front man Vince Herman was in fine form throughout, goofing around with the hyped up crowd, and generally running amuck onstage. Salmon co-founders Mark Vann on banjo, and multitalented Drew Emmit on mandolin, fiddle, lead guitar and vocals, were also outstanding.

Onstage and in the crowd, everyone was clearly pleased with the new rhythm section. Lots of good energy flowing between the stage and dance floor. Adding another voice to LoS's harmonies and background vocals, Bill McKay also stepped up to the mic. to sing the lead on a rousing version of the CSNY classic, "Almost Cut My Hair." Rumor has it, that LoS will be recording a new studio album soon... aayeeeEE!!!!

Although we don't have any CD reviews this week, we've posted our January column for Jambands.com, -Chill Out - Opting to dig Wise Monkey Orchestra instead of snow on New Years Eve makes the long drive from New York to Colorado easy sledding, for your reading pleasure.

Everyone here at Anytime/Anywhere Studios sends out a big, 'you rock!' to Moondog and the rest of the gang at the Las Vegas Jazz and Blues Scene website for posting not one, but four of our articles. In addition to their high grade editorial content, the LVJ&BS also has one of the best calendars for local jazz and blues events in Vegas. Good work people!

Here's a few more new links that might be of interest: One Drop Entertainment - photos, music downloads and hard to find merchandise from the San Diego music scene; Create A Vibe - the unofficial website of HGMN Venue Affiliate, the Stanhope House, in Stanhope, New Jersey; and also the website of saxman Jason Robinson from the Damn Dirty Apes.

It's a big Wise Monkey weekend this Friday and Saturday at Winstons, with WMO playing two nights in a row at the swanky dive bar. If all goes well, we'll have some words and images from the back to back groove 'fests when our adventure in music journalism continues...