Three Nights at Winstons with Umphrey's McGee, John Brown's Body and Drums & Tuba

report filed 6/18/01 7:28 am pst- Gotta hand it to the good folks at Winstons here in Ocean Beach, seems like there's always some high grade audio stimuli pulsing from the stage down there. Big ups to Teddy the booker for consistently bringing in the best touring jambands and local groove generators, as well as Thor at the door, for making my life just a little bit easier...

Caught three outstanding shows at Winstons of over six day stretch. Fresh off a show at the High Sierra Music 'Fest that has their growing legions of tape trading fans buzzing, Umphrey's McGee kicked off the festivities with a dazzling performance. An even mix of local music aficionados and road trippin' groovemeisters caravanning from High Sierra, Winstons was packed for this Tuesday night show... great energy for mid week!

I've been hearing good things about UM for the past couple of years, but hadn't crossed paths with them, so I looked forward to this show as soon as Winston's music calendar came off the presses. And they did not disappoint! Very impressed with UM. The music is distinctive, sort of a jammy, muscular stunt rock with a healthy dose of jazz and a splash of acid-funk.

Featuring a pair of highly skilled fret burners, a big part of UM's sound is riveting guitar interplay. Both Brendon Bayliss and Jake Cinninger can absolutely blaze, their hands a blur of notes as they engage in high speed melodic conversations with each other and the rest of the band. Amplified by the spirited dancing of the appreciative crowd, energy crackled throughout UM's action packed, two set performance...

A few nights later on Friday, John Brown's Body rolled into town. JBB is a big time favorite here in O.B., and the faithful come out in force whenever they play. It's easy to see why. Nobody's got a sweeter, rootsier vibe. The horns are simply stunning (Brian Thomas - trombone, Chris Welter - trumpet, Alex Beram - trombone), with phrasing and tone that reflect the divine light of the promised land, while the rock steady rhythm section of Tommy Benedetti on drums, David Gould on bass, and multi-instrumentalist Nate Silas Richardson (B3 organ/ clavinet/ guitar) rubbadubs irresistible, dance floor packin' grooves.

Local fave, AG, from Wise Monkey Orchestra, joined the horn section for a couple of tunes, sitting in on both slide trombone and flute, and as always, the results were dynamite!

And then we have Kevin Kinsella, JBB's front man. This guy is a magical performer with the rare ability to really connect with a crowd, not only through his words and music, but simply with his incandescent spirit... NICE!

Drums and Tuba rounded out this Winston's trifecta with a very entertaining show on Sunday night. Another band I'd been hearing about recently but hadn't yet seen, Drums and Tuba has a big buzz going and the fact that this trio (they also have a guitar) includes a tuba, well, let's just say I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to see for myself what all the hubbub's about.

Although the crowd was smaller than the other two shows, it was an enthusiastic bunch and D&T held up their end of the bargain by laying down some wild sounds. Can't really tell ya exactly how they do it, but there's quite a bit of 'looping and sampling' going on, which creates rhythmic patterns and swirling bass lines that bounce around the room as Brian Wolff on tuba and guitarist Neal Mckeeby get freaky with their instruments. Lots of unconventional sounds coming from both.

At various points, McKeeby played two guitars at the same time, with one held in place by a music stand, doing more of a percussive thing than the usual picking and strumming, beating polyrhythms back and forth with drummer Tony Nozero. Reminded me a little of -Tubular Bells-. Not to be outdone, Wolff doubles as a knob spinning mad scientist, working a mysterious array of high tech gadgetry to turn his brassy bottom end into experimental gold... audio alchemistry for the brave new world!

Meanwhile back at the word factory - actually got some work done in between all the great live music. We've posted Shared Experience - The Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is Building Toward an Ecstatic Climax Just For You, complete with a slew of 'bonus quotes' that didn't fit in the version of the article run by the Las Vegas Weekly, as well as Grande Finale - After More Than a Decade Of Playing the Music Biz Game, the Ominous Seapods Play Their Final Four Shows For the Fun Of It. We've also posted a recent column, Punctuation of Silence - Sports talk radio, music journalism, and a refreshing dose of peace and quiet, for your reading pleasure.

Had the pleasure of interviewing 'The Legendary Red Dog,' longtime roadie for the Allman Brothers who has just written -A Book Of Tails-, about the band's wild and crazy early years, as well Butch Trucks, one of the Allman Brother's founding members, for an article previewing an upcoming ABB concert in St. Louis. Both were great to chat with, giving candid opinions and insightful answers to all our questions. Wanna know what we talked about? Stay tuned and you'll find out!

There's more fine live music on tap with Deep Banana Blackout, Food, and several other noteworthy jambands gigging around town in the next week or so. As always, our hardworking production crew is determined to bring you words and images from the best live music music we cross paths with, and we'll do exactly that, when our adventure in music journalism continues...