Category: Guitar

Jonny Lang Live at BB King’s (Concert Review)

The Show

Jonny Lang & openers Moreland & Arbuckle

June 28, 2011 @ BB King’s Blues Club

This was an odd show for me for two reasons.

  • I didn’t know any of Lang’s material
  • I got stuck near the most disrespectful audience members I’ve ever encountered

Why’d I go to the show?

I know Jonny Lang from his collaboration with other artists. I’ve heard him play, and he’s always been good. Plus, any guitarist who has earned the respect of Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton & Carlos Santana is a guitarist worth watching.

The Opener – Moreland & Arbuckle

Every so often an opening act takes you by surprise. Moreland & Arbuckle almost knocked me on my ass.

They’re a stripped down, hard rocking, heavy blues band. These guys all clearly live and breathe rootsy blues music. They were all excellent, but what stood out to me was the band’s synergy, passion & guitarist Aaron Moreland.

Moreland played most of the show on a four string cigar box guitar. It sounded like he had a bass string on it, and three guitar strings (I could be wrong). He played the hell out of that thing with a metal slide, and damn near melted my face off. It was fun to see.

The M&R guys successfully sold me a few albums, and I hope I get to see them again soon.

Their new album Just Had a Dream is due on August 23.

Jonny Lang

Moreland & Arbuckle set the bar really high. Fortunately Jonny Lang & Co. put on one of the finest shows I’ve seen.

Jonny is a psychotic guitarist, and man is his voice soulful.

Then there was his band. I can’t get over how much talent he packed on that stage. These guys were total monsters, and when they got to jamming, they made the music soar. When they took solos they each displayed a terrifying amount of technical skill, class and soul. It’s hard to find the balance, and they all did.

Finally, there was Barry Alexander, Jonny’s drummer. He combines raw power and total control in unspeakable ways. No one as big as Alexander should be that nimble and quick.

(Watch the whole thing to get an idea of his range, watch the second half if you just want to be impressed)

Alexander’s solo made my week.

Belligerent Assholes

I see a lot of live music, and I’ve dealt with my fair share of obnoxious drunks, but last night I met the most disruptive concert attendees I’ve ever encountered.

We had a pair of couples next to us who wouldn’t stop talking. The music got loud, they got louder. The music got quiet, they stayed loud. If you’ve never listened to Lang, he pretty much plays as much quiet music as he does loud.

My girlfriend and I took turns politely asking them to keep it down. After all, it wasn’t a cheap show to see. Each request worked for about a minute before they returned to conversing at the top of their lungs.

After about four polite requests, they were yelling over a beautiful acoustic piece and in desperation I yelled, “WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST SHUT UP!”

They yelled back, “We’re in church.” Which was true, but besides the point.

Then, the cherry on this insane sundae came a minute or so later when one of the guys approached me and expressed his desire to assault me. Now most people don’t know this, but I don’t take kindly to threats of physical violence, and years of being a scrawny geek taught me that backing down from people like this usually makes matters worse.

I hate fighting, but I’m not a pacifist. I’ve learned that most fights can be avoided by scaring the shit out of the aggressor. I turned on the crazy eyes and explained to him with some rather colorful language what would happen should he choose to throw a punch. It worked again, and he backed off.

But seriously, who the hell tries to start a fight during a quiet emo-bluesey acoustic song at a Jonny Lang concert?

Bunch of savages in this town.

The bottom-line

The show was great in spite of the disruptions. I didn’t know Lang’s music, and I still loved the show. He made a fan out of me.

I’d love to see Moreland & Arbuckle and Jonny Lang again soon. Hopefully next time I won’t have to deal with nasty, self-important drunks.

The Roues Brothers in Fallout: New Vegas

Regrettably it’s been a while since I’ve gone for a guitar lesson, but for three years I consistently studied with Billy Roues.

Billy’s very talented guitarist, and a great teacher who plays with a number of bands in as many styles. Rock & roll, cajun zydeco, rockabilly, country, blues, he plays it all with his own unique style.

I just learned that one of Billy’s bands, The Roues Brothers has a song featured in the hit video game, Fallout: New Vegas. Their song, I’m Movin’ Out can be heard in the game world on two different radio stations, Mojave Music Radio and Black Mountain Radio.

I haven’t played Fallout: New Vegas largely due to the time commitment that the game requires… It’s time I would rather spend writing or playing guitar these days. Nevertheless, it’s really fun to hear Billy’s music in such a great video game.

Here’s a video I recorded of Billy’s band the UpSouth Twisters performing Canned Heat’s hit song, Going Up the Country.

To purchase some of his albums check out:

Finn & the Sharks (iTunes) (Amazon)

The UpSouth Twisters (iTunes) (Amazon)

The Roues Brothers (iTunes)

(Via Fallout Wiki)

State of the Tablet Market (March 2011)

iPad

Steve Jobs took center stage at the Apple iPad Event and presented the iPad 2 to the world.

Specs

The iPad 2 is evolution, not a revolution like it’s predecessor, but it’s clearly the 800 lbs gorilla of the tablet market.

They gave the iPad a specs boost to rival the top tablets being released by Motorola, HP & RIM. They also kept the price low and beat the competition; which is unusual for Apple.

Cover (not a case)

One of the new features that Apple revealed was a nifty magnetic cover that unlocks the device when you open it. The cover also allegedly cleans the screen.

The cover is cool, but at $40 for a plastic cover, and $70 for a leather cover, the prices are fairly insane. The profit margins on those covers must be outrageous.

iMovie & GarageBand Apps

The standout of today’s press event were the iMovie & GarageBand apps. They look gorgeous and functional.

My biggest complaint about the iPad and tablets in general is that they are terrible for content creation. If you want to code or write, the damn things are basically useless. However if you play to the hardware’s strengths and turn it into a movie and music creation platform, you might be able to make some really cool things with them.

I had an iPad from work, and it didn’t do much for me. For the first time I’m thinking about buying a tablet of my own specifically because of these two apps.

Android

I really like Android phones, but looking at the current and upcoming batches of Android tablets nothing is really blowing me away.

The Motorola Xoom is competitive with the iPad on specs, and Android Honeycomb is nice, but the app market isn’t there for Android tablets, and the Xoom is way too expensive when compared with the refined experience that Apple is offering.

Motorola seems like it is trying to make the Xoom a premium product, but I think it’s generally unwise to attempt to out-premium Apple. It’s a losing battle.

Everything Else

The HP Touchpad and Blackberry Playbook have some cool features, but they are too late to the market. They may rival their competitors with a few features, but I doubt they will introduce anything so magical as to even dent Apple’s tablet dominance.

Bottom-line

If you really want a tablet now (or in the next six months), the iPad 2 is the way to go.

If you’re willing to wait a while, I bet there will be some sick Android tablets available around Christmas.

If you wait a year (maybe less?), the iPad 3 is already rumored as a full revolution of the tablet market.

Tablet Spec Comparison

iPad 3 Rumors