Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Damn Right I Got the Blues: Buddy Guy in concert at the Foundry

Beautiful Melodies telling you Terrible Things Vol. Damn Blues

Pass the Music News Ketchup: First off, let me say farewell to R.E.M. I'm not saying they've been putting out great music consistently over the last decade or two, but check out their early stuff, I mean the stuff before "Man on the Moon" or the like made them mainstay's on the radio, I'm talking when they were a indie-rock college radio darling alongside the likes of the Replacements and Husker Du. Some may say they're overrated, but when a group was such a large influence on the likes of Nirvana, Gin Blossoms, Live and Pavement, you can't really call them that. So farewell and thanks for nearly 30 years of tunes...

"I'm here to play the blues. They don't play this on your radio no more. Some strange reason I thought the lyrics we were saying were too strong for the young generation of people. Then the hip hoppers came along and fixed that. Now you can say what the f**k you want..."
~Buddy Guy before "Hoochie Choochie Man"~

I must say I missed some good shows the last few weeks, most notably the Decemberists (possibly the last chance I'd get to see them according to some rumors) as well as the Bon Iver/Fleet Foxes show. However, as disappointing as it was to miss those shows, the show I absolutely couldn't miss was the one I caught: Buddy Guy. Last time he came through town he went to the land of Scottsdale, and it was far too expensive. See, for those of you who don't live here, just understand Scottsdale is one of those towns that think money makes a person relevant. Luckily, this time through, Guy made his way to a rather new venue here in the Valley of the Sun...

The Venue - Foundry on First: The Foundry is a new venue here in Phoenix, popped up downtown just south of the sports complexes and Cooperstown, over in a district of warehouses, almost hidden. They cater to a number of genre's of music and overall, if you've been to the Marquee in Tempe, it feels like a upgraded version of that. I hear most shows are standing general admission (save for the cocktail/booze elevated lounge area in the back) but at this particular show there was a limited number of chairs available. I give major props to this venue: the sound was more than adequate, the lighting is good, the service is solid, the temperature is nice (their cooling system is rather ingenius) and it's capacity feels like it could cater to shows anywhere from a few hundred to maybe 1,500 packed in. Overall, I just found myself wishing I had bought this place and had done the same thing with it. I look forward to more visits to the Foundry...

"I gotta keep doin' what I'm doin.' And I'm proud of this place, because blues clubs are like blues muscicians and blues music on your radio, it's gettin' thinner and thinner. But you can change that. Those radio stations that refuse to play the blues, quit listenin' to the mother f**kers..."
~Buddy Guy after performing Muddy Waters' "19 Years Old"~

Opening Band - Moreland & Arbuckle: I had no idea if there was to be an opening band at this show, and was pleasantly surprised (hey, more bang for buck is what we like in this awesome economy) to see what looked like the Allman Brothers circa 1971 come on stage. You know what? The perception didn't stop there. M&K are sort of like if the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin and Stillwater (from Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous") all mated and had a baby band, a band that enjoys playing soulful, heavy rock blues, with just a twang of country added on top. They provided a 45-minute or so setlist featuring both covers (such as Led Zeppelin's "version" of Memphis Minnie's "The Levee's Gonna Break") as well as a few original numbers. While the band didn't show a lot of variety in what they could do, what they did do, they did rather well. Maybe if it was their show they would have slowed it down more occasionally but for this particular show, they kept it pretty revved up, which hey, an opener pretty much needs to do that. Props to Kendall Newby's drumwork, and high kick and all, Aaron (hmm, nice name) Moreland did a great job on guitar. Of course, that job was all forgotten by the time Buddy Guy played, oh, four notes...

Overall Score & Highlight of the Night: The highlight for me was when lead singer/mouth harp player Dustin Arbuckle noticed someone carrying a vinyl of Buddy Guy they had just bought at the merch stand. He went on to exclaim "nothing sounds better" and how after everyone switched to CD's thinking it was the future, that vinyl was coming back, and in fact, already had.

A solid 3/5 Rooney's or 3.25/5. I would have liked to seen more variety from them, but they were solid and left before they wore out their welcome.

Note: Buddy Guy pictures from letters from Joshua, he seemed to capture his Buddy Guy shows moments the way I would have liked to capture mine. Audio from me.

Main Act: Buddy F'n (his words not mine) Guy - I've been wanting to see Buddy Guy live for sometime, and up till now the closest I got was seeing him playing with the Rolling Stones in Imax on "Shine a Light." Bottom line, Buddy Guy can play the guitar, let's just be honest, that fact is long past etched in stone. And yes, he played it at this show. He played it behind his back, he played it on his shirt, he played it on his butt, he played it with a rag, he played it with a drumstick, he played it while holding it out over the audience, he played it with his teeth, he played it while walking through the crowd and he played it while pouring and drinking a glass of whiskey at the bar in the back of the venue. No exaggerations needed.

Neither are exaggerations needed for the huge rear end on the girl sitting in front of me. Seriously, your boyfriend is obviously embarrassed by you trying to grind into him, and I don't wanna see you shake it either. At one point the smell of weed hit the air and this girl, who obviously mistook the Foundry for a Wal-Mart, starts yelling "Woo! Yeah that's the stuff, I smell it, I smell it! Where you at! I smell ya!" Okay, no one is questioning your ability to smell, lady, because it's obvious whatever you've smelt in life you've shoved into your stomach. That was my only problem with this show, the crowd. There were a good amount of blues people there, but there was also a nice variety of yuppies who enjoy their appletinis more than their blues. Here's an example:

Buddy Guy: Sings first three lines of "Hoochie Coochie Man," then let's the audience take over...
Audience (About 15 people): "He's gonna be a son-of-a-gun..."
Buddy Guy (stops the song): "I played the same f**kin' song three weeks ago in India, and you know what?"
Audience Member: "They got the blues?"
Buddy Guy: "Naw, they didn't f**k it up like you just did..."

Luckily this was near the beginning of the show, as the Foundry got more packed the audience overall got better. I wasn't in the best section, it really seemed like the center section was where it was at as far as real blues fans go. No, I was only about six rows back stage right, but I had to deal with Fatty McHipShake in front of me. That's the most I can complain about though.

So Guy can play the guitar, and so can the other axe player in his band, only had a couple times to shine, but he shined brightly. His piano player was also rather good, though a bit underused. Guy played for just over 90 minutes, churning out a mixture of some of his most recent material, such as "Skin Deep" & "74 Years Young," while also providing a musical history and playing a number of covers: Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, BB King, Muddy Waters among the highlights. At one point he talked about a left-hander who "helped start it all," and of course some idiots yelled out "Jimi!" Guy, on fire all night with his quips, says "Yeah, I knew you was gonna f**k that one up, that's why I didn't say his name yet..." He was talking of course about Albert King, but he got to Jimi (someone he got to hang with the last few years of his life) and it was great. Buddy stayed talkative all night, often starting to talk before songs even ended, then going into a completely different number. It didn't hurt the show at all, in fact it gave a constant, almost medley type feel to a large portion of the show. He was funny and lively, often dropping f-bombs, saying he wasn't (and sometimes saying he is) a dirty old man, and ripping people taking his picture. "I'm not just here for you, so don't yell at me to look at you, I'm here for everyone. Take my picture if you want, but don't yell at me to look, I'm f**kin' tired of saying 'please.'" He stayed on stage at the end to sign a few autographs. The show could have been longer, but it was more than great just as it stands.

She said she want a man,
That don't act like no kid,
Got to get an everyday job,
Just like her Daddy did.
I don't hang out with no garbage,
Don't treat her like no trash,
But the only thing she like about me is the color of my cash,
She said "One day man you might go too far,"
Nobody cares about me like my guitar...
~Nobody Cares about me Like my Guitar~

Highlight of the Night & Overall Score: I won't complain, I got to leave with a signed Buddy Guy 2-LP, but the highlight was probably him trekking his way through the crowd during a solo, something I haven't seen since Foo Fighters '06. He made his way to the bar, "I like my whiskey like my women, straight up," and he had indeed worked up a thirst.

4.25/5 Rooney's. The show, at around 95 minutes wasn't overly long but also wasn't nearly as brisk as most younger groups 75-minute or show sets. Also, 75 year-old Guy, 70 year-old Dylan and late 60's Jagger can show those younger guys a thing or two about energy. but I would have liked an encore, and also I would have liked to not have had to sit behind Fatty McHipShake. Those are my only complaints, it was pretty great.
Tuneful of Sugar: For those who find pretty pictures and sarcastic words to not be enough...
Hoochie Choochie Man Buddy Guy Live at Foundry on First by Hudson-Hawk
74 Years Young Buddy Guy Live at Foundry on First by Hudson-Hawk

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