Wax Cactus is an up and coming San Francisco rock band, birthed from the tough streets of the Tenderloin. Despite their gritty origins, the band has been able to find a delicate balance between hard rocking heavy hitters and sweet soulful songs. Their attention to song craft, as well as technical prowess and showmanship, align them with the style and philosophy we still adore from classic rock legends like Neil Young & Crazy Horse and the Grateful Dead. Rather than coming off like a retread of those great bands, the band has forged a sound that hearkens to that golden era, yet remains refreshing in the current state of over processed, cookie cutter acts that dominate the musical landscape.
They’ll be joining their funky friends, Sans Pablo, this Saturday night (2/9/13) at The Connecticut Yankee. Give a listen to the band live below, and make sure to head down to the venue to check them out. Show starts at 10pm. Discounted tickets can be purchased in advance here.
Here is a sample from Jerry Garcia’s 70th Birthday celebration this past Friday night at TRI Studios. It’s really refreshing to see some of the selections Bob Weir made for guests, including many notable Indie Rock artists. More information about the show can be found over at Hidden Track.
When I checked ‘Grateful Dead Shows on This Day in History’ on archive.org today, I realized it is the 35th anniversary of what many Deadheads consider to be the band’s best show in their illustrious 30 year career. On May 8th, 1977 the band performed at Barton Hall on Cornell University‘s campus during a seasonably rare snow storm. It is at this very show that many people feel the Grateful Dead culminated their unique songwriting and improvisational rock style with that inexplicable magic that surrounds their live shows. Through a handful of well circulated, high quality bootlegs the band and this show secured a legacy that is still thriving to this day. You can read some accounts of those who were lucky enough to be present for this life altering experience here. Listen to the best version I found on the archives here. You can either stream or download this must hear show.
So, I’ve been absent for about two weeks now, and I really feel like I need to share this really well done collaboration that happened last Saturday night out in San Rafael, CA. The following concert was held at TRI Studios. TRI Studios is a state-of-the-art performance studio for broadcasting live HD video and audio streams directly to the Internet. The Bridge Session was presented by HeadCount. HeadCount is a nonpartisan organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy in the United States. It is best known for registering voters at concerts.
In between sets of the musical performance, political figures and activists weighed in on topics such as getting money out of politics, protecting the First Amendment and the 2012 Presidential election. Panelists included independent Presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, No Labels cofounder Mark McKinnon (a former media advisor to George W. Bush, John McCain, Bono and Lance Armstrong), climate change activist Jessy Tolkan, and Grateful Dead lyricist and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) cofounder John Perry Barlow.
More importantly to me is how the concert aimed to bridge the gap between Jam music and Indie Rock. Bob Weir was backed by an ensemble that included The National’s Scott and Bryan Devendorf and their bandmate Aaron Dessner, along with many longtime friends from Brooklyn’s vibrant independent music scene: Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett and Kyle Resnick, both frequent collaborators of The National, Walt Martin of The Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka, and Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman of the Yellowbirds. Kaufman was also the event’s musical director.