Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Riders of the Purple Sage/Commander Cody Band - Birchmere - August 12 2009

Commander Cody Band - I guess the Lost Planet Airmen are indeed lost. I wanted to check out Cody more than the headliners and he was allowed the chance to put on his full show as his set was an hour and a quarter. He sang (allowing three leads to other members) and played piano and was accompanied by drums, bass, guitar, organ and a pedal steel player. The band was smart, experienced and the lead guitarist was quite good. Another guest (Bill Kirchen) jumped in on guitar for a few songs which was sort of in Cody's easy going spirit. Cody sort of sounded like Gary Busey--the sort of crazed, gnarled, road worn voice and dialogue that often will make for good rock'n'roll. The sound was a honky-tonk boogie sort of rock with Cody mentioning Texas a few times. He is from Detroit which is one reason I wanted to seem him as I am a fan of the early Detroit scene (although you won't find a Bob Seger review from the Verizon Center here should that happen). All in all, a decent set which was worthy of my time.

New Riders of the Purple Sage - Ok, the real reason I came to this show was to get a refund for my Electric Prunes ticket when they cancelled and I picked a night that might offer some amusement. And this night offered Commander Cody along with a band that was part of my youth that I pretty much tried to ignore most of my life. I knew these guys were from California, knew they had some radio play back in the day (ah, Panama Red, that was their hit), and knew they did a kind of country rock. I thought it was more LA based, but actually it was SF and they were formed by Grateful Dead members and only two others. One of the two, David Nelson (guitar,vocals) was the only member onstage tonight. The pedal steel player is also a longtime member (replaced Jerry Garcia early on), but the others are all recent additions. The sound did have some of the classic SF psyche elements, but did kind of go heavy jam and slowed to country rock or folk country at times. I was interested that Richie Unterberger mentioned he liked Quicksilver, Jeff.Airplane and lots of SF Psyche bands, but not the Grateful Dead. That was always my position too and I do have to include the New Riders on the Dead side of that divide. Big crowd tonight and I think most of them were on the New Riders' side.

Quote of the Night: "There's no 'o' in team." A couple was discussing sports behind me and I missed the exact reasoning behind this twisted gem. It did fall between a twin trashing of Michael Vick and the Boston Red Sox.

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