Thursday Oct 26
Last Updated on Monday, 26 July 2010 08:46
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Monday, 26 July 2010 08:46

Philadelphia PA – I had seen the warnings on the suburban Philadelphia news channels.  But no one told me JUST how bad the highway construction was going to be getting down to

Adrian Belew brings his art and music together in one place, The World Cafe Live.  Photo by Lynn Vala

Adrian Belew brings his art and music together in one place, The World Cafe Live. Photo by Lynn Vala

Philadelphia.  I had seen multiple automobile accidents, right from the time I left my house before I even got on a highway, a few blocks from home was a triple-car rear ender.  I knew the show was going to be worth the delays, I hoped it would be worth the apparent danger.

We were basically dodging bullets to get there.

Upon realization that when we got tickets, we should get my best thing to ever happen to me a photo pass for this event.  It would be the first time I would meet face to face with Belew, and I had some unfinished business over this whole “who ended King Crimson” nightmare.  So if he was gonna punch me, I wanted photographic evidence!  We approached the venue and the artist.  The venue was helpless, but the artist, however was not only agreeable but requested photos be submitted as they are always needing some.  We were happy to oblige.

We were told to find one Daniel Rowland who was Adrian’s computer tech.  We were not pointed in any helpful directions until a very tall curly black haired fellow started looking rather quizzically at me.  “Lynn” he asked, knowing only the photographer’s name.  I pointed to my best thing to ever happen to me and introduced her and myself, at which point he expressed relief at seeing us.


After having a brief confab with Daniel, and fending off rabid venue personnel, we got to our seats and did some preparatory work (such as what you are reading now).

I love the intimacy of this club.  Right before us Julie Slick walks backstage.  She will be opening for Belew, a nice bonus as since she lives in Philadelphia…

People are starting to filter in, the overwhelming scent of Patchouli fills the air.  I gotta lay off the Bollywood movies.  Then a robust group of, as Robert Fripp would call them, boobies, sit down at our table.  So full of one-sided knowledge about music, instruments and all things musical, and equally eager to display said “knowledge”.

UGH!  Also as Robert Fripp has said, “How I suffer…”

I must temper myself as I will be back here in two weeks to catch Laurie Anderson.  Check back for that one…

Then suddenly a twist, the camp has been spotted and identified!  It seems that my best thing to ever happen to me has not only found out that the infamous Birdwoman of blogs past is here, but that my best thing to ever happen to me bought the Julie Slick disc (the one I was coveting in the pre-promotion blog for this very show) but she let it slip to Birdwoman that the same duncebucket that said Belew ended KC is buying said CD.

Good thing my will is made out…

In an effort to get the word out about this here blog, I have been hard at work passing out my contact card to whoever I can.  Daniel has one, the venue has one, Birdwoman has one so she can hate me across the whole syndicate.

Remember, I suspect it was her who clued Belew into what I said about KC…

At this point during the show’s anticipation, I am approached by Ryan the manager of World Café Live.  We briefly talk about acts that we have seen here (some before his tenure) and promotion, things of that nature.  Apparently I am being passed along to the marketing department at WCL.  Definitely not a bad thing.

After this I am approached, BY ROBIN SLICK!  It’s been an OK life…

Apparently my fears were not founded, or perhaps Belew has advised her that I have found evidence to support his claim that, he too, was on the outside of the truth about King Crimson’s demise, as she was very friendly, personable, even after letting her know that I was NOT the person she thought was connected to the Paul Green School Of Rock.  A very nice woman, I only hope she continues to allow me to call her Birdwoman as it is a term of endearment and not derogatory (Robin, bird, Birdwoman, I couldn’t call her birdgirl as the producers of Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law would have my head) but I rarely refer to people by their names if they frequent my blog, I prefer to maintain privacy for people.  If she has a complaint about it, she has my contact card and can stop me if she wishes.  She’s so nice, I would for her.

But our conversation is limited as her daughter Julie is poised to take the stage after her father Gary introduces her and reminds the crowd that Belew will be out later.

Slick then OWNS that stage as she starts her offering with a manic sounding track (having found out after listening to the disc that I THINK it was “Mora”), administering some crazed music (that’s a good thing) and some most unbassly sounds!  When we hear her play the instrument with little or no effects, it is masterful.  Here we go with more amazing lead bass, Jeff Berlin, what have you wrought?

I wish I knew the name of this track and I hope it is on the CD we purchased, this is killer!  When she gets into the song, you can see it in her face, she is one with the muse.  In between songs, she even talks tech about the equipment she is using to make more sound than one person should be allowed to on a public stage, mindblowing!

I’m in love!

She describes her process of recording her solo album before she breaks into another from her self-titled CD, the track “Many Laughs”. With some synths and a killer drum line from Marco Minneman, and not her brother Eric as was intended, it’s an infectious melody that I find staying with me 2nd only to Laurie Anderson’s “Only An Expert” from her new album Homeland but I’ll speak to that in a later blog.

After Slick loops her bass line, she wails on lead after pulling a pick from her teeth.  Once her fingers started spidering up the neck, that is when the track came afire.

I can’t wait to get home and listen to this disc.

After more bass acrobatics, she ends this track with a bass chord.  Closure.

For her next piece, “Aphrodite” she talks to the audience about getting Pat Mastellotto to play drums.  A catchy hook starts “Aphrodite” and it riffs into a catch-me-if-you-can kind of chorus.  Then with the push of a pedal (Slick prefers to play barefoot) a rather hackneyed break comes in.  The break gives Slick a chance to flex her fingers.  She is the definition of refined talent.

The only complaint I could muster is the backing track got kind of lost in the mix when the bass kicks in heavy.

For her track “Spice Trade” Slick details how she attempted to get Robert Fripp to play on her track.  He replied with his usual basic ‘no” but this time with a twist; She could sample any of his previous work if it would suit the track.  Slick them went on to confess that she was not familiar with a lot of his Frippertronics, Soundscapes and other works outside King Crimson, and now she had to sort through that mountain of work trying to find bits that might work.

No easy task.

During the change from the intro to the main section, I thought I had detected a glitch.  Such are the pratfalls of live performance.  But the dynamic change was distinctly noticeable from the power section ending on, it became a sorrowful song.  Beautifully composed, but sad in context, it seemed.

Another diatribe about the help of her brother  on the track “The Rivalry”.  A heavy bass accompanies a harrowing, spooky track.  She really needs to get some vocals on these songs as several have traces of pop appeal.  Right up to the succinct ending.

Sorry folks, but I have taken up enough bandwidth for one week, if you want to read about how Slick finishes her show, the Belew performance, and that after show function with the surprise ending, check back next time!

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