Friday, February 13, 2009

Blind Pilot Live! (again) and on TV! (for the first time)

We had a great time in San Francisco this week catching Blind Pilot's show at Hotel Utah on Tuesday evening. The venue was only slightly larger than their last San Francisco show at the hole in the wall Mojo Bicycle Cafe, but their fans packed in like sardines to hear a great set played by Israel, Ryan, Luke, Kati, Ian and Kristine on violin and Joel on pedal steel.

There was a particular song, a cover, that the band played only twice on tour, and both times (one was at Mojo incidentally, the other a house party in Arcata) the venue's acoustics, lack of sound system, and a capacity crowd left us with a recording that could be charitably refered to as "in your face." Luckily, the band was gearing up to perform this particular song for Carson Daly's big time summer concert cover song extravaganza, so they had it down pat, and were down to perform it again at their show this past Tuesday and we were able to re-record it. The Hotel Utah may not have much on the Mojo in the way of space, but it fills that space with a top notch sound system, expertly tuned by their sound guy Jeff. Thank you Jeff.

We hadn't seen them play since last October, and it was exciting to see how tight their sets have become, and hear subtle differences, like a somewhat new vocal pattern for "Oviedo." We were blown away by Israel's latest song, "White Apple," which seems to be a real departure in terms of working with sound, going to different places in different ways musically and in terms of imagery (very much enhanced by Joel's haunting pedal steel at this particular performance). Yet somehow it remains so familiar in terms of where it comes from. It is worth seeing a show just for this song, and anything else the Pilot comes up with trapped in a van for the next couple of months, until it is available on their album next winter.

Due to our lack of constant access to television, we sadly missed the television debut of Blind Pilot on Carson Daly on Wednesday night (Thursday morning). But, thanks to the internet, we caught it online. And if your connection is high speedy enough, so can you!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rain, Bluegrass in Arcata, upcoming Blind Pilot shows

It's finally started raining here in Round Valley, which makes it a bit easier to buckle down and not be distracted by sunny weather. We've successfully broken up the footage into 33 smaller sections, enabling us to slowly work through all of it. We had some issues with our uploads to Vimeo last week, but all seems to work now - sorry for any inconvenience.

So we should really be buckling down, but it's not every day that three outstanding bluegrass bands play only three hours away at Humboldt Brews, in Arcata, CA (where Blind Pilot played an open mic night when we stopped through last September) like it was this past Friday. Ms. Kati Claborn (so really it can be considered research) was playing with another band of hers, The Clampitt Family, on a "Portland Invasion Tour" with Whiskey Puppy, great folks and smokin' pickers who we met in Bellingham when they played with Blind Pilot last August, and Jackstraw, the highly talented third prong of what was to be a Shermanesque march through California on their way to the Bluegrass and Americana festival underway in San Francisco. We enjoyed a fabulous night of bluegrass music and the chance to catch up with Kati, whom we sadly missed during our New Year's trip up to Portland, and sleep in a Super 8 with 8 super musicians, which we don't do nearly often enough.

Enough about us... and bluegrass - if you didn't know already, Blind Pilot will be making their television debut on Late Night with Carson Daly this week - airing at 1:30am on February 12th (that's Wednesday night). We will be at their show at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco on Tuesday night, and if you live somewhere else - here is their upcoming spring touring schedule. They are a great live show (take it from us, we saw over 40 last fall).

(from Bigshot Touring)

03/05/09. Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios

03/06/09. Spokane, WA - The Empyrean

03/07/09. Boise, ID - Neurolux

03/09/09. Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge

03/11/09. Denver, CO - Hi-Dive

03/12/09. Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room

03/13/09. Iowa City, IA - The Picador

03/14/09. Madison, WI - Orpheum Stage Door

03/16/09. Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern

03/24/09. Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge

03/26/09. Greensboro, NC - Studio B

03/27/09. Arlington, VA - IOTA

03/28/09. Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts

03/30/09. Cambridge, MA - Middle East

03/31/09. New York, NY - Mercury Lounge

04/01/09. Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe

04/02/09. Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom

04/04/09. Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar

04/07/09. Austin, TX - The Mohawk

04/09/09. Tucson, AZ - Plush

04/10/09. San Diego, CA - Casbah

04/11/09. Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland

04/13/09. San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord