Wounded Messenger’s Top 11 Albums and Shows of 2011

It’s the most wonderful list-making time of the year, a time when personal playlists and downloads for the last 12 months are analyzed and rated by any number of entities.  That’s what these “best of the year” lists really are – a chance for a particular magazine, website, or blogger to take inventory of the year and make their collective tastes known. You won’t mind if I cheese out and use the year 2011 as an excuse to name 11 albums this year.  I also decided to add a list for concerts this year, since I saw so many great ones.  The lists are in alphabetical order by band.

The Wounded Messenger’s Top 11 Albums of 2011

The Antlers – Burst Apart
Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Hayes Carll – KMAG YOYO and Other American Stories
Dawes – Nothing is Wrong
The Flashbulb – Love as a Dark Hallway
Morning Teleportation – Expanding Anyway
The New Mastersounds – Breaks from the Border
The Roots – Undun
Paul Simon – So Beautiful or So What
Wye Oak – Civilian
Yuck – Yuck

The Wounded Messenger’s Top 11 Shows of 2011:

The Budos Band – Hopscotch Festival, The Pour House, Raleigh, NC, Sept. 10, 2011
The Devil Makes Three – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC, July 24, 2011
The Foreign Exchange – Hopscotch Festival, Lincoln Theater, Raleigh, NC, Sept. 9, 2011
Gov’t Mule – Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, Asheville, NC, Dec. 10, 2011
The Hold Steady – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC, August 31, 2011
Phil Lesh and Friends
– Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, Asheville, NC, Dec. 10, 2011
– Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Charlotte, NC, June 17, 2011
Robert Plant & Band of Joy – Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN, June 12, 2011
Paul Simon – DAR Hall, Washington, DC, May 25, 2011
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
– Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC, Nov. 6, 2011
Widespread Panic with Horns and Hornsby
– Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN, June 12, 2011

Mountain Jam Festival Webcast Schedule

I know you’re still enjoying the great Summer Camp webcast, but it bears mentioning that next weekend holds even more Couch Tour goodness. IClips will move on to Hunter, NY on June 4- 6 for the Mountain Jam Festival, and the lineup is just as solid as this weekend.



4:00 – Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
5:30 – Dr. Dog
6:45 – The Avett Brothers
8:15 – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
9:00 – Gov’t Mule
1:00 – Les Claypool


4:15 – Yonder Mountain String Band
5:30 – Toots & The Maytals
6:45 – Dave Mason
7:45 – Drive-By Truckers
9:00 – Gov’t Mule
1:00 – Dark Star Orchestra


2:30 – Michael Franti & Spearhead
4:00 – Matisyahu
5:15 – ALO
6:15 – The Whigs
7:00 – The Bridge
7:30 – Levon Helm & Friends: Warren Haynes, Donald Fagen, Ray LaMontagne, Sam Bush, Steve Earle,  Patterson & David Hood, Jackie Greene, Allison Moorer and more!

Summer Camp Webcast: Umphrey’s McGee, moe, and Mo’

IClips will be webcasting select performances from this weekend’s Summer Camp Festival in Chillicothe, IL. Click here for the page, and see the schedule below.



4:00 – Family Groove Company
5:15 – moe.
6:00 – STS9
7:15 – Cornmeal
8:00 – Umphrey’s McGee
9:15 – TBA
10:30 – Umphrey’s McGee
12:00 – Gov’t Mule


1:00 – Backyard Tire Fire
2:15 – Rev. Peytons Big Damn Band
3:30 – Steel Pulse
5:00 – Slightly Stoopid
6:15 – ALO
7:00 – Umphrey’s McGee
8:15 – Keller Williams
9:00 – Umphrey’s McGee
10:15 – moe.


2:00 – Umphrey’s McGee
3:15 – That 1 Guy
4:00 – The New Mastersounds
5:00 – Hot Buttered Rum
6:00 – Railroad Earth
7:15 – The Avett Brothers
8:30 – TBA
9:30 – moe.

Friday Festival Update: Smilefest, Wanee, and more

The Allman Brothers-centric Wanee festival released their lineup today, and it keeps getting more inclusive each year. April 16th and 17th will see The Allman Brothers Band and Widespread Panic on both nights, while the rest of the lineup includes Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band, Weir Wasserman and Lane, Stephen Stills, The Black Keys, Johnny Winter, Hot Tuna, MOFRO, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Parliament Funkadelic, Railroad Earth, Scrapomatic, Oteil and Kofi Burbridge with The Lee Boys, The Wailers, North Mississippi Allstars, Dumpstaphunk, Chuck Leavell with Randall Bramlett Band, and many more. Particle and others will participate in a special kick-off party on Thursday the 15th.

The rejuvenated Smilefest has announced their initial artists, and it looks like they’ll be keeping it all historically relevant and such. It also seems that they’re trying to keep it simple and somewhat laid-back. Even so, the three headliners that have been revealed – Keller Williams, Acoustic Syndicate, and Keller and the Keels – are worth a drive into the mountains any day. Perhaps the most intriguing announcement is that of a Magraw Gap reunion. As usual, there should be plenty of collaboration at this one.

Stay tuned for more updates this weekend!

Halloween Concerts Provide Unusual Covers, Inspired Performances

Everyone knows by now that Phish presented The Rolling Stones‘ Exile on Main Street in its entirety for their “musical costume” on Halloween. Featuring the incredible Sharon Jones on vocals, along with the necessary horns, the performance is deserving of the immediate praise it received. But what about the rest of the holiday shenanigans across the nation?

Some instances of Halloween’s madness may not warrant a complete set list posting, but they are worth mentioning. At New Orleans’ Voodoo Music Fest, Drive-By Truckers took the stage with a version of KISS‘ “Strutter” in homage to one of the headlining bands of the festival. The Radiators brought their annual masquerade ball to Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Fine Line Music Cafe, where they sprinkled their show with their scariest songs and covers like The Who‘s “Magic Bus,” David Bowie‘s “Life on Mars,” Eddie Bo‘s “Pass Out the Hatchets,” and Roky Erickson‘s “I Walked With A Zombie.”

The Disco Biscuits were joined by Glitch Mob, Orchard Lounge, and Holy Fuck at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre for a night that was probably weird enough without any kind of high-minded musical costumes, but the Biscuits broke out a  first-time-played cover of Smashing Pumpkins‘ “I Am One” for good measure anyway. Meanwhile, at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, The Avett Brothers dressed as The Three Amigos and treated the audience to a jaw-dropping show full of rare songs and the unique addition of drums.

One of the most publicized and anticipated Halloween concerts in recent memory unfurled with majestic grandeur in Philadelphia, as Pearl Jam captained a farewell party for one of the oldest arenas in the nation. The Spectrum will be demolished soon, but Pearl Jam did their best to beat the demolition crews to the punch, treating fans to more than 40 songs that lined themselves up in devastating fashion. The band kept the Halloween histrionics to minimum, preferring to cloak themselves in rare songs and celebratory camaraderie. The show featured the live debuts of Bugs (a date-appropriate oddity from the Vitalogy album), Sweet Lew (an outtake from the Binaural sessions that surfaced on the rarities compilation Lost Dogs), and Devo’s Whip It (complete with the band in Devo costumes). A large donation to one of the band’s charities resulted in the first performance of Out of My Mind in 15 years, and a large portion of the show featured the Philadelphia String Quartet. I could write volumes about the show, and I wasn’t even there, so if this paragraph has piqued your interest, I’d recommend checking out the set list and downloading the show. It should be available at Etree very soon.

Here’s a collection of set lists and notes from some of the more interesting performances last night, along with links to recordings where available.

All shows occurred 10/31/09.

Gov’t Mule at The Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA (download)

The band performed a wide array of Rolling Stones songs for the first set, and the show featured guest multi-instrumentalist Steve Elson.

Set 1 (with Jackie Greene): Under My Thumb*, Monkey Man*, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)*$, Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’*$, Angie*, Ventilator Blues*$, Shattered*$#, Wild Horses, Slave*$, Gimmie Shelter*$, Play With Fire, Paint It Black, Bitch*$, Brown Sugar*$

Set 2: Steppin’ Lightly, Broke Down On The Brazos, Railroad Boy > Monday Mourning Meltdown > Forevermore, Frozen Fear > Brighter Days > Blind Man In The Dark$

Encore (with Jackie Greene): Goin’ Out West$(w/Peter Gunn Tease) > Bang A Gong$ > Goin’ Out West

* 1st Time Played
$ with Steve Elson
#with Matt on Lead Vocal, Danny on Bass & Jorgen on Drums

Widespread Panic at Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX (download)

Band Member Costumes: Sunny Ortiz – skeleton; Todd Nance – breast cancer awareness; JoJo Hermann – The Pope; John Bell – Vincent Van Gogh; Dave Schools and Jimmy Herring – cowboys/Brokeback Mountain

Set 1: Waitin’ for the Bus* > Chilly Water > Rock > Chilly Water, Trouble, Gimmie% > You Got Yours, Give, Mama Told Me (Not to Come), Red Beans (58 min)

Set 2: Come as You Are# > Bowlegged Woman, The Last Straw, Holden Oversoul > Jam > Vampire Blues, Imitation Leather Shoes > Drums > Bust It Big > Pigeons, Lake Of Fire@ > Henry Parsons Died (92 min)

Encore: This Masquerade^, Postcard, Flat Foot Flewzy

*ZZ Top, first time played
%with Norwegian Wood tease
#Nirvana, first time played
@Meat Puppets, first time played
^Leon Russell, first time played

Umphrey’s McGee at Los Tortugas Dance of the Dead, Groveland (Yosemite), CA (photos)

Band Member Costumes: The band wore mashed-up costumes to complement their Monster Mash-Up theme:
Jake Cinninger (guitar) – George Harrison Ford
Ryan Stasik (bass) – Bret Michaels Jackson
Brendan Bayliss (guitar) – Captain Kirk Hammett
Joel Cummins (keys) – Dirty Harry Caray
Kris Myers (drums) – Rod Stewart Copeland
Andy Farag (perc) – Wizard of Ozzy Guillen

Set 1: JaJunk% > 2×2 > Q*Bert > 2×2, Cemetery Walk, Padgett’s Profile, All In Time%%, Cemetery Walk II, Sweet Sunglasses*

Set 2: Jazz Odyssey > Nothing Too Fancy > Hangover > Night Gambler** > Nothing Too Fancy, FF > Professor Wormbog^, JaJunk, Mulche’s Odyssey, Land of Wappy$

Encore: 40’s Theme, Nemo’s Fat Bottomed Good Times$$

% with Smooth Criminal/Heartbreaker jam
%% with Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ jam
* mash-up of Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics), Sunglasses at Night (Corey Hart), and Electric Feel (MGMT)
** mash-up of The Gambler (Kenny Rogers), Night Fever (The Bee Gees), and Rapper’s Delight (The Sugarhill Gang)
^ with Bill Kreutzman on drums
$ mash-up of Wappy Sprayberry, Land of Confusion (Genesis), and Seek & Destroy (Metallica)
$$ mash-up of Nemo, Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen), and Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin)

moe. at Washington Ave. Armory, Albany, NY

Many of the show’s songs were selected via fan voting.

Band Member Costumes: The band wore the uniforms of the Cobra Kai dojo from the film The Karate Kid.

Set 1: The Ghost Of Ralph’s Mom, Godzilla, Farmer Ben*#, You Can Call Me Al**, We Got The Party^, George, Echoes

Set 2: Stash, meat > Eyes Of The World > Echoes, Rebubula > Dark Star > Rebubula

Encore: Fuck Her Gently^^, Don’t Fuck With Flo, Crab Eyes

# Last Played 3/02/05
* with Werewolves Of London, The Munsters (theme), The Adams Family (theme), and Powerhouse teases
** Jim on piccolo bass & Al on trumpet
^ Jim on acoustic
^^ only Al (acoustic) and Chuck

Perpetual Groove at The National, Richmond, VA

Band Member Costumes: The band dressed as various characters from John Hughes films, and performed musical selections from the films throughout the night.

Set 1: Space Paranoids, TSMM > Harmonium > TSMM, At the Screen, Cairo, Oh Yeah, Mayday

Set 2: Teakwood Betz (Fakeout) > Weird Science > Teakwood Betz, Three Weeks, Speed Queen > Blitzkreig Bop > Speed Queen, Don’t You Forget About Me

Encore: Lost Connection, Twist and Shout

Live Review: Gov’t Mule, Raleigh, NC, July 26, 2009

My review of the Gov’t Mule and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit show at the Lincoln Theatre Street Stage is up at Hidden Track – Glide Magazine’s Blog. Take a look at it won’t you?