CONCERT: Boz Scaggs/Garrin Benfield
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, July 29, 2000
Reviewed by Shaun Dale
San Francisco Bay Area singer/songwriter Garrin Benfield took his
biggest risk of the night before climbing on the stage at the Chateau
Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, WA. Actually, keyboardist Michael
Rodriguez, Benfield's labelmate on Eighth Note Records, took it for him.
The traffic cones that defined the route to the parking area were just
too tempting for Rodriguez, who was at the wheel of group's car, and he
proceeded to carve out a slalom route until he encountered a less than
impressed deputy sherrif, who promised to lock up the ensemble if that
particular trick was tried again.
Luckily, Rodriguez moderated his vehicular behavior, and along with
bassist Uriah Duffy and drummer George Parteus (the spelling of whose
name I've doubtless mangled. Sorry George.), Garrin Benfield made it to
the stage. The second biggest risk he took that night, of course, was
opening for a living legend in front of a crowd which, judging by the
average age of the crowd, probably stopped keeping up with new music
about the time Scaggs released Silk Degrees back in '76. Well, it may
have seemed like a risk, but it was the last stop on an 8 date tour with
Scaggs for Benfield, and he had probably already discovered that his
music, with it's folk-rock overtones and soulful undertones, was going
down just fine with the Scaggs audiences.
Benfield opened his set with the title track from his new release, "Living
A Dream," and got a favorable reaction right out of the gate. He moved
through a pair of tracks that aren't on the CD, "What To Listen For" and
the bluegrass flavored "I Let You Go," that have already got me looking
forward to the next album. Three more from the disc and he was off, but
not before impressing the audience with his songwriting skills and his
impressive vocal and instrumental chops. They were impressed enough to
form a long line at the merch gazebo (yeah, gazebo. This was a winery
gig.) to pick up a copy of the CD and an autograph. It was great
exposure for the young artist and a set of great songs performed by a
tight band and a performer who could well be headlining the venue in the
not too distant future. You can find out where he'll be next by going
As Garrin Benfield schmoozed with his new-found fans, Boz Scaggs took
the stage for a set that might be best described as the Boz Scaggs
Rhythm & Blues Revue. While he couldn't avoid scattering some crowd
pleasing hits from the Slow Dancer/Silk Degrees area throughout his set,
he focused on vintage R&B material and proved that whatever you thought
of his pop-oriented stint as a radio star, he's a consumate master of
His band for this tour was similarly masterful, including bassist/
musical director Richard Patterson, keyboardist Darrin Johnson on Rhodes
and B-3, drummer Sonny Emery and percussionist Marina Bombino. The band
was rounded out by two more who were, to my ears, of special note.
Steve Cole on tenor and soprano saxes, synth and lyricon is a player to
watch liner notes for, and vocalist Ada Dyer was a virtual girl group
all by herself in the backup role, and an astonishingly forceful
performer when she was given the spotlight for her featured numbers.
Scaggs was generous with all the players, giving everyone the
opportunity for extended solos, and they all aquitted themselves
It was Boz Scaggs' show though, and he continues to be an impressive
performer. His voice has simply grown more soulful over time and his
guitar playing is a textbook example of playing just the right notes,
and only the notes you need, at the right time. He had the crowd on
their feet early, and by the time he closed the set with "Lido Shuffle,"
he had them in a frenzy. It was a frenzy guaranteed to set off calls
for an encore, and he returned to the stage with the simple
acknowledgement "We'd love to." before moving into "We're All Alone,"
eliciting another huge response from the audience. He closed with one
more R&B nugget, "Mary Don't You Take Me On No Bad Trip." It was a wild
ride, but a good trip all the way for the crowd.
(C) 2000 - Shaun Dale
FILM: THE FILTH AND THE FURY
(105 minutes, rated R)
Directed by Julian Temple
Reviewed by Bill Holmes
Did you ever get the feeling you've been cheated? Apparently John Lydon has, so this documentary about the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols balances out The Great Rock And Roll Swindle's assumption that Malcolm McLaren was Gepetto to the band's Pinocchio. Since Julian Temple directed that one as well, he's either feeling apologetic or wants to butter both sides of his bread. So much so, in fact, that when he does include McLaren's sound bytes, the image on screen is of a person sporting an ever-inflating leather bondage mask. Subtle! I'm surprised it didn't explode during the end credits.
What The Filth And The Fury does do well is assemble various interviews and concert excerpts in a rough patchwork quilt, giving the careening band's timeline an appropriate sense of chaos. If you weren't on to Johnny Rotten's cop of Richard III for his stage persona, the clips of Olivier's over-the-top performance leave no questions. Surprisingly, Sid Vicious seems like a normal bloke in the early interviews, undaunted by his lack of musical ability but keenly aware of his role in the whole matter. Later, of course, he has all the charm and presence of a hamster, especially when lying next to whacked-out girlfriend/hooker/leech Nancy Spungeon. Jones and Cook somehow survive the fracas with better musical chops and a latent respect for Lydon/Rotten's lyrics and stage presence. Why everyone hates Glen Matlock is still a mystery to me--he only co-wrote the band's best material and gave them musical grounding when they needed it most.
The footage of the band unraveling on their ill-conceived American tour is fascinating, but I wish there were more songs played on screen. "God Save The Queen," "Pretty Vacant" and "Anarchy In The UK" are included, though, so at least you get to see three of the most powerful songs in rock and roll history.
No mention is made of the band's reunion tour and recording, of course, as if reality would undercut the jagged wake the band left behind twenty years earlier. But what is captured, although not a great movie per se, is some incredible footage that makes The Monkees' attempts to get out from under Don Kirschner look like a suburban tantrum by comparison. Which, of course, it was.
(C) 2000 - Bill Holmes
BOOK: FUZZ & FEEDBACK - Classic Guitar Music of the 60s
Edited by Tony Bacon
Miller-Freeman Publishing, 88 pages
Reviewed by DJ Johnson
Another treat for guitarists from Miller-Freeman. 88 pages might not sound like much,
but this book is packed with pictures and information about the music of the 60s and,
more specifically, the guitars that helped create it. There are chapters about country,
jazz, rock, blues & soul, American, European, Japanese, Fender, and Gibson guitars. There's
even a chapter on the guitars used by The Beatles. There are four fold-out pages with
close-ups of such interesting guitars as George Harrison's psychedelic Strat, plus nice
touches like a comparative time line (yep, that Kawai amp-in-the-guitar came out around
the same time that Herman and Lilly Munster hit the small screen) and a nice running
commentary that does get in plenty of cool factoids about the instruments and the times.
The real attraction, however, is the great spread of photographs, usually several per
page. Any lover of the guitar can become happily lost in these pages. It's a great
nibble-book, best enjoyed in small doses over a long period of time. Taken that way, it
seems there's always a new surprise waiting, whether it's a shot of Brian Jones' teardrop
Vox or an explanation of the Coral Electric Sitar. A perfect coffee table book for those
who revere the instrument. It lists for twenty bucks and is available at Amazon and
probably just about everywhere else.
(C) 2000 - DJ Johnson