Tag: John Paul Jones

REVIEW: Dave Rawlings Machine at The Sheldon Concert Hall – St. Louis 6/25/14

Dave Rawlings Machine at The Sheldon Concert Hall – St. Louis 6/25/14

The five piece Americana string quintet put together by folk singer/songwriter David Rawlings is something really special. Rawlings has assembled an all-star cast of musicians that includes his partner in crime for the last 20 years Gillian Welch, former Old Crow Medicine Show member Willie Watson, and Punch Brothers bassist Paul Kowert. He also found this guy they call John Paul Jones that used to play bass in a little band called Led Zeppelin, and he just so happens to be really good with a mandolin and friends with Rawlings.

Dave Rawlings Machine

Independently, you have five incredibly well respected musicians in their genre that each bring their own unique aspect to the Dave Rawlings Machine. Together, you have a five piece bluegrass/Americana powerhouse that put on what can only be described as one of the best live music experiences of my entire life in front of a jam packed crowd at the Sheldon Concert Hall last Wednesday, June 25.

The show started just after 8:00PM as the band came out and the crowd erupted… half the crowd rose to their feet and began wildly applauding before the first note was played. Without introduction Rawlings picked up his 1935 Epiphone Olympic arch top guitar and began playing the John Hartford tune “Turn Your Radio On.” It has become somewhat of tradition for bands to honor Hartford around St. Louis, and it always gets the crowds attention right from the start! After the song Rawlings greeted the crowd and informed us that this was the first time he had played that one, but it seemed appropriate.

The always incredible and Grammy nominated guitarist Gillian Welch assisted throughout the night adding beautiful harmonies and even taking lead vocal duties on a few songs. Welch was also the comic relief on the mic, telling the crowd that “we broke out our best denim for tonight… it works, you know, with all the wood” referring to the fact that each band member was wearing at least one piece of denim clothing. David chimed in that the room was “very 70’s looking.” As Rawlings prepared his banjo and third guitarist Willie Watson switched to fiddle, Welch introduced the next song by telling us “if theres one thing people say about St. Louis, its that y’all love the banjo.” They went into a rousing rendition of “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)” popularized by Ryan Adams, but co-penned by Rawlings. This one really woke the crowd up.

Willie Watson switched to the banjo for the next tune… a trend that would continue through the night as he shared time between the guitar, banjo, and fiddle. Watson led us in the bluegrass traditional “Dry Bones” while attacking the banjo claw hammer style. Rawlings introduced him to the crowd and asked him to “lead us in another one… how about a dirty song.” Watson sang the first of three songs from his newly released solo album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, a fun track called “Keep It Clean.”Dave Rawlings Machine 2

The highlight of the first set was a mashup of Bob Dylan’s “Dear Landlord” and the Grateful Dead’s “Candyman.” Rawlings flawlessly executed the transition about four minutes into “Dear Landlord” without skipping a beat… the transition really allowed John Paul Jones to shine for the first time all night on the mandolin. After playing pretty much all of “Candyman” they finsihed BACK into “Dear Landlord.” The crowd exploded in applause as Welch said “Only his brain would be able to come up with that mashup”

After a 30 minute set break Rawlings told us that he wanted to wait until the beer line was gone to start again, but realized that would never happen. Someone in the crowd took the opportunity to throw out a perfectly timed “If theres two things St. Louis is known for….” as the entire crowd and the band started laughing. The first song of the second set was the beautifully written “Ruby”, a song that appeared on the Dave Rawlings Machine album, A Friend of a Friend. Willie Watson then sang “Stewball”, another track from his new solo album, this one featured lyrics about a race car. Gillian Welch led a gorgeous rendition of her song “Wayside/Back in Time.” Rawlings then told us of his misfortune during the prior show where his banjo strap broke and he quickly replaced it with a shoe string he found in his case… problem was, he didn’t think to change it prior to this show so he informed us that “if the banjo hits the floor, its not part of the show” to which the capacity crowd laughed again.

After a Paul Kowert led number, the band left only Gillian and David on stage. Together they played “Sweet Tooth” before Willie came back out to join on banjo for the traditional “I Hear Them All” into “This Land Is Your Land.” The rest of the band came back out to join them for a song that Rawlings had co-wrote with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame, “Method Acting.” Rawlings actually recorded that song for the A Friend of A Friend album where he mixed it with Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer”, well that’s the incredible version we received at The Sheldon. The second set ended with another Bob Dylan song, “Queen Jane Approximately.” Another John Paul Jones intro led to yet another smattering of applause and a standing ovation as the band walked off the stage.

Dave Rawlings Machine 3

About a minute later they re-claimed their spots on the tiny stage for their take on the Led Zeppelin classic, “Going to California.” Rawlings introduced the entire band one last time prior to another traditional “I’ll Fly Away” with him and Welch sharing vocal duties. The encore closed with “The Weight”, originally by The Band, where verses were handled by Welch, Watson, and Kowert with the rest of the band joining in on the chorus. Again the crowd rose to their feet as the band joined hands and bowed before walking off the stage. A few people started to head for the exits while others remained in the spots, but on their feet going crazy. After about 2 minutes the band came out AGAIN for a second encore! Rawlings again thanked the crowd, and after a quick huddle the next song, “Midnight Special” was led by Willie Watson. The night ended with the five of them gathered around a single mic (above) for an acappella version of “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” before one last bow and exit as the house lights came on.




NOTE: This is only a brief clip of “Going to California” played at The Sheldon. Had to sneak this clip of JPJ playing mandolin before i was asked to stop by security. Please note that my recording in no way bothered other concert-goers as the screen was shielded.

Watch Led Zeppelin Get Interviewed on David Letterman

Watch Led Zeppelin Get Interviewed on David Letterman

Usually there’s music played in our As Seen On TV posts but this one we just couldn’t pass up. Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page-otherwise known as Led Zeppelin stopped by David Letterman tonight to sit down for an interview. Check out the video of the interview below in two parts, courtesy of our buddy The Audio Perv.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Them Crooked Vultures Flock To Downtown Los Angeles

Them Crooked Vultures (with Middle Class Rut) 04/14/10

Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA

Words/photos/videos by: concertconfessions.com

Having missed the bands two shows here in town last fall, and unable to attend Coachella due to previous commitments, my chances of seeing Them Crooked Vultures were looking rather bleak.  I won’t lie – I was depressed.  Do I fly to Denver and see them?  Perhaps I could hold out hope for them wrapping their tour with an appearance at the 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast & Fiesta?  Thankfully my luck changed one cloudy cubical dwelling morning, when across my phone came an e-mail informing me that Grohl, Homme and JPJ would be warming up for their appearance at Coachella with a headline gig at Club Nokia in revitalized downtown Los Angeles.

After having no issue with traffic caused by rush hour as well as multiple sporting events featuring local sports teams, we made it from beautiful Burbank to downtown LA in near record time.  Much to my shock and delight, we were early enough to get wrist bands that granted us access to the front pit area.  After making a few single serving friends, around 8:30 pm, the music got under way with a set from the Sacramento duo Middle Class Rut.  In thirty minutes, this band managed to win me over, alienate me, anger me, and depress me only to once again win me over.   I was worried at first, as the band’s guitarist Zack Lopez opened the set with a riff that was almost identical to “A Warm Place” by Nine Inch Nails.  However, when drummer Sean Stockham kicked in with the first of many bone crushing beats, I was ready and willing to pay attention.  Part Post-hardcore, part fuzzed out 1990’s alt rock, the first 3-4 songs were all high energy skull fucking sonic masterpieces that reminded me of Death From Above 1979.  Then the train wreck occurred.  After mumbling the name of the band which many of us failed to understand (come on guys, rule #1 is making sure people know who you are, especially when you are winning them over), the duo launched into the worst 311 inspired song I have ever heard.  While the song is a perfect debut single for corporate rock radio the switch from ballistic attack to catchy reggae-eqsue popped killed all momentum the band had built.  From there, Lopez started bitching about lights and begged for darkness upon the stage.  Since I can’t 100% confirm what I am about 98.2% sure I saw, I won’t start rumors.  I will just advise that next time its probably a good idea to leave the stage for 30 seconds instead of trying to sneak that stuff up your nostril. Whatever, despite the fact your frontman mumbled your name and came off like a bratty drug crazed diva, the songs were amazing.  The final two songs of the night finished strong and made me all but forget what I am 98.2% sure I saw.  If they can survive themselves – Middle Class Rut can truly go places.


As I sit here the morning after witnessing Them Crooked Vultures live and in person, I am in rare form.  It’s not too often that I am lost for words, but today I am exactly that.  As I mentioned in my introduction, I was depressed over the prospect of not seeing John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Joshua Homme together in person.  When the band (joined by Alain Johannes on guitar) hit the stage, I had to remind myself to breath.  With members in position, instruments in place, the foursome started things off with a bang – opening with “Elephant.”  Much like the beast the song is named after, the song is large, loud and heavy.  What makes this the perfect opening number is not the guts of the song, but the swirling intro/outro riff that mixes the blues of Led Zeppelin with that classic Homme fuck and run swagger.

The band didn’t miss a step – launching right into “Gunman” as the second number.  With its jack hammering riffs, I looked to my left and realized I was watching John Paul Jones live and in person.  My father has shared with me memories of seeing Led Zeppelin in places like Winterland and Kezar Stadium back home in San Francisco.  Clearly I was not old enough to witness this, but watching the living legend lay down a groove on what appeared to be an eight string bass sent tingles up and down my spine.  Granted it’s hard enough for me to focus on a day to day basis, but with so much rock royalty on one stage, it was hard to decide whom to watch when.  A terrible problem to have, I know.

The set kept moving right along.  With multiple fans holding home made “Fresh Pots” signs high above their heads, it was neat to watch Grohl beat up a drum kit once again.  Watching the former Nirvana member on songs like the earlier mentioned “Gunman” and “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I” can’t not bring up memories of my youth watching Animal on the Muppet Show.  Much to my shock and delight, the band even threw in a lil free style hippie jam fit for Bonnaroo in the middle of “Scumbag Blues”.  What can’t these guys do?

Of all the collective artists, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Homme.  I remember hearing Kyuss in high school and while the vocals drove me bonkers the riffs were just so beefy I couldn’t ignore the band.  While we got off to a rough start, I was on board with  Queens of the Stone Age bandwagon long before Grohl’s stint on drums.  You can imagine my excitement when Homme began to discuss new beginnings before dedicating “New Fang” to former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri.  While I won’t take this as solid proof that the bald bassist is back in the QOTSA fold, it certainly fuels the rumors that he will return when the band hits the European festival circuit later this summer.

The band made the most of their stop in downtown Los Angeles by performing some new songs.  I have only heard “Highway One” once, but was thrilled to get to witness it live.  Between the soft mandolin strokes of JPJ and haunting vocals of Homme, this one has classic written all over it.  The band also busted out another new song; a slow bluesy jam – title unknown but with Johannes taking lead guitar duties, there was not a soul in the crowd who was not mesmerized by its beauty.

As great as the slower blues driven stuff is, it was very clear that most of the crowd came to rock.  Even the AARP members of the audience couldn’t refuse the urge to jump up and down on the spring filled floor during songs like “Mind Eraser, No Chaser” and “Dead End Friends”.  While Club Nokia was the first night on stage (not counting Jimmy Kimmel Live this past Monday) in a few months for the band, it sounded as if they had been on tour for years now.  Everything was razor sharp, including Mr. Homme’s wit – encouraging the crowd to have a good time while poking fun at individuals sitting or looking bored up in the balcony.  Hell, Homme was a human highlight reel.  When I saw him perform with Queens across the courtyard at the Nokia Theatre, you were not even allowed to bring cigarettes in.  A self-proclaimed fan of cancer sticks Homme was more than happy to set his guitar down, light up a smoke and do his best crooner impression during the lounge-esque “Interlude With Ludes.”  That is of course after he gave John Paul Jones a Jersey Shore fashion make-over by popping his collar.

While they are all my favorites, “Spinning In The Daffodils” has been in heavy rotation the past few months here at concert confessions headquarters.  With some serious finger picking action coming from Johannes – the song extended to well over fifteen minutes and was my personal highlight of the night.  The number really has it all, a slow build up, rocking grooves and a beautiful piano outro courtesy of John Paul Jones.  Saving us the wasted time of a useless encore break – Homme admitted to using the same “this is our last song” joke before surveying (and promptly inviting those who answered yes to fuck off) the crowd to see who was making it out to Coachella.  “Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up” was for the fine folks like myself.  Unable to make it out to Indio for three days in the desert sun, this last number was ours.  I snuck to the back of the venue, wanting to say goodbye.  Perhaps Them Crooked Vultures will indeed release a second album and rise again as is rumored.  Perhaps they will go back to their respective day jobs.  All I know is that on a Wednesday night in April, I was lucky enough to get to witness their magic live and in person.


Them Crooked Vultures @ Roseland Ballroom 02/08/10

Are we pumped? I know I’m pumped! Tonight the twenty third edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series brings us to Roseland Ballroom (239 W 52nd street- New York City) to see the super-group, although they scoff at the term, THEM CROOKED VULTURES. A side project of legendary proportions, featuring the Josh Homme of fame with Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal, Kyuss(a short stay as guitarist in the Screaming Trees too) on lead guitar and vocals.. handling the bass duties, John Paul Jones- from a little band known as Led Zeppelin.. and on drums we have, after a 16 year absence from making creative and enjoyable music, Dave Grohl is back in his element-behind the kit. Them Crooked Vultures are here in support of their self titled debut record on what they’ve dubbed as the “Deserve the Future Tour”.. they are joined by second guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes.  



So about 7:30 I finally make it inside this mammoth beast of a venue..I use the word “finally” because it felt like I was on the line for an hour. When I got off the train at 50th street I looked across the street and saw hundreds and hundreds of people flooding the sidewalk… That would be the line- it stretches maybe three blocks. All I know is that the entrance to Roseland is on West 52nd, and I’m standing at the back of the line around the block on 53rd… And I still have these three extra tickets to give away. I give one to this poor looking guy who I thought was heading inside, but when I saw him still asking for tickets, I figured he was probably working for a scalper. Then there was this girl who asked if the show was sold out. I said, “I’m not sure..but I have two extras at will call, you can have them”. She took me up on the offer, so I’ll be waiting for that Karma train to be making a stop at my house any second now.





Now this inside is standing room only and the room holds about 3000 plus.. This place seems like twice the size Hammerstien… the ceiling looks like it goes up forever and ever. I feel like the stage is half a football field away from me. I got my band tee shirt for 20 bucks when I first stepped in.. That line was insanely long and was more of a free for all than a line… Made my way towards that $6 beer, oh how I’ve earned it.




It’s about 7:47 when I notice that this place is packed almost the capacity.. This is gonna be some long distance video if I manage to get some. Surprised they let me in with my camera, they frisked me at the door as if I was an escaped convict.. While being searched in the oddest of places I start thinking to myself “I’m sure I don’t have anything on me right??”…. In the distance I spot a second drum kit on stage, is this going to be the opening act? I can’t stand when they do this, its one thing that pisses me off. Don’t pretend there’s no opener and then spring some no name band on us…we would’ve prepared accordingly. I would’ve came an hour later. Do us all a favor, I know you probably can’t have the opener figured on and printed on the ticket before it gets mailed..but at least list it on the venues website….bad job by Livenation.. And I don’t want to hear that crap “Well dude, there’s always an opening act” when I’ve seen the Melvins open for themselves and Dinosaur Jr had a half retarded guy stand on stage for a half hour before they went on…




The surprise opener was ‘The Brought Low”… Exactly. I personally have no idea who they are. All I know is they’re three dudes who want to be like Jet. Hate to jump on an opener, but th riffs were unimpressive to say the least. Anybody who works in a Guitar Center can play them.. I kept looking at my vacant wrist awaiting for them to end. They played about 7 or 8 songs, they went off at about 8:27….




So they had the stage set up at about 840, which was good because I started to have this pipe dream that maybe they’d head on at 845. Yea right. I’m starting to notice there is no where fr me to move forward or back, I’m stuck here for the remainder of the night.. And people aren’t exactly standing in siZe order, so my video clips are full of the back of peoples heads and little people playing instruments.




It became evident that my camera was not going to do me much good from all the way back here, but I still recorded what they kicked off the set with: “Nobody Loves me and Neither Do I”, this one has John used a slide thing on his bass as he stands next to a keyboards, synthesizer and two other bass guitars placed vertically. John Paul Jones is really whaling, seems like he’s been doing this a while. You start to wonder why most of these songs are so “Zeppelin-like” powerful.. he’s not like The Who being old at the Super Bowl halftime show-this dude is still fresh.. amazing.. They got into “Scumbag Blues”, like the 10 plus minute version, and Josh Homme is just having his guitar erupt with every strum, pulling out his full proverbial arsenal of tricks, what an amazing guitar player. It’s sounds like an episode of the mighty morphing power rangers with his strokes.. He and John are bouncing sounds off each other- it’s like they’re playing catch, with each one trying to top the latter. Where every song seemed to be the “extended version” as I call them, it’s actually that most of their songs are of lengthy proportions for traditional rock songs that they seemed to be a little longer than typical. “Dead End Friends” was either 4th or 5th in, where I just had an epiphany: I’m in the same room as John Paul fucking Jones! Are you kidding me? He could be up there playing a toothbrush, rock history is happening right now and I’m a part of it. And here’s no slouch-Dave Grohl completes what is probably the greatest possible living rhythm section alive. It’s been so long since I’ve heard Grohl play music that was creative and entertaining, it was really a pleasure to see the best rock drummer of at least my generation. A suddenly buff Grohl too, it was like the frickin’ gun show back there man-dude hits the gym. With one song into the next, “Reptiles” to “Gunman”,using the term ‘beast’ would be the understatement of the century to describe the drumming that’s going on-I can feel the beating that kit is taking from 60 yards away, that’s how epic it is. That is a sound that cannot be manufactured no matter how much you advance technology.. the sound that drum makes when Grohl hits it. It’s definitely something I missed. He also has a mic revolving mic stand that is dipping into the area he needs it when his harmony parts come up, I don’t know if he was controlling it or if it was a roadie but man I always thought it’d be late or smack him in the face every time it came around. And back to Josh as he was talking in between songs, and he said “We were on Saturday Night Live this past weekend”..*crowd roar*.. “And the people over at NBC censorship didn’t catch that I used ‘Piss’, ‘Dick’, and ‘Shit’ all in one song!”..*crowd roars again* “So that’s making the world a better place for people who promote public swearing. Fuck those people!”… this guy can work a room, he was full of colorful things to say all night (like when he said “Dave was up til 5:30AM drinking Jägermeister.. I told him not to do it, but he’s a fucking alcoholic and thats what alcoholics do”), he really knows how to grab center stage. Good thing he knows how to, because he’s offically uped his notch in “Rockstar” status..Josh Homme is now  at least equal if not superior  to the likes of artists like Jack White weather you like it or not, because he is totally bad ass if there ever was a definition. The dude is smoking a cigarette on stage in an indoor venue that doesn’t allow lighters-I mean I know he’s in the band and everything, but I’ve never seen anyone do this.. and then he flings it behind his shoulder with total disregard of all things to his rear. Take that society!  He’s the main songwriter in any “side” project he touches… he looks over at John and he goes “hey Zeppelin”.. Then John Paul Jones comes bust out the ‘Key-tar’, you know, the thing Edgar Winter says he invented(he might’ve), the key board hooked up like a guitar sort of thing and Josh puts his guitar down as they get into “Interlude with Ludes”, a sort of trippy-hindi-ish song where Josh prances around without guitar duties walking up to everyone else in the band doing silly things.. they really looked like they were all having a good time up there, they got into the most recognizable song, thier first single “New Fang” maybe midway through the set and near the end they hit it with my favorite song of thiers “Mind Eraser, No Chaser”.. then before they finish up Josh states that “There is a time where every show must end”.. plus, they only have 13 songs anyway-and they played the shit out of all of them. As they took the little bow as they walked off stage I thought to myself, there wasn’t one thing that could’ve been better in the time they went on til the time they went off. Medolic blues driven hard rock molded with an absolute noise fest was a combination of blissful destruction and insane genius. Killer show.. What a night…..

There it is.. yet another Jay Porks Experience…. special thanks to everyone reading at ConcertConfessions.com, keep on truckin’ over there… as for the Never Ending Concert Series of mine I have goin on over here.. We’re eyeing the Flaming Lips and Local H later this year, along with the however many times the Meat Puppets come to town on their next tour.. For all the latest info you can always check back here at http://www.jayporks.com and in the upper right of the screen in the section that says “Upcoming Jay Porks Events”- we always get our hands on extra tickets and cool stuff like that so stay tuned, and thanks for putting up with my non-sense for a few minutes of your day.. tell your friends to check it out! LATE…..

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