Discussion in 'Music Forum' started by WordsfromaSong, Mar 31, 2016.
At the end of the day, the only way to really "get" it is to go to a show!
well my favorite Dead years are the jazz ones and Pigpen's height which i guess is like blues/country/garage rock sounding stuff. and the other jam bands I like - all local basically - are pretty country/bluegrass influenced. but you know i really think the sonic style matters less to me than just the all around tightness and musicianship and creativity. Also I do love funk music in general though i dont know many jam bands who really dig into that influence on more than a surface level
dont have to tell me lol. i'll make it eventually
fun story about Phish and Murawski's band, Max Creek, early in Phish's career Gordon was really into creek and brought them this song he claimed to have written called Backporch Boogie Blues and Phish played it a couple times before Fishman found out Creek wrote it and he got really mad because he hates Creek for some reason. Wonder how he feels about Gordon touring with Scott lmao
Mike Gordon Band puts on a great show. I prefer their music/shows to Trey Anastasio Band.
def check out max creek the local legends then. and I'll find a good Cow Funk era show to listen to
Let me know what you like here...
Word I'll try to make my way through these over the weekend
Mike's Ogogo album is great, probably the best Phish member solo project in awhile, even though I love Trey's stuff. If the country/bluegrass jam style appeals to you you should check out some of their shows from 1994/95 as that was when they really began learning bluegrass and incorporating it into their shows more. A lot of '94 shows even feature acoustic mini-sets of bluegrass covers. Also the overall tightness as far as execution of their compositions was probably at its peak in those years. The jams are also some of the craziest, most intense music you'll ever hear. This documentary is pretty good and features some great concert footage.
Ha, good suggestion. To be honest, bluegrass Phish is my “least” favorite Phish so I’m not terribly passionate about it or well versed.
I listened to those ones and then I listened to "A Live One" and then I listened to "The Went Gin." At one point I tried to google "The Went Gin" but neither of those words mean anything to me so I kept typing "The Gent Win" like why am I getting cycling results. Anyway its good shit I dig it
Then I went and read a bunch of arguments on the phish.net forums about whether the dead did type 2 and now I'm dumber
A Live One is the shit, basically what made me a fan. Also if you really want to get dumber you should join in the .net political discussions.
Yeah I really liked A Live One. I think the main thing I have to get in my head with Phish is that, while they definitely have some good songs (I think Bouncing Around The Room is an actually great song), the words and composed parts of the songs are just...not really the point. It's hard to phrase this in a way that makes sense, because like obviously any jam band has an emphasis on jamming, but it's like they've added songs to jams instead of the other way around. And it's not a knock its just a different kind of listening you have to do a lot of the time. But I really liked it.
If I ever post on the politics section of phish.net you can shoot me
Some people would argue that the Went Gin (the version of Bathtub Gin performed at Phish's The Great Went festival) is maybe the best jam they've ever played. It is very much a "hose" jam, with Trey building upon peaks to send the crowd nuts.
"We actually have exercises that we do, where we work on improving our improvising as a group. It gets rid of the ego. It's an exercise to get rid of the ego. And the more that we do it the more we find that our improvisations are less concerned with showing off flashy solos or whatever, and more concerned with making a group sound. There's a feeling that we always talk about. When we went out with Santana, he had brought up this thing about the Hose. ... where the music is like water rushing through you and as a musician your function is really like that of a hose. And, and well his thing is that the audience is like a sea of flowers, you know, and you're watering the audience. But the concept of music going through you, that you're not actually creating it, that what you're doing is -- the best thing that you can do is get out of the way. So, when you are in a room full of people, there's this kind of group vibe that seems to get rolling sometimes."
If you want to dive deeper into the jam, check out this incredible video. I know it's long, but it's great for contextualizing the jam in Phish's history and also explaining some of the concepts you may have been reading about this weekend (ie: Type 1 vs. Type 2).
For my money, Riverport Gin is the Gin, and has an easy argument for being the best Phish jam of all time. Hard rocking, Type 1 play to anchor the first half before breaking into a Type 2 dance and funk party. Absolutely flawless. AND IT OPENED THE SHOW!
And to your point...I think that Phish has some really incredibly written songs in terms of the lyrics, but most people are not tuning in for the songwriting. The Dead blows Phish out of the water when it comes to storytelling and narrative in their music.
I watched that vid! It's very good. The Hose is a really interesting way to conceptualize the idea of playing off the audience, I think that vid also talks about how Trey looks out over the audience? Any jam band will tell you crowd energy is as important as anything else, I mean, probably any rock band, but that's a really fun way to think about it. And jam bands forge that connection harder than anyone else I think. That's part of why it's funny to me that people think jam band fans are only there to party or trip and the music sounds like shit if you're sober or whatever buzzkill thing you've heard from your skeptical friends, because if you listen to the Gent Win (lol), the crowd knows when the chord switch comes, and when it drops back in and out of the written progression, and they react quickly, and they can identify the peak, and all that. Even musically ignorant jam band fans are, I think, a little more in tune to these kinds of dynamics than your average music fan.
Type 1 and 2 is a really interesting thing to me, the most convincing thing that I read in all of those phish.net discussions was that type 1 and 2 are categories created to identify Phish jams and it doesn't really make sense to try to apply them to other bands, especially pre-phish bands like the Dead. But the Dead definitely did type 2 I think, but in different ways and less often and with less intent. And....almost all before their '75 hiatus. Once in a while the Dead would do true Type 2 stuff where a new progression is formed out of improvisation, I think this is basically a list of them. They weren't making a point of doing that, or doing it every show, or anything like that, though.
More often, the Dead would break down the melodic and rhythmic structure of the jam, and keep jamming on the chord same chord progression. Most pre-75 Playins' have this. Playin' is also a good example as well because when they improvise on it in that time period its not even really a "chord progression," its much more in the modal jazz format of improvising on one chord for long periods of time. Eyes of the World is similar. But what made modal jazz so interesting was that you can switch the harmonic center of the jam just by changing the voicings of the one chord you're playing on, which also changes which "mode" the solo is happening in. (Mixolydian, mentioned in that video, is a really common mode for jam music, the Dead would switch into dorian and lydian lot I think but I don't have the greatest ear for that.)
So like that vid explains, Phish shift chord progressions when Gordon stops playing the Bb and starts playing a pretty poppy and bright I-vi-IV-V progression. This happens pretty much in the middle of the Type I jam, if not at a peak then certainly during a fast and exciting part of the jam. With a typical Playin', the dead were more likely to break it down...get really slow....keys drop out, maybe Jerry even drops out, you get that really spacey feel...and then Bob or Phil play a different voicing or note, and Billy shifts the tempo or the type of beat, and Jerry jumps on that and starts playing in the mode Bob or Phil implied at the tempo Billy implies, and it starts building to this new peak that sounds like its different chords like a true Type 2, but it's probably the same chord on a different mode and maybe a different beat or tempo. So they're kind of fooling you into thinking they've done this full harmonic shift when it's just a different mode. Which is what modal jazz was all about.
I think Phish make more of a point to latch onto a subtle harmonic change like that vid explains and change the whole thing. They like to do that a few times a show as I understand. They're looking for opportunities to do it. The Dead were more comfortable breaking it down and building it back up in a more subtle way that takes a lot longer and is more of a process than just jumping on a subtle shift in the middle of the jam, and is less likely to build a totally new progression than just changing the harmonic center.
Anyway, that's my proposal for my book, do you wanna publish it? Few hundred grand in advance would do me good. Lmao. Maybe better for the dead thread but I was having all these thoughts last night listening to a bunch of Phish and a bunch of '73 Playins and wanted to write them down.
I would disagree with that although I'm a huge fan so obviously my perspective is different, but I'd argue songs like Divided Sky, YEM, Stash, and Reba are pretty incredible from a composition standpoint. The lyrics can be pretty silly but they also have a lot of sincere songs that are actually about something haha. Once you dig deeper and listen more I think the songs will start to grab you.
Fair enough, but its still a pretty big departure. Like any silliness at all is still pretty jarring to me haha. Wasn't trying to knock their writing or anything, I def respect them as musicians and songwriters
Yeah I get that. Beyond the jamming Phish and the Dead are pretty much completely different musically.
Subbing in here just because my partner is a Phish fan (which, as I've spent the last two years learning, is more of a lifestyle than your typical fandom) and while I do not pretend I *get* it, I respect it and I'm gonna at least try to keep up somewhat on my end.
But I will say: went to my first show last summer and it was one of the most unique concert-going experiences I've ever had. That is not a negative thing. It's just a thing I still haven't figured out how to describe and it's been months.
Glad to have you @Anna Acosta! What show did you go to?
Night one at the Forum! He and his bestie did the whole weekend but I rightly assumed easing me in was a smarter strategy.
Great interview, feeling pretty good about my last minute decision to buy a ticket for the DC show this Saturday
I’m a big fan.
Never a bad time to hear this
Sorry to quote myself but I ADORE this jam and I am copying and pasting what I wrote about it on page 3 of this thread haha.
I feel like the debate over BEST PHISH VERSION EVER is always a dead end because although there are some that always pop up (Riverport or Great Went Gin, Camden Chalk Dust, etc.), the fact is that with a catalog so large and so diverse stylistically, even within a short timespan, makes the answer a matter of personal preference that is always so different from person to person.
So perhaps it's even more of a fool's errand to pin down the best Phish movement...but the more and more I listen, I really think it is the final 8 minutes or so of the *soundcheck* of Waves at Bethel in 2011 (5/26/11 to be exact). Right when Page (?) starts hitting on that siren at around 20:45~ and it takes off on that beautiful motif that they ride until the end...it's just so pure and awe-inspiring.
The fact that it's preceded by a really nasty, dissonant kind of jam prior to this makes the transition all the more stunning. I'm near tears pretty much any time I listen to this. One of those jams where you just close your eyes and you're floating off somewhere completely different.
Also, to borrow the parlance that Clickhole perfectly skewers, it #reallymakesyouthink that this is just a damn soundcheck. Imagine all the amazing soundcheck jams that we don't have access to, or that weren't even recorded. Long live the Phish from Vermont.