Upcoming concerts with Burrito deluxe and mofro

More Concerts of Note

Aug 25, 2004 at 2:06 pm
The Tough & Lovely

Burrito Deluxe

Wednesday · Southgate House

"Back then, the audience was wondering, 'Who are these guys and what are they doing?' " recalls pedal steel master Sneaky Pete Kleinow. "It's a big improvement now. In those days, nobody even knew what they were supposed to do."

When Kleinow refers to the good old days, he's not talking about skinny black New Wave ties or reminiscing about when MTV was new. He's referencing the late 1960s, when he was a shit-hot cutting-edge pedal steel guitar wrangler playing a Country/Rock hybrid that few people had imagined, plying his trade with the legendary Gram Parsons and a group of Byrds expatriates they'd christened the Flying Burrito Brothers. Although the Burritos are now recognized as the seminal Country Rock band, they were barely noticed at the time and existed for years in a state of flux as new members replaced founders in an ultimately pale imitation of the original revolutionary band.

Two years ago, noted Nashville cult figure Tommy Spurlock assembled an amazing array of talent (Kleinow, Band keyboardist Garth Hudson, new traditionalist Gillian Welch and vocalist Carlton Moody, among others) to honor Parsons and the Burritos. As Burrito Deluxe, the group played Parsons' songs, tunes that inspired him and covers of songwriters in turn inspired by him. They released the results as 2003's well-received Georgia Peach.

Since then, the loose Burrito Deluxe collective morphed into a real band, with Kleinow, Hudson and Moody recruiting ex-Amazing Rhythm Aces bassist Jeff "Stick" Davis and former Tommy Tutone drummer Rick Lonow. With a more cohesive band atmosphere and an incredible musical chemistry, the revamped Burrito Deluxe entered the studio and churned out their sophomore album, The Whole Enchilada. Kleinow, whose involvement spans the Burritos' intermittent 35-year history and whose session resume includes stints with Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder and Frank Zappa, couldn't be happier with his Burrito Deluxe membership.

"I can't say enough about these guys, they are just so wonderful," he notes. "We've got Garth Hudson, for God's sake. They are so much more disciplined than any band I've had to deal with. They're all coming from the same direction." (Brian Baker)

The Bennett Miller Band

Thursday · Neon's

Cincinnati native Bennett Miller never asked for his band to be named after him. He also never asked for hair the color of liquid hot magma, but sometimes these things just happen. Luckily, the moniker for the Boston-based groove quartet is fitting. Miller, the group's prominent bass player, also owns the titles of band leader and primary composer. While he provides the solid foundation that each groove-oriented piece adheres to, the band works as a unit to paste together a plethora of diverse influences into seamless musical mosaics. Reggae tempos melt into Afro-Cuban, Hip-Hop and American Blues jams. Musical cultures ebb and swirl among each other, ushering the listener through a smooth roller coaster ride of controlled harmony.

Miller stresses that melody is a crucial thing when composing original pieces, and his seasoned ear has found accompanying bandmates that understand the importance of this focus. All with significant Jazz backgrounds and similar knowledge of varying rhythmic styles, their versatility and expertise display a wonderful symbiosis between the melting pot of techniques. Miller admits that submission must be put forth to integrate so many sounds into something new and innovative while still staying rooted in familiarity, especially when collaborating with colleagues of such a high caliber. But it's completely worthwhile for both the musicians and the audience when, as Miller says, "the huge task turns into something relevant in the end."

This relevance will hopefully be well-received by Cincinnati and most likely will for those who enjoy music that can be simultaneously unsettling and steadily chill at the same time. Usually the band splits its time between weekly shows in Boston and New York, so this engagement off the East Coast is a very rare opportunity to grab a dry martini and take in their unique, original and improvisational jamming. (Jacob Richardson)

Mofro with The Greyhounds

Friday · Southgate House

Y'all ready? Mofro's Lochloosa has let loose outside the swamp, shimmering as Swampland Record's debut release. Their first release, Blackwater, introduced JJ Grey and Daryl Hance, rolling out "cheap-ass funk, straight off the front porch." Lochloosa carries on the southern-dipped story surrounding their culture and experiences mixed with Mofro's traditional swampy fare. I mean swampy flare. It fires up the BBQ as a Rock & Roll appetizer that feeds right on in to some Mofro grit — homespun pickin' Blues and slap-stickin' beats backing the fearless lyrics of "That Boy." A weary harmonica intro brands the title track, with Robert Walter on organ maintaining a gentle yet haunting presence throughout.

Most representative of where JJ's spirit was born 'n brewed and breathes today, Lochloosa offers a sultry expression of our societal nature, draining his stoic swampland as well as his peace of mind. He guts the bucket, throat-sassin' on "Dirtfloorcracker" and "Six Ways From Sunday," while Daryl cuts the Soul Funk twinge on guitar, dictated by a little upbeat drum beatin'. Possibly the most heartfelt song on the album, "Fireflies" is a tender reflection of JJ's soul emerging with no option of holding back, words seeping honey, harmonica ringing a blue reality, nothing but emotion radiating off the keys. Daryl goes on and slides it like molasses in "Ten Thousand Islands" and "Gal Youngin," with layering rifts rooted in the backwoods.

Mofro's rustic southern side comes out, Gospel-style, in "The Wrong Side," housing a greasy breakdown where you can feel the "amens" and "hallelujahs" filling in with the choir. JJ lays Lochloosa to rest with an acoustic hidden track, "Pray for Rain," epitomizing the musical voice that lies within Mofro's core. Missing some of the "Ho Cake"-ness leaves room in this sophomore album's pit for a lil' more ass-shakin' grease and finger-lickin' goodness. Regardless, you can dig in on it. (Sara Beiting)

The Tough & Lovely

Saturday · Lava

Columbus Garage Rock outfit The Tough & Lovely have to be one of the most aptly named bands in years, maybe ever. The Tough: the sharp hooks of guitarist Andrew Robertson and the rock-solid rhythm section of Christian Pierce's drums and Carol Schumacher's bass. The Lovely: the swirling organ of Mark Sims and the heart-wrenching love songs written by Robertson and vocalist Lara Yazvac. Yazvac herself is found on both sides of the coin — she can be sweet and soft and remind you of Carole King one minute and in the next be hard as nails, making you swear Janis Joplin must've gone on a nine-month bender, had a kid and forgot.

The Tough & Lovely have brought their high-energy stage show to the Northside Tavern several times already and this time bring it downtown to Lava to celebrate the release of their new album, Born of the Stars (Spoonful Records). The disc is an impressive debut with hometown connections — three of the tracks were recorded with Cincinnati's own John Curley at Ultrasuede Studios, while three more were done with Pearlene's Reuben Glaser (Schumacher also called Cincinnati home for a few years in the '90s). The record is full of hard-hitting Rock & Roll with a strong tinge of Blues.

Their influences are apparent, as everything from '60s rockers like the Shocking Blue to blue-eyed Soul acts like the Everly Brothers to edgier '60s girl groups like the Shangri-La's show up in the mix. They don't necessarily reinvent the wheel on this record, but they don't need to — this wheel is good, and it's set to roll the band to wide success. (Ericka McIntyre)

The Tough & Lovely