Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Horsehead Five: Another 5 Must-Watch YT Performances

Here are 5 songs that were meant to be witnessed.  Something's happening.  Entertaining magic.  Your ears will love it, but your eyes will love it more.  ~Horsehead

"Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" - Neil Young & Crazy Horse ("Ragged Glory" tour 1991)

I get it. A thousand times five you've heard this song.  But this particular performance is a bookmark.  One of those magical spells when the music and the audience become one. Neil Young and Crazy Horse play it crunchy, ...but this time, it is the collective mind of the rock crowd that carries the freight to a whole other level. In this joyful juxtaposition of a little over five minutes, the audience becomes the teacher...leaving Neil Young, wearing his Elvis Presley t-shirt, very little doubt the imprint his rock-n-roll stones have cast.

"So What" - Miles Davis (The Robert Herridge Theater, NY - April 2, 1959)

I'm still amazed how cool early television could actually be. Here is Miles Davis (with heavy company) performing his ground-breaking iceberg of a jam..."So What"...broadcasted in 1959 across the airwaves in perfect black-and-white.  This song, along with the classic album, "Kind of Blue" had yet to be it's all new and baby-jazz fresh to listeners. Maybe not his definitive performance, but the historical weight of the music cannot be denied.
For those keeping score:
Miles Davis - trumpet
John Coltrane - tenor sax
Wynton Kelly - piano
Paul Chambers - bass
Jimmy Cobb - drums

"Stagger Lee" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Now this one is a bit of a firestick!  I became reacquainted with Nick Cave from Netflix-binging, "Peaky Blinders."  Digging deeper, I found a blistering performance of Nick Cave chewing on the heavily-covered song..."Stagger Lee"...and he swallows it whole.  Absolutely owns it!  And The Bad Seeds are right there with him.  This is good stuff and must-watch YT.  Good Lord, sign me up.

"The Passenger" - Iggy Pop (09-25-77 Apollo Theater, Manchester)

I don't believe Iggy was totally wasted. Not this time. I've seen him much worse.  But he sure looks like he was trippin' nicely none the less.  That Iggy would go on to survive all those indulgences of rock-n-roll is a wonderful wonder.  This is a sweetly fascinating performance of his classic..."The Passenger" and it must be the busload of bass keeping Iggy from falling over.

The Cramps - (California State Mental Hospital in Napa, CA on June 13, 1978)

The Cramps (this is 2 songs, but short) were surprisingly given permission to hold a free concert for patients being treated inside of a mental hospital!  It sounds like a joke, and maybe the idea was in the beginning, but The Cramps played it for real. Hard, fast and with total respect and empathy for their captive audience.
The patients were allowed to wander freely on and off stage and I felt a bit guilty watching the interaction.  I expected to see eye rolls and smirks from the band and was relieved they played it honest.  And while watching, I realised the "line" between them and us may not be that far to cross.  And is it just me, or does the guitar player look like a G.E. Smith doppleganger?

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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