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The Last Waltz: A Thanksgiving Tradition

THIS FILM SHOULD BE PLAYED LOUD!

On November 25, 1976, an audience of 5,000 packed in to Winterland Ballroom — an ice skating rink that also served as a concert venue — to watch The Band perform for one last time.

It was an extravagant event. The audience was served a Thanksgiving dinner with live music, ballroom dancing and readings from various poets under the lavish lights of the chandeliers in the hall.

But the true beauty of the event was the fact that a group of people that certainly had their differences managed to work through them and come together to deliver a night of celebration.

It was dysfunctional, but human.

And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? Even though you may not enjoy your uncle’s company sitting next to you at the dinner table — whether he’s discussing his political views or refuses to put down the bottle of Jack — he’s still family and you recognize that both of you are there for one common purpose.

The Last Waltz gave viewers a glimpse at these unstable relationships but showed that the musicians forgot about all of that bad blood before coming on stage and giving it all they had.

From Van Morrison’s high kicks in his tight maroon suit to Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson trading a series of guitar licks during “Further On Up The Road”, what occurred on stage that night transcended any drama that occurred off of it.


THE IDEA

On Friday night, The Blue Note will be presenting its second annual live recreation of the film with no detail spared.

Over the years, Blue Note local talent buyer Pat Kay frequently covered songs from the legendary concert in his various bands. But he craved more — a more complete production for a film that deserves to be seen and heard by all.

For years, Kay saved a place in The Blue Note’s booking calendar for the event — dreaming of a way to successfully pull off a worthy tribute for the historic night. But year after year, he was forced to remove the pin from the calendar — until last year.

Kay enlisted the help of former Columbia musician Sean Canan to play as The Band with his “Voodoo Players”. And slowly but surely, the parts began to assemble as Kay pieced together all the details from the film to eventually create his fantasy.

Between finding the chandeliers to mimic the original set and putting together a cast of local musicians to serve as the famous guests, Kay worked tirelessly to produce a quality product that even Richard Manuel would be proud of.

What was once just a pipe dream for Kay became a reality.


THE SHOW

The design of the show allows for creativity and adaptation with a lighter focus on Robbie Robertson and instead more on the overall community that came together to honor the legacy of The Band’s career.

The set is structured very similarly to the original concert. The first part of the set will feature songs from The Band’s discography performed and backed by Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players and the The Funky Butt Horns. The second part of the evening will make room for the plethora of local musicians on hand to portray the iconic guests from the film. The guests were hand-picked by Kay to match the vocal styles and on-stage personalities of the artists they were chosen to portray.

Each performer left it all on the Winterland Ballroom stage 41 years ago. You can expect the same from this batch of artists on The Blue Note stage Friday night.

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Listen to last year’s recording here to get you ready for Friday’s show!

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Susto: & we’re fine today

When: Saturday, November 11thDoors at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m.
Where: Rose Music Hall
Tickets: $10 in advance | $12 day of show
Opener: Dawg Yawp + Blue Jay

On SUSTO’s latest record, & I’m Fine Today, the five-piece band manages to blend elements of Americana and psychedelic rock to create their own unique sound. Lead single Waves is like if early A.M.-era Wilco collaborated with Oasis during the Gallagher brothers’ psychedelic phase on Standing On The Shoulder of Giants. 

And most importantly, it works.

The album deals heavily with visions and dreams for its narrative base. Lead singer Justin Osborne is willing to get very personal with his lyrics. And while the record deals with difficult topics, at the core of the record is hope. Whether it’s dealing with his father’s cancer in “Far Out Feeling” or substance abuse in “Hard Drugs”, Osborne’s lyrics provide hope. Hope that any problem in life eventually works itself out on its own, and the best that anyone can do is take it in stride.

The album concludes with “Jah Werx” an uplifting song about community and having people to help you through those dark times — perfectly describing the overall sentiment of the record.

“Jah Werx, and I’m fine today.”

SUSTO returns to Rose Music Hall this Saturday night following up on a headlining show last June at Rose that turned out to be a staff favorite.

Be sure to come early to see local indie-folk band Blue Jay! Listen to their newest single, Sapphire Eyes, below!


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Sax and the City: Big Gigantic on 9th

Last Thursday, The Blue Note wrapped up its 9th Street Summerfest concert series, and it was certainly no small matter.

For the first time since Girl Talk in the summer of 2012, electronic music has grooved its way back to the outdoors. This time we were graced with the headlining act of Big Gigantic who delivered their classic funk-style electronic with some halloween flare. The venue was themed to fit the part with inflatables on stage and webs in the foyer of The Blue Note.

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Seasonally, a rather warm day came to an end as St. Louis-native DJ LuSiD began the night soon after the gates opened. The early arrivers were given a dose of psychedelic funk that was key to get them ready for a long night of all varieties of electronic sounds.

As the sun set and the wind picked up, the onesies began to flock toward the venue. From all directions at the intersection of 9th and Walnut, party goers and music fans were flowing in to get a taste of the madness.

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People were stacking up in front of the stage and began to sprawl on the front steps of other local 9th Street businesses as Big Wild took the stage to “I Just Wanna” to get the crowd moving. Vast desert landscapes and ocean scenes mesmerized us before Big Wild snapped on his live drums as the beat dropped. Big Wild’s show implements his unique remixes to other popular songs with the use of his live instrumental components. Among the ones played was, “Hey Mami” by Blue Note alum Sylvan Esso, where he live whistles the chorus. Other notable remixed songs played were “For The Love” by GRiZ, “Generationwhy” by ZHU and a common fan favorite “Stand Up” by Ludacris. He even mashed up his own “Venice Venture” with “Throw Some D’s” by Rich Boy. 

Big Wild will be returning to The Blue Note on February 13! If you had a good time last Thursday, or if you missed out on the fun, be sure to come to this one!

 

 

Now a packed house, 9th Street was buzzing with people all around, inside and out of The Blue Note. At intermission, we reloaded on tall boys and laced up our dancing shoes. At around 9 pm, Big Gigantic opened up hot with their timeless jam with GRiZ, “Good Times Roll”. Rocking their monkey and blue Care Bear onesies, Dom and Jeremy joined the hundreds that made the decision to have a cozy concert experience. The crowd got up to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and got down when Dominic mixed “As We Proceed” into the halloween classic, “Ghost Busters”. Even a happy couple showed they “Got The Love” by getting engaged under the October sky.

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Last fall, Big G’s set was composed of songs off of their, at the time, new album. This time around we got a solid mix of songs from older albums in their career like “Stronger” and “Touch the Sky”. We also had the chance to hear a clean mix of “Get On Up” that segued into their remix of Kanye’s “Get Em High” while the production screen displayed live POV videos of the duo jamming out on each of their instruments.

This show was full of music and friends. The outdoor set up gives way for a wider variety of show experiences. You can rage in the front and get close to your fellow ravers, or chill towards the middle or back where you might see a few kids running around amongst the hoopers. You could also go inside to take a break from the noise and catch up with your friends. It allows for more of an overall experience on top of a live show. Big Gigantic played for a variety of people, but they still established the community atmosphere that is present at all 9th Street shows.