The Blue Note & Rose Blog


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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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Official Roots N Blues Afterparties at Rose

Friday

The Kay Brothers

When: Friday, September 29th. Doors at 10:00 p.m., show at 11:00 p.m.
Where: Rose Music Hall
Tickets: FREE with pass| $5 at door

Keep Friday night rolling with The Kay Brothers, a local stompgrass band from California, Missouri, and featuring our own Pat Kay, a talent buyer for The Blue Note!

 

Saturday

Dirtfoot

When: Saturday, September 30th. Doors at 10:00 p.m., show at 11:00 p.m.
Where: Rose Music Hall
Tickets: FREE with pass| $10

Penned by the band as “Gypsy Punk Country Grumble Boogie”, this Louisiana-based band has held many Roots N Blues afterparties at Rose in the past, and all have been some of the most high-energy shows the venue has ever hosted.

 

Sunday

Ben Miller Band

When: Sunday, October 1st. Doors at 8:00 p.m., show at 9:00 p.m.
Where: Rose Music Hall
Tickets: FREE with pass | Donations encouraged
Opener: The Driftaways

Note the change in time, because you don’t want to miss The Driftaways, a reggae-rock band from the St. Louis area, open the show on Sunday night.

Then end your Roots N Blues experience with some Ozark Stomp from Ben Miller Band to put an exclamation point on the entire weekend!


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Midwest Rhythm & Blues Review: Show Preview and Interview

Where: The Blue Note

When: Saturday, March 11. Doors 7:30 | Show 8:30

Tickets: $7

Featured local artists: Jenny Teator , Aina Cook, Ben Hinkebein, Danielle Nicole Band (formerly of Trampled Under Foot), and the The Flood Brothers.

The nine-piece soul, rhythm and blues band known as Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band will be bringing funk and soul from their home of the blues by the Mississippi River to The Blue Note’s stage. They’ll be joined by some of the hottest young singers from Mid-Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City in a revue-style performance.

What is a revue? You may ask. Simply put, it’s a performance consisting of several musical acts that lead up to a headliner, like Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band.

Al Holliday came to Pat Kay, our regional talent buyer at The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall, with this revue concert in mind. In case it wasn’t obvious, we focus on amazing live music, and this concept concert definitely fell into that category. Holliday has never performed in a revue-style concert with his band but he is “So looking forward to working with my fellow artists, my good friends and the band to bring some really special arrangements of their original music.”

“We want it to be unique. From downbeat to encore, we want it to be something special, something that only happens once a year,” Kay says.

Holliday is quite the singer and quite the character. His enthusiasm for his craft makes “soul” a very fitting name for the type of music he creates, which he describes as “Mississippi River soul music.”

Holliday says that in St. Louis, “We all really dig New Orleans R&B and think of them as some kind of sister city.” The New Orleans feel worked its way into their music with a loose, funky feel.

Holliday lives, eats and breathes this Motown, funky, soulful generation of music. He says one of his main inspirations is Tina Turner, but he’s “Not talking about that “What’s Love Got To Do with It” Tina.” Other inspirations include The Band, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Gil Scot-Heron, D’angelo and Allen Toussaint.

Shows like this help connect the last resurgence of this kind of music to the modern version that is played today. This playlist illustrates this concept of connecting then and now.

Holliday is an eccentric personality with a lot of faith in music and even more faith in the people that listen to it. He says his fans are the type of people that keep it real and “go hard ‘af.’”

Although Al Holliday and his “nine-piece soul R&B warrior tribe,” as he refers to them, play all the time, you won’t see them any other time in this format. The same goes for the rest of the talented singers that will be joining him on the stage.

In preparation for the show, Holliday had the East Side Rhythm Band learn the charts for all of the different singers that will be performing. Doing this requires a lot of work on their part, but it allows the show to have a backing band and switch between band leaders on a dime.

In addition to bringing inspiration and passion to their music, Al Holliday & the East Side Rhythm Band send a message. Holliday describes this message as, “Love, baby. Soul f*cking power. Strength. Community. The feeling that life will sometimes kick you in the head but it can’t overpower these things.” I know we all could use a little more love and soul power in our lives these days.

“If you like real music in your community, if you like funky music, if you are alive in the world today, this is a show you do not want to miss,” Holliday says. We couldn’t agree more.

So get your funky, soul-loving, groovin’ booty down to The Note for one of the most creative events this year.

This post was written by Erin Curry, contributing writer for The Blue Note and Rose Blog.