"Concert Reviews"

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by Al Slavicsky... 

DC 101 23rd Annual Chili Cook-Off

(Something Corporate, 2 Skinnee J’s, Sugarcult, Carbon Leaf, Remmey Zero, Peter Yorn, Soul Asylum, and Puddle of Mudd)

12th & Penn Ave. NW, Washington, DC

May 18, 2002

The 23rd Annual DC 101 Chili Cookout occurred on May 18th, 2002 on 12th & Penn Ave. NW, Washington, DC sponsored by the Washington, DC base radio station DC 101, National Kidney Foundation, and Bud Light beer raised over $800,000 for the NKF with over 40,000 people attending the event. This year's featured bands were Something Corporate, 2 Skinnee J’s, Sugarcult, Carbon Leaf, Remmey Zero, Peter Yorn, Soul Asylum, and Puddle of Mudd.  Here is a rundown of the event:

Missed the winner of the local band competition We due to an accident and finding parking in the greater DC metro area. But what was overheard from people at the show was that they were good.

The first major band to perform on the bill was Something Corporate whom are scheduled to appear on this year’s Warped Tour. Imagine Ben Fold Five meeting Faith No More via the way of  punk rock.  What was most impressive about the band was the use of a piano on the stage. The songs that stood out during their set were “Into The Hurricane,” “Punk Rock Princess,” “Fall,” and “Make Me Sick (4 School’s Over).” During this set in the crowd was none other than J. Guevara of the 2 Skinnee J’s greeting fans who recognized him, which was cool.

Second on the bill was the Brooklyn based band the 2 Skinnee J’s whom were promoting their new CD on Volcano Records. For those whom are unfamiliar with 2SJ’s, they do a unique sounding blend of alternative hip-hop rapcore. Their on stage persona is always a thrill -- in the past they wore ninja suits, outer space costumes, and others. Today’s theme was sort of that '70s show vibe. One must really love the remark that the band mentioned about the J. Edgar Hoover Building be named after the world’s most famous cross dresser.  Songs highlights include “The Good, The Bad, and The Skinnee,” “718,” and the band’s cover of Rush’s “Temple of Sirux,” which was a good surprise. Remarks overheard in the crowd were a lot of people disliked the band and had no idea whom Stumpy was and what was his part of the band. Well, unless you are a hard-core fan of the band or have seen them play before, you would not get their tongue-in-cheek humor.  But the band did a good show for the crowd and may have gotten some new fans along the way.

The third band on the bill was Richmond, VA’s Carbon Leaf whom is best known for the first unsigned band ever to obtain an AMA award for best unsigned band due the song “The Boxer.”  Carbon Leaf is a jam band like Rusted Root, Phish, or the Dead with a Celtic or Scottish flair using seldom heard instruments in rock music such a mandolin or hand flute. Carbon Leaf could even be compared to the mighty REM’s lighter sound. Their set started out with “Wait For The Sign To Shine” then followed into a cover of  The Beach Boys classic “Sloop John B” intertwined segue into Carbon Leaf ‘s “Hope” with a cool flute solo. The next thing Carbon Leaf did was a long instrumental jam with a stand up bass solo, drum solo, and a guitar solo. “American Tale” was next followed by the crowd favorite “Mary Mac.” Carbon Leaf closed their set with their radio hit “The Boxer.” Overall, Carbon Leaf is a band to watch out for due to sound, vibe, and strong following.

Remey Zero was the next band whom are signed to Electra Records. They play sort of a poppy punk-alternative view. During this set the crowd was getting wilder by the minute, for some of the rude angst punk rockers whom did not care for the rest of the crowd decided to do a circle pit. To be honest, this was a big frown on the show and may make a lot of people not want to attend the next DC 101 Chili Cookout due to the violence of these losers whom wear Rev 9 t-shirts. Remey Zero’s music does not have the sound to do a circle pit to, but these bozos did not care. Highlights of Remey Zero’s set included “Back Down” and “Just One More Day.”

Next artist to performer was Peter Yorn whom can be compared as today’s contemporary Bob Dylan due to his stage persona and lyrics. “Turn Around Corner and Me” started the set followed by “It’s A Joke,” “Undercover,” “Take Me Out,”  “I Don’t Know Why,” and “Take Me Out.”  Then Peter surprised the crowd with his cover of the David Bowie classic “China Girl” which had a new twist. Overall, Peter Yorn proved to the fans that he will be a force to reckon with and is more than the hype which was created.

Soul Asylum was the next band to appear on stage. By this time, crowd surfing was high and violent. People getting hit in their faces, people falling face first into the pavement, and people falling due to the weight of crowd surfers. This was a bad situation. In fact, one person was kicked in the face with a boot that one crowd surfer was wearing. Crowd surfing should be outlawed and people whom do it should be arrested. Well, back to Soul Asylum’s set -- the band was in rare form playing their hits like “Runaway Train,” “Misery,” and other hits which they were known for. But the highlight of their set was actually prior to the band’s performance when the Washington Redskins' Brett Conway came out to promote his bike-a-thon. This crowd booed him - guess he must not be liked by his hometown crowd. He kicked some autographed footballs into the crowd and then introduced the band.  Overall, Soul Asylum proved that they are not some mid-age rockers and still have the power to capture the crowd.

Puddle of Mudd were supposed to be the headliners and the last band on the bill but due to Sugarcult arriving late was not. Puddle of Mudd was a crowd favorite, playing such songs as “Blurry,” “Control,” and “I Hate You.”  Impressive set despite the actions of the crowd whom threw water bottles, coins, and sneakers trying to hurt people. But one of the most shocking things that occurred during the set was when a female whom was crowd surfing banged her head off the concrete of the street pavement with a force that it would have made extreme wrestling look weak. People thought she may have had brain damage or something but she walked up as if nothing happened. Despite all the problems with the crowd, Puddle of Mudd proved that they are good rockers and can really rock with the best.

After the Puddle of Mudd set, the majority of the people left the show but there was still one more band Sugarcult whom arrived late to the show. Sugarcult plays sort of an alternative rock mixed with punk sound. The crowd which was still around 3,000 enjoyed the set especially when the band did a cover of  the Ramones classic “I Want To Be Sedated.”

In retrospect, the DC 101 Chili Cookout was a success despite some of the people in the crowd acting like violent drunks; it was able to entertain over 40,000 people and raise over $800,000 for the National Kidney Foundation. Overall a good day of worth of rock and roll.

by Staff Writer...

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI

June 28, 2002

They came out to a thunderous applause and waves of people. They were well turned out in their dark suits and Petty’s cowboy boots. The official start of the tour was the song - “I Need to Know”.

They continued thru with  “I Won’t Back Down”

Well, I won’t back down/ no, I won’t back down / you can stand me up at the gates of hell/but, I won’t back down / no, I stand my ground/won’t be turned around/ and I’ll  keep this world from draggin’ me down/gonna stand my ground/ and I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out –

Well, I know what’s right
I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushing me around
But, I stand my ground
And, I won’t back down

a real hero’s motivation – great lyrics that are especially poignant to those facing adversity.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers kicked off their 2002 Tour right here in GR. This is the second time Petty has kicked off his tour from Grand Rapids, the first being 1999’s “Echo” Tour. This has not gone unnoticed by the music establishment.

They launched into the third song, “Refugee,” followed by “Last Dance with Mary Jane.” Every song, aside from the new ones that won’t be released until October, was met by audience participation and the fans sang lyrics that echoed to the stage.

The great thing about the music that Petty and the Heartbreakers play is that they sound the way you expect them to with their roots American rock.  The songs sound great in concert and live up to the expectations that die-hard fans have.  The uptempo tunes were met with wild enthusiasm as the mixed ages crowd danced their way thru the night of hit songs.

Petty and his keyboardist/piano player, Benmont Tench, have been playing music together since they were 11 or 12 in Gainesville, FL.  He said he was glad to be onstage with his group that has stayed together for the last 25 years.

The band stretched things out with a country flavored Extend-o-Jam on “You Don’t Know How it Feels” that is punctuated by the wailing harmonica.

During “It’s Good to Be King,” Petty twirled and tried to look up from the curtain of long blond hair that obscured his view while trying to give the band direction as he played. He looked to be genuinely enjoying himself, proof positive; he was king of this arena tonight.

Mike Campbell had an especially jangly guitar and high energy while playing “You Wreck Me,” with his dark poofy halo of hair bobbing to each guitar thrash he played.  Ron Blair, bassist again after a 20-year break, was what I call the epitome of the bassist, they are usually very cool and they don’t move too much, but keep the bass line moving thru every song.

The drummer, Steve Ferrone, also played in the opening act for Mavis Staples and had a great drum solo

The only songs, in my opinion, that were missing were the two that he played when he was here for the “Echo” tour in 1999: “Room at the Top” and “Free Girl Now.”

3 tunes from the upcoming release, The Last DJ, due out in October were debuted for the Grand Rapids audience.  Usually the artists play after the new record is released, but with an artist like Petty and his vast collection of songwriting, he doesn’t need a new release to tour, he can just play and the fans will be there.

They closed the show with the song -- “American Girl.”

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