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Zappa Plays Zappa Review

November 13, 2010 Blog Leave a comment

Dweezil Zappa & Co, Nov 12 Stockholm, Sweden

zappa plays zappa - cosmik debris

Cosmik Debris featuring Frank

This was the fourth time I saw Zappa Plays Zappa, and my expectations were through the roof as the show has gotten even better each time. The first time I saw them Dweezil really impressed me by not simply copying his dad’s solos, and inject his own playing style into Frank’s solos and thereby making sort of a hybrid that really worked. And he seems to have reverse engineered Frank’s sound to get the exactly right authentic tone.

The 2010 version of the Zappa Plays Zappa band consists of  Joe Travers on drums, Pete Griffin on bass, Scheila Gonzalez on sax, key and vocals, Billy Hulting on percussion, Jamie Kime on guitar, Chris Norton on keys/vox and the amazing Ben Thomas on vocals/trumpet. Not too shabby. As for the show, I don’t remember each and every song they played – but here are a couple of highlights:

RDNZL

Awesome rendition of RDNZL featuring trading solos by Scheila Gonzalez (tenor sax), Billy Hulting (vibraphone) and Jamie Kime (guitar). Kime’s solo was among the best I’ve heard in a long time. He looks pretty anonymous and “sideman-like” but during his solo spot he really got to show off his fusion chops – without turning the solo into a shred-fest.

Dumb All Over

When I found out that the concert was set to be in a church (Filadelfiakyrkan in Stockholm) my first very juvenile thought was “I hope they play Dumb All Over… hehe hehe” (in a Beavis & Butthead type voice). Well, they did play Dumb All Over – with none other than Frank on vocals, on film and in perfect sync with the band. Joe Travers had no visible in-ear monitors, but there HAD to be a click track somewhere in the background. Anyway, I digress…

I Promise Not to Come in Your Mouth

Again, maybe not the title most commonly played in a church. It’s a stunningly beautiful song though, and the Gonzalez/Thomas horn section did a great job – as did keyboardist Chris Norton who nailed Eddie Jobson’s moog parts with flying colors. Excellent!

Titties & Beer

Guitarist Jamie Kime’s second solo spot, this time playing the part of the devil complete with a horned mask and all. The question on everybody’s minds was: Did the church actually know who they rented the venue to? Too funny!

Pick Me I’m Clean

One of my favorite Zappa songs, with one of the most explosive drum fills ever (originally played by Vinnie Colaiuta). Ben Thomas is a dead ringer for Ike Willis. Wow.

Apostrophe Album

They played the entire Apostrophe album from start to finish with Frank on film singing and playing lead guitar with the band backing to Cosmik Debris. That song may be one of the most worn-out Zappa tunes ever and quite frankly I wouldn’t miss it if they omitted it from the set list, but hearing Frank singing it was very cool. One song from Apostrophe that I never really got before is Excentrifugal Forz, but it kind of took off this time. Maybe it’s the vocals… The title tune was fantabulous too, with Pete Griffin playing Jack Bruce’s parts

Inca Roads

One of the true Zappa classics. But what the hell was Chris Norton doing during the keyboard solo? Frank on guitar. Superb.

zappa plays zappa - dumb all over

Dumb All Over

Zappa Plays Zappa: In Conclusion

In a nutshell: Awesome. But as much as I hate to admit it I’m not entirely as enthusiastic as I was after the Zappa Plays Zappa show last year. First of all the show was only two hours long. Yeah I know – two hours of Frank Zappa’s music is plenty, but the Zappa Plays Zappa gang has gotten us all used to 3-hour shows. So 2 hours felt a little thin. And they could have played another encore. Second, they haven’t played ONE song from Joe’s Garage yet (at least not in Stockholm), and I was hoping to hear at least one or two songs from that album. Keep it Greasy would be nice. Or why not Dong Work for Yuda? Come to think of it, they did play Tush Tush Tush last time which is essentially an instrumental version of A Token of My Extreme. But that doesn’t really count, does it? No Joe’s Garage this time either but I have my hopes up for next time.

Having said that I realize that I probably come of as being negative and disappointed, which of course I am not. How can I possibly be disappointed from seeing and hearing the music of my all-time biggest musical hero played live by a phenomenal band? It’s just that Zappa Plays Zappa over delivered the past three times and my expectations were probably unfairly high. This was probably one of the top 10 shows I have ever seen and the next time I get the chance I WILL see them again.

Thank you Dweezil and Zappa Plays Zappa for keeping Frank’s music alive.

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OddGrooves Reviewed in Wusik Magazine

October 17, 2010 Blog Leave a comment

Our MIDI [intlink id="9" type="page"]drum loops[/intlink] packs have been reviewed by the dynamic Alex Arsov of Wusik Magazine.

Here’s quote from the review:

“It is not hard to find some decent four-on-the-floor MIDI grooves among the competition, but when the time comes for fills and intros, Oddgrooves packs are absolutely unbeatable. Hats off to Mister Magnus… Live MIDI drum clips played by an excellent drummer, a collection where everything except the ordinary could be found. Magnus is a real drummer in all matters – unpredictable, wild with plenty of crazy ideas. ”

Read the whole review here:

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