14 Rock Around The World July 1977

DOWN …. cont. from pg. 13

was most excellent. A disturbing whining PA did not deter Al from a unique acoustic solo. The responsive audience was treated to a high-powered encore.

Weather Report was equally good and brilliantly exuded a high degree of professionalism in sound and the mastering of their individual instruments. The pieces varied from exotic island-style music with Zawinuil on lead synthi to subdued royal court-jazz-type stuff. Standing out was Jaco Pastorius on bass, on which he cranked out some exciting fuzz solos with weird signatures; relentlessly driving, heavy stuff indeed! All members took unaccompanied solo segments, all top-notch. The virtuoisity of the members of this top jazz outfit cannot easily be stated. If you have yet to catch Weather Report, please do yourself the favour–and ditto for the up and coming DiMeola ensemble.

A new part-time mini-theatre has flowered in the Germantown area of Manhattan. Formerly known as the Stargate, the refurbished Yorkville Palace Theatre doubles during the day as the Turn Verein, formerly an hofbrau haus and now a gymnasium of sorts. Anyway, it is a fine venue featuring floor table seating for approximately 300 with added room for 100 standees and room for 100 seating around the upstairs balcony, horseshoe-shaped. It was the scene recently for the NY premiere of the new foursome The Babys, sic. These four English poseurs have apparently appeared from nowhere to guest on a number of important TV shows. Their past is not noteworthy with the exception of one member having been in the British trio Spontaneous Combustion,

however, these lads can kick you around pretty well. We experienced a bit of crowd hysteria as a significant number of young ladies crowded the stage front and chanted, screamed, and threw “pampers” on stage (this Pilzner thought he was seeing things when some of them retrieved these infantile necessities and actually rubbed them over their faces! And I thought it was the celestial seasonings we’d been partaking of creeping up on me!). The Babys are very good looking boys, all in their early 20’s, as well as hirsute–you know, that “terribly English” rock star look. Altho bass man John Waite’s fret meanderings were inaudible in the wretched mix, he instantly became the centre of visual attraction reminding me straight away of Rod Stewart, spiked hair and long noise ‘n’ all. He even sounds like Roddy-o. Music-wise, the band exhibited a poorman’s Bad Company feel; riffy and repetitive lix to the fore. “Lookin’ for Love”–a Free-type tune, rocked my sox off. Their guitarist, thin, lanky and effiminate facially, is a bloke to be reckoned with, doubling on keyboards. However, it was all too loud, the drum solo was merely an exercise in rhythms, and it all became a trifle monotous after an hour. With some work and direction The Babys can get somewhere in this crowded musical world. They can kick arse. We’d like to see them again soon, hopefully back at this fine venue.

The new-look George Duke Band recently entertained a nearly full Bottom Line, with an enigmatic performance. Opener Chris Bush, the uniquely insane comedian is, without a doubt, one of the funniest comics around. His hilarious set touched upon the racey, underground drug and sex-oriented spoofs. His sick brand of

humour should not be missed at any cost. You are forewarned!

Duke came on with an auspicious beginning to his set with a heavy, cosmic-wind, space intro, breaking into a funky-jazz thing. During his set, Duke exhibited his proficiency on an array of keyboards including string device, grand and electric pianos, and synthi as well as handling most lead vocals. Duke’s music is much more commercial these days than his time with Billy Cobham and he relies heavily on melody. He still retains a healthy degree of musical and stage humor/surprise. However, it was his sixpiece outfit which must be knocked. Keeping in mind the relative newness of the band, we found that the 3 femme vocalists, especially, didn’t really gell with the rest of the band and instrumental workouts as well were bogged down. Time will certainly speak its piece. Standout lead guitarist Chas. Johnson was the most excellent as was Byron Miller on bass. Percussive journeyman Ngudu was outstanding on kit. He and Miller combined, at times to lay down an unbeatable, funky beat. After this outfit has gigged more considerably, we’d like to view them again, hoping for a solidifying of all disparate elements. George’s inexhaustible energy, we are certain, will win out.

The curiously-constructed Avery Fisher Hall served as the venue for the NY-area premiere of the ace Teutonic keyboard wizards known as Tangerine Dream. This act has been slogging about Europe and the UK since 1969 and they finally got the chance of touring the USA due to an increase in popularity of late. This increased interest has been due mainly to import album sales activity and the open-mindedness of a handful of key radio

announcers and FM radio music directors. We felt that the show, SRO, was unfortunately billed as “Tangerine Dream with Laserium” which, of course, it was not. The Laserium show has been held in a local planetarium over the past couple of years and has drawn vast audiences to its one-hour shows. What one saw at the concert was not Laserium but “Tangerine Dream with the lights of Laserium.” An academic point, however, misleading. A demanding crowd, partially stymied by an anti-partying group of hall attendants, was treated to two sets: the first a mere 40 minutes and the second–80 minutes with two-10-minute standing ovations. Edgar Froese stood out on a number of instruments including slide guitar, distorted grand piano, and synthi. Peter Baumann and Chris Franke’s synthi performances were also of the first water. The sound was, admittedly, great. When Tangerine Dream got heavy, they were at their peak, and we space cadets could actually feel the bass in our bones. Laserium’s lights and special effects worked well both within the confines of the scope of the music as well as on their own. Lasierist Richard Werth, on stage at all times, must be lauded for his fantastic contribution. A set of tall, rotating triangular mirrors, set at both sides of the stage added to the mysticism of the show. Most of the pieces were improvised and impressively hypnotic and otherworldly. Franke’s jack-o-lantern was a cute addition, The ensemble treble-encored featuring uptempo as well as mellow moments combined with dry ice effects. We were in agreement with the numerous cries of “louder” from the rear of the hall. It was a multi-media experience which will be difficult to forget. Das War Rima, Junges!

UP…. cont. from pg. 12

the uptown venue crept back into action this year with some Latin and jazz concerts. Little Feat’s May 7th show marked the Beacon’s return to rock, a welcome event in a city whose concert facilities, unbelievably enough, are few and far from desirable. Lincoln Center don’t allow no more rock an’ roll, leaving the Bottom Line club, the Palladium, and Madison Square Garden the only places to get yer ya yas out. Let’s hope the Beacon lasts this time.

Advance warning: Last year Joan Armatrading’s album was voted No. 1 Best Album of the Year in England (over Dylan, the Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Steve Wonder). This summer she’s going into the studio for album No. 4 with an electric guitar and some “rockier” tunes, with producer Glyn Johns at the helm (you remember him; he did the Stones and some other groups). Look out, folks.

Who sez the 60’s are over? Ronnie Spector is back in action with a new single for Cleveland International, and Jesse Winchester, long in Canadian exile for his anti-war stance, returned in concert for a historic/musical event at the Bottom Line. Ronnie’s been highly visible lately with Southside Johnny’s boys; their recent Palladium date, however, had to be cancelled. Seems Southside, like so many New Yorkers these days, was hit with the flu.

At the Dolly Parton party for her Bottom Line appearance: Andy (Party Boy) Warhol and mad John Belushi (not :together). At the show: man-about-town Michael Phillip Jagger, punk princess Patti ‘Smith, and Lily (Appearing Nigply) Tomlin.

Budding underground star Alex Chilton (formerly lead singer with the Box Tops) is making N.Y. rock critics say lots of nice things. He’s now cutting a demo–you’ll hear more from this man, so keep your ears open.

Everybody’s sweetheart Peter Frampton

is on the road again and will be in Madison Square Garden August 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. With Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder helping out on his newest studio album, what the golden boy can do in person to top himself remains to be seen.

Beatlemania is back in the Big Apple. For those who don’t know what that means, the musical featuring John, Paul, George and Ringo lookalikes opened the first week of June, drawing celebs to the premiere and party afterwards at Studio 54. An incident nearly occurred at the theatre when an over-zealous employee nabbed Steve Tyler of Aerosmith because he hadn’t seen Tyler present his ticket; co-manager Steve Leiber came to the rescue, however, and all was well. Among the party guests: Andy Warhol, who seems to be a big rock fan these days, Saturday Night’s old friend Chevy Chase, some of Aerosmith, May Pang, and all of Bella Abzugg (dancing).

The Billboard Convention at the N.Y. Hilton attracted flocks of media people and artists. A special talent forum on June 3 featured singer Mickey Thomas (“Fooled Around And Fell In Love”) and Detective, Swan Song Records’ new heavy metal baby. Thomas’ set was a knock-out ; fellow Southerner Elvin Bishop (shown here onstage with Mickey) appeared and boogied along for several numbers. Al Kooper visited the boys backstate (see photo–no, that’s not a giant turtle standing next to Mickey), and then the Macon/Tulsa crowd repaired to a nearby hotel bar for libations before cruising over to Trax (the current trendy music bizz hang-out) to catch a set by the Widespread Depression Orchestra. (W.D.O. is a group of young Vermonters with the look and sound of a genuine 40’s dance/swing band.) Cowboy-hatted Elvin plunked himself down in front of the bandstand to observe for a while, then got up to jam with the Orchestra. The result was some outrageously foot-stomping music.

Detective was a disappointment. Key-

boardman Tony Kaye (ex-Yes) and bassist Bobby Pickett were damn good, but the double-jointed pseudo-mimetic/kung fu posturing of black-leather-clad singer Michael Des Barres was obnoxious. Detective will probably become stars in spite of themselves, though, if only for their sonic resemblance to Led Zeppelin.

Speaking of the Zep, they did not show up for Mink De Ville’s opening night at Trax, despite thick and fast rumors and the presence of virtually their entire label staff in the audience. It didn’t matter though; Mink De Ville were sensational enough. This band is living proof that the 60’s are alive; their sound is a crossbreed of Lou Reed, the Drifters, Righteous Brothers, Chicago blues, 50’s doo-wop, street corner harmonies, and searing 70’s rock’n’roll. They sorta remind you of the Stones circa “Mona” and “Little Red Rooster” –definitely a Cadillac among rock’n’roll bands.

The last Mink DeVille show at Trax had among the guests, Mick (shlopped again) Jagger, Michelle Phillips, and Steven Stills telling Willie DeVille, “I even went out and bought your album.”

In the audience for Valerie Carter at the Bottom Line: Mick you-know-who, Phoebe Snow, and John Sebastian.

Casting was held at MCA-Universal here for the film version of “The Wiz,” and Michael Jackson and Diana Ross won lead roles.

In the studio: those zany Sparks brothers, cutting a new single for Columbia; Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire; and–at long last a free man–Bruce Springsteen (“The Boss” is sitting on at least 20 new songs).

That single on Epic by “Suzy and the Redstripes” is actually a single on Epic by Linda McCartney & friends. Could there be truth to the rumor that McCartney and Wings will sign with Columbia when their Capitol contract is up in the near future? Linda, by the way, is

expecting the next little McCartney in September. Capitol sources confirm that the baby will not be named Klaatu. But there will be a new Klaatu album due at the same time.

Kiki Dee will do her first national tour this summer, appearing with Blue, a new band produced by Elton John. A New York date is set for August 1st in Central Park (it’s not the Schaeffer Festival anymore, in case you’re wondering; this one is sponsored by Dr. Pepper, and there won’t be much rock, thanks to complaints by area residents about noise, litter, crime, drugs, etc.).

Joe Cocker is also preparing for a tour, using Bobby Keyes on sax.

Jams and more jams; everybody’s got spring fever: Tom Scott joined David Sanborne for some music at Trax; at a later date Scott and Ralph MacDonald got down with Stuff at Mikell’s nitery.

Trax scores again; spotted in the crowd during the past two weeks: Peter Frampton, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (Which twin has the Toni? Only Roger Daltrey knows for sure).

And last but certainly not least, torn and frayed exile on Main Street Keith Richard is not only visiting Mick in Manhattan, but also appearing in unlikely places: a recording studio, with Mr. J., and at the Tim Moore/Gallagher & Lyle Bottom Line concert. Peck’s Bad Boy stayed to hear Tim, socialized between sets, and disappeared (along with numerous Keefwatchers in the audience) before G&L came on. Someone oughta give KR a medal for brass pick-ups. At last count, he was supposed to be cooling his heels in some unnamed foreign country. Betcha the U.S. Immigration people are just laughing their asses off. Maybe Keef just wanted to get some advice from John L. on the proper procedure for becoming a working-class hero? A