Friday, February 01, 2008

JI400 at Slim's - San Franciso - 1/26/08

After days of torrential rain in NorCal and the closing of the highway that takes me to San Francisco I awoke last Saturday morning wondering if seeing Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit was going to be in the cards. JI400 had to cancel their Long Beach show two days before due to a flu bug that swept through the band and I might be stuck in Wine Country needing an ark to arrive at Slim's.

The first peak out of my window that Saturday morning revealed the sunrise below and I knew that 'every little ting... gonna be ahright'.

I rolled into San Francisco without a problem, made some phone calls to coordinate with some friends and after a heaping bowl of Won Ton soup from King Lee's my buddy Rich and I hopped into a cab and drove down to the venue.

Once at Slim I caught up with Jimbo who took me backstage to say hello to everyone. The band looked liked they had rebounded nicely from the nasty virus and spirits were high all around. I met Deery for the first time and he's on hell of a nice guy and a fantastic addition to the 400 Unit.

Once I heard Will Hoge strike his first notes I hurried back up stairs to catch his set. See, I've been in the same venue Hoge has played in twice yet I'd yet to really hear he and his band play. Will toured with The Drams last year and I was too busy having deep conversations with Brent and the Boys to focus on the excellent play of Will Hoge. Tonight, I would not be denied.

Hoge and his band are outstanding. Such soulful rock and roll with hints of the Black Crowes when they meant something... a purple haired beauty accompanying the band of the fiddle... well I just had to go out and grab me a Will Hoge CD the next day.

Here's a couple of pictures of Will and his band.

Will has a big purple tour bus... that Will actually drives. Talk about a man of many talents. If you're going to check out JI400 on this massive tour be sure to catch Will's set. You will not be disappointed.

Oh, and the ladies seem to really like Will. He pulled in quite a bit of talent that night.

Next up was JI400.

Here's the crew for the evening

From left to right, there's Rich, Fish, Kimtucky and Sofia. Good folks at a good show:

The crowd filled the joint....

The guitars were looking pretty....

Then the boys hit the stage...

Browan giving me the 'What the hell are you looking at' look.

The band proceeded to rip into a great set of Siren's songs mixed with Jason DBT work. Both GDLL and Danko were played.

The music was mighty fine and the band sounded great. Jason's voice hadn't fully recovered from the bug but you would have never known there was a problem. That sweet soul flowed from his vocals as smoothly as the shots of Jamesons flowed into my shot glass.

This tour is being sponsored by Harp Magazine. Jason and Will are blogging the tour on Harp's website. Good stuff to read:

HARP Exclusive: Jason Isbell (Road Report, Pt. 2):

"Played in Little Rock the next night. I was quite disappointed by the fact that the girl from Evanescence didn't show up. I think she's extra cute. I hear she's Church of Christ though, so we wouldn't be able to do it standing up—somebody might think we were dancing."

Here's Deery tickling the ivory.

If you haven't already check out JI400's acoustical version of Bob Dylan's The Man in Me on WLAY's MySpace. What a great cover: - WLAY-AM - MUSCLE SHOALS, Alabama - R&B / Rock / Country -

Guitar face:

And there was some fist pumping....

The show ended and we helped the boys load the van. Little did we know that this was the last time most of this gear would be touched by anybody in the band....

In the process of loading, Browan took me on stage to show me a chord that I was having problems with as I try to learn Dress Blues on the guitar. I am a guitar playing neophyte so for Browan to take the time to learn me... well, Northern Alabama produces some quality folks.

Goodbyes were said, hugs all around and I went home sated with the sounds of the Singing River floating in my head already looking forward to the next time.

The next day I get a phone call from Jimbo asking if I knew of a good glass repair man. The band's van had been busted into and all had been stolen. I felt sick to my stomach for the boys.

But worse can get worse. This seemed to be the last straw for Ryan, the 400 Unit's drummer. Ryan made a decision to pack it in and head home. His very reasoned and eloquent blog post on his MySpace explains his decision Blogs - I regret to inform you... - RTillery MySpace Blog

Ryan was quickly becoming my favorite drummer to watch on stage. His presence is awesome and his playing matched.

I wish Ryan the best.

Here's Ryan doing what he does best.

The must go on and Jason makes sure to communicate to the fans that thievery, busted windows, hell nor high water will stop the tour: Blogs - Long Beach and Sacramento shows - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit MySpace Blog

Dear fans and friends,

Leading up to the California shows, Jason had been under the weather with the flu. As the cold worsened, it became apparent that, in the best interest of Jason's health, Jason and the 400 Unit would not be able to play Vault 350 in Long Beach.

Having taken a day off to recuperate, Jason and the 400 Unit regained positive momentum with great fan support in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was after the San Francisco show that life threw its next unexpected punch.

On the morning of Monday, January 28, the guys discovered that their van had been forcibly broken into and that much of their gear had been stolen, including four guitars, a drum kit, an accordion, and a laptop computer. Considering the technical and emotional deflation that they experienced, the guys were left with no choice but to cancel the scheduled in-store performance at Dimple and evening show at Harlow's in Sacramento.

Now, with a repaired van window, replacement gear on the way, and Portland, Oregon on the horizon, Jason and the 400 Unit continue to forage ahead.

For the canceled shows and appearances we sincerely apologize, and we greatly appreciate your understanding. As Jason and the 400 Unit roll into your hometown, greet them with cheers and energy, as your undying support will be vital to their success in this otherwise trying time.

Thanks for the great show and better time, JI400. Here's to the rest of the tour being as smooth as a baby's behind.



Anonymous said...

JPW---Here I am, a day late again. It's the story of my life. Look. If Kerry & company and Gore & company were not inspiring/important/right/strong enough to inspire enough people to vote for them to be elected on their merits (forgetting that the elections were stolen and they actually both won anyway) it is THEIR faults/responsibilities/failures, etc. They were not good/right/inspiring enough. I am a registered Green who recently re-registered Demo just so I could vote for Kucinich in the Cali primary. Obama or Clinton do not represent me, who I am, or what I stand for...

I could not leave you hanging and waiting for my Nader thoughts, JPW. I know you were glued to your computer in anticipation. You are now free to roam the country.

AAW said...

But how can you back out the 'stolen elections' and still have an argument here.

I dare say that Nader didn't represent what you stand for and you voted for him in 00 and 04, I'm sure. While he was being funded by Republicans.

I just have a problem with thinking that a candidate is going to represent me 100 percent. If you want to call it 'picking the lesser evil' then cool. Much better than backdoor electing the 'greater evil'.

SJMCB said...

Great pictures, but Will Hoge blows, and snowballs. yeecch. Seriously, you thought it was good, it's been a few years, but smarmy still comes to mind.
and this coming from someone who's been listening to too much Loggins lately!

AAW said...

AwwwWWWW somebody must have a crush on Hoge. Mmmm, hmmm I can tell. I'll tell him next time I see him though I don't think TMcB will be too happy.

sjmcb + WH = Smarmalicious Love.