I must preface this by stating that I knew little of Galactic not long ago. I’d heard them recommended during innocent eavesdropping. I’d heard the ravings among the best of the ragtag new-wave wannabe hippies. I’d even heard some cuts off of one of the band’s albums (don’t ask me which), and I really liked them.
It’s something that happens to bands of all types, from fictional (Spinal Tap) to big (the unnamed band combining former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell with the instrumental power of Rage Against the Machine): A major player (Nigel or Cornell) quits at an inopportune time (in the middle of a big tour or before the debut album is even released), leaving everybody in a lurch.
Looking back at the 2001-2 season of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO), it is fair to say there were some good concerts but more mediocre-to-bad shows. April’s concert last weekend fell squarely into the latter category; like a sardine sandwich, the ends of the concert were adequate while the middle smelled and tasted funny.
Very few people will disagree that Bill Monroe is the father of bluegrass music. But I wonder how many of them will admit that it was a young female fiddler from Champaign, Illinois, who made it a viable commercial entity in the 21st Century.
Even though it's been without vast amounts of fame or fortune, the career of John Hiatt has had an arc that many musicians would envy. The singer-songwriter has hopped from label to label and style to style, garnered heaps of respect and a bunch or royalties when other artists cover his songs (which happens a lot), and generally gets to do what he wants without the weight of public expectation.
Ron Block doesn't like the spotlight, and that makes him a perfect fit for the world's most popular bluegrass band, Alison Krauss & Union Station. "The whole concept of my playing is to enhance the sound of the band and not draw attention to myself unnecessarily," said Block, the band's guitarist, banjo player, and most frequent songwriter.
One name saved a frozen evening. Christian Lindberg. On what was the most treacherous weather night the Quad Cities had seen in a while, Lindberg – Sweden’s famous solo artist and rare solo trombonist – dazzled the sparse Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) audience with flashy clothes, incredible playing, and rarely performed but easily accessible trombone concertos.
Legendary Quad Cities groove-rock band Burnt McMelba Toast is reuniting for a concert on Friday at RIBCO in The District of Rock Island. Drummer Erik Wilson (who now lives in Philadelphia) and guitarist/singer Pat Willis (presently of Colorado) will return to the Quad Cities for a special show that will also feature original Toast drummer Kevin Moore on some songs.
At the February 2 Quad City Symphony Orchestra concert, the crowd was noticeably perplexed by the divergent Barber Violin Concerto and seemingly in pain sitting through Mahler’s lengthy but cheery Fourth Symphony.
Take a fairly intelligent three-chord progression and pair it with minimalist vocal melodies executed at a snail’s pace, and you’ve accomplished 90 percent of what decent “slo-core” music requires. The other 10 percent isn’t so easy to pull off, but smart lyrics, musicianship, and the power to evoke an emotional response bring the package to completion.

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