Gig Archives: 2018
(Disclaimer: this may be incomplete or inaccurate)
Friday, January 19th, 2018So there's this annual show the Oakland Symphony puts together - a "live playlist" curated by somebody
famous outside the usual music circles, in this case W. Kamau Bell. While the Jazz Mafia gang
handled most of the "rock/jazz band backing the orchestra" duties, MoeTar got to play our version of
Nina Simone's "I'm Feeling Good" arranged for a zillion instruments. It rocked. The crowd loved it (and
all the other amazing performances, of course). What a wonderful night of good vibes, and I last minute
joined in for the final tune: "Sowing the Seeds of Love" by Tears for Fears - me and Colin playing halves
of his split keyboard. I got the wurli half.
Thursday, April 12th, 2018Another big John Zorn's Masada event at Symphony Space in NYC!
We played material from the upcoming Malkhut album, which we did before but this time in far better
form now that we recorded and know the parts. Also featured this evening was Zion80 and
Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits. I was in Rick Wakeman mode, playing two stacks midi
controllers, a grand piano, and taking some solos on Brian's wurli. Good thing I got off book for
the gig. Plus some extra bonus fun times hanging out in the upper east side of Manhattan leading up
to the show. Previously it's been all about the Bronx, Brooklyn, and the LES for the past decade.
Sunday, August 5th, 2018Went to Lisbon, Portugal to play our Malkhut set (i.e. the latest Masada tunes written by John Zorn,
arranged by Trey, performed/recorded by us) as part of the big Jazz em Agosto festival!
My first time in the country, and Jenya came along, so we made a vacation of it and did toursity
things and caught many of the other amazing festival sets during the week. Of course, Lisbon
was having one of their worst heat waves in history at this exact stretch of time.
For several days in a row it got up to 110 degrees (44 Celsius). And by the way
these were outdoor gigs. We closed out the entire festival, and by that time the temperature dropped
to about 105 during soundcheck, and a nice, cool 95 by the time we started playing. Huge props to
the generous stage crew who backlined a grand piano, a wurli, and two midi controllers so I didn't
have to schlep anything from the states except my laptop and UR22 (which crapped out in the heat so
I ended up using the headphone jack from the laptop and it was fine).
Sunday, September 2nd, 2018Since the festival in Portugal was so much fun, why not do a smaller version of it in San Francisco?
There were many amazing John Zorn related sets over the course of 4 days at the Chapel. We had the
"headlinging" spot in the second show on the second night. The whole evening was insane. Improvs with
Zorn, Patton, Lombardo, Grohowski, Hollenberg, and Medeski, which then morphed into a proper
Simulacrum set. That was first show. Then it was Cleric and us doing our Beriah material.
Bit of a tight squeeze on the stage - and so I set up my rig to be three stacked keyboards right in
front of me. Pretty nerdy! This was a very good evening, including Mission tacos for dinner.
Saturday, November 3rd, 2018The first of 6 shows during this European "Stone Tour" with various bands in that particular NYC jazz
scene performing Zorn/Masada material. Once again it would be the current Masada seven-piece for these
gigs (me, Trey, Kenny, Ches, Jason, Shanir, Eyvind). Each gig was a backline adventure, but always
worked out okay. My demands were high but largely venues complied. Blame Trey's crazy arrangements
which require me quickly jumping between 10 different sounds including full piano and a wurlitzer
electric piano and a zillion virtual synths! Anyway, we flew in on the 2nd, which gave me time to
recover from epic travel and soak in the first town: Sarajevo. Explored the old town a lot, walked
up a hill to view the whole city, wandered through cemeteries choked with people who died around 1995.
About 30 people from this Stone scene were in town and we watched each other's shows which were part
of the annual Jazz Fest Sarajevo and kept ended up at the same felafel place and hanging at the hotel lobby brunch.
Monday, November 5th, 2018It was a fiasco getting 23 musicians (and gear) on the plane from Sarajevo to Vienna. But we did it.
In Vienna the lot of us took over 4 nights at the venue Porgy & Bess. Secret Chiefs 3 played on the 5th,
which included a joint encore jam with Zion80. And once again had a day off around the gig to
explore the town. Guess what? Vienna is really nice!
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018Secret Chiefs 3 was basically on our own at this point, but still down Zorn's Masada material
for the rest of the gigs. We got a van ride down to Ljubljana - the only town on this trip that
I've been to before. Happy to walk around the old town again, and eat lots of burek. Had a good
gig at Cankarjev Dom and then hurried out afterward as fast as we could as the restaurants all
close by 9pm - one grudgingly stayed open late for us.
Thursday, November 8th, 2018And then flew to Amsterdam and got a van to 's-Hertogenbosch otherwise known as Den Bosch.
Once again, lovely little european city with an old town. Also had time to check out the Bosch
museum. Performed at this large art/food/music complex Willem Twee. The most challenging of the
backline adventures but it worked out (second midi controller obtained at last minute, and I
used my mini key controller for the piano parts - glad I brought it). The most "rock show" gig
and probably my best Bezriel solo of the tour - I enjoyed digging into some notes that were way
out of tune on the wurli.
of the tour.
Friday, November 9th, 2018Another van ride, this time to Ghent. Also a really lovely city! Stayed right in the heart of
the old town by the big cathedral. Got an amazing lamb tajine for lunch which I think I'm still
digesting 8 days later as I write this up. Good gig at this fancier venue: Handelsbeurs. Loved
the creepy Lynch-ian mood music played in the lounge afterwards while drinking tasty beers.
Saturday, November 10th, 2018And finally wrapped up the tour with another van ride to Groningen. This was part of a
"jazz and beyond" festival called the RockIt festival. Long ride, so we went straight to the
gig which was at 4pm in the afternoon. I had no time to explore the city (though I tried for
a minute before realizing I was missing free lunch and then got locked out of the venue until
somebody came up and let me in. Best backline of the tour for me, but rushed soundcheck. Since
he was in the region and had the night off Steve swung by and hung out for the show and dinner
afterward. So one last little party before heading home. Lobby call was 2am because everybody
had super early flights out of Amsterdam. I didn't, but went along with the plan. I did somehow
manage to sleep like 5 hours solid until the 2am call, so I was fine. Just had to wait in the
Amsterdam airport for 6 hours before my flight. Which is exactly how that Mumble & Peg tour
ended in 1999! I feared the short layover in Chicago given the customs song and dance, but made
my next flight no problem. However, California was on fire when I landed back home and choked
with smoke. Jenya and I basically fled to Portland immediately upon my return.