Ryley Walker: September 12, 2021 Tubby’s (Kingston, NY)

November 1, 2021

Since my last post here (on March 9, 2020) New Yorkers have sought refuge in all kinds of places and a bewildering number of distractions. Vinyl record sales surged even more, Instagram overflowed with DIY baking, sedentary people discovered hiking, gym rats discovered the joys of being sedentary. New Yorkers moved to the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Florida or farther-flung destinations.

Ryley Walker ended up in Vermont, running his nascent but growing label, Husky Pants and, as is his norm, recording and releasing a slew of new music. Course In Fable, the follow-up to 2018’s Deafman Glance, represents another stunning evolution in his sound. Prog-rock courses through its compositions, recorded with pristine sonics by Tortoise vet John McEntire. If anyone worried whether Ryley’s first post-sobriety album would lose the magic of his blurrier past, the answer is not only no, but the exact opposite. This is Walker’s most self-possessed work to date, bringing all of collaborators Ryan Jewell, Andrew Scott Young, and Bill McKay’s musical strengths firmly under one voice, with lyrics that can be evocative but obtuse as well as devastatingly direct. If Course In Fable is remembered as the finest album of Walker’s career, it will be worthy of the title.

It made sense to see these songs in the tiny but welcoming back room of Tubby’s, a venerable Kingston bar reinvented as a serious live music venue. The space itself feels like a refuge; its size compels an intimacy and familiarity that have been hard to come by for most of us in this part of the world recently. I’m not sure I’ve been to another venue of its size that has bookings at the level they do, and I hope Tubby’s keeps it up.

This show featured most of the Course In Fable lineup, with Walker joined by Jewell and Young, and the trio moved through this set of later-period (Course and Deafman Glance) tunes with aplomb. The Course tunes stayed fairly true to their original arrangements, with “The Halfwit In Me” serving as the 18-minute improvisational centerpiece of the set. While I’d love to hear some of those talents applied to the live new songs eventually, for this go, the thrill came in hearing the original arrangements live in a room, that special kind they were written for.

Ryley is on a west coast swing right now, and will be back east supporting Dinosaur Jr. to close out the year, followed by… well, his usual slew of tour dates in 2022. Just how it should be. See his tour dates here.

This recording was an extra-special collaboration between Kliked and I, using a combination of my Schoeps omnidirectional mics up front, his MBHO’s at the soundboard, and Zoots’ feed of the (mostly) vocals. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the recording at the Live Music Archive [MP3] | [FLAC]

Ryley Walker
Kingston, NY  USA

Recorded and produced by Kliked and acidjack

Source 1: Schoeps MK5o>KCY>Z-PFA (stage lip, PAS)>Sound Devices MixPre6Source 2: MBHO 440 (at SBD) + Soundboard (engineer: Zoots)>Sound Devices MixPre3
Source 1 24/48 WAV + Source 2 24/48 WAV>Audacity (time align, EQ, fades, tracking, limiter, compression)>24/48 WAV>FLAC ( level 8 )

Ryley Walker
Ryan Jewell – Percussion
Andrew Scott Young – Bass

Tracks [Total Time:59:28]
01 Striking Down Your Big Premiere
02 Rang Dizzy
03 [banter1]
04 Opposite Middle
05 [banter2]
06 Telluride Speed
07 [banter3]
08 The Halfwit In Me
09 [banter4]
10 Shiva With Dustpan
11 [banter5]
12 22 Days

Please support Ryley Walker: [bandcamp] | [website]

Phish: August 14, 2021 Atlantic City

August 22, 2021

The bright sunlight of a crystal clear Saturday morning reflected off the Atlantic Ocean and offered some hope of redemption from the negative energy of Friday night’s gaseous debauchery. Overnight, the unfortunate souls tasked with cleaning the boardwalk had removed nearly all evidence of the previous evening’s wreckage and with the arrival of weekend vacationers, Atlantic City seemed to breath fresh again.

We had the pleasure of spending a little time in the Phan Art exhibition on Saturday afternoon and those gentle vibes reinvigorated me and gave us a sense that maybe the positive elements of the scene could rise above the darkness that still lurked in the shadows. The threats of rain having dissipated, we entered the beach with a sense that this night could be special.

Perhaps Phish got wind of the negative energy, as they closed the first set with the dark cautionary tale “Squirming Coil”, advising all to steer clear of “Satan on the beach”. The balance of the first set was an up and down affair, as the trainwreck opening of “Ya Mar” was offset by a near-perfect run through of the intricate “Reba” jam.

But it was the meat of the second set where this show really began to shine. Phish covered the entire Quadrophenia album for Halloween 1995, and fortunately the epic “Drowned” has remained in occasional rotation, making a couple of appearances a year. The jam out of Drowned went into the familiar Jersey territory, as Trey clearly teased Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” before transitioning to a nice spooky “Ghost”. Further buoyed by the opportunity to stretch out and explore, Trey seemed to be heading into a reprise of Drowned, which somehow then weirdly morphed into the middle portion of Scents and Subtle Sounds, which sadly petered out after about five minutes. The band refocused and launched into a gnarly Chalkdust that went into deep space before emerging through a fog of noise towards the gentle keyboard opening of Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”. At this point, the weekend had achieved musically exactly what I had hoped to see — a band playing at the peak of their powers and delivering transcendent moments in a troubling time of confusion and despair. We live for these peaks, and when Phish reprised Friday night’s “Tweezer” as the second encore to bookend my own person weekend experience, it was quite emotional. No nefarious post-show Boardwalk shenanigans could bring me down on this night, as we floated home through the magical mist of a sweet Summer night.

I recorded this show in the exact same manner as the previous night, with the mic stand only a few feet away from the Friday location. The Neumann hypers again delivered their magic and cut through the elements to deliver a sharp and bright recording. We’re extremely pleased again with this recording and hope you are too. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream “Chalkdust Torture > No Quarter”:

nyctaper · Phish – Live in Atlantic City August 14 2021

The Beach
Atlantic City NJ

Digital Master Recording
Tapers Section at Soundboard

Neumann KM-150 Hypers > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 1:20:54]
01 Llama
02 Tube
03 Destiny Unbound
04 Ya Mar
05 46 Days
06 Reba
07 Soul Shakedown Party
08 Split Open and Melt
09 The Squirming Coil

Set 2 [Total Time 1:24:54]

10 I Never Needed You Like This Before
11 Drowned
12 Ghost
13 Scents and Subtle Sounds
14 Chalk Dust Torture
15 No Quarter
16 Slave to the Traffic Light
17 Suzy Greenberg
18 [encore break]
19 A Life Beyond The Dream
20 Tweezer Reprise

SUPPORT Phish: Website | Store

Phish: August 13, 2021 Atlantic City

August 17, 2021

Other than two stops for higher education, I’ve lived my whole life in New York State. This means that I have a complicated relationship with the State of New Jersey. Yes, I accept that there are beautiful sections of New Jersey — the lakes and mountains in the North of the State, the breathtaking scenes along the Delaware River in the West of the State, and of course the many wonderful beaches on the state-long Atlantic coast.

But with that beauty comes some ugliness. Each of the major towns along the coast have commercialized boardwalks, and while the music of artists like The Drifters, Bobby Rydell, and Bruce Springsteen have glorified life along the Shore, the boardwalks are mostly just depressingly seedy. What is particularly depressing about Atlantic City in particular is that a hundred feet north of the boardwalk across the entire expanse of the town is even worse. Sure, there are casinos — America’s most blatant and unabashed grift — but there are also countless empty stores, vacant lots, and lost souls.

The arrival of the traveling circus that is Phish tour took this carnie atmosphere to an entire other level. This was not just a culture clash, but a multi-layered appropriation of a socially and morally bankrupt city by an out of control bacchanalia that sucked the last vestige of pride from the town. When I left Friday night’s show and walked back to my sad motel, I traversed a balloon orgy — a never-ending row of nitrous tanks where the underbelly of local criminals fed an insatiable suburban youth with the hiss of an addictive but terribly fleeting high. These scenes played out before midnight, but I am told that the hiss of evil lasted at least until 3:30 am.

I don’t have any reason to know if Phish themselves know any of this. They very clearly should know because like it or not, their name and reputation are tied to these events. But the sad confluence of a decaying scene and a band at the top of their game is not lost among those of us who are there for the music. This is not the late-era 1990s Grateful Dead, whose decline as a band in many ways paralleled the disintegration of the “scene”. What is coming from the Phish stage are consistently excellent performances, and that is part of what makes so infuriating the dangerously cavalier behavior of those who are going to ruin this for all of us.

It was against this dark backdrop that Phish took the stage on Friday night and proceeded to reference New Jersey and the beach setting from note one and throughout. The show opening “Cars Trucks and Buses” is both a Phish song and the less traveled right three lanes of the split NJ Turnpike between exits 6 and 15. The set closing “Sand” was everywhere, including stuck to everyone by the end of the night. In between, the band played one of the most solid first sets of the tour, highlighted by a bouncy and driven “Blaze On”. The second set was equally strong, with a notable Trey solo in “Possum” and the always-welcome Hood. But the highlight of the evening for me was certainly the thirty-five minutes of “Tweezer > Bathtub Gin”. At 22 minutes, this Tweezer wasn’t a long as the version from earlier in the tour, but the jams were all precise and focused. This might be the best single song played this Summer by this band.

The oasis of chunky jams now over, the trek from the Missouri Avenue Exit One off the beach to quieter confines was both physically difficult and psychically draining. While it was impossible to avoid the utter anarchy of the overrun Boardwalk, there was always Saturday to hope for some measure of redemption.

I recorded this set with the Neumann hypercards from a very advantageous location at the soundboard cage, shielded from the ocean wind by the tent (along with some extra custom “windcutter” screens). The live mix was sublimely perfect and loud enough to rise above the crowd din. The resulting recording is superb and exceeds any expectations tempered by this difficult taping location. I’ll be playing this one loud for a long time to come, and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream Tweezer > Bathtub Gin:

nyctaper · Phish – Live in Atlantic City August 13, 2021

The Beach
Atlantic City NJ

Digital Master Recording
Tapers Section at Soundboard

Neumann KM-150 Hypers > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 1:04:29]
01 Cars Trucks Buses
02 AC DC Bag
03 Blaze On
04 Wolfman’s Brother
05 I Didn’t Know
06 Funky Bitch
07 Rift
08 Sand

Set 2 [Total Time 1:30:40]
09 Tweezer
10 Bathtub Gin
11 Everything’s Right
12 Possum
13 Also Sprach Zarathustra
14 Rise Come Together
15 Harry Hood
16 More
17 [encore break]
18 Loving Cup

SUPPORT Phish: Website | Store

Chris Forsyth: August 4, 2021 Sultan Room

August 15, 2021
Photo by nyctaper

Chris Forsyth returned to live performance in the most exactly perfect way possible. Like most performers, he hasn’t played a proper show in more than a year, but for his two-show return last week, Chris compiled an incendiary quartet of top notch musicians, all of whom are quite familiar to these pages. Tom Malach is a founder and lead guitarist of site favorites Garcia Peoples, Ryan Jewell has appeared here about a dozen different formats, mainly with Ryley Walker, and Doug McCombs has appeared here with the seminal Tortoise and with his Brokeback project. Forsyth himself has appeared many times on this site, and always brings the goods. But this show was an entirely different animal.

If this performance was an indication, Chris Forsyth emerged from lockdown with well honed new material and having maintained the precision of his playing. The quartet that performed at Sultan Room last week (and Philly the following night) were tight, focused, and thoroughly in sync. The four new songs (and new cover) were presented in almost completed form (except for the working titles) and as if these four musicians had been playing the compositions regularly. That is to say that this show flowed from start to finish and left the boisterous and rapt crowd frankly stunned at the quality of the performance.

I recorded this set with the outdoor-friendly large diaphragm Neumann microphones set up front and center of the stage and mixed with a soundboard feed provided by the most excellent Imoni Cole Palmer. I’m extremely pleased with the quality of this recording and hope you enjoy as much as the sold out crowd and I did that night.

Chris Forsyth is returning to the West Coast for a show on October 9, 2021 at the Crystal Cavern in Oakland. The band will include Doug McCombs and Ryan Jewell. This is Chris’s first show in California since 2014. Tickets are available [here].

Download the Complete Show in MP3 and FLAC at Archive.org [HERE]

Stream the Complete Show:

Chris Forsyth
Sultan Room
Brooklyn NY

Digital Master Recording
On Stage Audience + Soundboard

Neumann TLM-102 Large Diaphragm Cardioids + Soundboard > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper

Set 1
[Total Time 57:19]
01 You’re Going to Need Somebody [Richard Thompson]
02 Tomorrow Might as Well Be Today
03 Mystic Mountain
04 Blackbird Jungle*
05 Experimental Professional

Set 2
[Total Time 1:02:48]
06 Dreaming in the Non-Dream
07 [band introductions]
08 Dream Song
09 Evolution Here I Come*
10 Robot Energy Machine*

*working title

Chris Forsyth: guitar
Tom Malach: guitar
Doug McCombs: bass
Ryan Jewell: percussion

PLEASE SUPPORT This Artist: Chris Forsyth

Garcia Peoples: June 23, 2021 The Sultan Room at The Turk’s Inn

July 7, 2021

A few weeks ago Garcia Peoples began their summer stand at The Sultan Room, the rooftop performance space at The Turk’s Inn. The first of three, two-set performances features some new songs, unheard jams, and the highly anticipated return of “One Step Behind” to New York City—that one was last heard in these parts and subsequently immortalized on the Live at Nublu 10/10/19 tape. The outdoor sessions continue July 21st and August 18th. (Pro tip: Get a discounted ticket for both shows!) But you say: “I can’t wait a whole two weeks for live music!” Well never fear, because Garcia Peoples play Colony in Woodstock, NY this Saturday. The show starts at Noon with an opening set from Zachary Cale. Bound to be good times there. And hey, while we’re at it here’s a lovely tape from last month at the very same venue by friend-of-the-site, Mr. Kliked.

I recorded this show at the stage lip, combining my mics with a board feed courtesy of the audio engineer, Imoni Cole-Palmer. The sound is excellent—upfront, Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes-style. Enjoy!

Downloads available at the Live Music Archive

Garcia Peoples
The Sultan Room at The Turk’s Inn
Brooklyn, NY

Recorded and produced by Eric PH for nyctaper.com

Soundboard (audio engineer: Imoni Cole-Palmer) + MBHO KA200N/603A > Naiant PFA >> Sound Devices MixPre-6 > WAV (24/48) > Adobe Audition CC + Izotope Ozone 5 > Audacity 3.0.2 > FLAC

Total Time 2:12:23

Set 1:
01. Gliding Through
02. Eminor Jam >
03. Wasted Time
04. Crown of Thought
05. One at a Time
06. Fire of the Now
07. A Jam
08. Fill Your Cup

Set 2:
09. D Jam >
10. Dodging Dues Suite
11. One Step Behind
12. Feel So Great > Jam
13. World’s Illusion

Birds of Maya: June 24, 2021 Sunflower Philly

July 6, 2021

I guess like many of us, Birds of Maya were productive in the last year and a half. They finally released Valdez, the long lost album you never knew existed. Recorded way back in 2014, it picks up right where 2013’s raucous Celebration leaves off. Given the band’s long hiatus, I seized this opportunity to travel down to Philadelphia to catch their record release show at Sunflower Philly, a beautiful outdoor space in North Philadelphia. The band rips through some tunes from the new record and jams Celebration-style on a couple of song collages I’ve titled “Sunflower” and “Philly” here that have the band cycling through a few riffs that I swear sound familiar and slippery at the same time. A few blown fuses don’t stop these Birds as they cap things off with their take on The Stooges’ “TV Eye” with the legendary Harmonica Dan on, well, harmonica.

No future dates on the books for Birds of Maya but make sure to grab Valdez from Drag City and maybe encourage these guys to make some new recordings.

I recorded this with the MBHO’s up front. Once people got rocking I had to move a little bit and the sound can be slightly uneven in areas. Nonetheless this is an excellent capture of a really special show. Enjoy!

Download MP3/FLAC

nyctaper · Birds of Maya – Live at Sunflower Philly 2021

Birds of Maya
Sunflower Philly
Philadelphia, PA

Recorded and produced by Eric PH for nyctaper.com

MBHO KA200N/603A > Naiant PFA >> Sound Devices MixPre-6 > WAV (24/48) > Adobe Audition CC + Izotope Ozone 5 > Audacity 3.0.2 > FLAC

Tracks [48:32]
01. High Fly
02. Please Come In
03. Cosmic Honey Shaker
04. Porch Dude
05. Jam/TV Eye (false start)
06. TV Eye

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