New Times' Guide to Langerado
The fifth edition of the Langerado Music Festival arrives with a ton of hype, a couple of megastars on the bill, and lots of bands flying in from across North America to participate. It's arguably the biggest party in Broward County all year, and for those of us who take pride in the reputation of the local music scene, this weekend is as sweet as it gets. Langerado was so well-received last year that a day has been added, making it a three-day extravaganza of every popular musical style. Lovers of jam bands should be happy (some grumbled last year), but fans of indie rock, blues, jazz, Latin, and world music won't be left out. There's something for everyone, and trying to fit all of it into your schedule is overwhelming. Of course, New Times is here to help bewildered music fans navigate their way toward a stress-free weekend. So stretch out, clear your calendars, and walk with us on a tour of all things Langerado.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh may not be known as a hotbed of hip, but native Gregg Gillis, a DJ turned artist in his own right, serves up white-hot mashups that perfectly reflect the current genre-bending preferences of downtown types. As with similar DJs/remix artists like Flosstradamus or the Rub, a Girl Talk set traverses hip-hop, crunk, hyphy, Baltimore club, electro, and new-wavy rock, sometimes on one track. Gillis remixes and cuts with fierce concentration, creating rapid-fire, stuttering versions of dance jams just before stage-diving shirtless into the sweaty crowd.
Tags for the Interweb kids: DJ, Drunken, Electronic
My Morning Jacket
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Kentucky-based country-rockers My Morning Jacket is one of those rare groups that sounds just above average in the studio yet somehow transforms into an unrivaled stage band on the road. Marrying human dynamo Jim James' vocals and ever-beautiful lyrics to pristinely orchestrated compositions, their performances have more in common with the balls-out jams of the '70s than the torpid, shoe-gazing indie rock of the past 15 years. In other words, MMJ will help you understand why your parents like to say concerts were so much better when they were kids.
Tags: Rockin', Loud, Country
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
The music of the New Pornographers will make you smile and feel like the rest of your life isn't so bad. That's the power of this supergroup, made up of names only diehard music fans will recognize. If anything, they're masters of crafting perfect pop songs built around high-energy hooks, sugary harmonies, and unexpected lyrics. Now, if only they could get every member of the crew particularly Neko Case to consistently show up for gigs, they'd be fine. Their onstage lineup is as erratic as they come.
Tags: Drunken, Rockin', Heartthrob
Hometown: Springfield, Massachusetts
This isn't the type of blues music that follows traditional standards. Taj has been playing his own distinctive brand of music variously described as Afro-Caribbean blues, folk-world-blues, hula blues, folk-funk, and a host of other hyphenations for more than 40 years. He's possibly the most well-traveled blues musician in history, and audiences can expect Caribbean, Hawaiian, African, Latin, and Cuban sounds mixed with folk, jazz, zydeco, gospel, rock, pop, soul, and R&B, all layered on top of a solid country-blues foundation. Taj doesn't just dabble in these genres; he knows them deep in his soul.
Tags: Living Legend, Funk/Soul, Blues, Mellow
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Considering how socially conscious and spiritual that reggae and hip-hop are today (wink), it's hard to understand why Hasidic Jews chose to stay out of the game for so long. Thankfully, yarmulke-capped Matisyahu stepped forward to be the Children of Israel's emissary to rastas everywhere. OK, it's pretty unlikely that Rastafarians are listening. At all. Still, the rest of the world is, and once you get past the initial snickering and realize he's serious, it's hard not to find something glorious in Matisyahu's mix of faith, reggae, and rap.
Tags: Stoner Friendly
New Orleans Social Club
Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana
You don't have to be a fan of the Big Easy's musical lineage to appreciate this supergroup that formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. You've got two founding members of the Meters: Leo Nocentelli (guitar) and George Porter Jr. (bass), plus Ivan Neville (organ), Henry Butler (piano), and Raymond Weber (drums) making a powerful statement when it comes to blues, jazz, and gritty New Orleans funk. They were all standouts before the hurricane, and now that they've united on stage, audiences can expect a mini Mardi Gras to break out in the crowd.
Tags: Rockin', Funk/Soul, Living Legends
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
They say felines have nine lives. We're not keeping count, but Chan Marshall, the chanteuse who goes by Cat Power, has definitely had a rebirth of sorts. Forget all those old stories about a lone girl with a guitar, breaking down from nervousness in front of huge audiences. She seems happier now after a move to Miami last year and the acquisition of her new backing musicians, the Dirty Delta Blues Band. Cat Power's new live sound is amped up, with a blues-rock vibration. Also, this kitty may be cute, but onstage, she's got claws.
Tags: Rockin', funk/soul, heartthrob
Hometown: Woodstock, New York
A few years back, Soulive took over the Ice Palace Soundstage in Miami for a raucous show. The trio warned the crowd that it was going to play for a "long time," but what ensued were five-plus hours of funk-laden, jazz-tinged instrumental mayhem courtesy of the Evans brothers (drums, synth, synth-bass, and other assorted keys) and Eric Krasnow (guitar). You can expect the same from this notoriously inspired live trio. Be prepared to move your feet vigorously during this set or at the very least do your best white-boy squat.
Tags: Horns, Funk/Soul, Jazz
Toots & the Maytals
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
In the days of the British Invasion, it was the Beatles and the Stones. In the days of early Jamaican reggae, it was Bob Marley and Toots Hibbert. OK, it may not seem that way now Marley's posthumous fame has dwarfed that of the very-much-alive Hibbert, who has been fronting the Maytals since the days of '60s Jamaican ska. Still, if you've ever had more than a passing interest in reggae, you've heard classics like "54-46 That's My Number" and "Pressure Drop." If you haven't, go hear them now, from the mouth of the master himself, while you still can.
Tags: Living Legend, Stoner Friendly
Explosions in the Sky
Hometown: Austin, Texas
This Texas-based quartet composes songs that frequently live up to the group's moniker gorgeous, sprawling instrumental music that starts delicately, builds and builds until you're up in the clouds, then detonates with thunderous sheets of guitar fury. It's that sense of dynamics the proper and creative handling of the now-hackneyed tension/release model pioneered by Slint, Mogwai, and Godspeed You Black Emperor that makes Explosions one of the few legitimate heirs to those hallowed post-rock predecessors.
Tags: Mellow, Rockin'
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Charter members of the same underground Bay Area hip-hop collective (Quannum Projects, née Solesides) that spawned DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born, and author Jeff Chang, Blackalicious (the duo of MC Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel) crafts music with a positive message for the brain and with dope beats, funk-soul grooves, and quirky arrangements it knows how to make booties shake as well. And while most hip-hop live shows are generally a letdown, Blackalicious always rises to the occasion, somehow transmitting even more vitality than it captures on wax.
Tags: MC, DJ, Stoner Friendly, Funk/Soul
Hometown: East Los Angeles, California
Forget about "La Bamba" and the whole breakout soundtrack that Los Lobos did in 1988. Forget that that album went double-platinum. Los Lobos has made an extensive career in the murky underground of rock 'n' roll, never shrinking from its East L.A. roots, yet still bold enough to do an entire album of norteño cuts. The band stretches back to California circa 1973 and tours relentlessly, quite a few times with the Dead. Expect explorations of American music from across the spectrum, not your standard jam-band fare, and don't be sad if you don't get Lou Diamond Philips.
Tags: Rockin', Horns, Living Legends, Drunken
Band of Horses
Hometown: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
My Morning Jacket soundalike? The next big Shins? Kind of, sort of, but then again, not so much. Still, why should these South Carolinians break formula when it provides such shimmering harmonies, poignant lyrics, and ardent, guitar-based power pop? No reason we can think of, because if "The Funeral" and "Weed Party" don't move you and make you groove then you have no indie soul. If anything, their Southern sound will give them an advantage with local audiences as well.
Tags: Rockin', Drunken
Steve Malkmus and the Jicks
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Back in the day, a young Stephen Malkmus joined the once-laconic, now-iconic Pavement, made that group what they were easily considered indie rock's "band of the '90s" then, like a fine athlete in his prime, walked away. But with three discs under their belt, Malkmus' second team, the Jicks, now boasts an additional indie all-star in former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss. Expect plenty of stretching, both literally and figuratively, since Langerado serves as the band's final exhibition workout before an April studio date.
Tags: Mellow, Rockin', Stoner Friendly
Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina
These Southern homeboys have a global sense of music that's unparalleled on today's jam-band/hippie circuit. They incorporate a host of West African music styles, from Ghana to Nigeria, and wrap them into their own distinct version of "Dirty South" Malian blues. You might think of Ali Farka Touré or Cheikh Lo when you hear the music, but there's a touch of Cee-Lo in these guys as well. Expect to dance, learn traditional African rhythms, and be blown away at the superior instrumentation used in this new-age global mashup.
Tags: Funk/Soul, Mellow, Blues
All these bands and many more play Friday, March 9, through Sunday, March 11, from noon to 10 p.m. each day, at the Langerado Music Festival at Markham Park, 16001 W. State Rd. 84, Sunrise. Tickets cost $60 per day or $145 for all three days. Call 954-389-2000, or visit www.langerado.com.
Langerado by Night
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
As longtime frontman for Phish, Trey Anastasio was seen as both a rock 'n' roll god and as the second coming of Jerry Garcia by legions of jam-band fans during the group's 21-year tenure. At the height of Phish's success, in 2004, however, the crew disbanded, and Anastasio basically retired minus a few guest appearances each year around the country. So for him to show up and play two shows in two nights is remarkable, and diehard fans that don't get close enough to him at Langerado should enjoy his more intimate set at Revolution.
Tags: Rockin', Mellow, Stoner Friendly, Living Legend
North Mississippi Allstars
Hometown: Hernando, Mississippi
The Dickinson brothers are the heart of the North Mississippi Allstars and crank out contemporary Southern blues while Chris Chew swings a heavy ax. The band has been going strong since 1996, even garnering a Grammy nomination in 2000, and reached a jamtastic milestone with its live set at 2004's Bonnaroo Festival. The guys play with Robert Randolph and John Spencer occasionally so you know that backwoods blues is in their DNA. Look out for some electric cigar-box guitar action and some full-throttle boogie.
Tags: Rockin', Funk/Soul, Blues
Hometown: Athens, Georgia
The name of this four-man posse of Southern musicians implies that audiences can jam out to its music endlessly. And part of that is true the band is known for its rolling sets and college-town hippie vibe. But it's also got a strong rock component that thrashers and lovers of four-chord, loud, simple hard rock should dig as well. That combination of laid-back instrumentation and powerful production should work to the band members' benefit. By the time they take the stage in the wee hours of Monday morning at the Culture Room, it's going to take a perpetual groove to keep fans on their feet.
Tags: Rockin', Mellow, Stoner Friendly
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
A wily bass/drums/guitar trio that refuses to stick to any one style, the Slip seems determined to ingratiate itself with fans who understand where the lines between post-jazz and jam blur together. However, on its latest effort, Eisenhower, the Montreal/Boston-based group has set its sights on pop not unlike Gomez's recent efforts. The Slip has retained its quirky edge, though, thanks to its understated delivery. Expect lots of variety live.
Tags: Rockin', Loud
Langerado Late Nite starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, with Trey Anastasio at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale (sold out). It continues Saturday, March 10, with North Mississippi Allstars and the Slip at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $20. On Sunday, March 11, Perpetual Groove plays at the Culture Room. The show starts at 11 p.m. Tickets cost $17.
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