Music

Widespread Panic: Live in the Classic City II

Live in the Classic City II makes a fine addition to any Spreadhead’s archives.


Widespread Panic

Live in the Classic City II

Label: ATO
US Release Date: 2010-09-28
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

Widespread Panic has built its reputation on the strength of its concert performances. It’s no surprise, then, that the band does well selling quality recordings of concerts, either from downloadable soundboard recordings available as early as the night of the show through their website, via the band’s archival recordings of early performances, or from featured live releases such as the recently released Live in the Classic City II. The two-disc set marks the 10th anniversary of a three-night stand that took place in the band's hometown of Athens, GA., April 1-3, 2000, at the Classic Center Theater.

Though the band freely allows fans to record shows, over this three-night run they disallowed tappers and released the recordings as a live release. This second volume then, brings the setlist of the weekend closer to complete, though several covers are omitted for legal and financial reasons. For a diehard Panic loyalist, this collection will be a must-have. First and foremost, it’s another live recording with the late guitarist Michael (Mikey) Houser. Many guests join the band throughout the weekend, and this disc captures more of those rare collaborations. It also captures the band's sound in transition, from its ‘90s era acoustic rock sound (Houser was originally an acoustic guitarist) to a much harder, dual electric guitar-driven, rock sound, which the band mines to this day with Jimmy Herring on lead electric.

After a blazing, stand alone “Travelin’ Light” (which closed the second set of the third night, pre-encore) opens the first disc, there are six songs in a row from the first set of the second night. Hardcore fans will be pleased to hear this performance for the first time, especially the smooth segue from the wailing instrumental “Machine” into the more soulful, organ-drenched classic Widespread Panic song “Barstools and Dreamers”. It features local legend Dr. Arvin Scott joining Sunny Ortiz on percussion. The real gem of this whole collection, however, is the aching, mournful take on “This Part of Town”, sung in a somber tone by the late Houser. In and of itself it makes this collection a must purchase for long-time fans. The band’s producer and collaborator, Athens-based John Keane, contributes howling steel guitar, which adds to the solemn tone. The rollicking “Imitation Leather Shoes” closes out the set and the first disc.

The second disc is put together in a much more haphazard, hodgepodge manner. The instrumental sound check “Disco” brought a huge cheer from the crowd on the third night as an opener, but then, disappointingly, it fades out on this recording as the band segues into an omitted cover. Another Panic classic, “Rebirtha” follows, with Scott again on percussion and Georgia guitarist Wade Hester joining the band. On his solo, he sounds as though he’s been playing with the quintet for years. Jo Jo Herman’s “Greta” moves seamlessly into the first-ever performance of the rarely played “E on a G”, a fine addition to any collector’s library. Yet it too fades out, as another segue rolls into a cover. Drummer Todd Nance sings lead on “You’ll Be Fine”, a duet made all the better by the graceful and lovely backing vocals of Anne Richmond Boston. Live in the Classic City II closes with the band joined by Daniel Hutchens and Eric Carter of the severely underappreciated Athens-based rock band Bloodkin, with whom Widespread Panic shared an early influential bond. They play two Bloodkin songs, “Success Yourself” and “End of the Show.”

While it would be preferable to have downloadable copies of all three nights as entire, uninterrupted performances, the two-disc collection Live In The Classic City II makes a fine addition to any Spreadhead’s archives.

7

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image