Tonight I was literally blown away.
Yeah, I was standing in front of a fan the whole time. But for $15 dollars, donated to Project Open Hand, I saw the following:
-Tom Morello: from the political fist in air speech giver, to the wah wah wah guitar god, to the whiskey sipping Shake That Shit man, Morello was the evening’s “lion tamer”.
-Wayne Kramer: Kick Out the Jams, Mothafucka!
-Joe Satriana: OK, so he was my low point. Cheesy riffs and that hat. Oh, how I hate that hat. But the man can play a guitar.
-Sammy Hagar: Surprise! Mr. Cabo Van Halen himself.
-Corey Taylor: The mask wearing Slipknot guy has quite a voice!
-Steve Earle: Americana troubadour extraordinaire
Also featuring: Spider Stacy of The Pogues, and Damian Kulash from OK Go. Oh, and the guitarist from Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party.
So it went down like this:
Tom Morello comes out and introduces the night, reiterating the value to us, the cause it supports, and to be quiet during the acoustic parts.
Tom came back out and played a selection of his Nightwatchman songs. After showing us the first round showcasing his skills, he introduced Joe Satriani with some statement of how Satriani bests him in skill. Hm. Hmmmmmm. Really?
I get it, Satriani is some kind of technical wonder. But…to me, Satriani sounds like instrumental butt rock, guitar masturbation, and just boring.
After a couple of songs of that, Morello comes out and introduces Sammy Hagar. He must have been a very last minute addition, as he apologized for not rehearsing for this. With Satriani and Morello still on guitar, they ran through a couple of songs, highlighting Hagar’s still high pitched eighties rock vocals.
Next up, Corey Taylor of Slipknot. The crowd was really enthusiastic for him, this one dude in particular constantly clapping during the acoustic set. I’ll have to say- I didn’t know what to expect from him- but it was really good. And I wanted to shut down the clapping guy. At least keep with the beat.
Steve Earle performed several songs, including “Pancho and Lefty” from his upcoming album of Townes Van Zandt covers. He also brought out Spider from The Pogues to sing and play flute with him.
Next was my sneak peek at what I will be seeing multiple times in a few months when I follow NIN and Jane’s around: Street Sweeper. Boots Riley comes out and really amps up the crowd. Morello plays along, but introduces it as a ‘Boots Project’. After playing a couple of songs, including ‘Fight! Smash! Win!’, they do a cover of ‘Paper Planes’. Now, I loved this M.I.A. song before it blew up, so I was very excited to hear it. Can’t wait to see what they do on the big stage.
Last were the collaborative efforts to finish up the night, including a Taylor fronted ‘Play That Funky Music’ and ‘You Really Got Me’. They were like the coolest wedding band ever!
And yes, Kramer played THAT song.
It wrapped up with an albeit slightly imperfect rendition of Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land’, in traditional Nightwatchman form. The full cast, minus Hagar, plus some other guys including the guy from OK Go, took turns singing verses. Like some of the songs before this, printed lyrics were provided. The house lights went up on everyone, after a bit of coaxing by an impatient Morello, and the venue and audience became a place of hope and action, just as Morello intended.
What a show. I’ll remember this $15 when I’m buying my Bridge School tickets later this year.
venue (Slim’s): 8/10
value ($15.00/ticket): 10/10