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Jam Central Station 1.19.13- Les Claypool’s Fearless Frog Brigade – Live Frogs Set 2

January 19, 2013 | Posted by Knight-of-God


Before I get started this week, I just want to say that booking/managing a band is HARD. I’m slowly becoming the primary booking guy and manager for the band (with some very excellent assistance), but it’s tough as hell to manage the schedules of venues, festivals, and a 6 person band where everyone has outside commitments. Just trying to schedule a few out-of-town dates becomes a fiasco, since we don’t want to be going out of town for more weekends than necessary. 2 shows in 1 day? Why the heck not. Anyways, on with the real show for today!


There was a time that Les Claypool would’ve seemed extremely out of place at a “jam band” festival. Throughout the 90’s, Claypool was best known for his work with Primus, who were thought of as an alternative/hard rock band. At least that was the best classification anyone could come up with. Obviously Claypool has some extremely diverse musical tastes, and he has used both Primus and various other projects to express that. Claypool’s acceptance into the jam scene happened through two distinct events: his teaming up with Trey Anastasio as a part of Oysterhead, and the release of the Live Frogs albums.

While Live Frogs Set 1 won the Jammy award in in 2001, I’ve always been drawn to Set 2. This set has the band covering the Pink Floyd album Animals in its entirety. Taking on Animals is an enormous task. It’s one of the more divisive Pink Floyd albums, having been released after the band saw tremendous success with Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. Animals didn’t feature any radio friendly singles or songs as accessible as other Floyd releases of that time. It’s also not nearly as well known as other Floyd material from that time period. However, the album is a great musical statement, with well-structured songs all centered around a critique of society and capitalism.

I’ve always thought that Pink Floyd lend themselves quite well to being covered. Their songs are very well put together but they also include a lot of space for improvisation and adjustment. Many bands that I enjoy have covered Floyd, from bluegrass Floyd from Greensky Bluegrass and YMSB to Dave Matthews doing Money and both Phish and The Flaming Lips covering the entire Dark Side of the Moon album. Each of these bands put their own stamp on their cover while also paying homage to Floyd. With their cover of the Animals album, the Frog Brigade kept the themes and structures of the original album while highlighting different musical attributes. Obviously Les Claypool’s bass takes a prominent role on the album, but the rest of the band is extremely impressive as well. Jay Lane and Todd Huth (Sausage, Primus) both appear on the album, as well as Jeff Chimenti, who has worked with a variety of Grateful Dead related projects. So each member of the band was certainly capable of holding their own and doing justice to the original music.

One of the surprises of this album is that it’s almost the exact same length as the studio album. While Floyd often took opportunities to extend the album (which is only 42 minutes in length) when playing it live by adding other solos and musical parts, the Frog Brigade stuck almost exclusively to the studio versions of the tracks. The band has the talent to take some of the songs in different directions, but obviously the decision was to stick with the songs in their original forms. While I would’ve enjoyed seeing them try some new things, the end result is a solid representation of the original work.

The opening acoustic “Pigs on the Wing Pt. 1” (and the closing “Pigs on the Wing Pt. 2”) have always seemed a little odd, as they bookend a dark and relatively heavy album. Claypool’s vocals are obviously distinctly different than Waters/Gilmour, but he does have a unique flair similar to the two Floyd vocalists. As the set picks up early in “Dogs,” the energy of the band starts to take over. Lane in particular provides some great work early on, while Eenor and Huth’s guitar work pay solid tribute to the great David Gilmour. Chimenti also fills the synthesizer parts very well, with the guitars layering nicely overtop. The solos aren’t exactly the same as the original, but they certainly don’t stray too far into new territory. Claypool is also rather subdued for most of the song. At just about the 10 minute mark, Claypool finally kicks in with a great bass part that’s played over what is typically a synth part of the song. It doesn’t last very long, however, and the band goes into the final part of the song. He comes back in powerfully for the last couple of minutes of the song during the final guitar solo.

Claypool branches out more vocally on “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” truly making the song his own. He also plays the bass in a very different style than the original, which was played by Gilmour with a pick. The dueling guitar solo at around 4 minutes is also pretty impressive, although a little shorter than I would like. This was one of those areas they probably could’ve extended the solos a bit to give it more time to develop. The guitar solo picks up again a little later, just not with the same double guitar effect. The version of “Sheep” might be my favorite song on the album. Guitarist Eenor provides most of the vocals, while Claypool lays down a thundering bassline. The guitars also seem looser on this track, with both Eenor and Huth playing around more with the riff than on other tracks. It all comes together to make for the most powerful track on the album. The solo and jam in the middle of the track is another great example of Huth and Eenor working together. The only thing that I don’t get is “Another Brick In The Wall” tease that Claypool throws in. The closing “Pigs on the Wing Pt. 2” is pretty standard, just a solid closing to the album.

It was a pretty gutsy move for Claypool and the Frog Brigade to cover this album. It’s certainly not the most straightforward or well known Floyd album. It’s really just the type of challenge that’s up Claypool’s ally. The band does a great job with the album, and I would imagine that most Floyd fans would be satisfied with the performance. Outside of Primus this honestly might be my favorite Claypool work. Although it looks like the Frog Brigade has been retired, I’d love to see a return, especially if it included more Pink Floyd.


Wakarusa finalizes their lineup
Wakarusa leaked the rest of their lineup over the past two weeks. In addition to Widespread Panic and Yonder Mountain String Band, the festival will include Dispatch, Umphrey’s McGee, Shpongle, STS9, The Black Crowes, Snoop Lion, Gogol Bordello, and many other great acts. Tickets for the festival are already on sale.

Mountain Jam Lineup
Mountain Jam announced their initial lineup, including their headliners this week. The event will feature Gov’t Mule (as usual), Phil Lesh & Friends, Widespread Panic, Dispatch, Primus, The Avett Brothers, Gary Clark Jr., Soulive, Jackie Greene, ALO, and many others. Other announcements will round out the lineup in the coming weeks.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announced their lineup for 2013. The festival will include the Dave Matthews Band, Widespread Panic, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, B.B. King, The Black Keys, John Mayer, Ben Harper, Willie Nelson, John Mayer, and Maroon 5. The event runs for two weekends in New Orleans, from April 26-May 5.

Ultra Music Festival announces lineup
The massive electronic music centered Ultra Music Festival will return to Miami for two weekends this year. The festival will take place on March 15-17 and March 22-24. The festival will include Tiesto, Bassnectar, Afrojack, David Guetta, Crystal Castles, Theivery Corporation, deadmau5, Richie Hawtin, and a variety of other electronic acts.

Electric Forest 2013 dates
The 2013 Electric Forest Festival announced their dates. The event will return to the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, MI on June 27-30. Early Bird tickets are on sale at a discounted rate, and, if history tells us anything, we should have a lineup soon after those are gone.

Widespread Panic tour dates
Along with a variety of festivals, Widespread Panic has announced their first tour since returning from their hiatus. The tour will kick off in April and run through early May. Look for other dates and festivals to be announced in the coming weeks.

April 9 St. Louis, MO—Peabody Opera House
April 10 St. Louis, MO—Peabody Opera House
April 12 Chicago, IL—UIC Pavilion
April 13 Chicago, IL—UIC Pavilion
April 14 Minneapolis, MN—Orpheum Theatre
April 16 Louisville, KY—Palace Theatre
April 17 Louisville, KY—Palace Theatre
April 23 Columbia, SC—Township Auditorium
April 24 Columbia, SC—Township Auditorium
April 26 Alpharetta, GA—Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
April 27 Alpharetta, GA—Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
May 3 Nashville, TN—The Woods at Fontanel
May 4 Nashville, TN—The Woods at Fontanel


Island Exodus IV
January 16-20, 2013
Negril, Jamaica
Gov’t Mule will host the event and perform multiple sets. No word on other performers.

Panic En La Playa Dos
January 27-31, 2013
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This event will be the return of Widespread Panic to the stage after a year-long hiatus. Tickets go on sale August 24.

Jam in the Sand
March 1-5, 2013
Breezes Grand Resort
Negril, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra’s first Jamaican event. This event will feature multiple DSO shows as well as three Keller Williams sets and other activities

Buku Music Project
March 8-9, 2013
Mardi Gras World Warehouse
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Kid Cudi, Calvin Harris, Primus, Passion Pit, STS9, Zedd, Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Datsik, Lettuce, and many others

SnowBall Music Festival
March 8-10, 2012
Winter Park, CO
Performers include:Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Portugal. The Man, Rubblebucket, and many others.

Suwannee Springfest
March 21-24, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Peter Rowan, Keller and the Keels, Jerry Douglas, Cornmeal, Leftover Salmon, Donna the Buffalo, The Travelin’ McCoury’s, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Ultra Music Festival
March 15-17, 2013
March 22-24, 2013
Miami, FL
Performers include: Tiesto, David Guetta, Above & Beyond, Bassnectar, Fatboy Slim, Richie Hawtin, Crystal Castles, deadmau5, Major Lazer, Thievery Corporation, and many others.

March 21-24, 2012
Killington Resort
Killington, VT

April 12-14, 2013
April 19-21, 2013

Wanee Festival
April 18-20, 2013
Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 26-May 5, 2013
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Widespread Panic, B.B. King, The Black Keys, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Maroon 5, and a very diverse lineup of many other artists.

Hangout Music Festival
May 17-19, 2013
Gulf Shores, AL

Summer Camp Music Festival
May 23-36
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
Performers include: moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Thievery Corp., Big Gigantic, Lettuce, Cornmeal, Keller Williams, and many others.

May 23-26, 2013
Cumberland, MD

May 30-June 2, 2013
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR
Performers include: Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, The Black Crowes, Umphrey’s McGee, Dispatch, Shpongle, Snoop Lion, Gogol Bordello, Zed’s Dead, Rebolution, and many others.

Mountain Jam
June 6-9, 2013
Hunter Mountain, NY
Performers include: Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic, Primus, The Avett Brothers, Dispatch, Gary Clark Jr., Soulive, ALO, and many others.

Governors Ball Music Festival
June 7-9, 2013
Randall’s Island
New York City, NY

Camp Railroad
June 10-14, 2012
Full Moon resort
Big Indian, NY
This 4-day music camp will feature members of Railroad Earth in an assortment of workshops, performances, discussions and other sessions to help aspiring musicians and those interested in the music industry to gain an insight into the inner workings of the band. A variety of accommodations are available, and musicians of all skill levels are accepted.
June 13-16
Manchester, TN

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 20-23
Telluride, Colorado
Performers include: Sam Bush Band, Jackson Brown, Emmylou Harris 7 Rodney Crowell, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas Band, Punch Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Solid Sound Festival
June 21-23, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art
North Adams, MA
Hosted by Wilco

Electric Forest Festival
June 27-30, 2013
Double JJ Ranch and Resort
Rothbury, MI

High Sierra Music Festival
July 4-7, 2013
Quincy, CA

All Good Music Festival
July 18-21, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH

Northwest String Summit
July 18-21, 2013
Horning’s Hideout
North Plains, OR

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 19-21, 2013
Union Park
Chicago, IL

Floyd Fest
July 25-28, 2013
Floyd, VA
Performers include: The Lumineers, John Butler Trio, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Blitzen Trapper, and many others.

Gathering of the Vibes
July 25-28, 2013
Seaside Park
Bridgeport, CT

Newport Folk Festival
July 27-28, 2013
Newport, RI

Newport Jazz Festival
August 2-4, 2013
Newport, RI

August 9-11, 2013
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY

Outside Lands
August 9-11
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

Catskill Chill
September 6-8, 2013
Camp Minglewood
Hancock, NY

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 4-6, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

Austin City Limits
October 4-6, 2013
October 11-13, 2013


Thanks again for hanging around this week. As always there’s more news and music for you on Facebook and Twitter. Until next week, Jam On!


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