Monday, December 12, 2011

Gandalf Murphy - 2006-12-02 - East Lansing, MI


This is a show that I'll never forget. I was just sitting, doing nothing one afternoon. A good friend called and asked what my plans were for the night. A whole lot of nothing. Well, he said, "There's a show in Lansing that you NEED to see." Because the caller is an audio professional, and was going to do the sound that night, and Lansing was only about 90 minutes away, I went along to the show.

I have been absolutely hooked on this band ever since. A-mazing stuff. One reviewer called them the "Hillbilly Pink Floyd". For those readers not from the USA, a hillbilly is a person who is often from a rural area and is ... gloriously unsophisticated. The origin of what we could call "country" music is hidden among these people.

Gandalf Murphy will often perform Pink Floyd influenced music, then a cover of a Ramones song, then a sea shanty, then yodel for 10 minutes. Their original music is probably more fairly akin to King Crimson around the Court of the Crimson King period. Some pieces are more influenced by the Floyd, or the Beatles, or ... well, hopefully, you get where I am going. They are a band that should've existed in the 1960s or 1970s, but somehow popped out of the time warp around 2000.

I have flown to Philadelphia three times to see them play. I have flown to New York City twice to see them. I will be flying again in the near future to see them play. They are that good.

Now, some details about this specific show. This was a completely unadvertised, unannounced show. There were no tickets sold. It took place in a coffee shop. So, imagine if you will, a four piece band's equipment set up in the front of a small coffee shop. They took up most of the front end of the store. The audience was probably only 30-40 people. Most of them were probably customers who wandered in & got trapped. Plus, of course, the shop was trying to get customers in & out, serve food, clean tables, etc. It was insane... but, a happy kind of insanity.

I was fully prepared to hate the band. I was just bored & thought that the drive to Lansing and back was a decent excuse to be busy for a while. Once the music started, however, I knew that I was interested. The second song is a "tip of the hat to those great folk pioneers - The Who". Once they got to the third song, Flapjacks From The Sky, I knew I would be buying all of their CDs - which I did.

Gandalf Murphy has always toured in a strange way. They have three primary markets - the East Coast, the UK, and Michigan. I lived in Michigan for lots of years, so I made it a point to go to all of those shows. Some of the East Coast fans have been to more shows than I have. But, I've traveled greater distances to go to a show!

I should also point out that they have such a liberal taping policy that you can grab quite a few of their shows over at Your ears will love you for the rest of your life.

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