salamander people



kicking off friday night with salamander song? don’t mind if you do. this is like the p-fish opening with harry hood, it just puts everyone in the right mood. and as it’s one of my favorites of theirs because of the hood and slave style bliss jamming, i was stoked. i think they’ve opened with a different song for just about every show i’ve seen, which is awesome because it gives each opener a new perspective when it’s in that placement. brian’s new guitar got plucked nicely during the ambient section and proved itself worthy from the first note on.

speaking of phish, my section at one of the miami new year’s run shows was pretty bummed when they didn’t encore with salamander song:

Cool seats last night #salamander

A post shared by Paul Griebel (@paul_joephish) on


newer song virtual bean dip was jammed out beautifully as well, getting more ambient than i remember it being during its debut in october. a low key bluesy legend followed which helped mellow everyone out for a few, with all my friends > bee jam right after. when i’ve got a nice buzz going it always takes me a minute to realize that bee jam is not, in fact, axilla 1 or 2, and this was no exception- the ipa’s were flowing down my gullet like the salmon of capistrano.

a tight leave the light on closed out set one, and my favorite song-y song hollywood opened the second frame. it’s partially cut on this recording (which sounds awesome by the way, no talkers ftmfw!) but it was great seeing this one so soon after just hearing it for the first time last week.

an electric electric taco stand (shit, i’m funny)/dis go in 5/taco stand followed that up- the entrance back into taco stand was sick, and for a few guitar licks there i thought brian was going into auld lang syne, but instead they went into a goosebump-inducing, soul-filling peak that permagrinned me into oblivion. but god, those peaks, i mean they’re kind of getting old, how about trying something new for chrissakes?

a lonely cool down was next, with a righteous land down under that once again held its title as the go-to space jam with another amazing version. red was adding some sick synth/key fills during the intro which is always appreciated. the segue into postman was effortless and brought us into a peak that made me want to rejoice and be glad. terrible job by the crowd at the end of that song though, there’s barely any acknowledgement or applause of this triumph on the recording.

the people encore was lovely, and the band did a squirming coil style exit as each member walked offstage until it was just red by himself playing the outro. incredible way to end the night.

2/20/15 Cactus Jack’s Phoenix, AZ

Set 1 – Salamander Song, Virtual Bean Dip, Legend, All My Friends > Bee Jam > Leave The Light On.

Set Two – Hollywood, Electric Taco Stand > Dis Go In 5? > Electric Taco Stand, Lonely, Down Under(@) > The Postman($)

Encore – People(@)

@ – Unfinished
$ – Ending only, completes 2/8/15 version

saturday slapped me right in the grillmix with a stellar ain’t that wrong opener that brought the alien vibes into the bar, set them up with a henry hill style table for two in the italian restaurant right in the front row, like “hey spaffnerds- we met some new friends out in the desert and invited them to join us tonight, deal with it.”

i don’t even know what that means but just listen to it (unfortunately it’s only a partial cut in the link below; i’ll take the higher ground and not get into why that is… okay, pull my arm- the board operator fucked up and didn’t get everything and there are many angry, lascivious people who want justice, but- because of this an anonymous donor has decided to buy back the sail inn property and build it back up in just 3 months and we can all be happy and safe again!).

sike. obviously that’s not happening. the sail inn’s not walking through that door; noodles church isn’t walking through that door; walt singing tangled up in blue isn’t walking through that door, and as soon as we all realize that, the better this town will be for all of us.

anyway, celtics and sail inn rant aside, shake you loose was a good breather as always, but when windmill got going -i love those opening chords and lyrics- the mood lightened a bit and heads started bobbing a little more freely as we dug in for the night ahead. the first section of this jam is just lovely and was hitting me with some very upbeat imagery throughout, and the segue into the blues jam was perfect before bringing it home to the glorious windmill peak we all know and love.

the crowd sang happy birthday to brian and then the band launched into backdoor funk, which did indeed bring the funk right up my backdoor, with extreme prejudice. and i’m not even complaining, everyone could use the occasional bowel jostling, even better when you’re not expecting it.

the beginning jam had a lot of individual notes from brian and nice fills from red, while nick and jordan kept a perfectly solid groove.  towards the middle jam they started a really cool chord/melody progression that had people getting down hard, with some awesome industrial sounding fills from either brian or red, i’m not sure. this is probably my favorite version of this song already and a ridiculous way to finish the first set.

america opened set two and had a similar spaced out aiw jam to the intro, red was going crazy with his synth and i couldn’t have been happier. love that sound. unfortunately for me, the fungus unexpectedly kicked into overdrive and these same sounds i claim to love so much scared the absolute bejesus out of me. this was the opposite reaction to the windmill jam- i was expecting sauron’s army to storm the stage and point at me to come with them to mordor. and the music was so terrifying at that point that i would have obliged.

i was actually mad at the band for a minute because i thought they were deliberately trying to rattle my brain cage, but i got through the sick america jam and came up for air during the slinky alligator walk that was the segue into the reprise. i don’t know if the last few reprises i’ve seen have been disconnected from america or what but i don’t ever remember them going into such a slowed down version like this. when i got my wits about me i thought they were going into west l.a. fadeaway, which would have been fine with me, but this reprise was astounding and brought me back to the cusp of reality.

after that ruckus of a mind melt, they decided to really fuck with us and debut a new song (whomever said “we gon’ play a new song fo’ y’all” almost caused a tidal wave of vaginal wetness with that barry white impression), currently/temporarily(?) titled combo combo. i’ve listened to this 22 minute behemoth three times just to get my head around it.

love the lyrics and the musical suites or whatever you want to call them seem to be more composed than most of their songs and both of those aspects are phenomenal, but that’s all i’m going to say because you just need to listen to it for yourself. surprise surprise, though, it slays. not wild about the name as it makes me think of those little pretzel things with fake cheese inside of them, but coming from a band whose song titles include virtual bean dip, this one will be easier to convince spaffirgins to listen to.

after combo combo they finished land down under from friday night which i’ve never seen them do, so that was cool, and a tight weasel into galisteo way closed out the set. the encore was bright, uplifting and for me, much needed. spafford can get dark and stormy whenever they want, and i love that, but on this night it was nice to have that encore as a life preserver.

for those seeing them in flagstaff next weekend, you, as always, are in for a treat. i’m trying to see them again in albuquerque in march, and we all should be trying to see them as much as we can because it won’t be long that these smaller club shows will be thought of as the good old days. this band is on the rise, and since they’re already well prepared, we’ll have the pleasure of seeing them soon with, yes, more people, but also on a bigger stage and even more great energy.

be ready, because they are.

2/21/15 | Cactus Jack’s | Phoenix, AZ

Set 1 – Ain’t That Wrong, Shake You Loose, Windmill, Backdoor Funk

Set 2 – America > The Reprise, Combo Combo(?) > Down Under(@) > Weasel > Galisteo Way

Encore – Beautiful Day($), People(@)

? – First Time Played (no name yet)
@ – Ending only / finishes 2/20 version
$ – Red solo