~Meniscus Archives~

Spring 2004
Issue #3

February - April 2004

Sex, Not Just for Teenagers
Mr. Ruggles

Like No Other Time, by Tom Daschle
A review
by Kristi Spurrier

Maintaining Spirituality in the Void We Call America
Mr. Ruggles
Libra Seeking Balance
Melissa Bator
What 2004 Means to Me
The Tonic
Bush's Capitalism: 21st Century Entropy
Jon Heinrich
Don't Think Twice,
It's Alright

Mike Kirkpatrick
Cows in the Road
Dan Berthiaume
Love, at 100
Pete Pidgeon
Summer's Freckles
Wes Ratko
Not a Love Story
Sarah Erdreich
Miami New Years
Team Meniscus
Tuckerman Ravine
Jon Heinrich
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Ten tips for a successful Jazzfest
Chrystie Hopkins
Meniscus New Years Picks
Bootyjuice is a Band
Derek Gumuchian
One Double Grande Instrumental, Please (Hold the Flavored Syrup):
A Review of
Self-Titled Debut

Brian Gagné
Show Review:
Vida Blue, 1/3/04
Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami, FL

Jon Heinrich
CD Review:
Spaceship Integration
Live From Nowhere

CD Review:
The Recipe
All You Can Eat
Love Is...
-Ryan Collins
Traded for Monkeys,
Livid [In Tall Grass]
What a Calamity!

-Brian Gagné
Meniscus Premier Launch Party
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 14, 2003

Metro Saturdays hosts
Meniscus Portland Launch
Sky Bar @ The Roxy
Portland, Maine
August 30, 2003

State of the Art
Lounge Ten
Boston, Massachussets
October 23, 2003


Show Review:

Vida Blue

Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami FL

Jon Heinrich

Published 2/14/04

With New Years Eve on a Thursday this year, and a serious gathering of Phish heads converged on Miami’s South Beach, the scene was primed for a high energy Vida Blue show on Saturday night. The show opened with Jazz Mandolin Project and an infrequent accompaniment by drummer John Fishman—even more motivation for beach ravaged heads to make a showing at Miami’s Jackie Gleason Theater.

When the show started just after 8:00, it was evident that many fans were not as punctual as they had been for the four-show Phish new years run just days earlier, as evidenced by the many empty seats in the venue.

Performing first was the neo-fusion bluegrass of Jamie Masefield on mandolin, Danton Boller on bass and John Fishman on drums. Jazz Mandolin Project warmed the audience slowly, however their set ended before the weary crowd had raised to their feet. The show was entertaining, but it was not the highlight of the night.

At about 9:15, when Vida Blue and the Spam Allstars took the stage, the late stragglers rectified the audience deficit and brought the energy up a full level.

Appropriately opening with “Little Miami”, the large group of musical motive force immediately drew the crowd to their feet. The sub-bass kicks from DJ Spam—reminiscent of the pimp daddy cars cruising the streets of Miami Beach—combined with the world beat percussion of the Spam Allstars; the audience launched right into groove mode, making the theater’s seats less useful and more in the way. If the audience was a barometer, the energy began rising from the get go.

During the second song “Most Events Aren’t Planned,” the band launched into a disco-funk segment completely inconsistent with their previous shows from 2001-2003. Looking around the audience, the noticeably heady listeners nodded approvingly along.

The energy of the show continued to mount through “Ochimini,” a vocal latin number from the Spam Allstars’ forthcoming studio album, due out in early 2004. Still rising further through “Where’s Popeyes,” and finally peaking out on “Russell’s Tune,” the inhabitants of the theatre found no trouble mustering the driving dancing force to keep their hips swaying to and fro.

Gently bringing us down from the bell-curve of intensity, Page stepped up to sing “Who’s Laughing Now”, from Vida Blue’s self-titled debut album. The last few songs brought nice closure to the unexpected peak of energy felt that night.

If the last time you saw Vida Blue was in 2001 or 2002, or even in early 2003, you are in for quite a surprise. The trio, comprising of Russell Baptiste (the Meters) on drums, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band/Aquarium Rescue Unit) on bass and Page McConnell (Phish) on keys, has embraced the addition of six latin funksters known as the Spam Allstars. They bring many new textures to the music including improvisational electronic elements, latin, funk, hip hop and dub.

The Spam Allstars add to the mix, two additional percussionists, three horn players, including a sensuous female vocalist/flute player; a guitar, and DJ le Spam. The allstar sextet brings an incredible depth of texture to the music. The percussive style, with modern accent of the DJ, brings a world rhythm that will get any willing candidate on their feet and dancing.

It seems this collaboration, along with the logging of more practice hours and the boost of energy from playing with Phish again (for Page), has taken an otherwise sedentary trio and given it dancing legs.

In Vida Blue’s past incarnation—with only Baptiste, Burbridge, and McConnell—a noticeable lack of motive rhythmic force characterized the band’s melancholy shows. For fans familiar with the résumés of the three musical virtuosos, Vida Blue did not satisfy.

However, that has now changed.

If you’ve seen them before, or perhaps have their debut CD, give them another listen. You can catch the Vida Blue-Spam Allstar collaboration touring in 2004, as well as on the recent album The Illustrated Band.

The addition of the Spam Allstars as motive backdrop has brought out the chemistry we all knew was possible between this trio of heavy-hitters. The practice and refinement of Vida Blue’s compositions is evident now, three years after their inception as a band in April 2001.

Jon Heinrich



Meniscus Magazine © 2004. All material is property of respective artists.