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View Full Version : I saw Jake in Wilmington, DE last night!



Gwynedd
04-26-2013, 01:16 AM
Jake was FANTASTIC! His concert had a lot of his new music from Grand Ukulele (http://amzn.to/12MxAv8), his new album, which is going to be a bit controversial as it has Alan Parsons producing it with orchestral background. This works for some of the cuts (Missing Three) but not for all of them, in my opinion.

Jake explained some of the behind the scenes about the album, had his brother Bruce for the Toccata (THANKS! THAT was the highlight for most of us) and of course, early on, played Rolling in the Deep, and finished with Gently Weeps. He talked about his 8 mo old son and was the usual warm presence he bathes his audience in --that pure joy and love. I didn't get to stay after to chat as one of our party had to be home for an early meeting this am, but they didn't know about Jake (they were there for the legendary Leo Kottke who opened.) The audience was our age, 60's and actually I'd say 70 pct or more were there for KOTTKE who was superb, but by the end, we had a houseful of Jake-converts.

I adored the tribute to Van Halen and other great guitar rockers, and there were enough of the old faves mixed in with the new to make it a perfect production. Lighting--lasers and fog machine with some plain crinkled crepe strips here and there to pick up down and up lighting in various ways. A simple set but absolutely effective for soloists.

Bottom line; if you get a chance to go to a "Grand Ukulele" concert, go. It was a DELIGHT. how could it not be?????

coolkayaker1
04-26-2013, 01:19 AM
Wow, thanks, gwynedd. Lovely. I saw him on P, L U tour.

Did you find some of his tunes overly long, as another reviewer had mentioned on UU?

I agree with you about the seeming overproduction on Grand Uke... I love Brittni P., too, and her 2012 CD is awesome, but some could argue the same---it's like a band with a lead uke instead of a uke with a touch of band. Taimane's 2012 release, conversely, is a huge dollop of uke. Amazing!

Gwynedd
04-26-2013, 01:39 AM
Yes, I thought a few of the pieces dragged a bit and one issue is that he's so much into the "shred style" that it could have benefited from mixing up his lyrical style with the shred. Bringing Bruce on was a welcome variety. By contrast, Leo Kottke, who played for about the same amount of time, was able to do mostly instrumental with only a few songs and the hour flew by. He is of course a seasoned stage musician and knows exactly how to turn the audience on.

I imagine that future tours may include more orchestral or backup as Jake explores ukulele as solo-plus. One piece did not work at all--the Missing Three. Good story, fun to listen to Jake introduce it, but it actually does sound better with the orchestral accompaniment on the album. The one electric uke where he mixes the initial solo and then "wails" along with the digitized accompaniment was interesting but...a bit long. Needed some tweaking.

It did drag a bit but this is where experience will teach him. His energy and personal warmth carried it off, but it was far from "perfect" though his playing was spot-on.

By contrast, you could see where Kottke lost the thread and absolutely buggered up some of his songs (I play piano as well as uke and I know what losing the thread of the song feels like and how you "vamp" along until you find it. He was doing that a LOT...yet, he was able to cover his lapses with either humor or various other tricks. ) It's a lot of showmanship. Jake has that, but when you are ALONE up on a big stage, it's a lonely place and carrying the audience the whole time is a monumental task.

Eriquito
04-26-2013, 01:53 AM
I was there too! Delaware represented on UU! I thought there was a HUGE difference seeing him live. I really liked Blue Roses. It was a simpler song (compared to his other more shreddy-ish tunes) but was really much more emotional. All and all it was great show!

coolkayaker1
04-26-2013, 02:19 AM
Yes, I thought a few of the pieces dragged a bit and one issue is that he's so much into the "shred style" that it could have benefited from mixing up his lyrical style with the shred. Bringing Bruce on was a welcome variety. By contrast, Leo Kottke, who played for about the same amount of time, was able to do mostly instrumental with only a few songs and the hour flew by. He is of course a seasoned stage musician and knows exactly how to turn the audience on.

I imagine that future tours may include more orchestral or backup as Jake explores ukulele as solo-plus. One piece did not work at all--the Missing Three. Good story, fun to listen to Jake introduce it, but it actually does sound better with the orchestral accompaniment on the album. The one electric uke where he mixes the initial solo and then "wails" along with the digitized accompaniment was interesting but...a bit long. Needed some tweaking.

It did drag a bit but this is where experience will teach him. His energy and personal warmth carried it off, but it was far from "perfect" though his playing was spot-on.

By contrast, you could see where Kottke lost the thread and absolutely buggered up some of his songs (I play piano as well as uke and I know what losing the thread of the song feels like and how you "vamp" along until you find it. He was doing that a LOT...yet, he was able to cover his lapses with either humor or various other tricks. ) It's a lot of showmanship. Jake has that, but when you are ALONE up on a big stage, it's a lonely place and carrying the audience the whole time is a monumental task.

I see, thank you. I think his Peace, Love Uke CD was more "pop" structured with shorter pieces, like Bring Your Adz. Hate to say it, but that's what people enjoy--short, sharp, shocked. Slow burning is good, too, but in four minutes.

Since Jake is a solo ukulele player, as you say, it can be a slow slog, like a walk through quicksand in flip-flops, if the songs aren't varied punches of sound.

And I like Blue Roses also, E.

Gwynedd
04-26-2013, 01:31 PM
I was there too! Delaware represented on UU! I thought there was a HUGE difference seeing him live. I really liked Blue Roses. It was a simpler song (compared to his other more shreddy-ish tunes) but was really much more emotional. All and all it was great show!

I think I saw you before the show, in the bar area? If your avatar is representative....I was the tall older lady with a black long sleeve shirt with many beads on front.

I liked the tribute to Van Halen and Rolling in the Deep. And Blue Roses was great. Surprised me how much I liked the rock. I am not a rock fan by and large.

Gwynedd
04-26-2013, 01:35 PM
I don't mind "longer" hell, I learned German by listening to Wagner opera (no time to study my German so something had to go. So for the hours of study for my physics and organic chem, I'd listen to Wagner, and sing along. The memorized arias came in handy for vocabulary and grammar.)

I do mind a lack of pacing and variation. It's ONE guy (a cute as hell guy) dancing around on the stage and even though I could listen to him forever, especially his speaking voice (one of those deep resonant Japanese voices) the music would benefit from pacing and style variation. I mean, you wouldn't listen to three Bruckner symphonies in a row.

BlueLatitude
04-26-2013, 01:48 PM
It's ONE guy (a cute as hell guy) dancing around on the stage and even though I could listen to him forever, especially his speaking voice (one of those deep resonant Japanese voices).....

Oh, yes to both of those statements!!! *swoon*

I really enjoyed seeing him in concert last year and plan to go again later this year, but it's his personality that makes seeing him live so wonderful.

GKK
04-26-2013, 03:59 PM
Well, it's hard to Please everyone!...

Jake's concerts are always Awesome and he is a True "Pioneer" in contributing too, make the Ukulele so, popular for this generation of Uke players!...

Gwynedd
04-26-2013, 11:52 PM
I loved it, just being a "critic." I'm well known as a reviewer in some circles (even internationally, which was a surprise when I got a half hour interview by the BBC last month.) The entire concert was certainly an uplifting evening. Leo Kottke was the perfect mix--someone who plays guitar in a unique fashion and can stand alone even without voice, playing extraordinary ballads. And you could hear now and then where Jake was inspired by Kottke's style. Anyway, a lovely evening.

I want more people to love Jake and that looks like it's happening for him--what with the PBS special. And couldn't happen to a more talented, nicer guy. With a uke. Yay!