Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now dialing into the world of Beanstalk...

Bookened by some interesting effect, the dastardly dirty funk of Beanstalk is expertly captured in this live release, recorded on October 20th, 2000 at Magnolia Festival. From the first funk moments of "Jesse James" to the Wildly jammed "Monsoon," Beanstalk proves that not only can they slam our bodies with their unique brand of funk, but also jam with the best of them.

The musicianship on this disc is incredible. Every track on this performance shows that the three members of Beanstalk have more than technical skill on their instruments. "Open Wide" begins with some great harmonic bass playing by Andy Irvine that's reminiscent of a few Flecktones tunes that quickly moves into a booty-shaking funk jam featuring great guitar playing by Joel Lisi before moving into an amazing bass solo and finishing the tune. Drummer Billy Carr rounds out the lineup with his solid and steady playing.

When playing funk it's not uncommon to discover that most of the songs sound terribly similar. Beanstalk manages to make each song a unique piece. The groove is tight and the jams are great. Melding a middle-eastern feel with a deep groove, "Wild Turkey" emerges as possibly the most unique funk tunes ever. Joel Lisi once again provides some amazing guitar work while the rest of the band holds the rest together.

The album concludes with the monster epic "Monsoon." Lasting just a hair under 30 min, this tune goes everywhere and shows the amazing skill of this three-piece band. The jam seems to go everywhere, sometimes dancing dangerously close to sounding like a Disco Biscuits jam. The journey includes various teases along the way that bring an element of fun to the tune. Unfortunately, this track includes my only two complaints about this album.

The first is the drum segment. Billy Carr is an amazing drummer and it's evident throughout the disc that he's got fire burning in those sticks, but that drum solo is just too long and it seems to kill the energy that the song had so expertly built. My second complaint is the last five minutes of the track. These "outro effects" are so obnoxious that I wish I could remove them from the disc. It's basically a very short loop of the band slowed down and then sped up and then scratched like a record for five minutes. It made me want to kill myself and it manages to kill the disc as well.

Live at Magnolia Festival is a great live album featuring a great band. Beanstalk has recently added a vocalist to their amazing group of players and it won't be long before this band really explodes.

Check out Beanstalk's website at

Brooks Williams

[Published on: 6/1/01]

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