Stockholm Syndrome | 02.15 & 16 | SF

Words by: Dennis Cook

Stockholm Syndrome :: 02.15.08 :: The Independent :: San Francisco, CA

Stockholm Syndrome :: 02.15 by Susan J. Weiand
How do you get your hands around this beast? Stockholm Syndrome is a rock chameleon, scaled and moist one moment and hairy, plush and wholly mammalian the next. Throughout this first stretch of their two-night run at The Independent there was something very alive about them, primal ooze percolating into bones and flesh, form and function carved from Creation's black soil and dark waters. Sure, this is a rock 'n' roll band but the way they do it burrows into deep expanses hiding behind the thin shell of daily existence.

The joy of this collaboration shone on their faces. As much as I admire and respect all the projects these cats are involved in, it's instantly apparent how much fun and real artistic pleasure they derive from playing together, and that feeling never subsided one iota until the final encore faded away. Singer-guitarist Jerry Joseph (The Jackmormons, The Denmark Veseys), bassist-singer Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), guitarist-singer Eric McFadden (EMT), drummer Wally Ingram (David Lindley) and keyboardist Danny Louis (Gov't Mule) are collectively one of the most talented, hot shit groups anyone has ever put together. May sound like hyperbole but hearing them jump off the precipice hand-in-hand right on the opener it was apparent we were dealing with genuine craftsmen with the ability to play whatever they want AND a sense of daring invulnerability and impetuousness that prompts them to take chances, hanging their asses in the breeze with wicked grins. No disrespect to Widespread, Gov't Mule, et al. but it only took a few numbers to get the sense that this may be the most engaged, fully switched-on setting these musicians work in.

Jerry Joseph :: 02.15 by Josh Miller
Stockholm Syndrome hit with the belly punch of vintage punk played by guys with enormous technical skill and equal facility with blues-based rock, throbbing reggae, electric jazz and plain ol' pop music. Stockholm is their garage band, their once-in-awhile getaway that reminds them with chugging, beautifully rugged intensity of the reasons they picked up instruments in the first place. Jerry Joseph's eyes crackled with sparking purpose as he belted out lines like "If I could I'd burn the whole world down/ And raise it up again for you!" That flame was passed around as the explosive creativity of one member ignited something in the man next to him. Joseph and Louis, in particular, had a groovy love thing going on, where Joseph would plant himself an inch or two from the keyboards and just push Louis to dig into his trick bag. This game of musical chicken went on all over the stage. In Stockholm, these players reach for something beyond their norm, grasping at things just outside their comfort zone. The occasional stumble didn't halt or hinder the overall feeling of ever-present excitement. At the risk of overworking a symbol, it felt a bit like being engulfed by friendly blue flames, hot but healing, stealing the oxygen from our lungs with an ear-popping whoosh.

Schools & McFadden :: 02.15 by Susan J. Weiand
They took us through dub clouds, Afrobeat tributaries (wonderfully reminiscent of The Talking Heads' Remain In Light), TV commercial jingles, un-pretty boogie and power chord hosannas. Individual contributions like solos were uniformly superb but it's the collective muscle they flex that sticks with you. I will say Danny Louis stands out here in a way he often doesn't in the Mule, showing himself a focused but no less bizarre child of Bernie Worrell with a greater affinity for piano stomp worthy of Les McCann. From minute to minute there was so much to choose from – the Asgardian heaviness of Ingram's drums; the Paco de Lucia meets Kirk Hammett dazzle of McFadden; Joseph's incisive guitar lines and fierce singing; the cataclysmic whomp of Dave Schools (the man plays bass like he's working the body of an elephant and you best watch out for the tusks); the inspired interplay of Louis' Hammond organ – that you were best to just lie back and let them take you, confident that both the journey and the destination would be worthwhile.

In the end, I walked away thinking that the reason they don't do this all the time is they might never return to their other bands. The definition of their name implies a sense of captive bedazzlement, where one defends their kidnappers and resists return to the life they knew before being swept up. And perhaps if they took a year off from their many other obligations and fully explored Stockholm Syndrome it might prove less thrilling, less their dream garage band and more like work. But, from the purely selfish perspective of a consumer of what their dishing out, well, I'd love to hear what an extended tour and a few more recording sessions might produce. Stockholm Syndrome is such a massive kick in the head, such a bolt to the soul that you can hardly blame a man for wanting more of it.

02.15.08 :: The Independent :: San Francisco, CA
Empire One, Red Lightning > Tightrope > Red Lightning, Leaving Lopez, Purple Heart, Lick The Tears > Doors > LTT, Bouncing Very Well, Kind of Place, Shining Path, Conscious Contact
Encore: Tarantula Hawk

Continue reading for Kayceman's review of Saturday night...

Words by: Kayceman | Images by: Susan J. Weiand

Stockholm Syndrome :: 02.16.08 :: The Independent :: San Francisco, CA

Ingram, Schools, McFadden :: 02.15 :: San Francisco
It's been four years since we got our first dose of Stockholm Syndrome. A lot has changed, and unfortunately, a lot has not. Here's what's different: Danny Louis has replaced German keyboardist Danny Dziuk; drummer Wally Ingram almost died and has since made a full recovery from Squamous Cell Cancer; and bassist Dave Schools has finally made good on his threats and moved to the Bay Area. In regards to what's the same, guitarist-vocalist Eric McFadden and singer-guitarist Jerry Joseph are still two of the most talented musicians on the planet with the least amount of recognition. But what's even more disturbing is that once again we are in an election year and the songs this band wrote four years ago are just as relevant today.

Just take a look at a few key lines from the band's 2004 debut, Holy Happy Hour:

"We tell the kids that it's good versus evil/ that country and God are more important than people/ We say it so much that it's almost believable." -"Tight"

"Hillbilly heroin, the Patriot Act, smothering the airwaves in vitriol/ Industrialization of the little brown babies, hope you got a bonus for the soul you sold/ We raise our hands with our American fork, our greedy little hands." -"American Fork"

Back on the preemptive; back on the offensive you're either with me or against me, better choose. -"Empire One"

"I don't think there's anything funny about another Jihad." -"The Shinning Path"

Wally Ingram :: 02.15.08
Beyond timely (but hopefully not timeless) lyrics, what has remained the same is that this band breathes fire. For a group that's played a mere handful of shows since 2004 - a pair of benefit gigs for Ingram in February 2007 and then two shows around Haynes' 2007 Christmas Jam - their ability to just lock-in and play is remarkable. By the time Saturday night rolled around the engine was greased, the tempos leveled and the improvisations packed with explosives.

Early in the show (they play a single long set), coming off a triumphant "Oil," the band brought it way down with two ballads "Spy" and "White Dirt" back-to-back. While both are excellent songs, placing two introspective, slower numbers together on Saturday night was a bit questionable. However, the band did a beautiful job of segueing into the thick, Rasta groove of "Friendly Fire" before dropping the hammer for the remainder of the evening. Somewhere between "The Jacob Ladder," "Ray Of Heaven" and "Couldn't Get It Right" everything came together. When they stopped thinking about song structure and just played, inspiration filled not only the band but also the audience. Watching McFadden and Joseph square off with their guitars, allowing them to bleed together and wrap around each other in some sort of rock double-helix we were reminded of just how powerful this band can be. Losing themselves in song, egos disappeared as moments of brilliance became sustainable jams that fed off their own energy.

As noted, one key factor to the success of this band is the addition of Gov't Mule keyboardist Danny Louis. Original ivory man Danny Dziuk was a great player, but far too timid. Every member of Stockholm Syndrome is a potential band leader, each one a dominant force, and although we may not see it all that much in Mule, Louis is an Alpha Dog just like Jerry, Schools and McFadden. If you are gonna try to compete on keys with all these testosterone fueled guitars flying around, you better have big balls, and Louis' sack is ginormous. And he just so happens to be every bit as wild and weird as the rest of the band, the missing member of Stockholm Syndrome for sure.

Waiting for the encore it was clear that Stockholm had satisfied the masses. There were sweaty brows, drink-stained shirts and dilated eyes circling the floor. Patiently contemplating the individual band members, their histories and other projects, I couldn't seem to shake a certain thought: What makes one artist Bruce Springsteen and the other Jerry Joseph? They are coming from the same place, exposing their emotions and fears in an effort to show the true, crumbling America filled with broken souls and battered dreams. They are two of the greatest songwriters we have and two of the most potent performers ever. They both possess an innate ability to tap the greater consciousness of an entire country and also connect with every person in the crowd. Yet one is a superstar and the other scrapes by.

Joseph & McFadden :: 02.15 :: San Francisco
Kicking-off the encore with a big ole "Spoonful" tease we saw all the various aspects of this great band jump to life. Toying with the blues standard and working it over in a psychedelic fashion that would have pleased Cream, everyone on stage was beaming with smiles. Carrying this expansive energy into the Jerry Joseph staple "Light Is Like Water," the night finished with fast picking guitars and foot stomping patrons.

It's an interesting recipe that dictates an artist or a band's fate. Why is Jerry not revered like The Boss? How come McFadden isn't the biggest rock star on Earth? He's definitely got the skills - there's no question there, but he's also in possession of intangibles like attitude, swagger and looks (not to mention he's a Flamenco master). How did Wally Ingram land that upcoming tour (and the previous ones) with Sheryl Crow? How did Schools become a living legend in one scene but has yet to find his recognition in the larger picture? Why isn't Stockholm Syndrome playing stadiums, or at least 5,000 person theaters with a couple of radio hits? If this band had been shot out of a vacuum; if everyone wasn't already so sure they knew all about that guy Jerry Joseph and that dude Dave Schools; if there were no preconceived notions this band may have come out in 2004 to mass acclaim at SXSW, CMJ and eventually Bonnaroo and all the other huge festivals. Or maybe they wouldn't have, who's to say. One thing we do know is that for those who already love what each player does separately, when these five musicians come together as Stockholm Syndrome there is nothing else like it.

Check out JamBase's exclusive travelogue as Kayceman heads to Europe with Stockholm Syndrome here...

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Comments

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/20/2008 06:51PM
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Chaloupka

Sounds Awesome!

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Wed 2/20/2008 07:17PM
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johnnygoff

AK,

when did the Danny Louis addition/replacement actually go down? Warren's Xmas jam? also, McFadden should be more well known...that is for sure.

and wassup w/ kayce touring w/ stockholm in europe?

sa-weet.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 04:33AM
Show -10 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Ned8 starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 05:35AM
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Fantastic review; you took me right there.... Thanks for that. These guys deserve it all because... just because. GREAT ARTICLE!!!!!

toestothenose starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 06:16AM
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toestothenose

Damn it's so good to hear both of your thoughts on what Danny Louis brought to the table. I'll be keeping an eye on archive for a link to those shows.

The Joseph/Springsteen comparison has run through my head before...

It's truly baffling that JJ struggles still - he's the poor mans Springsteen, definitely hungrier and equally as emotion filled. His song writing paints such deep emotion that I walk away from seeing him with a thousand thoughts on my mind. Much like you Kayce, I am astounded he hasn’t found more success.

Great article

kierantaylor starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 08:32AM
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Great review-- this version of SS is leagues better than former IMHO.

To answer previous question, yes, Louis came in at XMAS jam (another great set of shows)

At both shows and while the review sounds like hyberbole, its not. This is one of those supergroups that is unfortunately ephemeral. Ill earn flames but for my tastes this group is better than anyone of the groups they call home (WSP, Mule, JJJ, etc). Ive been seeing Jerry since 87 and this is easily, easily his best line up and some of his best performances.

The lyrics are socially concious/current and aware and the musical prowess is so unbelievable; do what you can to see them before they are gone.

One error in the story; they didnt play Sack Full of Hearts. It was Friendly Fire.

Best tune night 1: Tarantula Hawk

Best tune night 2: Oil

I thought night 2 was best.

Thanks to Stockholm Syndrome for raising the bar.

onearmguitarist starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 09:07AM
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onearmguitarist

I saw them in Utah on Tuesday and it was on fire! What a great group....even better than 04 at red rocks!

crawf Thu 2/21/2008 11:16AM
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solid review

PCPrabbit Thu 2/21/2008 11:27AM
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PCPrabbit

hazzah! wally's back! go wally!

moephishH2O starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 12:35PM
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moephishH2O

Great review, Dennis! Wish I could have made those shows....

mikemac9317 Thu 2/21/2008 12:39PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
mikemac9317 Thu 2/21/2008 12:40PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
happydestiny starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 01:44PM
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happydestiny

I was at the Utah show too and it was incredibile

happydestiny Thu 2/21/2008 01:49PM
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happydestiny

mikemac---dude are you serious? Apperently you haven't been in the game very long because the members of SS represent some of the elite artists living on the planet right now. Do some homework before you talk shit dumbass!

mikemac9317 Thu 2/21/2008 02:08PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
tensgrl Thu 2/21/2008 03:49PM
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great article here! stockholm syndrome is playing the fox feb. 22 on friday...i think with members like jerry joseph and mcfaddden, with schools of course..should be a great show!

stellarrstarr starstarstarstar Thu 2/21/2008 04:45PM
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stellarrstarr

OOH! I'm going to the Fox show, too! Its gonna be SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!!!

jpkempler starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/22/2008 08:48AM
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Kayce and Cook: Thanks for those reviews. You guys are both excellent writers...and you have impeccable taste in music!! My wife and I traveled across the country to see these SS shows (and re-visit SF, Marin and Carmel and see some old friends), and we were not disappointed...to say the least. This band is probably the best thing happening in "rock" music right now (although calling them a "rock band" or "jam band" or any other category doesn't do them justice). The music these guys make is suffused with raw emotion and superior intelligence...and it kicks ass!!! The band and the music may be too smart and powerful for some (mikemac?), but for those who like to think and dance and rock and swing and make love at the same time...there's nothing else like it!!

Peace...

Ned8 starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/22/2008 09:03AM
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mikemac9317 .... Ok tell us who is ou like. I'm interested; Eric M is to my mind the best guitarist in the idiom, so who do you like? Imean if you are going to diss on greatness then support it

tomspeed starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/22/2008 09:33AM
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tomspeed

Great reviews guys. I love this band. I wish they'd come play some shows down south. And record a new album or work up some new material when they do. The play some more shows. Then another tour.

NEED MORE STOCKHOLM PLEASE!

mikemac9317 Fri 2/22/2008 09:34AM
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mikemac9317

Not saying that McFadden is not great, hes played with great artists in the past, but be honest if it wasn't for Schools backing this band they wouldn't have that big of a fanbase period. Oh yeah Wally played with Sheryl Crow and Tracey Chapman, they kick ass. Please

Ned8 starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/22/2008 01:22PM
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mikemac9317 .... So that discounts them? You probably never heard of Ornet Coleman before Jerry and the boys played with him but that does not deter the significance of that artist. Wally is an awesome session player as well as drummer in the live setting and that is why he was chosen by Sheryl Crow and Chapman , both artists are good song-writers; maybe they are not your favorites but secretly you humm "Fast Car," when it comes on the radio.

My point is that you really have no point; you base your reasons for criticizing amazing artists why; Because Dave S plays with them and plays with Widespread? And so, we should not pay any mind to the excellence of the song-writing and the virtuosity of their playing? Buddy, you got it all wrong, there are so many talented people in this world who don’t win the immediate popularity contest and they will still play to tables and chairs and a few people who get to have a catharsis when they play and say; “I can’t believe I’m experiencing this and no one is here.” That may be the saddest thing about the music scene; because popularity makes some and the lack there of kills others…. Think about that

j-bizzle Fri 2/22/2008 02:33PM
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j-bizzle

mikemac are you saying SS sucks or just bitching that their fanbase is all due to schools? jerry joseph gets reviewed on here all the time, same with mcfadden; and i've seen a couple of wally reviews on here too. so basically STFU! Please return to listening to EOTO and Cheese, we will not miss you at the next syndrome show.

rumpledforeskin Sat 2/23/2008 04:01PM
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Minnasoda starstarstarstarstar Sat 2/23/2008 10:30PM
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Minnasoda

great reviews Dennis and Aaron. Thank you. Nice pics Susan! I really wish SS would pass through minnasoda.

cbd starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/25/2008 08:56AM
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--To answer previous question, yes, Louis came in at XMAS jam (another great set of shows)--

not quite. Danny Louis played his 1st 2 Stockholm shows last February 2/9/07 & 2/10/07 also at the Independent. They were 2 benefit shows for Wally as he recovered from cancer. Claypool was one of the openers the 2nd night. Wally only played a few songs b/c he was still really weak from his cancer treatment and Paulo Baldi backed him up on drums/percussion. Both shows are up on the archive & I am seeding a torrent at etree for the 1st night of this run right now. Also Wally is probably as well known for his long time connection with David Lindley as he is for the Sheryl Crow connection.