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Show-Stopping Moments

Show Stopping Moments

Nicole Atkins and PG editors share favorite memories from the last concert they attended. Plus, current obsessions!


Q: What was the last concert you went to? Describe the best moment.

Nicole Atkins—Guest Picker

A: It was Spoon in Wilmington, North Carolina. I went to see them the night before in Knoxville, and their opener got Covid, so I hopped on their bus and opened for them the next day and just used Britt Daniel’s guitar. He let me sing “Jonathan Fisk” with them, and it’s one of my favorite songs!

Spoon "Jonathan Fisk"

Thank god I had the day off. It felt like my birthday! Spoon are one of those special bands that make every album and play every show like they did not come to fuck around. They’re very inspiring to me.

Nicole Atkins' Current Obsession:

Sam Cooke’s version of “Unchained Melody.” It’s low and slow and breaks your heart in the best way. Anytime it comes on, I’m completely absorbed in it. Also, a lot of Rodgers and Hart songs are entering my wheelhouse lately, and I need those feeling changes in my music right now. It makes me wanna scream!

Chris Laney—Reader of the Month

A: In April 2019, I saw Buckethead at the National in Richmond, Virginia. I took a painting with me, specifically for Bucket, hoping to hand it to him. I got a position in the front row, on the right side, and enjoyed the show from the best perspective possible.

About a third of the way into the show, Buckethead gave out toys to fans upfront. As he got closer to me, I edged the painting to where it was partially resting on the stage. He approached me and took the painting! He took it back to his amp setup, and P-Sticks eventually displayed it behind the amps where a good portion of the crowd could see it. After that, Buckethead came back and gave me a bag of magnetic letters and shook my hand. It was amazing to interact with someone I looked up to, literally and figuratively. I consider it the best concert experience ever, with meeting Joe Satriani coming in as a close second.

Buckethead - Full Show, Live at The National in Richmond Va. on 4/5/2019

This video of the concert shows the handoff at 53:14, and if you watch later into the video, you can see it on display behind where Bucket is playing.

Chris Laney's Current Obsession:

Sweep picking. Cramming so many notes into such a short space and making it flow is hard, but so big of a payoff when it finally happens.

Shawn Hammond—Chief Content Officer

A: As a longtime fan of Together Pangea, I was super excited to see them play the Maintenance Shop in Ames, Iowa, earlier this summer—especially after Covid’s long live-music drought. Their show was energetic and spot-on in every way, but even cooler was the fact that opening band Tropa Magica—which none of us had even heard of before—blew our minds.

Their hypercharged, incredibly nuanced blend of psych, punk, and cumbia alone would’ve made the four-hour round-trip drive worth it.

Tropa Magica’s David Pacheco on the Power of Distorted Delays

Tropa Magica’s David Pacheco on the Power of Distorted Delays

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Best moment: Band founders/brothers David and Rene Pacheco holding their Tele and red Nord Electro keyboard, respectively, aloft behind their heads and playing a mighty fucking crescendo in front of the venue’s medieval-church-style stained-glass backdrop.

Shawn Hammond's Current Obsession:

Continuing to learn how best to ride the wild beast of hollowbody guitar at high-ish volumes.

Jason Shadrick—Associate Editor

A: About a month ago, I caught Bela Fleck’s touring bluegrass festival that he put on with Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas. All three bands were loaded with all-star pickers, and seeing Bela, Sam, Jerry, Sierra Hull, Bryan Sutton, and Michael Cleveland at the same time was incredible.

Where else can you see bluegrass legends rip off solos over a 5/4 groove in Bb?

Béla Fleck - Wheels Up (Live)

One of the absolute highlights was Justin Moses, who stepped up and played Dobro alongside Jerry, banjo alongside Bela, and fiddle alongside Michael—and kept up with all of them.

Jason Shadrick's Current Obsession:

Fundamentals. Every once in a while, I need to go back and break down my technique, fretboard knowledge, and improvisation skills to their bare bones. I then turn to transcribing because it’s all about vocabulary and sound for me.

Steve Carr’s first amp build was a Fender Champ clone. It didn’t work on the first try. Luckily, that didn’t stop him.

Photo by Charles Odell

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John Mayall in the late ’80s, in a promo shot for his Island Records years. During his carreer, he also recorded for the Decca (with the early Bluesbreakers lineups), Polydor, ABC, DJM, Silvertone, Eagle, and Forty Below labels.

He was dubbed “the father of British blues,” but Mayall’s influence was worldwide, and he nurtured some of the finest guitarists in the genre, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel, Coco Montoya, and Walter Trout. Mayall died at his California home on Monday, at age 90.

John Mayall’s career spanned nearly 70 years, but it only took his first four albums to cement his legendary status. With his initial releases with his band the Bluesbreakers—1966’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton; ’67’s A Hard Road, with Peter Green on guitar; plus the same year’s Crusade, which showcased Mick Taylor—and his solo debut The Blues Alone, also from 1967, Mayall introduced an international audience of young white fans to the decidedly Black and decidedly American genre called blues. In the subsequent decades, he maintained an active touring and recording schedule until March 26, 2022, when he played his last gig at age 87. It was reported that he died peacefully, on Monday, in his California home, at 90.

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