Martyrs - Chicago, IL - December 9, 2006
Pete Townshend - Drowned, In The Ether (with Rachel), God Speaks of Marty Robbins, I’m One (with all)
Rachel Fuller - Cigarettes and Housework, It's a Mother Fucker, Happy To Be Sad, Sunrise (with Pete)
Mikey Cuthbert - We Will Fix It, Tourist, Misery (with Simon and Rachel)
Simon Townshend - Close to Your Heart, Scaffold, Girl In New York, Sex Change
Joe Purdy - Days of Old, Only Four Seasons, Bye Bye Love (with Pete and Rachel), Wash Away (with Pete and Rachel)
Alexi Murdoch - 2 songs (unknown titles), Dream About Orange Sky (with Pete), Something Beautiful (with all)
Review by Jeff Elbel
The contemporary formation of the Who has toured North America since early September 2006 in support of its new Endless Wire LP. Along the road, PETE TOWNSHEND's partner RACHEL FULLER has served as emcee for Sirius satellite radio's WHO channel, performed at various Barnes & Nobles supporting her EP Shine, and promoted her webcast program "In the Attic." Tonight's "Attic Jam" at Martyrs pub was the fifth in a series stretching from Joe's Pub in New York City to Hotel Cafe in Hollywood.
Each Attic Jam has featured segments by the webcast's regulars. At Martyrs, presenter Fuller performed her confessional "Cigarettes and Housework" alone, and then joined others throughout the evening. Co-host MICKEY CUTHBERT gave credence to comparisons with late FACES bassist RONNIE LANE during "Misery," and touched on RADIOHEAD's "Street Spirit" with his acoustic "Tourist." Younger brother SIMON TOWNSHEND engaged the crowd with classic pop melodies and rock swagger, though limited to the acoustic guitar. "On the Scaffolding" from 1984's Sweet Sound delivered his biggest hook with its "meltaway and driftaway heart" chorus, though an answered request for the subversive "Sexchange" drew the strongest reaction.
The evening's special guests were troubadours JOE PURDY and ALEXEI MURDOCH. The bohemian Purdy sang winsome folk numbers torn from his diary, giving the impression of a more romantic, early BOB DYLAN. "I bought you that old guitar just hopin' you might sing. You took that old guitar, but you left your diamond ring," he mourned during "Days of Old." Next was a freshly written tune of love gone wrong.
Pete Townshend joined a clearly thrilled Purdy for a rousing version of THE EVERLY BROTHERS' "Bye Bye Love." While on stage, Townshend remarked about Purdy's new material, "We have a saying in England-'You've been at sea too long.' When buildings remind you of love affairs ..." Purdy engaged in the banter, agreeing that he should probably stop traveling-and drinking.
The evening's highlight was Townshend's brief set, marred though it was by efforts to recover from a nasty cold. At other Attic Jams (particularly at Hotel Cafe, featuring guest E of EELS), Townshend performed a full-length set of his material through the evening's course. Tonight, Townshend limited himself to three songs, but gave fans a treat by dusting off Quadrophenia's "Drowned," during which he alluded to the song being written when he'd been at sea too long himself.
Townshend's suffering throat didn't allow him to perform Endless Wire's "In the Ether" (accompanied by Fuller's piano) in his EARL HINES/TOM WAITS character voice. Townshend compensated for his vocal shortcomings with superb stories, revealing details behind "God Speaks of MARTY ROBBINS," and describing an influential meeting with Dylan. "What is a folk singer?" Townshend remembered asking Dylan. "He's a man with a good memory," came the answer, as Townshend winked and reached for his lyric binder.
Review by Ozzie Pottersmith
Rachel and company rolled into Martyr's in Chicago. A wonderfully intimate club and the perfect setting for the most recent live Attic Jam. The gods have smiled upon me, as this was my third opportunity to take part in what I believe is the most magical live music experience available on the planet. I look back at that sentence and ask myself if I really believe it, and all I can do is smile and think, fuck yeah I do!
Rachel is a Tsunami of talent and energy with the composure of a warm bath. She was in complete control and it was simply enjoyable to watch her make it happen.
Trrish and I settled in at one of the tables set up in front of the stage reserved for the M&G ticket holders, total luxury, and I was loving it! The biggest surprise, and the one that made me incredibly happy, was when it became apparent that all four of the ITA Fellowship was in attendance and set to play. I attended the first Attic Jam of the NA tour, and while it was an experience beyond belief, it wasn't the full blown Attic experience. As the LA Attic Jam proved, you need Mikey and Simon to pull Excalibur from the Attic stone, and it was proven once again in Chicago.
The magic was in full force with Rachel setting the mood with her wonderful witty repartee, not to mention looking incendiary in black miniskirt, and blazer with the silver skull. Mikey set the bar high with a great set, including something off his new EP "Invisible," which if you were wondering, is available at Eelpie.
Simon's set was simply gorgeous, and so is Simon! His music and presence on stage is just consistently fucking brilliant! Caving to the overwhelming pressure from the "Simon Friendly" crowd, he smoked the place with a blazing version of Sex Change! If you haven't checked out Simon and Casbah Club's new disc Venustraphobia, do yourself a favor and just do it at http://www.casbahclub.co.uk/ .
Pete's solo set included Drowned, which, what can I say? Call me when you've sat 5 feet from Pete Townshend in a pub while he plays Drowned, and we'll talk. The experience didn't suck! He also played "God Speaks of Marty Robbins," which in my opinion, is quite literally a Townshend classic. And accompanied by Rachel, he played "In the Ether, "quite possibly one of my favorite songs of all time. I did miss the very strong and unique vocalizing that I've loved from the first time I heard Pete do it live at Joe's Pub. But it was quite beautiful none the less.
And Rachel, yes Rachel, her voice was Werewolf in London Perfect! I was truly mesmerized when, without fanfare, she played her stunning version of E's "It's a Motherfucker." Rachel also played Cigarettes and Housework, as well as making the fantastic decision to play Happy to be Sad instead of a Joni Mitchell cover. Not that there is anything wrong that, and believe me, Rachel can handle a Joni tune, it's just that Happy to be Sad is a great tune, and she nailed it that night! On the rare chance you don't have Rachel's new EP, you can get it at Barnes and Noble or Itunes, as well getting C&H at Eelpie.
So that brings us to the guests, Alexi Murdoch, and Joe Purdy. Well in keeping with the ITA legacy, Rachel brings along the least like suspects to the crime scene, and they blow you away! They were simply both fucking great, incredibly talented, and a blast to experience on stage.
And of course there was the ongoing musical orgy that is ITA! Orgy songs included, Misery, Sunrise, Wash Away, Something Beautiful, Bye Bye Love, (I first heard that with my ear to the window during the sound check! It was a highlight to hear Pete and Joe play that number!!!) and there were a couple of others.
Add the meet and greet to that, and it was a top of the charts life experience for me, and I got to share it with Trrish, my soul mate, and it just doesn't get any better than that.
Review by Bob Smith
The show was great. I was standing in line before the show started to get in and you could look through the bar window and see Pete was on stage rehearsing. The performers who were first on stage were Mikey Culbert, Joe Purdy, and Alexei Murdoch. I personally never heard of these performers but all of them were incredible musicians. Then Simon Townshend came out and played a few songs at the audiences requests.
I sat at a table right in front of the stage. Pete came on and performed "Drowned", "God speaks to Marty Robbins", "In the Ether" and did a duet with Rachel Fuller with "Sunrise". I was extremely impressed with her voice and piano playing. They closed with all artists coming out and doing "I'm One in which the whole place was rocking and singing along.
The night was surreal. I wanted to upgrade my $50 ticket to a meet and greet but nobody was selling. So after the show I hung out by the back bar where the performers went in and out. They were kicking people out but I stood there waiting for Pete to come out if he was at all. I brought a real nice picture for him to sign if I got lucky. Then all of a sudden he walks out and starts walking towards me and I pull out my picture, he stops, pulls out a black sharpie in which I brought my own bronze metallic sharpie and say to him "can you use mine?" in which he did and signed my picture. I then shook his hand and said "thank you Mr. Townshend" and I said "nice show". Of course I would have loved to talk to him but he moved towards the front door and went outside to sign some more autographs. After all these years of wanting to meet Pete and wondering what I would say to him if I ever did get to meet him, I come up with "nice show". Oh well, I supposed I could have said something stupid like "how come you didn't play King Rabbit or Odorono". Believe it or not, I really love those songs.