Dave Matthews
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Remember Two Things , 6/10
Under The Table And Dreaming , 6.5/10
Crash (1996), 6/10
Before These Crowded Streets (1998), 5.5/10
Listener Supported , 6/10
Everyday , 4/10
Busted Stuff , 6/10
Dave Matthews: Some Devil (2003), 5/10
Stand Up (2005), 4/10
Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King (2009), 5.5/10
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Dave Matthews, a South African who resettled in Charlottesville (Virginia), formed a live band whose racially integrated line-up includes guitar, saxophone (Leoir Moore), violin (Boyd Tinsley), drums (Carter Beauford) and bass (Stefan Lessard). While their grass-roots, populist attitude towards live music was similar to other hippie-revival bands such as Blues Traveler and Phish, Matthews conducted his ensemble through a luxuriant mix of celtic folk, rhythm and blues, jazz-rock and world music. The live Remember Two Things (Bama Rags, 1993) was an appropriate introduction to the band, with Tripping Billies and Recently stealing the show. The catchy Ants Marching will be rediscovered only when remixed on the second album.

The product was ready for mass consumption and Under The Table And Dreaming (RCA, 1994) served it to the masses. The Best Of What's Around, Rhyme & Reason, What Would You Say and Typical Situation are prime pop masquerading as progressive jams. Even the likes of Jimi Thing and Warehouse, with their more elaborate structure, will stay in repertory for years. The album would remain their quintessential recording.

The band changed course on Crash (RCA, 1996), a starker, almost sinister album that leans towards rhythm'n'blues while assimilating even more instruments (Crash Into Me, Too Much #41). Nevertheless, Two Step continued the flow of hits, while the band kept touring at the tune of sold-out amphitheaters around the nation.

Live at Red Rocks (Bama Rags, 1997) released a double-disc live album, that, without any marketing or promotion, climbed the charts. This signaled the birth of a new kind of merchandise: extremely low-energy live concerts.

Before These Crowded Streets (RCA, 1998) rocks harder and boasts distinguished guests. The album debuted at the top of the American charts and Don't Drink The Water was a successful single. Pantala Naga Pampa, Rapunzel and Stone offered more food for their live picnics.

Another live album, Listener Supported (RCA, 2000), emphasized the funk element. Occasionally, the Dave Matthews Band sounds like Sting fronting the Little Feat (a compliment for the band, especially the drummer, not for the singer).

At the end of 1999, the Dave Matthews Band had already sold a total of 15 million albums.

Disappointingly, Everyday (RCA, 2001) delves in formulaic charts-oriented pop (the cocky I Did It, If I Had It All), adding a touch of reggae (Everyday) and latin (Mother Father). The Space Between and What You Are retain some of the progressive-rock dignity. It debuted at number one in Billboard's album charts.

To redeem themselves, the band came up with a truly independent and vastly more sincere collection of old-fashioned ballads, Busted Stuff (RCA, 2002), which includes Kit Kat Jam, Grey Street, Busted Stuff and Bartender.

Dave Matthews' solo debut, Some Devil (RCA, 2003), boasts lengthy and tortured meditations such as Too High, but rarely (Gravedigger) a good melody. Without the band, it is not clear why he behaves like he is leading a jam rather than singing a song.

The Dave Matthews Band's Stand Up (RCA, 2005) is mere routine.

Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died in 2008.

Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King (RCA, 2009) has more heart than most of Matthews' albums. It opens with the cryptic sax solo of Grux, and picks up emotional force with the horn-driven fanfare and syncopated singalong of Shake Me Like a Monkey. Funny the Way It Is (the highlight) is a ballad with a catchy refrain that is counterbalanced by Lying in the Hands of God, a bluesy reggae-ish quasi-religious hymn and by the anthemic REM-style lullabye Dive In. The band is more interested in nuances than in sheer sonic impact, but the sinister exotic hard-rocking shout Squirm and Seven, the kind of funk-rock that one expects from Tina Turner and Bob Seger, raise the temperature a bit. Overall, there is very little "roots-rock" left in the band's sound, and it's probably for the better. This sounds more personal and direct than most of the previous efforts.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Andrea Checd)

Dave Matthews, Sudafricano, stabilitosi a Charlottesville (Virginia), formò un complesso live con una formazione insolita: chitarra, sassofono (Leoir Moore), violino (Boyd Tinsley), batteria (Carter Beauford) e basso (Stefan Lessard). Nonostante dal vivo, la loro attitudine, rurale e populista, sia simile ad altri gruppi hippy-revival quali Blues Traveler e Phish, Matthews riesce a dirigire l'ensemble verso una lussureggiante amalgama di folk celtico, rhythm and blues, jazz-rock e musica etnica. Il disco dal vivo Remember Two Things (Bama Rags, 1993) era un'adeguata presentazione del complesso, con brani come Tripping Billies eRecently che rubano la scena. L'orecchiabile Ants Marching sarà riscoperta solo successivamente, remixata sul secondo album.

Il "prodotto" era pronto per un consumo su larga scala e Under The Table And Dreaming (RCA, 1994) lo serviva alle masse. The Best Of What's Around, Rhyme & Reason, What Would You Say and Typical Situation sono essenze pop camuffate da improvvisazioni progressive. Simili anche Jimi Thing e Warehouse, con una struttura più elaborata, resteranno in repertorio per anni. L'album rimarrà la quintessenza delle loro incisioni.

Il gruppo cambiava strada su Crash (RCA, 1996), album più difficile e piuttosto sinistro, che pende verso il rhythm and blues mentre inglobava persino più strumenti (Crash Into Me, Too Much #41). Ciò nondimeno, Two Step proseguiva la serie dei successi, mentre il gruppo continuava a girare in tour per la nazione a suon di anfiteatri che registravano puntualmente il tutto esaurito.

Live at Red Rocks (Bama Rags, 1997) licenziava un doppio live, che, senza marketing e promozione, scalava le classifiche. Ciò segnava la nascita di un nuovo tipo di mercanzia: concerti dal vivo a bassissmo contenuto di energia.

Before These Crowded Streets (RCA, 1998) più hard rock, vanta ospiti distinti. L'album debuttava in testa alla classifica americana e Don't Drink The Water divenne un singolo di successo. Pantala Naga Pampa, Rapunzel and Stone affrivano più cibo per i loro picnic dal vivo.

Un altro live, Listener Supported (RCA, 2000), ha enfatizzato la componente funk. Accidentalmente, la Dave Matthews Band suona come Sting alle prese con i Little Feat (un complimento per il gruppo, non per il cantante).

Alla fine del 1999 la Dave Matthews Band ha già venduto un totale di 15 milioni di dischi.

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