There are few bands who ever affected me the way Dispatch did. And so, when Dispatch sadly called it quits back around 2004, I followed each of the individual band members’ new musical projects with interest. My love affair with Pete Francis is no secret, and I find Braddigan just so inspiring.
But the only one of the trio that I’ve ever managed to catch live since the split is Chad, and his band State Radio. That night was huge for me, and confirmed that Chad still had it.
Anyway, all this is a pretty convoluted way of saying that I have some major history with these dudes. So, when Chad announced that he was just about to release his debut solo album, Chadwick Stokes: Simmerkane II, on June 28, I was – to put it mildly – excited.
And so it’s with no small amount of pleasure that – a week before its official drop – you can now stream the full thing on Burgo’s Blog.
A note from Chad on the release:
“It’d been 6 years since last meeting up with John Dragonetti (checkout Jack Drag and Submarines) and recording Simmerkane in his attic in Arlington, MA. We’d been talking for a few years about getting back together and I was really excited to meet up with him at Jimmy Parr’s studio on Martha’s Vineyard this fall for round two. I played a bunch of songs – most of them from the last year or so: songs about growing up on the farm, some from the recent trips on the freight trains. As they developed, there seemed a singular story that was unfolding. A story about journeying away to understand what was left behind and trying to come to grips with love, loss, escape and return.. We had such fun making the record and being on the island during the stormy season made for warm days, cold windy nights and good surf… and Jimmy’s studio was made from wide planks of wood from the old schooner the Alabama. Thanks for everyone’s help!
It takes a certain type of musician to hop freight trains and barrel across the vastness of North America with his brother and cousin. Especially for an artist who, just years before, sold out Madison Square Garden for three consecutive nights. This album tells the tale of that trip.
So hop on that train, and ride along with Chad below…
Recently, State Radio released a video on Youtube of them performing their killer track, “Right Me Up“, live at the Bank of America Pavilion. And it’s a special, special moment. See for yourself below.
Is it any wonder I love this band?
On a closing note: Congratulations to Chad from the band for winning the Boston Music Awards’ Humanitarian of the Year Award. It’s a great recognition of the efforts the band has made so far, but as Chad says, “there’s so much more in store with the Calling All Crows Foundation“. Visit the site, and support. It’s the right thing to do.
On Friday night, I achieved one of my life’s goals (dramatic, perhaps… but nonetheless true), and saw State Radio perform live, at the Tivoli in Brisbane.
I almost cried, I was so happy.
Some background: Perhaps my favourite band of all time, was (and is) Dispatch. Darlings of the indie scene, who never caved to pressure, and always stayed true to their principles. They never signed to a major label, but despite (or, sometimes, I think because of this) their music reached around the globe and touched hundreds of thousands of people.
I won’t go into too much detail here; if you’re after more of a story regarding the trio of Pete Francis, Braddigan and Chad, AKA “Dispatch”, then I strongly recommend you take a look at the DVD, “Last Dispatch“. It’s a tale of the band performing their last show, at the Hatch Shell in Boston on July 31, 2004. “The Last Dispatch,” as it was called, is said to be the largest concert in independent music history, drawing fans in their droves… up to 110,000 of them. This came after announcing an indefinite hiatus in 2002. To most, The Last Dispatch was seen as their way of saying goodbye to the past.
There are some regrets that you could not have done anything to prevent; some people regret that they were born too late to see Hendrix live. One of my regrets, was that I was never able to see Dispatch perform live. And, when they broke up, I thought that I had lost my chance forever. The chance to see Chad Urmston play live, with State Radio, was something of a reprieve for that terrible regret.
Enough background, let’s talk about the show in question.
The night was opened by a band from the Gold Coast of Australia, called “Roger That“. I was surprised I hadn’t heard of these guys before, seeing as I used to live on the GC. Turns out I was certainly missing something. Roger That describe themselves as a “reggae/psychedelia/rock influenced band”, and there’s definitely something about them. A few times during their set, I was reminded of Red Hot Chili Peppers during their bloodsugarsexmagik days. Listening to their recorded stuff, there is an amazing energy that they display on stage that is unfortunately not really captured on their tracks… so if you get a chance to see these guys live, grab it with both hands. You’ll be impressed.
That said, here’s one of those recorded tracks:
After Roger That, it was on to the second opening act (but the obvious highlight for me), State Radio.
State Radio came on, and blew me away. I wish I could give you a track by track breakdown, but I think I entered this entirely new state of bliss from their first chords. At the end of it, I was exhausted, deliriously happy, and finding myself thinking, “What the hell just happened?“.
However, what I can tell you is that Chad and the boys performed like gods up there that night. From their (extremely) fast and energetic version of “People to People“, to their hard-hitting rendition of Camilo, I think they shocked everyone in the audience. I say this, because unfortunately I think a lot of people there weren’t aware of State Radio (or perhaps even Dispatch) before that night; however, after the second song the boys were getting appreciative screams after every song.
It would be impossible for me to pick highlights from the set; State Radio played pretty much every song I wished they had that night (with the unfortunate exceptions of “Right Me Up“, and “Keepsake“), but if I had to choose my favourite performances of the night, it would have to be “Riddle in Londontown“, “Waitress“, or “Man in the Hall” (which was performed with far more anger than I have heard out of Chad in a long time).
After State Radio, it was on to the main act for the night, The Beautiful Girls. The Beautiful Girls came on to the loudest cheer I’d heard all night, and opened up their set with the beautiful “Learn Yourself“. Unfortunately you’ll have to visit another blog to get a full write-up of the Beautiful Girls set. I was still riding on a high from the State Radio set, and can’t relate too much of their set here. I can tell you though that they killed it that night, the horns and sax enticing everyone, and the reggaed-up version of “Music” going down extremely well with the reggae-loving Brisbane Crowd.
Their latest album, “Ziggurats“, is available through Amazon.
State Radio are coming out to Australia.
Some of you may know my… well… slight obsession with the band Dispatch. Seeing as I wasn’t able to make it to their “reunion” Zimbabwe benefit-gig, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would have to travel State-side to see either Pete Francis, Braddigan, or Chad play in their new projects; but, on a whim today, I was cruising around the State Radio site and noticed the news.
State Radio will be supporting Australia’s “The Beautiful Girls” on their “Under a Southern Sky” tour.
I’m glowing. I’m such a fanboy. But to see Chad live, after all these years… man, it’s going to be awesome.