Rob Wasserman's wild streak goes beyond sitting backward in chairs.
Tuesday, August 29Stir Fried; The Allman Brothers; and Buzztopia 2000at the Grand Emporium; Sandstone Amphitheatre; and the GranadaWhen playing a recent game of Trivial Pursuit's Millennium Edition, I ran across a question that proved all those lunch hours in the baseball bleachers weren't wasted after all. "Which event," asked the card, "would a 1990s hippie be least likely to attend: Schwag, Dank, or Diggity Dank?" The answer is schwag, but the concert lineup around town on August 29 shows just how applicable that Krofft-inspired query can be. Stir Fried, which will get down at the Grand Emporium, might be the most "schwag" group of the evening. The band's claim to fame is that John Markowski, son of the late folk singer/songwriter Thomas Jefferson Kaye, founded it, but the presence of Buddy Cage on pedal steel might be equally impressive to astute fans of the jam. Cage's deft touch in the New Riders of the Purple Stage helped propel that band to legendary status, which in turn allowed Cage to land gigs with everyone from Dylan and Garcia to Sly Stone and Rick James. Still, potential Stir Fried fans might be diverted from the intimacy of the Grand Emporium by the bright lights and big stage antics of the Allman Brothers Band, which makes yet another stop at Sandstone on the same night. Unlike the Rolling Stones and other former arena gods who go through the motions of a good show, the Allmans' zeal for their craft has neither waned with lineup changes nor faded with age. Yet despite their popularity and ability to command a jam, plus the added attraction of jangly acoustic popsters The Pat McGee Band, the Allman Brothers Band should go down as the "dank" act of August 29 because there still is the three-headed monster at the Granada that goes by the "diggity-dank" name Buzztopia 2000. This event features the sculpted jam of The Jazz Mandolin Project, the adventurous instrumentals of bassist Robert Wasserman,and the Hurricane-size punch of the New Orleans-based jump and jazz septet the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. All these groups draw from the same drum circles, but Buzztopia 2000 brings together bands that are comfortable enough with the past to not want to live there although they all remain buoyed in the past during the modern musical risks they take. Now that's diggity.