December 14, 2014

Semeron Gig Recap: Two acoustic benefit shows

We have wanted to play an acoustic show for years now, and this past weekend we had the opportunity to play two. The last acoustic show that Semeron played was in 2009 before I was even in the band. We are hoping this kicks off what we’re calling Semeron’s Winter Acoustic Vagabond Tour!

S.O.B.E.R. IN ST. PAUL

Semeron live at Wild Tymes in St. Paul.

Semeron live at Wild Tymes in St. Paul.

First up was a Friday night benefit gig for the non-profit S.O.B.E.R. Foundation (Solving Obstacles By Empowering Recovery) at Wild Tymes in St. Paul. Opening for us was the band Family Feedbag. They were a solid cover band & a bunch of nice dudes despite being lawyers. (please don’t sue)

SET LIST & SONG NOTES

Set List for both gigs.

Set List for both gigs.

Shchedryk/Carol of the Bells: Given that Santa was attending this gig, we felt compelled to open with some holiday music. Our cover was inspired by a solo guitar arrangement by Dylan Schorer.

Days at the Depot: We brought out this classic from Semeron’s first album because it sounds awesome in the acoustic format. As Jeff says, “It’s a simpler song from a simpler time.”

No Excuses: Alice in Chains is a huge influence for us, and we’ve been jamming on this song forever. It was a blast to play live.

Cannonball: This was the 2nd time the band has played this new song live, & it will likely be included on our next album. If you can tell me what piece the opening chord progression was inspired by, I’ll pay you $20.

Frank the Monster: We didn’t plan an encore, so we pulled out Frank. Although we’d never played this one acousticly, it turned out to be one of the best performances of the night.

F*CK CANCER

Craig Peterson benefit

Benefit for Craig Peterson’s battle against cancer.

Our Saturday night gig was another benefit, this time for Craig Peterson, a young Navy veteran who is battling pancreatic cancer. Craig serves in the same reserve unit as my brother Mark, so we were more than happy to help raise funds for Craig’s medical expenses.

We had a few logistical hiccups when we arrived to set up. There was a giant aircraft carrier cake right in the middle of the stage area. Just like real life, it took a team of sailors to move it out of the way.

aircraft carrier cake

U.S.S. Get In My Belly

SET LIST & SONG NOTES

Adam's meatballs

While Jeff handles the vocals on Days at the Depot, Adam takes a meatball break.

We worked off of the same set list as Friday night, but dropped both Ship of Fools (too minor for this event) and Trees (for time). We did get to work in some fun jams as we played around the fundraising events. I finally got to play St. Jon’s Wart (a country rag by my college guitar instructor, Jon Finn ) live all the way through. At one point Jesse started playing a groove similar to Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song which we all picked up immediately & pretty much vamped on an F# minor chord. Kids, practice your improvisation if you ever plan to play live events.

Craig’s benefit was a big success with 500 confirmed people throughout the course of the night, and they raised upwards of 15k-20k.

GEAR

Playing our first acoustic show in 5 years meant a big shift in our gear. For both gigs, JR played his Taylor GS5, and I dusted off my Godin Multiac ACS Slim SA. We both plugged into direct boxes for the first gig at Wild Tymes. Normally, I don’t like playing direct as it takes the control for my sound out of my hands, but we were trying to keep it simple that night.

At the VFW, we played through smaller amps we had so as not to overpower the crowd, but everything still sounded great. For bass, Jeff used his normal setup as none of us own a quality acoustic bass. Jesse played his usual kit, but with hot sticks to reign in the thunder of his usual playing.

Overall, we’re happy with how our music translated to the acoustic style & we’re going to book more acoustic gigs this winter. Local breweries, we’re looking at you.

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March 18, 2014

Shredding with Semeron: Guitar Riff Contest

Learn one of our riffs, record yourself playing it and post it online for a chance to win free tickets to our March 22nd show at the Fine Line or a Semeron t-shirt! Entries should be posted by March 22nd & videos are most welcome. SHRED!

 

 

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March 17, 2014

The Semeron Job

Behold! A Semeron original film! “The Semeron Job”.

See what the critics are raving about! Rated PG-13 for some language, action, mature subject matter.

 

 

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April 19, 2013

Shredding with Semeron: Quick Lick #1 Shredding the Blues

Welcome to another installment of Shredding with Semeron! This week I’m going to show you a quick blues lick in E.

Here’s the lick!

Shredding_with_Semeron_QuickLick_1_Lick

Theory

This lick uses the E Blues scale, listed below.

Shredding_with_Semeron_QuickLick_1_Scale

The Blues Scale (1, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7) is a technically a minor scale, but this sort of blues lick can work over E major situations as well. This lick uses string bending, legato (hammerons and pulloffs), and vibrato. It is sort of a Joe Satriani meets Jimi Hendrix sort of blues lick that works great in a hard rock or metal context. If you’re playing a slower blues or something more laid back, simply play it slower, or chop it up and uses smaller bits of it.

Have fun, practice slowly and accurately (building your speed up), and let me know what you think!

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April 12, 2013

Inspiring Guitar Poster is awesome, nearly perfect

PopChart Lab Guitar PosterJust ran into this history of modern guitars poster by Pop Chart Lab. It displays many of the iconic guitar designs from the most basic and still used regularly today like the Stratocasters and the Les Pauls to the downright outrageous such as Rick Neilson’s 5 neck guitar.

This really is a fun look into the history of guitar design. Although there are a few curious omissions and little mistakes, I’ll still be picking this poster up. Fair warning, I’m not much of a gearhead, so if anyone wants to split hairs about model numbers, series, or really technical details, go for it.

Here are some of my favorites…

The Jimmy Page Les Paul with violin bow,
Jimmy Page Les Paul
the Jimi Hendrix guitar on fire,
GuitarP_JimiFire
     
the Spinal Tap guitars,
GuitarP_SpinalTap
and the air guitar.
GuitarP_AirGuitar

 

(Very) Minor Gripes

GuitarP_KurtCobainWhen I initially wrote this blog post, there were two little mistakes that I caught right away. This first one is arguable, but it is the Kurt Cobain guitar. Ask anybody in the know what guitar Kurt Cobain played and they will inevitably answer either Fender Jaguar, Mustang, or Jagstang. While Kurt Cobain owned that Mosrite guitar, it really wasn’t the guitar he made iconic. A google-image search of “Kurt Cobain Mosrite guitar” brings up only two images of him actually playing this guitar and a slew of images of him playing various Fender guitars. This one is debatable I suppose, as I admittedly don’t know the history of Kurt Cobain and this obscure guitar.

Kurt Cobain’s guitar. Sure, he played this, but what guitar do you think of when you think about Kurt Cobain?

OLD_Guitar_Chart_wBoxesThe second mistake was a pretty blatant one, but has since been corrected! The James Hetfield signature guitar from 1992 had a shape that was almost identical to a Gibson Explorer. The guitar they originally showed on this poster was the James Hetfield “Snakebite” which premiered around 2011. They have since changed it to the ’76 Explorer, so the Metallica nerd rage inside of me has been quelled. It looks like they changed the year of the Jimi Page guitar too, which I didn’t catch (again, not a gearhead!).

The old chart, with blue boxes for the ones I like, and red boxes around the Hetfield model (bottom of poster) and the aforementioned Kurt Cobain guitar. Sorry about the quality here, but you can tell it’s the new model of the Explorer.

GuitarP_Hetfield_Corrected…and Corrections for All! That’s what I’m talking about! METAL!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Curious Omissions…

Willie Nelson’s guitar (the one with the sound hole that is getting bigger because it’s so busted up), GuitarP_Willie_Nelson
Jimmy Page’s Danelectro (although plenty of other guitars Page used are mentioned in the poster), GuitarP_Jimmy-Page-Danelectro-dc59
Buckethead’s guitar with the killswitch, GuitarP_BucketheadKS
John Petrucci’s 90′s guitar (on the right, artful, but ugly as sin), and the modern (on the left, much better!),
GuitarP_PetrucciModern GuitarP_Petrucci_90s
Joe Satriani’s chrome guitar, GuitarP_Satch_Chrome
and the new trend of 8-string guitars. GuitarP_8string

Overall, this poster kicks ass, and I have to have it. It is laugh-out-loud funny and a fascinating look at the wonderful variety of guitars over the last 100 years. I had more to say about my minor gripes and curious omissions, but really they got the basics right. I don’t know about you, but I really feel like playing some guitar right now, which makes this a perfect poster for my new studio! If you find any other mistakes or guitars you would have like to have seen let us know!

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