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Texas Two-Step, Part One: Dead & Company Cover The Beatles & Bob Dylan In Dallas [Photos/Videos/Audio]

first_imgLoad remaining images Texas has remained one of the most colorful states in the US from the time it joined the union in 1845 and rejoined in 1865 after the Civil War. If it were to secede now, it’d be the 10th largest economy in the world and the sixth largest oil producer in the world. Texas was based on the Caddo word Tejas, meaning “friends” or “allies”. And while Texas has long conjured up images of prairies, cowboys, windmills, tornados and wheat fields, Texas was whacked hard twice last century by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. However, Texas transitioned into an urban, industrialized state in the mid-20th century, fueled in no small part by the oil industry and–no city reflected the state’s new image to the world more than Dallas from the late 70s onwards, via the glitzy portrayals of the city in the TV series of the same name and the success of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.While Dallas-Fort Worth is now the 4th largest city in the United States, the city (and Texas in general), never quite hosted as many Grateful Dead shows as one might have expected, and the post-GD iterations of the band have also remained light on the visits to the state. For an excellently-researched piece on why this was the case, click here. (TL/DR: long mileage for traveling fans and loss of promoter relationships, but not heavy-handed law enforcement.)Arriving at the American Airlines Center an hour before showtime found a strangely quiet scene outside, with no real parking lot scene to speak of and no lines to get in at any door. At 6:30 there were only a couple thousand people inside a most, and at that point it was looking like a very bad night for the promoter. But somehow an additional 10,000 people from nearby skyscrapers and bars made their way into the arena over the next hour, and it was business as usual after all. “Shakedown Street” served as a most fitting opener given the location and the late-arriving crowd; it felt just right with all the glitz and glamour outside. Rhythm guitarist and band leader Bob Weir knocked out the vocals on a solid version that allowed the band and crowd to relax and get comfortable over the space of its 12 minutes.Watch the set one opener below, courtesy of the band.“Brown-Eyed Women” immediately took the set’s vibe from downtown to way outside town, and lead guitarist John Mayer’s delivery of the homespun lyrics also took on a decidedly different feel in Texas, though this was missed by the dozens of late arrivals and various other well-oiled folks carrying on on loud conversations that would quickly be shushed at Shoreline. Fortunately, the hotly-anticipated appearance of unofficial local anthem “Deep Elem Blues” came early and served to get the entire arena fully involved with the music–there were loud singalongs on every chorus and a corresponding drop in crowd chatter. The band had fun with it too, as the song ran for nearly ten minutes while band members traded verses and smiles, with bassist Oteil Burbridge’s turn at the microphone garnering the loudest cheer. “Friend Of The Devil” followed, in fast-version, electric form, and it continued the rustic, country-tinged vibe, as did a spirited trot through the Marty Robbins classic “El Paso”, the first of the tour. This song has been a staple in Bob Weir’s repertoire throughout his life, and he was visibly enjoying its performance.After a brief tease of “Ramble On Rose”, the band instead went for the reggae-infused groove of “They Love Each Other”, and while it was well-played it felt a bit out of place given what had preceded it. However, things quickly moved on with “The Music Never Stopped” returning to its normal Grateful Dead-era placement as a first-set closer, and the song proceeded normally enough and the jazzy jam in 6/8 gathered an enjoyable bit of steam before Bob led the change back into the song’s main riff and closing jam.But then a funny thing happened on the way to intermission. Bob started playing chords that were clearly sparking a transition into another song. Another minute or so passed before Bob started singing, and amidst people asking each other what song it was, “Easy Answers” became the 8th breakout on the fall tour. This Weir song, from the Grateful Dead’s final era, wasn’t one that many saw coming, and even with co-writing help from Robert Hunter, Vince Welnick, and Bob Bralove, the song divided fans from its inception at Giants Stadium in June 1993. However, something felt different and more comfortable about it in the Dead & Company setting here, partly due to John and Oteil being virtuoso musicians who can nimbly negotiate the most of Weir’s complex arrangements. Tonight the band took their time exploring the song’s possibilities and at times it almost a felt like it was a public rehearsal, but that’s fun to watch too and this song may find its wings in the Dead & Company setting. The band detoured back into “The Music Never Stopped” to finish off the set, stretching things out to a full 75 minutes before Bob announced the break.The second set was all about the Garcia/Hunter catalog, with a couple songs from young upstarts Lennon/McCartney and some whippersnapper named Bob Dylan. As was so often the case when the Grateful Dead played areas where country and western music is predominant, the first set was a vehicle to ease people into things via songs that are recognizable and palatable to locals and first timers. Then once everyone is comfortable and warmed up, the second set became the vehicle to blast the crowd into deep space. Dead & Company did exactly that tonight, with the use of four consecutive monoliths of the Garcia/Hunter song catalog.“Here Comes Sunshine” is another song that fits John Mayer’s sound and style unusually well, and its upbeat, optimistic lyrics felt like a continuation of the rural, rustic vibe. Like the “Shakedown Street” opener in the first set, it was light and airy and enjoyable, but it was essentially a ten-minute plus warmup for what happened next.Watch the set two opener below, courtesy of the band.Bob strummed a few quiet stealth chords to lead the band into “Scarlet Begonias”, and once the crowd recognized the song, a huge cheer went up and the energy level spiked instantly. The band clearly heard it, felt it, and responded in kind, delivering an equally energetic version of the song. Bob belted out the verses and John’s mid-song solo was pure fire, as it inspired Bob to signal for an extra go-round while he struck his current-day star pose and nailed those only-Weir power chords. The jam into “Fire On The Mountain” was relatively short, but as has been the case since Oteil began singing Fire, the song has new life and new energy. John’s solos went way off into rock n roll fireworks territory, to the point where one flurry of guitar gunslinger moves in the song’s final solo actually made Bob stop playing for a few seconds to look over at John’s fret hand with a “what is that boy DOING?” look on his face, which was priceless.Upward momentum continued with “Eyes Of The World”, which was the highlight of the night. John’s solo after the first verse had much more of a rock ‘n’ roll feel as opposed to a jazz feel, and he was out in front of things while staying in the pocket. However, John and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti’s I’ll-see-you-and-raise-you duet after the second verse was the peak moment of the show, and the sight of the two of them grinning as they went back and forth recalled visions of Jerry Garcia and Brent Mydland doing the very same thing on Grateful Dead stages. Meanwhile Oteil, whose bass was curiously lower in the mix for much of the night, took his usual bass solo after the final verse, and at one point his fingers on both hands were flying so quickly it almost looked like two five-legged spiders trying to out-dance each other.After a rousing cheer of appreciation, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart were given the stage for their nightly Drums excursion, and they read the mood of the show well and skillfully opted for an unusually subtle and reflective journey that relied heavily on electronics and felt almost calm and meditative after the peaks of the previous 45 minutes. As he is known to do, Oteil came out at the end and joined them amidst the racks of drums for the last few minutes of the passage. Once Mickey gently raked the beam and then the frontline musicians returned for Space, they too offered up a non-traditional, almost structured version, while Oteil played a repeating bass line with a gentle tempo that served as an anchor for what everyone else was doing. John in particular came up with some nice riffing and noodling to help generate one of the better Drums/Space segments of the tour.Space began “Dear Prudence”, the first non-Garcia Hunter song of the set, but given that it was one of John Lennon’s most psychedelic songs, it slotted in nicely. This also has contained a searing solo from John that generated a bigger peak than normal, given that Dead & Company renderings usually opt for a spacey, more ethereal approach. And then it was straight back to the Garcia/Hunter catalog with “The Wheel”, with this version set apart by Jeff’s powerful, Hornsby-esque piano chords during the mid-song break–once again providing extra power to a song that’s usually rendered more delicately. The set closed with “Casey Jones”, one of the “hits” from the Garcia/Hunter catalog. The energy continued and the crowd sang along, but then the closing choruses caught fire to the point where John stopped singing and just started soloing wildly. Bob looked over and knew a good thing when he saw it, and sight of both of them jumping up and down together, Mayer style, in-unison, was the knockout punch and showed a band who was clearly having a great time doing what they do.The “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” encore was relaxing and brought the crowd back down to earth, and even if it’s not from the Garcia/Hunter catalog, there was never a time when Bob Dylan’s songs were far away from Jerry Garcia. John channeled Garcia’s style with his solo, where the notes just tumbled out of the guitar in that loose, easy manner.All in all, it was a Texas-sized trip, from the city to the country to deep space and back home again.Listen to the full audio below, courtesy of Taper_Friendly:Check out the full setlist below, as well as the gallery provided by photographer Erik Kabik.Setlist: Dead & Company | American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX | 12/1/17I: Shakedown Street, Brown-Eyed Women, Deep Elem Blues, Friend of the Devil, El Paso, They Love Each Other, The Music Never Stopped > Easy Answers > The Music Never StoppedII: Here Comes Sunshine, Scarlet Begonias, Fire on the Mountain, Eyes of the World, Drums, Space, Dear Prudence, The Wheel / Stay, Casey JonesE: Knockin’ On Heaven’s DoorDead & Company | American Airlines Center | Dallas, TX | 12/1/17 | Photos by Erik Kabiklast_img read more

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Chaka Khan Drops First Single Off First Album In 11 Years, Collaboration With Major Lazer’s Switch

first_imgChaka Khan has released the first song from her upcoming album. “Like Sugar” marks the Queen of Funk’s first release since her 2007 studio album, Funk This. The new song sees Khan team up with Major Lazer founder and Grammy-nominated producer Switch (M.I.A., Beyoncé, Rihanna), with funky bass lines, dance-driven beats, and an energetic chorus that highlights the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-nominated singer’s fiery vocals. The release is the first to come out of Switch’s new record label, Diary Records.While a timeline and title have yet to be announced, Universal Music promised the details on Chaka Khan’s new album “will be announced soon.”Listen to Chaka Khan’s first new song in over a decade below:last_img read more

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Elvis Presley-Themed Traffic Lights Appear In German Town

first_imgAmerica’s obsession with Elvis Presley has danced its way over to Europe. That appears to be the case for law-abiding motorists over in Friedberg, Germany, where “The King,” as he’s dubbed here in the States, is now dictating drivers on when they can and can’t cross the road.Yup, red and green traffic lights showing trademark Elvis poses have been installed into the German town as a way of boosting tourism and hopefully getting more drivers enthused about paying attention when behind the wheel.The concept of using Elvis Presley to dictate to drivers and pedestrians when it’s safe to continue crossing the road isn’t too far fetched. Pressley called the town of Friedberg his home for two years from October 1958 to March 1960, back when he was stationed there as a member of the U.S. Army. Good times, right? The idea came from the citizens of Friedberg who proposed it to the town council, and only cost a manageable $1,020 to install the colored silhouettes into a trio of traffic lights.The red light shows the Elvis character standing near the mic, meaning drivers need to hold up for a minute while the guitar solo passes. The green light, of course, shows the Elvis image moving to the music with that dangerous circling pelvis of his, meaning it’s time to rock and roll!According to a local report, the town police had to agree to traffic law changes, which included various graphic design proposals which would need to be installed by the traffic light company. The entire process took three months before the project was given, wait for it, the green light.Related: Robert Plant Joined A Rockabilly Group To Sing Elvis Covers At His Ex-Wife’s Birthday PartyThe installment of the Elvis-themed traffic lights last month also came around the same time that the famous rocker’s former home-turned-museum, Graceland, announced it would be expanding its concert schedule in 2019 as well. The popular tourist attraction in Memphis, Tennessee routinely hosts Elvis-focused events, but a new partnership alongside concert promoter Live Nation will allow the former residence to begin hosting shows by today’s contemporary artists onto its grounds beginning this spring and summer.[H/T CNN]last_img read more

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Sammy Hagar & The Circle Shares Lead Single From Forthcoming Debut Album, “Trust Fund Baby” [Listen]

first_imgSammy Hagar and his all-star side band known as The Circle are gearing up for the springtime release of their debut studio album, Space Between. The classic rock supergroup is comprised of Hagar, his former Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony on bass, honorary Zeppelin member Jason Bonham on drums, and Vic Johnson on guitar. The rock quartet started their week on a loud note on Monday by sharing the lead single from Space Between with a hard-hitting new track titled, “Trust Fund Baby”, marking their first release since 2015’s live album, At Your Service.The arrival of the new single on Monday came with its official lyric video, and immediately takes listeners into overdrive with an abundance of distortion-fueled, heart-pumping energy, which can only be rivaled by a double-shot of Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila. The song has everything that rock fans would want out of some former Van Halen members, with unapologetic sex-driven lyrics which include, “Running down a red light/Chasing down a love life/Banging everything in sight/Oh lord, trust fund baby!” and the repeating anthemic chorus lines of, “Girl gets what she wants!” Fans can check out the lyrics video below to hear the new rock song in full.Sammy Hagar & The Circle – “Trust Fund Baby” – Official Lyric Video[Video: Sammy Hagar]The band is also scheduled to head out on a large-scale concert tour across North America this spring according to a post shared to Hagar’s Facebook page on Monday. The dates and venue details for the tour were not included to go with the general announcement, with exception of the band’s previously-revealed upcoming appearances at Texas’ San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo on February 21st, and Sammy Hagar’s High Tide Beach Party & Car Show come late-September. The band had performed a one-off concert at PGA WEST & La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, California earlier this month. Fans can head over to Hagar’s website for more info on their upcoming tour dates.Space Between is scheduled to arrive on May 10th via BMG.last_img read more

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NedFest Cancels 2019 Event

first_imgNederland, CO’s long-running late-summer music and arts festival NedFest has unfortunately had to cancel their 2019 event, originally scheduled for August 23rd-25th, 2019.Over the past year, nearby Eldora Mountain Resort has faced extreme parking dilemmas with an influx of out of town skiers and riders, and has been using the NedFest site in town as an overflow parking lot for employees. The condition of the field, along with recent developments in the park, has resulted in the field being unusable for the August event, regularly attended by thousands of people throughout the late-summer weekend.The organizer’s long, heartfelt message notes that tickets will be refunded soon!In a lengthy Facebook post, NedFest Organizing Committee and Peak to Peak Music Education Association Board of Directors explain,It is with great sadness that we must announce that NedFest is cancelled for this summer. It was an exceptionally difficult decision to make but we felt that land use decisions made by the Nederland Board of Trustees and town administration have rendered the ball field unusable.First, allowing the softball field to be an Eldora employee parking lot has completely destroyed it. What was a nice grassy lot to throw your blanket down on and play with the kids (last year we had 136 children under 12 at the festival) is now a barren, rock hard gravel and dust parking lot. Last summer if even the slightest breeze blew everything from the instruments on stage to the food and arts and crafts in the vendor booths was covered in a thick brown film. Now there is a greenhouse currently going up where our backstage tent goes and a garden that would take up some close-in audience viewing area and where many of our sponsors have their booths. Restrooms are being built where our stage goes, and a bike track where the food and beer vendors and a big chunk of the audience go. We know that some of this won’t be done by next August but some of it will, other things like the restrooms will be half done and just in the way, and then there is the issue of the barren parking lot of a field.We want to make this very clear: We are NOT against the park redevelopment. Many years ago when the early plans were proposed we were excited by the prospect of making the festival more like the bigger festivals, having a second stage down by the water and the whole footprint inside the fence way larger. But the configuration of the new park will not work with our needs. We need a 40 x 32 foot stage (that is a requirement in the contracts of most national touring acts), space for 1500 people in front of it, and flat level ground for 40 or so vendor and sponsor booths. The space planned for the stage down by the water was designed as a small stage with room for 400 spectators, going all the way to the water, so is not big enough.Why not make the festival smaller? Most of our overhead costs are fairly fixed and aren’t that different if we have 800 or 2000, or even 2 days instead of 3, which is why we have 3. Before we pay a single penny to a musician our daily cost is about $23,000, so we need to have a big enough audience and known artists that people will pay $60 to see in order to cover our costs. Contrary to popular opinion, NedFest doesn’t make any money and no one gets paid except the musicians and production crew. The losses are covered by sponsors and board members and credit cards. It’s a big party we throw for town because we have so much fun doing it. It’s a community bonding thing every year, almost like an annual family reunion where you see people that you haven’t seen since last year’s festival.So here we are. Please don’t ask us to try and move it out of town and start all over. We have all worked unbelievably hard for free for years and just aren’t up to it. And it was always meant to be a walk-to-it festival and has been for many of our attendees, which is why we never had too many parking problems. We understand that there are going to be a couple thousand very disappointed people (tickets will be refunded soon!) and some angry ones, too. Trust us, we are sadder than you.Lastly, when Jim Guercio, owner of the Caribou Ranch Studios (and producer of dozens of albums you know) gave the land for the ball field to the town the only requirement was that it be named the Jeff Guercio Memorial Ball field after his late brother. Since this new park has been named Barker Meadows we submit that the music pavilion, if ever built, should be named the Jeff Guercio Memorial Pavilion, or at least the Guercio Pavilion. Jeff was a musician and athlete and lived here (even played music at the PI).Don’t despair! The music will never die in Nederland!Thanks to everyone in the NedFest family for all of your support and love!Rob, Deb, Swifty, Marc, Danielle, Krislast_img read more

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Stream Flight Of The Conchords’ ‘Live In London’ Ahead Of Official Release

first_imgLast month, New Zealand comedic folk duo Flight of the Conchords announced a new live album, Live In London, due out on March 8th via Sub Pop. The duo comprised of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement recorded the forthcoming album during a series of shows at London’s Apollo Theatre which resulted in their recent HBO special, Flight of the Conchords: Live at the Apollo London.The Live in London album features seven new songs including “Iain and Deanna”, “Father and Son”, “Summer of 1353”, “Stana”, “Seagull”, “Back on the Road”, and “Bus Driver”. The album also features performances of fan-favorites “Inner City Pressure”, “Bowie”, “Foux du Fafa”, “Mutha’uckas – Hurt Feelings”, “Robots”, “Carol Brown”, and “The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)’. The latter tracks were edited out of the broadcast due to time constraints but appear on the live album as bonus content.Ahead of the release, you can listen to Flight of the Conchords’ Live In London via NPR Music’s First Listen series.Live in London will be available in 2xCDm, 3xLP and digital formats, and fans can pre-order the album now here.The duo developed a worldwide cult following after their BBC radio series was turned into a TV show on HBO in 2007, showcasing their unassuming yet hilarious blend of music and comedy. The eponymous series ran for two seasons and was nominated for several Emmys in both songwriting and overall comedic categories. After a relatively quiet few years, the group returned in 2016, announcing an extensive summer tour that marked their first U.S. shows since 2013.last_img read more

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The String Cheese Incident Delivers Choice Covers At Night One In St. Louis [Audio]

first_imgOn Friday, The String Cheese Incident opened up their two-night weekend run at The Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, MO.The sextet opened up their first set with fan-favorite “Desert Dawn”, led by Michael Kang on vocals. Kang and keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth traded off some spicy licks before the band smoothly dove into “Lost”. Bill Nershi got a chance to offer up some acoustic magic, followed by an explosive electric mandolin solo from Kang. “Lost” smoothly segued into “Manga”, a newer tune debuted last summer at Electric Forest, inspired by legendary Cameroonian bassist Andre Manga. Following a salsa-infused instrumental, SCI moved forward with a cover of Billy Joe Shaver‘s “Live Forever”, highlighted by some silky-smooth work out of Hollingsworth’s corner on the keys. A 30-minute paring of “Little Hands” and “Looking Glass” followed before the band brought the scorching first set to a close with “Colliding”.Following a brief setbreak, The String Cheese Incident returned to open their second set with a nearly-15-minute take on “Sweet Spot”. The six-piece continued with a monstrous pairing of “Illegal” and “Dirk”, with Michael Travis and Jason Hann holding down an infectious beat behind their kits. Kang let it rip on “Dirk”, dazzling The Fabulous Fox Theater with a series of scorching solos. Next, Nershi stepped up to take the vocal lead on “I Want You”, the band’s latest single from their SCI Soundlab, which was officially released in March. Cheese moved forward with a length take on “Hi Ho No Show” before diving into a hard-hitting cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Kashmir”. The band brought their second set to a close with “All We Got”.The String Cheese Incident returned to open up their encore with “Galactic”, off of the band’s 1998 Round The Wheel release. The sextet brought their electric Friday night show to a close with a cover “I Know You Rider”, which featured a verse of Bob Marley‘s “Stir It Up” thrown in the middle.Listen to a full-show audience recording of The String Cheese Incident’s Friday night St. Louis show below:The String Cheese Incident – The Fabulous Fox Theatre – 4/19/2019[Audio: Michael Frasca]Tonight, Saturday, The String Cheese Incident returns to The Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, Mo for their second and final show of the weekend. For a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to their website.Setlist: The String Cheese Incident | The Fabulous Fox Theater | St. Louis, MO | 4/19/2019Set One: Desert Dawn > Lost > Manga, Live Forever, Little Hands > Looking Glass > CollidingSet Two: Sweet Spot, Illegal > Dirk, I Want You, Hi Ho No Show > Kashmir > All We GotEncore: Galactic > I Know You Riderlast_img read more

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New Stroke Tool May Predict Early Recurrence

first_imgResearchers have developed a tool to predict whether a patient will suffer a second stroke within 90 days of a first stroke.“This is an important new tool because studies have shown that people who have a second stroke soon after a first stroke are more likely to die or have severe disability,” Dr. Hakan Ay, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in an American Academy of Neurology news release…Read more here (BusinessWeek)last_img

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Beanpot bound

first_imgThere’s nothing like a little neighborly love in early February to get the attention of Boston area hockey fans, but Tuesday night (Feb. 2) the No. 6-ranked Harvard women’s hockey team showed no love to Boston College (B.C.), drubbing the cross-river rival in the Beanpot opener at Bright Hockey Center, 5-0.Solid goaltending on both sides kept the game scoreless for the first 38 minutes, but a power-play goal by junior forward Liza Ryabkina with 1:34 remaining in the second period gave the Crimson a 1-0 lead heading into the second intermission.Three more goals by Ryabkina and a goal by Josephine Pucci ’13 blew the door wide open for Harvard, setting the stage for next week’s championship game, a No. 6-vs.-No. 7 matchup against Northeastern.“I’m really happy about the way our kids played tonight from the beginning to the end of the game,” said Crimson head coach Katie Stone, who has led the program to nine of its 12 Beanpot titles. “We came out flying in the third period and certainly took advantage of our opportunities.”Sweet revenge was finally attained for the Crimson, who had dropped the past three Beanpot games to the Eagles. The result was retribution of sorts, especially after a goal in the final stanza crushed Harvard’s championship hopes in last year’s 1-0 loss.“To tell you the truth, we want to beat any team. … We don’t really care what the label says. We just want to play our best,” said Ryabkina after her second career hat trick and first four-goal day. But after a laugh, she added, “Yes, we did want to beat them pretty badly after a couple of rough games … against them.”“This is a pressure-packed tournament. Everyone wants a Beanpot,” said Stone. “We value the Beanpot at Harvard University, and to be able to play for a championship in early February is a great experience….”The Crimson have now won five of their last six games and will meet the Northeastern Huskies in the title game on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. in the Bright Center for the 16th time in the tournament’s 32-year history. Harvard holds a 5-10 record in those games and a 12-16 record overall against Northeastern.last_img read more

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Graphene may help speed up DNA sequencing

first_imgResearchers from Harvard University and MIT have demonstrated that graphene, a surprisingly robust planar sheet of carbon just one-atom thick, can act as an artificial membrane separating two liquid reservoirs.Their findings were reported this month in Nature.By drilling a tiny pore just a few nanometers in diameter, called a nanopore, in the graphene membrane, the researchers were able to measure exchange of ions through the pore and demonstrate that a long DNA molecule can be pulled through the graphene nanopore just as a thread is pulled through the eye of a needle.“By measuring the flow of ions passing through a nanopore drilled in graphene we have demonstrated that the thickness of graphene immersed in liquid is less then 1 nm thick, or many times thinner than the very thin membrane which separates a single animal or human cell from its surrounding environment,” says lead author Slaven Garaj, a physics research associate at Harvard. “This makes graphene the thinnest membrane able to separate two liquid compartments from each other. The thickness of the membrane was determined by its interaction with water molecules and ions.”Graphene, the strongest material known, has other advantages. Most importantly, it is electrically conductive. (Update: On Oct. 5, Russian scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the Nobel Prize in physics for their work investigating the properties of graphene. “Carbon, the basis of all known life on earth, has surprised us once again,” the Royal Swedish Academy said in its announcement statement.)“Although the membrane prevents ions and water from flowing through it, the graphene membrane can attract different ions and other chemicals to its two atomically close surfaces. This affects graphene’s electrical conductivity and could be used for chemical sensing,” says co-author Jene Golovchenko, the Rumford Professor of Physics and Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard, whose pioneering work started the field of artificial nanopores in solid-state membranes. “I believe the atomic thickness of the graphene makes it a novel electrical device that will offer new insights into the physics of surface processes and lead to a wide range of practical application, including chemical sensing and detection of single molecules.”In recent years graphene has astonished the scientific community with its many unique properties and potential applications, ranging from electronics and solar energy research to medical applications.Jing Kong, also a co-author on the paper, and her colleagues at MIT first developed a method for the large-scale growth of graphene films that was used in the work.The graphene was stretched over a silicon-based frame, and inserted between two separate liquid reservoirs. An electrical voltage applied between the reservoirs pushed the ions towards the graphene membrane. When a nanopore was drilled through the membrane, this voltage channeled the flow of ions through the pore and registered as an electrical current signal.When the researchers added long DNA chains in the liquid, they were electrically pulled one by one through the graphene nanopore. As the DNA molecule threaded the nanopore, it blocked the flow of ions, resulting in a characteristic electrical signal that reflects the size and conformation of the DNA molecule.Co-author Daniel Branton, the Higgins Professor of Biology Emeritus at Harvard, is one of the researches who, more than a decade ago, initiated the use of nanopores in artificial membranes to detect and characterize single molecules of DNA.Together with his colleague David Deamer at the University of California, Branton suggested that nanopores might be used to quickly read the genetic code, much as one reads the data from a  ticker-tape machine.As a DNA chain passes through the nanopore, the nucleobases, which are the letters of the genetic code, can be identified. But a nanopore in graphene is the first nanopore short enough to distinguish between two closely neighboring nucleobases.Several challenges still remain before a nanopore can do such reading, including controlling the speed with which DNA threads through the nanopore. When achieved, nanopore sequencing could lead to very inexpensive and rapid DNA sequencing.“We were the first to demonstrate DNA translocation through a truly atomically thin membrane. The unique thickness of the graphene might bring the dream of  truly inexpensive sequencing closer to reality. The research to come will be very exciting,” concludes Branton.Additional co-authors on the Nature paper were W. Hubbard of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and A. Reina of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT. The research was funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

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