Category Archives: Concerts

Billy Idol 9/28/18, Nashville

Dates: Billy Idol

Location: Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel, Nashville TN

A rebel yell was heard echoing through the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel in Music City USA.

Text & Photos by Mark Jackson

Billy Idol has been out touring and sounding as great as ever with the release of  his remix collection Vital Idol: Revitalized. It has fifteen tracks remixed by such artist as Moby, Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, and others.

On the same day as the release Billy preformed at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel in Nashville, TN, to an ecstatic fan base. Billy and the boys put on a hell of a show that kept the fans on their feet all night while dancing, singing, and jumping. Billy was looking and sounding as sharp as he did in the ‘80s, and Steve Stevens was still up to his old tricks, playing the guitar behind his head and with his teeth without missing a chord.

If Billy F**king Idol comes to your town, make sure you grab a ticket, give a “Rebel Yell” and sing along all night to his ageless hits…

Visit our ace photographer Mark Jackson: @MarkJacksonPhotography1

 

Clutch + Sevendust 10/21/18, Pittsburgh

Dates: October 21, 2018

Location: Strage AE, Pittsburgh, PA

Heavier-than-heavy heroes systematically dismantle the Stage AE venue and leave it in pieces on a chilly fall evening…

BY TIFFINI TAYLOR

A chill in the air as people were going into Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see Clutch and Sevendust. Book of Bad Decisions Tour is making its way all around the country. The name of the tour comes from their newest release Book of Bad Decisions. Clutch has been around for quite a long time in the music world. Their style of rock is what makes rock ‘n’ roll. Joining them out on the road is Sevendust and Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. This is a magical tour that any fan of rock will enjoy. This line-up will have one’s horns up, one’s head banging, and one’s heart pounding.

Taking to the stage first is Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown. If one has not seen this band live, put it on bucket list now. The guitar riffs are intense. The band has great energy. The guitar solos will make one’s heart melt. The charisma of Tyler Bryant makes for an entertaining evening that is rock. The band brings a bluesy rock to the masses. Guitar solo overload with this band. Sliding across the stage on knees while playing and not missing a note, Tyler Bryant is taking notes from guitarists past.

Sevendust took to the stage with a loud roar from the crowd. Coming from Georgia, these guys know how to rock! Their newest release is titled ‘All I See Is War’ and it is truly Sevendust doing what they do best. The show tonight is heart pounding rock from a band that hasn’t lost their southern roots. The use of red and white lights amongst the throbbing of drums, roaring bass and guitars, topped with a fiery voice makes for a show to head bang to. They are a band who love their fans dearly and always give their best show no matter where they play. Sevendust is a great way to get ready for Clutch.

Clutch is a band that puts everything out there and takes nothing back. The band has been around for 25 years and has been rocking out everywhere. The Book of Bad Decision tour is not a bad decision by no means. It is pure an organic rock while head banging fun. Clutch has a powerful command of the stage. Their talented musicians who know what to do to make an audience go wild. Looking for good hard rock, Clutch is the band to look to.  Red, white, blue and yellow lights rained down upon the band while they played only added to the excitement for the audience. The charisma of Clutch is over the top powerhouse. Each note played in its perfection is with a force to bring the connection of the band and the audience as close as can be. The reaction of the crowd to this energetic band shows what die-hard fans Clutch has developed over the years.  Each record brings more and more new fans, hopefully new bands are taking notes. There are no disappointments when seeing Clutch live. It appears the band should live on the stage. The music is harsh, brash, and mellow all at the same time.  The guys in Clutch play because they love the music, not only that they love their fans more. The tour name is the name of their new release Book of Bad Decisions and it fits so well. The album is great as well as the tour.

Clutch and Sevendust prove how hard work, not giving up and growing with the music give it longevity. They are not just a band that they play in, they are family. Touring on the road is not easy for any band but when there are three bands that pour their hearts into the show it is worth everything to their fans. The Book of Bad Decisions tour is one not to be missed. Three powerful performances which make for a magical and memorable night of rock.

Exclusive Video: Jah Wobble & Invaders of the Heart Live Brooklyn 10/26/18

TEXT, PHOTOS, & VIDEO BY JONATHAN LEVITT

On October 26th Jah Wobble and his Invaders of the Heart took the stage at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere club and proceeded to give one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. The crowd was made up of mainly music industry insiders and a smattering of musicians from both the US and Japan.  Jah Wobble who was the bassist for PIL was not only hilarious with his banter but fronted a smoking hot group of musicians that just blew me away.

The drummer was pure military precision, and extremely versatile as well. The guitarist could play anything and make it sound great. The keyboardist was a virtuoso on the instrument and perfectly punctuated certain moments in the songs. Jah showed what an amazing player he is as well veering from dub, to the world music transcendental meditations to a bit of comedy between numbers. Jah even managed to throw some PIL songs into the mix.

 

The show ended with Bill Laswell joining the Invaders of the heart for two songs of throb-heavy psychedelic jazzified mind-bending music. The sound in the club was amazing. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I could hear every instrument tunneling through to me. The mix was incredible because as the sounds hit you they morphed into this groovy organic mass that made you wanna live forever in the moment.

Through the kindness of Jah’s people I was able to get some incredible footage, below, to share with Blurt readers. Jah is currently recording his new album with Bill Laswell in New Jersey. If you get a chance to see Señor Wobble in concert it is an unforgettable experience.

 

Rhett Miller 10/6/18, Philadelphia

Dates: October 6, 2018

Location: Ardmore Music Hall, Philadelphia PA

Live at Ardmore Music Hall near Philly, the Old 97’s frontman showed off his impressive solo chops.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Rhett Miller seems to be on a constant loop of record/tour/repeat.

Having just put out Graveyard Whistling, the latest from his main gig in Old 97’s last year, followed by a fairly exhaustive tour, he went to work on his soon-to-be released solo effort The Messenger (due out Nov. 9), and is already on a solo tour again before the album comes out. He somehow managed to squeeze in an Old 97’s holiday record that they will tour behind in just a couple of months, as well.

That being said, Miller was still in full entertainer mode just a few miles outside of Philly in the small, but impressively booked Ardmore Hall (a cool, intimate venue that manages to lure everyone from Fishbone and George Clinton to Willie Nile and a Hall-less John Oates). Miller commented on the venue after a fantastically-spirited version of “Our Love”.

“We were driving near the venue and I thought, well this is a really beautiful part of town, we’re so close to Philly proper, but I couldn’t figure out where we were” recalled Miller. “At that point I watched a really cute girl trying to turn left. Then this guy behind her yells out, ‘No left turn, asshole!’ Then I realized I was in Philly.”

And just like that, the crowd was enamored with Miller. It didn’t hurt that he reeled through one great song after another, pulling from across his half-a-dozen-deep solo catalog and many of the Old 97s greats. Miller managed to hold the crowd’s attention through a 20-song set, in a stripped-down setting, with just him and an acoustic guitar.

He even previewed a new song from the Old 97’s forthcoming Holiday record. The loudest singalongs came at the end when Miller played a remarkable cover of Petty’s “American Girl” that segued into the Old 97’s “Time Bomb.” If Miller is exhausted from the constant write/record/tour routine, he showed absolutely no signs of that weariness in Philly. A remarkable show from start to finish.

A ROTTEN PROPOSITION: Public Image Ltd. Live in Atlanta

At Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse on October 10, The Artist Formerly Known As Johnny Rotten brought his PiL.2018 to his Peach State fans, some of whom were no doubt on hand all those years ago when a certain British punk band made its American debut….

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

John Lydon and Public Image Ltd. are in high gear with “The Public Image is Rotten North American” tour, and in damn fine form if their 2nd stop – in Atlanta, Ga – is any indication.   Shows are selling out, and this one looked to be as well.  Check out upcoming PiL shows and dates here:  http://www.pilofficial.com/shows.html

The band is celebrating its 40 years of music with a world tour, a career-spanning CD & Vinyl box set release “The Public Image is Rotten,” and a new doc by the same name.  Current PiL lineup is Lydon, Lu Edmonds (guitar), Scott Firth (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums).

The former Johnny Rotten formed PiL in 1979 immediately following the demise of The Sex Pistols, going for a more ‘anti-rock’ avant-garde thing.  He’s been the only constant member of a band delivering 10-studio LPs over the years.   As lineups evolved, so has the music, crunching about any genre you can name into a unique and original meld.   Lydon is 62, older and ever-the-wiser.  PiL’s music still vital and relevant.  And you gotta go.

(And if you’re looking at these photos, I don’t know what the trash can is doing on stage.)

 

Follow John Boydston on Instagram – @johnboydstonphotos

 

The Melvins 8/10/18, Englewood CO

Dates: August 10, 2018

Location: Gothic Theater, Denver CO

Live at the Gothic Theater, heavy metal was a-happenin’…

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY BEN CURNETT

If heavy music was ever summed up in one performance, it happened last Friday night in Denver when Melvins played to a near-capacity crowd at the Gothic Theater in Englewood, Colorado. I’m not saying that’s what happened. Metal comes in nearly as many flavors as Japanese Kit-Kats (try the black tea if you ever get the chance; skip baked potato), so pulling it all together on one stage, much less in one show, is a task for imbeciles. Any band that tries to be all things to all people sucks outright and is evil in all the ways that are no fun at all. Not like, “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!” evil, but more like, “Of course corporations are people!” evil, and they can go screw.

But that’s what makes Melvins so good live: they actually do it all, heavier than pretty much everyone, and it’s mind-numbingly, otherworldly good. They’re good expressly because they don’t try to be all things to all people, evil or otherwise. They’re just their own very odd, very loud selves. and that’s good enough to be the guys to sum it all up if … IF … heavy music could ever be summed up in one performance.

Which it can’t.

Still and yet, two bass players is a pretty good start. The newest Melvins LP, “Pinkus Abortion Technician” refers both to Jeff Pinkus, longtime Butthole Surfer and second-to-newest Melvins bassist, and the classic Butthole’s album “Locust Abortion Technician,” a collection of songs that still has my vote (cast when I was 12) for scariest record of all time. Pinkus was matched on all things bass just on the other side of the stage by Redd Kross, OFF!, and actual-newest-Melvins standard bearer Steven McDonald. McDonald sang two of the songs on the setlist (Redd Kross’s “What They Say,” The Rolling Stones’ “Sway”) like a rock star, which may sound redundant but bears distinction just because he 1) wore the flashiest suit I’ve ever seen outside of a Too $hort video, and 2) Pinkus is more like something else entirely. A dragster mechanic, maybe. Some gems from the new record came out in the show (“Stop Moving Down To Florida,” “Don’t Forget To Breathe”) as well as classics from all over the board (“Honey Bucket” from 1993’s “Houdini,” “Eye Flys” from 1987’s “Gluey Porch Treatments.”) There was no speaking, if you don’t count the Moving Down To Florida parts, which you shouldn’t. Just rock. That’s all.

Buzz Ozborne and Dale Crover, Melvins’ guitarist and drummer, head and heart, areolas and spleen, know their way around a live performance. It’s as if they have some ectoplasmic connection that leads audiences around like tour guides on Mars; without their guidance, you’ll probably die. This, I strongly suspect, is the reason Buzz wears a magic robe when he plays: Melvins actually HYP-MO-TIZE audiences with thunderous drums and squelching guitar, nonsensical lyrics and brain-rattling distortion that sounds like music but is actually a spaceship engine that’s fueled by 90 minutes of your life and spits out warm, disturbingly loud, humming goo.

 

 

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks 7/31/18, Denver

Live at the Gothic Theater – and the drums were a-drummin’…

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY BEN CURNETT

Jake Morris is really, really great at drums.

That’s where a rundown of the recent Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks show at the Gothic Theatre in Denver needs to start. Of course, the band was fun and energetic. The sound was perfect. The song selection was great for die hards and casual fans alike. Joanna Bolme hit deep dark brown notes and did a dead-on impression of Kim Gordon on “Refute.” Mike Clark filled the room with keyboards and guitars. The Malk (I’m not really a nickname guy, but that’s what I’m going with now) was the perfect song and dance man as per usual.

But the drums. The drums were something else. You get that to greater or lesser extents on the SM & t Jx studio albums, even before Morris, and the new release that this tour is supporting, Sparkle Hard, is no exception. Morris was an absolute highlight of the show; he played nothing short of perfect rock drums, a completely next-level performance. The spaces Morris left between beats were as musical and deliberate the beats themselves. His fills were graceful/drunk Dean Martin tumbles into steady but loping time signatures (“Stick Figures In Love,” “Bretheren”). His driving rhythm on longer, ramblier ventures (“Kite,” “Real Emotional Trash”) were riddled with all kinds of subtle flourishes that sprung up everywhere. On stage with a group of very talented musicians, Morris pushed the band higher and farther than their individual art would allow. He was a gift.

Live, the Jicks just get better. Four years is a long time, but 2014’s Wig out at Jagbags (and really, most everything under the SM moniker) bears repeated listening, so at least fans have had that. The live show, though, is what’s really been missing. The Malk (!) doesn’t shy away from his Grateful Dead influences, and it’s easiest/most enjoyable to see and hear on stage. “Middle America” from the new album came about halfway through the set and is the Jerry-est thing they’ve done since “Cinnamon And Lesbians” which they played a few songs earlier. Not to put too fine a point on it, they broke into a “China Cat Sunflower” teaser in the middle of “Shady Lane” during the encore, just in case you weren’t getting the vibe.

The other Pavement tune, “In The Mouth A Desert” closed the show, and was a crowd-pleaser, natch. The woman next to me almost threw herself off the balcony. But are those songs The Malk’s albatross? I hope not. Like everyone else, I love hearing them. Seeing them played live definitely takes me back, which is pretty great in its own right. At the same time, I’d be happy enough if he never played any of them again. It’s hard to remember sometimes, but SM & t Jx have been together for nearly twice as long as The Malk’s other band. It’s entirely its own thing, sans-nostalgia. To me, at this point in my life, that’s miles better, and that’s why I loved the show so much.

Put another way, I count myself lucky to have seen Pavement in Denver during the ‘90s; but I count myself much luckier to have seen Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks at the Gothic last Tuesday.

***

SET LIST: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/stephen-malkmus-and-the-jicks/2018/gothic-theatre-englewood-co-63eb0217.html

Lithics 7/26/18, Denver

Dates: July 26, 2018

Location: Lost Lake Lounge , Denver CO

Live at Lost Lake Lounge one fine Denver evening…

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY BEN CURNETT

“Hypnotic” is the best way to describe Lithics front woman Aubrey Hornor at their recent live show at Denver’s Lost Lake. Not hypnotizing. Hypnotic, as in: she was in a trance, letting the music and lyrics convey all the night’s emotion (or non-emotion, as the case may be). It’s a strategy that works. Along with the dense, dexterous rhythm from bassist Bob Desaulniers and drummer Wiley Hickson and the persistent jangling noise from lead guitarist Mason Crumley, I imagined the show as a four-way boxing match. Each musician was in their respective corner, throwing their own version of sweet science out in the middle of the ring to dance awkwardly with its sparring partners.

The result was an FAQ of definitive punk elements coming together to make thought provoking rock that will immediately bring to mind your favorite parts and pieces of Devo, Bush Tetras, and The Fall. Lithics include more of one particular musical component than their influences: space. There was a lot of silence amid the sound in each of the 12 songs that were on the set list, some deliberately so (Still Forms, Burn On Burn) with others more subtle (Specs, Thing In Your Eye). That feeling is created by a few different Lithics touchstones. For instance, there’s no distortion or effects, for the most part. You get what you get. Also, there are lots and lots and lots of truncated notes, especially from the bass, that stop almost as soon as they start. Even when there’s not actual silence in a song, Lithics open up their music for the audience to insert themselves into. The rhythm guitar stops long enough for the bass notes to take over on Glass Of Water, for instance, before launching into the staccato punctuation of the verse’s coda. The drums fall over themselves, tumbling down over the guitars, and then jump back up into lockstep progressions.

Lithics music on stage is very true to form of their records, with the same clean tone they have in the studio. The stage just adds one more piece to a jangled, sometimes confusing puzzle that will one day explain why Lithics are so, so good.

Lithics newest release is Mating Surfaces out now on Kill Rock Stars.

 

Parker Millsap – 6/21/18, Philadelphia

Dates: June 21, 2018

Location: Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia PA

Johnny Brenda’s was the place, and the Okie rocker was an ace! (Above photo from Millsap’s Facebook page, where you can find tour dates and more, natch.)

BY JOHN B. MOORE

The draw of Oklahoma native Parker Millsap is wildly diverse. Proof of that could be seen at a recent show at Johnny Brenda’s, a mix of college students, 30-and-40-somethings and a slew of gray-headed music fans on the other side of 60. It’s hard to imagine many other 20-ish musicians that could draw such an eclectic audience on a Thursday night.

But much like his crowd, Millsap and his band play an equally diverse brand of music that draws from Americana, Blues, Alt Country, Folk and straight-ahead Rock. Over the course of the night, they dipped effortlessly in and out of songs from Millsap’s three-album catalogue for a remarkable enjoyable set.

With Millsap’s voice a little raspy, a month into this latest tour promoting Other Arrangements, he bounded onto the stage and asked, “Want to make some noise?” From that moment on, Millsap had the crowd on his side, starting off with a trio of songs from his newest record (“Fine Line,” “Other Arrangements” and “Your Water”).

Halfway into the set, his bandmates – fiddle player, drummer and bassist – all left the stage. Millsap was joined by his opener Jillette Johnson for a duet the two co-wrote, “Come Back When You Can’t Stay,” a sublimely heartbreaking track off of Other Arrangements. Once again alone on the stage, Millsap played a few songs on his own before the band rejoined.

Throughout the night, Millsap was charming, self-effacing (at one point joking that his sweat was washing all of the product out of his hair) as he and his bandmates roared through a stellar 20-plus song set, including an inspired cover of the “Hesitation Blues,” that put the bar remarkably high for any other bands those in attendance were set to see in the coming year.

Read John Moore’s 2016 interview with Parker Millsap HERE.