Category Archives: Festivals

YOUR BIG EARS ARE QUITE BECOMING: Big Ears Festival 2018

Once again Prof. Rosen makes his pilgrimage to Knoxville. Check out his 2014 report, as well as 2015, not to mention 2016 and 2017. We sense a trend here. Warning: musical hallucinations ahead. (Pictured above: Steve Gunn)

BY STEVEN ROSEN

One of my favorite events at the annual Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, Tenn. — and I’ve now gone to five of the six — is the Kick Off Event. I’ve come to enjoy the way that festival head Ashley Capps and Mayor Madeline Rogero always work a Captain Beefheart reference into their opening remarks. Capps, whose AC Entertainment founded Tennessee’s famous Bonnaroo festival, once operated a Knoxville venue called Ella Guru’s, named after a track on Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica album. Rogero was a frequent patron.

Rogero didn’t disappoint when welcoming attendees to Big Ears 2018, held March 22-25. After first noting she had been given a note in big capitol letters that said “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” Capps, she said she would do it anyway — a jokey reference to some idiot thing, one of too many to remember clearly for more than a day or two, that President Trump had done that week. And then she congratulated “our Spotlight Kid, Ashley Capps,” working in the title of Beefheart’s sixth album, a 1972 release.

In last year’s Big Ears coverage, I mentioned how I thought Capps, for all his love of the rock radicalism embodied by the late Beefheart’s work, now seemed more attuned to the more carefully expressed intellectual experimentalism of an American New Music composer like Frederic Rzewski, who at age 78 appeared at Big Ears 2017 to perform on piano his 1975 “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!,” a political composition based on a Chilean folk song. Capps wrote to correct me: He was attuned to both equally — he had wide tastes. “Big ears,” so to speak.

Fair enough. But after attending much of this year’s festival’s four days, I might list some additional musical interests for Capps — the free jazz movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and also Appalachian folk music.

The latter was not a retreat into traditionalism or regionalism, certainly not when it was best embodied by the duo of Anna & Elizabeth, who were celebrating the pending release of their first “major label” record, The Invisible Comes to Us on Smithsonian Folkways Records. If that doesn’t seem like a major contemporary label to you, but rather a historical throwback, you’re not on the same wavelength as Anna Roberts-Gevalt. “That’s the nerdy-est, best-est label to be on if you’re like us, if you like the old weird stuff,” she told a hushed, enraptured audience of several hundred on Friday afternoon at the beautiful St. John’s Cathedral, one of Big Ears’ many venues.

She and Elizabeth LaPrelle search for and revive older, forgotten Appalachian ballads, often ones by women. And at the concert, they sang such songs as Margaret Shipman’s “Here in the Vineyard” and Victoria Morris’ “John of Hazelgreen” with soulful purity. But there’s also an element of the art project, of experimentalism, in their work that is groundbreaking. Besides the stringed instruments they both play, LaPrelle also uses a self-made “crankie” to project mysterious silhouetted images and sometimes woodcuts, as visual accompaniment. She also uses a small, harmonium-like shruti box to inject a drone into their sound.

They ended their show in an unexpected way, walking down a church aisle to be among the audience and start singing a simple but darkly evocative refrain: “I don’t want to die in the storm/Let the wind blow east/Let the wind blow west/Lord, I don’t want to die in the storm.” Asking the crowd to join in, people unselfconsciously responded — transporting themselves, in the process, into the minds and fears of someone in the past, perhaps isolated in an Appalachian winter, struggling to survive another day. It was a theatrical yet completely, unpretentiously natural ending, and marked Anna & Elizabeth as artists to watch.

As for the more traditional Appalachian music events that Big Ears programmed, such as the Square Dance and Fiddler’s Convention presentations at Knoxville’s outdoor Market Square, I didn’t hear much discussion of them. It’s possible the chilly, rainy weather cut down on participation, but it’s more possible that Big Ears attendees go there for something else. With such a full slate of avant-garde artists, especially those with roots in Free Jazz, who has time to square dance?


There were the jazz elders, the giants of progressivism, and all of them gave terrific performances. The 76-year-old drummer/percussionist Milford Graves, sometimes holding his sticks in such an off-handed, almost-sideways manner that one had to wonder if he would be able to strike a direct hit on his instrument. (He could.) He played with energy, precision, propulsion and — rare for drummers — melodicism during his Saturday afternoon show at the filled-to-capacity Bijou Theatre. He got so worked up he sometimes seemed to be talking to his instruments. He was matched by pianist Jason Moran, who was pushed by his older partner to play with the kind of commanding, demanding, exciting sense of purpose that recalled (the now late) Cecil Taylor. The work seemed improvised, with the two responding to each other and enjoying what they were creating.

Graves was followed at the Bijou by Roscoe Mitchell, one of the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s founders, currently enjoying the success of one of his best-received albums, Bells for the South Side. With a large ensemble (playing as a set of trios), he worked through music that had a quietly alluringly dissonant artfulness (a spacey, fusion-y fluttering reminiscent of Miles Davis’ 1970s-work, only without the rock overtones). He played soprano, sopranino, alto and bass saxophones, sometimes letting James Fei also join in with his own dynamic sax work. Craig Taborn’s keyboard work was blistering, and the young Tyshawn Sorey contributed blurringly fast drum work and some piano. The concert, like the album, built to a version of Art Ensemble’s cathartic “Odwala” that was turned to 11, as Spinal Tap’s Nigel might say. You could see audience members in total thrall, unable to sit still as if they wanted to testify to a higher power. (Sorey, by the way, is a recent winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, and on early Sunday afternoon played a set with his own trio that had a very classical New Music feel.)

Also notable among the jazz performers was the Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, part John Cage and part Spike Jones, who with his Banquet of the Spirits group could get engaging sounds from any object that came near him. You watched him and his group and wondered, “Is he playing that through his nose?” or “Is that a swimming-pool noodle he’s waving around?” His musical interests are omnivorous, and it’s as much a pleasure to hear what he plays as to watch how he makes his sounds and beats.

Evan Parker, the prolific, 74-year-old British saxophonist who has recorded with Anthony Braxton, Peter Brotzmann, Steve Lacey and Roscoe Mitchell, was indefatigable during a Friday solo show at St. John’s Cathedral. (Free Jazz is such a good use for a historic church.) And, in one of Big Ears’ loveliest surprises, the 78-year-old Jon Gibson and a young band performed his 1973 masterpiece Visitations in its entirety at the same church on Friday night. It was originally released on Philip Glass’ label because Gibson, a flutist and saxophonist, was a member of Glass’ ensemble. It reminded me of Paul Horn’s Inside in its pristine, isolated and meditative respect for sonic clarity, but also had such modern touches as synthesizer and accompanying video imagery.

While I wasn’t able to see the full late-Friday night set by The Thing, a squealing, rocketing Scandinavian trio that plays Free Jazz as if it was scronky rock ‘n’ roll (Albert Ayler meets MC5), what I did catch was enough for me to want them for my next dance party. Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson has a friendly, celebratory relationship with the audience that reminds me of Jon Langford — he’s a guy who so obviously gets off on what he’s doing that he spreads joy all around him.

I also saw some uneasily categorized acts. A couple were disappointing: Norwegian singer Jenny Hval’s vocals got lost amid the conceptual theatrics of her Friday presentation at the Bijou; neither the singing nor the playing sounded very good at the highly anticipated Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda: The Ashram Experience concert on Saturday at St. John’s Cathedral.

But others really stood out: Pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn clearly can play anything (she accompanied Anna & Elizabeth at their concert), and her solo show at The Standard on Thursday night was a tour de force. She confidently played compositions by Astor Piazzollo, French composer Olivier Messiaen (the solemn and sacred “And I await the resurrection of the dead”) and her own beautiful work-in-progress that she had yet to name. Alcorn, herself, with her smile and poetically anecdotal introductions to her music, communicated a kind of beatitude. Her pedal steel was her church organ.

Jenny Scheinman (above) plays both violin and fiddle, by which I mean she plays contemporary jazz with Bill Frisell, Nels Cline and others, and she makes Americana albums, writing reasonably conventionally structured songs that she sings while accompanying herself in the folk tradition.

She had a perfect project for her latter persona with Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait, which she presented at the Bijou on Saturday afternoon and for which she was accompanied by Robbie Fulks on guitar and banjo and Robbie Gjersoe on guitars. This is a revelatory project: Duke University commissioned her to create accompanying live music for short silent films that H. Lee Waters shot from 1936-1942 in Kannapolis, North Carolina and nearby towns. The footage is a valuable document of everyday life — for the town’s blacks and whites, men and women, adults and children — during some tough years. That’s valuable enough, but Waters also experimented with film technique, giving the end result an avant-garde dimension.

Lyrically, Scheinman’s accompanying songs dwelled on the subject of anti-nostalgia; they sometimes seemed to be commenting on our act of watching rather than on what we saw. I’m not sure the film needed that extra conceptual layer, but her melodies were striking. Fulks’ solo number, “I’ll Trade You Money for Wine,” from his album Gone Away Backwards, was especially strong.

The Saturday night concert at the historic Tennessee Theater (above), celebrating its 90th year and so spectacular in scale that it’s the state’s official theater, is the marquee time-slot for Big Ears. This year, that slot was occupied by Diamanda Galas, a daring choice.

Dressed in black, with long black hair and the deepest, gravest voice imaginable, she is a Goth for the ages, but she’s also something more. Whereas “Goth” was a music trend of the New Wave 1980s, an atmospherically gloomy attitude that was a form of youthful romanticism, Galas treated it as a worldview of life-and-death urgency. Her severe singing became a requiem for those lost to AIDS, a cry to not forget.

Now, at age 62 and playing the piano solo before a reasonably large crowd in the 1,600-seat theater, she chose and then vocally deconstructed her songs to make sure listeners got the full gravitas of their sadness, fear, loss, despair. Yet the show was not a downer — her artful control, her knack for heightening a song’s inherent tension, is too enthralling. She’s a radical interpreter of pop music. She began with the traditional country song, “Pictures from Life’s Other Side,” popularized by Hank Williams (who recorded it as Luke the Drifter). She followed with B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” virtually stripped of the familiar melody in order to emphasize the stark desperation inherent in the title. She later did Johnny Paycheck’s “Pardon Me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill,” perfect for her oeuvre.

But the highlight was a long, moaning and hypnotic version of Ralph Stanley’s “O Death,” drawn out like Patty Waters’ jazz vocals of the 1960s. To paraphrase one of Joni Mitchell’s most famous lines, Galas stokes the grief-making machinery of the popular song. She’s a national treasure, speaking truth to that popularity.

My Saturday night ended late — at the Bijou, the Rova saxophone quartet, along with a small orchestra of additional players including percussionist Baptiste, guitarist Cline, rockin’ synthesizer/electronics player Yuka Honda and more, began their “electric” version of John Coltrane’s 1966 cosmic Free Jazz classic Ascension at midnight and didn’t end until close to 1:30 a.m. It was a “reimaging” of the work — players were free to riff on the work in-between the beginning and end. The most remarkable thing about this, aside from the pure space-is-the-place otherworldliness of the untethered work, was the way you could hear every player, despite the volume. The mix was perfect.

After it was over, I walked back to my hotel and found a well-dressed older man in the lobby, clutching two fluff dogs — one in each arm — to his chest. I thought I was hallucinating, after that Rova’s set. I still think I might have been.

 

Photos courtesy of Cora Edwards, Eli Johnson, LK Feliu, Andy Vinson. (Individual credits can be viewed in the photo titles.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SXSW 2018: The Blurt Photo Gallery

Our gal on the ground survived yet another week of Austin madness and even got a few pics in the process. Pictured above: Nikki Lane during her SXSW showcase.

By Sadie Claire

MARCH 9

A Quiet Place Movie Premiere: Emily Blunt & John Krasinski

American Animals Movie Premiere: Blake Jenner / Bart Layton

MARCH 10

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky

MARCH 11

Balloons cast: director Dave Franco plus Abbi Jacobsen

MARCH 12

This Is Us cast: Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley

MARCH 13

Actor/Director Ethan Hawke

MARCH 14

Hearts Beat Loud premiere: Brett Haley, Nick Offerman

Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Mohawk

MARCH 15

Paradox movie premiere: Daryl Hannah & Neil Young

Chico Chico at the Elephant Room

MARCH 16

Joshua Burnside at BD Rileys

Keith Urban

Lo Moon at Radio Day Stage

Neuman at Sounds From Spain

Common Deer at Swan Dive

Shane Cooley & the Midnight Girls at Rachael Ray’s Feedback House

Blaze Movie premiere and concert at Paramount Theater: (top to bottom) Ethan Hawke, Ben Dickey, Gurf Morlix, Joe Ely, Alynda Segarra, JT Van Zandt, Nikki Lane

MARCH 17

Mint Field at Antones

Francobollo at British Music Embassy – Latitude 30

Otzeki at British Music Embassy – Latitude 30

Jaimee Harris at the Driskill Hotel Victorian Room

Jourdan Thibodeaux et Les Ros Et Ailleurs at Antones

Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble at Antones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Sadie Claire at the Sadie Clair Photographer Flickr page.

Triangle Psych Fest Set for June in Raleigh

23 bands across three days, June 7-9.

By Blurt Staff

Organizers are touting it as a gathering of “bold, mind-bending and manic” music for three “unhinged, unforgettable nights”: Raleigh, NC, Thursday, June 7 at Kings, Friday, June 8 at the Wicked Witch and Saturday, June 9 at the Pour House. That would be the Triangle Psych Fest, and it’s shaping up to be one of the most eclectic music fests all year.

As co-organized by Daniel Chavis, of Carolina psych/shoegaze legends The Veldt, the event will feature his band, the Floating Children, Dead Leaf Echo, Timothy Eerie, Giant Red Panda, Heaven, Dex Romweber and plenty more. Both veterans and newcomers will be showcased over the course of the three days. (Full schedule below.) Chavis, commenting on the music scene, noted, “For a long time there’s been a steady stream of left field pop and rock pioneers in North Carolina who haven’t been recognized and celebrated as a closely knit community and a vital part of our state’s musical legacy. People easily associate Athens with ‘jangle pop’ or Germany with ‘krautrock’ or San Francisco with ‘Summer of Love rock.’ We’re shining a long overdue spotlight on North Carolina’s ‘psych rock’ scene.”

Explained co-organizer Mike Allen, the event aims to “build cross-generational collaborations and reinforce the comradery between purveyors and fans of experimentation and discovery.” And fellow co-organizer Pierce Clawson added, succinctly, “We’re the festival that’ll free, blow and expand your mind — and do it year after year.”

Ticketing details are below as well.

Pre-Psych Party, Kings, 6/7

Doors 6:00 / Show 7:00 p.m.

Curtains 1:00 a.m.

 

Midnight – Politburo

https://politburo.bandcamp.com/

11pm – Your 33 Black Angels

10pm – Night Battles

9pm – Micah Gaugh

8pm – Charlie Horse

7pm – Stray Owls

 

Wicked Witch, 6/8

Doors 8:00 p.m. / Show 9:00 p.m.

Curtains 2:00 a.m.

 

1:00am – Timothy Eerie

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1049069141774824&ref=content_filter

Midnight – Giant Red Panda

https://m.facebook.com/giantredpandaband/

11:15pm – Lazaris Pit

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=493949864134032&ref=content_filter

10:30pm – Tide Eyes

https://tideeyes.bandcamp.com/

9:45pm – Laser Witch Queens

https://m.facebook.com/LaserWitchQueens/

9pm – Andie L

DJ Pangean

https://m.facebook.com/DJPangean/

 

The Pour House, 6/9

Doors 1:00 p.m. / Show 2:00 p.m.

Curtains 1:15 a.m.

 

Midnight – The Veldt

https://www.facebook.com/VeldtThe/

11pm – Dead Leaf Echo

https://deadleafecho.bandcamp.com/

10pm – Heaven

https://www.facebook.com/HeavenbandNYC/

9pm – Lacy Jags

https://www.facebook.com/lacyjagsnc

8pm – Eyeball

https://www.facebook.com/eyeball.ensemble/

7pm – Pretty Odd

https://www.facebook.com/prettyoddnc/

6pm – Floating Children

https://www.facebook.com/floatingchildren/

5pm – Morning Bells

https://www.facebook.com/morningbellsband/

4pm – Dex Romweber

https://www.bloodshotrecords.com/artist/dex-romweber

3 pm – The Quarter Roys

https://www.facebook.com/thequarterroys/

2 pm – Double Quarter Panda

https://www.facebook.com/doublequarterpanda/

 

Tickets:

 

Two-day passes

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/triangle-psych-fest-2-day-pass-tickets-43290523120

Special Pre-Party at Kings

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/triangle-psych-fest-pre-party-kings-tickets-43290437865

Night One – Wicked Witch

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/triangle-psych-fest-night-one-wicked-witch-tickets-43286163079

Night Two – The Pour House

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/triangle-psych-fest-night-two-the-pour-house-tickets-43286216238

 

 

 

SXSW 2018 In Photos & Words

And the BLURT brigade was in the house: Forty indie, rap, punk, classical, country, dance and pop acts, complete with robots, puppets and wrestlers, that you definitely needed to see. Raise your hand if you did… Check out some exclusive videos below. (Pictured above: Los Chinchillos Del Caribe)

BY JASON GROSS

After about 20 years of going to this Texas fest, you may know your way around Austin but there’s always the ever-present temptation to pig out on not just BBQ but also pig out on music and wear yourself out, which I always do.  While recuperation time is in order, if you keep a good written/photo diary, you can at least remember, “Oh yeah, that was a good time!”  This year, I clocked in about 70 acts, 40 miles of walking around, and enough cooked meats to clog up my arteries for years.

Sad to say, years after getting over the 2014 car chase that killed four people, Austin and SXSW were rocked by a bomber who thankfully came to justice not long after the fest, but not before another bomb threat stopped the Roots’ traditional closing night party.  Good thing that, along with Austin keeping Weird, it’s also resilient.

Otherwise, along with some steady indie band stand-bys, I also found plenty of good newer acts that are worth supporting, either by going to their shows or buying their music or getting their merch (that’s a non-subtle hint, mind you).  Hopefully, in this mix of forty indie, rap, punk, classical, country, dance and pop acts, complete with robots, puppets and wrestlers, you’ll discover SOMETHING that you like.

You’ll also see SX interviews coming from Robin Cook of some of the artists below soon here- Anna Burch, Fragile Rock and more.

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A Place To Bury Strangers at Cheer Up Charlie’s (3/17/2018): One part My Bloody Valentine (screeching noise over sweet melodies), one part Butthole Surfers (smashed their instruments after the first song), one part Lightning Bolt (played part of the set in the middle of the crowd).  Secret weapon: power drummer Lia Simone Braswell.

Abhi the Nomad at Tap Room (3/16/2018): You might not know this Indian rapper who was West Coast (and sounds it) and now an Austinite but you should- he put out one of the catchiest albums of ‘18 and tours with a good drummer and singer.

Andrew W.K. at Hotel Vegas Patio (3/14/2018): Don’t you feel a little better just knowing he’s still out there partying?  Sure, there’s plenty of drunk kids ready to mosh with him but still…

Lee Bains III + The Glory Fires at Sidewinder Outside (3/13/2018): A garage version of Springsteen from Alabama, complete with progressive politics and a wild guitarist = a sweaty stage show.

Anna Burch at Valhalla (3/13/2018): Sweet voiced indie-folkie who deserves your attention.  Indelible tunes and great teeth to boot (admittedly jealous).

Cadence Weapon at Swan Dive Patio (3/14/2018): Not chart competition for Drake but this impressive Canadian rapper still has a great jam in the form of “My Crew (Woo).”

Canshaker Pi at Waller Ballroom (3/14/2018): The Dutch invasion?  The catchy, raw indie rockers might led the way for it.

CGBG’s Panel (3/16/2018): Featuring Tina ‘n’ Chris (Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club) and Richard Lloyd (Television) reminiscing about the golden age of punk, plus giving props to Terry Ork who (despite Hilly’s rep) was the real hero/booker of the club.

Cut Chemist at Palm Door on Sabine (3/14/2018): Well-named classic turntablist did his thing with the help of cartoon, old-school graphics screening behind him

Lucy Dacus at Scoot Inn (3/13/2018): One of the most talked about acts at SX, this sad (but not miserable) indie girl’s best song is “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” which should tell you something about her.  And in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “DAY-kus.”

Davie at St. David’s Sanctuary (3/15/2018): Very appropriate that this R&B singer bared his soul in a church setting.

Jesse Dayton at Hotel San Jose (3/14/2018): A former X member and Waylon band member who kicks up some rockabilly dust is someone you’d wanna follow.

DMC at Clive Bar (3/16/2018): Still the King of Rock and bearing a Motorhead T-shirt, he trotted out the old school classics and right wondered why if no one asks Springsteen when he’s gonna retire, why should they ask him?

Doctor Octagon at Cedar Street Courtyard (3/14/2018): A real treat, not only to have the bizarre hip hop Dr. on call again but to have him perform alongside Dan the Automator and QBert.

Dual Core at Karma Lounge (3/17/2018): Nerdcore (the funny, indie backpack set) was represented well by this Austinite.  Didn’t hurt that he bought shots for the whole crowd, which probably helped us with the singalongs.

Eureka California at Beerland (3/16/2018): Actually hailing from Athens, GA, this boy/girl garage duo has a better drummer than Meg White and comes on more fiercely and with less roots than Jack White, which hopefully means that they won’t get a drunk frat-boy crowd like JW.

Jad Fair at Hotel Vegas (3/13/2018): Brandishing a flexible neck guitar that led him to do some wonderfully bizarre wailing, this indie legend romped through a set of classic Half Japanese songs.

Ezra Furman at Parish (3/17/2018): This mewling wear-it-on-your-sleeve indie guy in dresses still has Jonathan Richman’s irascible side to him but with much more urgency than JoJo.

 

FAVX at BD Riley’s (3/15/2018): A Spanish garage rock trio with an arty, post-punk tinge to ‘em, they might offend purists but they also put out one of the best records of ‘18.

 

Francine Thirteen at the Hideout (3/17/2018): Technically from Dallas but definitely on another planet vibe, this chanteuse/shaman performed a ritual-laden performance with help from her sister on harp. Her motto is “Magic of sacred virgins & holy whores” and she makes you believe it.

 

Fragile Rock at Maggie Mae’s (3/14/2018): Calling them the best puppet emo band ever might sound great until you can’t think of other puppet emo bands but these guys & gals are a hoot- think the Muppet’s Dr. Teeth meet Spinal Tap.

 

Gold Casio at Friends (3/17/2018): I feel bad for anyone who doesn’t have a soft-spot for a glammed-out dance pop band with good tunes and that’s what this Portland quartet serves up.

 

Great Good Fine OK at Sidewinder Outside (3/14/2018): With such a casual name, you’d think that they’re blasé but this rainbow-clad dance act had strong enough tunes to have the crowd sing along so they’re doing something right.

Steve Hauschildt at Central Presbyterian Church (3/17/2018): Ambient night in a religious setting is worth attending but most of the bill was kind of snoozy except for this dynamic composer who’s not afraid of beats or melodies.

 

Idles at Latitude 30 (3/14/2018): They’re jokers for sure but also deadly serious and rabid punks, just this side short of hardcore but barely less intense, with one of 2017’s finest platters too.

 

Durand Jones at Scoot Inn (3/13/2018): Ran across him while waiting for another act but it was some good serendipity there as he’s a soul man who deserves the press/credit that fellow SX act Lee Fields gets, not to mention Nathaniel Rateliff (also at SX).

 

Topaz Jones at 800 Congress (3/15/2018): A NJ native who was pleasantly surprised to find many Jersey peeps at the show. Disappointing not to hear this R&B/rap act’s wonderful “Toothache” single but he was plenty of other sensuous grooves to spare (plus a cool Miles T-shirt).

Khalid at Trinity Warehouse (3/15/2018): Wasn’t totally sold on his R&B star but this packed-house show proved that he not only had the songs but also the stage presence (love that pink suit) to pull it off.

Kino Kimino at Sidewinder Outside (3/16/2018): Kim Talon is a musical threat for sure- not just film making but also Sonic Youth connections and a lively stage presence.

Life at Latitude 30 (3/15/2018): Like Oasis, they’re led by a pair of bro’s but they’re much more bloke-ish than big-headed jerks, which is how you’d want a UK punk combo to be. Singer Mex is a hoot with weird stage moves, including bar walks and speaker crawls.

Living Museum at Waller Ballroom (3/13/2018): Think of it more as a strange NC-17 performance art series than a music act per se.  Let’s just say that these Dutch artists weren’t afraid to bare it all in action painting, tech-controlled music, laser light performing and some completely hairless writhing woman lying on a bar.

Los Chinchillos Del Caribe at the Speakeasy (3/16/2018): They call themselves a Cumbia (Spanish dance) act but it’s more spot on to say that they’re a Puerto Rican luchador (wrestling mask) rap act that’s as fun as a ring match.

Lung at Swan Dive (3/17/2018): A power duo of a cellist and drummer mixes prog rock, metal and classical the way that King Crimson did in the good ol’ days, even without Uncle Bobby’s guitar.

Tunde Olaniran at Side Bar (3/14/2018): The pride of Flint Michigan (which he reminds us is still under a govt-induced health threat), this Afro-Futurist is always a snappy dresser and has a dancer duo that are his version of the SW1’s.

Ponytrap at the Hideout (3/16/2018): A string duo with a trio of giant robot drummers sounds like a novelty but they pull it off well enough that they should earn a spot on a Bang on a Can marathon (hint, hint).

Pussy Riot at the Main (3/13/2018): I preferred the stirring theatre piece that they did at SX last year but to see this harassed Russian punk-dance group persist was inspirational enough.

Shame at Barracuda (3/15/2018): In the new Punk-Brit sweepstakes, they also have a stand-out, acrobatic frontman like the others but are much more active on stage than their most trad-Brit-pop album would make you think.

Shamir at Sidewinder Outside (3/13/2018): First R&B, now kind of rock, he proved his credentials with his own guitar/bass/drums trio and a homemade Velvet Underground jacket to boot.

Shopping at Volcom (3/15/2018): For my money, the best post-punk revival group around now, especially with Rachel Aggs’ dance moves and the way that they trade off shouted vocals that boosts all their songs.

Superchunk at the Main (3/13/2018): The ol’ indie rock standby happened to be put out not just their best album of their career but one of the best of ‘18 and celebrated with a blazing show, featuring Sabrina Ellis (Sweet Spirit/A Giant Dog) who is headed for stardom herself.

Superorganism at Stubb’s (3/14/2018): One of the fest’s buzz bands for sure, this weird little UK dance-pop troupe provided some danceable fun.

Thick at Side Bar (3/16/2018): Brooklyn punk grrls make good noise.

Trail of Dead at Swan Dive Patio (3/14/2018): Now a quartet but with extra members in tow to bring them up to a sextet, they did a set of songs they only performed once before.  You’d never know it- it sounded like well-thrashed out material they harnessed over years.

Touts at Latitude 30 (3/13/2018): Irish punk lads (and Clash/Jam fans) who sound it, especially when they address the crowd in a thick brogue and feature a song like “Bombscare.”  Nice mod haircuts too.

Waco Brothers at Shangri-La (3/15/2018): It just wouldn’t be SXSW without these alt-country cut-ups, who provided bits of Hawkwind and George Michael covers along with a full version of the Small Faces’ “All or Nothing” in tribute to raconteur and Austin homie Ian McLagan. (Ed. note: As Jon Langford is essentially the Patron Saint of Blurt SXSW Past, having designed posters and curated an annual day party during SXSW for us for a number of years, we would like to take this space to extend a hearty “two pints up!” in Jonboy’s direction.)

Kelly Willis at Hotel San Jose (3/14/2018): Now finishing the 3rd decade of her career, this new traditionalist (think George Strait, not Devo) still has that great, booming voice that makes her a country legend.

 

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Longtime BLURT contributor Jason Gross is also publisher of the most excellent Perfect Sound Forever online music magazine.

Shaky Knees Fest 2018 Daily & Late Show Lineups

Jack White, The National, and THE DISTILLERS, oh my!

By Jeff Clegg

Also, in case you missed it, Atlanta’s sixth annual Shaky Knees Music Festival takes place May 4-6 with headliners Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, and The National. Other notable acts of this year’s lineup include David Byrne of the Talking Heads, Courtney Barnett, Cake, The War on Drugs, Manchester Orchestra, and the first The Distillers performance in 12 years, among many others. Due to Atlanta’s plan to renovate and expand Centennial Olympic Park, this year’s festival will move back to Atlanta’s Central Park, where Shaky Knees called home in 2015. Information on hotels close to the event can be found on the Shaky Knees website.

Check out the full 2018 lineup below and be sure to grab your tickets! And the late-night shows for Shaky Knees 2018 have just been announced as well, which notably includes sets by artists not on the main festival bill such as The Whigs and The Melvins, as well as additional sets by The War on Drugs, Circa Survive, The Distillers, Fleet Foxes, and Japandroids. Tickets for the festival can be purchased here and tickets for the late-night shows can be purchased here.

Check out the full list and schedule below:

 

2018 Bonnaroo Artists Announced

Bonnaroo 2018 lineup has been released and guess who’s back, back again! Above: some satisfied 2017 customers…

BY MARK JACKSON

Eminem is set to play several festivals and will be the Headliner act for Bonnaroo this year. Eminem last played Bonnaroo back in 2011. Other headliners for 2018 also include The Killers, and Muse.

This year’s lineup is once again a great mix that promises to have something for everyone. With acts such as Future, T-Pain, Brock Hampton, Khalid, and Playboi Carti and of course Eminem, the rap fan should be more than happy.

Last year was the first for the Full sized Other Stage which was turned into the Techno/House stage that rivaled the main stage in size and a much better light show. This year The Other Stage will have Bassnectar, Virtual Self, and Kaskade among many others.

The Lineup does not include Ed Helms and his Bluegrass Situation as in years past but it does show an entry simply put Grand Ole Opry. Maybe this will be an all-star and legend country program or stage. The coming weeks will tell, but no matter what it turns out to be, with a name like Grand Ole Opry it will be great for the country fans. Confirmed country artist on the lineup are Brothers Osborne, Sturgill Simpson, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

The Pop/Rock lineup will include Sheryl Crow, The Killers, Dua Lipa, Paramore, The Revivalists, and many more.

The 2018 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will be held June 7-10, 2018 in Manchester, Tenn. 4-day general admission tickets are $299.50 (plus fees) and go on sale at 10 a.m. CST Friday, January 12 at www.bonnaroo.com

 Mark Jackson (@markjacksonphotography1) has covered Bonnaroo for BLURT in the past – go HERE to view his 2017 photo gallery.

 

Bonnaroo 2018 lineup

Eminem

The Killers

Muse

Future

Bassnectar

Sturgill Simpson

Bon Iver (playing 2 unique sets)

Khalid

Kaskade

Paramore

Alt-J

Dua Lipa

Sheryl Crow

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals

Sylvan Esso

Rebelution

The Revivalists

Virtual Self

Nile Rogers & CHIC

Rufus Du Sol

Chromeo

STS9

Alison Wonderland

Moon Taxi

Carnage

BROCKHAMPTON

Old Crow Medicine Show

Playboi Carti

The Glitch Mob

Rag‘N’Bone Man

Broken Social Scene

Superjam

Grand Ole Opry

First Aid Kit

Jungle

Tash Sultana

T-Pain

Manchester Orchestra

Brothers Osborne

Gryffin

What So Not

Rich Brian

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Billie Ellish

Daniel Caesar

Kali Uchis

Kayzo

Slander

ARIZONA

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Lany

Thundercat

Mavis Staples

Hippie Sabotage

Big Wild

Shiba San

Sir Sly

Denzel Curry

Moses Sumney

Snakehips

Tyler Childers

Mr. Carmack

Valentino Khan

Amadou & Mariam

Midland

Opiou

Japanese Breakfast

Jessie Reyez

K?D

R.LUM.R

Noura Mint Semali

Gogo Penguin

Lissie

Chris Lake

Billy Kenny b2b Mija

Durand Jones & The Indications

Space Jesus

Manic Focus

Boogie T b2b Squnto

Ikebe Shakedown

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Spafford

Said the Sky

Elohim

Melvv

Alex Lahey

Knox Fortune

Lewis Capaldi

Ron Gallo

Pond

Loudpvck

Conway + Westside Gunn

CloZee

Chase Atlantic

Leven Kali

Everything Everything

Frenship

Droeloe

Taska Black

Mikky Ekko

The Spencer Lee Band

Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage

Blank Range

Bayonne

Bruno Major

Duckwrth

The War and Treaty

Cyn

Arlie

Dreamers

Spencer Ludwig

The Brummies

Jalen N’Gonda

Jaira Burns

OkeyDokey

Zeshan B

The Regrettes

Tobi Lou

Shey Baba

Chastity Brown

Topaz Jones

Kyle Dion

The Texas Gentlemen

Michael Blume

Post Animal

Southern Avenue

Larkin Poe

Colin Elmore & The Danville Train

The Blue Stones

Michigan Rattlers

Matt Maeson

Fletcher

Matt Holubowski

Victory Boyd

Saro

FLOR

Oliver Hazard

Jade Bird

John Splithoff

Colin MacLeod

*repeat repeat

Low Cut Connie

Davie

Biyo

Walden

Hundred Handed

 

Savannah Stopover Festival Heating Up for March

By Blurt Staff

What would YOU say to a bill that included, among many bands, Of Montreal, Pylon Reenactment Society (recently reviewed at BLURT) ,  Wild Child, Larkin Poe, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, David Barbe & Inward Dream Ebb, Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics, and—just to single out a band that hails from the BLURT editorial penthouse’s back yard of Asheville, NC—the Jon Stickley Trio?

Assuming you, like us, would say, “Huzzah!” then this post’s for you. The Savanna Stopover music festival takes place March 8-10 in Savannah (duh!), Georgia, and they’ve announced all the above artists and plenty more — with additional acts to be announced as well. Among those rumored to be in the mix: Kemba, Nikki Lane, Yonatan Gat, Lilly Hiatt, Vita and the Woolf, Grace Joyner, and Caroline Rose.

Stay tuned on January 18 for the full announcement, and here are the links you need to keep bookmarked:

Savannah Stopover official site & lineups: http://www.savannahstopover.com/

Ticket Details: http://www.savannahstopover.com/tickets/

Schedules by Day: http://www.savannahstopover.com/bands-by-day/

 

Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life 2018 Dates Announced

The 2nd annual Bourbon & Beyond is set for Saturday, September 22 and Sunday, September 23, 2018. The 5th annual Louder Than Life will be held the following weekend on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30, 2018. 

 

To celebrate the success of Bourbon & Beyond’s inaugural year, Danny Wimmer Presents has announced a special Early Bird ticket sale now underway for Bourbon & Beyond 2018. A limited number of General Admission Weekend passes are available for $119.50 (matching 2017’s lowest price). To purchase tickets, visit:https://goo.gl/fg1KoW. Hotel and camping options are also available at www.BourbonAndBeyond.com

 

Held on back-to-back weekends, the first-ever Bourbon & Beyond (September 23 & 24) and the fourth annual Louder Than Life (September 30 & October 1) drew a combined 110,000 fans to Champions Park over two consecutive weekends in 2017, with a large percentage of attendees coming from outside of Louisville. 

 

“Danny Wimmer and his team promise big things, and they deliver,” says Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “I was especially impressed by the inaugural Bourbon & Beyond Festival, where they promised great musical acts, great food and, of course great bourbon experiences, and they excelled in every aspect. We look forward to 2018.”

 

“We look forward to the return of the Bourbon & Beyond festival after a successful inaugural year, as well as the fifth annual Louder Than Life festival. Events like these put Louisville on the national stage and enhance our city’s reputation as being an authentic music festival destination,” says Karen Williams, President & CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Bourbon & Beyond and Louder Than Life both draw a large number of out-of-town visitors to our city to enjoy a weekend of music by top, national performers, and also experience Louisville’s one-of-a-kind attractions and award-winning culinary scene.”

 

“The inaugural Bourbon & Beyond was a first-of-its-kind festival that gave Kentucky’s world-renowned bourbons equal billing with a roster of legendary musicians,” says Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents. 

 

Bourbon & Beyond artists included Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller Band, Eddie Vedder, and Buddy Guy, plus Amos Lee, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark, Jr., Paul Rodgers, Band Of Horses, and more.

 

Hayes continues, “Bourbon & Beyond was a showcase for, and celebration of, the craftsmanship, soul and sprit that is unique to Louisville, and featured award winning bourbons, master distillers, chefs, bartenders, and many other artisans.”

 

Check out the video recap highlighting Bourbon & Beyond 2017 here: http://bit.ly/BnBvideo

 

Full Bourbon & Beyond details and additional ticket packages will be announced in early 2018. 

 

The fourth annual Louder Than Life marked the festival’s biggest year yet, solidifying its standing as one of America’s premier destination music festivals. Louder Than Life2017 drew 60,000 fans to Champions Park to witness headlining performances from Ozzy Osbourne featuring Zakk Wylde on Saturday and Prophets Of Rage on Sunday, plus Five Finger Death Punch, Incubus – returning to Louisville for the first time in over a decade — Rob Zombie, Stone Sour, Rise Against, and nearly 30 other bands on three stages. 

 

To see the Louder Than Life video recap, go to:  

www.facebook.com/louderthanlifefestival/videos/1325054730955468/

 

Louder Than Life announce details and ticket information will be provided in late spring 2018. Visit www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com for details.

 

Danny Wimmer Presents is a producer of some of the biggest rock festivals in America, including Rock On The Range, Monster Energy Aftershock, Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville, Monster Energy Fort Rock, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, Chicago Open Air, Bourbon & Beyond, Louder Than Life, Monster Energy Rock Allegiance, Northern Invasion and more.

 

For more information, visit:

 

www.DannyWimmerPresents.com

www.BourbonAndBeyond.com

www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com