Category Archives: live review

Pegboy 2/17/17, Denver

Dates: February 17, 2017

Location: 3 Kings Tavern, Denver CO

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As part of the Don’t Panic festival, the Chicago punk legends laid waste to Denver’s 3 Kings Tavern

BY TIM HINELY

Wait….Pegboy is still around?? I had no idea. I had posted one of their songs on my Facebook page last month when a pal asks me if I’m going to see them next month. I’m like “Where? In Denver??! Uh…hell yes I’m going!.” Sure enough I checked the schedule and they’re playing this thing called the Don’t Panic fest. For me just seeing Pegboy was good enough thought I did catch a few other bands (Black Dots were real good).

Pegboy crawled out of Chicago in the late ‘80s loaded with talent, including ex-Bhopal Stiffs guy Larry Damore on vocals and guitarist John Haggerty, ex of Chicago legends Naked Raygun. Haggerty has always been one of my favorite guitarists, the sound he’s able to get out of that instrument still slays. On drums is Haggerty’s brother Joe (formerly of Bloodsport) and on bass is Mike Thompson (for a long stretch it was N.R. bassist Pierre Kezdy but he has been suffering some health issues the past few years).

Oddly enough, in all of my years of gig going, I don’t think I had ever seen Pegboy before so that made me doubly jazzed. It was going to be a late night, they were gonna hit the stage at 11:45 PM, but hey, if the guys in the band can do it (all over 50 years old ‘cept for the bassist) then this 50-plus year old can do it.

Damore was great, smiling throughout the set, cracking jokes, throwing his arms up in the air and then letting the crowd know “It’s been 17 years since we were last in Denver, if you can believe that.” The kind of guy you wanna throw your arm around him after the gig and buy him a beer. The rest of the band kept their heads down and went to work, Haggerty grinding and slashing on his axe while the rhythm section were powerful yet precise and they all really made these great songs come to life.

As far as the song selection? Pretty damn great, we heard “Strong Reaction,” “My Youth” and the unbelievably great “Dangermare.” They didn’t let us down on the covers either handling Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” (which they’d recorded for their 2nd album Earwig) and Naked Raygun’s “Soldier’s Requim.”

Toward the end of the set we heard “Field of Darkness” and the instrumental “Locomotivelung”  to which the packed house was going ballastic. Damore stated that “We usually don’t played any encores but we will tonight” when the band launched into “Slipped Through My Fingers’ (off the band’s debut EP, Three Chord Monte) and then, at the end, Damore stated “Thanks everyone , that was great, we’re gonna be hanging around if anyone wants to chat and get a beer with us.”  And with that Pegboy were off into the night. Let’s hope it’s not another 17 years before they make it out this way again. The band is too damn good to keep these songs under wraps for so long.

 

Phantogram 1/14/17, Rochester, NY

Dates: January 14, 2017

Location: Main Street Armory, Rochester NY

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Onstage at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, the indie band thrilled the crowd and had a flawless sound.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY APRIL S. ENGRAM

Seven years have quickly passed since Phantogram’s debut album Eyelid Movies; the 2010 release attracted media attention and garnered fans for their ability to balance pop, hip-hop, electronica and dreamy shoegaze all into one. The New York duo, Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter, has come a long way since their formative days. After their catchy music caught the ears of industry veterans they’ve collaborated with acts such as hip-hop maven Big Boy and the eccentric alt-rock group Flaming Lips; further proof of their sonic chameleon abilities.

Perhaps this independent band is on the cusp of transcending the label “independent”; until then, Phantogram continues to tour extensively and made a stop in Rochester, NY while promoting their aptly named third LP, Three. Joining a long night of music, Phantogram was one of five bands performing at Main Street Armory. The roster included a mixture of alternative, pop, folk-rock with bands such as Bleeker, Judah & the Lion and headliner Grouplove; but, this biased BLURTer set her sights solely on Phantogram.

A sizable venue, Main Street Armory was the perfect venue for an indoor, winter festival. Able to hold a large audience concert-goers either milled in front of the stage or flowing about the outskirts drinking or smoking profusely while scores of music goers assured their spot centerstage. Billed to perform before the last act Phantogram played a slightly shorter set and had one hour to command the stage; they did just that.

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Touring with Nicholas Shelestak on effects and keys and Chris Carhart on drums, Phantogram’s sonic elixir enchanted their fans as the audience cheered, danced and jumped along to the music. Every song they performed sounded great as Barthel threw her hands in the air to pump up the audience during songs and fans happily joined her. Playing songs from their three LPs and EP Nightlife, Barthel and Carter played mostly high octane tracks to the delight of the crowd.

Opening with older songs first, Phantogram didn’t waste time getting the audience excited with the danceable “Black Out Days,” “Don’t Move” and “Fall in Love.” Early hits “When I’m Small” and their first big single “Mouthful of Diamonds” were met with loud cheers and hands thrown into the air. A multi instrumental band Barthel switched between her keyboard and bass while Carter played guitar and effects. Even the slightly mellower, ballad-esque “The Answer” from Three, sung by both Carter and Barthel was a thrilling performance as the bridge of the song gives way to an explosion of guitar and drums; the drumming was exciting to see live as Carhart feverishly and methodically banged on his set.

An exciting band, Phantogram sounded flawless live. Only room for improvement, if only they were not part of a music festival this night and could’ve played a longer set.

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Setlist:

Black Out Days

Don’t Move

Fall in Love

Same Old Blues

Answer

When I’m Small

Mouthful of Diamonds

Howling at the Moon

You’re Mine

Cruel World

You Don’t Get Me High Anymore

Steve Gunn / Lee Ranaldo / Meg Baird 1/12/17, Winooski VT

Dates: January 12, 2017

Location: Winooski United Methodist Church, Winooski, Vermont

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The holy altar of the Winooski United Methodist Church proved to be the perfect setting for the three guitarists’ metaphysical musical mantras.

BY JENNIFER KELLY / PHOTOS BY BRITTAIN SHORTER

Three guitar players — two known primarily for acid folk, a third a veteran of noisy alternative-nation skree — convened in a blue-lit church off the main drag in a scruffy-but-gentrifying Vermont town for a night, and it was magic.

Meg Baird started off, seated on a stool, cool and unmoving as she played her eerily beautiful acoustic tunes. No hint of the Heron Oblivion keener here, nor of the battering drums of Watery Love, she stuck largely to material from 2015’s Don’t Weigh Down the Light, limpid, lucid cascades of guitar coursing like water through the air waves, her clean, high voice soaring effortlessly towards the rafters. “I Don’t Mind” came first, folky jangle intact, but minus the spectral slide of the record. It was gorgeous anyway, its soft vocal melodies curving flute-y arcs in the air and closing in a whispered, “When the night reaches out, I will be there, I don’t mind, no I don’t mind.”

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Baird dipped back further into the catalogue for agile, light-fingered “The Land Turned Over,” which intersperses bluegrass-y twang into its guitar architecture and a country warble into Baird’s phrasings. “Mosquito Hawks” wandered closest into rock, with its slow, baroque finger work, punctuated by booming chords and strident, dissonant runs, while “Don’t Weigh Down the Light,” was, as you might expect, luminous with swelling light, guitar notes dropping like rounded beads of water into the stillness, Baird’s voice soft but piercing, exactly the way you’d expect a shaft of moonlight to sound if it sounded at all.

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Lee Ranaldo went next, also bringing an acoustic guitar but putting it to louder, more anarchic use. Loops, pedals and, in the first song, a bow, elicited squalls of thunder from a succession of unassuming wooden instruments. Close your eyes, and it might have been Sonic Youth. Ranaldo played songs from an album he’d just recorded with novelist Jonathan Lethem writing lyrics, so none of the material was familiar. The first cut, the one with the bowing and massed (and massive) overtones, was a Lou Reed-ish spoken word travelogue type of thing redolent of open highways and mind altering substances. “Let’s Start Again” felt more like conventional rock (the opening guitar bit reminded me of Neil Young’s “Old Man”), but it blossomed through looping and layering into a powerful, transforming racket. You wanted to check to make sure it was just one guitar still. (Though not always the same guitar. Ranaldo was the only one of the night to bring a rack of instruments and a guitar tech to keep them in tune.)

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There were a couple of other new songs, one called “Circular” about the repetitiveness of daily life, another called “Electric Trim” with some more impressive feedback, and a composition called “Uncle Skeleton,” which moved from goofy country to blistering noise and, somewhere in there, broke out that “face bone is connected to the neck bone” ditty. Overall, the new material seemed a bit less indie rock, a little more sound experimental than his last solo album. I only wrote down R.E.M. once, and I had just jotted down Velvet Underground (bullshit reference, by the way, all it means is rock with some buzz around the guitars) when he closed with a cover of VU’s “Oceans.”

***

Steve Gunn closed with a low-key but wonderful set that seemed both effortless and really difficult. Only when you watch him do you realize how much he’s doing with his long elegant fingers, how quickly and precisely he moves them though complicated chord changes, bends and pull-offs. When you listen, it all sounds supremely laid back and day-dream-y, but as Yeats said about something entirely different, “we must labor to be beautiful.”

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It was “Night Wander” right off the bat, Gunn executing the glittering runs of Television-like notes in between terse verses about black cats and nocturnal rambles. Gunn seemed to be in a contemplative mood, as he introduced “Old Strange” (from 2013’s Time Off) as a song he’d written when an old friend disappeared; he was just as lost now, he admitted, on the eve of the Trump inauguration. The song is a slow, drone-y blues, a remnant of days when Gunn was primarily known as a guitar picker, but it had an undercurrent of angst as he played, the sharp starts of guitar like yelps when someone pokes a bruise. “Milly’s Garden” may have also had a Trump-ish undertone. When I interviewed Gunn a couple of years ago, he explained that it was inspired by a religious neighbor who kind of freaked him out. The line, “Your faith is savage, and your mind is damaged, you’re halfway home,” resonates in an eerie way now. Two songs from the new album, Eyes on the Lines came after, “Ark,” breaking its chiming chords and murmured folk jams for some guitar shredding and even a little bit of wah, and “Park Bench Smile” with its spiraling, baroque guitar figures, the song that welcomes you in, then pins you there, eyes pin wheeling to the psychedelic patterns that you see.

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Perhaps because he was in a church, Gunn got to reminiscing about the last show his father had attended before passing away, at what sounds like the chapel at First Unitarian Church in Philly. Gunn went over to say hi, and noticed his dad had a beer in his hand and asked how it felt to be drinking a beer in church for the first time. Mr. Gunn countered, “This is not my first time.” And with that, Gunn launched into “Wildwood,” a song at least partly about summers on the Jersey Shore, and sad and sweet and folky as the story he told.

I was a little disappointed that the three artists didn’t get a chance to jam together, as they did at other venues, certainly Chicago, later in the tour. But maybe the thing to remember is not that their show at a little church in a little town in Vermont shut down early, but that it happened at all.

Photos courtesy of Brittain Shorter of Winooski’s Section Sign Records – a big BLURT thank-you! www.sectionsignrecords.com / www.soundcloud.com/sectionsignrecords

Link to the concert promoter: https://www.facebook.com/WakingWindows/

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Bill Laurance, 2/6/17, Raleigh NC

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Snarky Puppy dude turns Raleigh venue the Pour House into a 21st century jazz haven.

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY TODD GUNSHER

On a typically quiet Monday night, GroundUp Music artist Bill Laurance (one of the Snarky Puppy crew) brought some 21st century jazz to Raleigh’s Pour House.  Following area jazzers Eric Hirsh Quartet, keyboardsman Laurence took the stage for a well received 90 minute set. Laurance, Jamison Ross (drums), Chris Smith (bass) and Felix Higginbottom (percussion) packed the stage with various instruments both acoustic and electronic, and filled the room with stellar musicianship, rhythms from around the world and outside the box compositions.

I didn’t get all the song titles, but mid-set Laurance spoke of how the original Cosmos inspired “Aftersun” and later, of writing “Money In The Desert” while on a trip to Dubai. Many of the compositions featured Ross & Felix who weaved together complex rhythms that Smith would glide into while Laurance floated above. Whether he wowed us with a quick run or an extended chord it always sounded just right.

Laurance is currently on a solo tour hitting a handful of east coast cities before heading to Europe. If you’re into modern instrumental jazz and don’t know Snarky Puppy you should, and if you do know them then you definitely need to check out Bill Laurance who brings his own take on that sound.

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Adam Ant, Glam Skanks 2/3/17, Seattle

Dates: February 3, 2017

Location: Neptune Theatre, Seattle WA

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This past weekend at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre, antmusic ruled as the antmaster performed his classic album Kings of the Wild Frontier.

BY GILLIAN G. GAAR

Antmusic returned to Seattle in a big way when the Dandy Highwayman himself, Adam Ant, graced the stage of the Neptune Theatre on Friday, February 3, as part of his Kings of the Wild Frontier anniversary tour, which saw Ant performing that 1980 album in its entirety.

But first, a short set by Glam Skanks, a hard rockin’ quartet headed up by glitter-attired lead vocalist Ali Cat. This was ‘80s music of a different stripe, the kind you might’ve found on the Sunset Strip before grunge arrived and (mostly) swept it all away. There were songs about fashion (“Tube Tops”), Valentine’s Day (“Fuck Off”), and female empowerment (“Bad Bitch”). Ms. Cat retained her aplomb even when her costume got snagged on the microphone cord.

The evening ran like clockwork, with Glam Skanks starting, bang, at 8:45 p.m. There was a half hour set, and then a long, 45 minute wait before Adam began at 10 p.m. (really, a 30 minute wait would’ve raised anticipation just as much). Finally, the lights dim, the band slouches on stage, and then… is it Captain Bligh? Mr. Bumble, that nasty beadle from Oliver! The real long lost father of Captain Jack Sparrow? No, it’s Adam Ant, sporting a military jacket replete with elaborate braiding, a towering Navy cocked hat, and leather trousers, all the better to swagger around the stage in. adam-ant-at-the-roundhouse-2-web-dec-2016-pc-michael-sanderson

Adam’s career took off shortly before MTV was launched, and a musician who came of age in the video era naturally knows the importance of having a strong visual appeal. Thus it was no surprise that Adam held the audience in the palm of his hand from the get-go, striking a pose, bopping from one end of the stage to the other, pointing to a select favored few in the crowd. And with two drum kits on hand to emulate that distinctive Burundi drum style, the packed house was solidly locked into the groove from the beginning.

After running through the 11 tracks on Kings, Adam took off his jacket, now wearing a black shirt (later removed to reveal one of his own tour shirts). This signaled the end of the “highwayman” period, as least as far as stage attire was concerned. Then came a steady stream of hits and other much loved Ant tracks. If you had a favorite, he probably played it: “Stand and Deliver.” “Goody Two Shoes.” “Desperate But Not Serious.” “Prince Charming.” “Physical.” Plus one cover, “Get It On.” All knocked out with precision, and buoyed by Adam’s boundless energy. Here’s a performer who knows what his audience wants, and delivers. Adam’s a true showman, determined to give the best performance he can, as only he can. It all added up to a truly satisfactory evening.

Author contact: gaarski@hotmail.com, Twitter: @GillianGaar

Photo credit: Michael Sanderson

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THE RUMBLE IN BEIJING: Vieux Farka Toure

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On January 15th at the Yugong Yishan Club, the African guitar legend – and son of the late Ali Farka Toure – rocked a packed house to wrap up his Asian tour. Our man on the ground in Beijing was there, camera in hand, and ready to document the occasion. Following the video and the text, also check out his photos from the show.

By Jonathan Levitt

Two nights ago, the Blurt Beijing team consisting of myself and Zhou Jialin made our way through Beijing’s smog choked streets to the Yugong Yishan rock club in central Beijing for a rare treat of a concert that I felt I had to share with the Blurt readership. Vieux deserves every accolade thrown at him. He is the true heir to his father’s musical legacy. Vacillating between traditional Bambara songs, blues, and more rock oriented workouts, Vieux cuts a commanding presence on stage. The concert which lasted for about an hour and forty-five minutes, spanned both his older material as well as a few new songs. The near-capacity crowd shook their asses to the beat and hung on every note that Vieux coaxed from his guitar.

This was the final show of the Asian leg of their tour and you could tell because everything seemed to have a relaxed flow about it. Hell, they even sold the calabash drum to the highest bidder at the end of the concert! The following day, Vieux flew back to Mali where he’ll remain until April when the US tour begins in earnest. This is one show you won’t want to miss.

***

A little of my own background for Blurt readers. When I worked for Rykodisc records in their international promotions department in 1995, I was fortunate enough to be invited with my then boss to travel to NYC to watch the late great Ali Farka Toure give a free concert in Central Park. After the show, I went back stage to meet the legendary guitarist. It was truly an awe-inspiring moment, that I continue to cherish. Talking Timbuktu was the album they played and to this day it remains one of my favorite records of all time.

Filmed by Jonathan Levitt and Zhou Jialin exclusively for Blurt Magazine. If you’d like to use this video, feel free to contact Levitt through Blurt. Special thanks to Vieux Toure and Marshall Henry. For more inforon Vieux Farka Toure visit his website at http://www.sixdegreesrecords.com/1971…
or http://vieuxfarkatoure.com . This concert film was shot on the mighty Nokia Lumia 1020 and edited on Adobe Premiere. Below, check out photos from the same show.

***

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(Vieux Farka Toure and Jonathan Levitt)

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(Toure and Zhou Jialin)

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(bassist Marshall Henry)

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(Zhou Jialin’s tattoo)

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(hand stamps from the concert)

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ACOUSTIC CHURCH MUSIC: Steve Gunn, Lee Ranaldo, Meg Baird

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The holy altar of the Winooski United Methodist Church proved to be the perfect setting for the three guitarists’ metaphysical musical mantras. Above: Steve Gunn.

BY JENNIFER KELLY / PHOTOS BY BRITTAIN SHORTER

Three guitar players — two known primarily for acid folk, a third a veteran of noisy alternative-nation skree — convened in a blue-lit church off the main drag in a scruffy-but-gentrifying Vermont town for a night, and it was magic.

Meg Baird started off, seated on a stool, cool and unmoving as she played her eerily beautiful acoustic tunes. No hint of the Heron Oblivion keener here, nor of the battering drums of Watery Love, she stuck largely to material from 2015’s Don’t Weigh Down the Light, limpid, lucid cascades of guitar coursing like water through the air waves, her clean, high voice soaring effortlessly towards the rafters. “I Don’t Mind” came first, folky jangle intact, but minus the spectral slide of the record. It was gorgeous anyway, its soft vocal melodies curving flute-y arcs in the air and closing in a whispered, “When the night reaches out, I will be there, I don’t mind, no I don’t mind.”

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Baird dipped back further into the catalogue for agile, light-fingered “The Land Turned Over,” which intersperses bluegrass-y twang into its guitar architecture and a country warble into Baird’s phrasings. “Mosquito Hawks” wandered closest into rock, with its slow, baroque finger work, punctuated by booming chords and strident, dissonant runs, while “Don’t Weigh Down the Light,” was, as you might expect, luminous with swelling light, guitar notes dropping like rounded beads of water into the stillness, Baird’s voice soft but piercing, exactly the way you’d expect a shaft of moonlight to sound if it sounded at all.

dsc_7713-1

Lee Ranaldo went next, also bringing an acoustic guitar but putting it to louder, more anarchic use. Loops, pedals and, in the first song, a bow, elicited squalls of thunder from a succession of unassuming wooden instruments. Close your eyes, and it might have been Sonic Youth. Ranaldo played songs from an album he’d just recorded with novelist Jonathan Lethem writing lyrics, so none of the material was familiar. The first cut, the one with the bowing and massed (and massive) overtones, was a Lou Reed-ish spoken word travelogue type of thing redolent of open highways and mind altering substances. “Let’s Start Again” felt more like conventional rock (the opening guitar bit reminded me of Neil Young’s “Old Man”), but it blossomed through looping and layering into a powerful, transforming racket. You wanted to check to make sure it was just one guitar still. (Though not always the same guitar. Ranaldo was the only one of the night to bring a rack of instruments and a guitar tech to keep them in tune.)

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There were a couple of other new songs, one called “Circular” about the repetitiveness of daily life, another called “Electric Trim” with some more impressive feedback, and a composition called “Uncle Skeleton,” which moved from goofy country to blistering noise and, somewhere in there, broke out that “face bone is connected to the neck bone” ditty. Overall, the new material seemed a bit less indie rock, a little more sound experimental than his last solo album. I only wrote down R.E.M. once, and I had just jotted down Velvet Underground (bullshit reference, by the way, all it means is rock with some buzz around the guitars) when he closed with a cover of VU’s “Oceans.”

***

Steve Gunn closed with a low-key but wonderful set that seemed both effortless and really difficult. Only when you watch him do you realize how much he’s doing with his long elegant fingers, how quickly and precisely he moves them though complicated chord changes, bends and pull-offs. When you listen, it all sounds supremely laid back and day-dream-y, but as Yeats said about something entirely different, “we must labor to be beautiful.”

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It was “Night Wander” right off the bat, Gunn executing the glittering runs of Television-like notes in between terse verses about black cats and nocturnal rambles. Gunn seemed to be in a contemplative mood, as he introduced “Old Strange” (from 2013’s Time Off) as a song he’d written when an old friend disappeared; he was just as lost now, he admitted, on the eve of the Trump inauguration. The song is a slow, drone-y blues, a remnant of days when Gunn was primarily known as a guitar picker, but it had an undercurrent of angst as he played, the sharp starts of guitar like yelps when someone pokes a bruise. “Milly’s Garden” may have also had a Trump-ish undertone. When I interviewed Gunn a couple of years ago, he explained that it was inspired by a religious neighbor who kind of freaked him out. The line, “Your faith is savage, and your mind is damaged, you’re halfway home,” resonates in an eerie way now. Two songs from the new album, Eyes on the Lines came after, “Ark,” breaking its chiming chords and murmured folk jams for some guitar shredding and even a little bit of wah, and “Park Bench Smile” with its spiraling, baroque guitar figures, the song that welcomes you in, then pins you there, eyes pin wheeling to the psychedelic patterns that you see.

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Perhaps because he was in a church, Gunn got to reminiscing about the last show his father had attended before passing away, at what sounds like the chapel at First Unitarian Church in Philly. Gunn went over to say hi, and noticed his dad had a beer in his hand and asked how it felt to be drinking a beer in church for the first time. Mr. Gunn countered, “This is not my first time.”  And with that, Gunn launched into “Wildwood,” a song at least partly about summers on the Jersey Shore, and sad and sweet and folky as the story he told.

I was a little disappointed that the three artists didn’t get a chance to jam together, as they did at other venues, certainly Chicago, later in the tour. But maybe the thing to remember is not that their show at a little church in a little town in Vermont shut down early, but that it happened at all.

Photos courtesy of Brittain Shorter of Winooski’s Section Sign Records – a big BLURT thank-you! www.sectionsignrecords.com / www.soundcloud.com/sectionsignrecords

Link to the concert promoter: https://www.facebook.com/WakingWindows/

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Red Hot Chili Peppers 1/12/17, Memphis

Dates: January 12, 2017

Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis TN

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TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

On the eve of Friday the 13th, the Red Hot Chili Peppers brought The Getaway tour to the home of the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tn.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been grooving since 1983. They came together while they were still in high school and have been rocking ever since. The band have had ups and downs along the way, but the band has always found a way to keep going and make chart topping hits. The new album was released in 2016 and has also quickly climbed the charts. This album is opening the Peppers up to a new generation of fans, while reminding us long time fans why they have always been one of our favorite bands ever! The RHCP’s will also be co-headlining the 2017 Bonnaroo festival this June in Tennessee. Look for Blurt’s extensive coverage of the Peppers and all other acts from the farm.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have always had a strong stage presence and they haven’t lost any energy over the years. At one point during the show Flea even did a hand stand and walked two thirds of the stage, that is impressive at any age little alone at 54 years young.

The show was a great mix of new and older music. My only wish is that the show could have been three to four hours long so that I could have relived more of the classics. There are just too many great songs to squeeze into a concert.

The Peppers have taken the light show to a whole new level. The entire length of the floor had the ceiling area covered with LED light tubes that could not only change color, but also being on metal cords. They could be lifted and lowered at will to make patterns such as a wave effects and patterns. This was the first time I’ve seen anything like this, but I suspect it won’t be the last!

Drummer Chad Smith was spotted in a local club on Beale Street sitting in and jamming with a local band the night before the concert. He must have had a good night in town because as the band came back out for the encore Chad was sporting a Memphis As Fu*k shirt.

The guys are headlining festivals and touring most of 2017, so make sure this is one show you don’t miss!

Text and Photos by: Mark Jackson / Instagram: @markjacksonphotography1  / Email: Mjaj93@bellsouth.net

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Muuy Biien 12/15/16, Denver

Dates: December 15, 2016

Location: Lost Lake Lounge, Denver, Colorado

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Live at the Lost Lake Lounge, the Georgia band wowed a tiny crowd with noisy, angular post-punk.

BY BEN CURNETT / PHOTOS BY TIM HINELY

Denver, you missed a great show. Last night the Athens quintet-playing-as-a-quartet Muuy Biien graced the stage at Lost Lake to a tiny crowd and played amazing, angular post-punk just like mom used to make. The songs were tight, noisy, and loud to every degree that such music is supposed to be, and the short-ish set was marked by accomplished guitar, bass, and drums skills across the board. Singer Joshua Evans’s manic Jagger-cum-Turretts delivery was a perfect fit for the music and vice-versa. But here’s what struck me: despite driving 24 hours from Seattle, despite only a few tiny Trump-sized handfuls of people showing up, the band played hard and gave every effort to make it a great show.

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I can think of lots and lots (and lots) of bands that would phone it in at that point, disintegrating into the wonky stage banter and half-assed instrument plunking that turns an awkward, mostly empty room into a disturbingly awkward, mostly empty room. Not Muuy Biien last night. And if they fooled me, if they were in fact going through the motions, I’ll be the first in line to see them in front of a packed house when they decide to let it rip.

Muuy Biien’s latest album is Age Of Uncertainty on Autumn Tone. Go HERE to read our recent review of the record.

Brian Wilson 9/9/16, Atlanta

Dates: September 9, 2016

Location: Fox Theatre, Atlanta GA

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Return of the king, and his world-wide wrecking crew. No Mikes allowed.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Dear BLURT – here’s my gallery from the brilliant Brian Wilson Live show at the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta, on Friday September 9th. I don’t have much copy to add on this except to say I remember when seeing The Beach Boys was more about a sloppy beer-soaked sunburned day than about the music. But seeing Brian Wilson live these days is not a Beach Boys concert. It is experiencing the genius of Brian Wilson, as he leads a new hand-picked Wrecking Crew through most of his greatest songs, including all of his acclaimed “Pet Sounds” LP in its entirety, which turned 50 this year, all with the elegance, grace, wit, and top-class musicianship you would expect.

Sorry for all the wide-angle shots but the stage was so full of players; it’s what was going on, so I tried to capture some of that. Even in the widest of shots I don’t think you can see all 11-players up there in a single photo. Al Jardine is part of this ensemble, and carries so much of this show I was amazed to learn how much of the Beach Boys sound he is responsible for. And Al’s son, Matthew (back row, right), takes over the vocals on the songs where Brian can’t hit the falsetto parts, and does so flawlessly.

Just a brilliant performance by all, fun to watch, fun to hear, fun to experience. Tour dates through September and October are at http://www.brianwilson.com/tour/.

PS – the Fox Theater was packed for this show – and I didn’t hear anyone say – “I wish Mike Love was here.” #Mikewho?

Sincerely, John Boydston [Who can be found on Instagram as @rockdawgphoto so visit there and follow if you like pics of everything great.]

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