Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Hollywood Undead + Butcher Babies 11/29/17, Memphis

Dates: November 29, 2017

Location: New Daisy Theatre, Memphis TN

New Daisy Theatre was the scene of the rock ‘n’ roll crime…

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

When I first heard that the Butcher Babies would be touring with Hollywood Undead I must say that I was surprised. The head banging, Scream rocking, hair whipping ladies of Butcher Babies just didn’t seem like the best fit for the rap rockers of Undead. It turns out that it’s a great fit and has introduced the band to a whole new group of fans.

As soon as the Butcher Babies hit the stage they began to win over the crowd and they didn’t slow down for the whole set.

After about a thirty minute timeout for the set changes and setup it was finally time for Hollywood Undead. As usual the guys took the stage wearing their masks. The first song of the night was “Whatever It Takes” and followed up with “Undead,” to which the crowd began to explode with excitement. Hollywood Undead had an excellent light show for the size of the venue, complete with several pyrotechnic sparklers that shot up about twelve feet high.

This was a great night of music—I recommend catching both groups when they are in the area. Hollywood Undead will continue touring the U.S. through December before Heading over seas in January. When they return to the States they will continue touring and playing festivals, including the Welcome to Rockville at the end of April in Jacksonville, FL.

Mark Jackson: @markjacksonphotography1

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The National Live in D.C.

Berninger & Co., supporting the recent Sleep Well Beast, had a sold-out crowd December 5 at the Anthem venue willing to follow them anywhere. (Photos follow the review.)

PHOTOS & TEXT BY ERICA BRUCE

The National’s Matt Berninger sounded more hoarse than usual at the sold out Anthem here in Washington, DC on Tuesday night. Hard to believe, as Berninger’s signature voice is usually like a more melodic Tom Waits. But like Waits, the extra rasp pushed the needle a bit more on the band’s often-melancholy lyrics, the voice breaking in all the right spots. It gave songs like “Empire Line” and “Slow Dancing in the Gym” more emotion, if that’s possible.

The scratchiness didn’t stop Berninger from his usual quips, political commentary, expressive lyric-screams, or the band’s intensity. The National are masters of the slow-burn song, the kind that starts out relatively simple then evolves into something breath-catchingly massive in terms of sound. This was, and has been largely thanks to the drumming of Bryan Devendorf. Devendorf was bathed in the darkest of the dark spots on the Anthem stage, but his presence was spotlight bright; his tribal pounding with a jazz skip is the band’s secret weapon, tapping into one’s neurotransmitters, making it visceral.

The band as a whole aren’t super active onstage and were darkly lit Tuesday, at times almost removing themselves physically to let the songs stand on their own. As the music swirled and tumbled about the ears, the audience was treated to very simple menageries of colors on the large screens behind the stage, at times looking like the splotches of a Pollock painting, at times the simplicity of a Mondrian. The latter could look cheap in the wrong hands, but the visuals were almost a pictorial representation of the music. During the moody “Lemonworld,” there were three black boxes on screen rimmed in green, with two random straight lines through them. It was not super interesting to see but it seemed to perfectly set the tone of the song.

The National didn’t remove themselves completely though. Berninger, who has a habit of heading into the crowd during a show, did just that during “Day I Die” and the encore-ending Ramones’ cover, “KKK Took My Baby Away” (which he dedicated to the “illegitimate white supremacist moron near here”). Some singers do that but are accompanied by security-not Berninger. He moved alone through the 6,000 person audience, full of faith in his fans that he’d be safe. He would have probably scaled the walls up into the balcony as he’s done before here at Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) Hall, but given the height of the first audience boxes at the Anthem, it’s probably better he didn’t.

Nine of the set’s 24 songs were from the latest release, Sleep Well Beast, but the show had a few interesting inclusions. The set started with “Santa Clara,” a song off of The Virginia EP that they’d only played in Lisbon and Amsterdam previously, but had to be scrapped due to what seemed to be an issue with Berninger’s in-ear monitor (“We’ll try it in Montreal,” he quipped). The encore kicked off with “Rylan,” a song from the early National days that has never been formally released. The Ramones cover of course (I heard someone say, “The National are the least likely band I ever expected to cover The Ramones” after the show). Nice to see a band who could just get by with the favorites still like to mix it up a bit.

The band even showed some love about the venue, which only opened in October. Said guitarist Bryce Dessner about Anthem, “Thank you so much, this place is really incredible. You guys are lucky, there aren’t many venues like this.” A unique venue for a unique band, and a crowd willing to follow them anywhere—that was The National at the Anthem last Tuesday.

 

Spoon – 12/1/17, Poughkeepsie NY

Dates: December 1, 2017

Location: Chance Theater, Poughkeepsie NY

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY GREG KELLY

Spoon played to a full house of super attentive loyal fans at the Chance Theater. After playing two sold out shows in Brooklyn I knew this was going to be a packed theater. Opening the show with “Do I have to talk you into it” from the band’s newest release “Hot Thoughts”.  About half way through the show the band slowed it down with a heavy synth intro to the song “I’m not the one”, the crowd was entranced with lead singer Britt Daniels stage presence. These guys have been touring since the mid- nineties and it shows with how tight they play live. Closing the show with “Rent I Pay” the band and audience clearly had a great time together. I don’t know that Spoon will be playing that small of venue again, but I felt lucky to see such professional musicians in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Brian Setzer Orchestra – 12/6/17, Christmas Rocks! Atlanta

Dates: December 6, 2017

Location: Symphony Hall, Atlanta GA

For his 14th annual Christmas Rocks! Tour, at the Atlanta Symphony Hall, the Stray Cat became Santa Claws…

PHOTOS & TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

One of the cool things about rock and rollers having incredibly long careers is that some of them never stop getting better.  A case in point is Brian Setzer – who jumped outta the gate 35 years ago already an accomplished, confident player and entertainer, mature beyond his years even.    Now, at 58, he’s matured yet retained the exuberance and swagger that has made him so fun to watch.  At his holiday performance this week in Atlanta, I had the sense I was at a Masterclass in guitar chops and showmanship.

Setzer’s currently in the middle of his packed house crowd-pleasing 14th annual Christmas Rocks! Tour with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.   He’s clearly the driver of this engine, a 19-piece big band swing orchestra; all eyes in the band are on him, digging and feeding off his non-stop energy, just like the crowd is doing.   So much going on, all very entertaining.   Every few licks Brian stops to smile at the crowd – hoping they are having as much fun as he is. They are.

Lots of timeless Holiday standards in the set – all of them re-worked to swing and rock.  Also lots of Setzer’s hits (Stray Cat Strut, Rock This Town) from his days as leader/founder of the The Stray Cats, the rockabilly trio that crashed the gates of American Top 40 radio with their Dave Edmunds-produced platinum LP ‘Built for Speed’ in 1982.

A highlight was about half-way through the show — the orchestra leaves the stage so it’s just Brian, standup bass, 3 piece drum set and a honky tonk piano — all wailing for 20-minutes of nothing but flat-out rockabilly starting with a full blown version of Johnny Burnette’s ‘Rockabilly Boogie.’  What a treat.

Other highlights were full-song heartfelt tributes to the recently departed Glen Campbell and Tom Petty.   For me, one of Setzer’s all-time greatest moments was his guitar solo in the movie ‘La Bamba’ playing ‘Summertime Blues’ as the late great Eddie Cochran.  He played that lick at this show, albeit in another song, and it was magic.

The 30-city tour in in progress in the US through December, then Japan in January.   The who/ what/ when/ where are here:  https://briansetzer.com/tour-dates/

I read a 2016 interview wherein Brian says another Stray Cats tour is going to happen, but for now, Here Comes Santa Claws, er, Claus.

(John Boydston’s bigger photo galleries are here: jobo.smugmug.com  (or follow him on Instagram @johnboydstonphoto)

Trump-Shifting: Morrissey Live in D.C.

The Mozzer got all anthemic at Anthem in Washington, DC, November 30. Exclusive photos follow the review.

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ERICA BRUCE

There was a lot of pondering in DC, right up to the time Morrissey came out on stage at the Anthem last Thursday, as to whether or not we’d actually get to see him perform that night. “Will he or won’t he appear?” has become the question one asks when buying Morrissey tickets over the last couple years, given the number of performances he’s cancelled. Apprehension about that and his recent comments about Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein kept some away. But for those who did go, the Pope of Mope did in fact show, full of the usual pomp and swagger for which he’s known and adored.

Kicking off the night with a cover of Elvis Presley’s “You’ll Be Gone,” the band, clad in matching “Animal Rights Militia” t-shirts, sounded great. And Morrissey and his unmistakable croon, though a little raspy at times, still sounded as lovely as always. But energy was seriously lacking from the Mozz, and he seemed to just be going through the motions. It wasn’t until song 16, “Jack the Ripper,” of the 20 song set that Morrissey seemed to finally and fully turn on and connect with the audience, much like he flipped a switch. Maybe it was seeing the countless number of hands outstretched to him, illuminated by the plethora of white smoke that filled the stage behind him during “Jack” that inspired him (which looked really cool by the way—there was so much smoke you couldn’t even see the band members and only saw Morrissey in silhouette).

Or maybe it was the huge roar from the crowd and the sea of electronics pointed toward the stage recording the minute that iconic intro to “Everyday is like Sunday” started that inspired him. (He even shook things up a bit, substituting, “Tell me Quando QuandoQuando” in place of the “every day is silent and grey” lyric.)

By the time he got to the set-ending “I’m Not Sorry,” he walked along the lip of the stage, touching the hands of those in the front row…and flanked by two security guys on either side of the stage, just in case anyone was so enthusiastic they pulled the Mozz down or themselves up on stage (“This happens a lot,” I was told by management). And it did happen, during the first song of the encore, “Suedehead,” when a kid managed to get up onstage and hug Mozz (which inspired at least three more to try as well, who were not as successful).

When the band returned for the encore and someone held out a vinyl record from the crowd, Morrissey took it and signed it right there. Given the full minute he took writing, it’s probable he wrote a small novel on the cover, which was neat to watch.

“If we’re all protected, I’ll see you soon,” said Morrissey before the last song of the night, “Shoplifters of the World Unite.” Changing the title to “Trump-Shifters of the World Unite” and an imitation of the Years of Refusal cover on the big screens with him holding a baby Donald Trump, Morrissey went out being Morrissey. And, as a final thank you to the faithful, he took off his shirt and threw it into the audience, causing a mad scrum to ensue.  Divas gotta diva, but it’s Morrissey, you wouldn’t want him any other way.

 

 

STILL SUPERLATIVE: Marty Stuart Live

Live at Athens’ Foundry Venue on November 9, Stuart and his band schooled a packed house, and then some.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

If Modern Country music annoys you as much as it does me, you’ll really want to go see Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives play live.   Marty and his crack band of veteran Nashville Cats are here to remind you how good country used to be, and to save it if possible.  But it’s more than just that – their show is an astounding history lesson in country, rock, pop, rockabilly, folk, bluegrass, and instrumental surf.   Does it get any better?  (One genre they left alone was metal, but Marty Stuart could go toe-to-toe with Jimmy Page with his mandolin any day, if he hasn’t already.)

During the show I kept hearing glimpses of bands and performers I’ve always loved – The Long Ryders, Nick and Dave, The Bobby Fuller Four, Buck Owens, The Ventures, a flash of Brit pop here and there, and latter-day Byrds.  And there’s Marty playing Clarence White’s original B-Bender, a Telecaster indelibly modified by Byrds’ bandmate and drummer Gene Parsons to give it that pedal steel effect when the player pulls back on the guitar bending that B-string in and out of key. (Ed. Note: Read “A Marty Stuart Story” for some additional color re: the White axe.) Stuart is a walking encyclopedia of country music and has played with everyone who’s anyone starting with Flatt & Scruggs and Johnny Cash.  Look him up if you don’t know.

Indeed, my nickname for this band would be American Rockpile.   Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds fans will get that.  Two guitars, a bass, drums, great vocals and harmonies and a tight tight groove.   Great players and about every song had a show-stopping moment of guitar-pickin’ virtuosity (mostly from blue-fringe vested Kenny Vaughn).  But as good as they are nobody was showing off, just getting it done and having a good time doing it.   That’s Harry Stinson on drums and vocals, and Chris Scruggs on bass and steel rounding out this band of brothers.

The new Marty Stuart record is Way Out West on Sugar Hill Records (a Rounder subsidiary), available now. (It’s reviewed HERE.) These guys are always touring so do yourself a huge favor and go see ‘em and learn to love again.  Tour dates are at Stuart’s Facebook page. here:   Plus it’s a no-earplugs show.  Imagine all those amps and guitars and tone at volume you can talk over.

John Boydston’s photo galleries of things he likes are at jobo.smugmug.com

 

Primus 10/29/17, Port Chester NY

Dates: October 29, 2017

Location: Capitol Theater, Port Chester NY

Live at the Capitol Theater, of course.

BY GREG KELLY

After seeing Primus 30+ times I knew this was going to be a mind melting experience, and the ghouls and goblins came out in full force for the show. As I have said in past reviews The Capitol Theater in Port Chester New York caters to the family of concert goers with both a very relaxed atmosphere and incredible production. Primus is touring for their new album “The Desaturating Seven” based on the 1978 children’s book “The Rainbow Goblins”. The band played a full two sets of music, the first being a mix of what is now a huge catalogue to pick from. The second “The Rainbow Goblins” in its entirety.

Opening the show with “Those Dam Blue Collar Tweakers” Les, Larry and Tim showed that there songs defy time and genre. The band played with video screens showing—to say the least psychedelic images mixed with incredible laser show. The crowd absorbed the sound and lights the whole night! Some of the highlights of the first set were “Candyman”, “Mrs. Baileen” and “The Heckler”. The band took a short break and returned with “The Desaturating Seven”. Primus never lets me down and the new album is no different. Sometimes dark and very prog-rock, the band is and never will be interested in selling tons of records and putting out watered down mediocre music. Primus has a hard core following and tonight was no different. Closing the night with a Primus classic “Southbound Pachyderm”, the visuals of elephants jumping up and down was projected throughout the theater and played in my mind for hours and days afterward.

 

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY: JD McPherson 11/1/17, Atlanta

Dates: November 1, 2017

Location: Terminal West, Atlanta GA

Live at Terminal West, burning it up with his brilliant new album.

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Americana upstart and Okie JD McPherson is touring now through early 2018 in support of the recently-released Undivided Heart & Soul album (New West Records). It was a great crowd for what might have been his first stop in Atlanta, and a good mix of young and older and men and women—which as I have said before bodes well for any up and coming artist. His 2016 album Let The Good Times Roll notched a couple of Grammy nominations, incidentally.The band:

JD McPherson – Vocals, Guitar
Jimmy Sutton – Upright Bass
Jason Smay- Drums
Ray Jacildo – Keys
Doug Corcoran – Saxophone, Guitar, Keys

Check McPherson out at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jdmcphersonhistyle/

 

 

 

 

Highly Suspect + Bones 10/26/17, Memphis

Live at the New Daisy Theatre, and a good time was had by all.

 BY MARK JACKSON

Massachusetts’ Highly Suspect has been one of my favorite bands ever since I stumbled across them by chance playing the New Music Experience while on assignment at Bonnaroo in 2015, and Thursday night reminded me why I look forward to photographing and hearing them every chance I get. Highly Suspect has been playing the music festival scene ever since, playing such high profile events as Rock on the Range Rock Festival and Beale Street Music Festival. (BLURT was of course on site at both to cover all the bands and tell you about the new bands you should be adding to your devices.)

 

With a nearly sold-out show for the New Daisy Theatre, Johnny Stevens and the brothers Meyer (Rich and Ryan) were in rare form, but first the crowd was treated to the band Bones, from London, who have made their way to the U.S. and are quickly making a name for themselves. Although the crowd didn’t know what to expect from this unknown band, as soon as they started playing you could tell they had the “IT” factor. The girls had the crowd jumping and rocking. I think Bones definitely made some new fans and you should also check them out.
***

Then Highly Suspect opened their part of the show with “Bath Salts” and continued rocking throughout the night with hits such as “Lydia”, “Fuck Me Up”, “My Name Is Human”, and “Little One”. The boys even threw in a little blues to honor the famous Beale Street blues music scene.

 

If you like real, raw, stripped-down rock and roll, then Highly Suspect is for you. Johnny sings about his real life and things that affect him, and the honest, heartfelt lyrics really come through. The aforementioned “Lydia” is about a girl whom Johnny met when he and the band moved to New York, but their paths were headed in different directions. Meanwhile, Johnny seems to have survived his heavy drug days (that period of the his life is graphically portrayed in the song “Bath Salts”), and he and his band are destined to make it to the top. Noteworthy guests in the crowd included Zach Myers from Shinedown and former lead singer of Full Devil Jacket and current frontman for Day Of Fire Josh Brown.

 

Text and Photos by Mark Jackson: @markjacksonphotography1