Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2017 (Weekend 1)

October 6, 7 & 8 for the first of two weekends, held as usual at Zilker Park. Pictured above: Pumarosa.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY SADIE CLAIRE

Austin City Limits Music Festival debuted a lot of new things this year: new layout, new security, new foods, new drinks, new ticket levels, etc. Some worked great, some didn’t. But it was nice to see all of the changes. Best of which being the new layout.

The park now has so much more breathing room and attendees can actually enjoy the music at a crowded stage without the interference of the other nearby stages. And even though the lineup this year wasn’t the best in ACL history, there were some really great shows over the weekend.

FRIDAY:

The Wild Now – Cute and poppy.

ROMES – Trying too hard to be sexy.

The Band of Heathens – An Austin classic!

MISSIO – So much energy and enthusiasm, with a lot of Justin Timberlake vibes from lead singer.

The Lemon Twigs – Drummer was the most captivating of them all.

Crystal Castles – Trying too hard to be scary weird. Die Antwoord has that category covered.

Royal Blood – A solid rock’n’roll show!

Ryan Adams – As always, he delivered a solid performance. The unique thing about this show was that he had an announcer come out before he came on stage and asked the crowd to not use any flash, as Ryan suffers from Ménière’s disease. That started the show off on a pretty serious note. Things got more serious when Ryan confronted a fan who was recording the show and sounded like he had his flash on. Ryan cursed out the fan and told him we will all validate his presence here at the show so he doesn’t need that video to post online. He kept the stage almost completely dark for the entire show as well.

JAY-Z – He only played an hour, took a 20-minute break, came back for a single song encore, and left. Everyone seemed very confused, including other artists in the crowd.

 

SATURDAY:

Mobley – Mobley was the best surprise of the festival. Despite his opening time slot, he put on a great show with Headliner enthusiasm.

CAPYAC – Part of their act was making pancakes on stage and throwing them at the crowd. It worked. They got me to stay longer than I would’ve otherwise.

Ásgeir – A less poetic Bon Iver.

Grace VanderWaal – Mini Taylor Swift with a giant voice. As a 13-year-old, she had more stage presence than most adult artists out there.

A$AP Ferg – He got the crowd going with his beats but it seemed like 2pm might have been too early of a time slot for him, as he paced the stage like he was still trying to wake up.

LĪVE – Simply amazing. They rocked the stage like 20-year-olds, not like a band that’s been together for over 3 decades. So much energy, enthusiasm, love for their art, and appreciation for the fans.

ICE CUBE – He was hardcore until he asked the crowd if they’ve seen his hit movie Straight Outta Compton and if they wanted “gangster”. He, then, proceeded with “let’s give them gangster.” Sadly, none of which felt remotely authentic or gangster.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Chili Peppers were once a great band but now they seem to be just bored. Every show in the past several years have been the exactly replica of each other. Very little crowd interaction, heavily filtered Jumbotron footage, same quick transitions between songs.

 

SUNDAY:

Bibi Bourelly – Perhaps most famous for writing the Rhianna song “Bitch Better Have My Money,” Bibi’s performance of her own material proved to be authentic and raw.

Raging Fyah – Energetic, enthusiastic and a lot of fun!

Milky Chance – Somehow, Milky Chance managed to sing all of their songs in the same exact way in the same exact tone…again. It’s very difficult to even tell where one song ends and the other begins with them. Snooze fest.

Run The Jewels – Simply kicked ass.

Vance Joy – Great, fun show.

Portugal. The Man – They kept the stage almost completely dark the entire show. The sign at the beginning of the show stated that they will not be engaging with the audience during the show, and they did keep their promise by systematically running through all of their songs.

Gorillaz – They put on a big production but it didn’t seem like there was much heart there. Still a pretty good show, though!

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The Hideout Block Party 9/23/17 Chicago

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Day 1 of a 2-day bash, and our man on the ground in the Windy City was there…

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARTY PEREZ

On the last weekend of September 2017, The Hideout, Chicago’s closest thing to a jook joint, celebrated its 21st year of being young; with a two-day block par-tee.

Saturday the 23rd, celebrated those near and dear to The Hideout, who were all born the same year Sputnik was launched. That included many people associated with the Hideout itself, most of the bands, and many of those on the block.

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

This was a party to turn up guitars, possibly kill an amp or two and overindulge in homemade, “organic” popsicles, and of course various adult beverages.

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Several bands were playing new music from recent releases notably, Jon Langford with Skull Orchard (Langford’s just-released Bloodshot album is Four Lost Souls) and Antietam (who self-issued their latest Motorific Sounds). Couple what the fuck moments were, the Condo Fucks set, of Ramones vs. Thee Headcoats-like covers. These rare to tour New Jersey surf punks (who bore a remarkable resemblance to fellow Jerseyites Yo La Tengo) got the kids dancin’ and just may have brought back the lost art of gobbing.

The final “fuck me what just happened” moment, was Eleventh Dream Day. They unloaded on the unsuspecting with such unholy vengeance slash rejuvenation slash unadulterated fun; that one began to think snakes were going to start falling out of the sky. Don’t believe anything has left the woodshed yet, but; when and if that something does, it may make you re-think your place on earth.

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Great kickoff to the two day par-tee.

Best wishes to all Sputniks (above) and the many other orbiters in R&R space.

Antietam

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Condo Fucks

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
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Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
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Chicago, IL.
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Eleventh Dream Day

Chicago, IL.
09-23-2017

Chicago, IL.
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Chicago, IL.
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Chicago, IL.
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Photo Gallery: 2017 Hopscotch Music Festival

Sept. 7 – 10 at various venues in downtown Raleigh, NC

BY SHANNON KELLY

There were scores of outstanding performances at this year’s Hopscotch – too many to portray here. But we have some of our faves for your viewing pleasure. And go HERE to read Daniel Matti’s review of the event. Visit Shannon Kelly at the official website.

Skylar Gudasz (also above)

 

Happy Abandon

 

Angel Olsen

 

Big Thief

A Flock of Dimes

 

Run the Jewels

Big Boi

 

 

Riot Fest 9/15-16-17/17, Chicago

Dates: September 15, 16 & 17, 2017

Location: Douglas Park, Chicago IL

The scene of the 3-day crime was Douglas Park, and Detective Bruce was on the crime scene immediately to document the bloodshed. (Go HERE to check out more of her photos.) They may still be cleaning up the mosh pit area….

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY ERICA BRUCE

Another September, another excellent Riot Fest ran this past Friday to Sunday in Chicago. Under sunny (but at times really, really hot) skies, crowds took over Douglass Park, raring to get its rock on. A number of bands played seminal records in full like Dinosaur Jr (You’re Living All Over Me), Mighty Mighty Bosstones (Let’s Face It), Wu-Tang Clan (Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)), among others. But the big, special, super cool, and awesome highlight was what Riot Fest always seems to do best, and that’s to get a seminal band to reunite and close out the weekend. This year, it was Jawbreaker. One of the best summations of the show was by music critic Dan Ozzi who tweeted, “People tweeting about the Emmys like Jawbreaker didn’t just put a hole in the fuckin earth.”

 Here’s a bit about what we saw at Riot Fest 2017:

Day 1

American Airlines lost part of my luggage, so much of the day on Friday was spent waiting for its return then, recreating my bag at CVS when it failed to show. (FYI: CVS in Chicago sells liquor and wine, who knew!) As such, we only got a couple acts in for Day 1, but boy, were they mighty.

Ministry

“Hey Chicago, nice to be home,” said Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, who grew up there. It was kind of surreal seeing a band like Ministry play any other time but the dead of night somewhere, but the heaviness and political commentary that Jourgensen is known for was out in full force. I found myself wondering if he has a bear of a time going through security scanners at the airport (LOTS of piercings).

New Order

The crowd for New Order was delighted that the band filled half of its 11-song set with the popular stuff like “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and songs from popular records like Power, Corruption, and Lies and Substance 1987. Lead singer Bernard Sumner’s voice is still strong, a lulling force atop the electronic lullabies for which the band is famous. They didn’t play it all safe though, pulling out “Ultraviolence,” a song Sumner said they hadn’t played in a long time, in spite of it having to be stopped and restarted to adjust guitarist Phil Cunningham’s guitar. Bathed in blue light with photos of what looked like Manchester showing behind them, Sumner also gave a nod to his old band, Joy Division, at the start and end of the set, with “Disorder” and then “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” I’m sure the young 20-something I saw bawling during the latter was not the only one in the crowd doing so.

Nine Inch Nails

NIN was the headliner for night one, and lead man Trent Reznor made sure it was dramatic throughout. From a kicked over keyboard over at the end of the first song (“Branches/Bones”), to the live debut of “The Backward World,” to “The Day the World Went Away” played for the first time in four years, Reznor and the band filled all of Douglass Park with keyboard and bass sounds. He even included a unique cover, David Bowie’s “I Can’t Give Everything Away” from Blackstar. It was all as loud and lovely and bombastic a set as you could want.

 

Day 2:

Probably the highest in high energy of all three days, it was full of punk, funk, and dancing gypsies.

Fishbone

Seeing Fishbone live is a better kick to the nervous system than three cups of coffee and 38 Red Bulls combined, so why wouldn’t one kick off Day 2 with something so awesome? Their combination of punk, funk, and soul has long been copied, but nothing can ever touch the original that is the mighty Fishbone.

Peaches

I’ve never been much for electronica music but Peaches is so much more than just that; she’s part performance art, part DJ, plus, she can sing her ass off. Her “big fat vagina” as she called it, was the celebrated part of her set, from her head piece, to her backup dancer costumes, to her bodysuit adorned with pink fuzz in the correct spot. But it was obvious that women and men alike love Peaches-at one point, she walked atop the crowd’s hands like Jesus walking on water, without dropping a note. With songs like “Boys Wanna Be Her,” “Dick in the Air, and “Fuck the Pain Away,” it struck me that Peaches is to women what the music of the Afghan Whigs is to dudes-affirming, powerful, and sexy as all get out.

FIDLAR

It’s been a few years since FIDLAR released a record, but, like all good things, time has only proven how much their straight-ahead punk rock sound has been missed. Always joyous and raucous live, Saturday afternoon’s set was fast, loud, and animated. Lead singer Zac Carper looks healthy and sounds great, and made the large Riot stage area as intimate as a little LA club. “Wake, Bake, Skate” live is still a blast to hear.

Bad Brains

If anyone proves the power of “having that PMA,” for 40 years, it’s the Bad Brains. Given the recent health scares of lead singer H.R. (brain surgery in Feb) and guitarist Dr. Know (cardiac arrest in 2015), D.C.ers like myself were more than a little concerned that the sun had set on one of our most cherished local bands. But their show on Saturday proved all was well, in spite of less than stellar stage sound. A young second guitarist, apparently, the grandson of musician Richie Havens, played lead with Dr. Know throughout the set, and Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe joined the band at the end for “Big Takeover,” “The Regulator,” and “Redbone in the City.”

Mike D (DJ set)

Mike D used his set to give Chicago a little musical geography lesson about NYC, rapping and talking as his DJ spun the originals of artists from each borough. He started with his hometown of Manhattan using the Beastie Boys “Sabotage.” Queens was represented by Run DMC, to which he said, “”We couldn’t have done what we did without this next band from Hollis, Queens, Run DMC. RIP Mr. Jam Master.” Brooklyn got the biggest cheers though with Jay Z’s “99 Problems” and the Beastie’s “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” home of another Beastie Boy, MCA.

Gogol Bordello

Going from NYC rap to Ukrainian gypsy punk by way of NYC in the form of Gogol Bordello as the sun was setting was slightly surreal and perfect. The dancing onstage and off was so frenzied, I half expected to someone to spontaneously combust at some point. With members and influences from all over the world, Gogol Bordello remains the craziest live show in town.

At the Drive In

No less powerful was At the Drive In. Lead singer Cedric Bixler jumped off the drum set and threw his body about the Roots stage so hard, you know bruises the next day were eminent. The majority of the set came from Relationship of Command rather than the new record, in*ter a*li*a, and, if you’re wondering, Bixler’s voice seems to be back and in stellar form.

QOTSA

The bluesy, swampy rock that is Queens of the Stone Age was hard-driving and perfect way to cap off Day 2. Lead singer Josh Homme rocked, and rolled, and even gave the audience a rendition of Danzig’s “Mother” which was frankly, better than the original.

 

Day 3:

A little less punk, a little more post punk pogo!

 

Beach Slang

The things we learned about Beach Slang lead singer James Alex in their 12:40 PM set that kicked off Day 3:

-He’d been drinking since early that day

-He does better with straws (in a drink)

-No guitar can hold him

-He somehow doesn’t pass out wearing a buttoned-up tuxedo shirt and a corduroy jacket in direct 86 degree sunlight

-He knows how to play a cover that will win your heart (“Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill” by Grant Hart)

Hot Water Music

Lead singer Chuck Ragan’s voice is one of those that as soon as you hear it, you know who it is. You had to smile as that sandpaper scrubbed growl bounced off the Ferris wheel and hit you back again.

Mighty Bosstones (Performing Let’s Face It)

Ska music never really goes out of style, it just merges with other styles to take on a different form. 90s ska was infused with a bit more post punk than before, and a major force of that was the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Let’s Face It, lead singer Dicky Barrett and company brought the plaid, the killer horns, those great songs, and of course, their great stage dancing guy, Ben Carr, to get a whole new generation skanking to the Bosstones beat.

Minus the Bear

Minus the Bear? Minus the energy. Songs? Good. Stage presence? So so. Energy level? Zzzzz

GWAR (candids in the press area)

The minute GWAR walked into the press area in costume, they were surrounded by everyone and their cell phones requesting to take a photo (including TV on the Radio lead singer Tunde” Adebimpe, which was a wonderfully random  dichotomy). It got so that their handler had to ask that people stop so that they could actually attend their interviews. Once completed though, the band did hang out for a bit and posed for every last person who asked.

Built to Spill

Another band performing an anniversary record was Built to Spill, doing their fourth record, Keep it Like a Secret. They didn’t say much from the stage, but this post-punk version of a jam band didn’t have to; from the first incredible hooks of vocalist/guitarist Dough Martsch in “The Plan” to the ethereal trippiness of “Broken Chairs” was all you needed. Their performance made me fall in love all over again.

TVOTR

I’ve photographed TV on the Radio quite a few times since 2008, and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen them as energetic as Sunday’s set. (Seriously: Even the notoriously stationary guitarist Kyp Malone was pogoing about at times.) Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe jumped around and swayed so much it was like he was trying to exorcise any nearby demons straight into the ether. And, based on the scorching version of “Wolf Like Me” which closed the set, I’d say the exorcism was a total success.

Prophets of Rage

Tom Morello once told Rolling Stone about Prophets of Rage,  “We’re an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing.” And he wasn’t kidding. The sound was so intense coming off the Roots stage during their set  that even J. Mascis would have been jealous. Playing tracks by the collective bands that are represented in Prophets of Rage-Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill-had the capacity crowd pogoing in unison like they were at Glastonbury. The audience was so frenzied and so loud, especially during the “Fuck no, I won’t do what they tell me” chorus in the set ending “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine, I was certain that aliens on Mars were asking each other, “What the hell is that sound?” Make America Rage Again indeed.

Jawbreaker

Probably the first sign of how big a deal this Jawbreaker reunion was to people was seeing the sides of the Riot Stage prior to the set, all so packed with people standing to watch the show, it almost seemed dangerous. But this was a reunion few expected to happen. In front of a giant “Jawbreaker” curtain, the trio slammed into 15 tracks that sounded just as fresh today as they did 20-plus years ago, including  five that were last performed live between 1995 and 1996 (“Want,” Million,” “Parabola, “Kiss the Bottle,” and “Bivouac”). Much like at The Replacements show a few years ago, I ran out of fingers and toes counting the sheer number of bands playing today whose sound was obviously influenced by Jawbreaker. And the band seemed genuinely awed by the reception and thanked Riot Fest for making the reunion happen.”We are honored and humbled to be in your city. Dance and be nice,” said Jawbreaker lead singer Blake Schwarzenbach.

 

Boy, did that park dance.

 

Erica Bruce’s contact info and gallery of Riot Fest can be viewed HERE.

MAKE AMERICA LOVE AGAIN: Annual LOCKN’ Festival 2017 8/24-27/17, Arrington VA

This year’s stellar event at Oakridge Farm was far more than the jam-band blowout it has typically been known for in previous years—in addition to stalwarts like Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, moe., and String Cheese Incident, on hand were such disparate artists as Afro-beat provocateurs Antibalas, swamp-funk maestros JJ Grey & Mofro, country-pop songstress Brandi Carlile, and NC’s own Avett Brothers.

BY WILLA STEIN

The fifth annual LOCKN’ music festival was held at the Oakridge Farm in Arrington, VA about 45 miles away from Charlottesville. Needless to say there was a whole lot of love and support flowing through these hills during the four-day event. So many musicians stood up and spoke about the tragic events and misfortune in Charlottesville a few weeks prior.

A lot of folks felt this part of the country needed healing and good vibes and that is exactly what LOCKN’ did. I did not see any acts of wrong doing—if anything, I witnessed so much love and kindness. There was so much good music, the scenery was beautiful; and fun times seem to be had by all. The following photo gallery is a glimpse of LOCKN’ 2017, and if you have not been before you may want to put this event on your radar, as it’s one of the things that actually does make America great. Or, as Keller Williams might put it, “Make America Love Again.”

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BLURT contributor Willa Stein previously covered the 2015 LOCKN’ festival for us. To view more of the Raleigh-based photographer’s work or to contact her, visit her official website.

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Jim James of My Morning Jacket

 

Billy Nershi from String Cheese Incident

 

Jorma Kaukonen, best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.

 

Brandi Carlile and Jim James

 

Bob Weir, Nicki Bluhm and Phil Lesh performing with the Terrapin Family Band.

 

Margo Price

 

Marcus King from The Marcus King Band

 

David Shaw from The Revivalists

 

Melvin Seals

 

One fan was clearly enjoying the show…

 

Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh and Ross James, Terrapin Family Band.

 

John Butler, John Butler Trio.

 

Fans (did we mention the fans?)

 

Classically trained pianist Holly Bowling performs at the Terrapin Station Porch.

 

Keller Williams sporting messages of “No time to Hate”, “Virginia is for Everyone” and “Make America Love Again”.

 

Dobro player extraordinaire, Anders Beck, Greensky Bluegrass.

 

Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes

 

Gov’t Mule with special guest Ann Wilson of Heart.

 

John Fogerty (you may have heard of his earlier band: Creedence Clearwater Revival).

 

Grahame Lesh, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh during the performance of Terrapin Station,  highlight of this year’s festival.

 

Joe Russo, Almost Dead

 

John Bell from Widespread Panic

 

Seth Avett, of the Avett Brothers

 

Bob Weir

 

Steve Earle & the Dukes 8/1/17, Omaha

Dates: August 1, 2017

Location: The Slowdown, Omaha NE

 

Onstage at The Slowdown, the rock ‘n’ roll gunslinger had an Omaha showdown to prove he is, indeed, one of our finest living elder statesmen.

TEXT/PHOTOS BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

Steve Earle is a hardcore son of a bitch.

For the better part of four decades, he has blazed a trail of truths that few, if any, in music today will even broach, let alone have the lyrical prowess to hang with Mr. Earle. Finally, after years of fandom, I was getting to see Steve Earle live, the man himself in action and it was everything I thought it would be. The intimate setting of The Slowdown, a venue situated in downtown Omaha next to an Urban Outfitters, holding 800 strong in attendance, was the perfect place to see Earle and his band The Dukes, weave tales of lost love, immigrant strife, a drunken week, or the Holy City of Jerusalem.

On the road supporting the exceptional new record, Steve Earle and the Dukes’ So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, Steve and the Dukes showed why they should be considered in the “best of” conversation; stacking the 25-song-strong setlist with the most standout tracks from the new record, notably “Goodbye Michelangelo” (written in memory of the recently departed mentor/songwriting great Guy Clark), the shout out to all the “hot shots” out there battling the ever present wildfires (“Firebreak Line”) or the sound of a man at peace with his choices in life, at peace with his place, his future. (“Fixin’ to Die”).

Where Earle stands above the rest as a songwriter is his ability to convey heartbreak, a sincerity that is strong to a fault, and the joy he seems to find with the creation of art that will stand long after he has shaken loose this mortal coil. He has mined the self-doubt and resignation that hangs above those that staff the death houses in America’s prisons (“Ellis Unit One”) and Earle’s stance on the deeply flawed culture built around retribution, the misguided belief that two wrongs make a right. He’s told stories of moonshiners (“Copperhead Road”), confusing religion with God (“Jerusalem”), gunslingers (“Hardin Wouldn’t Run”), immigration (“City of Immigrants”), segregation (“Taneytown”), or what happens when you turn your back on responsibility and head for the border (“A Week of Living Dangerously”).

Steve has spent his life telling those who would listen what he believes in, even as he fell deeper and deeper into his own demons, channeling the frustration that comes with the hells of addiction, the soul shattering bottoms and otherworldly highs, all the while becoming one of America’s greatest songsmiths. Earle helped create a genre, blending country aspects and rock n roll spirit, and on this August Midwestern night, as he has done on countless nights in endless towns before, he proved that he is not planning to go quietly into that good night.

Building a legend through his words, marathon length shows, surviving seven marriages (twice to the same woman), sixteen records, and a drug intake that rivalled Keith Richards, the granddaddy of rock star excess, he survived it all and still has very moving stories to tell. For those that focus on the legendary wild times and the even wilder truths, they are missing the point.

Earle’s body of work stands higher than the stories, his approach to writing, drawing from his personal heroes Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, helped lay the bricks for a road that he shares with Dylan, Springsteen, Willie Nelson, and Neil Young in terms of songwriting ability and lyrical superiority. This, my friends, is a road that faux country stars like Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, and every other joker out there claiming to be country, insisting to all that will listen to be outlaw, will never see, much less tread. When all those are washed away by time and changing fads, Earle’s work will stand above the wreckage as an example of how to write and song and rise above chaos to leave an indelible mark on the world.

The Steve Earle that took the stage this night is not the Steve Earle of old. This man on the stage was older, wiser, happier, and somehow better than he was in his so-called glory days of “Guitar Town”; he’s accepted that he is doing what he was put here to do and that he does it better than most anyone out there running today. He has aged into an elder statesman of country injected rock n roll, a champion for all those left behind or oppressed. Much like Cash before him, he speaks to the common man, speaking for those that have no voice.

Steve Earle is a hardcore son of a bitch, he speaks the truth and I am glad I finally had the chance to hear it.

Tift Merritt & Friends 8/19/17, Raleigh NC

Dates: August 19, 2017

Location: North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh NC

Live at the North Carolina Museum of Art, it was a fine day to be on the green…

TEXT & PHOTOS BY TODD GUNSHER

Having grown up in Raleigh, NC, singer-songwriter Tift Merritt chose to make the hometown stop on her current tour a special one-time only event billed as Tift Merritt and Friends. The friends she brought along for the show were M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig of Mountain Man, and The Suitcase Junket. These artists have all in recent years played shows and recorded together in various combinations and Tift wanted to get them all on stage together; I’d say everyone in attendance was glad that she did.

In addition to the music, the party had food trucks and a tent made from an old army parachute underneath which was a commissary with unique goods from local vendors. The stage was even set up with a variety of Americana ephemera from Butch Anthony’s Traveling Museum of Wonder, who drove up in the old Cadillac he traded a painting to Leon Russell for. Even the car was a work of art, being adorned with a deer head and trophies from front to back. Tift herself was completely hands on with the planning of the event, all the way down to offering menu ideas to the local food trucks. (I can vouch for the chicken and waffles!)

Over the course of the nearly 2-1/2-hour show, each of the artists took their turn in the spotlight and backed each other up. It was a wonderful evening of songs and musical collaboration. First up was, of course the MC for the evening, Tift Merritt, with a couple songs from her newest record, Stitch Of The World. Next up was a couple numbers by Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, who we were told has her debut solo record on the way.

One of the great things about an event like this is getting to hear new (to me) artists, and experiencing The Suitcase Junket was a treat. Matt Lorenz is a one-man-band who sings his songs with an old guitar and a percussion contraption mostly made up of random found objects. Despite being self-contained, he was accompanied by some of the others who took care to let his unique thing stay front and center. After a couple songs by Eric Slick, the musicians gathered around one mic to sing Tift’s “Dusty Old Man” and “My Boat” who’s lines, “room onboard for my friends” seemed to sum up the ethos of the evening. Next up was M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger who brought a little volume to the proceedings which got the folks up front on their feet. The whole ensemble again gathered around one mic as Taylor asked us to sing along with the chorus of “Drum,” “Take the good news, carry it away. Take the good news spirit it away.”

Adding to the feel good vibe of the night was a recognition of the 20th anniversary of concerts being held at this venue, a jewel of a small amphitheater on the grounds of the NC Museum of Art. After performing Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arm Around A Memory” and “Stray Paper,” Tift waxed poetic about her town, friends, and all the support over the years as a cake was brought out to celebrate the museum’s program director. She then closed the set with “Proclamation Blues” but we knew there was more to come. A couple minutes later she returned, and giving thanks to everyone involved, her love for the hometown she recently returned to was evident as she said, “I can’t think of a better place to raise my daughter.” Sitting down alone at the keyboard she sang an emotional “Good Hearted Man” and as the whole ensemble returned for one more song, she reminded us that “the good is there, no matter what else is going on.”

I once heard someone say that the world can’t have too much love or too much music. On this Saturday night in Raleigh, that never felt more true.

Switchfoot + Lifehouse 8/22/17, Greensboro

Dates: August 22, 2017

Location: White Oak Amphitheatre, Greensboro NC

Live at the White Oak Amphitheatre in Greensboro, North Carolina. Above: Switchfoot.

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY OLIVIA JEWELL

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex hosted Lifehouse & Switchfoot with special guest Brynn Elliott at the White Oak Amphitheatre on August 22nd. Their current tour, “Looking For Summer, features 30+ dates across North America, the first one being kicked off in Denver, CO. this July.

 

The Greensboro show consisted of both bands playing hits and new material. Switchfoot’s set had a very peace and love feel to it along with a high-energy performance, with at one point frontman Joe Foreman getting off stage and singing in the crowd for half a song. Switchfoot gave a very captivating performance of their song “Where I Belong”. Fans were waving flags from the audience with “Where I Belong'” written on them. Lifehouse also had a very high-energy performance with the main spectacle being their music.

 

Both bands made you feel like you weren’t in a huge crowd, but in a smaller venue in which they were playing for only you.

 

Brynn Elliott

Lifehouse: Bryce Soderberg

Lifehouse:  Jason Wade

 
Lifehouse: Steve Stout
Switchfoot: Jon Foreman
Switchfood: Tim Foreman
Switchfoot: Chad Butler
Switchfoot: Drew Shirley

Hellyeah + Kyng 8/6/17, Memphis

Dates: August 6, 2017

Location: New Daisy Theatre, Memphiis TN

New Daisy Theatre saw a bloody good time on this steamy summer evening.

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

Chad and the boys of Hellyeah brought heavy metal to Memphis, TN. on August the 6th. From the moment that drummer Vinnie Paul appeared behind his drum kit the crowd knew they were in for a head banging loud concert. Lead singer Chad Gray is know for his signature look of bloody face, wild hair, and great heavy metal voice that can also bring it down. The new hit song “Love falls” show the full range of Chad’s voice, not to mention the talent of the entire band. Hellyeah is out on tour in support of their 2016 album Undeniable. With Songs such as “Human” “Love falls” and “I don’t care anymore” (Phil Collins cover) this is an album that any metal head should have in their library.

Chad loves to get up close with fans and photographers too. Many performers choose to stay far away from the edge of the stage but not Chad, he spent much of the night right up front and came out into the crowd more than once! This was a great show and a great night. Now if I can only get my ears to stop ringing! I can’t wait to catch Hellyeah out on the road again, hopefully sooner than later!

Below: opening act Kyng

 

 

Mark Jackson: @markjacksonphotography1

Bonnaroo Music Festival 2017

Dates: June 8-11, 2017

Location: Manchester, Tennessee

This year’s event took place June 8th-11th in Manchester, TN, and featured, among many changes, an expanded Other stage.

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY: MARK JACKSON

The great music festival known as Bonnaroo took place Thursday June 8th thru Sunday night the 12th on “The Farm” in Manchester, TN. Bonnaroo turned Sixteen this year and it defiantly was a sweet sixteen! Bonnaroo has always been known and praised for its ability to put together a diverse lineup. This year might have been its most diverse year yet, and the attendance numbers – over sixty five thousand – seems to show the people approve.

This year they took the Other tent and turned it into a full-on open air stage just like the Which stage and the What stage. This new stage may have been part of the reason the festival attendance was up over last year as this stage catered to the electronic crowd. With such acts as Nghtmre, Herobust (below), and Marshmello Man (below), this stage keep the EDM crowd engaged and dancing with the most intense light shows and l.e.d. light boards that I have ever witnessed.

This year’s headliners included U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper, and The Weeknd. This in itself is a very diverse lineup, but now add in the EDM acts, a ton of new and up and coming acts, and a little country just for good measure and you have yourself one hell of a good weekend.

Bonnaroo also has a ton of vendors of all types of food including vegan food, lots of drink options with Miller Lite (Cherokee Distributing) and Bacardi being huge sponsors this year. There were also lots of vendors of all types of goods such as earrings, festival wear and casual clothing, paintings, hammocks, and air capture loungers that seemed to be all the rage this year.

The weather was the best it has been in the last three years that I have been attending the festival, with the first three days being sunny and in the mid-80s during the day and around 60 at night. Sunday rose to the lower 90s but was bearable as I ducked in and out of the shade and was able to stay hydrated with lots of water filling station across the farm. Many people took advantage of the water fountain mushroom, as it was a great place to cool off each day.

The people are the main reason this is one if not the best festival of the year. You will see all kinds of unique characters as you venture across the grounds.

Once Centeroo opens on Thursday afternoon it doesn’t shut down, going twenty four hours a day until late Sunday night. The Silent Disco is an all out dance party where everyone wears headphones while the DJ plays the tunes goes on until 4 a.m., and The Jake and Snake Christmas Club Barn featured DJs all day until 6 a.m. The motto is “radiate positivity” and the people live it through out the festival. It is common for random people walking by to be high fiving everyone they pass by. What other festival could you step on someone’s foot and them apologize to you.

There were so many great bands this year, but a couple of standouts for me this year were Wilderado, Boyfriend, July Talk, and Tove Lo, plus Marshmello Man. (All are pictured below.)

This is just my guess, but I suspect that you will see Bonnaroo become two festivals in one next year and going forward. I say this because of the layout of the land, being so large and the spacing of the stages, as it is you could have an upscale of this years EDM lineup. The Other stage is now large enough to handle the large EMD crowds that it drew this year and could easily draw even more big names.

If they either built or converted one of the other tents in place and expanded the Christmas barn, this end would be a huge draw and be little to no reason for these festivalgoers to venture to the other end. I also heard rumors that there might be a Country Music Festival in the works. Why not? You have everything in place, so why not take advantage of the facilities for more than the one week a year. Being so close to Nashville, this could easily become a huge deal, but again this is just a rumor.

We will have to wait and see what happens with Bonnaroo, but either way I can’t wait until next year the dates have been set for June 7th-10th in 2018.

Follow my concert photography on Instagram @markjacksonphotography1

Belly

Big Gigantic

Big Jesus

Charlotte Cardin

Cold War Kids

Deap Vally

Dram

Gallant

Leon

Lukas Nelson

Luke Combs

Milky Chance

Preservation Hall Jazz Band w/Flint Eastwood

Head and the Heart

Tory Lanez

Travis Scott

Tucker Beathard

… plus the crowd!