Monthly Archives: September 2012

Andy Williams 1927-2012 R.I.P.


For one generation he was the voice of the ’60s… and later generations were lucky to have discovered him, too.

By Fred Mills

How many of you heard “Moon River” for the first time at an R.E.M. concert? After Michael Stipe told you it was an Andy Williams signature, did you go ask your parents who Andy Williams was?

The legendary crooner and hit TV series host died yesterday, Sept. 25, after losing a battle with bladder cancer. Williams, 84, was perhaps not as cool as Tony Bennert or as iconic as Frank Sinatra, but he was a musical force to be reckoned with. He notched hits throughout the ’60s and ’70s, at one point hosting The Andy Williams Show – a favorite of yours truly’s parents, incidentally, which is how I came to be familiar with his silver tongue and golden throat early on – and continuing to perform until last year when he received the cancer diagnosis.

Let us pay tribute:

Ron Wood's ex-Wife Selling Stones Swag?


Guitarist learns that the old adage “if you wanna play, sooner or later you’re gonna have to pay” holds true.

By Blurt Staff

Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood’s myriad woes – among them, rehab and a nasty ongoing divorce following his alleged infidelity – have ramped up this week with the news that his wife is auctioning off a slew of his rock memorability against his wishes. Among the goodies: custom guitars, portraits and tour clothing from his Stones treks.

Wood, however, is claiming that soon-to-be ex-wife Jo is selling some personal belongings not intended to be part of the divorce settlement. According to a representative for Wood, “The Tour Clothes being offered belong to the Rolling Stones and are not
hers to sell. Ronnie feels saddened that Jo has taken this course of
action and wants the public to know he has NOT teamed up with Jo on this
outrageous sale.”

Read the full report here. Meanwhile, let’s rock!



Report: Metric Live in Rochester



6 at the Water Street Music Hall, Emily Haines & Co. crushed.


By April S.


Touring in
support of their fifth release, Synthetica,
Metric played the album almost in entirety (only three songs did not appear on
their setlist); they added just a few older, fan favorites. The first stop of
their fall tour, the Canadian quartet thrilled an enthusiastic audience despite
a few technical difficulties.


The band was
greeted by delighted cheers and applause when they graced the stage. Emily
Haines (vocals, synthesizer), James Shaw (guitar, keyboard), Joshua Winstead
(bass, keyboard), and Joules Scott-Key (drums) waved to the Rochester crowd, approached their instruments
and played the first track of Synthetica.
They played the first 3 tracks from the album in succession and the audience cheered
at the start of each song and gleefully sang along with Emily. “Youth Without
Youth,” the first single of the album, is a great live track as Emily commands
“on the count of three jump with me…” and the excited members of the audience
happily obliged.




All was going
well for the band as they methodically transitioned to the next song on their
list. The upbeat and extremely catchy drum riff of “Lost Kitten” filled the
air; the crowd roared and again sang along. About a quarter ways through the
song the effects went haywire and decided to keep its own beat, Emily turned to
Joules and motioned for him to stop. While the gents attempted to mend the machine, Emily apologized and for
the first time had a chat with the audience, “How are you,” she began. In a
stream on consciousness Emily blissfully noted that the show was the first of
their fall tour, thanked the audience for the warm reception,
mentioned how she and the guys just left their studios in Canada and asked if
there were any Canadians in the room. A few hands shot in the air as the fans
from her native land jumped and shouted in response. “Sprinkles in the mist,”
Emily joked. She then turned to James, “ok, we’ll just move on,” she noted.
They left the song in the dust and commenced everyone’s favorite track from
their third LP, Live It Out, “Empty.”


“Dead Disco” had
to make an appearance this night and luckily it did. Upon the first few notes
the crowd erupted in cheers as Emily
jokingly approached the mic and coifed her hair in preparation. They closed the
set with loud number “Stadium Love” but quickly returned for their encore.
After two songs, Josh and Joules left the stage as James and Emily remained.
James reached for his acoustic and played background as Emily again thanked the
crowd and again went on a stream of consciousness tangent of how-in the moment
with James on the acoustic with all becoming calm-felt like Willie Nelson. And
confessed her love for Willie. (I mean, who doesn’t!)





Soon enough
Emily began a slow, acoustic version of “Gimme Sympathy,” to which the audience
sang with her. “Sounds good,” she added as the room almost overtook her on the
mic. When the song was almost finished Josh and Joules jumped back on the
stage, clapped and sang along as well. They ended the song with a bow, again
waved goodbye to everyone, jumped off the front of the stage and shook the
hands of the fans in the front row. One fan was disappointed that she could not
share in this moment, dipped below the barrier and bounded over to shake
Emily’s hand. The singer obliged and extended her hand before leaving for the
night-can’t take mothers anywhere sometimes.
Though disappointed that the band decided to not play more tracks from previous
albums, several fans shouted for “Hustle Rose”-a song I desired to hear as
well-Metric sounds great live.





Artificial Nocturne

Youth Without

Speed the

Dreams So Real

Lost Kitten


Help I’m Alive




Dead Disco

Stadium Love



Monster Hospital

Gold Guns Girls

Gimme Sympathy





Watch New Neil Young / Crazy Horse Video

Original full-length track will be on new album this fall.

By Blurt Staff

Neil Young and Crazy Horse are starting to gear up for the promotional campaign surrounding their upcoming album Psychedelic Pill, due Oct. 30 on Warner Bros. in several formats (the pricey vinyl edition won’t be available until a few weeks later, however). Below watch a video of a drastically edited “Walk Like A Giant,” actually a lengthy 16-minute track on the album.



Feist Nabs Canada’s Polaris Prize


And behind this door….
$30,000 bucks!


By Blurt Staff


The 2012 winner of the annual Canadian Polaris Prize for
best album of the year  (a $30k award, by
the way) is Feist’s Metals. She
follows last year’s winner, Arcade Fire’s The


Leslie Feist beat out some stiff competition this year as
well: Japandroids’ Celebration Rock, Drake’s Take Care, Fucked
Up’s David Comes to Life, Grimes’ Visions, Yamantaka
// Sonic Titan’s YT//ST, Handsome Furs’ Sound Kapital, Kathleen
Edwards’ Voyageur, Cadence Weapon’s Hope in Dirt City, and Cold
Specks’ I Predict a Graceful Expulsion. 


Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown Story Airs Today


Mandy Moore biography not
necessarily in the works, however.


By Fred Mills


One of BLURT’s favorite journalists, and full disclosure, a
good friend, is David Menconi, pop critic at Raleigh’s News
and Observer
. He recently penned a biography of Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown
titled Losering – Menconi was on the
local NC scene when Adams launched his career – and we’ll have an interview
with him about how he put the project together, his thoughts on Adams’ mercurial personality, and more.


Meanwhile, today at noon EST on WUNC-FM ( program “The State Of Things” Menconi will be the guest of host Frank Stasio as he talks about the book and
all things Whiskeytown. Check it out – it should be a colorful conversation to
say the least. The show will also be available at the “State Of Things” link as
a podcast in case you don’t have a chance to tune in live.


Live Report: Music Midtown fest Atlanta


Sept. 21-22 and we were dancing in the streets with
49,999 other folks. Above: Avett Brothers.

By Michael Plumides


Peter Conlon, President of Live Nation Atlanta, was one of the
original promoters of the very first Music Midtown in 1993 while with his
outfit, Concerts Southern.  I was there
from the Festival’s inception,
fortunate enough to see James Brown and Al Green back-to-back. Mr. Conlon,
having promoted Music Midtown in the early years, had been pummeled by
torrential rain and exceeding costs several years in a row, and decided to
discontinue the popular music gathering. 



I must say, Conlon and Live Nation were very pleased as they
counted receipts late Saturday
night. There was a question whether or not bringing the festival back after an
eight year hiatus was wise, but when you have a sold out crowd to the tune of
50,000 folks buying those $11 beers in Piedmont Park, resurrecting the
beleaguered festival was not only genius, it was quite profitable… and not a
rain cloud in site for the two day event.

According to the Atlanta-Journal
, Conlon said the turnout was, “better than expected” and
reinstituting Music Midtown has propped the event up as one of the top
festivals in the nation, once again.





On a grassy knoll expanding three football fields on the far end
of the park is where it all happened on two separate stages polarizing each
end. Friday’s line up saw live performances by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts,
T.I., The Avett Brothers (playing music off of their new album entitled, The Carpenter), and Foo Fighters fresh
from their performance at the DNC (go here for my coverage from the event /news/view/6709/), among others.






Saturday’s performances amidst the blistering heat included O’
Brother, Civil Twilight, LP, Adam Ant (in full Napoleonic regalia) Garbage
(playing a rich and industrial set), Florence and
the Machine, Girl Talk (yes, everyone was tripping balls) and lastly,
crowd-pleasers Pearl Jam.


A sea of people against a beautiful skyline made for an
enjoyable event. All in all, I had a fantastic time and I
would recommend this festival to anyone within a few hours drive of Atlanta. My only
complaint about Music Midtown? They need more Porta-Johns.


[Photos of Adam Ant,
Foo Fighters, Joan Jett & Eddie Vedder by CatMax Photography; all others by
Michael Plumides]




Report: Ian Anderson Live in Miami Beach



18 at The Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater provided a night of


By Lee Zimmerman


Ian Anderson’s decision to revisit Jethro Tull’s most
elaborate opus — and no, we’re not talking Aqualung–
certainly took some fans by surprise, if for no other reason that the move
comes more than 40 years after the album in question, that being Thick
As A Brick, first appeared. The fact that he not only opted to take it
out on the road, but to also match it with a sequel — while making the attempt
without Jethro Tull in tow, no less — was certainly reason to give longtime
Tull fans pause.


Nevertheless, at this stage in Anderson’s career, any sudden
burst of creative motivation is definitely welcome, especially considering the
fact that the Tull brand has been all but retired and soldiering on mainly
through reissues and the occasional archival concert recording. So it seems all
too fitting that Anderson would take it upon himself to tour — classic album
in hand and new band in tow — and weave the entire narrative together while
attempting to bring it to its logical conclusion, making it not only a credit
to his creative prowess but his perseverance as well.


There is some precedence of course. Roger Waters’ decision
to perform his masterpiece, The Wall, as a
theatrical extravaganza sans Pink Floyd, was certainly a step forward when it
came to  merging theatrical spectacle and
authentic rock ‘n’ roll. Likewise, the Who are retooling their own classic, Quadrophenia,
albeit without Keith Moon and John Entwistle who, sadly, are no longer around
to participate. Yet for Anderson, reviving Thick As A Brick would
seem the greater challenge, not only because the work dates back much further
— to 1972 to be precise — but also 
because he had to create an entirely new work in order to bring it to


There were other risks involved as well. For one thing, the
sequel is largely unfamiliar to Anderson’s audiences, and it accounts for the
entire second half of the show. For another, the original work worked as a
whole, but when it came to breeding classic songs, it clearly came up short.
Likewise, Anderson has made it clear that fans ought not expect any other Tull
classics — no “Aqualung,” “Cross-Eyed Mary,” “Living in the Past,” “Bouree”
et. al — which raised the stakes for true devotees even higher. And of course
there’s no other trace of Tull per se, except to emphasize this is “Jethro
Tull’s Ian Anderson.” Yes, there’s a high bar and one could only hope Anderson
was up to scaling it.


Fortunately, this recent performance proved there was no
need to worry. Reconfigured for the stage, Thick As A Brick
remains as impressive as ever, its intricate passages, recurring refrains, pomp
and power all still intact. The fact that Anderson and his excellent backing
band — bassist David Goodier, drummer Scott Hammond, guitarist Florian Opahle
able to pull it off so deftly speaks volumes not only about the album’s staying
power but its ability to still lend itself to live performance. There are the
obvious concessions — screen projections, occasional videos, some spoken
narration and a central non-musician, Ryan O’Donnell, who acts as mime,
additional vocalist and general foil for Anderson himself. O’Donnell’s presence
gives the performance its theatrical emphasis, although the band’s posing and
posturing indicates that the show was precisely choreographed accordingly.


Nominally, the story still centers on Gerald Bostock, a
fictitious boy poet who was credited with writing the original lyrics, although
Anderson has conceded that the original Thick As A Brick was
first conceived as a spoof of the bombastic so-called concept albums that were
all the rage back in the late ‘60s and early‘70s. Its sequel, TAAB
revisits the young Bostock 40 years later and claims to follow his progress
into middle age, while commenting on many of the mores and inventions that intrude
on his and our existence today. Performed live, and bowing to the occasional
theatrical trappings, it remains grandly ambitious, but the central story of
Bostock seems lost in all its intricacy. Likewise, although the newer album
actually bests the original in terms of musicality, the plot remains muddled
while providing only the thinnest thread of continuity.


Nevertheless, Anderson and company pull the music off with
incredible aplomb, weaving their way through the various musical interludes,
time changes and melodic themes with exacting and meticulous execution.
Anderson himself remains an ideal front man, a reservoir of nonstop energy,
exaggerated expression and incredible dexterity. He attempts his famous balance
on one leg less now, but he still manages to mesmerize, and considering that
the show clocks in at two and a half hours, intermission included, his staying
power is all the more impressive indeed.


It ought to be noted that the concert was also demanding on
the audience, given its scarcity of familiar material and the fact it was
largely an instrumental offering, Consequently, a rambunctious encore of
“Locomotive Breath,” the sole song to break the conceptual mold, proved ample
reward for any diehard devotees with sentimental ties to Tull. Yet considering
the effort already expended, little more was needed. Thick
As A Brick gave all the weight needed.



Report: Chris Isaak Live in Miami Beach



September 14 at The Filmore at the Jackie Gleason
Theater it was a Sun-ny evening.


By Lee Zimmerman


Chris Isaak is at his best when he’s going back to basics.
Of course, that’s no surprise. Well before he released his most recent album, a
collection of remade Rock ‘n’ Roll standards entitled Beyond the Sun, he excelled at revisiting a
style flush with classic rock appeal. Boasting a cool croon, matinee idol good
looks, and a veteran backing band that’s adroit at recapturing
the moves and grooves that their retro stance demands, Isaak comes across with
a rare combination of charisma and charm


Those attributes were on ample display at the Fillmore on Miami Beach, plied before
an adoring crowd that seemed fixated on every move Isaak had to offer. He and
his band commanded the stage, which was alternately decorated like a fancy New York nightclub and later, the Memphis recording studio from which that
recent album got its name. Isaak and his colleagues posed and postured via
playful choreography, and consistently got up close and personal with the
audience, both by venturing out into the aisles and at one point inviting a
bevy of local woman (and one guy for equal time) up on the stage to shimmy and
shake to their boogie-based standard, “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing.”


All the while, Isaak successfully demonstrated the
good-natured, boy next door charm that not only earned him his devotees, but
also a series of roles on both the big screen and small screen alike. It’s the
easy, affable approach that’s garnered him a steadfast following over the
course of a nearly 30-year career, one that’s clearly in no danger of
subsiding. And yet, his self-effacing humor makes it clear — onstage and off,
FYI — that he’s one of those rare artists who’s not absorbed with his own
stardom. Resplendent in a baby blue sequined suit — the jacket was eventually
discarded and the whole outfit exchanged for a dazzling, seemingly mirrored
ensemble for the encore — Isaak frequently engaged in some self-effacing
humor. “Thanks for coming out,” he said, expressing gratitude that the audience
had chosen to support live music and the arts. “If you didn’t come tonight, I’d
just be wandering around the beach in this sequin suit with nothing to do.”
Later, when the band began teasing him about his choice of wardrobe, he took
pains to point out that most professional figure skaters wore something


To his credit, Isaak also seemed content to share the
spotlight, mugging with his band mates and teasing them about their equally
droll personalities. Still, he couldn’t help but make fun of himself. “When I’m
up here onstage singing, looking out at you, I see you looking back at me. And
that’s the way I like it!” At another point, he challenged the house rule about
limited photography. “I went to a lot of trouble to get all dressed up, so snap
away.” he insisted. Consequently, his various forays into the audience also
included pauses to pose with enthusiastic onlookers.


While the stage show was obviously geared for fun, no matter
how frivolous, Isaak and company didn’t negate their chops either. After 27
years, his band has become his perfect foil, through a subtle mesh of low-cast
personalities and, more importantly, their well-honed licks. Attired in
matching suits,  bassist Rowland Salley,
guitarist Hershel Yatovitz, drummer Kenney Dale Johnson, keyboard player Scott
Plunkett and percussionist Rafael Padilla (the only player who appeared to defy
the uniform garment regimen) are both measured and masterful in effectively
driving those indelible ‘50s flavored licks. “We’ll play our one or two good
songs,” Isaak promised at the start of the set. “And if we run out of material,
we can also toss in some Blue Oyster Cult and ABBA.”


Fortunately, they didn’t have to. The set was well stocked
with familiar favorites — the aforementioned “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” “San
Francisco Days,” “Wicked Game,” “Somebody’s Crying,” “Blue Hotel,” “Dancin'”
and a formidable cache of the oldies represented on the current album — “Ring
of Fire,” “Pretty WOman,” “I Can’t Help Falling In Love,” “Miss Pearl,” “It’s
Now or Never” and the ultimate finale, “Great Balls of Fire,” which literally
found the piano set ablaze and smoke filling the stage.


Then again, a Chris Isaak performance is simply about the
music, but also the pure joy of what Isaak called “pure, clean family fun.”
(“Bullshit,” Johnson shouted in response.) The emphasis is on entertainment,
whether it’s through the corny jokes or the rocking, rousing sentiment. And
that’s what makes Isaak’s show so indelible and enjoyable, and gave the
audience such genuine delight with this long overdue, most welcome return.