Monthly Archives: September 2012

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
similar.

 

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.

 


 

Get Musicians’ Advice at Blurt!

Readers and artists – step up and be counted.
Your input is requested: email us at the address below.

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Regular
readers of BLURT will remember our Musicians’ Advice feature in the last issue
of our magazine, in which artists as diverse as Ian Hunter, Exene Cervenka,
Lemmy and Chuck D to Patterson Hood, Girl Talk, Oderus and Brian Wilson offered
up their nuggets of career wisdom to aspiring artists. It also ran online in
June in vastly expanded form: see “Trust Yourself… And Get A Good Lawyer (Or
Not).”
We’ve got a second installment set to run in the upcoming issue (#13,
hitting newsstands in October, so be watching for that.

 

And
we hope you’re enjoying our musicians’ advice series but… there’s something
important missing here- YOU!  We want
your input, your two cents, your thoughts! 
Here’s two ways that you can join in and make this more personalized.

 

1)
ARE YOU A MUSIC FAN? Along with the list of musicians we’ve already asked for
advice, who else would you like to see us ask? 
If we get enough responses for specific musicians, we’ll hunt them down
and demand answers from them, armed with your responses.

 

2)
ARE YOU A MUSICIAN?  Share some of your
own advice about your work and your world with the online community.  Other musicians will benefit from your
experience and music fans will gain insight into your world and the world of
musicians in general.

 

Either
way, please contact us at BlurtMusiciansAdvice@gmail.com . We’ll be sharing the most interesting responses we hear from other musicians
and keep you posted about which other musicians all of you want us to ask for
advice too.

 

 

It's Antiseen, Bitch!

 

 

It ain’t like you
haven’t been warned about these guys… above, lead singer Jeff Clayton’s
throbblehead, which was released this month via our good friends at
Aggronautix.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Just ‘cos we can.

 

Okay, all you hippie punks, take cover: below is the
official promo trailer for Carolina
killers Antiseen’s latest, New Blood a collection of 2008-11 singles via the Switchlight label. The music’s from
“One Shot, One Kill,” and it’s as good enough a reason to check out the band at
selected dates this fall throughout the South. (They will be at Slim’s in Raleigh, NC,
this Saturday night, by the way.)

 

Fiona Apple Pulls a Full (Willie) Nelson

 

Popular singer songwriter arrested for hash and weed possession in Texas.

By Frd Mills

Arrested Wednesday night at Sierra Blanca, Texas, according to TMZ.com, was Fiona Apple following a routine check of her tour bus. Drug-sniffing dogs detected drugs in a backpack which reportedly contained .01 pounds of marijuana and .01 pounds of hashish.

Apple admitted the dope was hers and she was arrested, spent the night in jail, and was released Thursday morning after posting a $10,000 bond.

Willie Nelson would be proud, methinks. Incidentally, there’s a funny but a revealing article over at E! Online about why the same checkpoint, located about 20 miles from Mexico, has yielded its share of celeb busts over the years – including Nelson, natch, along with Snoop Dogg, Paul Wall and Arnie Hammer. (Given the metaphorical red flags that are clearly waving in the air above Sierra Blanca, cue up that old adage about weed not making you more sensitive and creative, just stupider. Can you spell D-E-T-O-U-R?)

The checkpoint, notes the story, is where drug mules are often stopped and apprehended. And “that checkpoint also happens to sit on I-10, an interstate highway that
runs from Los Angeles to Florida. Why is that important? Because film
crews often travel through there to shoot. And musicians often bring
their tours through the Southwest on that very highway. They also,
oftentimes, bring their stash. And arrests are bound to follow.”

 

Wurster, Leo, Hamm in new Aimee Mann Video

 

The track “Labrador” is from her new album, but the video treatment
goes way, way, way back. Hey, is that rattail on eBay yet?

 

By Fred Mills

 

If ever there were a video made to go viral… wait, it
already DID go viral, way back in the ‘80s, and.. wait, that was ‘Til Tuesday’s
“Voices Carry” that went viral, at least via MTV, so…

 

Below, watch the inspired “Labrador” (taken from Aimee
Mann’s new Charme) video, directed by
Mann’s pal Scharpling and featuring in key roles Superchunk/Mountain Goats
drummer Jon Wurster (also a Scharpling pal, nudge-nudge), rocker Ted Leo and Mad Men star Jon Hamm.

 

 

 

Mann and Scharpling provided choice quotes about the genesis
of the video:

 

 

AIMEE MANN:

“I’ve been such a fan of Tom Scharpling and his videos
and I’ve come to really trust his opinion and ideas about many, many things.
When Tom and I were first talking about doing a video together, I quickly
realized that I wanted to do two and not just one, and that maybe it would be
slightly more cost effective to do two at once, and that although I felt the
something funny would make sense for “Charmer,” the one for
“Labrador” seemed to call out for something a little more
contemplative, did he not agree? And then I got an email from him, full of
trepidation, where he said he respected my desire for something a little more
serious, but that he had this idea, and please forgive him for suggesting it,
and that he hoped I wouldn’t take it the wrong way. Now, is the “Voice
Carry” video something that, having been incredibly earnest about in the
80’s when I first made it, I now find to be wildly embarrassing? Oh, yes,
indeed. It is a measure of my trust in him that I immediately agreed to do it.
And honestly, the ridiculousness of the idea was compelling. I must admit too,
that a large portion of my agreeing to do it was the idea of seeing Jon Wurster
in an undershirt. I begged Jon Hamm to be part of it, god bless him, and I love
that Ted Leo is in it, too. I’m extremely happy with the results. It blew my
mind how obsessed Tom was with getting each shot to be as close to the original
as possible, and Jon Wurster’s constant giggling at his part in it made it
super fun. “

 

 

TOM SCHARPLING:

“As someone who grew up watching MTV in the 80s, I
must’ve seen Til Tuesday’s video for “Voices Carry” hundreds of
times. The storyline and drama and message were pretty much tattooed on my
brain. It’s funny that twenty-something years later I was directing a couple
videos for Aimee’s new album, because even though she is a great friend and an
artist whose body of work I admire so deeply, the first time I learned about
her was through that video. So the idea of doing a shot-for-shot remake made
sense to me, because it was a way to establish a thread from the first video I
saw of hers to the video I was now in the position of directing. And it’s great
to see her taking on something that has been so iconic in her body of work;
lots of people remember all of the trademarks from the original – the hair, the
creepy boyfriend, her standing up in the theater during the video’s finale. I
will say I was incredibly nervous pitching the idea to her because it was such
an all-or-nothing concept; if she’s not into it, we’re not doing it at all. But
I saw it as a chance for her to do something that would give people a chance to
see how amazingly funny she is. And thankfully she said yes!”

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda Palmer Relents; To Pay Musicians

 

“We have the power to
do it, and we’re going to do it.” Palmer, above, puts the word out to both past and future guest performers. Meanwhile, no word from Albini camp.

 

By Fred Mills

 

After weathering a couple of weeks of combined criticism and
support in a controversy that threatened to overshadow (see: Albini, Steven)
the actual music of her new album Theatre
is Evil
and the accompanying tour, Amanda Palmer has reversed her plan of not
paying guest musicians on the tour and instead will be providing compensation
for the crowd-sourced performers.

 

 

In a lengthy blog posting (go here to
read it), Palmer wrote, “For better or for worse, this whole kerfuffle has
meant I’ve spent the past week thinking hard about this, listening to what
everyone was saying and discussing. I hear you. I see your points. Me and my
band have discussed it at length. We have decided we should pay all of our
guest musicians. We have the power to do it, and we’re going to do it…. We’re
also retroactively sending a payment to the folks who’ve already played with
us. SURPRISE!”

 

Palmer indicated that she is doing some budgetary shuffling in order to free
up the funds for the musicians’ compensation.

 

Report: Wild Nothing + Diiv Live Denver

 

 

September
12 at the Larimer Lounge it was a reverb and effects pedal buffet for the
dreampop bands.

 

By Tim Hinely

 

Two Captured Tracks bands come to town on this crisp
Wednesday evening. One of the knocks on the Captured
Tracks bands is that they all sound the same, that breezy, new-wavey dream pop
that a lot of the bands seem to employ. Now while this isn’t entirely true
there definitely are some similarities between the two bands tonight as well as
other (Beach Fossils, etc.) but hey, if it’s a sound you like (like me) then
you’ll think you’ve hit paydirt.

 

Diiv were
formerly known as Dive had to change their name for some reason (rumors of a
Belgian industrial band with the same name…yawn) but they seem to have taken
the name change in stride. They strode out onto the Larimer stage and were a
mesh/mess/mash of hair and fuzz pedals (and cool shirts too as the singer had a
bright red Mickey Mouse tee on while the hirsute lead guitarist sported a
Yankees tee with Mattingly on the back). They dove head first starting off with
an instrumental and then hypnotizing the near-capacity crowd at the Larimer
with a hazy 45 minute set complete with fuzz, melody and some well-placed
yelps, too. Musically they seemed to hit that sweet spot right where indie pop,
shoe gaze and grunge all make nice with each other. They played most (or all)
off their latest C.T. release, Oshin and cuts like “Human” and “Past Lives” grew wild-eyed stares from the fans.

 

Virginia’s Wild
Nothing hit the stage at 10:15 PM sharp (thank you Larimer for not starting the
headlining band at some ungodly hour) and leader Jack Tatum had 4 others in
town with him including another guitarist (Tatum also played guitar) as well as
bass, drums and a keyboardist (a keyboardist who had recently broken his hand,
I think Tatum said, in a skateboarding stunt). Like Diiv, Wild Nothing, also
have a new release out on the label-of-the-minute, one called Nocturne which is at least as good as
their terrific debut (Gemini), maybe
better as it ups the ante with even dreamier and reverbier pop than before.
With a light show making it look like an Echo & the Bunnymen gig from the
back of the club, Wild Nothing tore through plenty of new ones as well as a few
off said debut and a few off their stopgap Golden
Haze
ep from last year (including the title track) but it was the new
tracks that really wowed the crowd, swerving cuts like “Shadow”, “Only Heather’
and the title track. If they played a few encores I wasn’t aware of it as the
clock struck 11:15 and my magic carpet awaited out front for me, but seriously,
if you get a chance to catch either of these two acts (and the 80’s were not a
decade that made you musically vomit) then enter with a kick to your step.

 

 

[Photo via Wild Nothing’s Facebook page;
pic by Marick Stawis]

 


 

MP3: New Rachael Sage; Tour Detailed

 

Extensive US tour to be
followed by trek to the UK.

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Rachael
Sage has just kicked off an extensive American tour, including a CMJ
performance on October 17th at Rockwood
Music Hall in New York. In addition, Rachael will be on
tour through the end of the year playing with legendary acts such as Judy
Collins & Al Stewart all over the U.S.,
U.K., and Ireland.

 

These
concert dates follow the release of Sage’s Haunted
By You Acoustic
EP, which became available via iTunes on July 18th and featured material from her recent 10th album Haunted By You. Sage’s label MPress will also commemorate this
benchmark album with its first vinyl release slated for the fall.

 

 

Check
out a

Tour Dates:

09/22 | The Carlyle | New York, NY * | 10:45PM
09/23 | Live In Your Living Room Festival | Brooklyn, NY | 4PM
10/04 | The State Theatre | Ithaca, NY * | 8PM
10/05 | Phleps Mansion Museum | Binghamton, NY | 6:30PM
10/06 | Fargo Theater | Fargo, ND * | 8PM
10/07 | Babcock Theater | Billings, MT * | 8PM
10/12 | Belle Mehus Auditorium | Bismark, ND * | 8PM
10/17 | Rockwood Music Hall | MPressFest CMJ 2012 | 2:30PM
10/19 | Tupelo Music Hall | Londonderry, NH + | 8PM
10/21 | Infinity Music Hall | Norfolk, CT + | 7PM
10/24 | Club Passim | Cambridge, MA + | 8PM
10/27 | Island Arts Centre | Lisburn, N-IRL * | 8PM
10/28 | The Lyric Theatre | Belfast, N-IRL * | 8PM
10/29 | Down Arts Centre | Downpatrick, N-IRL * | 8PM
10/31 | City Winery | New York, NY + | 8PM
11/03 | The Birchmere | Alexandria, VA + | 7PM
11/07 | The Castle Hotel | Manchester, UK | 8PM
11/08 | The Elgin | London, UK | 8PM
11/09 | The High Barn | Great Bardfield, UK | 8PM
11/10 | The Railway Venue | Bolton, UK with Never Forever | 8PM
11/12 | Kitchen Garden Café | Birmingham, UK | 8PM
11/20 | CC Muziekcafe | Amsterdam, NL | 8PM
11/25 | Club Barinton | Cologne, DE | 8PM
12/02 | Mocha Maya’s | Shelburne Falls, MA | 2PM
12/03 | Town Hall Theater | Middlebury, VT * | 8PM
12/04 | Radio Bean | Burlington, VT | 8:30 PM
12/05 | The Flying Monkey | Plymouth, NH * | 7PM
12/10 | The Wood Theatre | Glen Falls, NY * | 8PM
12/15 | The Museum at Bethel Woods | Bethel, NY * | 8PM

* With Judy Collins
^ With Jann Klose
+ With Al Stewart

Black Keys' Carney Gets Hitched!

 

“Crimson and Clover”
rocks the event.

 

By Perez Mills

 

As we say here in the South, the boy done gone and did it:
that would be Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney got married to his girlfriend
Emily Ward on Saturday at their home in Nashville. Present were fellow keys
musician Dan Auerbach and about 350 other guests.

 

According to Billboard.com, “Comedian Will Forte officiated.
Ward wore a dress by Carolina Herrera and walked down the aisle to
“Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James & The Shondells. Carney was
accompanied down the aisle by the couple’s Irish wolfhound Charlotte. The wedding party included Ward’s
sister Danielle Shuster and brother Henry Ward, while Carney was accompanied by
his brothers Will Carney, Michael Carney and Barry Stormer.”

 

Sounds like a good enough reason to listen to some wedding
music this morning, then!