Monthly Archives: September 2019

Mark Knopfler 9/4/19, Atlanta

Dates: September 4, 2019

Location: Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park, Atlanta GA

Great show and a beautiful night for an outdoor performance by the legendary Mark Knopfler and band, held at the Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park – and not a note was wasted.

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

The former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler is winding down a big tour in support of a new solo-release “Down the Road Wherever,” getting help on stage from musicians on stage, all of them multi-instrumentalists.    Tremendous detail in the acoustics and highly finessed performances by all.

After years of platinum records and arena tours, one gets the sense that low-key star Knopfler is far happier doing things his way, and not having to slog through the mega-hit gyrations of his Dire Straits rock star days from the 80s and 90s.    He is 70, and told the crowd sometimes he thinks he should retire but knows he’s got a pretty good gig and they’ll probably have to come take him away on a stretcher before he’ll stop.   Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland and raised near Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Since Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, he’s made 9 solo LPs and produced film scores for movies, including ‘Local Hero’ and ‘The Princess Bride.’  No opening act, the band jumped right in with a long setlist which included only four Dire Straits songs, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining.  He’s Mark Knopfler who’s sold 125 million records and worked with the giants of his industry, including Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, and too many others to mention, so he can do what he wants.

He commented he remembers his first trip to Atlanta many years ago was by bus, and he recalled how thrilled he was being in the birthplace of blues-great Blind Willie McTell (1898-1959), noted in part for his syncopated finger-picking style.  Maybe that’s where Knopfler picked up on his own unique playing style.  Only got to shoot a couple of songs worth of photos, and from the soundboard, so not a lot of diverse photos but was glad to see Knopfler had his iconic Sunburst Les Paul strapped on for one of them.

There are dates left on this tour through the end of September – check ‘em out:  https://tour.markknopfler.com/

*****

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THE MONROES – The Monroes 2.0

Album: Monroes 2.0

Artist: The Monroes

Label: Tugboat

Release Date: May 03, 2019

The delightful ’80s San Diego outfit remodels and returns – and in fine form.

BY DAVE STEINFELD

From the “it’ll happen when Hell freezes over” files… The Monroes, best known for their 1982 hit “What Do All the People Know,” have returned after more than 35 years! As aficionados of the New Wave era know, this San Diego band not only had one of the great songs of their day but also one of the most bizarre stories (read my article on The Monroes here).

The Monroes 2.0 is an apt title — not only because this is their second proper release but also because it presents a different lineup from the one on their 1982 EP. Singer-bassist Bob Monroe, in fact, is the only original band member in the current quintet. 2.0 finds him joined by guitarists Ronny Jones and Barry Scott, keyboardist Dave Hart Pomeranz and drummer Bob Sale — all of whom have been in the trenches for years, playing with a wide variety of artists. While original vocalist Tony Ortiz and keyboard whiz Eric Denton are certainly missed, this new lineup has talent to burn. Moreover, the band now boasts three strong singer-songwriters and, while Bob Monroe may be the leader, it feels like a democracy.

The first four songs on the new album are essentially flawless — and each one is different from the next. Monroe’s “White Lace and Blue Jeans” kicks things off in fine style. It’s a catchy paean to a woman who is “sometimes wild and crazy, sometimes so austere.” Next up is “Midnight in Hollywood,” which spotlights Jones (with some fine backing vocals from Laurie Beebe Lewis). In a just world, this song would be blasting from car radios in suburbia  — and it probably would have been in the ‘80s! Imagine a less corny Bon Jovi or a less quirky Goo Goo Dolls and you’ve got the idea. Scott’s “It’s a Good Thing God Will Forgive You” is third and Monroe bats cleanup with  “I Could Sing.”  These last two tracks are more topical and less relationship-oriented than most of 2.0  — but both are terrific.

If the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up to the standard of those first four songs, it definitely has its moments. While Scott’s “Walking with Renee” is a bit overproduced to these ears, his “Tell Me Tonight” is top-notch, Beatlesque pop. Jones cements his credentials as the band’s rocker on “Gotta Get Gone.” And the disc closes with Monroe’s “Mad for You,” an unabashed song of love and devotion. It’s not every day that a band from more than three decades ago comes back sounding better than ever. If you missed out on the talents of Bob Monroe and his cohorts the first time around, don’t make that mistake twice.

DOWNLOAD:  “Midnight in Hollywood,” “I Could Sing” and “Tell Me Tonight”

 

 

Deerhunter + Dirty Projectors 9/5/19, Atlanta

Dates: September 5, 2019

Location: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA

Atlanta’s own Deerhunter headlined the city’s Variety Playhouse, and they did anything BUT disappear.
PHOTOS & TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON
As of their hometown show, there were only a few dates left for Deerhunter’s current US tour – DC, Boston, and NYC. Then, following a few weeks’ break, it’s off to the U.K. and Europe on Nov. 2 and points farther east for this these indie-rock titans who never seem to not be touring.
But far from road-weary, they blasted onto the rock planet they occupy from the git-go and never sagged. The band is touring, incidentally, in support of their latest LP Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?  
Deerhunter is, of course, Bradford Cox (vocals and guitars), (original drummer) Moses Archuleta, Locket Pundt (guitars, vocals), and Josh McKay (bass, guitar).  Keyboardist Javier Morales is a welcome addition to the stage lineup.  His presence seems to geographically put the 4-members almost toe-to-toe and I think stage proximity allows even already close bands to really lock-in.  Whatever tangents they follow on disc, onstage they run a tight musical ship.  Are they rock, indie-rock, garage, industrial, pop, psychedelia?  Yes, they are.
*****
And for something completely different, Dirty Projectors opened, winding down a co-headlining tour with Deerhunter.  Great world-vibe reminiscent of latter-day Talking Heads.   Catchy upbeat songs, powerful vocals, original hooks, all good.
The band – formed in 2002 by core member David Longstreth, played an hour-plus opening set, and the packed house was right there with ‘em until the last note, wanting more.   Other members are longtime bass guitarist Nat Baldwin, Mike Daniel Johnson, Maia Friedman, Felicia Douglass and Kristin Slipp.  Latest release I can find is 2018’s Lamp Lit Prose.
***
Check out Prof. Boydston’s other photo stuff at jobo.smugmug.com and on Instagram – he’s @johnboydstonphoto.