Category Archives: Concerts

KALAMASHOEGAZER FESTIVAL 11/10/18, Kalamazoo, MI

The eclectic, eccentric multi-band event was held, appropriately enough, at Bell’s Eccentric Café. Pictured above: Springhouse.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY TIM HINELY

I had never been to Kalamazoo before. Heck, I had never been to Michigan before but a one-day music festival with 8 bands seemed as good as any to make the flight and visit the Wolverine State (or whatever the heck it is). April and her small group of dedicated music fans (April Zimont is/was in the fab band Glowfriends and now the same folks have a new band called Tambourina which played on this very night) have been putting the festival on since 2006 and do a damn good job of running it. It ran like clockwork and everyone had a good time (no frowns) and at tix at $15 it was a steal (they could/should have charged twice that much).

My old friends Tears Run Rings were on the bill, as was Jack Rabid’s NYC band Springhouse (you know Jack from his long-running, legendary mag The Big Takeover) so yeah, I pretty much had to go.

The weather was cold and snowy, but Bell’s Eccentric Café was warm, cozy and inviting and seemed a popular place for both locals and folks like me coming in to see the festival. The bands played in a nice sized room that has touring bands as well (Anna Burch was playing the next night). There was also a bar in the back, food service (tasty grub!) and they even had a small balcony upstairs (where I caught part of the show from).

Up first was Milwaukee’s Brief Candles (above) who I’d heard some tunes before but not a lot and they were perfect openers, getting the crowd lubed up.  They’ve been around for a looong time and have a classic shoegaze sound (big hooks). Check out their Bandcamp page sometime.

Seashine took the stage next and they were a quartet from St. Louis (Demi, Paul, Seth and Kate) with a real positively dreamy sound that was real easy to like. I’m gonna look for some of their stuff (only some tunes on Soundcloud from what I’ve seen).

Kalamazoo’s own Tambourina was up next and kicked the tempo up a bit while vocalist April bounced all over the stage (not sure where she gets her energy from). I really enjoyed their soaring set that really had the crowd bouncing.

Though I’ve been a fan of Tears Run Rings for ages I had never seen them play live and they did not disappoint. Playing a few cuts off their new EP (Somewhere) as well as a healthy dose of tunes from their entire catalog. They really had the crowd swaying and hypnotized.

Sacramento’s Soft Science (Test Pattern Records) had a few equipment problems but once those got sorted out (Katie’s vocals were hard to hear at the beginning) that didn’t stop them from putting on a terrific set, mostly of cuts off their righteous, recently-released LP,  Maps. Well worth your time.

Chicago’s Airiel, a trio with a handful of records out on Shelflife (and a bevy of fx pedals) brought in a bit of a heavier sound and had the crowd eating out of their hand.

Springhouse came armed with some merch and a seriously good set. Now a quartet with the addition of Dave Burokas on 2nd guitar (Dave was the editor of old killer NJ zine Sporadic Droolings….fun fact: he gave DAGGER my first ever review!). We heard “Eskimo,” “Land Falls” and plenty more old faves and drummer  Jack Rabid has not lost a step on his drum kit).

Texas trio Ringo Deathstarr showed up a little later but the packed house were ready and they did not disappoint either.  I don’t believe they’ve released a record since 2015’s Pure Mood, but they dug deep into their grab bag of songs and killed it. Adding some fun and humor whilst chatting with the crowd and totally delivering until the wee hours.

***

It all ended about 1:00 AM and I had an early flight so I had to say a few quick goodbyes and cut out but it was well worth it. Great bands, nice people, a well run mini-festival all around…not much more you could ask for, really.  I will be back one day. …thank you Kalamashoegazer, you know how to put on a festival!

BRONCHO – 11/2/18 Nashville & 12-8-18 Atlanta

Twice the rocking’ and twice the fun!

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

The band Broncho is currently on tour promoting their latest LP “Bad Behavior” and I was lucky enough to catch two recent club shows with the band of artsy upstart rockers.

Nashville, TN
Basement East
November 2nd, 2018

Broncho’s music and stage show can be moody, dark, strangely upbeat, usually melodic, and always catchy.  For all the dark atmospheric stage lighting, they do bring the hooks, bounce, and beat.

Atlanta, Ga
Masquerade
December 8th, 2018

 

Broncho is front guy Ryan Lindsey, Nathan Price, Ben King, and Penny Pitchlynn on bass and who usually catches the best light, hence her prominence in these photos.  The band calls Norman, OK home and why not?  The new LP “Bad Behavior” is garnering great reviews, and said to be more pop than previous records, and that can’t hurt anything since the band’s signature mood, quirks, and scrappy rock are all still there.  I considered their 2015 release “Just Enough Hip to Be a Woman” to be on the pop-side so what do I know?  My favorite from that release ‘Class Historian’ is a modern classic.  Look up those videos, songs, as well as current and future tour dates here:  http://broncho.tv/

Check out more of John’s work on Instagram: @johnboydstonphoto

FOO FIGHTERS 10/12/18, Kansas City

Live at the aptly named Sprint Center—because the band not only sprints nonstop, it gallops! (Photo credit: Brantley Gutierrez.)

By Danny R. Phillips

I saw it with my own two eyes this past Friday night in Kansas City; the transformation is now complete. Sprawling stadium hero guitar solos, a drum riser that raised twenty feet in the air for a drum solo from the superb Taylor Hawkins, Dave working the crowd like a rock god carnival barker on speed.  It’s true, it has come to fruition: Foo Fighters are my generation’s Led Zeppelin.  The band’s bombast and control of the stage rivals any of the giants of the 1970’s, kicking you in the face one minute, soothing you with a ballad the next.

Over the past 25 years, I have seen The Fighters of Foo go from a band born of grief at the loss of Dave Grohl’s band mate and friend Kurt Cobain, creating from the maelstrom a self-recorded album meant to be for only his friends, a record where Grohl played all the instruments (except for The Afghan Whigs Greg Dulli’s appearance with his guitar on the track “X-Static”), I’ve stayed with the band through good records and not so great ones, I’ve seen them go from 1,500 seat rooms to the 18,000 strong packed into The Sprint Center like so many sardines.  I’ve seen guitarists come, go and in the case of former Germs great Pat Smear, come back again, I’ve sat through hiatuses, rumors of break ups and numerous Grohl side projects as I waited patiently for more Foo Fighters.

I have witnessed the trading in of original drummer William Goldsmith for the nearly bionic Taylor Hawkins and the retirement of Smear for Franz Stahl, former member with Grohl in Scream. Through it all, I’ve stayed diligent in my resolve when it comes to Grohl and Company; every time I get the chance to see the spectacle of Foo, I’ve never left disappointed.  This night in October would be no different, in fact it would be one of the best performances (and longest, clocking in at just over 3 hours) I’ve had the pleasure to see.

Stacked at the start with three new tracks from the 2017 record Concrete and Gold “Sky is a Neighborhood,” “Run,” and “La Dee Da,” the Foos then tore through a career spanning set that included “Walk,” from Wasting Light “This is a Call,” “Monkeywrench,” “The Pretender,” “Learn to Fly,” Van Halen’s “Jump” to the tune of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” with Smear showing his punk rock guitar chops and Taylor Hawkins trading places with Dave behind the drums to provide startlingly well done Freddie Mercury lead vocals on the Queen classic “Under Pressure” with Dave returning to the drum throne where he will always be king, a treat even if it for just one song and jamming Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” with a seven year old kid on lead guitar, after which Dave gave the kid his guitar.  Each one of their albums were represented in the 25-song set, giving new and old fans alike a taste of what they wanted, sending everyone home happy.  Closing the show with a stirring rendition of “Everlong” from The Colour and the Shape.

Underneath all the trappings of the stadium rock show (the solos, illuminating the darkness of the Sprint Center with cell phones, the stories between songs, the banter), Foo Fighters are still a band that comes to rock, Dave’s nearly 50 year old voice screaming like a kid, never phoning it in, always giving the fans what they want, making sure to cover all the moments that give the concertgoer something to remember.  The shows are never boring, the audience never slighted.  This night, like many nights over the past two decades, gave me things I’ll remember and talk about for years to come.

Dave Grohl proved to me once again that he is the showman for a generation.  Standing tall above the rest, never running out of gas and always leaving you wanting more.  Two questions swim around my mind as I write this: will I ever realize my dream of interviewing Dave and when in the fuck will they play “Wattershed” live again? There’s always next time…

 

Billy Idol 9/28/18, Nashville

Dates: Billy Idol

Location: Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel, Nashville TN

A rebel yell was heard echoing through the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel in Music City USA.

Text & Photos by Mark Jackson

Billy Idol has been out touring and sounding as great as ever with the release of  his remix collection Vital Idol: Revitalized. It has fifteen tracks remixed by such artist as Moby, Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, and others.

On the same day as the release Billy preformed at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel in Nashville, TN, to an ecstatic fan base. Billy and the boys put on a hell of a show that kept the fans on their feet all night while dancing, singing, and jumping. Billy was looking and sounding as sharp as he did in the ‘80s, and Steve Stevens was still up to his old tricks, playing the guitar behind his head and with his teeth without missing a chord.

If Billy F**king Idol comes to your town, make sure you grab a ticket, give a “Rebel Yell” and sing along all night to his ageless hits…

Visit our ace photographer Mark Jackson: @MarkJacksonPhotography1

 

Clutch + Sevendust 10/21/18, Pittsburgh

Dates: October 21, 2018

Location: Strage AE, Pittsburgh, PA

Heavier-than-heavy heroes systematically dismantle the Stage AE venue and leave it in pieces on a chilly fall evening…

BY TIFFINI TAYLOR

A chill in the air as people were going into Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to see Clutch and Sevendust. Book of Bad Decisions Tour is making its way all around the country. The name of the tour comes from their newest release Book of Bad Decisions. Clutch has been around for quite a long time in the music world. Their style of rock is what makes rock ‘n’ roll. Joining them out on the road is Sevendust and Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. This is a magical tour that any fan of rock will enjoy. This line-up will have one’s horns up, one’s head banging, and one’s heart pounding.

Taking to the stage first is Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown. If one has not seen this band live, put it on bucket list now. The guitar riffs are intense. The band has great energy. The guitar solos will make one’s heart melt. The charisma of Tyler Bryant makes for an entertaining evening that is rock. The band brings a bluesy rock to the masses. Guitar solo overload with this band. Sliding across the stage on knees while playing and not missing a note, Tyler Bryant is taking notes from guitarists past.

Sevendust took to the stage with a loud roar from the crowd. Coming from Georgia, these guys know how to rock! Their newest release is titled ‘All I See Is War’ and it is truly Sevendust doing what they do best. The show tonight is heart pounding rock from a band that hasn’t lost their southern roots. The use of red and white lights amongst the throbbing of drums, roaring bass and guitars, topped with a fiery voice makes for a show to head bang to. They are a band who love their fans dearly and always give their best show no matter where they play. Sevendust is a great way to get ready for Clutch.

Clutch is a band that puts everything out there and takes nothing back. The band has been around for 25 years and has been rocking out everywhere. The Book of Bad Decision tour is not a bad decision by no means. It is pure an organic rock while head banging fun. Clutch has a powerful command of the stage. Their talented musicians who know what to do to make an audience go wild. Looking for good hard rock, Clutch is the band to look to.  Red, white, blue and yellow lights rained down upon the band while they played only added to the excitement for the audience. The charisma of Clutch is over the top powerhouse. Each note played in its perfection is with a force to bring the connection of the band and the audience as close as can be. The reaction of the crowd to this energetic band shows what die-hard fans Clutch has developed over the years.  Each record brings more and more new fans, hopefully new bands are taking notes. There are no disappointments when seeing Clutch live. It appears the band should live on the stage. The music is harsh, brash, and mellow all at the same time.  The guys in Clutch play because they love the music, not only that they love their fans more. The tour name is the name of their new release Book of Bad Decisions and it fits so well. The album is great as well as the tour.

Clutch and Sevendust prove how hard work, not giving up and growing with the music give it longevity. They are not just a band that they play in, they are family. Touring on the road is not easy for any band but when there are three bands that pour their hearts into the show it is worth everything to their fans. The Book of Bad Decisions tour is one not to be missed. Three powerful performances which make for a magical and memorable night of rock.

Exclusive Video: Jah Wobble & Invaders of the Heart Live Brooklyn 10/26/18

TEXT, PHOTOS, & VIDEO BY JONATHAN LEVITT

On October 26th Jah Wobble and his Invaders of the Heart took the stage at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere club and proceeded to give one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. The crowd was made up of mainly music industry insiders and a smattering of musicians from both the US and Japan.  Jah Wobble who was the bassist for PIL was not only hilarious with his banter but fronted a smoking hot group of musicians that just blew me away.

The drummer was pure military precision, and extremely versatile as well. The guitarist could play anything and make it sound great. The keyboardist was a virtuoso on the instrument and perfectly punctuated certain moments in the songs. Jah showed what an amazing player he is as well veering from dub, to the world music transcendental meditations to a bit of comedy between numbers. Jah even managed to throw some PIL songs into the mix.

 

The show ended with Bill Laswell joining the Invaders of the heart for two songs of throb-heavy psychedelic jazzified mind-bending music. The sound in the club was amazing. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I could hear every instrument tunneling through to me. The mix was incredible because as the sounds hit you they morphed into this groovy organic mass that made you wanna live forever in the moment.

Through the kindness of Jah’s people I was able to get some incredible footage, below, to share with Blurt readers. Jah is currently recording his new album with Bill Laswell in New Jersey. If you get a chance to see Señor Wobble in concert it is an unforgettable experience.

 

Rhett Miller 10/6/18, Philadelphia

Dates: October 6, 2018

Location: Ardmore Music Hall, Philadelphia PA

Live at Ardmore Music Hall near Philly, the Old 97’s frontman showed off his impressive solo chops.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Rhett Miller seems to be on a constant loop of record/tour/repeat.

Having just put out Graveyard Whistling, the latest from his main gig in Old 97’s last year, followed by a fairly exhaustive tour, he went to work on his soon-to-be released solo effort The Messenger (due out Nov. 9), and is already on a solo tour again before the album comes out. He somehow managed to squeeze in an Old 97’s holiday record that they will tour behind in just a couple of months, as well.

That being said, Miller was still in full entertainer mode just a few miles outside of Philly in the small, but impressively booked Ardmore Hall (a cool, intimate venue that manages to lure everyone from Fishbone and George Clinton to Willie Nile and a Hall-less John Oates). Miller commented on the venue after a fantastically-spirited version of “Our Love”.

“We were driving near the venue and I thought, well this is a really beautiful part of town, we’re so close to Philly proper, but I couldn’t figure out where we were” recalled Miller. “At that point I watched a really cute girl trying to turn left. Then this guy behind her yells out, ‘No left turn, asshole!’ Then I realized I was in Philly.”

And just like that, the crowd was enamored with Miller. It didn’t hurt that he reeled through one great song after another, pulling from across his half-a-dozen-deep solo catalog and many of the Old 97s greats. Miller managed to hold the crowd’s attention through a 20-song set, in a stripped-down setting, with just him and an acoustic guitar.

He even previewed a new song from the Old 97’s forthcoming Holiday record. The loudest singalongs came at the end when Miller played a remarkable cover of Petty’s “American Girl” that segued into the Old 97’s “Time Bomb.” If Miller is exhausted from the constant write/record/tour routine, he showed absolutely no signs of that weariness in Philly. A remarkable show from start to finish.

A ROTTEN PROPOSITION: Public Image Ltd. Live in Atlanta

At Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse on October 10, The Artist Formerly Known As Johnny Rotten brought his PiL.2018 to his Peach State fans, some of whom were no doubt on hand all those years ago when a certain British punk band made its American debut….

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

John Lydon and Public Image Ltd. are in high gear with “The Public Image is Rotten North American” tour, and in damn fine form if their 2nd stop – in Atlanta, Ga – is any indication.   Shows are selling out, and this one looked to be as well.  Check out upcoming PiL shows and dates here:  http://www.pilofficial.com/shows.html

The band is celebrating its 40 years of music with a world tour, a career-spanning CD & Vinyl box set release “The Public Image is Rotten,” and a new doc by the same name.  Current PiL lineup is Lydon, Lu Edmonds (guitar), Scott Firth (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums).

The former Johnny Rotten formed PiL in 1979 immediately following the demise of The Sex Pistols, going for a more ‘anti-rock’ avant-garde thing.  He’s been the only constant member of a band delivering 10-studio LPs over the years.   As lineups evolved, so has the music, crunching about any genre you can name into a unique and original meld.   Lydon is 62, older and ever-the-wiser.  PiL’s music still vital and relevant.  And you gotta go.

(And if you’re looking at these photos, I don’t know what the trash can is doing on stage.)

 

Follow John Boydston on Instagram – @johnboydstonphotos

 

The Melvins 8/10/18, Englewood CO

Dates: August 10, 2018

Location: Gothic Theater, Denver CO

Live at the Gothic Theater, heavy metal was a-happenin’…

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY BEN CURNETT

If heavy music was ever summed up in one performance, it happened last Friday night in Denver when Melvins played to a near-capacity crowd at the Gothic Theater in Englewood, Colorado. I’m not saying that’s what happened. Metal comes in nearly as many flavors as Japanese Kit-Kats (try the black tea if you ever get the chance; skip baked potato), so pulling it all together on one stage, much less in one show, is a task for imbeciles. Any band that tries to be all things to all people sucks outright and is evil in all the ways that are no fun at all. Not like, “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!” evil, but more like, “Of course corporations are people!” evil, and they can go screw.

But that’s what makes Melvins so good live: they actually do it all, heavier than pretty much everyone, and it’s mind-numbingly, otherworldly good. They’re good expressly because they don’t try to be all things to all people, evil or otherwise. They’re just their own very odd, very loud selves. and that’s good enough to be the guys to sum it all up if … IF … heavy music could ever be summed up in one performance.

Which it can’t.

Still and yet, two bass players is a pretty good start. The newest Melvins LP, “Pinkus Abortion Technician” refers both to Jeff Pinkus, longtime Butthole Surfer and second-to-newest Melvins bassist, and the classic Butthole’s album “Locust Abortion Technician,” a collection of songs that still has my vote (cast when I was 12) for scariest record of all time. Pinkus was matched on all things bass just on the other side of the stage by Redd Kross, OFF!, and actual-newest-Melvins standard bearer Steven McDonald. McDonald sang two of the songs on the setlist (Redd Kross’s “What They Say,” The Rolling Stones’ “Sway”) like a rock star, which may sound redundant but bears distinction just because he 1) wore the flashiest suit I’ve ever seen outside of a Too $hort video, and 2) Pinkus is more like something else entirely. A dragster mechanic, maybe. Some gems from the new record came out in the show (“Stop Moving Down To Florida,” “Don’t Forget To Breathe”) as well as classics from all over the board (“Honey Bucket” from 1993’s “Houdini,” “Eye Flys” from 1987’s “Gluey Porch Treatments.”) There was no speaking, if you don’t count the Moving Down To Florida parts, which you shouldn’t. Just rock. That’s all.

Buzz Ozborne and Dale Crover, Melvins’ guitarist and drummer, head and heart, areolas and spleen, know their way around a live performance. It’s as if they have some ectoplasmic connection that leads audiences around like tour guides on Mars; without their guidance, you’ll probably die. This, I strongly suspect, is the reason Buzz wears a magic robe when he plays: Melvins actually HYP-MO-TIZE audiences with thunderous drums and squelching guitar, nonsensical lyrics and brain-rattling distortion that sounds like music but is actually a spaceship engine that’s fueled by 90 minutes of your life and spits out warm, disturbingly loud, humming goo.