Category Archives: Concerts

Slayer 11/9/19, Madison Square Garden NYC

Dates: November 9, 2019

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City

TEXT & PHOTOS BY GREG KELLY

The crowd quickly filled in the 20,789 seated MSG and the night began to take shape.

Opening the show was Phil Anselmo and nd The Illegals. Going through a short set of Pantera songs it was clear that the bands songs are still relevant 30 plus years later. Next was Ministry, a band I saw in  1988(The land of Rape and Honey) and I have never stopped going when they came through town. Al Jourgensen , a great musician , great frontman led the band on a brutal assault on this N.Y.C. crowd. Two highlights of the set was “Supernaut” by Black Sabbath and “ Jesus Built my Hotrod”  Ah, next came Primus An interesting band to put in between all the others. I have seen Les Claypool over 50 times and never get tired of absorbing the psychedelic funk metal. Opening with “Those dam Blue Collar Tweakers” Primus showed they could not only hang with the Slayer crowd they might have picked up a couple new fans! A highpoint of the set was a great cover of the Rush song “ Cygnus X-1” . Then came the main event, SLAYER!! Another band I have seen many times over the years. Touring for “ The Final Campaign” this was sure to be a special one. Before the band started the stage was covered with a curtain with upside down crosses on it. Clearly these guys don’t frequent Sunday mass!

When the curtain dropped the band came out with “Repentless” from the self titled  album. What can I say about these guys except they have never strayed away from where they started musically! A nonstop assault of your senses. The mosh pit never stopped! The Slayer fans are one of a kind and tonight the energy was felt by all. Going through a long set list of songs I was always drawn to “Seasons of The Abyss” ,” South of Heaven” ,”Rain in Blood” and of course there encore “ Angel of Death”. Slayers spot as one of the best heavy metal bands will not go away any time soon!

 

 

Robyn Hitchcock – 11/13/19, Atlanta

Dates: November 13, 2019

Location: Eddie's Attic, Atlanta GA

Not one, but two freakin’ shows of prawndom from the maestro, all at Eddie’s Attic in the dirty South…

PHOTOS/TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

When Robin Hitchcock says, “Hello Fellow Human Beings,” you kind of know he’s being gracious to at least some of us, but that’s why we love him — he’s happy to share glimpses of his world, which is really our world turned inside-out, upside-down, and mirror-imaged back at us.

Witty, sardonic, charming, and in fine musical form alone with his acoustic guitar (he is an excellent player) and sometimes harmonica, Hitchcock is a natural for the stage. His non-sequitur intros are as entertaining as the songs from his extensive catalogue, and most eras were represented here tonight. He seems to entertain requests if you can get them to him pre-show.

Recent LP Robyn Hitchcock from 2017 on Yep Roc is still getting airtime on my table. Plus, there is a recent 10” with Andy Partridge titled Planet England that Partridge’s Ape House label dropped in September.

Solo tour continues – check out dates:  – https://www.robynhitchcock.com/tour.

Living now in Nashville, he’s also doing a rare band show at The Mercury Lounge,  coming up December 5th.  See ya there.

2019 Louder Than Life Festival 9/27-29/19, Louisville

Dates: September 27-29, 2019

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Our resident decibel-meter man returns once again to the (metal) scene of the crime – check out some of his previous coverage which left our photo editor’s ears ringing just looking at the pics.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

When the temperature reaches nearly 100 degrees for the third day straight and you are aware of the dusty, humid conditions, what do you wear? Why, black of course! The dark color is a must-have for the metal and rock hybrid that takes the crown for the largest rock festival in the United States. This year’s attendance reached more than 128,000 people over the three-day schedule.

It’s no wonder that this festival topped all other festivals this year with the killer lineup that Danny Wimmer Presents put together. (Scroll to the bottom for details on the production company.) It started with Guns N’ Roses and carried on with the reunion of Staind and big names like Slipknot (who had just dropped a great new album), Disturbed, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Philip H Anselmo & the Illegals (whose set was heavy with Pantera classics and even had a guest appearance from the members of GWAR). Wimmer brought over 30 acts of rock and metal and through in a little spice with rap legends Ice Cube and Jelly Roll.


The heat was unbearable, but with constant ear blasting music and enough gourmet food and drinks to hold you over until the late night second trip meal, no one was sitting this one out. With a normal temperature of around 75-80 during the day and in the 60s at night, this year’s unseasonable weather was close to one hundred degrees all three days.

The weather tried its best to dampen the festival-goers, but we got an immaculate festival and a great location that Wimmer and the team had to transform into a suitable site for a three separate weekend festival, starting with Home Town Rising, followed by Bourbon & Beyond, and ending with Louder Than Life. This year’s festivals were relocated due to the old site being prone to flooding and ruining the Bourbon & Beyond festival last year and leading to the cancellation of the 2018 Louder festival as well.


The new site has a great layout but does and will probably receive some planted trees for shade, more shaded tents and or tables for people to sit and rest while grabbing a great meal. Elsewhere at the Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center, fans were able to take in several art displays and live painting, including a large homage to late actor Sid Haig, best known to rock fans for playing Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s films. Other onsite attractions included the Kroger Big Bourbon Bar presented by Louisville Courier Journal, which featured more than two dozen hand-selected bourbons from top distilleries; Fred Minnick’s Mini Bar presented by Bourbon Women Association, hosted by the Bourbon & Beyond bourbon curator, author/expert, and Amazon Prime host (Bourbon Up); Jack Daniel’s No. 7 Sports Bar; The Music Experience; Angel’s Envy Speakeasy; and The Silver Dollar Hunter’s Club, where attendees could find vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as contemporary collectibles.

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Anti Flag

Breaking Benjamin

Deadland Ritual

DED

Demon Hunter

Dirty Honey

Disturbed

Dropkick Murphys

GNR

Godsmack

GWAR

Halestorm

Ice Cube

Jelly Roll

Marilyn Manson

Motionless In White

New Years Day

Phil Anselmo

Rob Zombie

Sick Puppies

Staind

Suicidal Tendencies

Sum 41

The Crystal Method

The Pink Slips

(Duff watching his daughter’s The Pink Slips)

Three Days Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Louder Than Life is produced by Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents, one of the largest independent producers of destination music festivals in America. DWP events include Aftershock, Bourbon & Beyond, Chicago Open Air, Epicenter, Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival, and Welcome To Rockville. For more information on Louder Than Life (#louderthanlife) please visit:

www.LouderThanLifeFestival.com
www.facebook.com/louderthanlifefestival
www.twitter.com/ltlfest
www.instagram.com/louderthanlifefest

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night Three Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. Go HERE to view his report and gallery from the Austin blast’s first night, November 7, and HERE for November 8. (Pictured above: Levitation hosts the Black Angels.)

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Having no expectations about what to expect of John Cale it was hard to be anything but happily blown away by this 77-year old man’s performance.

This living legend came to rock, and with a great band that is what they did. And to sing his songs which are still about something.

The Black Angels set Cale up perfectly with a fantastic and dynamic set, as they continue looking for that dark cloud in every silver lining it. They found it tonight, keeping Austin Weird, and Dark. This band is responsible for Levitation even being a thing, let’s give ‘em a hand.

Earlier, White Fence from San Francisco also put in a brilliant set around the corner at The Empire Control Room and Garage, because that is what they do. Throughout their set I kept thinking if Syd Barrett and Ray Davies ever had a baby, it would be this band’s founder and creative force Tim Presley.

The LA-based Allah-Las came charging out of the gate as well, working a new LP and playing favorites from the previous three. They have a much ballsier sound live now, without changing what they do, and you know that can’t be bad.

More Black Angels on the Stubbs stage:

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night Two Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. Go HERE to view his report and gallery from the Austin blast’s first night, November 7, and stay tuned ‘cos there’s more to come! (Pictured above: the crowd at Stubbs either trippin’ out or in the line for the bathrooms….)

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Things we learned Friday night, Nov. 8, at Levitation 2019 in Austin, Texas, in no particular order:

1) What Wayne (Flaming Lips) said…

2) The Rev in Mercury Rev must be short for Revelation, because they are one.

3) Death Valley Girls can lick ‘em by smiling, and leave ‘em to hang. [I see what you did there, John. – Lyric Ed.]

4) A year of touring for Broncho has turned them into a dynamic, crowd-favorite stage act.

5) Crocodiles are the best rock band I have ever seen, or at least since The Clash (and before that band cashed out).

7) Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dihr can jam with the best of them sitting down.

Tonight (Sat., Nov. 9), will feature White Fence, Allah Las, John Cale, and The Black Angels – and many more we hope. Worth noting is that Reverberation was originally founded in 2008 by Texas sonic/archival/renegade collective the Reverb Appreciation Society featuring key members of those very same Black Angels. [Who, I feel compelled to insert at this point in your narrative, John, once blew my 5-year old son’s mind at a deafening club soundcheck well over a decade ago. I still have the ear damage to prove it, and he still has the autographed 3-D poster to prove it as well. Have at it, gang, and please don’t return our photographer home with anything less than permanent ear damage from tonight. – Archival Ed.]

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night One Report

In which our man on the ground, the esteemed Prof. Boydston, protects his lens from proximate fan damage because he cares about YOU, dear Blurt readers. More to come!

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Planet Stubbs (see colorful stage photo) and some class acts help lift Levitation 2019 into gear in Austin, Texas, Thursday night (Nov. 7).


A damn chilly night did not put a damper on Vagabon, Devendra Banhart, and the truly angelic Angel Olsen (pictured above). Many bands were blazing down the streets and around the corners, but once you get into a Stubbs BBQ groove, it’s hard to move on.

Tonight, the electric psych sounds of Holywave, Mercury Rev, and The Flaming Lips will light up this stage. And many many others around the corner.

Vagabon:

Banhart:

Shovels & Rope – 10/13/19, Philadelphia

Dates: October 13, 2019

Location: Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA

One of the BLURT braintrust’s fave band live at Philly’s Union Transfer on a sweet – loud – Sunday evening in the fall… (Above photo from the band’s Facebook page.)

BY JOHN B MOORE

For a duo, Shovels & Rope sure as hell manage to make their sound heard. (No shit. – Ed.)

Headlining a series of shows to promote their latest, By Blood, wife/husband duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent traded off vocals and turns behind the drum kit and on guitar, reeling through a 20-plus song set with the energy and hunger of a band just starting out. The fact that Shovels & Rope have been around for close to a decade made that feat that much more impressive for the crowd that ate up every moment Hearst and Trent were on stage.

The set kicked off with the title track from their latest LP and include a handful of new tracks like the destined to be show staple for years to come, “C’mon Utah,” a song set in future America about a horse helping unite a father with his son after a wall was built to keep immigrants out. Rather apt song for our time. The two deftly mixed in new songs alongside some of the greats from pervious records, like “O Be Joyful,” “Hail Hail” and a deeply spirited “The Devil is All Around.”

As impressive as the energy they put into the show – despite spending much of the past year on the road – was the versatility of these two musicians. Hearst managed to play both the drums and organ simultaneously throughout the set, a feat her husband was able to pull off as well when they switched places mid set.

Several times throughout the set, the two managed to show their appreciation for the audience who came out on a Sunday night: “We always feel blessed that this is our job every day,” said Hearst at the start of the show. Not too long after, a self-deprecating Trent unbuttoned his jacked to reveal a By Blood shirt. “After the album came out, we ordered a ton of these shirts thinking they would sell. Um, they’re not selling as well as I thought so I just started wearing them on stage. I’ve got plenty of clean shirts for the rest of the tour.”

A remarkable show by a remarkable band that proved yet again how they’ve managed to build such a loyal following with little airplay but strong word of mouth.

Blacktop Mojo 8/16/19, Pittsburgh

Dates: August 16, 2019

Location: Hard Rock Cafe, Pittsburgh PA

Live at the Iron City venue Pittsburgh Hard Rock Cafe! Above: Blacktop Mojo

TEXT & PHOTOS BY TIFFINI TAYLOR

When it comes to rock concerts, finding just a good old garage feel band rock show seems to be a dream for fans. I’m here to say that isn’t true anymore! Pittsburgh Hard Rock Café was the place to be, the stage rocked with Chuck Moses & The Trash Bandits, Redson, Lullwater, and Blacktop Mojo. The “Can’t Sleep” tour has a perfect line-up for all rock fans. The tours intensity to bring rock and smack you in the face will make you smile.

It’s been said rock is dead, don’t believe it! Rock has a soul as pure as the first breath of the word rock. It may be a little harder to find pure rock during this present time, but it is out there and needs to be heard. Pittsburgh Hard Rock Café had bands who knew how to get down good. It was a semi-cool summer Tuesday night to have a drink at Hard Rock Café and enjoy the music.

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Chuck Moses and The Trash Bandits, a local band, rocked a simple lighting effect stage, orange, blues and white. A band of talented musicians who has a retro late seventies vibe with blues thrown in made the crowd feel good. The drums were pounding by a man who knew how to pound, the bass was going with a sexy Miami Vice vibe, and the guitar player who was enjoying himself who resembles Robert Plant. A simply good band.

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Next taking to the stage is Redson, a band who embodies the appearance of rock ‘n’ roll. A heavier sound is what Redson brought to the stage. The stage lit up with nice lighting effects of red, blue, white, orange, and it has a little purple too. Their sound is harsh, but in a good way. The music is heavy, it’s like if good and evil had a baby. The guitar growls into pure heavy rock while beat is flavored with powerful drums and bass. Redson is a heavy rock band who is worthy of being seen on this tour.

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A band from Athens, Georgia as popular as Creature Comforts “Athena”, better known as champagne of the south, Lullwater is the champagne of grunge style rock. Lullwater is becoming legendary, just like Creature Comforts, all over the country and the world. The band are good guys who love music who’ve been doing it for a long time. Lullwater comes full on heavy rock and brings it all to the stage. Their newest released album “Voodoo” will put the voodoo inside you. No one will be disappointed, especially seeing them live. Simple stage lighting made the music come to life. A large audience gathered around the stage to see a good heavy rock band. A loud riff beginning everyone knew who Lullwater was before their set was over. Red, white, and blue lights illustrated the musicians to another level of rock. Hearing Lullwater play live and viewing their charisma is bliss.

 

 

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Once hearing Lullwater you begin to think it can’t get any better, then Blacktop Mojo enters onto the stage. These guys from Texas know how to rock ‘n’ roll. The crowd seemed to have grown larger and the excitement to rock grew stronger. Jeans and cowboy boots walked into Pittsburgh Hard Rock Café with a strong Texan howdy. Upon entering the stage, the audience had a roar. The first drumbeat, bass strummed, and the guitar riffs, it’s party time. The white lighting, with hues of blue, orange and red compliments the band and their instruments. Feeling the beats and the vibe from the stage knew this was a special moment which you look for in rock ‘n’ roll.  “Can’t Sleep” is a song which is a taste of their upcoming release of the album “Under the Sun”. Blacktop Mojo came into town to rock Pittsburgh, PA an it was accomplished. Everyone at Hard Rock had a great time along with great vibes and memories.

 

Blacktop Mojo and Lullwater are the  new face of rock ‘n’ roll. Don’t believe me, then check out these faces.

Ride 9/29/19, Atlanta

Dates: September 29, 2019

Location: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA

Shoegaze legends invade the Variety Playhouse in fine style.

PHOTOS/TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

One of my favorite early ’90s UK pop-gaze bands is back – been back for a while actually, and I’m guessing they’ve never sounded better, because they were amazing at this Atlanta performance.    It was my first chance to hear them.  Ride formed in Oxford 1988 and quickly became part of the shoegaze scene that I personally still can’t get enough of.  They made some great records, found an audience and critical acclaim, but broke up in 1996.    Andy Bell, Laurence Colbert, Mark Gardener, and Steve Queralt reformed in 2014 and have found an even bigger audience and are still making great records.

Ride is currently touring the US and circling the globe in support of their latest LP ‘This is Not a Safe Place’ on Wichita Recordings, and has found an even bigger audience since getting back together.

They broke out of the shoegaze mold a long ago by writing catchy songs, but keeping the pedals on overdrive.  The result is a wall-of-sound guitar bliss.  Check out the music and dates and all things Ride here. Photos of the Atlanta show are below.

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John Boydston’s galleries are viewable at jobo.smugmug.com and on Instagram at @johnboydstonphoto.

Massive Attack 9/27/19, NYC (REVIEW + VIDEOS)

Dates: September 27, 2019

Location: Radio City Music Hall, New York City, New York

A sold-out performance at Radio City Music Hall cemented the UK group’s reputation once again.

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

On September 27th, I witnessed the greatest concert of my life. Massive Attack, who I’ve been waiting to see for over 20 years, came to NYC and performed their massively influential Mezzanine LP.

In front of a sold-out audience, Massive Attack played the album out of order while including a mix of the most unexpected cover songs (including “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, “10:15 Saturday Night” – see the Bauhaus and Cure classics, below – and “I Found a Reason”) peppered throughout. With the band saying nothing to the audience during the entirety of the show, we were exposed to a carpet bombing of devastating, gut-wrenching visuals that, in conjunction with the music, left me reeling.

It was the case of developing on themes of political repression mated with the ceding of our lives to technology over the past 20 years that caused tears to well up in my eyes. This was art at its highest and most powerful level. These were no random images. Each one was part of an elaborate theory that we the people are losing out and that the smear of materialism spread over us to make us seem like we’re advancing is just smoke and mirrors.

If lead singer Robert Del Naja is provocateur Banksy – as the rumors have it – then this was one of his finest moments as an artist, essentially shredding the trauma of the past 20-odd years in front of our eyes, just like that painting at Sotheby’s in 2018. As a close mate of mine and I made our way out the exit, I knew my life had changed in a substantial way. With the crowd dispersing into the rush & rumble outside, my thoughts turned to the unity that was built between all of us in attendance, which comforted me that there’s still hope to turn things around.

I managed to film some additional video for our readership to enjoy – check the material, below.