Category Archives: Festivals

Pylon Reenactment Society, Harvest Recs’ Transfigurations Fest Incoming

Pictured above: Athens’ mighty Pylon Reenactment Society, playing Saturday night at the Mothlight. Meanwhile, Harvest Records’ Transfigurations  III Festival will run Thursday through Saturday, featurineveryone from Danny Brown and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy to the Oblivians and ESG. Hey kids, this is drugs on your brain….

By Fred Mills

Here at the BLURT western North Carolina outpost, we live for opportunities like this: a slew of utterly amazing outfits – veterans and relative newcomers alike – are descending upon the quiet burg (heh-heh) known as Asheville this week/weekend, and it’s not necessarily hype to proclaim this to be the premier musical interlude of the year.

My respect for the Pylon Reenactment Society  (heirs to the sonic and artistic legacy forged by Pylon and starting back in the early ’80s, when I initially saw the band) knows precious few, if any, boundaries. Let me revisit some past coverage here at Blurt:

Pylon Reenactment Society Part Time Punks Session 12″ review

Everything Is Cool

Back to Athens

Pylon Live album review

Here are the details on the show this Saturday, August 24. Be there, or be… you know. Cubic.

Pylon Reenactment Society -Athens, GA
(Post Punk / Dance Funk / Art Rock)
Crooked Ghost – Asheville, NC
(Dream Pop` / Post punk)
Fourth Mansions – Athens, GA 
(Acoustic music from the mind of Joe Rowe)
The Mothlight
Doors 8 pm. Music starts at 9 pm.
——————————————

 

Meanwhile, glom onto the above poster for our good friends at Harvest Records, located in West Asheville, for their big anniversary party, which takes place at multiple area venues this week. Rather than trying to steer you to any particular show, allow me to simply provide this link to their lineup page – you’ll be glad I did.

Hope to see a lot of my old friends out and about in a few days – it’s gonna be a special time.

2019 Lockn’ Festival About to Happen! (Aug. 22-25)

Subject header says it all – and stay tuned for our coverage of this year’s event, right here at Blurt.

By Blurt Staff

Need we encourage you once again?

The above poster to the annual jamming blowout should tell you all you need to know. Meanwhile, check out our coverage from years previous, courtesy our ace shutterbug, Willa Stein:

FOR THE LOVE OF… Lockn’ Festival 2018
MAKE AMERICA LOVE AGAIN: Annual LOCKN’ Festival 2017
Photo Gallery: Lockn’ Festival 2015

 

40 Years On: The 2019 Montreal Jazz Festival

This year’s event, held June 26-July 6, made for a remarkable experience regardless of what you were expecting.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY ALISA CHERRY

Over the course of the past four decades, Festival International de Jazz de Montreal (also known as the Montreal Jazz Festival), has rightfully become one of the world’s most prestigious music festivals regardless of the competition. This was a milestone year for the festival and the fact that its two long-time leaders and cofounders, Alain Simard and Andre Ménard, announced their retirement, the 2019 edition of the festival took on additional significance as well.

Nevertheless, there will always be consistency. Montreal’s downtown district offers both ticketed main stage performances and outdoor musical events that are free to the public. People attend from all over the world, all marvelling at some of the best bills found at any festival of a similar size.  Indeed, the Montreal Jazz Festival’s reputation for providing imaginative and adventurous music in a variety of forms will likely continue unabated. This year’s line-up included Peter Frampton, Alan Parsons Project, Buddy Guy, Holly Cole, Charlotte Cardin, Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Blue Rodeo, Steel Pulse, Victor Wainwright, Dianne Reeves, George Benson, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Joshua Redman, Bryan Adams, Chet Faker, John Pizzarelli, PJ Morton, Popa Chubby, Courtney Barnett, Kurt Elling, Pink Martini, Richard Reed Parry, Colin James, Sue Foley, and Mercury Rev among the many. Its banner to the contrary, the festival isn’t limited to jazz, but rather some of the most eclectic offerings possible.

(Above: Buddy Guy on July 6, 2019 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Art, Montréal – Photo by Alisa B. Cherry)

***

Here then are some of this year’s highlights in the order of their presentation:

Guitarist Stephane Wrembel’s tribute to Django Reinhardt was an early highlight, as was Gabriel & Rodrigo’s demonstration of duelling guitars. “People ask is what kind of music we play,” Gabriella remarked. “I tell them I don’t know. We have no boundaries in our heads.”

(Alan Parsons on July 4, 2019 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Art, Montréal)

The Alan Parsons’ Project provided another extraordinary performance, and the group’s takes on such signature songs as “Time,” “Breakdown” and “Games People Play” were, by measure, both stunning and surreal.

(Peter Frampton on July 5, 2019, The Farewell Tour, we hope not, at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Art, Montréal – Photo by Alisa B. Cherry)

Peter Frampton’s performance was highly anticipated due to his decision to make his current Farewell Tour a final farewell due to the fact that he suffers from a disease called IBM which attacks the muscles with varying degrees of speed and progression. “I never want to stop playing. I love being on stage,” he continued, while insisting that the choice depends on the progression of his affiliation.

For the moment however, Frampton was still in top form. A slide show captured images of him from his earliest efforts with the Brit pop band The Herd through his efforts with Humble Pie and then into his tremendously successful solo career. He began the 2 1/2-hour concert with the upbeat song “Something’s Coming,” an apt opening anthem. From that point on, the setlist offered some obvious choices — “Show Me the Way,” “Do You Feel Like We Do,” as well as covers of “Signed Sealed Delivered,” “Georgia on My Mind” and “Same Old Blues,” the latter two from his chart-topping new album All Blues. He went back to the beginning with several selections from his first solo album Wind of Change and then even further back with a pair of Humble Pie staples, “Four Day Creep” and “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” as part of his encore. A dramatic read of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” ended it all, with an obviously emotional Frampton telling the audience “I’m not going to say goodbye,” while fighting off a few tears as he walked off the stage.

(Press Conference with newly festival president, Jacques-André Dupont and festival founders, Alain Simard and André Ménard on July 6, 2019  – Salle Stevie-Wonder, Maison du Festival, Montréal  – Photo by Alisa B. Cherry)

The founders of the festival, Simard and Ménard, took center stage later that evening in Le Club, where they were interviewed live on the radio and a given special serenade by several of the festival’s past and present performers. A slide show was shown on a screen behind them as the musicians entertained the small invited audience. The l two song set by Holly Cole was especially memorable, and her rendition of “Bali Ha’i” from the musical South Pacific were nothing less than magical.

The festival’s new team in charge — programmers Marin Auxemery and Lauren Saunier, and newly installed festival president Jacques-Andre Dupont — shared their satisfaction. “We are really pleased,” Auxemery insisted. “We’re on budget, we have good ticket sales and a lovely vibe within this community. It’s an excellent first year.”

The others echoed his enthusiasm, hailing Montreal as a city that’s an ideal match for the diversity of the festival’s artists and audiences. It is, they agreed, a perfect place for musicians and music lovers to gather and celebrate such an astounding array of sounds and styles.

(Colin James on July 6, 2019 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, Place des Art, Montréal – Photo by Alisa B. Cherry)

Later, local proud again became evident when Canada’s Colin James opened for blues legend Buddy Guy. He occasionally ventured offstage into the first few rows of the crowd, keeping a constant grin on his face as he shared his songs with both aplomb and enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Guy showed he was in a playful mood as well. Even at age 82, he’s as vibrant as ever, gyrating his hips, mugging with his moves and showing he’s still earnest and enthusiastic when it comes to showing off his skills,

Leslie Odom Jr., known for his role as Aaron Burr in the Broadway hit Hamilton — as well as for his various TV roles — did a superb job of sharing standards in the company of a three-piece jazz band of considerable skill. His voice climbed to higher octaves while retracing some familiar fare, his take on “Killing Me Softly” being but one example.

On the other hand, experimentation was on tap with the final show of the festival, a performance by the adventurous ensemble Mercury Rev in the intimate environs of Le Club. The music was mesmerizing given its shifting tones and textures. Singer Jonathan Donahue was an inventive frontman, preening and posing with obvious aplomb. It was an apt ending for Montreal Jazz, and the extraordinary encounters that have always been so essential to its existence.

Granted, being in Canada over the 4th of July holiday does seem somewhat unpatriotic. Visiting a foreign city sans fireworks or any other homage to American pride can be cause for remorse.

Still, the sacrifice is well worth it. The Montreal Jazz Festival has a remarkably gracious staff that helps make the journalists that congregate onsite feel welcome and decidedly at home. Indeed, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as mingling with the crowds on the bustling streets of Montreal. The combination of those wonderful sights and all that remarkable music clearly makes for an amazing adventure in itself.

 

Monolith on the Mesa Festival 5/17/19 & 5/18/19

Dates: May 17 & 18, 2019

Location: Taos, New Mexico

Taos will never be quite the same again… until next year. Go here for our pre-fest feature and interview.

PHOTOS BY JOHN GALUSKA

The inaugural Monolith on the Mesa festival, held on May 17 &18 in Taos, New Mexico, left an indelible mark on the audience and bands alike. With a relentless two days’ worth of seismic torrents pummeling the area, ear drums were shattered and the geology of Northern New Mexico will never be the same.

Unable to attend myself I managed to draft in musicologist, photographer, and raconteur John “Rastaman” Galuska, who withstood the sonic onslaught and fog of mystical herbs to bring you two days of images from the festival. —Jonathan Levitt, Blurt Psych/Levitation Editor

***

Friday, May 17

Dead Meadow

Spirit Mother

Super Giant

Weed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woven Hand

Saturday May 18

Castle

Crypt Trip

Palehorse

Pharlee

Pinkish Black

 

 

 

 

WELCOME, ALL: The 3rd Lake Logan, NC, Cold Mountain Music Festival

Taking place Friday and Saturday of this week, May 31-June 1, in Canton, North Carolina, it features a slew of diverse artists—among them, Calexico, Milk Carton Kids, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Kat Wright. We talked to one of the festival organizers about its origins, its intention, and its overall success to date. (Above photo the official festival photo; image below, by David Simchock www.davidsimchock.com / courtesy CMMF)

BY FRED MILLS

The summer festival season begins anew—having already been sufficiently primed/goosed by numerous pre-summer festivals, which seem to occur earlier and earlier each year—with festival-goers and musicians alike fairly frothing at the mouth over, respectively, the ensuing fun-potential and the ridiculously easy paychecks.

One relatively young event is the two-day Cold Mountain Music Festival, May 31-June 1, occurring in Canton, North Carolina (specifically: 25 Wormy Chestnut Lane, Canton, NC 28716). Canton is about a half-hour west of Asheville, already renowned for its thriving music scene, and the hills of Western N.C. are similarly alive with the sound of music (to paraphrase a great philosopher). And as we pointed out not long ago here at BLURT, it’s to be “a tasting board of artists ranging from the folk, funk, Americana, bluegrass, and post-rock worlds, with highlights including Grammy-nominated alt-rockers the Milk Carton Kids, critically acclaimed “desert noir” duo Calexico, crowd-favorite jamgrass ensemble Yonder Mountain String Band, fast rising troubadour J.S. Ondara, “soul queen” Kat Wright, the equally Stax-worthy Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics, and improvisational genre-benders Driftwood, among others.”

There’s an interesting angle here, too: the family-friendly camping festival, now in its third year and located in Pisgah National Forest at the wonderfully scenic Lake Logan, is put on by the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina in order to support the work of the ministries of the Lake Logan Conference Center and Camp Henry. Doesn’t exactly sound like your garden-variety sex/drugs/rock’n’roll gathering, where topless girls get hoisted upon the shoulders of their E-gobbling boyfriends and frats on leave from campus slam beer-bongs in between actual bong hits, eh?

I posed that question, or at least my somewhat toned-down version of it, to Lake Logan Conference Center’s Development Director Michelle Robinson, as I was curious to learn if the festival organizers have ever encountered raised eyebrows when informing someone about potential looming collisions between Dionysian youth practices and Faith-based church cultures. I got a firm “LOL” from her…

“We haven’t seen any of that,” chuckled Robinson. “I hope it’s respect for the place we are in and for those around us. If we are to continue to have this festival, we can’t have issues like drugs destroying the vibe. Christians are not excluded from liking good music, be it rock ‘n’ roll or any other. And we count it as a blessing that we have very poor Wi-fi here—people aren’t walking around with their faces in their phones. Instead, they are connecting with their neighbors and enjoying nature. It’s amazing to watch.”

In our conversation, Robinson professed to be a big fan of music festivals in general, adding that she has prior experience with large such events. She always had a hunch that the Lake Logan setting would be an ideal one for such a gathering, and explained that while the venue had always been used primarily for summer camp and church groups, “the festival arose as a thought between a few long-time supporters of Lake Logan and myself—I knew we could make it happen. My best friend is married to one of the Steep Canyon Rangers, so she was very helpful, as were the Rangers, with getting the first one going. We knew the location was perfect for it! It took a lot of work that first year from the entire planning committee, the Diocese staff and Lake Logan staff—I’m always afraid our head of facilities will retire! We have great people at Lake Logan and in the Diocese office in Asheville. Everyone works hard to make this a success.

“And there is a great deal of organization to it. I work for Lake Logan and Camp Henry, with support from the Episcopal Diocese of WNC. And Bishop José McLoughlin has been our strongest supporter. He understands our goal [is] to bring all people together in this place where all are welcomed. He lets us do the job and trusts us to make good decisions.”

Good decisions, indeed. Early on, the festival organizers determined that strategic partnerships would be key, and by the second year they had brought on well-respected and -connected Asheville concert promoter and talent buyer Jeff Whitworth, of Worthwhile Sounds, to help line up performers, along with Chad Stewart of Asheville’s Sound to coordinate the lighting and sound systems. (Robinson: “He’s the best, so that was an easy choice.”) Also in the mix now: Haywood County’s weekly newspaper the Smoky Mountain News, the Haywood Tourism Development Authority helping out with some of the talent costs, and the Haywood Sheriff Department for festival-related security and traffic control (not to mention accompanying bureaucratic hoops). Plus, plenty of participation from local breweries, food trucks, and regional merchants—crucial for probably every kind of music festival on the planet.

Robinson adds that another crucial element in mounting a solid festival is lining up sponsorships in order to cover the costs of the booking budget. “We have been successful financially so far,” she says. “It isn’t a huge profit yet, but we keep growing. We have many generous sponsors who come back year after year to help us make this happen. And the Haywood TDA gave us a grant this year that has been a huge help for getting great talent. In terms of genre, we stress that this festival is not a bluegrass festival. We love bluegrass and we have it on the schedule, but we don’t stop there. We want diversity in the music and in the musicians. This year, we have some great soul acts, Americana, folk, country, and bluegrass—and some that I’m not sure how to categorize, but it’s good music.”

And she’s quick to point out that the Cold Mountain Music Festival is intended to be more than simply musically inclusive:

“This festival sort of announced to the community that Lake Logan is open for all. We are not a private campus and we welcome all. You don’t have to be Episcopalian to be here. We host artist retreats, family reunions, private retreats, dancing, and the list goes on and on. Last year, our new-ish Executive Director, Lauri SoJourner, opened Lake Logan for annual memberships. That has been a huge success with our neighbors. People can come out for the day to enjoy the lake or to fish.

“We really do welcome all.”

***

For further reading about the festival, check out my interview with Joey Burns and John Convertino, of Saturday evening headliner Calexico, along with don’t-miss featured performer Kat Wright, who plays late afternoon on Saturday.. – FM

***

Check out the festival line-up and visit www.coldmountainmusic.org for tickets, festival tees and more info — with The Milk Carton Kids, Kat Wright, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, Joe Lasher, Calexico, J.S. Ondara, The Travelin’ Kine, Yonder Mountain String Band, Logan Ledger, Out of the Blue Peruvian Fusion Cuisine, Noble Cider – Taproom & Cidery, Hit the Pit BBQ Co., Driftwood and Mo Pho Pho Sho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A HALLUCINOGENIC MIASMA: Monolith on the Mesa Festival

The newly christened music festival this weekend, stationed in Taos, New Mexico, is destined to turn (on) more than a few heads. Cofounders Dano Sanchez and Roman Barham explain.

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

Monolith on the Mesa is set to make history with their inaugural festival in Taos, New Mexico starting this Friday, May 17.  Local news reports that with two days of heavy music, the mountains are already shaking and avalanche warnings have been posted. Doctors are on standby for people who might be affected by the cloud of mystical smoked herbs that will be billowing towards Santa Fe. Kids have been told not go to school until Monday.=

Joking aside, OM, Woven Hand, Dead Meadow, The Obsessed and a whole raft of heavy bands are set to rock the thronging masses literally and figuratively into a hallucinogenic miasma. Lucky for Blurt readers then that I caught up with Dano Sanchez and Roman Barham while they are still clear headed enough to ask them a few questions about the festival.

***

BLURT: What possessed you guys to create a rock music festival in Taos New Mexico?

DANO SANCHEZ AND ROMAN BARHAM: Well, Taos is a special place. When the Melvins played the Taos Mesa Brewing it was packed and Al Cisneros [of] (OM, Sleep) [we were talking at that show and were] like ‘you need to play here” and with that the idea was born. Taos Mesa Brewing is a very unique venue, next to the gorge bridge, at the base of the Sangre de Christos (blood of Christ) mountains all over seen by [the] Taos Pueblo, [which is over 1,000 years old]. It’s a heavy vibe and a high desert setting ripe for this festival.

 

BLURT: How hard was it to get funding?

Well this festival has some great sponsors but it is a festival born of ideas of limitless possibilities that Roman and I have created.

 

BLURT: What are some of the funding sources and sponsorships that is making it possible to hold the festival?

We have generous sponsors who share our vision and wanted to invest in the vision that is Monolith. Magical Tattoo, Black Arts Tone Works, Worshiper Cabinets, Music Go Round(Albuquerque), Taos Mesa Brewing, Hotel Luna Mystica, Arise Music & Coffee, Fly Pr, Blues Funeral, Heads Up Music (Taos), Kickstarter Music, Vans, The Coffee Apothecary (Taos), Magnetic Eye Records, Ripple Records.

 

BLURT: Who came up with the name Monolith on the Mesa and who designed the poster?

I did (Dano), I feel that Taos is a monolithic place that evokes limitless possibilities and being high in elevation the transmissions broadcast[ed] and receive[d] are really clear. The poster was designed by Simon Berndt – he organizes Endless Daze and [lives] in South Africa. [It’s a] great image to set the tone for our inaugural year.

 

BLURT: What were you looking for in terms of the bands you wanted for the festival?  (When I look at the lineup I think it’s perfect for Northern New Mexico with its mystical psychedelic edge.)

First off we are fans of the heavy genre of music, all-encompassing genres. So we sculpted the show that we would want to see.It all started with OM, the rest was milled over and came to fruition and now we are weeks away from realization.

BLURT: Which band was the hardest to secure?

I’d say The Obsessed were pretty hard to nail down, but Wino and crew came thru!

 

BLURT: Musically how did you all decide the order of the bands and will you be filming this concert for future release?

That was hard to decide but we are really excited with the order that they are in. We hope to film portions of the show and there’s definitely videos coming to our YouTube channel.

 

BLURT: Were there any bands that you invited that had to cancel or were there any that you hope to get next year?

We had 2 drop and 2 new ones sign up. Sleep, Melvins, Mondo drag, are [the bands] who I would like to see, and seeing The Saviors play again would be killer! But we are focused on this year and making a great time for [both] artists and attendees.

 

BLURT: Who are you guys most looking forward to seeing?

Everyone really, that’s why we sculpted this line up. EYE is one I’m really looking forward to (Dano) and [of course] my all-time favorite, OM.

 

BLURT: In terms of creating the music festival what festivals did you draw inspiration from?

I really like old time carnivals so a little of that mixed with Stoner Hands of Doom.The idea that music inspires art inspiring music. Christian Ristow and Christina Sporrong are bringing their intense metal sculptures out that have interactive fire elements to them, along with The Ad Alchemist Liquid Light Show handling visuals on the outside stage. So [it’s] more [a] psychedelic carnival.

 

BLURT: How are ticket sales?

So far so good! We are going to have a great time.

 

BLURT: Tell us about how the location will be set up?

Taos Mesa Brewing is the main venue where there is a indoor stage(worshiper stage) and the outdoor “earthship” ampitheatre is outdoors.

 

BLURT: Is there camping?

Yes, the Hotel Luna Mystica compound is steps away where they have a vintage trailer park, as well as primitive camping areas.

 

BLURT Will there be security screening?

Yes, there is a safety factor. Everyone deserves to have a safe and fun time.

 

BLURT: Will the music be in tents as well as out in the open?

There will be the Bedouin tent on Hotel Luna Mystica property that will have a DJ set and also a small bar.

 

BLURT: What about facilities such as water and restrooms?

We will have restrooms at the brewery, as well as porta potties all around the compound. Water stations will be available as well as beverages for sale.

 

BLURT: Are there any decibel restrictions?

Yes there are, but not ‘til after midnight, so that’s why the outdoor ampitheatre shuts down at midnight. Lisa Bella Donna will be doing a first night wind down [Friday] night inside from 12-12:30 and our after party and wind down on Saturday is Lord Dying and Year of the Cobra inside from 12-1.

 

BLURT: How many people do you have working for the festival?

We have a great crew putting this together. Dano Sanchez, Roman Barham, Joel Meinholz are the main organizers, and we have a great team working hard on media, volunteers, box office, security and hospitality, along with the great crews [from] Taos Mesa Brewing as well as Hotel Luna Mystica.

 

BLURT: Have local businesses been supportive of your efforts?

We have had great support from local businesses. Next year we intend on [having] more community involvement and outreach.

 

BLURT: What sort of local vendors will you have on site and what sort of stuff will they be selling?

We will have vendors from all over as well as local ones, from artists doing live screen printing, jewelry, snack vendors, a bee lady, Wumaniti native earth sanctuary, coffee, record store, and many more.

 

BLURT: I’ve been to Taos and it’s a small town. Was it difficult to get the permits and was there any pushback from the locals or Native American community, given the Pueblo nearby?

Taos Mesa Brewing and Hotel Luna Mystica carry permits and work hard to pull off events. No blowback from the Taos Pueblo, we love the puebloans and want to encourage festival goers to visit the Pueblo and learn about the people that give this beautiful town its rich history. 

 

BLURT: In terms of the Native American Community, what can we expect on that front – will there be any Native American musicians?

This year the way it worked out no, but next year we fully intend on having dancers, drum circles and bands as well.This year really happened so fast we filled up [really] quick. Lots of local New Mexican favorites tho.

 

BLURT: Taos and Northern New Mexico weather changes on a dime in May, so what are your contingency plans if it starts to snow or a sudden hail storm happens?

We are a rain, snow or shine festival. We suggest that you wear layers because of the shifts [in the] weather. [Best to] be prepared. We have [an] inside [venue] as well as tents that will be around as well as the safety of the trailers and personal tent and RVs.The Bedouin tent will serve as a [contingency in case of] extreme weather.

 

BLURT: Is it already decided that there will be a festival next year?

Absolutely!

 

BLURT: Finally, when all is said and done what do you hope people leave Taos with?

An experience! With the crazy vibrations that are going out to the universe these days, we want to radiate positive high vibrations that reverberate unity, love and healing through art and music. I think that most people coming are seeking something out of the norm and this may just scratch that primal search for truth and belonging.Taos is Magical and transformative [place that] can have a lasting impact on people [making them want to] return. [There’s] no place like Planet Taos!

Shaky Knees Music Festival 5/3-5/19, Atlanta

Big weekend in Atlanta the other weekend with Shaky Knees Music Festival at Central Park, and our longtime photographer John Boydston was there.

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

3 Days of Peace, Love, and Understanding – and plenty of people watching. He brought us photos, but this is by no means an exhaustive overview, but the best of the stages he got to. John says, “The most amazing thing about Shaky Knees is the people who make it happen, behind the scenes and the crowd that turns out. Plus the huge roster of indie, world, and better known acts. The music never stops and its the best of the best all around you.”

***

Day 1: May 3

The great artist known as Beck, his amazing band, and his massive crowd closing out Shaky Knees opening day.

Sharon Van Etten wows the main Peachtree stage Friday.

The Idles taking it to the crowd Friday at the Ponce de Leon Stage.

Foxing at the Criminal Records stage.

Thee Oh Sees and crowd surfers (Piedmont Stage)

I lost count of how many instruments Tash Sultana played during her solo set, but the music never stopped.

Liz Phair with her usual flair – looking and sounding better than ever on the Piedmont stage in the midday sun.

Brandon Boyd and Incubus.

Tears for Fears, a surprise hit of the day for my money – smiling and waving, and looking so fine.  Huge crowd – penultimate act of the day on the Piedmont stage.

***

Day 2: May 4

 

Japanese Breakfast might have been my personal indie-rock find of the day (Piedmont Stage)

 

Bad Books features Kevin Devine and Andy Hull (of Atlanta’s own Manchester Orchestra) and has been around a while off and on.  They should have a lot more fans after their great set here.

 

Two photos won’t do justice for The Struts and their big stage performance here.  They lit it up.  (It’s timely to be reminding people of Freddie Mercury’s stage greatness.)

Natalie Press ready for a little rain, that did get people wet later on.

 

Jim James and band bringing the heart-shaped rock.  (Piedmont Stage)

Interpol (Peachtree Stage)

Jade Bird (Ponce de Leon Stage)

***

Lucy Dacus – Criminal Records Stage

The Murlocs from Melbourne, Australia

Group Love getting some on the Peachtree Stage.

Deerhunter

Calpurnia featuring Finn Wolfhard, star of the Atlanta-filmed hit TV series “Stranger Things.”

DIdn’t expect to hear seriously good country music at Shaky Knees, but they are full of surprises here.  Tyler Childers and band.

Tame Impala brings the visual storm and festival closing set Sunday night.

 

 

 

Incoming: N.C. Cold Mountain Fest w/Calexico, Milk Carton Kids, YMSB

Third annual acclaimed event takes place May 31-June 1 in Canton, North Carolina.

By Fred Mills

With the festival season already in motion (the celeb clusterfuck known as Coachella not duly noted), here in the Tar Heel state – where BLURT is based – the concert-going denizens are gearing up. Literally in our backyard is the third installment of the Cold Mountain Music Festival, taking place May 31 and June 1 in Canton, North Carolina, at the undeniably gorgeous Lake Logan, and our magic 8-ball tells us that it promises to be a winner.

Allow us to quote from the organizers, and watch this space for updates and additional info.

With music as its centerpiece, Cold Mountain is pleased to be hosting a tasting board of artists ranging from the folk, funk, Americana, bluegrass and post-rock worlds, with highlights including a very special full band performance by Grammy-nominated outfit The Milk Carton Kids, critically acclaimed “desert noir” duo Calexico, crowd-favorite bluegrass ensemble Yonder Mountain String Band, fast rising troubadour J.S. Ondara, and “soul queen” Kat Wright, among others. With two full days of nonstop music, attendees can expect an immersive and balanced weekend of electric, hip-shaking tunes and swoon-worthy acoustic melodies. Also to note, daily schedules and single day passes have just been released, making it easier than ever for folks to curate their ideal festival experience.

Tying it all together is Lake Logan’s pristine 300-acre property surrounded by the Shining Rock Wilderness Area of Pisgah National Forest, where a variety of outdoor activities will be available, including paddle-boarding (on Cold Mountain equipment only), swimming, and fishing (with valid permit).

With music, food, sun and sand, Haywood County’s own Cold Mountain Festival is the ultimate weekend retreat. General admission weekend, single day, and youth passes are available at www.coldmountainmusic.org and range from $20-$100. For more information on camping, dining, and more, please visit www.coldmountainmusic.org/faq.

 

 

2019 Louder Than Life Festival Returns in Sept.

Louisville, Kentucky, September 27, 28, and 29 is where the dirty deeds will be done…

BY MARK JACKSON

The Louder Than Life Festival is back and louder than ever! The festival had a great lineup set for last year, and then the floods came and destroyed the park leading to the festival having to be canceled for 2018. If you know Danny Wimmer then you already know that this set back would not stop him and his team for 2019! This year Louder Than Life changed the location to prevent any chances of rain from stopping the fun. This alone was a great move, but Danny went above and beyond by reuniting two huge bands and bringing them to Louisville!

As if the one and only Guns N’ Roses wasn’t enough they also are bringing Staind who will perform for the first time in five years! This alone makes the festival news worthy, but wait there’s more like Disturbed, Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, a Day to Remember, Breaking Benjamin, Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Chevelle, Halestorm, Ice Cube, Die Antwoord, The Crystal Method, GWAR, I Prevail, New Years Day, Dropkick Murphys, Stone Temple Pilots, Badflower, Suicidal Tendencies, joyous Wolf, Jelly Roll, and many more.

From the start this has been a premier festival and this year is set to take it to a new level. FYI all the camping passes have already sold out and ticket sells are on a record breaking pace to sell out soon, so you better hurry or else you will just be seeing all the highlights on social media while you are at work!

Go here to view Mark’s review and gallery of the 2017 festival.

Upcoming This Month: Monolith on the Mesa Festival

Put your transport settings on “Taos” (and don’t forget to bring ‘shrooms to this new festival,,,)

By Jonathan Levitt

The maiden Monolith on the Mesa music festival will take place on May 17 and 18th in Taos New Mexico. When I saw the lineup, I immediately booked my flights and started listening to some of the bands I thought I would never have a chance to see like Om, Dead Meadow, and Woven Hand.

Having grown up in the southwest, northern New Mexico was often a favorite summer destination for my family. Psychedelic music has often drawn inspiration from the desert southwest, with its dramatic thunderstorms and intense heat as well as certain mystical elements mythologized by folklore and druggy culture. Two years ago when I was living in Santa Fe it snowed on April 29th and then a few days later hail storms hit the area. Taos experiences even more unpredictable weather from what I hear, so things might get interesting! Festival founders Dano Sanchez and Roman Barham (we’ll be running an interview with them soon) have curated what looks to be the festival to beat in 2019.

There will be plenty of local vendors selling their wares, and according to the festival, both the indoor and outdoor venues should allow for a more intimate interaction between band and audience. I will attempt to film some of the festival for our readers in the hope that some of you will be similarly inspired to make the trek down to New Mexico. Anyway, on to a few of the bands.

OM, whose album Advaitic Songs has been on constant rotation in my life, manages to seamlessly blend Indian musical elements and their heavy narcotic churn.   Check out this amazing clip from 2013


Dead Meadow, who hail from Washington D.C., have seven amazing albums of psychedelic brilliance under their belt and this show from 2017 suggests what a blistering set they can deliver:

Let’s also not forget that Jason Simon is also a part of the band Old Mexico, whose brilliant album was reviewed in these very pages just a few months ago.

David Eugene Edwards’ band Woven Hand takes the fire and brimstone of 16 horsepower and blends it with widescreen mysticism. This show that was performed at a Synagogue in 2011, shows the incandescent transitory nature of their music.

There are also bands that I only recently discovered, such as Canadian band Weeed who bring the heavy on this titanic tune “Rainbow Amplifier Worship”—check out this live version:

And then there’s Green Druid with their sludge version of “My Sharona”:

Not to mention Pinkish Black with this epic track entitled “Loss of Feeling of Loss”: