Category Archives: live review

Pegboy 3/30/19, Denver

Dates: March 30, 2019

Location: Marquis Theatre, Denver CO

Live at the Marquis Theatre! (Above photo from the band’s Facebook page.)

BY TIM HINELY

A little more than two years after their last Denver visit (on 2/17/17 at the Don’t Panic Festival over at 3 Kings on South Broadway…it had been 17 years before that) and I have to say, I think Pegboy really like Denver.  They seem to get a real warm welcome here and, well…they’re welcome back anytime.

Back this time doing a spate of gigs with Wyoming pop punks Teenage Bottlerocket who are a fine combo, but I was here for the gentlemen from Chicago and they did not disappoint.

Missed the first few songs (unfortunately) but as we walked in the place was packed (sold out, actually) and most of the crowd were jammed to the front, fists pumping singing along to every word as on occasion vocalist Larry Damore  (who looks like he could be a retired NFL linebacker) handed the mic to a fan to belt out the words. Behind him are legendary guitarist John Haggerty (ex-Naked Raygun), nimble bassist “Skinny” Mike Thompson and on the skins is Haggerty’s brother Joe (who was in a very fine combo called Bloodsport exactly 50 years ago).

The band is serious about their music but come to have a good time to with Damore charging across the stage like he’s ready to tackle someone while belting out his great, raspy howl (he also mentioned a few times how the elevation was getting to him), Thomson is bouncing all over the place and Haggerty (John, that is) is stock still grinding out classic guitar riffage and brother Joe hammering out rapid-fire fills.

They haven’t written any new music in ages (we can hope, right?) but played a fresh batch of classic oldies like “My Youth (off their first EP, Three Chord Monte), “Dangermare,” “Strong Reaction,” “Hardlight” and a tough, thick cover of the Mission of Burma chestnut “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver.”

Since they were opening they did not encore (and a lot of times they don’t anyway) and received some heavy applause by the appreciative Denver crowd.

As I said earlier, you’re welcome back anytime fellas.

Zac Brown Band 3/30/19, Memphis

Dates: March 30, 2019

Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis TN

Hell yeah! Live at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, they delivered!

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

The Zac Brown Band, probably best known as a country band, brought their Down The Rabbit Hole Tour to Memphis on March 30th, but they are much more than a country band. Sure, they have several hits such as “Toes”, “Chicken Fried”, “Homegrown”, “Free” and many more that have climbed up the country charts, but I must say that this band surprised me more than any other band that I have seen. Zac and the band are all great musicians whose influences are very wide and diverse, ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to Def Leppard.

Zac and the boys performed their hits and a couple of new songs, including “God Given,” soon to be released, but they also did several covers that I was not expecting. After a few originals Zac covered “Use Somebody”, “Somebody I Use to Know”, “Little Lion Man”, “I Will Wait”, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, “Whipping Post”, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”, “The Boxer”, “Pride (In the Name of Love]”, “Jeremy”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hot for Teacher”, and “Bulls on Parade” all of which rivaled the originals. As you can see there is nothing that this amazing band can’t do.

This concert was a night of great voices, guitars, violins, and bongos with perfect sound and no gimmicky lighting and stage props. ZBB had the crowd dancing and singing along throughout the whole show. I don’t think anyone, including myself, wanted it to stop; it was just one of those nights you never want to end.

I must admit that even though I was aware of who they were and knew a couple of the “hits,” I was unprepared on just how great they were and the depths to which they could reach. I often say “this is a great show and you should go see them when in your area”, but the Zac Brown Band is on a whole different level. Zac, you have definitely made a new fan with me and I can’t wait for the next time I get to see you and the guys.

***

Check out the entire setlist for the concert at Setlist.FM

 

Mike Krol + Vertical Scratchers 2/19/19, Denver

Dates: February 19, 2019

Location: Globe Hall, Denver, Colorado

Live at Globe Hall!

BY TIM HINELY

Real nice double bill of two Merge artists, one who hasn’t released an album in 5 years (that would be Vertical Scratchers debut Daughter of Everything) while one, Mike Krol, definitely being more on the up and coming.

There was a definitely a good crowd milling around Globe Hall, some even enjoying the place’s terrific BBQ which is in the room right next door.

I do have to say that my biggest pet peeve of all happened tonight when there was a full merch table of both bands stuff but .,…..no one there. I assumed it was being manned after the show but man, a weeknight with early work looming the next day I wanted to zip out when the show was over. Aw well.

Vertical Scratchers did not disappoint, as the four members held down their positions, not just sturdily but mightily. Also, I must add that if the music thing doesn’t work out for the vocalist then he has a career in stand-up comedy as the dude was a completely deadpan riot most of the night. Oh and did I bother to mention that the maniac drummer has 7 arms? I do know that the band did play at least one brand new songs called “Song of Earth” so perhaps a new record will be just around the corner.

I wanted to take the folks in Mike Krol’s band home and feed ‘em some soup and Castor Oil ‘cos they were all bloodied and beaten (the guitarist apparently had emergency surgery while at SXSW the week before and Mike himself was losing his voice….he mentioned a few other members were sick as well).

Did any of this stop Krol and Co from putting on a great show? I say emphatically HELL NO! They put on a terrific set complete with a strobe light that got me all dizzy and a synthesizer that was on ‘ludes that Mike kept leaning down to mess with (plus his trusty sidekick, the tambourine, on his arm).

They played mostly stuff off the righteous new record, Power Chords (Merge) plus a handful off his Merge debut, 2015’s Turkey.  Yeah, people keep mentioning Ty Segall when comparing Krol’s music, but the one thing that Krol has on Segall is that Krol would hand you a pair of ear plugs before blowing your ears out (Segall would never do that).

Seriously though, the band rocked mightily while tunes like the title track, “Little Drama” and “Blue and Pink” all sounded fabulous. Also, until Krol mentioned that he was having voice issues (from 7 gigs in 3 days at SXSW) I could not tell (thanks in part to vocal fx and plenty of distortion).

The guy and his crew know how to entertain and are definitely worth leaving the house for.  Krol gets my vote, I say put him on the ballot in 2020 and watch the country improve!

ALL THE WAY FROM…. Mott the Hoople Live

The Mountain of Mott the Hoople ‘74 (aka MTH74) gave all the dudes and dudettes what they wanted…. and then some…. on April 1 in Milwaukee and April 3 in Chicago.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARTY PEREZ

For MTH74’s eight date run, The Rant Band helped Ian Hunter make this, the first US Mott the Hoople get together, a true special event. The tour’s been welcomed with open arms and hearts by many faithful Mott fans (a most loyal lot, by the way.)

MTH74
Chicago, IL.
04-03-2019

Many of these fans are back to see Mott because they’d sold their tickets after Queen, the 1974 opener, left the tour—either disappointed at the thought of Aerosmith and Kansas as openers, dates being changed, or figured they’d catch Mott on their next go around.

MTH74
Chicago, IL.
04-03-2019

Ian’s Rant Band of James Mastro, Steve Holly, Mark Bosch, Paul Page, and Dennis  Dibrizzi made this outing possible,  having backed Ian since 2015. They’re the solid foundation which allows the three original ’74 veteran Hooples—Hunter, Morgan Fisher, and the mad wiz kid, Aerial Bender—to color and embellish the ’74 repertoire to its fullest potential.

Impeccable song selection and presentation kept show energetic, buoyant, and seemingly spontaneous.

To all: thanks for getting the band back onto the bus and back on the road; it meant a lot to us dudes and dudettes…

MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
04-01-2019

MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
04-01-2019

MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
04-01-2019

MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
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MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
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MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
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MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
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MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
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MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
04-01-2019

MTH74
Chicago, IL.
04-03-2019

MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
04-03-2019

MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Chicago, IL.
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MTH74
Milwaukee, WI.
04-01-2019

 

Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven 12/29/18, Denver

Dates: December 19, 2018

Location: The Soiled Dove, Denver CO

Live at The Soiled Dove, and the sibling bands were in fine form.

BY TIM HINELY

OK, so a few facts here. It had been over a decade since I’d last seen Camper van Beethoven and I’d never seen Cracker before, but I like the venue (though their booking is a bit suspect) so I jumped at the chance to see these two classic bands (plus seeing David Lowery pulling double duty, as he always does, it quite a treat).

Was pleasantly surprised to see Camper Van Beethoven with the original (more of less…at least their classic) lineup of Lowery on vocals/guitar, Greg Lisher on guitar, Victor Krummenacher on bass, Jonathan Segel on violin and Chris Pedersen on drums.

The set was a nice mix of hits and other oddities, yes, we did hear their Status Quo cover of “Pictures of Matchstick Men” plus “Take the Skinheads Bowling” and “Eye of Fatima” (both parts 1 and 2).  Near the end they did a fabulous medley that included “Hava Nagila” and some Led Zeppelin tossed in (some “Kashmir” for sure). They ended the set with “Northern California Girls” and I’m happy to say that after all these years CVB still sound fabulous.

Cracker took the stage at about 9:15 PM and the packed house was ready.  Segel from CVB was sitting in on keyboards while Pedersen was on drums (I think it was him) and up front was the big three with Lowery on rhythm guitar and vocals plus cosmic lead guitarist (and Colorado resident) Johnny Hickman and rock-solid bassist Bryan Howard.

Cracker sounded like a well-oiled machine as well. They played a relatively short set that was packed with classics including “Low” as well as “Get Of This,” “Seven Days,” “I Want Everything” and “Teen Angst “what the world needs now)”. Near the end they showed off their honky tony roots with the “King of Bakersfield” (off their most recent record, 2014’s terrific From Berkeley to Bakersfield) and ended the set with a whooped up version of ‘Euro-Trash Girl.”

On a night that I wasn’t sure what to expect both bands put their best foot (foots) forward and completely delivered. A great night and I can’t wait until they come back to town.

 

 

 

 

Teenage Fanclub + The Love Language 3/2/19, Denver

Dates: March 2, 2019

Location: Bluebird Theater, Denver CO

Live at the Bluebird Theater, the Fannies were just about perfect.

BY BEN CURNETT

Teenage Fanclub makes big music using some fairly simple tools. Take the humble glockenspiel for instance. Founding member Norman Blake has obviously mastered the instrument, commanding the five-note run on other-founding-member Raymond McGinley’s “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From,” like a veritable virtuoso of glockenspiel goodness. Most other 30-plus-years-and-eleven-studio-albums-of-Scottish-power-pop bands might say, “No! No glockenspiel for us.”

Not Teenage Fanclub. Thank god.

That particular tune came about halfway through a beautifully retrospective set at Denver’s Bluebird Theater last week when lucky Denverites braved the snow for the first Teenage Fanclub show in town in seven years. Openers Love Language played a high energy set full of melodic southernish rock, bringing to mind a pre-fame and fortune Kings Of Leon, full volume and lots of fun. This was before anyone knew anything about the presence of a glockenspiel, so, y’know … it was pretty raw. Maybe that wasn’t the right fit for the subdued, steady sounds of our staid indie staple headliners, but more than one other person I knew at the show left with brand new The Love Language vinyl.

When Teenage Fanclub took the stage, there was at least some trepidation about the noted absence of still-another founding member Gerard Love, who recently left the band. “It’s as amicable as it can possibly be,” said Love of the departure, and should we expect anything else from people who create music like this? No we should not. If it’s possible to hear well wishes upon a band breakup through the music of its remaining members, that was the message that permeated the show. There’s a lot to choose from with nine albums in the universe, and gems were picked, including the genre-defining “Alcoholiday” and the haunting “Only With You.” “Hold On” and “I’m In Love” solidly represented the newer stuff, and the new single “Everything Is Falling Apart” shoved aside any fears that the band is losing its step. The set closed with “The Concept,” which had been left out of tours past. It’s pretty fantastic to see the band continuing to tour and create great new music. My only hope is that we don’t have to wait another seven years before their next visit.

***

Teenage Fanclub’s new single, “Everything Is Falling Apart” is out now on Merge Records.

Setlist:

About You

Start Again

The Cabbage

Everything Is Falling Apart

Alcoholiday

I Don’t Know

Only With You

Catholic Education

Thaw Me

Your Love Is the Place Where I Come From

Planets

Verisimilitude

I Don’t Want Control of You

Hold On

I’m in Love

My Uptight Life

The Concept

Encore:

The Fall

Everything Flows

 

WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT… Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets Live in Atlanta

With Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse as backdrop, Britain’s Basher and his American pals served up the hits, the obscurities, and plenty more.
TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Nick Lowe is back and rocking’ harder than he has in years with help from the world’s greatest backing – a band you probably already know and love – Los Straitjackets, and together they are quite a team.  They’ve joined forces off and on for a few years and are at least in-part touring behind a new 4-song EP “Tokyo Bay” they recorded together, for Yep Roc records.

This was opening night of the tour, and there’s aren’t that many US dates so check ‘em out here and grab your tix.

This was a capacity crowd, and the crowd was into it.  And it’s pretty cool when you get the sense the person having the best time in the whole place is the artist.  It was great seeing that Nick hasn’t changed much since I first saw him (with Paul Carrack) in 1982.  Then, as now, he loves his fans and he shows it onstage, smiling, making eye-contact, having fun.  Maybe this band has kick-started his rocker instincts.   His voice was superb, his wits sharp, and his humor always on display.

Expect a really nice mix of his hits from the early Rockpile days, his solo years, and the new stuff.  Nick and LS are both Yep Roc recording artists, and it should be noted Yep Roc has done an amazing job with Rockpile’s “Seconds of Pleasure” and early Nick LPs “Jesus of Cool,” and “Labour of Lust” re-issues, all three amazing records and worth re-visiting if you don’t listen to them once a week as I do.  They’ve always sounded great but have never sounded better than on these new releases.

Nick takes a short break after a bit and hands the stage over to Eddie Angel and Los Straitjackets, who rock a few songs of their own and also have a new EP out featuring the theme from “Game of Thrones.”  (Their version will be used on this upcoming final season, and it was specifically selected by the show for inclusion.) LS even had a moment for a costume change for the encore;  the Riddler jackets were nice.

It was a mini-Yep Roc  showcase of talent, with newly-signed Dawn Landes opening with a solo set, and doing a great job.  Her most recent release is “Meet Me at The River,” and her set makes me want to check it out.

Lots of photos here, because no one told me to stop.  Way too much for fun for a guy my age.

Check out John’s Instagram feed @johnboydstonphoto  or check out his bigger galleries at jobo.smugmug.com

ARE THOSE BIG EARS ON YOUR HEAD OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME? Big Ears Festival 2019

Year after year, Prof. Rosen makes his pilgrimage to Knoxville to report back to BLURT on what just might be the best music festival on the entire freakin’ planet. This year included Richard Thompson, Bill Frisell, Mercury Rev, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago—and much, much more, of all stripes, genres, and inclinations, spread across 150 performances and 50 additional free events. Want more? Check outRosen’s 2014 report, as well as 2015, not to mention 2016 and 2017 and 2018.

BY STEVEN ROSEN / PHOTOS BY MINDY ROSEN

Is there anybody from Idaho or Nebraska reading this? If so, please clear you calendars now for March 2020. You’ll need to go to Knoxville, Tenn. for a long weekend at the Big Ears Festival. And you will be treated as an honored guest.

That’s because, at the 2019 Big Ears, which occurred March 21-24, those two states were the last holdouts. There were attendees from every other one, as well as from 21 countries. That was one sign of growth for the festival, which occurs at multiple indoor venues and was started in 2009. It skipped three years (2011-13), but has been growing since becoming a non-profit organization in 2016. This year, it held 150 concerts and some 50 free events, and venues for the most part were filled with attendees. As were the streets of downtown Knoxville.

That’s all quite remarkable, given that the festival resolutely embraces the musical avant-garde. As its founder, Ashley Capps, said in a written statement contained in the distributed program, Big Ears is “an invitation to explore the depth and breadth of the world of music in its many rich and evocative manifestations, beyond the traditional genres, boxes and boundaries that too often create divisions between music and audiences.”

That program also included a quotation from Gustav Mahler that “tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” But don’t let the Mahler reference fool you into thinking this year’s Big Ears was primarily for fans of “settled” classical music — that which is already accepted as masterful.

There was, rather, much new contemporary classical music — such as violinist Kim Kashkashian, playing with pianist Robert Levin at the luxuriously restored Tennessee Theatre, presenting a brand-new work by octogenarian composer John Harris Harbison. It was a six-part rumination on mortality that was grave, solemn and questioning, yet also exciting and determinedly proud of life, even if it always ends sadly.

Also at the Tennessee was a classical piece, by rising new music composer (and The National guitarist) Bryce Dessner, featuring stirring music for the Roomful of Teeth vocal ensemble plus tenor Isaiah Robinson and mezzosoprano Alicia Hall Moran to sing. Called Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), it was about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Images of his work were projected while the singers performed the libretto (lyrics) by playwright Korde Arrington Tuttle.

But there was rock, too. Mercury Rev, playing at the Mill & Mine club for a late-night show, did a revved-up show featuring Jonathan Donahue’s happily, joyful singing of such dreamy, melancholy, grandeur-drench band classics as “Tonite It Shows,” “Central Park East,” “Opus 40” and “People Are So Unpredictable.” He also did a killer cover of Neil Young’s “A Man Needs a Maid,” as the band provided a powerful wave of orchestral-like sound behind him.

Mercury Rev also sponsored a late-night screening with live score at the historic Bijou Theatre of the eerie early-1960s thriller Carnival of Souls, with such guest musicians as Steve Shelley, Ben Neill, Tim Berne and Mimi Goese. I thank them for presenting this wonderful movie in an optimum setting, but I’d have preferred to see it with its dialogue, which had been dropped out for the music. It’s such a strong movie that one wants to hear the actors talk (or scream).

Richard Thompson also played the Bijou with a project called Killed in Action, featuring short songs based on extracts from letters and diaries of World War I soldiers, his acoustic guitar and low, yearning voice accompanied by the Knoxville Symphony Strings. Partially funded by Great Britain’s WWI Centenary Art Commissions, it debuted in 2016 at New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge and has had a fairly low profile ever since. The Big Ears audience was keenly appreciative of Thompson’s performance and the string section’s arrangements, but the concert most came alive after this was finished and Thompson played other songs with the string section — including “Shenandoah,” his own “The Great Valerio,” The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and especially Rolling Stones’ “Out of Time.”

Also at the Bijou, guitar virtuoso Bill Frisell, working with the band The Mesmerists, played a beseeching score to accompany films by avant-gardist Bill Morrison, who puts together abstracted narratives by reclaiming and re-editing found footage, often in a visible state of decay. Morrison’s finished work plays like missives from an old, weird America — or a pre-modern world — and Frisell’s music perfectly caught that mood. One short film in particular — called The Mesmerist and re-edited by Morrison from a deteriorated nitrate print of a 1926 film called The Bells — was unforgettable. It’s the tale of an innkeeper who kills a Polish Jew for his valuables, then puts the body in a fiery outdoor furnace or fire pit. But he’s later confronted by a vision of the man. This played like a chilling precursor of the Holocaust; the film’s damaged condition a metaphor for the post-Holocaust world.

Jazz in all its forms was on display at Big Ears. The group Columbia Icefield, featuring trumpeter Nate Wooley, drummer/vocalist Ryan Sawyer, guitarist Mary Halvorson and inventive pedal steel player Susan Alcorn (the latter two have become Big Ears favorites in recent years) played songs from a new album inspired by Wooley’s revelatory trip to see the mouth of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. The concert, before a standing audience at The Standard club (I had to keep jumping up and moving around to see) featured music that intelligently, artfully captured Wooley’s awe at the landscape — compositions frequently were brought to life by short, rippling solos by the members. The show was a standout; the players forces to be watched in the future.

The portentously named British trio The Comet Is Coming made its debut at a packed Mill & Mine, where it filled the cavernous space with the strong, loud and almost-literally uplifting saxophone playing of Shabaka Hutchings. There were overtones in his tirelessly fierce playing of the Free Jazz legend Albert Ayler, as well as the contemporary Kamasi Washington. But I also heard in his playing something of the full-bodied, funky and danceable melodies of the great Manu Dibango of “Soul Makossa” fame. I would have liked Comet better with less of the super-heavy, Keith Emerson-like keyboard playing of Dan Leavers, an important part of the group’s fusion-y mix. (Another band featuring Hutchings, Sons of Kemet, also played Big Ears.)

The German jazz/cabaret singer Theo Bleckmann did two shows at the Bijou — “Hello Earth! The Music of Kate Bush” and ‘Berlin — Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile.” He’s a phenomenal vocal stylist — imitating the famous opening keyboard riff of “Running Up That Hill,” then using his own natural voice to give intense meaning to the words. His show of German songs was also rewarding, as he prefaced each song with stories or lyric translations, explaining that the love song “Lili Marlene” was a hit throughout Europe during World War II even though Germany was at war with countries where it was played. His version of Brecht/Weill’s “Surabaya Johnny” was especially effective — its best-known recordings are by women, but he made it his own.

Big Ears this year was celebrating the 50th anniversary of ECM Records (primarily known for its jazz releases, but the label’s name is actually short for Edition of Contemporary Music and its releases have covered other types of music) and there were panel discussions as well as performances by such ECM artists an Bleckmann, Wadada Leo Smith, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow and Meredith Monk.

All this led to the festival’s climactic conclusion, a closing-night concert at the Tennessee Theatre by ECM’s Art Ensemble of Chicago, the great avant-jazz group on its own 50th anniversary tour, dedicated to deceased members Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favors Maghostut and their lasting contributions to “Great Black Music — Ancient to the Future.”

For this concert, the Art Ensemble was a true large ensemble — 16 people counting singer Camae Ayewa and poet Moor Mother. Every second of each person’s contribution to the program was thrilling, but the two remaining original members — saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and drummer/percussionist Famoudou Don Moye — were justifiably first among equals.

I have witnessed few moments at the seven Big Ears I have attended as thrilling as when Mitchell, who had mostly been a quiet, reserved presence through the show, took a long, sustained, technically dazzling soprano sax lead toward the end, going on and on as others joined in or withdrew. After awhile, he stood up and kept playing with astonishing speed and stamina, the great bandleader compressing a whole concert’s worth of solo playing into this one long stand.

The applause and cheers at the end of this show were so rousing and sincere, and the overall experience sent the large crowd away with a peak experience … and probably already thinking about next year.

 

 

Wednesday 13, John5, Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue 11/4/18, Warrendale PA

Dates: November 4, 2018

Location: Jergel’s Rhythm Grille, Warrendale PA

Live at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille!

TEXT & PHOTOS BY TIFFINI TAYLOR

It was a chilly night when Wednesday 13, John5 and Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue visited Warrendale, PA to entertain at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. This was a show like no other. It had everything one could want in a night out. The venue is a nice place with good food and friendly staff. The show is a different kind of concert due to the inclusion of a sideshow. It is an experience to see a sideshow before a rock bands take to the stage.

The Hellapoppin Sideshow Revue was the first to take to the stage at Jergly’s Rhythm & Grill. If one has never seen a sideshow this is the one to see. Seeing glass being eaten is a sort of amazing unnerving all in one. The sideshow has acrobatic stunts, music, and things that one needs to see to believe. These are talented entertainers, do not try these at home at all. A very good show from Hellapoppin Sideshow Revue. A great way to begin the night of great performances.

Next with a giant roar from the audience Wednesday 13 took to the Jergyl’s stage. Wednesday 13 is a band that will give one a fright at first but then one will fall in love with them. The talent in this band is pure love of music.  Wednesday 13 puts on a performance that is good for any goth soul. A stage presence which is just as impressive as Ozzy Ozbourne and Alice Cooper.

The use of white and black make-up, along with gothic inspired and leather outfits is both macabre and lovely at the same time. The lighting which includes dark and light-colored lights is inspiring to fit an eerie night of music. The color of lights used included yellow, white, and blues. Wednesday 13 is one of the most powerful bands to see live. They have a new album titled “Condolences” out and it is good.

The crowd settled down somewhat while the stage is set up for John5. Once it was set and excited crowd yelled and screamed with joy and love as he and his band, the Creatures, hit the stage. He is truly one of the most interesting performers in the world as well as a guitar virtuoso. If one has never seen John5 and the Creatures live, put it on bucket list right now. The costuming and the blow ups on stage only add to the awe of the performance. His set included his well-known light guitar, a banjo, and of course electric guitars.

This show was exciting as well as inspirational. It shows creativity at its finest. Each performance offered something different in creative ways. It is amazing what imagination and talent can do. The audience left excited and happy. This is a must see show for any music and performance art lover. A great night was had, and look forward to seeing each performer again soon. Go out and see a show, it does the soul good.

 

GWAR – Mr. Small’s Theatre 9/14/18, Millvale PA

Dates: September 14, 2018

Location: Mr. Small's Theatre, Millvale, Pennsylvania

The shock-rock legends were big, but Mr. Small’s – located just outside Pittsburgh – was big enough.

TEXT/PHOTOS BY TIFFINI TAYLOR

Pittsburgh is known for its steel, football team and craft beer, but there are also good music venues. Mr. Small’s Theatre is only one of them. The name may have the word small, but it is big enough for GWAR. The night began with the walk up the stairs into the theater, once inside one notices the dark venue filling up with people. There are black tarps covering some of the theater walls to protect from some of the fake blood. The crowd tonight is in for a giant treat, that is the show GWAR puts on itself.

If one has never experience a GWAR concert, then go to a concert at least once, add to the bucket list now. Attending tonight there are fans, the curious and then there are those who were brought by someone and have no idea who GWAR is. The fans are easy to spot in most cases, showing up in white t-shirts or some form of white clothing. This is due to wanting the spray of fake blood upon them. It is like a rite of passage or ritual. Then there is the curious who want to see what attending a GWAR concert is like, they want the experience and memory. Then there are those whose friends have an extra ticket, and these are the one’s who come and are in for a big surprise. Those who are not familiar with GWAR are usually scared once the band steps onto the stage.

A roar from the audience came with enthusiasm as the band enters the stage, this is what GWAR fans are, they are passionate and from all walks of life. The bands attire is the first thing that is noticed, either you love it or hate it, there is no in-between. GWAR comes with a backstory that is interesting and creative, they also have a comic book series. Their costumes are made of leather, armor, masks, fake blood, more fake blood, make-up and horns. GWAR is not from this Earth, they are from a far- away outer space. They were part of an elite fighting squad who served master because they were screw ups they were banished and sent to planet Earth. Basically, they were here and made human beings. Now remember this is all make believe, very creative and interesting.

During the show the crowd is squirted with fake blood, a lot of fake blood, as the band tells their story through their music. If you are a photographer, do not forget camera bags to cover camera, this is a warning. This show is fun, it is funny in some parts and gross in others. The band has been known to bring out mannequins of celebrities and kill them, this is of course all fake. There is a moment in tonight’s show where a beloved member of GWAR came out onto the stage and the audience was chanting ball-sack, this is the characters name. It was a moment that was incredible having a full theater yelling out ball-sack. The show continued and the fake blood squirted and poured onto the stage.

GWAR is a band that is not for everyone, but it is an experience. They are a music group who do know how to play their instruments very well. Can anyone imagine playing guitars, drums, and bass dressed in the costumes they wear?