Category Archives: live review

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.

Sonic Temple Festival 5/17-19/19, Columbus OH

Dates: May 17-19, 2019

Location: Columbus, OH

 

Rechristened Rock on the Range has become one of the largest – and loudest! – annual events in the US. Above: In This Moment.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

It was a great weekend of Rock at the Temple.

This was the first year for the Sonic Temple Festival in Columbus, Ohio, but as the people in and around Columbus know, this festival comes from the great team of Danny Wimmer Presents. Danny split last year from his partner and is carrying on the great festivals that he has produced for years while adding some new energy on top of those already stellar festivals. The festival scene has been evolving over the years, and Danny and his team are keeping up with the game by adding some flare, great vendors, and sponsors.

This year’s Sonic Temple festival is the new name of the storied, near-legendary Rock on the Range Festival that has been held in May in Columbus for a number of years. Danny and the team knew they had to have an awesome lineup to kick off the newly named festival — and they delivered, with bands like Foo Fighters, System of a Down, Disturbed, Ghost, Papa Roach, Halestorm, Avatar, The Cult, In This Moment, and many more acts over the three day event.

 

There was also a comedy tent with Andrew Dice Clay (below) and Pauly Shore.

 

The weather was perfect for Friday and Saturday, but Sunday gave us a small hiccup with a rain delay due to lightning for about two hours, causing a few of the afternoon bands to be pushed out; luckily, this delay didn’t interrupt the evening headliners. If you missed this year’s event, start planning for next year’s festival, as it is one of the  largest rock festivals in the U.S. I for one can’t wait to see who makes the lineup next year. In the meantime, check out the Louder than Life Festival, also produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, that will take place at the end of September in Louisville, Kentucky. (Review and photo gallery of the wild 2017 LTL fest can be viewed here.)

Avatar

 

 

Bad Wolves

 

Badflower

 

 

Beartooth

  

Black Coffee

 

 

Black Label Society

 

Disturbed

 

Fever

 

Ghost

 

 

Gojira

 

 

Halestorm

  

HO9909

 

 

In This Moment

  

Killswitch Engage

 

Lamb of God

 

Meshuggah

 

 

Palaye Royale

 

 

Parkway Drive

 

 

Black Dahlia Murder

 

 

The Cult

 

 

The Hives

 

 

The Struts

 

 

Yungblud

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.

2019 Hopscotch Festival 9/5-7/19, Raleigh NC

Dates: September 5-7, 2019

Location: Various Venues, Raleigh NC

The annual cutting-edge music festival did not disappoint. Pictured above: Dirty Projectors

TEXT, PHOTOS, & VIDEO BY DANIEL MATTI

When the tenth annual Hopscotch landed upon Raleigh, so did Hurricane Dorian, some nice weather, and some unwanted heat. In three days, a lot can happen in North Carolina. Live music over twelve different venues was not stopped.

The first day of festival activities at City Plaza were pushed over to the Ritz because of Hurricane weather and the rest of the venues continuing at the same spots and times. Hopscotch was off to a rough start but that did not stop people from filling up the floors to see acts from all over. With one of the few metal showcases at Kings Barcade, curated by Solar Halos, featuring Mourning Cloak, White Hills and Boris to Lincoln Theatre’s Ric Wilson, Injury Reserve, and Joey Purp, and Earthgang, Hopscotch was off to the traditional start.

Day 2 was the most impressive day with astonishing performances from jazz drummer and percussionist Milford Graves, Raleigh’s Black Surfer, and Maryn Jones’s new band Yowler, previously of Saintseneca. The nice weather shined down upon Raleigh and along with it came a packed schedule of musicians that came extremely hard to choose from.(Watch a video of Milford Graves, below.)

One of the most intriguing performances of the night was Pharmakon, who had just released her brand-new album “Devour”. Playing to a packed venue, Margaret was unfortunately dealing with microphone and gear problems which led to a set that no one wanted to leave since they wanted to see her overcome technical difficulties and play her set. With difficulties in hand, she ended up forcing herself to finish the set which meant a larger than life performance that led to her do a full on “charging bull” through the crowd and flipping over her instruments. A performance that stung but will continue to leave a lasting impression. (Pictured below: Pharmakon)

As Hopscotch wrapped its final day, the City Plaza and Red Hat shows were a sight to see. Kooley High, Raphael Saadiq, Little Brother absolutely showed what a main stage City Plaza set was supposed to be like and then some. Crossing over to Red Hat where everyone continued to dance the night away with acts, Phantogram and Chvrches, you could tell that Hopscotch was coming to a close as you looked on festival-goers faces and all you could see was exhaustion along with satisfaction of another great year in the books.

Congrats to Hopscotch Music Festival and it’s ten years of keeping Raleigh on its toes. Here’s to ten more!

Solar Halos

Milford Graves

Mourning Cloak

Bambara

 

 

 

 

Parsnip 9/16/19, Chicago

Dates: September 16, 2019

Location: Empty Bottle, Chicago IL

Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL.
09-2019

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARTY PEREZ

Had the immense pleasure of seeing Parsnip last Monday night, September 16, at Chicago’s Empty Bottle, the kick-off to their first US tour.

If this was the nineties, this group of Australian ladies would’ve already had a cass-single out on K records, some dude called Cobain would be ranting-n-raving about em, they’d get signed to DGC, managed by Golden Mountain talent, done Lollapalooza, visited multiple re-hab facilities, broken up, each member attempting a solo record, only to end up on a sheep farm or running a kangaroo meat packing plant.

Well, thank GAWD it ain’t the nineties!!! You’ve got the chance to take in the Parsnips on their own healthy merits, become enthralled and shimmy, to their own brand of pure pop bliss. “The Tree Bears Fruit” is the first full-length release, issued especially for you by the fine Trouble in Mind family. The songs really seem to explode under an amped live setting and the harmonies sore in a live room.

Do yourself a favor — and I even recommend bringing the family and the family dog or cat. Tour dates follow the photos.

Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL.
09-2019

Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL.
09-2019

Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL.
09-2019

Empty Bottle
Chicago, IL.
09-2019

Tour Dates:

FRI 9/20 — New York, NY – The Footlight w/ Waist, Air Waves, People’s Court
SAT, 9/21 — Philadelphia, PA – Jerry’s On Front
SUN, 9/22 — Baltimore, MD – Joe Squared
MON, 9/23 — Richmond, VA – The Fuzzy Cactus
TUE, 9/24 — Chapel Hill, NC – The Nightlight
WED, 9/25 — Asheville, NC – Static Age Records
THU, 9/26 — Nashville, TN – Third Man Records instore
FRI/SAT 9/27 & 9/28 — Memphis, TN – GONERFEST 16
SUN, 9/29 — St. Louis, MO – The Nest
MON, 9/30 — St. Louis, MO – Pizza Head
TUE, 10/1 — Kansas City, MO – Farewell Transmission, w/ Warm Bodies
WED, 10/2 — Omaha, NE – M.A.S., w/ Warm Bodies
THU, 10/3 — Minneapolis, MN – Gigs!, w/ Warm Bodies
FRI, 10/4 — Milwaukee, WI – Ground Zero, w/ Warm Bodies
SAT, 10/5 — Chicago, IL – Instore at Bric-a-Brac Records (All Ages)

Video/Review Exclusive: Hater, live @ Berlin 9/19/19, New York City

PHOTOS, VIDEO, & TEXT BY JONATHAN LEVITT

Fire Records band Hater, hailing from Malmö, Sweden, rode into town last night (September 19), for a two-night stand at Berlin here in New York City. With their great 7” “Four Tries Down / It’s a Mess” fresh off the presses, the band sounded like a more sedate Bettie Serveert, mixed with early-era Lush. There was one song where one of the guitarist’s pedal twiddling took on a Cocteau Twins-like smear that sounded awesome.

Ultimately, I think the show suffered because the mix on the PA was poor. Often, singer Caroline Landahl’s beautiful voice would be muffled and/or clipped at the high end. Hopefully, for the second night, they’ll get this right. That said, I was impressed by the band’s music and the feeling these songs evoked. This is definitely a band I’ll be looking to hear more from in the future.

Until then, check out my video and stills from last night’s show down below and also don’t forget to check out Haters’ latest single at their Bandcamp page: https://haterfire.bandcamp.com.

You can also check out my prior review of the single here at Blurt.

Black Flag 8/28/19, Denver

Dates: August 28, 2019

Location: Oriental Theater, Denver CO

Live at Denver’s storied Oriental Theater, the current iteration of the legendary hardcore outfit – featuring founding member Greg Ginn – was in rare form.

BY TIM HINELY

The Oriental Theater keeps bringing the noise of old, new (wave) and plenty in between with previous/upcoming gigs by The Fixx, Hot Snakes, Killing Joke and yes, on this night, Black Flag.

The last chance I had to see Black Flag when I really wanted to was 4/7/84 in Philly (I remember the date cos’ it my pal’s birthday) and they all went to the show and I had to work (busboy at a restaurant). They played in Trenton several times in 1985 until the broke up in the Summer of ’86 but I wasn’t such a big fan of that Black Flag material so I never went to see them during those years.

I really wish I would have (and I did see the first ever Rollins Band gig) but alas…

Back to the present….i caught this version of Black Flag a few months ago when they were here for the Saboro festival in which they played a shortened set. Here they were back a few months later and headlining on this night (we missed the openers).

These days the band is founding member Greg Ginn on guitar with pro skater Mike Vallely on vocals and the rhythm section of Tyler Smith on bass and Isaias Gil on drums.  Though the band released an album in 2013, What The…. the set on this night consisted of old, classic material.

A few things, Ginn’s guitar still has that classic, rusty-chainsaw sound and Vallely is a classic growler in the Rollins vein  (a real throaty growl) and of the rhythm section Smith is solid but Gil is a really terrific drummer.

In the hour plus set we heard old chestnuts like opener “Depression,” “No Values,” “Fix Me,” “Gimme Gimme Gimme,” “Six Pack” ( the first B.F. record I ever bought, in 1983 or so).

They kept chugging along, with and extended version of “Slip It In,” “Revenge,” “Clocked In,” “Nervous Breakdown,” “TV Party”  and plenty more. They ended it sweaty and exhausted with a rousing version of “Louie Louie” and called it a night.

Oh and no theremin solos!

People have their own opinions of what this version of Black Flag means and represents and they’re certainly entitled to it but Black Flag in 2019 sounds fine to me and I’m glad I went (and will most likely go again).

 

Mark Knopfler 9/4/19, Atlanta

Dates: September 4, 2019

Location: Cadence Bank Amphitheater at Chastain Park, Atlanta GA

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

 

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

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

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

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

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

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

*****

Also check out Ambassador Boydston’s  stuff on Instagram: @johnboydstonphoto

Deerhunter + Dirty Projectors 9/5/19, Atlanta

Dates: September 5, 2019

Location: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA

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

2019 LOCKN’ Music Festival 8/22 – 25/19, Arrington, VA

Our annual rolling thunder review of the ever-brilliant fest continues year after year, and 2019 was the proverbial banner year. Past coverage: 2018 Lockn’, 2017 Lockn’, 2015 Lockn’, 2014 Lockn’.

Text by Courtney Wheeler / Photography by Willa Stein

With so many music festivals to choose from, why LOCKN’? Let’s just say there is not enough time to list all of the reasons. Here are just a few of them.

The site: Oak Ridge Farm, nestled just south of Charlottesville in beautiful Arrington, VA in a stunning backdrop for this annual homecoming. The mountains, the vantages, the revolving stage & light show and for 2019, with the exception of an initial rainstorm, the weather on Oak Ridge Farm could not have been nicer!

The set-up: The ease of driving in and camping on site is one of the biggest selling points of LOCKN’ given the size of the farm. Car camping is a luxury for a lot of folks and LOCKN’ makes it easy. Once you are on site, you have at least a dozen food vendors to choose from and any number of beverage choices just steps away from world-class, one-of-a-kind music collaborations.

The people: The staff, even as they are searching your belongings make you feel welcome, from picking up your credentials, to coming through the gate, to the merchandise vendors, lost and found and information folks, LOCKN’ staff make you feel safe and at home. And more importantly, they make you feel like family. And of course, your fellow music lovers are right alongside you feeling the love and radiating love of their own! There is a special gift you get attending music festivals, they take you away from the worries of the world and allow you to enjoy life to the fullest, LOCKN’ does this well.

 

The music: Holy smokes the music. There were rumblings about no Widespread Panic and other LOCKN’ staples, but this year’s musical collaborations were, one-of-a-kind. From the incredible Neal Casal who we lost just after LOCKN’ and far too soon sitting in with Oteil & Friends featuring Bob Weir alongside Duane Betts & Melvin Seals, to the crazy talented Marcus King sitting in with Steel Pulse, or the Tedeschi Trucks Band collaboration with Trey Anastasio, the musical collaborations were off the charts special. And how can anyone forget the many times Bob Weir showed up on stage, earning himself an award for the most sets ever played from Peter Shapiro, one of the founders of LOCKN’ and chairman of Head Count, the non-profit organization that works with musicians to promote participation in democracy, with a focus on registering voters at live music events. These musical memories are ones that will not soon be forgotten.

The special touches: Every festival has something special that sets it apart from the rest and LOCKN’ is no exception. Planners have paid special attention to making the festival accessible to folks of all abilities by controlling the things they can. There is an entrance for folks with disabilities along with onsite parking, making getting in and out of the festival easier, and folks can request services and accommodations on sight at the LOCKN’ Access Tent. To that end, seeing American Sign Language (ASL) at the main stage every evening was a beautiful sight.

The festival footprint is huge and Paramedics were on sight and quick to respond to calls! I saw them in action first hand, administering first aid to cuts and assisting patrons with sprains. Enough cannot be said about the magnitude of the job they face and how expertly they handle it year after year.

The misting stations were a welcome relief and water refill stations made it possible to stay hydrated all weekend without breaking the bank for bottled water, not to mention keeping plastic bottles out of our landfills.

LOCKN’ pays attention to details and it shows throughout the festival footprint and 2019 was one for the books. Please enjoy this photo gallery and reminisce on the power of music.

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