Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Bad Spell 5/31/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 31, 2019

Location: Star Bar, Atlanta GA

Live at the Star Bar, and ready to wield some sonic magic…

TEXT/PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

When a band like Bad Spell jumps into the fray you kind of assume they are going to kick ass, and in fact they ought to damn well bloody rock because it ain’t the first rodeo for these cats individually, not by a long shot. Brian Malone (guitar) headed up The Forty-Fives, a definitive lights-out garage band. Shane Pringle (guitar, bass) was with the very active Tiger! Tiger! and others. And Pietro Digenarro on drums is a force of nature. They do not disappoint. We caught up with ‘em at Little Five Points’ famed Star Community Bar, where they blasted through material from their kickass new album Don’t Go Out Tonight (Midnight Cruiser Records) — which, incidentally, notched a 4-stars-outta-5 rave review here at BLURT recently. As our reviewer duly noted at the time, “Bad Spell’s energy level kicks the needle into the red, pulling back at just the right times, in order to make the next punch deadlier.” Which ain’t a bad description for their live show, too.

 

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

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Friday, May 17

Dead Meadow

Spirit Mother

Super Giant

Weed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woven Hand

Saturday May 18

Castle

Crypt Trip

Palehorse

Pharlee

Pinkish Black

 

 

 

 

Mark Lanegan / Simon Bonney 5/14/19, Brooklyn

Dates: May 14, 2019

Location: Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY

Two sets at the Warsaw venue from two longtime favorites—but sadly, only one of them delivered the real Kielbasa.

TEXT, PHOTOS, & VIDEO BY JONATHAN LEVITT

I was finally able to catch Simon Bonney and his wife Bronwyn Adams live for the first time. I’m a huge fan of their work, both on Simon’s solo albums as well as with Crime and the City Solution, whose 1990’s masterpiece, Paradise Discotheque, will be revisited here in the not too distant future.

Simon and Bronwyn (above, with the author) put on an intimate show for the assembled audience, showcasing songs from Bonney’s solo records which was engaging and emotionally resonant . A career spanning compilation of Bonney’s solo output has just been released, available here.  Also check out the exclusive video I shot for BLURT to see what you missed:

*****

Being a fan of Mark Lanegan’s body of work, I was less than impressed with the rather frosty sheen to his live show. Shunning interaction with the audience, Lanegan instead chose to perform as if the audience didn’t exist and he was merely fulfilling a contractual obligation. Two-thirds of the way through, I walked next door inside the venue and ate a Kielbasa sandwich, which proved far more entertaining.

Nick Waterhouse 5/20/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 20, 2019

Location: Terminal West, Atlanta GA

Live at Terminal West – THE place to be on an otherwise dead Monday night, as it turned out.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Nick Waterhouse will transport you to a pre-snarky, pre-psychedelic America when what mattered most was love, and the ability to translate the ensuing heartbreak that follows into a soul-driven R&B number. Throw in some beatnik-jazz and coffeehouse-rockabilly arrangements and that’s Nick. I have attempted to create some funky photographs from the Atlanta show at Terminal West to try and to capture Nick’s funky world.

With a few more shows in Texas to go, Waterhouse and band were wrapping up a world tour last week behind his latest self-titled LP released by Innovative Leisure this spring. It’s getting deserved rave reviews, and as it’s his 4th LP, why self-titled? Explained Waterhouse, “After it was all done, I realized it was probably telling the strongest story about my own motives and perspectives.”

But take my word – all the records are good, so start with any of them.

Nick’s online home:   https://www.nickwaterhouse.com/home and his cool Tumblr page:  https://presco.tumblr.com/

Beale Street Music Festival 5/3-5/19, Memphis

Dates: May 3 - 5, 2019

Location: Memphis, TN

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

Beale Street Music Festival was held over the weekend of May 3rd-5th with a few of the headliners being Dave Matthews, G-Easy, Khalid, Shinedown, and Cardi B and a last minute surprise guest appearance of Miley Cyrus, thanks to Facebook and Beale Street Music Festival.  Facebook brought Miley in to kick off a new campaign named More Together #moretogether. Miley sang three of her own songs during the live Facebook recording and brought out a Marc Cohn to do a duet of his hit song “Walking In Memphis”. This is a great song to listen to anytime, but this time was even more special for me as I was standing next to the Mississippi River in the pouring rain as the lyrics go.

Day 1 Friday kicked off with the gates opening in the afternoon with Saving Abel on the Bud Light Stage and this stage didn’t stop rocking all night with In This Moment, Good Charlotte, and Shinedown.

The FedEx Stage Carried the Hip Hop acts of Blocboy JB and Lil Dicky as well as R&B superstar Khalid, while the Terminix Stage hosted Dirty Heads, Chvrches, and Dave Matthews Band and remember this is just day 1.

Saturday was unfortunately overcast with light rain most of the day with clearing up in the evening shortly after Miley’s performance, but not before making several muddy areas though out the park. This did not damp the spirits of festival goers one bit as most know, this is Memphis in May and rain often visits for at least part of the festival. Galoshes and a poncho are must bring items, even if they never leave the trunk. The thirty thousand plus fans tracked through the rain and mud puddles to their favorite stages to see such acts as Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Moon Taxi, Coin, Muck Sticky, Charlie Wilson, and Big Boi, before having to choose either One Republic or G-Easy for the headliner spot.

Beale Street sold out of all the three day passes and Sunday one day passes with thirty five thousand tickets being sold for Sunday. Sunday was a perfect day in the mid 70’s and sunny and the mud had completely dried out making for a great festival day for the thirty five thousand people who made their way down the banks of the Mississippi to party and see Cardi B perform, but first there was a lot of great bands to see. The moment the gates opened at 1p.m. there was a mad rush from many fans who rushed to grab a front or near front spot for Cardi and who would hold these spots all day without moving to ensure they would have a time that won’t be soon forgotten. As for other fans they would make their way around to such acts as Memphis rapper NLE Choppa who has jumped on the scene with two new hot videos that are racking up millions of views on YouTube in a short period. You may have heard of this young Memphis rapper from the articles in the news lately stating that he turned down a $3M record deal. Other great acts that performed on Sunday were Lord Huron, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Everclear, Moneybagg Yo, 6lack, and Gary Clark Jr.

This is a must watch for your next year festival possibilities, not only is this a great festival and staff, but it’s in Memphis, Tn with tons of things to do and see. Oh yeah and the best BBQ in the world!

6Lack

Big Boi

Block Boy

Cardi B

Chvrches

Dave Matthews

Dirty Heads

Everlast

G Easy

Gary Clark Jr.

Good Charlotte

In This Moment

Kalid

Lil Dicky

Lord Huron

Miley Cyrus

Moneybaggs Yo

Muck Sticky

NLE Choppa

Ravyn Lenae

Saving Abel

Shinedown

St. Paul & the Broken Bones

Trippe Red

Filthy Friends + Dressy Bessy 5/19/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 19, 2019

Location: The Earl, Atlanta GZ

Live at The Earl, it was supa-group time…

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

It was remarkable how this band came out swinging at The Earl Saturday night.  Youda thought they were a new hungry band trying to get noticed, with something to prove, and a batch of urgent new songs you need to hear.  While all that is true – instead of being a new band Filthy Friends is a who’s who of veteran indie-rock giants who could be coasting, making a victory lap record and on cruise control.  This is a band that is hungry again, poised, and playing like they mean it.

The band is Corin Tucker (of Sleater-Kinney), Linda Pitmon on drums, Kurt Bloch, Scott McCaughey, and of course Peter Buck who is back in top form.   I haven’t seen him move, dig in, or jangle as much as he was here in way too many years and it’s great to see some fire back in his playing.  And how cool is it seeing Scott back where he belongs after recovering from a serious health issue a couple years back?

Based in Portland, OR Filthy Friends have just released their 2nd LP ‘Emerald Valley’ and has a few more dates this week as they head up the US East coast, wrapping up in NYC, then it’s off for a short Euro tour.   Go and enjoy some veterans showing the kids how to do it.

Upcoming tour dates are here:  https://www.killrockstars.com/artists/filthy-friends

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Opening act was the great Dressy Bessy and they are with Filthy Friends until the end of the week, then continuing their tour into the summer, with a new LP release early June.
Don’t miss ‘em.  You’ve been warned.

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Join John on Instagram @johnboydstonphoto.  Or visit jobo.smugmug.com for bigger galleries of weird birds and milky ways.

Greta Van Fleet 5/13/19, Atlanta

Dates: May 13, 2019

Location: Fox Theatre, Atlanta

Live at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta Monday night, these rock ‘n’ roll kids had their chops down. (The band plays tonight in Charlotte, NC.)

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Greta Van Fleet’s “March of the Peaceful Army” tour is in full swing after a couple of sold-out shows at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater. They came out thundering into their fans’ favorite songs, which, based on this crowd’s reaction is – all of them.

GVF are the brothers Kiszka – lead singer Josh (22), guitarist Jake (22), bassist Sam (19) – and drummer Danny Wagner (20).

 

 

The band is touring North America and Europe for the rest of the year, playing songs from their 2018 LP “March of the Peaceful Army” and their 8-song double-EP release “From the Fires” which just won a Grammy for Best Rock Album. Not bad for a band of young 20-somethings dubbed by some as Led Zeppelin for Generation Z. Whatever they are, these kids are amazingly talented and stage-savvy way beyond their years and visibly having a good time bringing their original blues and rock to the young and old masses.

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Opening for GVF for several upcoming shows is Ida Mae, an English husband-wife bluesy duo you will be glad you caught, so get there early enough.

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.”

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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.

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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)

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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.

 

 

 

Marcia Ball / Sonny Landreth 3/8/19, Port Perry, Ontario

Dates: March 8, 2019

Location: Town Hall 1873, Port Perry, Ontario, Canada

Live at the historically named (!) Town Hall 1873, it was a blooze deluxe evening to stave off the Canadian chill.

PHOTOS/TEXT BY ERIC THOM

On a very cold, still-winter night in the tiny town of Port Perry (an hour or so northeast of Toronto), an even smaller Town Hall – built in 1873 – awaited its Friday night crowd of 234, nestled into banked seating in its renovated theatre. Despite being more than 2,000 km. from the nearest Po’ Boy shrimp, chargrilled oysters or crawfish gumbo, these fortunate few would shortly find themselves immersed in the deeply mysterious charm of New Orleans’ finest exports – and a double-bill to remember.

Although Marcia Ball was born in Texas, she was raised in Vinton, Louisiana, working hard to cement her reputation as a soulful cross of Cajun-soaked swamp rock, N’awlins soul and Texas blues. A talented, contemporary songwriter, rich of voice and a renowned practitioner of two-fisted, barrelhouse piano and spirited boogie-woogie, Ball is – above all else – a regal lady of the first order. Sitting cross-legged behind her trusty Roland keyboard – her top leg bouncing to the music like a band-leading metronome – she thoroughly inhabits each song, living only to deliver on the party portion of her good time promise. Well-known for her ability to conjure a bona fide party atmosphere from thin air, it was as fair as it was appropriate to have her take the lead for this show. Ladies first.

Sonny Landreth, another small-town kid, hails from Canton, Mississippi and grew up, knee-deep, in the shadowy bayuks of southwest Louisiana. With the sunny disposition of a favourite neighbor – the kind who shows up at your door carrying two beers – this unimposing King of Slydeco has built a reputation as the world’s greatest slide guitarist one new sound at a time, specializing in his own unorthodox hybrid of country blues, zydeco, rock and every influence he’s ever absorbed. Right down to each lyric, Landreth conjures a strong sense of place – supernaturally so – and his unassuming approach to the mastery of his craft endears him to each dedicated fan.

***

Wasting no time, Ball & Co. kicked off with Muddy Water’s “Having a Natural Ball” – clearly defining the moment – her aggressive keyboards not quite dominating the rest of her sturdy, 4-piece band. Substituting sax for button accordion, Ball leans heavily on her band to enhance her passionate playing with all the right ingredients. Eric Bernhardt’s animated tenor sax delivered integral bursts of joy as guitarist Mighty Mike Schermer anchored each and every song with tasteful dollops of strong, blues-hued leads and his patented, rhythmic command. Drummer Corey Keller and smooth-as-glass bassist Don Bennett redefined dynamic intensity, providing sturdy backdrop to Ball’s every twist and turn. Muddy Water’s “Red Beans” continued Ball’s display of high-torque energy, allowing her to demonstrate her still-powerful voice and overall keyboard powers, leg a-pumpin’. An early highlight was Duke Robillard’s “Just Kiss Me”, which Ball quickly owned as Schermer drove it home with a rich solo. “That’s Enough of that Stuff” offered Ball the opportunity to wow the uninitiated with her phenomenal piano skills, while injecting the night with some highly Neville-ish N’Awlins sounds. The rollicking title track from “Roadside Attractions” (with its reference to nearby Niagara Falls) made good on its rich, piano-driven groove and while Ball’s voice could occasionally be heard to falter slightly, these songs are putty in her hands of those of her accomplished band. The title track to her latest, “Shine Bright”, makes an important statement towards doing ‘the right thing’ and, with an appropriate intro and a funked-up version driven by both Schermer and Keller, you could see Ball’s eyes close, truly enjoying herself. Ball’s take on Ernie K-Doe’s “I Got To Find Somebody”, from the same record, continued the slinky groove into Second Line territory while the sax-led cover of Jesse Winchester’s “Take A Little Louisiana” set up a creative duel between Ball and Bernhardt on their respective instruments. From the same new release, the laidback “What Would I Do Without You” was a master class on Ball’s sophisticated songwriting, robust piano-playing and heartfelt, bluesy vocals, with an able assist from Bernhardt. Mighty Mike Schermer, too, strutted his stuff with his own humourous composition, “Bad Tattoo”, from his 7th solo release – a swinging groove featuring his own raw-edged vocal, stinging leads and a stellar tenor solo from Bernhardt. Returning to her latest release, Ball’s own “Life of the Party” (is she not the poster girl?) created a raucous, dance-friendly, cajón-fired fete which, although it started in Port Perry, was only a few “Olé’s” short of Mexico. The true jaw-dropper of the evening arrived with Ball’s cover of Randy Newman’s soul-searching “Louisiana 1927” (covered on ‘97’s Poodle). Her vocals dripping with emotion, you could feel the pain if not half-expect to see her tears as Bernhardt seared the wound with simpatico tenor sax – a true show-stopper. But not one to stop any show, Ball closed with the ultimate, feel-good antidote to hard times, “The Party’s Still Going On” (Roadside Attractions) – replete with rollicking piano, rocking sax and all the signs of a band not quite ready to leave. A quick send-off of Little Bob Camille’s “I Got Loaded” allowed Ball, Bernhardt and Schermer one last opportunity to say goodbye.

***

Next up, Sonny Landreth and his trio (bassist, Dave Ranson and drummer, Brian Brignac) introduced a two-part presentation, mirroring his latest release, Recorded Live In Lafayette – an acoustic and electric collection of some of his greatest songs. Sonny apologized (as only he can) in advance for the forthcoming switchover between sets. Sitting down with a beautifully- customized (a hubcap worked into the design), resophonic, steel-body guitar, Dave sported a distinctive ukulele bass while Brignac assaulted a cajón. Hardcore Sonny fans spoiled by, and more accustomed to, his electric shows had nothing to cry about here as songs like “Blues Attack” and “Hell At Home” detonated the same concussive powers as ever, subtly so. The house system struggled to isolate Landreth’s gentle vocals at times, yet nothing could take away from the expected display of fingerstyle genius, explorative technique and musical inroads to the very concept of injecting beautiful music with equal parts magic and creative ingenuity. Of special note was Landreth’s treatment of Charlie Segar’s dramatically over-recorded “Key To The Highway”. Not so, in Sonny’s hands, its laidback pace actually providing him the keys to an empty science lab of untethered experimentation and exploration. Untold textures and pure alchemy ensued across these 5 acoustic numbers in all their muted glory. The comparably upbeat “Creole Angel” stood out for the simple reason that it seems to fit Landreth’s very being so perfectly – a hauntingly transcendent blend of place and time. The acoustic set also permitted fans the opportunity to observe his prodigious imagination on full display, uncoloured by any electronic effects and free to tap into one’s full emotional palette. After a surprisingly short stage adjustment, the amiable maestro returned with his trio (and a pair of ’57 reissue Strats from the late ’80s) to once again redefine what could normally be considered a tired staple in Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues”. Landreth clearly made the better deal with the Devil. Likewise, Elmore James’ “It Hurts Me Too” proved malleable in his dextrous hands, although his vocals grew increasingly murky with the increased amplification. Enquiring whether we “needed some noise”, the band kicked into a wickedly slippery instrumental (as Brignac, too, had moved to a full kit to match Branson’s deep-digging electric bass), which became Landreth’s own “The Milky Way Home” – a song slightly reminiscent of the like-minded Eric Johnson and his other-worldly style (the two having recorded this gem together on ‘08’s From The Reach), given its virtuosic reach into the cosmos in search of sonic perfection. Elemental Journey’s “Brave New Girl” furthered this far-reaching, instrumental dream sequence as Landreth continued to dazzle with jaw-dropping technique, the entire band immersed in their respective musical zones, only to come up for air with the jig-like crowd-pleaser, “Native Stepson” – one of the strongest renditions of the night (on a night devoid of disappointment). This boisterous, foot-stomping track celebrates the very spirit of zydeco as only Landreth can conjure, pushing his slide skills and ‘behind the slide’ artistry to into mind-numbing turf. Offering a verbal tribute to his late friend and early hero, Johnny Winter, Landreth eulogized the white-haired Texan with “Firebird Blues”, channeling more of a Texas blue hue than usually found this side of Louisiana. Attributed to Eric Johnson, ‘Middle of the Road’ closed the night yet, thankfully, the trio was quick to return with a rousing rip through Grant Street‘s devil-may-care “Pedal to the Metal”. By this time, nobody was talking refunds and the rare opportunity to meet both Sonny and Marcia in the basement of the venerable Town Hall proved a rare bonus.

The venerable venue proved an integral component to the overall enjoyment of this show, reducing the distance between performer and audience, which is what this music’s all about. Kudos to Music By The Bay for creating fresh access to live music in off-the-beaten track music settings, where each note can be heard and treasured in a less frenetic setting, providing underserved communities with the chance to experience the absolute joy of live music played by true professionals.

 

Websites:

http://www.marciaball.com/

http://www.sonnylandreth.com/

www.musicbythebaylive.com

 

Videos:

 

Marcia Ball – “Shine Bright”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwKPslE6BVY

“That’s Enough of that Stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhpWSjodNCY

 

Sonny Landreth – “The Milky Way Home”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qQvErNZe_s&list=RD5qQvErNZe_s&start_radio=1

“Pedal to the Metal”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPJBPMKZ0LE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Scientists 4/21/19, Atlanta

Dates: April 21, 2019

Location: The Earl, Atlanta GA

Opening acts were Gentleman Jesse and Th Subsonics. Photos by our man on the ground in Atlanta,  John Boydston. Check out his many photo galleries (including additional shots from this Scientists concert), and then read the 2019 BLURT interview with Scientists co-founder and frontman Kim Salmon.

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Gentleman Jesse & His Men

The Subsonics:

…and… The Scientists.