Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Levitation Festival 11/7-10/19, Austin

Dates: November 7-10, 2019

Location: Various Venues, Austin TX

 

The quintessential Lone Star State gathering of the tribes, natch, at multiple venues over the course of  November 7 thru 10. (Note: If you don’t recognize any given artist, hover mouse over a photo in order to read which band you are seeing.)

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

We know that Austin, Texas, is the music mecca, especially when it comes to festivals.   Levitation takes it up a notch by bringing in the best in Underground music and artists from around the known universe.   For four nights every year it goes into a hyper-space-warp frenzy bringing some of the best and brightest happening Psych, Metal, and Dream Pop music under one tent, or several clubs anyway.  It’s like a slice of SXSW but no filler, not that much walking, and you can actually get into venues.

Levitation happens in several venues with Stubb’s (which doubles as a fab BBQ joint) as the focal point featuring the closest things you get to headliners at this 4-day party.  Blurt Contributor John Boydston tried to cover as much ground as possible getting to all the acts, but realized early on it was a 4-person job, so this is what he got, some of the best, but of course, by no means all of it.

***

Thursday at Stubb’s the lineup was Vagabon, Devendra Banhart, and ready for her David Lynch Twin-Peaks soundtrack closeup, Angel Olsen.  All performers and crowd were braving a chilly temperature drop but soldiered on and got lost in the electric dreamscapes created by all of the above.  I caught a few bands down the street at Mohawk which was reveling in the glory of Texas metal warriors Creeping Death (Denton) and Power Trip (Dallas) among others. 

 

****

Friday night Stubb’s was alive with the magical psych-rock of Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips.   Not sure if Rev is short for revelry or revelation but both work for me after hearing this power house psych band lay it down.  Then the Flaming Lips killed the crowd with kindness, love, and confetti.  Just wow – and master Lip Wayne Coyne said it all with this blow-up ballon spelling it out for us. 

 

 

 

 

But wait, Friday was just starting after that show – I hauled my wagon of photo gear into other venues and heard one dynamite band after another any one of which you can see in Austin at these venues, but not likely on the same night, same bill.    I caught part of Stonefield’s power set, featuring the 4 psych rock sisters from an area of rural Australia known as Macedon Ranges.  Then over to The Barracuda and for the rest of the night heard in rapid succession Frankie and the Witch Fingers,  Elephant Stone (from Toronto and truly an East meets West rock experience), Death Valley Girls (always fantastic), Crocodiles (new to me but rocked like no band I’ve seen in years – must hear more), and Broncho ended this amazing night doing what they do but better, tighter, and more up than I’ve ever heard ‘em).

****

Saturday started mid-afternoon with Habibi – (NYC) bringing their internationally-inspired surfy 60’s girl pop to The Empire.  Then White Fence from SF.  Led by Tim Presley, a brilliant and underrated writer-singer-guitar picker who I can’t pin down exactly but think Ray Davies meets Piper at The Gates of Dawn.  Or The Kinks if Syd Barret was Dave Davies older bro.   And caught The Allah-Las who are currently touring, and have managed to seriously beef-up their stage sound without changing anything you may already love about this band, which is remarkable.

Not content with this fun, headed to Stubb’s Saturday night see openers and Waco psych kids Holy Wave, Levitation Festival curators and Austin’s own The Black Angels, who for my money have never sounded more up and alive in their not funhouse mirror takes on life.   A really dynamic and electrifying show for this band – and they would have carried the night had John Cale and his band not come out and taken it back.   Not sure what else you can say about Cale and his rock pedigree.  Being a founding member of The Velvet Underground would suffice but his 50-year career since is equally impressive.  Wasn’t expecting this 77-year old rock icon to come out and slay but he and his crack band did just that.   Thanks for having him, and me Levitation.  If you’ve outgrown SXSW and ACL is too crowded, save some dates on the calendar for this one – Fall 2020. 

 

 

Pete Yorn + Wilderado 12/2/19, Atlanta

Dates: December 2, 2019

Location: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA

Live at the storied Variety Playhouse, natch.

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON
Pete Yorn is timeless and still making new music, which is a good thing, since what the world needs now is a whole lot more of this singer-songwriter’s empathy, compassion, and sincerity.  Not to mention his unique musical hooks and sound.
Yorn’s been touring most of 2019 in support of his 7th LP, Caretakers.  This tour included solo outings, and last couple of months with a band, wisely grabbing indie-dream pop band Day Wave, and it’s a nice fit. Fantastic show, reminded me why I loved Pete first time I heard him, going back to his breakthrough debut LP musicforthemorningafter in 2001.
Check out the last few tour dates  and all things Pete Yorn here:  http://www.peteyorn.com/
Opening band was Wilderado, rockers who’ve been on the road most of 2019 and their hard work is paying off.   They had a huge mid-day crowd in May at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees, and clearly won over the portion of tonight’s crowd that wasn’t already familiar.
From Tulsa, OK, Wilderado is Max Rainer (guitar/vocals), Justin Kila (drums), Tyler Wimpee (guitar), Colton Dearing (bass).  I can hear their stuff crossing genres, from Americana pop – to indie pop rock – and even modern country pop (but with smart lyrics and no schtick.)  They key word here being pop, which is short for popular so check out their music, schedule, and all things Wilderado here:  http://wilderado.co/
***
Join John on Instagram @johnboydstonphoto – and now on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JohnBoydstonPhotography/.  He takes requests.

 

Slayer 11/9/19, Madison Square Garden NYC

Dates: November 9, 2019

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City

TEXT & PHOTOS BY GREG KELLY

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

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

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

 

 

Robyn Hitchcock – 11/13/19, Atlanta

Dates: November 13, 2019

Location: Eddie's Attic, Atlanta GA

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

PHOTOS/TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

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

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

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

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

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

2019 Austin Levitation Festival Night One Report

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

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

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


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

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

Vagabon:

Banhart:

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

 

 

***

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

 

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

Ride 9/29/19, Atlanta

Dates: September 29, 2019

Location: Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA

Shoegaze legends invade the Variety Playhouse in fine style.

PHOTOS/TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON

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

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

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

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

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

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)