Category Archives: Photo Gallery

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)

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

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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Bryan Ferry 8/15/19, Atlanta

Dates: August 15, 2019

Location: The Tabernacle, Atlanta GA


Taking a victory lap with a deep dive into both his solo and Roxy Music catalogues, and accompanied by a stellar crew that included UK guitar legend Chris Spedding, Ferry turned Atlanta’s sold-out venue, the famed Tabernacle, into his personal song-craft room of magic and mirrors. (Click on the images in the gallery, below, to enlarge them.)

TEXT/PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Bryan Ferry is back on the road touring the world has he has done for many years – but this time it feels like a bit of a victory lap, and in a good way.  Ferry and the entire Roxy Music band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, and Ferry has said he appreciates the honor and loves the love.

If Ferry is feeling his 73 years he does a good job of hiding it onstage.   He’s loose, poised, having fun, and the onstage mutual admiration between this legend and his fans is remarkable and a sight to behold.   He’s also clearly leading the band, giving intro and outro cues, not that they need much direction once the show starts.  All top-notch veterans, and pretty much the same as he has toured with in recent years, including the great longtime Ferry/Roxy Music sideman and UK rock legend in his own right — Chris Spedding.  (Look him up.  We might not have ever had the Sex Pistols without his involvement.)

In fact, a highlight was the spotlight Ferry shared with Spedding for a solo during a rousing cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” I was reminded of Ferry’s all-covers solo record years ago, “These Foolish Things,” worth checking out as are all the Roxy and Ferry releases over the years.  I didn’t own my first Roxy Music LP until a few years ago, so it’s never too late, so start at the beginning with their iconic debut LP Roxy Music.

Ferry’s currently playing the Roxy hits, and solo stuff.  The guy is still making solid records.  Did I mention he’s 73?

Only a few US dates left, this week in Dallas and Austin, TX.  Then moving west to Denver, CO and onto California.  Dates here:  http://bryanferry.com/tour/

One other uniquely Bryan Ferry thing – he allows and encourages photographers to shoot the entire show.  NOBODY of his stature does that.  Usually it’s 3 songs and, get outta here, you weenies.  That says so much about his personal confidence – and it’s smart, because a photographer willing to take the time can capture all moods and visuals as the show progresses. A Bryan Ferry show heats up as it goes.

Bigger and more photos from the show are here:  https://jobo.smugmug.com/Bryan-Ferry-2019-Tour/
Check ‘em out and give me a follow on Instagram at @johnboydstonphoto.  Sometimes I have dog photos, too. (I can second that emotion. – Blurt Dawg Files Ed.) 

Video Exclusive: The Cynics Live Brooklyn 8/16/19

Live, appropriately enough, at Brooklyn’s Gran Torino, the Pittsburgh garage-rock heavyweights covered a classic LP in full, and in the process, blew the roof off the sucka. Watch our video exclusives, below.

TEXT/PHOTOS/VIDEO BY JONATHAN LEVITT

It’s a wonderful thing when you love a band for almost 30 years and finally get to see them live. Last night was the night that The Cynics roared into town and scorched everything in sight with a blistering set celebrating their stone-cold classic album Rock ’N’ Roll. (I wrote about the album for Blurt back in 2015.)

Playing the album from start to finish provided a thrill that went by in the blink of an eye. I sang along with every song and had to pinch myself that I was really witnessing this. I’ll know it was real because the documentary crew that was filming the band last night ended up interviewing me for the film. You can contribute money to help the filmmakers achieve their vision by going to this GoFundMe link. (Amen. – Uncle Blurt)

The band, which is about to embark on another Spanish tour, have just repressed the album on heavyweight vinyl with a bonus live LP. Set to be released in September, the LP is currently only available at gigs with a tote and badge as a bonus. (Preorder it at the Get Hip Records website.) (I just did. – Uncle Blurt)

For our Blurt readers and especially for good ol’ Uncle Blurt, I filmed a few songs from the show so you can witness some of the magic from last night. Long live The Cynics!

40 Years On: The 2019 Montreal Jazz Festival

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

TEXT & PHOTOS BY ALISA CHERRY

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Love Tractor / Swimming Pool Q’s 6/28 (Athens) & 6/29/2019 (Atlanta)

Dates: June 28 -29, 2019

Location: Athens, GA & Atlanta, GA

 

Live in Athens for the first night in The Vista Room (above), then in Atlanta the following evening at the 40 Watt Club – and both shows were packed to the proverbial gills, with fans coming down to Georgia from as far away as New Jersey and all points in between.

TEXT BY JOHN BOYDSTON / PHOTOS BY KAREN ALLISON (ATHENS) AND JOHN BOYDSTON (ATLANTA)

For these two shows, Love Tractor comprised three original members Armistead Wellford, Mike Richmond, and Mark Cline, plus two musicians playing with them who were both members of the band The Glands:  Joe Rowe (drums, who is still kicking ass with the Pylon Reenactment Society… man, does he precision hammer the good stuff),  and Doug Stanley (keyboards and guitar).

Also for the Athens gig, original Love Tractor member (and subsequent REM drummer) Bill Berry joined the band onstage, as did Berry’s 16-year old son on acoustic guitar, for Love Tractor’s ‘Neon Lights.’  Berry has famously described the band decision he had to make one day – stay with Love Tractor or continue with this other new band he’d been playing with…

Love Tractor played all the great stuff from their early records (maybe all of the first one), and reached into ‘This Ain’t No Outer Spaceship’ with a fabulous performance of ‘Chilli Part 2.’ It was eally a crowd-pleasing set, sounding way better than any old fan like me had a right to expect them to sound. In fact, this was maybe as good as they’ve ever been – which is cool when a band can pull that off after all the years.  It was a solid hour plus set.

Swimming Pool Q’s closed out.

Below: The Second Night in Atlanta

Kristin Hersh 6/27/19, Atlanta

Dates: June 27, 2019

Location: Terminal West, Atlanta GA

Live at the venerable Terminal West in hot ‘lanta…

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Throwing Muses will be performing a few dates later this summer with Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo, and Bernard George in the band (no Tanya Donelly apparently), their first shows in  five years.   The trio has late-August dates in Boston, San Diego and the Pasadena Daydream Festival (curated by The Cure’s Robert Smith).  I caught the alt-rock legend singer-guitarist-songwriter Hersh’s own show at Atlanta’s Terminal West, performing songs from her long solo career and new stuff from her acclaimed new release ‘Possible Dust Clouds’  – Fred Abong was on bass, and Rob Ahlers was on drums and backing vocals.

Check out our shutterbug in Atlanta here: https://jobo.smugmug.com/

 

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.