My wife and I had missed Brian Wilson at Levitation Austinlast year when the entire festival (and thus his performance) was cancelled due to bad weather. I learned he and his band were touring the world and performing many Beach Boys tracks as well as all of their masterpiece, Pet Sounds. I was determined to catch this tour and to hear such an important record played by the man who wrote it. Luckily for me, Mr. Wilson brought his show to a theatre less than an hour’s drive from my house.
He had a killer backing band that included one of the founding Beach Boys – Al Jardine – and another Beach Boys guitarist – Blondie Chapman, and they opened with the the classic “California Girls.”
Other treats included Wilson having a fun time singing “I Get Around,” a lovely rendition of “In My Room,” and Al Jardine’s son doing a great job on the vocals for “Don’t Worry, Baby.”
The highlight of the night, of course, was hearing Pet Sounds played from beginning to end. I’d been humming “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” all day leading up to the show and the band nailed it right out of the gate to open the second half. “Sloop John B” was a crowd favorite, and I forgot about the two fine instrumentals on the record.
Wilson got a standing ovation for “God Only Knows,” and “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” seems rather relevant today. The encore started with “Good Vibrations.” When Wilson asked, “Did you come here for bad vibrations?” I briefly hoped the Black Angelswould come on stage, but it was fun to hear the best psych-surf ever written live.
Other hits like “Help Me, Rhonda,” “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and “Surfin’ USA” followed, but Wilson ended the show, which he dedicated to his wife (It was her birthday that day.), the victims of the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting, and Tom Petty, with the heartfelt “Love and Mercy.”
It was a lovely, fun show. Wilson’s songs are so ingrained into American culture that you can sometimes forget how good and fun they are. See this tour if you get the chance. Wilson is getting up there in age, and sometimes needed a steadying hand to walk him to his piano. He’s claimed this is the final time he’ll perform Pet Sounds, so don’t wait.
I still don’t know why Kasabiandidn’t sell out their Chicago House of Blues show last week. They sold out Chicago’s Metro a couple years ago when I saw them with Bo Ningen. Yet, here they were with fellow Brits Slavesin a venue about the same size, but tickets were still available at the box office an hour before the show. As one guy behind me in the crowd said, “These guys sell out at Glastonbury. Where the hell is everybody?”
That’s not to say there was barely anyone in the place. The venue was nearly full, and I was happy to see so many people there in time for Slaves’ set. I’ve been keen on this duo since I heard their single “Where’s Your Car, Debbie?” Their newest album Take Controlwas one of my top records of 2016.
They came out oozing punk attitude and were soon tearing through songs like “Sockets” and “White Knuckle Ride.” My friend, Portia, had just seen them open for Buzzcocks earlier in the month and knew their set. She and I were the only people in the audience, it seemed, who knew how to reply when Slaves’ drummer and lead singer, Isaac Holman, told the story about how a man once asked him, “Where’s your hi-hat?” after a gig. The correct response, by the way, is “Fuck the Hi-Hat.” My friend and I were yelling it so much during the build-up to the song that people around us thought we were angry drunks.
People were still buzzing about them after their too-brief seven-song set, and I’d like to see them in a small venue where they’re the headliners. I’m sure that would be nuts.
Kasabian soon emerged and ripped into a fun set that had the crowd bouncing for most of the show. They started with “Ill Ray” and “Bumblebee” and had the crowd in their hands by the time they reached “Ez-Eh.”
A funny moment happened when they messed up the introduction to “Underdog.” “That’s the first time that’s happened,” said lead singer Tom Meighan. “I’m glad you were all here to see it.” They jumped back on the horse and nailed the song. Everyone laughed with them. Up next were three solid cuts, “Shoot the Runner,” “You’re in Love with a Psycho” (from their newest record, For Crying Out Loud), and “Club Foot.”
The rest of the show was just as fun, with “Empire,” “L.S.F.,” “Bless This Acid House,” “Vlad the Impaler,” and “Fire” being good highlights. It was a fun Tuesday night crowd (perhaps that’s why it didn’t sell out) rocking to two solid bands. It’s too bad if you missed it. Much praise also to the HOB and tour sound crews. The mix for both bands sounded great.
The premiere rock / hip hop / alternative music festival in New Orleans, Voodoo, has recently released one-day tickets for sale.
They have a good lineup, as usual. As for Friday, Kendrick Lamar is one of the biggest names in rap right now, and LCD Soundsystem should never be missed. Prophets of Rage are probably the must-see band of the year, and I’d love to see Marian Hill again.
I missed Day One of the 2017 Middle Waves Music Festival(Curse you, full-time job!), but I managed to make it to the latter half of Day Two. Sadly, I didn’t make it to Headwaters Park in Fort Wayne in time to catch Diarrhea Planet‘s set (Again, curse you, full-time job!), but I heard it was outstanding.
I snagged my press pass and soon spotted this pedicab nearby.
Yes, that’s an MGMTpedicab. You could hook up to a couple mp3 players attached to it and hear four songs of their upcoming album. It was a neat gimmick, and the four tracks weren’t bad either.
I wandered to the food court to snag a slice of pizza and noticed one vendor truck was a portable barber shop / styling salon giving out free haircuts. I debated partaking in one, but opted to check out some music instead.
One thing Middle Waves does that makes them stand out from most other music festivals is that they offer two free stages for the entire two days. This is genius. Some of the best bands play these free stages, so make sure you check out these shows next year. Again, it costs you nothing to see them.
I saw two local bands on a free stage this year, and both were excellent. The first was Wolfbearhawk. How do you not see a band with that name? They played a solid rock set, and it was good to hear some power chords after a long, hot day of work.
I then walked to the other free stage to see Selector Dub Narcotic. This wasn’t to be, however, because SDN (known in real life as music producer Calvin Johnson) was yanked off the stage as soon as I arrived after he stood on one of the monitors.
I was told by two other press members that Calvin Johnson attempted to move two monitors from the center of the stage just before I arrived and the sound booth guy told him not to move them. He then attempted to move them again and the sound booth guy warned him he would be cut off if he attempted it a third time.
As I arrived at the stage, the sound booth guy was standing at stage left and watching CJ as he performed a freestyle rap without any microphone or instruments. CJ then stood on one of the monitors at center stage and the sound booth guy told him he was cut off / done and he pulled him to stage right. Another man came out from stage right as CJ was being pulled away. Fans began yelling, and one yelled, “You can’t do that!” The man who entered from stage right yelled back, “Yes, we can. That’s OUR stuff.” So, the guys contracted to do sound for this stage were concerned CJ was going to break something.
Fans began pounding on the stage and nearby police officers ran to the scene and made sure nobody stormed the stage. No one was injured. No arrests were made. No one was handcuffed. No pepper spray or Tasers were deployed. I didn’t see the officers put a hand on anyone in the crowd. One officer stood on stage while CJ packed up his minimal gear and seemed to be having an amicable chat with him as fans booed. CJ told fans he’d take his gear somewhere west of the stage and play there. He instead came into the crowd and finished his rap among the fans, took some photos, grabbed his backpack and then left without looking back while a MW volunteer walked with him. The sound booth guy who shut CJ down did at one point walk to down center stage and attempt to get his attention while he was rapping amongst the fans. I don’t know if this was going to be an offer to play his set, but the dye was cast by then and CJ was out of there.
I hung out by the free stages for a little while and eventually caught a great set by Ft. Wayne’s Love Hustler. They put down a great set of electro-disco-funk. I knew it was going to be a good set as soon as I saw a key-tar and a “golden throat” guitar effect microphone on stage. They put on the best set of the day, in my opinion. I’m eager to hear their upcoming EP.
The Middle Waves Twitter feed recommended getting to the main stage early for headliners MGMT. They figured a long line would be the result of extra security checks there. They were right.
I got in quick thanks to my press pass (Thanks again, Middle Waves!), and MGMT were already playing their blend of trippy electro and psychedelic rock.
This was my first time seeing them live, so I was surprised to see five people onstage. MGMT is mainly two guys, but I’m sure they need more people to replicate their sound live. They played a good mix of old and new tracks. One big highlight, of course, was “Fated to Pretend,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
They announced that their upcoming album is “rugby themed,” and played “Me & Michael” from it. It’s a catchy tune, and I thought, “Yeah, MGMT recording an entire album about rugby seems right.”
Outside the main stage area, fans were peeking through the fence and standing on pillars and what-not to see and hear MGMT’s set. It made me grin. It’s always good to see “old school” concert cheating like that.
So, another good festival put on by the Middle Waves crew. There were some bumps, like any other festival, but I think they’ll improve on them and come back stronger next year.
CLUTCH ANNOUNCE WINTER PSYCHIC WARFARE TOUR DATES WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT & THE OBSESSED
Clutch has just announced Winter tour dates for the continuum of their Psychic Warfare tour. Supporting the tour will be Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed. Fan club pre-sale tickets will start at 2:00pm ET today, public stale starts 10am ET on Friday. Exclusive fan club pre-sale tickets and show info available here: mt.cm/clutch. The on sale date for the 4 Florida shows is TBD due to the hurricane in the region. Check the bands official website www.pro-rock.com for all upcoming ticket and show info.
Clutch will be entering the studio in early 2018 to begin work on their 12th studio album.
Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch. The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent, No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts. Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).
Clutch, Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed Tour Dates:
Wed, 11-29-17 Greensboro, NC at Cone Denim Entertainment Center
Fri, 12-01-17 Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues
Sat, 12-02-17 St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live
Sun, 12-03-17 Fort Lauderdale, FL at Revolution
Tue, 12-05-17 Saint Augustine, FL at Backyard Stage @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
Wed, 12-06-17 Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall
Fri, 12-08-17 Baton Rouge, LA at Varsity Theatre
Sat, 12-09-17 San Antonio, TX at The Aztec Theatre
Sun, 12-10-17 Houston, TX at House Of Blues
Tues, 12-12-17 Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre
Wed, 12-13-17 Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre
Fri, 12-15-17 Peoria, IL at Limelight Eventplex
Sat, 12-16-17 Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works
Wed, 12-27-17 Clifton Park, NY at Upstate Concert Hall
Thu, 12-28-17 Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
Fri, 12-29-17 Richmond, VA at The National
Sat, 12-30-17 Knoxville, TN at The International
Sun, 12-31-17 Columbus, OH at Express Live
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more information, check out the band’s website:
My wife and I caught Buddy Guy at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Indiana. It was our first show at the Lerner, even though we’ve lived a 30-minute drive from Elkhart for over 20 years. I don’t know how this happened, but we got some good seats (after a ticket mix-up at the box office) and settled in for the opener – 17-year-old blues guitarist wunderkind Quinn Sullivan.
Sullivan first played on stage with Buddy Guy when he was seven years old. He shreds like he’s been playing for far longer than seventeen years. He played a few cuts from his three albums, as well as a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.”
Buddy Guy came out to meet a rowdy crowd (many of whom had done plenty of pre-game drinking) and got right down to business by breaking a guitar string on the first note.
Once a replacement guitar was brought to him, he proceeded to shred through “Damn Right I Got the Blues” and then played around with classics like “Rock Me Baby,” “Fever,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” and “Who’s Making Love to Your Old Lady?”
Guy had plenty of fun stories as well, including one lively rant about genetically engineered chickens and tomatoes (“When I was a kid, a tomato was like cotton. You could make a sandwich out of it. Now you get a tomato and you could play baseball with it.”) and how you should buy produce that still has bugs on it (“Because it hasn’t been sprayed with stuff you shouldn’t eat.”).
One wild part of the show was when he played a guitar solo using a drum stick and a shirt.
Trust me, it worked. It worked quite well, in fact. He was flailing his guitar with a T-shirt and playing Cream riffs while doing it. He also walked through the crowd, shredding and singing the whole time.
He brought his son, GregGuy, andQuinn Sullivan back onstage for the end. His back-up band was, just like the last time I saw him, killer. They can play seemingly any tune and stop on a dime. Greg Guy and Sullivan played along during Buddy’s hit “Feels Like Rain” and then tore through Clapton and Hendrix covers to end the show.
The show was close to three hours total, and a fun performance that had everyone cheering and hollering. Buddy Guy is eighty-one years old now, so don’t miss him if he comes close. He’ll probably tour until he drops dead, but make sure you see him shred. There aren’t many living legends anymore.
File this under: Best News You’ve Heard Today. Austin, Texas’ annual Levitation Festival returns April 26-29, 2018.
The flagship Levitation festival (the others are in Chicago, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Angers, France) was cancelled this year after the organizers, the Reverb Appreciation Society, took a heavy loss due to the 2016 Austin festival being cancelled due to storms and flooding. Make up shows were quickly scheduled, but many attendees got shut out of those thanks to ruthless ticket scalpers. The RAS bounced back a bit this year with their Angers festival, but fans hoped the Chicago, Austin, and Vancouver shows would return soon.
There’s no word on the Chicago festival (which is usually the first of the four and held in early spring), but the announcement of the Austin festival’s return is great news and a good omen for the other Levitation shows.
Tickets for Austin aren’t on sale yet, but don’t wait too long to score them. The demand will be greater than normal. See you there.
Montreal’s Elephant Stone have a remix album of their Ship of Fools record, entitled Remix of Fools, now available for pre-order. Two of the tracks are instant downloads once you pre-order the full album.
MELKBELLY ANNOUNCE MORE TOUR DATES, INCLUDING SUPPORT FOR THE BREEDERS & BULLY, IN SUPPORT OF DEBUT ALBUM, NOTHING VALLEY, OUT OCTOBER 13TH ON CARPARK’S WAX NINE
(photo credit – Lenny Gilmore )
Chicago’s Melkbelly are set to release their debut full-length album, Nothing Valley, on Oct. 13thon Carpark Records’ imprint Wax Nine. Next week, the four-piece — Miranda Winters (vocals/guitar), brothersBart (guitar) and Liam Winters (bass), and James Wetzel (drums) — hit the road for a run of pre-release shows supporting Protomartyr. Today, they are announcing more headline shows, plus support tours with The Breeders and Bully. All dates are below.
Emerging from Chicago’s DIY spaces, Melkbelly recorded Nothing Valley fresh off a west coast tour. The resulting debut album is organized noise and thoughtful freneticism. Throughout, they fuse dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket as their songs clang and bang in stripped-down production that highlights the band’s sharp edges. Multi-faceted slabs of sound serve harmonious, immediate songs.
Watch Melkbelly’s “Middle Of” Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdLUXUsBoQY “Kid Kreative” Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mJoRmdYTo0Pre-order Nothing Valley:
Via Wax Nine – smarturl.it/nothingvalley_wax9
iTunes – smarturl.it/nothingvalley_itunes
Apple Music – smarturl.it/nothingvalley_appleMelkbelly Tour Dates: (new shows in bold) Wed. Sep 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo # Thu. Sep. 7 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery # Fri. Sep 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival Sat. Sep. 9 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight # Sun. Sep. 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club # Fri. Oct. 13 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout (Record Release Show) Mon. Oct. 16 – Bloomington, IN @ Bishop Bar + Tue. Oct. 17 – Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness Wed. Oct. 18 – Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong Fri. Oct. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville Tue. Oct 24 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class Wed. Nov. 08 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom ^ — SOLD OUT Thu. Nov. 09 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox ^ Sun. Nov. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ the Independent ^ — SOLD OUT Mon. Nov. 13 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater ^ — SOLD OUT Tue. Nov. 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ LBX Thu. Nov. 16 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge Fri. Feb. 16 – Norman, OK @ Opolis * Sat. Feb. 17 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf * Sat. Feb. 24 – Eugene, OR @ Hi Fi Music Hall * Mon. Feb. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret * Thu. March 1 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett * Fri. March 2 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux * Sat. March 3 – Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court * Tue. March 6 – Kansas City @ The Record Bar *
# = with Protomartyr
+ = with Snail Mail
^ = with the Breeders
* = with Bully
Somehow multiple decades have gone by without me catching electro legends Depeche Modelive. The dates finally worked out, and my wife and I were able to see them and shoegaze / post-punk newcomers Warpaintat Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
Warpaint played a good set of crisp post-punk with snappy bass lines and even snappier drumming (which would be a theme for the entire night). I’d heard a lot of good things about them, and they didn’t disappoint. I need to find more of their material.
Out came Depeche Mode to the Beatles’ “Revolution,” a major theme for their new album – Spirit. They rolled into “Going Backwards,” “So Much Love,” and “Barrel of a Gun” (which included a snippet of Grand Master Flash’s “The Message,” which cracked me up).
The crowd (which filled the stadium, apart from the unsold / unused seats behind the stage, by the way) jumped to its feet when they broke into “World In My Eyes.” It was a reminder of not only their electro prowess, but how much influence they’ve had on Trent Reznor. An acoustic version of “Question of Lust,” sung by MartinGore,was a crowd favorite, and the follow-up of “Home” was excellent.
“Where’s the Revolution?” – the first single off Spirit – was another standout and essentially the band’s rallying cry for fans old and new to stand up against The Man. “Everything Counts” is also staggeringly relevant for these times, even though it’s decades old by now. It preceded “Stripped,” “Enjoy the Silence” (which was almost entirely sung by the now-bonkers crowd), and “Never Let Me Down Again” – which was better live than I even hoped it would be (and drummer Christian Eigner was absolutely slaying his kit by this point).
The encore started with “Somebody,” included a nice cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and finished with big hits “I Feel You” and “Personal Jesus,” which had everyone raising their hands to “reach out and touch faith.”
It was long overdue, but very welcome. My wife immediately listened to their new album as soon as we got back from the show. She woke up the next day with Depeche Mode songs in their head, and I’ve had “Never Let Me Down Again” stuck in my brain for days.