Photos from the Austin City Limits Festival


Originally shot for Speakers in Code, our friend Nate Burrell has allowed us to share some of his photos from this year’s Austin City Limits Festival. The shots are so gorgeous, I’m not even going to begrudge him the fact that he didn’t shoot the Afghan Whigs. who played yet another stellar set at the fest.

(Click photos to view larger versions.)


by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Gary Clark, Jr.

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

The Black Keys

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

The Avett Brothers

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Big K.R.I.T.

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Big K.R.I.T.

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Iggy Pop

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Iggy Pop

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Alabama Shakes

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Esperanza Spalding

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Esperanza Spalding

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Die Antwoord

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

The Roots

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Trampled by Turtles

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Trampled by Turtles

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Zola Jesus

by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code


by Nate Burrell for Speakers in Code

Lee Fields & the Expressions


For even more great ACL Fest photos, visit Nate’s site.


JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound: If Life Was Easy As a Song


JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound release their Bloodshot Records debut, Want More, today and it is a fine, fine soul album that feels and breathes and dances with a deep shimmy, not playing out as a lifeless set-piece as can easily happen when a modern band takes up a sound closely associated with an earlier era. Lyrically, it’s a relatable album that speaks in real terms instead of heart-shaped metaphors. Musically, it’s a straight-up rump-shaker of rich grooves that just seems to grow richer with each listen. And, personally, I was singing along within two or three spins of the album.

JC was kind enough to answer a few questions for us…



When and why did you start singing? How did the Uptown Sound come together?

Because my mom was always singing, I started singing around the house as a toddler. I did Chorus in elementary and middle school, and formed my first band in high school. JCBUS came together because Ben, our bassist, and I answered an ad put out by Billy, our guitarist, who was looking to make aggressive dance music.




A press release describes your music as “post-punk soul”. What does that mean to you? How do you think your music fits into this era?

Post-punk soul, to me, is emotive music that doesn’t try to fit into the typical “soul” girdle of warmly lit, grease-lensed love. We discuss love in our music, but usually more graphically than traditional soul, and we also don’t only take the point of view that the common portrayal of love is the ‘be-all, end-all’ ultimate goal. We write about the lighter side of lust and the general messiness of love, its hindsight is less hazy and more 20/20 when we write about why a relationship went wrong, etc. I don’t think our music fits into the post-punk era so much, but it does harken to a post-punk aesthetic that’s been pressed through a soul filter.

I hear some Stax influence in your music, like Otis Redding and the Dramatics. Who else are you influenced by?

For me personally: Patti LaBelle and Tina Turner are huge performance influences. Vocally, I draw inspiration from Otis, Teddy Pendergrass, Anita Baker and Amy Winehouse.

For the band: Bad Brains, Gang of Four, Living Colour, The Stooges, Bowie, Tower of Power, The MGs… the list could go on and on.



How did the idea to soul up Wilco come about?

Well, it started with Billy wondering what Syl Johnson (we were working with Syl at the time for the Numero Group revue) would sound like covering music like Wilco or Bowie, and from there it blossomed into the version we do now.



How did things come together with JCBUS and Bloodshot?

We stormed the Bloodshot office and held them hostage until they agreed to our demands…

What have you and the band been listening to lately?

Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Adele, Tune-Yards, JD MacPherson, Jill Scott, Joe Bataan… A lot of stuff all the time, really, but the artists I listed above have been getting a lot of play lately.


Listen to and download their first single, “Everything Will Be Fine”.

Everything Will Be Fine by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound


JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound Official Website


Photos by Nate Burrell, courtesy of KDHX

Daytrotter Barnstormer 5, Akron, OH, 8.31.11

“We’re in a barn. Shit.” – Dean Povinsky, Wildlife

Having grown up in the country (not too far from the site where the Daytrotter Barnstormer 5 tour set down in Akron), I’m not unfamiliar with hearing live music in barns – though in my childhood experiences, the bands were usually a sidenote to a pig roasting on a spit or people getting drunk at a company picnic. Don’t get me wrong: there were people getting drunk at the beautiful Conrad Botzum Farmstead Barn Wednesday night, but the main event was clearly the music.

The show started promptly at 6:30 PM, the sun still out, shining in through the open barn door and windows. A group of photogenic young men dressed all in black with matching teal armbands (“We chose black for our uniforms,” keyboard player Tim Daugulis commented later. “What a great idea.” “Oh yeah: daylight,” singer/guitarist Dean Povinsky added) drew people into the barn from the deck and surrounding grounds with their energetic set. This was Wildlife. Belting out passionate vocals and rocking hard, half the band’s black uniforms were sweat-soaked by the third song. I liked Wildlife immediately and even got goosebumps during an a cappella break toward the end of the last song of their set.

Next up was Princeton, an L.A. band led by twin brothers Matt and Jesse Kivel. Their synth-heavy mellow dance music was not my thing, but they had a friendly presence, and the woman in striped jeans to my right danced ecstatically through most of the set.

Doug Paisley was probably the artist on the bill who most fit people’s idea of music you might usually hear emanating from a barn. Looking like the lovechild of Thurston Moore and John Doe, Paisley is a sweet guitarist with a comfortable, weathered voice. In his songs, he is a storyteller, but he joked about trying to keep quiet between songs because stage banter didn’t seem to work for him. “I don’t like telling the same jokes every night,” he said. “I think you should keep things fresh. That may be my problem.” Either way, he had a barnful of people quietly transfixed by the end of his set.

(In a slightly mistimed moment of serendipity, a bat flew high over Paisley’s head a couple of songs after he played “Bat Song”.)

For the seventh inning stretch, White Rabbits brought their spirited Brit-style pop-rock to make the barn bounce. They brought out a crop of new songs that still managed to engage the crowd, though it was with their last couple of songs, more familiar tunes, that really brought punch to their set.

I have gushed about Hacienda on this blog before, and this is going to be more of the same. I tell everyone that they are one of my favorite live bands for a very good reason. These guys always serve up a loose soul groove while still being a very tight unit, and there aren’t many bands who make me dance more at shows. The Villanueva brothers and cousin Dante brought out a bunch of new songs from their third album, recently recorded at Dan Auerbach’s relocated Easy Eye Studio in Nashville, my favorite being “You Just Don’t Know” with its superior soul groove. And while the new songs were great, it was in the more familiar tunes where they really laid it down. They ended their set with a spectacular version of their Everly Brothers cover “You’re My Girl” that featured an extended groove-jam intro and left the crowd hollering for more. They proceeded to top themselves with an encore of “Mama’s Cookin'” that could have set the barn aflame had it gotten any hotter.

All in all, a great evening in a great setting. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to Sean Moeller and the Daytrotter crew for bringing this great tour to Ohio this time around.


Deep Blues Festival 2011, Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH, 7.16.11

Thinking about this post and trying to find a way to encapsulate some nine hours of great music and great people leaves me wanting to write “You should have been there” and leave it at that. But that isn’t fair to anyone, especially not the amazing performers who fueled the night.

Each artist who took the stage Saturday brought something special with them, from the endearing charm of Boom Chick (and drummer Moselle Spiller’s brilliant scream) to the explosive energy of Molly Gene to the hypnotic skill of Mississippi Gabe Carter to the dirty magic that occurs when Left Lane Cruiser sits in with Mark Porkchop Holder. Every act was worth keeping an eye on.

Confession: I didn’t keep an eye on every act. In fact, it seems I missed two of the best sets of the night: Ten Foot Polecats and Left Lane Cruiser. Instead, I was carousing in the bar like some sort of scenester. But with an event like DBF, part of the package is meeting and hanging out with great people – the kind of people who don’t roll their eyes or just quietly humor you when you go on and on about blues music (or music in general). The kind of people who love music so much they’ll travel thousands of miles to play it. Or even just to listen to it.

Boom Chick led the way with a big helping of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll mixed in with their blues, most notably on their original tunes like “Sweaty, Sweaty Dress”, “The Ghost of Bo Diddley” (the barnstormer of a tune that closed their set) and a Link Wray/surf music-inspired instrumental. They also pulled up a couple of covers, like Diddley’s “White Horse” and Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil”, which was given a fascinating new dimension by Spiller’s drums.


video by Chris Bishop


Next up was Old Gray Mule featuring C.W. Ayon who played a sweet little set full of great covers and bad jokes. C.R. Humphrey’s great guitar-playing led the way while Ayon supplied great vocals and drumming on songs by Robert Belfour, T-Model Ford, R.L. Burnside and originals like “Ass Whoopin'” and “Back in the Day”, a song about T-Model Ford.

Now here’s where my notes end as I really began to enjoy myself. Mississippi Gabe Carter played a beautiful set of slow blues, belting out gripping vocals while accompanying himself masterfully on his National Map guitar. Songs included “Black Woman”, “Skinny Woman”… and other titles that don’t have the word “woman” in them. (I mentioned that I stopped taking notes, right?)

Cashman brought some dirty into the mix, along with one of the smilingest drummers I’ve ever seen. Ray Cashman is one of the most intimidating-looking blues musicians since Howlin’ Wolf, but like Wolf, Cashman flashed a ready smile.

For me, the musical highlight of the night was Molly Gene One Whoaman Band. Armed with a guitar, a fantastic foot drum and occasional harmonica, Molly Gene is pure fury, stomping the ever-lovin’ shit out of the beat while howling with a voice so gravel-ridden that your throat starts to feel raw just listening to her. If you took the individual talents of men like John Wesley Myers, Scott H. Biram and Bob Log III, you’d still need to throw in a few mule kicks to match the ferocity of Molly Gene. She played awesome originals like “Bumble Bee” and “I Need Me a Man” and tied the bow in the ribbon of winning my heart forever by cover the Coasters’ “Down in Mexico”.


video by Chris Bishop


I was in and out for the Misery Jackals, but the locals had an excited fan base hooting in the audience and boasted the lone bass player of the night.

Then I completely missed the Ten Foot Polecats set, which was a mistake because this happened:


video by bloodybill


Long and lanky Ted Drozdowski led the Scissormen through an energetic set which saw Drozdowski come down from the stage, climb onto chairs, set his guitar on tables to play it and, at one point, set the guitar in my hands to play it, eventually weaving his way into the back bar for some stool-climbing before coming back to the stage. There’s a reason Drozdowski also played M.C. for the night.

Being a Black Diamond Heavies fan, I was not about to miss Mark Porkchop Holder, who was in the original lineup of the band. Holder did not disappoint, playing smooth slide steel as he sang about folks like Deliah and Stagger Lee. And, as mentioned before, Brenn Beck and Joe Evans of Left Lane Cruiser joined Holder toward the end to put some grit behind the slide.

And then I proceeded to miss Left Lane Cruiser. I know, I know. I was busy having adventures. I will see those guys play eventually, I swear.

Sadly, the Staving Chain and Javier & the Innocent Sons weren’t able to play the show.

As praiseworthy as all the performances were, equally deserving of praise was the stellar job Ted Drozdowski and Jim Chilson did of organizing and running the event. It was great to see original DBF organizer Chris Johnson in the audience, enjoying the show, as the concept he started found a new life in capable hands.

Can’t wait for next year.

Nicole Atkins/Booker T. Jones/The Black Keys, White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN, June 10, 2011

I am envious of everyone who was able to attend this show – Booker T. Jones and the Black Keys!? Are you freaking kidding me!? – but we are fortunate enough to have this great review and fantastic photos from Jessi Smith. Thanks so much, Jessi.




As I type this The Black Keys are in the midst of their tour of Canada, where they seem to get a lot more recognition than around here. They get invited to perform at Canadian awards shows, unlike here where they have to accept their Grammy’s during the pre-show. America is coming around though. Less frequently am I met with blank stares and well meaning corrections of, “Do you mean the Black Eyed Peas?” when I mention their name. However, with shows like the one I went to in Indianapolis on June 10th under their belts, they’re going to be household names before you can say “That’s not how you say Auerbach”. Then all the hipsters can hate them for selling out, which I won’t mind because the fewer faux fan douchebags that like them the better.



A $5 skip the line pass and a GA ticket. That’s all it took to set in motion what would be the best concert I’d ever attended. The competition for that title isn’t light either, not only had I seen The Black Keys in 2010 but, Bob Dylan and B.B. King had also given me shows to remember. The weather was perfect, a nice breeze blew and I was pressed against the barrier directly in front of center stage, nothing between me and the band but a one foot patch of grass. The show opened up with Nicole Atkins and the Black Sea, who played a set that was lovely and was enjoyed. Next up legendary Booker T. Jones who charmed me and made me feel more than a little ashamed that I’d initially been a bit disappointed that Cage the Elephant wouldn’t be opening for this show. I was an ungrateful and uneducated fan who won’t ever make that mistake again.



With the backbeat of GZA’s “Liquid Swords” playing, Dan and Pat calmly walked out and took their places. After the customary “We are The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio” they proceeded to do what they do. “Thickfreakness” came first as the opener as expected. I hope that never changes. It’s a constant in the Black Keys shows that makes me feel like a ground floor fan. They did the “Stack Shot Billy” / “Busted” back-to-back that was beyond words. The energy they put into “Busted” exploded after well built tension and extended riffs.



We also got a special treat. About midway through the show Dan announced that they were going to do something a little different. With an almost giddy smile he told us that they’d be having Booker T. join them for a couple songs. As they played “Ten Cent Pistol” with Booker, the boys had us hanging onto every note. The smooth line, “…the couple screamed but it was far too late, a jealous heart did retaliate.” was followed by the sudden blackout of every light and complete silence from the band for what seemed like forever. The anticipation boiled over and at just the right moment they burst back and blew minds. Another little treat came during “Everlasting Light” when a giant disco ball rose from the stage and made the place positively twinkle. This isn’t a band where you expect that kind of thing and I’m not gonna lie, my fangirl came out and I loved it. It wouldn’t be the first appearance of my fangirl, what with my front and center position and Dan’s frequent trips to the edge of the stage (where I’m certain we made eye contact… just throwing that out there) All together they played nearly 20 songs and still I didn’t want it to end. They encored with “Sinister Kid” and “Your Touch”, then bade us goodnight.



And here I am, still talking about it.


Scott H. Biram at the Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH, 6.24.11

One of these days, I will master the art of showing up to the Grog Shop at Just The Right Time – not too early, not too late. This past Friday was not that day. I missed all of Heelsplitter and caught one and half songs from the Not So Good Ol’ Boys. I can tell you that the audience was into NSGOB. And it was good to see that much long hair on dudes on a rock stage in Cleveland without any spandex in the vicinity.



Witnessing a Scott H. Biram show might lead you to believe the phrase “Texas tornado” was invented for him. Biram even comes with his own siren, by way of the megaphone he keeps in his instrument arsenal. Offstage, Biram appears calm, unassuming… sweet, even. But once he sits down in the midst of the aforementioned instrument arsenal – which includes a few vintage hollow-body electric guitars, one angular solid-body electric, harmonicas, guitar pedals, stompbox and a pair of tambourines set on the edge of an equipment case to pick up the beat of the stompbox – and straps himself in, it’s as if something snaps inside him, and he is a whirlwind of energy, fury and conviction until he steps off stage.

The audience loves Biram. He will show his appreciation, for sure, but he won’t back down from telling someone to fuck off or shut up, as when someone requested that he “play something good”.

“I just played three good ones,” Biram rightfully pointed out.

Attitude is undoubtedly a big draw with a Scott H. Biram show. “This is a love song, so spread your legs” was his introduction to “Wildside”. Biram has just the right balance of sweet and ornery to pull off something like that (so don’t try this at home, kids).

But attitude is just air without the chops to back it up, and you don’t get a reputation as solid as Scott H. Biram’s by being just okay. From the bluegrass-style picking of Doc Watson’s version of “Freight Train Boogie” to the folk strumming of Woody Guthrie’s “Pastures of Plenty” to the heavy metal slide of “We Come to Party”, Biram is the kind of guitar player that makes it all look easy. And his harmonica playing is pretty much perfect.



While it can be overshadowed by all the amped up guitar and sweet-ass harp, Biram’s voice is also a beautiful instrument worthy of its own spotlight. Biram’s rendering of “Go Down Ol’ Hanna” is gorgeous and might have made Leadbelly a little envious if he was around to hear it.



But Biram’s forte is whipping a crowd into a stomping, hollering frenzy, throwing his whole self into a song, a one-man audio mosh pit – and all while seated. You won’t get any video examples of this from me, though, because all you would see would be a shaking blur due to all the actual stomping (and hollering) I was doing.

In addition to the previously-mentioned songs, Biram brought out “Time Flies”, “Long Fingernail”, Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied”, a Mance Lipscomb tune dedicated to roadie/guru extraordinaire U.S. Justin, an unapologetic cover of Johnny Lee’s “Lookin’ for Love”, a handful of songs from the album he just finished recording before this tour started (slated to be released in October, and it’s going to be gooooood) and more songs that I didn’t write down. The man just goes, and good luck keeping up with him.

There was no encore, per se, Friday night. Biram announced that he had a couple of more songs, but those couple more songs turned into five or six more songs as he just played until he couldn’t anymore. He doesn’t go out with a bang because the whole damn show is one huge bang.

The Dead Exs at the Bowery Electric, New York City, NY, 6.8.11


We’re very pleased to have a guest review from our good friend @Popa2unes.



The Dead Exs release their CD – Resurrection, and it’s a party!

By @Popa2unes and DJ Knucklehead

Photos courtesy Kristin Viens


We wandered into the Bowery Electric and walked down the steep steps to the basement with water pouring down the pealing brick walls from the torrential downpour taking place outside. Large chrome lights dangled from the high black ceilings; it was dark, dank and perfect for what was about to take place: raw, fuzzy roots rock and blues. “The Dead Exs CD release Party.” We found a seat on one of the large Group W benches that surrounded the stage, and planted ourselves. There was a nice size, enthusiastic crowd Hipnik’s, Hipsters, Rockers, Hobohemians and an abundance of beautiful women. I love NYC.

Bang Bang Boogaloo recording artists, The Dead Exs are David Pattillo (henceforth DP) on electric slide guitar and vocals with Wylie Wirth on the skins.



The Dead Exs bring a multitude of influences to their music from Albert King to ZZ Top. Every song seems to have a bluesy familiarity to it, but is original in its writing, delivery and style; it’s just good ole Rock n Blues and I love it. Their live performance is like being invited into their home for a night of hanging around with friends.

They started the show with “Whole Lot of Nothing” with DP alone on the stage with his axe, working slow and steady building up to a powerful crescendo that brought everyone to full attention and the ladies out onto the dance floor. Then BAM! Out of nowhere Wylie crept into his seat to join in with a thunderous beat.




They played “All Over You”, “La Grange/Come Down Easy” and “Gone” with Mark Grandfield on harp. At the end of “Come Down Easy” they released the Kracken in an electric, sonic-guitar-harp- blob of fuzzion that nearly blew the roof off the place.




They were joined by Shane Bozza on vocals and Jimmy Caps on bass from The Dirty Glamor for three Rock scorchers: “No Way To Go But Up”, “Shut Up and Love Me” and “Till It’s Gone” – delighting the crowd even more. When Shane sang “Shut Up and Love Me” I found myself nodding my head yes, yes, yes! …and I lost my heart for the umpteenth time that night.




At times DP seemed to transform into Ganesh playing four guitars at once, wrenching more from the instrument than seems humanly possible. He snarls, growls, wails, and screams his way through every song in a way that can provoke the savage soul in any human.



Like a ghost blending into the background with the kaleidoscope images projecting on his spirit, Wylie sat at his kit and was a powerhouse of drum beats. He is a solid drummer with an effortless style, laying down hypnotic drumbeats, and then suddenly he’ll crash those skins like Jacob Marley shaking his chains in the middle of the night, shooting you out of your skin.



The Dead Exs show, that yes you can still play the Blues today and still be new and exciting. There are no rules; their sound is modern yet classic, ruff and primal. They are a Rock N’ Roll band that seem to take ques from all facets of music from Blues, to Soul, to Jazz, and tie it together in a dirty, nasty, raw mass of sonic nuts and bolts meant for only one thing: to knock you off your feet.

The Dead Exs – Resurrection can be purchased from iTunes or here.


The Dead Exs on Reverbnation

The Dead Exs on Facebook


Also on the bill were Only Living Boy, The Fieros and Golden Animals from the Bang Bang Boogaloo NY Rock and Roll Compilation 1, which you can download for free here, which I highly recommend you do.

Shouting Thomas Torment/T-Model Ford & GravelRoad at the Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH, 6.4.11


Shouting Thomas Torment



Sometimes you go to a show just hoping the opening act won’t be unbearable. Then sometimes you get something like Shouting Thomas Torment.

While sometimes situated in a group, Shouting Thomas and the Torments, Shouting Thomas was doing it one-man band style at the Beachland Tavern Saturday night. He immediately lived up to his name by shouting, showman style, from the moment he stepped on stage to the moment he stepped off. In between, he thumped the bass drum, drove the hi-hat and took the guitar from fuzzed-out punk blues to rockabilly twang, shook it all together and broke it all down. The set kicked off with “Struggle (Scratch That Itch)”, hit on a number of highlights like “Slave for My Cave”, “All Grown Up Wrong”, “Trouble Doll” and “Swamp Witch”, and closed out with “Shakey Shake #1”. There was also a Bo Diddley beat and a very respectable imitation of a chicken on the guitar.

(Shouting Thomas also made sure to mention a couple of 45s he had for sale: “Slave for My Cave” on a split with Wolfboy Slim and “Black Cat Bone” b/w “Trouble Doll”.)

I went in not knowing a single thing about Shouting Thomas Torment and came out an enthusiastic fan.


T-Model Ford & GravelRoad



One of my regrets from the Great Mississippi Sojourn I took last summer with co-blogger Jennifer and our friend Cam Rogers is that I didn’t spend an evening or two in a juke joint. Well, now I feel a little better because James “T-Model” Ford brought the juke to the Beachland. Aside from being about the right size and aesthetic for a Mississippi juke, the tavern also had about the right heat and humidity Saturday night. But it took T-Model to fill it with the right vibe and sound.

GravelRoad – this night being comprised of just guitarist Stefan Zillioux and drummer Martin Reinsel as bass player Jon “Kirby” Newman was under house arrest for undisclosed reasons – took the lead, playing a couple of their own numbers, showing why they make a great complement to Ford with their low, rough, electric blues-drag sound. Then Ford, who drew a crowd that covered a wide variety of ages and classes, took the stage, strapped on Black Mattie (his trusty Peavey guitar) and got hips to rolling in short order.

Best estimates place Ford’s age at 90, he has a pacemaker and has survived a stroke in recent years, but you’d hardly think it from watching him play. While a couple of his songs this night lasted less than 3 minutes, most of them ran well beyond the usual 5-minute mark, playing on the classic blues tradition of not letting a good groove go once you’ve got a hold of it. And groove is what it’s all about. Just fast enough to get your ass to swaying, but not too fast to keep your partner from holding on tight. This is why they call him the Tail/Tale Dragger. (And this is also probably part of why he calls himself the Ladies Man, because you can bet he was taking in as much of the body-grooving females in the audience as he could.)

While Ford was undeniably the star of the show, the support of GravelRoad should not be underestimated. Zillioux stayed tight in Ford’s wake through tunes like “I Love You, Baby”, “Hip Shakin’ Woman”, “Chickenhead Man” and “Train I Ride”, while Reinsel pummeled a tide of heavy beats that were more than a little responsible for the shaking of hips through the night. Not to mention, Reinsel looked like he was having the time of his life.


Video courtesy of Chris Bishop.


Now if there had just been some fried pickles and sweet tea…



For some absolutely beautiful shots of T-Model Ford’s recent show in St. Louis, Missouri, check out our friend Nate Burrell’s Flickr set.

Postcards from the Pit: Whitesnake


I saw Whitesnake at Irving Plaza last week – now there is a sentence I never expected to write – and about two songs into their set, it occurred to me: these are the kind of rock stars I fell in love with the first time. Not these specific rockstars, maybe, what with Whitesnake having been reconstituted several times since they started, but certainly of this general type: the shredding, hair-flying-everywhere, flowing-shirts-and-leather-trousers flavor of musician.


Though I certainly do have a massive soft spot for Whitesnake in particular, and this incarnation of the band is a solid one. David Coverdale sounds great, and he’s got some heavy metal all-stars behind him, with Doug Aldrich (Dio) and Reb Beach (Winger) on guitars, Brian Tichy (Foreigner) on drums, Michael Devin (Lynch Mob) on bass and Brian Ruedy (Bret Michaels, Brian “Head” Welch, of KORN) on keys.

The set was a mixture of old and new songs – Whitesnake has a new record out! – and from what I could tell they were really enjoying themselves. This is one of my favorite pictures from the evening, taken during the “epic battling guitar solo” portion of the evening, and I love it mainly because Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich are grinning at each other like they have just invented a new holiday and it involves electric guitars:


In short, it was a fantastic evening. Here are a few more pictures:

Reb Beach (“former singing waiter of this parish”- David Coverdale) mugging as he shreds

Doug Aldrich

Brian Tichy, mid-solo

L to R: David Coverdale, Michael Devin, Brian Ruedy

David Coverdale, listening to the crowd sing to him.

James Leg at the Northside Tavern, Cincinnati, OH, 4.23.11

Trucked on down to Cincinnati Saturday to see James Leg and drummer Andrew Jody put on a rattle-the-rafters show for the Solitary Pleasure record release show. After a European tour and a rough week of re-entry back to the States, Leg and Jody were ready to have a good time back at home with friends.



The show served triple duty as a birthday party for a number of locals and a memorial show for local musician David “Bones” Hebert who was killed April 18 under questionable circumstances. Despite what could have been an angry or somber occasion, spirits were high, and the crowd was encouraged to shake their asses, which they did. And Leg did, too, at one point getting up to dance around his stool.

Leg is currently shoring up some U.S. tour dates, and, if you hadn’t guessed, I highly recommend you catch him if you can.

4/30: Chattanooga, TN @ JJ’s w/ Bohannons (record release)
5/20: Rock Island, IL @ RIBCO
5/21: Dubuque, IA (
5/22 and 23: Bayport, WI @Bayport BBQ
5/24: St. Cloud, MN (To Be Confirmed)
5/25: Appleton, WI (TBC)
5/26: Minneapolis, MN (TBC)
5/27: Ft Wayne, IN @ Brass Rail
5/29: Chicago @ Morseland

(Word is they may be coming back through the Cleveland area in late May/early June.)