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.)

 

 

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

 

Continue reading

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.

 

> Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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, … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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”.)

Continue reading

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.

IMG_8475

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 … Continue reading

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.

 

"James Leg, Northside Tavern, 4.23.11" Create a free slideshow with Picnik!

 

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 (dubuquefest.org)
5/22 and 23: Bayport, WI @Bayport BBQ
5/24: St. … Continue reading