Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Sun Studio

Today, Jennifer takes us on another leg of our Southern roadtrip: our visit to the legendary Sun Studio. I’ll post my own observation tomorrow, but we had to share Jennifer’s wonderful photos with you all.

On Tuesday of last week, we put the road back in road trip and voyaged up to Memphis to see Sun Studio and Graceland.

It is no exaggeration to say that rock and roll as we know it began here in a ragged room on a run down corner in Memphis. Today it is both an active recording studio and a museum.

This is a reconstruction of the office of Marion Keisker, the lady who recorded Elvis Presley singing for the very first time, and, more importantly, kept a copy of the recording to share with Sam Phillips. We got to hear it during our tour, a little bit scratchy and rough but undeniably The King. I felt a little bit like I did when I watched Streetcar Named Desire for the first time, having to remind … Continue reading

The Felice Brothers at Lebowski Fest in Louisville, KY, 7.16.10

The recounting of the NTSIB roadtrip to points south will begin with the end. We are, as regular readers have surely noticed, a little fannish about the Felice Brothers, so when the opportunity presented itself to cap off our roadtrip by seeing the Brothers play Lebowski Fest, we couldn’t pass it up. It was the fourth Felice show for me, the third for Jennifer and our first show together. All very exciting, I assure you. And it was, for me, the most fun of the Felice shows I’ve experienced.

We set off from the hotel a little late and, sadly, missed “The Greatest Show on Earth” (a favorite of mine), but we sang along to “White Limo” as we crossed the parking lot and weaved our way as close to the stage as we could. The Brothers kept it upbeat for the drunken party crowd and Lebowski-ized a couple of songs, transforming “Where’d You Get Your Liquor?” to “Where’d You Get Your Caucasian?” and “Roll On, Arte” to “Roll On, Donny”. Other highlights included a guest spoon-player on “Whiskey … Continue reading

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Cadillac Sky

More Cadillac Sky = more good. Jennifer shares a little of her experience with the guys during their New York show. Panda says this show was off the hook, and I don’t doubt it for a second.

Continuing the Cadillac Sky theme for this week, here’s some pictures from the show I went to over Memorial Day weekend. They played at Union Hall – the random picture of the old lady that was hanging on the wall behind the stage has sadly disappeared – and it was a rockin’ good time.

Note: Union Hall tends to be dark, and I was struggling a little bit with the low light. I do take pictures in color, I promise, it just happened that this time the black and white ones were (mostly) the ones that came out the sharpest.

Bryan Simpson

Matt Menefee and David Mayfield

Matt Menefee and Andy “Panda” Moritz

At one point Dave, Bryan and Ross came down off the stage … Continue reading

JP and the Chatfield Boys & Cadillac Sky at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH, 6.5.10

JP and the Chatfield Boys

The evening began a little quietly with JP & the Chatfield Boys playing straight-up bluegrass of a somewhat sedate nature. While they’re certainly a skilled group, they were pretty by-the-book. But the harmonizing on “Midnight Moonlight” stood out, as did the fiddling on “Stoney Lonesome”. They would be a great group to catch at an evening outdoor event.

Cadillac Sky

A sure sign of a good show: when you, as an audience member, are exhausted, yet the band is still going.

To call a Cadillac Sky show a bluegrass show would be akin to attempting to recreate a Brueghel painting with one brushstroke – there is so much more going on. Cadillac Sky assured us they meant business by opening their 2-hour-plus set (from my calculations, but I didn’t pay close attention to what time they came out, so I may be off – I can tell you they played longer than I’ve seen any band … Continue reading

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Miss Derringer, Cracker, The Reverend Horton Heat

This week, Jennifer shares shots from what is possibly the most perplexing tour line-up ever, Cracker and the always-great Reverend Horton Heat. Opening on this stop was Miss Derringer, led by lowbrow artist Liz McGrath.

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Miss Derringer :

Liz McGrath and Morgan Slade

And in color:

Liz McGrath and Morgan Slade

They are, in fact, as hot and as sharp as their namesake pistol. That was terrible, wasn’t it? I’m sorry. But they really are. They came out to crowd that was hanging back, sitting on the mysterious couches (which I had never seen in the High Line before, it was most perplexing) and proceeded to get a whole lot of people up and dancing. Possibly I have seen Grease a few too many times, but I found myself thinking this music is begging for a floor full of girls in poodle skirts getting flipped up and over their sweethearts’ heads. Tough girls, that is, in black poodle skirts with blood-red petticoats and lipstick to match.

Anyway, … Continue reading

Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Butch Walker and the Black Widows/Locksley

This week, Jennifer takes a chance on Butch Walker, with some lovely results.

Butch Walker and the Black Widows/Locksley, Webster Hall, 5/20/2010

I kind of decided to go to this show on a whim. Up until relatively recently I’d been neutral to indifferent about the music of Butch Walker, but then he came out with I Liked You Better When You Had No Heart and I developed a fondness for Pretty Melody, because, well, it does have a pretty melody. And it kind of sounds like a backwoods orchestra creaking to life, one instrument at a time. So when his name popped up in one of my concert alerts I thought all right, let’s go see what this is all about.

I am really, really glad I went, because it was an incredible evening. He played a variety of instruments, including a banjolele – an actual cowbell also made an appearance, though it was played by guitarist Chris Unck – and we danced in the pit, singing along and clapping. He covered Weezer and Hall & Oates, and at one point towards the end, jumped in to the crowd and led us in a variation on the Twist, in order … Continue reading

Futurebirds & Jessica Lea Mayfield at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH, 5.19.10


With six members playing pedal steel guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, mandolin and drums – switching off instruments and vocals throughout the set – Futurebirds have a hell of a lot of strings, but you wouldn’t mistake them for a string band. You might mistake them for a really big bar band, though. I’ll just be honest and say that their music didn’t do much for me, but their sense of humor did. A band who can play to a nearly-empty hall and still enjoy the hell out of themselves is okay in my book. The crowd was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and they were rewarded when the band kicked in three great songs at the end of their set, one led by drummer Payton Bradford who came out from behind his kit to strap on a Fender and go.

(One song was dedicated to LeBron James. “This one’s for LeBron. Maybe he’ll stay,” they said, perhaps in a bid to further endear themselves to the crowd. “He won’t,” came the … Continue reading

Suckers & Local Natives at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH, 5.11.10

Local Natives (in-store performance at Music Saves)

Wide Eyes
Cards & Quarters
Warning Sign

I may be a big puss and a little too easily affected by music, but as soon as Local Natives broke into their trademark harmonizing at the beginning of their Music Saves pre-gig in-store performance, I felt a little moisture trying to escape from my face. I wasn’t crying – just… leaking a little awe.

This was quite a turnaround considering it hadn’t been that long ago that I was finding myself unable to get into the Local Natives groove (it was that backyard SXSW performance captured by Yours Truly that finally got me to tap in). Lucky for me that there’s no expiration date on good music.

It struck me that Local Natives’ performance was almost the antithesis of the Felice Brothers’ performance I had just experienced the night before. I am a big fan of slopping, emotional music, which the Felice Brothers are pros at creating, but there is certainly something to be said for the ability of a band like … Continue reading

Cassette & the Felice Brothers at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland, OH, 5.10.10


(I’m not very familiar with their songs, so I wasn’t able to construct a playlist.)

Cassette has a violinist and a cellist. These are good things. Cassette also has a keyboardist who seems to enjoy the hell out of himself and a singer whose voice really shines from time to time. These are also good things. Their songs are of the softer, more subtle variety, which A) doesn’t seem like the best fit for a Felice Brothers opener and B) is not my favorite kind of music, to be honest.

Perhaps it was because they were on their last night of their tour with the Felice Brothers, but Cassette’s music lacked oomph and many songs seemed not so much to end as peter out. Their set ended, however, on a highlight as the band, especially the cellist and keyboardist, let go and played their hearts into a burning crescendo. More fire like that throughout Cassette’s set would serve them well.

The Felice Brothers

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The Low Anthem & The Avett Brothers at the House of Blues in Cleveland, OH, 2.27.10

The Low Anthem Setlist
(in no particular order and incomplete)

Cage the Songbird
Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around
To the Ghosts Who Write History Books
This God Damn House
The Horizon is a Beltway
Don’t Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round
Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women

I’ll admit upfront that I have probably been spoiled by seeing some of the best acts around perform in hole-in-the-wall bars – from the Afghan Whigs at the Cactus Club in San Jose, California, to A.A. Bondy at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan – and this probably colors my view of the larger venues, but… I hate the House of Blues. It is partially the odd and claustrophobic layout of the venue and partially the disposition of the clientele. (It doesn’t help that I top out at 5’3″ and since I didn’t get to the sold-out show early enough to be close to the stage, I felt disconnected as I stood behind a wall of people a full head taller than me, affording me only a few glances of certain areas of the stage.)

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