Music Blog - Vasquez Photography

St. Vincent

Fear the Future Tour

Egyptian Room at the Old National Centre

November 15, 2017 

Entire Gallery: St. Vincent

Setlist:

Marry Me, Now Now, The Strangers, Actor Out of Work, Cruel, Cheerleader, Strange Mercy, Digital Witness, Rattlesnake, Birth in Reverse,

Masseduction in its entirety:

Hang On Me, Pills, Masseduction, Sugarboy, Los Ageless, Happy Birthday Johnny, Savior, New York, Fear the Future, Young Lover, Dancing With a Ghost, Slow Disco, Smoking Section

St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour 2017

  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.
  • November 15, 2017 MOKB Presents and WTTS present St. Vincent Fear the Future Tour at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Tony Vasquez.


Wilco with special guest James Elkington

The Pageant St. Louis

November 13, 2017

Entire gallery:  Wilco

The two-plus hour soldout concert at the Pageant in St. Louis ended with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy telling the crowd “Be Safe. Don’t get discouraged.” The emotional charged set mostly likely had to do with Tweedy’s first time playing in St. Louis since Bob Tweedy, his father, passed in August.

Tweedy told the crowd of his father, “I know if he was here, he would want me to apologize to the people that are going to have to pay for their own beers tonight. I’m pretty sure he bought all of your beers every time.” The crowd immediately cheered for his dad.

The band notoriously known for their constant touring are wrapping up 2017 with a few more dates before taking most of 2018 off from the road. Both these factors contributed to the special vibe of the night.

The band opened the evening with the song “Cry All Day” from their 2016 release Schmilco. They played a few other tracks from the latest release but for most of the night they mixed material from their 20-year catalog while sprinkling in a few Uncle Tupelo tracks “New Madrid” and “We’ve Been Had.”

A truly special moment was how quiet the crowd got while the band performed the hauntingly beautiful “Reservations.” They immediately went into “Impossible Germany” which builds as the song progresses to showcase the bands full on guitar lineup with Nels Cline leading the charge with his finger-blistering guitar solo as Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone solo over John Stiratt’s bassline sending the crowd into loud approving cheers.

Chicago native Jim Elkington who opened the night with a solo acoustic set joined the band to play on “California Stars.” The band showcased the solo skills of Mikael Jorgensen on keys, Pat Sansone, and Jim on electric guitar.

To close the night the band performed two encores with a request from Tweedy for the crowd to sing along with “Jesus Etc.” Of course, the soldout crowd carried out his request.


Setlist: Cry All Day, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Art of Almost, Pickled Ginger, At Least That’s What You Said, If I Ever Was a Child, Misunderstood, Someone to Lose, Handshake Drugs, Via Chicago, Bull Black Nova, Reservations, Impossible Germany, New Madrid, California Stars, I Must Be High, We’ve Been Had, Heavy Frummer, I’m the Man Who Loves You, Hummingbird, The Late Greats


Encore: Random Name Generator, Jesus Etc., Spiders (Kidsmoke)


Second Encore: Casino Queen, Outtasite (Outta Mind)




Wilco at the Pageant

My Morning Jacket 

Waterfall Tour

Indianapolis Indiana

May 26, 2016

Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park Indianapolis, IN

Entire gallery: My Morning Jacket



The weather forecast had been calling for rain all day, but as the start time for the concert came closer the weather cleared, and the evening was set for a perfect show at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It was beautiful night to take in an outdoor show and the crowd was in for a real treat.


The Louisville quintet, My Morning Jacket has been on tour supporting their seventh studio record The Waterfall. The band also just has released a remixed and re-mastered reissue of the album It Still Moves. The stop in Indy is a prelude to a two night run at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. For over fifteen years the band has been well known for its epic live shows, and this night was no exception.


The list set included material covering the entire catalog of the band. The band even dug deep into some solo project tunes. They played “State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” from Jim James’ solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God. They also played “Carried Away” from Carl Broemel’s solo album All Birds Say. Later, in the set Jim gave a shout out to Indianapolis local native and guitarist Carl Broemel, to which the crowd gave him a warm welcome home reception. For more info about the current tour and the One Big Holiday 2017 happening next February in Riviera Maya, Mexico check out their website: http://www.mymorningjacket.com/events

Set list

Compound Fracture

The Way That He Sings

Circuital

I’m Amazed

War Begun Spring (Among The Living)

Off The Record In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)

State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.) Jim James solo project

Tropics (Erase Traces)

Wonderful (The Way I Feel)

Carried Away Carl Broemel solo project

Believe (Nobody Knows)

Wordless Chorus

Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt.1

Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt.2

———

Steam Engine

Victory Dance

Anytime

One Big Holiday







My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour 2016

  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.
  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.
  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.
  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.
  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.
  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.
  • My Morning Jacket Waterfall Tour at the Farm Bureau Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 26, 2016.

Looking back at 2015, I am grateful for all the wonderful projects and opportunities that I have been a part of. I would like to thank Clayton and Rosemary Roberts for making me a part of the Jams Plus Media family. Also, I would like to thank my friends/fellow photographers Keith Griner and Steven Sewell for their support and friendship as we navigate the waters of freelance photography together. And thank you to all of my family, friends, and followers for your feedback and words of encouragement. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2016 will bring! Here are some highlights from 2015. 

2015 Highlights

  • May 28, 2015 St. Vincent at the Brown Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Sunday September 6, 2015 The Nearly Deads at Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus Ohio.
  • December 5, 2015 Live Nation and MOKB Presents Sleater-Kinney at the Old National Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • September 20, 2015 Twenty One Pilots at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves with Nikki Lane April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Wilco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday September 5, 2015 Young the Giant Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus Ohio.
  • Sunday September 6, 2015 Andy Grammer at Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus Ohio.
  • September 20, 2015 Echosmith at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
  • Saturday September 5, 2015 Rachel Platten at Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus Ohio.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Tweedy Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • SOJA at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park.
  • September 20, 2015 Twenty One Pilots at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
  • Sunday September 6, 2015 Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus Ohio.
  • Sunday September 6, 2015 Lights at Fashion Meets Music Festival in Columbus Ohio.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • September 20, 2015 Twenty One Pilots at the Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
  • Novemeber 10, 2015 Back To The Future Hearts Tour with All Time Low at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum

Nothing More

#iknowJenny Charity Campaign Show

July  19, 2015 


Nothing More played an intimate show last Sunday evening for some very lucky fans. The show was a part of the bands special #inkowJenny charity campaign with funds going to Mental Health Awareness.  To find out more info how you can help with this cause please follow the link: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/nothingmore

Nothing More

  • Sunday July  19, 2015 Nothing More Backyard BBQ/Acoustic Show in Indiana.
  • Sunday July  19, 2015 Nothing More Backyard BBQ/Acoustic Show in Indiana.
  • Sunday July  19, 2015 Nothing More Backyard BBQ/Acoustic Show in Indiana.
  • Sunday July  19, 2015 Nothing More Backyard BBQ/Acoustic Show in Indiana.
  • Sunday July  19, 2015 Nothing More Backyard BBQ/Acoustic Show in Indiana.

Solid Sound Festival

June 26 -28, 2015

Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

Photos by Tony and Brittany Vasquez 

Full Gallery: 

Review by: Belinda Vasquez 


The anticipation of the semi-annual Solid Sound Festival has been growing since the last time we made the long trip to the breathtaking Berkshire County for three days of Wilco-curated performances. The weather altered Saturday’s set times a bit, but it wasn’t too much of a damper on the entire weekend. The rain wasn’t going to stop the fans from enjoying the festival.

With several outdoor installations on the grounds and throughout the old textile buildings one feels immersed in creative energy. By the main entrance the Seattle-based collective, SuttonBeresCuller’s, sculpture Big Top Grand Stand is a bright colorful design that draws the attention of the festival-goers. In Joe’s Field the piece Can't Hear You (Fat Totem), which is part of the Totally Totem series by Marko Remec, is covered in bulbous mirrors providing the source for several selfies and group shots for the entire weekend.

Strolling through the spacious galleries one is rewarded with amazing works by the likes of Sol LeWitt and his Wall Drawing Retrospective, or the works of Clifford Ross and his Landscape Seen & Imagined works. Ross’ work was included in a video installation that provided the source of entertainment for the first night after Wilco’s acoustic set. The installation took place in an open courtyard at the center of the festival with a live soundtrack provided by the indie band Real Estate.

With several interactive experiences for one to enjoy it would be overwhelming to attempt them all. The weekend provided everything from an early morning nature hike to the Hoosac Range to an opportunity to learn how to repair your own Patagonia gear at the custom-built Worn Wear truck. A few lucky fans got to make a drumhead with Wilco’s drummer Glenn Kotche and then perform with him on Sunday in the world-premiere of The Immortal Flux, a commissioned orchestral piece by D’Addario. The interactive Wilco timeline featured photos and memorabilia from Wilco’s 20-year history. The band encouraged fans to add to the timeline with their own personal memories as well. It was a wonderful walk down memory lane with Wilco’s fans, recalling all the personal shows and meetings with the band members after their shows. The band has always given generously to its fans and this was a great way to see it all displayed.

Even Wilco’s manager, Tony Margherita, browsed the festival alongside the fans, and when he paid a visit to the timeline he could been seen making minor tweaks to a hanging piece that was slightly crooked. In the documentary Every Other Summer, directed by Christoph Green and Brendan Canty, Jeff Tweedy the leader singer and founder of the band Wilco mentions how the artist can’t avoid the fans at this festival. They are sharing an experience with the fans instead of just providing the experience. Solid Sound was Jeff’s “dream” of what a music festival should be. With so many things to explore on the beautiful Mass MoCA grounds it feels that he has made that dream become a reality. You can feel the creative energy past and present in the beautiful old buildings.

Seeing so many parents bring their children to experience the festival and pass on their love of art and music was wonderful. There are several kid-friendly activities including the performances of the Story Pirates, poster silk screen printing demos, playing catch with the North Adams collegiate baseball team the Steeplecats, and the various Circus Smirkus shows. The family friendly environment made the entire weekend feel safe. Wilco fans at this festival are respectful and very friendly, and most of them are eager to hear your personal story about the band as well as share their own.

Friday’s musical lineup started off with Sadie Dupuis the guitar player and lead vocalist of North Hampton, Massachusetts’, Speedy Ortiz, playing a great set with lots energy and catchy hooks. The laid back New Jersey indie rockers Real Estate were the prefect intro for the Wilco set.

Wilco replaced their electric gear for entire set of acoustic versions of their vast catalog of tunes. Last festival, the band did an entire set of covers. Wilco fan’s love and appreciate the time and energy that goes into these special sets that Wilco incorporates into these special festival weekends. They opened with Misunderstood and when Jeff sang the lines “still love rock n Roll” the crowd responded with uproarious cheers. While Jeff sang Hesitating Beauty he mentions that he was thinking it was much nicer to sing that song now that everyone can get married in reference to the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. The crowd again responded with approval and cheers. Some other highlights from the set were the versions of Bull Black Nova, One Wing, A Shot in the Arm, and the beautiful cover of Daniel Johnston’s True Love Will Find You In the End.

Saturday we caught the jazz guitarist Bill Frisell’s performance with singer/songwriter Sam Amidon. It made for an eclectic and enjoyable set. Later that day NRBQ entertained the crowds in Courtyard D. It was nice to see a crowd of diverse ages dancing together and having a great time. The Richard Thompson Trio rocked the audience in Joe’s field, setting the tone for Wilco’s electric set later that evening.

The Brooklyn quartet, Parquet Courts, blew the crowd away with their high-energy punk sound. Before the band came onstage, a few people near the front were talking about how they were ready for some high-energy music and that this band would deliver. Boy, were they right! Coming off their amazing album Sunbathing Animal, the band was a burst of raw power with catchy hooks. Be sure to check this band out if you get the opportunity. Closing Saturday night, Wilco played in the rain that would continue through the entire set. The band opened with I’m the Man Who Loves You with Glenn Kotche, the drummer, striking a pose for the crowd and making them even more pumped for what they have been waiting for all day. The band really hit its stride with the song Art of Almost. The fans let loose their beach balls, and as one reached the stage, Jeff Tweedy sent it sailing back.

The band continues to play songs from their 20 year, deep catalog of material with Tweedy bantering with crowd between songs about the rain and even referencing that the amount of rain this year is child’s play compared to the rain that happened the second time they held the festival. The band ended the night and the encore with a material from the album Being There, including Kingpin, Monday, and Outtasite (Outta Mind). They rocked out despite the rain and treated fans to some old favorites. Jeff wrapped-up the performance by asking the crowd, “See you tomorrow?”

Sunday the festival began with Wilco signing their poster book, Beyond the Fleeting Moment, featuring concert posters dating back to 2004. The band was doing a rare book signing early

Sunday morning for the lucky fans who arrived early to meet all the members. The line moved quickly with fans coming away from their brief encounters with cheesy smiles. Sunday’s music kicks off with artist Jeff Davis playing in the outdoor courtyard, the perfect fit for a Sunday morning. Up Next was Nashville guitarists William Tyler. He has worked with other artists such as the Silver Jews, and Lambchop. His style is tranquil and majestic. It was a great treat discovering his music at the festival.

The afternoon was filled with Wilco side projects from Glenn Kotche performing with Jeffery Zeigler followed by the performance of The Immortal Flux in the Ross Gallery. Nels Cline collaborated with artist Norton Wisdom in the Hunter Center for a performance piece entitled Stained Radiance. The Autmun Defense also performed in the Hunter Center along with the film Spirit of Akasha.

Bringing the festival to a close was Jeff Tweedy and son Spencer Tweedy’s band simply called Tweedy. The festival schedule listed it as Tweedy featuring Jeff Tweedy & Friends. Most of the set was a mix of their album entitled Sukierae, but Jeff also showed his range and did several covers with various guest artists from the weekend, including covers of Madonna’s Into the Groove, John Prine’s Grandpa Was A Carpenter, Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s The Losing End. He also covered John Lennon’s God, and Mavis StaplesYou Are Not Alone, which Jeff had written and produced for her album. Tweedy closed with California Stars. It was a fitting closing song for me since it was the first song that made me fall in love with Wilco. I am looking forward to 2017, and I can’t wait to discover new music and art and, of course, to see Wilco again.


Solid Sound Festival 2015

  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Real Estate at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Real Estate at Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Real Estate at Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Real Estate at Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Wilco Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Wilco at Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Wilco at Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Wilco at Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Parquet Courts Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Parquet Courts Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Shabazz Palaces Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Richard Thompson Trio at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Mac DeMarco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Mac DeMarco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Wilco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Wilco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Wilco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Wilco at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Jeff Davis at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Luluc at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 William Tyler at Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Saturday June 27, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Stained Radiance: Nels Cline & Norton Wisdom Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Nels Cline & Norton Wisdom’s Stained Radiance Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Felice Brothers Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Tweedy Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Sunday June 28, 2015 Tweedy Solid Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.
  • Friday June 26, 2015 Soild Sound Music Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA.

Summer Camp Music Festival

Three Sisters Park

Chillicothe, Illinois

May 24, 2015


Summer Camp

  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 24, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois

Summer Camp Music Festival

Three Sisters Park

Chillicothe, Illinois

May 23, 2015


Summer Camp

  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 23, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 23, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 23, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 23, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 23, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois

Summer Camp Music Festival

Three Sisters Park

Chillicothe, Illinois

May 22, 2015 


Summer Camp

Summer Camp Music Festival

Three Sisters Park

Chillicothe, Illinois

May 21, 2015 


Summer Camp

  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois
  • Summer Camp Music Festival May 21, 2015 in Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Illinois

Wilco with Steve Gunn

Iroquois Amphitheater

Louisville, Kentucky

May 8, 2015

Written & Photos by Tony Vasquez

Photo gallery: Wilco

Photo gallery: Steve Gunn


Night two of our back-to-back coverage of Wilco’s spring 20th Anniversary tour. Tonight the show takes place at the beautiful Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky. We arrive early enough to catch the opening four-piece band Steve Gunn. Before they wrap up their set Steve mentions that the crowd is in for a treat tonight because they have been touring with Wilco for a few dates and “they have been crushing it.”

Two songs really stick out from their great opening set. First is the track “Mily’s Garden” which has a layered guitar melody that seems to be an exploration of sound, its texture building and its depth and space expanding. With a great line that resonates in my mind “Your faith is savaged, and your mind is damaged. You’re more than halfway there” this song becomes a memorable moment of the night.

The other stand out song is “Tommy’s Congo” which appears as the last track, Way Out Weather, released on their album Paradise of Bachelors. It again has the complex, guitar-driven soundscape.

Wilco takes the stage opening their show with “Less Than You Think,” a song that hasn’t made many set lists over the past few years. This is a great sign of what is to come. With the band having such a deep catalog the crowd is in store for a great time with over 30 songs to be played.

One of my personal favorites “Camera” makes an early appearance in the night. Being a photographer, the lines, “I need a camera to my eye, to my eye, reminding which lies have I been hiding which echoes belong,” really hits home.  

The stage lightning for the entire show, arranged by Jeremy Roth, is brilliant. This couldn’t be more evident than on the song “Art of Almost.” The lightning is spectacular and really enhances the crowd’s musical experience of Nels Kline’s amazing guitar shredding and Glenn Kotche’s awesome drumming.

A few songs later on the song “Sunken Treasure” the crowd erupts when Tweedy does a live edit of the line, “I’ve been blamed for rock and roll.” The crowd is truly enjoying the evening at this point. The typically outspoken Tweedy is unusually quite, but he does manage a few moments to talk with the crowd. Before the band plays “Impossible Germany,” Tweedy gives a birthday shout out to Mike “the sexy librarian.” Tweedy seems confused by the dedication but he plays along with it.

The band plays two encores with the first including “Kingin” from Being There and “I’m a Wheel” from A Ghost is Born. The band leaves the stage once again, giving the crew time to set the stage up for a special acoustic encore. The band replaces the electric instruments with Jeff and John’s acoustic guitars, Pat’s banjo, Nels’ dobro, and Mikael’s melodica. It was a special ending to a great evening with this amazing band. If you haven’t seen them live in a while be sure to catch them on this 20th anniversary tour over the summer. The tour includes their own music festival, Solid Sound, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA next month. For details go check out their website: http://wilcoworld.net.


Set list

Less Than You Think

Handshake Drugs

Camera

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

Art of Almost

Panthers

Hummingbird

Sunken Treasure

Secrets of the Sea

Heavy Metal Drummer

I’m the Man Who Loves You

Either Way

Hotel Arizona

Jesus, Etc.

Born Alone

Via Chicago

Airline to Heaven

Impossible Germany

Box Full of Letters

Red Eye and Blue

I Got You (At the End of the Century)

Dawned on Me


Encore:

Kingpin

I’m a Wheel


Encore:

A Shot in the Arm

California Stars

Too far Apart

War on War

New Madrid (Uncle Tupelo)

Give Me Back the Key to My Heart (Doug Sahm cover)

Misunderstood


Wilco

  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky shot by Vasquez Photography

Wilco

Murat Theatre at the Old National Centre

Indianapolis, IN

May 7, 2015

Written by Mike Foreman

Photos by Tony Vasquez

Photo gallery:Wilco 


With Wilco having 20 years of stage history and a well-established fan base, the Murat Theatre at the Old National Centre was truly the best venue for me to catch my first Wilco show. I don’t think there’s another large space within Indy that would’ve been more perfect for me to grasp and understand what an amazing live show this band can put on. It’s a spacious theater that still has the intimacy needed for a band like this to connect with its audience. I could tell that Jeff Tweedy delights in the conversations he can have with his audience, but it might be more of a symbiotic necessity; this audience needed the connection just as much as Wilco did.


The show began with “Via Chicago,” and it got me thinking right from the beginning. Did I just hear him say “I dreamed about killing you again last night and it felt alright…?” Humph, ok. Not the first lyric I thought I’d hear out of his mouth. This is going to be a blast!

After a couple more songs, I hear a familiar intro!! The drum beat that trips over itself! Those alarm clocks! The lights are drifting across the grey rock-like stage backdrop and I feel as if I’m descending down into a cave and “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” pulls me in a thousand different directions all at once. It’s such a loosely tight methodical song that it sort of puts me into a trance until Tweedy tips his hat at the words “Hello!”

“Poor Places” jams into “Art of Almost” and I’m thoroughly engaged with the scene! The band is hitting on all cylinders now and I’m on a space trip watching the head banging silhouettes on stage. The crowd responds with a deafening roar after the long jam of “Art of Almost.”

As any with any good musician they understand how timing and balance should work. The flow of set list is no exception to this rule. “Either Way” is a great way to bring us back down to Earth. This is a Sky Blue Sky staple and what a joy it is to hear it live.

Before “Jesus, Etc.” Jeff Tweedy expressed his heartfelt appreciation by thanking everyone and everything he could think of. He also told the audience to “Go thank yourselves!”… Maybe he was planting a subliminal seed to be proud of ourselves for straightening out the Religious Freedom Act. This song also prompted a lot of audience sing-a-long and Tweedy said that it was one of his favorite sounds on Earth to hear people singing together.


The band ripped into “Hotel Arizona” as their first tune of the first encore. In the song Tweedy sings, “That’s all there is,” which must have been the queue for Nels Cline to have his 20th seizure of the night. I mean, the guy was convulsing and choking the neck of his guitar so hard that it was screaming, in a good way.


After closing the first encore with “Monday,” the band came back out for a second encore, but this time, they decided to ditch the cords and amps for a 5 song acoustic set. The audience went bonkers and the anticipation was felt throughout the theater. They also changed the stage lights to mimic a night sky of stars and had me feeling like I was watching a late night pick-a-long bonfire jam. This was a real treat, even for the most seasoned Wilco fan, and I understood that I was watching something special that night. They played the Uncle Tupelo tune “We’ve Been Had” but it felt fresh and fun. Wilco ended the acoustic encore, and night, with “A Shot in the Arm” which was completed by the audience singing along “What you once were isn’t what you wanna be, anymore.”


I’m grateful for this fun-filled night and I’m beholden to the band, the venue, the audience, and my friends for the experience. I have a greater appreciation for one of my generation’s most successful and true American bands. They’ve defied definition and made a believer out of me. Before this night, Wilco was an acquaintance and I was a part time fan, but now I just want expand my Wilco experience and grow as a listener. What I once was isn’t what I wanna to be, ANYMORE!


Set list

Via Chicago

Handshake Drugs

Camera

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

One Wing

Panthers

Hummingbird

Poor Places

Art of Almost

Either Way

Secrets of the Sea

Heavy Metal Drummer

I’m the Man Who Loves You

Jesus, Etc.

Born Alone

Dark Neon

Impossible Germany

A Magazine Called Sunset

Airline to Heaven

Red Eyed and Blue

I Got You (At the End of the Century)

Dawned On Me


Encore:

Hotel Arizona

Monday


Encore:

Misunderstood

Casino Queen

We’ve Been Had

War On War

California Stars

A Shot in the Arm


Wilco

  • Wilco at the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN shot by Vasquez Photography
  • Wilco at the Murat Theatre in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN shot by Vasquez Photography

Shakey Graves with special guest Nikki Lane

April 3, 2015

Old National Centre Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Tony Vasquez

Photography by: Vasquez Photography

Photo Gallery: Shakey Graves 


Friday night in Indianapolis, Indiana on the weekend of the NCAA Men’s Final Four Tournament. There is a plethora of events to attend, and the Shakey Graves show, at the Deluxe at the Old National Centre is sold out. The crowd is packed in and filled with chatter in anticipation of the show. I’m really excited to see Shakey Graves for the first time, and little did I know how pleasantly surprised I would be by the opening act Nikki Lane.

Tonight is the last night of the tour for the opening band Nikki Lane. The band reigning from Nashville showcased a strong nostalgic country influence with a subtle influence of catchy rock hooks. Lane worked with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach who produced their sophomore release, All Or Nothin.’ Their sound is comprised of Nikki on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, a lead guitarist, a pedal steel player, a bass player, and a drummer.

One tune that really stood out to me from their set was “Seein’ Double.” The song is filled with surf guitars, and a beautiful whining pedal steel. The fast paced tempo contrasts with her laid back vocals. It is definitely one of my favorite songs from their set.

With their closing song “Right Time” the band delivers a high-energy ending. The crowd feeds off it, and begins clapping along with Nikki’s encouragement. With the line, “If you’re looking for a good time you and me will get on just fine,” the song is a perfect ending to their set.

Alejandro Rose-Garcia aka Shakey Graves comes onto the stage. Starting off the set as a one-man band with just a guitar and suitcase drum. He proceeds to blend an original sound of alt- folk with elements of blues and country, as well as pop melodies.

One of my personal favorite tracks, “Family and Genus” off the latest release, And The War Came, is the second song of their set. The rest of Shakey’s band, a drummer and a guitar player, take the stage. Shakey continues his double duties this time on guitar and keyboards for this moody tune.

Throughout the night the band on stage varied from a solo performer, to a trio, and even on one tune with just Shakey and the drummer on “If Not for You.” For the entire night the stage was washed in a colorful haze with the drummer disappearing at times in the smoke during the concert. The night flew by with some banter from Shakey Graves’ front man, but he mostly kept the tunes coming despite lots of chatter from the crowd. He continued to play his amazing songs with passion and a drive that was hard not to get sucked into. A few tracks that stuck out to me included “House Of Winston” and “Pansy Waltz,” both of which can be found on the latest album And the War Came.

They started the encore off with the fast paced “Late July,” and it got the entire crowd cheering and engaged. Then they brought out Nikki Lang for the last song, and they capped off the night with the song “Call It Heaven.”

I would recommend getting tickets early if they come to your town since most of their shows this month are already sold out. You can find more ticket info at:http://www.shakeygraves.com/tour/ 


Shakey Graves

  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves with Nikki Lane April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves with Nikki Lane April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves with Nikki Lane April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves with Nikki Lane April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Presents Shakey Graves with Nikki Lane April 3, 2015 at the Deluxe in Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN.

Delta Spirit

Avid Dancer

March 25,2015

Vogue  Indianapolis, Indiana  

Written by: Jeremy Carie

Photography by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Gallery:Delta Spirit


It was a rainy and chilly Wednesday evening when Delta Spirit and Avid Dancer graced us with their presence at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN. The smaller crowd gave the show a great intimate feeling, and the opening band filled the air with energy.

First up was Avid Dancer, a three-piece band from Los Angeles, California. With a nice blend of 80s new wave and garage rock, their sound was fresh to our ears. With vocals very reminiscent of Morrissey and enough echo on his guitar to drown the venue, lead singer Jacob Summers nailed it.

Opening the show with All She Ever Wanted, by far the bands best and catchiest tune, they were on from the first strum of the guitar. On tracks like Stop Playing With My Heart and I Wanna See You Dance, the Morrissey-esque vocals really came through. The only thing lacking was that sweet groove a bass player provides, but all in all they were fun to watch and most definitely a band I’d want to catch again if they come back to Indy.

Delta Spirit, hailing from Brooklyn, New York by way of Southern California, was up next. Lead singer and guitarist, Matt Vasquez, expressed his happiness for being back in Indy after they were “rained out” last time. Vasquez’s unique vocals were filled with a raw emotion that captivated the crowd and fed the connection between the band and the audience throughout the evening.

They opened with Patriarch from their latest release ‘Into The Wide’, which set the high spirited tone for the rest of the evening. They played a well balanced mix from their albums. With lead guitarist, William Mclaren tearing through the second song Bushwick Blues and bass player, Jonathan Jameson laying down awesome grooves with an infectious energy, it was obvious that the band was really on top of their game that night.

The current spring tour for their latest release ‘Into The Wide’ still has several stops before they will be appearing at Lollapalooza in Chicago this summer. Check out their website http://deltaspirit.net/tour to see if they will be playing near you.

Set list: Patriarch, Bushwick Blues, From Now On, Live On, Parade, Hold My End Up, Into The Wide, People C’mon, Take Shelter, Yamaha, Empty House, Language, Children, White Table Encore: Trashcan, California


Delta Spirit

  • Avid Dancer March 25, 2015 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Sun King Concert Series| WTTS Presents Delta Spirit March 25, 2015 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Sun King Concert Series| WTTS Presents Delta Spirit March 25, 2015 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Sun King Concert Series| WTTS Presents Delta Spirit March 25, 2015 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Sun King Concert Series| WTTS Presents Delta Spirit March 25, 2015 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN.
  • MOKB Sun King Concert Series| WTTS Presents Delta Spirit March 25, 2015 at The Vogue in Indianapolis, IN.

JJ Grey & Mofro

The London Souls

February 26, 2015

Vogue Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Zen Wild

Photography by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Gallery: JJ Grey gallery 


We enter The Vogue, in Indianapolis, a bit late, but we get there in time to catch the tail end of The London Souls’ set. It’s amazing. I love their sound. Incredible lead vocals, and guitar work by Tash Neal, and tight jams, made tighter by the solid groove coming from Chris St. Hilaire on drums. I love big bands, but the simplicity put forth by hard-rocking bands like this make a person recall what is truly rock and roll. I’d love to catch The London Souls again, seeing their entire set. If you’re a person, who happens to be out there reading this, I’d suggest that you do the same. Get online. Check the tour. They’re probably coming to a town near you, and if not, who doesn’t like a little road trip to hear some good music?

I’d never seen JJ Grey with Mofro before tonight, having only caught him as part of the Southern Soul Assembly’s tour last year, which was great, but I’ve been a longtime fan, and I can’t fully express how excited I am to catch him with his usual band this evening. Their music is, simply put, incredible. There are so many different genres that seem to be a part of their sound. It could be so easy for a person to casually classify them as southern rock, but when you break down the pieces, you find so many influences that come out. Categorization is not so cut and dry. They are filled with blues, rock, soul, funk, country, and gospel. When the music comes pouring out, numerous sounds come to the forefront. As I stated before, their music is incredible.That’s true, even more so, when it’s presented live and in-person. Songs, that were once only four minutes long, become extended jams that might last even a quarter of an hour. It really depends on how the band is feeling about it, and how the crowd is receiving it. I doubt any crowd, in the right mindset, wouldn’t want to see the songs they love extended.

Speaking of the crowd, tonight, The Vogue is packed. It’s always a standing-room-only affair coming here, but this evening, a person could be hard pressed to find a spot to stand that doesn’t make him feel like a sardine in a tin. Along the main-floor bar, the wings, and in front of the stage, rivers of people are standing, or sitting, and swaying to the music. Up above, in the balcony, a small amount of breathing room can be found, but it’s fairly full, as well. I don’t think anyone really minds. They’re all here for the same reason: to watch JJ Grey and Mofro get down! For that, you can pack me in like that sardine in a tin, and I won’t mind a bit. When the band hits the stage, they get a warm welcome from the stage announcer and a roar of approval from the crowd. JJ Grey speaks for a second, letting the fans know how glad they are to be back in Indianapolis, and before you know it, we’re all immersed in the beautiful music! All the sounds come streaming in, from guitars, bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone and organ. A wide array of instruments that reflect the diversity and depth of the music.

Tonight, the band delves into numerous tracks that run the gamut of their catalog, slipping in several tracks off their newest album, Ol’ Glory. Earlier in the day, before coming to the show, I listened to Orange Blossoms, so I’m incredibly pleased to hear a few tracks off that album, including the title track and “Everything Good Is Bad.” Those are two tracks I definitely love off one of my favorite JJ Grey & Mofro albums. “Everything Good Is Bad” happens to be the last song of the set, prior to the encore, and both it and “Brighter Days,” earlier in the set, receive some special extended treatment. They aren’t the only songs to be stretched out, but both of them seem to last and last. No complaints from the audience, myself included. Throughout the night, solos are passed back and forth amongst the band. It’s absolutely brilliant, and a joy to behold! It just makes a person wish the concert could continue to be stretched out, like the songs the band is playing.

Eventually, the show does end, but before they call it a night, the band comes back on stage and graces us with an encore of a few lengthy jams. It’s a great night, and I’m glad that I got the chance to be here. Whenever JJ grey and Mofro come back around, at whatever venue they’re playing, I imagine you’ll probably find me there, too.


JJ Grey

  • JJ Grey & Mofro Concert presented by 92.3 WTTS February 26, 2015 at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • JJ Grey & Mofro Concert presented by 92.3 WTTS February 26, 2015 at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • JJ Grey & Mofro Concert presented by 92.3 WTTS February 26, 2015 at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • JJ Grey & Mofro Concert presented by 92.3 WTTS February 26, 2015 at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • JJ Grey & Mofro Concert presented by 92.3 WTTS February 26, 2015 at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.
  • JJ Grey & Mofro Concert presented by 92.3 WTTS February 26, 2015 at the Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, IN.

The Jayhawks with Trapper Schoepp and the Shades

October 18, 2014

Vogue  Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Jeremy Carie

Photography by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Galleries:  / Trapper Schoepp and The ShadesThe Jayhawks

This past Saturday night The Jayhawks and Trapper Schoepp and the Shades played a WTTS Rock to Read concert at the Vogue. WTTS along with Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza put on a series of special benefit shows to raise money for the children’s reading programs through the Indianapolis Public Library. The crowd at the Vogue was not only in for a great night of music, but they were also helping raise money for an awesome cause.

Opening the show was Trapper Schoepp and The Shades, a four piece group hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The band consists of Trapper Schoepp (guitar), his brother Tanner Schoepp (bass), Gina Romantini (fiddle) and keyboard player Dustin Dobernig. They were an interesting mix of Americana, folk, and bluegrass. Trapper made several references to Wisconsin saying “We’re from Wisconsin so all of our songs are about winter. It sucks!” In addition to home-state themes, the band played anecdotal songs about hometown characters. Their feel was a perfect transition into The Jayhawks’ set.

What do you say about a band like The Jayhawks? They are alt-country legends that have been making timeless music for four decades. The band formed in Minnesota in early 1985. It was during the 1980’s that the Minneapolis music scene exploded with such bands as the Replacements, Soul Asylum, and Husker Du. The Jayhawks created their own unique sound by fusing rock, folk and country together creating full-bodied albums. Even with several lineup changes over the years the band has inspired a loyal following. The band’s current lineup of Gary Louris (vocals, guitar), Tim O’Reagan (drums, vocals), Karen Grotberg (keyboards, vocals) Marc Perlman (bass), and Kraig Johnson (guitar) are currently on tour supporting the vinyl reissues of Sound of Lies, Smile, and Rainy Day Music. You can find more info about their current tour and reissues on their website at http://www.jayhawksofficial.com/index.html.

The Jayhawks started the night with “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”, from the Smile album, with a surge of energy that carried over into rest of the night. Louris was rocking his Rickenbacker 330 and singing like he was a young twenty-something. Throughout the night Louris alternated between a Rickenbacker, Hamer Flying V and a Gibson SG.

Louris was in rare form Saturday night. When someone in the crowd requested the Mark Olson song “Ten Little Kids” his response was “There’s his songs and there’s mine. We’re not doing that one.” His banter for the rest of the night was filled with a sense of humor and lightness that kept the crowd entertained between songs.

You could sense the band was having fun going through their vast catalog of material. The night consisted of a good mix from the reissued music along with some older tunes, and covers. If you have a chance to catch them on the current tour you will be in for a great night of music.

Setlist: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, Stumbling Through The Dark, Think About It, Poor Little Fish, Take Me With You (When You Go), Angelyne, Better Days, Drivin’ Wheel, Queen of the World, Jennifer Save Me (Golden Smog cover), Settled Down Like Rain, Save It For a Rainy Day, Waiting For The Sun, Looking Forward To Seeing You (Golden Smog cover), Blue, Last Cigarette (Billy Walker cover), Trouble, Big Star, Tampla To Tulsa, I’d Run Away, Tailspin

Encore: Tailspin (Inbred version). Aint No End, Two Hearts, Ohio, All The Right Reasons, Sedan Delivery (Neil Young cover), Until You Came Along (Golden Smog cover)


The Jayhawks

Pete Yorn

October 7, 2014

Deluxe Room  Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Zen Wild

Photography by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Gallery: Pete Yorn

Pete Yorn is back in Indiana again. This time, it’s Tuesday, October 7th in the Deluxe Room (at the Old National Centre). I saw him a few years back, in 2010 or 2011, at the Bluebird in Bloomington, and that was a good show. He had his full band with him, then. This is a more intimate affair. It’s an all-acoustic set. Only Pete, and a bunch of people waiting to see, and hear, him do what he does best.

When Pete hits that stage, he does so like a laid-back rocker, shaggy hair, flannel shirt, jeans, and boots. The crowd, as one would expect, erupts. A hippie girl, who I’ve been standing next to, and speaking with, and will later be dancing with a bit, is grinning to outshine the sun. She’s already told me how lucky I was to see Pete with his full band, but I can already tell that this crowd is in for a treat. I think most of them know it, too. The second song of the night, Pete plays “For Nancy,” which is great, and I always recognize. The whole crowd is singing it right back to him as he plays. That’s something I love to see at a show, and I’m sure the artists do, as well. It’s got to feel good.

Throughout the night, despite the small venue, which lends itself to storytelling in between songs, Pete keeps up the pace. A lot of his songs are fast-paced, anyway, and without the full band behind him, he’s able to just dive right into the next one. No external communication is needed. He only needs what’s in his heart and in his head. That’s part of the beauty of the solo, acoustic set. The set list is a good mix of familiar tracks, deep cuts, and a few covers. Including a great rendition of “Splendid Isolation” by Warren Zevon and a fun cover of “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes. It’s a great night I’d do it again, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Now, If you didn’t happen to be in Indianapolis, or if you were, and couldn’t come, don’t feel bad. He’s got more acoustic shows coming up. You might have to drive a bit to get to one, or maybe not, but either way, once you get there, you’ll know why you came.

Tour dates can be found here: http://www.peteyorn.com

Set list: Paradise Cove, For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is), I Feel Good Again (Charlie Feathers & Junior Kimbrough cover), Closet, Splendid Isolation (Warren Zevon cover), Bandstand in the Sky, Strange Condition, All at Once, Relator (Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson cover), Lose You, June, The Good Advice, Undercover, Broken Bottle, The Man, Vampyre, Murray, Burrito, Kiss Off (Violent Femmes cover), Crystal Village, Black, Life on a Chain


Pete Yorn

The Wood Brothers with Chris Kasper

September 30, 2014

Vogue  Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Zen Wild

Photography by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Galleries:

The Wood Brothers


It’s been a couple of months since we’ve been to the Vogue, but it’s September 30th tonight and we’re here to see The Wood Brothers, with Chris Kasper opening (along with Kiley Ryan on violin). It’s going to be an amazing show. I already know it. Half an hour before the music is supposed to start, the place is already getting packed. It looks like it did when I was here to see G. Love, Dr. Dog, and Gary Clark, Jr. If you want to be up front, you better get near that rail now, because it won’t be so easy to get there later. We settle in near the left side of the stage, a couple feet away. A record player upon the stage is playing some music while we wait, and the stack of vinyl lying below has a Little Walter record in front. I’m hoping that in the time we have left to wait we’ll get to hear it. Time will tell that wishes do occasionally come true, as later, Chris Wood will come out and pop the record on for a few songs before The Wood Brothers start their set. I love the blues. Now, back to the present where everything’s about to start.

Chris Kasper comes out and kicks things off, playing one by himself, before being joined by Kiley Ryan. It sounds great, and once Kiley hits that stage, it sounds even better. I love the sound of a fiddle/violin. It’s absolutely one of my favorite instruments. Coming all the way from Philly, they’re not here just to pass on through, they’re here to let you know about it. Anything that’s steeped in folk, country, bluegrass, or blues, I’m probably going to love, especially if it’s done right. They do it right. Stripped-down affairs such as this, similar to something like The Civil Wars, are just beautiful to behold. Two instruments, two voices, one big, big sound. The third song they play is “Never Saw You Blues,” and I think it’s amazing. Like I said before, I love the blues. Chris explains, before playing the song, that it’s about one of those instances where you go to a party and see an ex-girlfriend with a friend of yours, and then you pretend like you didn’t see a thing. Who hasn’t been there? They burn that song right down to the ground. “Bask In the Light” follows and after that, “Meet Me Down the Road In a Few,” which, Chris lets us know, is about meeting someone who’s almost cool, but not quite there yet, and so he says, “meet me down the road in a few.” It’s a good tune. Following up, Kasper plays a sing-along, to which everyone sings along, and he compliments a man who trumpets like an elephant before everything begins. They close the set with three more songs, including “Mr. Charlie” and “Oh, Caroline,” before Chris finally thanks the audience and tells everyone to “enjoy the Wood Brothers.” That last statement is undoubtedly a given, but as Chris and Kiley leave the stage, there’s no doubt that the set they blessed us with was absolutely scintillating. Before I leave, I know that I’m grabbing one of their cds.

After Little Walter plays for a bit on that record player, when The Wood Brothers make their entrance, it doesn’t take long for them to suck a person in. Their songs pull you in like the sweet words of a long-lost love. The crowd erupts when they hit the stage, and the band opens with “Neon Tombstone,” off their newest album. I’m dancing from the moment everything starts, and I’m not the only one. It would be much harder to find someone who’s not dancing than someone who is. Right after, the group follows up with “Wasting My Mind,” also from that newest album, and “Blue and Green.” I love it all, and when for the next song, “Keep Me Around,” Chris Wood straps on a harmonica rack while still playing double bass, I’m grinning from ear to ear. That’s one of my favorite tracks from that new album. “The Muse” is next, the title track from that album, and the delivery is brilliant. Without even telling you, I’m sure you already know that I love that one, too.

Now, I could relate to you every song that The Wood Brothers play throughout the night, but I’m not going to. Needless to say, the set is amazing. The harmonized vocals are so good, as well as the percussion, guitar, and you know Chris Wood can play that bass. That’s one of the reasons that Medeski, Martin, and Wood have always been so good: Chris Wood.

At one point, the band has Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan join them on stage, asking the crowd to quiet down, huddling around a single, sensitive mic, so that they can play to us softly and sweetly. They even cover Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” to which the crowd goes nuts. You know that Hoosiers love Tom Petty. That’s a given, but tonight, at the Vogue, there are a lot of Hoosiers who’ve loved everything that The Wood Brothers, Chris Kasper (and Kiley Ryan) have played. It’s hard not to. I mean, you’d really have to work at it to not love this music. I just hope that both groups are coming to your town soon, so you can love them in person, too.


The Wood Brothers

Trampled By Turtles with The Apache Relay

September 17, 2014

Old National Centre Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Zen Wild

Photography by: Vasquez Photography

Photo Galleries:

Trampled By Turtles:Trampled by Turtles

The Apache Relay: The Apache Relay

So, it’s Wednesday, September 17th, and we’re at The Egyptian Room (inside the Old National Centre) in Indianapolis to see The Apache Relay and Trampled By Turtles. This is my first experience with either one, and I’m stoked! I’ve only heard a few tracks from Trampled By Turtles, and we listened to a few on the way to the venue, but I’ve never heard The Apache Relay. In fact, before we arrive, we don’t know who’s going to be the opening band. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Gary Clark, Jr. play “Bright Lights,” but by the time the concert’s finished, we’ll realize that it’s one of those kinds of situations. If you know the song, you’ll know these lyrics: “You’re gonna know my name by the end of the night.” Yeah, it’s a night like that. Both bands put it on.

The Apache Relay comes on stage and, immediately, I like their set-up. They have two guitarists, Mike Harris and Brett Moore, a bassist Michael Ford Jr, two synth/keyboard players, and a drummer. Occasionally, one of the synth players switches out his keys for a third guitar. They have a driving, layered sound that reminds me of several bands, including My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and a bit of the Flaming Lips. It reminds me of them, but it’s not the same. I could also mention The Kopecky Family Band in that list, who are also from Nashville, TN, like The Apache Relay. The vocals and the lead singer, Michael Ford Jr. playing that acoustic/electric dreadnought guitar adds some folk element to the overall mix. I absolutely love their entire set. “Can’t Wake Up,” “Katie Queen of Tennessee,” and “Watering Hole” are amongst my favorites. Incredible stuff. Talking with the band after their set, I find out that they’re going to back in Indianapolis on November 4th. You’ve got to see this band. If you’re in the area, or if you’re in another part of the country where they’ll be coming soon, get out and get a ticket.

When Trampled By Turtles arrive upon the stage, again, I love the selection of instruments. They include an acoustic/electric bass, an acoustic/electric guitar, a banjo, a mandolin, a fiddle, and a cello. Having heard a bit of their stuff, I know they come across with a solid mix of bluegrass, folk, and country. It’s absolutely amazing seeing it live. Some of the solos taken by the mandolin player Erik Berry, banjo player Dave Carroll, and fiddler Ryan Young are delivered with blistering intensity. Dave Simonett sings the lead vocals with a twangy, high-pitched sweetness that just soothes a listener’s soul, whether the lyrics are happy or sad, or about love or loss. All those things are part of life. As their performance goes on, the entire audience is dancing and singing, and shouting their appreciation to the musicians in between songs. I can’t see a single face that seems disappointed, and obviously, many of the fans have been so for a while.

I wish I knew song titles, because I would relate them to you, but unfortunately I don’t. Regardless, the set’s amazing, from beginning to end. On a side note, the only reason I mentioned some of The Apache Relay’s titles is because I will end up buying both of their albums after the show and end up listening to them all night instead of sleeping. Soon, I’ll be getting some Trampled By Turtles, as well. I’m sure another sleepless night is in store. Just as I mentioned with The Apache Relay, you’ve got to check out Trampled By Turtles. They’ll leave you worn out by end of the show, as you dance until you drop, and they’ll pack in numerous fast, short songs and longer, slower songs that will have you dreaming of that love you lost or the one you hope is fast approaching. It’s the kind of show you can’t afford to miss. Dig in your pockets, get out, and get some good music in your life. You’ll be richer by far.


Trampled by Turtles

Kongos Lunatic Tour

August 22, 2014

Bogart’s ~ Cincinnati, Ohio

Review by Zen Wild

Photographs provided by Tony Vasquez of Vasquez

Photography Gallery Link: Kongos

Friday, August 22nd, in Cincinnati, OH, at Bogart’s, and Kongos are here to rock, along with opening bands, The Chakras, and The Black Owls. Both opening bands put on energy-filled sets, with The Chakras leaning more toward metal, maybe leaning a bit towards Evanescence due to the lead female vocals, while The Black Owls heavy riffs are more of the rock/blues variety. During sound check, because of their name and some of the bits that are being played on guitar, I wonder if The Black Owls are going to be similar to The Black Keys. Whatever way you classify their music, the each band definitely has the crowd pumped and moving. It’s obvious, though, from the chatter all around the venue, and out on the patio, that most people are here to see Kongos.

From the beginning, one of the coolest things that can be seen about Kongos is the inclusion of an accordion, played by Johnny Kongos. It’s an instrument that just isn’t seen too often, although, I can say that I have seen it recently when I saw the Mahones. Besides the accordion, you can also expect to see some keyboards, drums/percussion, guitar, bass, and lap steel guitar. Another thing that’s pretty amazing about Kongos is that the band consists of four brothers, Johnny, Jesse, Daniel, and Dylan. Having seen the inner turmoil of The Black Crowes (with only two brothers), it is an impressive feat that the band seems to get along well in their musical endeavors. I’m sure most people would classify them as rock, and they certainly are, but it’s easy to see that they have other worldly influences that have an impact on their music and continue to shape where they’re going.

Now, I’m not well-versed enough to name off all of the song titles that Kongos play throughout their set, having just heard a bit on the radio and on an IPod on the way to the venue, but their stage presence is solid, and from the time that they start playing, people are waving their hands in the air, singing, and dancing. In my opinion, if you’re getting people to sing along and move their bodies, then you have to be doing something right.

Kongos are definitely doing something right. I certainly recognize their big hit, “Come With Me Now,” when they play it, and as they do, the crowd is singing it back in almost equal volume as the band is with their microphones, but one of the highlights has to be when the band does a mashup/medley of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and Dr. Dre’s “What’s the Difference?” It’s such a good groove, and I can’t deny the fact that I’m dancing, too. It’s one of those things that a band starts to play, and you don’t ever want it to stop. I’m not sure how long it lasts, but I’m sure it’s not long enough to justify stopping.

So, like I said, this is my first real experience with Kongos, but if you’re in a city that they’re coming to, I would definitely suggest checking them out. I don’t think you’ll come away disappointed. Right now, I’m planning on getting more familiar with all of their tunes, so that next time they come around, I can be singing along with the rest of the crowd, too.


Kongos

John Butler Trio ~ Flesh & Blood Tour

With Lazy Sunday

July 31, 2014

Iroquois Amphitheater, Louisville Kentucky

Review by Zen Wild

Photographs provided by Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Gallery Link: John Butler Trio

Arriving at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, KY, to see the John Butler Trio, there is some sort of mix-up with the ticket office concerning our tickets, but after a short wait, or so, the man who was working the ticket window walks over to us, sitting on a bench, and hands over our tickets. He’d chased down the tour manager to make sure we were good to go, and just like that, we’re in the door. We’ve got plenty of time. It’s only about 7:20 pm, local time, and the opening band doesn’t come on until roughly 8:00 pm.

The opening band was a bit of question for us as we were entering the venue. The tickets didn’t indicate who it would be, saying only Special Guest, and we hadn’t checked online to be certain. After we’ve been inside for ten minutes or so, I ask a man outside the restroom, and he indicates that it’s a band called, Lazy Sunday. I haven’t heard of them, but it ends up that the band is a group of local Louisville kids who’ve been rocking their hometown scene. One of the best in the area, according to many opinions.

Once Lazy Sunday takes the stage, it isn’t hard to see why so many people hold them in such high esteem around the Louisville area. The start of the first song is a bit shaky, but within a minute or two, the group is dialing in. I wish that I knew song titles, so that I could relate them to you, but I don’t. Nonetheless, their sound is incredible. Everything they do is steeped in rock, but there are infusions of ska, reggae, and blues that run throughout. Two guitars, bass, drums, and a single saxophone. Their songs all have a solid core to them, and lead vocals switch several times throughout the set, but every song is a jam.

When they start to break down, and solos start getting passed back and forth, that’s when it really starts to get good. Though they might not cite him as one of their influences, those grooving, dance-inciting jams remind me of when Neil Young used to break it all down with Crazy Horse. It might not be the same style of music, but it definitely carries that same feeling of intense musicianship. It turns out to be a great set, and if I were anyone living near Louisville, I would be sure to check this band out. You don’t get to open for the John Butler Trio unless your music is solid.

The Trio finally hits the stage about 9:30. As the lights illuminate the stage and the musicians enter, the crowd is standing and roaring with approval. I’ve seen the band once before, but that was back in ’07 at the Vogue, in Indianapolis, IN, and I expect that this show will be a different sort of affair. That was a smaller venue, indoors, and included a short acoustic set where John Butler covered Bob Marley’s “Mellow Mood,” singing a duet with his wife, but in front of this larger, outdoor crowd, I’m sure that we’re in store for some high energy music with some extensive jams.

The band opens with “Cold Wind,” from their newest album, Flesh & Blood. It’s a great way to get things started. From there, they play “Used to Get High,” which some guy near where we’re sitting was hoping to hear, “I’d Do Anything,” featuring an amazing instrumental intro by John Butler, and then, “Bullet Girl,” also off their new album, which happens to be one of my favorite tracks off that newest creation. All around us, the crowd is standing, dancing and singing along. To the right, in the foremost part of that far section, what appears to be the youngest grou p of the audience is absolutely gettin’ down, feeling to their core (or so it appears) whatever the JBT is playing. There’s more great stuff in store.

Next the group dives into another two tracks from the new album, “The Only One” and “Blame It on Me.” I love “Blame It on Me.” That incredible reggae groove that defines that song just begs a person to dance. It almost forces it upon him/her. The performance tonight features some spot-on, vigorous soloing. All of that is only a prelude. When, a couple songs later, John Butler plays “Ocean” by himself, you would think that the roof was going blown from the pavilion part of the amphitheater! Prior to playing the song, John mentions that he’s been playing this instrumental from the time that he was playing on streets, when he was much younger. If I recall correctly, the original album version of the song lasts roughly twelve-and-a-half minutes, but as far as I can tell, John’s performance is near the twenty-minute mark. It’s ridiculous! Just like a real ocean, so does the song ebb-and-flow, building, and then, falling away. All around, the crowd is moving, trying to keep up with John’s furious playing. It’s no easy task, I can assure you, and by the time he’s done, I’m almost grateful for the release. Almost. Like I said, it’s brilliant.

When the other band members come back out, they all play “Revolution,” from the group’s album, April Uprising, after which, John whips out the banjo as the group jumps headlong into “Hi Dee Ho.” Throughout the evening, it doesn’t really matter what instrument John is playing, his technique speaks of pure precision. His ability to slide is nothing short of breathtaking, whether on an acoustic guitar or a lap steel. It all leaves you wanting more. This is not to say that one should take anything away from the other members of the group, Byron Luiters (bass) and Grant Gerathy (drums), who also show extensive talent during the set, every jam being kept tight-but-loose amongst the three. Still, be assured that John Butler is amazing.

Following “Hi Dee Ho,” the trio plays “Better Than,” “Don’t Wanna See Your Face,” and “Devil Woman,” another great track from Flesh & Blood. For what John says is going to be the next, and final, song, he gets the crowd to have a competition between the assembled men and women, trying to see who wants to sing the most to close out the night. It’s hard to tell who wins, because everyone is yelling as loud as they can, male or female. In the end, everyone wins as The John Butler breaks into a classic, “Zebra.” If it’s truly to be the last song of the night, it’s a great way to go out. John graces the song with some razor-sharp solos, and the entire group is playing with a furious energy, but when it’s over, the crowd is roaring for more, and the trio, not to ones to disappoint, comes back out for an encore.

I’m literally worn out, running on adrenaline, but I’m not going to sit down, so very close to the end. The band has been playing for over an hour-and-a-half, and by the time they’re finished it will be right at two hours. Two hours well-spent.

The encore starts with “Losing You,” from the album, Grand National, and is followed by “Livin’ in the City,” again, from Flesh & Blood. The jam-filled performance of “Livin’ in the City” is amazing, and the energy, pouring from the band and reciprocated by the crowd, is so high, that when the song is finished, I’m positive that it’s the last song. I’m glad that I’m wrong, because, instead, the band thanks the crowd for being so great, assuring us that they’ll be back as soon as possible, and then launches into “Funky Tonight,” which sends us all dancing into the night, with songs playing in our minds, awaiting the next time JBT comes around. I hope it’s soon.


John Butler Trio

G. Love & Special Sauce

With Ghosts of Kin

July 2, 2014

The Vogue ~ Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by : Zen Wild

Photos by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Gallery: Ghosts of Kin

Photo Gallery: G. Love & Special Sauce


At the Vogue, in Indianapolis, IN, again, but this time to see G-Love & Special Sauce with opening band, Ghosts of Kin. I haven’t seen G-Love for years, catching him once at the Egyptian Room, back around the time Philadelphonic was released. That show was great, and I’m hoping that this one will be, too. I’ve never heard the Ghosts of Kin, but from what some of the local people are telling me, it seems that they’re definitely worth a listen. I’m excited. I’ve been thinking about this show for weeks.

When Ghosts of Kin come on stage, you can see that it’s a stripped down affair, in the manner of the Civil Wars. Jessie Phelps is responsible for lead vocals and rhythm guitar, and she possesses a voice that is amazingly soulful. Alan Long, on the other hand, provides backing vocals and lead guitar. His white-hot solos, laced with bluesy bends, show that he is no slouch with his chosen instrument. From the first note, I love what they’re doing, and my opinion hasn’t changed by the end of their set.

Their sound is infused with folk, rock, blues, and soul, and some of the songs remind me of that certain sound that Alison Krauss and Robert Plant came up with on their album, Raising Sand. I’m especially reminded of the rockier, bluesier tracks on that album. Alan Long’s own vocals don’t come out in the mix as much as Robert Plant’s do on that amazing album with Alison, but, well, it is Robert Plant I’m talking about. In any case, Jessie’s vocals have more than enough magnitude on their own to fill that lead role. She can be deep and sultry, or hit those high notes that send chills down your spine. If you happen to live in Indiana, I would suggest catching Ghosts of Kin while you can.

G-Love & Special Sauce are scheduled to come on around 9:15 pm, I believe, but you know how those things can go. When they do come out, it’s around 9:40, I believe. Good things come to those who wait. That’s what I’ve been told, and with this musical trio playing, I’m sure that old saying will ring true. As they enter from backstage, the crowd goes wild, and once the music starts pouring through the PA speakers, people all around me are singing and dancing. It’s hard not to love the music that G-Love and his crew have put out throughout the years, and are continuing to put out. It’s filled with blues, rock, and soul, with inflections of jazz and hip-hop, and it always seems to have such a solid groove at its core. G-Love’s laid back vocal delivery, complete with that Philadelphia accent, just ties it all together. I’ve loved the sound ever since I heard that self-titled album from ‘94.

Tonight, the trio have obviously come with the idea of jamming in mind, and treat anyone who’s come to the Vogue with some high-energy, extended songs. The musicians bless the audience with some amazing solos, whether on bass, drums, guitar, or G-Love’s ever-present harmonica. During their performance of “This Ain’t Living,” Jimi Jazz (Jim Prescott) plays this amazing bass solo, at one point giving up plucking and slapping strings in favor of using the bow. I don’t know how long it lasts, but it’s absolutely great! It’s not the only amazing solo he plays during the set. Houseman (Jeffrey Clemens), not to be left out, spices up “Small Fish” with an incredible drum solo as part of a lengthy jam by the entire band. G-Love is constantly coming to the front of the stage to whip out bluesy solos, or just to slap a few of the audience’s hands.

The band plays multiple tracks off of the new album, like “Cheating Heart,” “Sugar,” “Good Life,” “Bad Girl Baby Blue,” and “Weekend Dance #2,” in addition to classics like “Baby’s Got Sauce,” “Recipe,” “Garbage Man,” and “I-76.” One of their multiple jams breaks down into “Part 1: Acknowledgement” from John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme for a few moments and during “Recipe,” G-Love hits us with that repeating vocal line from The Wailers’ “Walk The Proud Land,” that goes, “gimme a little, gimme a little soul, oh Lord!” It fits perfectly. They even cover Cream’s “Strange Brew” in its entirety. Every choice just seems to be right on the money, the entire evening.

At one point, the band leaves the stage, and many in the audience seem to think that the show might be over, but then, a minute or two later, G-Love pops back on stage, blows smoke through his harmonica, saying, “I had to smoke,” and plays “Bad Girl Baby Blue” by himself, after which Jimi Jazz and Houseman rejoin the fun. They play for another 40 minutes or so, leaving “Baby’s Got Sauce” and “Weekend Dance #2” for last. Right before “Baby’s Got Sauce,” a member of the audience hands G-Love a shot, which he downs instantly. It’s a party, and it has been all night. It’d be nice if it could just keep going, but when G-Love announces that the next song is the last, the end is impending. The band sends the audience off, dancing like it’s the weekend, though it’s only a Wednesday night. It was great to see G-Love & Special Sauce once again. You can be sure that they’ll keep you grooving, from beginning to end.

G Love & Special Sauce


Ziggy Marley

June 28, 2014

Ziggy Marley Flying Rasta Tour

The Taft Theatre Cincinnati, Ohio  

Written by: Zen Wild

Photos by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Photo Gallery: Ziggy Marley


Ziggy Marley, at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati, OH, and we’re here. It looks like enough people to fill about every seat in the house are here, too. It’s jam-packed. The aisles are crowded as everyone is trying to find that specific seat on their ticket stubs. I can’t wait. I’ve been wanting to see Ziggy for a long time now, and even had a ticket for his ’02 show in Indianapolis, IN, as part of the Jeep Outdoor World Festival. For some reason or another, Ziggy (and the Melodymakers) couldn’t make it to that date on the tour. My anticipation keeps telling me that the wait is going to be well worth it. Ziggy doesn’t have Stephen (who is also one of my favorites) with him anymore, since his brother is touring on his own, but it doesn’t matter. The show’s going to be great. I can feel it.

When everyone comes on stage, you can see the massive extent of Ziggy’s band. There are two organists/keyboard players, two guitar players (not including Ziggy), two drummers, two female backup singers, and a bassist. Extra percussion instruments are scattered about, as well. The music is going to be thick and layered, and the rhythm, obviously, is going to be strong. What else would be expected from Bob Marley’s eldest son. He’s been doing it since he was a child, along with his brothers and sisters, and although his music has evolved throughout the years, Ziggy’s roots are deep, indeed. Mighty tree, mighty seeds.

Ziggy opens with the title track from his  album, “Love is My Religion”. It’s a beautiful way to open, in my opinion. Ziggy lives as his father lived, with love as an intrinsic part of who he is and how he lives. The band really pours it on, and you can feel the energy about the theatre as people are dancing, clapping, singing, and cheering. When, moments later, the band goes into a cover of Bob Marley’s “So Much Trouble in the World,” a song I constantly find myself singing when I’m alone, the crowd erupts. It’s amazing. I knew that there would be some Bob covers tonight, but I wasn’t sure which ones. For me, Ziggy couldn’t have picked a better one (or would have been hard-pressed to do so) when he picked this one. In all, assuming my count is correct, Ziggy covers 4 of his father’s songs throughout the night: “So Much Trouble in the World,” “Lively Up Yourself,” “One Love,” and “Could You Be Loved.” As I’m writing this, I hope the count is correct. Usually, I write on an electronic device while at a show, but this night, I forget to charge it, and it dies right as the show is starting. I’m working from memory, which in the case of a band that I’ve really been wanting to see, is usually fairly accurate.

As the night goes on, the band plays songs from several of Ziggy’s solo albums, as well as those along with the Melodymakers, including “Wild and Free,” “Personal Revolution,” “Black Cat,” “Beach in Hawaii,” “Rainbow in the Sky,” “Conscious Party,” “Look Who’s Dancing,” “I Don’t Wanna Live On Mars,” and “Fly Rasta.” That doesn’t include all of the songs that he plays, but, in short, the setlist comes from all periods of Ziggy’s personal, musical evolution. Songs are stretched. Solos are extended. Percussion solos dice and chop the rhythm, but keep it constantly moving. It’s absolutely beautiful to see and hear. I can’t help but to dance throughout the set. Everywhere I look, the other members of the crowd are doing the same thing. Joy is evident upon countless faces. As Ziggy’s father once sang, “Forget your troubles and dance…” That’s what everyone is doing, except, as far as I can see, in one spot. Right next to me, there is a young girl who appears to have come with her dreadlocked grandmother. While the woman I’m assuming is her Grandmother is dancing during “Could You Be Loved,” which the band plays as part of their encore (an encore undoubtedly earned from a theatre’s worth of people screaming and cheering), this girl is sitting down and checking social media on her phone. I can’t believe it, during “Could You Be Loved,” no less. It appears, to me, to be the only static spot in a sea of movement. I have to say something. So, I lean over and whisper, halting my own dance for a couple seconds, “Why don’t you get up and dance?” She smiles at me, says a few things, which I can hardly hear, and then, a moment or two later, puts up her phone, stands up, and starts to dance. Mission accomplished. Look who’s dancing, now. We’re all doing it. Ziggy brought us all here in the name of music, love, and unity, and from the moment the last note is played on an extended jam of “Fly Rasta,” all the way back to when the first note was struck on “Love Is My Religion,” we’ve been doing it together. Love is my religion. When it comes to Ziggy Marley, it truly is. You have to see him perform in person. It’s a wonderful experience that can’t truly be described with words. I knew it would be worth the wait. Forget your troubles and dance.


Ziggy Marley

The Mahones

The Involuntary'sThe Innocent Boys

The Vogue 

June 12, 2014

Written by: Zen Wild

Photos by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography


We have the privilege of being at The Vogue’s first Punk Rock Night, which luckily enough has The Mahones headlining, along with The Involuntary’s and The Innocent Boys. Since this is the first of many (hopefully) of these nights to come, the crowd is a bit sparse, as one could assume that, perhaps, the word hasn’t yet spread. Large crowd or small crowd, if anyone knows anything about punk bands, they’ll know that these bands are going to give it their all, one way or another. That’s something that has to be respected about this style of music. The musicians always seem to be close to their fans, and whether they’re getting paid a lot or a little, their music speaks volumes, literally and figuratively.

The first opener, The Innocent Boys, start off the show a bit later than expected, but to me, the wait is well worth it. They play an interesting mix of bluegrass, punk, folk, and country, with elements from a couple other genres thrown in for good measure, and from the moment you see the instruments played, you can tell that is probably going to be something in that vein. The upright bass is a clue. Unless you knew punk was going to be involved, though, you might not guess it’s going to be included. They start playing, and I can’t help but find myself enjoying the music from the first note. I recently saw The Devil Makes Three, and I can find similarity, loosely, in the two. It’s a great set played in front of a small crowd, but as I alluded to before, it doesn’t seem to bother them in the least.

The second band, The Involuntary’s has a sound much similar to traditional punk, with that thrashing, angst-filled sound you’d expect to come screaming out of garages all around the nation. I’m not sure how many songs they play, but it has to be a decent amount, because many of them are of the two-minute variety, but the crowd, which has grown by this point, seems to love it, jumping up and down, and screaming lyrics back at the musicians. My favorite parts are during a few of the breakdowns in their songs, in which elements of ska and reggae are thrown in. It’s a nice counterbalance to the angry roar of their guitars, found in most of their songs, and gives the bassist a bit more space in which to move and be heard.

The Mahones, I have never seen before, and was just recently introduced to them by someone who saw them open up for the Dropkick Murphy’s last year. In the intermission between bands, I meet a few people who happened to be at that show, as well, and assure me that The Mahones are going to be great. When I head back inside, and the band comes on stage, it’s obvious that the crowd in front of them isn’t as big as that one that came along with opening for the Dropkick Murphy’s, but the people who are there are ready to rock and shout their approval at The Mahone’s entrance.

Once they start playing, you can hear that Irish punk sound coming through loud and clear. You see some of the instruments you might expect: electric mandolin (playing rhythm), electric guitar (also playing rhythm), bass, and drums. What you might not expect to find, if you hadn’t seen them before, is the inclusion of an accordion, played by, KatieMcConnell, wife of Finny McConnell (lead singer/guitarist). Her energy is incredible. She is all over the stage, dancing and hopping around, all while whipping out blistering lead-lines from accordion, sending fans into a frenzy. At several points, she faces off with mandolin-player, Sean Winter, and bassist, Paul Mancuso, seeming to be dueling, as they feed off of each other. All the while, drummer, Dom Whelan, is driving that furious tempo. Combined with Finny’s vocal stylings, everything really comes together, which is undoubtedly why The Mahones have been playing in front of increasing crowds every year, receiving several accolades and positive attention from critics. As the show winds down, I can’t say that either my friend, or the people I met outside of The Vogue, have let me down. The Mahones put on a great show. If they come to town again, I’m fairly certain that when they do, I’ll be there with ticket in hand.

Link: Photo Gallery


The Mahones

Tweedy

The Minus 5

June 11, 2014

The Brown Theatre on Broadway Louisville, KY

Review and photography by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography


The night starts off with legendary musician Scott McCaughey and his band The Minus 5. The set is filled with short straight loud rock material that has me nodding my head to the catchy rhythms. Early in the set they brought a smile to my face when they played the “Old Plantation” and “Days of Wine and Booze” from the Minus 5 album they did with Wilco back in 2003 entitled “Down With Wilco.” It was a great start to the night with the promise of more great music to come.

Jeff Tweedy has been playing music for nearly three decades spanning from his UncleTupelo days to present band Wilco. Jeff has quite a catalog of music to pick and choose from when he does his solo shows. This time it was going to be a bit different starting off the night with little over a dozen new tracks from his forthcoming solo LP Sukierae, which is set for release on September 16.

 Jeff and his son Spencer Tweedy, a drummer for The Blisters, worked collaboratively on the new LP. The rest of the backing band include long time friend and bass player Darin Gray, Jim Elkington on guitar, and Liam Cunningham on keyboard/guitar. The band receives a warm welcome from the crowd at the historic Brown Theatre on Broadway and they jump right in with the new material. Most of the early songs were slower paced folk-structured tunes. On the second song of the night, “Diamond Light,” Spencer and Darin Gray set a driving rhythm with subtle guitar and keyboard parts laced through out the song. Jeff lyrics are haunting, “are you scared, are you frightened, terrified of being alone.” The song continues to build with layering of guitar parts until the last third where Jeff pulls off one of his classic guitar solos and then he fades away with only the drums and bass left continuing the same driving rhythm they had set earlier in the song.

“Honey Combed” starts off with Jeff picking on his acoustic like he starts off so many of his folk numbers. The song “New Moon” sticks out in my mind with great guitar solos coming from Jim Elkington. Later in the set Jeff tries to get the crowd involved by having them sing the chorus to “Slow Love”. The crowd responds quietly at first until Jeff calls-out the crowd saying, “Don’t you want to do better than Baltimore?”

There are a few more classic banter moments from Jeff over the course of the night including when he is introducing the band. He makes a crack at Jim Elkington for being from England. Immediately after he pokes fun at Jim he says that was a Michael Richards career ending moment. As for the introduction of his son Spencer he recalls when he was first born that he thought Spencer looked like a “chewed piece of bubble gum” and thinking that he “could learn to love him.” Tweedy promptly follows this up by sharing that he loves Spencer more than he could ever say.

Midway through the night the band goes off the stage and Jeff then begins to play old Wilco, Loose Fur, Golden Smog, and Uncle Tupelo tunes. A few of my favorite moments of the night come when he played “No More Poetry,” “Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season),” and “New Madrid.” For the encore the band comes back and plays a Doug Sahm cover, which Uncle Tupelo had done on their album Anodyne. Then Scott McCaughey joins the band on keyboard, and they play another new tune, “Low Key,” followed by California Stars. The band and Jeff leave the stage with the crowd standing and at an all time high. Finally Jeff comes back out with an acoustic version of Misunderstood encouraging the crowd to sing along. Ending the night with the lines “I’d like to thank you all for nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing at all.”

Set list: Down From Above, Diamond Light, Honey Combed, Flowering, Desert Bel, Summer Noon, Fake Fur Coat, World Away, New Moon, High As Hello, Where My Love, Slow Love, Nobody Dies Anymore Via Chicago, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, New Madrid, Pecan Pie, No More Poetry, You And I, Hummingbird, Laminated Cat (aka Not For The Season), The Ruling Class, Passenger Side, Jesus, Etc.

Encore Give: Back The Key To My Heart [Doug Sahm cover], Low Key, California Stars, Misunderstood

Link: Photo Gallery


Tweedy

Dr. Dog/ The Districts/ The Hawks of Holy Rosary

The Vogue Theatre June 8, 2014

Written by: Zen Wild

Photos by: Tony Vasquez of Vasquez Photography

Arrival at the Vogue, in Indianapolis, brings with it some ill, unlikely news associated with the second opening band, The Districts. It seems their gear was stolen the night before in St. Louis. In order to play their set, they’ll have to borrow gear. It’s bad news, but the night will show that even with borrowed equipment, they can put on a great show.

The opening band, The Hawks of Holy Rosary, doesn’t play a long set, but they use their time wisely, filling up the short period of time with intricate jams and at times, surprisingly delicate harmonies. It’s a nice opening set leading up to the heavyweights to come.

While young, The Districts play as tight as a band that has had numerous years to hone their skill at playing with one another. Their drummer is right on point, changing tempos, rhythms, and time throughout their set. The bass is steady, and both of the guitarists show impressive skill. My only complaint, at first, is that it’s hard to hear the vocals in the mix, but after moving from the barricade in front of the stage to the balcony, I realize that the main problem is that we had been standing behind and below the overhanging PA speakers. In the balcony, the vocals come through loud and clear, and I think that they really shine on tracks like “Long Distance,” and “Telephone.” Again, the set isn’t incredibly long, but the energy is incredible. It’s all another bit of buildup to the headliner, Dr. Dog, which as the increasing crowd would suggest, is expected to put on a stellar show.

I’m not sure if the show has sold out, and I fail to ask anyone official, but I saw Gary Clark, Jr. at the Vogue last November, which was sold out, and this crowd seems to be almost equal, if it isn’t, in packing the aisles, crowding the length of the bar, and filling the balcony. In short, there isn’t much room to move. Nonetheless, as Dr. Dog begins to play, and their stage lights begin to spread across the crowd, from up in the balcony the mass of people looks like the waves of an inland sea, moving and crashing about each other.

It’s only the beginning to a great set. This is something that has assuredly helped their fan-base to grow from the time that the band came together back in the late 90’s. The lineup has changed throughout the years, but being assured of receiving an energetic set of layered sound has not. It has to be expected at this point.

After their opening songs are received by the crowd with thunderous applause and cheers that resound throughout the Vogue, the band begins joking a bit, commenting on the sign that accompanies them on stage, although it looks more at home outside a truck-stop diner, with witty sayings that change every night. They mention that it was funnier the night before. Tonight, it says: “What you unexpect.”  Fans love to see their favorite musicians show a bit of their personalities on stage, and the members of Dr. Dog are not the sort to keep them closely guarded. Back to the music, though.

From the first song, all of the musicians are beautifully in synch, and combined with the incredible light show, that seems reminiscent, if toned down, of the Flaming Lips, it’s quite the spectacle. The visual stimulation only supports the music. With lead vocals switching between Toby Leaman and Scott (McMicken) all night long, whose styles differ but seem equally at home, the music soars in the cozy confines of the Vogue. Combined with the harmonized backing vocals of the other band members (Frank McElroy, Zach Miller, Eric Slick, and Dimitri Manos), there is a richness and depth to the overall sound that fits nicely alongside the thick instrumentation, which includes keyboards, synthesizers, drums, bass, lead and rhythm guitars. Frank McElroy's antics, while wearing his white-rimmed sunglasses and playing guitar, only add to the craziness of the wild, prismatic jams as Dr. Dog let themselves give in to the grooves throughout their set.

Perhaps my favorite songs to see performed this evening are “The Beach” and “The Truth,” and “Broken Heart.” I think that during their performance of “The Truth,” the light show really kicked into overdrive and all around fans could be heard singing along. The band has to feed off of that and the lengthy jams they provide seem to be proof. Honestly, though, every song delivered this evening is amazing. I’d never seen them before, only listening to their albums at home, or while driving in my car, but after the excellent show they put on at the Vogue, I would love to see them again. I would suggest the same to anyone else, even if they’d never heard a single track of theirs before. “Go, and listen,” I’d tell them, “and by the end of the evening, you’ll be leaving the venue with an album, or two, or if you’re wallet’s deep enough, maybe the whole discography.” You’ll want to hear them again, though. That, I guarantee.

Link: Photo Gallery


Dr Dog

Tegan & Sara/Lucius/The Courtneys

Lets Get Physical Tour

The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre

May 10,2014

Written by: Zen Wild Photos by: Tony Vasquez

Photo Galleries:

Tegan and Sara: Tegan and Sara gallery 

Lucius: Lucius gallery

The Courtneys:The Courtneys gallery


 The Old National Centre is located in a nice slice of neighborhood in Indianapolis.There’s always something going on. As we’re approaching, a man is playing saxophone on the corner. You can even hear the sound of music ringing out from multiple bars and patios that aren’t so far away. Once we’ve gotten inside the building and made our way upstairs to the Egyptian Room, you might think that every girl in the area is at this concert, but it’s obvious they’ve come from far and wide. The crowd is at least 75 percent women. They’re out to support the bands they love, Tegan & Sara, Lucius, and The Courtneys. It’s girl power in mass abundance.

The Courtneys start off the night, and while they don’t play a long set, they pack as much energy into it as they can. Three women are in the band and they’re all named Courtney. They play bass, guitar, and drums, respectively. They have a pop-rock sound that really gets a person energized and feeling fine. As they finish, and the stagehands start to set up the stage for Lucius’ performance, the crowd begins to pack in closer to the stage.

Lucius begins they’re set with “Tempest,” off their album, Wildewoman. It’s a great opener. The energy from the song is amazing. This is the first time I’ve seen Lucius, although I have heard their album, and from the very beginning, I’m incredibly impressed with their vocal harmonies, their impeccable sense of rhythm, and as the night progresses, their use of dynamics.

The band has two female co-lead vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig and three men, Dan Molad, Peter Lalish, and Andrew Burri, who sing backup vocals. Everything is harmonized. It comes off sounding so perfect, I don’t know how a person couldn’t be a bit in awe of it all. From the beginning, one of the women is playing a keyboard and the other is playing a synthesizer, and the three men are playing drums and two guitars. Throughout the night, the musicians are constantly switching instruments, and at one point on the opening song alone, four people are playing drums, while one guitar is still ringing out. I had to mention their use of dynamics, because they seem to have an innate knowledge of when to slow it down and make it soft, only to build it backup and let the music explode on its own.

I could mention multiple songs that were infectious during the set, but the one that really caught my attention was “Nothing Ordinary,” also off the Wildewoman LP. It has a catchy guitar groove laid down immediately, and by the time the music combusts in the chorus, the song has wiggled its earworm body into your aural canal. It will make you move, have no doubt, but it’s not the only song from Lucius that will do so. If you have the chance, catch their show. There’s no substitute for seeing them live.

Tegan and Sara come on stage after Lucius have finished up and the crowd is so thick, there is hardly room to move without touching someone. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible. The roar from all of their fans stretches for several moments and after saying a quick hello and uttering a word or two of appreciation, Tegan and Sara are off and running. They open with “Back in Your Head,” off their album, The Con, and by their third song, they play their hit, “Walking With a Ghost.” It’s immediately evident that it’s a song their fans never tire of hearing. The applause and cheers are thunderous.

After a few more songs,the band begins delving into newer territory, playing songs off their newest album, Heartthrob. The audience sings along to every one. As I’m dancing and listening, I found myself especially liking “I Couldn’t Be Your Friend.” Tegan and Sara have always written catchy choruses and lyrics that resonate with their audience. The pop-laced Heartthrob is no different. Their songwriting skills are still in full effect and they put on an excellent show, so I’m sure that all of their fans are just salivating, waiting for that next album. In the meantime, a person could always catch their live performance. Just be prepared, because you might find their songs stuck in your head for a few nights afterwards.


Tegan and Sara with Lucius

  • The Courtneys at the Egyptian Room at Old National Centre, Indianapolis, Indiana on tour with Tegan and Sara - Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Lucius at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre with Tegan and Sara on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Lucius at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre with Tegan and Sara on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of  Lucius at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre with Tegan and Sara on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Tegan and Sara at at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Tegan and Sara at at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Tegan and Sara at at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour
  • Tegan and Sara at at Egyptian Room at Old National Centre on the Let's Make Things Physical Tour

Southern Soul Assembly Tour

Taft Theatre, Cincinnati, OH

March 19, 2014

Written by: Zen Wild

Photos by: Tony Vasquez

Gallery Link:Photo Gallery  

Southern Soul Assembly is such a fitting name for the current tour featuring songwriters Marc Broussard, Anders Osborne, Luther Dickinson, and JJ Grey. Every member brings to the table buckets and buckets of soul, all with a bit of southern twang. When we arrive at the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati to watch their performance, there are many others surrounding us who have obviously come to appreciate these things as well. While the show isn’t sold out, unless some people have simply chosen not to appear, it is very packed, especially near the front of the theatre, where fans have filled the seats closest to the stage in an effort to be as near to the performers as possible. The sound system carries the voices of the musicians and their instruments throughout the building, but there is no substitute for being right up front, listening to them as they banter back and forth, telling stories, and endearing themselves to the audience with a bit of Southern charm and hospitality. There is no opening band and there doesn’t need to be.

From the moment the musicians walk on to the stage, the applause and shouts of appreciation start. Undoubtedly, some members of the audience have come here being fans of specific performers, without being well-versed in the musical catalogs of some of the other artists; but I’m sure that by the end of the show, everyone was eager to fully delve into each musician’s repertoire.

Marc Broussard starts the rotation off with a song, “Evangeline Rose,” written for his eldest daughter. It’s a beautifully sweet little tune. JJ Grey follows him with the song, “Brighter Days,” off his album of the same name. When he finishes, and people are showing their appreciation, he mentions how he was the last one to sign on to the tour and how glad he was that he did so. “Every one of these boys up here can sing,” he says. It’s about as true as a statement could be.

Anders Osborne’s first song of the night is “Me and Lola,” a melancholy love song, that I personally think is amazing. His voice, loaded with emotion, sends the lyrics soaring throughout the auditorium. When Luther Dickinson gets his first turn to showcase his talents, he plays “Karmic Debt,” a song off his album Rock ‘n Roll Blues, and he tears through it, everyone in the audience bearing witness to his particularly nasty ability with the slide. It’s an incredible talent that he’ll display all evening, often joining in on the other musicians’ songs.

With the rotation established, the artists continue to play songs for the duration of the roughly two-hour set, cutting up and telling jokes and stories in between. JJ Grey introduces a new song, “Tic Tac Toe,” which he says will probably be on his new record with his band, Mofro. All of the other musicians on stage join in on this one, with Luther playing the electric bass and Marc and Anders on guitars. It is the first song that we’ll hear in which everyone on stage is getting in on the action.

Anders Osborne plays “Peace” afterwards, the title track off his newest album, and again we see all the artists join in. This song is just heart-rending, and Anders’ delivery is absolutely incredible. While he certainly isn’t the only wonderful songwriter on stage, his ability to write melodies that fit alongside his revealing, storytelling lyrics is simply first-class.

Marc follows up a bit later with a soft love song, “Send Me a Sign,” and as he sings, his voice is like silk. That man’s vocal range is staggering. After JJ plays the title track off his latest album, This River, Anders graces us with another astonishing song, “Boxes, Bills, and Pain,” a deep, soulful blues number. He tells the others on stage, “This song only got one chord, boy, y’all can jam as much as you want!” They do. Again, everyone takes part, with Marc picking up the bass, and JJ whipping out his harmonica, while Luther, once more, plays some scintillating lines on slide guitar. The song lasts for 10 minutes, at least, and as it finishes I know that I would be perfectly content if it lasted another 10 minutes. I love to hear musicians jamming on the blues, taking a short song and stretching it out.

Luther follows this with another blues tune, “Yard Man,” also off his album, Rock ‘n Roll Blues. He and Marc tell stories about how Luther hates to cut grass and would rather pay someone to do it, while Marc loves to ride the mower out in the Southern sunshine. The audience is bursting with laughter and this is truly part of what makes this current tour so enjoyable: the ability of the musicians not only to write and perform songs, but their ability to tell stories and make the concert a personal experience. This is something that goes on throughout the night.

Finally, when the artists decide that the set is over, after another 10-minute jam, this time on JJ’s song, “On Fire,” from the JJ Grey and Mofro album, Orange Blossoms, they get up and walk off stage, but applause and shouts of approval are enough to bring them back for a 2-song encore. JJ and Marc close the show with a couple of their songs, Marc playing “Lonely Night in Georgia,” which features some impressive solos by Anders, and then JJ finishing with “Lochloosa.” From start to finish, the concert has lasted right at 2 hours, and I’m sure that everyone would agree that they could have listened for another couple of hours without any issue, but unfortunately all good things must end, as pleasant as they might be. There’s always the next city. There’s always the next show. To anyone who hasn’t made a point to purchase a ticket for the Southern Soul Assembly’s next show in the next city, all I can say is, make it a point to do so. It will be money and time well spent.


Southern Soul Assembly Tour

Alejandro Escovedo & Peter Buck

February 26, 2014 

Taft Theatre Ballroom Cincinnati, OH

Written by: Zen Wild

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Tony Vasquez 

Gallery Links Alejandro Escovedo: Photo Gallery Peter Buck: Photo Gallery

We wait for the start of the Alejandro Escovedo/Peter Buck show at the Taft Theatre Ballroom in Cincinnati. In the meantime, despite the sparse early crowd, a man walks up and stands entirely too close to me. Instead of getting angry, I strike up a conversation with the man. It seems he is an ex-record storeowner from Bowling Green, KY, who has driven roughly 4 hours just to see Alejandro. After some music stories bantered back and forth between the three of us, the man assures us that we won’t be disappointed. “Alejandro Escovedo,” he says, “is never disappointing, nor is Peter Buck.” Almost on cue, Peter Buck and his band begin to walk on stage, and there is no time for further conversation on the matter, nor pondering, only listening.

When Peter Buck and his band get on stage, they look like they’re dressed for rock and roll. They’re all wearing black, including Buck himself in a leather jacket and black jeans, except for bass player, Scott McCaughey, who is dressed in a work shirt, which makes him look a bit like a trucker. With his wild, white hair and dark shades, he reminds me a bit of Jerry Garcia. Peter Buck starts his set with a song called, “So Long Johnny,” off his album, Peter Buck. It has a bit more of a loose, laid-back rock sound to it, which is a bit different than some of the songs they follow up with. Many of the tracks have hard, driving riffs, which remind me of nothing so much as The Ramones.

Near the end of the set, Kevin Kinney comes up and plays a song, “Honeysuckle Blue”, with Buck and his band, which he wrote as the front-man for the band Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. Honestly, it’s amazing. Peter Buck even remarks, “That should have been last,” as they finish. Kinney, Buck says, “Just happened to be passing through.” We’re fortunate that he is. Continuing on, Peter Buck and his band end up closing their set with “(You Must Fight to Live) On the Planet of the Apes,” a song by the Mummies, and then finishing with one of their own, “Outta the House,” which appears on Buck’s new LP, I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again. My only complaint with the entire set is that over top of the wall of guitar sound, it’s hard to hear the vocals. Like I said, though, some of their stuff reminded me of the Ramones, and if you’ve ever been to any punk shows, there’s almost always a heavy dose of guitars, and less so of vocals. Meanwhile, as Peter Buck walks offstage, we sit back and wait for Alejandro Escovedo.

Alejandro Escovedo walks on stage styling, dressed in a silvery gray suit, flower western shirt and silvery gray vest beneath, and a pair of polished brown boots. With him, is his violin/fiddle player, Susan Voelz, dressed in a Chinese-styled silk dress and tall boots. In answer to an earlier question we had as to who would be Alejandro’s backing band, Peter Buck and his band accompany Alejandro and Susan on stage. Alejandro asks how everyone in the crowd is doing, and his smile is a foretelling of what is still to come. It’s bright and shining.

Escovedo begins his set with one of my favorite tracks off of his newest album Big Station, entitled “Can’t Make Me Run.” It’s a brilliant, defiant statement of resiliency, from the beginning until the softly sung final words of the refrain, “Don’t give up on love.” Even from this first song, a person is unable to deny the beautiful tones he squeezes from his Silvertone guitar. He follows up with the song, “Tender Heart,” off his album Street Songs of Love, before going into another personal favorite which appears on Big Station, “San Antonio Rain,” an ode to the life he’s lived, and of growing up in San Antonio. “San Antonio Rain” is heartrending, and the delivery of “Tender Heart” reminds me a lot of early Tom Petty.

The set continues with Alejandro cutting up, and telling stories in between songs. That is one of the best parts of his performance. He engenders himself to his audience, like many noted folk songwriters have been known to do. As he gets back to playing music, he plays some older songs, and some newer songs, including “Sally Was a Cop,” off Big Station, and “Arizona,” from The Boxing Mirror. It is a testament to the power and energy generated by his persona and his music that I find myself truly energized all the way until the end of his set. This is saying something, because, as all of the music of the night started, I was dead tired, due to a lack of sleep. “Who wants to sleep when you can hear music like this?” That’s what I kept asking myself. It was really a rhetorical question.

One of the highlights of the entire night was when, for the last song of his initial set (before the encore), Alejandro invites Kevin Kinney back on stage, and along with Peter Buck and his band, they play a blistering version of Neil Young’s, “Like a Hurricane,” passing blistering solos back and forth between three guitars and Susan Voelz’s violin. I’ve always loved this song, and Escovedo and crew do it absolute justice. Listening to it, a person is only stuck hoping that it will go on for another 10 minutes, but eventually all things end, and as it does, everyone thanks the crowd and heads backstage.

A few minutes later, Alejandro and Susan return for an acoustic encore. It is soft and heart-touching, and the stories related in between tracks continue. When Alejandro decides that it’s time, he invites everyone back on stage, including Kinney, and they play a lengthy cover of The Stooges, “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Again, solos are passed back and forth, with a few being taken by Alejandro himself, quivering with vibrato from a repeated use of his guitar’s tremolo bar. It’s an excellent way to close the show after slowing things down with the acoustic pieces, and as we walk outside, after Alejandro Escovedo, Peter Buck, and everyone have said their farewells, I still have the music running through my mind. Regardless of what the real lyrics might have been, the words I have repeating internally are: “I have to see Alejandro Escovedo again.”


Alejandro Escovedo & Peter Buck

Kopecky Family Band, Milagres, and Evan P. Donohue

January 18, 2014 

DO317 Lounge, Indianapolis, IN

Written by: Zen Wild

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by : Tony Vasquez

Gallery Link: Kopecky Family Band: Photo Gallery Milagres: Photo Gallery Evan P. Donohue:Photo Gallery

We fought through thick snow to make it to Indianapolis, and as we make our way up the back stairs, through the small art galleries and other rooms that dot the building that the DO317 Lounge is in, we’re wondering if we’re in the right place at all. Signs indicating the path we should follow to find the small venue are few and far between, but then, the sound of someone messing with a guitar, setting up during sound check leads us in the right direction. The lounge isn’t very big, with a small stage, a bar in the back, and a few tables scattered about. In my opinion, it’s the perfect kind of place to see some music. What it lacks in seating capacity, it makes up for in intimacy.

Evan P. Donohue and his band are the first act to grace the stage. He starts off alone, playing a little ditty that he indicates is an ode to math. The lyrics say something about, “Pi day, it landed on a Friday.” I like him already. As his band joins him on stage, and they begin to play, the sea-foam green, sparkly Telecaster wielded by the second guitar player screams to me of early Rock and Roll. What they’re playing isn’t exactly that, it’s more of an evolution of that sound, but it’s still there. I could easily think of a half-dozen bands that I hear shades of, not the least of which would be Elvis Costello. Evan P. Donohue, himself, mentions Lyle Lovett as they perform a cover of The Cars’ “Just What I Needed”. Their set is short, since they’re the first opener, but it’s well worth seeing. The music is excellent.

When Milagres enters the building and hops up on stage, everything starts with a beat. It’s the kind of beat that makes you bob your head the moment it comes into existence. As soon as you’ve got that motion down, the keyboards hit, the guitars come soaring in, and the bass drops to give it a bottom well below the floor of the lounge we’re in. Over top of it all, the vocals are adamant. The tone of delivery reminds me of Colin Hay, the lead singer of the 80s band, Men at Work; but that sneer that Kyle Wilson comes with as he delivers his vocal lines is pure David Byrne, from the Talking Heads. The band’s set flies by, but as it does, the best way to describe it all is a solid wall of sound that just continues to build, and forces you to groove, until you’re left breathless. It’s brilliant, really, and it all seems like it’s over far too fast; but then, there is more music still to be heard.

As the Kopecky Family Band makes it into the lounge, everyone is thankful. They’d had a matinee show scheduled for the afternoon, that they had to cancel, due to a seven Semi-truck pile-up on I-65 North. Evidently, some of the people, who had tickets for the early show, got credit for them, and came back in the evening, leaving the lounge jam-packed. When I first heard about this show, this was definitely the band that I was dying to see. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the music that came before, but this is the band that got me to come to begin with.

I don’t know if I can fully express my admiration for the music that the Kopecky Family Band begins putting out, the moment their sound check is finished. Their hearts pour out on stage, and the way they play is exactly as their name implies: it’s a family affair. Even if they share no blood connections, their musical chemistry is a better connection than most real families share. Throughout the night, the lead vocals of Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon interweave, which to my ears sounds great. The band constantly switches instruments, which includes the trombone, cello, multiple guitars, the tambourine, keyboard-synths, bass, and drums. The most mind-blowing thing about this band, other than their obvious chemistry, is the hooks their songs are laced with, those so-active choruses. If you weren’t dancing during the verses, the moment those choruses hit, it’s all over with, and you’ll find yourself dancing, planned or not.

Near the end of their set, the band plays a track off their album Kids Raising Kids called “Are You Listening”, which they dedicate to a girl who flew all the way from Tampa, Florida, to see them. The delivery is technically spot-on, and filled with emotion. The song isn’t the closer, but in my mind, it could easily have been. If people aren’t listening now, and the Kopecky Family Band continues to play the way they have tonight, they will be listening soon.


Kopecky Family Band, Milagres, and Evan P. Donohue

Volcano Choir and Sylvan Esso

September 9, 2013

The Vogue Theater Indianapolis, IN

Written by: Brittany Vasquez

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Tony Vasquez

Gallery Link: Photo Gallery

It was a balmy Monday evening as a steady stream of beautiful people entered the Vogue Theater for a night of intricate electronica and rich, trancelike vocals. In a crowd of people ranging from their 20s to their 50s, there were an inordinate number of couples contributing to the even distribution of women and men. I overheard several people citing their love for Justin Vernon’s band, Bon Iver, as being much of their reason for checking out his recent endeavor with Volcano Choir.

Sylvan Esso took the stage unassumingly. Comprised of electronic musician, Nick Sanborn, and vocalist, Amelia Meath, Sylvan Esso began their set with Amelia’s satin, rhythmic vocals and Nick’s delicious sound loops on “Hey Mami” and “Play it Right.” As they got into their first track, Amelia began to dance in disjointed movements ranging from fluid to halting, all while balancing on giant platform heels. It didn’t take long for the crowd around me to go from silent assessment to eager curiosity, looking up the band’s information on their smart phones so they could be the first to tell their friends about this great new band they just saw.

Volcano Choir came onstage a bit later with the group of seven arranging themselves carefully to avoid featuring any one person too prominently. This was in keeping with Justin Vernon’s collaborative standard as Bon Iver. Vernon himself stood behind a podium/mixing station and never personally addressed the crowd, deferring instead to his band-mate to greet the audience and introduce the songs.

The set was a gorgeous union of soaring electronica and Vernon’s ever-haunting vocals. They played the anthemic “Byegone,” a song that could easily find its home in the climactic scene of an indie drama, from their album Repave. While Volcano Choir’s music is certainly less personal than that of Bon Iver for Justin Vernon, there is still a deep sense of emotionalism about relationships and how one experiences the world. On another Repave track, “Dancepack,” the repeated lyrics, “Take note, there’s still a hole in your heart” hung in the air and engaged the crowd in a beautiful melancholy.

One unexpected treat came when Volcano Choir played “Woods” off of Bon Iver’s EP, Blood Bank. Like an adult lullaby, the song speaks to the sad and lonely by first connecting to a somber mood and slowly building into a crescendo of soaring, hopeful vocals. Stimulating and focused, moving and fun, it was a perfect evening of live music.


Volcano Choir and Sylvan Esso

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

August 26th, 2013

Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, KY

Written by Brittany Vasquez

Edited by Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by Tony Vasquez

Gallery link: Photo Gallery

It was a steamy evening at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, KY before Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros packed the stage with their 12-member troop. Fans arrived at Iroquois Park early for the GA show and filled the seats of the gorgeous brick and wood-beam amphitheater. Between the band’s typical fan base and sponsorship by Louisville’s independent radio station, WFPK, the crowd was a delightfully eclectic group of people. They were a vision of brightly colored and earth-toned clothing, retirees and college students, couples and friends, flowered headdresses, and several girls in cropped hairstyles similar to that formerly worn by band member, Jade Castrinos. The stage was a riot of instruments and splashes of color. It looked like a movie set for The Muppets’ Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem ready to play for an audience of PBS viewers.

The band came on stage and began their psychedelic folk set with “Man on Fire” from their 2012 album Here. Fans cheered to hear the familiar song, though front man Alex Ebert commented as the song began that he was nervous. He seemed less energetic than usual with his voice sounding a bit hoarse and looking rather road-weary. He took his wireless microphone into the crowd to sing and dance with the fans, as though he needed to plug in and charge his battery and they were his outlet. The band went right into “That’s What’s Up” followed by “I Don’t Wanna Pray.” After the third song, Ebert addressed the crowd, letting them know that he was exhausted and stating, “I know that’s not what you want to hear, and I know somebody’s already Tweeting about it.”

They played several tracks off of their newly released album Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros while audience members sang along and danced in the aisles. During one song, a giant paper banner made by fans stretched the whole width of the audience and was passed back all the way to the back rows of the amphitheater. Ebert commented that it was a beautiful sign, and his stage energy noticeably increased. It seemed that for all that the band continuously gives to its fans, the fans were able to give a bit back this time. Ebert plunged back into the crowd on fan-favorite “Janglin’”, and he spoke about how he wished “we were all on an island together with no cell phones,” a verbal expression of Ebert’s and the band’s example of “living in the moment.” As he danced and sang with his fans, wore their hats and sunglasses, and held their hands, his spirits were uplifted. When he took the stage again, he and the band played “Dear Believer,” a song he said they “don’t usually play, but this is a weird-ass show anyway.” Ebert sang the track with only an acoustic guitar for accompaniment, and when it was finished he took a breath and stated “Thanks, that was really special. I didn’t expect that.” It was a beautiful moment of artist and fans truly communing through music.

The band continued playing into the night with a renewed vigor and sense of purpose, and everyone felt so appreciative to have been there. I know I did.


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Dr. Dog with Houndmouth

The Rathskeller, Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by: Tony Vasquez

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Tony Vasquez

Gallery links: Houndmouth: Photo Gallery Dr. Dog: Photo Gallery


It was a perfect summer evening at The Rathskeller Biergarten for a laid back night of great music. This historic 19th century Athenaeum building tucked away in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana provided a beautiful setting for the sold out Dr. Dog and Houndmouth concert.

The young opening band Houndmouth from New Albany, Indiana, a town which neighbors Louisville, Kentucky, has quickly formed a passionate Americana sound. The set list featured material from their recently released album From the Hills Below the City. The song writing on the new album is straight forward and offers an enjoyable blend of vocal harmonies between guitarists/vocalist Matt Myers, keyboard/vocalist Katie Toupin, Bassist/vocalist Zak Appleby, and drummer/vocalist Shane Cody. The band seamlessly switched lead vocals between Matt and Katie during their set. It was easy to see how Houndmouth’s live performances have made them crowd favorites on the festival circuit. If you have a chance to catch them perform live make sure you don’t miss them.

Before Dr. Dog came onto stage, one could hear conversations about how they were the best “unknown band” around. The Philly based band is known for their raspy harmonies and great live performances, which are filled with energy and charm. Tonight was no exception with Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman sharing lead vocals over the course of the evening.

With a deep catalogue of songs to pull from, the show was a sampling of tracks from the latest release Be The Void with such tracks as “These Days,” “How Long Must I Wait,” “Vampire,” and “Lonesome”. Some other notable tracks from the night were “Ark,” “From,” and “Heart It Races” an Architecture In Helsinki cover which was a crowd favorite. They also played “The Breeze,” which the band joked before playing “no matter how many times we play this we still screw it up.” The band ended the fun filled night with “Jackie Wants Black Eye” with the crowd singing along to the lines “And we're all in it together now, As we all fall apart;” one could really feel the connection between the band and the packed-in crowd.



Dr. Dog with Houndmouth

The National, Daughter

August 4th, 2013

Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, Indiana

Written by Brittany Vasquez

Edited by Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by Tony Vasquez

Gallery Link: Photo Gallery

The National graced Indianapolis with an August 4th show at the Murat Theatre. In a word, it was inspiring. The energy in the crowd was palpable all the way up to the back rows of the balcony, where some audience members stayed on their feet throughout the show, dancing and playing air guitar. The rest of the crowd appeared riveted, their full attention glued to the stage.

With his scholarly appearance and intellectual song writing, frontman Matt Berninger wouldn’t seem out of place instructing an English class, but to see him pacing onstage between songs and roaring some of his more earnest lyrics lends a violent and magnetic contrast to his stage presence. The band’s maturity and creative intelligence bleed through in their lush melodies and lyrics of deep human emotionalism and unpretentious sociopolitical commentary. Their songs often build like a storm. Sweet instrumentation and Berninger’s monotone voice are like a steady rain, lulling and rhythmic. Then they intensify into a thundering frenzy of horns, cymbals, and belted-out vocals.

The National played a perfect selection of songs from their catalogue including several tracks from their newest album Trouble Will Find Me. They played “Don’t Swallow the Cap,” “Pink Rabbits,” and “I Need My Girl” from the new album and many of their standard crowd favorites including “Secret Meeting,” “Squallor Victoria,” “Conversation 16,” “Fake Empire,” and “Baby We’ll Be Fine.” Their encore set was brilliant with Berninger plunging far into the crowd on “Mr. November” and ending with a gorgeous acoustic medley sing along to “Terrible Love”/”Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks,” the whole crowd singing at the top of their lungs on the repeated lyrics “All the very best of us, String ourselves up for love.”This show was one that I not only saw but felt. With goose-bumps on my arms and emotion stirring in my core, I left the Murat Theatre with a spectacular music buzz.

London-based Daughter opened the evening with a well-received set of moody indie folk. Their sound is one of rich sonic ambience with sweet guitar reverb and soft vocalization from lead singer Elena Tonra. The vocals smack a bit of Leslie Feist with an electronic sound that hints toward Sigur Rόs. They played their track “Youth” off their debut album If You Leave as well as their song “Home.” Their set was laced with sweet banter suggesting the band’s excitement and nervousness over opening for The National, and one affirming moment when a member of the crowd gushed that the band members “are all so attractive.” Daughter’s set was a refreshing way to begin the evening, and I’ll be looking for them on future tours.


The National, Daughter

David Byrne & St. Vincent

July 2nd, 2013

Whitney Hall in Louisville, KY 

Written & Photos by: Tony Vasquez

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Gallery Link:Photo Gallery

I knew I was in for a special performance given the professional and artistic reputation of David Byrne, former lead member of the Talking Heads, and having seen Annie Clark’s, a.k.a. St. Vincent’s, shows before; but I was still blown away by their brilliant set at Whitney Hall in Louisville, KY. They opened the night with the horn-heavy “Who,” the opening track from the collaborative album Love This Giant.

The set list was a healthy mix of St. Vincent’s material including “Marrow,” “Cheerleader,” and “Northern Lights” along with tracks from the new album and a scattering of Byrne tunes which included “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),” “Burning Down The House,” and “The Party / Road To Nowhere.” They shared the stage throughout the night with Byrne hanging back at times and almost showcasing St. Vincent.

The night was a mix of choreographed steps, theatrics, and a tight brass section that accompanied both singers’ distinctly different vocals. Byrne’s quirky and whimsical dance moves were mirrored by St. Vincent and the backing band on several dance routines. Byrne’s innate charisma combined perfectly with St. Vincent’s unique electric guitar playing.

Byrne introduced “Outside Of Space & Time” by dedicating it to the Higgs boson particle. This particular song showcased the full, rich sound of The Brass Tactic. The encores and longer breaks in the music were handled with true stage theatrics, with the stage dimming while the musicians got into their positions for the next song.

St. Vincent shared the story of when she first discovered Byrne’s music. When she was very young she watched the film Revenge of the Nerds and heard “Burning Down The House” for the first time. She spoke of how it moved and resonated with her and was one of the first moments of music inspiration she remembers. Though the two artists are from different eras, their year on the road together has made their stage chemistry gel into a sleek and polished performance.

  Setlist: Who, Weekend In The Dust, Save Me From What I Want, Strange Overtones, I Am An Ape, Marrow, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody),                       The Forest Awakes, Optimist, Like Humans Do, Lightning, Lazarus, Cheerleader, Lazy, I Should Watch TV, Northern Lights, The One Who Broke                 Your Heart, Outside Of Space & Time

 Encore: Cruel, Burning Down The House

 Encore 2: The Party, Road To Nowhere


David Byrne & St. Vincent

Solid Sound Festival

June 21 - 23, 2013

MASS MoCA

North Adams, MA

Written by: Brittany Vasquez

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Tony Vasquez

Gallery Link: Photo Galleries


The Solid Sound Festival is a celebratory union of fine art and great music on the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MassMoCA) campus in North Adams, MA. The weekend of June 21-23 marked the third annual (with the exception of a hiatus in 2012) Solid Sound Festival since the first in 2010. Alternative rock greats, Wilco, curate the festival in coordination with the museum staff, contributing art installations to the vast gallery space and bringing together a weekend’s worth of musical talent from various genres. One can feel the history in the stunning brick buildings that formerly served as an electrical component factory. Each building provides breathtaking space and light to showcase expertly chosen works of contemporary art, though the restored structures can easily be seen as works of art themselves. Festival goers display a distinct sense of wonder as they interact with the space and art while enjoying live indie-rock. The grounds provide three stages of increasing size from the intimate courtyard stage up to the main stage at Joe’s Field.

Friday afternoon kicked off the festival with the crowds streaming through the museum and onto the grounds. Many began their weekend by soaking in the art exhibits before the first scheduled band. The featured installation this year was Xu Bing’s tremendously ambitious “Phoenix,” a pair of 90 and 100 foot long majestic birds made from found objects and tools from old construction sites in China. A video in the gallery shows the installation and suspension of the “Phoenix” with music by Wilco.

The first band to play Friday was White Denim. The band packed the smaller courtyard stage area with happy festival goers drawn by their high-energy rock. Their stripped-down electric sound was complimented by simple, pounding drum beats and bluesy guitar licks. Soul-filled vocals made their popular track “Street Joy” truly memorable during their set. Even though White Denim’s sound is straight forward at ground level, they incorporate layers of electronic experimentation that really become evident in their solos. This band provided a terrific kick-start for the weekend.

Jeff Tweedy has been putting a spotlight on classic gospel and R&B by working with the great Mavis Staples and having her perform at the 2011 Solid Sound Festival. This year, Tweedy showcased The Relatives before Wilco’s Friday night set. The group captivated the crowd on Joe’s Field with songs like “Your Love is Real” and “Let Your Light Shine.” Their high energy and James-Brown-like shouts of “good god” during their set had everyone smiling and dancing. The Relatives took a moment to pay respect to homeless veterans in the U.S. and dedicated their song “What’s Wrong with America” to those who have served our country but have lived without basic support within our borders. The band was a great addition to the festival and a good reminder that soul never goes out of style.

Wilco ended Friday’s festivities with an all-request set submitted by fans online. The crowd roared with delight as they opened with “The Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy. There were several covers that were not as surprising as they were perfectly suited to Wilco’s modus operandi such as The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers,” The Grateful Dead’s “Ripple,” and Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate.” Conversely, several tracks were definite conversation topics for the remainder of the weekend including Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Television’s “Marquise Moon,” and Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.” Some of my personal favorite moments included a cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl,” The Velvet Underground’s “Who Loves the Sun,” singing Happy Birthday to Wilco’s Pat Sansone, and the emcee ribbing Jeff Tweedy about his denim on denim outfit, a.k.a. “Canadian tuxedo.”

The night owls were in for a special treat in the indoor museum theater after Wilco’s set. A film about Buckminster Fuller, the brains behind dome architecture, was screened with Yo La Tengo providing a live soundtrack. The pairing was artistic and captivating.

Saturday included music by Mark Mulcahy. Mulcahy wore a shiny light blue suit that lent a nuanced feel to his 60s style rock. He encouraged full audience engagement having them call out with their best animal noises during certain parts of a song and threw peanut butter cookies from his lunch into the audience, though not before warning them about peanut allergies.

Lucius was a special treat for everyone who made it to the larger courtyard stage. Their outfits were color coordinated with the singers wearing black mini dresses over green leggings and the backing band wearing green jackets with black pants. Holly Laessig and Jesse Wolfe dress like twins right down to their blonde bobs and makeup. They remind one of 1960s back-up singers, though these two are clearly the stars of the show. The group played glamorous electronic rock that one might expect to hear in a New York club, so it came as no surprise when they announced hailing from Brooklyn. They played the track “Go Home” from their self-titled EP that had everyone either stunned by their powerful vocals or swaying and singing along. They also covered My Morning Jacket’s “Wonderful (The Way I Feel),” showing their range of abilities and interests expand far beyond their own gorgeous glam rock.

Yo La Tengo filled the large courtyard stage with loyal, excited fans. Their sound, as always, was hypnotic and magical. Syncopated drum rhythms, trance-like keys, dreamy vocals, and grungy guitar solos echoed their signature sound off the brick museum walls to the crowd’s delight. Cheers erupted as they played the fan favorite “Autumn Sweater,” and many later stated feeling privileged to have seen them play.

Even though Foxygen played the small courtyard stage, they were the talk of the festival Saturday afternoon. Lead singer, Sam France, practically bubbled off the stage like human champagne, climbing on the stage supports, whipping his hair wildly as he danced, and pausing to engage in a rant or two. In a “what was he thinking?” moment, France took a moment to tell 6-year-old audience member, Holden, to never start smoking because the tobacco companies get you hooked and take all your f***ing money. His stage presence was like a combination between Mick Jaggers’ moves and Jim Morrison’s style. Foxygen’s music could have come straight out of the 70s, heavy on the organ with wailing guitar solos. Their energy was infectious. I heard countless people asking each other throughout the evening, “Did you see Foxygen?!” During Wilco’s set that night, Jeff Tweedy took a jab at the band, kidding that they had been kicked out for France’s stage-climbing shenanigans.

One of my favorite performances of the weekend was given by Neko Case and her tremendous band. Always a delight, Neko was particularly spirited Saturday night, though it may have been attributed to her sugar buzz having eaten “five pounds of candy before the show.” Neko gave a shout out to the town of North Adams where she said she spent time as a kid, having grown up in the area. Her set was a beautiful mix of favorites from her last three albums including “This Tornado Loves You,” “Maybe Sparrow,” “I Wish I was the Moon,” and “Margaret Vs. Pauline.” Her voice is like gold and sunshine, equally bright and intense, while her band supplies a wonderfully proficient alt-country accompaniment. Per usual, her set was freckled with amusing stage banter with singer Kelly Hogan. This particular show included an anecdote about an “unusually bold” baby woodchuck that apparently approached and licked her toe that afternoon. The crowd was further treated to 5 new tracks that will be on her upcoming album in September. Neko is ever-lovely, ever-charming, and ever-inspiring. She is a must-see artist.

Wilco’s headlining set Saturday night was formulated for true Wilco fans. Their 28-song set was full of substantial favorites including “Impossible Germany,” “Art of Almost,” and “Sunken Treasure.” They also featured several deep cuts like “Summerteeth,” “At My Window Sad and Lonely,” “Just a Kid” (from the Spongebob Squarepants Movie soundtrack,) and side-project Loose Fur’s “Laminated Cat.” Wilco proved once again their status as seasoned artists with their tight arrangements and incredible intimacy with their music. Jeff Tweedy is growing into his role of mature front-man and will one day take his rightful place in music history with American greats like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen. Tweedy’s songwriting is upheld by what may be one of the greatest American bands of all time. Guitar virtuoso, Nels Kline, and percussion phenomenon, Glenn Kotche, have brought the band to a level beyond that of a typical rock band along with keyboardist, Michael Jorgenson. Bassist, John Stirratt, effortlessly performs complicated bass lines with such a relaxed stage presence that one might overlook his true talent, while guitarist, keyboardist, and percussionist, Pat Sansone, brings the most amazing proficiency and magnetism to the stage. It is fitting for reasons beyond the fact that the band organizes the event that people call Solid Sound “The Wilco Festival.”

The Blisters kicked off Sunday’s scheduled events with a pleasantly surprising set. The high school aged band played music from their new album Finally Bored and blew everyone away. The Blisters have been together for years, and I once saw them play a cover of The Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly” at Lollapalooza in 2007. This was a different band altogether. The Blisters are polished performers, and their music is relevant, mature, indie rock. With Henry Mosher writing most of their songs and singing lead, Spencer Tweedy on drums and art direction, Hayden Holbert on guitar and backup vocals, and Tory Postillion-Lopez on bass and synth, The Blisters are posed for great success. Favorite songs from the set include “One Day” and “Through You.” Finally Bored has been getting significant play-time at my home since the festival.

Nels Kline of Wilco and classical guitarist Julian Lage played an astounding collaborative set in the museum theater. The two artists played a full performance of dual improvisation. Their jazz and classical styles melded into a mesmerizing, cool resonance. It was a heady and gripping performance.

Another sonic experiment was that of On Filmore with Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and Radiolab, a DJ duo who performed a narrative about the events leading up to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Kotche was thrilling to watch as he improvised a soundtrack onstage with his drum kit and his own homemade instruments. Some of his creations included a cymbal cut into a cascading spiral which he used to create the sound of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a dome-shaped spiral suspended from a rubber band that created an electronic sounding vibration, and a tool scraping on the side of a warped ride cymbal to represent the sound of compressed gasses. Kotche is so much more than a drummer, and this becomes evident to anyone who has the opportunity to watch him create soundscapes.

The Autumn Defense features the music of John Stirratt and Pat Sansone of Wilco. The two have been in collaboration with their band since 2000, releasing 5 EPs and albums. Their set on Sunday afternoon was a bright spot in the weekend. Pat and John both bring the warm welcome of their Southern roots to the stage, charming audiences with their lush melodies and kind dispositions. Their music is sunny, heartfelt rock with smooth harmonies. They played several songs from their album Once Around including “Everyday” and “Swallows of London Town.” They ended their show with the crowd singing along with them on Bob Welch’s “Sentimental Lady.”

Marc Ribot and David Hidalgo of Border Music treated their audience to a set of traditional and contemporary Latin ballads. They played acoustic guitar, ukulele, and sang lovely sounding lyrics in Spanish for which they gave basic translations ahead of time. Their stage presence was very casual, both seated and conversational as though they were sitting around a campfire. It was a beautiful set for a Sunday afternoon.

Closing the weekend was a dynamic performance by avant-garde jazz trio Medeski, Martin, and Wood. At their foundation, they create their sound with keyboards, bass, and drums, though onstage they also incorporated an electric guitar and saxophone. While some of their set was straightforward jazz, a good portion of it was a jazz/funk fusion that had the crowd grooving. At one perfect moment during a particularly industrial sounding fusion track, a train tore past the stage and alongside Joe’s Field as though it had been a planned participant. The trio had David Hidalgo and Marc Ribot of Border Music join them for a couple of songs, and Nels Kline of Wilco joined them for several tracks bringing his tremendous jazz improvisation capabilities. At the end of the set, Jeff Tweedy joined the band and they played Wilco’s “Hate It Here,” though not before Tweedy stated his disclaimer that the song choice was, “no reflection on how we feel about being here.” Medeski, Martin, and Wood were a glorious end to a perfect festival weekend.


Solid Sound Festival

Son Volt

June 8th, 2013  

Vogue Theater  Indianapolis, IN

Written by: Brittany Vasquez

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos: Tony Vasquez

Gallery Link: Photo Gallery

It was a beautiful, warm evening for a concert at the Vogue Theater Saturday night. Alt-country veterans, Son Volt, drew their decades-earned gathering of loyal fans and filled the theater with the strains of honky-tonk. Having earned the reputation of an uncompromising purist from his days co-leading the band Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar held true to a classic country style. Farrar’s trademark somber voice was coupled with a black and brown acoustic guitar, black Western-style shirt, and black jeans paying homage to the tradition of Johnny Cash. Son Volt’s newest album, Honky Tonk, evokes the nostalgia of Western watering holes with lyrics steeped in working-class struggles and lost love. They played several songs off of Honky Tonk and their fiercely loyal fans stood in the front rows and sang along. The crowd was a mix of cowboys as tall as pine trees in Western wear and indie music fans wearing dark-rimmed eyeglasses and alternative band t-shirts. I spoke with one fan who had seen the band the night before in Chicago and would see them again in a couple of days. He has been following Jay Farrar since he co-led the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo in the late 90s with Jeff Tweedy (now the front man of the band Wilco.) Like an estranged spouse wins friends in a divorce, Jay Farrar won this fan’s loyalty for the decades that followed Uncle Tupelo’s break up. “I hate Jeff Tweedy,” the fan told me with much satisfaction, “Just wait, Jay is really gonna rock it later on.”

The opening band, Colonel Ford, consisted of the members of Son Volt without Farrar. They played several honky tonk covers including Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River Take My Mind” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “That’s What You Get for Loving Me.” The band’s energy and smiles made it evident that they were having a good time. Colonel Ford is touring currently, and crowds of country fans will hear their greeting line, “It’s honkey tonk time.”



Son Volt

Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms Morel Festival

April 19-20th, 2013

Bill Monroe Music Park in Bean Blossom, Indiana
Written by: Brittany Vasquez
Photos By: Tony Vasquez
Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts
Gallery Link: Photo Gallery

The First Annual Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms Morel Festival took place at the Bill Monroe Music Park in the beautiful Brown County hills of Bean Blossom, IN. Many festival goers camped on the park's wooded campgrounds and walked to the stage and vendors from their tents and campers. This translated to an audience of families sitting in camp chairs with their coolers of beer and their dogs next to them. The rural setting and traditional folk and bluegrass music drew an eclectic crowd of artists, hippies, and country folk, all of whom seemed to know how to have a good time. The festival included instructional presentations on how and where to find morel mushrooms and offered guided mushroom hunts for festival goers. There was no shortage of down-to-earth, truly friendly people to talk to around the stage, many of whom would offer to have you sit in one of their camp chairs or use their extra blanket to keep warm. Such a welcoming environment provided the perfect backdrop for this quaint festival.  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Early in the afternoon local singer/songwriter and Megan Maudlin accompanist Alex Wnek played several original songs, some with a political bent, and others in a standard folk style. The set also included some well-chosen covers including one Ani DiFranco cover and a Cox Brothers song written by the late Neil Cox, a Brown County native, called "It's Hard to Say Goodbye." Maudlin's performance represented the true community nature of folk music with her original social commentaries and paid homage to the folk/bluegrass greats who preceded her.
The young Haley Jonay played a solo set with her lovely voice and acoustic guitar. She covered many old favorites from Dolly Parton's "Jolene" to June Carter Cash's "ring of Fire." She also did a Cox Brothers' cover, "Take Me When I'm Gone," building the anticipation for their headlining performance the following night. This set was a perfect example of a new generation mobilizing the folk tradition. 

Hamilton Creek took the stage Friday evening with a set full of brightly-toned, straightforward bluegrass songs. Each member played with great skill as naturally as they would walk or breathe. They covered the bluegrass standard "Kentucky Girl" with rollicking banjo-picking and a fun walking baseline. Hamilton Creek also covered Bill Monroe's "Scotland," a fiddle-heavy foot-stomper, in recognition of his namesake stage on which they played. Another cover I was delighted to hear was Leadbelly's "Take This Hammer." This folk standard has been covered by revered artists from Odetta to Johnny Cash to the Beatles, and Hamilton Creek delivered it with wonderful harmonies and fantastic energy. One final tune of note was John Prine's "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness." The band did the song its due justice with sweet, melancholy vocals paired with strong instrumentation. Any true fan of bluegrass music should not miss an opportunity to see Hamilton Creek. 

Next up was Landon Keller. There is a lot to be said for this performer whose style and talent approach those of alternative folk greats like Amos Lee and Ray LaMontagne. Keller's vocal tones are smooth and bold then move to a slight growl when the spirit of the song calls for it. The beginning of Keller's set included a gorgeous rendition of Ray L:aMontagne's "Jolene." It takes a true artist to capture all the gut-wrenching passion of this song, and Keller delivered every bit of it. He continued with a series of his own songs including a political piece called "Soldier Boy" and a sweet song about balancing being a father and musician called "Oh Hallie & The Big Blue Sky." Another of his originals, "Firecracker," was an anecdotal piece about "playing in bars and promiscuous women." The crowd's response to the set earned an encore song, and Keller introduced it as a Grammy-winning song "which is cool because not a lot of cool songs win Grammys." Keller then played an unplugged cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." Keller's set grabbed my attention from the beginning and didn't let go until he left the stage.  

The headliner for Friday night was the contemporary folk musician Chicago Farmer, aka Cody Diekhoff. Festival organizer, Randy LaVere, introduced this working ,an's singer/songwriter as comparable to the great John Prine. Chicago Farmer's songs were informed by his small town experiences in central Illinois and his transition to the urban challenges of living in Chicago, a theme highlighted by his "People n' Places."His set was punctuated by sharp wit and refreshing candor. After performing his original composition about a small town with a disproportionate number if law enforcement, "26 Cops," he quipped that it was, "a folk singer's right to stretch the truth a little." Chicago Farmer's set also included his "Assembly Line Blues," a song that followed in the true folk traditions of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, speaking to the experiences of an industrial worker. For all those hearty souls who stuck it out through the damp cold to the end of Friday night's schedule, Chicago Farmer was the treat that made it all worth it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lexi Len Minnich was first to take the stage, kicking off Saturday's festivities. With the morning chill still in the air, Lexi and her band fought to keep their Stringed instruments in tune and their fingers from freezing, but they seemed to warm up as the set progressed. Lexi's classic country voice was complemented well by the nostalgic twang of the Dobro-style guitar. Minnich covered several classic country songs and pleased the crowd with a straight up rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers." It was a great set to start the day. 
Next up was the Stampede String Band. The sun began to warm the crowd on the stage lawn, and this trio heated up the stagr with a powerhouse of energy. With the members playing banjo, mandolin, and a harmonica/kick drum combo, these guys rocked the park and had the crowd grinnin' and tappin' their toes. They played several original tunes including a piece called "Just a Man' and one of their early songs "Old Darlene." Stampede's songs varied from up beat to whisky-soaked and worthy of comparison to the likes of The Felice Brothers, In one of the many audience-engaging moments, one member of the band admired the "hillbilly smoke machines" in reference to the fire pits lined up across the front of the stage. Stampede String Band set a cheerful tone for the rest of what turned out to be a beautiful day.

The Whipstitch Sallies is an emerging band with a growing and loyal fan-base. Having been featured on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, the four ladies in the band have been gaining increasing and well-deserved popularity. Their crowd engagement Saturday was undeniable, with lead singer, Allie Burbrink, quoting Thoreau and the bands lively sound check sparking rhythmic clapping from the crowd. The Whipstitch Sallies played a great cover of "Rye Whiskey" complete with upright bass slaps and peppy harmonies. Burbrink then introduced an original song called "Jolene" by explaining that she couldn't cover Dolly Parton's song of the same name since her mother wouldn't like her to sing a song about "pining for a man who's cheatin' on me." Her song's lyrics instead ask the question, "What good is a man who puts a good down?" With Burbrink on banjo, Kat Erikson on upright bass, Sam Roberts on mandolin, and Katie Burke on fiddle, the band plays in tight unison with the stage presence of seasoned performers. The Whipstitch Sallies' fan-proclaimed "riot grass" was a crowd favorite of the day, and they had me trying to decide if they were more adorable or more badass. 

Next up was Old Truck Revival. This trio rocked their strings with steady toe-tapping rhythms, and they performed a set full of original songs with great regional appeal. They began their set with a song called "Putnamville Quarry" and followed it up with "Don't Follow Me," a song about coal mining. Another of their originals, "Kentuckiana Blues," called out some of the drawbacks of small town Southern Indiana living with lyrics like "stuck here in Crawfordsville." Old Truck Revival's style and talent reminded me of alt-country band Uncle Tupelo with their set with a bluegrass cover of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and a cheerful tune by their friend Adam Carol called "Screen Door." These guys are definitely worth a listen. 

The IndianaBoys played a set of covers and original songs. This band of five played everything from banjo, madolin, guitar, and harmonica with great unity and stage presence. Lead singer, Kenan Rainwater, performed with stand-out vocals in a low somber tone the likes of Jay Farrar. The band played both Friday and Saturday and seemed to be a crowd favorite, During their Saturday set, they had Dave Simpson join them onstage for a song, speaking to the spirit of community among folk musicians. The IndianaBoys were a perfect fit in the festival lineup, and I will be seeing them again the next opportunity I have.

In an unplanned performance, Jeremy Vogt took the stage with his acoustic guitar and wowed the crowd with his gorgeous voice and beautiful strumming. He played a quick set of original songs in a standard folk style, but his performance was anything but standard. His voice had a "gravel and honey" quality similar to Ray LaMontagne, a sweet, low resonance. The crowd got a great treat with this impromptu performance.

The NewOld Cavalry played a kickin' set of bluegrass rock. The four guys in the band were a perfect blend of hippies and hillbillies. They had the crowd dancing in the dark by the fire pits and really got the party started. These guys played with tons of energy, and they are a blast to watch on stage. Frankly, any opportunity to see dreadlocks and banjos on the same stage should not be missed, but one would be missing out if it isn't the New Old Cavalry.  

The Cox Brother (and friends) headlined Saturday night. After a poignant introduction by festival organizer, Randy LaVere, and a few kind words spoken about the late Neil Cox, Ricky Cox and the band took the stage. It became clear that the Cox Brothers hold a special place in the hearts of Brown County natives as the crowd gathered around close to the stage dancing, drinking, reminiscing, and singing along. Ricky Cox began the set with a popular cover medley including Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry," Bob Segar's "Turn the Page," and John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses." The band then began to play a series of Cox Brothers originals in a classic country style. It was a chilly evening, but one could still feel the warmth from the connection the band had with the crowd.

Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms Morel Festival

Jim James, Cold Sparks

April 17, 2013
The Brown Theatre - Louisville, Ky
Written by: Tony Vasquez
Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts
Gallery Link: Photo Gallery

The historic Brown Theatre in downtown Louisville, Kentucky provided the perfect setting Wednesday night for Jim James' sold-out hometown concert. Though James is typically associated with his widely popular band My Morning Jacket, this show kicked off the tour for his new solo venture. Despite the theatre being filled to capacity there was not a bad seat in the stadium-style venue. This lavishly restored theatre features modern updates, ornate beauty, and perfect acoustics for enjoying live performances.

James performed the entire new album Regions of Light and Sound of God with a backing band of four members, including Louisville musicians Kevin Ratterman and Dave Givan. Ratterman (keyboards and guitar) has worked with My Morning Jacket in the past, helping with the engineering on the Circuital record. Givan, an old childhood friend, was featured on percussion and executed a solo that excited the crowd and drew an explosive response.

The set primarily showcased Jim's powerful vocals and rhythmic movements on stage. James used the flying-V guitar displayed prominently on stage sparingly, yet powerfully for solos, though he favored his acoustic guitar for the encore. James also stepped out of his standard stage presence to include a couple saxophone solos. The energy of the set was a mesmerizing groove laced with psychedelic R&B. The emerging lyrical theme had James exploring spirituality, love, and a call for change toward a more positive outlook on life. 

After the band had played the new album in its entirety, James played a few solo acoustic songs including My Morning Jacket's "Bermuda Highway" and "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)." The band followed with several songs by the collaborative band Monsters of Folk, including "Dear God," "The Right Place," "Losin Yo Head," and "His Master's Voice." They also included a New Multitudes cover of the Woody Guthrie song "Changing World."

James spoke sparingly to the crowd to give props to the University of Louisville men's basketball championship and to observe a powerful moment of silence to remember the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. James referenced comedian Patton Oswalt's social media post and asked the crowd to remember that despite the tragic bombing, "most of humanity is good."

Providing the opening set was Cold Specks, a moniker used by the London-based, Canadian singer/songwriter Al Spx. The band performed their set with a stripped-down, Deep-South, gospel feel that set the tone for James' soulful performance.



Jim James, Cold Sparks

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