Saturday, March 31, 2018

Panzie* at Stimulate at dröm

Jasin Cadic
Guitarists DC Gonzalez and Jonnie Rockit have known each other since childhood on the Lower East Side of New York City. After playing in several underground rock bands together, they formed Panzie* in 2008. Panzie* released a debut EP in 2010 and an album in 2013, then went on hiatus in 2014 and returned in 2015 with a new lineup. The band presently consists of Gonzalez, Rockit, vocalist Jasin Cadic, and drummer John Servo Di Salvo. The band will release its second EP, The Joke's on You, tomorrow, April 1, 2018.

Concert promoter/dj and party impresario Xris SMack! regularly hosts Stimulate, a long-running series of gothic and industrial rock parties at various venues. Tonight SMack! and his following celebrated his birthday with his Stimulate series at dröm. Panzie* was the first band to perform at Stimulate, followed by Panic Lift and XentrifugePanzie represented the best of New York music, performing a rapid-moving set of hard-hitting punk metal industrial songs. Wearing corpse paint on his face and tattoos covering his arms, Cadic was a commanding presence, screeching lyrics into the microphone and using props, costumes and wardrobe changes to color the lyrics. Behind him, a dual guitar attack lifted the songs higher, with razor-sharp leads that stung like bee-stings and brutal metal riffs that were heavier than an anvil. New bassist Russell Pzutto teamed well with the energetic drumming to keep the music pounding. This was rock and roll, only a much darker, faster and heavier variety than the traditional, matched with low budget but entirely effective staging. Panzie* is at the ground floor of a sight and sound that, given proper exposure, ought to rocket to national prominence.

Visit Panzie* at www.panzie.com.

Setlist:
  1. Scene of the Crime
  2. All American
  3. Dance (Mofo)
  4. Take Off Your Mask
  5. Time's Up
  6. Rock n Roll Hammer
  7. ABC (Alphabet Soup)
  8. Clown
  9. Say Something

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Squirrel Nut Zippers at City Winery

James Mathis, Jr. was born into a musical family in Oxford, Mississippi, and was proficient at mandolin by age eight. By 15, Mathus knew the rudiments of guitar, piano and harmony singing. The family's repertoire consisted of hundreds of folk, bluegrass, and country blues songs. In high school he played rock and roll in the End and later helped found Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves, one of the first punk rock/experimental noise bands in Mississippi. In the mid-1980s he recorded under the name Cafe des Moines. He later relocated to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, took on the professional name Jimbo Mathus, and played drums in Metal Flake Mother. Mathus saw his greatest success after forming the swing revival band Squirrel Nut Zippers in 1993. The band's second album was certified platinum, which led to performances at the 1996 Summer Olympics and at President Clinton's second inaugural ball. Squirrel Nut Zippers disbanded in 2000 and Mathus returned to Mississippi, played the blues in Buddy Guy's band for a few years, and recorded albums under various names. Squirrel Nut Zippers reformed in 2007 and 2008 for concerts and recorded a live album. In 2016, Mathus assembled a new lineup with musicians from around New Orleans, Louisiana, and toured in support of the 20th anniversary of Squirrel Nut Zippers' biggest selling album, Hot. Squirrel Nut Zippers released Beasts of Burgundy, its first studio album in 18 years, on March 23, 2018.

What does one call a revival of a revival? Squirrel Nut Zippers was among the bands that led the charge in swing revival in the 1990s and, at City Winery tonight, Mathus and company were once again fusing 1930s–era swing, Delta blues, gypsy jazz, klezmer, New Orleans jazz, and even calypso. Once could hear the ghosts of Cab Calloway, Django Reinheardt and Fats Waller, but the performance was not music trapped in a bottle. This was not simply a crooner with a lively horn band. While the band drew from vintage genres, the definitive template for the music was a light-hearted blend that accentuated the fun facet. Hence, the construct of the concert was not built for hardcore swing enthusiasts as it was for casual revelers enjoying buoyant songs and merriment. Perhaps this revival of a revival was simply ageless music with a grin.

Visit the Squirrel Nut Zippers at www.snzippers.com.

Setlist:
  1. Karnival Joe (From Kokomo)
  2. Put a Lid on It
  3. Blue Angel
  4. Memphis Exorcism
  5. Good Enough for Granddad
  6. Evening at Lafitte's
  7. Use What Mama Gave You
  8. Rusty Trombone
  9. West of Zanzibar
  10. Bad Businessman
  11. Hell
  12. Ghost of Stephen Foster
Encore:
  1. Axman Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)
  2. Prince Nez
  3. Plenty More
  4. Hey Shango!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Lord Huron at le Poisson Rouge

Ben Schneider
Growing up in Okemos, Michigan, Ben Schneider and his family frequently visited Lake Huron, where they often sang by a campfire. When Schneider was 12 years old, he had his first four-track recorder and started taking music seriously. He played in the orchestra in middle school and high school, and moved towards contemporary bands in high school and college. Schneider studied visual art in Michigan and in France, then moved to New York City for about three months, where he worked for an artist. Schneider then "followed a girl" to Los Angeles, California, where he found work as a graphic designer in 2005. Unfulfilled in the commercial art world in 2010, Schneider formed a solo project he called Lord Huron, named after the lake. He recorded his first few EPs alone and then asked childhood friends to come to California to play live shows with him. The indie folk band presently consists of vocalist/guitarist Schneider, guitarist Tom Renaud, bassist Miguel Briseño, and drummer Mark Barry. Lord Huron's third album, Vide Noir, will be released on April 20, 2018.

Lord Huron played a preview show tonight at le Poisson Rouge before launching a national tour. For this tour, the band added to its personnel the two members of the Los Angeles-based My Name Is You, guitarist Brandon Walters and keyboardist Anne Williamson. Together, the musicians followed Schneider's lead through a psychedelic pop spectrum of wordy songs and ebullient rhythms. The angular approach to folk, rockabilly and rock along with the unrefined veneer of the final hard-charging product suited the band well, even if the blaring garage approach obscured most of the lyrics. This might be a consideration for the band: let the lyrics be heard.

Lord Huron will perform at the Beacon Theatre on May 3 and at Brooklyn Steel on August 1 & 2.

Visit Lord Huron at www.lordhuron.com.

Setlist:
  1. Ancient Names Part One
  2. Ancient Names Part Two
  3. Meet Me in the Woods
  4. Hurricane (Johnnie's Theme)
  5. Never Ever
  6. Wait By The River
  7. Ends of the Earth
  8. Dead Man's Hand
  9. Back From the Edge
  10. When the Night Is Over
  11. The Birds Are Singing At Night
  12. Way Out There
  13. Vide Noir
  14. The World Ender
Encore:
  1. The Night We Met
  2. Fool for Love


Monday, March 26, 2018

k.d. lang at the Beacon Theatre

Kathryn Dawn Lang was born in Edmonton, Alberta, but at age nine moved with her family to the Canadian prairie in Consort, Alberta. While attending college, she became fascinated with the life and music of Patsy Cline and decided to pursue a career as a professional singer. After her graduation in 1982 she took on the professional name k.d. lang, moved to Edmonton, formed a Patsy Cline tribute band called the Reclines in 1983, and began recording albums in 1984. Lang first earned international recognition in 1988 when she performed as "The Alberta Rose" at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta. A Canadian women's magazine, Chatelaine, selected Lang as its "Woman of the Year" in 1988. Lang was known for her country twang until her 1992 album, Ingénue, a set of adult-oriented pop songs that had little country influence and included her pop hit, "Constant Craving." Since then, the four Grammy and eight Juno award-winning lang has been a pop crooner. Her most recent album, case/lang/veirs, a collaboration with Neko Case and Laura Veirs, was released in 2016. Lang presently lives in Portland, Oregon.

k.d. lang's current tour celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Ingénue album, and so the performance tonight at the Beacon Theatre featured lang singing the album in its entirety plus a few additional songs. Lang came on stage in a dark suit and barefoot, backed by a seven-piece band. The mezzo-soprano immediately showcased an enormous range, singing clearly and loudly, unencumbered by the band's subtle accompaniment. The charm was that her singing seemed honest and uncontrived; there were no gimmicks or calculated crescendos, just a naturally unadorned voice with perfect pitch, strong timbre and soft vibrato. After the third song, lang spoke to the audience, framing the intent of the concert, then stated that she would say no more until the completion of Ingenue so as not to disturb the "hypnotic" nature of the album. That said, the music varied a bit with jazz, pop and Latin undertones. She concluded the main set with covers of her three favorite songwriters, which she pointed out all happened to be Canadian. Her encore included "Sing It Loud," the title track of her 2011 album, and she dedicated the song to yesterday's young participants in the March for Our Lives. For those who anticipated a country segment, lang moved away from that genre 25 years ago; her music now is middle-of-the-road adult contemporary and she did this extraordinarily well.

Visit k.d. lang at www.kdlang.com.

Ingénue
Save Me
The Mind of Love
Miss Chatelaine
Wash Me Clean
So It Shall Be
Still Thrives This Love
Season of Hollow Soul
Outside Myself
Tears of Love's Recall
Constant Craving
Honey and Smoke (case/lang/veirs cover)
I Dream of Spring
Help Me (Joni Mitchell cover)
Helpless (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover)
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)

Encore:
Sing It Loud
Sleeping Alone

Friday, March 23, 2018

Jack White at Warsaw, Brooklyn

photograph by David Swanson
Born in Detroit, Michigan, John Gillis learned to play the instruments that his older brothers had abandoned; he began playing the drums in the first grade after finding a kit in the attic, and later learned to play guitar. In high school he played the drums and trombone in the school band, and met his future bride and drummer, Meg White. In a reversal of tradition, Gillis took her last name and became Jack White. Jack played drums in local bands including Goober & the Peas, but switched to guitar when Meg started playing drums; the two Whites then formed a duo called the White Stripes in 1997. Before the White Stripes officially disbanded in 2011, Jack had moved in 2005 to Nashville, Tennessee, and had founded, recorded and toured with the Raconteurs (2006-2011) and the Dead Weather (2009-present). He launched a solo career in 2012, and his third solo album, Boarding House Reach, was released today, March 23, 2018.

Prior to a summer tour that includes headlining Governors Ball in June, Jack White assembled a band and performed three small venues, including the 1000-capacity Warsaw in Brooklyn tonight. It was a "no cell phone" event, requesting that patrons lock their phones into little green pouches. The two-hour set introduced songs from the new album as well as re-imagined songs from his catalog. Led by White on vocals and guitar, White's band consisted of keyboardists Quincy McCrary and Neal Evans, bassist Dominic Davis, and drummer Carla Azar. White seemed very much into the band experience, directing spontaneously what might have been under-rehearsed arrangements as he used rolling hand motions to instruct the musicians to stretch out solos and waving to them to end a song. The set started with the fuzz-riff-loaded "Over and Over and Over," which seemed to be a lively addition to the trajectory one would have expected from White. With two large trays of pedals by his feet, White distorted his guitar sounds increasingly as the sonic assault progressed. Frequently inviting improvisation, much of the set was as raw and loose as a jazz concert, with White perhaps freer than he has ever been on stage. White sang, rapped, funked and rocked rather noisily and explosively. Many moments were more accessible than others, but the wild unevenness of the performance made it more interesting than if it had been a polished package comprised of all strengths. The experimental nature of the 26-song set was enthralling.

Visit Jack White at www.JackWhiteIII.com.

Setlist:
  1. Over and Over and Over
  2. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes song)
  3. Corporation
  4. Lazaretto
  5. Cannon (The White Stripes song)
  6. Why Walk a Dog?
  7. Connected by Love
  8. I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather song)
  9. Respect Commander
  10. Get in the Mind Shaft (Live debut)
  11. I’m Slowing Turning into You (The White Stripes song)
  12. Blunderbuss
  13. Missing Pieces
  14. Ice Station Zebra
  15. Hello Operator (The White Stripes song)
  16. Just One Drink
  17. What’s Done Is Done
  18. We’re Going to Be Friends (The White Stripes song)
  19. Carolina Drama (The Raconteurs song)
Encore
  1. Battle Cry
  2. Black Math (The White Stripes song)
  3. That Black Bat Licorice
  4. Would You Fight for My Love?
  5. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys cover)
  6. Sixteen Saltines
  7. Ball and Biscuit (The White Stripes song)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Iced Earth at the Gramercy Theater

Stu Block
Based out of Tampa, Florida, guitarist Jon Schaffer formed his vision of a thrash metal/power metal band in 1984 with a short-lived band called the Rose and then in 1985 with Purgatory, which in 1988 changed its name to Iced Earth. The band has changed personnel over 20 times, with the present lineup consisting of Schaffer, vocalist Stu Block, lead guitarist Jake Dreyer, bassist Luke Appleton, and drummer Brent Smedley. Iced Earth's 12th and most recent studio album, Incorruptible, was released on June 16, 2017.

Celebrating 30 years as Iced Earth, Schaffer and his current bandmates headlined at the Gramercy Theatre tonight with a solid set of headbangers. The set included six songs from the band's most recent album, but the majority of the music came from the band's 1990s albums. Amid brain-crushing riffs and avalanche-styled rhythms, Block's vocal range was impressive, from screeching high notes to singing deep from the gut. Several times Block risked climbing on top of Smedley's drum cage and sang from high above. After nearly two hours of riveting, rocking heavy metal, the concert wrapped with a more somber closure, as Block dedicated "Watching Over Me" to "anyone in your life who has passed" but also "for life," and invited youth from the audience to join the band onstage.

Visit Iced Earth at www.icedearth.com.

Setlist:
  1. Great Heathen Army
  2. Burning Times
  3. Dystopia
  4. Black Flag
  5. Seven Headed Whore
  6. I Died for You
  7. Vengeance Is Mine
  8. Brothers
  9. Dracula
  10. Raven Wing
  11. Stormrider
  12. Angels Holocaust
  13. Travel in Stygian
  14. Encore:
  15. Clear the Way (December 13th, 1862)
  16. Watching Over Me


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Judas Priest at Prudential Center, Newark

Ian Hill, Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton
Judas Priest initially formed in 1969 in West Bromwich, England, taking its name from Bob Dylan's song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest," but the original band split in 1970. In 1971, Judas Priest's original vocalist, Al Atkins, teamed with Freight, a heavy rock band with guitarist K. K. Downing and bassist Ian "Skull" Hill, adopting the name of Atkins' former band. Atkins left in 1973, and the remaining musicians enlisted vocalist Rob Halford of the band Hiroshima and second lead guitarist Glenn Tipton from the Flying Hat Band. Although none were members of the original band, Halford, Downing, Tipton and Hill, along with a series of drummers, became the core of the classic Judas Priest line-up. The current line-up consists of Halford, Hill, Tipton, guitarist Richie Faulkner, and drummer Scott Travis. Judas Priest has sold over 50 million albums. The band's 18th studio album, Firepower, was released on March 9, 2018.

Prior to the start of the Firepower tour, Judas Priest announced that Tipton was retiring from live performances due to his battle with Parkinson's disease; Andy Sneap would replace Tipton on the road. At Prudential Center tonight, Halford sang up a storm, ranging from throaty growls to ear-piercing screeches, while guitarists Faulkner and Sneap provided the bolts of lightning, and the rhythm section of Hill and Travis supplied the booming thunder. Apart from three songs from the new album and one song from 1990, the rest of the set was from the band's golden decade, 1976 to 1986. Indeed, the band's peak was some 35 years ago, and for 100 minutes the band relived the glory days, even with Halford huffing for breath between songs. Once known for its S&M-styled wardrobe, the musicians dressed in more casual rocker wardrobe, while Halford frequently stepped off stage between songs to change jackets or vests, and yes, at one point reentered the stage on a motorcycle. Judas Priest is no longer breaking new ground, but the band's performance was a finely-polished exhibit of classic heavy metal excellence. To end the night with a blast, Tipton rejoined his band for the first time to perform a three-song encore. With exciting concerts like this, Judas Priest will continue to be ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time.

Visit Judas Priest at www.JudasPriest.com.

Setlist:
  1. Firepower
  2. Running Wild
  3. Grinder
  4. Sinner
  5. The Ripper
  6. Lightning Strike
  7. Bloodstone
  8. Saints in Hell
  9. Turbo Lover
  10. The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown) (Fleetwood Mac cover) (tour debut; first since 2012)
  11. Evil Never Dies
  12. Some Heads Are Gonna Roll
  13. You've Got Another Thing Comin'
  14. Hell Bent for Leather
  15. The Hellion
  16. Electric Eye
  17. Painkiller
Encore:
  1. Metal Gods (with Glenn Tipton)
  2. Breaking the Law (with Glenn Tipton)
  3. Living After Midnight (with Glenn Tipton)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Love Rocks NYC! at the Beacon Theatre


The second annual LOVE ROCKS NYC! benefit concert for God's Love We Deliver hosted live performances by the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, ZZ Top's Billy F. Gibbons, Government Mule's Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Ziggy Marley, Andra Day, Trombone Shorty, Marc Cohn, Lucinda Williams, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm with Steve Jordan, Heart's Ann Wilson, Patty Smyth, Anthony Hamilton, the Bacon Brothers, Bernie Williams, Valerie Simpson, John McEnroe, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II, Ivan Neville, Amy Helm, Allen Stone, the London Souls' Tash Neal, Jimmy Vivino, Bob McEnroe, Tangiers Blues Band's Chris Scianni and Danny Clinch and others. Presented by John Varvatos and Greg Williamson and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Murray and Michael and Kevin Bacon, the concert at the Beacon Theatre raised more than $2 million for the New York City-based not-for-profit organization on March 15, 2018.

Musical director/bassist Will Lee (the CBS Orchestra) led a massive house band that accompanied most of the performers. The band also included pianist Paul Shaffer (the CBS Orchestra), guitarists Eric Krasno (Soulive, Phil Lesh & Friends) and Larry Campbell (Levon Helm, Bob Dylan), keyboardist Jeff Young (Jackson Browne), and drummers Steve Gadd (James Taylor, Eric Clapton) and Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live). The  ad-hoc We Deliver Singers and God’s Love Horns also contributed to some of the performances.

Trombone Shorty opened the night and ignited the crowd, setting the tone for a memorable evening to follow. After an inspirational and informative introduction by Goldberg, Andra Day took to the stage to perform her song “Rise Up,” dedicated to American veterans. Musical highlights included unanticipated collaborations, including Trombone Shorty and Ivan Neville on "On Your Way Down," Keith Richards, Steve Jordan, Gary Clark Jr. and Ivan Neville on "Happy," Keith Richards, Robert Cray and Norah Jones on "Make No Mistake," Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones and Lucinda Williams on "When Will I Be Loved," Jimmy Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall, Gary Clark Jr. and Billy Gibbons on "Pride and Joy," Mavis Staples, Amy Helm, Donald Fagen, Jimmy Vivino, Marc Cohn on "The Weight," David Hidalgo and Doyle Bramhall II on "Presence of the Lord," and Ann Wilson and Bernie Williams on "Barracuda" and "The Immigrant Song." The most amusing segment of the evening happened when Bill Murray encouraged the audience to donate cash on the stage for the charity; dozens of attendees walked up the aisles and handed him large bills. The evening concluded with most of the artists returning to the stage to join Ziggy Marley for a rousing performance of Bob Marley's "One Love."

Several speakers, including the hosts, and a video and slide show informed the audience on the work of God’s Love We Deliver. The agency is the New York metropolitan area’s leading provider of life-sustaining meals and nutrition counseling for people living with severe illnesses. Begun as an HIV/AIDS service organization in 1985, God’s Love cooks and home-delivers more than 1.7 million meals annually to New Yorkers living with 200 different diagnoses. All of the agency’s services are provided free of charge.
Whoopi Goldberg
Andra Day
Doyle Bramhall II, Jimmie Vaughan, Danny Clinch
Nona Hendryx, Allen Stone
Marc Cohn, Anthony Hamilton, Amy Helm, Mavis Staples, Jimmy Vivino, Larry Campbell, Will Lee, Donald Fagen
Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams
The Bacon Brothers
Robert Cray, Keith Richards, Gary Clark, Jr.
Bill Murray
Billy Gibbons, John McEnroe
Ann Wilson, Bernie Williams
Warren Haynes
Ziggy Marley
Bill Murray, Nona Hendryx, Valerie Simpson, Kevin Bacon, Ann Wilson, Lucinda Williams, Billy Gibbons, Doyle Bramhall II, Ziggy Marley, Chris Scianni, Marc Cohn, Allen Stone, Will Lee, Gary Clark Jr., Eric Hrasno, Donald Fagen
Setlist:
  1. Fire on the Bayou (The Meters cover, performed by Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville, House Band)
  2. On Your Way Down (Allen Toussaint cover, performed by Trombone Shorty, Ivan Neville, House Band)
  3. Rise Up (performed by Andra Day, House Band)
  4. Drown in My Own Tears (Ray Charles cover, performed by Andra Day, House Band)
  5. I Like It Like That (The 5 Royales cover, performed by Jimmie Vaughan, Jimmy Vivino, Danny Clinch, Doyle Bramhall II, House Band
  6. Take Me to the River (Al Green cover, performed by Allen Stone, Nona Hendryx, House Band)
  7. Last Time (The Rolling Stones cover, performed by The Bacon Brothers, House Band)
  8. You're All I Need to Get By (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell cover, performed by Valerie Simpson, Anthony Hamilton, House Band)
  9. Love Child (Diana Ross & the Supremes cover, performed by Patty Smyth, House Band)
  10. Lucille (Little Richard cover, performed by Tash Neal, Doyle Bramhall II, David Hidalgo, Chris Scianni, House Band)
  11. Presence of the Lord (Blind Faith cover, performed by David Hidalgo, Doyle Bramhall II, House Band)
  12. Walking in Memphis (performed by Marc Cohn, House Band)
  13. Respect Yourself (The Staple Singers song, performed by Mavis Staples, House Band)
  14. The Weight (The Band cover, performed by Donald Fagen, Mavis Staples, Marc Cohn, Jimmy Vivino, Larry Campbell, Amy Helm, Steve Jordan, House Band)
  15. We Have Come Too Far (performed by Lucinda Williams, House Band)
  16. Two More Bottles of Wine (performed by Emmylou Harris, House Band)
  17. Angel Dream (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers cover, performed by Norah Jones, House Band)
  18. When Will I Be Loved (The Everly Brothers cover, performed by Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, House Band)
  19. You Must Believe in Yourself (performed by Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm with Steve Jordan)
  20. Just How Low (performed by Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm with Steve Jordan)
  21. Make No Mistake (performed by Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Hi Rhythm with Steve Jordan, Ivan Neville)
  22. Happy (The Rolling Stones song, performed by Keith Richards, Hi Rhythm with Steve Jordan, Ivan Neville, Gary Clark Jr.)
  23. Aja (Steely Dan song, performed by Donald Fagen, House Band)
  24. Reelin' in the Years (Steely Dan song, performed by Donald Fagen, House Band)
  25. Come Together (The Beatles cover, performed by Gary Clark Jr., House Band)
  26. Bright Lights (performed by Gary Clark Jr., House Band)
  27. Pride & Joy  (Stevie Ray Vaughan cover, performed by Gary Clark Jr., Billy Gibbons, Doyle Bramhall II, Jimmie Vaughan, Mike Flanigan, House Band)
  28. Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top song, performed by Billy Gibbons, John McEnore, House Band)
  29. Barracuda (Heart song, performed by Ann Wilson, Bernie Williams, House Band)
  30. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover, performed by Ann Wilson, Bernie Williams, House Band)
  31. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (The Beatles cover, performed by Warren Haynes, House Band)
  32. Melissa (The Allman Brothers Band cover, performed by Warren Haynes, House Band)
  33. True to Myself (performed by Ziggy Marley, House Band)
  34. Love Is My Religion (performed by Ziggy Marley, House Band)
  35. One Love (Bob Marley & the Wailers cover, performed by all)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nightwish at the PlayStation Theater

Marco Hietala & Floor Jansen
Based in Kitee, Finland, Tuomas Holopainen in the 1990s had play keyboards in several heavy metal bands, including Nattvindens Gråt, Perkele Börk and Darkwoods My Betrothed. In 1996, sitting with friends around a campfire, he felt roused to form a new band that would play the experimental acoustic music he wrote while in the Finnish Army, similar to the music usually played around campfires, but with keyboards. He invited friend and schoolmate Erno "Emppu" Vuorinen to play acoustic guitars, and classical vocalist Tarja Turunen. The name "Nightwish" was derived from their first song together. Nightwish is the third best-selling band and musical entity in Finland with sales of nearly 900,000 units. The group is also the most successful Finnish band worldwide, selling more than 9 million records. Nightwish presently consists of Holopainen, Vuorinen , vocalist Floor Jansen, bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala, multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley and drummer Jukka Nevalainen. After eight studio albums, Nightwish's compilation album, Decades, was released on March 9, 2018.

Headlining at the PlayStation Theater tonight, Nightwish combined elements of symphonic metal, progressive metal, power metal and even ambient and European folk music into a bombastic yet melodic explosion. The two-hour performance included many of the band's best-known songs, but also included many songs that were rarely performed live in the past. Although scenarios and movement were projected onto the wide screen behind the band, the statuesque leather-clad Floor Jansen commanded constant attention as she sang delicately to rocking music. Hietala, with his husky voice, countered Jansen's skyward-soaring. Holopainen often provided an ambient or  cinematic interlude on keyboards and synthesizers. Donockley inserted a folksy with a variety of traditional woodwind and stringed instruments. Kai Hahto of Wintersun, who substituted on drums for an ailing Nevalainen on this tour, propelled the drive on the uptempo songs. Concluding the concert, Jansen dedicated "The Greatest Show on Earth" to Professor Stephen Hawking, who died earlier that morning, and then ended with another epic-sounding song, "Ghost Love Score." In concert, Nightwish was an inventive band, with a catalogue that was both visionary and mesmerizing.

Visit Nightwish at www.nightwish.com.

Setlist:
  1. End of All Hope
  2. Wish I Had an Angel
  3. 10th Man Down
  4. Come Cover Me
  5. Gethsemane
  6. Élan
  7. Sacrament of Wilderness
  8. Dead Boy's Poem
  9. Elvenjig ([traditional] cover)
  10. Elvenpath
  11. I Want My Tears Back
  12. The Carpenter
  13. The Kinslayer
  14. Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean
  15. Nemo
  16. Slaying the Dreamer
  17. The Greatest Show on Earth (Chapter I: Four Point Six; Chapter II: Life; Chapter III: The Toolmaker)
  18. Ghost Love Score


Monday, March 12, 2018

A Day to Remember at the Hammerstein Ballroom

Jeremy McKinnon
In 2003, guitarist Tom Denney and drummer Bobby Scruggs founded A Day to Remember (often abbreviated ADTR) in Ocala, Florida, drafting vocalist Jeremy McKinnon, rhythm guitarist Neil Westfall, and bassist Joshua Woodard from different bands in the local music scene. Over time, Denny and Scruggs left the band, leaving the remaining members to recruit percussion and drummer Alex Shelnutt in 2006 and lead guitarist Kevin Skaff in 2009. A Day to Remember's mix of emo, metalcore and pop punk music has sold more than a million units, with two albums achieving gold status. The band's sixth and most current album, Bad Vibrations, was released on September 2, 2016.

A Day to Remember's “15 Years In The Making Tour” included Papa Roach, Falling in Reverse, and The Devil Wears Prada as support acts. ADTR's set was dominated by the band's middle period, with no songs from the debut album and only one song, "Paranoia," from the most recent album. The band opened with “I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?,” which featured a guest vocal from Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada. Pop punk and emo dominated the band's reference points, leading to endless angst-filled singalongs from the audience, but the skeletons of the songs were often rooted in riff-based metalcore with few extended guitar leads. The convergence of generally soft vocals (although there were a few death growls) and deep and dark grooves made for a lighter shade of metal. A Day to Remember seems to be forging a new path for younger emo bands to follow.

Visit A Day to Remember at www.adtr.com.

Setlist:
  1. I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of? (with Mike Hranica)
  2. You Already Know What You Are
  3. 2nd Sucks (Michael Buffer intro)
  4. Right Back at It Again
  5. Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson cover)
  6. My Life for Hire
  7. All Signs Point to Lauderdale
  8. Fast Forward to 2012
  9. You Be Tails, I'll Be Sonic (preceded by Sonic theme)
  10. Monument
  11. Paranoia
  12. Better Off This Way
  13. Show 'Em the Ropes (a fan request)
  14. Have Faith in Me
  15. Sometimes You're the Hammer, Sometimes You're the Nail
  16. All I Want
Encore:
  1. If It Means a Lot to You
  2. I Remember (Acoustic)
  3. The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle
  4. The Downfall of Us All


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Michael Schenker Fest at Irving Plaza

Left to right, Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Doogie White, Robin McAuley, Michael Schenker
Perhaps Michael Schenker was a rock star child prodigy. Born in Sarstedt, Germany, he started playing guitar in 1964 at the age of nine, after his older brother Rudolf Schenker received a guitar for his birthday. At age 11, Michael played his first gig with Rudolf's band, the Scorpions, in a nightclub. When he was 14, Michael teamed with singer Klaus Meine and started a band named Copernicus. In 1970, when Michael was 15 and Klaus was 21, they joined the Scorpions. In 1972, at age 17, Michael left the Scorpions and joined the British psychedelic band UFO and turned UFO into a hard rock band. At the same time Michael was approached to audition for the Rolling Stones; reportedly that made him nervous and he never returned the call. Michael left UFO in 1978 and played on the Scorpions' breakthrough Lovedrive album. Michael was invited to jam with Aerosmith in 1979 when Joe Perry left, Ozzy Osbourne asked Michael to join his band after Randy Rhoads died in an airplane crash in 1982, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy and Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople approached him in 1984, Lemmy Kilmister asked him to join Motorhead, and Whitesnake and Deep Purple approached him as well. He declined all of them. Instead, Michael has been in UFO four separate times and starting in 1979 led numerous versions of the Michael Schenker Group (MSG), the McAuley-Schenker Group, and Michael Schenker Temple of Rock, among other outfits, plus he has recorded solo acoustic material. His current project is Michael Schenker Fest, which reunites him with four of his previous singers –– Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley, Doogie White –– along with guitarist/keyboardist Steve Mann, bassist Chris Glen, and drummer Ted McKenna. Michael Schenker Fest's debut studio album, Resurrection, was released on March 2, 2018.

Headlining at Irving Plaza tonight, the Michael Schenker Fest was a retrospective that played up to Schenker's best moments so far. Although structured as a spectacular, with each of the vocalists singing a handful of songs and some songs featuring more than one singer, it really hardly mattered which vocalist was on stage or even how many were on stage. All four vocalists sounded pretty similar, and realistically, the star of the show was Schenker and his dazzling guitar work. Schenker was all smiles throughout the performance, and often played directly to the fans at the edge of the stage, several times reaching out to slap outreached hands. For two hours and 40 minutes, the "Blond Bombshell" relentlessly played clean, fluid, lyrical guitar leads with a bit of distortion, utilizing nimble fingers to get the most out of his guitars. The mostly uptempo songs showcased Schenker's technical guitar wizardry, mixing various modes on major and minor pentatonic scale runs with both picking and legato, wide vibrato, deep bends and general rock phrasing. The only way to adequately describe Schenker's superb performance was "Wow!"

Visit Michael Schenker Fest at www.michaelschenkerhimself.com.

Setlist:
  1. Into the Arena (Michael Schenker Group song, performed instrumentally)
  2. Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Michael Schenker Group song, with Gary Barden on vocals)
  3. Cry for the Nations (Michael Schenker Group song, with Gary Barden on vocals)
  4. Attack of the Mad Axeman (Michael Schenker Group song, with Gary Barden on vocals)
  5. Messin’ Around (Gary Barden on vocals)
  6. Armed and Ready (Michael Schenker Group song, with Gary Barden on vocals)
  7. Coast to Coast (Scorpions song, performed instrumentally)
  8. Desert Song (Michael Schenker Group song, with Graham Bonnet on vocals)
  9. Dancer (Michael Schenker Group song, with Graham Bonnet on vocals)
  10. Night Moods (Graham Bonnet on vocals)
  11. Searching for a Reason (Graham Bonnet on vocals)
  12. Assault Attack (Michael Schenker Group  song, with Graham Bonnet on vocals)
  13. Captain Nemo (Michael Schenker Group song, performed instrumentally)
  14. Bad Boys (McAuley-Schenker Group song, with Robin McAuley on vocals)
  15. Save Yourself (McAuley-Schenker Group song, with Robin McAuley on vocals)
  16. Anytime (Robin McAuley on vocals)
  17. Heart and Soul (Michael Schenker Fest song, with Robin McAuley on vocals)
  18. Love Is Not a Game (McAuley-Schenker Group song, with Robin McAuley on vocals)
  19. Searching for Freedom (performed instrumentally)
  20. Live and Let Live (Doogie White on vocals)
  21. Vigilante Man (Doogie White on vocals)
  22. Lord of the Lost and Lonely (Doogie White on vocals)
  23. Take Me to the Church (Doogie White on vocals)
  24. Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Doogie White on vocals)
  25. Warrior (Michael Schenker Fest song, with Barden, Bonnet, McAuley, and White on vocals)
  26. Rock Bottom (UFO song, with Barden, Bonnet, McAuley, and White on vocals)
Encore:
  1. Doctor Doctor (UFO song, with Barden, Bonnet, McAuley, and White on vocals)
Encore 2:
  1. Shoot Shoot (UFO song, with Barden, Bonnet, McAuley, and White on vocals)
  2. Natural Thing (UFO song, with Barden, Bonnet, McAuley, and White on vocals)
  3. Lights Out (UFO song, with Barden, Bonnet, McAuley, and White on vocals)


Friday, March 9, 2018

Gangstagrass at Hill Country Barbecue Market

Rench
The Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Rench produced country and hip hop recordings by other artists before conceiving Gangstagrass, a concept that combined bluegrass and rap, in 2006. Rench made a recording, posted it online as a free download, and the public response was positive. The rappers and bluegrass personnel have changed over time, with only Rench remaining as the ongoing coordinator, producer and main contributor. Presently, Gangstagrass consists of two emcees, R-Son the Voice of Reason and Dolio the Sleuth, along with Dan Whitener on banjo, Landry McMeans on resonator guitar, Dave Gross on mandolin, DJ Leecy T on the turntable, and Rench on guitar. Gangstagrass' fourth and most recent album, American Music, was released in 2015; a live album is planned for release later this year.

Gangstagrass's performance at Hill Country Barbecue Market tonight demonstrated that "hick-hop" has a new Brooklyn-based face, fresh with authentic bluegrass instrumentalists, frequent three-part harmonies, hard beats and dominant raps. Together, the emcees and pickers perform original compositions as well as traditional folk anthems that pay tribute to Americana veterans. Often the two rappers trade verses and the others sing the choruses. The band's hybrid of genres may not be for purists, but presumably there must be a wider audience that would appreciate the Rappalachian fusion.

Visit Gangstagrass at www.gangstagrass.com.

Setlist:
  1. I Go Hard
  2. Man of Constant Sorrow (Dick Burnett cover)
  3. Barnburning
  4. Red Sky Morning
  5. Keep Talking
  6. Nowhere To Run
  7. Long Hard Times to Come
  8. Ran Dry
  9. You Can Never Go Home Again
  10. Home
  11. All for One
  12. Will the Circle Be Unbroken? ([traditional] cover)
  13. Bound to Ride
  14. I'm Gonna Put You Down
  15. Ain't No Stopping


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Music of Led Zeppelin: Live Rehearsal Show at City Winery


Entrepreneur Michael Dorf has been an integral fixture of the New York City music scene for over 30 years, beginning at the Knitting Factory and for the past 10 years with City Winery. For the past 15 years, he has assembled impressive all-star casts for his "Music of …" series at Carnegie Hall. In recent years, these concerts have held a live rehearsal the night before at City Winery. These annual tribute concerts have generated over $1.5 million for The Orchestra Now, a Bard College outreach program for New York area high school students, and other causes related to music education and underprivileged youth.

O.A.R., the Zombies, moe., Nicole Atkins, Son Little, Orianthi & Richie Sambora, Living Colour, Bettye LaVette, the London Souls, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Erika Wennerstrom of the Heartless Bastards and others were advertised to appear at the Music of Led Zeppelin concert at Carnegie Hall on March 7. The live rehearsal at City Winery on March 6 would include some but not all of these performers, plus unannounced artists.

By way of welcome and introduction, Dorf emphasized to the audience at City Winery that this was a rehearsal and that many mistakes would be made. The house band, which consisted of bassist/conductor Tony Shanahan of the Patti Smith Group, guitarists Andy York and Jackie Greene, keyboardist Andy Burton, and drummer Dennis Diken of the Smithereens, were joined by violinists and cellists from The Orchestra Now and vocalist Shannon Conley of Lez Zeppelin (a local all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band) for a powerful rendition of "Kashmir." Son Little played acoustic guitar on "Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You," Matthew Sweet sang "Dancing Days," J Mascis played on "Tangerine." Conley returned for "Misty Mountain Hop," and guitarist Ayron Jones played "Since I’ve Been Loving You." The house band left the stage so Living Colour could perform "Rock n Roll" and the London Souls could perform "Bring It On Home." The house band returned to back vocalist Joseph Arthur on "Ramble On." The remainder of the show featured Conley on vocals on "Trampled Underfoot", "The Ocean" and the set closer "Whole Lotta Love." Called back for an encore, Conley, Jones, guitarist Tash Neal of the London Souls, and the house band jammed to "Communication Breakdown."
Shannon Conley
Son Little
Matthew Sweet
 John Petkovic & J Mascis
Ayron Jones
Living Colour
London Souls
Joseph Arthur


Monday, March 5, 2018

Crowder at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

David Crowder
David Crowder was born and raised in Texarkana, Texas, then moved 222 miles to Waco for college in the mid-1990s. Learning that half of the 14,000 students were not attending church, he helped found a college-friendly church in 1996 and began writing songs that he hoped would appeal to the students; performing these songs slowly led to the formation of a worship band. The David Crowder Band's adventurous worship music attracted listeners beyond the church, and the band's recordings and tours grew increasingly successful. After six studio albums, the David Crowder Band split in 2012. Crowder relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, and began recording and performing until his mononymous stage name, Crowder. American Prodigal, Crowder's second and most recent solo album, was released in 2016.

Crowder's band, seemingly named appropriately tonight, indeed crowded onto the stage at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill and ripped into a set of lively, uplifting songs that praised God while exploring an intricate mix of bluegrass, folk, and alternative music. Crowder's yearning vocal delivery projected solemnity and joyfulness, and the band's arrangements locked into a balance that both supported the vocalist and rallied the audience. Lyrics projected onto side screens invited participation from the audience. Crowder's concert was not your mom's gospel music; its dynamic rocking sound had strong appeal for both the religious and secular.

Visit Crowder at www.crowdermusic.com.

Setlist:
  1. Angels (>) Go Tell It on the Mountain
  2. Santa
  3. Feliz
  4. Forgiven
  5. When He Comes
  6. Come as You Are
  7. Prove It
  8. All My Hope
  9. I Saw the Light (Hank Williams cover)
  10. Because He Lives (Gaither Vocal Band cover)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

31st Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall

Columbia University professor Robert Thurman, actor Richard Gere and composer Philip Glass founded the Tibet House US Cultural Center of H. H. the Dalai Lama in New York City in 1987 at the behest of the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. Tibet House US' purpose is to present Tibet's ancient traditions of art and culture, preserve and restore Tibet's cultural and spiritual heritage, and share Tibet's systems of spiritual philosophy and mind sciences. Each year, Glass hosts and curates a benefit concert for the non-profit Tibet House US at Carnegie Hall. Carly Simon, Patti Smith, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Angel Olsen, and Blood Orange were among the popular artists who joined Glass onstage on March 3, 2018.

Thurman welcomed his benefactors from the stage, and the two-and-a-half-hour program began with a line of chanting monks. Glass then introduced Los Vega, an acoustic ensemble that he said he discovered when it played traditional Mexican music outside his apartment building. Dev Hynes then shed his Blood Orange persona to sit at a Steinway piano and perform Nina Simone’s "Nobody’s Fault But Mine" and Glass' instrumental "Etude #6." Angel Olsen performed solo and then accompanied by the Patti Smith Band. Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields was accompanied by Sam Davol and for his final song by the Scorchio Quartet. Patti Smith performed two songs, and also injected commentary applauding the students who are taking a stand against guns and condemning the proposed move of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. St. Paul & the Broken Bones rocked passionately, with vocalist Paul Janeway taking off a glittery shoe, smacking it on the Carnegie stage and then tossing it across the stage. Tibetan freedom folk singer Techung performed, then Glass with Mick Rossi and the Scorchio Quartet, and Ben Taylor (son of James Taylor and Carly Simon) with Sophie Hiller and the Patti Smith Band. The all-female Resistance Revival Chorus, born out of the Women's March on Washington, sang as the singers marched down the aisles from the back of the hall and onto the stage. The chorus then backed Carly Simon on her Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy award-winning "Let The River Run," which Simon dedicated to the undocumented immigrants known as the Dreamers. Towards the end of the song, Simon and the chorus were joined on stage by most of the evening's artists to close the evening's finale. Anyone who purchased a ticket hoping to hear Simon must have been disappointed, however; she sang only one song and her singing was inaudible.
All photographs are by Getty Photography.
Monks
Los Vega
Dev Hynes/Blood Orange
Angel Olsen
Sam Devol and Stephin Merritt
Patti Smith
St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Techung
Philip Glass
Ben Taylor & Sophie Hiller
Resistance Revival Chorus
Carly Simon

Setlist
Monks

Bob Thurman Remarks

Philip Glass Remarks

Los Vega
  1. "Sisquisiri"
  2. "Cascabel"
  3. "Bamba"
Blood Orange/Dev Hynes
  1. "Nobody's Fault But Mine"
  2. "Etude #6"
Angel Olsen
  1. "White Fire"
  2. "I Found a Reason" w/ Patti Smith Band
Stephin Merritt
  1. "Wonder Where I'm From" w/ Sam Davol
  2. "Josephine" w/ Sam Davol
  3. "I Think I'll Make Another World" w/ Sam Davol & Scorchio Quartet
Patti Smith
  1. "For What It's Worth" w/ Patti Smith Band
  2. "Peaceable Kingdom" w/ Patti Smith Band
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
  1. "Flow with It"
  2. "Broken Bones & Change" w/ Philip Glass
Techung
  1. "Karma Tatsok"
  2. Reading w/ Philip Glass
  3. "Gamp Lama" w/ Philip Glass
Philip Glass
  1. "Etude #10" w/ Mick Rossi & Scorchio Quartet
Ben Taylor
  1. "Friday" w/ Sophie Hiller & Patti Smith Band
Resistance Revival Chorus
  1. "Woke Up This Sunday Morning with My Mind Stayed On Freedom"
  2. "Light in the Soul" w/ Scorchio Quartet
Carly Simon
  1. "Let the River Run" w/ Resistance Revival Chorus & Patti Smith Band