Friday, April 27, 2018

Jon Foreman at City Winery

Jon Foreman was born in San Bernardino County, California, but his family moved to Massachusetts and Virginia during his childhood. By his early teens, Foreman's family moved back to Southern California, this time settling in San Diego. There in 1996 he formed Chin Up, which quickly became the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning alternative rock band Switchfoot, named after a surfing term. Contracted at first to a Christian record company, Switchfoot had limited exposure until several of the band's songs were featured in the 2002 film A Walk to Remember. The band's next album sold 2.6 million copies. Alongside his Swichfoot albums, Foreman released a set of four solo EPS in 2008 and another set of four EPs in 2015, and also recorded two albums under the name Fiction Family with Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek. Foreman currently resides in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, where he continues to surf.

One October morning in 2015, Jon Foreman and his friends embarked on a music journey throughout San Diego aiming to play 25 shows in 24 hours at venues including a children's hospital, a wedding, a Mexican restaurant and his old high school. That adventure was chronicled in a documentary called 25 in 24. At City Winery tonight, the movie was screened, and then Foreman performed live, accompanied by a cellist and a drummer. After a few songs, he instructed the audience to create the rest of his set list by writing notes and leaving them by his feet on the stage. The songs chosen by the audience featured some of his most stirring lyrics. Without the more bombastic approach of Switchfoot, the trio performed the songs in a new and softer package that was intimate and engaging. In the end, the informality of the presentation was personable and charming, and while the audience might have preferred the Switchfoot versions, this gentler adaption was uniquely warm and cozy.

Visit Jon Foreman at www.jonforeman.com.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Sweet at the Gramercy Theatre

Vocalist Brian Connolly and drummer Mick Tucker had played together in the mid 1960s in a British soul band called Wainwright's Gentlemen. In 1968 they formed a new band called the Sweetshop. They recruited bassist/vocalist Steve Priest, and called the band's name to the Sweet. Over time, they merged the band's early bubble gum pop with harmony vocals and hard rock, prefiguring what would become glam rock in the 1970s. After many personnel changes, the classic line-up of Connolly, Tucker, Priest and guitarist Andy Scott until 1978 enjoyed a series of international hits including "Little Willy", "The Ballroom Blitz", "Fox on the Run" and "Love Is Like Oxygen." Popularity waned and the band split in 1981. Beginning in 1984, Scott, Connolly and Priest each formed their own version of the Sweet, such that there were as many as three versions of the Sweet co-existing simultaneously. The two surviving members are still active in their respective versions; Scott's is based in the UK and Priest's in the US.

The Sweet celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018. Steve Priest's version of the Sweet headlined tonight at the Gramercy Theatre, and Priest, along with Brooklyn-born vocalist Paulie Z, guitarist Mitch Perry, keyboardist Stevie Stewart and drummer Richie Onori reprised the band's hits from the 1970s and extended them with hard rock flourishes. Glam was still present: Priest, now 70 years old, sitting in a chair for the entire performance, wore a cape and two-color eye make-up; Stewart wore a leather top hat and a kilt; Z changed wardrobe twice, ending in a gold lamé suit. The performance felt similarly dated; while the original recordings of "Fox on the Run" and "The Ballroom Blitz" have been revived in recent film soundtracks, the band's performance of these songs and others were now better suited as toe-tappers than as fist-pumpers. Perry's stinging guitar work, leaning a bit on the heavy metal side, was the most gripping aspect of the performance. Otherwise, the concert was meant only for rockers nostalgic for the 1970s.

Visit Steve Priest's Sweet at www.thesweetband.com.

Setlist:
  1. Action
  2. Hell Raiser
  3. Teenage Rampage
  4. Love Is Like Oxygen
  5. Set Me Free
  6. No You Don't
  7. Sweet F.A.
  8. Done Me Wrong Alright
  9. Little Willy / Blockbuster / Wig-Wam Bam / Little Willy
  10. Fox on the Run
  11. AC/DC
  12. The Ballroom Blitz


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hatebreed aboard the Harbor Lights

Jamey Jasta (born James Shanahan) was an adolescent when his mother took a night job and he joined the hardcore punk scene in New Haven, Connecticut. His first band, Dreadnaught, became Jasta 14 and played locally, but then he found international success when he co-founded Hatebreed in 1994 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Hatebreed straddled the hardcore, heavy metal and metalcore genres and sold 1.2 million records. The band's seventh and most recent album of original material is 2016's The Concrete Confessional. Hatebreed presently consists of Jasta and two original members, guitarist Wayne Lozinak and bassist Chris Beattie, plus guitarist Frank Novinec and drummer Matt Byrne.

Summer started early and Rocks Off began its concert cruises around lower Manhattan. Hatebreed headlined a concert aboard the Harbor Lights on a mist-filled night when at times the waters were rocking even harder than the bands. On this tour, Hatebreed is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the band's debut album and 15 years since the breakthrough album, so tonight's set list was heavy on those two albums, including songs the band normally does not perform live. The repertoire brought the band back to basics. Jasta spit lyrics with his gutteral growl, backed by thrashing guitarwork and pounding rhythms. While the boat tottered from side to side, Hatebreed bludgeoned its seafaring fans with a heavy beatdown. The activated audience responded forcefully, but with no stage on the boat, the only barrier between the band and the audience was a row of fence stanchions that a team of security guards held firm against the hard-moshing fans. Despite restlessness both on the waters and in the boat, the end result was a successful interactive concert event.

Visit Hatebreed at www.hatebreed.com.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Devon Allman Project at Sony Hall

Devon Allman  was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, just as his father's band was becoming popular. Devon is the son of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. Devon's parents divorced when he was an infant, and he raised by his mother in Corpus Christi and in St. Louis, Missouri. The father and son reunited when Devon was in his teens, by which time Devon was already playing guitar and keyboards. In the early 1990s, Devon Allman led a St. Louis-based band called the Dark Horses. He then led Honeytribe from 1999 to 2001, and again from 2005 to 2011. In 2011, he discontinued that band to begin playing in Royal Southern Brotherhood in New Orleans, Louisiana. His most recent effort, the Devon Allman Project, launched in 2018 and consists of Allman, guitarist Jackson Stokes, bassist Justin Corgan, organist Nicholas David, and drummers John Lum and R. Scott Bryan. The band has yet to record.

For the current tour, which stopped into the new Sony Hall tonight, the Devon Allman Project added a guest guitarist, Duane Betts, the son Allman Brothers Band's Dickey Betts. Duane opened with a 30-minute opening set using his guitarist, Johnny Stachela, and the Devon Allman Project's rhythm section. After intermission, the Project performed a one-hour set which consisted of songs from Honeytribe, Royal Southern Brotherhood, the Devon Allman Band, and a few covers. The set started with an electric set, then stools were brought on stage and the musicians sat for an acoustic mini-set that included the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil,' before returning to electric blues. The encore featured all eight musicians, and included two Allman Brothers Band songs, with Betts singing his dad's "Blue Skies" and Allman singing his dad's "One Way Out." The set overall was an agreeable mix of earthy blues and rock, but the audience roared louder when those covers were performed. While the band attempted to stand alone in its fine musicianship, songs and arrangements, it may take a while for the audiences to crave that individuality over an Allman Brothers Band redux.

Visit the Devon Allman Project at www.devonallmanproject.com.

Monday, April 23, 2018

IAMX at Rough Trade, Brooklyn

Chris Corner
Chris Corner’s interest in music was stoked by a "weird uncle" who would play "strange music" to him. As a teenager in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England, Corner was a progenitor in trip-hop, starting with F.R.I.S.K. and Line of Flight. In 1994, he further architected the genre when he co-founded Sneaker Pimps in Hartlepool, England; the band remained active until 2005. Corner adopted his IAMX moniker and began matching solo music and visual art in 2004 in London, England. The name 'I am X' refers to Becoming X, the title of the Sneaker Pimps' debut album. Corner explained that by founding IAMX, he no longer felt that he was becoming X, but rather that he was X. The meaning of the X, according to the founder, is ever changing like a variable in a mathematical equation. In 2006 he moved his base of operations to Berlin, Germany, and in 2014, Corner relocated to Los Angeles, California. His eighth album as IAMX, Alive in New Light, was released on February 2, 2018.

IAMX headlined three nights at Rough Trade this week, merging pop crooning with layers of electronic experimentation, periodically approaching goth and industrial music. The visuals were overwhelming; unconventional video loops, many made by Corner, projected behind the band (vocalist/keyboardist Corner, keyboardist Sammi Doll, bassist/keyboardist Janine Gezang, drummer Jon Siren), and constantly roving and flashing lights often blinded the audience, particularly the hardiest fans in front of the stage. The lack of lighting on the musicians intentionally obscured the players, who were bathed in dim blue ambience such that only their silhouettes were visible for the entire show. IAMX's music was engagingly avant garde, particularly when the pulsing synthesizers played into dance beats, but the inability to ever see the artist and the relentless flashing lights were an annoyance. (The above photograph was taken with a flash and modified digitally; not even the fans by the stage ever saw Corner this clearly.)

Visit IAMX at www.iamxmusic.com.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

David Duchovny at Public Arts

New York City native David Duchovny  is best known for acting on television series, particularly The X-Files and Californication, both of which have earned him Golden Globe awards, but he has appeared in movies and television programs since 1988. In recent years, he has directed and produced features as well. Less known is that he earned advanced degrees in English literature from both Princeton University and Yale University; he has written three books, the most recent, Miss Subways, was published on May 1, 2018. In addition, Duchovny is a singer/songwriter and released his second album, Every Third Thought, on February 9, 2018.

As part of the festivities for the TriBeCa Film Festival, David Duchovny and his band performed live at New York's newest hot spot, Public Arts. Had not Duchovny achieved success as an actor, he might have been a professor of English literature, and this bent was vivid in his lyrics and phrasing. The songs were performed as soft rock, chock full of pensive reflections squeezed into metered cadences. Duchovny's casual vocals were backed by simple arrangements from his band, and all seemed to revel in the musical experience they were unraveling before the live audience below them. Duchovny added a touch of personality by sharing anecdotes between some songs. Overall, Duchovny provided a pleasant evening of music.

Visit David Duchovny at www.davidduchovnymusic.com.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Soulfly at the Gramercy Theatre

Max Cavalera
Max Cavalera is best known as the founder, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of pioneering thrash band Sepultura from 1984 to 1996. Born in Brazil, Cavalera relocated in 1992 and raised a family in Phoenix, Arizona. Since leaving Sepultura, he has led heavy metal bands Nailbomb, Soulfly, Killer Be Killed and the Cavalera Conspiracy. Soulfly is the most enduring of these bands, formed in 1997 and releasing 10 studio albums so far. The band has gone through numerous line-up changes, with Cavalera being the only constant member. The current line-up consists of Cavalera, lead guitarist Marc Rizzo, bassist Mike Leon and drummer Zyon Cavalera (Max's son). Soulfly's most recent album is 2015's Archangel, but reportedly a new album will be released soon.

Up until only a few weeks ago, Soulfly was on tour performing Nailbomb's sole album in its entirety. With hardly a break, Soulfly returned to many of the same venues to perform a retrospective on many of the band's early work. This included a stop at the Gramercy Theatre tonight, where Soulfly curiously performed songs from the band's first seven albums but none from the three most recent albums. While Sepultura's metal might have been more headbanging, Soulfly's set was possibly more crude and brutal, with a sparse but smashing rhythm section propelling grunting vocals and torrid guitar leads. This was not metal for metal's sake, however, as Soulfly's groove emphasized coarse riffs instead of rumbling thunder and also incorporated elements from tribal rhythms, industrial metal, and even rapcore. Soulfly's music al output was creative while remaining firmly cemented in extreme metal.

Visit Soulfly at www.soulfly.com.

Setlist:
  1. The Dark Ages
  2. Frontlines
  3. Prophecy
  4. Living Sacrifice
  5. Blood Fire War Hate
  6. L.O.T.M.
  7. Downstroy
  8. Babylon
  9. No Hope = No Fear
  10. Seek 'N' Strike
  11. Rise of the Fallen
  12. Wasting Away (Nailbomb cover)
  13. Back to the Primitive
Encore:
  1. No
  2. Jumpdafuckup / Eye for an Eye

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Reed Turchi at the Bitter End

Raised in the Swannanoa Valley just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, Reed Turchi grew up playing boogie woogie and New Orleans style piano before turning to slide guitar. He then learned to play Hill Country blues firsthand in North Mississippi and founded a blues-rock trio called Turchi in 2011. Seeking new inspirations and sounds in 2014, Turchi the musician disbanded Turchi the band and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He formed Reed Turchi & the Caterwauls and released an album in 2016. Later that year, playing guitar by his grandmother's death bed inspired him to record a solo album that returned him to his acoustic blues roots. Forming a band again, he recorded his most recent album, Live at Soulshine by Reed Turchi & His Kudzu Orkestra Featuring Art Edmaiston, which was released on October 25, 2017. He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Over the span of his musical career, Reed Turchi has explored several facets of blues, and many of these ventures delved deep in the lesser known veins. Turchi may be a connoisseur of finer but more obscure blues traditions. His ongoing exploration of southern blues permit him to incorporate these sounds innovatively into his own music. At his performance tonight at the Bitter End, much of his performance honored familiar terrain, but there were several this-is-different moments. These moments happened when his blues probed deeper, grittier and darker than the commercial variety. His accompanying musicians kept the music buoyant while Turchi kept it rootsy. His slide guitar work kept it authentic, and his cloudy, slightly raspy vocals kept it swampy. Turchi's set proved to be rich and tasty.

Visit Reed Turchi at www.reedturchi.com.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Feelies at Rough Trade, Brooklyn

Glenn Mercer
In 1976, just as the original punk era began percolating in small clubs, guitarist Glenn Mercer, bassist Bill Million, drummer Dave Weckerman and vocalist Richard Reilly played as the Outkids in and around Haledon, New Jersey. Losing Reilly and adding members over time, Million moved to rhythm guitar and Weckerman to percussion, and the Outkids evolved into the Feelies. The band's new name was taken from a fictional entertainment device described in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The Feelies gained critical applause and influenced R.E.M. and other bands but four Feelies albums sold poorly and the group disbanded in 1992 when Million lost interest in music, left the group and moved to Florida with his family. The classic mid-1980s lineup of guitarist/vocalists Mercer and Million, percussionist Weckerman, bassist Brenda Sauter, and drummer Stanley Demeski reunited in 2008 at the request of Sonic Youth and released new albums in 2011 and 2017. The Feelies' sixth and most recent album, In Between, was released on February 24, 2017.

The Feelies now reunite annually for a several local performances, which this year included three nights at Rough Trade in Brooklyn, New York. Each night at this venue, the band performed two sets and multiple encores, performing much of the band's recorded catalog and numerous cover songs. The Feelies' music is inspired by the Velvet Underground, so Sunday's set in particular paid tribute with three Velvet Underground covers. Dry vocals and cascading guitar melodies dominated the forefront, highlighted by sporadic twin-guitar attacks, often sounding very much like the band's contemporaries, Television. (The Feelies this night also covered Television's "See No Evil.") In its early versions, this music sounded like experimental garage band music, but with the leverage of years of refinement the music now sounded like it was way ahead  its time.

Visit the Feelies at www.thefeeliesweb.com.

Setlist:
  1. Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground cover)
  2. Find a Way
  3. Later On
  4. Time Will Tell
  5. Turn Back Time
  6. Make It Clear
  7. Been Replaced
  8. Invitation
  9. Let's Go
  10. Change Your Mind
  11. Nobody Knows
  12. The High Road
  13. On the Roof
Set 2
  1. Waiting
  2. Decide
  3. Gone, Gone, Gone
  4. Higher Ground
  5. The Final Word
  6. Away
  7. Two Rooms
  8. Loveless Love
  9. Forces at Work
  10. Doin' It Again
  11. Sooner or Later
  12. Too Far Gone
  13. Raised Eyebrows
  14. Crazy Rhythms
Encore 1:
  1. Slipping (Into Something)
  2. Sedan Delivery (Neil Young & Crazy Horse cover)
Encore 2:
  1. She Said She Said (The Beatles cover)
  2. See No Evil (Television cover)
Encore 3:
  1. Rock and Roll (The Velvet Underground cover)
  2. We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together (The Velvet Underground cover)
Encore 4:
  1. Get Off of My Cloud (The Rolling Stones cover)
  2. Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (The Beatles cover)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Skeletal Family at Mercury Lounge

Stan Greenwood & Anne-Marie Hurst
During the height of the new wave and gothic rock movement in 1982 in Keighley, West Yorkshire, England, Skeletal Family formed from the remaining members of an earlier group called the Elements, and took its name from the title of a David Bowie song, "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family." After two albums, Skeletal Family disbanded in 1986. Regrouping in 2002, the band released two more albums and then disbanded again in 2009. Regrouping in 2012, Skeletal Family now consists of original members Anne-Marie Hurst (vocals), Stan Greenwood (guitar), and Roger "Trotwood" Nowell (bass), plus newer member Adrian Osadzenko (drums). Skeletal Family's fourth and most recent album is 2009's Songs of Love, Hope & Despair.

On the second Saturday of every month, longtime nightlife promoter Sean Templar hosts the Red Party at Mercury Lounge, where he usually books one gothic rock band and several djs. Skeletal Party's performance was a rare event in that the band seldom tours the United States. Skeletal Party's uptempo music was driven by Hurst's rather monochromatic and suitably gothic vocals, Greenwood's shimmering guitar leads and the thick, crashing rhythms provided by Nowell and Osadzenko. As the sole guitarist, Greenwood's riffs chimed behind Hurst, but shined most effectively when he powered the instrumental interludes by alternating between searing leads and melodic refrains. The high energy concert ended much as it started, with a ringing rock and roll that blasted to the back walls of the venue.

Visit Skeletal Family at www.skeletalfamily.com.

Bush Tetras at le Poisson Rouge

In 1979, towards the end of the original punk rock movement in New York City, Bush Tetras formed and merged gritty funk, hard-edged punk and dissonant no wave trends with a female-dominated stance and empowering lyrics. The quartet was popular on the Manhattan rock club circuit and on college radio, but catchy songs like "Too Many Creeps" and "Can't Be Funky" did not lead to commercial success, and the band split in 1983. The original lineup reformed in 1995 and released an album in 1997, but split again in 1998. The band reformed in 2005 and presently includes three original members, vocalist Cynthia Sley, guitarist Pat Place, and drummer Dee Pop, plus newer bassist Val Opielski. Bush Tetras yesterday released Take the Fall, a five-song EP which features the band's first newly-recorded music in 10 years.

Bush Tetras tonight celebrated the release of the new EP with a headlining concert at le Poisson Rouge. The band remained true to its stirring, unpolished sound, packing a propulsion that made its listeners want to bounce to the beat but also loading a raw and tense agitation that could give the listeners the nervous jitters. Opielski and Pop synchronized to give the songs a groove-filled spine, to which Place added stinging reverb-and-distortion riffs and Sley thrusted lyrics. The total effect was a fiercely gripping combination that was as loud and as crude as a cannon and yet was utterly spellbinding. Bush Tetras influenced numerous later guitar-based indie bands, but none of these outfits are as intense and as novel as Bush Tetras.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Big Pink at Baby's All Right, Brooklyn

Robbie Furze
Robertson "Robbie" Furze was named by his music-loving parents after Robbie Robertson of the Band. Furze played guitar for Alec Empire, but in 2007 formed the Big Pink, named after a Band album, as an electronic duo with Milo Cordell. Based in London, England, the duo recorded two award-winning albums, but then in 2013 Cordell left the band and moved to New York permanently in order to focus on his label Merok Records. After several personnel changes, the Big Pink now consists of Furze, bassist Nicole Emery and drummer Bradford Lee Conroy. The band will release its third full-length record this year.

The changes in membership have left a musical dent on the Big Pink. The song catalogue as performed tonight at Baby's All Right could no longer be described as  electronic or industrial rock; the stripped-down guitar-bass-drums performance would be closer to a form of alternative rock. Although the more edgy, experimental side of past lives was missing, the band still often dwelled on its principal attribute, a bombastic wall of sound tempered with light vocals. Periodically these songs would be hoisted by big hooks, while other songs were driven by more hypnotic grooves. The best compositions matched Emery's ethereal vocals with Furze's earthier vocals. The Big Pink is a very promising act; reinvention can be risky but in this case it seemed like a new chapter is still being written.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Amy Helm at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2

Amy Helm, the daughter of singer/songwriter Libby Titus and drummer Levon Helm of the Band, was born in Woodstock, New York, and started singing rhythm and blues and hip hop with her friends in a group called the Chilly Winds while attending school in Manhattan. By age 17, she started listening to her father's music and absorbed his taste for vintage American music like blues and gospel. In 1993, she began a professional career singing backing vocals for her stepfather, Donald Fagen, and his reunited Steely Dan. In 2002, Amy teamed up with several New York roots musicians to form the group Ollabelle, which fused bluegrass, gospel and other roots music. She also began singing at her father's monthly Woodstock jams, known as the Midnight Rambles, and as part of his road band. After her father's death in 2012, she continued to host concerts at his barn, and began working with a new band, Amy Helm & the Handsome Strangers. Her one album as a solo artist is 2015's Didn't It Rain.

Amy Helm performs in New York City frequently, seemingly with a different collective of musicians each time. Her concert tonight at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, the first of three consecutive Tuesday nights there and part of her second annual Woodshed Residency Tour, featured guitarist Tash Neal of the London Souls, Woodstock-based guitarist/keyboardist Connor Kennedy, bassist Jeff Hill of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and Brooklyn-based drummer Yuval Lion. Her set consisted of pretty much the same songs she performs regularly, including "Didn't it Rain" and "Rescue Me" from her album plus covers of Mary Gauthier's "Gentling Me," Allen Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can," and the Milk Carton Kids' "Michigan." Helm's stellar, bluesy vocals steadfastly remained the aural heartbeat of the performance, but she encouraged her musicians to rave, and Neal and Kennedy especially jammed extensively on their instruments. The band went all out on the traditional blues song "I Know You Rider." Helm invited guitarist Eric Krasno of Soulive to join the band for a few jams towards the end of the set. Perhaps all this is among the beauties of Helm's down-home concerts; her heartfelt vocals rule, but she allows each of her musicians to tailor the arrangements of the songs so they never sound exactly the same. The result is always solid, grooving, American roots-influenced music.

Visit Amy Helm at www.amyhelm.com

Friday, April 6, 2018

Richard Lloyd at the Bowery Electric

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Richard Lloyd moved with his family to New York City when he was six. Lloyd turned onto music as a young teenager when he saw the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show and experienced the phenomenon of Beatlemania. In his early teens he studied drums and a few years later he turned to the guitar. In 1969, Lloyd briefly moved with his parents to Montclair, New Jersey, but then in search of a music career relocated for two years to Boston, Massachusetts, followed by two years in Los Angeles, California. In 1973 he heard about the New York Dolls and the beginning of a new New York scene, so he moved back east. There he met guitarist Tom Miller, who became Tom Verlaine, and bassist Richard Meyers, who became Richard Hell, and with the addition of drummer Billy Ficca the quartet became Television in 1973. The group became popular at CBGBs and recorded two studio albums, but split in 1978. Lloyd subsequently recorded solo and with Matthew Sweet, John Doe of X, Rocket from the Tombs and others. Lloyd's sixth and most recent studio album is 2016's Rosedale. He now lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Lloyd  returned to the Bowery Electric tonight with a band that consisted of guitarist David Lennard, bassist Tom Currier and drummer Kevin Tooley. Lloyd performed four of Television's best-known songs, but the twist this time was that instead of engaging in guitar duals he played all the lead parts himself. Hence, the oblong and obtuse extensions that trademarked Television were all but gone. Instead, Lloyd played the no-compromise guitar solos like a rock star. The set also included songs from several of his early solo albums, much of which were of the same flavor as his previous work. In the end, Lloyd will not be remembered for his faltering vocals, but his fluid guitar playing lifted the songs to outstanding merit.

Richard Lloyd will perform at the free, outdoor Arts and Music Festival in Hoboken, New Jersey, on May 6.

Visit Richard Lloyd at www.richardlloyd.com.

Setlist:
  1. The Word/I'm Waiting for the Man (The Velvet Underground cover)/The Word
  2. Watch Yourself
  3. Monkey
  4. Glurp
  5. Pleading
  6. Elevation (Television song)
  7. Marquee Moon (Television song)
  8. Fire Engine (13th Floor Elevators cover)
  9. Swipe It
  10. Alchemy
  11. Friction (Television song)
  12. Amnesia
  13. See No Evil (Television song)
  14. Field of Fire


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Between the Buried and Me at the PlayStation Theater

Tommy Rogers
Tommy Rogers and Paul Waggoner had already worked together in metalcore bands Prayer for Cleansing and Undying when they formed progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me in 2000 in Raleigh, North Carolina. They chose the name "Between the Buried and Me" from a lyric in the Counting Crows song "Ghost Train." Between the Buried and Me presently consists of Rogers (lead vocals, keyboards), Waggoner (lead guitar, backing vocals), Dustie Waring (rhythm guitar), Dan Briggs (bass, keyboards), and Blake Richardson (drums). Between the Buried and Me's eighth and most recent studio album, Automata I, was released March 9, 2018; Automata is a two-part album, with a supplement extended play to be released at a future date.

Between the Buried and Me brought its progressive metal, technical death metal, progressive metalcore, and mathcore to the PlayStation Theater tonight, often sounding thunderous for a few minutes before relaxing into a more cinematic soundscape. The band's current album is a concept piece which takes place in a not so distant future when dreams are sold as entertainment for the masses. While the concert did not revolve around that story arc, the band's complex performance often felt just as mysterious, cerebral and ominous. Rogers alternated death growls and screams with peaceful clean singing, sometimes reaching for falsetto against thick guitar riffs that were later diffused with smoother keyboard and synthesizer sounds. On many occasions, the music mellowed out for a pop-like melody, but was followed by seemingly chaotic noise. It was a complex mix, where all musical efforts were allowed as long as they ultimately hit like a truck.

Visit Between the Buried and Me at www.betweentheburiedandme.com.

Setlist:
  1. Condemned to the Gallows
  2. The Coma Machine
  3. Dim Ignition
  4. Millions
  5. Gold Distance
  6. Blot
  7. Astral Body
  8. Lay Your Ghosts to Rest
  9. Obfuscation (second half only)
Encore:
  1. Silent Flight Parliament
  2. Goodbye to Everything Reprise