By Chris MeyerFor a band that has had its fair share of ups and downs, Stone Temple Pilots are at the top of their game after more than twenty years together. On Wednesday night at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, NY, any worries or concerns that one may have had about the status of frontman Scott Weiland, or the notoriously tense relationships between band members, were easily put to rest. Since reuniting in 2008 after a tumultuous breakup, Weiland’s bouts with drug addiction, and various side projects, the band has never been better! Witnessing the second of two shows at the Paramount was evidence of that.I saw STP several times since ‘99 and know that they put on one hell of a show, there was some curiosity as to whether or not these guys could still deliver the goods. For starters, Scott Weiland’s voice is as good as it has ever been. One would think after 27 years of being on the road (since the band initially came together as Mighty Joe Young in 1986), numerous battles with drug addiction, and the general wear-and-tear that comes with age, he might have lost a little something in his voice or slowed down his energetic stage show. This was not the case whatsoever; he still moves around on stage as well as any twenty-something frontman you see tidy. He is as flamboyant a rock star as they come, moving his skinny torso this way and that with no effort, and his ever-changing wardrobe has become something legendary.On this particular night, dressed in skinny jeans, white shirt, skinny black tie and blazer, Weiland and the trio of Rob DeLeo on bass, Dean DeLeo on guitar, and Eric Kretz on drums, came out swinging with ‘Sin’ from 1992’s debut Core. ‘Vasoline’ and ‘Crackerman’ followed, as the crowd got into the swing of things from the very beginning. Seeing STP in an intimate venue like the Paramount was incredible, as the acoustics in the place are excellent and allow you to clearly hear the bass and guitar riffs of the deLeo brothers. ‘Big Empty’ off Purple (and The Crow movie soundtrack) brought some breathing room to the high-energy set, and allowed for some choice sing-along time. The rest of the set saw some classic songs from their catalogue, and those in attendance were more than pleased with the performance. There was even a small mosh pit going, which for people in their mid-30’s and above, (most of the crowd fit into this category) it just doesn’t work and can be annoying. But, at least they were having a good time, which is better than the alternative of people just standing around like zombies – that is the worst.Having seen around a dozen shows at the Paramount, the chant to get STP back on stage was probably the loudest I had ever heard there. Weiland and company delivered a rockin’ encore of ‘Unglued’ from Purple, and ended fittingly with ‘Sex Type Thing’ off Core, as they must have known what was on our minds. We cheered for more! For a band that is in their third decade of existence, this was definitely no nostalgia act; it was quite the opposite. This is a band that is still an important part of today’s rock music scene. They are still writing good music, and still bring it to the stage. Rock is very much alive!
Looking for some authentic, down-home rock ‘n roll? Well, who better to play it for you than some Hard Working Americans, the true champion of the southern rock music.The Hard Working Americans are making a splash with their self-titled debut album, and, well, credit earned where credit is due. Hard Working Americans is a strong showing of musical prowess and enthusiasm, capably bouncing between high-octane rockers and bourbon-soaked ballads. The cohesion of this album lies in its honesty; this is a band eager to share their music with the world.First thing’s first. H.W.A. was created by Southern rock singer Todd Snider, and features bassist Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), guitarist Neal Casal (Ryan Adams/Chris Robinson), keyboardist Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and drummer Duane Trucks (Derek Trucks’ brother, Butch Trucks’ nephew). Of the band, Snider said, “I’ve been standing in between these two worlds (of Americana and jam bands), thinking that the people in each of them were meant for each other.”He further elaborated, saying that “the songwriters in the Americana world were spending as much time on their poems as the jam bands spend on their tones and their solos. Why not put these things together? Why not combine the best songwriters with the best musicians?”It’s a good point, considering that “bag it, tag it, sell it to the butcher in the store” isn’t the most profound of sentiments. On the album, the band reinterprets blue-collar tunes, drawing from renowned artists like Randy Newman, country musician Frankie Miller, and many more. It’s groovy, to say the least.The album kicks off with a beckoning electric guitar riff, quickly accompanied by a rolling drum beat and smooth singing. “When the lord made me, he made a simple man/ Not much money, and not much land/ He didn’t make no banker, no legal charmer/ When the lord made me, he made a blackland farmer.” Yeah. “Blackland Farmer” is that kind of bluesy groove, accentuated by poignant piano and sliding guitar fills. All smooth, all the time.But Hard Working Americans isn’t entirely gritty southern blues. Two songs later, we get The Hard Working American’s rendition of Kevin Gordon’s “Down to the Well,” a slower, more contemplative track. While some songs on the album are rockers, this (and others) are swayers… moments made for holding up a lighter and dancing along. The slide guitar work and piano accompaniment on “Down to the Well” draw out the emotion, with sweet, lingering tones that soothe the soul.I can’t do this album justice without mentioning “Stomp & Holler,” a Hayes Carll song brought to life with a boogie-woogie piano line and powerful harmonica playing. Maybe I’m a sucker for the harmonica solo, but it gets me every time. Here, just listen to the song for yourself:Hard Working Americans is a real tribute to Southern rock and blues music, in the tradition of bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. But, rather than sounding derivative, The Hard Working Americans infuse this earnest genre with life. It’s a great, great album.You can stream the album in its entirety, through PopMatters, by following this link.-David Melamed (@DMelamz)
Friday night, a lucky number of ticketholders said goodbye to DARKSIDE – the shortlasted collaboration of electronic artist Nicolas Jaar and guitarist, multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington. The event was held at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple – a beautifully detailed coffered ceiling with decorated chandeliers ornamented the main room, while the marble laden front room made for a welcoming entrance. Valentin Stip opened with a short ambient set, getting everyone moving while the mainroom slowly filled up. He played an arrangement of tracks from his release, Sigh. After a short intermission following Valentin Stip’s opening performance, the lights dimmed once again for the main spectacle of the evening. The duo that dominated a certain sound, blending rock and experimental electronic, since their inception in a Berlin Hotel Room back in 2011. DARKSIDE took the stage, starting with a high-energy rendition of “Freak, Go Home”, and flowing through a medley of familiar tracks, culminating in a final goodbye with their album opener, “Golden Arrow”. Every song was spot on, starting out as a familiar tune and seemlessly transitioning into a grungy jam usually led by a unique, funky distorted guitar lick. The only break was towards the end of the set, where Nico took a few minutes to thank everyone that made the DARKSIDE project possible, hugging his musical partner, Dave, as they played on to the end. But the peak of the performance was when DARKSIDE played “Gone Too Soon”, a recent release on Nicolas Jaar’s private label “Other People”, a song they stated, “didn’t make it onto [Psychic]”. The emotionally driven electronic funk anthem only had listeners begging for more. Unfortunately, DARKSIDE is gone for now, but we’ll be keeping our ears open for future announcements from both Dave and Nico. The full setlist for the show is listed below – Freak, Go HomePaper TrailsA1 The Only Shrine I’ve Seen Gone Too Soon Heart MetatronGolden Arrow
In a recent interview, Andre 3000 acknowledged that he felt like a sell-out for reviving OutKast, but claimed that his open admission of that feeling helped him justify his decision to tour. Along with that open admission came the jumpsuits – 47 in total – with a new thought-provoking catchphrase for each performance.Now, Andre 3000 plans to take his sell-out-ness to a new level, as he intends to market the designs as a t-shirt line. He discusses the plans in an interview with Hard Knock TV, which you can watch below:The interview touches on a number of topics, including touring with OutKast, Andre 3000’s upcoming acting role as Jimi Hendrix, and how he intends to retire from music at the age of 40. So, will you buy an “art or fart?” t-shirt?
For more information on the new bill, you can read coverage in the local Indy Star publication. The Boycott Indiana campaign has some juice!Wilco has decided to cancel their scheduled May 7th show at Indianapolis’ Murat Theatre, due to recently-passed legislature the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Wilco believes that the Act, which has been covered extensively for its controversial policies on sexual rights, “feels like thinly disguised legal discrimination.”The remainder of the band’s tour will go on as scheduled, and Wilco promises to return to Indiana once the measure is repealed.
Pianist Holly Bowling made headlines last year when she remarkably transcribed the entirety of Phish’s epic 36-plus minute “Tweezer” jam into a solo piano composition. Bowling won’t stop there, as she recently announced a debut album, and is now planning to perform at NYC’s The Cutting Room on August 18th. Tickets for the show are currently available via TicketWeb. Watch the video for the Tahoe “Tweezer” below:
The owner of Camp Bisco‘s former site in Mariaville, NY is not happy with the festival’s forced relocation to Scranton, PA and plans to sue the county. Frank Potter feels that it’s personal, claiming that he put a vast amount of time and money into addressing safety concerns from previous years.Take A Look At Camp Bisco’s New Home“Schenectady County just decided that they are unhappy with us here, and I honestly believe it’s not just about Camp Bisco,” Potter says. “It’s about us doing business here.”“Town Planning Board wanted a humongous plan,” he continued. “We put that together, it cost tens of thousands of dollars, and we didn’t complain we did it. So I really don’t know other than I believe it’s personal.”“For five years we never had a problem that was this bad with Camp Bisco, and suddenly we had a couple of bad years and then we tried to rectify them,” he went on. “Rather than work with you, let’s throw you out of the state.”Potter plans to take Schenectady County to court. Check out Camp Bisco’s recently released complete lineup here.[Via CBS 6 Albany]
Fare Thee Well.Tonight marks the first of three final Grateful Dead performances at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL, with the Core Four surviving members of the band (Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart) playing with Trey Anastasio on lead guitar and Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby on keyboards.For those that have been following this story, these three 50th anniversary celebrations are the culmination of extensive planning, rumors, discussion, debate, progress, and, ultimately, music. We wanted to take a moment to reflect on this long, strange trip.In November of 2014, Furthur – the band containing Weir and Lesh that toured regularly since 2009 – posted a message that quickly spread through the Deadhead community. The band had taken a hiatus since the end of 2013, and Bob Weir had cancelled a 2014 summer tour just weeks before it was scheduled to begin. Furthur’s message was a grim one:We’ll all be keeping very busy over the foreseeable future, and it’s time to let Furthur take a bow. We enjoyed the ride more than we can possibly express.With eyes on the band’s 50th anniversary in 2015, fans feared that there would be no response from the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. How could they not celebrate their legacy?It was unofficial Grateful Dead biographer Scott W. Allen that shared the first rumor to the contrary. Of course nothing was official at the time, but, in looking back, it’s interesting to see what he was right about. The discussions were in their early stages at the time, and Allen shared what he knew:The Dead, apparently, are looking to headline a single festival or two and play a series of West Coast and East Coast residencies – in arena settings or a handful of stadium dates. – This was almost the case, as Bonnaroo and Coachella reportedly both made offers to the Dead camp, which they ultimately declined. The residencies became Chicago, a central location, and Santa Clara, a later addition.This is what I am hearing about the Dead lineup in 2015: the Core Four plus Bruce Hornsby on keyboards. Apparently, to my disappointment, Jeff Chimenti will not be involved. – One-for-two.Should this reunion unfold, the band is seemingly committed to, and working with, the concept of using more than one lead guitarist… The guitarists are known to be John Kadlecik, Steve Kimock and Warren Haynes, with a fourth, unnamed guitarist, possibly Trey Anastasio or Barry Sless. – As the elaborate tour dwindled down to three nights, the rotating guitarist idea lost steam. It is worth noting that Anastasio was mentioned this early on.As the rumors continue to circulate, the announcement was made on January 16, 2015. The Core Four were reuniting, there would be three final shows, and Anatasio, Chimenti, and Hornsby were all on board.Of course, that announcement also had another side to it. Tickets.With a ticket lottery announced as the initial means of acquiring tickets, hundreds of thousands of fans mailed in money orders to the small GDTS TOO ticket office in Stinson Beach, CA. The response was overwhelming, to the point that promoters Peter Shapiro and Madison House were scrambling. When ticket prices reached $1,000,000 on StubHub, Deadheads became outraged.The peak of the negativity, in my opinion, was symbolized by a Huffington Post article, written by Stewart Sallo, called “Ladies and Gentlemen, Not the Grateful Dead“. The piece criticized the promoters for grabbing money any way they could, starting from the strategic announcement, and even going so far as to accuse the Dead of choosing Trey Anastasio for the sole purpose of drawing in Phish fans.That’s when I penned an op-ed called “Let’s Be Grateful For The Dead’s 50th Reunion“, because, to summarize in a sentence, I was annoyed by how people were criticizing musicians for playing music. Of course, Peter Shapiro personally contacted Stewart Sallo shortly after his article circulated, and Sallo published a second column essentially backtracking on every single claim he made.Looking back, the frenzy surrounding ticket sales seems incredibly over-dramatic. The supply and demand quickly reached an equilibrium, with tickets running as cheap as $300 on StubHub now. Not exactly face value, but certainly a lot less zeros.So what brought the price down? The biggest drive for decreased Chicago ticket prices was the April announcement that the “Fare Thee Well” band were adding two shows at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. Of course, for those paying attention, Bill Walton let the cat out of the bag a couple weeks early.Around this time, concerts surrounding Fare Thee Well Chicago began to pop up. L4LM had the pleasure of announcing one of the first such shows, a July 4th after party at Reggie’s Rock Club featuring the hybrid tribute fusion group, Pink Talking Fish, who would be adding some Dead covers into their usual repertoire.Once “The Music Never Stopped” series was announced a few weeks later, featuring Ed Sharpe, Thievery Corporation, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Karl Denson and more, the Chicago shows really picked up… to the point where we had to create a Complete Guide just to keep up with it.Of course, other factors like ticket re-releases and canceled plans helped to drive down prices. As we all witnessed last weekend, these shows certainly have the right vibe to them. And, friends, the rainbow was real.For their part, the performers have been very open and forthcoming about their work leading up to Fare Thee Well. Anastasio has been especially vocal, giving several interviews in Rolling Stone about the shows. His genuine excitement has shined brightly on each and every article.And here we are. Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right. See you at Soldier Field!
Master musician Karl Denson has just announced a West Coast extension of his 2015 “Fantastic” fall tour schedule! Bringing his band Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the road, Denson will kick off a West Coast run on November 12th at Terrapin Crossroads before heading up and down the West Coast. The run culminates in a two-night stand at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend!Denson’s band is sounding tighter than ever, and, in a recent exclusive with L4LM, the multi-instrumentalist discussed plans to record new music to be released in 2016. Denson is also planning to perform Prince’s Dirty Mind on Halloween (more info here), so be on the look out for some fun KDTU shows in the near future!You can see the full tour schedule below, and head to Denson’s website for further details.KARL DENSON’S FANTASTIC FALL TOUR 20159/25 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater *9/26 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre **10/1 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex10/2 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up10/9 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse10/10 – Charlotte, NC – U.S. National Whitewater Center10/11 – Birmingham, AL – Vulcan Park & Museum10/30 – Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theatre ^10/31 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl ^11/12 – San Rafael, CA – Terrapin Crossroads Music Hall11/13 – Nevada City, CA – Miners Foundry11/14 – Santa Cruz, CA – Moe’s Alley11/17 – Napa, CA – City Winery11/18 – Arcata, CA – Arcata Theatre ***11/19 – Eugene, OR – HiFi Music Hall ***11/20 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom ***11/21 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox ***11/27 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl11/28 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl1/6 – Miami, FL – Jam Cruise* w/ Drew Emmit** w/ Robert Randolph*** w/ Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers^ Performing Prince’s classic album, Dirty Mind
Remember that time when Umphrey’s McGee bassist Ryan Stasik announced he was teaming up with Turbo Suit to perform Nirvana’s seminal Nevermind album? You know, the show at The Hall At MP on October 22nd! Well, for fans of unique live interpretations of this pivotal album, get ready for the Nevermind Orchestra.Self-described as a “frenetic, psycho-jazz-grunge ensemble,” the Nevermind Orchestra bring a unique interpretation of Nirvana’s material through the modern day brass band. With accomplished musicians that have performed the world over, this exciting brass group digs deep into Nirvana’s catalog for some of the best live interpretations of the band out there! As Time Out New York once wrote, “There’s no shortage of Nirvana cover bands floating around but none are quite like the Nevermind Orchestra.”These two exciting bands are sure to put a unique taste on some of the most beloved music from the 1990s, so don’t miss out! Tickets to this awesome show are available here.Show Info:Turbo Suit ft. Umphrey’s McGee’s Ryan StasikThe Nevermind OrchestraThe Hall At MP // October 22ndDoors @ 8 // Show @ 9 // 18+. Tickets Available Here