In 1964, Muddy Waters released his album Folk Singer under the Chess Label. Don’t let the album title fool you, this is as blues as blues gets. This album was released in the hayday of Muddy, and also the resurgence of Blues in America which was fueled in part by the various rock groups like Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones who were covering many of the black blues singers material. Continue Reading →
Concert Review: The Black Keys with Nicole Atkins
Tonight I hit up the Black Keys with Nicole Atkins opening at the Oprheum Theatre. Nicole Atkins and the ?? black seed? maybe just seed? Maybe that was still in the makings, but they were awesome. The guitarist was insanely awesome. I cannot find who she is, but she had a Japanese name I believe.
It was a great show. One of the ‘loud’ people came and sat down behind me, all “this is so awesome, these are awesome seats” like nobody around him could see either, but nearly a few seconds after that after he realized what was going on. Tonight was extremely special. It will go down as one of the greatest rockings that place has ever seen, and no doubt it has seen some GIANT acts. This one was among them.
Nicole Atkins and her band had the volume way up. The Black Keys only turned it louder. They both came out with an absolute bang, kept the cool going the entire show, and rocked their finales. Dan Auerback, the singer and guitarist for the Black Keys, spoiled the entire crowd with intense guitar rhythm, solos, lines, and beats. No more beard. Short cut and shaved. It was my first time seeing them, and it definitely wont be the last. I lovethe venue, the Orpheum in Vancouver; I am really quite partial to it, and I feel that any act you see there can only be a good acts.
I’ve said it before, and Ill say it again, if you play with a slide, you’ve automatically won me over. Dan definately played some slide, on top of the raunchy, riff laden rock through his stack. It was awesome. Possibly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
I think a key is that they started off their sets so nicely. Nicole Atkins started loud, and with a great song. They were from New York. The Black Keys also started with a great song everybody knew and loved, and just kept rocking and rolling from there; cranking out the goodness. The Black Keys come from Ohio, and they look it with their plaid and cowboy pinstripe outlined shirts.
One of the best things I like to see at a show is the artists finishes and is sweating profusely. It shows they’ve been giving it their all. It was the Avett Brothers who I read a quote from: “If we leave the show not covered in sweat, it means that we haven’t given it all we can.” Drummer Patrick Carney was soaked! He played amazingly as well, although I was mesmerized by Dan for most of the time, Patrick is a star himself, just that I play guitar so am naturally captivated by one.
The Black Keys brought out two other players for some of the songs, a bassist and a keyboardist, that fit in nicely, but honestly Dan and Patrick are so explosive themselves that they really don’t need anybody else, I do respect the fact that some songs require a little bit extra. I’ve been really a fan of keyboardists lately, possibly one big reason is because of the Jack Johnson show I just went to, with pianist Zack Gill totally blowing me away with his awesomeness.
All in all, if you haven’t got the drift yet, I totally was blown away by the show, and would highly recommend it to anybody and everybody, regardless of the genre of music your into, you’ll find you have a really great time at the Black Keys.
Mignonette by The Avett Brothers
The album Mignonette by the Avett Brothers is undoubtedly a great album. These guys have amazed me since I first heard A Carolina Jubilee many years ago.
I once heard a quote from these guys: “If we don’t leave the stage covered in sweat, then we haven’t put ourselves into our show.” I’m not sure if they still feel the same since they’ve become bigger, signed by Sony, worked with Rick Ruben, and toured the world a few times by now, but they still give me the same sweet sensation whenever I hear their music.
To me the Avett Brothers signify good music. Layered with banjo, double bass (standup), easy percussions, soulful guitar, and sometimes the piano, this music just…. Yes, is the best thing in the world.
This album, Mignonette, starts off with the cd title track in a sentimental version, which somewhat sets the mood for the whole album. Although it immediately kicks into a somewhat more upbeat song right away with Nothing Short of Thankful, the whole album cuts into very… sentimental corners throughout the entirety.
Songs like Signs ring forever in my ears with Scott and Seth Avett’s harmonies. It’s just something extraordinary that cannot be faked.
My favorite is how they always have songs starting with ‘Pretty Girl from…” or “Pretty Girl at… ”
Please Pardon Yourself is just a meander through a valley with a girl on your arm. Pleasant and pleasing, there is nothing more enjoyable to me than to hear the Avett Brothers pluck those strings and sing this kind of a song. They caress the emotionalism with every bite, and do it good at that. I cannot stress how much they rule.
The Day Marvin Gaye Died is another great song. Really, they are all finger licking good songs if you haven’t got the point yet.
The Avett Brothers play on a never ending loop in my head. They play acoustic songs, that are more empowering than most electrified acts can even dream about. They can stop in an instant and give you the feeling of looking up in the middle of a mosh pit covered in sweat for a few glimpsing moments of bliss, and then just as quickly kick the double bass of Bob Crawford kicks in and gets you hopping around once more like the heat of a bluegrass jubilee.
Check out the record and let me know how you enjoy it!
Brothers by The Black Keys
I got the word that the Black Keys new album was out, Brothers.
To start off with, I totally love it. I’ve been a fan since the day I heard them in a basement apartment the morning after rinking so much I was able to pass out fully clothed. Pretty much simply a love affair.
The album starts off with killer killer groove so fat you could shake a stick at it, with Everlasting Light.
Dan Auerbach belts out them lyrics like he fits right in. Something about this band just blows me away. Patrick Carney knows where its at, when he’s talking serious with the drums. They match up like ketchup and mustard; beets and grooves that make sense.
The album feels like they’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the instruments, and toys to play around with. I like that. Its rock but its rocked, if you will. Theres this kazoo maybe in Howlin’ For You, which reminds me of what I’ve heard so many times of Jimi Hendrix, how he just pulled out a kazoo and made it killer. When do they really fit in one may digress.
On She’s Long Gone the distortion on the guitar is like Jack White is holding a conference with John Lee Hooker. Or maybe even RL Burnside is over for some tea, just lacing in some harmony.
I get feelings that the Black Crowes would have been of something like this if brothers were a two man band. The Black Keys are filled with soul, they’ve got groove, they’ve got style, and they’ve got sound.
The Only One gave me moments of recognizing what I’m used to hearing from the band. Not that its always sounding like one thing, but it just gave me that feeling.
The later songs on the album put you into a pleasant place as well. Somewhat stepping you onto Groove Street, filling your bowels with organs that will walk you ahead like an old lady with a walker needs.
Really, if I had to sum up the album, its as it should be. The Black Keys will stun you off the bat, drawing you to them with their sound, make you feel good and in a comfortable place. Its one of those albums that you’ll kinda sit back and enjoy to listen to. Its as much of a mixed tape as it could be, clearly drawing from inspiration all over the place. Proving that this group of veterans still listens to music, and still finds soul within them.
This album will be one of my favorites.
Band of Skulls @ Venue, Vancouver BC
I had the ultimate pleasure of seeing the Band of Skulls preform at Venue, downtown Vancouver BC on Sunday night. It was an awesome show. As of late, I’ve been trying to focus on my own thing and not go to as many concerts as I’m used to for sometimes one has to focus more on creating than being influenced. Sometimes the balance is needed.
The Venue is a nice and small venue, newly done over from whatever it was before, I forget now. I thought the sound could have been turned up, but thats just me..
To open up the show was a band called Saint Motel. They ruled. They are a band from California who could rock and had character. Really fit the bill, sometimes you get opening bands that are kinda not all good, but these guys were rocking. Check them out any where and any chance you can get. They had this totally cool video on repeat in the background, clearly they put in some time to make it, it had a bunch of vancouver references. It was very sexual in content, which increased desire! Their drummer really killed it with some amazing drumming. I thought he was spot on the whole night.
The second opening band was Silver Starling. They are from Montreal, and at least one of the members is from the group Arcade Fire, Marika Anthony-Shaw I believe. Marcus Paquin could really sing and did present a lot of leadership on the stage. Check out their bio on the page listed. Pretty cool webpage. They rocked, and truly did give me the feeling of an Arcade Fire-esque influenced band, but this is to be expected, since they do play the same scene… somewhat.. or did… Listen and tell me what you think?
The main event. Band of Skulls . These guys rocked. Came out, put together a great show. I read an article on the show, and the guy was complaining that ‘once they get more professional, they wont find the need to turn their backs to the crowd’ bullshit. Me, I dig that, it means their really trying to groove together, their really feeling it. Russell Marsden was frequently playing with his amps feedback, trying to get it right, and wammying away with splendor like a guitar hero he will go down as.
Emma Richardson just plain out rocks. Her voice is just as beautiful as Russell’s is but more controlled. Russell seems to have more finesse if you will. But Emma is like what you’d expect a Ramones sister to be like: tall, long black hair with bangs in the front, and a seemingly shy or sublime demeanor to her.
In fact, they both had that feeling to them. Russell was singing through his hair the whole night, but this did not effect their show at all. In fact, it was great to hear some awesome music coming out of the speakers. Like I said before, I wish they would have turned it up.
I was standing right next to the stage the whole night, right by where all the commotion of set-up/take-down went on, so it was kind of fun to see all the band members scurry around setting up, breaking down the set. I’m a musician so I like to see how they do their thing.
I found that all three bands I was wanting them to play more songs. Keep on going, extend the songs, do a freek out solo, etc. etc. But thats just me.
All in all, it was a great Show. I’ve seen a lot here in Vancouver, and this one is one of the cool ones. All three bands impressed me, I had real close seats, only for a few songs there was an annoying girl beside me flinging her hair stupidly so that it would hit me, but I made it known I would appreciate her to move the hell away from me. I think the boyfriend knew I was annoyed and he kind of dragged her to the side after a while.
I always wonder if a band looks out at the crowd and gets to know the people directly around them. I guess in the end were all human aren’t we?