The Mountain Stage Podcast recently released an mp3 of July’s Mountain Stage concert featuring Over the Rhine, Brendan James, Vienna Teng and The Black Lillies. You can download that mp3 and several others at the link below…
Last night’s Mountain Stage featured Brendan James, Vienna Teng, Mark Bates, The Black Lillies and Over the Rhine. Susan Werner was originally scheduled to perform, but was forced to cancel when Sunday’s storms delayed her flight. Local musician Mark Bates was subsequently booked as her replacement.
Brendan James opened the concert and I was very pleasantly surprised by how good he was. His voice and music are even better and stronger live than on his recordings. His poetic, heartfelt folk-pop style falls somewhere between James Taylor, Paddy Casey and Rufus Wainwright.
Brendan played piano and was accompanied only by a drummer and a guitarist, but the trio at times sounded like a full, orchestral band. I especially liked the song “Constellations” and the soaring title track from Brendan’s upcoming album, Simplify, both of which you can stream below. And you can also still nab his Noisetrade sampler with tracks from Simplify below. The album will be released on August 6th.
Buy Brendan James Music @ Amazon (new album available Aug. 6)
I was most excited to see Vienna Teng’s set. I first saw Vienna perform at Mountain Stage in 2008 right before her astounding last album, Inland Territory, was released. Her set then, particularly her bluesy wail of “Grandmother Song,” remains one of the best in my many Mountain Stage memories.
This time around Vienna was previewing songs from her upcoming album, Aims, which will be released in September. You can stream three of the songs below, which I first posted last week.
Vienna began by live looping (recording her own voice for use as background vocals) on her keyboard, then launched into “Whatever You Want” from 2006′s Dreaming Through the Noise. It was the only older song in her set, but fit very well with the new, electro-focused material.
She briefly switched to the Mountain Stage piano for the new songs “Goodnight New York” and “Landsailor.”
After discussing her post-graduate school difficulty in balancing grandiose, global themes with personal stories in her songwriting, Vienna returned to her keyboard for more live looping and the high concept tune “The Hymn of Acxiom.” Musically inspired by choral music and lyrically written from the point of view of a marketing database, the electro-choir style of “The Hymn of Acxiom” was even more haunting and remarkable in person.
Vienna ended her set with an even more impressive feat – a briliant mashup of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” complete with live looping beatbox. It was truly amazing and left no doubt that Vienna Teng is indeed a genius. The audience responded with a very enthusiastic standing ovation.
Vienna Teng’s last performance at Mountain Stage left me wanting her to record a blues album, now I’m waiting for her choral and soul-rap albums. I hope someday Vienna will perform a full concert in Charleston, perhaps at The Clay Center. As wonderful as her Mountain Stage sets always are, they are just too brief for so much talent.
Buy Vienna Teng’s Music @ Amazon (new album available in Sept.)
Hurricane, WV singer-songwriter
The Black Lillies really set the place on fire. It’s easy to understand why the Knoxville, Tennessee ensemble has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry twenty times to date. They sure are entertain’.
Their sound amps up classic country steel guitar and harmonies with modern Americana rhythm and unexpected punches of psychedelic rock and even a bit of soul. Depending on the song (or sometimes the individual note), they ran the genre gamut from Johnny Cash & June Carter to Ike & Tina Turner, with some Janis Joplin and Jerry Lee Lewis in between.
The highlights of their set were the moving, melodic and melancholy war anthem “Goodbye Charlie” and the high-energy, fast-paced, blues-rock wailer “Smokestack Lady.”
The Black Lillies earned the second standing ovation of the evening. They could easily have played a full concert and left the audience wanting more. As the band left the stage, I saw a couple of audience members rush out to the lobby’s merch table, waving their freshly purchased Black Lillies CDs upon their return.
After Mountain Stage Bob Thompson pianist played an instrumental cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Over the Rhine took the stage as the final act of the night. Had they played earlier in the evening, I think I would have enjoyed their set much more. But as it was, the banter-happy Ohio husband and wife folk duo were somewhat of a letdown after the exhilarating, magnificent sets by Vienna Teng and The Black Lillies. They weren’t bad at all, just misplaced in such a powerhouse lineup. The highlights of their set were the lilting ballad “I Want You” and the foot tappin’ rumination on transatlantic jetlag, “Gonna Let My Soul Catch My Body.”
All of the acts joined the Mountain Stage band on stage for the group finale of the murder ballad “On the Banks of the Ohio.”
St. Vincent and former Talking Heads singer David Byrne are following up last year’s Love This Giant collaboration with a new tour and a free download of their new 5-song EP, Brass Tactics. Brass Tactics is comprised of live tracks from the Love This Giant Fall tour, remixes, and a song that didn’t make it onto the Love This Giant album. You can download the Brass Tactics EP mp3s by entering your email address below.
2013 Love This Giant Tour Dates:
6/12 – Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theatre
6/13 – Baltimore, MD @ Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
6/15 – Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
6/16 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
6/18 – Charlotte, NC @ Blumenthal Performing Arts Center – Belk Theater
6/20 – New Haven, CT @ Shubert Theatre
6/21 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
6/22 – Shelburne, VT @ The Green at Shelburne Museum
6/23 – Ottawa, ON @ Confederation Park, Ottawa Jazz Festival
6/25 – Rochester, NY @ Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater
6/27 – New Bedford, MA @ The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
6/28 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
6/29 – Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre
6/30 – Greensburg, PA @ Palace Theater
7/2 – Louisville, KY @ The Kentucky Center – Whitney Hall
7/5 – Des Moines, IA @ 80/35 Music Festival
7/6 – Highland Park, IL @ Ravinia Festival
7/7 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Meijer Gardens Amphitheater
7/8 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Michigan Theater
7/10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre
7/12 – Kansas City, MO @ Crossroads KC
7/13 – Littleton, CO @ Denver Botanic Gardens – Chatfield
7/14 – Telluride, CO @ Telluride Town Park
7/15 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
7/17 – Eugene, OR @ Cuthbert Amphitheater
7/18 – Woodinville, WA @ Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
7/20 – Saratoga, CA @ The Mountain Winery
7/21 – Oakland, CA @ The Fox Theater
8/18 – Reykjavik, Iceland @ Haskolabio
8/20 – Oslo, Norway @ Folketeatret
8/21 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Filadelfiakyrkan
8/22 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Falconer Salen
8/24 – Brussels, Belgium @ Bozar
8/25 – Utrecht, Netherlands @ Vredenburg Leidsche Rijn
8/27 – London, UK @ Roundhouse
8/28 – Birmingham, UK @ Symphony Hall
8/29 – Glasgow, UK @ Royal Concert Hall
8/30 – Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Fest
9/3 – Lisbon, Portugal @ Coliseu Lisboa
9/4 – Portugal, Portugal @ Coliseu Do Porto
9/6 – Madrid, Spain @ Teatrp Circo Price
9/7 – Barcelona, Spain @ The National Auditorium of Catalonia
9/9 – Brescia, Italy @ Vittoriale Theatre
9/11 – Rome, Italy @ Auditorium Parco Della Musica
9/12 – Florence, Italy @ Teatro Verdi
The stage was lit with what appeared to be vintage glass baubles hanging from the ceiling and a ghostly mist rolled through as opening act Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys took the stage. They gave a peppy, old-fashioned set. I loved their retro Spaghetti Western vibe and harmonies. Mead’s croons and yodels are from another era. They elicited a standing ovation from the crowd with a twisted song about The Andy Griffith show featuring a pot smokin’, moonshine drinkin’ Opie.
Old Crow Medicine Show then took the stage, launching into the title track from their 2012 album, Carry Me Back. From the opening notes they had members of the audience on their feet dancing in the aisles.
They ripped through “Alabama High Test” with flashing lights and roadies switching out guitars for harmonicas mid-lyric.
Lead singer Ketch Secor threw out a lot of love to “the Charleston skyline,” “the Mountaineer state,” “the KRT bus terminal,” “the Kanawha Valley” and “where hillbilly music comes home to roost, West-by-God Virginia,” which earned him a lot of love in return from the exuberant local crowd. It also helped they have local boy Chance McCoy in the band.
There’s no greater musical sight to this country gal than a string band huddled together jammin’. And it must be said Secor plays his fiddle like Eddie Van Halen plays his electric guitar.
The concert was comprised of newer material from the Carry Me Back album as well as some gems from their earlier works.
Most notable was the rousing fan favorite “Wagon Wheel” from their debut, O.C.M.S..The song was written with a co-authoring deal with Bob Dylan, and it is by far OCMS’ best known, beloved and oft covered tune. The entire audience was on their feet cheering and singing along for the duration of the song and the band seemed to pause after it to stare, soak in and appreciate the adoration of the crowd.
Despite my disappointment with 2008′s Tennessee Pusher album, Old Crow’s “Methamphetamine” was one of the most powerful live performances I’ve witnessed.
I had hoped to hear more from 2006′s brilliant Big Iron World (#2 on my Best of the Decade list and one of my all-time favorite albums), but they did play “Cocaine Habit,” “Union Maid” and a soul-stirring, harmonious mashup of “I Hear Them All” and “This Land is Your Land.”
Other highlights were “Mississippi Saturday Night,” “Humdinger,” “CC Rider” and “Big Time in the Jungle,” but it was really a fantastic concert from beginning to end. One of the best I’ve ever attended.
Old Crow Medicine Show have a rare mix of chemistry, energy and artistry. They masterfully bridge the gap between the downhome bluegrass (and blues) past and rowdy rocked up modern Americana. They built the multi-instrumental, multi-genre stage groups like The Low Anthem, The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons now play upon.
OCMS’ sweet backwoods harmonies and barn burning instrumentation made for a very lively, impressive and thoroughly entertaining show.
Though it must be said the true star of the show was the Grassy Knoll Boy I believe Mead called “Reverend Dan,” who popped back on stage to “buck dance” during Old Crow’s set. That dude had pizazz.
Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys joined Old Crow on stage for encore duets of Mead’s old BR549 hit “Cherokee Boogie” and a concluding cover of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”
You can read my full review of last night’s Carrie Underwood concert in Charleston, WV at The Charleston Gazette website. An edited version of the review was also featured in today’s print edition of the newspaper.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Carrie Underwood (and certainly not of opening act Hunter Hayes) before the gig, but it turned out to be one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. Both artists put everything they had into every song. The otherwise spectacular stage lighting was terrible for photos and I forgot my camera, but I snapped a few cell pics. And thanks to YouTube, you can see some videos by other concert goers below.
May is going to be a spectacular month for concerts in Charleston, WV…
Country star and former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood will be at the Charleston Civic Center, with opener Hunter Hayes, on Wednesday, May 8th. Look for my review of that concert in next Thursday’s edition of The Charleston Gazette.
Lyle Lovett will visit The Clay Center on Friday, May 10th.
Comedian Lewis Black will hit The Clay Center on Thursday, May 16th.
Singer-songwriters Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter will perform as a duo during an extended set at a special Mountain Stage at The Clay Center on Sunday, May 19th. Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan is also on the lineup. As an almost lifelong fan of Shawn Colvin, I’m very excited to be reviewing the show for Muruch.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, Old Crow Medicine Show will put on a full concert at The Clay Center on Friday, May 24th! OCMS is one of my favorite modern bands, so reviewing their concert for Muruch is also cause for much excitement.
Muruch’s Mid-West reviewer/photographer Jen “Coble” Hopper caught The Joy Formidable’s concert at Notre Dame’s Legends Nightclub last Thursday, April 11th. You can read her thoughts about and see her photographs of the show below…
The Joy Formidable played Legends of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN) on Thursday, April 11th. Their original set date a couple of days earlier was cancelled due to illness, but when the threesome took the stage, they started off playing like champions.
Ritzy took the stage with bright smiles, bouncing around and engaging the crowd as they were treated to songs off of their latest record, Wolf’s Law.
“This Ladder is Ours” looked and sounded amazing as Ritzy and Rhydian donned rockstar poses all over the stage. Don’t be mislead by the sweet vocals and tiny, petite frame: Ritzy dons a guitar like any guitar god, just one of her many talents as the band’s front woman.
Sadly, the magic ended mid-set as Ritzy began to feel faint. The band cancelled the rest of the set so they could get Ritzy to a medic.
The Joy Formidable have a full summer of touring ahead of them, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch them for a full set in their (hopefully healthier) future.
I know I’m dating myself here, but I loved Boyz II Men when I was in middle school. “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye,” “Motown Philly,” “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “On Bended Knee,” “Water Runs Dry”…any one of those songs brings back a million adolescent memories. So I was very excited to learn that Boyz II Men will kick off a new summer tour on May 31st.
Unfortunately and shockingly, “The Package” tour also features New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees. Ugh. How did that happen? I know Boyz II Men’s releases in the past decade have received mixed reviews – and rightly so, due to their unnecessarily slick pop production. But their voices are as strong as ever (as proved by their acapella singing during recent tv interviews) and I would still love to hear those harmonies live. I don’t think they belong anywhere near washed up boy bands.
The good news is that Boyz II Men are supposed to be the opening act for every date, so you can see them in concert and leave before the boy bands take the stage.
Boyz II Men “The Package” Tour Dates:
May 31 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
June 1 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
June 2 Boston, MA TD Garden
June 4 Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
June 6 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
June 7 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
June 8 Auburn Hills, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
June 9 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
June 11 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
June 13 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
June 14 Washington DC Verizon Center
June 15 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
June 18 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
June 19 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
June 20 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
June 21 Orlando, FL Amway Center
June 22 Fort Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
June 25 Cincinnati, OH US Bank Arena
June 27 Houston, TX Toyota Center
June 28 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
June 29 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy
June 30 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
July 5 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center Arena
July 6 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
July 7 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
July 9 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
July 12 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena
July 13 Minneapolis, MN Target Center