Crazy Jane to Reunite at Live on the Levee!

Only my fellow West Virginians who were teenagers in the 1990s will truly understand the heart-fluttering excitement I felt when I read the following band name on the 2012 Live on the Levee lineup:

Crazy Jane.

Yes, the Crazy Jane. Break out your flannel shirts people, it’s time to party like it’s…1994.

Live on the Levee‘s Stage Manager, Adam Harris, verifies that original Crazy Jane singer Karan Allen, guitarist Andy Park and drummer Mark Davis will indeed reunite on stage for the August 24th concert at Charleston’s Haddad Riverfront Park. The concert, like every Live on the Levee show, will be free and open to the public.

I won’t bore you with the details of all my Crazy Jane-related memories, but the two most memorable were going to one of their outdoor concerts with my bestfriend in high school (during which we discussed our mutual love for My So-Called Life) and seeing what was one of the band’s last live performances at Taylor Books in February, 2000 (on a date with the boy I would eventually marry).

You can check out the rest of this summer’s Live on the Levee concert series lineup – which also includes The Sweetback Sisters, Shemekia Copeland and local singer Sasha Collette – at the link below.

Live on the Levee Official Site

A personal P.S.: I have Crazy Jane’s 1993 album Choice Oranges and their 2000 self-titled album, but I’m still looking for their 1996 album, Pilot.

Live Review: Empires & The Whigs in Chicago

As Vic posted two weeks ago, The Whigs and Empires performed at Bottom Lounge in Chicago, Illinois on Friday, April 23rd, and new Muruch writer Chelle was there to witness it. Following is Chelle’s review of the gig, along with some great shots of the show by freelance photographer Jen “Coble” Hopper.

Still relatively new to the Chicago music machine, Empires played their first local shows a mere two years ago, unknown and hopeful, fresh and unfocused in direction and execution. But gone are the days of inconsistency and scrambling to find their footing with their live sets: Empires delivered a solid, hard-hitting performance at Bottom Lounge, to the steadfast devotion of their ever-growing hometown crowd.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Working diligently to garner support for their second album Bang (out now and available at their website), the majority of the setlist consisted of these newer songs, sprinkled with a few of the fan favorites from their first full-length album.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

The result is a tidy, powerful charge of big guitar sounds, driven with impressive precision by the drums, fueled by the frenzied vocals of Sean Van Vleet.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

The consistency and synergy with which the band performs each track, scarcely pausing in transitions, provides an impressive non-stop delivery that only inspires hope for the places they’ll go from here.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Empires are touring throughout May and June, and perform again in Chicago on June 6 at Subterranean.

Buy Empires Album @ Amazon

Empires Official Site (Free Mp3s)

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

The Whigs took the stage to a very enthusiastic and eager crowd (even with a noteable shift change from the Empires set), launching immediately into their merry blend of Americana-esque southern rock.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

For a three piece who stand as far away from one another on stage as possible, the band keeps a tight focus, energetic and rollicking, tearing through their performance with seasoned ease.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

The setlist consisted more of the known tracks from their previous efforts than new material off their recently-released album In the Dark, but songs like “Kill Me Carolyne” still possess the band’s signature songwriting tricks, heavy and catchy and as pleasing as lead singer Parker Gispert’s leg-kicking choreography.

Copyright Jen Hopper 2010

The Whigs are booked to tour throughout the summer into fall across the US.

Buy The Whigs Album @ Amazon

The Whigs Official Site (Free Mp3s)

Note: If you like Chelle’s review, you can leave a comment below. Photographer Jen “Coble” Hopper can be contacted directly via email at jl.coble.hopper@gmail.com and her online portfolio is on Flickr.

Live Preview: The Whigs & Empires in Chicago

The Whigs and Empires will perform at Bottoms Lounge in Chicago, Illinois on Friday, April 23rd, along with Old Fake (feat. former members of The Office).

Why is a West Virginia-based music site posting this information? I’m glad you asked. Muruch has a new writer who resides in Chicago. Her name is Chelle, I’ve known her for a decade, and she has always been on the cutting edge of all things cool – particularly when it comes to music. Chelle will make her writing debut on Muruch with her review of The Whigs/Empires gig, so you Chicago kids should definitely attend the show to see if you agree with her take on it.

Photo by Jordan Noel

The Whigs are apparently known for their “enthralling” live shows, and were recently on The David Letterman Show. A video of that performance is on YouTube, and the video for their song “Kill Me Carolyne” is on Yahoo. You can receive 2 free mp3 downloads from The Whigs’ new album In The Dark by submitting your email at The Whigs Official Site.

Empires are a local Chicago band (I believe it was Chelle who first told me about them). They’re what indie used to mean – they write, produce, mix, and release all of their albums themselves. Their debut Howl is available as a free, legal download here and they have a lot of “name your price” mp3s from their new album Bang at Empires Official Site.

Bottoms Lounge Official Site (Buy Tickets)

Buy The Whigs Album @ Amazon

Buy Empires Album @ Amazon