Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Antlers @ Trees, Dallas, TX

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12:30 PM
When I think of the Antlers' music, I think of pure emotion.   Their music evokes an honest yet strong reaction, usually of the melancholy sort.  With that being said, the emotions were in full swing when the Antlers made a stop to Trees in Deep Ellum.  The trio from Brooklyn, along with a touring fourth member, is touring in support of their fifth studio release, Familiars.  It's been a few years since I've seen the Antlers (6/8/11 at the Loft) and definitely took note when their tour dates were released.  Even though I would have preferred to see the Antlers play in a smaller venue, the size didn't take away from the intimacy of the music and how it touched the audience.
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Black Label Society @ Pop’s, Sauget, IL

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1:30 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
Someone call the police!  There has been an assault.  An assault on my auditory senses, that is!  But in the case of seeing Black Label Society live, the assault was not malicious in nature.  In fact, it was self-initiated.  Being a fan of this band and their leader, Zakk Wylde, for the past 15 or so years, I would have gladly driven much farther than the sixty miles (round trip) to Pop’s to cover this show!  For those of you that don’t know, Zakk Wylde is better known for being Ozzy Osbourne’s on again, off again, go to guitarist for the past 25 years.  Over the past few years, Zakk has taken a break from Osbourne’s band and focused entirely on Black Label Society.  Black Label Society has been a revolving door of fantastic musicians since its inception and its founder has always claimed members are free to come and go as they please. The 2014 version of Black Label consists of Zakk Wylde (guitar/vocals/piano), John DeServio (bass/vocals), Jeff Fabb (drums), and Dario Lorina (guitar).
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Photos: Peter Matthew Bauer @ the Loft, Dallas, TX

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1:00 PM
As a fan of the Walkmen, I was pretty intrigued to here one of its own, bassist and organ player Peter Matthew Bauer, would be performing a free show exactly a month after his debut album, Liberation!, was released via Mexican Summer.  A blend of classic rock with a singer-songwriter twist, Bauer's songs are easy to ingest and a joy to listen to.  Performing for years with the Walkmen, Bauer is no stranger to the stage but this is the first time in his career to front and lead his own band.  With less than a dozen live performances under his solo name, Bauer had an composed yet highly energetic feel to him.  His performance was pretty straight forward but he provided a lot of energy when needed, almost screaming his vocals or furiously playing his guitar.  Although the crowd was very modest, he did nothing short of 110% on this night.  I would definitely recommend catching him as I thought it was a great show.  
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gary Clark Jr. / Nick Moss Band @ the Pageant, St. Louis, MO

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2:00 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson

How fitting is it that I’m sitting in my living room watching a Jimi Hendrix documentary and typing up this review?  Fitting!  Very fitting!  Stellar guitar playing was the main course of this show and St. Louis guitar fans were more than starved to see this show.  The Nick Moss Band had a tough job, warming up these staunch supporters of Gary Clark Jr.  I’m happy to report Nick Moss had what it takes to get the job done!  Nick Moss is a big man but he and his band produce a sound that is even bigger.  Moss's Band has a sound that is part jam band and part Chicago blues band.  No slouch on guitar himself, Moss is a veteran musician that has been endorsed and invited to play at Buddy Guy’s Legends by Mr. Guy himself.  The Band is touring in support of their new album, Time Ain’t Free.  If the Nick Moss Band is playing a club near you, stop on by.  You’ll thank me later!
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Journey / Steve Miller / Tower of Power @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO

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12:00 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
It’s hard to fathom that the bands listed above have been making music for combined total of 135 years! If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will! These musicians are considered to be the equivalent of rock and roll royalty.  So without further ado, let’s dive into this big pot of rock and roll stew!  Formed in 1968, in Oakland, California, Tower of Power was at first a collaboration between Emilio Castillo and Stephen Kupka, known back in those days as The Motowns.  In 1970, a name change was in order and more musicians were added to the lineup.  Throughout their career, Tower’s horn section has been featured with artists ranging from Aerosmith to Rod Stewart.  Tower let St. Louis know they came to play as they stared off their set with the funky, “We Came to Play”, from the 1978 album of the same title. Tower’s lead singer, Ray Greene, provided the vocals that are more than powerful enough to compete with this monster horn section.  Not long into Tower’s set, Mr. Greene had worked up a sweat as he patrolled the stage, stopping only to let the horns emphasize a poignant point in some moving pieces of music.  In their all too short set, Tower of Power managed to work in a couple of their classics such as “Soul Vaccination” and “What Is Hip”.  So far, a great start to the night!
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO

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3:00 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson

After taking a break for a year, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest 2014 returned to give the St. Louis festival scene a much needed kick in the ass!  If headbanging and hair whipping for ten hours is your thing, then this festival was the spot to be on a Wednesday afternoon.  The 70-degree July weather also made attending this festival a bearable option.  This was my first visit to the Mayhem Festival and it was an experience I highly recommend.  As with any festival, Mayhem was not without its share of hits and misses; but the solid performers far exceeded the bad.  The afternoon consisted of bands playing on three stage:  Coldcock Herbal Whiskey, Headband for the Highway/Sumerian, Victory Records all provided the sponsorship needed to make these stages possible. The only snag I could find with the three-stage setup was the occasional overlapping of bands.  But Mayhem did a great job in scheduling so that most in attendance could see part of one band’s set before the next act began.
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Doobie Brothers @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO

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3:30 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
Some would consider only photographing and reviewing the opening band as somewhat of a consolation prize, that is, unless the opening band is the Doobie Brothers.  These music icons were in town to open up for another legendary band, Boston.  The list of the accomplishments for the Doobie Brothers is as long as their storied career.  Grammy awards, Vocal Group Hall of Fame inductions, and forty million albums sold worldwide just barely scratch the surface of the accolades this band has received.  Original members, Pat Simmons and Tom Johnston, have fronted this band for the past forty-five years, which in itself is quite a feat.  Although there have been many lineup changes throughout the years, the quality of music has never suffered.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ray LaMontagne / Hamilton Leithauser @ The Fabulous Fox Theater, St. Louis, MO

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2:00 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
After reviewing a few shows that involved headbanging and crowd surfing, it was nice to take a break and enjoy crooning and songwriting at its finest.  I would like to start off this review by apologizing, as I was planning to review the opening band, The Belle Brigade, but for some reason their opening slot was moved up forty minutes and their performance was missed.  So we’ll hopefully catch them at a later date.  I did have the pleasure of catching the second act, Hamilton Leithauser, and was pleasantly surprised by his New York style of crooning.  Hamilton provided a touch of smoothness that landed somewhere between Sinatra and Timberlake.  Leithauser is currently on hiatus from his band, The Walkmen.  The proceeding laid the perfect foundation for the rest of the night’s festivities.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Perfect Pussy / Potty Mouth / Stymie / Orgullo Primitivo @ Three Links, Dallas, TX

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1:30 PM
Perfect Pussy have been riding high over critically positive reviews of their Bamcamp demo and their debut album, Say Yes to Love, not to mention acclaim for their intense live shows.  The band was making their second stop at Three Links in little less than six months, a true sign that this band tours quite a bit.  But this show was a bit different than their last.  This show at Three Links, co-booked by Tactics Productions and Parade of Flesh, proved to be a memorable one.  But it wasn't for the performances, but by a speech given by Perfect Pussy front woman, Meredith Graves, regarding women in music and overall misogyny in the world.
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Slayer / Suicidal Tendencies / Exodus @ the Pageant, St. Louis, MO

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2:30 PM
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
If you were in the mood for something hard and heavy, this show at The Pageant was the place to be.  St. Louis was the lucky recipient of one of only seven shows this trio had scheduled back in January.   All three bands were anticipating playing with one another as Slayer guitarist Kerry King said it had been over twenty years since Slayer had played a show with Suicidal Tendencies.  Exodus was the first band to confront this sold out, SRO show.  As one could imagine with a show of this magnitude, it did not take long for the mosh pit festivities to begin.  Exodus has been thrashing it up since 1980 and was co-founded by Metallica guitarist, Kirk Hammett.  Through the many lineup changes, Exodus has continued to endure and is rocking harder than ever with this current lineup.  With barely time for fans to make it to the restroom and back, Suicidal Tendencies took their places on the stage.  Tendencies have also secured their spot in thrash metal history with a thirty-plus year career.  I can tell you I first saw this band in 1987 and they are aging like a fine wine.  Front man Mike Muir has not skipped a beat and remains the band’s constant throughout the many ups and downs the band has endured over the years.  Taking only a brief pause from his perpetual bobbing and weaving, Muir took a second to remind attendees to pick themselves back up when life knocks you down.
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