Isn't funny how things work out? I was very bummed the last time Explosions in the Sky was scheduled to play in Dallas, as I missed out on ticket and press opportunities. I, in turn, covered TV on the Radio and Broken Social Scene at the House of Blues. Fortunate for me, the weather did not cooperate and the outdoor Explosions show at Strauss Square could not be held and was canceled. That night, I enjoyed a fiery performance from Brooklyn's TVoTR and proclaimed myself lucky as I had made the 'right' choice. But I was not without regret and sympathy, as I would l have loved to had the opportunity to see the band I haven't seen since 2007 (Meachem Auditorium, University of Oklahoma) and felt awful for those who had, not only their night ruined, but missed on seeing Explosions perform. But as luck would find it, the band rescheduled to perform the Winspear Opera House and I found myself in the good graces of Explosions' press relations and was once again in the presence of the explosive quintet from Austin.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Posted by Scott Rowe, Editor 1 Comment
Before my father passed away, he shared many stories of bands he had seen in his lifetime. The stories of Pink Floyd in Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the 70’s on their Animals tour or Uriah Heap opening for Jimi Hendrix. So hearing these stories I could only imagine what those concerts were like. Along with his stories, my father also introduced me to much of the music of the 60's and 70's. This is where I learned about a fellow named Frank Zappa. At first, I only heard the lyrics of Frank’s songs and found them to be quite humorous. As I dove deeper into this Frank Zappa music, I also discovered he was a gifted guitar player and continually surrounded himself with highly-talented musicians. So with all of the above mentioned knowledge, I have often thought how great it would have been to see a Zappa show. But unfortunately, Frank left us in 1993 and my opportunity was missed. So fast forward some 18 odd years later, I’m off to photograph a Frank Zappa tribute (I’ll use the term loosely) band. Two gentlemen that were fortunate enough to share a stage with Frank Zappa were Ike Willis and Ray White, who performed in many incarnations of Frank’s backing bands during the 70's and 80's. Andre Cholmondeley founded the band in 1990 or so, starting with Ike in 1996 and has since hired over a dozen various Zappa alumni to play with them. Ray handled the duties of rhythm guitar and backing vocals while Ike, also a talented guitar player, but is most remembered as 'the Joe', the narrative voice heard throughout the Joe’s Garage rock opera albums. Besides Ike and Ray, Cholmondeley has included the talents of Napoleon Murphy Brock, Denny Walley, Mike Keneally, Don Preston, Ed Mann, Arthur Barrow, Bunk Gardner, Robert Martin, Jimmy Carl Black, Al Malkin, Bruce Bickford, Roy Estrada, Bob and Thana Harris, as well as Candy Zappa, Gary Lucas, Ed Palermo, Jerry Cucurullo and many others.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Plain White T's / The Summer Set / The Downtown Fiction / Allison Park @ Harlen Hunter Stadium, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, MO
This night started out pretty darn sweet with limited travel time. The venue was only about a half-mile from my domicile. This show was on the campus of Lindenwood University and the kickoff to their homecoming weekend. The organizers of this concert brought in some great talent at a student friendly price. So after securing my pass, free Chick-fil-A sandwich, and a free 5 Hour Energy drink, I was ready to cover the show.
Being on a college campus can be highly entertaining and one never knows what they might see. Tonight, I saw a guy in the front row in a banana suit, college kids taking a nap on the turf of Harlen Hunter Stadium, and a young lady finding constellations with her phone app. This night, I also became a sports reporter. Having access to the Cardinals/Brewers game on the sound guy’s laptop, I relayed continual score updates to audience members. On the bill were Allison Park, the Downtown Fiction, the Summer Set, and the Plain White T’s. Every band played highly energetic sets and left the college kids with great memories of their homecoming weekend.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Okay, off to another weird, wacky, wonderful show at the Firebird. There are things at the Firebird that happen nowhere else on the planet. For starters, on this Wednesday night, as many nights before the audience started positioning themselves in half circle about 15 feet from the stage. Now mind you, there is nothing preventing the audience from coming closer to the stage. Then as usual, the band onstage encourages forward momentum and everyone steps toward the stage. Pretty Little Empire was the band that encouraged forward momentum on this night. It was a pleasure to finally hear what the rest of St. Louis has been buzzing about. Pretty Little Empire covers a vast array of musical genres, flavors of country, folk, rock, and an occasional punk-rock guitar riff makes this band a cut above the rest in the St. Louis music scene.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Now this is a cool formula. You take your singer/songwriter buddies out on tour with you and introduce the world to their music. I bet the record execs in Nashville hate these guys. As much as I hate to type it, this is kind of like American Idol on tour but with real talent. In a way, I was dreading writing this article. In no way did my dread have anything to do with Ten Out of Tenn’s performance. The dread was how do you take a stage full of talent, give each member their just praise, do the research on each artist, and include the highlights of the show. So instead of me rambling for days and days, I’ll condense it the best I can and hope that someday I can see each artist individually for review purposes. The group began in 2005 with Kristen and Trent Dabbs and a handful of their singer/songwriter friends. Over the past six years, members have came and went but the level of talent remains constant.
Monday, October 3, 2011
With enough smoke to fill a haunted house and enough visuals and strobe lighting to send the crowd into a week-long epileptic seizure, the Panda Bear show at Granada Theater was definitely one of a kind. Coupled with the amazing music of indie genius Noah Lennox, aka Panda Bear, the show was one of the best I have seen this year. The highly-anticipated show was a nonstop stream of Tomboy, Panda Bear's latest effort and climaxed with his two most recognized tracks, "Comfy in Nautica" and "Bros" from his much-loved third release Person Pitch. I was lucky enough to catch Noah headlining his own show as opposed to performing with a festival, in which his set and music were far less appreciated. Outside of the crazy amount of smoke Granada continuously pumped into the space, it was a fantastic night of music. Videos of the show are below:
The bar. They took the whole effin’ bar. Okay, they didn’t take the whole bar but its size had been greatly reduced. Apparently Off Broadway chose to do some remodeling since I last covered a show in July. During my extended wait, as Daredevil Christopher Wright had canceled,I quizzed my bartender on the changes at Off Broadway, she said they had considered a bar reduction for some time to increase seating capacity. Alright, enough about the bar. Let’s talk music.