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Concert Review: Blackberry Smoke – Wild Bills in Duluth, GA 10/2/2010

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Wild Bills in Duluth, GA was an entertaining place to be on October 2, 2010. The night started out with Buck O’Five, followed by The Scott Little Band and then the headlining band, Atlanta’s own Blackberry Smoke.

Don’t let the appearance of the long hair, scruffy beards, and long mutton chops fool you. It’s not just an appearance; it’s a way of life.  From the moment the boys hit the stage at 11:30 p.m.,  singing one of their many hit songs “Like I Am” the crowd was on their feet shaking their booty’s, stomping their feet and singing along with lead singer and guitarist, Charlie Starr.

I’ve always heard the saying that “they own the stage” and if any band does, its Blackberry Smoke.  Bass player Richard Turner and drummer Brit Turner are so musically in sync you’d think they were brothers. Well, they are!   Guitar player Paul Jackson’s sound demands attention.  The newest member on keyboards, Brandon Still, ties the five piece band together and gives it a melodious balance.

The set list consisted of eighteen hit songs.  Some of them are off their CD’s “Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime”, and “Little Piece of Dixie.” They threw in a newly released song that they sang with Jamey Johnson and George Jones, “Yesterdays Wine” and a cover of “Can’t you Hear Me Knocking” which was a crowd pleaser.  They ended up the night with an encore and sang “Man of Constant Sorrow”.

At the end of every concert,  after the last song is sung and I’m headed out to my car, I always ask myself a few questions:   Was it worth the money to hear this band?  Did they entertain me?  Will I buy a CD?  Will I listen to it?  There are not many bands that I can answer “yes” to, but I could this night, and can honestly say that I highly recommend that you check Blackberry Smoke out!  When they come back to Atlanta I will be there ready to dance and stomp my feet with the rest of the crowd!  As I climbed into my car, new CD in hand, I still can’t get enough of the Smoke!  They are touring hot and heavy through the Fall and will be playing in a city near you.  Check out their website for tour dates.

Thanks to our wonderful Contributor Stephanie Clark for the review and pictures!  The Backstage Beat loves you!

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Concert Reviews

Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad

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Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.

Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”

Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.

The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.

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Concert Reviews

Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair

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The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.

What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.

Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.

Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.”  The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.

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Concert Reviews

Years & Years at Royale Boston

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During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.

Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.

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