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Concert Reviews

and All the Kings Horses…..

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Kings of Leon & Band of Horses . . . . (as read from the scroll) . . . Aaron’s Amphitheatre was the scene,  July 27th in the year of 2011 the date…. The show was like none other out there.  Band of Horses opening for Kings of Leon.

Arriving at Aaron’s as media guests of Kings of Leon, we were greeted and given the low down. I was surprised to learn that it was only myself and one other photographer at the show, so I knew this was going to be good.

It was steamy hot and even hotter in the photo pit.  Guests who had the privilege of standing at the barrier were already lined up waiting for the show to start.  Maybe the girls I was standing in front of were really nice or maybe they had a little too much to drink, but either way I totally didn’t mind them fanning me with their Aaron’s Amphitheater paper fan they received at the gate. Thanks ladies!

Standard rule, only shoot the first three songs, no flash and surprise…. this time there will be a dead zone in the photo pit that you cannot pass.  This happens to be in the middle of the photo pit so once the set starts, you are stuck! Yippie!  Like Willie Wonka, I agree, the only good prize is a surprise! Oh well, I love a challenge!

Band of Horses came out right on time and the growing crowd is ready to hear this group of talented musicians.  Made up of  Ben Bridwell,  Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey,
Bill Reynolds and Creighton Barrett this band from Seattle have already released three studio albums, the most recent and most successful of which is 2010’s Grammy nominated Infinite Arms.

The highlight of the set was hearing them sing a cover of Cee Lo Green’s “Georgia”.  This was a good call boys as we southerners like to represent!

It appears to me that Band of Horses knows their strengths;  They know what works and sticks with it;  Huge, catchy choruses, loose verse melodies, and that voice that comes clean and right out of Ben Bridwell’s throat.  It reminded me a lot of Atlanta rocker Kevn Kinney.
To sum it up, tonight’s display is exactly why Band Of Horses are performing in this sized venue and touring all over the world. They are a tight and perfectly polished band who get on stage and give it everything!  That is exactly what that crowd was there for.

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As Aarons Amphitheatre reached near capacity, Kings of Leon took the stage at 8:30 p.m.  Diving right into “Radioactive”, the crowd made it clear that this is what they wanted.  Pure rock from these talented Followill boys that have taken them to the top of the charts.

By the time the band played “Molly’s Chambers”, their fourth song of the night, not too many people were sitting.  Arms in the air and a lot of singing was what I saw from the crowd for the rest of the night.  Caleb Followill’s lyrics seemed to connect with the crowd especially with the mention of “Southern” things, and it was hard to not sing along myself.

“Back Down South” and “Mary” were also in last nights set and are featured on their new album, Come Around Sundown. Right after “Mary” was played Caleb told the crowd that the very first Kings of Leon show was in Atlanta. The crowd loved that!

Having never seen Kings of Leon myself before live, It definitely lived up to what I had thought it would be.

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Kings of Leon Setlist:

Radioactive
Taper Jean Girl
Four Kicks
Molly’s Chambers
The Bucket
The Immortals
Fans
Back Down South
Mi Amigo
No Money
Mary
Notion
California Waiting
Birthday
Closer
Pyro
On Call
Knocked Up
Sex on Fire
Encore:
Crawl
Use Somebody
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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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