Black Stone Cherry : July 21, 2011 : Atlanta, GA – The Loft
Some bands are just born to be rock stars. You know the ones I’m taking about. The kind of bands that take the stage and from the first song you know you’re seeing a top quality, high energy performance that can barely be contained in the room they’re playing. That is exactly what my first thoughts were after seeing Black Stone Cherry. Opening with “Change” off of their latest album “Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” was a powerhouse opener as the audience sang the chorus “We are, we are, waiting, waiting. We keep hearing that a change is gonna come” with volume as the band floored through me and just took my face right off my head. Lead singer/guitarist Chris Robertson has to be one of the best rock singers out there and after this show has definitely taken a slot as one of my favorites. He has a voice that cuts through a room and a presence that is commanding but not cocky. After performing the stellar “In My Blood”, Robertson with a huge smile addressed the audience thanked everyone for coming out and stated, “There might not be a whole lot of people here but I just want y’all to know that no matter how many people are here, whether it’s 5, 500 or 50,000 people, Black Stone Cherry will always give you the same kind of show and we’ll give you everything we’ve got.” He was stating nothing but fact as the band continued on pouring their hearts out song after song.
Black Stone Cherry delivered an amazingly impressive set made up of a fair mix of songs from all three of their albums but like every show, there’s always one song that stands above the rest. That particular song was “Killing Floor” off the latest album. The mix of dark and heavy rhythms with an infectiously catchy chorus really showcased their ability to craft an amazingly written song and deliver it flawlessly. Black Stone Cherry performs with flawless precision yet there is absolutely nothing pretentious about this band. It is totally obvious that while this band is as tight as any band I’ve ever seen, they are having the time of their lives and their #1 priority is making sure that they are connecting with their audience. Guitarist Ben Wells and bassist Jon Lawhon never stand still for more than a few seconds as they run around the stage pouring every ounce of energy they have into the songs while leaning into the crowd egging them on to give them some energy back. Drummer John Fred Young alone is worth the price of admission as this guy is like watching Animal from the Muppet Show. The only thing keeping him from the rest of the stage with the guys is his drums as he stands up beating the crap out of them and just having an amazing time doing so.
The powerhouse, face melting set was brought to a close with “Lonely Train” from their self titled debut which brought a huge roar from the crowd as everyone pumped their fists, headbanged and sang every word back to the band. The band bid everyone a good night, tossed out guitar picks and drum sticks and called it a night. One of the things that I couldn’t help but wonder is how the hell these guys aren’t pulling in people by the thousands. I’ve seen bands play to much bigger audiences and deliver half the caliber of a performance. Black Stone Cherry is definitely a band that is much bigger than what we see. They possess all the energy, qualities and abilities of a band 3x their size. Maybe it’s just a matter of time before the world realizes just what the hell they’re missing or maybe they will just always be a well kept secret. Either way, Black Stone Cherry has solidified themselves as one of my new favorite bands and these guys aren’t going to let up until the entire world knows who they are. Look out world, Black Stone Cherry is here.
Black Stone Cherry Setlist:
Change, Shooting Star, Blind Man, In My Blood, Hell and High Water, Killing Floor, White Trash Millionaire, Soul Creek, Maybe Someday, Blame It On The boom Boom, Lonely Train
Photos by TBB’s Jason Goetz : BSC from their show in the Gulf the following night
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
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.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
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.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
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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