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Concert Reviews

YES, STYX Please!

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Thursday July 14th in Alpharetta, GA a great and wonderful thing happened for music and music lovers alike.

Yes and Styx co-headlined a show at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater~ For the first time in their combined years, Styx and Yes teamed up for a double bill tour.  Thursday evening at Verizon Amphitheater,  the two bands put on a performance that will give every tour a run for its money this summer!

Starting the night off was a solo acoustic performer named Shane Alexander from Los Angeles.  Shane takes off like a rocket as modern troubadour with a sound that harkens back to a young Jackson Browne. Great melodic sing-song mood music. A very great warm-up for what’s to come. The highlight of his short set for me was the song Amsterdam, a nice moody piece about finding love in Amsterdam. Keep your ears open for this crossover star taking flight.

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[pro-player width=’430′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K9hbAhQSQg[/pro-player]

Moving right into YES, the opening music started with Fly From Here Overture while the band made their way to the stage! Their newest album, Fly From Here came out July 12th.  The crowd was overjoyed to see them and all the concert goers in the front few rows were on their feet.

Yes now features new lead singer Benoit David, a Canadian born musician who was in a well known YES tribute band and discovered by members of YES in 2008, Bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe and Drummer Alan White.  Rounding out the group, returning after a thirty year absence is keyboardist Geoffrey Downes!  He was ready to play to the crowd and he clearly missed the spotlight.  The first three songs went fast, Tempus Fugit, Yours Is No Disgrace, and Heart of the Sunrise which younger fans may remember as the opening song in the 1998 film Buffalo ’66 with Vincent Gallo and Christina Ricci .  Then when they broke into their hit,  “I’ve Seen All the Good People” , the dancing began in the seats and on the lawn.  Benoit David has what it takes to cover for original member Jon Anderson. So much so that I had spoken to several people in crowd that swore up and down that is WAS Jon Anderson!  The rest of the songs were We Can Fly – And You and I – Owner of a Lonely Heart – Starship Trooper with a rise to your feet encore of Roundabout!

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After a quick break,  STYX took the stage with Blue Collar Man with Tommy Shaw on lead vocals.  These boys were happy to be back in Georgia and it showed on stage.  Led by guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young, the band showed they keep getting better with age!  Holy Smokes, these boys were ready to bring the rock!  Bassist Ricky Phillips, the new kid, has now been with STYX for a little over eight years.  Ricky and Todd Sucherman on drums have really solidified the rhythm section and brought it up to STYX standards!

Keyboardist and vocalist  Lawrence Gowan tackled the songs with great precision and as always with his crowd pleasing stunts and booty shakes!  Lawrence took the lead on the second song of the night, Grand Illusion and he kept his energy the whole night. Ange with TBB spoke to Lawrence just a couple weeks ago. We talked about how grateful he is to the fans and the crowd and you could tell during his performance.

STYX is currently putting the finishing touches on REGENERATION, VOLUME 2, the follow-up to 2010’s seven-song EP, REGENERATION, VOLUME 1, which contains six newly re-recorded classics–“Come Sail Away,” “Crystal Ball,” “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man),” “Lorelei,” “The Grand Illusion” and “Sing For The Day”—and a brand new track, “Difference In The World.” The track listing for REGENERATION, VOLUME 2 is: “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Too Much Time On My Hands,” “Queen of Spades,” “Coming Of Age” (Damn Yankees), “High Enough” (Damn Yankees), “Snowblind,” “Miss America.” Both volumes will be available for sale at every stop along the tour route.

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 YES SETLIST

Tempus Fugit
Yours Is No Disgrace
Heart of the Sunrise
I’ve Seen All Good People
We Can Fly
And You and I
Owner of a Lonely Heart
Starship Trooper
Encore:
Roundabout

 STYX Setlist

Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
The Grand Illusion
One With Everything
Too Much Time On My Hands
Lady
Lorelei
Man in the Wilderness
Suite Madame Blue
Crystal Ball
Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
(with Chuck Panozzo)
Miss America
(with Chuck Panozzo)
Layla
(Derek and the Dominos cover) (Piano Section)
Come Sail Away
(with Chuck Panozzo)
Encore:
Renegade

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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