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Concert Reviews

Star 94 Jingle Jam 2011

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Star 94’s 10th Jingle Jam was a “multi genre” concert that was entertaining for any age group.  From Pop Boy Band, to Irish Rock to good old American Rock and Roll, there seemed to be something for everyone in its demographic– Five bands/artists were put into this 4 hour event – Parachute, Matt Nathanson, Big Time Rush, The Script and of course, Daughtry!

The night started off strong with Parachute Lead singer, Will Anderson, brought his charming good looks and smooth voice to impress, and he did just that. They are an American Dream in progress. These guys have been friends since High School, won a Battle of the Bands contest and that started the wheels in motion….…. even in the midst of them gaining “music momentum” they finished college – that officially puts them in the “great music AND great example for young kids” category. Their music is uplifting and inspiring with a nice blend of pop and soul….The girls went wild as Will strolled through the crowd as he sang to them …….Something to Believe In was a crowd favorite.  [nggallery id=475]

 Next up, San Francisco’s Matt Nathanson – I have heard his music (best known for Come On Get Higher) but never have seen him live. Matt is one of those guys, that if you like him on the radio or your download, you will LOVE him in person! A self-proclaimed “nerd for music” he is a talented singer, song writer, guitar player, with a touch of “stand up comedian”.  It is obvious he loves what he does! He not only moves on stage, he dances like no one is watching, which to me, is a good thing.  He likes to share just a little about what the meaning of a song is that he has written with a background of where he was (emotionally) when he wrote it and all throughout his dialogue, he shares his humor.……Glad he sang “All we Are” from his Some Mad Hope album (this song was written for those that wake up and just don’t want to get out of bed – we all have times like that). The crowd (me included) was moving to  Modern Love …..another one of his  great,  feel good,  songs – Matt Nathanson left me wanting more more more!  [nggallery id=474]

And now, for what at least what one-half of the crowd had been waiting for…..Big Time Rush (also known as BTR) – When I was walking up to this year’s Jingle Jam I was surprised how many “tweenies” were walking in…..on a school night ….. Little did I know what was ahead……..Big Time Rush, Nickelodeon’s newest, hottest Pop Boy Band was in the house!  They came with all the (choreographed) moves and their “lit-up” costumes- swooning every young girl that was there.  All (at least most) of the girls were crying as they dreamt that one day they would meet Kendall, Carlos, James or Logan ….. Any of them, it wouldn’t matter which one!  The show (of the same name) official debut was November, 2009 as Nickelodeon’s highest rated live action series debut ever!  Their first album, B.T.R.,  was released October, 2010 and their second full length album was just released November, 2011. They used up every square inch of the stage with their dance moves, they even pulled up a very lucky member of the audience to serenade…every girls dream!  These guys didn’t let their fans down for a second. [nggallery id=472]

Switch genre gears with the next band, The Script – Their name might not be that familiar to everyone here in the US, but their songs are, and will continue to be. This group from Dublin has been called everything from an “Irish Pop Band” to “Alternative Rock Band” with an almost U2 sound. Hits that have hit  America  “For The First Time”, “Nothing” and “We Cry” Their first, self titled,  album was released in 2008 followed by Science and Faith in 2010.  Taking the world by storm, their first full European leg of their Science and Faith tour sold out resulting in them having to add more tour dates in Dublin, Belfast and Killarney – within minutes of tickets going on sale they had sold more than $60,000.  Lead singer, Danny O’Donoghue enjoyed encouraging the audience to sing along with him on a few of the songs…..and the fans came through for him singing the lyrics.  After performing all over the world, The Script ended their Science and Faith tour here in Atlanta with Jingle Jam – performing 147 tour dates around the world, they are probably tired and ready to go home….but they sure didn’t sound like it!  I’m sure the US will be seeing and hearing more from them.  [nggallery id=476]

Although it was a school night and a lot of the BTR fans had left, there was still a crowd of loyal fans left for the grand finale ….. Daughtry – When Daughtry came out with their first album “It’s Not Over” in 2007, they were right….in fact it had only just begun….America fell in love with Chris Daughtry in 2006 during the 5th season of American Idol when “America got it wrong” and he was booted off, leaving him in 4th place!  Well, something good came out of that season because he hasn’t skipped a beat since – It was the beginning of the band, Daughtry.  In 2007 they were honored with Breakthrough Artist of the Year by the American Music Awards. When Daughtry came out on stage in his jeans and plain grey t-shirt, they came to rock! No small talk – no glitz and glamour.…just good old rock and roll. The energy that Daughtry brings to the stage is exciting. The way he actually reaches out to the crowd is impressive and keeps the crowd on their feet. They played several of their hits and included Black Crowes “She Talks to Angels” to their playlist. I got the sense that Daughtry enjoys giving back to his fans – giving back is what they are doing now in the form of a new album, their 3rd,  called Break the Spell,  which was just released in November.  Check out recent single “Crawling Back To You”.[nggallery id=473]

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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