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Concert Reviews

Ben Deignan at Smiths Olde Bar

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Ben Deignan’s great stage presence and smooth sexy sound was apparent from the very beginning of his show at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta as he jammed through Bump in the Road, a Johnny Lang song that Ben and his talented band played flawlessly.  For those that haven’t had the pleasure of hearing him, he is a one of a kind with a twist of John Mayer, Robin Thicke, Michael Jackson, Rihanna and Maxwell – Are you interested to hear him now?  You should be .  He showed his creative side singing Cool as he mixed in a little of Rihanna’s Umbrella…..And  their upbeat funky version of  80’s hit by Terence Trent D’arby’s , Wishing Well,  showed how they can make any song their own.  It’s not just Ben that has the talent, his band does too and they know how to jam….hard.

The night had a couple of surprises, one was Scotty Cram – he came onstage and together they sang Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror, Scotty’s guitar solo blended amazingly well with Ben Deignan and his band – a WOW moment!  (I heard Scotty and Ben might be working on something together for the near future….after hearing that song, we can only hope that’s true).  They played a crowd favorite, Sexy Black Dress, a song that his fans would have been disappointed if it wasn’t included in the set.   The grand finale was an amazing way to finish the night……Will Turpin (bass player for Collective Soul) came on stage and showed his own amazing talent as he ROCKED the keyboard  to Stevie Wonder’s Superstition while the band collectively belted out the tune with their vocals and instruments.Nothing like throwing in a little Motown to keep a crowd on their feet!  (Will has been working on his own project and actually played a set of his own before Ben – he was awesome – I could go on and on about Will too – another day, another review!)   Nobody could have possibly sat still during the entire song…. Yet another big WOW moment! Ben and his band are soulful and expressive and, by far, one of my personal Top 10 ATL bands!

 

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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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