The event was AJ’s Birthday Bash at the LEGENDARY Darwin’s Burger and Blues!
When I arrived, ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ filled the night air and brought me back to my childhood where I heard it played many times in church. Darwin’s was up praising the love of the MUSIC AJ and his coalition were sharing. Darwin’s was a blues club, juke joint,and Sunday church meeting all rolled into one!!
You could feel His contagious energy and passion fill the room!
AJ Ghent is a true band leader pulling together some of the best players Atlanta has to offer. Part of his coalition is wife Marla and as I watched them perform, I could see the respect & admiration she has for her husband’s talent. Gary Paulo and Jon Merritt (saxophone) were among the many friends and family there to celebrate. They joined the band for a few tunes adding some blues!
AJ plays both lap and pedal steel guitar. He comes from a long line of steel guitar players and it’s been said that the gift is in His blood. It started with AJ’s grandfather, Henry Nelson. Henry introduced the cutting edge soul sound of the steel guitar in a historical Pentecostal African-American church. AJ’s father, Aubrey Ghent Sr. is also one of the Greats in the Steel Guitar community. He came along and took the style and edge of his father, Henry Nelson, to another level.
AJ Ghent is the NEW image of steel guitar for today’s generation and those to come. He sings, raps, writes, and produces and wants to impact the world with the brilliance of “Feel Good Dance Music.” AJ is a highly sought after steel player and has shared the stage with some of the greats including the Allman Brothers and tours regularly with Col.Bruce Hampton. Some words I heard in reference to this young player: Phenomenal , Amazing , Master & Genius!! I couldn’t agree more!
I asked AJ if he could play with anyone, dead or alive, and he said, “My Grandfather Henry Nelson was the father of what we call Sacred Steel Music. He died some years ago before I had the chance to play with him. That would have been Great!” When asked if he had any pet peeves about the MUSIC Industry he replied,” I have no pet peeve. Pet peeves in music blocks the enhancement of various styles and knowledge from which another could give. We are all creative beings. Let’s learn from each other.” I asked him about his future and he said,
I’m not sure what the future holds. I just want me and my loved ones safe and happy enjoying life.
Amen to that!
[nggallery id=618]photos ©2012 Raymond Chang
The band for the night was:
AJ Wunder Ghent~Vocals~Steel
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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