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Concert Reviews

The Joy of Christmas with Martina McBride

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Nothing can get you in the Christmas mood better than being on Peachtree Street in Atlanta on a chilly night at the glorious and already festive feeling Fox Theatre! Add the beautiful sound of Martina McBride and there is no way you can’t be excited for Santa to come!  It was not only wonderful to hear her voice singing our favorite Christmas songs, but she had at least seven outfit changes to add to the excitement, each one as beautiful as the songs she was singing. She couldn’t have looked and sounded more beautiful as she started the evening off in a shiny silver dress singing Silver Bells.  Martina let us see a glimpse of what it was like at the McBride house Christmas morning with a home video of her daughters squealing as they open their presents.

Since it was a Christmas special, Martina didn’t sing many songs from her other albums, but did treat us to “Do It Anyway” where she received her first standing ovation of the night.  One special highlight of the night was when she actually came into the crowd to talk to her fans.  As she walked through the audience she stopped and asked questions and even took a few moments to take pictures with a couple guests of the show.  It was obvious there were a lot of people that had been to her Christmas specials before and knew how special it was.  Martina gave special acknowledgement to the Military showing us video of Georgia soldiers sending messages to their loved ones at home then she went straight into “I’ll be home for Christmas”.

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Another highlight was her singing a “duet” with Elvis Presley, “Blue Christmas” – she sang live while the video of Elvis was playing on the big screen – The video included her being super imposed onto the stage with Elvis, with big hair and lots of mascara looking a lot like Priscilla.  The children in the audience (and the adults) enjoyed when Lance Houston from 94.9 The Bull came out and read The Grinch that Stole Christmas as Martina and her background singers sang a couple of the “Who-ville” songs. (Lance did a great job on the reading portion).  She showed off her incredible talent with an a cappella version of “Holy Night”.  A wow-goosebump filled moment for sure.  One part of the show that was so fun and entertaining to watch was the costume changes, she had each outfit perfectly paired with the songs that she sang, the Gold Pants and winter white jacket for “Winter Wonderland”, a gorgeous sparkling red jacket for her “rocking set” that included “All I want for Christmas is You”, and she looked angelic in her beautiful gold gown singing Holy night. I think we were all surprised when the snow started falling inside the Fox and Martina came out for an encore, in yet another costume change, to sing “Christmas”.

It was an awesome night and couldn’t have been more perfect to get everyone in the mood to celebrate this joyous time of year!  Thanks to Martina McBride for making her first stop of this holiday tour in Atlanta and thanks for choosing one of the most charming venues in town!!

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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