Going to a live performance by the band GWAR is the most fun way I can think of to completely destroy whatever clothes you happen to be wearing at the time! David Lee Beowulf and I went to see them at either Irving Plaza or the Bowery Ballroom – who can even remember? — ages and ages ago and I think I wore an old pair of pajamas to the show. Fake Blood Spurting Everywhere! Metal! Fun!
GWAR super fan Jeff Cantrell has started a petition to get GWAR hired as the Halftime show entertainment at the 2015 Superbowl and you can sign it now and lend your support at This Link! The petition currently has over 46,000 signatures and he needs to reach 50,000 signatures before the petition can be submitted. I could not possibly give less of a shit about the Super Bowl, but I love GWAR! So what are you waiting for? Get clicking!
Joseph Arthur’s tenth (tenth!) studio album dropped this past Tuesday (June 11th) and it is once again proof that the New York-based, wildly prolific musician and multi-media artist never runs dry of engaging ideas. Joe performed The Ballad of Boogie Christ front to back (with a few old favorites thrown in at the end) at the Bowery Ballroom last evening, and fans came out to pack the room despite a cold and windy rain working up a frenzy on the streets outside.
For a fan like me, who’s been following Joseph’s career since his 1997 debut, Boogie Christ is a bit more of straightforward “rock” album, bolstered by strong Bob Dylan influences, that still dips into the arena of Arthur’s gorgeous, subtly nuanced ballads.
The Ballad of Boogie Christ Cover Art
Although it’s always a kick to experience Joe’s one-man-band performances, last night he was accompanied by a full band – including a saxophone! – which allowed him to rock out a bit more, being freed up from carrying the entire evening on his nevertheless very musically capable shoulders.
Joe will be touring nationally throughout the month of June and you can find tour dates in your area at This Link. He’ll also be performing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Friday June 21st, so be sure to tune in or set your DVRs! The Ballad of Boogie Christ is available from Joseph Arthur Dot Com and wherever fine music is procured.
A one-night-only performance by former Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant and his new group, The Band of Joy (which sold out NYC’s Bowery Ballroom through Ticketmaster in, literally, fewer than 60 seconds) was indeed a joyous performance: one that, for me, ranks among the most vibrant and emotionally satisfying live shows I’ve seen, ever. While Plant and his band proved beyond doubt that they can rock out, this wasn’t what you’d call a “Rock Show,” nor was it the kind of music I’d assume your average Led Zeppelin fan would find easily accessible. Still, Plant’s latest gig fits him like a second skin and the 500 or so people lucky enough to cram themselves inside the very packed venue were clearly enthralled.
Robert Plant and the Band of Joy performed a smooth mix of impeccably written standards and select favorites from Plant’s catalog, dipping into compatible genres from Americana to Country, Blues to Roots and even a little Gospel. Opening with a cover of Low’s “Monkey,” Plant found his groove and never let it go. Through a set that included cuts from the Band of Joy CD, several re-worked Led Zeppelin classics and songs from Plant’s recordings with The Honey Drippers and his recent Grammy winning disc with Alison Krauss, it was mesmerizing to watch this legendary vocalist take things down to a solo vocal only to have the band explode around him a split second later. Unbelievable.
At age 62, Plant’s voice remains untouchable and the band is truly phenomenal – each a gifted and well known musician individually, together they create a new and beautiful sound. Whether it was Buddy Miller’s outstanding work on both the six and twelve string guitar’s, Darrell Scott’s ringing mandolin, banjo, steel guitar or six-string, Patty Griffin’s larger than life vocals, Byron House’s versatile bass rhythms and Marco Giovoni’s perfectly nuanced drums, there was something to be amazed at continuously. It was also great to see Plant retreat to the rear of the stage and provide background vocals while Darrell Scott, who has an amazing voice, sang lead front and center, or wailing on the harmonica as Buddy Miller took the lead. You really got the feeling you were witnessing very special musical relationships evolving. This is a tour not to be missed.
Sunday night’s one hour and forty-five minute set was comprised of the following songs:
Monkey / House of Cards / Please Read the Letter / Misty Mountain Hop / Rich Woman / Trouble / 12 Gates to the City / Kings Horses / Satisfied Mind / Move Up / Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down / Central Two O Nine / Angel Dance / Houses of the Holy / Down to the Sea / Tall Cool One / Gallows Pole
Harms Swift Way / Rock and Roll / Goodnight
Thanks again to Rounder Records and Ken Weinstein of Big Hassle for the hot guest list action! You can buy or download the Band of Joy album now, as it was just released today!