Tag Archive | Live Show

Black Stone Cherry at NYC’s Beacon Theater

Black Stone Cherry Press Photo
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A publicist recently asked me what bands I’m currently listening to – and I know she expected me to name some “new” bands, but I had to confess that the bulk of music I’ve been loading on my iPod or adding to my collection in recent months is music from the 1970s. Because, from The Beatles through Glam, Prog Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, the onset of Electronica, Punk Rock and New Wave, the Seventies really had it all. This realization actually brought back an awkward memory of the time an editor (whom I still affectionately refer to as Iron Nuts) accused me of being “desperate to like a modern band.” Okay, guilty as charged. Still, I’m not going to apologize for it.

One modern band that I do like a lot is Black Stone Cherry. I’d own all of their records even if I didn’t get them for free from their label, and I try to see the band play live when they come to New York City. So, I felt very fortunate to get on the guest list to see these remorselessly southern rockers from Kentucky kick out a super tight but exhilarating 45 minute set last week, in support of the Sammy Hagar-fronted all star contingent Chickenfoot. Making sure to please both faithful and new fans, Black Stone Cherry’s three albums (2006’s eponymous debut, 2008’s Folklore and Superstition and 2011’s Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea) were equally represented within an eclectic 10-song set list.

Black Stone Cherry maintain a gritty enough modern edge to do battle with the fiercest head bangers, but what they remind me of at their creative core is The Allman Brothers with a touch of Hendrix. Surely no one could find fault with that. And any doubt of the veracity of this groups’ southern rock roots is laid to waste with Deep Blue Sea’s exceptional cover of The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See,” on which Black Stone Cherry pay deep homage to the original tune while completely making it their own. It’s easy enough to casually toss out a phrase like “The Real Deal” when describing a blues-based rock band, but I’m not fronting when I say that Black Stone Cherry does their old school mentors proud in their ability to rock out and entertain without the need for any added bells and whistles. These guys just love music; and it shows. Front man Chris Robertson, who effortlessly tackles lead vocals and lead guitar owns a seasoned but fluid voice that delivers both rockers and ballads with equal power and finesse. As a front man, he’s cute but also burly and masculine. I dig his vibe. While bassist Jon Lawhon stays mostly anchored to the stage, his fretwork is top shelf, and it’s a lot of fun to watch rhythm guitarist Ben Wells work the stage, tirelessly leaping atop monitors, engaging the audience and heightening the energy of the room. But for me, the superstar of the band is drummer John Fred Young, who channels the thunder power of John Bonham in his attack on the kit while fully capturing the showmanship of a crowd-pleasing player like Tommy Lee. Young’s arms never stop moving. I could watch him play drums all day. Plus: Hot.

Black Stone Cherry had me and the rest of the crowd on our feet for most of their set (impressive for an opening act), and I love all of their songs, but the most memorable tune of the evening, I think, was “Blame It On The Boom Boom,” which, despite being somewhat dorky, keeps the decadence of the Rock Star Lifestyle alive with its message about the joys of bonking and getting wasted, or something like that. I doubt that any of these guys are Motley Crue-level partiers, but it certainly wasn’t lost on me that they chased “Boom Boom” with few bars of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” – a song I would love to see them cover on a future album.

See the Set List after the Jump!

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Bryan Ferry at NYC’s Beacon Theater: The Set List


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This past Thursday I was super fortunate to have been able to see Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry perform at the Beacon Theater here in NYC. He looked great and sounded amazing! He also did a fun and varied set of songs that ranged from both early and later period Roxy Music, his own solo stuff and covers of Bob Dylan and Neil Young tunes. Ferry is changing up the song list on this tour, so every show is a little bit different, but if you weren’t at the Beacon on October 6, 2011, this is what you missed.

The Main Thing (Roxy Music)
Slave to Love
Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan cover)
Casanova (Roxy Music)
If There is Something (Roxy Music song)
Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
Boys and Girls
Kiss and Tell
To Turn You On
Like a Hurricane (Neil Young cover)
Tara (Roxy Music)
Bitter Sweet (Roxy Music)
You Can Dance
Reason and Rhyme
Avalon (Roxy Music)
My Only Love (Roxy Music)
Love Is The Drug (Roxy Music)
All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
Let’s Stick Together (Wilbert Harrison cover)

Encore:
Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover)
Hold On (I’m Coming)

Motley Crue Kick Start My Heart at Madison Square Garden!

(All Photos by Geoffrey Dicker)

I have said it many times before – and I am saying it again right now – that I would rather listen to Motley Crue songs like “Dr. Feelgood” or “Shout at the Devil” one hundred million billion times than be forced to listen to the majority of today’s shitty, modern alternative trash rock for fifteen seconds. Because, here’s the thing, Motley Crue – undeniable walking punch lines that they are – are nevertheless a bonafide gang of dangerous, ex-drug addict rock stars from an old school of Rock with a Capital R that, really, does not exist anymore. And for this, I worship them openly.

Watching Motley Crue play live is like driving a Ferrari at 100 miles an hour or having endlessly orgasmic sex with the hottest partner imaginable (me: Gael Garcia Bernal). NONE of these emo/screamo “Mommy didn’t love me” bullshit bands get me off at all. None of them have the balls of a Rock God like Nikki Sixx, who is one of the most original, charismatic figures in rock music since John Lennon. None of these new “excuses for musicians” have any rock star cache. And man, I miss that more than you could even imagine.

Today’s pop music sounds like it came from a can, and 90% of these young bands are just a bunch of whiney brats with guitars who aspire to sound like The All American Rejects (worst band ever) because that’s what the little emo kids are downloading from iTunes. Geesus god, when did rock music get so fucking lame? You can keep Panic at the Disco and The Academy Is and I’ll just curl up with Girls Girls Girls and my copy of The Dirt and be just fine, thank you.

I had a fucking blast last night and so did my plus one, Geoffrey, who I brought along with me since he had never seen The Crue before. I figured he’d appreciate their deal, as he is the only gay guy I have ever met whose favorite band is The Doors. Geoffrey knows his shit when it comes to what rocks and what does not rock. I have very few issues with Motley Crue as people, their showmanship or their set list. They played all the hits you could want to hear as a 20-year fan and very few songs from their new CD, which I do not know. Their stage set was awesome. They had so many explosions and bright lights and shiny visual distractions that I’m still deaf and seeing trails. Mick Mars can play his ass off despite being practically turned into a living statue from ankylosing spondylitis (look it up) and both Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee have life-long “Get Out of Jail Free” cards as far as I’m concerned. But…I have an issue with Vince Neil. Please allow me to share.


Vince, Nikki & Mick

Before their set even started (and remember that we had to sit through three opening acts, all of which – thank Christ – were at least pretty decent in the “ability to rock” department), Geoffrey and I were taking bets about whether or not Vince Neil would be fat. “I bet he’s fat,” said Geoffrey. “I bet he’s fat, too,” I admitted. So you can see there was no real betting going on there, since neither one of us had any faith in Neil’s ability to stay away from the pork rinds. But – surprise – Vince is not only slender-ish, but looking quite fit these days. He was full of energy as he danced and pranced about the stage in a manner that immediately brought to mind Billy Squire’s performance in the video for “Rock Me Tonight.”


Tommy Lee

But the gigantic bone I have to pick with Vince concerns his unwillingness/inability to sing any Motley Crue song all the way through from beginning to end without taking a hundred breaks in between. Basically, he sings about every third or forth word and leaves it up to the audience to fill in the gaps. WTF? He has been doing this for about ten years and it makes me want to smash him in the face. Vince, dude, get a little bit friendly with reality here: nobody in Madison Square Garden last night paid $90 for their ticket so they could hear the drunk guy next to them sing the chorus to “Kick start my heart.” I mean, that’s the pay off! If you just sing every other word to the verses and then hand off the mike to the audience to sing the chorus – like a lame, douche bag jagoff – that’s completely unacceptable! I refuse to pretend that we should not call shenanigans on you for this heinous, repeated transgression! I would rather have Vince LIP SYNC the fucking songs then just not sing. Nikki Sixx must agonize over a desire to kick your not-that-fat ass out of the band for how you butcher his music. Fuck you, Vince Neil for not singing the songs!

Thank you for reading, and please continue to rock.

Louder Than Love: Chris Cornell at Irving Plaza!

Chris Cornell 2007
I’ve Been Deaf Now I Want Noise

It’s fairly old news at this juncture that singer-slash-rock god, Chris Cornell left Audioslave a few months back to do the solo thing again. I can’t say that I’m terribly heartbroken about the move. Rage Against the Machine was always one of my least favorite angry pinko bands on the planet, and being as Audioslave was 3/4’s of Rage, they didn’t really know what to do with the more subtle textures of Chris’s voice anyway. Good riddance.

Chris has a new CD coming out in June and I’m trying to snag an advance copy of that as I type. But he played a show last night at NYC’s Irving Plaza and thanks to my friend Jason Sutter, who is also Chris’s new drummer, I was there. Thanks Jason. You rule.

I knew I must be seriously starved for The Rock when I was able to get all wet and crazy over the opening song of the evening, “Spoon Man” — which, let’s be real here, is not one of Soundgarden’s best songs. From what I heard last night, Chris’s new disc sounds like it will be worth buying, but the jury is still out over whether it will even be able to touch his last solo album, Euphoria Morning, which was just insane.

I would like to now personally thank Chris and his band for doing “Outshined,” “Rusty Cage,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” and the shocker of the night, “Loud Love.” Wow. Chris Cornell is awesome.

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