News

Backup Planet Announces Release Of New "Live!" Series February 09, 2018 10:10

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One of the southeast's hottest rising acts, Backup Planet, has shared big news with its rapidly growing fan base this week. In recent years, the band has stood out from the scene and become known for doing things a bit differently and not recording/releasing every live performance. This strategy created an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation around Backup Planet shows, because the fans have learned to expect the unexpected.  
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Earlier this week, the band announced the launch of a new five-part series titled "Live!" which will be released in intervals over the next five weeks via BandCamp. Volume 1, which can be streamed below, features the band's recent headlining set from The Great Outdoors Jam on September 30th, 2017. Highlights from this set include a killer cover of Rush's "Tom Sawyer," as well as a guest appearance from members of lespecial on a 22-minute, jam-filled "Destination Earth." Stay tuned for updates on future updates on this exciting new series from Backup Planet!
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Stream Backup Planet's set from The Great Outdoors Jam (2017) here:
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CukoRakko Confirms Stellar Lineup For 2017 Fall Fest September 13, 2017 10:52

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Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win a pair of CukoRakko tickets. Make sure your settings are set to 'public' so we can see the shared post on our end.

Festival organizers have revealed the final lineup for CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival, which returns Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL for the fourth consecutive year on October 6th - 8th and will presented by Land Rover of Birmingham. The bi-annual, family friendly, grassroots music and arts festival has seen tremendous growth with each year, and this fall looks to be no exception. FallFest will feature arguably the festival's exciting lineup to date with BIG Something, The Heavy Pets, Backup PlanetFreekbass & The Bump Assembly, lespecial, Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose, Winston Ramble, Downright, Supatight, The Stolen Faces, Shabti, Jon Poor Band, Goat Hill String Band, and Jason Grubbs & Friends.  VIP ticket packages and advance general admission tickets can also be found at CukoRakko.com. This is a one-of-a-kind camping experience at one of Alabama's best kept secrets. Stay tuned for future festival updates, exclusive artist interviews, and everything you need to know about CukoRakko!
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CukoRakko offers so much more than just the music. Don't miss out on Get Rhythm's organized drum circles throughout the weekend. Get Rhythm is an interactive rhythm program which uses hand drums and percussion instruments from around the world with the goal of unity through rhythm. Programs range from educational, team building, leadership, or stress relief.
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John Scalici is an award winning teaching artist, author, internationally recognized facilitator, musician, and a member of the John C. Maxwell Team of certified speakers, coaches, and trainers. His Rhythm of Leadership® and Unity Through Rhythm® programs are in high demand and highly regarded at leading corporations, college campuses, elementary, middle and high schools across the U.S. 
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Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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-Get To Know This Year's Lineup!
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BIG Something

A 6 piece powerhouse with a sound that is both unique and timeless, BIG Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. It's no secret why this group has quickly become one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the Southeast. Soaring guitars, synths, horns and alluring vocal hooks rise to the top of their infectious collection of songs and represent a sound that has caught the ears of such revered Summer circuit stalwarts as Galactic, moe., Robert Randolph, and even The B52s who have all tapped Big Something as direct support.

This past February the group released their 4th full-length studio album, Tumbleweed, which was recorded once again with the help of grammy nominated producer John Custer (Corrosion of Conformity). He has produced all of their albums including Truth Serum, which was named 2014 Album of the Year by The Homegrown Music Network, making Big Something the only band ever to win this award 3 times with 3 different releases (2010, 2013, and 2014).

Watch BIG Something perform "The Flood" with Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee here:

The Heavy Pets

The Heavy Pets are a funky-ass rock and roll band from South Florida. Called "a living, breathing force of nature" by Relix magazine, they are known for their songcraft and powerhouse live performances. The band has been a mainstay on the national touring circuit for over a decade, and will release its fourth full-length studio album in September 2017.

The Pets are a seasoned live act, playing over 1200 shows across the country since their inception in 2005. The band's energetic, extended sets have been described as "full blown musical salvation" that embodies the sound of their Florida home, weaving together elements of indie rock, funk and reggae into a style that is uniquely their own.

The group became an instant Sirius radio sensation upon the release of their debut album Whale in 2007. The crossover sound on their self-titled release, named a "Top 10 Album of 2010" by The Huffington Post, propelled them into the periphery of mainstream music. 2011 saw the release of Swim Out Past The Sun, an acoustic affair featuring longtime Jerry Garcia collaborator David Grisman. Beginning in 2013, The Heavy Pets put out a series of EPs recorded at the legendary Power Station studios, and will release its fourth full-length album in September 2017.

Watch The Heavy Pets perform "Dewpoint" > "Jackie Bones" here:

Backup Planet

Rock ‘n’ roll epitomizes escapism in its purest form. It’s not just artistic anesthetization either, but rather a galvanizing force that inspires us to keep pushing through life’s trials and tribulations. That’s why we still listen to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Rush, and countless others all these years later. It’s the same reason audiences will be talking about Backup Planet’s second full-length album, Reactions, for a long time to come. The Nashville, TN quartet—Ben Cooper [keys, vocals], Chris Potocik [drums, vocals], Gavin Donati [guitar, vocals], and Blake Gallant [bass, vocals]—write arena-size anthems echoing with progressive intricacy, funk swagger, and even a little metallic edge. Giving listeners an inspiring and invigorating aural haven, their moniker couldn’t be more apropos…

Watch Backup Planet perform David Bowie's "Fame" here:

Freekbass

Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Freekbass was an only child who initially wanted to be a magician. He later developed his own obsession for cartoon superheroes and comic books, relating to the underlying themes.

Living in Cincinnati exposed Freekbass to genres of music he may have missed otherwise. While most kids were listening to Nirvana and Green Day, he connected with the bottom-heavy sounds coming out of the boom boxes like Zapp and Midnight Star. While working in a music shop to pay off his first electric bass he had in lay-away, he began to study the classics of Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bootsy with a bass in one hand, and an MPC2000 in the other.

Freekbass has released six full-length CDs, including “Concentrate” with guests Bootsy Collins, DJ Spooky, Adam Deitch, and Steve Molitz, and “Junkyard Waltz” which includes guest appearances by Phish bassist Mike Gordon, guitarist Buckethead, keyboard wizard from P-Funk/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell, and is produced by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Also, national music DVD instruction company, The Rock House Method, recently released two Freekbass instructional DVDs “Learn Funk Bass with Freekbass (Level 1 & Level 2) “, and TrueFire.com just released the instructional DVD/download “50 Freekbass Licks You Must Know” . In 2010 Freekbass connected with DJ Logic, and Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz to form the funktronica trio, Headtronics. 

Going into 2015 Freek has a lot of things on the table. He just released his next album , “Everybody’s Feelin’ Real”, which is produced by Duane Lundy (My Morning Jacket’s Jim James/Ben Sollee) and includes P-Funk/Rubberband keyboardist Razor Sharp Johnson, horn man Skerik, and Trey Anastasio Band vocalist/trumpet Jennifer Hartswick . Also, he was a part of this year’s London Bass Guitar Show in the UK giving a master class and performing. Plus he will be doing extensive touring with his mainstay funk group, “Freekbass & The Bump Assembly” which also includes funk legend Razor Sharp Johnson on keys/synths and George Clinton & P-Funk alumni Rico Lewis on drums. And recently, he signed with the esteemed label Ropeadope Records.

Watch Freekbass' music video for "Mama's Like A Cowboy" here:

lespecial

Hailed as a breakthrough act to watch in 2017, lespecial, based in Boston and upstate New York, have established themselves as innovators and tastemakers on their own unique trajectory. “Disguised as an average power trio from Boston, lespecial creeps around corners and reaches into the darkest depths of the absurd. lespecial is meticulous, creative and defiant; eclectic, multi-talented and driven. The band prides itself in extending the boundaries of musical ability, rebelliously laying waste to the limits of popular music.” (Ragin Randy Entertainment)

Labeled with such unique descriptions as “dark future groove” or “death funk” to “trance metal” or “haunted house party music”, it is tough to put one’s finger on this dangerous and determined trifecta’s distinct sound. A lespecial set brings their signature blend of psychedelic metal infused funk along with deep, thumping synths and 808s that will have your hips swaying as quick as your head banging. From the band’s origins as three friends in high school in the woods of Connecticut who shared a passion for building unique instruments and hitting them with drum sticks, through studying music at a collegiate level to now running their own music school and studio, The Music Cellar, in Millerton NY, Jonny Grusauskas (guitar/synth/sampler/percussion/vocals), Luke Bemand (bass/synth/percussion) and Rory Dolan’s (drums/samples) unique chemistry is what gives them their incomparable personality.

As Steve Morse, Boston Globe writer and Berklee College of Music professor, claims, “They are virtuoso players- and they really listen to each other closely, which is what raises them apart from today’s progressive wannabees”. After several, eclectic EP releases, their debut album, “Omnisquid”, released in 2015, finds the band “jumping through periods of hypnotic rhythms, catchy riffs, and synth grooves fit for a club… throw in a healthy dose of heavy metal and punk influenced guitar, and you have one of the most interesting new albums out there.” (Monkeygoose Magazine). ITDJENTS claims “For fans of King Crimson, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Battles this is definitely the album for you”. The band’s expansive catalogue of singles and videos, including arrangements of everyone from Kanye West to Skrillex to Fela Kuti, is keeping all eyes and ears on lespecial as they prove in clubs and festivals nationwide why Relix Magazine claims “Amidst the rest of the noise, lespecial is the squeaky wheel that demands attention.” 

Check out lespecial's recent set from Disc Jam Music Festival here:

Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose

Mr B began freestyling and recording mixtapes as a highschooler in Phoenix, AZ. He first came in to the public eye after viral youtube video "Wendys Drive Thru Rap". Soon after, he hit the road in support of acts like DMX and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It did not take long for Mr B to realize he wanted to perform with more than just himself, and that's when the Tribal Hoose came along. With every member hailing from a different state, the group began as friends improvising live jams with Mr B as he freestyled at local house shows. They quickly realized they were on to something unique and captivating. The band has since grown and had the opportunity to perform at festivals with likes of Soulja Boy and Ying Yang Twins to name a few. They will B releasing their debut album in the Spring of 2017, followed by a tour to promote their album and movement.

Watch Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose perform "It Ain't All Good (But It's All Good) here:

The Stolen Faces

Photo by Thomas Diasio

Grateful Dead cover band The Stolen Faces deftly capture the spirit of the Dead, covering a wide variety of songs from the band’s expansive catalog and delivering them with the sort of energy and spontaneity that might have you thinking you’re standing in the Fillmore West in 1971. Led by bassist Christian Grizzard, the group features guitarist Jack Silverman, drummer Matt Martin, and a rotating cast of some of Nashville’s top session and touring musicians.

The members of The Stolen Faces all share a love for the Dead, and for the freeform jamming and good vibes that music entails. The group puts a high premium on nailing the vocal harmonies, and has the instrumental firepower to take the extended jams into some seriously trippy sonic territory. In a short time, touring through Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, they’ve begun to establish a reputation as one of the Southeast’s most solid and rockin’ Dead bands!

Watch several clips of The Stolen Faces performing here:

Winston Ramble

Based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Winston Ramble is a homegrown, folk-rock band. With members originally hailing from the free state of Winston County, AL, the band aims to interject the raw expression of rock-n-roll into the feel-good vibes of folk and bluegrass music.

Watch Winston Ramble & Friends perform "Miss You" here:

Downright

Watch Downright perform "The Dirt" here:

Supatight

Currently out of Asheville, NC, Supatight delivers a high energy live performance that is funk driven and appeals to a wide variety of audiences. While specializing in hard-hitting funk, their music incorporates elements of reggae, soul, jazz, and comedic country. Supatight blends intricately timed grooves with improvisational components resulting in an authentic, full sound, drawing diverse styles from every member of the band.

Watch Supatight perform "Puddin' Foot" here:

Shabti

Watch Shabti's official video for "Canvas of Clay" here:

Jon Poor Band

Watch Jon Poor Band perform "Alone In Our Skins" here:

Goat Hill String Band

Watch Goat Hill String Band perform "Long Train Runnin" here:

 Jason Grubbs & Friends


CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Reveals Initial 2017 FallFest Lineup August 08, 2017 15:13

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments for a chance to win a pair of CukoRakko tickets. Make sure your settings are set to 'public' so we can see the shared post on our end.

Festival organizers have revealed the initial lineup for CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival, which returns Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL for the fourth consecutive year on October 6th - 8th and will presented by Land Rover of Birmingham. The bi-annual, grassroots music and arts festival has seen tremendous growth with each year, and this fall looks to be no exception. FallFest will feature arguably the festival's exciting lineup to date with BIG Something, The Heavy Pets, Backup PlanetFreekbass, lespecial and Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose rounding out the first wave of bands. A very limited amount of early bird tickets can be purchased today by clicking here.  VIP ticket packages and advance general admission tickets can also be found at CukoRakko.com.  Stay tuned for future artist announcements, exclusive artist interviews, and everything you need to know about CukoRakko!

Get To Know The Lineup:

BIG Something

A 6 piece powerhouse with a sound that is both unique and timeless, BIG Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. It's no secret why this group has quickly become one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the Southeast. Soaring guitars, synths, horns and alluring vocal hooks rise to the top of their infectious collection of songs and represent a sound that has caught the ears of such revered Summer circuit stalwarts as Galactic, moe., Robert Randolph, and even The B52s who have all tapped Big Something as direct support.

This past February the group released their 4th full-length studio album, Tumbleweed, which was recorded once again with the help of grammy nominated producer John Custer (Corrosion of Conformity). He has produced all of their albums including Truth Serum, which was named 2014 Album of the Year by The Homegrown Music Network, making Big Something the only band ever to win this award 3 times with 3 different releases (2010, 2013, and 2014).

Watch BIG Something perform "The Flood" with Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee here:

The Heavy Pets

The Heavy Pets are a funky-ass rock and roll band from South Florida. Called "a living, breathing force of nature" by Relix magazine, they are known for their songcraft and powerhouse live performances. The band has been a mainstay on the national touring circuit for over a decade, and will release its fourth full-length studio album in September 2017.

The Pets are a seasoned live act, playing over 1200 shows across the country since their inception in 2005. The band's energetic, extended sets have been described as "full blown musical salvation" that embodies the sound of their Florida home, weaving together elements of indie rock, funk and reggae into a style that is uniquely their own.

The group became an instant Sirius radio sensation upon the release of their debut album Whale in 2007. The crossover sound on their self-titled release, named a "Top 10 Album of 2010" by The Huffington Post, propelled them into the periphery of mainstream music. 2011 saw the release of Swim Out Past The Sun, an acoustic affair featuring longtime Jerry Garcia collaborator David Grisman. Beginning in 2013, The Heavy Pets put out a series of EPs recorded at the legendary Power Station studios, and will release its fourth full-length album in September 2017.

Watch The Heavy Pets perform "Dewpoint" > "Jackie Bones" here:

Backup Planet

Rock ‘n’ roll epitomizes escapism in its purest form. It’s not just artistic anesthetization either, but rather a galvanizing force that inspires us to keep pushing through life’s trials and tribulations. That’s why we still listen to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Rush, and countless others all these years later. It’s the same reason audiences will be talking about Backup Planet’s second full-length album, Reactions, for a long time to come. The Nashville, TN quartet—Ben Cooper [keys, vocals], Chris Potocik [drums, vocals], Gavin Donati [guitar, vocals], and Blake Gallant [bass, vocals]—write arena-size anthems echoing with progressive intricacy, funk swagger, and even a little metallic edge. Giving listeners an inspiring and invigorating aural haven, their moniker couldn’t be more apropos…

Watch Backup Planet perform David Bowie's "Fame" here:

Freekbass

Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Freekbass was an only child who initially wanted to be a magician. He later developed his own obsession for cartoon superheroes and comic books, relating to the underlying themes.

Living in Cincinnati exposed Freekbass to genres of music he may have missed otherwise. While most kids were listening to Nirvana and Green Day, he connected with the bottom-heavy sounds coming out of the boom boxes like Zapp and Midnight Star. While working in a music shop to pay off his first electric bass he had in lay-away, he began to study the classics of Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Parliament and Bootsy with a bass in one hand, and an MPC2000 in the other.

Freekbass has released six full-length CDs, including “Concentrate” with guests Bootsy Collins, DJ Spooky, Adam Deitch, and Steve Molitz, and “Junkyard Waltz” which includes guest appearances by Phish bassist Mike Gordon, guitarist Buckethead, keyboard wizard from P-Funk/Talking Heads Bernie Worrell, and is produced by funk legend Bootsy Collins. Also, national music DVD instruction company, The Rock House Method, recently released two Freekbass instructional DVDs “Learn Funk Bass with Freekbass (Level 1 & Level 2) “, and TrueFire.com just released the instructional DVD/download “50 Freekbass Licks You Must Know” . In 2010 Freekbass connected with DJ Logic, and Particle keyboardist Steve Molitz to form the funktronica trio, Headtronics. 

Going into 2015 Freek has a lot of things on the table. He just released his next album , “Everybody’s Feelin’ Real”, which is produced by Duane Lundy (My Morning Jacket’s Jim James/Ben Sollee) and includes P-Funk/Rubberband keyboardist Razor Sharp Johnson, horn man Skerik, and Trey Anastasio Band vocalist/trumpet Jennifer Hartswick . Also, he was a part of this year’s London Bass Guitar Show in the UK giving a master class and performing. Plus he will be doing extensive touring with his mainstay funk group, “Freekbass & The Bump Assembly” which also includes funk legend Razor Sharp Johnson on keys/synths and George Clinton & P-Funk alumni Rico Lewis on drums. And recently, he signed with the esteemed label Ropeadope Records.

Watch Freekbass' music video for "Mama's Like A Cowboy" here:

lespecial

Hailed as a breakthrough act to watch in 2017, lespecial, based in Boston and upstate New York, have established themselves as innovators and tastemakers on their own unique trajectory. “Disguised as an average power trio from Boston, lespecial creeps around corners and reaches into the darkest depths of the absurd. lespecial is meticulous, creative and defiant; eclectic, multi-talented and driven. The band prides itself in extending the boundaries of musical ability, rebelliously laying waste to the limits of popular music.” (Ragin Randy Entertainment)

Labeled with such unique descriptions as “dark future groove” or “death funk” to “trance metal” or “haunted house party music”, it is tough to put one’s finger on this dangerous and determined trifecta’s distinct sound. A lespecial set brings their signature blend of psychedelic metal infused funk along with deep, thumping synths and 808s that will have your hips swaying as quick as your head banging. From the band’s origins as three friends in high school in the woods of Connecticut who shared a passion for building unique instruments and hitting them with drum sticks, through studying music at a collegiate level to now running their own music school and studio, The Music Cellar, in Millerton NY, Jonny Grusauskas (guitar/synth/sampler/percussion/vocals), Luke Bemand (bass/synth/percussion) and Rory Dolan’s (drums/samples) unique chemistry is what gives them their incomparable personality.

As Steve Morse, Boston Globe writer and Berklee College of Music professor, claims, “They are virtuoso players- and they really listen to each other closely, which is what raises them apart from today’s progressive wannabees”. After several, eclectic EP releases, their debut album, “Omnisquid”, released in 2015, finds the band “jumping through periods of hypnotic rhythms, catchy riffs, and synth grooves fit for a club… throw in a healthy dose of heavy metal and punk influenced guitar, and you have one of the most interesting new albums out there.” (Monkeygoose Magazine). ITDJENTS claims “For fans of King Crimson, Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Battles this is definitely the album for you”. The band’s expansive catalogue of singles and videos, including arrangements of everyone from Kanye West to Skrillex to Fela Kuti, is keeping all eyes and ears on lespecial as they prove in clubs and festivals nationwide why Relix Magazine claims “Amidst the rest of the noise, lespecial is the squeaky wheel that demands attention.” 

Check out lespecial's recent set from Disc Jam Music Festival here:

Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose

Mr B began freestyling and recording mixtapes as a highschooler in Phoenix, AZ. He first came in to the public eye after viral youtube video "Wendys Drive Thru Rap". Soon after, he hit the road in support of acts like DMX and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It did not take long for Mr B to realize he wanted to perform with more than just himself, and that's when the Tribal Hoose came along. With every member hailing from a different state, the group began as friends improvising live jams with Mr B as he freestyled at local house shows. They quickly realized they were on to something unique and captivating. The band has since grown and had the opportunity to perform at festivals with likes of Soulja Boy and Ying Yang Twins to name a few. They will B releasing their debut album in the Spring of 2017, followed by a tour to promote their album and movement.

Watch Mr. B & The Tribal Hoose perform "It Ain't All Good (But It's All Good) here:

 


Backup Planet Reveals Official Artwork For Sophomore Album 'Reactions' March 30, 2017 15:26

One of the southeast's hottest up-and-coming bands, Backup Planet, is gearing up for an exciting weekend, as the band is set to release its sophomore studio album Reactions on Friday, April 1st.  Since the release of their debut album Element in March of 2015, Backup Planet has established itself as a pillar of the southern jam scene, while touring across the country and making appearances at numerous major music festivals. Today, the band has revealed the official album artwork for Reactions, which will be available for download and streaming through all major online music outlets tomorrow.

Recorded in Birmingham, AL with producer Jason Eglin, Reactions perfectly captures the diverse nature and truly dynamic sound of the Backup Planet experience.  Gavin Donati (guitar) and Ben Cooper (keyboards/vocals) set the tone with the album's explosive opening track "Bad Man," which carries over into the heavy-hitting "Different Life." The album's title track "Reactions" carries a super nostalgic vibe, showcases the band's emphasis on harmony vocals, and leaves plenty of room for some serious, wailing guitar solos.  "Looking Up" and "Little Mingo" give a glimpse into the band's more mellow, bluesy side, while giving each band member an equal chance to shine.  

Those familiar with Backup Planet will recognize "Destination Earth," a true rock ballad which has been in the band's rotation for several years but has been rewritten and completely reworked for the album.  Bassist Blake Gallant takes on lead vocals for "Waist High Jack," which you will easily find yourself singing along with by the second chorus.  "Sublimation" makes for another explosive track, full of heavy guitar riffs and some mind blowing work from drummer Chris Potocik.  Cooper saves some of his finest vocals and funkiest playing for the albums final track, "All In," which features a nice balance of just about every sound Backup Planet has to offer.

Backup Planet has the rare ability to lock in an audience from the opening notes of any performance.  There is never a "down moment" at any point with this band, and Reactions perfectly captures that unique energy.  This album has the feel of the truly dynamic Backup Planet experience, while also showcasing just the right amount of mainstream appeal.  In a world with an endless amount of new music, Reactions is without a doubt one of the most well-rounded, complete albums you will come across this year.  Expect big things from Backup Planet in 2017, as this album may very well be the catalyst that takes things to the next level

Regarding the overall concept of the album artwork, the band had the following to say:

  •  "The album is a culmination of the events of the last year.  The band was hit by a drunk driver and lost their van, instruments, everything.  On top of that their next van got robbed and a lot of gear was taken.  Episode 3 of the Countdown explains it well: Episode 3 live.  The entire year was a reaction to the culmination of those events and choosing to not only overcome adversity and just get back on our feet, but to come out swinging and make a statement.  The artwork and the album itself is meant to represent a reaction or the concept of reactions.  Of course there is a Space theme running through almost everything Backup Planet does, so this is meant to conjure images and ideas of Space but it is also meant to be a visual representation of an event, and how all events trigger reactions.  We tried to articulate the concept of a how an event triggers reactions that cause outcomes in all directions."

Click Here: Watch Episodes 1 & 2 of Backup Planet's Album Release Countdown

Click Here: Watch Episode 3 of Backup Planet's Album Release Countdown


Win Tickets To See The Heavy Pets & Backup Planet At Zydeco (3/29) March 27, 2017 11:32

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Live & Listen is teaming up with CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival to offer a ticket giveaway for The Heavy Pets and Backup Planet at Zydeco in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday, March 29th.  Those who attended CukoRakko in October of 2016 will remember these two bands making for one of the most dynamic evenings of music we have seen on the main stage at Horse Pens 40.  To enter this contest, simply share this post directly from the CukoRakko Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section.  Make sure that your Facebook settings are on "public" so we are able to see that you shared the post.  A winner will be announced on Wednesday, March 29th at 12:00 PM CST.
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Watch The Heavy Pets perform "Keep Me Running" here:
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Watch Backup Planet perform David Bowie's "Fame" on New Year's Eve (2016) here:
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Backup Planet Launches Video Series For Upcoming Album Release March 21, 2017 16:39

BACKUP PLANET--the Nashville-based quartet who write arena-size anthems echoing with progressive intricacy, funk swagger, and even a little metallic edge--have partnered with RELIX.com for an intimate video series, “The Backup Planet Album Countdown. Each clip takes an in-depth look at the band’s evolution and recording process for their upcoming sophomore full-length album REACTIONS, with the first installment posted today (3/21). Subsequent videos will be unveiled as the album’s March 31 release date approaches. Click here to watch. 

“The last year has been quite a ride for Backup Planet,” says Gavin Donati (guitar/vocals). “From surrounding ourselves with some of the leaders of the Jam Band Scene to surviving a terrible wreck when our van was hit by a drunk driver, this album tells our story of overcoming adversity and taking things to the next level.  We truly poured our hearts and souls into the album, and we wanted to share that with our fans through this exclusive video series” 

In support of the album, BACKUP PLANET will continue on the road with headlining shows, and their in-progress 21-date co-headline tour alongside fellow American rock band The Heavy Pets dubbed “The Heavy Planet Tour,” on Thursday, March 23 in Huntsville, AL at The Downstairs Connector Upcoming tour stops include Birmingham, Memphis, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, NY at Brooklyn Bowl (presented by RELIX), Raleigh, Knoxville and New Orleans among others, before wrapping May 4 at Sundown at Granada in Dallas, TX. See below for full itinerary. For more information and where to purchase tickets, visit: backupplanetmusic.com/events.  

The 10-track REACTIONS--the first album from the band since teaming with Red Light Management who are applying all resources to elevate BACKUP PLANET as a next-level band on the scene--was recorded at Syncromesh Studios in Birmingham, AL with producer Jason Elgin [Collective Soul, Maylene & The Sons of Disaster] and showcases the band’s top-shelf musicianship and songwriting. These strengths are spotlighted in songs like “Little Mingo,” “A Different Life” and another album standout, the haunting and heartfelt “Sublimation,” that’s  a simmering stew of impressive fretwork, percussion and towering vocals. BACKUP PLANET--Ben Cooper [keys, vocals], Chris Potocik [drums, vocals], Gavin Donati [guitar, vocals], and Blake Gallant [bass, vocals]--released their full-length debut, Element, during 2015 and have shared the stage with the likes of The Revivalists, Papadosio, and more, in addition to headlining countless packed shows. RELIX proclaimed them “On The Verge,” and one fateful gig led to signing with powerhouse management firm Red Light Management [Dave Matthews Band, My Morning Jacket, Dopapod, Phish]. 

Catch Backup Planet & The Heavy Pets in Birmingham on Wednesday, March 29th! 

Track listing for REACTIONS: 

“Reactions” 

“A Different Life” 

“Bad Man” 

“Dearth” 

Lookin’ Up” 

“Little Mingo” 

“Earth As A Dream” 

“Sublimation” 

“Waste High Jack” 

“All In” 

Catch BACKUP PLANET on the road:  

DATE 

 

CITY 

VENUE 

^Thu 

3/23 

Huntsville, AL 

The Downstairs Connector 

^Fri 

3/24 

Macon, GA 

The Hummingbird 

^Sat 

3/25 

Savannah, GA 

Barrelhouse South 

Sun 

3/26 

Dunedin, FL 

Dunedin Brewery Spring Beer Fest 

Wed 

3/29 

Birmingham, AL 

Zydeco 

Thu 

3/30 

Memphis, TN 

1884 Lounge 

Fri 

3/31 

Atlanta, GA 

Aisle 5 

Sat 

4/1 

Nashville, TN 

Exit/In 

Mon 

4/3 

Washington, DC 

Gypsy Sally’s 

^Tue 

4/11 

Cleveland, OH 

Beachland Tavern 

^Wed 

4/12 

Columbus, OH 

Scarlet & Grey Café  

Fri 

4/14 

Philadelphia, PA 

Milkboy Philly 

Sat 

4/15 

Syracuse, NY 

Funk’n’Waffles 

Tue 

4/18 

Allston, MA 

Wonder Bar 

Wed 

4/19 

Brooklyn, NY 

Brooklyn Bowl (Presented by RELIX) 

Thu 

4/20 

Bridgeport, CT 

The Acoustic 

Fri 

4/21 

Albany, NY 

The Hollow 

Sat 

4/22 

Burlington, VT 

Nectar’s 

Sun 

4/23 

Providence, RI 

Alchemy 

Wed 

4/26 

Raleigh, NC 

The Pour House 

Thu 

4/27 

Knoxville, TN 

The Concourse 

Fri 

4/28 

Chattanooga, TN 

Revelry Room 

Sat 

4/29 

Jackson, MS 

Martin’s 

Sun 

4/30 

New Orleans, LA 

Gsa Gsa 

Tue 

5/2 

Houston, TX 

Last Concert Café 

Thu 

5/4 

Dallas, TX 

Sundown at Granada 

 ^ indicates Backup Planet only shows 

Watch Backup Planet's entire set from Pisgah Brewing Company (10.14.16) here:

  


Backup Planet Set To Release Sophomore Album 'Reactions' On March 31st March 10, 2017 13:39

BACKUP PLANET--the Nashville-based quartet who write arena-size anthems echoing with progressive intricacy, funk swagger, and even a little metallic edge--today (3/9) have announced their sophomore full-length album, REACTIONS, will be released Friday, March 31.

In support of the album, BACKUP PLANET will hit the road with fellow American rock band The Heavy Pets for a 21-date co-headline tour dubbed “The Heavy Planet Tour,” kicking off March 17 at High Dive in Gainesville, FL with stops in Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville and Brooklyn, NY at Brooklyn Bowl (presented by RELIX), among others, before wrapping May 4 at Sundown At Granada in Dallas, TX. The band’s upcoming tour will also include solo headlining dates (see full itinerary below). For more information and where to purchase tickets, visit: backupplanetmusic.com/events.

The 10-track REACTIONS album was recorded at Syncromesh Studios in Birmingham, AL with producer Jason Elgin [Collective Soul, Maylene & The Sons of Disaster] and showcases the band’s top-shelf musicianship and songwriting, which is spotlighted in “Little Mingo,” “A Different Life” and another album standout, the haunting and heartfelt “Sublimation,” that conjures up a simmering stew of impressive fretwork, percussion, and towering vocals. BACKUP PLANET--Ben Cooper [keys, vocals], Chris Potocik [drums, vocals], Gavin Donati [guitar, vocals], and Blake Gallant [bass, vocals]--released their full-length debut, Element, during 2015 and have shared the stage with the likes of The Revivalists, Papadosio, and more in addition to headlining countless packed shows. RELIX proclaimed them “On The Verge,” and one fateful gig led to signing with powerhouse management firm Red Light Management [Dave Matthews Band, My Morning Jacket, Dopapod, Phish,].

Ben Cooper (left) and Gavin Donati (right) of Backup Planet // aLive Coverage

Track listing for REACTIONS:

“Reactions”

“A Different Life”

“Bad Man”

“Dearth”

“Lookin’ Up”

“Little Mingo”

“Earth As A Dream”

“Sublimation”

“Waste High Jack”

“All In”

Catch BACKUP PLANET on the road:

Fri

3/17

Gainesville, FL

High Dive

Sat

3/18

St. Augustine, FL

Café Eleven

^Sun

3/19

Charleston, SC

Charleston Pour House

^Thu

3/23

Huntsville, AL

The Downstairs Connector

^Fri

3/24

Macon, GA

The Hummingbird

^Sat

3/25

Savannah, GA

Barrelhouse South

Sun

3/26

Dunedin, FL

Dunedin Brewery Spring Beer Fest

Wed

3/29

Birmingham, AL

Zydeco

Thu

3/30

Memphis, TN

1884 Lounge

Fri

3/31

Atlanta, GA

Aisle 5

Sat

4/1

Nashville, TN

Exit/In

Mon

4/3

Washington, DC

Gypsy Sally’s

Fri

4/14

Philadelphia, PA

Milkboy Philly

Sat

4/15

Syracuse, NY

Funk’n’Waffles

Tue

4/18

Allston, MA

Wonder Bar

Wed

4/19

Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Bowl (Presented by RELIX)

Thu

4/20

Bridgeport, CT

The Acoustic

Fri

4/21

Albany, NY

The Hollow

Sat

4/22

Burlington, VT

Nectar’s

Sun

4/23

Providence, RI

Alchemy

Wed

4/26

Raleigh, NC

The Pour House

Thu

4/27

Knoxville, TN

The Concourse

Fri

4/28

Chattanooga, TN

Revelry Room

Sat

4/29

Jackson, MS

Martin’s

Sun

4/30

New Orleans, LA

Gasa Gasa

^Tue

5/2

Houston, TX

Last Concert Cafe

^Thu

5/4

Dallas, TX

Sundown At Granada

 

^ indicates Backup Planet only shows


Acme Radio Will Broadcast Backup Planet's Nashville Show On Saturday October 26, 2016 11:31

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Acme Radio is set to broadcast a live heading set from Backup Planet on Saturday, October 29th. Acme Feed & Seed is one of Music City’s most respected live venues and brands, so everyone knew big things were coming when they landed Backup Planet to anchor their annual Halloween blowout. Backup Planet is one of the fastest-rising, and respected bands on the scene today. Unlike many of the bands in Backup Planet’s genre, they do not stream or release recordings from every show. Backup Planet is known for their incredible live performances that leave crowds stunned, so when they broadcast a live show we know it is going to be something special. Backup Planet has recently spent several weeks at Syncromesh Studios in Birmingham, AL with producer Jason Elgin recording their anticipated sophomore album. Hopefully this means we can expect some special reveals of new material. Music fans won’t want to miss this show.
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Listen live at Acme Radio Live
Purchase Tickets / More Info: TheAcmeNashvile.com
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“This collection of tunes is an intense labor of love, carefully and painstakingly crafted, a bit of raw genius distilled into a flawless album.” (Pulse)
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“Tracks that will please even the most generic of music fans as well as the most jaded music vets out there.” (Live For Live Music)
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To see Backup Planet perform live is to simultaneously travel back in time and forward into the future. Their truly unique sound emanates from a place that seems familiar, yet unchartered. Elements of jazz, funk, roots, blues, electronic, and progressive rock all emerge during the course of their shows. Their sound draws from so much you’ve heard before—‘70s rock and funk, high-energy improv, a touch of pop, and a sliver of metal. But the members of Backup Planet mix and match those elements—with just a hint of modern tech to burnish a sturdy nucleus of retrominded organ and guitar—in ways that never fail to astonish.
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“Aside from their extensive and wide-ranging sound, Backup Planet’s “Element” contains a few tracks that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear on the radio. Although the guitar is at times “in-your-face-metal”, the band’s vocal work remind me of many rock songs that have topped the Billboard Charts over the past few decades.” (Live For Live Music)
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Watch Backup Planet's music video for "The Road" here:
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Win Tickets To Backup Planet's Widespread Panic After Party In Tuscaloosa September 14, 2016 13:20

If you're heading to Tuscaloosa to see Widespread Panic and Umphrey's McGee on Thursday night, make sure to save a little extra energy for the after party with Backup Planet at Druid City Music Hall.  This is a band we have been following closely for the past year, and you don't want to miss this late night set.  New Orleans funk group Gravy will kick off the after party at 11:00 PM, immediately following the conclusion of Panic's show at Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre.  Plan accordingly, head directly to Druid City, and don't miss a note.  Advance tickets can be purchased for just $5 by clicking here.

We're giving away a pair of tickets to the show, so here is your chance to win today.  Share this article directly from our Facebook page, and tag a friend who you would like to take to the show in the comments.  Make sure your Facebook settings are designated to PUBLIC, so we can see your share on our end.  We will announce a winner at 3:00 PM CST on Thursday afternoon.

Backup Planet is a progressive funk-rock band based out of Nashville, Tennessee. To see Backup Planet perform live is to simultaneously travel back in time and forward into the future. Their truly unique sound emanates from a place that seems familiar, yet unchartered.

Elements of jazz, funk, roots, blues, electronic, and progressive rock all emerge during the course of their shows. Their sound draws from so much you’ve heard before—‘70s rock and funk, high-energy improv, a touch of pop, and a sliver of metal. But the members of Backup Planet mix and match those elements—with just a hint of modern tech to burnish a sturdy nucleus of retro-minded organ and guitar—in ways that never fail to astonish. With a fantastic repertoire of original songs, they’re able to build fluid sets interspersed with extended improvisation.

Incorporating some degree of uncertainty into live performances is innate to the improvisational, or ‘jam band,’ music scene. Audiences can sense when a group takes major risks onstage; the elements of surprise and unpredictability foster a level of joy unparalleled in other types of musical performances. Masters of this process, Ben Cooper, Gavin Donati, Blake Gallant, and Chris Potocik, are doing all of the above while their rapidly growing fan base nods in approval and shouts for more. 

Click Here: Purchase Tickets Today!

Watch Backup Planet's music video for "The Road" here:

Click Here: Learn More about The Blueberry Jam at Weeks Bay Plantation


CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Reveals Final Lineup For Fall Fest August 15, 2016 11:53

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Share this post directly from our Facebook page and tag a friend for a chance to win two weekend passes to CukoRakko.  We will announce a winner via Facebook on Monday, August 22nd at 12:00 PM CST.

CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival is pleased to reveal it's phase three artist announcement and final artist lineup for the 2016 Fall Fest at Horse Pens 40 on October 6th - 9th.  The phase three artist announcement includes a very special reunion performance from Mama's Love (Athens, GA), Dank & Friends (Atlanta, GA), Winston Ramble (Birmingham, AL), Bird Dog Jubilee (Atlanta, GA), and Seeds? (Huntsville, AL).  A variety of single-day and weekend passes to the festival can be purchased by clicking here.  CukoRakko is a one-of-a-kind, family-friendly event located at one of the South's best kept secrets, Horse Pens 40.  Kids ages 10 and under are admitted for free.  Stay tuned for details on Live & Listen's official pre-party at Horse Pens 40 on Thursday, October 6th.  

CukoRakko's Fall Fest will be held at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL from Thursday, October 6th - Sunday, October 9th.  The lineup this fall will feature as diverse and exciting of a lineup as we have seen from the festival, including the likes of The Heavy Pets, Funk You, Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express feat. Carter Herring, Backup PlanetWinston RambleDank & Friends, The Captain Midnight Band (x2), Maradeen, Mama's Love, The Stolen Faces, Jason Bailey Band, Boy Named Banjo, Royal & Toulouse, Bird Dog Jubilee, Seeds?and Harkestra's Grateful Gospel Jamboree.

Click Here: Purchase your CukoRakko tickets today!

In preparation for the October festivities, we have included video or audio footage from each of this year's performers below.  This lineup features a variety of amazing talent from across the Southeast, including many of the regions top up-and-coming acts.  Stay tuned for future coverage and exclusive content, including our annual interview series, "The Road To CukoRakko," which will be released in early October.

The Heavy Pets

"Dewpoint" - Live at The Georgia Theatre

"Keep Me Running" - Live at The Georgia Theatre

 Funk You

"Lets Dance" - Live at Terminal West

Col. Bruce Hampton & Madrid Express w/ Carter Herring

Entire set from Echo Mountain Studios

Backup Planet

Official music video for "The Road"

Winston Ramble

"Free State of Mind" - Live at Muscle Shoals Studio

Dank

Official music video for "Get Up"

The Captain Midnight Band

"Common Law Hussy"

Maradeen

Official Music Video - "She Treat Me Like a Real Man"

Mama's Love

Listen to "Catch a Feelin'" here:

Listen to "Wake Up Woes" here:

 The Stolen Faces (Grateful Dead Tribute)

Official Music Video - "U.S. Blues"

Boy Named Banjo

Listen to "Blue Hole Bridge" here:

Jason Bailey Band

"Adventures of Shannon Ceili"

Royal & Toulouse

Official music video - "One Direction"

Bird Dog Jubilee

Covering Twiddle's "Lost In The Cold"

Seeds?

Live at Lowe Mill in Huntsville, AL

Harkestra's Grateful Gospel Jamboree

Live from CukoRakko SpringFest 2015


A Weekend In Review: The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival August 12, 2016 13:08

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Year in and year out, music fans can count on summertime presenting an overwhelming variety of options to satisfy their musical appetite.  The vast majority of national acts pack their schedules with gigs from coast to coast, and it seems as if there is a major music festival every weekend.  Last weekend was the quintessential example, as Ohio-based jam/rock band The Werks hosted it's annual "homecoming" weekend: The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival.   

The Werk Out began in 2010 at Zane Shawnee Cavernsan indian reservation with underground crystal caves in Bellefontaine, Ohio.  The festival quickly outgrew that area and relocated to Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio, where it has now been held for the past five years.  After hearing the rave reviews over the past few years and diving deep into The Werks' catalog, I knew that this was the year for a summer journey from Alabama and Ohio.  This ended up being easily one of my best decisions in recent memory.

From the moment we arrived on Thursday afternoon, the positive vibes were flowing from every angle.  An enthusiastic, welcoming staff directed our group to a prime camping spot, and we made at least 10 new friends before the campsite was even completed.  While there are numerous elements of The Werks that I have come to love, it's the positive culture that surrounds the band really seals the deal.  

Upon entering the festival grounds for the first time, Chris Houser (lead guitar - The Werks) was playing on the main stage with his very first band, Cheezcake, who set a perfect tone for the weekend.  Shortly after, we had the pleasure of catching several tunes from Sassafraz, a super talented group from Columbus which produced The Werks' newest band member, Jake Goldberg (bass).  Our first journey to the "Big Tent" led us to Mister F, who provided some serious funk prior to Dopapod taking the main stage.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Dopapod has quickly become one of the jam/festival scenes hottest acts, and their success is justified with every performance.  Watching those guys perform, with a beautiful sunset in the distance, made for a very special moment early on.  We even got to sing "Happy Birthday" to the bands audio engineer/light designer Luke Stratton, as the band called him to the stage for a cake presentation.  Shortly after sunset, the crowd shifted just a matter of feet to the "Side Stage," where America's favorite power funk army Turkuaz ignited one of the biggest dance parties of the weekend.  It's truly amazing to witness the production and chemistry of this band in person.  They advertise "power funk," and they absolutely deliver "power funk."

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

The main stage was now set for the weekend's first set from The Werks, who took the stage fully participating in the evening's "track suit" theme.  The band came out firing with classics such as "For Today," "For You," and "Fire Eater," and even debuted a cover of Elton John's "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King.  A classic duel on the keys between Dan Shaw and special guest Todd Stoops occured during "G-Funk," before a massive "Hard to Find" > "Cloud Hopper" > "Hard to Find" would close out the set.  This was particularly satisfying, as my last Werks festival set was cut short when a nasty thunderstorm hit during "Cloud Hopper" at AURA earlier this year.  Another cover was debuted for the encore when the band busted out "Carry On My Wayward Son" by Kansas.  Somehow or another, Lettuce was up next for a late night set in the big tent, and night one at The Werk Out couldn't have been much hotter.

Watch The Werks perform "G-Funk" with special guest Todd Stoops here:

Video by izeoftheworldphotos

Photos by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Day two at Legend Valley picked up right where Thursday left off, and the party was alive and well in The Big Tent by early afternoon.  The Big Damn Jam served as a touching tribute to Norman Dimitrouleas, the former keyboardist of The Werks who tragically passed away in January of this year.  Norman had always wanted the band to play The Beatles' Abbey Road in it's entirety, and his brother Dino, Todd Stoops, and many others performed the album in epic fashion.  Next up was an early afternoon dose of heavy funk courtesy of Kung Fu, a band that always brings the party and never disappoints.  

Anyone that has been to a music festival understands that you have to be strategic; often leaving one set earlier than you would like to in order to catch one of those "must see" bands.  This was the story of Friday afternoon, but that's definitely not a bad problem to have.  It was now time for CBDB to kick off a 60-minute set it in The Big Tent.  These guys never cease to amaze me.  This would be the band's first performance with bassist Mike Sinopole, and you would've thought he'd been with the band for years.  The highlight of the set came in the form of two debuts: a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Loose Lucy" followed by a brand new original, "She's Mobile."  I can't help but predict very big things to come for CBDB in the near future.

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

We quickly made it back to the main stage as Twiddle kicked off their set with the classic "Jamflowman."  It had been way too long since I had seen these guys, and I was quickly reminded why they have really blown up recently.  Fortunately, they were scheduled for an additional set on Saturday, which allowed me to scoot back over to The Big Tent just in time for Backup Planet, one of the most promising young bands I have seen in years.  I was introduced to this band earlier this year at AURA Music & Arts Festival, when they delivered one of my favorite sets of the weekend.  These guys managed to exceed some very high expectations.  Backup Planet is the real deal, and they might have the best cover of "Whipping Post" that I've ever heard.

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Dopapod was now back on the main stage for another amazing sunset performance, only to be followed by a wildly energetic set on the side stage from live electronic act Zoogma.  I've had the pleasure of watching Zoogma work their way up from the college bar scene to the national festival scene, and I couldn't be happier for their success.  You get everything from electronic blues/rock to hip-hop with Zoogma, and how could you not get down to that?

The stage was now set for one of the weekend's biggest moments: two full sets of STS9.  There was a significant number of the Tribe faithful who came to The Werk Out specifically for this moment, and they were rewarded with a stellar festival performance.  The first set had two extremely unfortunate moments; the first of which involved a fan hopping on stage, climbing on drummer Zach Velmer's kit, and taking a trust fall onto the drummer mid-song.  Velmer handled the situation like the true professional that he is, and the band picked up right where they left off.  The set was then cut short due to technical/power issues, but the band returned for it's second set and gave Legend Valley an absolute gem.  The "Hubble" > "Orbital" > "Hubble" segue was as tight as anything I've heard from this band.  "World Go Round" made for an epic dance party to close out the set, and the "Breathe In" encore was simply perfect.  I couldn't have more respect for this band's response to a few unfortunate issues that were out of their control.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

It was now time for The Werks to continue the party in the big tent, which some might have seen as a difficult task after two powerful sets of STS9.  The boys kicked things off with a bang as they worked through the powerful instrumental "Lights Out," followed by the first "Transformational" since November of 2015.  They even finished the "Cloudhopper" from Thursday night.  Dino Dimitrouleas returned to the stage for an extended jam on "Rollin," and two of my personal favorites, "Find Your Way" and "You're Not Alone," closed out the set in heavy fashion.  

You would think this had to be the end of the evening, but the most unique moment of the night was yet to come.  The stage was now set for Twerkapod, a one-time 90's tribute set featuring a rotating cast of members from The Werks, Dopapod, and Twiddle.  What proceeded after 2:30 AM was nothing short of beautiful, epic, and hilarious.  For a more detailed recap and video footage of the Twerkapod set, click here.

Watch Twerkapod perform Blues Traveler's "Run Around" here:

Video by Charles Izenstark: izeoftheworldphotos

As we entered the final day at Legend Valley, the positive energy was contagious, and we were faced with yet another killer lineup.  Broccoli Samurai kicked things off early on the main stage, and these guys blew my mind.  The Cleveland-based four-piece held down a ridiculously melodic groove from start to finish, and they have some of the best song titles I've ever heard of.  I'm really looking forward to following this band moving forward.  

Members of The Werks, Twiddle, and Greensky Bluegrass joined forces for the Matt Butler's Everyone Orchestra, which opened things up for some truly amazing improv jamming.  I had heard a lot about this project over the years, but this was my first time witnessing it in person.  The constantly rotating cast always brings something new to each stage, and watching this collection of musicians in this capacity was a definite highlight.  BIG Something proceeded to absolutely crush the side stage, while The Werks headed over to the VIP tent for a three-song acoustic set which included Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," "Fall," and "Better Than Before."  This was my first time seeing these guys in an acoustic setting, and it only further affirmed how diverse this band can be.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Greensky Bluegrass was next up on the main stage for one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend.  We took advantage of the grass hill back toward the vendors to enjoy the set full of all of the Greensky classics.  It had been quite some time since I'd had the pleasure of seeing these guys live, and damn...they were amazing.  They even brought out Mihali Savoulidis from Twiddle for "Last Winter in Copper County."  As soon as Greensky finished, Twiddle would take the side stage by storm for their second set of the weekend, which featured many of my favorites, such as "Be There," "Lost in the Cold," Syncopated Healing," and "Frankenfoote."  

Watch video footage of Greensky Bluegrass w/ Mihali Savoulidis of Twiddle here:

Video by Charles Izenstark: izeoftheworldphotos

The main stage was now set for what you could easily call the weekend's main event.  The Werks were slated for two sets, and they took the stage in full tuxedos.  "Alive" kicked off the set and bust outs of "Give or Take" and "Cruel Stone Blues" would follow.  The always powerful "OG" ultimately led into a cover of Edgar Winter Group's "Frankenstein" which closed out the first set in epic fashion.  "Drop" kicked off the second set, which has to be one of the most clever songs in recent history.  An extended "Werk Out Jam" moved into an "Immigrant Song Jam," and things truly took off from there.  

The sequence of "Finding Destiny" > "Galactic Passport" > "Finding Destiny" > "Galactic Passport" > "Finding Destiny" was on another level.  A raging rendition of "Onslaught" provided a classic Werks rager to close the second set.  The decision to encore with "Carry Me Back Home" came as no surprise, as the emotional tune had not been played since prior to the passing of Norman Dimitrouleas.  Dino returned to the stage for this one, which was an emotional, touching tribute to say the least.  Midway through the song, Rob Chafin addressed the audience and invited the entire Werk Out crew to the stage for the song's closing chorus. 

Watch the "Finding Destiny" > "Galactic Passport" sequence here:
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Watch The Werks' perform "Carry Me Back Home" here:

Videos by Charles Izenstark: izeoftheworldphotos

As many readers will understand, you're just never going to make it to every set that you plan for over the course of a weekend festival.  After three full days and two very late nights, I didn't have it in me to make it back over to The Big Tent for the two remaining sets from The Motet and Earphunk (Daft Phunk).  This was defintely my biggest regret of the weekend, but as the old saying goes, "You can't make 'em all."  There was a noticeable buzz amongst the campground surrounding both late night sets, and it sounds like Earphunk went above and beyond, with a set that went far beyond the time they were obligated to play until.  This came as no surprise, as that's the type of performance that those guys are known to give.  

As I wrap up what is easily one of the longest articles in the history of this website, I can't help but wonder if there is anyone who has actually continued reading to this point.  For anyone who has, thank you for reading through my memories of this amazing weekend.  There is no brief or concise way to justifiably recount this experience.  When thousands of fans come from every corner of the country to gather in the spirit of music and art, it is truly a beautiful thing.  The Werk Out was circled on my calendar for several months, and the anticipation which surrounded it was very real.  My expectations couldn't have been much higher, and they were exceeded each and every night.  I can't say enough about the job that Rob Chafin and the entire Werks crew has done in building and growing this festival into what it has become.  The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival was an experience that I will never forget, and I can't wait to return in 2017.

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions

Photo by Josh Timmermans: Noble Visions


CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival Reveals Phase 1 Lineup For FallFest July 08, 2016 16:30

CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival has revealed it's phase one artist announcement for this October's FallFest. The first phase includes The Heavy Pets, Funk You, Col. Bruce Hampton & The Madrid Express w/ Carter Herring, Backup Planet, and Jason Bailey Band.  Early bird ticket packages will go on sale on Tuesday, July 12th at 10:00 AM CST.  Stay tuned for future announcements and lineup additions.

That “magic feeling on the mountain” continues like nowhere else in the Southeast.  Held at the beautiful Horse Pens 40 in Steele, Alabama, this friends and family event features 3 days of music and mixed media arts. Enjoy yoga, rock climbing, glass blowing, blacksmithing, disc golf with a PDGA tourney, camping, hiking, kid’s activities, food and drinks, crafts and more.

CukoRakko is the Creek Indian word for ceremonial ground, stomp ground, big house and dance ground. This perfectly describes the phenomenal energy that can be felt at this historic outdoor nature park. Horse Pens 40 is a natural wonderland of unique rock formations nestled atop Chandler Mountain in the foothills of the Appalachians. Located on top of the third highest mountain in Alabama, the stone formations here are said to be among the oldest naturally exposed stones in the world, dating from 600 million to 1.3 billion years old. This sacred ground has a vivid history. Don’t miss this opportunity to visit this incredible natural amphitheater.

Click Here: Official Website - CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival

Watch McLovins perform at CukoRakko SpringFest in May of 2016 here:


Live & Listen's 'Bands You Should Know': Backup Planet June 30, 2016 23:54

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Live & Listen is pleased to introduce a brand new weekly feature known as Bands You Should Know.  This new concept will highlight a different band each Friday with an interview, general background information, current happenings, as well as videos and audio from each band.  After nearly two years of various interviews and artist spotlights, we feel that installing a consistent weekly feature is the best next step for Live & Listen.

For our first edition of Bands You Should Know, we sat down with Ben Cooper (keys/vocals) and Gavin Donati (guitar/vocals) of Backup Planet, a band we simply can't stop listening to.  This band's sound is truly infectious and compelling - and for all of the right reasons.  We had the pleasure of catching their set earlier this year at AURA Music & Arts Festival, and we haven't turned back since.  Backup Planet's eclectic sound will lock you in from the moment you press play, and we can't wait to watch the future unfold for this explosive young four-piece.

Ben Cooper (left) and Gavin Donati (right) of Backup Planet // aLive Coverage

Backup Planet has made quite a name for itself in just under four years.  Tell me a little bit about how this thing came together back in 2012.

Ben: Totally…Gavin and I actually met at a Phish show back in 2009 through a mutual friend who introduced us.  Our friend just said, “Hey, you play keys, and he plays guitar.  You should probably play together.”  I guess the following January we started playing at this house called “The Hell House,” and it was basically just a party two nights a week.  They just kind of said, “If you guys want to be the house band, you got it.”  So we played just about every weekend for a while and cut our teeth a little bit.  So, we started playing a long time ago, but we played with different bassists and drummers.  We started the actual band in 2012.  Then, we moved to Nashville in 2013 and just kind of hit the ground running.  

So at what point did Blake (Gallant) and Chris (Potocik) get up with you guys?

Ben: Well it was just Gavin and I playing around for a while.  Chris has been playing with us since we formed in 2012.  We went through a bunch of different bassists at the time…to the point that we couldn’t really stick with one.  I started playing left hand bass with the Moog, which is really fun, but it was somewhat limiting, as far as being able to play what we do with harmonized licks.  I’ll do stuff with Gavin where we do some harmonized stuff with guitar and Moog.  So, we decided we needed a bass player.  That’s when Blake joined in the summer of 2014. 

Gotcha.  So the Nashville music scene is obviously a world of it’s own.  There is live music on nearly every street corner.  How has being a part of such a rich music culture impacted you guys as a band?

Ben: Well, honestly when we first got to town, it really made us get our act together.  You know?  Just for that reason.  Nashville has such an appeal in the southeast, just because it is "The Music City.”  For us, when we moved here we kind of had that expectation, but when we actually got here, we saw it for real and realized that everybody is good at music, and if not just music, something else like production and engineering.  It really made us get our act together; practicing for hours and getting out on the road…figuring out how to do things the right way and learning to stay competitive.  It’s also been a lot of other markets, you know?  Just because we’ve been able to take it on the road with us and learn from a lot of people that are a lot better than us.  

Ben Cooper of Backup Planet // Shot Stalker Photography

That makes sense.  Nashville clearly presents plenty of opportunities to play, but I’m sure it presents it’s challenges with the amount of options people have when looking to get out and see live music.

Ben:  Yeah absolutely.  It’s cool because lately our crowd in Nashville has really started to grow.  It’s great to develop a little bit of a following.  We’ve been able to play in front of 350-400 people lately, and when we first moved here we had about six people in a dive bar.  Little bars would finally give us a chance to play…and it felt like you might get stabbed or get a staph infection (laughs).  They weren’t the nicest places.  Then all of the sudden, we have a little bit of a following.  It’s really cool to see it develop and start to move throughout the Southeast.  We’re really trying to hit it hard this fall.  

Right on...I’m always amazed to hear how different bands approach the songwriting process, You guys have Incredibly unique sound - mixing elements of old school funk, progressive rock, with just the right amount of pop. How do you guys go about your songwriting and building on your sound.

Gavin: I don't know...I guess I've grown up seeing "jam bands" and southern rock bands my entire life.  Southern rock has always been my favorite type of music.  I really want us to be one of the frontier bands in the jam scene who is able to cross over into different genres and appeal to way bigger markets.  A lot of bands fall into the "jam band" category, and it can be hard to get out of that scene.  I'd like to be in both of them.  There aren't too many bands that really do that.  We're currently working on our next album, and we're gonna start recording at the end of next month.  The plan is to release it sometime in early fall.  I think this album is really going to show a lot of that diversity.  I'm really excited about it.

Listen to Backup Planet's "Revival" from the 2014 release 'Element' here:

So when it comes to the writing process, are different band members bringing different things to the table and just building it up from there?

Gavin: Oh yeah...the best songs, ideally, come about when we're all together and start to develop them.  That's rarely the case though.  I'll record what I have, and we'll demo it out, you know?  Then we'll rehearse it and add different parts to it.  Then we'll practice it live, and if it works live, then we might try to make it something even better.  There are a lot of bands out there who record songs on an album, but they don't end up playing them live, because they don't hit that well live.  They're great album songs, but they don't really translate.  I really want to specialize in making everything that's on our next album extremely, extremely well received live. I'm all about the studio and doing all the tricks you can...adding all of the fancy harmonies and effects to make it the best you can.  But it's gotta be able to come across live just as well as it does in the studio.   

That's a great point.  There are so many albums that I've listened to over the years with songs that are never played live.  You forget that the song even exists until you circle back to that album.

Gavin: Yeah...I think with the jam scene there are a lot of people who don't care quite as much about studio albums as they do the jams and seeing them playing live.  I want to focus on having really good songs in the studio and making those songs even better.  That way you can leave a show really content, and then you can put the album on and not feel like you've lost out, if that makes sense.

Gavin Donati of Backup Planet // Phil Thach Photography

Do you find that you guys will introduce new material live, before ever doing any recording?

Gavin: Oh yeah, definitely.  Right now, we're trying to record every show we play, then go back and listen.  Even some of the material we recorded on Element, we don't play some of that stuff live today, because it doesn't come across that well live.  We recorded it thinking that it would, and over we time we learned that some of it just doesn't translate that well.  A big part of it is making up some new things live and and in the moment.  We're not going to be a band that has 45-minute long improv sections, but we do like to have some extended improv sections.  In the recording, if we hear something in there that we like, I wouldn't be against putting elements of it into the studio album.  I think that's a great way to do it too. Whatever you're going to put on the record came up spontaneously.

Definitely...the song builds on itself and comes to life.  That gives you a chance to see how the crowd reacts right away.  

Gavin: Yeah, that's huge for me.  One of my biggest things is how the crowd reacts to the songs.

So you guys recorded your first album, Element, in 2014.  I would imagine there was plenty of songs to choose from at this point.  What was it like getting in the studio and formally recording some of this material?

Ben:  Yeah, most definitely.  It's always a fun process.  It's like a double-edged sword, because you feel like you have so much material that you want people to hear, but you have to decide what you feel works best.  It's a blessing and a curse, because it's a really fun process, but there is also that bittersweet aspect that you don't get to include all of it, you know?  If we could, we'd probably stay in the studio for weeks at a time.  It's always a blast to go into the studio. 

Gavin: It is. It is.  I don't know though.  The first album we ever did was kind of a learning curve, because it was all tracked separately.  We recorded it at Holmes Studio in Knoxville, so we didn't all track live, which is what we want to do.  That was our first time ever doing something like that, so it was a learning experience.  That's why I'm excited for the new record to be a real example of what we sound like.  

Ben: We're really excited.  We've been shopping around with several different producers, but we're pretty sure we've found the guy.  We are really excited about his involvement.  

Gavin: We're hoping to record in late July / early August for a few weeks...kind of going nonstop for about 14 days.  Hopefully we'll have it mastered and get it released sometime around late September.  

Watch Backup Planet's official music video for "The Road" here:

Recording this new album is obviously a big moment for the band.  Aside from the production, how do you feel this experience will differ from the last?

Ben: Well, this will be the first album that we record as a Red Light artist.  Their involvement, as far as helping us with networking, distribution, marketing, and finding the right producer has really allowed us to shop around.  It's cool, because Phish, My Morning Jacket, and all of these other artists we listen to have so much history with Red Light.  They have the ability to help us talk to the right people and get to know them.  It's really helped us figure out how we want to record and follow in the footsteps of so many bands that we really dig.  I think that's one major difference, as well as just getting into a bigger studio with a producer who has done a lot of records.

I can only imagine.  So, playing the festival circuit and touring the country gives you guys a chance to see so many different bands.  Is there anyone in particular that you guys have recently been turned onto?  What’s been playing in the Backup Planet van recently?

Gavin:  Well, one thing we always do when we're loading out from a show...is we crank up Pantera.  That's just great load-out music.  We're big Pantera fans.  I listen to a lot of southern classic rock, hard rock, and funk. 

Ben: I'm real big into funk, but I like hard rock too.  You've probably heard of the band Turkuaz.  I've really been digging them lately.  Then there is a group called Polyphia, and they don't have any keyboards, so it's kind of weird that I listen to them.  I really dig them, and they've got some really melodic stuff.  I look to bands like ZAPP and Juno What when it comes to the talk box.  I've been listening to a lot of Allen Stone and Donny Hathaway and some of the older jazz players too.  

Gavin: Dopapod is really great too.  They did an orchestra thing recently where they played with a bunch of horns.  I don't know if you saw that.  I thought that was really cool; hearing them with horns.  It was definitely different, but I really like Rob Compa's guitar playing.

Ben: Yeah...and Dopapod just signed with Red Light as well, so we're really hoping to work with them at again some point in the future.  

Gavin: We're playing a festival this weekend called The Great Outdoors Jam.  A lot of the AURA family is involved.  You've got bands like Aqueous, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Fritz...a bunch of really good bands are on it.  We're playing two sets, one of which will be all covers from all of the artists who have died this year.  

Gavin Donati (left) and Ben Cooper (right) of Backup Planet // aLive Coverage

That sounds like a big weekend ahead.  I couldn't agree more about Turkuaz and Dopapod.  Those two bands are really blowing up, and once you see them live, it's obvious why.  So, before we wrap this up, tell me about how the 2nd half of 2016 is shaping up. What can we expect from you guys?

Gavin: Yeah...hell yeah.  Obviously we're dropping this new album, so I'm really looking forward to having our first really big album release.  More or less, we're looking to be playing pretty much all of the fall.  We should be booked up for three or four months, then maybe take a break around January.  

Ben: We have a bunch of stuff coming up in mid to late fall that we're really excited to announce.  We're really excited and getting a great strategy together.  There are definitely some cool things in the works.

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Backup Planet is a progressive funk-rock band based out of Nashville, Tennessee. To see Backup Planet perform live is to simultaneously travel back in time and forward into the future. Their truly unique sound emanates from a place that seems familiar, yet unchartered.

Elements of jazz, funk, roots, blues, electronic, and progressive rock all emerge during the course of their shows. Their sound draws from so much you’ve heard before—‘70s rock and funk, high-energy improv, a touch of pop, and a sliver of metal. But the members of Backup Planet mix and match those elements—with just a hint of modern tech to burnish a sturdy nucleus of retro-minded organ and guitar—in ways that never fail to astonish. With a fantastic repertoire of original songs, they’re able to build fluid sets interspersed with extended improvisation.

Incorporating some degree of uncertainty into live performances is innate to the improvisational, or ‘jam band,’ music scene. Audiences can sense when a group takes major risks onstage; the elements of surprise and unpredictability foster a level of joy unparalleled in other types of musical performances. Masters of this process, Ben Cooper, Gavin Donati, Blake Gallant, and Chris Potocik, are doing all of the above while their rapidly growing fan base nods in approval and shouts for more.