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The Future of Guitar: A Conversation with Brandon "Taz" Niederauer August 07, 2018 12:01

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, you have most likely heard about teenage guitar prodigy Brandon "Taz" Niederauer. Taz has taken the jam scene by storm, appearing at many of the nation's most prominent music festivals, and sitting in with the likes of Gregg Allman, Col. Bruce Hampton, George Porter Jr., Widespread Panic, The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, and so many more. Last Friday, Live & Listen's lead photographer, Craig Baird, had a chance to sit down and catch up with the young superstar. See below for the full conversation, as well as various video content and a photo gallery from the Terminal West show. 

Interview by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Let's talk about how this all started. I've read that your musical journey began after watching School of Rock when you were eight. At what point did you really start focusing on playing?

Taz: Watching the School of Rock is definitely what started it all. I started taking the guitar seriously as soon as I picked it up for the first time and played my first couple of notes. I knew I loved it and wanted to pursue it. 

It wasn't long until you were cast as the principal guitarist in the broadway  musical (School of Rock) at age 12. How was that experience, and what type of opportunities came from this role?

Taz: Many opportunities came from that, I mean...it was an amazing experience. I loved every second of it. One experience that came from that was I got to play in Jesus Christ Superstar live on TV. An Andrew Lloyd Webber live production so that was amazing. So many opportunities have came from that production that I can't even name them all. I'm so happy, and I'm so grateful for all of these opportunities.

Wow...I read that almost 10 million people tuned in to watch that.

Taz: Yeah, it was really cool.

Your rapid popularity certainly steered you to a unique lifestyle at an early age. How vital has your family been through this experience, and how do you guys go about balancing things out?

Taz: We have family dinners. We're just a normal family when I'm home. They're just so supportive. My mom, dad, and my brother are just the most supportive people I know, and I can't thank them enough for that. I'm so grateful for them. When I go home, my brother and I are playing football and basketball outside. We play video games together. It's very much a normal family when I'm home. I still go to school, so I'm at home most of the week, and then I do shows on the weekend. I'm just so grateful to have a super supportive loving family. 

It seems like each year, the momentum continues to build. Who were some of the early big name artists that invited you to play with them? Are there any in particular that stick out the most?

Taz: As far as the notable artists that I've played with, I can't thank them enough for the opportunity to play. I definitely can't pick a favorite. Every single person I get to play with, I'm super grateful for the opportunity. I guess I'd say the more notable artists I've played for would have to be George Porter Jr, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Col. Bruce Hampton, Lady Gaga, Slash, Dr. John, Warren Haynes, Umphrey's McGee. Those are the first few that come to mind, and I can't thank them enough for the opportunity.

That's amazing. I'm no musician, but I know that comprehending and writing original music is no easy task. Not many have reason to do it in their early teenage years. What is your current approach, and how do you see things unfolding moving forward?

Taz: It's either things that happen in my daily life, or I'm writing a story about a certain character, or I'm writing about something that everybody experiences. I hope that the audience, at least one audience member, every night, can connect to what I'm singing, because I really do mean it. Even through my playing, I hope that I can touch one person in the audience, move them, make their day. I can't thank these people enough for coming to my performances. I mean...they could have stayed home or done something else. To spend that night with me is just mind boggling. The band...we spend many hours a week rehearsing, and I hope our hard work pays off, and they love what we're doing, because we love them. 

I know this city brings a whirlwind of memories to mind. Most recently, performing with Umphrey's McGee, String Cheese, Tedeschi Trucks, and so many more on at SweetWater 420 Festival. There was also the Hampton 70 show. How would you describe your relationship with Col. Bruce and his lasting impact on you personally?

Taz: My relationship with Col. Bruce was special. He was such a mentor. He was probably my biggest mentor. Not just to me, but to everyone in the music world. I mean...everyone has been touched by him. He's given me so much advice. To always play with the utmost intention. Always be humble. Love your fans. Make them the number one priority. He was an amazing guy. He's brought up so many amazing musicians. The time that he devoted to helping me out is just again, mind boggling. The fact the he would even consider taking me under his wing. The Hampton 70 show, of course it was a whirlwind of emotions. It was an amazing time and unfortunately was the day of his passing. Once you get past the horrific part...I say this all the time, but if he were to write his own story, his own life, that's the way he would go out. 

I agree. My friend and I right in front of the both of you during that encore and his passing. It was truly an emotional night. So let's switch gears and talk about Brooklyn Comes Alive, which is coming up this September. Tell me how that came about.

Taz: Well, they asked me to lead a set focusing on the artists that we've recently lost, including Col. Bruce Hampton, members of the Allman Brothers, and a whole bunch more. I said that's something I would be delighted to do, so I got some of my favorite musicians in the world, including George Porter Jr. (The Meters), Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), Jeff Sipe (Aquarium Rescue Unit), Peter Levin (Gregg Allman Band), and Elise Testone (American Idol). I asked them if they could come play and they said yes. All of these musicians that I'm playing with for this special set have influenced me, so the fact that they said yes to play with me is an amazing thing. 

I know that will be a special experience. Your calendar seems to be as busy as anyone these days. Before we wrap this up, I'm curious to know what can we expect from Taz and Co. the rest of this year? What has you most excited?

Taz: I'm going to Japan this October. I've got jitters for that. I can't wait to go and play four shows, so that's gonna be awesome. I can't wait to go to new states that I've never been to before. We're going to Illinois and Indiana soon. I'm looking forward to meeting those folks over there. Every single state has a different way of life. Different culture. Even every city. The crowd is even different, so I can't wait to feed off the energy of the different crowds and meet all the new people. 

That will be an amazing experience. It's been a pleasure watching your story unfold thus far, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. Thank you so much for your time today Taz. 

Taz: Of course. Thank you and hope you enjoy the show.

Watch Taz perform his new tune "My Revival" at Chicago Music Exchange here:

Watch Taz perform "Statesboro Blues" with Tedeschi Trucks Band at SweetWater 420 Festival here:

Craig Baird (Home Team Photography) and Taz at Terminal West




Grateful Dead's 'Meet-Up at the Movies' in Select Theaters Tonight August 01, 2018 00:12

Meet up with friends and fellow Dead Heads in cinemas nationwide for the 8th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies on Wednesday, August 1st. This special one-night event features the complete concert recorded at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia on July 7, 1989

The Philadelphia concert offers a snapshot of the Dead’s 1989 tour, where the band played to some of its biggest audiences ever. The band helped raze the aging stadium, thundering through “Hell In A Bucket,” “Little Red Rooster” and Bob Dylan’s “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again.”

Many sitting at north end of the open-air stadium recall the concrete bleachers trembling during Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann’s drum duet in the second set. The show closed with another Dylan cover, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” the last song ever performed at JFK.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this Grateful gathering in movie theatres. Get your front row seats now!

Click here to locate a theater near you!

Watch the official preview here:


Win Tickets to Phish After Parties at Smith's Olde Bar & Aisle 5 July 31, 2018 12:15

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Summer is upon us, and it's time for Phish's annual weekend run in the Southeast. This year is an extra special treat as the band is preparing for it's first-ever three-night run at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta, GA. If you're looking for additional music in Atlanta this weekend, our friends at Don't Fret Entertainment have you covered. 
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We're giving away a pair of ticket to both of Don't Fret's after parties, which include The Grass is Dead feat. Rev. Jeff Mosier at Smith's Olde Bar on Friday night and THE FLOATIEZ w/ special guests Schema at Aisle 5 on Saturday night. To enter the contest, share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section. We will announce the winners on Friday at 12:00 PM EST. Further details on both shows can be found below!
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8/3/2018 - The Grass is Dead Ft. Reverend Jeff Mosier - Smith's Olde Bar

Doors: 11PM

Tickets: $15 Advance / $18 DOS / $10 with Phish Ticket Stub at Door

Event Page / Ticket Link

8/4/2018 - The Floatiez Perform A Tribute to Jamiroquai W.S.G. Schema

Aisle 5 - Doors: 10PM

Tickets: $10 ADV / $15 DOS / $10 with Phish Ticket Stub at Door

Event Page / Ticket Link

The Grass is Dead: 

This isn't your normal Grateful Dead Tribute band, they should be thought of more of a Joe Russo's Almost Dead or Dark Star Orchestra in that they are nationally touring and bring something different than your normal group of old dudes playing the same songs for the last 20 years.

They've played some of the biggest bluegrass festivals around this year including Suwannee Spring Roots Revival, Rooster Walk, Aiken Bluegrass Fest and Del Fest.

Watch Grass is Dead perform "Shakedown Street" here:

THE FLOATIEZ:

With every great music scene, comes great musical collaborations. Which is exactly what THE FLOATIEZ are. They are comprised of some of Atlanta’s fastest growing funk/jam bands: Funk You, Voodoo Visionary, Hedonistas, Donna Hopkins Band, and even a couple throwbacks Dank and Bodega Roja. 

THE FLOATIEZ has a rotating cast of musicians that keeps their live shows intriguing and unique. With Jamiroquai’s newly released US tour dates, this is a great way to pay tribute to a great artist and to bring the hype to ATL. 

Watch The Floatiez perform "Wha'ts Hip?" here:

Schema:

“a representation of a plan or theory in the form of an outline or model”

Schema is a 4-piece instrumental outfit native to Charleston, SC. The band reformed in 2016, and has hit the ground running in Charleston’s fresh, yet flourishing music scene.

Schema intertwines dance grooves with progressive-savvy songwriting, along with an organic electro-synth touch, that has helped to produce a sky-like ceiling for the bands potential. 

Watch Schema perform "Ometape" here:


Phish Announces Free Webcast For Wednesday In San Francisco July 24, 2018 15:40

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Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo
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Phish's summer tour is officially in full force, as the band has just wrapped up its initial multi-night runs at Lake Tahoe and The Gorge. The band is five shows into the tour, and they've already clocked in 90 different songs without a single repeat. Do we expect that trend to continue much longer? Probably not. Regardless, it's refreshing to continue to see their creative approach after the magic of The Baker's Dozen last summer. 
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If you can't make it to San Francisco on Wednesday night, you're in luck. Phish will offer a free webcast tomorrow, Wednesday, July 25 at 7:30PM PDT / 10:30PM EDT for the second night of their Bill Graham Civic Auditorium run. Tune-in to the free webcast at webcast.livephish.com.
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Umphrey's McGee Reveals New Year's Plans in Atlanta July 23, 2018 10:21

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography.

Progressive jam rockers Umphrey's McGee have confirmed their new years plans, which include a four-night run at The Tabernacle in Atlanta. The news was confirmed earlier this morning via the band's social media outlets. The run kicks off on Friday, December 28th and concludes with a big night with three sets on Tuesday, December 31st. See below for the band's official press release.

"Umphrey’s McGee is heading back to The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia for four nights to ring in the New Year. Be there December 28 through the 31st as UM fans from around the country descend onto one of the most racaus and enjoyable rooms we have the pleasure of playing. The Tabernacle offers accommodating sight lines, crisp sound, and an overall solid fan experience befitting of an Umphrey’s McGee New Year’s celebration.

Of course, partying is better with friends. That in mind, we have lined up some incredible special guests for the run. Who might you ask? Stay tuned, info dropping soon.    

umVIP is rolling out the red carpet to ring in 2019. As we take over the Tab, umVIP is offering several different packages to ensure you can roll in the manner that best suits your needs. Whether that’s early entry for rail riding or reserved balcony seating for settling in, we’ve got you covered. Every package includes a private soundcheck show, private bar and bathrooms, exclusive UM gear, autographed screen print and more. Check out packages, travel options and more here.  

UM ticket pre-sale and umVIP on sale will take place Wednesday, January 25th at 11am ET, with a public on sale Friday, July 27th at 11am ET.

Umphrey’s loves the Tabernacle, and so should you.  It’s gonna be a rock & roll marathon, people. Eat your Wheaties."

Watch the official announcement video here:


Space Kadet Releases Funky "Return of the Mack" Remix July 20, 2018 17:47

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Atlanta's Space Kadet continues to turn heads across the electronic / jam scene, as their persistent instrumental exploration never fails to deliver a fresh, upbeat variety of sounds. Having shared the stage with the likes of  The Floozies, Russ Liquid Test, Zoogma, Sunsquabi, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and The Werks, the eclectic three-piece has built notable momentum over the past year. This has led to an impressive run of festival appearances, including SweetWater 420 Festival, Imagine Festival, Purple Hatter's Ball, and Zen Awakening. 
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If you're looking for a fresh addition to your summer playlist, you're in luck. Today, Space Kadet has released their latest studio work, which comes as a remix of Mark Morrison's 1996 hit, "Return of the Mack," which can be streamed in full below. We recently caught up with drummer Rohan Prakash, who gave us the inside scoop on the band's new release: 
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"When Thomas Garret (guitarist) joined the band in July of last year, he would mention from time to time that we should write a remix to Mark Morrison's classic, "Return of the Mack." We never really thought much of it until earlier this year. I happened to find the acapellas for the track one night and remember spending that whole night toying with different sounds and writing different ideas on Ableton etc. I was mainly going for a housey/spacey sounding vibe, but I wanted to stay true to the originally intended R&B/funk feels of the track.
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The original "Return Of The Mack" is a classic, and I was pretty nervous to drop this remix at first.  We played it live in Atlanta opening for The Floozies back in February, and it got an amazing crowd reaction. Since then, this has been one of our favorite remixes to play live. Over the past few months we have brushed it up, and we recently got to spend some time in the studio, where Bambi and Thomas would finalize their bass, synth and guitar parts. Our good friend Josh Bell helped mix and master the track for us. It's safe to say that we are quite pleased with the final product. We figured that this would make for a great summer time release."
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Little Raine Band, The Pearl, & Killakeys To Join Forces In Birmingham July 18, 2018 21:22

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Photos by Thomas Diasio
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It's no secret that the local music scene in Birmingham is booming with creative talent, and Saturday night will feature a prime display. Veteran jam group Little Raine Band is teaming up with two newly formed supergroups, The Pearl and Killakeys, for what is sure to be an evening full of powerful and funky collaborations at Saturn Birmingham. In preparation for the weekend's festivities, we're giving away a pair of tickets via Facebook. To enter the contest, simply head over to our Facebook page, share this post, and tag a friend in the comments section. We will select and announce the winner at 12:00 PM on Saturday. See below for further details on the show!
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Little Raine Band: LRB has been fixture in the Southeastern music scene for many years, but one thing has been proven time and time again. These guys continue to evolve.. With their second studio album on the horizon, it goes without saying that this quartet is on their game. With a very clean exploratory sound, unique and catchy originals, and a cleverly chosen list of covers, the Little Raine Band doesn’t disappoint.
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The Pearl: The newest group to rise to the ranks of Birmingham's thriving homegrown music scene, The Pearl is a high energy power trio that goes heavy on the improvisation and original compositions, both of which are deeply rooted in funk, drum and bass, gospel, progessive rock, and jazz. The trio features Beck Hall (Birmingham Allstars, The Dagobah System) on bass/synth/vocals, Taylor Goodwin (Matt Bennett Band, Raquel Lily, JOVA) as the lead and rhythm guitar wizard, and Mr. Devonte Hutchins (LRB, Soul Mechanic, Taylor Hunnicutt) on drums and samples. 
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Killakeys: Marcus White, the mind-blowing keys and synth player from Soul Mechanic who most recently filled in with The Marcus King Band, has pulled together a band of familiar faces to start a fresh new Funk/Fusion keyboard trio, with a recognizable pocket. Featuring Parrish Gabriel on Bass, and DeVonte Hutchins on Kit (both also members of Soul Mechanic) this trio brings the funk, high energy improv, and a pocket that is undeniably danceable.  
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CBDB's 'Out Of Line' Proves To Be The Perfect Summer Release June 21, 2018 22:22

Words by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

With the release of their third album to date, Out of Line, CBDB continues to impress us beyond expectations. The 5-piece band from Tuscaloosa takes the success of their sophomore album, Joyfunk is Dead, and builds directly on top of where they left off. The latest release is a more concise and assertive effort that showcases their abilities as not only master tunesmiths but also brilliant lyricists.

Go see CBDB live, and the musicianship and synergy is undeniable, but what is truly impressive with Out of Line is the band’s ability to create a collection of songs that speak for themselves. Out of the seven tracks and just over 30 minutes of music that make up the album, there isn’t a single weak moment. In fact, the entire thing is exceptionally strong from start to finish. Initially, one of the greatest factors that jumps out is the giant leap in production from previous albums, and rightfully so. The band recorded Out of Line in Nashville, TN at Zac Brown’s studio, Southern Ground, with the help of producer Dan Davis.

Thematically the band seems to be extending a bridge to its growing fanbase. The leadoff track “Patterns” is a reminder that despite their rising popularity, these guys are no different than you or me. They remain susceptible to the mundane ebb and flow of daily life that we all occasionally fall victim to: “Simple repetitions / Carve lasting grooves in your day-to-day” and encourage us to rise above what makes us comfortable and follow our passions: “Break free from the sequence / Choose your path, don’t neglect the signs.” Words we all need to hear at some point in our lives.

Music fans who get their rocks off at live shows know that once the band strikes up, it’s not about what you know, but what you feel. When the groove sets and people begin to move, it doesn’t matter if you are familiar with the material or not, but more importantly, understanding how to tap into the spirit in the air. “Mumble Bull” is evidence that these guys are not just musicians, but fans as well and understand the concert experience from the audience’s perspective. “We mumble bull through lines we know/  We close our eyes and wind up home / We don’t ever miss a beat / I got my people here with me / The nonsense still lands note for note / We close our eyes, inside we know.” As frontman Cy Simonton sings these words, we are assured CBDB is no stranger to the concept of feeling at home in a crowd full of strangers. 

With “Unintentional Liar,” and in classic CBDB fashion, the album is kicked up a notch. Vocal harmonies quickly give way to anxious, hard-hitting guitar and synth riffs, alongside lyrics that reflect the frustration of online culture and the inability to decipher fiction from reality, as technology becomes more and more today’s primary source of information and communication. “Opelika Yella” is a hilarious tune about a misunderstanding in an Alabama gas station (I mean, what could have possibly gone wrong) and also presents listeners with the longest track on the album; clocking in at just over five minutes. The album version features a very brief foray into improvisational jam, but in the live setting, it is already serving as a major jam vehicle.

Out of Line begins to dig into its second side with the enormously catchy track “Unaware.” This track softens the overall mood a bit while lyrically dealing with the complexities of relationships amongst loved ones and friends and the various shortcomings that are inherently present within us all. "Unaware" also features a meatier midsection with nice solos coming from Kris Gottlieb on guitar and Glenn Dillard on sax.

“Fine Line” has the whole band really pouring in instrumentally on this heavy attacking rager of a song that lyrically covers exactly that, a rager, and the heavy toll that it can dish out. The last track on the album, “Feel So Far,” gives listeners one last chance to really shake their bones, featuring Dillard playing a Hammond organ that at one time belonged to the late southern rock legend Gregg Allman. Guest vocalist Maureen Murphy, best known for her work with STS9, even lends a hand on harmony vocals during the closing chorus of the final track.

Out of Line raises the bar for CBDB, and as the temperature outside heats up, it should prove to be the perfect summer soundtrack; whether you’re out on the water, a long road trip, or at a late-night party in your best friend’s living room.

Check out the official promo video for Out of Line here:
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Stream Out of Line via Spotify here:


Waterloo Music Festival Just Confirmed A Massive Inaugural Lineup June 12, 2018 12:37

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Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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Just over a month ago, organizers of Waterloo Music Festival made quite the splash with the initial lineup for their inaugural festival on September 7th - 9th. The three-day event, which will be held at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, TX, would feature The String Cheese Incident (x3), as well as Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Railroad Earth, The Motet, Boombox, TAUK, Marco Benevento, and many more to be announced. Earlier this morning, the festival rolled out the complete lineup, and this looks to be one of the hottest jam festivals of the summer.
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The latest additions include the likes of Oteil & Friends (Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, Scott Metzger, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane, and Alfreda Gerald), Leftover Salmon, Perpetual Groove, BIG Something, Everyone Orchestra, Tea Leaf Green, and many more. The complete lineup can be found on the graphic below. Waterloo is presented by Heard Presents, Havin’ A Ball Productions, and Unknown Entertainment. Various ticket and camping packages are available now via the festival's official website. Make sure to follow Waterloo on both Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates!
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Expect Big Things From Birmingham's SliceFest This Weekend June 12, 2018 01:48

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section for a chance to win a pair of tickets to SliceFest 2018. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 15th at 12:00 PM CST.

Our favorite annual Birmingham street festival returns to the Lakeview District on Saturday, and this year's lineup has us excited in a "BIG" way. Live electronic duo Big Gigantic will handle SliceFest's headlining spot, just after The Original Wailers take you on a spiritually uplifting reggae ride. While these two acts may provide the most prominent name recognition, BIG Something is guaranteed to deliver one of the most dynamic sets that this festival has seen. The North Carolina-based band is easily one of the hottest acts on the festival circuit, and their momentum continues to build. 

Make sure you arrive early for this one, because Too Many Zooz, The Vegabonds, and LUTHI will be kicking things off with a diverse and powerful variety of performances on the main stage. The local stage looks to provide a strong showing as well this year, as Tragic CityWIll StewartRiverbendBrook & The BluffMutton Chops, and Rug Monkey will assure that the music never stops on Saturday. See below for a nice taste of what you can expect from this year's lineup

SliceFest 2018 celebrates its 7th anniversary as Birmingham's largest food & music block party hosted by Slice Pizza & Brewhouse. If you love music, great food and brews, giving back and Birmingham then you don’t want to miss this festival.  Slice Pizza & Brewhouse hosts the event to celebrate the restaurant’s anniversary and thank the Birmingham community for their continuous support. Over the past six years, the event has grown to a full-blown festival bringing in local and regional music talent paired with local craft beer and specialty pizzas. 

As with previous years, SliceFest is presented by Birmingham Budweiser and is expected to welcome a sold out crowd on this 7th anniversary with patrons from across the Southeast. Community is what SliceFest is all about, not just a celebration of those that support Slice Pizza & Brewhouse, but a way to give back to the community.  SliceFest has donated over $50,000 to Birmingham-based non-profits.

“SliceFest represents the wonderful communities of Birmingham. We strive to emphasize the substance of our city while bringing in various layers of the local culture,” stated Jason Bajalieh, Bro-Founder of Slice Pizza & Brewhouse. “The musical lineup reaches across generations and genres to give entertainment for all preferences.” Previous artists that have appeared at SliceFest include: GRiZ, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Revivalists, Galactic, Keller Williams, Foundation of Funk, Dumpstaphunk, JJ Grey and Mofro, North Mississippi Allstars with Anders Osborne, and Earphunk

Click here to purchase your tickets in advance!



Big Gigantic's "All of Me" feat. Logic & Rosez: 
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The Wailers: Live at O2 Academy Leicster - March 6th 2018:
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BIG Something - "The Flood" feat. Jake Cinninger of Umphrey's McGee:
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Too Many Zooz - "Bedford":
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The Vegabonds - "Long Haired Country Boy":
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LUTHI - "Every Body" Official Music Video:
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Tragic City - "Turned Out" - Live from Monotonia Studios:
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A Few Thoughts On The Magic Of Purple Hatter's Ball June 11, 2018 12:42

Words + Photos by Dawn Cassizzi 

It always feels good rolling up to the The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and my arrival to the Purple Hatters Ball was no different. This was my first time to attend PHB, and I was pleasantly surprised by the intimate feel of this little gem of a festival. With such a stark contrast to the crowds and craziness of so many other festivals I’ve attended at the park, I felt like I had happened upon a secret; a secret that included Spafford and one of my long-time favorites, Lettuce.

After arriving and setting up the camp site on Friday, we headed in for a yoga flow to get our bodies prepped for the full two days of dancing to come. Yoga, lunch and bike rides proceeded the afternoon that began with the heady jams of Hive Mind; a take-off of Atlanta based band, Space Kadet.

With just enough time between sets for a snack and a “trip” back to camp, my partner-in-crime and I returned to catch the soulful and sometimes sultry sounds of Memphis powerhouse, Southern Avenue. Band frontwoman, Tierinni Jackson knows how to put on a show and I loved seeing her sister, Tikyra as the drummer. This band puts a modern spin on “Memphis” style music that will take you all the way from the church to the club.

As the day began to turn to dusk, Toubab Krewe hit the amphitheater stage to set the vibe for the evening. With a sound that is challenging to describe, but impossible to forget, TK is a band that is not to be missed! *And lucky me… this time I did not miss the chance to pick up one of their limited-edition vinyl releases of their latest album, Stylo.

Toubab Krewe was followed by The Heavy Pets, and to close out the evening, Spafford. After discovering Spafford at Hulaween 2017, I knew I would make my strongest efforts to see them any time I possibly could. For my second show, they did not disappoint and kept me on my toes for the entire set. Filled with twists, turns and surprises, they have moments that are reminiscent of styles of so many of my favorite, but very different sounding bands…and yet I hesitate to compare, as they are so unique. I knew I was on the verge of obsession, however when they encored with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” merged with “Reprise”, my feelings were confirmed.

Day two began with a slower start due to some scattered showers, but as soon as the rain passed we headed in to catch the Roosevelt Collier Trio, Breaking Biscuits and Lettuce. Roosevelt Collier, whom I heard referred to as the “Hometown Kid”, brought several of his friends up to join him including Nigel Hall (keys), Eric 'Benny' Bloom (trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (sax) of Lettuce, as well as Luke Quaranta of Toubab Krewe on percussion.  

Our dancing shoes were broken in just in time for Breaking Biscuits, a groovy-trippy collaboration of Break Science and Disco Biscuits that has just enough electronica to keep the EDM kids happy. Of course, the crowd went wild when they brought up Rosey for a cover of Prince’s “1999”.

Closing out a spectacular line-up, Lettuce brought the funk and left the crowd satisfied with the 11th annual PHB.  Lettuce gives me life, and I hope they continue to return to this extra-special, boutique festival. Thank you to Mama Margie and Paul Levine for giving me another excuse to return to The Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park and for honoring your daughter, Rachel Morningstar Hoffman in such a beautiful way. See you next year!

Videos via RexAVision

Watch Toubab Krewe perform "Hang Tan" here:

Watch Southern Avenue perform "Don't Give Up" here:

Watch Breaking Biscuits perform "Inside You > Robot Rock" here:


David Byrne Adds Birmingham Show, Tickets On Sale Friday June 06, 2018 23:35

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Legendary Talking Heads' frontman David Byrne is in the midst of his first solo tour in nearly a decade, and more new shows continue to surface. Byrne originally  announced a small amount of shows on the American East Coast and South America, as well as European festivals including Inmusic in Croatia and Roskilde, Denmark. Festival appearances at Atlanta's Shaky Knees, Chicago's Lollapalooza, and Coachella were quickly added, as well as a massive amount additional dates in a variety of markets across North America. See below for a complete list of dates. 
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The latest announcement includes a stop at The BJCC Concert Hall in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday, October 3rd. This show is presented by Red Mountain Entertainment, and tickets go on sale Friday, June 8th at 10AM CST. Click here for further information, and make sure to grab your tickets early!
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Watch David Byrne perform "Once In A Lifetime" at Coachella here"
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David Byrne Tour Dates:
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06/07 – Kansas City, MO @ Kauffman Center for the Arts
06/08 – St. Louis, MO @ Peabody Opera House
06/09 – Indianapolis, IN @ Farmers Bureau Lawn Amphitheater
06/14 – Oxford, UK @ New Theatre
06/15 – Glasgow, UK @ Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
06/17 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham Symphony Hall
06/18 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Apollo
06/19 – London, UK @ Eventim Apollo
06/22-23 – Prague, CZ @ Metronome Festival
06/25 – Zagreb, HR @ INmusic Festival
06/26 – Wien, AT @ Museumsquartier
06/30-07/01 – Ewijk, NL @ Down The Rabbit Hole
07/05-08 – Werchter, BE @ Rock Werchter
07/06 – Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival
07/05 – Gdynia, PL @ Open’er Festival
07/11 – Oeiras, PT @ Cool Jazz Festival
07/13 – Bilbao, ES @ Bilbao BBK Live Festival
07/13-14 – Barcelona, ES @ Cruilla Barcelona
07/17 – Zürich, CH @ Theater 11
07/19 – Ravenna, IT @ Ravenna Festival
07/20 – Perugia, IT @ Umbria Jazz Festival
07/21 – Trieste, IT @ Piazza UNita
07/27 – Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival
07/31 – Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
08/01 – Shelburne, VT @ Shelburne Museum – The Green
08/03 – Toronto, ON @ Sony Center for the Performing Arts
08/05 – Canandaigua, NY @ Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
08/08 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Devos Performance Hall
08/10 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theater
08/11 – Huber Heightes, OH @ Rose Music Center
08/12 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
08/16 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
08/18 – San Jose, CA @ City National Civic Auditorium
08/21 – Sacramento CA @ Community Theater
08/24 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
08/27-28 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheater
09/07 - West Long Branch, NY @ OceanFirst Bank Center at Monmouth University
09/08 - Wallington, CT @ Oakdale Theater
09/09 - Albany, NY @ Palace Theatre
09/11 - Portland, ME @ Merrill Auditorium
09/12 - Montreal, QC - Bell Center
09/13 - Ottowa, ONT - CityFolk Festival
09/15 - Queens, NY - Forrest Hill Stadium
09/17 - Palace Theatre - Brooklyn, NY
09/22 - Bourbon & Beyond - Louisville, KY
09/23 - North Charleston, SC - North Charleston Performing Arts Center
09/26 - Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theater
09/28 - Orlando, FL - Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts
09/29 - Miami Beach, FL - The Fillmore
09/30 - Tampa, FL - Mahaffey Theater
10/02 - Atlanta, GA - The Fox Theatre
10/03 - Birmingham, AL - The BJCC Concert Hall
10/05 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits
10/06 - Dallas, TX - Verizon Center at Grand Prairie

Umphrey's McGee Braves The Storm For Wild Night In Charleston June 04, 2018 13:40

Words & Photos by Nicholas Lintz: Live & Listen

While the weather tried to ruin what felt like a one-day festival last Thursday night, Umphrey's McGee and their supporting cast prevailed. Umphrey's was prepared to headline with two sets alongside opener Perpetual Groove at the Grove in Patriots Point down in the low country of Charleston SC, an area the Umphrey's frequently resides. Shortly after the gates opened, a massive storm crept up the coast and dumped what felt like a foot of rain on The Grove, forcing forced Perpetual Groove to end a little early. But a little rain wasn't going to stop this party. As soon as the storm passed, the staff quickly managed to get prepped for Umphrey's to take the stage, while folks continued to roll in by both car and boat.

While you could find some dry areas, I found myself stepping around in six inches of water all night. I have never been so excited get outside and dance in the rain. The stage was set for what was sure to be a special occasion with Umphrey's. I saw more kids jumping in puddles and more smiling faces than I've seen in quite some time. After the staff rebounded from the heavy storms, Umphrey's quickly took the stage and began delivering the funk. What was supposed to be two sets turned into a massive, nonstop 13-song set. The eventual triple encore included the debut of "What We Could Get," as well as a Pink Floyd "Comfortably Numb" cover. You can also find the full setlist + footage from the encore below. 

While the lights that Umphrey's travels with are always elite, the acoustics created by this unique tree-surrounded clearing by the water made the overall production that much more special. The teams from from Friends With Benefits Productions, known for events such as The Major Rager, as well as Charleston's WEmusic, were responsible for bringing us all the heat on this wild Thursday night. FWB focuses on community-driven events that help the surrounding areas. Thursday's event raised funds for two more than worthy, local causes: Communities in School Charleston and the Rockers 4 Knockers.

After the guys from Umphrey's shut down the Grove, much of the crowd progressed to the afterparty, which was just a short quarter mile walk away from the show. The afterparty was kicked off by a very a fresh rhythmic local group called The Artisanals. This would set the stage for the eventual debut of Doom Flamingo, a brilliant new all-star group of Charleston musicians including bassist Ryan Stasik, keyboardist Ross Bogan, drummer Stuart White, saxophonist Mike Quinn, guitarist Thomas Kenney, vocalist Kanika Moore. This group brought together some unprecedented, psychedelic fueled 80's jams that I have never seen in such fashion.

While each independent artist had something special to bring to the table, the lovely Kanika Moore stole the show with her alluring vibes and rhythmic melody. If there was anything I took away from this weekend, it was to not miss anything Friends With Benefits has a hand in, and that the 'Rise of Doom Flamingo' will continue to be an exciting, special evolution. We are excited to see what the future holds here at Live and Listen. 

Artwork by Kyndall Cooper

Setlist: Umphrey's McGee - The Grove at Patriot's Point - 05.31.18

Set: Make It Right, In The Kitchen[1], Get In The Van, Mantis > Xmas at Wartime, You & You Alone, Sociable Jimmy > Puppet String, 1348 > Half Delayed > 1348, Day Nurse > Mantis

Encore: Miss Tinkle's Overture, What We Could Get[2], Comfortably Numb

[1] with Dr. Feelgood (Mötley Crüe) jam
[2] debut, original

Notes:
show played as one set due to the weather

Watch a clip of "Comfortably Numb" here:

Check out 'Vicarious Views w/ Umphrey's McGee & Doom Flamingo' here:


Stream Dead & Company's Tour Opener For Free Tonight May 30, 2018 17:20

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Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo
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Dead & Company are all set for tonight's Summer Tour opener at Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA, and they're offering a free stream to celebrate the occasion. Tonight's stream is available via nugs.tv, who will also be streaming each show for the entire tour. See below for a direct link to the stream, as well as a complete list of Dead & Company's tour dates, which run through mid-July and culminate with a two-night stand at LOCKN' Festival in Arrington, VA on August 25th - 26th
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Dead & Company Tour Dates

May 30 - Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
June 1 - Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion
June 2 - Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion
June 4 - Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
June 6 - Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
June 8 - Atlanta, GA – Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
June 9 - Raleigh, NC – Coast Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
June 11 - Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
June 13 - Hartford, CT – XFINITY Theatre
June 15 - New York, NY – Citi Field
June 16 - New York, NY – Citi Field
June 19 - Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
June 20 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
June 22 - East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
June 23 - East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
June 29 - Quincy, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre
June 30 - Eugene, OR – Autzen Stadium
July 2 - Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
July 3 - Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
July 6 - Chula Vista, CA – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
July 7 - Los Angeles, CA – Dodger Stadium
July 11 - Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
July 13 - Boulder, CO – Folsom Field
July 14 - Boulder, CO – Folsom Field
August 25 - Arrington, VA – LOCKN’ Festival
August 26 - Arrington, VA – LOCKN’ Festival

Stream tonight's Dead & Company show here:
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Here's Why We Can't Wait For Purple Hatter's Ball May 30, 2018 00:05

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Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis
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It's that time of the year again, and summer festival season has officially begun. While countless festivals are scheduled in various, beautiful locations across the country, few (if any) can truly match the magic of Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. While heavy hitters such as Suwannee Hulaween and Wanee naturally draw the most attention to the park, one of our favorite annual events lies ahead this weekend: Purple Hatter's Ball. In addition to a consistently solid lineup, this  intimate two-day music festival raises awareness for The Rachel Morningstar Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization) in honor of music lover Rachel Morningstar Hoffman
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Purple Hatter's Ball 2018 will showcase a diverse line-up of music on two stages including the picturesque Amphitheater Stage surrounded by massive live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and the much-loved Beach Stage which offers plenty of shaded area for dancing during daytime sets and sun drenched sand along the black Suwannee River, where festival goers chill on inflatable rafts and play games. PHB 2018 will be headlined by seven-piece super funk futurists Lettuce, who are known for throwing down some of their best live performances on the SOSMP Amphitheater Stage, and Arizona-based four piece Spafford, who are in the midst of a meteoric rise within the jam scene, taking over airwaves on Sirius XM’s JamOn. Also performing is Breaking Biscuits featuring Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein from The Disco Biscuits, and Adam Deitch and Borham Lee of Break Science. The experimental band has only played a handful of shows, and this marks their first performance in the southeast.

Additional artists on the lineup include: Florida-based jam aficionados The Heavy Pets, who are currently touring behind their new full-length album Strawberry Mansion; the one-and-only sacred steel master Roosevelt Collier and his band whose Exit 16 debut album recently dropped on GroundUp Music; Toubab Krewe with their energetic instrumental world music that blends Caribbean, Malian and influences from the “Dirty South”; the conscious world-reggae sounds of DubConscious - Rachel’s favorite band;  and twin producer–duo MZG. Additional performers include Southern Avenue, Hivemind, Catfish Alliance, Trial By Stone, and Vlad The Inhaler.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball is the perfect opportunity to experience the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park festival grounds, during a laid-back, intimate and affordable event. Attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the park’s endless activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, biking, and disc golf.  There is no better way to experience Spirit of the Suwannee in style. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, a full-service restaurant, showers and water stations.
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Here's a taste of what you can expect from the 2018 PHB lineup:
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Lettuce will bring an unmatchable level of explosive funk to the table.
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You've surely heard the Spafford hype. It's very real. Just wait.
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Break Science meets The Disco Biscuits: Need we say more?
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Toubab Krewe is back with a vengeance. Is there a more unique band out there?
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Suwannee is essentially home turf for The Heavy Pets. These guys always deliver. 
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Speaking of home turf...expect to see your fair share of Dr. Roosevelt Collier.
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Photos by Rex-A-Vision
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Joe Russo's Almost Dead Shares Official Recording From 420 Fest May 25, 2018 15:04

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Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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It's been just over a month since the magic of SweetWater 420 Festival, and we're still reeling from those two smokin' hot sets from Joe Russo's Almost Dead. The supergroup featuring Joe Russo (drums), Marco Benevento (keys/organ), Tom Hamilton (guitar/vocals), Dave Dreiwitz (bass), and Scott Metzger (guitar/vocals) made their presence known in Atlanta for the second consecutive year (Candler Park Fest 2017), setting the stage for an unforgettable headlining set from Tedeschi Trucks Band.
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The first set kicked off with the Jerry Garcia Band classic "Cats Down Under The Stars," with Dead originals "Feel Like A Stranger," "The Wheel," "Estimated Prophet," and "He's Gone" to follow. The second set started with a monster "Shakedown Street," and powerful takes on "I Need A Miracle," "Ramble On Rose," "China Cat Sunflower," "I Know You Rider," "Drums," "Not Fade Away," "Turn On Your Lovelight (jam)," and a fitting "One More Saturday Night" would round things out.
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Fortunately, the band has now released the official recording from this set, which can be streamed in its entirety below. You can also find the official setlist, which includes all of the wild teases and sub notes, courtesy of JRAD tour manager Peter Costello below. 
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Setlist: Joe Russo's Almost Dead - Atlanta, GA - 04.21.2018
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Set One (5:12PM – 6:13PM): Jam -> Cats Under The Stars -> Feel Like A Stranger @, The Wheel # -> Estimated Prophet $ -> He’s Gone %

Set Two (6:42PM – 7:58PM): Shakedown Street ^ -> ’73 Changes (Eyes) Jam & -> Shakedown Street Reprise * -> I Need A Miracle -> Jam + -> Ramble On Rose, China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider @@ -> Drums -> Not Fade Away ## -> (Turn On Your) Lovelight Jam $$ -> Not Fade Away Reprise, One More Saturday Night

  • @ – With a “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” (George Clinton, Eddie Hazel) Tease (MB) & an Unknown Tease (MB)
  • # – With a a Playin Jam (Band) and a Dark Star Tease (DD)
  • $ – With a “Soulful Strut” (Young Holt Limited) Jam (SM then Band)
  • % – With a The Wheel Tease (TH)
  • ^ – With a Feel Like a Stranger Tease (TH) and then a Feel Like a Stranger Jam (Band)
  • & – First Time Played by Almost Dead as a stand alone segment (AKA NOT as the ending to Eyes of the World)
  • * – Not Played by Almost Dead since 2015-02-15 Ogden Theater, Denver, CO a gap of 129 shows, with an I Need A Miracle Tease (TH)
  • + – With a Tennessee Jed Tease (SM)
  • @@ – With a Playin Tease (SM) & Morning Dew Teases (TH)
  • ## – With a “Revelry” (Traditional) Tease (SM)
  • $$ – Not Played by Almost Dead since 2016-12-30 Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY, a gap of 55 shows


CukoRakko Fam Jam Sparks New Musical Tradition In Birmingham May 23, 2018 13:05

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Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen
Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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The Birmingham music scene continues to build its reputation as a true hotbed of talent, and this past weekend was a perfect example. In recent years, Avondale Brewery has established itself as one of the city's premier music venues, hosting many of the nation's hottest touring acts on any given night. Saturday introduced an entirely new concept to the brewery, as organizers of CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival hosted the inaugural CukoRakko Fam Jam, a one-day music and arts festival right in the heart of Birmingham. While plans are still in place for a full weekend festival at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL this fall, it certainly seems that the spring edition of CukoRakko has found a suitable home for the foreseeable future. The Fam Jam was presented by Jaguar Land Rover Birmingham, and as always, the team at Big Friendly Productions truly brought this event to life. 
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Known for featuring a steady variety of both local and national talent, CukoRakko has built a loyal grassroots following since its inception in 2014. While the Fam Jam was technically 'scaled back' in comparison to a full weekend of music, there was no shortage of spectacular performances on this day. As the 'Fam Jam' moniker suggests, CukoRakko also prides itself on being a true family-friendly event. In addition to the music, attendees participated in activities such as Soul Flow Yoga with Union Yoga, Didgeridoo Workshop with MacGavin Woodworks, and the always popular drum circle with John Scalici of Get Rhythm
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The festivities began at noon with a powerful performance from Barnaby Rudge, a homegrown 'supergroup' performing for just the second time. The lineup features many familiar faces, including members of Little Raine Band and Festival Expressions, as well as local favorites Taylor Hunnicut, Jason Grubbs, and Beck Hall. This group has the cohesive sound and chemistry of a full-time, veteran band, and we will be anxiously awaiting their next performance. Highlights included a mix of various originals, as well as covers of The Allman Brothers' "Dreams"and "Ain't Wastin' Time No More" and The Grateful Dead's "Terrapin Station." If you managed to miss this set, do yourself a favor and make Barnaby Rudge a priority moving forward. 
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South Alabama's Jimmy Lumpkin & The Revival would take the stage next. This band brings a unique flavor of Americana folk rock to the table, with vocals that will send chills down your spine. There were moments where I felt I was listening to a blend of Gary Clark Jr. and The Black Keys, with hints of Van Morrison and Ryan Adams. While this was my first live experience with this band, I thoroughly enjoyed their originals such as "My Name Is Love" and "Troubled Soul." Every music festival can use its fair share of Grateful Dead covers, and the decision to close out the set with "Franklin's Tower" was well received by the Birmingham faithful. The Gulf Coast has a true gem with this band, and there is no telling what they will accomplish when its all said and done. 
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When rumors began to surface of a Toubab Krewe reunion last fall, we could only hope that they might make their way down to Alabama. One would be hard pressed to find a more original, unique band on the road today. Blending the music of West Africa with traditional American roots, this instrumental powerhouse brings a sound like no other to the table. From the opening notes of this set, the entire crowd was dialed in. These guys command your undivided attention, exploring on instruments that most have never even seen in a live setting. Justin Perkins' work on the kona/ngori was mesmerizing, and it's clear that he and guitarist Drew Heller's history dates back to their teenage years. Percussionist Luke Quaranta and drummer Terrance Houston are absolute beasts, while bassist Justin Kimmel holds down an unmatchable groove throughout. Highlights from the set included originals such as "Hang Tan, "Bamana Niya," Nirvana the Buffalo," "Devil Woman," and the latest single "That Damn Squash." Here's to hoping that Toubab Krewe makes their way down to Alabama much more often.
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Next up on the lineup was Steady Flow, a young, energetic, power funk group from the heart of the midwest. I was particularly eager to see these guys in action, as they have earned high praise at other major festivals such as Summer Camp, North Coast, and Phases of the Moon in recent years. The group is led by brothers Tanner (guitar) and Ky (bass) Brown, who have been playing together since a very early age. While Steady Flow is a predominantly instrumental funk project, Tanner Brown works in a 'steady' amount of vocal work on the talkbox, which always draws a nice response from the crowd. This element was seen in full effect during a cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," as well as a medley that included segments of Luniz's "I Got Five On It" and 2 Pac & Dr. Dre's "California Love." Keyboardist Tay Brown showcased his vocal work on the original "Bottle of Funk," while a flawless instrumental take on James Gang's "Funk No. 49" pushed the energy to another level. Additional highlights came in the form of originals such as "Do You Like That?," "But Can You Dance?," and "China." After my first jam-packed, 90-minute taste of Steady Flow, I would agree that these guys could very well be "the future of funk."
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This year's headliner was The Russ Liquid Test, a three-piece live electronic act from New Orleans. Led by multi-instrumentalist Russ Liquid, this band blends elements funk, jazz, and electronic in a very tasteful way. Guitarist Andrew Block and drummer Deven Trusclair round out the lineup with roots that stretch deep into the New Orleans jazz scene. Russ is as dynamic of a performer as you will find on the festival circuit, constantly rotating between the keys, trumpet, and saxophone. Block's guitar work was equally impressive and a perfect compliment to Trusclair's powerful rhythm behind the kit. For those looking to dance and get down, Russ Liquid Test provided just that. For those looking to zone in on some mind blowing, technical musicianship, these guys delivered in every way. Highlights from the set included originals such as "You & Me," "World Gone Crazy," and "Honesty." While I don't typically dive too deep into the live electronic world, I was more than impressed and couldn't have enjoyed my first RLT experience any more. 
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If you were looking to continue the party past 11:00 PM, the three-piece house/techno group DYNOHUNTER had you covered. Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, this group is truly a breath of fresh air to the world of electronic dance music. A blend of bass, synth, drums, and saxophone made for a perfect, high-energy dance party to cap off the evening. When I think back on this set, the words "smooth" and "uplifting" come to mind. This trio isn't as much on the heavy/wompy side of EDM. The music was consistently groovy and uplifting. One couldn't help but let loose and get down as soon as they walked in the door.  
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In true CukoRakko fashion, the inaugural Fam Jam had something to offer just about every style of music fan. As the Birmingham music scene continues to flourish, this was a perfect opportunity to bring this festival-style concept to Avondale Brewery. Those looking for the weekend camping experience are in luck, as festival organizers are already locking in the lineup for the fall festival in early October. Stay tuned for further updates as they are made available!
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Watch a clip from Steady Flow's set here:
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Watch multiple clips from The Russ Liquid Test's set here:
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Suwannee Hulaween Reveals Heavy Hitting 2018 Lineup May 23, 2018 10:15

Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo

The String Cheese Incident, Jamiroquai, ODESZA, Janelle Monáe, Tipper, The Revivalists, Vulfpeck, STS9, REZZ, Tory Lanez, Gramatik, NGHTMRE, Action Bronson, Lettuce, Trampled By Turtles, Stephen Marley, Bishop Briggs, Dr. Dog, TroyBoi, Medeski Martin & Wood, Lizzo, Mavis Staples, Emancipator Ensemble, Snakehips, The Wood Brothers, Galactic, The Polish Ambassador & The Diplomatic Scandal, Manic Focus & The MF’n Band, OPIUO, Yonder Mountain String Band, Turkuaz, Trevor Hall, SunSquabi, Soulection, Justin Martin, Fisher, Bustle In Your Hedgerow, and MORE

Tickets On Sale Now at www.suwanneehulaween.com

Today Suwannee Hulaween, one of North America’s premiere multi-faceted boutique festival experiences, has revealed the complete musical lineup for its 2018 event. This all-encompassing collection of some of live and electronic music’s most revered talent will offer fans an essential soundtrack for another fully immersive creative journey at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak Florida October 26-28.

Hulaween prides itself on assembling a who’s who billing of scene leading talent with a focus on defying genre boundaries and attracting all tastes. The 2018 festival will feature headlining sets from the likes of longtime host band of the festival The String Cheese Incident, plus a top billing of Grammy award winners and nominees featuring live-electronic front runners ODESZA, a South-East exclusive and one of just five 2018 North American performances by modern funk icons Jamiroquai, and very special showing by singer-songwriter Janelle Monae on the wake of her blowout Dirty Computer record. The star-studded billing continues with the reigning king of west coast bass Tipper, five piece American funk band Vulfpeck, multiple sets by leaders of the post-rock dance movement STS9, the alternative radio chart topping wonder of The Revivalists, dark-electro wunderkind Rezz, plus the unique electronic stylings of Gramatik, NGHTMRE, Troyboi, Snakehips, Emancipator Ensemble, Manic Focus & the MF’n Band, Justin Martin, Kill Frenzy,  and many more.

In Suwannee Hulaween Talent Buyer & Partner Michael Berg’s own words, “Our entire team obsesses over the lineup from top to bottom. Within our means, we strive to make sure it's exactly what the #HulaCrew is looking for musically when they come visit us in FL for the weekend at Suwannee. While there are many acts procured and/or lost throughout the difficult booking process, the 2018 lineup came together magically and feels like in year 6, it's our strongest to date."

 

"One special artist addition for us all this year was landing 1 of only 5 total US Jamiroquai performances for their first time stateside in 13+ years. This will be the South East exclusive performance for the Grammy award winning pioneers of future funk from the UK. It's a full circle moment for us as fans, and a dream come true as independent promoters to work with a living legend who's music and career has had such a profound effect on our path to where & who we are."

The Hulaween experience is spawned through the unique blend of peak musical experiences with a never-ending assemblage of immersive environments and activities to explore. Hula fans may find themselves getting lost in the awe-inspiring artistic portal of Spirit Lake, starting their day with a rejuvenating yoga class, or seeking inspiration at a speaker session or workshop. Surprises hide beyond every turn at Hulaween with utmost care going into the curation of art-installations and live performers plus, of course, the unbound creativity and embracing ethos of its loyal attendees.

It is through this unique sense of community, creativity, and connection that Suwannee Hulaween has grown from a friends and family campout to one of the alternative festival scene’s most joyous reunions.

About Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park

Set in the midst of 800-acres of Spanish moss-draped oak and cypress along the black Suwannee River and complete with the largest bat house in the southeast U.S, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is one of the most beautiful live music venues in the country. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, full-service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms and water stations.

For More Information, Tickets, and VIP Packages for Suwannee Hulaween 2018, please visit:

WWW.SUWANNEEHULAWEEN.COM

 


Dickey Betts Returns To The Stage For Family Affair In Macon May 22, 2018 18:48

Words and Photos by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

After retiring from the stage in 2014, many fans were left wondering what the future would hold for legendary guitarist Dickey Betts. Best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, Betts and fellow guitarist Duane Allman were said to have "rewrote the rules for how two rock guitarists can work together, completely scrapping the traditional rhythm/lead roles to stand toe to toe." Following Allman's tragic death in 1971, Betts became the band's sole guitarist and would go on to write many of the band's biggest hits, such as "Ramblin' Man," "Blue Sky," "Jessica," "Southbound," and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and GRAMMY award in the mid 90's, Betts and ABB would ultimately part ways in the summer of 2000. 

It's no secret that 2017 was an absolutely devastating year for the Allman Brothers' family. Founding drummer Butch Trucks took his own life in late January, while Gregg Allman lost a hard fought battle with liver cancer over Memorial Day weekend. Rumors of a Dickey Betts comeback tour began to surface in December, and these rumors became a reality on December 12th (his 74th birthday). While Dickey's latest band would play a 'live rehearsal show' at an intimate venue in Sarasota on May 15th, the first official gig would come on Thursday, May 17th in the Allman Brothers' home city: Macon, GA. 

Friends With Benefits Productions teamed up with Ear For Music for this special occasion at the beautiful Macon City Auditorium. The new and improved Dickey Betts Band lineup includes Damon Fowler and Dickey's son Duane Betts on guitar, Mike Kach on keyboards, bassist Pedro Arevalo and drummers Frankie Lombardi and Steve Camilleri. The bill would also include the Devon Allman Project, which features the late Gregg Allman's son, Devon, as well as Duane Betts. 

Devon Allman and company kicked off the show, which was sold out weeks in advance, in powerful fashion. We arrived just in time to hear a lively cover of The Spinners' "I'll Be There," which made room for one of Allman's many blistering guitar solos. Duane Betts would join Allman for the majority of this set, as the two have spent a significant amount of time touring together this year. The set would also include tunes such as "Mahalo," "Ten Million Slaves," "Left My Heart In Memphis," "Taking Time," "Multicolored Lady," and "Midnight Lake Michigan." The younger Allman has a tremendous stage presence and even made his way out into the crowd, as he traded licks with the younger Betts, who had the chance to play Duane Allman’s 1957 goldtop Les Paul, on loan from Macon’s Big House Museum. Allman's capability to captivate the crowd and work a stage was very much indicative of his late father's legacy. 

During intermission, I took a few minutes to walk around the venue and do a little people watching. Being in the heart of Allman Brothers country, nearly 3000 of the band's fervent fan base was out in full force. Many were decked out in vintage ABB tie dyes, beaming with excitement from ear to ear. There must have been 60-70 grown men and women standing over the area where Dickey's bus was parked, simply waiting for a chance to cheer on the legendary guitarist as he headed toward the stage. I saw multiple fans shedding tears of joy, as well as couples embracing one another as if it was their wedding night. Concerts have a way of sparking moments that are difficult to describe, and this was certainly the case on this night. The spirit of the Allman Brothers was in the air as Dickey Betts took the stage for the first time in nearly four years. 

The set began with the classic instrumental, "Hot 'Lanta," before Mike Koch led the band through the always explosive "Statesboro Blues." Slide guitarist Damon Fowler and Duane Betts wasted no time trading licks, and it wasn't long before Allman returned to lead the band through one of his father's signature songs, "Midnight Rider." A beautiful take on "Blue Sky" would follow, as well as one of Dickey Betts & Great Southern's signature tunes, "My Getaway." Two of the ABB's later releases, "Change My Way of Living" and "Seven Turns" continued pouring energy into the packed house.

With Jaimoe's Jasssz Band set to play the official afterparty, many were expecting an appearance from one of the ABB's founding drummers. Sure enough, Dickey welcomed Jaimoe to the stage for what was easily the highlight of the night. For the first time in 18 years, Betts and Jaimoe would share the stage, and "Whipping Post" seemed like the perfect choice. Saxophonist Kris Jensen would add a nice jazzy flavor to the power tune, and he would also stick around for the set-closing "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" that followed. Dickey then assured the enraptured crowd that they would be right back to finish the show with a few more classics. 

Dickey and the band returned to the stage to finish off this special occasion with two of the Allmans' biggest hits. "Ramblin' Man" gave the lively Macon crowd one more classic sing-a-long, while "Jessica" allowed Dickey, Duane, and Damon Fowler the opportunity to showcase their cohesive guitar playing. One would be hard pressed to find a more appropriate encore for the occasion. 

There is no question that I was looking forward to this show, but I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect. As soon as I got to the hotel and saw at least 10 people in ABB or Dickey Betts t-shirts, I started to realize how unique and special this experience would be. Macon was the perfect location for a celebration of this magnitude. Not only did we witness the return of a legend, but the show also raised $3000 for The Big House Foundation. Watching Dickey and Jaimoe reunite for "Whipping Post" made for a memory we will never forget. The mutual respect and admiration between multiple generations of the ABB family was felt in every corner of this beautiful venue. While many of the founding members have passed on, their legacy lives on through this timeless catalog of music. 

Setlist: The Dickey Betts Band - Macon, GA - 05.17.18

Set: Hot ‘Lanta, Statesboro Blues, Nothing You Can Do, Midnight Rider, Blue Sky, My Getaway, Change My Way Of Living, Seven Turns, Whipping Post, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed

Encore: Ramblin’ Man, Jessica

As mentioned earlier, this show would not have happened without the efforts of Friends With Benefits Productions and Ear For Music. We recently spoke with George Claussen (FWB) and Rob Lamble (EFM) who shared a few personal thoughts on this special experience:

George: This opportunity was once in a lifetime. As a promoter, you dream about a concert like this. Bringing the remaining original Allman Brothers, children of the band members, and past members together one last time...back where it all began in Macon, GA. It's hard to describe the feeling we all felt that night...like writing a page in the history books. Not everyone gets that chance, and we are truly grateful. Thanks for all the love and support before and after the show. I know the road goes on forever! 

Rob: From the minute we arrived in Macon last Wednesday, there was a feeling in the air that something really special was about to take place. Not only the vibe that was happening in town, but it was like Duane, Berry, Butch, & Gregg were alongside us the whole time. We knew in our minds what was going to happen, but didn't realize how special this show really was going to be until it was upon us.

I know what this music has meant to me over the years and the countless other fans as well. With the recent and unfortunate passing of both Butch and Gregg, I think we all had an empty musical space in our hearts...knowing we would never hear this music played again (in a live setting) until last Thursday night. When Dickey walked out on the stage and hit the first note of "Hot Lanta," it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was pretty surreal, and I think the audience felt the same way.

We were then standing stage left with Jaimoe, and he seemed to be extremely excited about what was taking place as well. George and I asked him if he was ready, and he said "Never been more ready." He then proceeded to tell us we had really pulled off something special that night, and we should feel really good about it. That was the best compliment I have ever received in my 25 years of being in the music business.

That was it for me...you could close the book, and then Jaimoe took the stage to join Dickey after an 18-year hiatus years and played "Whipping Post." The energy in the auditorium could have rivaled any live concert experience in times past. Needless to say, I won't be closing the book anytime soon. It was the most magical evening I have ever been a part of! 

Watch a clip of "Jessica" here:

Watch a clip of "Whipping Post" with Jaimoe here:

Watch a clip of "Midnight Rider" w/ Devon Allman here:


Atlanta Teen Jazz Fusion Set to Perform for The World This Saturday May 18, 2018 15:43

Words by Taylor Pack: Live & Listen

In the truly collaborative spirit that embodies jazz culture, Atlanta’s Office of Cultural Affairs is partnering with Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs to broadcast a live performance by local teen jazz fusion group Audio Wolf. The broadcast will go out to Atlanta’s 17 sister cities around the world. The event is part of Atlanta Jazz Festival’s 31 Days of Jazz which provides the city with a full month of entertainment by showcasing our most talented musicians and artists in Atlanta’s best galleries, museums, and neighborhoods. Each night of 31 Days of Jazz features a different jazz related event, and this Saturday on May 19th at Soul Village in Little Five Points, Audio Wolf will showcase their talents as they perform for not only a local, live audience, but also for audiences around the world.

Audio Wolf is a jazz fusion band featuring 5 of greater Atlanta’s most talented high school jazz musicians. The band is the flagship program for Sound Education Experience (SEE), a local non-profit organization that focuses on personalized outreach for youth through music, art, and creative expression. The students in Audio Wolf have a unique experience and learn from professionals that want to help rising musicians achieve their goals. The members not only develop their own sound but also learn how to create their own music through leadership and collaboration.

Two members of Audio Wolfe will be moving on and attending college this fall. Mwanzi Hariott’s hard work and dedication to playing guitar helped him earn a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Kevin Oliver’s talent and commitment on saxophone earned him a scholarship to The Julliard School in New York City. Bassist and rising senior Devon Gates enormous musical voice is equally as powerful as her ambitions outside of music. She plans to study neuropsychology in order to help people by one day serving to shape global health policy. Shania Curry (drums) and Curtis Olawumi (trumpet) round out the band’s line-up that is set to perform this weekend in Little Five Points.

In the past Audio Wolf has shared the stage with Howard Hewitt, Vivian Green, Chante Moore, Robert Glasper, Rhonda Thomas, and many more. In 2017 they traveled abroad and performed at The Dominican Republic Jazz Festival and in 2019 they have the opportunity to travel to Cuba and play at The Havana Jazz Festival. The collective talents and hard work of these young musicians will be on full display Saturday at Soul Village and also streaming live as Audio Wolf performs for the world.

Click Here: Tune in to the live stream!

Watch Audio Wolf perform "Breathe New Life" here:


Nathaniel Rateliff Leaves It All Out There in Charlotte May 16, 2018 14:28

Words by DJ Tanner

Photos by Jim Dimitroff: ShowLove Media

Nathaniel Rateliff is worth cheering for. His music and his story are worthy of your applause. And he got a lot it at his show Tuesday night at the Fillmore in Charlotte.

I was fortunate to be introduced to Rateliff’s music early in his career through his 2010 debut solo album, In Memory of Loss. That album holds a special place for me – as it was essentially the soundtrack to falling in love with my wife. I followed his career closely since then and introduced as many people as I could to his music. He was one of those artists you knew should / could be bigger. His voice and songwriting talent was undeniable. He just needed a launching point, which he found with the incarnation of the Night Sweats. When I heard he was putting together a soul/funk band, I was admittedly a bit reserved. There were legions of bands taking advantage of the neo-soul revival, with varying levels of legitimacy and quality. Then I heard his first single, “S.O.B.” It was clever and catchy and authentic and turned into a massive hit. Thankfully, the rest of the album held up and catapulted Rateliff and his band into legitimate success. His second album, Tearing at the Seams, is an even more impressive showing. It’s gotten more airplay in our house than any other this year and almost every song on the album has claimed a spot as my favorite at one time or another. A long-winded way of saying it is truly a complete album – chock full of amazing songs from start to finish. I could easily turn this show review into an album review – just so many amazing tracks.

With two great albums of high energy, high quality music in his catalog, and a lifetime of earning his stripes on the road, expectations were lofty for this show. The show was sold out and the crowd was as lively as any I’ve ever seen at the Fillmore.

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real opened the night. I got turned on to them when they were Neil Young’s backing band for his full-band recent tours. Any band tasked with that duty has to have some serious live chops. I’d also put their song, “Find Yourself’, as one of my favorite tracks of 2017. (There’s a great Rolling Stone article on the genesis of Lady Gaga’s collaboration on this song, which also involves Bradly Cooper because of course it does.) Lukas’ music is not breaking any new musical path – you get shades of Little Feat, Allmans, and Skynyrd – but I don’t mean that to sound negative. It’s comfortable and familiar but taken to a really unique place by Lukas’ amazing voice, guitar skills, and high energy stage presence – complete (on this night) with a Hendrix-patented teeth-guitar solo. It was a great way to start the night, with highlights including a crowd-pleasing “Carolina”, a stretched out and gorgeous “Forget About Georgia” (clever tune w/ an ever cleverer backstory), and a great version of the aforementioned “Find Yourself” to close out the set. While no Neil Young covers made the set, you could feel the Crazy Horse vibe throughout their set.

As it does on Rateliff’s latest album, “Shoe Boot” opened up the show. With an absurdly catchy and danceable drum beat and horn/bass riff, it was the perfect way to start the show. Probably the most danceable track on the album it would be at home on any DapTone release. As mentioned previously, I had some concern about Rateliff’s move to much more upbeat music, given how natural he seemed as an acoustic singer/songwriter. But his albums with the Night Sweats were/are just as amazing. And it makes even more sense once you see them in person. These guys love making/playing this music. I’m not sure anyone danced harder that night than Rateliff and his bandmates (but I sure as hell tried). And the songs just fit so well in a live setting. The choruses are built for sing a longs. And the tempo and riffs are impossible not to move along to. These guys are genuinely moved by the music they create and it’s impossible not to get caught up in it also. Not only are they enjoying it but they are appreciative for it. Numerous times throughout the show he thanked the crowd for the support that has afforded them the ability to do what they love and “truly changed their lives”. These words were particularly poignant for me – knowing the path he’d endured to get to this point. If you haven’t seen it before, I highly recommend watching the documentary, Austin to Boston, which gives a powerful glimpse into Rateliff’s early career and backstory.

One thing I particularly loved about the evening, is Rateliff finding opportunities to work his softer, singer/songwriter side to the Night Sweats format, speaking specifically to “I’d Be Waiting” (performed solo acoustic), “Hey Mama” and “Tearing at the Seams”. All are slow burners that were great counterpunches to the overall extremely high energy show. These gave Rateliff a chance to show off the deep, captivating soulfulness of his voice.

Highlights were plentiful and hard to keep track of but the breakdown/build-up moments in “I Need Never Get Old” and “S.O.B”, were legitimately goosebump-inducing. The raucous sing-a-long of “S.O.B.” was the perfect way to end the set. You know the night has been a success and made its impact when the sing-a-long carries over into the parking lot and bar next door. Turns out “gimme a drink” is a pretty great lyric to sing at a bar. (Related, if the bartender from the Back Bar is reading this… sorry.)

I’d seen Rateliff’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” from the clip of them backstage at the Tonight Show. Unfortunately, the video got pulled off their website and I’d been dying to hear it again. It is truly a perfect cover for his voice and that band. I will remember that version of that song for years to come, as will most everyone else there I imagine. It was poignant and perfect.

There’s an article that quoted Rateliff saying/joking that his vision for this band was to be a straight and blatant rip-off of The Band. And while that is probably as close of a proxy there is in rock history, Rateliff and the Night Sweats are creating something truly unique and amazing. We’re all lucky we get to bear witness to the story. And it’s a story worth cheering for.

 


The Road to CukoRakko: Luke Quaranta of Toubab Krewe May 15, 2018 16:32

 

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

If you're a music lover in Alabama, you've more than likely heard about an amazing grassroots festival known as CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival. Founded in 2014, the festival has been held twice a year at Horse Pens 40 in Steele, AL. As this concept has continued to evolve each year, festival producers have decided to bring the spring festival to Birmingham's Avondale Brewing Company on Saturday, May 19th, while still having plans for a full-weekend festival in October.

The spring festival will now be known as CukoRakko Fam Jam, a one-day event held in the heart of Birmingham which features a wide variety of world class talent from across the country. As we prepare for another unforgettable CukoRakko experience, we're sitting down and getting to know a few of this year's performers. For our next installment, we caught up with Luke Quaranta, percussionist of Toubab Krewe. See below for the full interview and stay tuned for further coverage throughout the weekend.

Share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments section for a chance to win a pair of tickets to CukoRakko Fam Jam. We will announce the winner on Friday, May 18th.



Some music cannot be found on a map or within iTunes categories. Some music is so original it seems snatched from the great, invisible substrata that runs below all human activity, a sound aching to be born without a flag or fixed allegiance – free, questing, overflowing with immediate, tangible life. This is the music of Toubab Krewe, the vibrant Asheville, NC-based instrumental powerhouse that creates a sonic Pangaea that lustily swirls together rock, African traditions, jam sensibilities, international folk strains and more.  While nearly impossible to put into any box, it takes only a few moments to realize in a very palpable way that one is face-to-face with a true original who recognizes no borders in a march towards a muscular, original, globally switched-on sound.   

Formed in 2005, Toubab Krewe has tenaciously honed their craft through relentless touring and a fierce dedication to carving out something they can truly call their own.  This is a band that actively draws inspiration from whatever source floats into their purview, something they've exhibited in their decade of heavy gigging, including regular appearances at major U.S. festivals like Bonnaroo, High Sierra, Wakarusa and New York City's Summer Stage, and abroad at such legendary gatherings as Festival In The Desert in Mali, The Shanghai World Music Festival, and The Festival of World Music in Sines, Portugal.  

Their globe-hopping propensity has made them an emerging headliner at their hometown's famous Orange Peel and a familiar face at similar venues throughout the country. Whether on their own or collaborating with luminaries like the Last Poets' Umar Bin Hassan or Uncle Earl's Rayna Gellert, Toubab Krewe has already earned the attention and respect of a broad musical community.   

Toubab carries echoes of African greats like Ali Farka Toure, Orchestra Baobab and Salif Keita, no doubt picked up during the group's travels to study and live in Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali.  But what truly differentiates Toubab Krewe from other Statesiders inspired by African music is how they innovate on what they've learned instead of simply recreating tradition. Toubab Krewe carves out a new trail honoring the African originators they admire by making something alive and contemporary. 

Click Here: Purchase CukoRakko Fam Jam Tickets

Let’s start off with some general history on the band. You guys got started in Asheville back in 2005. How did this project come together?

Luke: We started in 2005, and we had actually been friends for a lot longer than that. The project really came together around our friendships formed at Warren Wilson College. A few of the guys had been friends well before that. Our kora/ngoni player Justin Perkins and our guitarist Drew Heller grew up together in Asheville; playing music for a number of years. Our original drummer, Teal Brown, also grew up with those guys since the middle school days. They had some bands throughout high school and college.

I met the guys during the college years, and we had all developed this mutual interest in West African music. I was a part of a drumming group on campus, and then I went to Guinea, West Africa to study music in 1999. Four of us in the group (at that time) went to Guinea and Ivory Coast to study in 2001. So, those were the roots of it all. The interest in West African music and traveling to West Africa. Drew and Justin actually took a trip to Bamako, Mali in 2004 for about four months, and it was when they returned from that trip that we started in the band in 2005. 

I think on that trip...their eyes were opened to not only all of the traditional music that we had been studying, but also more of the contemporary scene in Bamako. Bands playing clubs, mixing Western instrumentation and more modern instrumentation with the traditional music. They got a real sense that we could play a lot of the music that we had come to really love, but also in a style that was true to our American roots. 

It was a cool moment, man. We started the band in '05 and cut the first record in April of that year. I think we released it in June of that year and started hitting the road, playing festivals, and never really looking back. We ended up being on the road for like 10 years, up until 2014. We played through that year, and that's when we decided to take a bit of a break from the road. 

I'd say that was well deserved. As you said, the band mixes the musical styles of West Africa and America. It's quite unique to say the least. I read that "toubab" means "foreigner," and "krewe" is in reference to New Orleans. Would you say that there is much of a New Orleans influence?
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Luke: Yeah...I think so, man. A lot of Americana roots. A lot of roots in old time and string music from Western North Carolina. Especially because Drew and Justin grew up there; playing banjos, fiddles, and what not. We all have such an appreciation for New Orleans music. At the time, it really reflected what we were doing, which was experimenting in a style that had really deep roots. I think a lot of the same things have happened in New Orleans music. 
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People come here (New Orleans) from all over the world. There's a lot of music from the Caribbean and African traditions...which are kind of morphed into their own styles here in New Orleans. That's kind of what we felt like we were doing. Studying the music of West Africa, and then also mixing it with things we grew up with. Trying to create a fresh sound with an authentic voice of our own. So yeah, I think New Orleans has always been a big influence. 
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I would imagine that the rich, eclectic culture of Asheville served as a great environment for a young band. How vital has the Asheville culture been on the evolution of Toubab Krewe?
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Luke: Yeah, I know that it was a great place to grow up for Drew and Justin. There's so much amazing traditional music there. As we came up as a band, the city was growing quite a bit. I think there was a real openness to different styles of music in town. The feedback that we got and the following we developed early on was really special. Asheville was just a really supportive place. I think a lot of artists and more musicians were moving there at the time. It really was a great place for us to start out as a band. Experimenting with music and making it our own. 
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Sounds about right. So, as a percussionist, would you say that your setup and overall style is significantly different than that of a more traditional american band?
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Luke: Yeah, for me, it definitely is. I think it is also for Justin. We have the traditional instruments in the group...drums, bass, and guitar are obviously integrated at the root of most American bands. Justin playing the kora, the 21-string harp from West Africa, and also the 12-string kamel ngonia is obviously much different. For me, the traditional West African instruments that I integrated into the band were the djembe, dunun, sangban, kenkeni, and then there is this log drum called the kryn that I always use as a part of my setup. There is also this metal scraper from southern Mali called the karenye. 
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More recently, I've used the sangban and kenkeni on either side of the djembe...kind of like a conga setup. They're traditional West African drums, and everything that I've brought to the band is typically West African in nature and in terms of instrumentation. I guess my background has included a lot of music from Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Mali, so I've been bringing that language into the band, as well. 
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In that sense, I think what I bring is different than maybe a traditional percussionist in a contemporary American band. They might integrate more congas, bells, blocks, racks, timbales, and stuff like that. Those instruments are more indigenous to Cuban music and music from South America and the Caribbean. So yeah, my setup is pretty unique and specifically West African in nature.
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Watch Toubab Krewe's official video for "That Damn Squash" here:
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Very cool. So, back in March, the band released Stylo, the first studio album since 2010. How long had this material been in the works? 
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Luke: At the end of the run...towards the end of 2014, we were thinking it was probably a good idea to take some time off from the road. We went into the studio in Atlanta with the current roster, which includes Terrance Houston from New Orleans on drums and Justin Kimmel from Brooklyn on bass. Our good friend, Vic Stafford, had revived Southern Tracks Recording Studio in Decatur, GA. He had been doing some new projects from there. We went in for about ten days and cut the majority of the record in late 2014. It was a great session. A lot of the material came about from previous sessions...really just jammin' and flushing out ideas. Longer form jam sessions, which were recorded. 
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We would then go back and instill some of those ideas into tunes. Justin and Drew brought some original tunes to the table. There are some reworked traditional arrangements, which we had done quite a bit on previous records. We kind of sat on it for a couple of years and didn't touch it much until early 2017. Drew, Justin, and I got together over a number of sessions in Asheville and Brooklyn to edit, overdub, and mix the record. It was cool, because all of the material was from late 2014, when we were really tight as a band, touring consistently. 
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We might have been a little burnt out as well, so when we came back to it, we came back with really fresh ears. It was a fresh experience, and we took a creative license to the mixing and editing process. This allowed us to shape the record into the final product. It was a cool process. We were able to encapsulate two time periods of the band. I'm really happy with the way it came out. We had a really good time with it. 
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That's amazing. It seems like the response has been strong, and the album has gotten some great exposure. You mentioned the three to four year touring hiatus. How vital was that time off for the band, and how has the return treated you so far?
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Luke: I think it was really good timing for us. Drew had just started a family and had a young baby. He had time to really focus on his family. I took the opportunity to move to New Orleans in September of 2014. That was great for me. I really got to branch out and play music with a lot of different people here. I know Justin spent a lot of time in Miami and Asheville. I think it was really good timing and a nice reset for the band. It allowed us all to do a lot of playing in casual, different settings. 
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Playing on the road with one project for so many years...it's such an intense focus. I think that this gave us a chance to recharge and realign some life goals. We've been really psyched to be back at it. It was a lot of fun to get together to finish the album. The response from the road has been great. Catching up with fans that we haven't seen in several years. I think everything has been great. We've been having some really great shows. Digging into this new material has been really fun too. 
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I guess we did our first run back in the fall of 2017, which allowed us to 'warm up'. Then we dropped the record this spring, and we've been out for a number of dates in Colorado, the northeast, and southeast. This summer, we're obviously focusing on festivals. We had still been doing a few festivals and one-offs during 2015 and 2016, but we didn't really focus on getting back to the road until we were prepping the album. It's been great to get back out there and gauge the response with the new music. 
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I love hearing that. Before we wrap up, you guys are playing CukoRakko Fam Jam in Birmingham on Saturday. What would you tell your casual music fan who might be walking into their first Toubab Krewe experience?
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Luke: I would say that they can expect a dance party, for sure. A lot of the music is heavy dance music. Also, I think they can expect a merging a worlds and cultures. They may hear a style of music that they've never heard before. If they have heard West African music, they might be experiencing it through a different lens. I think whether folks want to be on their feet dancing, or just listening and deciphering the different influences, I think it works for both experiences. 

Every show is different. The band prides itself on really allowing the music to move us and the crowd together. We want to take the whole experience to a new place that we might not have thought we'd get to. We're always open to seeing where the music takes us artistically, musically, and spiritually. I think it's going to be a great time. We haven't played in Birmingham too much, so I'm really looking forward to playing there in a nice, outdoor setting. 


Phish Announces 14-Date Fall Tour, Halloween in Vegas May 15, 2018 13:39

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Photo by Keith Griner: Phierce Photo
Press Release via Phish.com
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Phish will hit the road in October for a 14-date Fall Tour beginning October 16 with two nights in Albany, NY and concluding with a four-night Halloween Run (beginning October 31) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The tour also includes three-night stands in Chicago, IL, Hampton, VA and two nights in Nashville, TN.

A limited number of tickets are available now at tickets.phish.com through Tuesday, May 29 at 9AM ET. Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning June 1 and continuing through June 2. For more info, visit phish.com.

10/16 Times Union Center, Albany, NY
10/17 Times Union Center, Albany, NY
10/19 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
10/20 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
10/21 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA
10/23 Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville, TN
10/24 Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville, TN
10/26 Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL
10/27 Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL
10/28 Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL
10/31 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
11/01 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
11/02 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV
11/03 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Phish and CID Entertainment are also offering travel packages (which include hotel & tickets) for Hampton, Chicago and the Halloween Run. Travel Packages go on sale Thursday, May 31 at Noon local time. Full details available at cidentertainment.com/events/phish/.


The Aiken Bluegrass Festival: A Truly Special Tradition May 14, 2018 22:57


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Words + Photos by Nicholas Lintz: Live & Listen
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The Aiken Bluegrass Festival is located down in the Sandhills of South Carolina, nestled on the edge of Georgia. This is prime Equestrian country and home to some incredible music culture. What better way to kick off festival season? This was the 14th annual festival, but you would never even know it because of how well the loving members and volunteers have maintained the grassroots feel. Augusta's Friends With Benefits Productions would also play a hand in this year's festival, which seems like a recipe for continued growth.

It felt like a family reunion, with campground pickings, local vendors, and a variety of local food. This year's festival mainly benefited the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, and it was a pet-friendly occasion. Beautiful dogs large and small roamed the grounds all weekend. We've included a few of our favorite pups in the photo gallery below. 

This year's Aiken Bluegrass Festival also added a new inside beer hall and stage on the grounds; where you could get out of the mid-day heat, grab a cold drink, and listen to some music. After every show outside, there was immediately a show inside, so you were never forced to miss any bands or be in the heat too long. With massive groups like Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, The Larry Keel Experience, Jon Stickley Trio, Billy Strings, and many more playing the festival it still felt homey. While Bluegrass was the focus, many of these groups can't help but push the envelope on this genre. We heard classic rock, Dead tunes, and even 90's covers.

Friday night was headlined by Leftover Salmon while the late-night show on Friday involved Vince Herman's Leftover Jam where as many as 12 + members from both the Friday and Saturday shows joined Vince up on stage at one time until 1:30 in the morning. Saturday drew in some last minute heavy rainstorms, but nothing stopped the music or dancing. There were great tunes all day then Greensky managed to draw a massive crowd at night as they blew our minds with their "rock-n-roll" bluegrass mentality. Then late-night Billy Strings took us home with a 'Psychedelic Circus' that left many speechless.

To be completely honest, it was extremely difficult for me to pinpoint what made Aiken Bluegrass Festival so beautiful and special this weekend. I am not sure if it was the intimate shows with some of the biggest acts in bluegrass, the incredible layout and land, the home-grown volunteers and vendors, or all the beautiful dogs and people. All I know for sure is that I "Love ABF" and will be sure to never miss it again.

Watch a clip of Billy Strings' performance here:

Watch a clip of Love Canon performing "Solsbury Hill" here: