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!
Watch the official preview here:
Win Tickets to Phish After Parties at Smith's Olde Bar & Aisle 5 July 31, 2018 12:15
8/3/2018 - The Grass is Dead Ft. Reverend Jeff Mosier - Smith's Olde Bar
Tickets: $15 Advance / $18 DOS / $10 with Phish Ticket Stub at Door
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
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:
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:
“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
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
Little Raine Band, The Pearl, & Killakeys To Join Forces In Birmingham July 18, 2018 21:22
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.
Stream Out of Line via Spotify here:
Waterloo Music Festival Just Confirmed A Massive Inaugural Lineup June 12, 2018 12:37
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 City, WIll Stewart, Riverbend, Brook & The Bluff, Mutton 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!
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
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
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, 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, Comfortably Numb
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
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
Here's Why We Can't Wait For Purple Hatter's Ball May 30, 2018 00:05
Joe Russo's Almost Dead Shares Official Recording From 420 Fest May 25, 2018 15:04
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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: