Saturday, September 6, 2014

Concert Review #17 - The Black Keys - Columbus, Ohio @ Schottenstein Center - 09.05.2014

Let's get it movin'

Anyone who knows me knows how big of a Black Keys fan I am.  They know that even though I love Jack White like the best of 'em, The Black Keys were my first love.   They will never be trumped and I'll be an unconditional fan for as long as they're in existence.  Mainly because with the catalog they've created over their illustrious career they'll be able to fill an entire live show no matter what new material they need to crowbar into the show.  That being said, go to another website if you want an unbiased opinion.
The 'Keys started off their 'Turn Blue' North American tour in their home state of Ohio.  They were down in Columbus at the Schottenstein Center and will be in Cleveland at Quicken Loans arena on Saturday night.  I really wasn't sure what to expect with the new content coming off of their latest album, 'Turn Blue'.  If you haven't lived under a rock over the last 5-6 months, then you know that the boys release a bit of off the beaten path record with 'Turn Blue'.  It has a psychedelic vibe and can be a bit moody at times.  Still a fantastic piece of work, but I wasn't sure how it would fit in with their more than energetic shows.  It turns out they did just fine with both the new content and as expected their old content. 
The show started out in fury as the high energy band of misfits, Cage the Elephant opened.  I missed Cage the Elephant earlier this summer at Bonnaroo to catch Damon Albarn.  Although I don't regret that decision for a second, the conflict in the festival schedule sucked and I couldn't wait to get another opportunity to see a band that I really like a lot.  Lead singer Matt Schultz brought a surge of pep to the arena by immediately jumping around to each inch of the stage to his lyrics.  Impressively, he didn't hurt himself.  Midway through the set, Schultz ripped off his shirt and stage dove into the crowd.  He continued to do it twice more and the crowd loved every minute of it.  He reminded me a lot of a mix between Mick Jagger and Randall "Pink" Floyd from Dazed and Confused.  70's at heart, he more than did his job and captivated the crazy college crowd.  I'll definitely be tracking their concert schedule going forward to check them out again as soon as possible as they're a must see.
After about a 30 minute break from Cage the Elephant, the stage crew got the 'Keys equipment locked and loaded.  I felt myself get giddy as I hadn't seen them since last summer at their last show at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville as the last show of the 'El Camino' tour.  I remembered them as monsters on stage and when they stepped on stage they reminded as such.  They stepped out to a fury of tracks spanning 'Gold on the Ceiling' to 'Howlin' For You' to 'Fever'.  They fit in tracks from as far back on albums 'Thickfreakness' to 'Rubber Factory'.
They killed it for a solid hour and fifteen minutes before exiting before the encore to the 'El Camino' megahit 'Lonely Boy'.  They left the stage with the crowd in a rabid frenzy.  Only coming out to 'Stack Shot Billy' to enhance the frenzy.  Auerbach then cruised into 'Little Black Submarines' before heading into the night close of 'I Got Mine'.  And although missing the trademark 'The Black Keys' flashing sign in their backdrop as we've seen on the last two tours, they still thunderously crushed the night and kicked it to the side.  They mean business and North American should be on notice.  I can't wait for tomorrow night in Cleveland.
The boys seemed at ease on stage as if there was nothing left to prove.  They had made it on the 'El Camino' tour and the 'Turn Blue' tour seems as though its going to be a realization of the true love of the music they create.  Its no longer about selling records or selling out arenas.  Although, I'm sure they have vested interest in each of those, they seem as though they feel they can do whatever they want because they've made it.  The die hard fans will remain and the new fans will continue to flock because anything they produce turns to gold.

Gig Poster

Patrick Carney's brother Michael Carney who designed the 'Turn Blue' album cover created Columbus' gig poster. It's a psychedelic print that I think is black light as well.  I went out to Michael Carney's twitter account and saw that he'll have another of his prints for sale in Cleveland on Saturday night.  It's supposed to be a green variation of the Columbus poster.




Get it.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Concert Review #16 - The Avett Brothers - Toledo Zoo Amphitheater - 08.05.2014

Watch out for the orangutan

I tuned into the live webcast of Lollapalooza this past Sunday to watch one of the highlights of the festival (there weren't many), The Avett Brothers.  They played before closers Kings of Leon in front of a rambunctious young, soaked crowd from the steady rain.  While appreciating the talented Avett's, I decided to go out to their website and see if they had added additional shows close to Cleveland.  I was delighted to see they were playing Toledo two days later on Tuesday.  I looked at my wife, said "Wanna go?" and even though there was no doubt on what the response would be, she said "We have to".  She was right, we had to go.  So, I went to Ticketmaster and bought the best tickets I could, which weren't bad on the ground level...of the Toledo Zoo.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Concert Review #15 - Jack White - Detroit @ Masonic Temple Theater - 07.30.14

'Holy crap'

Those two words pretty much some up what I experienced last night in Detroit's Masonic Temple Theater.  I must have said those two words at least thirty times.  I was absolutely beside myself the entire night.  At one point during the encore, it was almost like I forgot I was there watching Jack White and it felt more like a dream.  The set was so long, it was easy to get lost in thought about what was happening before me.  A living legend, in a legendary theater which named an adjacent theater after him, in his hometown, playing what seemed to be an every song you would want to hear that he's ever created.   It was like watching Babe Ruth in Yankee Stadium in the middle of the 1927 Yankee lineup.  I may just be saying all of this because I'm a rabid Jack White fan, but I think anyone who witnessed this show would at least have to slightly agree. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Concert Review #14 - Jack White - Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE - 07.27.14

Rain or shine

The We've Been There Before Jack White Summer Series rolled into Pittsburgh last night.  Having seen him twice in the last month and a half (Bonnaroo and Forecastle), I thought I had experienced everything new that a Jack White concert could offer.  Turns out I was wrong and this time it wasn't because White was the innovative force.  In fact, it was Mother Nature and traffic that threw us for a loop.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Forecastle 2014 Festival Review

Southern awesomeness

I bought super early pre-sale tickets for Forecastle 2014 back in December of last year.  The lineup had not yet been announced yet, but passes were priced nicely at around $120, so I figured it was worth it.  I went on Saturday in 2013 and it was so well put together and one of the most fun festivals I had ever been to.  With bands like The Black Keys and Avett Brothers headlining, I knew there had to be a chance they'd snag some pretty solid headliners this year.  Then the gods were looking out for me with Jack White and Beck coming out with albums earlier this just in time for festival season.  Sure enough Forecastle booked the veterans along with the journeymen of the 2014 summer festival season, Outkast.  I have been pretty hard on Outkast when seeing their festival schedule this year, but I really wasn't sure if I'd be in to them or not (you'll find out shortly).  With other talented and amusing bands also booked such as JJ Grey and Mofro, Gary Clark Jr., Tune-Yards, Jenny Lewis, Band of Horses and Brett Dennen, there was more then enough content to warrant the trip down south.  If it wasn't for the awful traffic heading in town from Ohio, it would have been a perfect weekend, but I missed the first show that I was really looking forward to see.  Let's take a look at Forecastle's eclectic lineup from start (sort of) to finish, band by band.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Concert Review #13 - Beck @ State Theater, Cleveland, OH - 06.19.14

Funky Get Down

Beck visited Cleveland on Thursday night on the first stop in support of his most recent album,  'Morning Phase' (READ THIS: Album Review: Beck - 'Morning Phase').  I wasn't sure what to think when I found out that Beck was playing a theater.  I wondered if that meant he'd play mostly slower songs off of the new album.  Theater shows are normally no more than one step above an acoustic set.  I'm not a huge fan of concert in theaters in general.  I can't stand people sitting for any time period during a concert.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by Beck's performance which consisted of a set that spanned his long career.  The crowd wasn't so bad either...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Album Review: Jack White - 'Lazaretto'

Folk rock?

Country rock?

Hard rock?

All of the above...

Jack White's long awaited 'sophomore' solo album finally made it's debut on Tuesday.  The day has finally arrived after two months of hype and press that was both good and bad for White.  He has been praised and highly regarded for his mastery and uniqueness in publications and across the web.  He also caught himself talking poorly about the often-compared Black Keys and ex-sidekick Meg White.  Both of which he apologized for on his website.  Regardless of the drama White has created for himself, one thing is for certain, thank god this day has come.  Last month The Black Keys debuted their eighth studio album to mixed reviews.  They continued to separate themselves from the garage rock umbrella.  On 'Blunderbuss', White started to do the same.  'Lazaretto' continues that trend by expanding further into a folk/country rock genre.  It's not to say 'Lazaretto' doesn't have some heavy-hitting jams, because it does especially with the early released title track 'Lazaretto' and 'High Ball Stepper'.  It just is largely a mixed bag of folk rock, country rock and hard rock.  Let's go track by track to see what I mean....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Concert Review #12 - Vampire Weekend @ Meadow Brook Music Festival, Rochester Hills, Michigan - 06.06.14

Well, we're on the verge of being groupies when it comes to Vampire Weekend.  They were just north of Detroit in the college town of Rochester Hills, Michigan on Friday night.  It was about a three hour drive from Cleveland and on a Friday, so we were going.  When we were heading up through Detroit, we weren't sure what to expect.  We walked in a were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful outdoor pavilion with rolling lawn.  On a nice night in June, there couldn't be a better setting for one of our favorite bands.