Friday, April 25, 2014

Preparing for 3 Floyds Brewing Co.'s Dark Lord Day

A rookie's approach to one of the nation's most famous beer release parties

I lived in Chicago for 3 years, but never made it to Dark Lord Day.  I won't say that I didn't try, I just wasn't able to get tickets, was out of town at the time or just didn't want to deal with the hoopla.  I would call myself a 'intermediate level' craft beer drinker.  I enjoy great craft brews, can pick out 'hints' of this and 'hints' of that, I have brewed beer on my own and have been to about 35-40 different breweries across the U.S., Canada and Europe.  I know that may seem 'expert level' to some, but a beer event such as this can make you feel like a beer idiot.  Partly due to the d-bag beer snobs that try to pick out 'notes', mention beer-food pairings and that are just a-holes with their analysis of beer.  Its beer.  Anyone can drink it.  You don't need a lesson plan to drink it.  If you enjoy it, that's all you need to justify your belonging at a beer event. 
Having never gone to Dark Lord Day, I have the same fears about it encountering those annoying attendees that will make me feel out of place.  Hopefully, I have read up enough on the event to make me feel normal.  Although, I could care less if someone calls me out on my beer knowledge, I just want to enjoy the day.  But I figured I'd need a plan of attack and know a little bit about the event itself, the beer I bought a ticket for "the opportunity" to buy, the guest taps, guest coffee (I love it!), food and veteran attendee tips.  Hopefully this will ease the anxiety for first-timers such as myself.  Let's take a look at some pointers, cool features and what can be expected....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jack White releases 'Lazaretto' title track

Track released following his Record Store Day performance that went direct to acetate

The studio version of 'Lazaretto' was released on Monday and it fulfilled every expectation I had of Jack White's 'sophomore' solo album.  They gritty, funky, scratchy, poppy, rocking Jack White that we've grown to love.  After the first track, instrumental only 'High Ball Stepper' was released a few weeks ago, I knew we were in for quite a treat.  White has not missed a beat from 'Blunderbuss' and in fact, if the title track is any indication, he has reached an all new high. 
The up and down tempo of the track has vibe that will hit every alt radio station this summer and be an instant classic.  With his voice having the same type of rhyming and punchy tone as Blunderbuss's 'Freedom at 21', the track is in your face from the start.  A friend mentioned to me that it has the feel of Zach De Le Rocha spewing lyrics on an intense Rage' track.  I tend to agree as it is Jack White proving that he is rock n' roll's savior in a mixture of EDM and hip-hop crap.  He proves his extremes by mixing the rough guitar licks with perfectly placed piano keystrokes. 
As I mentioned, if this is any tell into how great the new album will be, we're all in for a treat.  White has several shows this summer that he continues to add to.  He hypes himself up more than any other act.  The hype is working for me and I'll travel to see him wherever he's at if it's in a 5 hour drive.  We're in for a real treat this summer.  One can only hope The Black Keys don't fall flat on their new album that will be released a month prior to White's.  If so, White will have no competition this summer in radio airplay.  It seems as he's outdone himself again. 
Listen to the track below:
Get it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2014 - Lineup Revealed

The ACL Festival is as big of a disappointment as its big sister Lollapalooza

Tickets went on sale and the lineup was released for the ACL Music Festival today.  The two weekend fall festival helped add to the largely underwhelming lineup of lineups the summer (READ: We've Been There Before's 2014 Music Festival Rankings). Its another swing and miss by festival organizers as they failed to book anyone outside the box or that is rock enough.  The ACL lineup is even more disappointing considering Austin's eclectic music scene and deep musical history.  I think we all have remembered watching ACL on PBS as kids and even recently, getting to see rock's most influential and upcoming talents.  ACL is an American institution that has embedded memories and history into our brains.  I can't remember the last time I saw acts the likes of Skrillex, Outkast or Eminem on the famed television show.  So, its a wonder why those three acts along with other head scratchers make up this year's lineup for the festival sharing the TV show's name sake.

We've seen many of these acts for this summer's upcoming festivals.  Obviously Outkast is nothing new to those who have been following lineup releases over the last two or three months.  Skrillex is another name that has polluted the festival circuit.  Eminem has been popping up as of late too.  Quite frankly those acts are fine by me and are actually big enough in my mind to hold headliner or sub-headliner roles.  What ticks me off is there is another festival that thinks that these acts are enough.   Sure Pearl Jam is a major get.  Pearl Jam is probably in many folks' eyes the main get.  They're a legendary band that have a huge following.  Beck is another 'almost' legend with a pretty big following.  However, the lineup falls off after that.  No Jack White.  No Black Keys.   No reunion band.  No other pure rock band.  There is just no band that is an up and coming must-see.  Let's take a look at some of the acts appearing this year....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Brew Review - The Cornerstone Brewing Company, Berea, OH

Where Berea turns into Beerea

The Cornerstone Brewing Company is definitely restaurant over brewery, but is perfectly placed in historic downtown Berea, Ohio.  Set in a rehabbed warehouse, right in downtown it has all of the look and feel of what a brewery/eatery should be.  Exposed brick, duct work and one hell of a sweet looking bar.  Northeastern has a collection of great breweries, but Cornerstone knows how to carry through on the fundamentals of being a successful one.  Great atmosphere, great food, great building and of course great beer.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Record Store Day 2014 - What we got

A mix of old and new

Yesterday was a blast as expected.  Anticipation, excitement and satisfaction.  That is the roller coaster that is Record Store Day.  Moving from record store to record store in search of rare finds and must-haves.  Different types of people, different ages, different races, different tastes - all out with the same goal and enjoying each other's company and helping out local record stores.  Some stores didn't have exclusives, but they still had the vibe of record store day.  Places that only had used records still had the buzz of the day.  That was the main thing I noticed.  The idea of getting the rare exclusives was just a (brilliant) ploy to get folks out to see what's out there and expanding their horizons.  The coolness of record stores, the fun of searching through bins and of taking a chance on trying something new.
I wrote on Friday about the RSD exclusives I set out to grab.  Well I got one of those, which was my main get for the day.  I also got a few records that popped out at me that I had wondered about and had thought it was time to buy.  My buddy and I head out with no particular plan other than picking up some exclusives and used albums we had been eyeing for awhile.  We hit up a few places that are popular in the Cleveland area...