Sunday, April 30, 2017

5/4: Thurby with Girls Rock Louisville

On May 4th at  OUTERspace (732 E. Market St.) The Girls Rock Louisville mentoring program and music camp will be throwing  a fundraiser in support of Girls Rock Louisville’s 2017 Summer Camp Financial Aid fund and will feature the bands Half-Seas-Over, On The Bang, Grlwood, and Lung (with Daisy Caplan of Foxy Shazam).
 The $10 cover will go towards Girls Rocks’ financial aid fund, which provides financial assistance for campers in need to attend the program at a free or reduced cost.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Neil Diamond at Yum! Bucket (4/21/17 Louisville)



On Friday April 21st, Neil diamond took the stage at the KFC Yum! Bucket on the Ohio River in Louisville Kentucky at 8:15pm, without an opening act and performed to a packed house for 2 nearly flawless hours.

Packaged as the 50th Anniversary tour, although his first record came out in in 1962 (as the duo "Neil and Jack" with Jack Packer) making it his 55th year in the biz, one would barely realize that the consummate performer was in his 76th year ("Well, it's our 50th year more-or-less.." said Diamond during the performance). 

After a brief announcement that Diamond would not have an opening act and would preform without an intermission  a large (perhaps 2 stories tall) diamond lit up on stage.  As the backing band (complete with 2 guitarists, bassist, drummer, percussionist,  chorus, and horn section) began to play the diamond showed clips of American history from every side, and just as the band hit the crescendo the diamond opened up and Neil Diamond walked out to massive applause.

Diamond then walked to the front of the stage, grabbed his iconic black guitar and dove straight into Cherry Cherry, one of his 3 hit songs from the 1966 LP ''The Feel of Neil Diamond."  Without a pause he moved straight into Kentucky Woman to large applause, although a build up would have been more appropriate given the location, followed by the 1976 You Got To Me with the full band, horn section, and chorus.

After the runaway flurry of hits, Diamond addresses the audience, saying "It seems we are opening up Derby Week... but just so you know I go wherever the noise is!" And invited the audience to roar in which they did. With gusto.

Throughout the 2 hour set Neil Diamond covered many of his hits throughout his impressive catalog of over 30 albums, including Play Me, Beautiful Noise, Love On The Rocks, and I'm A Believer. The man has fallen in love with a thousand women, and he wrote a song about everyone of them.

Reaching deep, Diamond didn't just play the big hits but deep cuts and b sides for the loyal super fans  including the 1976 B-Side Jungletime and Skybird from the 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull'  soundtrack (the first of 2 soundtracks by Diamond to gross more in sales than the film itself).



After 50+ years in the business Diamond can do things his way, even if they are not guaranteed to be crowd favorites,  including a curious video homage to the New Zealand All Blacks; rationalizing the moment by saying "Now here is a rugby team that would scare the hell out of their opponents by threatening to eat them alive!" 



Despite the occasional odd (yet intentional) moment, the 20,000+  mesmerized audience were treated to an homage to 55 years spent painting a vivid canvas of life in America for the grandchild of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants.

Towards the end of the evening Diamond treated the crowd to several of his eleven No. 1 hits including Forever in Blue Jeans and You Don't Bring Me Flowers adding "not that long ago I did this duet with Barbara Streisand; But tonight, it being the week after taxes were due, I'll be doing the duet with a trombone.." and the last song before encore was the fantastic introspective I Am I Said.

After several minutes of the audience howling in delight Diamond reappeared and instantly beginning the encore with Sweet Caroline, which has special meaning, aside from being a platinum single for Diamond, it is also the official song for the Boston Red Sox.

Originally played at a Sox game in 1997 (for no reason besides the music director Amy Toby liked it), it became a good luck charm for the team played during the 8th inning. In April 2013, almost exactly 4 years to the day of the Yum! show, Diamond surprised the Red Sox by singing the song live at a game, and donating all future royalties from sales of the song since the Boston marathon bombings to the One Fund Boston charity to help the people most affected by the bombings, and causing sales to skyrocket 600%.



On Friday night at Yum!, at the end of the Sweet Caroline, he said "ok we are coming up on the last chorus, everybody sing!" And when the song ended in massive applause he said, "well ok! Let's do that again!" And the band played the chorus one more time for everybody to sing.

To massive applause again in which at the end Diamond said "what? Oh no, I couldn't possibly.. well ok, but everybody sing!" and  we all sang the last chorus a third time.

After that truly unforgettable moment Diamond followed it up with his 1970 no. 1 hit Cracklin' Rosie followed by an emotional introduction to  America to the wildest applause of the night. Diamond spoke of his grandparents' dream to come to a land with freedom of religion, free speech, and the freedom to walk out of the house and feel safe (poignant given the current climate of Trump's vision of a isolated America) and adding that we must pass this dream on to others too while drenched in red white and blue stage lights saying 'Thank you America!' with The patented Neil Diamond pose from the cover of The Jazz Singer, with his right hand raised to the sky.


Diamond ended the show with Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show which during the reprise he addressed the audience saying "Brothers and sisters, black and white, gay and straight, we are all God's children! Thank you Louisville we love you!" We love you too Neil; flawless Diamond.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview: Craig Bell (Grandmaster of Punk)


Craig Bell has been playing in punk bands since the early 1970s in Cleveland including the seminal groups Rocket From The Tombs, X_____X, and Mirrors. 
In 2003 Rocket From The Tombs reformed and have released 3 albums which has spawned a renewed interest in Bell's other work and prompting reissues of albums by X_____X,  Saucers, and others. Bell also releases music under his own name and is currently on a US tour. 


37- After nearly 45 years in the Cleveland music scene, what do you account for the renewed interest in your early punk/rock bands, Mirrors (1973-1975), Rocket From The Tombs (1974-1975), and  X_____X (1978)?

CB-I think we should give a lot of credit to that to the younger kids who have come along since the advent of the internet music explosion. They have dug deep into the early days of the Punk scene, and earlier, to find bands like us and they are very enthusiastic in their appreciation. We also must give a nod to the older generation that we came up with who kept our bands music alive by trading tapes and writing about our efforts back in the early 1970s.

37-  What was the climate like in Cleveland in the early 1970s that made it possible for so many seminal punk to be born there?

CB- Cleveland was an important stop on any up and coming bands itinerary in the 60s and early 70s and because of some great AM stations in the city and the region we were exposed to quite a bit of music other parts of the country didn't get informed about until a lot later, if at all. The Velvet Underground played in Cleveland multiple times between 1966 and 68. Their influence was tremendous in the local underground scene of the early 70s as a result. These factors certainly contributed to a lot of like-minded musicians looking for somewhere to take all that.

37- After the break up of Rocket From The Tombs, several of the musicians left Cleveland to start other bands, Cheetah Chrome moved to New York to perform as The Dead Boys and you started Saucers in New Haven CT. what do you believe was the necessity to move away from Ohio to keep the momentum alive?

CB- After the break up of RFTT, I decided that I should try and get something of my own together. I was offered the opportunity of joining both Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys (they were calling themselves Frankenstein at the time) but I declined both because I thought it was time to see what I could do with the ideas I had. I was offered a job in New Haven so I moved there in 1976 and after getting acclimated to the area, started looking around for other players into what I was doing. It didn't take too long until I met Mark Mulcahy, and Malcolm Marsden and a seventeen year old keyboardist, who to this day on this tour, claims he is a synthesizer player! That would be Malcolm Doak.

37- During the lifespan of Saucers, only one song was released, Muckraker, on the   compilation “It Happened But Nobody Noticed” in 1982. Which happens to be a fitting title, as since then much of your early work has been re-released, or released for the first time, including recordings by Rocket From The Tombs, The Saucers, and X_____X. What do you think took so long for the general public to notice and appreciate these early purveyors of experimental punk? 

CB- we also released two singles in the lifetime of Saucers, What We Do/I Didn't Get It/Muckraker (1979) and A Certain Kind of Shy/She's Alright (1980) besides that cut on the compilation LP. I think the other part of this question reverts back to the first question.  A lot of young fans are discovering us as they search deeper to find the roots of this style of music.

37- Now that the world has caught up with your impressive catalog of work over a near half century, what can we expect next from you and your band?

CB- In the past 7 years I have released music with my previous band The Down-fi, the CD America Now (2009) and Beehunter (2012) as well as a couple of 45s. I have played on the recent EP by The Gizmos, 2015s 21st Century Gizmos Fans on Gulcher Records as well as the X_____X release  Albert Ayler's Ghosts - Live From The Yellow Ghetto (2014).  Rocket From The Tombs has released three albums since our retrospective album came out in 2002, Redux (2003) Barfly (2011) and Black Record (2015). X_____X is currently recording tracks for a new album and RFTT have plans to do the same this year.  I have been talking with a few people about a new album of my songs and I plan to start recording this summer.


Craig Bell will be playing in the Dead Forest Room at Zanzabar on Wednesday, April 26th.  Columbus, OH's DANA and Louisville's Jaxson Lee Swain will open. Ticket Information here

Monday, April 17, 2017

4/29 Crown Larks (Chicago) & Dr. Girlfriend at Kaiju

Chicago psychedelic super weirdos Crown Larks will be returning to Louisville on April 29th, in support of their new LP, Population, out 5/5. local heroes Doctor Girlfriend & Insect policy will be opening.
 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review: Jonathan Richman @ Zanzabar


Punk crooner turned "playground punk" singer Jonathan Richman graced the stage  at 9 pm on friday night in the Dead Forest Room at Zanzabar in Louisville to a crowd of about 150.

Richman got his start, famously, in the late 1960s by tracking down the Velvet Underground and asking Lou Reed for help. He formed The Modern Lovers in 1970 in Boston with drummer David Robinson (later of the Cars) and keyboardist Jerry Harrison (later of Talking Heads). The group gained a loyal following with their loved-drenched pop tunes that would influence a multitude of New York punk bands in the following years.

By 1976 Richman ditched the love punk sound for a playful upbeat -if not stripped down- sound described as both  playground punk and groundbreaking.
Richman kept this playground sound for the next 40 years of a fruitful, albeit just under the radar, solo career.

In The Wings: Richman in yellow, and Tommy Larkins
waiting for the 9pm call to stage
Despite his embargo on amplified instruments as a way to protect his hearing and only using a classical guitar, the 65 year old rocked at times, especially during No One Was Like Vermeer, at moments Tommy Larkins, who has accompanied Richman since the 1990s, took over with drum solos while Richman grabbed percussion instruments and joined in while the crowd clapped in beat.

Jonathan Richman and Tommy Larkins in The Dead Forest room at Zanzabar


 Without the use of amplifiers or monitors the new "Dead Forest" room at Zanzabar was humid with 150 ecstatic fans -as Richman requested the air conditioner be turned off, as to not to have to compete with the rumble of the vents- but, besides a few overheated bouncers, no one seemed to mind too much.

 The set mainly consisted of newer songs from Richman's solo career such as When We Refuse To Suffer,  My baby loves me, Springtime in New York, and These Bodies That Came to Cavort, preceded by a quote he saw written on a wall in permanent marker: "Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a war that you know nothing about" with added sprinklings of earlier solo songs such as the crowd favorite, I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar, in which Richman would stop playing during the chorus and dance around the stage so that the crowd could sing the lines.

The set was void of Modern Lovers songs save for one,  Old World,  after which Richmen ended the night with a poem and then said "Okay, This is your last chance to say goodnight to Tommy, Thank you!"

Tommy Larkins drum set

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Winner: Jonathan Richman tickets @ Zanzabar 4/14

Congrats to Dave W. for winning two tickets to Jonathan Richman at Zanzabar tomorrow, April 14th, at 8pm. Dave shared his favorite Jonathan Richman song, Ice Cream Man!



Other songs shared with us were:




Tickets to Jonathan Richman at Zanzabar 4/14 at 8pm ($15) found here.

Free Ticket Give-A-way: Jonathan Richman at Zanzabar 4/14


This friday, April 14th, the legendary Bostonian punk crooner, Jonathan Richman, will grace the stage at Zanzabar, and we have 2 tickets to give away!

All you have to do is tell us who you would like to take with you to the show or share your favorite Jonathan Richman song by 5pm, and they tickets could be yours! Leave a comment or send an email, and good luck!

Here are some of our favorite Jonathan Richman songs:





With Tommy Larkins in There's Something About Mary (1998)






Jonathan Richman will play at Zanzabar Friday April 14th at 8pm. $15.
Tickets & Event Information Here.

Friday, April 7, 2017

4/7-9: A Weekend Of Love And Resistance

This friday-Sunday at 1007 E. Jefferson St. in Louisville, Ky, will be the Weekend of Love and Resistance, with over 35 bands and speakers raising funds for the ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky.

Bands include Catherine Irwin, Soft Self Portraits, Black God, and Pleasure Boys.

John King and Bryan Burns, members of the social activist group Electric Church Of The Tambourine's political party -The New Power Party- will be speaking on Sunday at 4pm (right before Catherine Irwin) about the importance of social programs and organizations as a tool to combat economic slavery in America.
Details here.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: White Reaper "World's Best American Band" LP

White Reaper (credit: Jesse De Florio)
On April 7th, 2017, Louisville Garage Punk band White Reaper will release their 3rd LP, The World's Best American Band. They have 2 previous albums, 2014's very solid 6 track self titled EP, and 2015's White Reaper Does It Again that gained national attention for it's single Sheila.

Early reviews of White Reaper's newest effort claim a new direction for the band, abandoning their mod-punk sound for a more "power-pop" sound (both Consequence of Sound and Stereogum used the term in their reviews). While the band has expanded their sound from 2 minute garage punk gems drenched in distortion and keyboard hooks to 4 minute rompers with the inclusion of guitar solos, the core sound remains. 


The first single, Judy French, was released on January 26th on Polyvinyl, holds the classic Reaper sound, and is a high school crush-themed track that plays like a sister to Sheila, if she was enrolled at the school from Beverly Hills 90210.

Tracks like Little Silver Cross and The Stack find that sweet spot between early 70s punk rock and late 70s power pop such as Cheap Trick's perfectly weighted In Color LP placed in between 1977's punk influenced self titled album and 1978's power-ballad drenched Heaven Tonight LP.


The entire album is a soundtrack for the tragic teen experience that at once views the world as endless with possibilities and also painfully restrictive. Filled with cute girls with the best kind of secrets and days wasted on TV and daydreams of fame, The World's Best American band may be best suited for fans already acquainted with the band rather than a break-out move for world domination, but is a solid effort for a band deserving of their self imposed title, but has long struggled for acceptance in a world currently lacking an appreciation for straight up Rock N' Roll. Supporting Alvvays during a 2015 world tour, White Reaper was asked to leave the tour, sighting their wild and loud stage shows not being a good fit with the subdued reverb drenched electrona-pop headliner.

On the other hand, The World's Best American Band just might have enough of that sorely missed  classic rock n' roll braggadocio to grab the world's attention and remind us all why we fell in love with rock n' roll in the first place.  As frontman Tony Esposito claimed in a press release, “Just like Muhammad Ali was the greatest, you gotta say it out loud for people to believe it.”


Louisville's White Reaper will celebrate the release of their new album The World's Best American Band (out 4/7 on Polyvinyl Records) on April 8th at Zanzabar.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Art Auction for ACLU by Thaniel Ion Lee

Local artist Thaniel Ion Lee is auctioning off a print of his 36" x 36" drawing 'Black Mass' on Ebay in which 75% of the sale will be donated to the ACLU. The auction is up now and bidding starts at $1,000 and ends on April 13th.
Find the auction here.