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Archive for September, 2011

Live music picks: Sept. 20-Oct. 6

Kansas - from left, Phil Ehart, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Billy Greer and David Ragsdale - perform with the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Photo: Rick Diamond

Kansas – from left, Phil Ehart, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Billy Greer and David Ragsdale – performs with the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Photo: Rick Diamond

FRIDAY
Kansas with the Kennesaw State University Symphony Orchestra

Kansas’s art-rock epics of the ’70s brought an American flavor to progressive rock, a genre dominated by Europeans. That touch of home probably contributed to the band’s chart successes, too, with songs such as “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry On Wayward Son.” The band includes several Atlanta residents, among them original drummer Phil Ehart, who had a big hand in putting together this Collegiate Symphony tour. The tour raises money for college and university music programs and will take the band to schools in New York, Florida, South Dakota, Louisiana and many other states.
8 p.m. Sept. 30. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. …

Continue reading Live music picks: Sept. 20-Oct. 6 »

Wilco Brings Alternative Country Vibes To Cobb Energy Centre

Lead singer Jeff Tweedy and his Wilco bandmates performed Wednesday night before a large, enthusiastic crowd at the Cobb Energy Centre. This was the first of a two-night stint in support of the group’s newly released eighth studio album, “The Whole Love”. Legendary British singer-songwriter, musician and producer, Nick Lowe, opened the show.
Wilco is an American alternative rock band based in Chicago, Illinois. The band was formed in 1994 by the remaining members of alternative country group Uncle Tupelo following singer Jay Farrar’s departure. Wilco’s lineup has changed frequently, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation. Since early 2004, the other current members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released eight studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations: two with Billy Bragg, and one with The Minus 5. The group won two …

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Variety Playhouse staging Criminal Records benefit show

Magnapop

Magnapop

Even if Criminal Records winds up closing, it isn’t going down without a fight.

The “Benefit for Criminal Records and Sweet Relief,” an organization that provides financial assistance to struggling musicians, will be held Oct. 15 at The Variety Playhouse. Classic acts with Georgia ties — Magnapop, Kelly Hogan and Mike Geier – as well at others to be announced, will perform at the 8:30 p.m. show.

Tickets are $12.50 in advance, $15 day of show. All proceeds will be split between the record store and Sweet Relief.

Info: 404-524-7354, www.variety-playhouse.com.

Continue reading Variety Playhouse staging Criminal Records benefit show »

Atlanta quartet Mastodon celebrates new album release

Mastodon celebrates the release of a new album, "The Hunter," with events at Atlanta's Criminal Records and El Myr today. Photo: Cindy Frey

Mastodon celebrates the release of a new album, "The Hunter," with events at Atlanta's Criminal Records and El Myr today. Photo: Cindy Frey

Rolling Stone magazine has called Mastodon “the greatest metal band of their generation — no one else comes close,” and today, Atlanta’s rock monster is back with a new album. “The Hunter” is Mastodon’s fifth album and was recorded, for the most part, at Atlanta’s Doppler Studio with producer Mike Elizondo.

Today, Sept. 27, the band is giving hometown fans a treat to celebrate the album release. They’ll participate in a live webchat with fans from 5:30-6 p.m. at the Vans Facebook page.

Once they wrap up the webchat, the band will be signing the new album at Criminal Records in Little Five Points (1154-A Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta) beginning at 6 p.m. The store will also be offering a very limited edition, collectible Mastodon event T-shirt, available on release day only. Once gone, they’re gone.

After the Criminal Records celebration, …

Continue reading Atlanta quartet Mastodon celebrates new album release »

Hot tickets: Sept. 27

Atlanta's own Mastodon plays a homecoming gig with fellow Atlantans the Black Lips and several other bands at the Tabernacle on Dec. 2. Tickets go on sale Sept. 30. Mastodon releases its new album, "The Hunter," on Sept. 27. Photo: Cindy Frey

Atlanta's own Mastodon plays a homecoming gig with fellow Atlantans the Black Lips and several other bands at the Tabernacle on Dec. 2. Tickets go on sale Sept. 30. Mastodon releases its new album, "The Hunter," on Sept. 27. Photo: Cindy Frey

ON SALE NOW
“The Stuffing”: Manchester Orchestra’s 2nd Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Celebration. With Cage The Elephant, White Denim, the Dear Hunter, All Get Out, Death on Two Wheels, Harrison Hudson and more. Center Stage, The Loft and Vinyl. 5 p.m. Nov. 23. Pre-Sale tickets available now at manchesterorchestra.com, $23. On sale at Ticketmaster and Ticket Alternative Oct 4, $25. TM, TA.
Daniel Bashta, Unhindered Band, Harvest Bashta. 8 p.m. Oct. 25. Vinyl. $15; $12 in advance. TA.
Graham Colton, Matthew Mayfield. 8 p.m. Nov. 2. Vinyl. $12; $10 in advance. TA.
Revival – An Allman Brothers Experience, Copious Jones. 9 p.m. Dec. 3. Vinyl. $12; $10 in advance. TA.
Roy Ayers & Friends. 8 p.m. Dec. 15. Center Stage. $35; $30 in advance. TM.

ON …

Continue reading Hot tickets: Sept. 27 »

Elliott Yamin shows that he still has soul

[Since resident “American Idol” expert Rodney Ho is on vacation, I covered Elliott Yamin’s performance at Smith’s Olde Bar on Sunday night. As a 14-year Richmonder, I’ve followed Elliott’s career since his first hometown visit on “Idol” and still try to keep up with him.]

A poor quality phone photo of Elliott at Smith's Olde Bar on Sunday

A poor quality phone photo of Elliott at Smith's Olde Bar on Sunday

Most “American Idol” fans will agree that season five mined the strongest lineup of talent to come from the  show.

Yeah, everyone has their favorites, but it’s hard to argue with a year that produced a rough-n-tumble rock star (Chris Daughtry), a beauty queen balladeer (Katharine McPhee), a country darling (Kellie Pickler) and idiosyncratic winner, Taylor Hicks.

But for many, the heart of that season was Elliott Yamin, the mighty-voiced soul man who zoomed from karaoke singer in Richmond, Va., to scrappy underdog on the show.

A third-place finish gave Yamin enough leverage to produce a debut album that spawned a No. 3 album and a platinum …

Continue reading Elliott Yamin shows that he still has soul »

Mike Mills talks to Rolling Stone about R.E.M. breakup

R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills talks to Rolling Stone about the band's breakup. Staff photo.

R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills talks to Rolling Stone about the band's breakup. Staff photo.

Less than a week after R.E.M. officially called it quits, Rolling Stone’s David Fricke gets a little more insight on the split from bassist Mike Mills.

“There is a great deal of sadness, but it’s really celebratory,” Mills tells Rolling Stone.  “There is sadness because I will never play on the same stage as Peter and Michael again.”

Mills also reveals to the magazine that the decision was made several months ago, but the band took the time to make sure everything was in order before pulling the plug, because, he says,  “a lot of people are affected by this decision in a serious way.”

The band members, who have been scattered around the country, had gathered in Athens to record new songs for an upcoming greatest hits package called “Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011.” The anthology, which covers the bands entire career, will be release Nov. 15. The new songs — “A …

Continue reading Mike Mills talks to Rolling Stone about R.E.M. breakup »

Coldplay honors R.E.M. at Music Midtown

Chris Martin leads Coldplay through "Yellow" during the early part of their headlining set at Music Midtown. Photo: Max Blau

Chris Martin leads Coldplay through "Yellow" during the early part of their headlining set at Music Midtown. Photo: Max Blau

With so many variables going into the return of Music Midtown – How many days should it be? Which artists would attract crowds while not bankrupting promoters? Will people still care about a festival that hasn’t existed for six years? Would the weather cooperate this time? – it’s a bit amazing that Saturday’s event fired flawlessly.

That pesky Mother Nature, who received a chunk of the blame for the fizzling of the well-regarded music festival in 2005, seemed to be apologizing to Peter Conlon and the Live Nation crew, as the sun seared brightly and temperatures hovered at 80 during the day and dipped pleasantly into the 60s by the time Coldplay took the stage.

Though this was a mini version of the Music Midtowns of yore –10 bands instead of dozens, one day instead of three – and the lineup was heavy on alternative rock acts popular among …

Continue reading Coldplay honors R.E.M. at Music Midtown »

Debbie Harry slow burns through Blondie show

talent_342An interesting thing happened during the course of Blondie’s visit to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park Friday night.

The more clothes that Debbie Harry shed, the more animated and vocally confident she became.

When the band first took the stage, Harry was clad in a bulky red taffeta skirt, an oddly tight top with a red tie and shades.

During the opening trio of “Union City Blue,” “Dreaming” and “Atomic,” Harry delivered her lines in an apathetic manner different than her signature cool. She often stood stoically near the drum riser when not singing – likely to cede the spotlight to hotshot young guitarist Tommy Kessler who burned though an “Atomic” solo – but moved with stilted caution.

While (original) drummer Clem Burke belied his age (56) with the frantic high-hat work and thrilling tom-tom fills that anchor nearly every Blondie song, Harry looked and sounded like she felt her 66 years, particularly on a flat rendition of “Call Me” – delivered with a smile, but …

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Earth Wind and Fire lights up Chastain

Yes, it has been 40 years, but anyone who thinks Earth Wind and Fire has lost the fire need only witness Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White – the three original members still touring as a group – high kicking across a stage.

Which is just what they did on Friday as EWF, backed by Atlanta’s own Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, showcased their impressive catalog of hits at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.

What could be better than hearing “Shining Star” under the stars? Maybe hearing it with ASO as accompaniment.

The set began with crowd pleaser, “Boogie Wonderland” and ASO’s orchestral maneuvers made the perfect complement to EWF’s funkiness. The full force of ASO’s strings, under the direction of conductor Charles Floyd, could be heard on numbers including “After the Love Has Gone” and “I’ll Write a Song for You.”

Not only did the near sold out crowd hear EWF standards, but the band performed a tribute to the blues.

Just before treating the crowd to more of his still …

Continue reading Earth Wind and Fire lights up Chastain »