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Archive for September, 2012

CounterPoint Festival ready to make its mark in Atlanta

CounterPoint organizers Jonathan Fordin (left) and Brett Keber take a ride about the festival site. Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC

CounterPoint organizers Jonathan Fordin (left) and Brett Keber take a ride about the festival site. Photo: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Five years ago, Jonathan Fordin and Brett Keber had a vision – to bring a high-level music festival to 350 acres of sprawling property about 20 minutes south of downtown Atlanta with the Chattahoochee River as the backdrop.

The lineup for what was dubbed the Echo Project was stellar. The Killers, The Roots, Flaming Lips, The Avett Brothers, Common, Phil Lesh.

The turnout was not.

This weekend, Fordin and Keber, both Atlantans, are back on the land for the three-day CounterPoint Festival, a massive collection of more than 75 of some of the top names (Skrillex, Pretty Lights) and fledgling stars in the electronic dance genre, with a little hip-hop (Big Boi, Wale) thrown in.

“In 2006, no one saw the economy crashing, so when it was time to put the puzzle [of Echo Project] on the table, we took a big financial hit,” Fordin said. “In 2010 we decided it …

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Tickets: Lamb of God, Stephen Lynch, RZA, Anthony David, Shawn Mullins

51878831Guitarist Matt Slocum and singer Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer, who’ll be playing Smith’s Olde Bar Nov. 9. Tickets go on sale Friday, Sept. 28. Photo: Getty Images

ON SALE NOW
RZA. 9 p.m. Oct. 10. Vinyl. $25; $20 in advance. TA.
Marmadee & Friends, the Revolution Band. 9 p.m. Oct. 12. Center Stage. $25. TM.
The Legendary Mighty Diamonds. 9 p.m. Nov. 9. The Loft. $25; $20 in advance. TA.

ON SALE SEPT. 28
Copious Jones. CD release show. Oct. 26. Smith’s Olde Bar – Music Room. $10 in advance. TA.
Scratchtrack. Oct. 31. Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta Room. $10 in advance. TA.
Stephen Lynch. Nov. 8. Variety Playhouse. $35; $32.50 in advance. TM.
Sixpence None The Richer. Nov. 9. Smith’s Olde Bar – Music Room. $15 in advance. TA.
Anthony David. 9 p.m. Nov. 10. Center Stage. $25; $20 in advance. TM.
Eric Hutchinson, Jessie Payo. 8 p.m. Dec. 1. Center Stage. $24; $20 in advance. TM.
350.ORG presents “Do The Math” Featuring Bill McKibben. 8 p.m. Nov. 20. Variety Playhouse. $10. …

Continue reading Tickets: Lamb of God, Stephen Lynch, RZA, Anthony David, Shawn Mullins »

Wallflowers delve into catalog at intimate Smith’s show

The Wallflowers played a super-intimate show at Smith's on Monday. Photo: Courtesy

The Wallflowers will soon be "Glad All Over," although they don't look like it in this photo. Photo: Courtesy

[I'm on with my rock 'n' roll pal Kaedy Kiely at 97.1 The River every Wednesday at 6:50 and 7:50 a.m. to talk about the latest rock news. Tune in to see what's up!]

It was fitting that The Wallflowers hopped onto the tiny stage at Smith’s Olde Bar to the sound of The Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over.”

Two weeks from today, the Jakob Dylan-fronted roots rockers will release a new album of the same name, their first since 2005’s “Rebel, Sweetheart.”

On Monday night at the super-intimate Smith’s, the quintet unveiled about half of the songs from that record, a robust return that ranges from the uncharacteristic disco-funk of first single “Reboot the Mission” to the more typical basic rockers with elements of blues and soul, such as “Hospital for Sinners” and the set-opening “Devil’s Waltz.”

Since there wasn’t a spare inch of space on …

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Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on No Doubt

gwen-stefani-no-doubt-reveal-push-and-shove-album-arrtIt’s a tricky time for No Doubt, trying to recapture their vitality of more than a decade ago – a lifetime in music years – while not looking silly or inappropriate in the process.

On the long-in-the-works “Push and Shove,” Gwen Stefani and the boys do an able job striking that balance while also making their frothy combination of ska, punk and pop sound fresh.

As they’ve aged, detoured with solo projects and clothing lines and families, the group has obviously achieved more maturity in their writing. The album’s best example is “Undone,” a sparse (for this musically busy band) pop-country ballad that is effective, yet not nearly as raw and vulnerable as the twentysomething angst that colors “Don’t Speak.”

And that isn’t a bad thing at all.

On “Looking Hot” – which Stefani, almost 43, admirably is – she isn’t bragging about her Dorian Gray body, but instead taking a more circumspect look at the ephemeral shelf life of a pop star (“Running …

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The Wallflowers reboot and ready for return

The Wallflowers play Smith's Olde Bar on Monday. Photo: Courtesy Press Here Publicity

The Wallflowers play Smith's Olde Bar on Monday. Photo: Courtesy Press Here Publicity

There was a time when The Wallflowers blanketed the airwaves and its frontman, the angular Jakob Dylan, became a reluctant heartthrob in the process.

But that was almost two decades ago, when the band’s agreeable roots rock songs “6th Avenue Heartache,” “One Headlight” and “The Distance” helped define the sound of the mid-‘90s while the album that spawned them, 1996’s “Bringing Down the Horse,” sold more than 4 million copies.

The Wallflowers celebrated a few minor hits into the aughts, but later in the decade went on hiatus, allowing Dylan to release two solo albums (“Seeing Things” and “Women and Country”).

On Oct. 9, the band returns to the land of new music with “Glad All Over,” a robust collection of 11 tunes led by the funky single “Reboot the Mission,” featuring a guest slot from former Clash guitarist Mick Jones, and offering a Rolling Stones-like …

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Music Midtown Day 2: A sold-out musical slam dunk

People rockin' in the free world at Music Midtown. All photos: Hyosub Shin/AJC

People rockin' in the free world at Music Midtown. All photos: Hyosub Shin/AJC

We can officially stop wondering if Music Midtown is back.

If you have a sold out crowd of more than 50,000 in Piedmont Park then yes, it’s an unqualified success.

Though Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, the promoter that produced the event, could have been doing a shout-from-the-rooftops victory lap at the end of the night, he simply noted that the “better-than-anticipated success” of this year’s event “has re-established Music Midtown as one of the country’s top festivals.”

While Friday’s lineup packed the park with sets from Joan Jett, T.I., The Avett Brothers and Foo Fighters, among others, the mass of humanity that endured Saturday’s sweaty temperatures (first day of fall? Ha!) for 10 hours of music had an even broader spectrum to sample.

Here’s a rundown in case you missed it or want to relive it. And also, let us know below what you thought of this year’s …

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Talking with Ludacris, O’Brother at Music Midtown

luda

Ludacris was happy to bring his eight-album catalog to the Atlanta stage.

By 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Music Midtown was sold out.

Tough promoters couldn’t confirm a crowd total, Piedmont Park can accomodate more than 50,000. The evening portion of Saturday’s two-day event offered performances from Atlanta rapper Ludacris, Florence and the Machine, Adam Ant, Neon Trees, Girl Talk and headliners Pearl Jam.

Before his hourlong set, Ludacris expressed excitement that he was part of this year’s Music Midtown, which Friday night packed the park for sets from Joan Jett, The Avett Brothers, T.I., Foo Fighters and others.

“I had heard about the show for years. This is the city that it all started in, so I’m proud to be part of bringing it back,” he said, later adding, “I think it gets bigger and better every time they have it.”

Ludacris, who lives in College Park, wasn’t the only act with local ties on the bill.

Lawrenceville-based O’Brother opened Saturday’s 10-hour …

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Music Midtown is sold out

If you already purchased tickets, feel free to pick them up at will call.

Otherwise, on-site sales have stopped.

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Welcome to Day 2 of Music Midtown

Welcome to Day 2 of Music Midtown.

If you were here last night to hear the Foo Fighters rattle the stage with their razor-sharp rock, the Avett Brothers alternately lull and soar, Joan Jett demonstrate that she’s still the kick-butt queen of rock ‘n’ roll and all of the other acts that took to the two stages at Piedmont Park – well, then, like me, maybe you’ve got a little bit of a music hangover.

But tiredness be gone! Today we’ve got an all-day slate starting at 1 p.m. with Atlanta’s O’Brother, followed by Civil Twilight, LP, Garbage, Adam Ant, Ludacris, Neon Trees, Florence and the Machine, Girl Talk and, capping the fest, Pearl Jam.

Walkup tix are still available for $65, and, if you’re on site, make sure to download the Music Midtown app.

I’ll try to update you as much as possible throughout the day about what’s happening here at Piedmont Park, but make sure to follow me on Twitter (@ajc_music) for the fastest …

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Music Midtown Day 1: A seamless start

Shiny, happy people. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/www.RobbsPhotos.com

Shiny, happy people. Photo: Robb D. Cohen/www.RobbsPhotos.com

So Las Vegas has the “I Heart Radio Festival” with Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Usher, Rihanna, No Doubt, Green Day, Mary J. Blige and a ton of other artists taking over the MGM Grand Arena this weekend.

Apparently, if an act isn’t playing out west, they’re in Atlanta, and that’s cool with us, right?

On Friday night, Music Midtown – back for a second year in expanded form after its five-year hiatus – packed Piedmont Park with the lineup of Van Hunt, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, T.I., The Avett Brothers and Foo Fighters.

I am admittedly terrible at gauging crowds in giant open spaces, but I’m going to take a semi-educated guess that the audience eclipsed last year’s main event night with Coldplay (about 38,000).

And this was the “smaller” night.

Today, the musical festivities continue with Atlanta’s O’Brother at 1 p.m., followed by Civil Twilight (1:30 p.m.), LP (2 p.m.), Garbage (2:45 p.m.), …

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