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Robert Walter’s 20th Congress—Brooklyn Bowl—New York, NY—12/8/2012

Perpetual Groove ~ Crossroads Music Hall ~ December 15, 2012 ~ Huntsville, AL   
Joe Bonamassa—Mississippi Coast Coliseum—Biloxi, MS—12/01/2012 Moody Blues—Murat Theatre at Old National Centre—Indianapolis, IN—12/06/2012 Anders Osborne’s First Annual Holiday Spectacular—Tipitina’s—New Orleans, LA—12/08/2012 
The Wood Brothers w/ Carsie Blanton--Alabama Music Box--Mobile, AL—11/29/2012 Greensky Bluegrass w/Chicago Farmer--The Vogue Nightclub--Indianapolis, IN--11/29/2012  Perpetual Groove--FreeBird Live--Jacksonville Beach, Florida--12/1/2012
Reverend Peyton and The Big Dam Band—The Vogue—Indianapolis, IN—11/23/2012

Flux Capacitor Overdrive, Pine Hill Haints, Daikaiju ~ Crossroads Music Hall—Huntsville, AL ~ November 23, 2012

Ryan Balthrop & Friends ~ November 25th, 2012 ~ Callaghan’s Irish Social Club ~ Mobile, AL 

Drivin’ N Cryin’--Soul Kitchen Music Hall--Mobile, AL—11/16/2012 Carolina Chocolate Drops—The Vogue Theatre—Indianapolis, IN—11/17/2012  Rick Ross and the rest of Maybach Music Group--Banker’s Life Fieldhouse--Indianapolis, IN—11/20/2012

Matisyahu--The Bluebird—Bloomington, IN--11/11/2012

Pretty Lights w/Cosby Sweater, Paul Basic, and Eliot Lipp--Old National Centre Egyptian Room--Indianapolis, IN--11/14/2012 
The Avett Brothers-- Von Braun Center-- Huntsville, AL--10/27/12 Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe--Ogden Theatre--Denver, CO--10/31/12 Gov’t Mule and The Lee Boys--The Murat at Old National Theater--Indianapolis, IN—11/01/ 2012

Steve Kimock feat. Bernie Worrell, Wally Ingram, Andy Hess--Oriental Theatre--Denver, CO—10/19-20/2012

Keller Williams—The Bluebird—Bloomington, IN—10/25/2012 

North Mississippi Allstars—Vinyl Music Hall—Pensacola, FL—10/18/2012  Jimmy Herring Band--Work Play Theatre--Birmingham, AL--10-19-12 Trampled By Turtles—The Vogue Theatre—Indianapolis, IN—10/19/2012
Heartless Bastards--Fox Theater--Boulder, CO--10/17/12 Matt and Kim--House of Blues--New Orleans, LA-- October 18, 2012 Yonder Mountain String Band--The Vogue Theatre--Indianapolis, IN-- 10/18/2012 
Victor Wooten – The Bluebird Nightclub – Bloomington, IN – 10-12-2012 Cope/EvenStill/Earphunk—Club 1904—Jacksonville, FL--10/12/2012 The Werks—The Mousetrap—Indianapolis, IN—10/13/2012
EOTO ~ Freebird Live, Jacksonville, FL ~ 10-6-2012 Dyrty Byrds--Rock and Roll--Dog Star Tavern--Fernandina Beach, Florida--10/11/2012
The Avett Brothers ~ The Lawn at Whtie River, Indianapolis, IN ~ 9/30/2012 Dinosaur Jr. ~ Tipitina's, New Orleans, LA ~ 10-3-2012                  North Mississippi Allstars – The Vogue – Indianapolis, IN—10/04/2012

Umphrey’s McGee -- Iroquois Amphitheatre -- Louisville, KY-- 9/22/2012

Michael Kiwanuka—The Amber Room, The Murat Theatre—Indianapolis, IN – 09/25/2012 DATSIK ~ The Egyptian Room, in The Old National Centre, Indianapolis, IN ~ 9/28/2012
Umphrey’s McGee -- Ryman Auditorium -- Nashville, TN -- 9/21/2012

Justin Jones – Do317 Lounge – Indianapolis, IN – 09/18/2012

Gaelic Storm – The Amber Room – Indianapolis, IN – 09/06/2012 Elton John ~ September 11, 2012 ~ Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson, MS Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan ~ September 15, 2012 ~ Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN
Matisyahu / The Dirty Heads / Moon Taxi – The Florida Theatre – Jacksonville, FL – 08/29/2012 Cake ~ Klipsch Music Center, Noblesville, IN ~ September 7, 2012
Jane’s Addiction—Murat Theater in the Old National Centre—Indianapolis, IN – 08/23/2012 PHISH ~ "Southern Fried" ~ August 24 - Pelham, AL & August 25 - Atlanta, GA 2012

Matisyahu -- The Soul Kitchen Music Hall  - Mobile, AL -- 8/27/2012

25th Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival – Clarksdale, MS 08/11/2012 Unity Tour with 311 and Slightly Stoopid -- The Lawn at White River—Indianapolis, IN – 08/14/2012 7 Walkers – Pink Garter Theatre – Jackson Hole, WY – 08/15/2012
The Coop - Mousetrap Bar and Grill - Indianapolis, IN - August 10th, 2012 We Miss You Mikey:  A Tribute Event – The Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA – 08/10/2012 Bloodkin – The Georgia Bar – Athens, GA -- August 11, 2012
The Fray, Kelly Clarkson & Carolina Liar, August 6, 2012 ~ The Amphitheatre at The Wharf ~ Orange Beach, AL An Interview with Chad Wolf of Carolina Liar ~ August 6, 2012

Click Here for reviews from January - July 2012

Click Here for reviews from August - December 2011

Click Here for reviews from January - July 2011

Click Here for reviews from 2010

Perpetual Groove ~ Crossroads Music Hall ~ December 15, 2012 ~ Huntsville, AL 

Athens, Georgia based Perpetual Groove (PG) makes a regular stop to Huntsville at least once per year.  This show however was nothing regular.  Apparently, spending 4 nights in Colorado motivates a band to pull out the big, hollow body of an acoustic and plan an entire evening around it.   Brock Butler, Adam Perry, and Matt McDonald all donned the wooden instruments while Albert Suttle stayed on his traditional drum kit sans the laptop. 

For a couple of days prior to the show, PG sought fan interaction through the various methods of Facebook and Twitter for the purpose of snagging song requests.  Where they’ve pulled ahead of any other band is their incorporation of Facebook’s new inquiry of the photo sharing giant, Instagram.  The band is giving fans a chance to be the #Instafan of the night with VIP access and the ability to live post photos all night.  Check their website for more info at www.pgroove.com

Brock and Adam took the stage with full suit minus the tie, Matt in sport coat and jeans, and Albert balancing the act out with a Latin/Hawaiian style shirt and jeans.  With all guys seated, classic opener “It Starts Where It Ends” began the night.  “Astro Monkey” and “Can You Get to That?” followed next.  “A Day the Way” was in charge of netting a full crowd sing-along.  “Walking in Place” let that easy jazz rock ask “if it was alright?”.  “Playground” started and let Matt hop back on the keys.  Usually Albert drives a thunderous lead of beats with this song in electric format, and he never once let up from normal even though it was delivered via acoustic.  Long time friend of Brock, Brian Revercomb, added to the night by taking a seat with his six-string and helped close out the first set with “Sweet Oblivious Antidote” and rejoined the stage for Set 2 opener “For Now Forget”.  “Three Weeks”, “Diamonds on the Soles”, and “Only Always” wrapped up a super nice second set. 

When you can change the entire structure of your show and still produce a crowd of smiling faces that are really feeling it and really happy to be present in that moment, you have succeeded at captivating an audience.  And, who doesn’t like Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “Crossroads” woven into their favorite song vehicle?  This has become something that Brock and gang often do when setting up shop in Huntsville. 

Honorable mention of the night goes to the opening act Sweet Knievel, another Athens based quality act making the rounds.  This jam band brings all of its tastes for music to one table, blending and mixing the likes of jazz, funk, rock, bluegrass, and indie rock.  The highlight of their set was a cover of RJD2’s “The Horror”.  This gem put on a pair of running shoes and went for a long funky jog to close out the set.  They’re currently covering Georgia pretty heavily but if Sweet Knievel shows up in your town, make plans to attend.  You can find more info at their FB page:  https://www.facebook.com/swtknvl and you can listen to them at http://www.reverbnation.com/swtknvl.


Review and Photo by Roger Patteson

Edited by Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Robert Walter’s 20th Congress—Brooklyn Bowl—New York, NY—12/8/2012

 The players were an incredibly talented mash-up of musicians, all of whom seem to have a connection in one way or another to New Orleans; they were: Mr. Robert Walter (Organ, Fender Rhodes), Will Bernard (Will Bernard Quartet, guitar), Cochemea “Cheme” Gastelum, (sax/flute/percussion; Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings), Reed Mathis, (bass; Tea Leaf Green, 7 Walkers), Simon Lott, (Charlie Hunter Trio; drums), Elizabeth Pupo-Walker (Percussion). 

Walter’s organ flowed through The Brooklyn Bowl, reverberating through the walls, and down the bowling lanes.  The horns popped and accented on top of the New Orleans jazz, making the whole crowd start to jump.  It was built layer upon layer, drums, to guitar, to organ, to sax – I guess you’d say it was like a layered cake.  Boy, was this some treat. 

At times the funky jazz hit you like a mack truck, Cheme blasting his sax against Walter’s Rhodes, like a war between each musical note.  Once you thought you would have a moment to catch your breath, Bernard would jam out on the guitar, or Lott would hit the drums at that moment.  The audience had smiles wide, a big group of happy dancing people with the 20th Congress. 

“Dog Party” was a great example of sound explosion off-the-stage-straight-into-your-face.  Gasteleum had an amazing flute solo on “Don’t Chin The Dog,” and “Who Took The Happiness Out?” was also a highlight.  Bernard went off on “Maple Plank,” and Walter and he had this great banter between the guitar and the organ. “Snakes and Spiders” was also a personal fave, it was nice and low and funky. 

Alecia Chakour (vocals, Warren Haynes Band) strolled in and sang Stevie Wonder’s “Love Having You Around” solidly strong.  Musical Fireworks came off the stage by now. Chakour also joined in to wail out a cover from John Lennon.  Apropos these guys did this song, as that night was the anniversary of Lennon’s death.   

Here is a set list from the evening, courtesy archive.org and Justin Marinoff, taper. 

Set One: [01:07:54]
01. crowd/band intros
02. Hunk
03. Corry's Snail and Slug Death
04. Get Thy Bearings
05. Twitchie Feet
06. Dog Party
07. Don't Chin The Dog
08. Dry Spell
09. Who Took The Happiness Out?

Set Two: [01:09:30]

01. Sweetie Pie
02. Maple Plank
03. Snakes And Spiders
04. Rivers Of Babylon
05. Love Having You Around *
06. Don't Hate, Congratulate
07. What I Say > Honky Tonk
08. encore break
09. Instant Karma *


Written By: Meredith Berke

Photos By: Allison Murphy

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Anders Osborne’s First Annual Holiday Spectacular—Tipitina’s—New Orleans, LA—12/08/2012 

Tipitina’s (Uptown) always knows how to throw a party; and Anders Osborne knows how to put together musicians who will rock all night, and keep people talking for a long time.  Debuting a two-night Holiday Spectacular that should definitely be repeated as an annual event, a star-studded cavalcade of musicians from New Orleans and beyond joined Anders’ band for sold out shows December 7th and 8th.  Although not in attendance for the first night, I heard much spirited discussion of how amazing the show was, with MyNameIsJohnMichael as the opening act, and guests like Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), John Gros (Papa Grows Funk), Lee Oskar (Lowrider Band), and Marc Broussard providing extra fuel for the fire. 

To kick off the festivities on Saturday, Billy Iuso and the Restless Natives took the stage amidst feathery lighted trees, beaded chandeliers, and holiday garlands.  Opening with “Impatient Ain’t Ya” was a slick and funky way to begin the night, and the lovely vocalist Ginger Matthews was great in the mix.  The set included some fun covers, like Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” with Billy singing so soulfully; a lovely version of Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low”; and a splendid rendition of Jimmy Cliff’s “Sitting Here In Limbo”.  The audience obviously was filled with Billy Iuso fans, as we sang along with “Trippin’ Over Dragons”, which featured a deliciously spacey center section.  And be on the lookout for “Berkeley Blues/nola428” to be on Billy’s new album, a highly enjoyable new tune.  Bassist Thomas McDonald was full of holiday spirit, donning a fun Christmas-tree hat while laying down the groove; and with Eddie Christmas super solid on drums, it was definitely a Christmas party!  Keyboardist Mike Burkart provided depth and sweet tones, and Billy Iuso’s guitar soared with abandon as the crowd danced with delight.  

The densely packed audience gave a cheer as guitarist/songwriter Anders Osborne, bassist Carl Dufrene, and drummer Eric Bolivar took the stage by thunder, with a feedback-laden “Boxes, Bills and Pain”, followed by a delectably dirty “Send Me A Friend”.  I love the contrasting flavors of Anders Osborne’s music, with heavy intense songs sharing close quarters with gentle lovely songs like “Ya Ya”.  Billy Iuso joined the band for the title track from Anders’ new album “Black Eye Galaxy”, an ethereal journey through space and time that definitely stretched into another realm.  Next to arrive at the onstage party was Luther Dickinson, for a subtle “Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down” that pleased the crowd.  

As Bonerama brandished their horns onstage, the New Orleans party vibe seemed to come alive with “Stoned, Drunk and Naked”, and merriment was abounding.  Next came a string of cover songs that were truly a treat, starting with a Led Zeppelin inspired, horn-infused, powerful version of “When The Levee Breaks”.  Lee Oskar (a founding member of War) and his passionate harmonica came forward for a raucous rendition of War’s “Spill The Wine”, and the crowd was gettin’ down and loving it.  Then the beautiful vocalist/guitarist Shannon McNally joined in for a lovely take on Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”, with her soul-drenched voice sparkling.  Eric Bolivar stepped aside for a bit while Stanton Moore (Galactic) took over the drums, and the band tore into “Darkness at the Bottom”, taking time for Anders and then Luther to rip up their guitars and melt some faces.  Coming back in for a smooth landing, Iuso, McNally, and guitarist Papa Mali (7 Walkers, etc) joined the crew for a stellar version of Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree” that was sublime in its beauty, soaring to heavenly heights.  To finish the set, a heavy-hitting “Love Is Taking Its Toll” brought hardcore heat, leading to a haunting take on Bob Dylan’s “Knockin On Heaven’s Door”. 

An encore is often expected by concert-goers nowadays, but the Tipitina’s crowd didn’t take that for granted, loudly voicing their plea for the band to return to the stage.  Anders and crew obliged, and began with a get-down-and-groove nod to The Band, perhaps my alltime favorite song by The Band, “Don’t Do It”; after already experiencing such an amazing night, this cover was the icing on the cake for me.  Billy Iuso came back to lend his expertise to the Little Feat classic “Spanish Moon”, as the audience sang along.  The evening would conclude with “Trippin’ In Montana”, which featured Anders in full-on far-out guitar mode, causing time to freeze while we were suspended in that One Note.  This Saturday evening was nothing short of Spectacular; the caliber of musicians who came together to celebrate was top-notch.  The camaraderie and graciousness displayed on the stage was impressive, with all the musicians allowing each other the sonic space needed to jam.  Anders Osborne and his friends certainly put us in a festive holiday spirit; and with such a successful inaugural weekend, I hope this is a Holiday Spectacular tradition that will return each year. 


Written and Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Clayton Roberts

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Moody Blues—Murat Theatre at Old National Centre—Indianapolis, IN—12/06/2012

Phenomenal may very well be the best word that can describe the Moody Blues performance that transpired Thursday evening at Murat Theatre at Old National Centre near downtown Indianapolis. The early show began at 7:40PM, and the audience energy was fueled by vividly colored stage lighting flawlessly blending with the rich harmonies and melodies appealing to all senses. In the stage background was a large screen show of incredible graphics of psychedelic and groovy designs to pictures of the band from the 60s and 70s as they played a set list of all their popular hits.

In addition to showcasing their best musical works of art in perfect ambiance, Moody Blues put on a spectacular show visually to draw in audience attention. Each band member exuded confidence and passion for the duration of the concert. The best example that left every single fan in awe would be when the original drummer Graeme Edge was illuminated by the brilliant colorful lighting capturing him dancing while playing trampoline, and then strutting up the stairs to his drum set to play while standing and never missing a beat as he slowly sat down during the song! Moody Blues captured the meaning of rock n’ roll and ensured they matched their passion for music through putting on a spectacular performance.


Immediately, positive vibes were flowing when one of the greatest and most talented classical Rock N’ Roll bands took stage exuberating certitude and energy. The Moody Blues performed a twenty-one song set list split between two sets, opening with one of their ever popular and earlier songs “Gemini Dreams” and closing with an extremely enthusiastic encore to another one of their earlier greatest hits from band member John Lodge, “Ride My See Saw.” The set list included a myriad of their most popular songs and also showcased a few of their less well known, more recent tracks. It was evident the crowd was full of longtime fans as they swayed, clapped, and sang along to every song this band played from their repertoire, spanning over three decades of music.

A fusion of old and new included in their set list mirrored their natural inclination for achieving a perfect harmonic blend of classical and rock n’ roll music.  A more perfect playlist is hard to imagine as fans of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds came together under a common interest and sang to the tunes in unison. Songs like “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock & Roll Band” and “Nights in White Satin” were carefully mixed in with softer songs like “Driftwood” And “Tuesday Afternoon” creating a beautiful showcase of a spectrum of emotion through their musical past and present for the full audience in attendance. It was truly a spectacular work of art that left no concert goer disappointed that he/she did not hear a favorite song. As one fan stated following the show, “I believe that was the best performance I have ever seen from them.”


Entire Photo Gallery HERE


Written By: Crystal Velez

Photos By: Keith Griner

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts
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Joe Bonamassa—Mississippi Coast Coliseum—Biloxi, MS—12/01/2012 

As a lover of guitar-driven music, Joe Bonamassa has been on my radar for some time; so I was thrilled to see that his 2012 tour would bring him to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.  During the show, Joe told us it was his first time playing in Biloxi (which he pronounced perfectly), but the enthusiastic packed crowd seemed to already know we were in for a great time.  The show began as Joe took the stage armed with an acoustic guitar, sitting in front of a microphone to deliver acoustic renditions of “Palm Trees Helicopter & Gasoline”, “Seagull”, and “Dislocated Boy”.  His solo take on the title track from his new album “Driving Towards The Daylight” was lovely, highlighting the beauty and power of his voice.  To finish the acoustic set, “Woke Up Dreaming” demonstrated skillful and dexterous picking with fingers flying. 

Then the stage went dark, and a spotlight shining from behind the drums resembled a headlight, as the full band sound hit us like a freight train.  Wearing an all-black suit, black Converse sneakers, and his signature sunglasses, wielding a Gibson Firebird, Joe Bonamassa brought the thunder with “Slow Train” to kick off the electric portion of the show.  And now, a quick disclaimer:  I wish I knew enough about guitars to give a thoroughly accurate technical play-by-play of the parade of gorgeous guitars played by Joe during the evening.  My attempt will not do justice; but I will say that any guitar enthusiast would be impressed at a Bonamassa concert.  “Dust Bowl” on a sleek sunburst Les Paul had a nice groove with a fluid, patient buildup to soaring heights.  A yellow/white Les Paul was next brought to the party for a few songs like “Who’s Been Talking” and “Midnight Blues”.  One thing that really struck me was how perfectly timed and placed Joe’s rapid-fire flourishes were throughout the show; nothing was ever forced, just gently coaxed.  The crowd roared in response to “The Ballad of John Henry”, and a shiny slide was employed for embellishment. 

With Joe switching to a blond Gibson ES model, “Wee Wee Hours” had a classic blues appeal, and keyboardist Rick Melick added a great piano in the mix.  For “Look Over Yonder Wall” and “Blues Deluxe”, a beautiful red guitar provided eye and ear candy; this featured some of Bonamassa’s most conversational playing of the night, as his tones played the spectrum from slow and low dirty grooves to lightning-fast ascending sections.  Next, it was time for some all-out rock’n’roll, as Joe took hold of a white Gibson SG and tore into “Young Man Blues”; bassist Carmine Rojas squared off with Joe at center stage, and they absolutely rocked out.  Bonamassa, Melick, and Rojas exited the stage and let drummer Tal Bergman take a moment to hammer out a fun solo, complete with audience participation.  Joe returned with a black beauty and played the sorrowful yet lovely “Django”, and as he leaned in for the notes, the spotlight beamed off the silver strings, and I was mesmerized by the heavenly effect. 

As the band bid us good evening, the audience rose to its feet with applause and cheers, and I think the musicians genuinely appreciated their warm welcome reception by the Biloxi crowd.  The encore began with Joe’s popular “Sloe Gin”, and we got to bask once more in the splendor of his well-crafted melodic soloing.  Last came a fan favorite, a cover of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” which had the whole band smokin’ hot, and when they melted into the heavy guitar jam outtro of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed And Confused”, everyone went wild.  Having heard this excellently executed segue on a live Joe Bonamassa CD, I was prepared to be blown away; what I did not expect was to hear a tease from Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” included in the middle, and I was instantly reminded of being thirteen and how much I loved that song!  All in all, what a fabulous evening spent with Joe Bonamassa and his talented band.  It was such a pleasure to see and hear Joe live.  He is amazingly gifted, and sings and plays so fluently and confidently, never uncertain or hesitant of the notes, and at the same time maintaining a friendly and unpretentious demeanor.  I would highly recommend going to see Joe Bonamassa whenever you can, and I look forward to seeing him again; hopefully he had such a great time in Biloxi that he and his band will soon return to the Gulf Coast! 

Photo Gallery HERE

Written and Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Clayton Roberts

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Perpetual Groove--FreeBird Live--Jacksonville Beach, Florida--12/1/2012 

The house was packed on Saturday as Perpetual Groove once again played a set exceeding all of my expectations. The guys couldn’t have chosen a more definitive title for their band. I have seen them about a half a dozen times and they sound just as great every time, only adding depth to their already vast repertoire. Little did I know that this evening would be the best I have ever heard, and nothing could go wrong.  

I drove out there early to enjoy the wonderful weather and take my fiancé to the beach for a while. We are about to get married and rarely get a free moment to get out of the house and cut loose together. This was her first time seeing the guys and little did she, or I for that matter, know what kind of treat we were in for! The show started off with a bang. They gave us a triple decker sandwich right from the beginning, starting with: “All This Everything (part 1)> Green Tea> Naïve Melody (This must be the place)> Green Tea> Occam’s Blazer> Green Tea> All This Everything (part 2)”. It was the best sandwich I have ever heard, and a bit much to digest. “All This Everything” and “Green Tea” are 2 of my favorite tunes they do; to start and finish with “All This Everything” (part 1> part 2) was amazing. The middle “Green Tea” was tweaked with a funky twist that was raw and new to me. If that wasn’t enough meat, the cover of Talking Heads’ “Naïve Melody (This must be the place)” was magical and right on time. With our wedding drawing near, we have been exhausted with planning. Coincidently, the day before we had decided “Naïve Melody” would be our first dance, making the cover a very enjoyable practice run. They ended the set with another tasty little sandwich, “Sun Dog> Orange Wedge> Sun Dog” before jamming into “Digging in the Dirt” to close it out. Other highlights included “Teakwood Betz” and a treat of an encore, “It starts where it ends”.  

The evening was absolutely blissful. The weather was beautiful, despite being the beginning of December. The venue was inviting as usual and fans were enthusiastic. The band was terrific personally as the portrayal of the very definition of modesty, and musically in perfect harmony. All these ingredients provide for one tasty little treat and the smile on my fiancé’s face when I arrived upstairs, after running from downstage when I heard them pluck that first note to “Naïve” was, well....priceless.  


Set One:

All This Everything (Part1)>Green Tea>This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)>Green Tea (funk version)> Occam’s Blazer>Green Tea>All This Everything (Part 2), Paper Dolls.

Set Two:

Teakwood Betz, TTFPJ, Sun Dog>Orange Wedge>Sun Dog, Digging in the Dirt

Encore:  It Starts Where it Ends


Written and Photos By: Joey A. Pye

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Greensky Bluegrass w/Chicago Farmer--The Vogue Nightclub--Indianapolis, IN--11/29/2012 

Greensky Bluegrass, the five-piece band from Kalamazoo, proved to be a very special treat at The Vogue. Recently, I’ve been attending a lot of EDM influenced shows; which has been great, but I needed something different to maintain balance in seeing a wide spectrum of music genres. Bluegrass is exactly what I needed, and getting to see Greensky in a club for the first time was an added bonus. Chicago Farmer was the opening act. The solo guitarist’s set was fun. The first half of his set featured him calmly sitting, strumming his guitar and serenading the crowd. The highlight of this portion was his awesome cover of Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight”. The second half of his set was more playful and energetic. He sprang from his chair, feverishly working his guitar and singing with intense emotion. The music was great, but his rants in between songs were awesome. His ability to connect with the crowd while seeming spacey was oddly effective. Chicago Farmer was definitely an excellent start to the evening.   

Greensky opened their set with “Ground Hog”, a high energy yet playful song. It featured the mandolinist, banjo player, and guitarist stepping forward with full throttle play of their respected instruments, while the rest of the group tightly held the melodies together. Playful swapping of vocals by Paul Hoffman, mandolinist, and Dave Bruzza, guitarist, were timed with precision. It was a perfectly executed song in classic bluegrass form. After the high energy start, Greensky provided flowing tempo changes with intricate melodies. The build-up was created by banjo player Michael Arlen Bont and Hoffman’s playful battle back and forth, ending with an incredible banjo solo by Bont. Greensky was playing wholesome bluegrass, but inching toward something different. The band fed off of the solo’s energy with each member playing faster and harder. The stand-up bassist tightly held the sound together of the skillful improvisations created by the rest of the band. This was the emergence of Greensky’s signature progressive bluegrass style. Bruzza used the acoustic guitar to provide rhythmic grooves fast enough to keep up with the quick tempo bluegrass jams. Each member provided the perfect blend of sound as the jam intensified. The set ended abruptly, but showing what direction the band would take for the second set.

After getting a little sidetracked during set break, I floated back in just as the band was starting to play. I became giddy when I realized the song was a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Road to Nowhere”. Their bluegrass twist on the classic was pleasantly surprising. It was actually quite beautiful. Forging ahead, Greensky was relentless with hard-hitting jams and very tight melodies. Anders Beck, slide guitar (dobro), created chilling psychedelic sounds blending perfectly with the uppity jams. The bluegrass fusion elements featured in the second set easily surpassed the first set. The masterful creation of sound began to take control of the crowd. Fans stomped and danced as the band kept pushing with high energy improvisations and playful presentation. The playfulness proved to be infectious as a conga line formed, snaking its way through the crowd. Shortly after, the set ended with the rowdy crowd wanting more. In typical fashion, after a few minutes the band reemerged to play the encore.  

The encore started with Greensky churning out heavily psychedelic melodies. The tempo increased as the mandolinist took over during his highlighted jam, sending the crowd into a dancing frenzy. Hoffman rapidly plucked away on his mandolin, taking the music to new heights. Things got interesting when Greensky started their final song. Within a few notes, it was obvious they had chosen to cover, “Money For Nothing”, by Dire Straits. It was absolutely amazing. The crowd sang along with the band as they played a unique version of the classic hit. Greensky provided the perfect ending to an already amazing show. The flow of the show was very well layered. It was the perfect mixture of warm wholesome bluegrass and relentless jams. At several points through the show I heard elements of Jerry Garcia Band and David Grisman, both legends in progressive bluegrass. Greensky Bluegrass played one of the best bluegrass fusion shows I’ve seen in a while. I thought the recent Yonder Mountain String Band show was amazing, but it didn’t even come close to this show; it was impressive. Anyone who likes bluegrass music needs to know who Greensky Bluegrass is, they’re that good.


Written By: Alex Toy

Photos By: Mark Loveless

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Flux Capacitor Overdrive, Pine Hill Haints, Daikaiju

Crossroads Music Hall—Huntsville, AL

November 23, 2012 

Crossroads Music Hall has played home to downtown Huntsville’s greatest variety of music.  A glance at their calendar of events will typically note some rap entertainers, a country music act or two, several metal bands, some scores of blues/jam/rock, and maybe a reggae band.  With the intention of getting out and covering some smaller bands, an odd mix of three Alabama based acts were found taking the stage and giving their guests a surreal experience. 

Local Huntsville rock factory, Flux Capacitor Overdrive, opened the night with a seven song set.  Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Jason Generic, brings serious passion to the mic, evidenced by a committed and possessed look in his eyes when belting out lyrics.  With Jeff Pepe laying down the fast beat and two brothers, Tom and James Niemann, lead guitarist and bass guitarist respectively, wrapping up the rest of the electric setup, FCO brings a very hard driven doom and melodic surf rock.  Drawing their name from the likes of McFly, Doc Brown, and 1.21 gigawatts, 88mph is a comfortable speed for digesting this brand of grind.  Their EP, Plays With Kitties, can be listened to at http://www.reverbnation.com/fluxcapacitoroverdrive and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/FluxCapacitorOverdrive.

Pine Hill Haints graced the stage next.    Jamie Barrier (vocals, guitars, fiddle), Katie Barrier (washboard, mandolin, saw), Matt Bakula (washtub bass, banjo), Ben Rhyne (snare drum), and Sara Nelson (accordion) claim to play “ghost music”, i.e. music that is dead to our current times.  The sound ends up being a blend of folk, blues, gospel, and honky tonk rockabilly.  Set lists aren’t typically found at a PHH show.  Jamie and band feed off the crowd and play what hits their soul.  Late in their set, Matt took to the audience floor and let some of the crowd share what they were grateful for.  PHH has been playing since 2000 and has fiddled nearly 20 album recordings, mostly pressed vinyl.  You can check them out at http://www.myspace.com/pinehillhaints/.

 Daikaiju (pronounce ‘die-kie-joo’), from Huntsville, AL, comes across as the surrogated spawn of Gwar, Joe Satriani, and The New York Dolls.  Super fast, psycho surf, instrumental rock fires on all cylinders when these guys open the door.  Asian themed masks don the faces of Secret Man (guitar), Rock Man (guitar), Hands-Man (drums), and Rumble-Man (bass).  Serious, loud energy comes to the stage.  While shooting photos, they motioned me to join them for a few up-close, candid shots, including a full mooning of the crowd.  Soon, they would be mixing up their playing location between the floor and the stage; often times letting the crowd play their instruments.  At one point, everyone on the floor was on the stage, while they swapped roles and stood on the floor, snapping smart phone pics.   This band tours a lot so be sure to catch them when you can but prepare yourself for the battle surf sex metal that’s going to take place.  They can be found at www.daikaiju.net and http://www.myspace.com/daikaiju.

Roger Patteson

Local Music Review and Photos

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Reverend Peyton and The Big Dam Band—The Vogue—Indianapolis, IN—11/23/2012 

Growing up in Indiana to the likes of David Lee Roth, Axel Rose, Michael Jackson and John Mellencamp we have not had a music scene progress since these artists parted ways early in their careers. The music scene in the Midwest is slowly progressing again. Reverend Peyton and The Big Dam Band from the backwoods of northern Brown County, Indiana has been a big part of the rebirth of the music scene. Reverend Peyton is a hillbilly back-country, delta blues with a fierce rock/punk sounding band that consists of lead singer and guitarist Josh “The Reverend” Peyton, his wife “Washboard” Breezy Peyton and drummer Aaron “Cuz” Persinger. 

While consumers spent the day and night shopping for bargains on Black Friday there was a handful of midwest music fans that packed The Vogue for an annual after Thanksgiving performance of The Big Dam Band. As the band made their way to the stage, Reverend Peyton removed his sport coat and all hell broke loose on the stage. The band is coming off their recent album release, Between the Ditches. Reverend Peyton stated that “this album was by far better than all their albums combined.” It definitely showed in their stage performance tonight. I’ve seen The Big Dam Band several times and I have to say this band is hotter now than they ever have been.  During the set, Reverend played the famous three string cigar box guitar on a recent new tune, “Easy Come Easy Go.” Also debuted from the new album was the lead single and banned from being played in European countries, “Devil Looks Like Angels.” “Devil Looks Like Angels,” is a song of a little girl with the voice of Reverend Peyton that looks sweet but is far from being innocent (Check out the video: http://www.cmt.com/videos/reverend-peytons-big-damn-band/843600/devils-look-like-angels.jhtml#artist=2397495). The Big Dam Band has worked hard for what they have. They are not like most bands that get fame from playing with other well-known artists. So when the new album was released and two songs were debuted on CMT, it showed that hard work can finally pay off. Another song played from the new album that has been on the CMT networks is “Something for Nothing.” 

The crowd was diverse, from backwoods blue collar folks to young college students. The crowd came to show their appreciation as they yelled lyrics back at the band and stomped around in their mud stomping boots. The band closed the night out with “Two Bottles of Wine” from their 2010 most overlooked album, The Wages. Breezy caught the attention of the crowd as she pulled a Jimi Hendrix and caught her washboard on fire and continued to slam it on the stage dismembering into several pieces.  Overall it was a great performance; keep an eye out for Reverend Peyton and The Big Dam Band, they put on a show you do not want to miss!

Written and Photos By: Mark Loveless

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Rick Ross and the rest of Maybach Music Group--Banker’s Life Fieldhouse--Indianapolis, IN—11/20/2012

A beautiful Tuesday night in Indianapolis landed me downtown at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse to enjoy hip hop legend and leader of Maybach Music Group, Rick Ross. I must confess, I truly felt out of my element as I entered the grand venue. My anxieties eased as the pounding of bass began on my way to my seat. Heart-stopping bass and plugging of upcoming artists were about all DJ Scream delivered. His insistent need to stop in the middle of mixing to shout out chants about Machine Gun Kelly, Rick Ross, and the rest of Maybach Music detracted from quality mixes he was producing. Also, he began the trend of plugging these artists newly released studio albums. Honestly, I could not wait for his yelling about MGK being ready to take the stage to hold true. His watered down “DJ” set ended and within minutes MGK took the stage. I was very impressed with his set. His rhymes were very well formed, his stage presence was engaging, and he had a guitarist and drummer highlighted at a certain point. Furthermore, his rapidly delivered rapping didn’t muffle the messages he was attempting to convey. In a hip hop world filled with idealization of money, possessions, and women, MGK held true instead to his rough Eastside Cleveland upbringing. This was especially refreshing in a night filled with money, fast cars, and demoralizing banter towards women. MGK was the highlight of the night for me, and an artist I would want to see perform by himself.  

After a brief intermission, it was time for Meek Mill and Wale to perform. I didn’t think anything could be worse than DJ Scream, but I was sadly mistaken with these two goofs. Their music was mediocre, rhymes poorly choreographed, and was honestly one of the most demeaning actions towards women I’ve ever witnessed. It was kind of sad. Another chunk of time was used primarily to promote Maybach Music Group and released albums. In an age where concern for album sales has gone by the wayside, the constant promotion of studio work seemed like a blast from the past. I must admit, the overt plugging didn’t diminish how much energy the crowd was producing. Instead, with every stoppage of music the ruckus of the crowd seemed to increase. Maybe this is what hip hop has morphed into, but I personally enjoy more music featured in a performance. Rallying the crowd was the one positive I found in their set. Just like DJ Scream continued to chant MGK was about to perform, Meek Mill and Wale constantly informed attendees Mr. Rossè (as they called him) would soon be performing. Also, their constant drug references, talk about money and material goods, and demoralizing rhetoric towards women were clichè and shallow. Again, I could not wait for the stage change-up to finally happen.               

Once Rick Ross (or Ricky Rossè touted by his crew) finally decided to grace the large crowd, the crowd roared as he seemed to just go through the motions. His flatness didn’t quiet the energetic crowd. Fans of all kinds cheered as he featured verses from collaborated hits with other hip hop artists. The portions of these songs only featured his verses and ended each song with a dubbed female voice saying “Maybach Music”. It was perplexing, but was effectively delivered by usage of pyrotechnics, an excellent light show, and confetti blasting cannons. As a maestro conducting his first headlining tour, Ross did an excellent job manning the ship. Then at one point, he exited the stage and left the show in his “wolves” hands. This was followed by ten minutes of his entourage begging the crowd to make some noise for Ross’s return and constant dropping of the dubbed “Maybach Music”. I guess the crowd achieved his self-fulfilling wishes, because Ross finally reentered the stage. The silliness of what transpired faded as he took me back to my youth with repetition of one of 2 Live Crew’s famous lines. Ross did feature some of his own hits, but constantly interrupted the flow of each song with the insertion of “Maybach Music” in the middle of each song. My favorite tracks featured were: “Hustlin”, “So Sophisticated”, and “She Got Me Caught Up In the Moment”. These tracks truly showed his masterful showmanship and sent the crowd into a frenzy. His set continued, but waned on with more “Maybach Music”, plugging of albums, and poorly timed banter. 

Honestly, it would have been an amazing show without all of the overtly displayed attempts to sell albums. The lighting was phenomenal and the sound was equally impressive. It was one of the most fun times I’ve ever seen a crowd having, but in regards to live music presentation it wasn’t impressive. Ross let it be known this was the last leg of the tour and it was obvious touring had taken its toll on Ross and crew. Ross performed decently in front of the massive crowd. As an entertainer he fulfilled his duties, but as a musician he failed to meet my expectations. I left the same way I entered, feeling a little out of my element. Machine Gun Kelly stole the show and did so without all the flash and glamour of Ross’ stage setup. Overall, I had a lot of fun attending the show, but musically it was mediocre.  I realize for Ross and company it was more about presentation than the quality of music, and the presentation was perfect.               

Written By: Alex Toy

Photos By: Keith Griner

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Carolina Chocolate Drops—The Vogue Theatre—Indianapolis, IN—11/17/2012 

Ten years ago if you would have made a comment about seeing a band that played multiple string instruments with cow bones and jugs, people would have rolled their eyes, turned their backs and walked away. Well, that is no longer the case these days. In fact there is a diverse string-band on the rise from the Carolina region that plays a style of Southern black music from the 1920s and ‘30s with a mix of jug band and early jazz. Seven years ago founding members Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons worked together to form Carolina Chocolate Drops (CCD), an old-time flatfoot dancing, jug playing and shouting band. “CCD is like taking old southern jazz with a twang of jug band, foot stomping and twist of black gospel music.”  

Saturday night’s performance was unique and interesting in that it felt different from any other show I have attended in the past. Although it was a concert it felt like an early Saturday Mass. The doors opened at 6:30 and the show began shortly thereafter. It was not a packed and sold out show but as the band continued to play further into the night the place started to fill up with people. The crowd was diverse too. There were folks in their mid 40’s dressed in sport coats and casual wear but also a younger crowd of twenty-something’s. As the bluegrass music scene blossoms these days into a more jam grass scene it was interesting to see older bluegrass fans with the newer jam grass fans. 

Although the crowd was diverse it was obvious that both factions knew CCD’s music frontwards and backwards. Flemons played an upbeat old blues tune, “Boodie-De-Bum-Bum” and I was amazed at the number of people that sang along as if it was a song they listened to everyday. Giddens showed off her beautiful range of vocals on a divorce song, “No Man’s Mama.” CCD did a great job getting the crowd involved into their set. CCD’s music dates back to the early 1920’s and so many instruments that were played during their set like cow bones most people had never seen. So the band gave a brief history lesson on each song they played, but they did not give out too much historical information, hoping you would research songs for yourself.  

The band ended up playing two full sets and an encore that night. The memorable highlights of the night were a fast paced foot stomping sing along of “Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind” and a classic “Cornbread and Butterbeans” from their Best Traditional Folk Grammy album, Genuine Negro Jig. “Cornbread and Butterbeans” was a classic historical song that instantly made you feel like you’re settled someplace in the South especially when Flemons started playing the jug. As the night continued on it felt more like an academic history lesson with a twist of old-time bluegrass. Listening to CCD will make you appreciate the roots of bluegrass music even more!


Written and Photos By: Mark Loveless

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Drivin’ N Cryin’--Soul Kitchen Music Hall--Mobile, AL—11/16/2012

In the midst of their 2012 Fall tour, Drivin’ N Cryin’ hit Mobile, AL on November 16 at The Soul Kitchen Music Hall.  The band consisting of Kevn Kinney (guitar/vocals), Tim Nielson (bass/vocals), Dave V. Johnson (drums) and Sadler Vaden (guitar) rocked their new and old material extremely well.  The new album, Songs about Cars, Space and The Ramones, brought us the new track “Hot Wheels”.  I was excited to hear it live as this track caught my ear while listening to the new EP.  Drivin’ N Cryin’ have been releasing short EP’s for some time now; and from Kevn’s remarks, they will continue to do this every 90 days.  The band soared through all facets of their repertoire, and the rock-to-folk transitions were excellent.  Hits such as “Fly Me Courageous”, “Build a Fire”, “Honeysuckle Blue”, and “Straight To Hell” let the crowd know they still love playing the tunes from the past.  There were even some of The Who’s “Love Reign O’er Me” teases in an ambient style play in one of the newer songs.  The band drifted into a few segues and one needing mentioning is when they went into “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles.  What a treat; and then with the stop/start jamming they did, it was definitely a rock show and they were having a good time.  I had not seen them in quite some time and was very happy to see the play on different styles of music as well as throwing in the teases and covers.  I would suggest checking them out if they come through your town, and remember that there will be new material every 90 days!!  http://www.drivinncryin.com/

Written and Photos By: Clayton Roberts

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Pretty Lights w/Cosby Sweater, Paul Basic, and Eliot Lipp--Old National Centre Egyptian Room--Indianapolis, IN--11/14/2012 

An event on a brisk fall evening in the middle of the week doesn’t normally almost sell out, but apparently an event headlined by Pretty Lights with Cosby Sweater, Paul Basic, and Eliot Lipp opening isn’t a normal event. Local act Cosby Sweater kicked off the evening, but due to odd restrictions drummer Richard “Sleepy” Floyd (also of The Native Sun) wasn’t allowed to join the rest of the trio. That didn’t stop David Embry (also of Embryonic Fluid) and Nicholas Gerlach (also of The Twin Cats) from putting on an amazing set. Cosby forged ahead with an eclectic mixture of Embry churning out heavy beats on the turntables and Gerlach’s perfectly timed usage of both the Tenor Saxophone and EWI (electronic wind instrument). The jazz element was a perfect compliment to the electro-paced tempo. It was clear the two were having fun, which fueled the energy of the amassing crowd. Cosby Sweater’s one-two punch of “Indiana Song” and their remix of Outkast’s “So Fresh & So Clean” sent the crowd into a dance frenzy, setting the tone for the rest of the evening. Their set was solid, despite the absence of a drummer. 

Next up was Paul Basic, a fellow member of PL’s record label, Pretty Lights Music. Basic flowed seamlessly between up tempo melodies with intricate bass chops, down tempo beats, and heavy dub build ups and breakdowns. Pretty Lights’ influence on his music was obvious, but Basic lacked the pizzazz of PL’s showmanship and stage setup. The highlight of the set was Basic’s remix of I Monster’s “Daydream in Blue.” Basic was followed by fellow Pretty Lights Music artist Eliot Lipp, no stranger to the EDM community. Lipp’s set showed a new side of his musical prowess. Normally, his music features only down tempo beats, but this set included quicker tempos with breaks containing jazz elements. I was impressed with how Lipp’s music has evolved over the years. His nearly perfect set perfectly primed the crowd for Pretty Lights.

After a short intermission, it was time for Pretty Lights to wow the crowd musically and visually. His awe-inspiring stage setup is the best in the business and equally as impressive as his musical production. From the start, his music featured perfectly mixed components of blues, rock & roll, and hip hop. The beautiful melodic grooves were highlighted with perfectly executed use of lasers, lights, and his projection screen stage setup. His mixing of Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G’s tracks, with lasers filling the room took the crowd to another dimension. I was wowed by his perfectly produced cocktail of melodic grooves, high energy beats, and well-executed breaks during this part of the show. These elements in conjunction with his stage presence and amazing stage setup culminated in the best live presentation of electronic music currently being produced. It is easy to forget about the incredible projection setup with all of the lights and lasers flashing above, until your eyes look toward the stage and witness the visual insanity taking place. PL pushed the boundaries further during “Finally Moving”, relentlessly pushing the music and his light show faster and harder. This fueled the crowd, who welcomed the increasing intensity by dancing like fools, present company included.             

The second half of his set featured newly produced music. His new tracks contained dark and spooky bass drops to contrast with bright and happy melodies, sounding somewhat different from past PL work. I enjoyed the new stuff very much. It featured tight breaks, the dirty bass was pleasingly raunchy, and mixes were very crisp. It is clear he has mastered his signature sound, but isn’t afraid to explore different avenues in his music. Furthermore, PL’s new stuff included glitch hop elements. It sounded different from his past work, but equally as impressive. In typical fashion, his glitches were well executed and perfectly timed. He was a true maestro, using his music to manipulate his audience beautifully.  Honestly, it was one of the best dance parties I’ve ever been a part of or witnessed. Indy Mojo created the perfect event with every artist delivering incredible music, especially Pretty Lights and Cosby Sweater. I’ll definitely be attending Cosby Sweater’s upcoming show with Digital Tape Machine on December 6, also an Indy Mojo event. Don’t miss out on this event, it is the cd release party for Cosby Sweater and will surely be another dance amazing dance party.        

Written By: Alex Toy

Photos By: Keith Griner

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts 

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Matisyahu--The Bluebird—Bloomington, IN--11/11/2012

It was an easy decision to venture out this past Sunday to watch post-Hasidic Matisyahu perform at The Bluebird. I waited before the show started, interest piqued to see the reincarnated artist. I watched the crowd quickly amass as I stood waiting for him and his band to take the stage. Bass rumbled the ground and a man's voice began to sing out in Jewish prayer, indicating the beginning of "Crossroads." I gasped when Matisyahu entered the stage. It was odd to see him have short slicked-back hair, dark sunglasses, and a black full-length coat. The man of light and spirituality appeared to be much darker and iconoclastic. In the past, he praised his fans, understanding they're the reason for his fame, but this night he appeared to lack any connectivity with the crowd. His voice was sounding amazing, sharply improving over the years. I kept waiting for him to engage the crowd, or even some bouncing around the stage, but he stood idle with his eyes hiding behind the shades. "Searching For You" was the next song he played. He did beatbox during this song and overall the song was very well crafted. It was very good electronic music. However, it sounded way too dark for Matisyahu. His lack of emotion toward the crowd made him appear disconnected. The first two songs were very disappointing; he lacked substance and depth.

The perplexing nature of his musical transformation was quickly forgotten when "Sunshine" began. This is another track off of his most recent album, Spark Seeker, but definitely more like his past material. "Sunshine" featured a groove invoking bass line and Matisyahu's perfect voice delivering positive lyrics. This charged the crowd up, but I couldn't help but notice Matisyahu continuing to appear disconnected from the crowd."Bal Shem Tov" was the next song. "Bal" was definitely the low point for the set, failing to capitalize on the previous song's energy. Musically the first half of the show didn't sound too bad, but his lack of confidence and connectivity with the crowd were quite unexpected. I was deflated and yearning for him to take me to great heights. My wishes were granted as the song "Thunder (From Light)" began to play and Matisyahu finally connected with the crowd, bouncing around the stage and smiling like he did in the past. He segued perfectly into "Exaltation", a Matisyahu classic and one of my favorites. In this song, he continued to win me and others over, becoming increasingly animated on stage. His animation coupled with his beautifully crisp vocals finally elevated me to great heights. The set was finally coming together. The next song, "Live Like a Warrior", perfectly highlighted Matisyahu's strengths as a musician; a perfect display of inspirational vocals, melodic and mellow music, and great stage presence. I was thrown off guard as he took his connectivity and stage presence to the next level, stage diving into the sea of fans. The set ended with "Sea to Sea", featuring a more electronic version of the original. It sounded nice, perfectly preparing the crowd for the imminent encore.

With a strong finish to his set, I was riding very high and unsure how the encore would transpire. The uncertainty and any scrutiny were whisked away by him playing "King Without a Crown", Matisyahu's biggest hit and arguably his best song. During "King", his musical mastery was on full display for the exuberant crowd. We were his puppets as he appeared to control the crowd with great ease. The ease wasn't due to lack of emotion. It was quite the opposite; you could feel the raw emotion in his voice as his true stage presence shone through. It gave me goose bumps. I saw tears shed and others were awestruck by the undeniably beautiful music being displayed. The show ended with another fan favorite, "One Day", a positively powerful song about hope. You could see the joy smeared across many faces. Toward the end of the song, Matisyahu and his band members invited the crowd on stage. Chaos eliminated any easy wind down to the show. Fans flooded the stage, dancing and cheering as the song continued. It was pure chaos as Matisyahu disappeared amid a sea of fans, still managing to finish the song, ending the show with an awe-inspiring moment between an artist and fans. In retrospect, the set started out weird with his new off-putting persona and darker electronically influenced songs. He finally connected with the crowd and emerged as the artist so many fans have grown to love. The best part of the show was the encore, displaying positively the best mix of showmanship and musical talent.

Written By:  Alex Toy

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Gov’t Mule and The Lee Boys--The Murat at Old National Theater--Indianapolis, IN—11/01/ 2012

As I arrived at The Murat on Thursday evening, I was eagerly waiting to see yet another amazing performance from Rock ‘n Roll legend, Warren Hayes and Gov’t Mule. I got to my seat a bit early and decided to check out The Lee Boys and was I ever so surprised. Like most Gov’t Mule shows the crowd gathers around for a few drinks and does not pour in till about the time Mule takes stage. Tonight was an exception to the rule. By about the third song into The Lee Boys set, I looked behind me to see if the crowd was as amazed by the band as I was. People came barreling down the aisle to take a peek at one of America’s finest “sacred steel” ensembles. The Miami based group The Lee Boys, coming off their most recent album release Testify, kicked off the evening with their signature blend of Funk and Gospel. The band consists of three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with three nephews, the amazing and talented pedal steel guitarist, Roosevelt Collier, Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). During the set Collier and Warren Hayes would duke it out in amazing guitar and pedal steel jam which got the crowd geared up for Gov’t Mule. The crowd was well primed when Gov’t Mule stepped up to take their turn amidst the furious applause from a nearly sold out auditorium; and there was no doubt who the crowd came to see. 

Gov’t Mule came out to a thunderous welcome with their soulful jam “Million Miles From Yesterday,” and followed up with an intense crowd-pleasing light show for “Slackjaw Jezebel.”  By their fourth song “Banks Of The Deep End” it was evident the crowd was deeply enjoying the show, and then during “Rocking Horse” lead guitarist Warren Hayes let loose a massive guitar riff that had fans throwing more than a fair share of hands in the air. Doubtless it was a fantastic cover of the great Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er” that changed the feel of the night and had the most notable effect on the crowd. It was at this point in the evening that those who refused to stand up and move around were most conspicuous. Oh yes, there was a whole lot of dancing and moving going on. Gov’t Mule continued to round out their first set with “Frozen Fear” and “Broke Down On The Brazos”. 

After a short break Gov’t Mule came back for their second set, and by the second song had fans again waving their hands in the air with a long slow drum intro by drummer Matt Abts for “Wandering Child.”  As the band closed out the night they would be joined by Roosevelt Collier during the encore of “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” and “Turn On Your Lovelight.” Warren Hayes is an exceptionally amazing guitarist at the height of his career who continues to astonish audiences everywhere. From the beginning to end Mule put on another amazing performance that Indianapolis will remember for many years to come.

Written By: Roger McGowan 

Photos By Mark Loveless

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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The Avett Brothers-- Von Braun Center-- Huntsville, AL--10/27/12

Upon entering the newly remodeled Von Braun Center in Huntsville, AL, a large crowd was found with cash and card in hand at the merchandise stand.  Fresh new tour T’s, a great show poster by Zeb Love, and even a sweet custom skate deck designed by Sector 9 were the eye catchers.  Also appealing were the many various costumes that showed up, ringing in Halloween five days early. 

An hour and a half before show time, and the pit was already eight layers deep with chanting fans across the front of the stage.  Finding a decent spot for photos would prove to be challenging.  The rest of the 8,300 seats were occupied slowly and upon The Avett Brothers taking the stage, most of the upper level seats were still empty.

With show time scheduled for 8pm, Seth and Scott Avett, Bob Crawford, Joe Kwon, and Jacob Edwards took the stage at 8:30 and opened a few minutes later with the slow pitch, heavy vocal, “Pretty Girl from Feltre”.  Next up was another selection from Four Thieves Gone with the punk folk blend of “Talk On Indolence”.  “Down With the Shine” would be in with the new and out with the old as the first song played off the latest album, The Carpenter.  Later in the show, a favorite found in “Kick Drum Heart” would step up the energy a few notches with an extended electric jam, complete with Seth’s crazy stage antics, before finding its way into “If It’s the Beaches”.  The soulful story “Once and Future Carpenter”, “Sally’s Lover”, and super hit “I and Love and You” closed out the main set. 

A short break was all that was needed for the boys to bless the crowd with a real trick and treat.  Four song encores are often-time folklore and wishes upon a Christmas list; but this “second set” would start off right and with a clue to its longevity with Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen”, done to the beat of an Avett drum.  Key note, vocal performances of this country hit came via some of the over-served crowd in front of the stage.  “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”, “It’s Movin’ Day”, and “Alabama Gals” would all transpire from the very front of the stage on a short peninsula that made its way out into the pit.  All of the back lights went black and a couple low white lights lit up the small stage, while the whole band stood in a circle, almost barbershop quartet, and melody was made.  Smiles were forming in the crowd while laughter and intense emotion was being created onstage.  The Avett Brothers were nailing the number one thing that breeds a repeat crowd:  the connection that’s felt between the band and the fans.       

Highlights included: Scott taking one of Joe Kwon’s bows and surrendering it to a woman’s 8yr old daughter in the front row.  A Twitter conversation with the woman later on confirmed her daughter was “over the moon and probably won’t sleep tonight from the excitement”.  The jam in between Kick Drum and Beaches provoked a little welcomed outside the box improvisation.  Covers came by way of David Childers & The Modern Don Juans (“The Prettiest Thing”), Randy Travis (“Forever and Ever, Amen”), and Charlie Poole (“It’s Movin’ Day”). 

Being one of the greatest additions to contemporary music, The Avett Brothers will continue to develop a fan base with some of the finest song writing and stage energy ever, and their continued presence on the road and at festivals.   


1. Pretty Girl from Feltre
2. Talk on Indolence
3. Down with the Shine
4. Distraction #74
5. Shame
6. Paranoia in Bb Major
7. Live and Die
8. Go to Sleep
9. Gimme a Kiss
10. The Weight of Lies
11. The Prettiest Thing
12. A Father’s First Spring
13. Laundry Room
14. Old Joe Clark
15. I Never Knew You
16. Winter in My Heart 17. Slight Figure of Speech
18. Through My Prayers
19. Murder in the City
20. January Wedding
21. The Fall
22. Kick Drum Heart
23. If It’s the Beaches
24. The Once & Future Carpenter
25. I Killed Sally’s Lover
26. I and Love and You

27. Forever and Ever, Amen
28. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
29. It’s Movin’ Day
30. Alabama Gals

Written and Photos by: Roger Patteson

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts 

Photo credit for Sector 9 skateboard unkown, we will gladly give credit if identified! CONTACT ROGER

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Keller Williams—The Bluebird—Bloomington, IN—10/25/2012 

When Keller Williams took the stage I funneled in with the rest of the attendees. As the music started, it was apparent Keller was bringing the funk. He opened with a heavily improvised rendition of “Art”, bouncing around the stage creating loops for each instrument. His funky bass beats had the crowd grooving heavily and Keller took the opportunity to get even funkier. He seamlessly segued into James Brown's “Get On Up”, sending the crowd into a dancing frenzy. It was impossible not to dance to the sounds Keller was creating. Still playing on, he flowed perfectly into a very fun version of "Broken Convertible”. The silly lyrics coupled with continuing funky beats allowed Keller to show his playful stage presence. After expressing quick pleasantries, Keller played his staple Dead cover "Shakedown Street". He really started to toy with the crowd during what I felt was the best improv jam of the set. With the crowd wrapped around his fingers, Keller continued to mesmerize playing “Ninja of Love”, G. Love's “Back of the Bus”(with Outkast teases), “Keep It Simple”, and another cover with Cage the Elephant's hit song “Ain't No Rest For The Wicked". I couldn't believe how well he transitioned in and out of each of these songs. This was by far my favorite part of the first set. It was one of the best executed portions of music I've heard in a long time. Plus, it was the most fun I've seen a crowd have in a very long time. Keller then lightened things up a bit with his classic “Novelty Song”, finishing out his masterful improv set filled with amazing covers with Sublime's “What I Got”. It was perfection. He took the crowd on an epic journey and landed softly with the funkiest version I've ever heard of “What I Got”. It was refreshing and left me wandering what the second set would be like. The first set was musical perfection. My only skepticism was whether he would be able to transcend or even replicate the mastery exhibited in the first set.               

I wasn't the only person whose mind was blown. I quickly learned this conversing with other concert goers during set break. I blasted back inside The Bird and nestled back to my spot from the first set. I smiled when I noticed ”Breathe” was the opener; a Keller Williams classic and definitely more well-known than most of his other music. As funky and dance inspiring as the first set was, the second started mesmerizing and very psychedelic. The genius thing was Keller was still churning out funky bass loops while melting the crowd with his spacey guitar improvisation. Keller continued on with the spacey riffs before blasting everyone off with a cover of Ryan Adams' “Cold Roses”. It was gnarly. It was raw. I don't know where he pulled that from, but he executed the song perfectly with the current flow of his show. Jamming straight into The Dead's “St. Stephen”, Keller used every weapon in his musical arsenal, improvising the song from psychedelic to funky, and even into a reggae-inspired portion of the jam. It was kind of jaw-dropping.  I didn't think he could manufacture any heavier layered bass beats than in the first set, but he most definitely did during “St. Stephen”. It was a Deadhead's dream. The crowd was raging once again. In Keller fashion, he dug deeper and wowed more; I stared doe-eyed at the stage, but everything below the waist was grooving. He took this groove into the next dance-driven cover. This time it was the Talking Heads' “This Must Be The Place(Naive Melody)”. It is odd to hear so many covers, but I wasn't complaining. He sealed his masterful show with this cover. The crowd went bonkers, present company included. It was evident by the end of the song Keller was worn out.               

The encore was pretty forgettable, only because he melted my face off with two incredible sets. It had been almost half of a decade since I've seen Keller own a crowd like he did that night. I met quite a few people who were seeing Keller for the first time. I can't imagine such a wonderful treat. It was great presentation and great music. If you've never seen Keller I hope you take note of this review and go see him when he returns to Indiana in February. This time he will be at The Vogue in Indy on February 1, 2013. If you survive the apocalypse on 12/21, it is a must you attend. Keller will surely have that place going nuts.


Written By: Alex Toy

Photos By: Keith Griner

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Trampled By Turtles—The Vogue Theatre—Indianapolis, IN—10/19/2012

Musical chops can only take a band so far in this world. Without melody, even the greatest instrumentalists’ performances can fall flat. Great bluegrass groups understand this, and Trampled By Turtles’ show at the Vogue on Saturday proved the boys from Duluth, Minnesota to be worthy students of the artform. This is a group that thrives on beauty, both in sound and word. While Ryan Young’s virtuoso fiddle-playing was arguably the star of the night, it was, as often, guitarist/vocalist/primary songwriter Dave Simonett’s words and melodies that carried the performance and captured the hearts and minds of the sold out crowd.

Honey Honey opened the night with their distinctive brand of bluesy stomprock country. Frontwoman Suzanne Santo, in a sleek and sexy black outfit, raised the eyebrows of the predominantly male audience, donning not only a banjo, but also a fiddle. However, it was her soulful voice that ultimately amazed the crowd, a soaring instrument of perfection. Both fiddler Ryan Young and mandolinist Erik Barry of Trampled by Turtles joined Honey Honey on two separate songs near the end of their set, while “Come on Home” proved to be a rousing and impressive closer, gearing up the Vogue for the main attraction.

As Trampled eased their way into the gorgeous, quiet opener “Midnight on the Interstate”, the shushing was humorous and telling. This is wooden music, so you have to shut up, but perhaps ultimately because every single word Simonett sings seems so important. “Love and love and nothing else,” he sang, and those attempting silence felt it - “It’s all I need.” The boys let the song die out slowly, soaking in the applause, then jumped into the rollicking “Sorry”. This contrast of ballad and up-tempo rocker set the stage for the evening’s structure. The band proceeded to repeatedly rev the audience up into a fiery, uncontrollable state of dancing joy, then slow things down enough to break hearts and bring out Young’s weeping, mournful fiddle, before launching back into another rave-up.

The instrumentals of the night, such as “Truck” and “Don’t Look Down”, provided ample opportunity for Barry and Young, along with banjoist Dave Carroll, to flaunt their improvisational skills. Many of the more jam-friendly audience members likely found themselves longing for more daring, experimental, and lengthy jams than Trampled provides. If there was any downfall of the night, it was that the group seemed too locked-in to its songs’ structures and could have benefitted from allowing themselves a detour or two down some odd avenues, a la fellow progressive bluegrass professionals Cornmeal. However, the group’s ability to keep the speeding train on the tracks without missing a beat was still a marvel, especially thanks to methodically tight bassist Tim Saxhaug. With no drum kit in sight, it was Saxhaug’s low end that worked in unison with the crowd’s enthusiastic clapping to keep the train a-rollin’.

“Wait So Long”, the group’s biggest song, arrived in the middle of the set, but the group managed to lose no momentum as they headed into the home stretch, again bringing the power with “Codeine” and their signature sense of longing with “The Calm and the Crying Wind.” “Alone” closed the set as a golden moon appeared on the stage’s backdrop and Simonett’s simple but breathtaking lyric and melody took us home. Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” surprised in the encore, demonstrating the influence of haunting rock in the midst of Trampled’s downhome sound. Once the group left the stage, the audience felt the grip of Duluth’s finest release them from their collective hypnosis, dancers awash in the jovial glow only bluegrass provides.

Written By:  Charles H. Peelle

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Jimmy Herring Band--Work Play Theatre--Birmingham, AL--10-19-12 

            Friday night’s instrumental performance at Work Play Theater left a clear understanding of the question “Why do you need vocals when you jam like the Jimmy Herring Band?” The venue flaunts a great atmosphere for live music with its two level horse shoe surrounding the stage and total lack of a bad seat.  Many fans posted up in the comfy booths on the outer edge, adult beverages in hand, while the majority of those attending got their groove on out on the floor.   Jimmy (guitar), local Matt Slocum (keyboards), mohawked Neal Fountain (bass), and Jeff Sipe (drums) let the instruments do the talking for an evening of soulful jazz and funk from 2012’s Subject To Change Without Notice and 2008’s Lifeboat albums.  The crowd was found sporting a serious smile when the band ripped into a sexy cover of “A Day In The Life” where Jimmy and Matt welded John Lennon’s voice from string and key.  All in all it was a great show, albeit a bit short, leaving some asking “Are they coming back out for a second set?”  While that didn’t happen, experience says those inquiring will be back the next time JHB stops in town.  Maybe less is more.


Written and Photos By: Roger Patteson

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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North Mississippi Allstars—Vinyl Music Hall—Pensacola, FL—10/18/2012 

It doesn’t matter how many times I see North Mississippi Allstars (NMA), they always keep me coming back for more.  So on a Thursday night I headed to Pensacola FL for what was sure to be another great show at Vinyl Music Hall.  There were a few variables that would make this show atypical; first, there was no opening act, which allowed me to see NMA perform in an earlier timeframe than I’m accustomed to.  I appreciated this opportunity, especially since I had to be at my “day job” early the next morning!  Secondly, whether due to the unique wrap-around stage setup at Vinyl, or some other reason, Luther Dickinson’s guitar arsenal was aligned at stage left (instead of the typical stage right), and Cody Dickinson’s drums were on stage right looking towards center stage.  Most strikingly, though, was the absence of bass player Chris Chew, who is recovering from health difficulties.  On this evening, Luther and Cody Dickinson brought Lightnin' Malcolm with them, a musician whom I’d heard about, but never heard live. 

As always, the boys definitely brought their full force to their performance.  Songs like “Shake” and “Sugartown” demand a good get-down, and the crowd was certainly movin’ and shakin’.  I’m always amazed by the contrast NMA brings to their musical selections; one minute, you’re hearing “Up Over Yonder” with its joyfully clean innocence, and the next thing you know, they’re making you blush ‘cherry red’ with deep dirty grooves like “Po Black Maddie > Skinny Woman”.  That’s just one of the many reasons I love these guys! 

Early in the set, it became obvious that the inclusion of Lightnin' Malcolm would lead to a unique environment that allowed all three musicians to play more than their typical instruments of choice.  Malcolm and Luther traded out their bass and guitar a few times during the night.  Luther not only played his big bass drum, but also sat behind the drum kit while Cody played his electric washboard.  Malcolm took turns drumming and Luther played bass when Cody took a guitar center stage for “KC Jones (On the Road Again)”.  One major highlight for me occurred during the lovely instrumental “ML (Goin’ Home)”, with Luther and Cody sharing the front of the stage, playing their guitars in harmony; the dynamic between the brothers was heartwarming and bright.  The Pensacola crowd was loving the NMA vibe, and “Goin Down South” and “Let It Roll” brought more steam to the hot night.  “Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down” found Luther amidst beautiful reverie, and “Someday Baby” ended the set in hot hill country style. 

As the audience clamored for more, NMA returned to the stage for a heavy-hitting encore that was almost like getting a second set.  “Drop Down Mama” and “Shake ‘Em On Down” definitely found the crowd still in the mood to groove.  “Drinkin’ Muddy Water” is always a favorite for NMA fans, and “All Night Long” is a great way to head out into the night, with a head full of good tunes and great memories.  North Mississippi Allstars continue to deliver their high-spirited music to delighted fans, and as usual, they left me with plenty of reasons to come back for more.  And Jams Plus Media extends blessings of health to Chris Chew, and we look forward to seeing him with the boys again soon.

Review and Photos By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts 

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Yonder Mountain String Band--The Vogue Theatre--Indianapolis, IN-- 10/18/2012 

In the summer of 2009, Yonder Mountain String Band made their presence noticed at The Vogue. During the first set Ben Kaufmann asked the crowd “How many of you have heard us on a radio station?” The crowd was silent and no one could reply. Ben went on to state:

“That is a testament to the power of what an underground scene, word of mouth or grassroots can accomplish. Look at all of us here, that’s pretty powerful stuff and gives us hope for the future with the release of this new album. Anything string band scares the crap out of radio promoters, who are only interested in main stream songs. If you hear something you don’t like you will change the station and never come back.” 

As I approached The Vogue Thursday evening, the crowd was lined down the street and around the corner. After waiting in line for 15 minutes or so I finally made it inside the sold out show. Suddenly I thought back to when I saw the band here three years earlier and remembered Kaufmann’s statement. Perhaps Yonder Mountain is too big to play in front of a live audience at The Vogue.

Once the night began Jeff Austin and members started out with a quick jam, “Fastball” to help get the crowd riled up and went straight into “Southbound.” Although Yonder’s version has different lyrics “Southbound” has been covered by artists such as Allman Brothers Band and legendary guitarist Doc Watson. The first set would include a relatively newer song to the band’s setlist, “Rain Still Falls”, and some crowd favorites including “My Gal,” “Crazy,” and “Another Day.” Jeff Austin worked his magic with an impressive finger picking mandolin jam, “Oklahoma” straight into “Little Rabbit” and closing the first set with “Oklahoma.” 

As set two began the crowd seemed to have filed out a bit and left more room for the “diehard” Yonder Mountain enthusiasts to get down and shake their money makers.  Set two kicked off with “Criminal”, a band’s classic good guy/bad guy song about going back to Colorado with a gun and suitcase to catch a desperate woman. Set two was by far the clincher of the night that got the crowd involved in the show. The second set would include “Yer No Good,” “Reasons” and a John Hartford original, “Howard Hughes Blues.” The night ended with an out of this world light show and jaw dropping finger picking jam, “Girlfriend Is Better” straight into “Robots” and finished back into “Girlfriend.” 

Friday night would also include another string band sold out show with Trampled By Turtles headlining. In the last few years we have seen several string bands host their own festivals such as Yonder Mountain, legendary Del McCoury, Infamous Stringdusters, and Railroad Earth to name a few. Whether Yonder Mountain String Band is getting too big for the Vogue or not, I do believe that we can all agree that string music is on the rise. In fact it may be more popular than it has ever been, thanks to bands like Yonder Mountain String Band.

 Set 1:

Fastball > Southbound, This Lonesome Heart, Rain Still Falls, My Gal, Crazy, Another Day, E. Nashville, Dominated Love Slave, Sometimes I’ve Won, Oklahoma > Little Rabbit > Oklahoma

 Set 2:

Criminal, Illinois Rain, Night Out, Yer No Good, Reasons, All The Time, One More, Howard Hughes, Harder They Come, Easy As Pie, Girlfriend Is Better> Robots > Girlfriend

 Encore:  Fine Excuses, Southern Flavor


Written By: Mark Loveless 

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Matt and Kim--House of Blues--New Orleans, LA-- October 18, 2012

As I walked into the already filled House of Blues, opening band Oberhofer was completing their set and the crowd was eating it up.  Their indie rock style was an excellent crowd warmer to get this evening going.  Around 9:00 the stage was being set up for headliner Matt and Kim.  The house music really kept the energy level up and this crowd was all about what was going to transpire.

Matt and Kim took the stage to hoots and hollers that literally raised the roof.  When Matt told the crowd that they had not been feeling too good that day, and that all of that just went goodbye when they walked into this room, we knew we were in for a treat.  Matt confirmed this by telling Kim that the energy level was so good that they were about to give us their all on this show, and they did!

Matt and Kim were in top form playing a wide array of their material from the three albums, Grand, Sidewalks, and their newest release Lighting.  After the third song they threw around 200 balloons into the crowd and had everyone blow them up and bounce them around the room.  This show carried an energy level that I have not witnessed in some time.  Every song just kept very high standards, hits such as “Daylight”, “Block After Block”, “Cameras”, and the newer song “Let’s Go”.  They did slow it down once for Kim to sing “Ten Dollars I Found” off Lightning, and then soared right back through the roof.  Kim asked everyone to take their shirts off and swing them in the air as they rolled right into “Grinders”.  The show finally came to an end with the crowd more than satisfied with the performance they just witnessed.   If ever you want to catch a high energy, awesomely fun show, catch Matt and Kim when they come near you.  Tour information can be found at http://mattandkimmusic.com/



Written and Photos by: Clayton Roberts

Edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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The Werks—The Mousetrap—Indianapolis, IN—10/13/2012

--The Werks Shine at the Mousetrap--

It has been a sentiment with a giant echo over the past two years, reverberating around the festival circuit like a warm wave swallowing the land, then disappearing to go grace some other shore. “We better cherish being able to see them in this place while we can.” “Sooner or later they’re going to blow up.” “Those guys are amazing – I can’t believe they’re not bigger.” Dayton, Ohio’s The Werks have achieved giddy, enthusiastic word of mouth fame. They even host their own annual festival that has featured the likes of Dark Star Orchestra, Lotus, Rusted Root, and more. This year’s All Good Music Festival slotted them on the second stage as the meat to hold together the main stage sandwich of Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. But there they were on Saturday night, just milling about in front of Indy’s Mousetrap following their masterful performance, drinking beers, high-fiving friends and fans alike, blurring the line between the two, and just being regular guys who play their instruments exceptionally well.

The group, consisting of drummer/singer Rob Chafin, bassist/singer Dino Dimitrouleas, keyboardist Norman Dimitrouleas, and guitarist/singer Chris Houser, likes to have fun, but is also a band that plays a powerful show bursting with technical virtuosity and complex compositions. Saturday night was no exception, the band’s wide range of stylistic approaches on display, from bluesy psychedelic rock to energetic dance to nasty funk. As is often the case, Chris Houser’s six-string prowess dominated the show, creating some literally dropped jaws as well as emotional moments for those in attendance.

“For Today” opened the night in an uplifting fashion, allowing the band to simultaneously shine and warm up. “Golden Shore,” a ballad dedicated to a lost loved one, provided a restroom break for many, but demonstrated the group’s considerable knack for gorgeous melodies. The anthemic progressive rock of “Duck Farm” closed out the first set with a climb of energy, but it was the trance-drenched jam of “Rollin” that impressed the most before the break. “Rollin” is one of a handful of Werks songs that provides insight into why the band continually earns its own name, transcending disparate genre barriers to create a fun yet intense dance experience.

Kicking things off with their impressive take on “2001”, a disco rendition of Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (taking its modern name from its iconic appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey”), The Werks shouted that it meant business in the second set. “Cloudhopper” followed, taking its listeners soaring into an otherworldly spiritual realm, their senses drifting away and returning through a wordless meditational process, minutes of motion disappearing into the ether. The funky “Music” and revved-up “Cruel Stone Blues” closed things out with fun jams, leaving the audience ill-prepared for the deep, filthy groove in “Onslaught”, which feels just like it sounds – an electronic funk assault on the senses and an intense way to close a show.

So will this band ever cross that barrier? Will we stop seeing them moseying through festival crowds, no longer enjoying our heroes with us from the grass, but from the confines of the backstage world? Will Chris Houser’s magical precision soon attract the masses, who will have no choice but to stand in awe of his every musical move? Only time will tell, but something tells me you better get yourself a high five from these guys while you still can.

Set 1:
For Today>
Sweet Content
Golden Shore
Heading South
Duck Farm

Set 2:
Cruel Stone Blues
E: Onslaught

* Safety Dance tease


Written By:  Charles H. Peelle

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Mark Loveless

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Cope/EvenStill/Earphunk—Club 1904—Jacksonville, FL--10/12/2012 

Headlining the event at Club 1904, in historic downtown Jacksonville, was funkadelic band Earphunk. Opening for them was a double-header of EvenStill and Cope. This was going to be an interesting evening, as the opening band EvenStill had a strange dynamic and I was curious to see how it was going to play out. With Joyce Genwright on guitar, she wonderfully performed rhythm and lead, with a bit of help from young keyboardist, Howard Green. Bass player Tommy Bridgewater was precise in execution, allowing for drummer Frank Betha’ to focus on his lead vocal responsibility. The amazing vocals of Fatima Kargbo was a perfect additon, giving her and Frank, a full range of vocal harmony.  So we had a George Porter- esque, bass playing front man; the dualing leads between a young keyboardist and rippin’ riffs from female lead guitarist Genwright; all on top of a drummer providing most of the lead vocals. I was waiting for them to yell “switch!!” and get up to change instruments and responsibilities; but there was no need. They were marvelous, covering old funk, originals, and popular cover’s like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. 

The next act was Cope. I was shocked to see them play in the middle of the line-up. I have seen these boys play at Black Water Music Festival and they are currently booked for this weekend’s Spirit of the Suwannee festival, Magnolia Fest. They are the band that brings it on stage, and then will rage right next to you offstage, with the rest of the freaks, appreciating all the bands. Sticking to their original material, they brought the house down. It wasn’t just locals in the crowd either, as I recognized many faces I have seen in my travels. They played some of my favorites like opening with “Sometime” and later, “Noodle Doodle Doo”. I stood with “Juanja” Montero (Keys and Sax) after the show in preparation for the Earphunk set and got to chat a bit. We talked about our strange, yet entertaining encounter at Black Water 2010 and once again, I commended him on his transitional talent between playing keys and sax. I asked him if they were in anyway influenced by the Mantras, to which he replied with a large grin, “We love the Mantras” then said, “but wait for this next band, they get real funky”.  

Unfamiliar with Earphunk, I was curiously excited to hear their set. They mainly played originals, getting the crowd to bounce up and down with their eclectic and original sound. It was definitely funky, but I would describe it as “Funkadelic” or “Psychedelic Funk”. Similar to the sounds of Cope or the Mantras, they have infused a modern electronic forefront, backed by supporting organic instrumental bars, which seemed pleasantly endless. The fluidity and communication between the band members is superb, and it is no wonder they will be joining other new funk sensations, like Dumpstaphunk and Lettuce, at this year’s Bear Creek Festival in the beginning of November. I still haven’t pinpointed the exact reason I enjoy them so much, and it just may be their ambiguous and Socratic approach to their music. I know one thing, I will be at Bear Creek, front and center, not worried about figuring out just what it is I like about them, but wondering how I am going to get the same intimate experience with so many attendees. Whether you know of them or not, they are certainly leaders on the organic/electronic fusion scene, which seems to be quite the growing trend.

 Review and Photos By: Joey Pye & Chris Haun

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Victor Wooten – The Bluebird Nightclub – Bloomington, IN – 10-12-2012

First things first, I have to make two disclaimers: 1) I am not an expert on basses—stand up, guitar, fretted, fretless or any other variety. I will do my best to provide some juicy tid bits from this show for those of you that geek out on instruments and whatnot. 2) I attended Indiana University – Bloomington and experienced a significant case of nostalgia driving down from Indianapolis to catch Victor Wooten at The Bluebird. This nostalgia often causes a heightened level of enjoyment and bias for any and all things in Bloomington, especially for wildly talented musicians like the Victor Wooten crew.

In order to get a good show experience at The Bluebird, you have to claim your space and hold your ground. It’s not the most fan-welcoming venue with pillars and tiers challenging your eyeshot at every corner. I scored a second tier spot with a clear view of Victor Wooten in an Indy 500 t-shirt and didn’t budge. I had never seen him perform before and quickly discovered that seeing him on the electric upright bass was just as relevant as hearing his masterful string play.

Wooten was joined on stage by seven other talented musicians, including Krystal Peterson on vocals; Anthony Wellington on bass and keyboard; Steve Bailey on bass (6-string fretless among a few), keyboard and a trombone he hadn’t played in 35 years; JD Blair on drums and bass; Derico Watson on drums; and Dave Welsch on trumpet, keyboard and bass.  The chemistry and respect among each of the artists was apparent from the jump of the show. The funky, soulful ability of the group—horns and all—filled the room with the second song “Brooklyn,” a tribute of sorts to the guys who built Wooten’s Fodera bass guitar.

I knew it was going to be fun times when I heard the funky beats of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s version of “Tell Me Something Good” coupled with Wooten’s never-ending grin as he thumbed his 6-string. I always enjoy seeing musicians enjoying what it is they’re doing up on stage, and mutual respect and appreciation among these musicians was apparent on The Bluebird stage. This tour features a mash up of Wooten’s recent two-album release Sword and Stone (instrumental) and Words and Tones (vocal). But Wooten and crew mixed in more legendary covers like Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”

The next legendary cover came right after Wooten introduced the entire band with details about each musician’s unique instruments and abilities. The crowd, which likely included knowledgeable Indiana University School of Music students, gave ample cheers for Steve Bailey who is playing the whole tour on a 6-string fretless bass (this is when the disclaimer becomes relevant.) I have no clue what that means, but the crowd seemed pretty jazzed up by the mention of it. Bailey took center stage and led the group through a beautiful and bass-filled cover of The Beatle’s “Here Come the Sun.”

I was pretty blown away watching Victor Wooten play every inch and string of his bass. His hands moved in ways I’ve never seen and it was plain impressive. I even bought a t-shirt that says “Bass” on the front and “It’s not a fish” on the back. I don’t usually buy concert merchandise, but MJ that ran the merch table was just too cool and helpful to not indulge. I left the show with an “hmm” to ponder after Wooten’s lecture of sorts regarding video recording and reposting online. He packaged his message by sharing a story of learning a gospel song from his mother and her siblings. They would only teach him the tune after he understood the sacred quality of the song. Wooten said that he tries to maintain a similar level of respect for the music he produces and would prefer people only share short clips of the shows online. “This is our livelihood—how we feed our families.” A man has a right to say what’s on his mind, especially about his fine-tuned and skillful music; and hopefully the audience will respect his request. Supporting musicians as electrifying as Wooten and his band is a wonderful way to thank them for sharing their talents with us; and they definitely provide some top-notch entertainment!


Written By:  Meghan Barich

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Dyrty Byrds--Rock and Roll--Dog Star Tavern--Fernandina Beach, Florida--10/11/2012

The influence of “Southern Rock and Roll” seems to fit into the music scene like the S.E.C. does in N.C.A.A. football. Everyone outside of Dixieland either loves to hate it, or hates to love it. With southern super groups like Allman Brothers Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Marshall Tucker, Widespread Panic, etc., it seems they have isolated themselves to the south. You don’t hear many bands north of the Mason-Dixon line cover or even recognize this popular genre. You might catch a “Devil went down to Georgia” here and there by Trey Anastasio, as he is playing a festival in Alabama; but iconic songs like “Freebird” or “The Weight” are typically only acknowledged by those with Southern roots and dismissed by those outside of this wonderful genre. 

It has become a specific genre, separating itself from Jam rock, Blues, Acoustic Rock, etc. The Dyrty Byrds are a power duo comprised of Eric Martinez and Tori Pater. The band is carrying on with their annual Southeast Rock and Roll tour, which is an all-acoustic tour, paying homage to the Rock and Roll we love. Both Tori and Eric bounce back and forth, from Colorado to Athens and its surrounding areas, as the south has made a permanent imprint. Consorting with the rest of the Georgia boys, both Tori and Eric are members of Bloodkin and Polytoxic. Each have also have played with bands like Widespread Panic, even assisting in the “Michael Houser: Benefit Concert” performed each year in Colorado. The Southeast Rock and Roll tour gives each other a chance to cut loose in their acoustical fashion promising “Southern Rock” is not dead, but very much alive. 

I met with Tori and Eric before the show at their hotel room, as Eric was restringing his guitar, sharing stories and laughs before walking to the venue. We walked a short distance to Dog Star Tavern, an up and coming live music venue in Fernandina Beach, Fl. The boys decided not to charge at the door, buy this guy a few drinks, and even were giving their hard-copy music away free, to bar patrons. The altruism they expressed off the stage was only magnified when they were on the stage. No defined setlist, accepting requests, simply playing their strengths made this one of those evenings for which I will forever be grateful. Opening with Little Feat’s “Fatman in a Bathtub” I was instantly satisfied and excited for the rest of the evening. I was sure they were going to play their Bloodkin original songs, often covered by Widespread Panic, like “Quarter Tank of Gasoline” and “End of the Show”; but after the Little Feat cover, I was ready to hear some other altered covers.  

The duo has a synergestic co-dependence, that may be completely opposite in most respects, but manages to assemble a harmonious fusion, comparable to Page and Plant or Lennon and McCartney, without any egotistical drama. The subtlety of Eric’s presence, yet powerful lead play, smashing diminished notes with a modest perfection; combined with Tori’s animated stage antics and booming, yet graceful vocals; may be the foundation for the Dyrty Byrds success. Tori does a “Last Waltz” tribute each year and honored my request of Neil Young’s “Helpless”, leaving me floored. As if that wasn’t enough, out of nowhere they covered one of Panic’s originals, “Jack”. I was expecting the obvious Bloodkin covered songs, but was surprised by this “Jack”, and much more. I can honestly say, of the 11 times I have heard this song live by Widespread and the other numerous attempts by other bands, this performance was by far my favorite yet, and will be hard to top. These two know what they are doing. They do not need any help, nor do they ask. The charisma surrounding them is an apparent testament to the success they will forever have, as they seem to have accomplished every musical dream they may have had. Still touring in the Southeast spreading the Rock and Roll message, Eric and Tori are a must see, if you get the chance. If you happen to miss them, be sure to check out One Long Hustle, a boxset covering Bloodkin’s musical adventures from past to present, including jamming in a basement in 1983.


Written and Photos By:  Joey A. Pye

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com


EOTO ~ Freebird Live, Jacksonville, FL ~ 10-6-2012

I remember the first time I caught an EOTO show in October 2007. They were just getting started and I was blown away by the show. I was a tad lost on what was going on, but I knew they were onto something. After 5 years, they have certainly come a long way, selling out venues, representing Apple as exemplars of each other’s advancements, and they have become quite popular with the festival scene. Comprised of String Cheese Incident’s (SCI) drummers, Jason Hann and Michael Travis, they have brought a new style of music so outstanding and eccentric, it is difficult to classify their performance. I got to speak with Jason before the show and asked “In what genre do you two belong”? He laughed and replied, “The best way I can describe it, is an Alien Dance Party”.

On a more technical note, EOTO combines modern advancements in musical technology with a classic, genuine, organic structure. Michael plays everything from keys to bass and even electric mandolin. Jason plays an array of drums accompanied with vocal support. The talent between the two is superb and when matched with software as advanced as Ableton, it allows them to create a natural sound, executed with flawless timing and precision. In line with the impromptu instrumental madness, the whole set is improvisational, without any pre-recorded loops or setlists. Their sheer enjoyment and passion is exemplified through their animated stage presence. I have worked with them before (with String Cheese) and their EOTO performance is a testament to how much talent circulates through that band. Their influence in SCI is amazing; but to see them with so many extraneous elements provides the foundation for such a delightfully taboo stage performance, truly personifying their musical potential. Add the Lotus Flower stage and you have what only can be described as an “Alien Dance Party”.

I think Jason hit it right on the head with his description. I have been to Freebird several times, but this Saturday night was much different than usual. Most attendees were true diehard fans of the band and it was very apparent. The Wailers played through about half of the first set on the beach across the street and yet, the house was packed none the less. Matter of fact a few members of the band (Wailers) were seen exploring the extraterrestrial scene. Typically, Freebird hosts many devoted fans of the performing band, but also caters to people who just enjoy live music, most of which do not have a far walk from their houses in Jacksonville Beach. This evening, however, the house was rocking off of its stilts with people who clearly wanted to be there in support of the band. I saw some fans even bring totems in, glowing decorated poles with bright and neon objects attached, typical of an SCI show. The entire crowd was bouncing up and down as Michael jammed on the bass and Jason started singing various hip-hop teases, distorted with a robotic vocal effect. If that wasn't spaced out enough, the stage put you in a different world!

The Lotus Flower light stage is just as the name describes, a collapsible stage in the shape of a Lotus Flower with some of the most advanced illuminated mapping sequences in the business. When I asked Jason about the stage, he said “It’s representative of all the many possibilities and flourishment a Lotus provides”. Typically they have an outer wall between them and the larger backdrop, but at Freebird Live the stage is a bit tight and they had to settle with just the backdrop. This was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed comfortable viewing for the crowd and coincidently liberated the band to move freely. I asked Michael about it afterwards as we sat on the beach soaking in the scenery, and he said, “I didn’t mind the absence of the foreground. Sometimes we feel as if we are stuck playing in a bathtub, with nowhere to cut loose”.

 It is hard to specify one particular show by EOTO. The dynamic and structure, or rather lack thereof, inherent in their performance is meant to leave you feeling ambiguously satisfied. Michael and Jason both exude a degree of talent and passion that makes it a worthy show, despite any curious reservations. Some bands can just get by on sheer talent. Some get by on stage presence. Some may get by on fan devotion. EOTO does it all. They are everything you can ask for and then some.

Review and Photos By: Joey Pye

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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North Mississippi Allstars – The Vogue – Indianapolis, IN—10/04/2012

Prior to seeing North Mississippi Allstars (NMA) play at The Vogue in Indianapolis on Thursday, I had only seen them for a set a Bonnaroo this past summer. Brothers Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody (drums) Dickinson took the stage without their long-time friend and bassist Chris Chew, who was recuperating in a Portland, OR hospital from complications with his diabetes. They rocked their Mississippi hill country blues Bonnaroo set even with the absence of a key player.

Lightnin’ Malcolm stepped in to fill the Chris Chew void for the NMA fall tour, bringing versatility and deep blues sounds to the trio. NMA took the stage around 9:30 p.m. after the Missing Cats wrapped up to a less than packed Vogue house. NMA started with the deep, eerie and steady beats of “Let it Roll,” a gospel tune.  Though it was a light crowd, it was filled with obvious NMA fans that got to their feet when the music started.

The group started off in the rightful spots—Luther on guitar, playing slide, Cody on drums and Lightnin’ stroking bass and guitar licks. Throughout the night, they switched up and move around stage. Lightnin’ would take the drums and Cody would step up with a guitar and vocals. It was obvious that the blues musicians of NMA were enjoying themselves, which increased the crowd’s energy. The group’s chemistry brought the stage alive.

“They keep getting jammier as the night goes on,” 37-year-old Kevin Grimley of Indianapolis said. NMA transitioned from hills blues to gospel and back again throughout the whole show and were joined by JoJo Hermann of Missing Cats and long-time Widespread Panic keyboardist. As soon as Cody stepped out from behind the drum set with a washboard on, crowd goers reached into their pockets for their phones and started recording. I guess they knew what was coming next. His board scratching started out with traditional sounds and moved into trippy, electronic reverberations.

Luther pulled out the tin can guitar near the end of the show. All in all, it was just a plain ol’ fun southern blues show. These guys seemed to be having fun. The crowd was grooving and the sounds were gritty and clean all at the same time.

Written By:  Meghan Barich

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Dinosaur Jr. / Shearwater—Tipitina’s—New Orleans, LA—10/03/2012

On a Wednesday night, we drove from Mobile AL to New Orleans to fulfill a longtime desire to see Dinosaur Jr.  Their 1993 album Where You Been received heavy rotation in our CD player during college, and is still often revisited with pleasure.  In 2009 the release of Farm got me excited, and I am absolutely loving their newest album I Bet On Sky, which prompted this fall tour.  The rediscovered and continued creative vibrancy of Dinosaur Jr. is what truly had me clamoring for tickets to the Tipitina’s show. 

Opening act Shearwater provided a thunderous start to the evening.  Their heavy bass shook me to my foundation, and a variety of guitar pedal effects and feedback were used to their advantage.  They also excelled at smooth and enjoyable vocal harmonizing.  This was Shearwater’s first time playing in New Orleans, and it seemed that both the band and the audience had a great time. 

With the album cover artwork of I Bet On Sky draped across the back of the stage, Dinosaur Jr. kicked off the night with the album’s closing track “See It On Your Side”.  When I heard the intro to “Thumb”, my heart soared, anticipating the intoxicating melody and lyrics, which were delivered righteously; and following that with another Green Mind song, “Wagon” made it clear that the band would be delving into their full repertoire throughout the night.  We would also be hearing plenty of awesome new songs; one of my favorite parts of the show was the back-to-back “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know” and “Watch The Corners”.  These pieces are so quintessentially Dinosaur Jr., they could have been plucked from any of their best albums; they have a timeless feel, as does the entire I Bet On Sky album.  And somehow, through J Mascis’ screaming guitar and high-growling voice, Lou Barlow’s reverberating bass, and Emmett Murphey’s (Murph’s) hard-driving drums, I find a sense of comfort in perhaps the most unlikely of places.  I struggle to find words to describe what Dinosaur Jr.’s music does to me; but whatever it is, it is definitely good


As the familiar chords of the first Dinosaur Jr. song I ever heard, “Out There”, were coaxed out of J’s guitar, I realized what a fantastic show we were witnessing.  The band was so tight, and sounded as clear and as fuzz-lovely as diehard fans could hope for.  “Feel The Pain” and “Start Choppin” were old-school bookends that worked seamlessly around the new gorgeous “What Was That”.  “Tarpit” and “Freak Scene” kept the party rockin’ on, and kept the crowd cheering.  The band even let their punk flag fly freely, with a hardcore thrashing rendition of “Training Ground”, by Mascis and Barlow’s early band Deep Wound.  The set-closing “Gargoyle” seemed to stretch out a bit, giving us ample time to appreciate the amazing abilities of Dinosaur Jr., and how the band works as a cohesive unit to create their unique sound. 

It was quite a treat to see these three guys in action.  Lou Barlow was dancing around his thumping bass, while his shoes rested beside the stage.  Murph is quite a machine on his drums, providing the solid and transitional groundings that relentlessly drive the music.  J Mascis is one of my favorite guitarists, with his distorted soaring tones and a complex and fluent phrasing that I love to hear; and his vocals are so enticing and inviting.  After the audience clapped and hollered for a while, the band returned to the stage for a triple-hitting encore of “Raisans”, “Repulsion”, and their take on The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”.  It was certainly an appropriate way to end the evening, for in many ways, my first concert experience with Dinosaur Jr. in good ol’ New Orleans was Just Like Heaven.



Written and Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Clayton Roberts

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The Avett Brothers—The Lawn at White River—Indianapolis, IN—09/30/2012

When a band is hitting on absolutely all cylinders, they are truly a sight to behold.  And on a picture perfect Sunday evening in Indianapolis, The Avett Brothers were an amazing sight for a packed crowd at The Lawn at White River.  They proved exactly why they are one of the hottest touring acts on the scene.  Their songs pack a wallop, being both lyrically brilliant and instrumentally invigorating.   Their harmonies can be both silencing and rave up a crowd into excitement.  The band is also prolific in their production; their newest album, The Carpenter is their seventh studio album since 2002, and all contain at least one of my favorite songs.  After spending time with their albums, it is hard to believe the live show could capture the magic.  And as with the greatest of bands, after seeing their live show Sunday evening, it is hard to think the magic was held solely in the albums.

 The crowd was still very loud through the first verse of “Shame” to open the evening, and as this is a song led by its lyrics, it was neat to see the crowd calm into an attentive congregation as it unfolded.  Afterwards, the crowd roared in approval and we were off.  Bands for the most part are most excited to share their newest material in their arsenal, and The Avett Brothers spread out seven of their newest tracks off of The Carpenter. These songs fit seamlessly in their two hour set that included at least one song from each of their albums.  I really loved the new slow number, “Through My Prayers.”  Good gravy, these dudes can write some gut wrenching songs.  I was nearly in tears, but thankfully heard the strums of one of my favorites of their bar room singalong anthems, “When I Drink” and all was full of cheer in the world again.  It seemed like each of the next songs was the song each of my friends came to hear.  This band was cruising and the crowd was hanging on for the ride.

The Avett Brothers have the seemingly uncanny ability to pick cover songs that are amazing, yet seem to be one of their own.  As soon as I heard the line, “It was a New Year’s day at a seaside bar.  There was a special on PBR,” I had to Google it and found the song was “The Prettiest Thing” by David Childers.  Both his version and the one the Avetts played in Indianapolis are superb.   The new single “Live and Die” followed and got the crowd moving again; you can see why they chose it.  The Avett Brothers’ take on traditional instrumentation can be a wild ride through punk, folk, metal, and every genre in between.  It is a pretty cool juxtaposition to see their style on a traditional tune like “Old Joe Clark” which they closed their set with. 

For an encore, they came out swinging with the song that made me fall in love with this band.  “Talk on Indolence” is so, so good and they nailed it.  By the end, the crowd was worked back up to a frenzy.  Last year, for the second song of the encore, they gave the crowd The Rolling Stones’ “Angie.”  This year we got Neutral Milk Hotel’s hit “In an Aeroplane Over the Sea.”  And just like last year, I saw quite a few high fives.  Then to solidify this show as one to remember, the guys brought out their father, Jim Avett, for another superb traditional tune, “Down by the Riverside” and their own “Salvation Song.”

These guys have it all:  a boat load of great songs, a unique sound, a killer live show and they know how to treat an audience, in every sense of the word.




Written By:  Joe Steele

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Keith Griner

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DATSIK—The Egyptian Room, Old National Centre—Indianapolis, IN—09/28/2012

The Murat Egyptian Room at Old National Centre in Indianapolis, IN, was set to be shaken up when the FIREPOWER Tour announced it as a stop on their 2012 fall tour. Boasting DJs in the Dubstep genre such as Bare Noiz, AFK, DELTA HEAVY, and DATSIK, all of the Firepower Records label artists plus various guests, the bass was sure to be felt in every corner of the venue. All through the night various DJs kept the fast-paced, bass driven music flowing and radiating through the crowd. The crowd was hooked from the get go. Every bass drop, drum beat transition, and creative mix had the crowd responding immediately from start to finish; and this was before the headliner, DATSIK and his 50,000 watt system, even took the stage. Before DATSIK took his turn at the helm, his new stage setup had to be put in place: The Vortex.

Envisioned by DATSIK himself, and brought to life by V Squared Labs, the Vortex uses a top of the line 3D mapping program with a VJ (Visual Jockey) controller working simultaneously with him during the set to weave various themes together seamlessly, yet be very reactive to changes in the audio. Everything in the Vortex starts on the outside and spirals into the center, which can create challenges for DATSIK. With the projected images of many colors and designs flying past him, he has to keep a careful mind on his music during the set, or else he could become disoriented and fall over. But DATSIK is willing to take these risks in the interest of developing a better visual effects display for shows to come.

It was 11:45pm when DATSIK took the stage, and the audience was poised for the unique experience that awaited them. When plugged in, the 50,000 watt system shook the Murat building. On the outside the windows were rattling, and the low bass sound was easily heard. Inside the Egyptian Room, there would seem to be a wind that blew by most in the crowd, but it was not wind. It was bass! 50,000 watts is nothing to joke about. The bass was so turned up that the air in the room felt thicker due to the sounds reverberating off the walls. The whole crowd was in non-stop dance mode. Transitioning from slow to fast beats and vise versa in his style, DATSIK uses sounds which are weird in nature, but are intertwined together to create new beats accompanied by a whole slew of bass drops. The strong bass would be the constant factor driving the force of impact, and the crowd would not slow up. It was definitely a show for fans intent on taking it to the limit and going beyond for almost five hours straight.

The highlight of the show had to be The Vortex. The visualizations were unlike anything I had seen at any other concert. The smoothness of the transitions between audio and visual were very easy to follow via the colors and designs used for various sounds.  The FIREPOWER tour is one production that has to be heard and seen to be believed.

Written By:  Champe Behrman

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Michael Kiwanuka—The Amber Room, The Murat Theatre—Indianapolis, IN – 09/25/2012

With a voice and style latched onto each other, Michael Kiwanuka found his niche in the music world touching people with his soothing voice and meaningful lyrics, evoking a sound similar to the R&B and soul artists of the late 1960s. From the moment his first lyrics came through the microphone in the Amber Room at The Murat in Indianapolis, IN, awe settled over the crowd which would not leave until the end of the show.

During his show it was apparent that the theme would not drift far from the slow, steady beat which accompanies his voice style. “I’ll Get Along” was sung with pureness of mind and heart. Next was “Tell Me a Tale”, which kept the mellow mood in the room with words about having faith in those close to you.  A bluesy, slower tune which speaks of not knowing all the answers in the harder times of life “Worry Walks Beside Me”, drew the next slot. The music defined the lyrics very well with soft drums, organ swells, and beautiful piano fills creating a somber tone throughout the song. “Bones” brought a smooth jazz feel to the set which was a good pick me up for the people there. The only cover of the night came in the form of Jimi Hendrix’s “May This Be Love”. Hendrix was the only black guitarist which Michael actually connected to when he was growing up in South London. It was beautifully done; the crowd had a good sing along with him. Following the Hendrix cover was “I’m Getting Ready” and “Rest”; both were slow and definitive with the calm vibe released upon the room. The title track off the Home Again album was up next.  It connected with anyone in the crowd who had ever been away and longed to be back at home. “If You’d Dare” brought beautiful guitar licks, bluesy in nature, together with the whole band to create a jam which floated away and came back to the theme with ease. The set closer was “I Don’t Know”.  At the end of the song, Michael asked those in the crowd to sing along acapella which bonded the crowd and band into one for at least one moment whether they wanted to or not. The encore “Company” began with a drum battle between the drum kit and African drums, turning into a fluid beat. When the rest of the band joined in, an island feel was struck with smooth guitar licks and tambourine hits. It told a story about needing friends and family to survive in life.

Hearing Michael play and sing opened a new chapter of music in my life. The calmness and heartfelt spirit of his lyrics and music was a good shift in gears for my musical tastes. I look forward to seeing him succeed on stage, in music, and in life.  


Written By:  Champe Behrman

Photos By: Keith Griner

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Umphrey’s McGee -- Iroquois Amphitheatre -- Louisville, KY-- 9/22/2012

With summer behind them, the members of Umphrey’s McGee found themselves closing out the first leg of fall tour close to home in the Midwest.  As dusk settled in at the Iroquois Amphitheatre on the lower west side of Louisville, KY, concert-goers, or in this case “UMFreaks”, were still filing in from the parking lot, anxious for what Umphrey’s McGee could possibly have in store for the fall’s first leg closer show. “Catshot >Liberty Echo>Walletsworth” opened the show with a dark, menacing sound which lasted until the second half of “Walletsworth”.  A first set highlight was the “Syncopated Strangers >Deeper>Syncopated Strangers”, which was a funky dance party with cool lighting interplay.  “YYZ”, a Rush cover, was perfect and included a Kris Myers drum solo. “Sociable Jimmy>Sweetness> Got Your Milk (Right Here)” ended the set with standard versions of “Sociable Jimmy” and “Sweetness”.  Set closer “Got Your Milk (Right Here)” included Aron Magner (Conspirator) leading the jam in an electronic dance party, partly with his hands crossed.

The second set opened with “Panama”, a Van Halen cover, which was well executed and set the bar for the energy of the set. Next was “Morning Song“, a standard version followed by band introductions by Brendan Bayliss. “Miss Tinkle’s Overture” rocked the socks off the venue. After a tip of the glass (Bayliss), fan-favorite “Push the Pig” set a slow, intent pace via guitar; “Flying” found Joel Cummins (keyboards) leading the way, briefly coming back to “Push the Pig”.  “Conduit>Glory>Conduit” focused around guitar, “Glory” being a high point of the show.  “Kimble” was a nice standout before set closer “Pay the Snucka”.  The closing of the show included a jam on Led Zeppelin’s “The Rain Song” which gave way to a shred fest via Jake Cinninger and Brendan. They encored with “All in Time”, a fast paced, guitar shredding piece of music. The jam section included a Gary Glitter “Rock and Roll Pt.2” jam, which drove the crowd out of control. They ended the encore the same way it began, fast and furious. After an invite to New Year’s Eve 2012 in Atlanta, GA, fans headed home with nothing but smiles and looks of amazement because of what they had just witnessed.

Having seen Umphrey’s McGee numerous times in the past, I can honestly say that Umphrey’s is a band I will continue to see over the years to come. Every show seems to get a little bit better than previous ones by way of set lists, covers, and execution of original material.

Highlights: YYZ, Panama, Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Glory


Umphrey’s McGee, Iroquois Amphitheatre, 9/22/12, Louisville, KY

Set One: Catshot > Liberty Echo > Walletsworth, Syncopated Strangers > Deeper > Syncopated Strangers, YYZ, Sociable Jimmy > Sweetness > Got Your Milk (Right Here)^

Set Two: Panama, Morning Song, Miss Tinkle’s Overture, Push the Pig > Flying > Push the Pig, Conduit > Glory > Conduit, Kimble, Pay the Snucka*

Encore: All in Time**

Notes: ^with Aron Magner on keys, * The Rain Song (Led Zeppelin) jam, **Rock and Roll Part 2 (Gary Glitter) jam.


Written By:  Champe Behrman

Photos By: Keith Griner

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

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Umphrey’s McGee -- Ryman Auditorium -- Nashville, TN -- 9/21/2012

 Downtown Nashville on a Friday night offers much to do in terms of live music.  Broadway is lined with small clubs and the next band waiting to make it big.  At the heart of the stroll, you’ll turn down 5th Avenue and find the historic Ryman Auditorium. 

We’re not talking Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, the Grand Ol’ Opry or Patsy Cline at the Ryman.  We’re discussing the Midwest, progressive jam rock offering of Umphrey’s McGee. With Jake Cinninger, Brendan Bayliss, and Ryan Stasik strumming strings, Andy Farag and Kris Myers banging beats, and Joel Cummins on the keys, the 100+ year old theater provided room for a couple thousand fans to immerse in full facial meltage. 

It appeared the heat was coming with an “In The Kitchen” opener but settled down right away for a homage driven “Passing”.  “Fussy Dutchman” brought its complex guitar work next with Brendan thanking the crowd afterwards.  “The Linear” was heavy and sweet with key work by Joel.  “Wife Soup” was a layover for the newer song dance party, “Miami Virtue”.   Brendan and Jake dropped the electrics and picked up the acoustics for a soulful “Great American” sandwich, flanking Led Zeppelin’s “That’s The Way”.  All in all, first set was just a warm up.  The “Virtue” battled with Zeppelin for highlight status. 

Second set brought full on disco shred.  A “Bridgeless” opener, followed by band introductions, a little presidential campaigning for Farag, and then the pull of “Wappy Sprayberry” took off.  “Sprayberry” grew wings and “Higgins” was born.  An extra mic stand was brought out during “Higgins” and sat empty till the song was finished, upon which Brendan asked if the crowd wanted a “slow, love song” or “something to slap you across the face”.  Slow, love song won and Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” began and was, thankfully, scrapped for some “Making Flippy Floppy”.  Basically, Umphrey’s let Phish know they’re not the only ones that can successfully work Led Zeppelin and Talking Heads into a rock show.  Jeff Coffin filled that empty mic stand with sax in tow and helped to completely funkify David Byrne’s work.  When the beast was killed, Jeff and UM took off for another 7 minute jam before closing out his surprise appearance, although he sat in with the guys during their last trip to Nashville in 2010 at the War Memorial Auditorium.  “Puppet Strings” closed the set and an emotional “Divisions” nailed down the encore.  The South loves its UM and is ready for the four night stand at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA. 

Honorable mentions go to the staff of the Ryman.  Most of them appear old enough to remember Johnny Cash making his first appearance there, but with that age and wisdom comes the heart and soul to treat their guests with the utmost courtesy and hospitable respect.


Written and Photos by:  Roger Patteson

Edited by:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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Justin Jones – Do317 Lounge – Indianapolis, IN – 09/18/2012

Many artists have used Indianapolis, a major music hub, to further their careers in music. It was the same way for Justin Jones as he rolled into town to the Do317 Lounge on the south side of Indianapolis. Equipped with four albums and currently touring the latest one, Fading Light, Justin was sure to put on a great show. In all of his albums, a great emphasis is put on the lyrics. The lyrics are from the heart and tell stories about his family, friends, and life. He firmly believes that every time something happens in his life, music will always be his release; he refers to Fading Light as his reawakening.

The Do317 Lounge was not what one might imagine it to be; it’s a low-key, relaxed atmosphere with a small group of people assembled to see the show. Before the first note was struck, Justin assured the crowd that the chairs they were sitting in could be moved out of the way to allow for a larger open space to be created. Unfortunately, no one moved their chairs to the side in lieu of the “seated” option. Justin and his band opened the show with the title track off Fading Light, which was written for his grandmother. It is based on a childhood memory of the two of them walking down a gravel road. The flow of the song was mellow; it would build up before mellowing out again, creating a wavy flow to the song. Next up was “Little Fox”, a song he wrote for his oldest daughter, Stella. (Note the family references.) This was a song which picked up steam as the band built up during the verses. A harmonica solo followed, which is always a welcomed treat. The energy of the song was very driving and easy to get into from start to finish. “You Saved Me,” written to his late Uncle Lee who brought him to annual family October-fest parties when he was a boy, was a change of pace with a slow country-ballad, which took off into a faster time signature after the verses and stayed there until the end. The song describes life as a musician on the road, away from family and friends, and the struggles which accompany it. This would round off the family member dedicated songs for the show.

After a quick swig of water Justin began to talk about the next song, “Racine.” Racine was written about a fictitious prostitute. This shocked many and brought an almost nervous laughter over the crowd. With its hard rock infused beat, “Racine” moved along in every which way, taking turns wherever it seemed fit until the lead guitar solo. The solo soared with the melody line and gave way to a bluesy, southern sound with excellent slide work. The end of the song left people cheering and whistling, obviously behind Justin and what his music was accomplishing. Story time followed with a rather amusing insight into his past. When Justin was 8 or 9 years old, his dad was in a blues band; and if dad had a gig, typically in bars, Justin would be right there with him. “The Gutter” clued into the harder times in life when it seems as if there is not any hope in the future. The lap-steel was brought out and connected the music to the imagery portrayed by the lyrics. “Keep a Shelter” came up next, and the lyrics were very “to the point” and from the heart, creating a message of not giving in to negative thoughts and emotions. It also defined the importance of holding on to love through the times good or bad.

Throughout the show so far the tunes played had shown a build up to a peak and then riding the peak out; “As It Turns Out” shifted gears with a very spacey intro section which lightened the mood a couple notches. The spacey theme continued through the song with various climb ups within the spacey range of the verse section of the song. It would peak shortly before delving back into space. The jam out of the song was immaculate with harmonizing space swells between the two guitarists. Justin then promised that we were going to enjoy the next song, “My Father’s Gun.” Played in a southern, rock-a-billy style, the band was able to intertwine the music and lyrics in such a way that the lyrics would be symbolized via notes being played concurrently in the melody line. It was a fine way to end the show. Justin’s parting words conveyed a fan-friendly message of wanting to mingle and converse with people after the show, which was a very nice gesture, well received by the people still there.

The show was a definite success. The different music styles were infused together with great prowess. The show didn’t center around one sound; rather the styles were at different points on a line with the line being the common bond between them all. The lyrics were so meaningful and heartfelt throughout each song. The emotion with which Justin sang them was on a level that pierced through the skin and stuck there for good. This was an up and coming band who many would consider for a repeat performance. The way Justin Jones has crafted his music and lyrics creates a vibe that is easy for everyone to relate to, and keeps the audience hanging on every note.

Written By:  Champe Behrman

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Jason Aldean with Luke Bryan ~ September 15, 2012 ~ Klipsch Music Center, Indianapolis, IN





Photos By: Keith Griner

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Sir Elton John, legendary singer and pianist, performed to a capacity crowd of 9100 at the Mississippi Coliseum Tuesday, September 12.  He performed over 2 hours, singing and playing most of his hit music to an attentive and appreciative audience. 

The show began with opening act, The Two Cellos.  These two musicians are masters of the cello.  They opened with their staple piece, Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and then tore into AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”.  They were phenomenal in their quick-paced strumming of the cellos.  They performed numerous other tunes, as well.  At the end of their performance, the stage and audience were hungry for Sir Elton.  The crowd was on their feet and enthusiastic.  

As Elton John debuted on the stage, he arrived in all of the style and glamour you could imagine.  He had on his trademark glasses in a shade of pink, and a long rhinestone studded jacket with “Madman Across The Water” written in glittery blue on the back.  He had his grand piano, as well as a full band (2 sets of drummers and several guitarists), which added a certain boost to the concert.  There were backup singers as well; the lead singer of the group was introduced later as the lead singer formerly with Sly and The Family Stone.  

With loud applause and cheering from the guests, Elton John went straight to the piano opening with “Saturday Night’s Allright for Fighting”.  After this piece, and every song thereafter, he stood up with open arms to thank the crowd.  He moved to the center, back, and all sides of the stage, thanking his audience.  He is a very considerate performer, showing gratitude to his fans throughout the show.   


With Elton John’s well-known repertoire, he had only to hit one chord on the piano and the crowd would go wild because they knew what was being played.  His pieces included songs and tunes that we all know by heart, and some we weren’t as familiar with.  He performed just about every hit, and then some more.  From “Rocket Man” to “Candle in the Wind”; “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” to “Daniel”, his music was mesmerizing to his loyal fans.  All of the songs got applause from the crowd, and many well known classics got standing ovation, applause, and cheering.  His timeless lyrics will always be with his loyal fans, enticing us to sing along.  He did take an opportunity to introduce all of the band members --drummers, guitarist Davey Johnstone, and back-up vocalists.


Of course, we were all waiting for the finale song, “Crocodile Rock”, which we thought would be the rocking, righteous way to close the show.  The audience was on their feet and cheering--loudly--all 9100 of us.  For those of us fortunate to be at the stage area, we were allowed to approach the stage for this final number.  “Crocodile Rock” did indeed have everyone “rocking” whichever way they wanted.  At the end of this performance, Sir Elton exited the stage, and we just knew he HAD to come back for an encore.  After several minutes, with the crowd going wild and no one leaving the coliseum, he came back for the final encore number.  But first he visited all of the fans at the stage and autographed any piece of paper, ticket, candy box, or tee shirt they had.  Elton John is such a great performer, and so thoughtful and gracious.  After the autographing session, he thanked all of us for purchasing a ticket to his show.  He said with the economy as it is, it was such an honor to him that we came to see his performance.  He did his final song, “Your Song”, and that did conclude one of the best concerts Jackson, MS has ever seen.  Believe us, Sir Elton John, when we say it was our honor to have you grace our stage. 

Review By: Annette Roberts

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Clayton Roberts     MORE PHOTOS HERE

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Gaelic Storm – The Amber Room – Indianapolis, IN – 09/06/2012

Gaelic Storm got their start in 1996 in Santa Monica, CA at a local Irish pub, where some of the band members worked.  Nothing huge happened to the band until 1997, when the box office hit movie Titanic came out in movie theaters all around the world.  One memorable scene in the movie takes place below deck at a party for the third class passengers many of whom were Irish.  The band playing the music in the scene is none other than Gaelic Storm.  After the movie, the band moved up in the Celtic rock charts near the top, and there they stayed.  Since 1997, the band has released eight different albums and toured all over the U.S., Canada, parts of Europe, and even Japan.  The band relies on heavy touring, playing around 125 shows per year.  They are currently touring in support of their newest album, Chicken Boxer, which was released on July 31st, 2012.

Since their start the band has lost and gained members over the years, but two original members remain to this day:  Patrick Murphy on accordion, harmonica, and lead vocals; and Steve Twigger on lead guitar and vocals. They are the front men of the band, but they have help as well. Ryan Lacey, a drummer with two degrees in hand drums and stick drums, is a definitive backbone in the band. The pipe section is composed of one man, Pete Purvis, on bagpipes, uillean pipes, and degan pipes. Purvis, a Grade 1 piper, has been part of a world renowned piping group who performed in the Sydney Olympics opening ceremonies in 2000. The fiddle section houses the newest member of the band, Jessie Burns. With Chicken Boxer in the arsenal, Gaelic Storm was set to give the Amber Room and Indianapolis a Celtic twist.

At 7:34pm EST Gaelic Storm took the stage to give the crowd a gigantic dose of Celtic rock.  The first three tunes were the building blocks for the tempo of the show.  Recognizing these tunes from earlier albums, the crowd was able to get on the same page with the band in fine fashion.  “Dead Bird Hill” and “Rag & Bone Man” were up to the plate next, off the group’s newest album.  “Dead Bird Hill” was a nice instrumental piece with focus on bag pipes and hand drums to drive it. “Rag & Bone Man” was a jolly tune about a man who collected anything and everything, glorifying the “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” saying. The turning point in the show was “Don’t Go for the One”.  This fast paced half-time song put the crowd in a frenzy with the groove centering around the simplistic drum beat.  Jessie and Pete were matching each other in unison, never missing a note, for the whole song.  Patrick and Steve held down the rhythm and vocal section perfectly, keeping the crowd hanging on every lyric.  The peak reached to end the song was seamless and flowed beautifully.  Between songs the band had some stage banter about the band Queen; this led them to sing excerpts of “We are the Champions”, “Bicycle”, and “Bohemian Rhapsody”, all acapella.  

The rest of the show kept the same high intensity all the way through, one after the other.  “Green Eyes, Red Hair” is a fun song with an easy beat and a story about a woman who has nothing but envious intentions for a man.  A very smooth, easy flowing instrumental song followed, called “Buzzards of Bourbon Street”.  “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe” was a very funny song about kicking Russell Crowe out of a bar in southern California. Up next was “My Lucky Day”, a song driven by an accordion with great fiddle and pipe solos.  “Darcy’s Donkey” was a great tune about a donkey who tasted some whiskey, which was in his feed sack, and proceeded to win a horse race. “Drink the Night Away” had a great storyline about a sailor; the drums were a focal point in the song, laying down a nice rhythm throughout.  Some more bantering happened before “Alligator Arms”, explaining how the song is inspired by the people who always go out, yet they never pay for drinks.  The arms of these people are referred to as alligator arms because they are short and cannot reach into their pockets for any money to pay for anything.  “One More Day Above the Roses” ended the set with a driving beat which kept the whole crowd moving all the way through while telling a story about how a person enjoyed the last day of his life in erratic fashion.

At the end of the set the crowd went wild, and encore call backs occurred within seconds of the band leaving the stage.  The encore renewed the set energy and craziness beginning with more banter with one excerpt each from Kenny Chesney, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Neil Diamond.  All the lyrics were altered to give their own spin on them.  “Johnny Tarr”, “What’s the Rumpus”, and “Midnight Kiss” were great show enders; then came the Titanic set, recalling the band’s role in the movie, and “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”, a song about the life of an Irishman. It would send the crowd home with a smile on their face and Gaelic Storm in their hearts, but they had one last surprise before they ended. They picked young Michael Griffin of Avon, IN, out of the crowd and made him part of the band to help end the show with coordinated cymbal crashes. This act drove the crowd nuts, and then the fun-filled show was over and people filed out of the Amber Room with only good things to say about the show and the band.


Raised on Black & Tans, Scalliwag, Pina Colada in a Pint Glass, Dead Bird Hill, Rag & Bone Man, Don’t Go For the One*, Me and The Moon, Green Eyes & Red Hair, Buzzards of Bourbon St, The Night I Punched Russell Crowe, My Lucky Day, Darcy’s Donkey, Alligator Arms*, One More Day Above The Roses

Encore: Johnny Tarr, What’s The Rumpus, Midnight Kiss*

*Stage banter


Written By: Champe Behrman

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Cake / Metric – Klipsch Music Center – Noblesville, IN -- September 7, 2012

Despite Mother Nature getting in the way last evening, the fans got to have their Cake and eat it too. Originally planned to be held at White River State Park, the show was moved to Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana due to predictions of hellacious thunderstorms in the area. Well, those torrential down pours and slashes of atmospheric electricity hit Noblesville also. After an hour and a half delay, the show continued on and fans filled up the pavilion for a three hour jam from opener Metric and Cake. Metric, a Canadian Indie Rock and New Wave band that has been on the music scene since the late 90’s, opened the show with a vengeance. Lead singer and vocalist Emily Haines who also plays synthesizer opened their set with “Artificial Nocturne” off their new proclaimed album Synthetica, a song about getting away from the waking world disbeliefs and living completely immersed in dreams.  Metric closed their set out with an original disco inspired synthesizer song with a bit of funk and rock and roll, “Dead Disco”.  

Cake, an alternative rock band with wide influences of country music, funk, mariachi and hip hop, opened with “It’s Coming Down”, which set the evening mood as it had been pouring down rain.  However, the song has a double meaning in that it’s more about a relationship that is starting to fall apart. “It’s Coming Down” was played live for only its third time.  Lead vocalist John McCrea demonstrated a great ability to connect with the audience and get them involved in the show. As our country heads into political debates, McCrea divided the chorus of “Sick of You” with the crowd as if there were two different types of voters:  those who enjoy their freedom and are “sick of Government control, so sick of working to enjoy shiny objects that lose value”, and those who don’t care about their freedom and don’t care about work. The audience facing the left side of the stage would sing “I’m so sick of you, so sick of me” while the right side sang “I don’t want to be with you.” Being short on time due to the midnight curfew, Cake got down to business and played most of their well-known crowd favorites, such as “Frank Sinatra”, “Love You Madly”, “Long Time”, and “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” Although being rushed due to early evening thunderstorms, the set emerged flawlessly as if it were per inspiration from the crowd involvement.  As Cake closed out the night with “The Distance” they donated a tree to a fan, to help with planting of trees throughout the country. Cake is not only an alternative rock band but a political and environmental activist. Please visit Cake’s website (http://www.cakemusic.com) for more information on the Cake Forest, Cake Solar and Cake Carpooling. There is absolutely no denying this band’s instrumental skills and stage presence; they put on an excellent show, and I would recommend checking them out!


Written By:  Mark Loveless

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Mark Loveless 

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Matisyahu / The Dirty Heads / Moon Taxi – The Florida Theatre – Jacksonville, FL – 08/29/2012

It was another glorious evening by the Florida Theatre, delivering such an inviting atmosphere, alongside well planned performances. Every city in America with a music scene has that one theatre, usually in the most urban setting, that seems to thrive on respect in various ways. Whether it’s a historical landmark, it overcame natural adversity, architecture, whatever it may be there is one that is just so amazing you are honored to be there and proud to sit and enjoy a show. I personally like to get funky, but venues like the Ryman, The Tabernacle, or the Saenger just have this ambience of respect humbling you in the most positive way. The evening was booked with an unorthodox show for Jacksonville’s premiere theatre venue and I was curious as to how the crowd was going to react. 

Opening for this night’s events were MoonTaxi. I was thoroughly excited to catch their set, as I had some friends who share my musical tendencies give me some promising reviews from previous shows.  I have heard nothing but good things and was expecting quite a ride.  Moon Taxi delivered as promised, with some in your face, original jams, rivaled with a modest composure creating a very positive vibe. The only unfortunate aspect was the fact they opened for two other acts. This limited their time and crowd attendance. They were the first to go on, for shy of an hour or so, and there were maybe thirty people in their seats.  They played such a great set for so few people, it only makes me imagine what these guys can do with a large crowd feeding off their energy.  My hat’s off to you, Moon Taxi, very grateful.

The next performers for the evening were the Dirty Heads.  Jacksonville has a large community of beach goers, and acts such as the Dirty Heads are very popular locally. They fall into that Surf Rock genre with rebellious/boyish attitudes and punk/reggae tracks. This evening they came out playing a bunch of material from their new album, Cabin By The Sea. The crowd was well aware of their track list, and the band thanked them at one point for recognizing their new songs. Getting to see a band like this was bittersweet; it almost made me miss being home for a while. The Florida Theatre is an honor for all attendees, yet this set reminded me of seeing guys like this playing parties before dusk, after the sun sets, coming in from the last break. The Dirty Heads paint a great representation of my stomping grounds, so it seems they had a very similar scene. 

Matisyahu was headlining the event and by that time the fans were finally seated and ready. Not that the Dirty Heads or Moon Taxi didn't deliver, but rather it seemed that a bunch of fans missed some excellent music and it was now that they were attentive. It was all good. Matisyahu had already made an encore appearance with the Dirty Heads and did what he usually does, delivered some badass beats and rhymes, while dressed to the nines. He is notorious for his rapping and GQ style, but as his performance progressed, it was unfolding with musical unity. The beginning of the show was just that, but then it began to get more intense with some interesting musical transitions popular with the electronic loop scene. During the second set, he shed the bling and came out in a t shirt and combined the stimulating beats with a soulful sound. He was singing emotionally to the crowd and punctuating the musical highs by climbing on top of speaker stacks. His songs are very powerful and on a more rather rare occasion, not only did the cheering flock of girls get to come up to the stage, but he invited them on stage to stand and dance alongside him. Whether you like Matisyahu’s older music or his newer grooves, there is a range you can find that you will love. The same can be said for the Dirty Heads; both executed change with a worthy performance. As for Moon Taxi… just make sure you’re not one of those people that miss that ride; it's probably shocking to walk in the theatre and see that all of our faces are melted off.

Written By:  Joey A. Pye

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By:  Joey A. Pye

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Matisyahu -- The Soul Kitchen Music Hall – Mobile, AL -- 8/27/2012

Living on the Gulf Coast you may have to deal with a Tropical Strom or even a Hurricane once in a while.  Now understand that we on the coast are used to this type of weather.  Don't get me wrong; when a big boy hits, it hits us hard.  But on this particular Monday night in Mobile Alabama, we all had our eyes on Isaac but our hearts on Matisyahu.  For us down here, we feel that a low-grade Hurricane is just another excuse to party.  And who better to host our little Storm Celebration than Matisyahu.  He arrived at the Soul Kitchen just days before his first motion picture (The Possession) comes out on the big screen, and weeks after his new album (Spark Seeker) hit the shelves. 

Here in the Port City it is the second time Matis has made it to the I-10 and I-65 connection; and it is our first look at a new and clean-shaved Matis.  I can tell you that it does not affect his performance at all.  And on a stormy night in Mobile the crowd was packed for this sold out show and ready to get spiritual with our glory guide. The first song was "Sunshine" off the new album Spark Seeker and it would not be the only new track we got on this magical night.  We also heard "Crossroads", "Searching", "King Crown of Judah" and my personal favorite "Like a Warrior". Weaving in and out from new song to old, there were even some nice Bob Marley teases throughout.  We all knew this was a great night to fight the fear of being blown away and washed down Dauphin Street by Isaac.  If there was anything that really stood out to me, it was the energy of the crowd and the way Matis fed off of our energy and used it and returned it back with music.  The show was full of love and a positive vibration that swirled throughout the entire venue.  Matis has a sound that creates a desire to be real and honest with yourself, and the crowd was getting that vibe from him and he also from them.

This was my fourth time seeing Mr. Matisyahu and every time I believe he is growing not only as a writer and a musician, but as an entertainer and a person.  I would suggest trying to catch him in a town near you and go see for yourself.  His show at the Soul Kitchen was amazing and his band is in sync with his improvised ways of sending a message and speaking to our spirit.  And if you take the time to see him then you will experience a show that is more than just a music show, but a show for the mind and soul.  We here on the coast are glad we had that chance and look forward to his return to the South.  Maybe next time we will clear the weather a bit for him.  But if not, no need to worry because not rain, snow or hail will keep us away from Matis.

Written By:  Dale Taylor

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Dale Taylor

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Jane’s Addiction—Murat Theater in the Old National Centre—Indianapolis, IN – 08/23/2012 

The crowd nearly overwhelmed alt-rock powerhouse Jane's Addiction Thursday night as the band packed the house at the Murat in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Los Angeles band that's best known for its nearly 30 years of explosive, sensuality-laden tours held its fans at near ecstasy with a generous dose of hits peppered with new tunes from its latest studio album, The Great Escape Artist

Big Black Delta, the Los Angeles-opener, took the stage right on time with a synth and drum heavy set featuring Jonathan Bates on vocals and two drummers.  The trio’s sound was comparable to the disconsolate electronica from the likes of Depeche Mode and the spacy beats were complemented nicely by the smashing sounds coming from the two kits.

After what seemed like an eternity had passed to set up the stage (and a rather ominous stage at that), Jane’s Addiction took stage accompanied with Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” which was rather fitting given the demented circus that was to come.   Jane’s Addiction propelled with “Underground” off of their newest album.  Perry Farrell and company immediately took the bull by the horns with the utmost enthusiasm.  As the lights were drawn to the stage, one couldn't help but notice the elaborate set-up:  trapeze artists, video monitors, a giant mold of two nude women, and Tim Burton-esque costumes. 

JA plowed through “Mountain Song”; with the ferocious rumble of bassist Chris Chaney, Jane's Addiction launched into the classic, earning the respect of every devil-horned hand in the room.  Next was “Just Because” off of their 2003 album Stray, followed by “Been Caught Stealing” a more accessible anthem which  was complimented by the beauty of a full house singing in unison, making the band feel right at home.

The band then moved on to another number from their mid-80’s heyday “Ain’t No Right” and then mixed it up with some new material with “Irresistible Force” a melancholy, spacy number with a catchy chorus before moving back to another classic, steel drum driven “Jane Says”  that got the diverse crowd from tatted up moms to piercing laden teens moving. 

Next came a true extravaganza as “Chip Away”, a tribal drum head trip mélange, made the setup and on stage theatrics seem that much more surreal—if that were possible.  This is especially true given the fact that the number was done acoustically and that the opener Big Black Delta accompanied Jane’s Addiction for this number, barraging the crowd in an intense drum collaboration.   

At this point I had to consider how a band could keep up the dynamism following such a memorable moment; but guitarist Dave Navarro quickly addressed any apprehension with his razor sharp precision solos in songs like “ Ted, Just Admit It”, “Ocean Size” and “Stop!” where he really cut loose in this adrenaline injected favorite.  

In the early '90s, it was lead singer Farrell who informed the mainstream that a new wave of counter-culture was here to stay.  With the creation of Lollapalooza and coining the term "alternative" in reference to the abandoned youth of the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was bands like Jane's Addiction that would leave their mark on generations to come.  Jane's Addiction has retained and refined a vibrant, relevant image of the culture it fearlessly created.  Though the band rarely visits Indiana, the boys in Jane's Addiction took the Indianapolis crowd by storm.


Written By: Kelly Burns

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts, www.jamsplus.com

Photos By: Keith Griner

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7 Walkers – Pink Garter Theatre – Jackson Hole, WY – 08/15/2012

7 Walkers is nothing short of amazing.  The infectious groove and soul that this band brings to the stage is second to none!   And while 7 Walkers plays Grateful Dead tunes, this is no cover band.  Songs like "He's Gone" and "Wharf Rat" have a new life with vocalist/guitarist Papa Mali at the helm.  From the moment 7 Walkers took the stage at the Pink Garter Theatre in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I was enraptured by the four men of 7 Walkers as their mix of psychedelic and New Orleans funk is unstoppable. 

But these aren't just any four men.  7 Walkers is the newest band that former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann calls home.  Joining Kreutzmann on his latest adventure are Malcolm "Papa Mali" Welbourne, bass legend George Porter Jr., of the Meters, and multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard, who has worked with Willie Nelson.  The band formed in 2008 and recently hit its stride with the addition of Porter (the original lineup included Reed Mathis of Tea Leaf Green) who lends a mighty hand to the New Orleans-influenced funky rock/ blues that 7 Walkers plays.  The band is promoting their self-titled album released in November 2010, featuring songs co-written by Papa Mali and longtime Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter.

This band is for real.  While other ageing rockers may go out on the road trying to recreate a sound or a feeling from the past, 7 Walkers are creating something fresh and new.  They are old school New Orleans roots rock with that little psychedelic twist that takes it just a little further then everyone else.  While they ripped their own original music, they also "killed" the Grateful songs we are all accustomed to hearing (in a good way!) leaving us with a perma-smile and grateful buzz for the rest of the week. 

Go see 7 Walkers, you won't be disappointed!  And if you haven’t heard these guys yet, be sure to check out the album 7 Walkers; Jams Plus Media eagerly awaits any future albums that may come forth from this talented band.


Written By:  Tharon LeBlanc

Edited By:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Tharon LeBlanc

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Unity Tour with 311 and Slightly Stoopid -- The Lawn at White River—Indianapolis, IN – 08/14/2012 

The fans could not have asked for a better day to unite at the lawn August 14th to enjoy the divergent sounds of 311 and Slightly Stoopid.  The weather was perfect as friends met up for the opening act Aggrolites, a reggae/ska band hailing out of Los Angeles.  Though many of the concert goers had not made their way in quite this early, those who were present enjoyed themselves as they danced and played some hacky sack to the fantastic vocal harmonies and dirty reggae beats of the Aggrolites.  Especially enjoyable were the opener “Free Time” and the Beatles cover “Don’t Let Me Down” which had a noticeable reggae twist. 

Next, California reggae took root as Slightly Stoopid followed with more laid back tunes, including some unfamiliar tunes off their new album Top of the World which was released the very same day.  Though it may be easy to dismiss the guys as another pot praising party band, the tracks from the new album are sheer brilliance. “Till It Gets Wet” is a fast paced, skate punk number which really got the crowd moving.  “Top of the World” is a groovin’ horn heavy easy-going tune, which I could easily see becoming a favorite of fans.   

Slightly Stoopid also played some classic favorites and covers, including “Dancing Mood” featuring Jesse from Aggrolites, “Baby I like it Raw” an O.D.B. cover and “Express Yourself” a cover of the great Charles Wright song.  The band also played “Wicked Rebel” a classic that could easily be heard at nearly any college town house party.  Based on the fervor with which the crowd was dancing and a noticeable thick cloud of smoke overhead, there was no question that they were in the stoopid mood. 

Slightly Stoopid always keeps up the energy on stage, transitioning between Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald who seamlessly swap between guitar, bass, and lead vocals from song to song.  The sax and trumpet also permit enjoyable old school hip hop teases from the likes of Notorious B.I.G. and Outkast, and the constant touring to refine their performances ensures that almost all of their songs live are far superior to their album versions.  All in all, Slightly Stoopid transformed what could have been a run of the mill Tuesday night into a fun loving dance inspiring evening.  

Next up was 311, who has built a solid reputation for stylistic range, deft musicianship and a fiery live show; and boy did these guys came out shredding with “Beautiful Disaster”.  They moved into the wildly popular “All Mixed Up” which enthralled the crowd.  Despite it being August, the timing for “Sunset in July” couldn’t have been more perfect as the song, with its tight timing and feel good lyrics, was playing contemporaneously with a sensational sunset.  

311 next got all the fans off their feet with “Time Bomb” a heavier song, and although it is relatively new, several long time listeners claim it is reminiscent of classic 311 roots.  The highlight of the second set was the drum skit which was out of this world.  Following a several minute sick solo from drummer Chad Sexton, the rest of the guys unveiled several drum kits and virtually every member participated in a drumming extravaganza accompanied by the hoots, hollers and handclaps from the crowd.  Another couple of memorable moments were “Wild Nights” a classic feel good ‘go out and make bad decisions with your friends’ type of anthem; and “Down”, an archetypal tune which for the first time I noticed how many people misunderstand the lyrics, and hearing the different misinterpretations is quite amusing.  

As the night wound down I was glad to have experienced such diverse sounds from the talent that showed up.  Aggrolites were a pleasant surprise with their ability to ignite a soul shakedown party with their dirty reggae sound.  Slightly Stoopid was a definite crowd pleaser with their party anthems and new numbers.  By the caliber of some of their newest stuff, these guys are sure to remain a music festival and touring staple.  Finally 311, with their renowned musicianship and ability to perform as a successful hybrid of rock, reggae, metal, and hip-hop, illustrate time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with.


By: Kelly Burns

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Keith Griner

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25th Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival – Clarksdale, MS – 08/11/2012

 Although 25 years is often called a “Silver Anniversary”, the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival struck gold with their 25th celebration August 10-12, 2012.  Since its inception in 1988, this festival in the heart of the Mississippi Delta has been bringing The Blues live and free-of-charge to music lovers, in the very region that gave birth to Blues.  Many iconic Blues musicians have played the festival—The Jelly Roll Kings, James “Son” Thomas, Otis Rush, and Ike Turner to name a few.  For this 25th anniversary, however, the biggest buzz surrounded a man who has always infused his rock with plenty of blues, Robert Plant…but we’ll visit that a bit later. 

The sun was bright, and a delightful breeze accompanied us on our Blues Cruise through The Delta.  We traveled through Indianola, home of legendary B.B. King, where a museum honoring him now resides.  We stopped for a while in Leland, MS where we admired several murals around the quaint town, and the Highway 61 Blues Museum.  There were also Mississippi Blues Commission markers sprinkled through town commemorating Tyrone Davis, Johnny Winter, and James “Son” Thomas.  Following the trail of the Blues, we headed straight up Highway 61. 


I always enjoy riding through the Mississippi Delta:  the miles of outstretched farmland, the cotton crops that turn into a beautiful blanket of white in autumn, the worn-down cotton gins and silos, the front porches imprinted with years of rocking chairs and stompin’ feet.  You can feel The Blues in this land.  A rich bluesy sensation runs deep in its veins, oozing through the mud, bursting forth in Southern song. Then suddenly, we were walking into Clarksdale, treading upon the Crossroads where Highway 61 met Highway 49, the perfect site for a festival celebrating The Blues.  



We arrived at the festival, which was situated in the midst of downtown Clarksdale, and parked ourselves far stage left, just off the doorstep to the Delta Blues Museum.  Terry “Big T” Williams & Family Band were finishing up a lively set with a soulful rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”.  The stage was small and intimate, and the VIP section was set with tables adorned with sunflower-filled vases, making for a uniquely personal festival atmosphere.  Singing guitarist Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry and his band brought lots of fun and sweet dancing blues sounds to the stage.  With a kickin’ harmonica player and a beautiful keyboardist, the Howl-N-Madd crew treated us to a set featuring several tracks off his newest album The Clarksdale Sessions, including the fitting song “Delta Women”. 


Next to arrive at the party was James “Jimbo” Mathus (guitar/vocals), with Tri-State Coalition bandmates Matt “Pizzle” Pierce (guitar) and Eric “Carlos” Carlton (keyboards).  The highly-animated North Mississippi man gave us a taste of ‘Catfish Music’, a Southern-born style that according to his website “combines calculation and randomness, rip-off and windfall”.  Set highlights included “Shackles and Chains”, and hot covers of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” and Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie”, all laden with rockin’ guitars and hill country smooth swagger. 

One of my favorite new experiences at the Sunflower Festival was the delight of James “Super Chikan” Johnson & The Fighting Cocks.  I was first intrigued by the beautiful artistry of the unique guitars played by the band, handmade by Johnson himself.  Equally intriguing were the sounds “Super Chikan” coaxed from his guitar.  His fiery leads featured plenty of growling grit and smooth molasses, drawing me in for a delicious blues-fueled encounter which I thoroughly enjoyed. 


Before the music continued, awards were given to festival co-founders Jim O’Neal and Patty Johnson, and plaques were presented to 25-year members Melville Tillis, Catherine Clark, and Panny Mayfield.   It was fitting to commemorate the years of generous service they’ve poured into the Sunflower Festival, helping it blossom and grow along the way.  This year’s recipients of the festival’s highest honor, The Early Wright Award, were Ground Zero Blues Club business partners, actor Morgan Freeman and attorney Bill Luckett; their support of preserving the Blues Heritage in Clarksdale has been invaluable to the community. 

As the celebration moved onward, the amazing harmonica blues virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite and His Blues Band took control, putting the crowd in an exuberant mood.  A 2010 inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame, Musselwhite is a dynamic band leader, delivering soulful vocals and punctuating the music with his distinctive harmonica style.  His Blues Band was swingin’, and the audience happily joined in the merriment with dancing feet and clapping hands.


At the end of the evening, we reached the apex moment when The Sensational Space Shifters appeared, and Sir Robert Plant took center stage.  From the very beginning the crowd cheered in admiration, as we watched the famous Led Zeppelin front man work the microphone.  A blistering opener of “Fixin’ To Die” let us know this band meant business; and when Robert Plant let his hair down, the party was certainly on.  The eclectic group of musicians put forth an impressive range of musical styles, with West African embellishments from Juldeh Camara, and lovely vocals from singer-songwriter Patty Griffin.  Guitarists Justin Adams and ‘Skin’ Tyson took turns delivering wicked licks, keyboardist John Baggott wove threads to bind, and the rhythm stayed solid with bassist Billy Fuller and drummer Dave Smith; and all the while, the unmistakable voice of Robert Plant soared.   

Always respectful of Delta Blues throughout his career, Robert led the band through Howlin’ Wolf classics “44” and “Spoonful”, and John Mayall’s “I’m Your Witchdoctor”.   A few Led Zeppelin songs came out to play, including a perfect “Friends”, a great-thumping “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp”, and a haunting “Gallow’s Pole”.  Led Zeppelin staples “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love” kept the audience rockin’ and rollin’, clearly relishing this opportunity to see Robert Plant in a thrilling performance. 


The Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival provided a wonderful atmosphere to appreciate truly great music.  The intimate setting in the homeland of The Blues gave an authentic backdrop which enhanced the Mississippi Delta-drenched melodies that enchanted the crowd.  Jams Plus Media wishes to congratulate the Sunflower Festival on 25 years of generously giving The Blues to Clarksdale, and we hope to see the tradition continue for many more years to come.


Written and edited by: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Clayton Roberts

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Bloodkin – The Georgia Bar – Athens, GA -- August 11, 2012


The day after the Mikey Houser Tribute concert was a long day of remembrance, and fortunately, would end up being one more unforgettable evening.  I had spoken with Daniel Hutchens about the Tribute Show early in the day at the Georgia Bar across the street. He and fellow bandmates, Eric Martinez and Eric Carter, had delivered a very heartfelt and powerful performance the night before and were gearing up for their performance later that night. I was getting fond of Athens and decided it was a no-brainer to stick around for the Bloodkin show on Saturday evening. 

Bloodkin has been well known for ties with popular jamband Widespread Panic, along with several other touring acts.  With a new CD box set out, The Long Hustle, Bloodkin has been touring all over the place, playing with a few old friends along the way. The box set is a 5 disc set comprised of 125 songs, spanning the band’s impressive 2 decades of eclectic style. Bloodkin has made quite a few stops at great venues, providing an authentic Bloodkin experience. Tonight’s show at the Georgia Bar exuded a feeling a bit more rebellious than the Theatre across the street. It was packed; fans were dancing around so close to the band, they were frighteningly toeing the chords leading to the amp. Front to back, the room was ready for two decades of solid jams, smooth pickin’ and possibly some of the best song writing ever. The band pleased the Panic fans, playing their originals often covered by the other Athens based band. They played crowd favorites such as “Quarter Tank of Gasoline”, “End of the Show”, “Makes Sense to Me”, “Success Yourself” and “Henry Parsons Died”. With all of the Panic fans in attendance, the place couldn’t get any more lit up. 

I have a special place in my heart for Widespread Panic as they were my first jam scene that kept me wanting more. I spoke with Barbette Houser on my way home from the weekend and she was commending Danny Hutchens, saying “Michael used to say the only thing that separated the two [bands] was luck”. Through years of wristbands, chatroom chicanery and several remarkable detailed internet databases, I have learned one thing, possibly being the reason I love the genre as much as I do. In this genre, artists have learned to share. Bloodkin has such a wide variety of music, some people are fans of their songs and don’t even know it. When I spoke with Danny about Widespread playing their songs, he said “When we first met Panic in '86, those guys played some covers and had some originals too, but really they could have played the phone book and it would have sounded good. They were coming at music more from the chemistry/groove side of the spectrum, whereas Eric and I were all about songwriting, stripped down and played hard loud and fast. We didn't have many songs over 3 minutes long. Over the years, I think both bands expanded their horizons--Panic became great songwriters, and Bloodkin started playing some extended grooves.”

There is a very special place in my heart for Bloodkin as well. I grew up in more of a grunge scene on a skateboard, listening to Bad Brains. Bloodkin truly has a different groove that is undoubtedly unique and personally appealing. I enjoy the strong variations in Eric Carter’s lead, Danny’s speed, and Eric Martinez’ slide. The whole band just has this unpredictable flow, executed with raw talent. I got to hear them play with Widespread in Charlotte, years back, and it made me realize what I had been missing. They have a very distinctive and dark flow to their sound. When I was talking to Danny, I made a comparison to Tom Waits and he described Bloodkin a bit further saying “Growing up, Eric Carter and I were definitely into the "punk" side of the music spectrum, but a lot of that was really from listening to, say, old Rolling Stones--some of that old stuff, old live Stones records, thrashy and brutal as any punk bands that came later. We also listened to New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, Television, The Ramones, etc. etc. ...I always loved lean, mean music with interesting, bizarre, poetic lyrics...Patti Smith and Jim Carroll were really poets who out of circumstance wound up setting their words to music. Also we really loved Tom Waits, and our favorite band for a while there was The Replacements. Those guys just raised the bar as far as we were concerned.” 

Saturday night Bloodkin delivered some new songs they have been developing with David Barbe here recently including “Viper”, “Little Margarita” and one track entitled “My Name is Alice” that had me completely zoned. The performance was raw, the crowd was amped, and overall it was just unbelievable to catch such an amazing intimate show. The entire band is extremely talented and the musical range they showed Saturday only proved the band has been here, and will be here a while. So check out their boxset, The Long Hustle, or pay attention to your local live bulletin because there’s a great chance they will be near. Whether it’s time to dust off those black combat boots, cowboy hat or tie-dye dashiki; Bloodkin will blow your mind in every way possible.

Review and Photos By: Joey A. Pye

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

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We Miss You Mikey:  A Tribute Event – The Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA – 08/10/2012


“And the barstool rodeo's in town. All of our friends will be going down…

might catch a ride downtown tonight…”


The We Miss You Mikey tribute event and celebration was held on August 10, 2012, a decade after Michael Nathan Houser passed away, benefiting The Michael Houser Music Fund.  The Michael Houser Music Fund is setup in conjunction with Athens Academy, providing grants and scholarships for deserving students.  The celebration included a silent auction and a tribute concert for the late Michael Houser, original guitarist for Widespread Panic 1986-2002.  In attendance were Michael’s wife Barbette, his parents, and son and daughter, Waker and Eva.  Widespread Panic began in the mid 1980’s and may not have ever stopped, even slowed down for that matter; unfortunately, Michael was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2002 and was taken from us abruptly.  Some people remember where they were on 9/11/01; I remember the exact seat I was in, 8/10/02, when I heard the crushing news of Mikey. We were sure Panic was done, as they took their first real break spending a year with their friends and family.


Widespread Panic, to their very core, have always provided a very altruistic atmosphere brandishing a comfort zone to me, unrivaled. The band continued without Michael, picking up guitarist George McConnell, who was already familiar with the band as he helped stand in for Michael in 2002.  George’s Panic days were short lived when he left just over a year later. Long time friends John Keane and Sam Holt took over until Jimmy Herring came aboard that year; and since then, the band has seemed to develop a successful dynamic evolving to a different style of lead in Jimmy.  Jimmy Herring was accompanied by John Keane, Sam Holt, and many others, for Michael’s Tribute.


Close your eyes and try to envision something akin to a hall of fame induction. I felt as if I bought a golden ticket to Panic’s first “All-Star” game, and Friday was the Home Run Derby. It was like watching the Sultans of Swing play musical chairs for 6 hours. The line-up consisted of 6 different sets, beginning at 6 pm and carrying on until 2 am. Scheduled in hour-long interludes, with the exception of Dangfly, were Romper Stompers; The Heap; Outformation; John Bell, John Keane and Friends; and an orchestrated “Jam Session” with everyone. Dangfly jumpstarted the evening with a private set for the VIP ticket-holders, allowing an early entrance, hors d'oeuvres, and a sneak peek at the silent auction. Barbette Houser, wife of Michael, took charge of the Tribute’s creation and hosted the event which included phantasmical sets played by Michael’s closest friends. With Dangfly playing a private acoustic set, Barbette expressed “Michael was a big fan of supporting local musicians” and “He would have wanted to see some young guys get a chance, and not just seasoned veterans”.  At 8 pm the crowd poured in, as the rest of the evening was open for all who were fortunate ticket holders.


Opening the event was the Romper Stompers, featuring Todd Nance, Sonny Ortiz, and members of Bloodkin. I was talking to Daniel Hutchens of Bloodkin after the show, and he told me “Each band chose their own material etc. One of the songs we did was "Bull Run" from Sandbox, which was the one song I really wanted to do most. Mikey's idea when making that record was initially to have different singers on each song, and I was supposed to sing "Bull Run", but he got sicker before it could ever happen.”  Opening with “Airplane”, they set the bar high, very fast. After “Airplane” they played one of my personal favorites, “Smoke and Burn”, off of his Sandbox album. Sam Holt stepped out to play “She Drives Me to Drink”, another song written by Michael. Earlier in the evening Dangfly laid it down acoustically, and it ended up being the only song played twice. The song “meant a lot to me because Michael wrote it about us and I still hear it at the Nowhere Bar, where Adam [Dangfly], plays often” Barbette told me when I spoke with her after the show.


The event was coordinated by Barbette, with the help of a few friends. John Keane orchestrated the logistical dynamic through Barbette’s direction.  Barbette told me she “wanted to have every band cover Michael and pay homage”, stating she “knew it was going to be hard to pick who played what”.  It was boldly apparent that each act was there to pay their proper respect in the best way they knew how. The intensity and energy each and every artist displayed while playing made it feel as if they were exploding with bottled emotions. With Michael’s family in attendance it brought them all together to take his music to another level. I asked Barbette what were her intentions for the event and she told me, “We were doing it that night because we wanted to, we had to. Every person who stepped out on that stage had a deep relationship with Michael some way or another”. “We were all in it together” she said; from Tim White, who played keys for the Space Wrangler album; to Widespread’s current guitarist, Jimmy Herring, who used to jam with Michael when they crossed paths.


The Heap came strong with Michael’s original tune “Low Country” and another fan favorite “Express Yourself”. They really played like it was their own personal field of dreams. Outformation was the third act and by this point it was getting heavier and we were just under halfway. Sam Holt has always been a personal favorite of mine because his style of play reminds me of Michael, especially plugged into his amp. That’s right, Sam was playing through some of Michael’s personal gear. It was jaw-dropping and eerie how close they sound, but not surprising considering their close relationship. “Sam and John were among Michael’s biggest fans” Barbette later said. They opened the set with “Happy Child” and closed the set with “Can’t Change the Past>Southern Angels>Sandbox” with John Keane and John Bell. I was once blessed to hear John Bell and Sam Holt trade vocals on “Can’t Change the Past” and ever since, it’s on every playlist on my iPod. Hearing it with Keane was unbelievable and only reminded me why I will forever still want more. “Southern Angels” was another Sam Holt treasure, written in memory of lost friends like Michael and Forrest Vereen.  The “SandBox” closer was executed to perfection and was the perfect way to end before what would become the John Bell and John Keane party. They started the 5th set with an all so appropriate “Wish You Were Here”, John Bell (JB) calling it “A tune him and Mikey used to lean on”. Randall Bramblett joined the stage later for “I’m Not Alone” sending chills down my spine.  JB then says “We wrote this one about Mikey”, from the Earth to America album, “May Your Glass Be Filled”.  A few tears appearing throughout the crowd, JB goes on to tell a story of Mikey’s last song he wrote and gave him, “Travelin Man”.  All choked up, the crowd gave a thundering ovation for what was soon to be the dream team set.  


Everyone came on stage for the last set, billed as the “Tribute Jam”.  Danny Hutchens shared vocals with JB on “End of the Show” and “Makes Sense To Me”.  They finished with a classic cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”.  As much as we were satisfied, we got a treat of an encore with “I’m A Man”, originally by Steve Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group.  Danny Hutchens (Bloodkin) said it best, when he said “Friday night at the theatre was a pretty heavy occasion. Lots of Mikey’s friends playing his songs. His amp was on stage.  There were lots of positive energy, smiles, and of course a few moments where the tears welled up too. Mikey cut across a lot of boundary with his music and brought together a lot of people, who otherwise would have probably never met; musicians and fans alike. And his music is still doing that today.”


The benefit was a success in so many ways; bringing together longtime friends, artists and fans alike, hearing Michael’s influence executed with such devotion, whilst raising money for The Michael Houser Music Fund. Whether there is another Tribute show or not, the fact is, Michael Houser exponentially touched so many people in a positive way, his legacy will live on for generations to come. It took courage and strength for the Houser family to attend.  Barbette told me she is a private person, like Michael was, and to let us all be a part of such an evening, I feel honored and I commend her deeply for that.  She summed her feelings best when she sent a message to me after I had already returned home to Florida and said “I had a few thoughts while I was driving in my car. I feel like I should have mentioned that Michael and I loved each other very, very deeply. I felt like I owed him some kind of tribute, and it was easy to do because he was so worth celebrating...an incredibly talented guitarist and songwriter who was so modest...he was kind, compassionate, wise, funny, humble, and had a keen understanding of humanity. He was the best human being I ever met”.


“So it would seem, but we cannot escape from what we find down here, and I am still afraid.

I pray my soul to keep”


Michael “Panic” Houser 1962-2002


Review by Joey A. Pye

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Ian Rawn

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The Coop—Mousetrap Bar and Grill—Indianapolis, IN— August 10th, 2012 

     The Coop proved yet again that bands can successfully cross the boundaries of genres of music to create their own unique sound.  The Chicago based band, with its electronic roots combined with a side of glitch-hop sound, really threw down at the Mousetrap Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, IN.  People slowly filtered in during the opening acts The Vorticists and Magnetic.  Though it was the first time I had seen the band, Magnetic was a surprising delight with their mix of synthesizers and raw talent.  “Night Vision” was the highlight with its catchy hook—Bass, Rock, Edit, Play—which I still cannot seem to get out of my head.  The duo’s versatility is unparalleled but no matter what they play, they always get the crowd moving.  

     Jake, Danny, Cason and Joe of The Coop opened with “Knechted” and as soon as Jake started up the percussion the crowd moved and swayed to the spacey opener.   Next the Coop picked up the tempo and moved into “Falling Off” which transitioned smoothly into “Off the Deep End.”  This combination caused all of the hoopers and poi swingers in the bunch to come out of the woodwork and delight the crowd with their LED infused performance.  The boys then moved into a drum and bass classic, “Cosmic Blanket” which segued organically into the tribal influenced song “Fiber Octopus”.  

     The Coop moved into “Next Year”, a song that sounds like a major upgrade from the background music one may find on a Super Mario Brothers game with its effervescent sounds and upbeat rhythm.  The Coop charged forward, not giving anyone in the crowd a break from dancing, as refraining from dancing is practically not an option while the autonomous sounds pulsate through the body causing involuntary head bobbing, hip shaking, or table drumming amongst the masses.  They picked up with “Enjoy the Silence” a surprising yet enthralling Depeche Mode cover.  I was surprised as I looked at the somewhat youthfulness of the crowd, and of the Coop themselves, that this Band could be so in tune with the influences some of the classics have had on electronic music.  And for that, I tip my hat.   

     The band then moved into another familiar tune “Spartacus” which seemingly brought anyone who had been hanging on the patio inside to join the dance party.  “A Fleeting Glimpse” followed--a song that takes me back to the 90s as it nicely weaves throwback sounds in with the modern livetronic jams of The Coop.  Finally, the guys closed with “Roach”, a somewhat dubby sounding dance party inducing closer that had everyone dancing so hard that surely all left satisfied if not exhausted.   

     The Coop has recently pummeled the scene with its ability to intertwine organic tribal with space age futuristic reverberations, while infiltrating their sound with influences from all across the board.  After witnessing all of the different directions these guys are able to take their music, I am excited to see how their journey will continue, and I look forward to the next opportunity to get down at another one of their shows.


By: Kelly Burns

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos By: Keith Griner

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Jams Plus Media Interviews Chad Wolf of Carolina Liar

Sitting down and talking to Chad, I got a glimpse of his opinion on the wonderful world of music.  He talked about his childhood, and learning to play instruments such as the piano, harmonica, and guitar.  He also talked about some of the inspirational artists he has listened to and learned from, and also his opinion of his music.  One of the things that touched me was that he said his music tells a story, and a true one at that.  He said his music connects with the audience on things they may have experienced themselves, so the moment seems magical. 

JPM:  When and why did you start playing?

CW:  You know, I saw a bunch of pictures when I was a kid and it was always there.  My grandmother played organ at church, we grew up Pentacostal.  It was a steady thing that somebody was playing something somewhere and it just made sense.

JPM:  Which instrument was the first instrument for you?

CW:  My mom and dad bought me a pair of drums, I was terrible at it and I think my parents were just waiting for me to bust through the skins.  Trombone, piano, guitar, there was a rusty old harmonica and I played it for a couple of years too.

JPM:  Do you ever incorporate the harmonica in your shows?

CW:  No not me; Johan , the keyboard player is a much better harmonica player than me!

--Laughter –

JPM:  Which famous musicians do you admire, and which have you learned from?

CW:  Well of course there is that whole Robert Johnson thing, I can never give that up especially being from the south.  Admire?  I was working on a movie set and there was this black bass player who grew up in the Jim Crowe era, and he would tell me these amazing stories about whenever you were touring at the time, and was touring at the same time as Count Basie.  It was kind of a weird place in time with Count Basie and old rock guys, including Aretha Franklin; before integration really happened, he was telling me that because of the laws there were only certain places they could stay.  You would go to one bar in a certain city and no matter what, all the cool players were there.  You would not believe what you walk into some nights.  You would literally see Sammy Davis Jr. and Count Basie in this bar of this one hotel.  He had such a positive outlook on music through hope that it was one of those things you could learn from them.  No one can take this away from you.  When you have something to say you have to speak your heart, you never know how big or small it is going to go.

JPM:  That gives me chills just hearing you say that.  Music is so moving for us.

CW:  It is a beautiful thing what music does, it is one of those resources that just exists.  You really don’t need anything to make it.  It gives so much to so many people!

JPM:  What genre of music do you consider your music to be?

CW:  Pop-Alternative, which doesn’t make any sense to me as we are more singer/songwriter, and our music is based off real stories.  If you are not telling a real story, that is what makes you take the drugs and act weird because you are not being yourself.  This is real and from the heart.

JPM:  Who writes most of the songs for Carolina Liar?

CW:  It is a collaborative effort, and everyone contributes.

JPM:  What was this biggest challenge that got you to where you are today?

CW:  The sophomore album--the label really did not like it and eventually gave us the record back, and the challenge has been to take it to this point back to this amphitheatre setting.  It has been a journey.

JPM:  The band consists of:

CW:  Chad Wolf: Vocals & Guitar, Rickard Göransson: Guitar, Johan Carlsson: Keyboards, Peter Carlsson: Drums & Percussion.

JPM:  What, in your words, would you say that would drive fans to your band?

CW:  We are that band that actually tells a true story, and whenever you hear that voice inside your head and never say it; but someone told me once that “these are the thoughts I have and I am not brave enough to say it aloud”.  So we are the voice that channels that.  We are happy that we can sing this aloud and everyone can come together.  We are those crazy guys that get up on stage and say “let’s lose those inhibitions and sing with us, join us, shake your neighbors’ hands and enjoy yourselves”.  We need more of that in our life.

JPM:  We appreciate you sitting down with us and wish you success on the rest of the tour.

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The Fray / Kelly Clarkson / Carolina Liar – The Amphitheatre at The Wharf – Orange Beach, AL – 08/06/2012

On Monday, August 6, 2012, Kelly Clarkson and The Fray came to The Amphitheatre at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.  On arrival, I knew it would be yet another hot and humid night of music at The Wharf.  With ticket in hand I entered the venue.

While sitting in my seat I caught a glimpse of the opening act.  Carolina Liar was doing their sound check, and by the enthusiasm and joy visible on their faces, I knew it would be a great opener.  More and more people filled the stands, and after a short break, Carolina Liar came back onto the stage.  With their lively attitude they got everyone up on their feet dancing.  They played several songs, including their hit “Show Me What I’m Looking For.”  They did a fantastic job of hyping up the crowd, and by the time they were finished, everyone was pumped up and ready for the rest of the night.

With a full crowd, Kelly Clarkson took the stage.  The yelling and screaming was so overwhelming I could barely hear the opening song.  Kelly made several comments about how hot and humid it was, and I absolutely agreed as I wiped sweat off my forehead.  The most memorable part of her performance was when she ran through the crowd to sing to us.  Everyone was flipping out at this point, singing the song and waving to her.  After running back to the stage, and a couple more songs, she left the stage.  The crowd was upset to say the least, but with some cheering and chanting she returned to play four more songs, including “What Doesn’t Kill You.”  By this point the crowd was ecstatic, but there was still more to come.

As the Fray came onto the stage, everyone was expecting a great finish to the night, and that’s exactly what we were given.  Within the first three songs they played “You Found Me,” which is one of my personal favorites by the band.  Although I was having a great time listening, I had to go backstage to have a conversation with Carolina Liar’s vocalist and guitarist, Chad Wolf.  While walking backstage, I got a great view of the whole crowd, swaying and singing to the music.

Sitting down and talking to Chad, I got a glimpse of his opinion on the wonderful world of music.  He talked about his childhood, and learning to play instruments such as the piano, harmonica, and guitar.  He also talked about some of the inspirational artists he has listened to and learned from, and also his opinion of his music.  One of the things that touched me was that he said his music tells a story, and a true one at that.  He said his music connects with the audience on things they may have experienced themselves, so the moment seems magical.  After some time and a great conversation, we shook hands and I went back to my seat to catch the rest of the Fray.

On arrival to my seat I was greeted with a round of applause.  Now, at first I believed it to be clapping for myself, but that didn’t make any sense.  I turned around to behold Isaac Slade, the lead vocalist and pianist of the Fray, literally five feet in front of me.  That was great timing!  He rushed up to a platform and began singing.  If that wasn’t good enough, Kelly came and joined him singing!  The crowd loved it, and after the song Isaac went back to the stage.  Then came my favorite song by them, “How to Save a Life.”  I noticed the crowd all singing this hit, and it was a moment of music appreciation.  After some more great songs, they began to wrap it up, but in one last hoorah, Isaac took a lap around the Wharf, giving the crowd high-fives along the way.

It was a great show, and I enjoyed seeing all three of the talented groups.  Carolina Liar was amazing at opening up the show and getting the crowd pumped.  Kelly Clarkson was the right girl to do the second act, giving everyone a fantastic show and a great night.  And The Fray superbly finished the show, allowing everyone to head on home with a fantastic experience to hold in their memories for years to come.              

Written by:  Caspian Roberts

Edited by:  Rosemary A.W. Roberts

Photos by: Clayton Roberts


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