Monday, December 5, 2011

REVIEW:Stephen Kellogg w/ Jon McLaughlin at The Duck Room (Blueberry Hill) St. Louis, MO - 11/29/11

SK6ers & Jon McLaughlin at The Duck Room (Blueberry Hill) St. Louis, MO - 11/29/11

Words and pictures by Bradley Darby

For the past 9 years, Stephen Kellogg has been touring the country with his blend of country-glazed alt rock... usually as Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, where he wreks havoc on cities with 3 of his friends in tow, and sometimes just flying solo. One thing remains the same though, no matter which form of Kellogg you are seeing.... the energy of the crowd and that the band exudes is contagious and you will be left wanting more of his mostly wholesome songs about life, love and family.

As we entered the venue, singer/songwriter/pianist Jon McLaughlin was already two songs into his set. I wasn’t at familiar with McLaughlin, but had heard the name from opening slots with O.A.R. and Kelly Clarkson, as well as having songs featured on Scrubs and in a few movies.

McLaughlin’s backing band was that of a typical four piece pop rock band consisting of drummer, guitarist and a bassist. They did a fine job backing up McLaughlin as he crooned into a mic and smacked the keys on his piano at center stage. The hour long set focused heavily on his newest album Forever if Ever and also featured some entertaining banter from McLaughlin. For a song called “These Crazy Times” they even brought out Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers to share the stage. McLaughlin then excused the rest of his band and played a piano-vocal only song called “I’ll Follow You.” He shared a story about sitting in his house in Indianapolis working on the new album when he received a text message from a random number that ended up being country superstar Blake Shelton, who wanted McLaughlin to come to California to meet Xenia Martinez, a finalist from NBCs The Voice. Together the two ended up recording a song “Maybe Its Over” that appears on McLaughlins new album. He ended the night with a catchy tune called “Industry.” Though his songs sound as though they are targeted for adult contemporary radio play, they were performed quite well live and by the end of the set I was already wanting more Jon McLaughlin.

Just after 9PM, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers took the stage and started things off with “4th of July”, a great semi-biographical song from Glassjaw Boxer. The crowd always reacts well to a SK6ers show and tonight was no exception as the crowd sang along to each song and politely quited down for slower songs, as well as Kelloggs between tune banter. Kellogg announced that he had been thinking about this show all day, and that he was happy to return to the Duck Room though he had enjoyed the last few shows downtown at Old Rock House.... Ditto Mr. Kellogg. We were told a story about how the first time they ever played in St. Louis, it just so happened the Cardinals were in the 2004 World Series, and the attendance for the show was apparently quite low. That night they were selling thong underwear for the females, and as Kellogg put it “for anyone who put them to good use, we now sell SK6ers onesies.” They then went into “Sweet Sophia”, a song Kellogg wrote about the birth of his daughter.

Now its no surprise to anyone familiar with Kelloggs music that a lot of his songs deal with family and love.... I mean, he “fell in love at the age of 16 with the absolute love of his life” (as he explains in “Satisfied Man”) He took a moment to tell the story of legendary comic Jack Benny and how Benny arranged to have a single red rose delivered to his wife after his passing, and how he had actually arranged for a red rose to be delivered every day until her passing nine years later. Kellogg then played one of his earlier songs, “Diamond”, a song written to the absolute love of his life. Kellogg and the Sixers know how to rock the crowd as well and this was prominently displayed with a shredding guitar outro to “Mabeline” from 2009’s The Bear.

It was now time for band intros.... typically a Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers introduction consists of some form of medley where one by one the guys will go through decades, or TV theme songs, or whatever category is thrown out by Kellogg as he introduces them.... but tonights intros were a little different. Kellogg went around and introduced each member of the band as which character from the TV show Friends they would be. He first introduced the opener, and guest on keys for the song, Jon McLaughlin as Monica. Bassist/keyboardist Goose Karlson was introduced as Chandler Bing, while drummer Boots Factor was introduced as Ross who “was excellent in the Pallbearer.” Rounding out the cast, guitarist Sam “Steamer” Getz played the part of Joey leaving Stephen Kellogg as Phoebe. Rachel was also present, but I missed the name of the additional member.

Kellogg then thanked the crowd for giving them a job, and said they would be right back. Then band then unhooked their instruments and came out to the middle of the crowd and stood on chairs, a move they claim to have gotten from Taylor Swift. Then not 5 ft from me they played an unplugged version of “Shady Esparanto and the Young Hearts” also from The Bear. As the band took the stage again, they kicked it up by going into “Start the Day Early” from their self titled album and then did a pretty solid cover of Prince’s “Lets Go Crazy” while drummer Boots factor was dressed as a purple banana. (Note: on Halloween this year they actually played Purple Rain in its entirety) To finish off the set was an extended version of “Milwaukee” complete with a piano break by Kit Karlson.

To start the encore, Kellogg told us about a sexy note he had once gotten in St. Louis and that he was clearly just buying time while they band was tuning, because they “we try to keep it real, thats what this is all about.” It was then into “Gravity”, the lead single from their newest album Gift Horse, followed by “Big Easy” which was started with Steamer teaching the crowd how to do the Big Easy dance.... a dance that involved wheels on the bus like hand motions. Kellogg then told us again how much he loves writing about his family, and then announced that his next song was previously known as “People that work at Hollister can eat my ass” but really it was “See You Later, See You Soon” from the self titled album. Kellogg then motioned for each member to leave the stage one by one until it was only Boots on the drums. After exiting the stage, not two minutes had passed as the door opened and again out came the guys for a 5 part harmony toast to send us on our way, that I believe was called “Let The Music Fill Your Cup.”

When you have had the chance to watch a band grow over a span of six of their first nine years together, and they still continue to amaze you time after time, that can say a lot. Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers are one of those bands that just never stop trying to improve what they do. Every time, be it a 30 minute set opening for O.A.R. at The Pageant or headlining a sold out show at Old Rock House, these guys seem to have a lot of fun and the crowd always goes right along with them. Next year will mark the 10 year anniversary of Kellogg’s journey with the Sixers and I suggest you check him out when he comes through your city.

  1. 4th of July (Glassjaw Boxer)
  2. Blue Jean (Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers)
  3. Watch You Grow (Gift Horse)
  4. Sweet Sophia (Glassjaw Boxer)
  5. Diamond (Bulletproof Heart)
  6. Maebeline (The Bear)
  7. The Bear (The Bear)
  8. Roots and Wings (Gift Horse)
  9. My Favorite Place (Gift Horse)
  10. Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts (The Bear)
  11. Start the Day Early (Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers)
  12. Let's Go Crazy (Prince cover)
  13. Milwaukee (Glassjaw Boxer)
  14. E: Gravity (Gift Horse)
  15. E: Big Easy (Glassjaw Boxer)
  16. E: See You Later, See You Soon (Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers)
  17. E: Let The Music Fill Your Cup

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Split Lip Rayfield with Legendary Shack Shakers and Mountain Sprout at Old Rock House - 11/12/11

Words and Photos by Bradley Darby

After a show scheduled for February was cancelled just days after being announced, Split Lip Rayfield vowed they would be coming back to St. Louis later this year. Their last trip through the Gateway to the West was in May of 2010 opening for Reverend Horton Heat, also at the Old Rock House. I was a little disappointed to have to wait another 9 months to see these guys in STL again. I must say, the wait was well worth it, as the rescheduled show also featured Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and Mountain Sprout on the bill.

Throughout the day the Old Rock House sent ample warning to folks planning to attend the show that tickets wouldn’t last. They were certainly correct, as the show was announced as sold out just after 9pm, right as Mountain Sprout was finishing up the first set of the evening. There was also a wedding reception going on in the upstairs lounge, which made the crowd on the main level overwhelming, but when it was announced the show had sold out they opened the balcony and the crowd spread out to make it tolerable.

The highly energetic hillbilly music machine that is Mountain Sprout took the stage just after 8pm to begin the night. The crowd was already packing in and the Arkansas quintet worked and swayed their way through a 40ish minute set with some of the finest beards this side of the Mississippi. Banjo picker/vocalist Grayson Van Sickle sings lyrics of alcohol, smoking reefer, and turkey buzzards while his supporting cast of Blayne Thiebaud, Adam Waggs, and Daniel Redmond melt faces with their chosen instruments, fiddle, guitar and stand up bass respectively. The set contained one of my favorites, “Dry County” which was prefaced by Van Sickle telling us about parts of Arkansas where you cant buy beer.... but assured us that “where we live you can even buy beer on Sundays, and that’s why we live there!” They ended the set with the always popular, “Screw The Government” and definitely did their job warming up the now sold out crowd. Word has it there is a December return to STL in the works, possibly at The Shanti in Soulard. Make it a point to check that out.

Just after 9PM, it was time for the Legendary Shack Shakers to get to business. Now, to be honest with you I knew nothing about this band, outside of the album Swampblood that I had purchased based solely on the album cover a while back. I really really enjoyed that album and had been looking forward to seeing this group almost as much as Split Lip Rayfield...... and they certainly did not disappoint!

Col. J.D. Wilkes and the boys have been hailed by some, like Hank III, as “the best damn front man and band in America.” Jello Biafra, of Dead Kennedys fame, has called Wilkes “the last great Rock and Roll front man.” The Colonel was just that, a true front man. He was all over the stage throughout the set and exuded a punk rock attitude... sometimes strumming the banjo and sometimes singing or screaming his words through a harmonica mic while running around the stage like a maniac without a shirt on. When the time came for Wilkes to introduce us to the rest of the Shack Shakers, he addressed the crowd as “Ladies and gentlemen, whores and whore mongers” and proceeded to inform us that bassist Mark Robertson was the “King of the Lemon Party”..... if you don't know what that is, you are better off. (ADULT CONTENT: If you really wanna know, Google: but remember I warned you!) Brett Whitacre beats the drums and former Tomahawk member, and friend of Mike Patton, Duane Denison shredded faces with his guitar. Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers collectively provided an intense hour long set with songs ranging from rockabilly to psycho bluegrass to punk country all in a matter of minutes. It was truly an experience, and one I will never miss.... I already look forward to my next night spent with the Shack Shakers, and you should start making plans to get your opportunity as well.

After a brief hiatus it was time for Lawrence, Kansas’ Split Lip Rayfield to take their turn after two very solid opening acts had prepared the capacity crowd. They started the night off with “Flat Black Rag” from their 1998 self titled debut album, a short but great one to get the crowd pumped up on some fast paced, get your body moving bluegrass. Jeff Eaton provided the rhythm throughout the evening with the Stitchgiver, a bass fashioned out of the gas tank from a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis, a piece of hickory, and some weed whacker string that causes him to re-tape his fingers after damn near each song. A short while later they went into their rendition of George Jones’ “Easy Street” followed by “Moving to Virginia” and the always popular “Redneck Tailgate Dream.” Wayne Gottstine plays the mandolin and take the role of lead vocals on many songs, including “Never Make It Home”, which also features a mean kazoo solo by Eaton.

After a few new songs from a new album that is set to be released sometime in 2012, banjo player / guitarist for the time being Eric Mardis dedicated tonights show, just like every SLR show, to Kirk Rundstrom, former Split Lip Rayfield guitarist that died in 2007 after battling cancer, and asked the crowd to “Raise a glass for Kirk.” There is actually a documentary film being shown on limited screens nationwide about the final tour with Rundstrom called Never Make It Home: Kirk Rundstroms Final Tour. They then slowed it down with “I’ll Be Around” the title track from the 2008 album, followed by one of my personal favorites “The River”, also from that album. The final song of the set was Jeff Eaton’s “How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?”, a crazy fast song that features Eaton growling barely coherent lyrics into the mic. After walking off the stage, they came back out rather fast and said they had one more for us.... no big surprise to hear the crowd sing along, “Used To Call Me Baby” from Never Make It Home, released in 2001. When the song was done, Split Lip quickly huddled and then told us “we love playing for you guys, thank you so much you guys were great to play for" and as the crowd continued to go nuts they started their final song of the night, “Outlaw.”, which only seemed to leave the crowd pumped up and wanting even more.

On the same night in St. Louis, two bands that typically would draw crowds away from each other played only 10 minutes apart, and both bands were able to fill the house. Split Lip Rayfield was officially a sold out show, and Chicago progressive bluegrass band, and another favorite live band of mine, Cornmeal played at 2720 Cherokee to a few hundred people as well. I can attest to the Split Lip show being one of the better SLR shows I have had the pleasure of seeing over the last few years, a count that is somewhere around the ten mark by now thanks to music festivals. I am sure Cornmeal brought the house down as well, I just hope next time they are booked on the same bill or separate nights. Keep the great shows coming St. Louis!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Yonder Mountain String Band Get By With A Little Help From Their Friends at the Harvest Music Festival
Words and pictures by Bradley Darby

Jeff Austin - Yonder Mountain String Band
In a world flooded by music festivals priding themselves on having a diverse lineup that will attract fans of all genres, Yonder Mountain String Bands Harvest Music Festival stands apart. Entering its second year with the Yonder Mountain taking over the main billing, the Harvest Festival features some of the best bluegrass and folk acts out there today as well as one of the premiere festival sites in the country, Mulberry Mountain.

Taking place October 13-16 in Ozark, Arkansas (about an hour from Fayetteville) this year the incredible lineup is led by Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Railroad Earth, 7 Walkers feat. Papa Mali and Bill Kreutzmann, Emmitt-Nershi Band, Trampled by Turtles, Todd Snider as well as Harvest regulars Cornmeal, Mountain Sprout, and Split Lip Rayfield. In addition to their friends, your festival hosts the Yonder Mountain String Band will play 3 sets, and if the 2010 fest is any indication you will find them popping up all over guesting with other bands throughout the weekend. Music is scheduled to go until 3A.M. most nights with late night sets featuring Speakeasy, Split Lip Rayfield, and and of course Dirtfoot, who played a set that lasted until 5 A.M. last year and are scheduled for two more late night sets this year.

Dirtfoot - 2010 Harvest Festival

The Harvest Festival is a family friendly event as well, with The Roost area offering a Kidz Kamp, Hooping Lessons, Tye Dye lessons, and glass blowing classes as well as Yoga sessions each morning. This year will also mark the First Annual Fiddlin’ and Pickin’ Contest, where contestants will compete in four competitions - Mandolin, Banjo, Flat Picking, and Fiddle - with winners of each receiving cash prizes. On Friday make sure to stop by the Chompdown, a free communal breakfast put on by festi-folks for festi-folks taking place in the RV Reserved campground at 9A.M. featuring a morning set by Dirtfoot.... the Chompdown is always one of the highlights of the weekend. Bring some bacon and eggs, or just bring yourself and meet some new friends while filling your belly. Check out the video below for a better idea of what the Chompdown really is.

But Mulberry Mountain offers so much more than just great music and people..... you can arrange a float trip on the gorgeous Mulberry River, or take one of the many trail heads off of Highway 23 for a scenic hike in the beautiful rolling hills of Northwestern Arkansas. Don’t forget about the waterfall located near the festival grounds, a popular site for many patrons.
Mountain Sprout - 2010 Harvest Chompdown
Though the event is capped at only 7500 people, making it one of the more intimate festivals out there, tickets can still be purchased online or possibly at a local retailer near you to save some fees. Check for ticketing info and last minute changes. Don’t forget to check back here at the end of October for a full recap and photo gallery!

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    "I'll Do It Tomorrow" - A Procrastinators Review of Wakarusa 2011

    Words & Pictures by Brad Darby
    For the fourth consecutive year I made the trek to the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival to enjoy four days of music and camping in a setting that they call “Where Music Meets Mother Nature.” With acts ranging from My Morning Jacket and Ben Harper to the Budos Band and Dark Star Orchestra to STS9 and Bassnectar, a total of over 100 bands spread out across six stages, with on-site camping, showers, and even a grocery store to pick up last minute forgotten items.

    Taking place the first weekend in June, and located just outside of Ozark, Arkansas, Wakarusa is in their third year at Mulberry Mountain. The festival, started in 2004, was previously held in Lawrence, Kansas at Clinton State Park through 2008 but has now moved to a much more fitting location in the beautiful rolling hills of the Ozark National Forest. Showcasing bands from a wide array of genres and now featuring the Interstellar Meltdown, a late night festival inside the festival including electronic acts and DJ sets, Wakarusa is one of the premiere festivals in the country drawing upwards of 20,000 people.

    For a complete photo gallery, including something like 100 pictures of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, click his link.

    Thursday - Dirtfoot - Main Stage

    Wakarusas favorite Gypsy Punk Country Grumble Boogie band kicked things off Thursday on the main stage with a bean can shaking good time. This was the second of Dirtfoot's FIVE sets over the weekend, including the previous night on the Backwoods Stage for the early arrival crowd, along with Mountain Sprout and Dumptruck Butterlips.

    Wakarusa Press Conference - Thursday

    Members of Dirtfoot, Cornmeal, Lotus, as well as Grace Potter and Simon Posford sat down with part of the Wakarusa braintrust for a press conference featuring free Boulevard beer and an air conditioned building. It was difficult to hear, but questions were asked to Grace Potter about how her band has grown quite a lot since starting the festival circuit in 2004, and Dirtfoot talked about their affiliation with the Chompdown, a FREE communal breakfast put on by a group of volunteers in the campground featuring a live set by Dirtfoot started by a man named Rabbit five years ago in Lawrence, Kansas.

    Thursday - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Main Stage

    The beautiful Grace Potter took the stage on Thursday afternoon after participating in the first ever Wakarusa Press Conference. With her band The Nocturnals burning it up in the hot Arkansas sun, GP&N played an hour and a half set that was one of the highlights of my weekend. The set included Grace doing an amazing vocal solo of "Nothing But The Water Pt 1" and a rocking version of "Stop the Bus."

    Thursday - Umphreys McGee - Mainstage
    Umphreys McGee played from 10:15pm-12:15am on Thursday night and though only having one set after getting a late night and mainstage set the prior two years, Umphreys made up for the lack of sets with a cover of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" as well as The Who's "Baba O' Riley." (Video courtesy of RebelINSoo)

    Friday Morning - Chompdown - RV Reserved Campground

    The Chompdown takes place on either Friday or Saturday morning at each Wakarusa or Harvest Festival. It was started five years ago in Lawrence by John "Rabbit" Cabarara and is a completely FREE communal breakfast put on by about 30 volunteers and donations from anyone and everyone. Dirtfoot has been fortunate enough to be asked to play the prestigious slot at 9 am for the last 5 years and if you ask any of the 6 members they will tell you it is the highlight of the weekend for them.

    Friday - My Morning Jacket - Main Stage

    Friday was a day of recovery, and a day that I didnt get the camera out as it charged most of the day after taking a few hundred pictures of Grace Potter. My Morning Jacket headlined the Main Stage, and were followed by 3 and a half hours of Dark Star Orchestra. Other acts on Friday were bluegrass mainstays Split Lip Rayfield, who also played Thursday night late night, and Cornmeal as well as Ryan Bingham and soul sister Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. (Video credit to Colbruce)

    Saturday - Dirtfoot Campground Set

    Dirtfoot had announced about a month before the festival that they would be playing a special surprise set at the campsite that created the best Dirtfoot flag for their campsite. There were actually two winners, and each site received a visit from Dirtfoot on Saturday afternoon. Our site was fortunate enough to have one of the creators of the Dirtfoot pirate flag camping with us, so we were treated to a special three song set including "Little Bit of Rum."

    Saturday - Mumford and Sons - Main Stage

    England's newest craze Mumford and Sons took the main stage on Saturday afternoon for their first ever appearance in Arkansas. Vocalist Marcus Mumford made it completely clear how hot it was, and seemed fascinated by the waterfall just a short hike off the Wakarusa property. They played most of their debut album Sign No More as well as three new tunes. Noticably missing was the upbeat dance worthy "Dust Bowl Dance." Great to see them, though I was slighty disappointed. They were followed by Ben Harper & Relentless 7 show played a great cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter" and prevailed through some sound problems that were persistant with the main stage all weekend.

    Saturday - Budos Band - Revival Tent

    Budos Band threw down some serious funk in the Revival Tent on Saturday night. As a matter of fact, all day Saturday the Revival Tent featured funk acts including March Fourth Marching Band, Papa Grows Funk, and Budos. Other acts on Saturday included Galactic, Thievery Corporation, Wookiefoot and Arkansas' very own "hillbilly bluegrass machine" Mountain Sprout.

    Sunday - Dirtfoot Late Night Sexy Panty Party - Backwoods Stage

    Sunday night to close out Wakarusa, the grumble boogie boys took the stage for their fifth and final set of the weekend, a set dubbed the Dirtfoot Late Night Sexy Panty Party by Scott Girardy, the sax player for Dirtfoot. Other bands playing on the toned down Sunday lineup included Ozomatli, Beats Antique, EOTO and Toots and the Maytals.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Bayou Soul Singer-Songwriter Shares His Heart at Old Rock House

    Words and video by Bradley Darby

    It had been almost three years since Marc Broussard had last played here at The Duck Room, a venue he had played for his previous three trips to St. Louis. Broussard had taken a break from touring to spend time with his family and record a new self titled album, released earlier this year.  The news only got better when it was announced just a week before that Broussard would be stopping by St. Louis’ favorite new and used record shop, Vintage Vinyl, to perform and meet fans before the show at Old Rock House.

    Broussard played a short three song set including “Lucky” from the newest album as well as an acoustic version of the fan favorite “Home” in front of a few dozen fans. He then took time to sign autographs and take pictures with fans, and at one point even took a woman’s phone and talked to a friend that was unable to make the show. See the full performance below. It was then over to the Old Rock House for the main event of the evening.

    There were two opening acts for the evening.The first was a Canadian brother and sister duo known as Sarah & Christian Dugas, who I unfortunately did not get to see. The second opening act has been garnering a lot of attention as of late as one of their songs was apparently featured on an episode of Grays Anatomy. Scars on 45 are an indie rock group that hails from the UK. The group consists of four blokes as well as a girl named Aimee that shares vocal duties with guitar player Danny. Scars are completed by bassist Stu, drummer Chris, and Nova on the piano. The Brits did a great job with their 45ish minute set, and converted quite a few folks into new fans on this night. All they had available was an EP called Give Me Something, and they tackled all four of those songs in addition to a few more. A full length album should be out in January. You can get more information about Scars on 45 at their website, or you can catch them in STL opening for Matt Nathanson at The Pageant on October 18.

    Straight out of Carencro, Louisiana and bayou born and raised, Marc Broussard was up next. If you haven’t heard of Broussard, you should do yourself a favor and indulge in his blend of the best elements of soul, classic R&B, and Bayou infused blues rock. He self released his first album, Momentary Setback, in 2002. That was followed up in 2004 by his major label debut Carencro, named after his hometown. In 2007, it was S.O.S. (Save Our Soul), a cover album featuring his takes on songs from Sam Cooke to the Pointer Sisters to Al Green. After releasing a 5 song EP, Broussard released Keep Coming Back in 2008 and most recently he released a self titled album in June of 2011. The first time I heard the man sing, opening for Matt Nathanson at a small defunct club called Hi-Pointe in 2003, I was shocked to see this voice coming out of a 21 year old white boy. Now at the rip old age of 29, its quite obvious he has learned a lot in the last ten years of his career.

    He kicked the night off with a few upbeat songs, “Come Around” and “Hard Knocks.” It was then time to romance the ladies with the ballad “Lonely Night in Georgia”, one of my favorite songs of his. Broussard then played his anthem of self-discovery, and one of his oldest tunes “The Wanderer” before calling up opening act Sarah & Christian Dugas to help out on backing vocals for two new songs, “Lucky” and “Yes Man.”

    Marc then introduced us to each member of the band as the played a brief solo before exiting the stage, leaving Broussard alone with his acoustic guitar and a room full of people. First up in the acoustic set was “Come In From The Cold”, the only song on S.O.S. that is NOT a cover. Broussard then played “Let Me Leave” before asking the crowd what they wanted to hear, and no shocker at what was being yelled at the stage.....the fan favorite hidden acoustic song about his son from Carencro called “Gavins Song.”

    After continuing the solo acoustic portion of the show with “Hope For Me Yet”, he asked us “do you want the band to come back up?” and as the band started coming in from the outdoor patio and collected the Jager shots poured by a gentlemen who’s sole responsibility seemed to be mixing Jagermeister with A&W Root Beer, the crowd shouted back NO!!! At this time Broussard sent the band back off the stage and he then played “Saturday” followed by another great ballad of his, “Beauty of Who You Are.” It was at this time that Marc told us that it gets boring playing  yourself, and asked the band to come back out to finish up the set. The boys then tore through a few more songs including a cover of Al Greens “Love and Happiness” and finally his biggest hit to date, “Home”, which he had played at Vintage Vinyl acoustic, but now we got to enjoy a rocking rendition with the full band. For the encore, Broussard came back out and slowed it down to sooth the souls with another song from S.O.S., “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”, originally performed by Donny Hathaway, a song that really showcases his vocal chops.

    After making his was through a ten year, four album catalog, most of which seemed to come from his 2004 major label debut Carencro, Broussard left the stage. He hung around on the patio to meet some fans, as its no secret Marc has always been a man of the people. It was yet another great performance from one of the hardest working men in the singer songwriter game. Broussard is not only a great songwriter and vocalist, but a fantastic performer. Get more information about Marc here, or just go see him when he plays a club near you, because you need some bayou soul in your life.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    My Morning Jacket at The Pageant - St. Louis - 8/2/2011

    Words, Photos, Live videos by Bradley Darby
    This is being posted two weeks after the show due to lack of internet access for last two weeks.

    When it was announced in May that My Morning Jacket would be playing at The Pageant, the feeling that immediately came to me was jubilation. This is a band that I had been dying to see since I first watched the Okonokos DVD and caught a glimpse of what a MMJ show was like. Only problem was, tickets went on sale while I was away at Wakarusa, seeing My Morning Jacket. Luckily a friend that is in the right place was able to help me out and secure me tickets. I vowed to get their early to obtain a premium spot, as their set at Wakarusa not only was the highlight of the weekend, but was nothing short of amazing.

    Its not a coincidence that some people consider My Morning Jacket to be one of the best live bands out there right now. The raw energy and emotion put into a performance by the Louisville, Kentucky five piece is something that is hard to express in words (luckily there is video evidence to help me out!) Since the release of their debut album The Tennessee Fire in 1999, MMJ has released five more studio albums with each one giving you a different vibe than the last. Talking with another fan after the show, we both agreed that upon the first listen of each album you are questioning what you just heard.... but give it a few more spins and you start to see what Jim James and the boys are trying to do, as no two albums sound alike. 

    The opening band was California indie rockers Delta Spirit, who were fantastic and spent their 45 minute set doing their best to convert each and every person in the room into a believer. By the near standing ovation they received after their set, I think they succeeded. The highlight of their set was the fact that on a few songs they initiated the duel drummer sequence and had two kits set up next to each other while percussionist Brandon Young and Kelly Winrich banged away with the fury of a honey badger as they rattled the bones in your body. I sadly cant give you any more info on their set, but I recommend you check them out. 


    My Morning Jacket took the stage at around 9:15 and came on to ominous green glows and haunting bass, both of which borrow from the theme of their most recent album Circuital, released just two months ago. The set kicked off with the opening track from that album, “Victory Dance”, a perfect song to start a set and get the crowd going. Near the end, vocalist Jim James belts out a primal scream and then seamlessly flowed into the second song and title track, “Circuital” before venturing into their prior catalog. 

    Yim Yames - The Angel

    Front man James has a way for controlling a crowd as he bounces around the stage from side to side, using the monitors as stepping stones along the way while his mane of hair flows through the air like he’s floating above the rest of the world like some angel (shout out to American Dad!) But that’s only when he’s not busy shredding your face off on his flying V guitar and howling screams or soothing your soul with his soft spoken inside voice and acoustic guitar. He is joined by Tom Blankenship on the bass, Patrick Hallahan on drums, Bo Koster on keys and Carl Broemel on guitar. 

    I’m Amazed” from 2008’s Grammy nominated Evil Urges went into another new one, “First Light.” After James took a second to talk to the crowd by telling us about St. Louis being the “power center of the country” and talking about how great it was that there is a place where “the City Museum and the Arch can coexist” (if you dont know the City Museum, you should check this link out) they then went right into “The Way He Sings”, the only song from their 2001 album At Dawn that was played. The new album, Circuital, would make up a major part of the set list as it was only released two months ago. But its a fantastic album, so thats not a bad thing whatsoever. The remainder of the night featured a solid mix of their entire catalog and a total of 24 songs over two and a half hours.


    One of MMJs more epic tunes, “Touch Me and I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2” went into “Dondonte”, a beautiful, yet deep song about long time friend of the band who took his own life. That song is from 2005’s, Z, one of my favorite MMJ albums that actually played a heavy role in the night with 5 songs including “Dondonte” to end the set and the always amazing “Wordless Chorus” to kick off the encore. After a few more song James then again addressed the sold out rowdy crowd as he told us a story about visiting the City Museum earlier in the day, and how he was trapped in a door maze where he kept having the option of going through two doors, and they kept getting smaller as did the rooms until he was eventually just stuck in a tiny room. (See: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) James then said that made him think of the next song as they then played “Holding On To Black Metal.” The set then ended with the crowd favorite and the always guaranteed to rock your socks off “One Big Holiday” from It Still Moves, their major label debut from 2003. 


    It had been five years since their last visit to St. Louis, and My Morning Jacket made up for it by keeping a sold out crowd happy for nearly three hours, and blowing the motherfucking roof off The Pageant. I took a friend along who had just gotten into them in the few days leading up to the show, and he was blown away as well. We both agreed that it was quite possibly the loudest concert we had ever attended, and both of us have seen many shows over our years. This show is in strong contention for Best of 2011, and it is going to be tough to top. Luckily I have Wilco at the soon to open Peabody Opera House to look forward too........

    1. Victory Dance (Circuital)
    2. Circuital (Circuital)
    3. The Dark (The Tennessee Fire)
    4. I'm Amazed (Evil Urges)
    5. First Light (Circuital)
    6. The Way That He Sings (At Dawn)
    7. Gideon(Z)
    8. Golden (It Still Moves)
    9. Slow Slow Tune (Circuital)
    10. Heartbreakin' Man (The Tennessee Fire)
    11. Off the Record(Z)
    12. Mahgeetah (It Still Moves)
    13. You Wanna Freak Out (Circuital)
    14. Movin' Away (Circuital)
    15. Smokin' From Shootin' (Evil Urges)
    16. Run Thru (It Still Moves)
    18. Dondante(Z)
    20. Touch Me, I'm Going to Scream, Part One (Evil Urges)
    21. The Day is Coming (Circuital)
    22. Holdin' On To Black Metal (Circuital)
    23. Anytime(Z)
    24. One Big Holiday (It Still Moves)

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    I Got Funked in the Earhole by Orgone!

    Words, Videos, Photos By: Bradley Darby

    California funksters Orgone made a stop at the Old Rock House on Saturday night and brought along some friends from Chicago known as The Right Now to support them. It is safe to say that things got a little funky at the Old Rock House on Saturday night, just ask the break dancers or the hundred or so people moving their body to the oh-so-sexy grooves that both bands laid out for three and a half hours.
    Orgone also paid a visit to Vintage Vinyl on Saturday afternoon, setting up and playing a 30 minute set for a small gathering of people, some there to see the band and some just shopping for records with a soundtrack. I had the opportunity to record this intimate show, and you can check it out below.

    Meanwhile back at the Old Rock House, an eight piece soul group known as The Right Now kicked things off. Vocalist Stephanie Berecz has an amazing, soulful voice that you would expect to hear on a R&B diva and grabbed the attention of everyone in the room by the start of their third song, that is, if her stunning looks hadn’t done so by the first. Backed up by her 7 piece band dressed in shirts and ties, sans the drummer, The Right Now took the crowd by storm. The horn section provided us with some choreographed dance moves when they weren’t tooting their own horns. The set included a Chaka Khan cover of “Ain’t Nobody” as well as a few standout tracks “Ain’t Going Back”, “I Am Who I Say I Am” and “Can’t Speak For You.” Their full length debut, Carry Me Home is available now....I picked a copy up at the show and I am very impressed, I look forward to seeing them again in the near future. Get more information at where you can stream a few songs and find plenty of into. You can also stream the full set here.

    The Right Now
    Up next was the eight headed uber-funk beast from the west coast, Orgone. Hailing from the City of Angels, Orgone is a funk/soul/afro-beat group that features six “regulars” as well as a rotating cast of as many as eleven additional musicians to help out. Always containing a rhythm section with drums, percussion and bass, as well as a horn section, keyboards, and guitar. Saturday they chose to go with an eight man lineup. They also brought along a very special guest in Nicki J. Crawford from Louisiana to provide vocals on a few songs. The energy this band can exude at one of their shows is unparalleled, and it can be seen in either guitarist Sergio Rios as he is constantly dancing around with his curly hair isn’t flopping around. As the first song started, a break dancing circle began directly in front of Rios, with around five or six dancers passing off the break dancing torch to one another. At time a drunk girl would stumble into the middle and attempt to dance, but not long after she would be run out by the break dancer as they continued to bust a move throughout the entire set.


    Orgone wasted no time jumping right into some filthy funk with “Mantanza” from their most recent album, Cali Fever. After “Its What You Do”, Sergio Rios addressed the crowd for the first time by saying “Whats up St. Louis! we have a lot of fucking love for St. Louis” and then he introduced Nicki J Crawford for the first time for “Funky Nassau”, from The Killion Floor, that featured a fantastic percussion solo by Stewart Killen. After one more song, “You Got to Give It Up”, Crawford left the stage and the rest of the band played one of my personal favorites, “Hambone” as well as “Sweatshop.” Just under two hours after they set sail on the journey that is an Orgone show, they ended the set with a song that included no horns, a nice change of pace, and it sounded just as good as the rest.

    Watching Orgone jam out some soulful funk while just feeding off of each others energy is an experience. I would highly suggest you check them out if given the opportunity. You can get more information on Orgone by checking out their website

    Orgone Setlist

    The Right Now Setlist