So I never intended to NOT write for the entire year of 2016. But alas, that is what happened. There wasn't a shortage of shows that I attended though - let's just chalk it up to laziness / lack of inspiration, and for that, I'm sorry!
For the sake of keeping things short and sweet, here are the lost shows of 2016. Enjoy!
Julien Baker at The Sinclair, Boston MA - 04.24.16
Julien Baker runs in the same vein as Courtney Barnett, Petal, and other solo electric-guitar-focused female artists. She performed on a Sunday at The Sinclair (AWESOME venue, btw) and I was not expecting 1. the large crowd that showed or 2. how well behaved everyone was! Maybe it's because it was a Sunday. But it was a pretty cool experience to have a silent audience, especially because Baker is such a soft-spoken, delicate singer. Not to say that she isn't without passion - if anything, her reticence in unleashing her vocal prowess contributes to the build-up. I only wished that she would have let go more often, because the audience loved it! Since this show, she played at Austin City Limits Festival and supported Kevin Devine on his late fall tour. Would love to see her with a full band!
Jackson Browne at The Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT - 06.11.16
If you're a fan of the Eagles, you're probably also a fan of Jackson Browne. For those who haven't seen the documentary on The Eagles (Netflix), he was pretty much the 5th member of the band - he lived in an apartment right above Glenn Frey and the two became close friends, co-writing the popular Eagles' hit "Take It Easy". I give full credit to my mom for introducing me to this smooth singing musician (who still sounds as good as he did in the 70s)! Browne sang a full set to a full audience at The Oakdale Theatre - including "Doctor My Eyes" and "Take It Easy", among many others! And I was so happy to have gone with my mom - this one was a special show, one I'll never forget.
Ray Lamontagne at The Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT - 06.24.16
This show left me on the fence about Ray LaMontagne. Known for his sultry, scratchy-vocals in songs like "Jolene", "Trouble", and "Let It Be Me", LaMontagne's latest album Ouroboros takes a sharp pivot, with songs that are more psychadelic and jam-band-esque. I had a great seat for this show, about 6 or 7 rows back, which gave me an awesome view of the set backdrop - which gradually changed from moon to planet to funky rainbow colored water. To begin the show, Ray came out solo and played his most popular records; then, he played full band and ran through his new material - which sadly, all sounded the same and lacked any distinct melody and rambled on and on. While I applaud the effort to sound new and different, I fear this is one instance where reinventing one's signature sound was not successful.
John Paul White at The Outer Space, Hamden, CT - 06.29.16
I forget how I ran across John Paul White, but he is probably better known for his role in the popular country/folk duo The Civil Wars. He also wrote the song "If I Didn't Know Better" which was featured on the TV show Nashville. A true Southern gentleman, John Paul White was polite, well-dressed, and extremely humble. He played a number of songs from his first solo album Beulah (2016), a few duets with the opening band The Secret Sisters, and of course, played some acoustic solo songs. His voice is unassuming yet amazing - please check out this video of "No One Will Ever Love You" - it's ridiculous. This show was also my first trip to The Outer Space in Hamden, CT - I felt immediately at home in this divey little joint. Great beer on tap with a small intimate room in the back - not unlike my Chicago-musicsoul's home, Schubas. The acoustics were great for this type of show and I'd definitely recommend this guy if you can catch a show!
Gary Clark Jr. at The Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford, CT - 09.07.16
For those who are into amazing guitarists or the blues-rock scene, you probably know that Gary Clark Jr. is a modern-day legend. Born and raised in the home of blues rock, Austin, TX, Gary grew up working with the likes of Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan and more recently, has been associated with acts like Alicia Keys, Dave Grohl/ the Foo Fighters, Dave Matthews Band, and Eric Clapton. Gary Clark Jr. is one of those musicians who isn't topping the Billboard Charts every other week, but still popular enough to headline at festivals like the Crossroads Guitar Festival (2010), Bonnaroo (2011), and Lollapalooza (2015). His live album Gary Clark Jr. Live (2014) is amazing - check out "Catfish Blues" and "Bright Lights". He is truly an amazing musician and vocalist, making a great name for himself in the blues rock and soul family.
Walk The Moon at The Palmer Events Center, Austin, TX - 11.09.16
Walk The Moon is one of my favorite bands - their upbeat, positive songs just make me want to dance around the room! While their new new stuff makes me a little nervous, the sound of their first album is really what I love - it's got enough alt-rock guitar licks to complement the sugary lyrics. I was supposed to see them play in NYC (part of their Work This Body tour) earlier in the year, but sadly the band cancelled the remainder of their tour due to an illness in Nick's family (lead singer). But in a serendipitous manner, I ended up going to the Tableau Conference in Austin this fall for work, and guess who was booked to play during the conference's main event...Walk The Moon! It was pretty much our own private show - about 13,000 in attendance at the whole conference, but probably only a few 1,000 were at this stage that night. I made my way as close to the stage as possible (per usu), and danced the night away! Not ashamed to say that I know all of the words to all of their songs, which really makes any concert that much more fun. The guys put on a great performance and I was SO happy to be able to see them in 2016. Looking forward to new music from them - hopefully in 2017.
Gogol Bordello at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater, Austin, TX - 11.11.16
While in Austin on the same trip, I knew I had to catch a concert at one of the legendary venues - and what better venue than Stubb's?! This outdoor place is famous - not only for its barbeque, but also for its knack to book some great live performing bands. I happened across this band via the server at a local coffee shop - I asked what good venues/shows were happening that night, and he said he was going to see Gogol Bordello that night at Stubb's. I had never heard of this band before, but took a listen and figured it'd be something new and different! I mean, have you ever heard of gypsy punk? While they sound like they're straight from the Ukraine, Gogol Bordello is actually from Manhattan and have been playing shows around the world since 1999. The members however, are from everywhere - Ukraine, Russia, Ethiopia, Ecuador, the US, and Belarus. Their biggest hit is "Start Wearing Purple" - and my personal favorite is "My Companjera". This show was wild and full of energy, and this band is truly unique.
Well, that about does it for my 2016 shows - I did get to catch quite a few, given my situation of being stuck in suburbia. Again, apologies for the late post and the lack of reviews, but check out the Media page for more photos from the shows, and visit the FYMS YouTube channel. I'm in need of some 2017 shows so please send suggestions this way! Always up for something new to listen to. Cheers and rock on!
- FYMS -