Following an opening set from neo-soul comrade Marsha Ambrosius, the Roots took the stage at Summerstage for the final outdoor event of the long season (five months!) as part of a corporate show (so it wasn’t general admission). But it would be hard enough to find the Roots playing on the road these days, given their regular gig as the house band for Jimmy Fallon, so limiting the capacity was wise. Black Though and ?uestlove, along with “Captain” Kirk, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” and their cohorts, jammed through a medley of Roots material like “The Seed 2.0” and “Respond/React” along with other hip-hop classics like “Jungle Boogie”. But it didn’t stop there. Not too long into their set, Talib Kweli came out to bust some rhymes on “Act Too (Love of My Life)” and a verse or two later, Common came out to help him. Another surprise came in the form of Cee-Lo Green (who had performed with The Roots earlier for NBC) to do a cover of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness”. Fellow Philadelphian (and also a NYC transplant), Bilal jumped in with The Roots for “The OtherSide” as well as “Back to Love”. The band’s finale was even bigger (though the interlude where their electronic wizard mashed beats and tunes from his mixer was stellar) as Salt-N-Pepa and their backup dancers took the crowd over the top with “Push It”. The Roots certainly know how to bring it and made the night a memorable “summer” finale.
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It’s never easy to select where to go during CMJ Music Marathon, the nearly week long event that draws hundreds of bands to New York City for a chance to play in front of industry professionals, music tastemakers, bloggers and their friends. Hopefully anyone really. Given the number of venues to choose from, I decided to hedge my bets and go to the BalconyTV Showcase at Webster Hall, an event I attended last year, so that I could also check out bands downstairs in the Studio while bands were swapping out on the former stage. Below are the acts I caught, as well as pics from Christopher Paul Stelling’s set at Rockwood as I had wanted to end my night on a strong show.
The 13th Annual New York Burlesque Festival Premiere Party was held at Brooklyn Bowl on September 25th and it featured a wide variety of acts from performers from all around the world. We captured photos from the first half of the night and have them to share. But remember, while sometimes performances from burlesque dancers will tickle your fancy, sometimes they can stir up nightmares… some of the performances bordered on the supernatural while some verged on being murderous.
On the drive down through the hills on the way to the Austin City Limits Festival, I was reflecting how satisfying it would be to see young guitar slinger Gary Clark, Jr. ride back into his hometown, triumphant in front of 75,000 or so, and take his rightful seat as the new king of the blues. To be honest, it’s been too long since a young, preternaturally talented African American blues guitar player reclaimed that title.
And it was both touching and thrilling.
It was a typically balmy Wednesday night in beautiful Santa Barbara with an atypical headliner at the famed local concert hotspot. The Santa Barbara Bowl doesn’t host a lot of hard rock shows, perhaps due to volume limits in the residential neighborhood, although Incubus is a band known for a dynamic sound that stretches wider than the alt-hard rock genre is generally known for. The beautiful venue had to offer an alluring change of pace for the band after having finished a co-headlining summer tour with the Deftones that hit larger sheds and arenas.