MUSE is a huge band. Both in terms of their following and sound. So it was a great surprise to hear the band would be playing a relatively small show at New York’s Summerstage in July. And an even greater surprise to hear the show would be a benefit for the Coalition for the Homeless, a local non-profit. Fans applauded this gesture by buying tickets en masse and selling the show out in minutes. MUSE’s Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme (and the rest of their band and crew) dropped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert earlier in the week to perform “Dig Down”. Check out photos and a couple of videos from Summerstage as well as the Colbert video below.
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Rhiannon Giddens began her Freedom Highway tour at a surprising place. Sing Sing prison in New York. There, she addressed the inmates (and the NY Times reporter) and performed songs from the new album, describing the prison as “perfect for what this album is about and the sort of social consciousness and activism that surrounds this record.” The album highlights Giddens’ earthy-roots music and her original, often political lyrics (her previous solo album post-Carolina Chocolate Drops was a covers record). She doesn’t shy away from issues political, historical or contemporary, racial or social.
As Giddens tour continued, she arrived at somewhere a bit more glamorous, Lincoln Center, for the final show of the 2017 American Songbook series. She had performed in the series twice in the past few years, and this was her biggest show at Lincoln Center yet, in front of a sold-out crowd at Alice Tully Hall. Her backing band included multi-instrumentalists Dirk Powell and Hubby Jenkins, Jason Sypher on bass and Jamie Dick on drums, as well as her sister Lalenja Harrington providing back-up vocals and her nephew Justin Harrington rapping a song near the end of the powerful show. As Billboard noted, “Giddens’ vocals—which reveal her extensive operatic training—were front-and-center on such show highlights as Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman” and Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You,” which gave the originals a run for their money; and the Mack Gordon-written “Underneath the Harlem Moon,” which Ethel Waters recorded in the 1930s. “There’s a lot of good stuff to be found,” Giddens said of the last song. “It makes all the digging worthwhile.” Photos from Giddens performance, as well as upcoming tour dates, are below.
For me, the time between falling in love with an album (and possibly hearing the band for the first time, to be honest) and seeing that band perform live, has probably never been shorter than it was for Slowdive. Their 2017 come-back, self-titled release is one of my favorites of the year and one of PopMatters’ Picks. Right from the get-go, with the first track “Slomo”, Slowdive had me hooked on a band over two decades old.
Fortunately, the band had scheduled shows to support the album including two nights at Brooklyn Steel. When the group finally took the stage after 9 pm, the audience collectively stood poised at attention. And Slowdive kicked off the show with “Slomo” but sadly, a couple of minutes in, one of the sound guys came on and pulled the band off-stage—there was an issue with a monitor or something. So I didn’t get the full cathartic experience of “Slomo” at the beginning, but I did hear a lot of powerful songs from their back catalog and the new gems, like “Sugar for the Pill”. And I wondered if the band would have made something as great if they had remained together for most of the past two decades.
The new (to me) Infinity Music Hall in Hartford played host to Brooklyn dhol and brass band Red Baraat on a post-show Saturday during March Madness. Those two factors likely had a measurable impact on the attendance, but those faithful fans who made it out were seriously into the music. Some were even families with kids—and all were dancing unabashedly to the bhangra fusion.
Drive-By Truckers wrapped up their 17 date winter tour with a three night run in their hometown of Athens, Georgia. Just before that however, the band played a two hour set to a capacity crowd at New York’s Webster Hall. Kyle Craft kicked off the night around 7:30 before Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Brad Morgan, Jay Gonzalez, Matt Patton wasted no time once they began around 8:30 quickly filling the venue with their scuzzy guitars and generously liberal political message.
Drive-By Truckers most recent album American Band (ATO Records) is their most political yet and has drawn a slew of critical adoration. The band led the show with two of the new tracks, “Surrender Under Protest” and “Darkened Flags on the Cusp of Dawn”, making it transparent they had a message to share. Introducing the racial-discussion of “What It Means”, Hood spoke on how he wrote the song a couple of years back using the murder of Michael Brown as some sort of guidance. But Hood admitted he finds the song is more relevant now given the remarkable rise in incidents of police shooting and killing black people. The lines “I mean Barack Obama won / And you can choose where to eat / But you don’t see too many white kids lying / Bleeding on the street” was even more tragic in the light of a Trump victory and the presumption he will reduce or destabilize gun control efforts.
// Notes from the Road
"The Joshua Tree tour highlights U2's classic album with an epic and unforgettable new experience.READ the article