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  • Cake, Ben Folds, Tall Heights Concert Photos Austin
  • Deadmau5 Austin Concert Photos of Cube V3
  • Squeeze Brought Fun Retro Music To Austin

     

  • The National Braves The Storm At COTA Concert Review

    by Dan RadinDMP_9060 (1)

    No fans of The National were phased by the 60+ minute rain delay. Everyone stuck around the outdoor Circuit of the Americas stage, made friends with strangers, and waited for the show to start with the patience only a passionate fan base could deliver.

    The National strutted out with the nonchalant demeanor of a band who knew that audience would have stuck around to see them play through a Category 5 hurricane. Red solo cups in hand, the band descended from the wings and settled into what felt like a comfortable concert routine, kicking off with “Rylan.”

    DMP_9144Frontman Matt Berninger controlled the show in its entirety. He calmly paced the edge of the stage like Mufasa, proudly taking in the crowd who waited out the storm for him. During the first song, he even broke up a shoving match in the audience by shouting at them from the stage. He commanded respect.

    For most of the night, Berninger dragged confidently across the stage. Between bouts of roaming, his wiry frame clung onto the mic stand for dear life, maybe after one too many rounds of Solo Cup surprise (he also stumbled off a stage monitor once). Sonically, his low register projected a more gravelly timbre like he’d abused his vocal cords on tour between records. Berninger vibed like a tipsy Portlandia-ish (hipster) David Bowie who was totally at home with the crowd.

     

    Berninger poked a bit of fun- he slurred introductions of the female singers who sang beside him between most songs. There was a brief back and forth with guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner comparing the band’s hometown of Cincinnati to Nova Scotia, origin of the opener/lite garage-pop band Alvvays. He also called his wife out at the cabana in the audience, recognizing her support of him, and inspiring songs like “Hey, Rosey,” which was performed emphatically.

    DMP_9281The band’s heavy energy and retina-burning A/V tricks rarely matched Berninger’s subdued body movement. His baritone growl juxtaposed the heavy guitar and drum patterns, which often teetered towards feeling like lighting a firework whose fuse fell flat. The frontman appeared to put in zero effort to have fun, yet seemed to care immensely about the experience of those around him. Towards the end of the set, an engaged Berninger waded out into the audience and literally had to be reeled in by the mic cord by a stagehand.

    Berninger’s visual portrayal of “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” came off as slightly overly dramatic, with huge sweeping arm gestures, yet seemed appropriate for the song tone. The band was at their best when they were building anticipation in the longer tunes, the singers playing off of each other (with quite exceptional backing harmonies). Emotionality of songs like “Pink Rabbits” brought tears, hugging, exclamations, and singing along from literally everyone. THAT was the moment that clicked why so many people waited out the storm to see this show.

    During the encore, Berninger discretely handed a bottle of wine and solo cups to fans in the front row. He also went on to thank everyone for showing up in the weather, and promised the socks back to a fan who had literally given the band their wet socks to be blow dried post-storm. The dude cares, and the people love him for it.

    The band closed leading an arm-in-arm acoustic/a cappella sing-along of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.” The audience knew every word, and the community’s love showed why Berninger performs with such security. The National is really just a big family band- and the audience is an extension of that family.

    See the full concert photo gallery.

    Setlist:

    Rylan
    Quiet Light
    The Pull of You
    Hey Rosey
    Don’t Swallow the Cap
    Bloodbuzz Ohio
    Oblivions
    So Far So Fast
    Where Is Her Head
    Day I Die
    The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
    Pink Rabbits
    Light Years
    You Had Your Soul With You
    I Am Easy to Find
    Graceless
    Terrible Love
    Encore:
    Mr. November
    Fake Empire
    Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

     

     

     

     

  • Lenny Kravitz Brought Raised Vibrations to Texas
  • Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Show Stops In Austin
  • The National Rocked Hard In Austin
  • John Mayer Gets ‘Back To The Music’ In Texas

    by Dan Radin, San Antonio, Texas

    Present-day John Mayer isn’t the womanizing guitar hero that the tabloids once despised. Mayer’s show this week unearthed him not only as a mature musician, but also a self-searching adult who has markedly come into his own.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-254It’s been a “long, strange trip” for Mayer. From his Atlanta days, when “Your Body Is a Wonderland” exploded over the airwaves, to touring as the Jerry Garcia stand-in with Dead and Company, Mayer’s seen a lot of growth. And if his set at on Saturday is any indication, he is “not done changing.”

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-098Every iteration of Mayer’s music came into the fray at AT&T Center. He locked in as a bluesman on his Fender, while his mini acoustic set drew shrieks of joy from the 70% female audience. He couldn’t have asked more from his dynamic backing band, who played air-tight together: long-time collaborator Pino Palladino (The Who, etc.) on bass, keyboardist Jamie Muhoberac, vocalists Tiffany Palmer/Carlos Ricketts, percussion section Aaron Sterling/Aaron Draper, guitar phenoms Isaiah Sharkey and David Ryan Harris.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-121Mayer generously featured each of the band members throughout the set; most notably, Sharkey’s solo on the “If I Ever Get Around to Living” jam, and Harris’s absolutely soul-waking rendition of Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” going into “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” Mayer can shine on his own just fine in the limelight- but it’s clear that it’s just as important to him now to surround himself with world-class talent.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-302Mayer’s other musical friendships were subtly on display as well. At the end of the first set, he snuck in a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Deal.” Through the course of the evening, he also sported a “92 Til Infinity” long-sleeve T, an homage to friend and Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, who passed away a year ago to the day. Just as he showcased his band on stage, Mayer made sure to recognize his friends who couldn’t be there that night.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-264And of course, Mayer masterfully ripped the guitar himself. He threw down tastefully intrepid solos on “Helpless,” “Rosie,” and “I Don’t Trust Myself (Loving You)” that made the boyfriends in the crowd look up from their phones. Slow-burners “Gravity” and “Slow Dancing” built and exhaled with spirited grace. He exuded a relaxation that made the entire arena feel comfortable.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-114The anthemic energy of Mayer’s new single “Carry Me Away” (released just Friday) was the night’s biggest surprise. While the song’s studio recording didn’t best capture the holy energy we witnessed in the room, the live rendition re-instilled my faith in Mayer’s artistic vision.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-323The post-intermission acoustic set won the award for audience favorite. Starting with his adaption of Beyoncé’s “XO” with harmonica, and sliding into live recording deep cut “In Your Atmosphere,” Mayer reminded that at 41 years young, he can still melt hearts. It was also the most he opened up on the mic between songs.

    JOHN-MAYER-2019-0908-166Mayer consciously made sure his “stupid mouth” stayed out of the way. “I don’t wanna talk too much. Thirty seconds of talking on stage is like 8 minutes of talking. Let’s get back to the music.” Mayer’s only miscalculation of the evening was staying off the mic between songs- those were exactly the most memorable moments. His re-telling of a woman rudely waving her goodbye to him en route to an early exit got bellylaughs. He then went on to discuss what vernacular is socially acceptable at age 41. “I can get away with ‘dope.’ But I’m too old for ‘fire.’”

    Maturity (musically or otherwise) is something that can’t be rushed and in Mayer’s case, we’re glad he took his time. I think, finally, Mayer is ready for action, and done “waiting on the world to change.”

    See tons of concert photos on Austin 101.

    Set list:

    Set 1
    Belief
    Clarity
    Who Says
    Something Like Olivia
    I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
    Love on the Weekend
    No Such Thing
    Changing
    Moving On and Getting Over
    Deal (Grateful Dead cover)

    Set 2
    XO (Beyoncé cover)
    Your Body Is a Wonderland
    In Your Atmosphere
    Helpless
    Carry Me Away
    Rosie
    If I Ever Get Around to Living
    Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
    In the Blood
    Waiting on the World to Change
    Gravity (With snippet from “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”)

    Encore
    Edge of Desire
    New Light

  • Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival Returns to Dallas

    In September, music legend Eric Clapton brings this epic music festival back to Dallas. The first festival was held in Dallas in 2004 at The Cotton Bowl then bounced to Chicago and NYC. The last fest was over 6 years ago.

    The festival, which has become legendary in its own right for hosting performances and impromptu collaborations from the world’s most legendary guitar players, will take place September 20-21 in the city that hosted the first-ever Crossroads Guitar Festival, Dallas Texas.

    eric-clapton-crossroads-guitar-festival-2019-980x546(photo via http://www.crossroadsguitarfestival.com)

    All profits from the Festival will benefit The Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a treatment and education facility founded by Clapton for chemically dependent persons- Crossroads Centre Antigua.

    sun-logo

    The best guitarists and artists in the world are on this year’s roster including: Clapton himself, Austin’s Gary Clark Jr., Billy Gibbons (Houston), and Jimmie Vaughan, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Buddy Guy, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Citizen Cope, Johnny Lang, Peter Frampton, and many more. The fest is held over two nights at American Airlines Center.

    pop5_0(Photo courtesy http://www.crossroadsguitarcenter.com)

    The daytime village is held from 12 to 8pm and will include tons of gear, guitar clinics and demos, and live music from sponsors like Gibson, Fender, Guitar Center, and more.

    ffolo

    More about the festival here.

     

  • Ukulele Prodigy Jake Shimabukuro Dazzles One World Theater

    Austin, Texas

    by Dan Radin

    It took precisely one measure of Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele playing to realize we were in the presence of greatness.

    Photo Aug 30, 21 40 43

    The first ukulele strum hung in the room like the spirit of a rainbow. All modesty and dripping with pure talent, Shimabukuro delivered one of the most captivating performances I’ve ever witnessed- and I’ve seen a ton of shows.

    The ukulele prodigy played two back-to-back sets in the same night at One World Theater, the perfect desert oasis to enjoy one of Hawaii’s most stunning talents. Shimabukuro delivered over an hour and a half of rock covers and original tunes to an audience that clung onto every tiny uke note.

    Photo Aug 30, 21 54 05Shimabukuro has the uncanny ability of perfectly swapping between lullaby finger-plucking, and jumping into a head-banging full strum. He could lull you to sleep, wake you up with a finger sweep, and then whisk you to another world. During heavier rock songs, he anchored his spread feet and threw down, transforming his little wooden ukulele into an instrument of destruction. Jumping straight from a rock song, his strings could immediately sing with the sweetness of a children’s choir. The intimacy of his playing would tickle your gut, bring you to bawl, and make you fall in love all at the same time.

    While Shimabukuro is known to most for his YouTube cover fame of Queen and Beatles hits, he did his best to forego solo recognition in favor of playing as a unit with his trio. Flanked by guitarist Dave Preston and bassist Nolan Verner, the instrumental combo was the perfect compliment to balance a mainstage ukulele. Shimabukuro “featured” each of his bandmates early and often for their own foundational musicianship. As his MC (Executive Director, Hartt Stearns) put it, “he’s got a nice stage persona, but let me tell you, he’s even nicer backstage.”

    See all the photos from the show on Austin 101.

    That much was apparent from his opening “Aloha!”. Shimabukuro’s kind demeanor never faltered, even when throwing down pure fire during Eddie Van Halen-like shredding, and then passing the baton to his trio mates for a solo. He was the star of the show who didn’t mind sharing the stage.

    The trio shone as a cohesive unit, trading smooth licks over spacey guitar tones, then switching back to focus on another instrument riff. Each song was expertly arranged, performed with the tightness of a live recorded concert album. “Eleanor Rigby” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” brought us into the clutches of Beatlemania. Classic uke song “Over the Rainbow” (by Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole) transported the room to a Hawaiian white sandy beach. Even the originals like “Greatest Day” held the audience’s attention until the final strum. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” wistfully spun its way from Shimabukuro’s ukulele into the Texas night.

    Photo Aug 30, 23 08 31Local swing legend Ray Benson even jumped in on the action to plug the pair’s upcoming collaboration album. He, too, called Shimabukuro on his modesty, having recorded the new songs with an all-star cast alongside Benson himself, but also Jack Johnson, Bette Midler, Lyle Lovett, and Willie Nelson. You could tell neither could wait to share the album with the world.

    Shimabukuro then wrapped with a cover of crowd sing-along “Bohemian Rhapsody” that rivaled Freddie’s (Queen’s Freddie Mercury) own expressive delivery. It was incredible to see the master at work.

    We knew from YouTube that Shimabukuro was ukulele rock royalty. We learned from seeing him live that he’s a once-in-a-lifetime talent, who has no interest in being named the greatest. And as phenomenal as his playing is, that’s what makes him immortal.

    See all the photos from the show on Austin 101.

  • Beloved Les Miserables Musical Comes to Austin’s Bass Concert Hall

    lesmis_1060Les Miz is a must see on any musical lover’s bucket list. UT’s Bass Concert Hall and Texas Performing Arts are bringing this fabulous Tony-winning Broadway show to Austin. Even if you’ve seen Les Mis many times before, the new staging and dazzlingly reimagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo make this one different and well worth another look.

    07_LES_MIZ_TOUR_2_18_1655_1670_Mary Kate Moore as Fantine.jpg(photos by Matthew Murphy)

    Seen by more than 70 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages around the globe, Les Misérables is still the world’s most popular musical, breaking box office records everywhere in its 32nd year. Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway. View the playbill.

    05_LM_TOUR_One Day More - Photo Matthew Murphy.jpgSet against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring the thrilling score and beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more, this epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.

    Two years after the Revolution of 1830, France is on the brink of violence once again. Dismayed that one king has been replaced by another, a group of rebels are plotting to overthrow the monarchy and lay claim to the throne for the common people.

    The musical follows the story of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict who manages to build a new life for himself and his adopted daughter Cosette. Yet his new found happiness cannot last for long, because the unrelenting police inspector Javert, who has been hunting Valjean for two decades, is close on his tail. As Valjean’s past finally catches up with him, all of the characters are swept up in the chaos that breaks out on Paris ‘streets, in an epic story of thwarted love, forgiveness and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

    The show runs for a short time in Austin from September 10th to 15th with a variety of show times and ticket prices. Check out all the information.

  • Alamo’s Rolling Roadshow Brought Top Gun Val Kilmer to Austin

    Top Gun Night at Camp Mabry, Austin Photos: (Photos Danny Matson)

     

    Tombstone Night at Manor Ghost Town Photos: (photos  Trina Moore)

  • Uke Rock Star Jake Shimabukuro Austin Photos
  • Zakk Wylde Brought Black Sabbath Metal Madness To Texas
  • Mary J Blige, Nas Collaborate On The Royalty Tour

    Dos Equis Pavillion, Dallas, Texas, by Brooks Burris

    Texas rolled out the red Carpet for the King and Queen of hip hop this month as Mary J. Blige and Nas made stops in Austin, Houston, and Dallas on their Royalty Tour.

    IMG_1382(photos Brooks Burris)

    On a hot August night in Dallas, a packed Dos Equis Pavilion welcomed the power duo just after 8:30 with no need for an opener. Nas and Blige kicked off the show together performing their hit song “Thriving” with the entire crowd on their feet. Following their second song “Reach Out” Blige left the stage to let New York native Nas hype the crowd with songs spanning his 25-year career in hip hop including his debut album “Illmatic”. He started recording Illmatic when he was just 17.

    IMG_1634 (1)Nas worked the entire stage as he was backed by a full band and DJ during his 20 plus song set. He mentioned that the hot Texas weather “was sexy in its own way” with a smile then dove straight back into a fiery rhyme, keeping the crowd on their feet. At another point in the show the rapper called for peace asking the crowd to repeat “no bad energy please, no bad energy” then leading into songs from his latest release “Lost Tapes 2”.

    Following Nas’ final song “One Mic” Nas sat down on stage with an exhausted grin proving that he truly left it all on stage.

    IMG_1403Soon, production quickly shuffled the set to make way for Blige’s camp. As Mary took the stage the crowd erupted with excitement as she shouted “What’s up Dallas?”. Blige Kicked off her set with the song “I Can Love You” backed by a massive digital burning heart. It wasn’t long before Nas returned to the stage to perform the soulful “Love Is All We Need” as the crowd belted out the lyrics with them.

    Through the tour Blige has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of her album “My Life” by performing a medley of songs from the album including “Mary Jane”, “I’m The Only Woman,” “Don’t Go,” “You Gotta Believe” and ending with the crowd favorite “I’m Goin’ Down.” The nine-time Grammy award winner proved why she is a staple of hip-hop/r&b and she doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

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    Check out the complete photo gallery from the show.

     

     

  • Legend George Clinton Brought The Funk To Texas
  • Trailblazing Vampire Weekend Showcases their Unending Ingenuity on Austin City Limits

    KLRU Austin City Limits broadcast taping at ACL Live At The Moody Theater
    by S. Pulse

    002_ACL_VampireWeekend_byScottNewtonKLRU__SNP4667(photo Scott Newton and KLRU)

    Vampire Weekend (VW) closed out their three-day run at Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theater with a special taping set for the KLRU Austin City Limits broadcast series. The crowd included lucky lottery seat holders who received the most sought-after tickets of the summer.

    As soon as they spotted floppy haired front-man Ezra Koenig, along with original members Chris Baio and Chris Tomson, they welcomed them back with a burst of appreciative hollers and applause (VW’s last ACL broadcast was in 2013). Missing was Rostam Batmanglij, who amicably left the group in 2016, but remains a contributor. Other personnel changes include the addition of four new band members (Greta Morgan, Brian Robert Jones, Will Canzoneri, and Garret Ray).

    003_ACL_VampireWeekend_byScottNewtonKLRU__SNP5681(photo Scott Newton and KLRU)

    Koenig took the stage sporting a decidedly new look — his preppy attire of the past was replaced by a more laidback ensemble consisting of an orange safari shirt, drawstring hiking pants, and Chaco sandals. His choice of versatile and comfortable attire may have been an early clue of what to expect in the evening ahead. Fans were about to see a band that is more confident, unconcerned about image, and carefree enough to explore cunning new musical areas.

    007_ACL_VampireWeekend_byScottNewtonKLRU__SNP5765(photo Scott Newton and KLRU)

    The evening opened with “Sympathy”, a biting, rhythmic-driven piece from the recently released album “Father of the Bride (FOTB)”. Classic crowd favorites “Unbelievers” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” followed igniting the crowd which included many long-time fans. However, it was the next song of the evening, “Sunflower”, that sent a jolt through the theater and reminded the audience that VW is continuing to grow in unexpected and delicious directions.

    Guitarist Brian Robert Jones showed his value by laying down some six-stringed funk while clad in a tie-dye tee and swim trunks (lovin’ it! See you at Barton Springs later?). The jam continued as Koenig joined in trading riffs with Jones in an energetic guitar collaboration.

    Returning to past material, Koenig delighted the crowd with his yodel-like vocal runs in the song “White Sky” and then quickly returned to their newer FOTB material performing the light and snappy “Bambina”. These two bouncy lilts gave way to something unexpected. Perhaps the performance that most strongly highlighted VW’s innovation was their rendition of FOTB’s “2021” (a year many anticipate!).

    The song began with an airy melody featuring Koenig’s use of a Peter Frampton-inspired Talk Box. Starting sparse and minimal, “2021” slowly built, added layers and eventually morphed into an all-out jam session that electrified the crowd. Next up, was the much-adored mid-tempo melody “Step” (we felt it “in our bones”!) which led into FOTB’s slow and lounge-vibey “My Mistake”.

    VW’s versatility as a band was on full display mid-set with a rendition of “New Dorp. New York” (originally a SBTKRT / Koenig collaboration). Guitarist Jones’ axe skills were showcased again shredding on this psychedelic EDM tune that included Koenig rapping over a steady beat that drove the audience into a dancing frenzy (particularly the energetic ladies in the front row).

    Back-to-back hits from FOTB followed including “This Life”, a song with dark lyrics contrasted by a deceptively happy melody that made heads bob, and “Harmony Hall” featuring the poignant lyric “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.” These new songs were followed by a rapid-fire dose of proven hits consisting of the dynamic song “Diane Young” (the surf-music beats brought the crowd to their feet), the lively “Cousins” and a highly anticipated performance of the song that brought VW world-wide acclaim, “A-Punk”.

    As with any good work-out, VW knew it was time to cool down before heading home. The enchanting “Hannah Hunt” washed over the crowd with the calmness of a satisfying child’s pose. An equally soothing melody followed as VW launched into their stripped-down song “Jerusalem, New York, Berlin”. The piece’s tranquil mood ceased with an unexpected cutting turbulence of drums that mushroomed into a dramatic crescendo that left Koenig standing solemnly guitarless in front of a spotlighted mic before exiting the stage.

    Phew! What a ride! But the crowd wanted more and successfully begged for an encore. VW returned performing a cover of Crowded House’s “Hey Now” which was well-received by the audience who decided to collectively sing along.

    The evening took an interesting turn when Koenig explained that the encore would include the re-performance of two songs (“2021” and “This Life”) for the broadcast editors (the songs seemed to be shorter versions). Fans didn’t mind and were happy for the added performance time. The band finished out the evening with the raucous “Walcott” and we all were transformed “out of Cape Cod tonight”.

    The set list for the evening (see below) was a balanced mix of time-proven fan favorites and new material. The limited television format combined with VW’s growing catalog of songs, meant that choices had to be made to forego performing some beloved crowd favorites including “Oxford Comma”, “Ya Hey”, “Horchata”, “Giving up the Gun”, and “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance”. (Hey, you can’t have everything).

    In the end, the song selection was a beautifully curated sample platter of VW’s eclectic style from the past and the present that left the audience fully replete. The crowd departed the theater pleased that their much-adored indie band still delivers the classic VW sound, but also excited for the future as their band continues to grow, explore, and create adventurous new music. Tighten up your Chacos, it’s going to be a beautiful journey!

    See our photo gallery from ACL night one.

    Set List:

    1. Sympathy
    2. Unbelievers
    3. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
    4. Sunflower
    5. White Sky
    6. Bambina
    7. 2021
    8. Step
    9. My Mistake
    10. New Dorp. New York (cover of SBTRKT/Ezra Koenig collab.)
    11. This Life
    12. Harmony Hall
    13. Diane Young
    14. Cousins
    15. A-Punk
    16. Hannah Hunt
    17. Jerusalem, New York, Berlin
    18. Don’t Dream It’s Over (Crowded House cover)
    19. 2021 (Repeated for broadcast)
    20. This Life (Repeated for broadcast)
    21. Walcott

     

  • The B52s with OMD Brought Their 80’s Party To Austin

     

  • Austin’s Black Pumas Crushed at Sold Out Mohawk Shows
  • Smashing Pumpkins & Noel Gallagher Brought Good Times to Texas w/ AFI

     

    by Nick Paruch

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