Beck, Cage The Elephant, Spoon Concert Review

Austin 360 Amphitheater, Austin, Texas

by Diego Donamaria

Austin 101 Beck Austin360-15(Beck performs- by Diego Donamaria)

When you think about Beck, Cage the Elephant, and Spoon all performing under the same ticket, you know it’s going to be a big party. Basically, any of the 3 bands would be worth the ticket admission price. All 3 on the same stage, not to mention the awesome Wild Belle with their fun electro pop, is sure to be a hot ticket. Knowing that Spoon are Austin locals just makes it that more special.

Austin 101 Spoon Austin360-1(Spoon performs- by Diego Donamaria)

We caught up with Spoon earlier in the day at their CD release event at Waterloo Records and got to talk to the band about touring with Beck, Cage, and Wild Belle, their new greatest hits album Everything Hits At Once, and what they were most looking forward to during their performance in their hometown. It was easy to see how excited all the band members were about rocking the stage with such an awesome line up to a sold out crowd of veteran music fans. Austin-ites know music.

Britt Daniel and the rest of Spoon took the stage with their indie rock/pop experimental sounds and they did not disappoint. They sounded sharp and energetic while performing a list of fan favorite songs, including “The Way We Get By”, “The Underdog” and “Hot Thoughts”.

Austin 101 Cage Austin360-2(Cage The Elephant performs)

The unmistakeable Matt Shultz came onstage in a wild outfit that he (in very traditional Cage The Elephant tradition) proceeded to shed during the performance. It started with a creepy red face mask, purple outfit and combat helmet and ended with him running around the stadium in his briefs.

Anytime you are present for a Cage show, you know that there will be boundless manic energy, great tunes, and somewhat odd behavior. Matt has said in the past that the goal of his performances is to get people on their feet singing and dancing. Undoubtedly they succeeded in their goal of getting all of us on our feet singing along and wondering what Matt would climb on next.Austin 101 Cage Austin360-21

The band performed well-loved tunes like “Broken Boy”, “Mess Around”, and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” in their traditional near-schizophrenic frenzied style. One of the coolest moments of their set was during their performance of the song “Trouble”. Matt started the song’s lyrics, and got quiet for a few seconds…“Trouble on my left, trouble on my right. I’ve been facing trouble almost all my life. My sweet love, won’t you pull me through? Everywhere I look I catch a glimpse of you. I said it was love and I did it for life. Did-did it for you”. By the end of the chorus we were all singing at the top of our lungs and you could feel the love amongst all of us. In very traditional Cage style, the show ended with Matt climbing on the roof of the sound booth and performing his last song from there. Assumingely, not as planned and rehearsed.

Austin 101 Beck Austin360-12The stage was set for the award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, and all around creative genius Beck. Equally known for his edgy and profound lyrics, his experimental mash of folk, hip pop, electronic, alternative rock, and psychedelic music always creates a visual spectacle. This day was no different.

Beck came out in his signature business suit (classic and tasteful compared to the entertaining costumes of Cage) and he wasted no time getting the crowd singing along with his breakout hit “Loser” followed by all the crowd pleasers like “Devil’s Haircut”,  “Que Onda Guero”, “The New Pollution” and others. “Dreams” and “Where It’s At”,were definite highlights of the night. The mind melding animated visuals and elaborate images added depth and entertainment to the songs. Although Beck’s set was subdued compared the craziness of Cage’s set, he proved why he’s the veteran in the lineup in the headliner position.

At the end of the show, Matt Schultz came back onstage to perform their joint song “Night Running” that inspired the name of the tour. One of the coolest collaborations we’ve seen recently. The show ended with a bang with massive confetti and balloons. At almost 50, Beck continues to defy aging and put on an amazing show. Only one question remains. How does Beck perform (seemingly fine) in a suit in the ridiculous and humid Texas heat?

Setlist

Devils Haircut
Black Tambourine
The New Pollution
Qué onda güero
Up All Night
Girl
Mixed Bizness
Wow
Saw Lightning
Dreams
E-Pro
Where It’s At
Miss You (The Rolling Stones cover) (snippet)

Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads cover) (snippet)

Encore:
Night Running

JLo’s Stunning ‘It’s My Party’ is One of The Top Shows of 2019

San Antonio, Texas

by Jerri StarbuckUnknown-13(photos by Michael Amico)

Surprisingly, JLO has not had many tours considering she’s one of the top selling artists (selling over 80 million albums). It’s her first tour in 6 years and perfect timing for the San Antonio tour stop -and it was a special one. Not only is it JLo’s 50th birthday in July, but the city has a large latin presence and a huge fan base.

From the start, the vibe was a complete Vegas-style party with full DJ- and all glitz and glam.  Openers World of Dance (Lopez stars and produces) dancers were absolutely phenomenal. The opening to Lopez was the DJ “Go Shorty, it’s your birthday” (50 Cent) to get everyone in the birthday party mood. Lopez descended in a tiered bling chandelier dressed in all crystal bling (and boots) singing “Medicine” with full amusement park carousel and then trombone section dancing along with her—- the choreography was flawless with dancers in precision dressed in all white.

JLO-2(photos by Michael Amico)

One of the crowd’s favorite moments was her tribute to Texas native Selena. “Whenever I get to Texas I remember the beautiful time I spent here doing the movie Selena.” Lopez sang Selena’s “Yes Once/Si Una Vez” in Spanish to great applause (Lopez’s big break came when she portrayed the famous Tejana singer who’s life was cut short by tragedy). She wore a gorgeous red gown and was suspended and appeared to be floating. The video production on the screen was breathtaking with gorgeous, sensual shots of Lopez.

She topped off this portion of the set by singing briefly with daughter Emme during “Limitless” and yes her daughter can sing and she is beautiful and looks like her. It was a sweet special moment and one of the night’s highlights. One wonders if Emme is destined to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

Unknown-8(photos by Michael Amico)

The set list seamlessly tied epic hit songs like “Love Don’t Cost a Thing”, “Jenny From the Block”, “If You Had My Love”, “Waiting For Tonight”, and more with newer ones. At times the show is nonstop, hit after hit, with a few built-in breathers for her costume changes. The killer finale was one of the best you’ll see all year with “Waiting For Tonight”, “Dance Again”, and “On the Floor” complete with perfectly planned 80’s throwback neon spandex bodysuits and tights (think Jane Fonda and Madonna). She came out  briefly for a one-song encore of “Dance Again” dressed as a Vegas showgirl with full feathers (a nod to her recent residency).

JLo has been a style queen forever and this show did not disappoint. There were all the big designers including Versace, Marchesa, Guess, Jebron, and others. She had a bling cane, bling mic and bling hat and water bottle. The fashion and style were a huge highlight for the show and an amazing feat by her stylist Rob Zangardi. We read there were 19 costume changes for Lopez plus 176 for the dancers and band. Bling is the theme of the night; she loves some sparkle. We read that the Swarovski crystal count tops one million including a dazzling piano and giant chandelier also blanketed in bling.

The entire production was off the charts including major pyro moments during her songs at the piano. Tons of pink smoke pyro too. There was a cool floating round stage that all the dancers and her had to time their choreography around and at other times it dropped below the stage. Other parts of the set were birthday-party focused with tons of balloons, huge life-size bday cake, and DJ party grooves – of course focused on her big 50th birthday coming July 24th.

Unknown-12(photos by Michael Amico)

Lopez is known for some of the best lyrics- one of our faves -“Don’t be fooled by the rock that I got , I’m still Jenny from the block!” -got a huge crowd reaction during the set. “We had to show the children how we use to play when we were kids”! We love that she included several covers of top artists today like Drake, Sara Bareilles, David Guetta, and more, and made them her own.

JLo engaged the audience from start to finish including shaking hands, reading signs, and talking to them often. A surprise of the night was when she  brought a guy on stage on his birthday who got to sit in a chair center stage with dancing girls and yes, lap dances and then JLO surprising him from behind during hit song “If You Had My Love”, up close and personal. He had a huge grin the whole time and this will be a night he will remember the rest of his life.

Part show-stopping concert and part birthday party, Lopez also included important messages of inspiration to the crowd with words of wisdom of overcoming life’s obstacles and hard times and believing in yourself.  She proved why she is the icon she is today and one of the top shows of the year.

54518649_10157032354135768_5082691210351476736_n.jpgSET LIST

Medicine
Love Don’t Cost a Thing
Get Right

I’m Into You
Waiting for Tonight
Louboutins
Goin’ In
I’m Real / All I Have / Feelin’ So Good / Ain’t It Funny
Jenny From the Block
Baby I Love U!
Hold It Don’t Drop It
Starting Over / I’m Glad / Secretly
If You Had My Love
Until It Beats No More
Dance Interlude
Let’s Get Loud
Papi
On the Floor
Encore:
Dance Again

Concert Photos: 36th Austin Music Awards at ACL Live

Ed Sheeran Concert Review at AT&T Center

by Jerri Starbuck and Michael Mullenix

When Sheeran took the stage, he was met with a roaring cheer from the sold-out AT&T Center in San Antonio. Launching into the hit song ‘Castle On The Hill’ from his latest album Divide (2017), his stage lit up with lights and cameras and electrified the room.

Ed Sheeran - AT&T Center 2017 10Watching Grammy & Brit Award winner, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran spin an intricate and elaborate melody with looping sounds, and mostly a sole acoustic guitar is a new level of genius. The musics’ simplicity and relatability is a huge part of his success. A large portion of his set was focused on Divide with new hits such as ‘Eraser’, ‘Dive’, ‘Galway Girl’, and of course the ‘Shape Of You’ (which broke records for most weeks on Billboard Hot 100 Top 10-over 14 weeks at No.1) making it’s spot in rousing encores.

Ed Sheeran - AT&T Center 2017 4See our full photo gallery from the show on Austin 101 Magazine.

According to Billboard Magazine, in addition to its Hot 100 reign, “Shape” topped the Radio Songs chart for 12 weeks, Digital Song Sales for 10 weeks and Streaming Songs for four frames. It has drawn 813 million on-demand U.S. audio and video streams and sold over 2.3 million downloads according to Nielsen Music, while its cumulative radio audio audience reach has surpassed over 4.6 billion impressions. It’s already the top selling Album of 2017 (and was after just one week after the debut). He’s only 26 years old, folks.

Ed also peppered in some mainstays like ‘Bloodstream’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ from the 2014 album X. Remember Sheeran’s music video where he went all in and took dance lessons and starred in it? So memorable and shows he’s adventurous and willing to try new things.

A notable moment in the show came when one gentleman in the audience used the song ‘Photograph’ as the moment to propose to his girlfriend (SHE SAID YES!). The moment drew enough attention that even Ed noticed, congratulating the recently engaged couple and dedicating the next song, ‘Perfect’ to them.

Curious what the set list looks like on his tour? Here are some statistics and the actual setlist from San Antonio. It’s hard to pick Sheeran’s top songs since he’s had so many over his brief years. See if you agree with Billboard’s best songs.

Sheeran’s success as a top selling artist is also partly due to his likability- he’s a down to earth, humble kid from Suffolk, UK who is personable and relatable. He’s adorable like a teddy bear (with gnarly tattoos). His two year break -and distancing from social media (Check this) -is just one of those things that make fans love him even more. The fact that he’s had a cameo on TV’s top-rated Game of Thrones (HBO) doesn’t hurt either.

James Blunt

Setting the tone of the night James Blunt took the stage and immediately started in on a set of songs from his new album, ‘The Afterlove‘. Making a joke about the crowd being a test audience for his new material he played through ‘Time Of Our Lives’, ‘Someone Singing Along’, and ‘Don’t Give Me Those Eyes’. Blunt has a tremendous voice and between songs was no stranger to self-deprecating humor about his popularity in America compared to Sheeran’s, which usually was met with a cry of “You’re Beautiful” from the audience-the hit song he played shortly after.

 

 

 

Ageless Sting Brings Timeless Music To ACL Live

Sting was in Austin recently on his 57th & 9th Tour. His first rock album in over a decade got its title from the Manhattan street corner that Sting crossed each day as he walked to the recording studios in Hell’s Kitchen. Sting has always been about sharing deeper meaning into the human journey, on this  he says “It’s about searching and traveling, the road, that pull of the unknown.” he says. “On this album, we ended up with something that’s energetic and noisy, but also thoughtful”. Read more at Sting  final-0214Sting is one of the music greats who has had a successful and extensive solo career after mega-stardom and multiple Grammy’s with their original bands. In fact, all of The Police members have had successful careers.’Although they existed for just over six years, the band’s contribution to the lexicon of rock was immense’ (Sting.com). One of the amazing things about Sting, besides his longevity in the business, is his anti-aging features (see past interviews where he talks about yoga, tantra, love, peace etc.) Not only is he still youthful, fit and sexy, he still has a near perfect voice-clear and intact as if it were 1995. So fit, Sting still jumps on stage.See our ACL Live concert photos here 

final-0237Sting, the storyteller, songwriter opened the show by sitting on a stool, casually talking with the audience and playing.He kicked off with an acoustic version of “Heading South on The Great North Road” from the new album about his music beginnings when he traveled the main highway in England from Newcastle in the North to London in the South.“I owe a lot to Austin,” he said, explaining that Austin’s KLBJ Radio was the first radio outlet in America to play “Roxanne” in 1979- a risqué song about a man who falls in love with a prostitute. He also played his first show in Austin at the Armadillo World Headquarters (aka Threadgills with a hippie Austin culture that led to its Music Capitol of the World title ) and he chuckled at the memory. The first two sets were by his son Joe Sumner, then The San Antonio rock band The Last Bandoleros (Photos here) who gave off some serious Beatles vibes and who Sting describes as a cross between Los Lobos and The Monkees. Sting’s band included his longtime guitarist, Dominic Miller,with son Rufus Miller (guitar) plus Josh Freese -best known for playing hardcore drums with Guns N’ Roses and Nine Inch Nails

 His set started with amazing classics, Synchronicity, Spirits in the Material World, and one of our personal faves, Englishman In New York– with lyrics ‘I’m an alien” bring up so much emotion for us in the current times we live in (America with ICE immigration raids etc.) and “I don’t drink coffee I take tea my dear” “Be yourself no matter what they say” are all as meaningful today as when they were written. Before playing Message in A Bottle, one of The Police’ greatest songs -which he said he wrote 40 years ago alone in his London basement apartment playing for his dog- but today audiences sing all the words and he is grateful and appreciative, humbled. It means a lot to him.
 The set continued with a nice medley of the new songs, I Can’t Stop Thinking About You (which we can’t stop thinking about!), One Fine Day, and Petrol Head– a somewhat more rock-metal song about a man involved in sex, trucks, and religion (which he said he ‘had only one of those things in common’. If you know Sting you know which one). Then he rolls into a reggae-style version of I’m So Happy, I Can’t Stop Crying about divorce that he originally wrote as a country song for legend Toby Keith that he decided to make a little more fun. A song refresh. That’s what Sting does so well. He is so eclectic as an artist, his music covers so many music genres. It’s the lyrics and the variety of song styles that makes him so unique and the songs timeless.  See cowboy Sting’s mohawk here   Before playing Pretty Young Soldier, he explained he wrote the song about female cross-dressers in WWII who were on a mission to find their loved ones who went off to war (similar to the ladies in theater in those days who wanted to play men’s roles). He closed out the main set with a mashup of “Roxanne” and the Bill Withers soul classic “Ain’t No Sunshine.” 
Sting closed out the encore with Oscar nominated “The Empty Chair” which he wrote with J. Ralph about Jim Foley, an American Journalist killed by ISIS in Syria in 2014. Sting first denied the request to write it but then thought about what would he do if one of his own kids was missing or captured. He said he would probably leave an empty chair at the dining table as a hope that someday they would return. Referencing the current fake-news climate in the White House, Sting said “at a time when truth itself is under attack, this man, Jim Foley, died to tell the truth.”Not a super up-lifting song to end with but powerful, meaningful.Sting said he likes to give people some chill music before going home to help them wind down.

Billboard Magazine lists Sting’s top songs here– see if you agree and share on Twitter.

Set List

SYNCHRONICITY
SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD
SHE’S TOO GOOD FOR ME
ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK
CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT YOU
ONE FINE DAY
PRETTY YOUNG SOLDIER
I’M SO HAPPY I CANT STOP CRYING
DOWN DOWN DOWN
PETROL HEAD
SHAPE OF MY HEART
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
ASHES TO ASHES
50,000
WALKING ON THE MOON
SO LONELY
DESERT ROSE
ROXANNE

NEXT TO YOU
EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE
THE EMPTY CHAIR