Tag Archive for 'Live'

(Upcoming Show) 2010 American Idol Finalist Crystal Bowersox at CSPS Friday 8/12

Crystal-Bowersox-photo

Though some would debate this, it’s my opinion that American Idol’s Season 9 in 2010 was the last season worth watching. The winning chemistry of American Idol to me was always a combination of the judges and the talent, and 2010 was the year that Paula Abdul was no longer a judge and in 2011, show creator and longtime judge Simon Cowell was gone. My wife and I– longtime followers of Idol– didn’t tune in for Season 10.. Over the nine years that we watched, there have been standouts in the talent, Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Season Five’s edge-of-the-seat powerhouse of Chris Daughtry/ Katherine McPhee/ Kellie Pickler/ Elliott Yasmin, Jordin Sparks, David Archuleta, David Cook and Chris Allen. One of my favorites for that nine-year run was Ohio native, by way of Chicago Crystal Bowersox. Though most of the highlights of American Idol have been squarely Top 40 types, Bowersox was an honest-to-goodness songwriter who could play and sing. She, with her slightly crunchy hippy personae topped with questionable dreadlocks, came off somehow as an underdog contender that I had hoped would take the top honors, but complications related to her Type-I diabetes (of which she is a spokesperson) cost her the top spot (Though, it could be argued that taking the top spot doesn’t always help your career– I’m looking at you Ruben Studdard and David Cook).

Since Idol, Bowersox has released three albums, with her most recent full-length All That For This released in 2013 and produced by reknowned Los Lobos member and producer Steve Berlin and features guest Jakob Dylan. Notably, she also shed her dreadlocks in 2013. Her most recent release is a self-released 7-track EP titled Promises. It’s difficult to glean what her next steps will be in her career based on her website, but she’s touring quite a bit. I’m certainly interested to see her live. Check out this great performance of the Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah.”

Crystal Bowersox will be performing for the 2nd time at CSPS this Friday night with a small band. The show is at 8PM (the doors and box office generally open an hour before) at tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door (if there are any left). You can purchase tickets at the CSPS box office or online. Details at the Legion Arts website.

(Upcoming Show) Pieta Brown with Bo Ramsey at CSPS Saturday 5/14/16

Bo and Pieta - CSPS 10-14

Bo Ramsey and Pieta Brown at CSPS 10/4/2014

Some of the most special shows I’ve seen at CSPS have been the ones with Pieta Brown. Though Cedar Rapids isn’t her home turf, I feel like in some ways CSPS has become a 2nd home for her– she seems really comfortable with the crowd which is a mixture of Cedar Rapids and Iowa Citians and is capable of giving a very intimate show in the big space.

She’s returning this Saturday night, May 14th with Bo Ramsey opening with a special solo show and then joining her for her set. This show is a CD release show for her self-released EP of outtakes from her album Paradise Outlaw. I reviewed the CD titled appropriately enough Drifters for Little Village Magazine, saying “Although Pieta Brown thinks that the songs on Drifters have “many rough edges,” they provide a picture of what a double album might have been like. She offers these songs as an experiment, launching her own “underground” label imprint, Lustre Records. I’m looking forward to more collections of songs from her archives — Drifters is a great start!”

We’re getting a treat with Bo Ramsey opening for Pieta as he doesn’t do many solo shows. His last show was opening for Pieta at the Englert. I can’t remember the last time Bo played solo in Cedar Rapids!

The show is at 8PM, Saturday night and the tickets are $17 in advance and $21 at the door. Bring some extra cash or plastic to pick up the Drifters CD and to try out the regional beers and wine at The Carlo Bar. Ticket and show information are at the Legion Arts website.

(Upcoming Release) Son Volt Previews Record Store Day 2016 Live Vinyl

son volt 1996On October 30th, we were blessed with the 20th Anniversary remastered reissue of Jay Ferrar‘s debut post-Uncle Tupelo album Trace. Widely regarded as one of the great early Americana releases, it was due for some reissue love and attention. For one thing, it got a much-needed 180g vinyl release, which saved me personally– I narrowly avoided spending $75 on a new-old-stock copy from Ferrar’s site (Discogs.com has had copies going for over twice that amount!). Secondly, the CD and download versions were expanded to include bonus demos and a 2nd disc of their February 12, 1996 performance at The Bottom Line in New York City.

This week on Son Volt’s Facebook page, they posted two videos of the test pressings for a 2 LP vinyl release of the Bottom Line show which is slated for Record Store Day 2016.

Ferrar said in a recent interview about the show, “In terms of the Bottom Line show, yeah, it’s a live show, and there will be some hiccups here and there, but part of what I can hear is that it sounds like my singing voice is almost scorched from smoking cigarettes. You know, there was a very small dressing room at the back of that club, and it was probably the size of a closet. At that time, all five guys in the band were smokers, so that record could’ve just been called, Five Dudes Smoking in a Closet. [Laughs] I can still sing it seems like, but I can barely talk… It was recorded with that mobile recording truck on analog tapes, so you’re not going to get a better sound than that. I wish I had more information on that truck; I couldn’t really track it down. There was a similar show, if not this one, that was recorded with the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording truck. Doing a little research, their truck was in New York in 1996 when this show was recorded, but I just can’t say for sure it was the one.”

Here is the tracklist. We don’t know how the songs will be split up by LP side yet. It includes most of the songs from Trace (not the Ron Wood cover “Mystifies Me”) as well as some Uncle Tupelo songs and a Del Reeves cover.

Live from the Bottom Line/February 12, 1996
01 – Route
02 – Loose
03 – String
04 – Catching On
05 – Live Free
06 – Anodyne – Uncle Tupelo
07 – Windfall
08 – Slate – Uncle Tupelo
09 – Out Of the Picture
10 – Tear Stained Eye
11 – True to Life – Uncle Tupelo
12 – Cemetery Savior – from Straightaways
13 – Ten Second News
14 – Drown
15 – Looking for a Way Out – Uncle Tupelo
16 – Chickamauga – Uncle Tupelo
17 – Too Early
18 – Looking at the World Through a Windshield – Del Reeves cover
Here is a YouTube playlist I created of all of the songs that are conveniently there:

(Upcoming Show) JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound Bring Their Powerhouse R&B Show to CSPS 11/13/15

JC-Brooks-&-The-Uptown-Sound

One of my favorite albums of 2013 was JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound‘s third album Howl. I was already a fan of the band and their cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” was a smart, if calculated play to get some attention from the Indie Rock crowd.

But for me, the more sparse, stripped down– both musically and emotionally– approach of Howl was eye-opening. The album is reminiscent of 80’s soul like Fine Young Cannibals or Terence Trent D’Arby and maybe a little like The Smiths at times (particularly the guitars). The video for “Rouse Yourself” is really great with Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson in it.

JC and band have been in the studio recently working on their fourth album. Brooks told me that they would be performing some of the new songs on their upcoming live dates, which includes a stop in Cedar Rapids at CSPS in New Bohemia on Friday night! This will be the first time I’m seeing the band live, and I can’t think of a better place to catch them. Beautiful, big, room with a cozy bar on the side with great beer on tap and wine. If you haven’t been to CSPS yet this would be a great first show!

Details at Legion Arts Website

Fri Nov 13 2015 – 8:00 pm • CSPS Hall
$16 advance | $19 door

Two Faces of Iowa Electronic Music: Jack Lion With Maids At CSPS – Friday 10/23

Friday, October 23rd CSPS/Legion Arts will be presenting a show I’m really excited about– two Iowa bands with their roots in electronic music– but both taking it to different places.

MAIDS-15

The opening band, MAIDS, calls themselves “Midwest Disco” and although the music certainly leans to a clubby disco sound, I’m not sure that “Midwest” adds any discernible spin to their music. Danny Heggen and Mickey Davis make something between Postal Service and Four Tet with the occasional Scissor Sister in for dance floor leanings. Midwestern, certainly, since they’re both from Des Moines but for electronic pop it holds its own against anything spun in a dusky, crowded club outside the rows of corn here.

 

Jack+Lion+High+Res

The headliner Jack Lion is one of my favorite bands out of Iowa in the past few years and I’m VERY excited to be able to see them at CSPS as I think they’ll be able to really take advantage of the beautiful acoustics and general vibe of the attentive and warmly supportive crowds.  Jack Lion is a jazz trio of trumpet, bass and drums that fuses electronic and ambient creating some really engaging and immersive soundscapes. They’ve released two EP’s so far “JAC” and “K L” and are working on a third (“ION” presumably). I wrote a review of the JAC EP for Little Village last year comparing it favorably to Kieran Hebden of Four Tet’s side project with jazz drummer Steve Reid. When I listen to Jack Lion, I can’t help but think about the experimental directions Miles Davis took and I’d like to think that he might have taken his music in this same direction.

“Miles Ahead” indeed.

Here are the deets– Jack Lion with MAIDS:

  • Fri Oct 23 2015 – 8:00 pm • CSPS Hall
  • $10 advance | $13 door
  • Details and Ticket Information at Legion Arts Website

(Upcoming Show) Nellie McKay at CSPS in Cedar Rapids Tuesday 4/28/15


Nellie McKay is in a lot of ways an artist from a different time. Compared to what is generally regarded as “pop music” currently, popular music from the 50’s/60’s and even the 70’s seemed to cut a much wider swath through genres. Jazz, Rock, Country, Folk and American Songbook. In that same spirit Nellie McKay has not been content staying in one genre– even per album in most cases.

For McKay’s sixth album titled My Weekly Reader, she opted to dive into the rich catalog of 60’s pop and rock and create an album of covers that demonstrates her incredible musical chops and catalog knowledge as well as presents the songs with her unique and smart sense of subtle irony and humor. While I really appreciate her original music more, the opportunity to see her dive into covers (as she did on her album of Doris Day covers Normal as Blueberry Pie) also reveals her influences.

And I haven’t even mentioned her stints on Broadway and film!

McKay is bringing her solo show back to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, April 28th. She was here in September of 2012 (which is where the picture above was taken). Her shows are a lot of fun– she’s a great artist, musician and wonderful singer. Her adopted stage personae at first seems a little scatterbrained, but she uses that disarming “aw-shucks” delivery to make some sharp and thoughtful commentary about everything from veganism to feminism to current politics. When she performed last time, she improvised a cute song about Iowa.

She was interviewed recently on NBC 4 in New York City about her new album:

She is a performer who continues to impress me and we are fortunate that she chooses the big stage at CSPS to bring her show. Don’t sleep on this!

Tickets are $21 in advance and $26 at the door. The show is at 7PM. More information at the Legion Arts website!

(Upcoming Show) Surf Zombies and TWINS at CSPS – Saturday 4/26

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This Saturday night’s show at CSPS promises to be a rockin’ one! Headlining the show is Brook Hoover’s Surf Zombies who are having a CD Release show for their latest album It’s a… THING!. I reviewed It’s a… THING! for Little Village Magazine last month saying, “another solid slab of sinewy guitars evoking images of busting surfboards, wipeouts and pipelines on a distant glistening beach.” It’s my favorite Surf Zombies record yet!

Opening for Iowa’s premiere surf band is Maximum Ames Records most recent signing– Cedar Falls Power Pop geniuses TWINS! I reviewed their sophomore album Tomboys on Parade for Little Village Magazine this month— “sublimely polished nuggets of pop, washed in harmonies and falsettos, packed in backbeat and propelled by galloping guitars and sparkling arpeggios. The album is a damn fine slice of pop pie…”

I’m pretty excited about the lineup for Saturday night at CSPS– both bands put on great live shows, and we’re lucky to get them here in Cedar Rapids. Oh, and Twins will be bringing vinyl! In between sets DJ Tone Zone will be spinning records.

Sounds like a great night, doesn’t it? See you there!

The Surf Zombies with TWINS and DJ Tone Zone will start at 8PM on Saturday, April 26th. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

More information and ticket purchasing at the Legion Arts Website.

 

 

 

(Upcoming Show) PHOX and Har-di-Har at CSPS 11/24/13 – Lots of links to audio and video

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Back in June, Wisconsin six-piece band PHOX opened up for six-piece Seattle band Hey Marseilles at CSPS. Hey Marseilles was gaining some critical attention at the time and were on a run of dates in support of their new album Lines We Trace which included the great single “Heart Beats.” The band asked PHOX to open for this run of shows and the show I saw at CSPS had me enthralled– lead singer Monica Martin has a beautiful voice and the whole band has an astonishing amount of talent and skill. Monica is just getting her bearings as a frontwoman, but her stage banter with the audience the band was funny and heartfelt. It’s great to see this band getting more attention and it is clear it hasn’t gone to their heads.

Since PHOX played in Cedar Rapids, they have had some high-visibility gigs including a wonderful Daytrotter session (a vinyl LP of which has Hey Marseilles on the flip) and playing the iTunes Festival in London opening for The Lumineers.

 

You should watch this really great session PHOX did at Audiotree.tv, too!

Har-di-Har

We are really lucky to get PHOX back at CSPS– this time as the headliner with former Cedar Falls, IA-now-Twin Cities husband and wife duo Har-di-Har— another favorite band of 2013 for me.  Julie and Andrew Thoreen have put together what amounts to a full band by sharing the percussion duties with a split trap kit while they take on guitar, keyboards and bass duties as well as vocals. And, what vocals they are! Very tight harmonies sounding a lot like British Folk from the 60’s and 70’s.  I reviewed their three EP’s over the last year for Little Village including their latest Hard Parent/Thick Child:

Album Review : Har-di-Har – Words of Whim/Feudal Kind EP’s

Album Review : Har-di-Har – Hard Parent/Thick Child EP

Har-di-Har also did a wonderful Daytrotter Session, too!

This not-to-miss show will be on Sunday, November 24th at 7PM. Tickets are a VERY REASONABLE $9 in advance and $13 at the door. Get the details at the Legion Arts Website.

(Upcoming Show) John Reilly and Friends at Codfish Hollow Barn on June 21st

John Reilly and Friends at Codfish Hollow Barn Poster

Continuing the trend of jaw-droppingly awesome shows at Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, this Friday, June 21st,  it will play host to actor John C. Reilly’s non-film music endeavor John Reilly and Friends.

For the past few years Reilly has been working with some musician friends of his to bring a revue of old country and folk music  of the likes of the Stanley Brothers, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers, Claude Ely and the Delmore Brothers to name a few. With regular “Friends” sidekicks Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Tom Brosseau (solo and of Les Shelleys) Reilly cut two 7-inch singles on Jack White’s Third Man Records.

The band is doing a run of dates through the Midwest from June 13th to June 22nd, with a stop at the wonderful Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa, IA– home of many Daytrotter.com Barnstormer shows as well as a few shows put on by the Biehls themselves. Joining Reilly, Stark and Brosseau will be Mt. Vernon, IA native Dan Bern (who headlined his own show in May), Willie Watson— formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show (OCMS’s “Wagon Wheel” has been covered by Darius Rucker and climbing the charts currently), and Sebastian Steinburg– formerly of Soul Coughing and these days a go-to bass sideman (Marc Ribot, Dixie Chicks, k. d. lang). That’ s one hell of a lineup with lots of varing backgrounds, so you can count on some pretty inspired performances!

According to Brosseau’s website, there will be copies of the Third Man Records 7-inches as well as “the official John Reilly and Friends teeshirt” at the merchandise table. Tiffany Biehl also told me about exclusive stickers with art done by Dan Bern and limited-edition posters done by the Biehl’s and sent me images of those:

john reilly sticker

John Reilly and Friends Codfish Hollow Barn Sticker

john reilly pitchfork poster

John Reilly and Friends Limited Edition Codfish Hollow Poster available at the show.

Opening the show will be Andru Bemis from New Mexico.

As usual, there will be camping available (with no service hookups), food vendors with soft beverages and just good old fashioned great times with other people who are there for the music. Coolers are welcome. Here is a list of what food will be available onsite:

Grilled chicken sandwiches
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches
All beef hotdogs
Brats and sauerkraut
Veggie dogs/brats
Nachos and cheese
Beef taco nachos
Chicken/pork nachos
Vegetarian bean nachos
Chips
Candy bars
POP- Mt.Dew Pepsi, Diet Pepsi,Sprite
Water

YUM!

At the time of this writing there are still tickets left, but you should expect that this show will sell out this week. Doors are at 6:30PM with the bands hitting the stage at 8PM. The tickets are $25 in advance (plus some minimal service charges).

Click Here for the Facebook Event and RSVP!

Click http://johnreillyandfriends.eventbrite.com/ to order your tickets!

I was interviewed in The Cedar Rapids Gazette Arts and Entertainment magazine Hoopla– click here!

Click Here to visit the Third Man Records page on John C. Reilly and purchase his two singles.

Tour Dates:

15 June 13: The Assembly at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis: Minneapolis
16 June 13: Miller Caves: Milwaukee
17 June 13: Muskegon Unity Church: Muskegon MI
18 June 13: Ramsdell Theater: Manistee MI
19 June 13: The Magic Bag: Ferndale MI
20 June 13: Radio Radio: Indianapolis
21 June 13: Codfish Hollow Barnstormers: Maquoketa
22 June 13: Old Town School of Folk: Chicago

 

(Upcoming Show) Grant Lee Phillips Brings His Lone Star Songs to CSPS in Cedar Rapids on 5/15

grantlee.KenScott_04

I think it must have been a compilation CD that came with CMJ Magazine that included a song from the 90’s band Grant Lee Buffalo that lured me to purchase Mighty Joe Moon in 1994 or so. The album kicks off with the searing guitars of “Lone Star Song” and proceeds to swing bipolar between sweet folky acoustic and burning electrics all housed in HUGE unabashed reverb like only the 90’s could deliver. Needless to say this was exactly what my then 26-year-old self thought was the best thing ever! Playing though that CD this evening and writing this article, it is still surprisingly an exciting and emotional album for me.

I bought Fuzzy and Jubilee and listened to them quite a bit, but by the end of the last century I was listening to much different music and didn’t continue to follow what frontman Grant Lee Phillips was up to. As it turned out, he kind of abandoned the band in pursuit of a solo career, and has eclipsed the band in releases.

His most recent release came out in October, 2012 and is called Walking in the Green Corn. The album, which concerns itself with the extensive research that Phillips did regarding his Native American roots was recorded very quickly over the winter months leading into 2012. “I do my best work when nobody’s paying attention – including myself,” he recalls. “That’s what happened: it really snuck up on me. By the end of the year, I had most of the album written and recorded.” The resulting album leans more towards the thoughful folk acoustic sound than the often blistering electrics of his previous band, but doesn’t abandon the emotion and sentiment distilled from his mixed heritage. “Connecting to my ancestry is like having this deep trunk that’s embedded in the earth, with deep roots. It was always something that was important to my grandmother, who was Creek, and to my mother.”

Phillips is on tour right now and is bringing his show to the crown of the NewBo district, CSPS on Wednesday night at 7PM. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. This is a rare chance to catch him– I don’t remember the last time he was in the area!

Click Here for information about the show at the Legion Arts website and how to get tickets.

The player on Phillip’s website has most of the new album in it if you want to check it out.

Last year Grant Lee Phillips was on tour with another CSPS alum Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket and WPA. Here are the two of the performing the title track:

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