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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Live review: Charlie Puth, The Fillmore (10/6/2016)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Charlie Puth, Hailey Knox
The Fillmore
Oct. 6, 2016

Charlie Puth
  • Charlie Puth
Though collaborations with Meghan Trainor and Wiz Khalifa have helped put him on the map, 24-year-old Charlie Puth proved that his own strengths speak for themselves on stage at the Fillmore on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. 

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Live review: The Struts, The Underground (9/28/2016)

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 3:20 PM

The Struts
The Underground
Sept. 28, 2016

The Underground bore witness to a British invasion on Wednesday night as The Struts continued their American takeover with a stop in the Queen City. Playing to a packed room, the foursome from Derby in Derbyshire, England proved just why “Everybody Wants” a piece of them these days.

The band, named for singer Luke Spiller’s habit for strutting about onstage, officially formed in 2009 and released their first single three years later. They followed up their debut release with a four-track EP, Kiss This, through Virgin EMI before unleashing their first official album, Everybody Wants. The band’s popularity has snowballed ever since, culminating in a following that worships the ground they walk on.

The Struts have previously been described as “glamorous,” “dangerous” and “unabashedly over the top retro-fetishist classic rock.” Seeing them live on stage, it’s easy to see where those monikers came from. They’ve cited Queen, the Rolling Stones and My Chemical Romance as influences, amongst others, and that influence is clear from the moment they set foot on stage. Spiller quite literally struts out onstage in a sparkly golden jacket, glimmering gold war paint and a sequined shirt. The dude’s got style.

Launching into a high-energy performance of their latest track, “Put Your Hands Up,” the first in a 13-song set, The Struts set the tone for the evening with a commanding presence. They simply demand audience participation, and front man Spiller knows how to get exactly the reaction he wants. The guy is like a conductor, constantly egging the crowd on and communicating with over the top hand motions. All of this while flawlessly hitting the high notes.

The entire band is on point throughout the raging performance, but it’s Spiller who really gets to shine. He’s quite the force to be reckoned with, pouring his heart and soul into the performance until his hair is dripping with the exertion. He’s like a cross between Russel Brand and Mick Jagger, but with a voice that is constantly reaching new heights with each song. It’s incredibly impressive, to say the least.

The group paced the evening perfectly to bring their fans on their musical journey. From the highs of hits like “Kiss This” and “The Ol’ Switcheroo” to rock ballads like “Mary Go Round,” The Struts carefully led the packed Underground through their homage to classic rock. The band will be back in North Carolina come Dec. 5, playing The Orange Peel in Asheville. Make the drive because this band is without a doubt worth it.

1. Put Your Hands Up
2. These Times Are Changing
3. Could Have Been Me
4. The Ol’ Switcheroo
5. Kiss This
6. Mary Go Round
7. Roll Up
8. Dirty Sexy Money
9. Let’s Make This Happen Tonight
10. Put Your Money on Me
11. Only Just a Call Away

12. She Makes Me Feel
13. Where Did She Go

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Live review: Kaleo, The Underground (9/27/2016)

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 3:08 PM

Kaleo, Bishop Briggs, The Wind & The Wave
The Underground
Sept. 27, 2016

  • Kaleo

The Underground's first sold-out concert could have easily been put in its larger sister venue, The Fillmore, but instead it offered a solid night of "I saw them when."

While the Fillmore's Post Malone concert was postponed and that venue stood empty, the Underground presented a back-to-back-to-back night of stellar music that started with The Wind & The Wave, hit solid footing with Bishop Briggs and closed out with Kaleo. I'd bet at least two of those acts won't play a venue this small again.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Live review: James Bay, The Fillmore (9/25/2016)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:41 AM

James Bay w/ Joseph
The Fillmore
Sept. 25, 2016

  • Photo by Jeff Hahne
  • James Bay

The streets outside the AvidXchange Music Factory were empty Sunday night. Given recent events with protesters and curfews, it’s no wonder people are weary about staying out past dark. If you ventured past the doors of the Fillmore, however, you’d discover where the residents of this ghost town had gone.

James Bay played to a completely sold out venue Sunday night. Despite the current climate in the Queen City, one 26-year old guitar aficionado from England still managed to draw out his devoted following and completely pack the Fillmore.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Live review: Heart, PNC Music Pavilion (9/16/2016)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 1:58 PM

Heart, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick
PNC Music Pavilion
Sept. 16, 2016

  • Heart

Appropriately called the "Rock Hall Three for All," Heart (inducted in 2013), Joan Jett (inducted in 2015) and Cheap Trick (inducted in 2016) enthralled the crowd at PNC Music Pavilion with an array of hits and covers that lasted nearly four hours. 

Kicking off at 6:30 p.m. with a 75-minute set by Cheap Trick. quick set turnovers provided for nearly nonstop performances. The favorites were all accounted for — though I couldn't help but think how much fun it would be for a few "all star lineup" performances or cameos could have gone a long way. Regardless, each band solidified its legendary rock status with Jett taking the "no bullshit" approach and Heart's vocals stealing the spotlight. 

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Live photos: Brad Paisley, PNC Music Pavilion (9/17/2016)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Brad Paisley, Tyler Farr, Maddie & Tae
PNC Music Pavilion
Sept. 17, 2016

Flanked by bars on each side of the stage, Brad Paisley hit the stage on Saturday night and launched into "Crushin' It" to kick off his concert in the packed outdoor amphitheatre.

His shredding guitar solos entertained the crowd as much as the Panthers' highlight clips shown on the video screen at the back of the stage and his Hendrick Motorsports T-shirt. 

Longevity has helped make Paisley a great entertainer and his opening acts - Maddie & Tae and Tyler Farr - were solid choices to warm up the night. 

As the bars on stage were proof — Paisley knows how to bring the party to the crowd.


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Monday, September 12, 2016

Live review: Dinosaur Jr., Neighborhood Theatre (9/10/2016)

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 12:23 PM

Dinosaur Jr. w/ Cloud Nothings
Neighborhood Theatre
Sept. 10, 2016

Dinosaur Jr.
  • Dinosaur Jr.
The triple Marshall stack should have been the first tipoff that Dinosaur Jr. cranks their volume for live shows. Indeed, when singer/guitarist J Mascis hit the stage and began strumming the first chords of the night, you weren't quite sure if his hair was blowing due to the fan in front of him or the speakers behind him. 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Jon Lindsay’s NC Music Love Army Battles Bigotry with New CD

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 4:53 PM

Back in 2013 when Pat McCrory and his gerrymandered government were dragging North Carolina back to Jim Crow with a litany of unconstitutional legislation, Jon Lindsay and the North Carolina Music Love Army recorded “Dear Mr. McCrory," a protest song lambasting the state’s restrictive voter ID requirements. The United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently struck down the discriminatory law. 
Jon Lindsay (Photo by Johnny Ching)
  • Jon Lindsay (Photo by Johnny Ching)

Now, with voter suppression on the ropes, Lindsay and the Love Army return to take on trans-phobic House Bill 2 with "When You Were a Young Man,” a new song addressed to the governor which Lindsay calls “a sequel to ‘Dear Mr. McCrory’.”

Featuring Pierce Freelon, JSWISS, and Topiq the Smooth Prophet, the tune is a teaser for a new six-track EP, Happy Old Pictures, which will be released on Love Army Records on Friday, Oct. 7, one month before the national and state election.

Recorded with a collective of tarheel musicians including Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown), Kenny Roby (Six String Drag), Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), BJ Barham (American Aquarium) and a host of others, the new disc pairs two older tunes - “Dear Mr. McCrory” and anti-lynching indictment “The Ballad of Lennon Lacey" – with four new songs penned by Lindsay.

The Gospel-infused “Zebulon," is a character portrait of a McCrory’s supporter, “ a guy who feels his world is slipping away from him and never coming back,” Lindsay says. The title tune, “Happy Old Pictures," acknowledges that progressives also need to let go of nostalgia. “Maybe we can never get back to the progressive past we’ve lost,” Lindsay maintains, “but we can get out in the streets with our sisters and brothers and make it something better.”

The EP’s release coincides with Stand Against HB2, “a powerful concert series that has been touring statewide,” says Lindsay. The all-star show, boasting a rotating roster of tarheel performers, comes to the Neighborhood Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 24th with Carey, Six String Drag, The Houston Brothers, The Loudermilks and many more joining Lindsay onstage.

Lindsay is donating money raised by his music and shows to a slate of progressive candidates running for public office across the state. He’s heartened that the right wing’s racist voter suppression has been checked, but adds that McCrory’s administration will have a lasting effect for generations. “It will take a long time to undo the damage they’ve done,” Lindsay says.

Happy Old Pictures tracklist:
1. Zebulon
2. Happy Old Pictures
4. When You Were A Young Man
5. Ballad Of Lennon Lacy
6. Dear Mr. McCrory

Stand Against HB2 at the Neighborhood Theatre lineup:
Caitlin Cary/Tres Chicas
Six String Drag
The Houston Brothers
Alternative Champs
The Loudermilks
Jeffery Dean Foster
Jack The Radio
Ancient Cities
Rapper Shane
Someone's Sister
Christy Snow + many others

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Live photos: Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Charlotte Pride f. K. Michelle, Eden XO, Vassy and more
Uptown Charlotte
Aug. 20, 2016

  • Jeff Hahne
  • Eden XO
Tens of thousands of people swarmed downtown on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, for the first day of the Charlotte Pride festival. An array of sonically diverse performances took place on one end of Tryon Street as artists covering a range of genres from pop and hip-hop to rock and folk entertained the masses. 

Headliner K. Michelle had the crowd singing along to her heartfelt R&B, while Eden XO and Vassy both got the crowd moving and grooving. 

Local bands Lovesucker and Dust & Ashes were highlights with strong songwriting and performances. 

Singer Trey Pearson shared his story of coming out with the crowd, while emcees Big Mamma D, Delighted Tobehere, Joanne Spataro and Malachi kept the audience entertained between acts. 

The overwhelmingly happy mood of the day wasn't deterred by protesters, and one couple even got engaged on stage. Though HB2 has made it difficult for some venues and events to find music acts, Charlotte Pride continued to showcase a strong variety, showing that love can conquer all. 

Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016
Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016 Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016

Charlotte Pride, 8/20/2016

By Jeff Hahne

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Live review: Dixie Chicks, PNC Music Pavilion (8/13/2016)

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 9:55 AM

Dixie Chicks
PNC Music Pavilion
Aug. 13, 2016


In the age of social media, when you think about the comments people make about presidents and presidential candidates, it seems kind of silly that the Dixie Chicks were so harshly viewed for making the statement, "we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas" about then-president George W. Bush.

It's been a rocky 10 years since that statement was made — a decade that saw the Dixie Chicks playing shows here and there but hesitating to hit the road for an extended run. Singer Natalie Maines, a big fan of Howard Stern, would often appear on his Sirius XM radio show and say she felt unsure about how fans would receive them after the 2006 blacklisting by country radio.

Now, as time has passed and fans have constantly turned out for sporadic shows over the years, the Dixie Chicks are in the midst of a 40-date run during which the ladies are being welcomed back with open arms by their fan base and the Charlotte show was no different. 

Fans and the band alike were all smiles throughout the more than two-hour performance that included a handful of cover songs, plenty of hits and a short tribute to Prince. 

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