By Jeff Hahne
on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 9:34 AM
Lara Americo, Radio Lola
Evening Muse Feb. 15, 2017
A double billing of emotionally charged artists lit up the Evening Muse on Wednesday night as Lara Americo performed at her tour opener along with Charlotte blues-rockers Radio Lola. Where Lola singer Dani Engle belted out her soulful strengths and hit the audience with tales of heartache and love, Lara Americo used a more subtle style to share personal tales of love and struggles. The trangender artist's insight tore at empathetic heartstrings giving insight into her journey. The emotional weight of the night can be heard on each artist's recent album — Radio Lola's The Burden in Our Bones and Americo's She/They.
Lara America and Radio Lola at the Evening Muse, 2/15/2017
By Mark Kemp
on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 2:18 PM
"I don't know how far I should go into Alphonse's background," Ashby Blakely says of his alter ego Alphonse Tampone of the World Famous Tampones, a gag act he does with Nicia Carla as Carmella Tampone "Like our show, some of his story might be inappropriate." In these clips, The Tampones only get slightly inappropriate. Watch it, then go see their Very Special Valentine's Cabaret at Petra's.
By Mark Kemp
on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 6:48 PM
Charlotte rapper Black Linen premiered his new album and singer Darian La Sparrow mesmerized the crowd with her silky smooth but nuanced jazz vocals Monday night at Petra's in Plaza Midwood.
It was Le Anna Eden's inaugural "Session: A Listening Party," in which the singer-songwriter hosts nights of local musicians she wants Charlotteans to hear. Black Linen performed songs from his new album, Black Linen II: The Eagle & the Wolfr. The rapper, whose birth name is Solomon Conyers, also performs under the name 7th Soana, and has released numerous tracks and EPs on his Soundcloud page, including a 2007 series, "Fuck Money Get Free," or FMGF.
In this clip from the show, he performs the track "Hits" along with Jessika S. Johnson on vocals (Eden and Johnson both sing on the album version) and Monty Mak on piano.
Opener Darian La Sparrow, a Charlotte singer who's appeared as guest vocalist on numerous rap albums and also releases stellar videos of her songs on her Youtube channel, closed her earlier performance with a show-stopping interpretation of "My Funny Valentine," which also featured Mak on the keys. You can watch a snippet of her performance in the clip below.
By Jeff Hahne
on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 9:20 AM
Bassh, Grand Shell Game, Bruce Hazel
The Underground Jan. 28, 2017
As a founding member of Matrimony, singer/guitarist Jimmy Brown showcased his songwriting talent with a folk-rock backdrop. On Saturday night at The Underground, fans familiar with that project got an earful of the heavier side of Brown's talents. Digitized vocals, crushing guitar riffs and a bit of electronic infusion drives the music of Bassh and a small crowd soaked in every note. It was the cap on a night that spotlighted familiar names to music fans from the Queen City.
The night got started with Bruce Hazel and members of his band Temperance League rolling through with blue-collar garage rock in the vein of Springsteen. From there, it was the jam-infused folk-rock of the Triangle area's Grand Shell Game featuring Eric-Scott Guthrie (ex-New Familiars) showcasing Guthrie's poetic vocals with plenty of Allman-inspired jam tradeoffs between the keys and guitars. Guthrie and Brown, both of whom have graduated from a folk pastlife into more electric landscapes, proved that talented songwriters can shape their craft within any genre.
By Mark Kemp
on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Creative Loafing stumbled into Charlotte grit-rockers Modern Primitives — drummer Phillip Gripper, bassist Tim Nhu and front man Travis Phillips — on the back patio at Common Market in Plaza Midwood Thursday night.
The guys were in mid-PBR consumption when we caught Phillips in the act of imitating Yoda from the Youtube clip "SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)," the Bad Lip Reading spoof of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back that apparently everybody but your humble correspondent has seen.
For comparison, we've submitted a pair of videos — Phillips' imitation, and the original. Decide for yourself how well our guy did:
Derrick Worthy is a different kind of Double Door regular. He's been selling hot dogs outside the blues club — which closed its doors Monday after 43 years as Charlotte blues institution — every Monday night for the past two years
"I'm gonna miss the place. It's special," he tells CL in this clip, as sheets of rain poured down like tears on the canopy covering his A Worthy Dog hotdog stand. "We have everybody come in; it's a diversified crowd, everybody from attorneys to plumbers to musicians to hospitality workers."
Worthy's gonna miss it, he says — "especially the money."
95.1 Kissmas Concert f. Shawn Mendes, Alessia Cara, DNCE, Hailee Steinfeld, Charli XCX, JoJo
Spectrum Center Dec. 13, 2016
As the calendar creeps closer to Christmas, Charlotteans prepare themselves by participating in a variety of local holiday events. That includes the annual Kissmas Concert hosted by Kiss 95.1 FM. This year’s set of stars was bigger and better than ever, as reflected in the event venue moving to the Spectrum Center (formerly Time Warner Cable Arena). The showcase featured six pop artists: JoJo, Charli XCX, Hailee Steinfeld, Alessia Cara, DNCE and headliner Shawn Mendes.
Unfortunately, though there was plenty of talent and star power in the house, it was overshadowed by poor scheduling, very little production value and sets that felt rushed.
By Jeff Hahne
on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:13 AM
Evanescence w/ Veridia
The Fillmore Nov. 15, 2016
For the last four years, Evanescence fans have waited for a reunion tour after the hard rock band went on hiatus in 2012. Charlotte-area fans got their wish with a tour stop at the Fillmore on Tuesday night that didn't disappoint from the opening notes to the closing chords.
The night opened with a short set from Veridia that set the tone early with its hard rock sound. The band was solid, yet a bit forgettable, simply offering a good warmup set. The crowd's focus was on what was yet to come.
Then, Evanescence hit the stage with the energy of a quintet who acted like they'd never been offstage in the last few years and sounded like they never missed a beat or note.
Charlotte rapper and producer Brio has moved one step closer to releasing BLEU, a project that's been three years in the making. Creative Loafing wrote about Brio's patient process with BLEU back in July, and now the release of "Gone" marks the rollout of that project. Well, sort of. "Gone" will be featured on LITEBLEU, a prequel EP of sorts to BLEU.
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The song is Brio's reintroduction to the game, although he's been around — performing in Charlotte and Atlanta and releasing a video in July. In "Gone," he speaks with a whispered voice over an eerie piano beat about where he's been and his readiness to release his new material. Brio brought along fellow Charlotte rapper Ron Lui for "Gone," and he keeps the mellowed effect going while contrasting Brio's whisper with a deeper, auto-tuned delivery.
The addition of the same exclamatory samples you grew up hearing behind Rob Bass in "It Takes Two" makes for an interesting contrast in the beat, produced by Brio, since those noises have been viscerally attached to a dance beat in America's collective musical conscious. It does add to the song in a subtle, head-nodding way, however.
Brio plans to follow up on the release of "Gone" with a video for his previously released single, "Sapphire." He says he hopes to release BLEU this winter. Check out more of his music here.