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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Live photos: Lara Americo and Radio Lola Light Up the Evening Muse (2/15/2017)

Posted By 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
Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017 Lara Americo, Evening Muse, 2/15/2017

Lara America and Radio Lola at the Evening Muse, 2/15/2017

By Jeff Hahne

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Live photos: Bassh, The Underground (1/28/2017)

Posted By 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.

Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017
Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017 Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017

Bassh, The Underground, 1/28/2017

By Jeff Hahne

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Live review: 95.1 Kissmas 2016, Spectrum Center (12/13/2016)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 10:06 PM

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.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Live review: Evanescence, The Fillmore (11/15/2016)

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 11:13 AM

  • Evanescence
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.

  • Veridia
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.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Live Review: Fitz and the Tantrums, The Fillmore (11/9/16)

Posted By on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 at 11:36 AM

If you were looking for a distraction from the chaos resulting from Tuesday's election of Donald Trump as president on Wednesday night, you’d have found it at the Fillmore Charlotte.

  • Jeff Hahne

The Fillmore played host to one of the hottest acts to emerge on the scene in recent years and gave people something akin to hope after a devastating election the night before. Fitz and the Tantrums completely took over the Queen City without uttering so much as a word between songs.

Fitz and the Tantrums are an indie-pop and neo soul band that began in Los Angeles in 2008. They
  • Jeff Hahne
 released their debut, “Pickin’ Up the Pieces,” in 2010 and hit number one on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Rolling Stone profiled the group in 2011, naming them one to watch, and they followed up their critically acclaimed release with 2013’s “More Than Just a Dream.”

The band made a name for itself as one that can unite fans from all walks of life. That was evident, judging by the crowd packing the Fillmore Charlotte last night. The audience was full of people aged from 16 to 60 who showed up to fill the club in anticipation of the indie group’s set. Families could be seen taking selfies as all ages waited for the show to begin, eager for a fun release following an exhausting past 24 hours. From the moment the band graced the stage to the encore, every single member of the audience was completely immersed in a frenzy of screaming, singing and — above all — dance.

“Clearly this isn’t a show for wall flowers,” lead singer Michael Fitzpatrick said between songs, as co-singer Noelle Scaggs egged him on.

Despite the generational gap and difference in temperament of their loyal fans, Fitzpatrick was right — every single audience member raised their hands and stomped their feet in time to the music at the singer's slightest coaxing. It didn’t matter if they were playing old favorites like “Moneygrabber” or songs from the new album like “Tricky” and “Roll Up,” the crowd was in the palm of their hands and completely into each and every track they played.

  • Jef Hahne
It’s rare to see an act command an audience like this. Fitz and the Tantrums have it down to a science, able to bring a crowd to their feet with even a subtle beckoning or have them waving in unison while the group is getting their groove on. The band brought a fun atmosphere to a crowd desperately in need of an escape from reality and flawlessly played through a fun set that captured the essence of a time when pop-synth ruled the airwaves.

Next time you’re looking for a fun escape from reality, see if Fitz and the Tantrums are touring near you. They’re guaranteed to give you a musical escape that will encourage you to leave your inhibitions behind.

1. Get Right Back
2. Spark
3. Don’t Gotta Work It
4. Out of My League
5. Run It
6. Break the Walls
7. Breakin’ the Chains of Love
8. Walking Target
9. Complicated
10. Fool’s Gold
11. Roll Up
12. Do What You Want
13. MoneyGrabber
14. Burn It Down
15. L.O.V.

16. HandClap
17. 6 A.M.
18. The Walker

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Live photos: Jon Bon Jovi, The Fillmore (11/6/2016)

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 1:39 PM

Get Out the Vote w/ Jon Bon Jovi
The Fillmore
Nov. 6, 2016

A small crowd filled the Fillmore on Sunday night for a dose of politics and music. A series of short speeches gave way to a brief acoustic performance by Jon Bon Jovi with a theme, of course, of getting out to vote.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Live Review: Phantogram, The Fillmore

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Wandering around uptown Charlotte October 29, you were likely to see an army of girls dressed like Harley Quinn and guys done up like zombies. After all, it was Halloween weekend and the bars were popping. If you were to follow some of those costumed folks hanging around the NC Music Factory, however, they would have led you to an entirely different scene. Phantogram played to a packed house (full of an assortment of Halloween creatures) Saturday night and brought a new level of eeriness to the festivities thanks to their trademark sound.

The night kicked off with a solid performance by The Range, a DJ/producer based out of Brooklyn, New York. He took the stage dressed as a skeleton and amped up the crowd before the main event. The Range is known for creating an uplifting atmosphere, playing tracks of his own creation that sample artists from all areas of music. He spun his way through an hour set that included snippets of songs from everyone from YouTube musicians to the latest heavy hitters in the industry. He left the crowd hyped and ready to dance the night away for the next act up, Phantogram.

To a world that loves to categorize musical acts, Phantogram poses a conundrum. They aren’t quite electronica, not quite pop, not quite rock — they’ve essentially invented their own brand of music that manages to touch on all three with their haunting tracks. Yet they’ve made a name for themselves by forging their own path and creating music that’s just as mesmerizing on stage as on the radio.

Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel began Phantogram in 2007 in Saratoga Springs, NY. The group released their first alum, Phantogram EP, that year and gained the attention of the music world with tracks like Mouthful of Diamonds and When I’m Small. They immediately followed up their debut EP with another, called the Running From the Cops EP, through BBE Records. Carter and Barthel finally released their first full-length album Eyelid Movies a year later.

On Saturday night, a screen initially separated the audience from Phantogram. At first puzzled, the crowd soon got hype seeing that the transparent screen served as a canvas for Phantogram to paint a picture of their pulsating tracks, creating 3D effects through the use of lasers, lights and projections. The duo’s set began with Funeral Pyre, hauntingly kicking off their Halloween weekend show while their silhouettes flashed abruptly on and off the screen. Fans didn’t even catch a glimpse of Carter and Barthel until they launched into Blackout Days.

The effects were simple, but effective, the perfect complement to the ambience created by the band. Their newer sound is almost enchanting. Every song was perfectly placed to build the crowd up, culminating in the explosive When I’m Small to close out their set. They returned to the stage for a four-song encore, including their latest single that’s guaranteed to rock the airwaves, You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.

Barthel is the voice and the face of the group, and the songs on the group’s newest release especially allow her to showcase her incredible vocal range. Songs like Destroyer took the focus off of the mesmerizing lights show and allowed the focus to stay on her. Draped in a long black cape, she took center stage amongst smoke and projected flames to remind the crowd of she and Carter’s incredible musicianship. They really got a chance to shine.

Phantogram’s set only lasted about 90 minutes, but in that time they made what could have been a hokey holiday event an intriguing, enchanting spectacle. They’re incredibly talented musicians that will be back again — next time, don’t miss them.

1. Funeral Pyre
2. Blackout Days
3. Don’t Move
4. Turning Into Stone
5. You’re Mine
6. Same Old Blues
7. Answer
8. Mouthful of Diamonds
9. Howling at the Moon
10. Bad Dreams
11. Destroyer
12. When I’m Small


13. Barking Dog
14. Cruel World
15. Fall in Love
16. You Don’t Get Me High Anymore

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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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