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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chicago Free-Jazz 'Genius' to Blow Through McColl Center

Posted By on Thu, May 11, 2017 at 3:47 PM

I found myself complaining a lot in the CL office last month about the generally tepid "jazz" on display — or the museum-style approach to this country's most vibrant and uniquely American musical genre — during the Charlotte (So-Called) Jazz Festival that took place across Uptown in late April. There were a few decent programs, but for the most part, the kind of genuine contemporary jazz and its adventurous tentacles that continue to live and breathe and squawk and holler — the improvised music ignited by John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra, and built on by artists like Matana Roberts and Ken Vandermark — were not in evidence at the polite Uptown get-down.

It's not as though Charlotte doesn't have its own forward-looking ensembles. There's Ghost Trees, featuring the phenomenal local saxophonist Brent Bagwell and drummer Seth Nanaa. And there's the terrific musicians who performed behind the cast of Quentin Talley's production of Miles & Coltrane: Blue (.) at Duke Energy Theater in late March. But there's not enough of it here. And there's not enough attention paid to what is here.

For those who, like me, get frustrated with what's often marketed as jazz, the Chicago saxophonist (and MacArthur "Genius" winner) Vandermark, a giant of the free-improvisation world, will perform Friday, May 12, at the McColl Center For Art + Innovation in his duo with trumpet player Nate Wooley. The performance is part of the McColl Center's terrific New Frequencies series that's also brought in Charlotte's Ghost Trees and, more recently, such regional artists as singer-songwriter John Darnielle and Superchunk's Mac McCaughan in a rare performance with harpist Mary Lattimore.
Vandermark (left) and Wooley.
  • Vandermark (left) and Wooley.
"New Frequencies at McColl Center gives artists a platform to showcase innovative, exciting and adventurous performances in Charlotte," says series curator Armando Bellmas, who also serves as the McColl Center's director of marketing and communications. "For instance, when Mac McCaughan was here, he performed a set of improvisational music to a self-produced film – totally different from what he’s known for as the lead for Superchunk. New Frequencies at McColl Center gave him the space, and money, to try his adventurous ideas out in public."

To be sure, Vandermark is no stranger to Charlotte. The reedman has performed here several times through the years and has something of a local following. And as it did for McCaughan, the New Frequencies series is offering Vandermark and Wooley, who have worked together as a duo since 2013, an opportunity to try something a little different. "They have performed and recorded before," Bellmas says, "but for this set, each will perform a short solo set, then come together for a duo set to finish the show."

Watch Nate Wooley and Ken Vandermark perform Wooley's "Killtown" at New York's Issue Project Room in 2013:



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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

5 Bands Worth Catching Before 5:30 at Carolina Rebellion 2017

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 2:01 PM

The Charlotte-area's largest music festival, Carolina Rebellion has bringing an array of metal bands to the region since 2011. What started as a two-day event at Metrolina Expo has developed into three days of heavy rock and metal at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord. This year features plenty of bands that have been there before, along with a handful of must-see undercard performers. With cooler weather expected this weekend, it's a great time for a big festival to kick off the outdoor concert season.

Here are five bands on the undercard you should make it a point to see:


1. Taking Back Sunday (Sunday, 5:20 p.m.) – First off, we had to assume that Taking Back Sunday would be playing on Sunday, right? Regardless, Carolina Rebellion’s only local act will undoubtedly bring the fire to the Black Stage. The band continues touring in support of its seventh album, Tidal Wave. With each new release, the group continues to redefine the boundaries of the hardcore genre and show more maturity in its songwriting.

2. Dillinger Escape Plan (Friday, 1 p.m.) – Every time I watch Dillinger Escape Plan in concert, I’m convinced someone is going to leave the stage in stitches. From the first notes, every band member cranks their enthusiasm to 11 and throws inhibition to the wind. I’ve seen guitarist Ben Weinman climb scaffolding and jump off of speakers, while bassist Liam Wilson has fallen off the stage more than once. Visually, the band’s stage show is as frantic and high-speed as its music.

3. Eagles of Death Metal (Friday, 2 p.m.) – Sadly, the band’s fame was kicked up a notch after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. They were performing at the Bataclan when shots rang out in the crowd and nearly 90 fans were killed. Since then, the band has soldiered on with a variety of lineups. Though Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme doesn’t tour with them, the band’s other original member, frontman Jesse Hughes, continues leading the way.

4. Every Time I Die
(Friday 5:10 p.m.) – A mixture of Southern metal and screamo, Every Time I Die has continued to set itself apart from the masses with a sense of melody merged with the talent of singer Keith Buckley. Expect to hear something from the band’s recent Record Store Day release, Salem.

5. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes (Saturday, 3:10 p.m.) – Formerly the frontman of Gallows, Frank Carter left that band in 2011 and started this project. He’s got an intense screaming style that makes you wonder how his voice lasts more than three songs. At Warped Tour with Gallows, Carter wasted no time in jumping from the stage and having a circle pit swirl around him while he sang during the band’s entire set. One can only hope he does the same thing here.

Honorable mentions in prime time

Mastodon (Friday, 6:45 p.m.) - Don't miss these Atlanta rockers who continue putting their stamp on Southern metal.

Soundgarden (Friday, 9:45 p.m.) - The band finally returns to redeem the festival after they were rained out in 2013. Regardless, Chris Cornell is one of the best singers you're going to hear all weekend and he's been at it for more than three decades.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

CL EXCLUSIVE: World Premiere of 'Rotated,' by Ali Steele, Black Linen & Cosa Nostra Que

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 9:49 AM

Happy 4/20, folks. And for your pleasure, enjoy this ode to the weed from Charlotte artists Ali Steele, Black Linen and Cosa Rostra Que — premiering today exclusively at Creative Loafing.



You'll find the following background on how this song came about in our 'Top 10 Marijuana Songs by Charlotte Artists' list in CL's annual 4/20 issue on newsstands today, as well as the other nine tracks:

True story: About a week ago I'm crowd-sourcing ideas for this list and ask a few local musicians and promoters I know for recommendations. One of the musicians is Solomon Tetteh, aka rapper Black Linen, who I wrote about in Creative Loafing back in February. He's one of those story subjects who's since become a friend. Don't judge me. It happens.

He makes a few recommendations. I ask him, "Don't you have one?" He says, "No." I say, "You've never written a weed song?" He says, "No." I say, "Well, write one and record it by next week and if it's good we'll use it."

Don't dare a rapper.

I'll let Black Linen tell what happened next: "So I'm on my way to Soule Jukebox to record a submission piece for the Sounds of the Queen City Charlotte anthem contest with Ali Steele. As we're riding I go, 'Aye man, I need a weed song for 4/20,' and his exact words are, 'Bruh, I've been playing this track for you every time we are riding around, and it's a weed song.' And I think to myself, 'I need to stop smokin.'

"Two days later we picked up his cousin Cosa Nostra Que to aid us in some vocals, and headed to Si-Fi Media Studios. We recorded the track in no time with the aid of Si-Fi's engineering skills. It was produced by Jet Fuel Beats of Umbrella Mindz and will debut on 4/20."

Right here at CL, of course. And then you can be the judge.


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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

VIDEO: Watch The Menders Unveil a New Song, "Pass It On"

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 4:20 PM


Last week I headed out to Bessemer City to catch up with The Menders, whose new album, Nina, comes out this week. You can check out the band's newest song, "Pass It On" — scheduled to appear on Nina's followup —  in this video. And head over to Freeman's Pub in Gastonia this Friday at 10 p.m. for Nina's release party. Oh, and don't miss my story on The Menders in this week's Creative Loafing, which hits racks all across the Charlotte area on Wednesday, March 15.



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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Watch Charlotte's Sinners & Saints Sing Sweet Harmonies

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 12:42 PM


On the cover of Creative Loafing Charlotte this week: Pat Moran writes about Mark Baran and Perry Fowler of the Charlotte acoustic duo Sinners & Saints. Check out his video clip of them doing what they do best: harmonizing on a sweet country-folk tune.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Watch The World Famous Tampones Tease You — Twice

Posted By 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.


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