Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Live review: Bassh, Visulite Theatre (3/25/2016)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Visulite Theatre
March 25, 2016

Folks who associate Jimmy Brown with Matrimony, a Charlotte-formed folk rock project with wife Ashlee Hardee, got a surprise during Friday night’s Bassh show. The band, which formed in Nashville, Tenn., and comprises Brown and CJ Hardee (Ashlee’s brother and another member of Matrimony), along with other musicians, hit the stage with electronic-tinged rock tunes that took the decibels up a notch compared to past projects. The experience is louder and angrier with some songs lamenting on heartbreak and the mantra that “nothing lasts forever."

Since the band’s album isn’t out yet, it was impossible to figure out the names of specific songs played during the set, which consisted of 12 well-polished tunes. On “Animal,” Brown seems to protest work ethics and bassist Hardee joins in with a quick rap-laced outburst. Then, on the band’s single “Body,” they come together on the mic for an anthemic chorus, infected with lyrics like “Change is coming. Change comes from the runaway. Listen to your body.” Haunting and inspiring, the track is just one of many that the group has been working for an upcoming album produced by Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses.

Vocals from Brown, a Belfast-native, strike a powerful chord throughout the set and keyboards add extra sonic elements and a deeper dimension to the rock set. A song that’s lyrics urge “don’t look back” gets three stars on my scribbled patch of notes. Oh, we’ll be looking back and most definitely keeping Bassh on our radar.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 7, Part I

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Rapper Maf Maddix seems to do it all. On the latest episode of [Untitled] with Lara Americo, his jazz-tinged rhymes filled The Last Word like plumes of smoke in a speakeasy, seeping into the old books on the shelves.

But Maf lacks one skill: Playing checkers. While he can cast a spell when rapping about inequality and hardship, he is no match for my board game.

In this week’s episode, Maf and I have a friendly yet competitive checkers match while digging into the power of words. 

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 6, Part II

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 10:08 AM

This week’s episode of [Untitled] with Lara Americo is an ode to the first day of spring, which officially started on Sunday. The band Death of August plays their original song, “Equinox.” Vocalist Helena Radeva and guitarist Amirah Brunache give us a killer riff a la Guns 'n' Roses and take us on their heavy metal-soaked odyssey.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Live photos: Fetty Wap, The Fillmore (3/18/2016)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Monster Energy Outbreak Tour Presents Fetty Wap: Welcome To The Zoo
The Fillmore
March 18, 2016

Fetty Wap and a whole bunch of his RGF Productions artists invaded The Fillmore on Friday night for a long night of rap, hip-hop and dance as part of the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour Presents Fetty Wap: Welcome To The Zoo concert. Plenty of artists were dabbing the night away as rapper after rapper hit the stage for short showcases of their music. 

The night kicked off with B'iousha and slowly built up to lengthier sets by M80, Inas X and T Wayne before Fetty Wap finally hit the stage after 10 p.m. and gave the crowd everything they'd been asking for. He was all smiles as friends on stage kept the mood set on "party."

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Live review: Rihanna, Time Warner Cable Arena (3/20/2016)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:46 AM

Time Warner Cable Arena
March 20, 2016
Rihanna at a previous stop on the Anti World Tour. - DENNIS LEUPOLD
  • Dennis Leupold
  • Rihanna at a previous stop on the Anti World Tour.
With Monday mere hours away, you’d think the streets would be empty, everyone in the Queen City prepping for another day at work or school. Sunday night, however, they were empty because everyone was packed into Time Warner Cable Arena to see Rihanna’s Anti World Tour. There wasn’t a seat left empty in the house, and people from all walks of life, shapes, sizes and races came together to say: “Bitch Better Have My Money.”

Well, that and about two-dozen of Rihanna’s other hits, of which there are an impressive number for such a young artist. The Barbados singer (full name Robyn Rihanna Fenton) had her first hit when she was only 17, after being immediately signed on by then Def Jam president Jay Z, and her career has skyrocketed ever since. She’s won eight Grammys, is one of the youngest solo artists to earn more than 14 number one singles, and just released her eighth album, Anti. And she’s only 28.

Despite being so young, she’s an industry veteran, and chose to really reinvent her style and sound for the release of Anti. She can be anything she wants to be, having embraced everything from badass to hood girl and everything in between, but this time around, the focus is just on artistry, musically and visually.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 6, Part I

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 7:01 AM

There’s a thrilling disconnect between seeing and hearing the band Death of August. You may hear a solid combination of rhythm and lead guitar with heavy drums that rival a seasoned metal band, but you see two teenagers that still need to do Algebra homework after a show.

Soft-spoken vocalist and guitarist Helena Redeva balances high school life with her lead singer duties. Her bandmate, guitarist Amirah Brunache sighs at this. “You’re probably the coolest one in high school,” says Amirah, although she can shred on her guitar, red hair tips bouncing with each head bang. It’s safe to say both of them make their schoolhouse rock.

On this week’s [Untitled] with Lara Americo, two petite teenagers melt our faces. There are no whimsical Taylor Swift covers here.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Live review: Coheed and Cambria, The Fillmore (3/8/2016)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 11:37 AM

Coheed and Cambria
The Fillmore
March 8, 2016

  • Photo by Justin Driscoll
  • Coheed and Cambria

It was your typical Tuesday night at the Fillmore, except the place was so packed, there was barely room to hold a drink. Coheed and Cambria fans showed out, waiting two hours and enduring three other bands because of their undying love for four musicians. Few groups could pack a house like this two decades into their career, but Coheed and Cambria can.

Coheed and Cambria hail from Nyack, New York, and formed in 1995. During their run they’ve amassed a massive musical catalogue that has touched on every genre from progressive rock and heavy metal to post hardcore and, now, elements of pop. They’ve spent their career writing concept albums based on a science fiction storyline called The Amory Wars, written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez, but for their newest album, they switched up their sound. Their latest, The Color Before the Sun, was released in October, and is an almost abrupt departure from their usual work. One, because it’s their first non-concept album; two, because it has a noticeably poppy, upbeat sound than the dark rock opera they usually.

Seeing them tour the new material for the first time, it’s like they created the new songs for the purpose of the live performance, not the other way around. Coheed has always been theatrical rockers, fully embracing lighting and pyrotechnics as the backdrop to their heavy rock sound, but even the tone of the stage effects is lighter.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Band Perry to perform at 2016 Speed Street

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 1:51 PM

Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street has come under fire in recent years for its lack of exciting performers on its stages in Uptown Charlotte. Looking to infuse a bit more interest in the 2016 edition of the street festival, the performers announced for this year's festival are Chris Young and Montgomery Gentry on Friday, May 27, and Kellie Pickler and The Band Perry on May 28.

The Band Perry
  • The Band Perry

“We couldn’t be more excited by this year’s music lineup. The fans asked for a higher quality and more current artists, and we heard them loud and clear,” said Jay Howard, president of JHE Production and 21-year producer of the annual event, in a press release. 

The only difference — this year's main stage performances will be gated and cost $15 each night. Ticket go on sale Friday. The musical entertainment for Thursday, May 26, has not yet been announced.

While those who aren't country music fans might be a bit disappointed, we have to give the festival credit in booking some big names to perform at this year's festival and hope the trend continues into the future, if only with a bit more diversity in its ranks. 

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[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 4, Part II

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 7:00 AM

It seems musicians Albert Strawn and Derrick Hines of Bless These Sounds Under the City were transported from a past life, where music had a pure, wandering soul. This duo may have been a pair of troubadours from the 11th century, traveling singers that were croning about chilvalry and courtly love. While this duo seems ripped from the past, a lottery ticket on the refridgerator told me they were firmly in the present and future. Albert, munching on a bag of hard ginger candy, said he hopes he and Derrick will strike it big. Their music in this episode of [Untitled] with Lara Americo tells me they are already on their way.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Live photos: Adam Lambert, The Fillmore (3/6/2016)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Adam Lambert
The Fillmore
March 6, 2016
  • Photo by Jeff Hahne
  • Adam Lambert

American Idol
alum Adam Lambert rolled into The Fillmore last night for his The Original High tour in support of his third studio album of the same name. Lambert's performance added a hint of theatrics with plenty of dancing to highlight his singing chops which have come a long way since the Idol days. The 34-year-old wasn't afraid to throw a handful of covers into his setlist either, performing songs by Pink, David Bowie, Tears for Fears and Queen.

For Your Entertainment
Ghost Town
Whataya Want From Me
After Hours
Mad World
Another Lonely Night
The Light
The Original High
Close Our Eyes
Let's Dance
If I Had You

Another One Bites the Dust

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