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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