Monday, May 28, 2018

Bishop Briggs stuns sold-out Underground

Posted By on Mon, May 28, 2018 at 10:15 PM

Bishop Briggs w/ Foreign Air
May 25, 2018
The Underground

The first time Bishop Briggs played in Charlotte, she was warming up for Kaleo at The Underground. "This show is so much better than the last time," Briggs joked with the sold-out crowd.

Aside from being the headliner this time around, Briggs also had a studio album under her belt. The effortless power of her vocals and unending energy on stage had the crowd singing along for the duration of her 70-minute set.

Sandwiched between hit singles, "White Flag" and "River" were an array of songs to showcase her style and vocals. She won't be playing venues of this size for long.

Charlotte's own Foreign Air, featuring Jesse Clasen (HRVRD, The Bear Romantic), opened the night and got the entire crowd moving with their indie brand of electro rock.

The band is often on tour, but I can't imagine them holding opening slots much longer. Don't miss either act the next time they're in town.

Bishop Briggs setlist
White Flag
Wild Horses
Tempt My Trouble
The Way I Do
Be Your Love
The Fire
Hallowed Ground
Hi Lo (Hollow)


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Fans leave Outlaw Music Festival disappointed

Posted By on Mon, May 28, 2018 at 10:02 PM

2018 Outlaw Music Festival
May 26, 2018
PNC Music Pavilion

Brandi Carlile dropped off the lineup. Then Elvis Costello dropped off. The Outlaw Music Festival at PNC Music Pavilion was holding on by the strength of its headliners — Sturgill Simpson and Willie Nelson.

So, when the set times were announced, it's no surprise the crowd was sparse for the day's opening acts, including Lee Mitchell, Horse Feathers and Old Crow Medicine Show.

As the night went on, the crowd got bigger as anticipation grew. Sturgill Simpson rocked through his set, winning over countless fans. More jam than country, his quartet pushed the boundaries of every song.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

WATCH THIS: Legendary C+C Music Factory Rapper Freedom Williams Surprises Charlotte Rapper Phaze Gawd on Special 'Local Vibes/Yo! CLT Raps' Podcast

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 5:56 PM

Charlotte native Tony Potts, also known as rapper Tony P. and Phaze Gawd, was just 8 the first time he performed for an audience. He was tapped by his elementary school to rap the Freedom Williams part in multiplatinum-selling C+C Music Factory’s iconic 1990 hip-house hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance).”

Freedom Williams was just 8 the first time he performed for an audience, too. He was tapped by his elementary school to portray Frederick Douglass.

When Williams read the online version of Creative Loafing's recent feature story on Tony P., he felt a connection to his younger Charlotte protégé whom he’d never even met. Williams, 52, was so inspired by the story that he contacted Creative Loafing and asked if we could get him together with the 26-year-old rapper who calls himself Phaze Gawd.

On Wednesday, May 23, the veteran New York rapper flew to Charlotte from his home in Brooklyn to surprise Tony P. on Creative Loafing’s Local Vibes podcast. It was part of a joint audio and video presentation with Th3 Higher rapper Tizzy Farragami’s Yo! CLT Raps and videographer Barry Espy's Espy Productions.
Generational rap summit: Tony P. (aka Phaze Gawd) meets legendary C+C Music Factory rapper Freedom Williams.
  • Generational rap summit: Tony P. (aka Phaze Gawd) meets legendary C+C Music Factory rapper Freedom Williams.

You can watch the documentary of this special meeting in the Espy-produced video at top and listen to us surprise Tony P. on the Local Vibes/Yo! CLT Raps podcast below.

“When I read [Tony P.'s] story, I was like, that’s real — from Frederick Douglass to Freedom Williams to Phaze Gawd. I saw it as transitionary… a musical connection," Williams tells us in the podcast. "Where do you get inspiration from? How do you get inspired? How do we define inspiration?

“And in that small space, it inspired me,” Williams says. “He re-inspired me, because it made me think about a very important part of my life. He inspired me through my own work.”
Listen to the podcast to hear the lead-up to the surprise:

Williams, who’s been touring the oldies rap circuit with fellow veteran acts including Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty By Nature and Tone Loc, came to Charlotte to meet Tony P. in between performances in Iceland and Denmark. Williams’ hits with C+C Music Factory include “Gonna Make You Sweat,” which shot to No. 1 in 1991, followed by “Here We Go (Let's Rock & Roll),” which peaked at No. 3, and "Things That Make You Go Hmmm," which reached No. 4. This June he’ll release an updated version of his first hit as “Sweat25” and is currently working on an EP, #SweatCollectives.

Creative Loafing had told Tony P. that we were doing a routine joint Local Vibes/Yo! CLT Raps podcast and wanted him to come talk about his new Phaze Gawd album, Dark Dreams. At the beginning of the podcast, we discuss the album with him, but at the 5:45 mark, we ask if he remembers the lyrics to “Gonna Make You Sweat.” (We knew he did.) As he begins rapping, Freedom Williams walks into the studio and begins rapping along with Tony P., who turns around to see his childhood influence standing right behind him.

“Oh, whoa, WHOA! That’s insane!” Tony P. exclaims. “Yo, my heart’s like jumping right now… that’s love.”

In the episode, Tony P. and Freedom Williams go on to talk about the individual early performances that charted the course for each of their lives, in different places at different times in hip-hop history. And the two bond over the connecting power of music.

Tony P. explains that when he rapped Williams’ part in “Gonna Make You Sweat” back in elementary school, he was part of a larger theatrical production about early-‘90s popular music. “It was a piece basically dedicated to that whole time era,” the Charlotte rapper says. “So they had stuff like Janet Jackson — you know, different hip-hop and R&B artists playing … I was the only hip-hop act — the hip-hop representative in this play. So understanding that performing was what I wanted to do, and wanting to be on that stage … I was going to take this as seriously as I can.”

Williams remembers going onstage as a child dressed up like Frederick Douglass: “I had the tux on and the baby powder in my hair, like Frederick Douglass, and I was like, ‘Yo, I’m gonna smash this!’”

As the two generations of rap talk about their earliest performances, my podcast partner Ryan Pitkin, Yo! CLT Raps' Tizzy Farragami and videographer Barry Espy are just honored to be present for such a moving meeting of two great musical minds — one of them a rising rapper from the Queen City who calls himself Phaze Gawd.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

St. Vincent drops jaws at The Fillmore

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 11:25 PM

St. Vincent
The Fillmore
May 21, 2018

It's been almost exactly three years since St. Vincent performed in Charlotte. Last time around, in June of 2015 (also at the Fillmore), she combined a stunning combination of choreographed visuals and sonic explorations. On Monday night, the singer/guitarist also known as Annie Clark made a triumphant return to the Queen City. No opening act was needed as Clark hit the stage around 8:45 and thundered through another delightful 90-minute set. Appearing relaxed on stage in a nude bodysuit with orange boots and arm coverings, Clark's persona was more Starman this time around. Her tunes always stay true to album form until she unleashes brief musical torrents from her guitar. Where here last show was sparse in lighting, she had three massive light panels on stage that bathed the band in different colorful moods, such as red for "Masseduction." Haven't seen her live yet? What are you waiting for? She's one of music's finest artistic forces these days.

Los Ageless
New York
Hang on Me
Huey Newton
Digital Witness
Young Lover
Slow Disco
Fear the Future

Happy Birthday, Johnny
Smoking Section

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

5 memorable moments from Carolina Rebellion 2018

Posted By on Sun, May 20, 2018 at 11:45 PM

Carolina Rebellion
May 4-6, 2018
Rock City Campground at Charlotte Motor Speedway

For the 8th year, Carolina Rebellion rolled into the Charlotte, NC area (one year at Metrolina Expo, one year in Rockingham, NC and the last six years at Charlotte Motor Speedway) with a multi-day metal extravaganza.

While numerous bands have played the festival multiple times, each year brings forth moments that stand above the rest. If you weren't at this year's three-day event, here's the top 5 moments you missed:

1. The Fever 333 brought the politics of Rage Against the Machine with the energy of a F5 tornado to Carolina Rebellion. Singer Jason Aalon Butler made a name for himself with his previous band, letlive, but The Fever 333 brings the fury to a new level. The band performed from the middle of the circle pit, did their best to tear up the stage (literally) and Butler even dragged the entire drum riser a few feet on his own. The band's 30-minute set on Sunday was the highlight of the entire festival.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

VIDEO PREMIERE: JaH Monte Releases New Clip For "Thornton Avenue Lords"

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 2:21 PM

It begins with a brief history lesson on hip-hop before kicking into a groove and jumping right into the story of one JaH Monte. The Charlotte rapper's new Barry Espy-directed video for the song "Thornton Avenue Lords" is actually "two songs in one," JaH Monte says.

"This song was the intro to my project Real Life (South West Side Akron Story)," he tells us. "Almost the first half of the song goes into a story about steps I took to get back on my feet after leaving jail." Those steps led to JaH Monte's current domestic life in Charlotte, and in the video you see his daughters jumping up and down on a bed and having fun. (Trivia sidenote: one of those daughters was recently or youngest guest to ever appear on CL's Local Vibes podcast.) Later in the video, JaH Monte is at a basketball court, "reminiscing on old memories and trying to relive those times."

It's two steps forward and some horrific remembrances of things past. And it's a terrific video. Enjoy this CL video premiere.

Video shot by Barry Espy, on Instagram at @eastespy. Hit up JaH Monte at @jahmonteogbon.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Odesza brings the beats to CMCU Amphitheatre

Posted By on Sun, May 13, 2018 at 6:57 PM

Odesza, Kimbra, Kasbo
Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
May 10, 2018

While there are plenty of big-name DJs playing smaller clubs around Charlotte, few can sell out one of the Queen City's larger music venues. Odesza packed the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre on Thursday night for a packed house of 5,000. It was a great night - for music, for weather, for having a great time. Fans danced all over the venue as the EDM duo brought plenty of lights and energy to make it memorable. Strong sets by openers Kasbo and Kimbra set the tone early. Kimbra, whose style and singing are reminiscent of Bjork, is quickly making a name for herself and should be watched closely. As for Odesza, they were mostly silhouettes against an intense lighting backdrop  — but the visuals were no less stunning.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

5 must-see artists at Carolina Rebellion 2018

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 7:48 PM

While this year's Carolina Rebellion lineup features plenty of acts who have been here/done that in past years of the hard rock and heavy metal festival, there's always acts which stand out.

The 2018 edition, taking place at the Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway from May 4-6, is being headlined by Alice in Chains, Shinedown, Muse, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch and Queens of the Stone Age, but the real gems lie further down the card.

Here's 5 must-see artists for the 2018 Carolina Rebellion:
1. Baroness - Georgia's Baroness brings a melodic brand of metal that' fits like a glove at any festival. The hypnotic band effortlessly rocked Bonnaroo five years ago and is at the top of my must-see list this weekend.

2. Clutch - Clutch commands attention every time they hit the stage. Singer Neil Fallon always lets the songs take center stage and does his best to get the crowd going. They're the perfect mid-day set for Sunday.

3. Greta Van Fleet - Fans of classic rock will be impressed by this young band's style. Conjuring up the vibes of Led Zeppelin, this Detroit rock band pays homage to the good ol' days and does it really well.

4. The Fever 333 - Jason Aalon Butler may be one of the most energetic frontmen you'll see all weekend. He made a name for himself with the band letlive and brings that same energy to his new post-hardcore band.

5. Crowd surfers - They're not a band, but watching the crowd surfers at every stage of Carolina Rebellion is sometimes as entertaining as the shows themselves. Keep an eye out for the random guy in a banana or another random costume.

Honorable mentions: Don't miss the visual spectacle of In This Moment's artistic performance; Bad Wolves have quickly made a name for themselves with a cover of The Cranberries' "Zombie"; the nostalgia factor of Billy Idol is 10 times greater than last year's Def Leppard headlining set.

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