Posts Tagged ‘live shows’

Seven Mary Three – Backbooth
February 9, 2010

Seven Mary Three is one of those bands a lot of people actually heard of but yet isn’t really a big name. And that fits the band. The combination of rock & roll, rootsrock, pop and grunge leads to a very solid, recognizable sound that’s been the band’s signature for quite some years now. At times they reach out towards a little harder rock, at times they soften it up a little, but overall they have a wide range of honest, well written rock songs.

And after a string of strong, and a couple very strong, albums, it was time for an album with live & acoustic rendition of some of their best songs. The songs are good, very good. Seven Mary Three is not a band that keeps delving into cliché’s and actually writes clever, solid, and most of all, honest lyrics that really speak to the listener. The songs have a southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd) meets grunge (Pearl Jam) feel to them live, even lead singer Ross’ vocals have a Eddie Vedder hint in them at times. The beauty of it all though, is that it doesn’t sound like one or the other, it sounds very much like Seven Mary Three. You would just place this band in the middle of these genres, musically.

You can hear Seven Mary Three is an experienced and accomplished band that knows how to write, record and perform songs with sincerity and emotion. The music is real and on top of that it’s musically very, very sound. Strong songs like Oceans of Envy, Wait, Dreaming Against Me, Upside Down, Each Little Mystery & Walk With The Devil sound even better live than they did on record. And that’s quite an accomplishment as these songs all come from strong releases.

“Backbooth” is a great treat for the fans, but not just for the fans, it’s a great album for everyone who loves solid rock music. And even though the band didn’t put their biggest hit (Cumbersome) on the album, there really isn’t anything wrong with this album. Seven Mary Three is one of the better rock bands out there, both in the recording studio and on the stage. And “Backbooth” is a testimony of that.

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Warped Tour 2010 – Boston, MA

The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer gets the crowd going.

The Warped Tour rolled into Boston on a hot summer day last week, and with it came over 80 bands ranging from hard rock to punk to southern. The bigger names this year included The All American Rejects, Motion City Soundtrack, Sum 41, and Andrew WK.

Smaller bands such as Fake Problems played on the AP/Advent stage, which was side by side with the Glamour Kills stage. While one band was playing, the other was right there setting up to start their set as soon as the others’ ended.

Up and comers like A Rocket to the Moon could be found playing acoustic sets in one of the many tents set up. Other well-known bands played on the other five stages including The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Bouncing Souls.

Far From Finished

Far From Finished

Local band Far From Finished put on an engaging set. Frontman Steve Neary came down into the crowd for a song, starting a fun dance pit.

AM Taxi, whose latest album we recently reviewed, drew a good sized crowd for their set.

The most unique band of the day would probably be Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Once they walk on the stage, it’s apparent why they have this name – the three-piece are not skinny, shall we say. They played some unique southern rock that got a lot of the young teenage crowd doing the ho-down. Washboard Breezy Peyton was in true rock ‘n’ roll form when she smashed her washboard at the end of their set. Definitely an entertaining band to watch.

The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer, aka Bryce Avery, played a full-band set filled with catchy emo-rock songs. There was even some confetti at the climax of one song.

If you wanted a break from the music that was continuously playing, there were plenty of other things to do. Tents were set up everywhere selling sunglasses, hats, and all sorts of other accessories. Each band had their own tent selling merchandise, and if you were lucky, you could catch your favorite band doing a signing. There was also skateboarding, karaoke, games, and more.

Check out more photos from the day.

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Allie Moss/Josh Ritter show
Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
May 3, 2010

It was a rainy monday evening and outside of BitterZoet in Amsterdam a long line of people was making its way into the venue. After some time everyone found a spot inside the packed venue and then, suddenly, Allie Moss was on stage. With relatable and personal songs as well as a friendly and spontaneous attitude she was able to connect to the audience who in their turn listened in silence respectfully and gave her a well deserved applause. The strength of Allie Moss’ music lies in the accessibility and relatability of the songs. With clear and empathic vocals she brings the song straight to the listener and live it sounds even better than it does on CD. I think Passerby was the song that stood out to me most during her short live set, maybe also because of the little story she told us before she played it. I’d seen her with Ingrid Michaelson before and I was very curious to see what kind of show she’d be able to put on solo. Suffice it to say that it was a most wonderful performance.

After her short set the venue filled up even more (it was sold out) and after everyone got their refreshments Josh Ritter entered the stage. He was smiling and seemed in a joyous mood. He went through a good part of his discography by playing many new songs but also many songs from his previous releases. Ritter showed to be a true artist and born performer. With ease he goes from an upbeat, funny folk & roll song to a very small and intimate little storytelling folk song. At one moment he’s showing the power of simplicity, how something so small can be so incredibly powerful and move you, and then the next moment you find yourself tapping or hopping along to an upbeat song that just sticks in your head.

Ritter exchanged stories and jokes with the audience in between his songs and from the first note he played the audience was captivated. On the more serious and intimate songs you could hear a needle drop and during the sing along songs you could hear clapping and singing from the audience. There was a great balance and great atmosphere in which both artist and audience were able to shine. There aren’t really any songs in particular that stuck with me as standing out, but that’s only because the performance as a whole was one big highlight. Though the Springsteen cover The River was definitely a version to remember.

After Josh Ritter finished his regular set he got a standing ovation and it was more than deserved. Of the current generation of singer/songwriters he is most definitely one of the top talents. And this show in Bitterzoet confirms that 100%.

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Jason Reeves, Graham Colton, and Lady Danville @ Cafe 939
April 23, 2010 – Boston, MA

Friday night at the Cafe, part of Berklee College of Music, was a great night for music. The sound in this small room is great – very quiet, and most musicians play acoustic so the sound isn’t too overwhelming. The intimate setting also allows for more interaction between the artist and the fans. Both Jason Reeves and Graham Colton played some requests.

The opener for the night was Lady Danville, an unsigned 3 piece band. They were probably the most entertaining of the night. The songs were fun to listen to, and their acoustic vibe was unique. The drummer played just with his hands (no sticks). They even did a cover of the MGMT song “Kids”:

Next up was Graham Colton, a musician I have liked for almost 10 years now. He played solo on the guitar, and did both old and new songs.

Ending the night was Jason Reeves. He was accompanied by his bass/keyboardist and drummer. The crowd really loved them, singing along to some songs. Jason’s little anecdotes in between songs showed his quirky, down-to-earth personality. He also played both old and new songs that really showcased his songwriting ability.

Check out more photos from the show here.

Watch more videos from the show here.

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Sandy Dane @ Bitterzoet
April 16, 2010 – Amsterdam

Imagine a beautiful spring day in the middle of April. The sun is out, you’re enjoying a drink and listening to some sweet, melodic pop music and you feel good. That in itself could be a review for yesterday’s events. It all fit perfectly together. But lets get into a little more detail.

A few years ago, Sandy Dane suddenly had a radio hit with Peace, Love & Icecream, a cool, bubbly pop song that fit right in with the summery weather. It was a long wait for her official debut “Beautiful And Ugly” but the day has come and on this friday night in April, Sandy Dane is presenting her new album to 300+ people in a well-filled Bitterzoet in Amsterdam.

There were a lot of familiar faces and the response to the new songs was very good. I talked to a good number of people, many of them, in some way, involved in the music industry, be it as radio professional, freelance journalist or in the business side of it all. And without exception they all seemed to think that Sandy Dane’s debut album has a lot of potential. I am absolutely agreeing with that opinion. But I’ll get more into that when I review the album.

So lets talk performance. The show started a little late (sign of a real musician?) and despite a few technical difficulties (not sure but I think one of the amps was a little funky at the start) the music did all the talking. From Beautiful & Ugly to One Way Ticket, Sandy Dane showed off her impressive vocal strength and the musicians that accompanied her on stage knew exactly how to bring out the best assets of the songs. I haven’t quite memorized the setlist, but Sandy basically played her whole (or at least most of) new album.

Some of the songs that stood out to me were the single One Way Ticket, which is an absolutely perfect choice for the radio, with the catchy sing-along chorus. Also, This Heart of Mine & Lay Down were played and sung perfectly. I like how these songs show a little more emotion and give Sandy Dane a little more singer/songwriter feel than just your regular pop singer. It adds to her musicality and to her personality, which is an important factor for a live musician. The two songs that stuck with me most though were Mr. Painoman & Sunday Sunshine. Both songs could easily be released as radio singles (especially the latter one) and suited Sandy’s vocals very well.

Of course it was an official album release show, so the album had to be presented to Sandy. One of the rising stars in radio land, Domien Verschuuren of Dutch radio 3FM came out to present the album and congratulate her on a job well done. The two knew eachother for some time and this led to some funny banter on stage that put a little bit of a comic note on the evening. After that she played Lay Down & One Way Ticket as an encore.

All in all it was a very pleasant night with a very friendly atmosphere and excellent musicianship. Both musically and in presentation of the music, Sandy & her band showcased talent and potential. Of course this is only the beginning of the journey but they already figured out how to go about it. If anything, they will only continue to learn and grow along the way and I imagine sooner rather than later, Sandy Dane may very well become a star, not only in her native Netherlands but also across the borders. The style and general sound of her music lends itself very well to be popular in countries like UK, Sweden, Austria, Spain, Australia, Canada and even the US. And who knows what happens then. But for now, Sandy Dane should just be proud to have released a solid debut album with a lot of (radio) potential and enjoy the success it is going to bring her. Because with her enthusiasm and tenacity, and a kind, personal approach to her fans, she is bound to find success very rapidly.

The album release in Bitterzoet was a great start and a very entertaining event. I enjoyed it very much, as did many others. So thank you Sandy Dane, and thank you to your band. And I’ll see you again at another show. Enjoy what’s coming and good luck!

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El Pino & The Volunteers – InStore @ Plato (Utrecht)
March 4, 2010

El Pino & The Volunteers

Around 4:30PM, the store manager of the Plato in Utrecht announced that the band was ready to go and a small group of listeners formed around the stage area. It was kind of a small inlet in the back of the store where the band was bringing acoustic goodness to the few lucky ones inside the store.

They played a couple songs, among which Wake Up and No Cure For Stupidity. The songs sounded very pleasant acoustically and came across very well. This band has a very comfortable stage presence and quite a relaxed vibe that shines through in their music. The songs feel natural and musically they are sound. And the band knows how to deliver.

This was only the 3rd time I saw them live (first time was years ago when they opened for Augustana and last time was more recently), and I can see a lot of growth and maturity in this band. I will make sure not to wait this long to catch them live again. Guys, I hope the show in Ekko was a great success!

Here are a few videos to enjoy:

El Pino & The Volunteers @ Plato

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LEFT’s Video Release Show in Veldhoven

While the show was supposed to be underway at 10PM it was 11:20PM when Hunting The Robot started their set. I saw this band before and they’re very young and enthusiastic. I like that. Musically, their arrangements show promise, though it needs maturing and they need to come together as a band and grow as musicians. But there is definitely talent there.

Their live show is infectious but it’s also quite messy at times. And it was no different last night. The highlight of their set was former single Carnival. They also debuted their upcoming single and played quite a long set for a support act in a small venue.

During their set we were discussing the band and we agreed that in a few years Hunting The Robot could be a very solid name in the Dutch music scene but right now they still need to work on things. Enjoyable support though!

It was then time to see Left, the band we all came to see in the first place. They really are one of the better live bands in the country. They started with their insanely good and fun new video for it’s the incredible greyman. Check it out on YouTube, it’s a very cool video.

They then played a set that went deep into the night. It was good, it was fun, they connected with the crowd very well and highlights were Storm, Carousel, Better Off, So Much for Adaptation & it’s the incredible greyman.

I uploaded a few short videos of the show here.

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After 7 years, Lifehouse returns to the Netherlands

Thanks to Gianna for providing the video!

The whole adventure started on tuesday as I was picking up my Portuguese friend at the airport in Germany. The next day we made our way to Amsterdam and met up with all our other friends from all over Europe. We hung out and waited in line from 3pm up until doors opened. It was cool when they waved to us, but too bad they didn’t come out to talk for a few minutes. I was already severely sleep deprived but with enough chocolate, coffee and adrenaline, who cared? Singing songs in line, meeting new people, catching up with old friends and having a good time alltogether, it was not so bad at all. It was also kinda cool that Jimmy Alter talked to a few of my friends for their website.

So then doors opened, mayhem everywhere, I just took it easy and brought my jacket to the vestibule. My friends were holding my place at the stage anyway, haha. (I love my friends, they rock!) then valerius, who were a little strange at times, and while they are more of a summer band to me, they sounded pretty decent. They just need to learn that Portugal and Den Bosch does NOT sound the same, haha.

Then Lifehouse was there, yeehaw!, from circus tune to Everything, it was one hell of a show. Musically it was great, but I think I might have seen them do even better pure musically. But when it comes to stage presence and connecting with the audience, they have grown immensely and this is probably the best I’ve seen them do to this day. I think my highlights were Spin, AIEGFO, Wrecking Ball & Blind. I think especially Blind was performed with near perfection. It was funny when I saw Jason & Bryce chuckle about our Simon sign (which we slid next to the setlist). Unfortunately they didn’t play it. But to speak in the words of Lifehouse: “And if [we] fall and crash & burn, at least we both know that [we] tried”.

At one point this guy was working his way towards the stage, passed a note on to Ben and then Ben showed Jason and he asked something like: “This is for real?” And then he was like: “Who just gave this note to our guitar player? You got something to say? Come on up here!” So then a bald guy climbed on stage and Jason told us he was gonna take over for a few minutes. He then invited his girlfriend on stage and asked her to marry him. And of course she said yes. It was very cute how it was all spur of the moment/makeshift. He didn’t even have a ring yet, but at that point he figured this was the opportune moment cause his girlfriend really loved Lifehouse. Good for them 🙂 We talked to them afterwards and they seem really nice people. I wish them all the best!

We waited around, bought Smoke & Mirrors and talked to Winnie (head of the crew) who actually remembered me from the two minutes I talked to him in Massachusetts in 2007 (good memory!). Got a chance to thank him for giving me a few of Jason’s guitar picks back then 🙂 He didn’t know if or when the guys would come out, so after a while we had to go outside and figured we’d wait there since they had to come out sooner or later. But they must’ve snuck out right after the show, cause no one saw them and even Winnie (who was the last of the Lifehouse people to leave) had no idea where they went. He didn’t know where they were, didn’t have a place to sleep yet and didn’t have a phone on him. That was insane. But he’s such a kind person. We talked to him a little more and gave him some stuff for the band that he promised to deliver 🙂 I hope he figured things out last night.

We then made our way to our stop for the night (which was a whole other adventure, lol). But all the memories are something I will remember for many, many lifetimes.

Thank you to everyone I met yesterday and helped to make this experience as memorable as it is. I hope you all had a splendid time. I know I did.

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After a hiatus of 7 years, American mainstream rockers Lifehouse return to Europe. Their success has grown in the US & Canada, as well as in certain areas of South East Asia, but in the meantime Europe and other international areas stopped hearing from the band alltogether. Where they scored hit after hit in the US, the singles weren’t even released in most countries in Europe.

But things are about to change. In late february, the band visits The Netherlands & Germany for promotional gigs and scheduled two concerts in Germany (Cologne @ Luxor – Berlin @ Frannz) and one in the Netherlands (Amsterdam @ Melkweg).

Tickets are bound to sell out fairly quickly, so don’t hesitate too long if you intend to attend the show(s).

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