Live Reviews

Worldwide concert reviews

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers at the Jumping Hot Club (Newcastle, UK - Oct 26, 2014)

The last time I saw opening act Tony Bengtsson, he was wearing a jacket with an AK47 stenciled on the back, fronting his rock band at the SummerTyne Festival. Tonight, he looked a bit like a slightly disheveled chemistry teacher, singing songs that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Ryman Auditorium. Mixing a handful of new songs with new arrangements of songs on his critically acclaimed debut album, the singer’s warm demeanor quickly won over the sparse crowd in the Cluny. I especially liked the fragile arrangement of "Wrecking My Own Life" and of the new songs "Sometimes a...

Lake Street Dive at Cannery Ballroom (Nashville, Tenn. - October 25, 2014)

Lake Street Dive. After all the raving reviews, let's see what you got. With "Eye of the Tiger" setting the evening's tone at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, drummer Mike Calabrese was first on stage to lay down a groove. Bassist Bridget Kearney, followed by guitarist Mike "McDuck" Olson, joined in before singer Rachael Price sashayed on out and got the blue-eyed soul train rolling. With her powerful voice and her hands on her hips, Price treated the crowd to songs like "Rabid Animal," "What About Me," and "Clear a Space" right off the bat. On the plucky, bass-driven latter tune, Olson...

Jason Isbell at Ryman Auditorium (Nashville, Tenn. - October 24, 2014)

One of the problems with music criticism is that, sometimes, a performance (or album) is so unspeakably stunning that words don't — can't — fairly capture or convey the experience. Such was the case when Jason Isbell began his three-night stand at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium by playing Southeastern, one of the best albums of 2013, from top to bottom for the first time ever. Isbell's wife, Amanda Shires, opened the evening with a cool and vibey set that could have been her audition for a quirky, but charming (and not-at-all creepy) character in a David Lynch film. Shires treated us to “The...

Chuck Prophet and Mission Express - Jumping Hot Club (Newcastle – Oct. 22, 2014)

It was only three months since Chuck Prophet performed his Temple Beautiful album alongside the Royal Northern Sinfonia string section as part of the SummerTyne Americana Festival, five miles away at Sage Gateshead. Now, here he was, back "by request". at his favourite club in the UK. Sadly, the first ten minutes or so were spoiled by sound problems, with the singer's microphone performing only intermittently. Thankfully Prophet is a pro and, as he pointed out while swapping gear with the guitarist, “We have played plenty of clubs with worse sound systems than this... the show must go on...