Let It Be: A Review

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Make no mistake about it. Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of the Beatles, which just ended its run at the St. James Theater and is about to embark on a North American tour,is no mere Broadway musical. It is much more. It is a play that not only requires good musicians but fine actors as well.

From the first note struck on the guitars to the last note hitting a piano key, Let It Be is a tour de force of the musical lives of four guys from Liverpool—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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Blooming: A CMJ Roundup

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The New York CMJ Music Marathon is run by, you guess it, CMJ: a heavy-hitting online and print publication that prides itself on having its finger on the pulse of modern music. The “Marathon” is more of a mile-long race where you have to chug a PBR every 400 meters. The group does a darn good job all things considered, amassing an intimidatingly long list of indie artists on the bubble of buzz. Thus, the festival is a wet dream for the contemporary fan and a porn shoot for the industry. Record labels, PR companies, and prominent blogs host showcases featuring their respectively supported up-and-coming artists. The orgy starts around noon everyday and goes on for a full week. I had it described to me the first day I got to New York as “South by Southwest, but more of a shit-show.” Cheers, Brooklyn.

Free From Tiny Screens: Jack White

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Removing light-blue sheets from various instruments onstage, each roadie at the Jack White concert sported suspenders, a blue tie, and a fedora—despite the inescapable Virginia humidity. Their antiquated outfits clashed slightly with the modernity of the stage backdrop, where three tall rectangles, which would later radiate an electric blue, loomed. One suspendered gentleman, timidly walking up to a microphone, politely asked that the milling crowd “watch the show live,” instead of through “those tiny screens” of their phones. This outdated request caused quite a murmur in the standing section before the stage.

Breaking the Chains of Pop: The Jesus and Mary Chain live at the 9:30 Club

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“Oh, that’s just my hearing aid,” Jim Reid slurred in response to the shrill attack of feedback that emanated from the stage in a lull between songs. It’s true that The Jesus and Mary Chain are no longer the Wayfarer-wearing Scottish troublemakers of their youth, but at the 9:30 Club, they certainly knew how to, as they say, bring the noise. Even seasoned clubgoers and fans in the back were holding their ears shut in pain, and the club might have made as much in ear plug sales as they did in alcohol that night. This, of course, is part of the charm.

Show Review: Okkervil River at the Jefferson

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I am inclined to tell you these things largely because my sangria-addled mind was almost totally unable to recognize and/or record many of their opening song choices; I was limited to feeling them in impressionistic (drunk) sort of way. I walked into the Jefferson right after eating tapas for two hours in celebration of a friend’s birthday, and at first I only managed to cross my arms, drift into my own thoughts, and strike what I imagined to be a serious critical pose. Sipping my drink (water at this point), I waited for the energy of the music to steamroll my inner imbalance, as it had for many nights, years ago now, when I read Will Sheff’s lyrics as The Stage Names played in my high school bedroom.

Blooms & Busts: Lollapalooza 2012

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The sort of manic energy present at a music festival compressed into ten square blocks of downtown Chicago is hard to put into words. Grant Park, the city’s cornerstone public green-space that flaunts the Art Institute and the infamous Millennium mirror bean, closed its roads from August 3rd to 5th to host a max capacity of 160,000 gormandizers and their chosen musical explorations—a diverse line-up that could strike at least …continue…

Review: Wilco’s Lasting Impression at the Downtown Pavillion

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July 19, 2012 Ntellos Wireless Pavillion Charlottesville, VA It starts with the concert listing and ends with me walking away tired, hoarse and utterly alive; seeing Wilco perform has always been that way for me. The setup at the Pavilion was typical: a few visible guitars, a drum set, and keyboard–nothing too surprising or suspect. I felt simultaneously complacent and anxious, enjoying the atmosphere and company yet yearning to see …continue…

Explosions in the Sky Concert Review

Explosions in the Sky Concert Review June 22, 2012 at the Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville, Virginia Having never possessed any music by Explosions in the Sky, I went to the Jefferson Theater last Friday compelled only by their reputation as a great live act. The show had sold out a week before, and with most sold-out shows at small, indoor venues, I expect little to no room to move around, a …continue…

Concert Report: Yeasayer at the National in Richmond, VA

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When I walked into the National last night, the first thing I noticed was the stage. It appeared fuller than normal (which is saying something because the last show I saw there was Gwar, and they turn their stages into castles) partially due to the fact that the instruments of Delicate Steve, the opener, were still there, but also because of Yeasayer’s light setup. Arched behind where the band would …continue…