One to Attend – SIMO – Pisgah Brewing Company – February 4, 2016 8:00 PM

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SIMO – Performing at the Open Chord in Knoxville, Tennessee – 2/3/2016

Does a band that oozes the same pedigree as rock royalty such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Deep Purple, Steppenwolf among others and whose live performance leaves audiences in a state of shock and awe seem like something you’d be interested in listening to and seeing yourself first hand?

If so I beg and plead, not for the band nor the venue but to your very musical souls, that you attend SIMO’s show tonight February 4th at the Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, North Carolina staring at 8:00 PM

The band’s new record Let Love Show the Way is one of the most musically inspiring records I’ve come across over the last decade. The LP spits out salvo after salvo of sheer rock genius and bombast that any fan of 60’s and 70’s vintage and retro rock will surely fall in love with.

Let Love Show the Way is a complete record that implores to you to kick back, put on your best pair of head phones and drift away into it’s vast soundscapes.  Some stand out tracks include “Long May You Sail”, “I’d Rather Die in Vain”,  “Ain’t Doin Notin'” and “I’ll Always Be Around”.

Just in case you actually needed a bit more evidence regarding SIMO being a legitimate rock and roll force, Let Love Show the Way was recorded live at the famed Allman Brothers “Big House” in Macon, Georgia with JD Simo (guitar/vocals) himself actually playing Duane Allman’s ’57 Les Paul Goldtop on most of the record.   How’s that for legendary musical lineage street cred people?

Below you’ll find a link where you can listen to “Long Mail You Sail”.  If this song’s guitar solos alone don’t convince you to get out to Pisgah tonight to see SIMO live I question if you have ears or even if know what great music is.

As astounding as SIMO’s work is on record their live performance amps up the band’s musical force factor a thousand times over as Simo and his fellow band mates Adam Abrashoff (drums) and Elad Shapiro (bass) are literally musicians’ musicians that live and breathe to perform with one another.

It’s also worth mentioning SIMO is an improvisational live performance dynamo.  Let Love Show Way was actually written and recorded by the band with the intent of exploring and interpreting the songs on LP in unique ways when they make their way to lighted stage.

Should you choose to make the mistake of not getting out to SIMO’s show later this evening the words “your loss” wouldn’t even come close to describing what you’d be missing out.

Who:    SIMO w / Mike Rhoades Fellowship and the Humble

When:  Thursday  February 4th / 8:00 PM Doors – 9:00 PM Show

Where:  Pisgah Brewing Company / 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Cost:      $7 In advance / $10 At the door

 

www.simo.fm

 

 

One to Attend – Andrew Scotchie’s 23rd Birthday Bash – Saturday January 16, 2016

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Tomorrow night I strongly encourage folks to get over to the ISIS Music Hall to take in Andrew Scotchie’s birthday show which will feature a performance by Scotchie’s own rock outfit Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, sublime singer-song writer Danielle Howle and progressive funk-rock band Porch 40.

Fans who attend will also have the opportunity witness to a few unique collaborations between Scotchie and local Asheville musicians such as David Earl Tomlinson, Jack Mascari, Noah Larssen and others.

Although tomorrow’s show is being billed as Scotchie’s 23rd birthday bash, the event will also be taking place with the underlining theme of celebrating the life of Scotchie’s father Tom, whose life was tragically cut short back in 2008.

Back in September I interviewed Scotchie and he briefly touched on his father’s passing and how it affected him and his music.

“My life got turned upside down when I was 15 when my dad was shot and killed in West Asheville.  That was the worst thing that had ever happened to me.   That fucked up horrible event in a way made me who I am today, it made me want to do this thing so adamantly and with so much vigor,” Scotchie somberly discussed.

“I’ve been writing about that event for years and what it has taught me about people and family.  The first album we released in 2012, the songs were not sad but the lyrics I wrote for it were more about helping me work through what had happened.   Even the new album has notes alluding to it as I’m definitely still working through it all because that’s who I am but it’s coming from a much different place now.”

Scotchie is the type of individual that revels in life, good times and the continued pursuit of great rock and roll.   Come out tomorrow night to help him continue to pursue those endeavors, to take in a some great live music and to help him celebrate the life and times of Tom Scotchie, who by all accounts had a tremendously positive impact on his family, friends and the Asheville community his family still calls home.

I have a sneaky suspicion that somewhere in the interstellar planes that we all eventually drift into Tom will be smiling, rocking out and feeling a tremendous amount of pride as he looks down on his son Andrew knowing that he’s turned out to be one hell of a musician and even more importantly, one hell of a human being.

Who:     Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, Danielle Howle and Porch 40 + special guests

When:   Saturday January 16, 2016  /  Show 9:00 PM

Where:  ISIS Music Hall /  743 Haywood Road

Cost:      $10 advance/  $12 Day of Show

One to Attend – 14th Annual Benefit Concert for Make-A-Wish @ the Orange Peel

Asheville concert goers make sure to get out to the Orange Peel tonight to see a night of amazing music that will include the likes Dorsey’s Asheville All-Star Benefit Band, Log Noggins, Travers Brothership, Porch 40 and the soon to be globally known Marcus King Band.

As importantly the show this evening will serve as the 14th Annual benefit concert for the Make-A-Wish foundation, so not only will you be able to witness some unbelievable live musical performances, all proceeds from your ticket price and the silent auction will benefit an extremely important cause.

When:  Thursday December 3, 2015 / Doors 5:30 / Show: 6:30 / All-ages

Where:  Orange Peel / 101 Biltmore Avenue

Cost:        $15

Tickets:  http://theorangepeel.net/events/the-14th-annual-benefit-concert-for-make-a-wish-of-central-and-western-nc/

www.marcuskingband.com

www.Porch40.com

www.traversbrothership.com

www.andalynrocks.com

 

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One for the Road – Soulfly – The International – Knoxville, TN

 

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Soulfly at the International in Knoxville, Tennessee on October 22, 2015

Max Cavalera has been carrying the torch for thrash metal and metal music in general for over thirty years.

Whether it be his genre defining work with Brazilian legends Sepultura, his fronting of the often under appreciated Soulfly, his many brilliant side projects such as Nailbomb, Cavalera Conspiracy (which saw him reunite with brother and fellow original Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera) or the more recently formed Killer Be Killed, Cavalera could easily challenge and beat out all comers seeking to be king of the thrash metal world.

Here’s the thing though, if the metal gods were to choose to anoint Cavalera as their king, he’d likely spit on the crown, throw it into a mosh pit and write a masterpiece of record denouncing the monarchy.

Just in case you’re wondering, yes Cavalera is that much of a bad ass and his sublime talent as musician as well a song writer should never come into question as here are countless reasons why well respected hard rock and metal icons such as Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters) and Chino Moreno (Deftones) have chosen to collaborate with Cavalera over the years.

Cavalera brought the Soulfly tribe to the International in Knoxville this past week and the band nearly ripped the roof from its trusses with yet another bombastic and powerhouse metal performance that all who were attendance for should consider themselves lucky to have witnessed first hand.

Touring on the critically well received and tenth Soulfly studio release, Archangel, the band tore through a blistering 90-minute set of ferocity that had the International crowd moshing, thrashing and crashing into one another all evening long.

The set list Soulfly chose to feature included more than a few tracks off of the recently released Archangel including the title track “Archangel,” “Titans,” “Ishtar Rising,” and in my opinion one of the best Soulfly tracks ever produced, “Sodomites.”

Cavalera along with son Zyon (Drums), Marc Rizzo (lead guitar) and relatively new Soulfly touring bass player Mike Leon got the masses wound up by also cranking out Soulfly classics such as “Seek n’ Strike,” “Prophecy” and the crunching one, two punch of a set closer, “Jump Da Fuck Up and “Eye for an Eye.”

My affinity and respect for Cavalera and Soulfly’s music is unbending however I would be lying if I didn’t admit that one of the highlights of my attending any Soulfly concert is when Sepultura riffs make their way out of the amps and into the crowd.

This past Thursday proved to be no different as both myself and the vast majority of the fans got whipped into an immediate time warp and frenzy when the first chords of Sepultura tracks such as “Refuse/Resist,” “Dead Embryonic Cells/Arise” and “Roots Bloody Roots” were struck.

The days of thrash and sped metal shows selling out venues in this country has long since passed, assuming those times actually ever even existed.   However, you have to understand something, metal is a club that doesn’t accept memberships, you are simply either in or you’re out.

Metal doesn’t tolerate fair weather fans or passengers and I suspect the legends of the industry such as Cavalera himself would likely share this sentiment and wear it as a badge of honor.

Should you wish the defense to submit facts to support this case the only piece of evidence I’d ever present to the jury would be any live performance by Cavalera himself.

Over the years I’ve seen Cavalera perform in front of tens of thousands at events such as Ozzfest, several thousand in amphitheaters fronting Sepultura and even on the lighted stage in front of several hundred ravaging fans.

The takeaway from every single one of those performances is whether it be one person or one hundred thousand people in the audience Cavalera plays like it’s his last show on Earth and he always makes the fans feel as though they are part of his personal tribe.

This past week at the International in Knoxville Cavalera and Soulfly proved that nothing has changed as the band connected with the thrash starved audience from first note to last and delivered a performance any metal outfit would consider themselves lucky to emulate, let alone actually be able to pull off.

All hail king Cavalera, long live the king.

 

 

One to Watch – Grace Potter at the Orange Peel October 13th and 14th

Grace Potter: Some Things Change and Some Things Stay the Same

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Grace Potter at Grand Point North – Burlington, VT – September 12, 2015 – Photo Courtesy of Robert Forte – 40_Photography

Not unlike many musicians Grace Potter’s ascendancy to super stardom may seem to have blossomed over night, however, the reality is the mistress of the magical midnight road show began paying her dues to the rock & roll gods over a decade ago.

Long before sharing the stage with the likes of Mick Jagger or singing duets with Kenny Chesney, Potter and her band the Nocturnals earned their stripes by playing upwards of 200 live shows per year while attempting to literally gig themselves into relevancy.

The band released four studio albums from 2005-2012 including 2010’s self titled Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, which spawned more radio recognizable hits such as “Paris (Ohh La La)” and “Medicine”, as well as the critically well received 2012’s The Lion the Beast the Beat.

The Nocturnals aforementioned last two releases on Hollywood Records began to see the band’s sound sway more toward the mainstream rock pendulum versus the Americana and jam band oriented sound the band had crafted on their earlier releases.

Changes have continued for Potter in 2015 as she’s now touring on her recently released solo record Midnight.  Many long time fans of Potter expecting her first effort sans the Nocturnals to be sonically aligned with her past may be in for a bit of a surprise.

Midnight still features, if not showcases, Potter’s powerhouse vocals but the songs and ultimately the sonic palate of the record itself is vastly different than anything the Nocturnals ever churned out.

Midnight has turned up the pop, the synths, the dance beats and the funk in ways that would get most anyone grooving and dancing in the streets.  That being the case I’m certainly willing to concede some of Potter’s fans may not immediately connect with the new material.

Potter has been criticized in some rock critic circles as attempting to craft herself into the rock version of Katie Perry.   I scoff at this notion and instead choose to believe that Potter is simply a sublimely talented song writer, vocalist and musician that wanted to write songs from a different place and perspective as well as to challenge herself to produce something unfamiliar and well fun.  If those were indeed her goals in regards to Midnight, I’d say she knocked them out of the park.

Although the Nocturnals all played on Midnight founding member Scott Tournet as well as most recent Nocturnal bassist Michael Libramento aren’t part of Potter’s current touring band that she’s dubbed the “Magical Midnight Roadshow.”

Long time Nocturnals guitar player Benny Yurco and original drummer Matt Burr are still along for the ride with Yurco proving he’s more than capable of helming the interstellar guitar solos he once shared with Tournet.

Potter’s new touring band additions, Ben Alleman (keys/guitar), Tim Deaux (bass), Daiki Hirano (percussion) and Eliza Jones (keys) seem to have been brought into the fold to accent Midnight’s more pop oriented feel but the result the new band creates live is a much weightier sonic wall that adds punch, albeit in a different form, to any Nocturnal’s classics they attempt to tackle on stage.

Having attended Potter’s Grand Point North music festival last month, now in it’s fifth year, I had the opportunity to see and more importantly hear her new band perform songs from the past as well as cuts off the current record.

Let me attempt to put some of her longtime fans fears to rest and state that above all else Potter has and continues to be a ferocious no holds bar live performer that’s capable of channeling the soul of Janis Joplin, the whimsy and romance of Stevie Nicks and the heart and grit of Chrissy Hynde at any given moment.   Potter’s live shows from the beginning of her career have always been a tour de force and I assure you this hasn’t changed in 2015.

The verdict is an easy one as whether it be hard charging rock guitar oriented Nocturnals favorites such as “Stop the Bus” or more recent solo tracks like “Alive Tonight”, Potter and her bandmates both old and new deliver one of the most wildly delirious, exciting and engaging rock and roll shows anyone would be lucky enough to experience first hand.

Should you have the inclination to have your doors blown off musically, to dance, to sing and to connect with one of the greatest female rock performers of our generation, come join me both nights this week at the Orange Peel. I feel supremely confident you’ll be shaking, grooving and smiling from first note to last.

Who:         Grace Potter

Where:     The Orange Peel / 101 Biltmore Avenue

When:       Tuesday October 13th / Wednesday October 14th

Cost:          $35 advance / 38 day of show

Buy Tickets For Tuesday October 13th

Buy Tickets For Wednesday October 14th