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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Live Music Review 2014



December 27, 2014

 photo 100_1589_zpsc30e6a55.jpg Counting Crows 

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 photo 183_zps5b827150.jpg the Avett Brothers

 photo 178_zps19c38d5e.jpg Jenny Lewis

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Live Music Review 2014

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This has been a banner year for attending live music for us, we have been fortunate to have attended a wide variety of musical performances in a wide range of venues. From huge names and well-established artists to brand new up and coming acts and just about everything in between. Living in Key West makes it somewhat difficult and while we take advantage of the acts that do make it here to play, when we really want to see a decent show, it generally involves traveling.

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 photo 062_zpsdd028e9e.jpg Sister Hazel

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Thankfully we have been free to travel a lot and we always check to see who is playing if we are already planning a trip as well as many trips just to see live music. Whether it be quick trips to Miami, Orlando, or Tampa or flying to a music festival for a long weekend we have indulged in our love of music this year. Since I haven’t been too great at keeping up with this blog this year, I thought I might offer a short year in review and list the top ten musical performances that I saw this year.

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 photo 113_zps3b3a6b75.jpg Grace Potter

 photo ttp-acl-fri-13_zps0f951a0b.jpg Paulo Nutrini

It was a pretty busy year as I attended about thirty concerts and also hit a big trifecta of huge music festivals by attending Coachella, Lollapalooza and the ACL Festival where I saw all or part of close to 70 additional acts. I have seen huge mega-tours and small club shows and while it is hard to compare what are very different experiences, I have tried to keep in mind how each act played relative to what type and size of venue they played.

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 photo 054_zps33cce9b6.jpg The Kooks

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 photo 828_zpsc39062b2.jpg Hall & Oates

Anyway here is my list for 2014:

10. Kiss- November 19th, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas. The mega-band Kiss had a residency at the Joint during the fall and it just happened to coincide with a scuba diving convention that I was attending. Seeing the pyrotechnic extravaganza with full make-up that is Kiss in the small intimate 3200 seat venue was incredible. Our seats were so close that it seemed like we were immersed in the show, and what a show. Seeing Kiss is an experience, not just a concert and the band seemed energized by the setting, it was a fun and wild experience.

Kiss

9. Marc Scibilia- October 3rd- ACL Festival. When I attend large festivals, I often visit the smaller stages where new, unfamiliar artists can be found. Playing the opening slot on the small BMI stage at ACL was singer/songwriter Marc Sibilia who I had never even heard of, much less heard. His set was fantastic. I was taken right away and stayed and watched his entire performance. Playing mostly acoustic witty and fun original music, Sibilia is someone I hope to see a lot more of in the future. I bought the CD, it is good but the live version is way better. Check him out if you get a chance.

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8.Bruce Springsteen-April 26th-Aaron’s Amphitheatre, Atlanta. This wasn’t the best Springsteen show I have seen, less an anthem filled crowd-pleaser than a deep digging in to the catalog rarities show. But his two hour and forty-five minute set showed that at age 64, Springsteen is still a sure thing live and one of the best live performers that has graced a rock n roll stage. Playing many deep cuts from “The River” and a bunch of cover songs ranging from the Clash to AC/DC, it was a different type of Springsteen show, but an excellent one nonetheless.

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7. Vic Mensa- August 2nd-Lollapalooza. Local rising-star Chicago rapper snared a spot playing the smaller BMI stage at Lollapalooza this year, but if the size and enthusiasm of the packed-in overflow crowd was any indication, he will be moving up to a larger stage in the future. The energy packed set featured everything from a blow-up sex doll, a pack of super-soakers, being joined on stage by Chance the Rapper and a litany of feisty rapping. It delighted the frenzied crowd who gave their local hero a regal welcome. It was something to see and experience.

Vic Mensa

6. Cage the Elephant- April 11th-Coachella. Matt Shultz, lead singer of the Grammy nominated alternative rockers, Cage the Elephant, is an amazing live performer. I had the good fortune of seeing the band three times during 2014 and each time they were spectacular. The best performance that I saw was at Coachella, but any of the three shows might have qualified for my top ten. Shultz is a contolled maniac as a performer, climbing up the risers, crowd surfing and darting around the stage like a dervish all while maintaining a driving beat and creating a frenzy in the crowd. 

 photo c320645eab71d521f73c08dc9ee2188d_zps38543ac6.jpeg Cage the Elephant

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5. Mac Demarco- October 4th, Historic Scoot Inn, Austin, TX. While I consider myself up to date musically, I had somehow missed out on Mac DeMarco and went to this ACL aftershow based on the suggestion of friends in Austin and I am so glad I went. Close to two hours of magnificent mayhem and excellent music including a cover of “Smoke on the Water” and a twenty-minute cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” to close the show. In between, Demarco played plenty of his own music and wowed the crowd with both his playing and his stage diving, crowd surfing antics. It was wild and fun and he is another one that I cannot wait to see again.

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4. Counting Crows/ Twin Forks- December 14th-Old National Centre, Indianapolis, IN. My favorite band in my favorite hometown venue the old Murat Theatre in Indianapolis. I saw two Counting Crows shows this year, once in Ft. Lauderdale with Toad the Wet Sprocket and this Indy show. Both were amazing. A fantastic live band that I have seen fifty plus times is at the top of their game these days with a fantastic new CD and this great tour. Constantly reinvigorating and changing things up, the band is just a joy to see. With an ever-changing set-list and alternative lyrics and takes on their classic songs the band is constantly fresh. Can’t wait to get back and see them this summer.

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 photo 1512314_802624256468847_1950199819729324410_n_zpse8975933.jpg Twin Forks

3. Phosphorescent/ Papa- August 1st- Double Door Saloon, Chicago, IL.  Unlike some of the surprising newcomers I discovered this year, I had this Lollapalooza aftershow marked on my must-see calendar as soon as it was announced. I love the most recent CD by the singer/songwriter Matthew Houck who records under the name of Phosphorescent. The haunting music including the beautiful “Song for Zulu” were all delivered during the intimate, beautiful set at the tiny club. The show was everything that I had hoped for and more. 

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 photo 169_zps799b5e2b.jpg Phosphorescent

2.Katy Perry/ Capital Cities-July 2nd- BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL. This is going to surprise a few people, no one more so than myself. I certainly never expected to enjoy this one as much as I did, let alone have it be a close second to the best concert I saw all year. I know many of my friends may be laughing aloud at the moment, but this was a spectacular experience. I could not have identified a single Katy Perry song before attending though I did know who she was, but the show was nothing short of amazing. Capital Cities was a fantastic opening act and Katy Perry had everything including incredible pyrotechnics, amazing showmanship and costuming and a remarkable performer in Miss Perry. She sounded great, performed well and interacted with the large stadium crowd with a natural and sincere persona, even ordering pizza and delivering it to a young fan. 

 photo 992_zps467a18bb.jpg Katy Perry

 photo 1146_zps7339d035.jpg Katy Perry

1. James Bay-October 3rd-ACL Festival, Austin, TX. Every once in a great while you see someone who is so fantastic and transformative that you can see stardom coming their way. This happened to me on the opening day of this year’s ACL festival where I caught a set on a sparse unadorned stage by a British singer/ songwriter who I had never heard of and am now so happy that I was able to see. It is always fun to look back and say you saw so and so before they became the huge sensation and I got the distinct feeling that is what I was witnessing. The guy was mesmerizing and sounded fantastic and polished considering he has only released three eps. His first full-length CD will not be released until early next year, but expect to hear much, much more from Mr. Bay.

 photo 10672218_605180246270671_2372631395424899776_n_zpsff244085.jpg James Bay

 photo james-bay-austin-city-limits-2014-billboard-650_zpscca7eb9b.jpg James Bay

James Bay

 photo 4880_zpsa517b973.jpg Ingrid Michaelson

So that’s it, my favorites of 2014. There are a number of honorable mention shows that we saw that just missed out on making the list, including Fleetwood Mac, the Avett Brothers ( especially their rain-soaked set at Lollapalooza), Ana Tijoux, Jimmy Cliff, Haim, Chromeo, Bryan Ferry, Vance Joy, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Lewis, Hall & Oates, Broken Bells and Fitz & the Tantrums. Hopefully the year ahead will be just as exciting, see you at the show!

 photo 660_zpsa37c84fc.jpg Bryan Ferry

 photo 073_zpsa85e4f26.jpg Avett Brothers

 photo 077_zps96e957f2.jpg Tom Petty

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 photo 419_zps20d21697.jpg Eagles

 photo 0482_zps10b7744c.jpg Fleetwood Mac

 photo 249_zpsc9e7d010.jpg The Last IV

 photo 744_zpsf96344ed.jpg Pam Tillis & Lorrie Morgan

Friday, September 26, 2014

“Yeah and it's over before you know it It all goes by so fast Yeah, the bad nights last forever And the good nights don't ever seem to last”



September 23, 2014

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“Yeah and it's over before you know it
It all goes by so fast
Yeah, the bad nights last forever
And the good nights don't ever seem to last”

-Tom Petty

I have had the good fortune to have seen Tom Petty & the Heratbreakers live in concert a dozen times over the years since my first time seeing them way back in 1979 at the old Indianapolis Sports Center during their “Damn the Torpedoes” tour. Back then, the opening act was some band known as The Fabulous Poodles, who I don’t recall much about but Tom Petty and his band made a huge impression on me. 

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Petty was one of those bands that seemed to be featured on the summer music tour every year with some fantastic new release and great opening act. Over the years, I saw him play at every major venue in the city of Indianapolis including Market Square Arena, Deer Creek, and more. The opening acts were almost univerasly good as well everyone from Lone Justice to the Patti Smith Group, to the Fabulous Thuderbirds, to Bob Dylan to the Replacements to the Del Fuegos and Georgia Satellites to Jackson Browne and Stevie Nicks. I even saw a triple bill with Petty, the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

 photo 032_zpsf73760d1.jpg Steve Winwood

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This show would be no different as the fantastic Steve Winwood was the opening act at the Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, it is a long drive but worth it since during the many times I have seen Petty play live, he has never disappointed. I think it is because he genuinely enjoys what he does and it always comes across when he plays. That he has one of the best and tightest backing bands in the business is another major factor but in reality, he is just one of the legends of American Rock and Roll.

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On the way up, Kathy and I stopped at a couple of breweries in the Ft. Lauderdale area that we had wanted to check out, beginning with the Fantastic Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. We had sampled their beer during Brewfest and even attended a Funky Buddah/ Cigar City Beer dinner at Two Cents, but this was our first visit to their wonderful facility. It was awesome, the beer was fantastic and we really enjoyed ourselves.

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We had enough time before the show to also visit the Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, while it may not have been fair to visit them just after the amazing Funky Buddah, we were not as impressed with their beer, thought their location was nice and the people were nice, the beer just had a metallic- not quite ready taste to it. Maybe we just caught them on a bad day. We will return and give them another chance at some point.


The concert was next and it was spectacular. Steve Winwood played for just over an hour and touched on all phases of his colorful career including classic Traffic songs and Tom Petty and his band were incredible, ripping through just over two hours of singalong hits with a few new songs from his latest CD, “Hypnotic Eye” as well. The sold-out crowd of 20,000 plus loved every minute of it and it was an amazing night

Tom Petty- “Rebels”

We spent the night in the area and the next morning met our friend Andie, who lives in Ft. Lauderadle for a great breakfast at the O-B House. Incredible breakfast food in downtown Lauderdale. Andie is the daughter of some old friends who once lived in Key West and I try and see her whenever I am in the area. This trip she introduced Kathy and I to her adorable new kitten Plato (not Play-doh) and we had a nice, if short visit before hitting the road home to Key West.

 photo 018_zps25412e23.jpg Kathy & Plato

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Finally, last week we also went to see the amazing 72 hour film challenge at the Tropic Cinema. The event which features short films by local filmmakers, all created from scratch in 72 hours was an absolute joy. Kudos to Michael Marrero, Juliet Grey, the Tropic Cinema and all involved in creating the marvelous films. It is so fun to see our friends create such amazing works and to watch them perform. Below is a link to one of the films- all of which were amazing. 

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