Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Our impressions from shows that we get to witness in person.

Grouplove Kills It in Philly


Grouplove Philadelphia Concert Review

I recently found myself obligated to make a trip to Philadelphia. Typically not a preferred destination, this time I was thrilled to be going once I realized that Grouplove was taking their Seesaw Tour to the city on the same night.

Grouplove at Underground Arts
Grouplove at Underground Arts

The City of Brotherly Love might just be the most inaccurate nickname ever. Philly is generally not a friendly place. Their sporting venues are dangerous places, their drivers are rude, politicians are sketchy… You get the picture, but there’s one very notable exception. These miscreants know how to rock. For decades, Philadelphia has been a city that rocks, birthing such stellar acts as The Hooters, The A’s, and Cinderella. In addition, the city is a favorite tour stop for all of the iconic names in rock and roll. On this night, they got to witness some future icons.

Philadelphia rock music fans are fantastic, and they make every show in the city just a bit more special than in most other locales. I had caught Grouplove last fall at Florida’s Next Big Thing festival and loved their energy and charisma, not to mention their music, but I was truly excited to see them in a rock ‘n roll city like Philadelphia. They did not disappoint.

On this tour, the talented quintet are playing two shows in each city; night one, a raucous rock affair and night two (this night) a more laid back acoustic show. I was thrilled to be able to secure a ticket for the acoustic night, because these five are superbly talented and creative, and I was anxious to witness the different spin they’d offer on their unique blend of pop rock.

The sold out venue, Underground Arts, in the industrial Callowhill part of town, was an excellent backdrop for the set. After a nice warm-up set from up-and-coming Australians The Rubens, the electricity in the crowd was palpable. With fog drifting from the rafters, front man, Christian Zucconi took the stage to a loud ovation. He slid behind the piano for an unaccompanied solo as his band mates joined him for a slick version of “I’m With You.” From there, they kicked into “Itchin’ On A Photograph,” and the party was on.

If this night was the more mellow acoustic show, I can’t imagine the previous night’s fervor at Union Transfer. The band just oozes energy and offers non-stop superb, fun rock music. The set was maybe the slightest bit toned down; we saw the keyboards eschewed for piano as an example, but it was still a rollicking good time, and a nice night to showcase the band’s talent.

Hannah Hooper of Grouplove
Hannah Hooper of Grouplove at Underground Arts

At different times in the night, we saw lead singer / whirling dervish, Hannah Hooper, drummer Ryan Rabin, and Zucconni slide behind the piano. Phenomenally talented guitarist Andrew Wesson, took a turn behind the drums, and bass player Sean Gadd took lead vocals on several songs. But, most of the focus was directed to Zucconi and Hooper. They complement each other fantastically, often deftly trading off boy/girl vocals, all the while appearing to be having an absolute blast.

Aside from their musical talent, these guys all sing extremely well, which resulted in unusually crisp five person vocals at numerous times throughout the night.

There truly wasn’t a soft spot in the entire set, where we were able to enjoy numerous fun twists:

  • “Chloe” – Was introduced by Rabin and offered our first chance to see Gadd drop his bass and deliver lead vocals on a powerful, fun tune that had the crowd in a frenzy.
  • “Close Your Eyes” – Practically in mid-sentence, Zucconi began to howl, the crowd eagerly joined in, feeding nicely into the opening of this softer offering.
  • “Ways To Go” – I was wondering what they’d do with their current keyboard driven hit, and they offered a great spin. Rabin on piano, Wessen behind the drums, Gadd on bass, and Hooper and Zucconi killing the fun vocal duet.
  • “Cruel and Beautiful World” – Tender vocals, and phenomenal guitar work from Wessen. Just beautiful to listen to (wish I had recorded this one).
  • “Getaway Car” – featured an xylophone solo, and Gadd again on vocals.
  • “Tongue Tied” – Another fun party, this one had the crowd singing along perfectly, and sounding fantastic.
  • “Lovely Cup” – the entire crowd danced to this one, which spotlighted Gadd’s superb bass.
  • “Philalalaladelphia” – Yeah, it’s not a real song, but the night before, they wrote two lines while hanging out in Rittenhouse Square. It was silly stuff, but damn if they didn’t turn it into a three minue crowd infused party. Only in Philalalalaladelphia!
Christian Zucconi of Grouplove
Christian Zucconi of Grouplove at Underground Arts

In between, there were plenty of deep cuts, ample representation from all three of the band’s releases, a nice cover and creative alternate versions. An hour and a half of fun stuff in a lovely, loving atmosphere.

Follow Us on Twitter or Like our Facebook t0 receive alerts. Here are the photos, not great, but some decent shots: Grouplove photo album from this show. Also, here are some older photos to fill your needs Grouplove at The Big Ticket

(see the full setlist below)
Rock On!
Cretin

Setlist

I’m With You
Itchin’ On A Photograph
Raspberry
School Boy
Chloe
Close Your Eyes
Hippy Hill
Ways To Go
Oh Well
Cruel And Beautiful World
Gold Coast
Tongue Tied
Shark Attack
Getaway Car
Love Will Find You (cover)
Lovely Cup
Philalalaladelphia
Colours

Imagine Dragons Entertain Orlando


Imagine Dragons Orlando Show Review

I remember the first time that I heard the contagious and addictive mastery of “It’s Time” thinking that this Las Vegas based quartet was a one hit wonder likely destined for a short stint on the pop charts.  It didn’t take long to prove my first suspicions to be firmly off-base.  The debut album, Night Visions was released in the Summer of 2012, and upon first listen made it quite clear that this was an excellent rock band with abundant staying power.

On Monday night, they traveled to the campus of UCF to make their first large venue appearance in the area.  Their rise to the top seems quicker than it really was, and it is well-deserved.  The band’s passionate fans witnessed an entertaining set that left everyone in the CFE Arena exhausted and energized; fans and band members, alike.

After entertaining sets from Paper Route and The Neigborhood, the crowd was amped up for the main attraction.  Subdued music cranked through the PA, belying the fervor to follow, as the crew set-up a unique stage arrangement.  One word: Drums!  There were four smaller kits strategically placed across the stage, as well as Dan Platzman’s more standard kit. It was a unique set-up, but one that added a very creative element to the show.

The band came out to an extended drum intro to one of their minor hits “Round and Round,” and it was quickly apparent this crowd was ready to party.  The majority of the attendees were likely high school age, but the crowd was quite diverse with plenty of UCF students, thirty-somethings, and older rockers (like myself) packing the house.

Dynamic front man, Dan Reynolds, was an energetic focal point throughout the show.  During Amsterdam, he paused, surveyed the crowd and offered “We are so thankful… four years of playing in small clubs and sleeping on your couches, and now playing in venues like this with crowds like this…”  Based on the show we witnessed, they are well-suited for these big stages. He had the crowd singing, waving, cheering and bouncing at will throughout the 80 minute set.

During “Hear Me,” I couldn’t help thinking back to the fantastic rock chemistry of Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant of Echo and the Bunnymen.  It’s a dark song that offered a deeper glimpse into Reynolds’ style and a great spotlight on Wayne Sermon’s under-rated guitar playing.  Sermon also tour it up with a great solo during “Cha Ching (Til We Grow Older).” Bassist Ben McKee had his turn in the spotlight when he ripped into a killer bass solo, that evolved into “Demons” later in the set. But, the music was really focused on the impressive percussion display.

Reynolds and Platzman wailed away on half a dozen of the tracks and the drum sound in the arena was damn near the best I’ve ever heard.   The highlight of their playing was a phenomenal version of “Radioactive” – at one point, we had all four core band members standing at a different drum pounding away, and the effect was stunning.

Other highlights included a nice cover medley of Cold War Kids’ Hang Me Up To Dry” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” a pairing that seemed odd at first blush but one that worked well.  During “Underdog” the stage and crowd were covered with huge confetti filled beach balls, and we heard the crowd in great voice numerous times throughout the night, including a great version of “On Top of The World.”

The highlight for me? That same first song I had experienced from the band last summer. “It’s Time” started with a newly arranged guitar opening and a stark vocal from Reynolds. Six words in, and the crowd was loudly singing along – he gave them the second verse, and they nailed it in perfect unison – it was just beautiful.  From there, the band kicked into the traditional version and the crowd exploded, ratcheting up the electricity a notch, and their voices actually became more impressive: a goose-bump moment for sure as the crowd was bathed in spotlights and lasers.

After the aforementioned version of “Radioactive,” the band exited the stage, and oddly, were followed by about 1/4 of the crowd, before they returned for one last sing-along with their encore closer “Nothing Left To Say,” an appropriate way to end a powerful rock experience.

(You can check out the full setlist below this review.)

We were not able to get a photographer to the show, so share any of your photos with us on Twitter, and if we get a good shot, we’ll add it to the review.

The opening acts on this billing were also well-worth seeing.  Paper Route, were a four piece that reminded me of a cross between Against Me! and Wolfgang. Yeah, an odd pairing, but they sounded very good.  The middle act was The Neighborhood, a quintet that just oozes cool California swagger.  They’ve got a few killer songs, and a front man who drips with charisma in Jesse Rutherford.

This was also my first trip to UCF’s CFE Arena. It’s a great, modern venue  to catch a rock show, and the sound and lighting was superb. When you add in the ease of parking and commuting to the venue, it’s even more appealing. I’ll definitely be back, and there’s a slew of good shows headed their way.  Keep an eye on this website or Follow Us on Twitter for info on the upcoming shows.

Rock On!
Cretin

Setlist:

Intro
Round and Round
Amsterdam
Tiptoe
Hear Me
Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older)
Rocks
It’s Time
30 Lives
Demons
(bass solo intro)
Hang Me Up To Dry / Stand By Me
Underdog
On Top of the World
(drum solo intro)
Radioactive

Encore:
Nothing Left to Say


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros/ Gentlemen of the Road – St. Augustine, Florida – Concert Review


Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes in St. Augustine (Photo: Ivan Correa)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes / Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Festival Review

I started writing this last night and without even realizing it I was getting too personal, too wordy, telling you guys too much about my love affair and history with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. While it may have made for a pretty interesting story once finished, I doubt that you’d like to sit here and read about Iowa cornfields, snow in Wisconsin, and the way that their song “Home” has finally come full circle and how I finally felt at home back in the Sunshine State, singing and sweating and dancing with 35,000 complete strangers.

Long story short, I heard about this festival stop back in the spring when I was still in the Mid-West. I dismissed it as a pipe dream, but once I found myself back in Florida, writing reviews for this online publication, it suddenly became much more real. I asked Cretin about it, and he sent out the necessary carrier pigeons to promoters and managers to obtain the needed press credentials. Apparently, we got blown off by the festival organizers but the lovely people within the Edward Sharpe camp deemed us worthy and I was granted a couple of guest passes and a photo pass. My talented big brother, Ivan, agreed to shoot photos for me and we were off.

To quote Michael, the owner of the Shell Shop on St. George Street “This whole event has been over-engineered. Those people out there on US 1? [expletive deleted]. [expletive deleted] charging $50 for parking.” Turns out, the joke was on the people selling the overpriced parking. Michael was right. I had expected a traffic-jam the likes of which this city has seldom, if ever, seen. I walked from the corner of West King and US 1 and the traffic was comparable to a regular Sunday morning’s. Everyone had been so afraid to approach the downtown area with a vehicle that nobody did. Charter buses brought in attendees from the airport and amphitheater park-and-rides. Velo Fest did a wonderful job accommodating the cyclists. The valet parking for bikes was 150 yards from the festival entrance, it was FREE, and they even gave you a red LED light so you were safe and legal riding home in the dark.

Gentlemen of the Road flags lined the walkway to the entrance and I imagine everyone had a very regal feeling as they approached in the hot afternoon sun. Security seemed pretty lax, only taking a cursory glance inside my brother’s camera bag on the first day. I had a backpack with me on day two which contained a birthday present for a friend I was hoping to run into, wrapped in newspaper, and even then, there were no questions.

We got in, took a look around and found a snug spot, first row, to the left of the stage. Willy Mason was playing and while I do regret not paying closer attention to his set because it sounded great, I was still too busy taking in the sights and sounds of the festival. Beers were $10, burgers were $10. I don’t think that the price tag was intended to be a deterrent from over-consumption, it probably worked that way. Never before in my life have I seen so many people be so well behaved. There were old hippies, moms and dads, tweens, college freshman, yuppies, and obvious St. Augustine tourists who somehow found a ticket. I spent a good deal of time watching the different types of people and their reactions. The funniest was from what we decided must be the youngest attendee, a red-headed toddler girl that had the giggles that would not stop while she bounced on her dad’s shoulders as Thao & The Get Down Stay Down appeared on the big-screen monitor behind them.

Let me talk a little bit about Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. I have been shallow enough in the past to simply dismiss a band for a dumb name, or simply because the name was a mouthful to say. I don’t think I will ever let this happen again. Thao, the front-woman, came out like a raging bull. Exuding sexuality and confidence, she reminded me of a slightly more reserved Karen O, but that could be because her movement was inhibited by her need to play her guitar/banjo. The crowd was very receptive as they blew through their set list, bringing it to a fevered frenzy as they ended on a song that included a well-known Ludacris verse. Satisfied and happy, the crowd cheered for the San Francisco natives as they left the stage. Already, the feeling of unity and love was permeating the festival.

The Walkmen came on next. Front-man Hamilton Leithauser seems like a very intense individual. Dressed like he just left his job at a busy law firm, he rolled up his sleeves, told a short story about how he missed his flight to their last scheduled show in St. Augustine, and thanked the crowd for letting him come back to try again. Same as the band before them, they breezed through their set-list with very little interlude. Not knowing too many of their songs, I still found the experience extremely entertaining and was able to sing along with the crowd favorite “The Rat”. Leithauser alternated between walking the stage with his mic, and playing guitar, even dropping the tempo way, way down for a song that I’ve been unable to identify, that featured only his vocals and guitar. The Walkmen were granted raucous applause as they left the stage and I think it’s fair to say that they are welcome back in St. Augustine any time.

The crowd buzzed in quiet anticipation as the stage crew set up instrument after instrument. The pleasant September breeze played a big role in the well-being of the audience, I think.  Hydration levels were up, tempers were level, and the good spirit and fellowship of the crowd was palpable. Alex Ebert appeared on stage, and the crowd was taken with minor confusion. Donning a red coat, he gave a brief explanation that the rest of the band was still getting ready and that he’d like to show us a video that they had shot in New York City, but had just finished editing that morning. The video, for “Life Is Hard”, came on the two large displays that flanked the stage and everyone watched quietly, mesmerized. The video was beautiful and really showed a soulful side to the band that I had not seen, yet. Alex sat quietly on the stage and watched us as we watched him and Jade in the video.

It did not take long after that for the rest of the band to appear.  Jade, who was clearly the crowd’s favorite, was dressed is a flowing, vintage, white gown. Her hair was much longer than I’d seen it in videos and she looked radiant. Alex discarded his red jacket after the first song, and sat down on the front monitor as the band let a G chord ring out for what seemed like two or three minutes. We all knew what song was coming but when the words left Alex’s mouth, the crowd erupted into a giant, singing mass. “I’m a man on fire, walking through your street, with one guitar and two dancing feet.” If I had not been positioned in front of one of the speaker stacks, I think the crowd would have easily drowned out Alex’s singing.

Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes in St. Augustine (Photo: Ivan Correa)

Alex literally bounced through the set. Dancing and kicking and spinning, there were a few times that I thought he was going to have a nasty fall off the stage onto the the tracks that were used for the festival cameras. He found joy in crowd interactions, letting people in the front row pick at least half of the songs for their set. “Up From Below,” “Janglin’,” “40 Day Dream,” “That’s What’s Up,” and plenty of songs from their recently released 3rd album that I’m not extremely familiar with were all covered. He even took the time to let a few fans say some words into the microphone and they generally related to what an inspiration the band had been to them, or how the band had helped them find a way to come to terms with their spirituality. Jade alternated between singing side by side with Alex, and sitting down to play what appeared to be a piano, but was possibly an organ. She conversed with one of the guitar players during lulls in the music, and it showed how relaxed and familiar they were with their extensive group of band mates. Alex got the rest of the band involved by having the crowd point out members to sing the next verse. It was obvious before that they were all talented, but now it was confirmed that they were all incredible singers, as well.

The second to last song that was performed was “Home” and it was a strange affair. He spoke solemnly in between verses about what a great audience we were, and how great the tour was. He said repeatedly that he would miss us and how he was sad that they wouldn’t be there tomorrow to hang out with us. It was a strange insight into the man’s brain, that he could write a song like “Home” while being in a touring band. The chorus, bitter-sweet, says it all: “Home is Wherever I’m With You.”

The crowd began to disperse and about half went toward the charter buses, a quarter headed downtown to do god knows what, and the rest disappeared into the darkened neighborhoods adjacent to Francis Field. I had difficulty tracking down my photographer/brother as both of our phones had died. We eventually found each other on a nearly pitch black West Castillo, and went off to figure out how the hell we were going to get home. We managed to turn a fellow attendee into a taxi as we procured a ride from him while he was stopped at the red light at West King. Thank you stranger!

Check out more Photos of Edward Sharpe & The Magentic Zeroes and other festival shots here: Gentlemen of the Road Photos

Elated from the first night of the festival I stayed up extremely late looking through pictures of the festival on the camera and others’ on Instagram. A gigantic thank you to Alexander, Jade, and the rest of the Magnetic Zeros for their love and inspiration. Thank you to Phoebe at BB Gun Press for allowing me the opportunity to witness this event. Thank you to Ivan for taking the photos.

Day two started slowly for me after staying up so late the night before. I could hear the bands begin to play as I sat on my balcony across Oyster Creek from Francis Field, and it came to my attention that an act had been confirmed to replace Fun., since they had to cancel due to illness. John Fogerty was called upon, and answered, making the flight to St. Augustine from Los Angeles overnight. By the time I got down there and parked my bike at the Velo Fest area, he was already knee-deep in his set. Fogerty was being backed up by at least Marcus Mumford, but the crowd seemed so much more dense on the second day that I couldn’t get within 75 feet of the stage to see who the other players were. He romped through just about every Credence Clearwater Revival song that I knew, and the crowd sang every song word for word. As he began “Born On A Bayou” the gentleman in front of me, clearly enamored and intoxicated, asked his friend at least three or four times “How freakin’ awesome is this?!” I couldn’t have agreed more. His set concluded as the first bolts of lightning could be seen in the diminishing daylight of the western sky.

Night took hold of Francis Field as Mumford & Sons took the stage and launched full steam ahead into one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  The lighting, the crowd, and the intensity of the band created a surreal experience that was capped off by the impending storm. They burned through their set, playing an equal number of songs from Sigh No More and Babel. When the fierce rhythm of “Little Lion Man” began the crowd detonated. The storm got closer and closer but did not open up on us. Marcus trooped back and forth from his front-stage mic, to his mic behind the drum kit. Late in the show, they even dropped the instruments and gathered around a single mic, center stage, for an acapella song.

I leaned against a barrier, off to the side, and watched couples dance together as “Lover Of The Light” played. The breeze shifted the Spanish moss above my head as it dangled from the trees. I watched in awe at the scene; thousands and thousands of fans coming together in such tranquility. I had met folks from as far away as New York City, South Carolina, Tennessee, and as close as Daytona Beach and Lake City. Marcus made the mistake of acknowledging a Union Jack flag that someone was holding up in the audience and in response to his feeble attempt to start a “U.K! U.K!” chant he was quickly beaten back with “USA! USA! USA!”. It was all in good fun and he went on to say that they enjoyed Florida very much. Shortly thereafter, he brought out members of The Vaccines for a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” They ended with an exceptionally energetic rendition of “The Cave” and said goodnight. At this point, it seemed that no one remembered that Yacht Club DJs were still performing after that, and the vast majority of the crowd headed for the exit and home.

I collected my bicycle from the valet, and while riding down a side street I got a flat tire. I had to walk the few miles to my house on the other side of the water, but, you know what? I wasn’t even mad. The experience of the weekend had instilled such a deep sense of elation, and beyond that, a reaffirmation of the goodness of humankind that not even walking on my sore, swollen feet for miles could upset me. The festival had been more than a concert experience for me. It had been a refresher course in basic happiness and the love and freedom that can be found in communal revelry. To Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, to Mumford & Sons, to Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, to John Fogerty, to The Walkmen, to Willy Mason, to the bands that I am sorry I missed, you are all truly Gentlemen (and Ladies) of the Road, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for bringing your message of love and familial inclusion to our small town. Our home is now your home and you are welcome, anytime.

– Broken Birdie –

Check out more Photos of Edward Sharpe & The Magentic Zeroes and other festival shots here: Gentlemen of the Road Photos


Brooklyn’s Hank & Cupcakes gets everybody jumping in Jacksonville!


Hank & Cupcakes
Hank & Cupcakes – photo Leon Jonjock

Hank & Cupcakes Jacksonville Show Review

Another great show at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, Florida – this time the techno rock stylings of Hank & Cupcakes.

Hank & Cupcakes
Hank & Cupcakes – photo Leon Jonjock

I was impressed with this group. They stood out over the other three 3 bands I was there to review; hard to believe these artists are only a duo! Only two of them, but the most exciting music I have ever heard. – I was amazed at the way they performed together with so much love and happiness for each other.  It was exciting to see and hear – this duo stealing the show and dominating the audience’s attention.

They commanded everyone’s attention – with cool hip bass pounding beats – and a girl who loved to beat those drums! Their formula works, and had everybody in the house very happy, very quickly.

Last August, Hank & Cupcakes recorded their album with Swedish producer Ludwig Boss- at the famous Hansa Studios in Berlin, where landmark records from U2, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, R.E.M. & many more were made.

They released 5 song EP, Ain’t No Love late last year; and the subsequent debut album, Naked was released in July and is definitely worth a listen.  I have listened to the EP – Mp3 set on my headphones every day since the show – and I am a happy man! Grab their EP MP3 online somewhere and enjoy this music man ! Check it out here: Ain’t No Love – Single – Hank & Cupcakes

Thanks to Jack Rabbits – for another great show – they always bring the best in talent when booking.

And be on the lookout for another cool concert review from HappyJack!  Until then , take care , and keep Rarsafarm.com as a favorite on your toolbar !

Happy Jack
See more photos from the show here: RARA’s Farm’s Facebook

Ted Nugent Review- Who came 1st, Eddie or Ted?


Ted Nugent at HOB-Orlando
Ted Nugent at HOB-Orlando

Ted Nugent Orlando Concert Review

Attended the Ted Nugent concert last night at House of Blues for the 2nd time in 2 years and was pleasantly surprise. Last year, Ted was more of a politician, constantly complaining about the White House, freedom, liberty, etc., focusing more on politics than the music itself. This year was definitely more about the music.

Nugent is surrounded with a strong band.  The group was tight, the music on cue, and the moves well choreographed. You can tell that Mick Brown (drummer), Greg Smith (bass) and Derek St. Holmes (guitar) have been together for a while.  St. Holmes has been back with the band for a few years now, and does a fantastic job on vocals on many of the tracks, leaving Nugent to focus on his superb guitar-playing.

Sitting back and watching the packed crowd at HOB rocking to Uncle Ted was also an experience. Ted was a perfectionist in his sound and actions.  During the show, he realized that his guitar was not sounding just the way it should so he asked for the crew to change the equipment immediately just to get it right.  At 65, Ted still has what it takes to make his guitar sing.  This is what I wondered when listening to Ted.  Who developed their chops first, Ted Nugent or Eddie Van Halen? Both extremely talented guitarists, both professional and entertaining.  With Ted, what you see is what you get.  True hard core rock and roll.

Laura Wylde again opened the show and was a demon on stage, entertaining the crowd with excellent guitar and vocals.  The main set from Nugent lasted a little under 2 hours and the music was loud. Yes, Ted is a proud American and loves his roots and like he said, “this whole world sucks, but here in the US, it sucks a little less!” And, on this night with Uncle Ted, it was a nice escape for all in attendance.

Luc

Set List

 

Hunters pack the house in Jacksonville!


Hunters Live in Jacksonville - Credit: Leon Jonjock
Hunters Live in Jacksonville – Credit: Leon Jonjock

Hunters Packs the House in Jacksonville!

Last week, we had a chance to check out a very hip Indie Rock band called Hunters based out of Brooklyn, New York and touring in support of their new EP. I got the assignment to review and photograph the up and coming punk rockers while they were touring through Jacksonville. The location was Jack Rabbits, a downtown club, on a very hot muggy day. It was apparent that sweat was guaranteed tonight.

I arrived a few minutes early to set up, and the band soon followed in two vans, unloaded everything and went next door for a quick dinner before the show. The manager of Jack Rabbits was also the engineer of the soundboard, and was in great spirits, very excited about this particular show.

After the two opening bands, Queen Beef and Hank and Cupcakes had finished their high energy sets, the lights went out, and Hunters took the stage. The crowd was packed like sardines in this cool little Jacksonville club but despite the heat no one cared. They were all fired up and ready to see this energetic quartet, and you could tell right away that dancing was definitely gonna be happening this night!

We could instantly tell that this band was the real deal, as the crowd instantly came alive when they played their first song. The music was cool enough to keep everyone engaged and listening for the entire set, unlike some other bands that burn out after a couple songs.

The on-stage fog machine filled the concert hall cranking out cool air to the crowd, while covering the stage with a slick mist. The band’s talented lead singer, Isabel Almieda was instantly recognized by her luscious pink hair the moment she took the stage. She displayed a very smooth voice, and was a hit to everyone who watched her dance across the stage. She was joined by her primary collaborator Derek Watson, a hot shot lead guitarist with cool spiked hair.

This Brooklyn Indie rockers played a smart set, with three fast-paced songs right off the bat, to the delight of the crowd. Isabel was in complete control of the timing of the band and she had the crowd in the palm of her hand; at any moment, she had us in a frenzy, other times she slowed the pace, and the entire time, displaying her wonderful voice that connected to everybody in the room.

It wasn’t long before fans of the opening bands were captivated by her voice and they were quickly in the mix dancing to the beats of Hunters! The band played for 50 minutes and had everyone sweating for more.

Watson played his guitar like a seasoned pro and was a great entertainer, even playing upside down with his feet in the air at one point. The fast-paced finger work for this type of music isn’t easy for most guitarists, but he handled the show with grace, never himself to override his partners in the band and staying in perfect sync with the structure of the songs. Bassist Tommy played every solid note, without cheating the songs with sloppy work providing a cool vibe for everyone which was a pleasant relief from the doom and gloom bands that scream at you.

Hunters Live in Jacksonville - Credit: Leon Jonjock
Hunters Live in Jacksonville – Credit: Leon Jonjock

All the songs were handpicked by the band, and when record labels allow you to have that control it almost guarantees a better sound and show. The songs were presented in a way that brought attention to every song – great catchy hooks that kept everyone in attendance dancing. They finished their set to a very happy crowd and the fans were very excited when the band came out to hang with them after the show.

We reporters had a chance to talk to the band backstage, as they were heading for Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and other big time towns.

We got our photo’s taken with the band,  a nice wrap to a great night of rock at a place called Jack Rabbits – where the locals and the newbies go to rock!

This band is on my “TO SEE AGAIN LIST, and we’ll be back again when “Hunters” returns to town.

Thanks to “Hunters” management team, record label, and band members for a great show, and we can’t wait for the new album in 2014!  And Jack Rabbits of Jacksonville for always and for many years, putting North Florida on the map as the place to see cool Indie bands!

Click links for more band photo’s – Hunters Concert Pictures – and of course, Like us on Facebook!

Until then, stay cool !

Happy Jack
92.1fm
Jacksonville
Rarasfarm.com

The Killers Entertain Orlando


he Killers at Hard Rock Orlando
The Killers at Hard Rock Orlando – Credit: Torey Mundkowsky

The Killers Concert Review

All Killer, No Filler! Yup, I know that was a Sum 41 album, but it’s also the perfect tagline for the fantastic rock show put on by The Killers last night.  Brandon Flowers and his band mates commanded the Orlando’s Hard Rock stage and blew the crowd away with a stellar set that quite literally was highlight packed from start to finish.

The Las Vegas based quarter (turned sextet for this tour) sounded superb from the opening notes of “Mr Brightside” to the last rousing flourish of “When You Were Young.” It’s nothing short of impressive that this talented band has turned out so many superb songs in their brief four album career and that they were able to fill almost the entire hour and forty-five minute show with hugely popular hits.

Guitarist Dave Keuning and drummer Ronnie Vannucci were rock solid all night, and bassist Mark Stoerner truly shined with his hard driving bass lines, but this band revolves around the charismatic Flowers, and on this night, he was damn near spectacular. His voice was superb on every song, his keyboards were excellent, and his showmanship top-notch. Permanent smile plastered on his face, he was all over the stage interacting with the fervid crowd constantly.

With the Who’s classic “Eminence Front” playing over the P.A., The Killers took the stage with all of the house lights on to Mr. Brightside, one of many cuts off of their impressive debut Hot Fuss. Playing the track with the lights on was one of a handful of nice surprises throughout the evening. At one point early in the show, Flowers slid behind the piano and played the first verse of “Human,” before the band kicked into “Bling (Confessions of A King).” From there they played a few other songs, before ultimately returning to finish “Human.”

“Tiffany stole this from Tommy James, we’re stealing it back,” offered Flowers before the band launched into a searing version of  “I Think We’re Alone.” The band tore into a raucous, chaotic cacophony before melding into a slick version of “Somebody Told Me.” And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we saw a cool duet between Flowers and Keuning during a tender version of “A Dustland Fairytale.”

The crowd was vocal all night, whether prodded by Flowers or not, and truly shined during “Bling (Confessions of A King),” “Human” and “From Here On Out,”  But, the singalong moment of the night was clearly the main set finale of “All These Things That I Have Done,” where the 3,000 folks in attendance boomed the chorus “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” for a full two minutes.

The Killers at Hard Rock Orlando
The Killers at Hard Rock Orlando – Credit: Torey Mundkowsky

The highlight of the night was the four song encore. Members of the opening band The Virgins joined The Killers on-stage for a cover of Neil Young’s “Albuquerque.” From there it was a great version of “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” that was presented with a much darker feel which fit the song perfectly. The final two songs, again had the crowd thoroughly engaged, explosive versions of “Battle Born” and “When You Were Young.”

The Hard Rock venue was perfectly suited for the band, and the sold out crowd was in rare form, dancing and answering every call with loud vocals throughout the show.  It was also nice to see such diversity in the crowd, with fans from the single digits to senior citizens – all of whom who left pretty damn happy.

Setlist

Mr. Brightside
Spaceman
The Way It Was
Smile Like You Mean It
Human (Part One)
Bling (Confession of a King)
Change Your Mind
Miss Atomic Bomb
Human
Somebody Told Me
I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)
For Reasons Unknown
From Here On Out
A Dustland Fairytale
Read My Mind
Runaways
All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:
Albuquerque (Neil Young cover)
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
Battle Born
When You Were Young

Check out the entire The Killers catalog on

St. Augustine’s “Queen Beef” wows Jacksonville fans!


Queen Beef at Jack Rabbits
Queen Beef at Jack Rabbits

Queen Beef Concert Review

From the moment opening act Queen Beef hit the stage, it was a party!

The four man group, from the sands of St. Augustine Beach Florida, played for a SOLD OUT SHOW at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, Florida. Billed with 3 other bands from around the nation, this 4 band show was a sight to see, and wonderful music to our ears.

Opening act Queen Beef, played high energy songs that got the Jacksonville crowds a jumping. The band is led by lead singer Michael O’Hara who came out twirling in a little pink mini skirt and danced and jumped for 45 minutes straight!

Lead Guitarist Ryan Palm handled the fast paced riffs on a small neck guitar perfectly – every song was on time and the crowd roared with every solo, while bassist Nick Commodity sweated every note as he feverishly pounded on his bass to the super fast tempo of the set. Commodity wore a Misfits shirt that everyone loved the minute he came in the door, I thought he was the bouncer at first – then he grabbed the bass, plugged in his amp, and jammed to the delighted crowd at Jack Rabbits. Fianlly, drummer Matty Pius did not stop his barrage of thunder drums until the set was over. He played so fast that sweat was pouring from his soaked body like rain. High energy bands like Queen Beef, are always welcomed in the Jacksonville area.

After the show, the band graciously signed autographs and came back later in the evening to hang with the fans.  This show will be remembered by a lot of fans of the underground scene.  They came wearing ripped clothes, make up, wild hair styles, and a passion for Punk Rock Music!

We enjoyed this show and can’t wait to see them again soon, and recommend them to anyone if they are playing in your area!

See more Queen Beef show photos here: Queen Beef at Jack Rabbits

As always , thanks to Jack Rabbits venue in Jacksonville Florida , where concerts are happening every other week, and the locals love to come out to see the cool bands play their hearts out.

Also,thanks to Rarasfarm.com for making this event coverage available to us die hard fans of Punk Music! Watch for my three other reviews from this 4 band event from Jack Rabbits coming soon on this website. Enjoy the pictures from the show , on this website from all 4 bands, and comments are always welcome in our blogs.

Until then, keep your heads up and enjoy all the reviews on Rarasfarm.com. I’ll be getting ready for my next review, please keep us as a favorite on your toolbar, and tell your friends about the coolest music review site in the nation – Rarasfarm.com!

Stay tuned – for more – HappyJack