Lit Tears It Up in Orlando

Lit still has it.  They’ve been relatively quiet over the last seven years dealing with some crushing tragedies, but have bounced back powerfully!

The Fullerton, California quintet is touring in support of their forthcoming release The View From the Bottom. As front man A. Jay Popoff shared, the band always seems to start or end their tours in the Sunshine State. True to his word, they just started  this tour the prior night in South Florida. But, they’re already in prime touring form.

The set list at Hard Rock Hotel’s Velvet Sessions featured most of the band’s hits, including a handful off of their breakthrough 1999 release A Place In the Sun, including their energetic opener “Four” and the fan favorite “My Own Worst Enemy” which closed the show. Overall, the band offered an energetic passionate set and were on top of their game, mixing in some choice cuts from their forthcoming release The View From the Bottom.

Brothers A. Jay and Jeremy Popoff (lead guitar) with Kevin Blades (bass) are the original core to the band and still dominate the stage. They engaged the crowd throughout the night and genuinely seemed to be having a fun time.  They were joined on stage by Ryan Gilmor on guitar and former drum tech Nathan Walker who has replaced the deceased Allen Shellenberger. The band was cohesive on stage and genuinely seemed to be having a great time playing along side each other. It carries through on stage,where they interacted with the crowd all night. (As a nice touch, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band shower the crowd with more souvenir guitar picks.)

The band played a handful of new songs off of the forthcoming album and they were well-received by the appreciative crowd.  “You Tonight” and “Same Shit. Different Drink” are two that are destined to be fan favorites, but they were all strong cuts. The album comes out on June 29th.  In the meantime, click on the Free Music Friday link on the top of this page for a free download of “Same Shit, Different Drink.”

The band came out for their encore with a great rendition of Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,” then ratcheted up the frenzied crowd with a fantastic version of “My Own Worst Enemy.” It was a perfect way to wrap up a great set.

Rock On! – Cretin

Setlist

Four
You Tonight
C’mon
Something to Someone
Too Fast for a U-Turn
Looks Like They Were Right
She Don’t Know
Lipstick and Bruises
Over My Head
Zip-Lock
Same Shit Different Drink
Miserable
Miss U Gone
The Broken

Encore
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
My Own Worst Enemy

 

 

Your iPod – It’s What’s on the Inside that Matters

Recently, I was talking to an old friend who grumbled that there was no good new rock music on the airwaves.  Oh, how wrong he was.  There’s plenty – you just need to know where to look.  Hint: Sirius XM is a good start: XM Radios Starting at $29.99

In reality, there’s lots of damn good new music out there.  Here are 10 new tunes that are clearly worth a listen, probably even worth digging $1.29 out of your piggy bank (follow the links to visit iTunes). Download these to your iPhone or iPod and begin to impress your friends.  I’ve added in a few older tunes, too, for your consideration, giving you a nice Farmer’s Dozen.

Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well – A Silent Film – This song is addictive.  The first single from the band’s forthcoming second album reminds me a bit of the Killers.  Great stuff from these lads out of Oxford, England. I have a feeling this one is destined to be one of those classic songs that ends up being a defining song of that summer.

Stay Useless – Cloud Nothings – Great Indie Rock out of Cleveland. This is pure, rough alternative with a punk flare.  It’s a ton of fun, and unique in today’s marketplace. Want to sound cool to your friends, play them this song.

Away Frm U – Oberhofer – The Beach Boys meet Oingo Boingo.  It’s a unique, cool sound from 21 year old Brad Oberhofer and his band. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, that’s impressive!  Based on this first single, the band has a ton of potential.

Girls Like You – Naked and Famous – Another hip cool band out of New Zealand.  This one has been out for a few months, but is just now starting to get airplay.  Thom Powers’ vocals are fantastic and the synth-laden song is a perfect alt-rock dance track.

That Old Black Hole – Dr. Dog Fun, fun stuff from the suburbs of Philly. It’s got a reggae, ska, funky feel and is just a blast to listen to.  Surprised this band has seen more success over the past decade. They are playing at the Hangout Festival in Alabama next month, with the next band…

Apartment – Young the Giant – The album is a year and a half old, but the third single is just now getting airplay.  It’s as good as the two predecessors “My Body” and “Cough Syrup.”  I’m truly bummed I missed the chance to catch these guys touring with Grouplove earlier this year.  Highly recommend this one.

Simple Song – The Shins – They’re a guilty pleasure, this quintet out of New Mexico. They play kid rock (that’s, kiddie rock, not Kid Rock), alt rock and bubble gum pop, but it’s all pretty damn good.  This one is a nice simple love song.  I love it…

Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) -Silversun Pickups – I was a huge fan of these guys three or four years ago.  They’re prolific, and continually release new stuff.  Think it might be time for a break.  I find this track to be absolutely mediocre.  Check it out for yourself and see if you agree…

Rocky Mountain Way – Godsmack – It’s a nice cover. You’ll find a few of the staples from Joe Walsh’s original masterpiece as well as a few unique Godsmack-like touches.

Sirius XM’s Octane is featuring Egypt Central’s “Enemy Inside” as featured new music.  It’s a great tune, that we featured last year.  Check out Kerri’s review: White Rabbit

Life’s a Song – Jets Overhead – This one is about five years old now, but new to me.  Love the sound of this Canadian Quintet.  The lyrics are cool, too.

I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Ramones – It’s a timeless classic off of their Adios Amigos album.  Probably the best guitar work on any Ramones tune.

Your Love – Outfield – This song crosses a few genres of Rock, and it’s really an under appreciated classic.  Tony Lewis’s vocals on this 80’s hit are timeless.

There you go; thirteen tunes worth checking out, adding to your playlist and dazzling your friends, family, co-workers, and that dude at Starbucks.  Guaranteed you’ll like at least seven of them. OK, there’s no guarantee, but you’ll like most of them. Trust me…

Rock On – Cretin

Orlando Jai Alai Fronton – Historic Rock ‘n Roll Venue

When I heard that the Marshall Tucker Band was playing the Orlando Jai Alai Fronton I was surprised. I never picked it as the right atmosphere for a rock show. So, when I trekked out to Fern Park to review the band, I was just as curious to check out the venue as I was the show. As it turned out, it was an excellent experience. (Check out the concert review here)

The Jai Alai can accommodate around 1,200 fans, with every seat fairly close to the stage. The stage is set-up on the playing surface, with the seating area being narrow and wide. The result is that there are only about 20 rows of seats, giving the venue an intimate feel. I’d strongly recommend the seats within the first 10 rows or so (anything under Row G) as the seats are huge and comfortable with copious leg room.

During the Marshall Tucker show, the sound system was excellent. There were a few issues with a buzz on one of the guitars, but that appeared to be an issue with the band’s equipment.

After returning from the show, I researched the Jai Alai venues after hearing Marshall Tucker front man Doug Gray comment about playing the venue in the 70’s. I was surprised to learn that huge acts such as Bruce Springsteen, U-2, Kiss and David Bowie have played there. I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for another opportunity to see a show here and hopefully catch some other future rock legends.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • Plenty of free parking on-site
  • There were about a dozen seats available literally on the stage
  • Decent bar selections at decent prices
  • Security strongly discouraged folks from standing during the show

Marshall Tucker Orlando Concert Review

Legendary rockers, The Marshall Tucker Band brought their tour to Florida last night, and they put on a strong show at the Orlando Jai Alai. Doug Gray is the sole original member still touring with the band, as they celebrate 40 years of classic Southern Rock.  Although not original members, the current version of the band has been touring together for years, and they are a tremendously talented, cohesive group of musicians.

Gray’s voice was rough, and he struggled to hit the notes that were originally sung by founding member and primary song-writer, the deceased Toy Caldwell. But, that was the only negative the entire night. Gray was still an affable, entertaining front man.  He interacted with the crowd all night, was constantly smiling and laughing, and shared more than a few priceless nuggets from the band’s storied past, including the fact that the last time they played a Jai Alai venue was in 1972 in Miami.

As for the venue, it was surprisingly a great place to see a show.  I’ll leave it at that for now, but we’ll have a review for the venue posted in the next day or two.

The band kicked off the show with a crisp extended version of “This Old Cowboy,” where Rick Willis and Stuart Swanlund traded off nice guitar riffs.  In total, they played just eight songs, yet played for over 90 minutes as most songs included extended versions and solos galore.

One of the early highlights was “Take the Highway,” where keyboard player and flutist, Marcus James Henderson, took the lead vocal.  Aside from nailing the vocals, he shared several powerful flute solos that brought the crowd to their feet.  Before this show, I hadn’t realized how prominently The Marshall Tucker Band featured the flute, but it was a welcome change.

During “24 Hours at a Time,” Marcus traded his flute for a sax, and absolutely tore up the stage.  Willis and Swanlund  again traded off guitar leads, and we also got to see nice bass and drum solos from Pat Elwood and B.B. Borden respectively.  The song lasted at least fifteen minutes, and went by in a flash as it was thoroughly entertaining.

The talent in the band was impressive throughout the night.  The solos were powerful and passionate, and the band members all had their moments in the spotlight.  Henderson, Swanlund and Willis all took lead vocals on for at least one song.  I loved Willis’s powerful vocals which were eerily reminiscent of Toy Caldwell’s back in the 70’s.  Good stuff!

They closed with a fantastic sing-along version of “Can’t You See” which was Gray’s shining moment. The song that some consider to be the greatest Southern Rock song ever, had the crowd fully engaged, on their feet and singing along throughout. They took a few bows, introduced their encore without leaving the stage and belted out a great version of “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky.”

Overall, a nice show with some fantastic musicians that helped bring back that great 70’s classic Southern Rock vibe, at least for a night.

Local musicians Charlie D and the Things opened the show with a fun thirty minute set. The band features Charlie De Cosa a local musician who has played with many bands over the years. The definitely give off a Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers vibe, and did a good job warming up the crowd.

Rock On – Cretin

See the Setlist below.


Setlist:

This Old Cowboy
Fire On the Mountain
Take the Highway
Heard It In A Love Song
Midnight Promises
24 Hours At A Time
Can’t You See
Blue Ridge Mountain Sky

The Karaoke Channel Store

The Dropa Stone Release their Starry Message

Starry Messenger, from Orlando rockers The Dropa Stone is now available, and it’s aptly titled.  These talented musicians describe their music as a groovy fusion of rock with rhythm and blues. I can see that, but I’d say it has more of a progressive jam feel to it. It’s different than most of the stuff on the airways and in the local venues and it’s a welcome change.

The album features deep, layered powerful songs and showcases the excellent musical talent in the line-up. It’s extremely difficult to categorize the band, and that’s a good thing. If I had to compare them to any artists, it would be a creative combination of Incubus and King Crimson.  It does not capture their sound perfectly, and I know it sounds odd, but it works.

The music on Starry Messenger is quite diverse; a fact that may hurt the band commercially, as it’s hard to find rock music fans who are going to enjoy all of the many directions the band pulls us. However, throughout the nine selections, the guitar work from Justin Henry and Jon Meyers is excellent.  Meyers is the lead vocalist and has a nice, fresh, unique voice.  Will Richey on bass and Joe Lederman on drums consistently provide a powerful bass groove.

The album kicks off with a spacey Rush-esque rocker titled “Vectors,” it’s a good peek at what to expect over the remainder of the album, but the songs, direction and groove change throughout.  There are a few nice tunes with more of a blues feel, such as “Catfish Blues” and Salsa Verde.”

The best cuts were the ones with more of an Alternative Rock bent, particularly my favorite “Kinski’s Spiral” and “Other Worlds Than These.”

The remainder of the album is pretty heavy on jam based rock with a clear classic rock feel. It well be well-received by fans of jam rock, but there are varied options for other rock fans. Starry Messenger is worth a listen for sure, and I suspect everyone will find a song or two that they really like.

Mike G

Check out the Central Florida Concert Highlights for April

 

Central Florida April Concert Calendar

After a rocking March, we’re in for another great month for Rock And Roll Animals who love live Rock ‘n Roll  There are a few interesting shows headed to Central Florida, as well as a cool festival in a beautiful part of the state.

Van Halen

Yup, they’re still together after six weeks on the road.  I’m surprised, but that’s good news for Floridians.  They’re one of the rare big acts to hit all three major Central Florida venues. Thu, Apr 12 in Orlando at Amway Center, Sat, Apr 14 at Tampa Bay Times Forum and Mon, Apr 16 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. When they are on top of their game they are one of the best acts around.

Orlando

4/12, Daughtry – saw him just after his American Idol success and the band put on a good show. He’s at The Hard Rock Cafe for those folks not headed out to see Van Halen.

4/13, Marshall Tucker – the classic rockers are at The Orlando Jai Alai.  Interesting venue selection, but sometimes these shows are nice surprises.

4/19 – 4/21, Florida Music Festival – Diverse festival at locations around the area. The Dirty Heads, Filter and Candlebox are the big attractions, but there’s tons of offerings for new and emerging artists, too such as two of our favorites The Dropa Stone and Jackie Bristow. Check out their site here: Florida Music Festival

4/25, Say  Anything – they’re at The Beacham with Kevin Devine and Fake Problems

4/26, Lit – this month’s Velvet Sessions at Hard Rock Hotel is a good one.  These guys rock and put on a great show.  And you know how much we love this intimate little gathering place.

Tampa Area

4/11. Daughtry – Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater

4/12, Marshall Tucker – this time they hit the fairground circuit with WAR.  Sounds cool to us; Manatee County Fairgrounds

4/20, Candlebox – they hit Jannus Live in St. Pete.

4/20, Dick Dale – this one is intriguing.  Dick Dale is the greatest surf rock guitarist ever, and is just basically a guitar god.  He’s at State Theater in St. Pete.

4/21, Filter – Another good live act with a powerful show. You can catch them at State Theater, too.

4/24, Elvis – This guy is hit or miss. We’ve seen Mr. Costello rock and also seen him kind of suck.  If you want to roll the dice, he’ll be at Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater.

4/27, Lit – State Theater

4/28, 98 Rockfest – The Tampa Bay Times Forum will be rocking. Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and Evanescence headline this big show.

4/28, Sister Hazel – Gainesville rockers head West.  They usually put on a solid show.

4/28. Greg Lake – fantastic and under-appreciated musician. Highly recommended. He’s also at The Capitol Theater in Clearwater on the 30th.

Jacksonville

4/6, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Fun, fun stuff, and a BIG sound. They are a blast and you can see them at Cafe Eleven

4/10, Candlebox – Maverick’s

4/15, Daughtry – Moran Theater

4/27, Elvis Costello – Florida Theater

4/28, Rise Against – Help is on the way, Jacksonville! Get your hard rock fix at St. Augustine Amphitheater

4/29, Greg Lake – continues criss-crossing the state; he’s at Florida Theater

4/29, Welcome to Rockville – take Tampa’s 98 Rockfest and kick it up a notch or two by adding Korn and P.O.D. Powerful.  They’ll all be at Metropolitan Park.

Rock By The Sea

How about a rock festival with a good line-up, a great cause and a fantastic location? It’s Rock By The Sea in Panama City. Sister Hazel and Shawn Mullins are two headliners, but we’re really stoked about Stroke 9. These guys rarely play in Florida and are phenomenal live.  They alone might be worth the trip.  Get more information on the festival and this year’s charities at: Rock By The Sea
Cheap concert tickets

Back Booth – Orlando Cool Coziness

I had a chance to check out BackBooth when Lovedrug bright their Wild Blood tour to Orlando recently.

The small club formerly in the UCF area is now located downtown on Pine Street just off of Orange.  The venue accommodates around 350 people and is a truly intimate place to see a show.  Despite the relative small size, they still get a good mix of national and local acts.

There are a few stools around the place, but it is generally a standing room kind of place, yet site lines are pretty good throughout.  There’s a riser towards the back of the room, and a small balcony, both offering nice views of the stage.

It’s a tight room and the sound mix is a bit of a challenge. Surprisingly, the sound was pretty good for the room configuration.  Not the best sound system you will find in the city, but more than adequate for this club. Overall, it is a great cozy place to see a show.  You’re never more than fifty feet from the stage, there’s always a clear view and the sound mix is decent.  Definitely a good place to catch a show and a cool crowd to spend a few hours with.

Offering about 20 diverse beers on tap, they have a fantastic draft beer selection. It’s fairly priced, and they also offered cheap deals with PBR oil cans.

The one down side – short set lists.  They seemed to be in a rush to get the bands off the stage to start a late night dance party.  I’d rather see fewer bands play longer sets if they need to clear the crowd out early in the night.

Miscellaneous Ramblings:

  • The staff was friendly both at the door and behind the bar, and they graciously let us sample some of the more unusual brews.
  • Ticket prices are reasonable.
  • For the show, the room was non-smoking, but pretty sure that ban is lifted when bands are not performing.
  • Parking available and plentiful at local garages ($5 to $10)

Bottom line: Worth a visit, and definitely check out the beer selection!

Lovedrug Concert Review

Lovedrug touched down in Orlando this weekend as they tour in support of their excellent new release of Wild Blood.

They played an energetic, yet short set in the cozy confines of Back Booth.  The quartet sounded excellent and seemed to truly enjoy their limited time on stage, from Michael Sheppard’s opening guitar riff on “Pink Champagne” through the powerful closer “Anodyne.” The group was tight, and sounded excellent during the forty-five minute set.

Lovedrug Michael Sheppard Live
Lovedrug Michael Sheppard Live at Back Booth

The first three selections were all off of Wild Blood. “Pimk Champagne” and “Wild Blood” had the crowd bouncing and singing along to kick the show off, and singer/guitarist Michael Sheppard sounded great.  Jeremy Gifford, who played guitar most of the night shifted over to keyboards during “Dinosaur” which was one of the early crowd favorites, particularly during the call-and-answer segment.

The highlight of the show was the fantastic “In Red” off of the band’s Pretend Your Alive album. Drummer James Freshwater and bassist Thomas Bragg absolutely powered this driving song, and seemed to have a blast doing it. Gifford and Sheppard traded off impressive guitar leads, with the latter displaying his broad vocal range hitting some nice high notes.

The foursome closed out the show with a great version of “Anodyne,” the song that also closes out the new album.  The crowd packed the small club and knew all of the songs. Speaking with the band after the show, they felt good about the Orlando welcome, and were looking forward to the next few months on the road.

I was hoping to hear “Ladders” and “Premonition” but imagine they were casualties of the shortened set time.  All told, it was an evening that whet my appetite for more Lovedrug.

Local bands Valise and Savannah did a nice job opening the show.

Rock On – Cretin!

Check out our Album Review of Wild Blood

Setlist:
Pink Champagne
Wild Blood
Dinosaur
Blood Like
Ghost By Your Side
Pushing the Shine
Great Divide
In Red
Black Out
Anodyne

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