Tag Archives: chuck ragan

Central Florida Concert Update

Lots of good music headed our way as we hit Spring in Central Florida, as March wraps up with a ton of great shows.

Orlando

Tonight, Friday March 23rd, it’s Ohio’s Lovedrug at Backbooth.  They are playing in support of their excellent new album – read our review here: Wild Blood review.  Cretin will be there to review the show.  You can also check out Cretin’s interview with Lovedrug’s Michael Sheppard here.

For you 70’s Rock And Roll Animals – the Guess Who are at Epcot all weekend.  Those shows are typically fun, but do require park admission.

On Saturday, it’s Alternative rockers Blue October at House of Blues, and more interesting to me, Chuck Ragan playing “The Revival Tour” at The Social. We saw Ragan open up for Social Distortion in November, and he put on a great show. His album, Covering Ground was also in our Top albums of 2011. The guys are in Jacksonville at Jack Rabbit’s the following night.

On Monday, it’s Atlanta’s The Black Lips at The Social, and they are supporting their latest album Arabia Mountain, and they are rumored to be fantastic live.

Thursday Hard Rock Live features Snow Patrol, and over at the main Hotel, it’s Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions with Tonic; then they visit Williams Park in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

Friday 3/30, you HazelNuts can catch Sister Hazel at House of Blues.  It’s the perfect-sized venue for the semi-local crew from Gainesville, who usually put on a good show.

Then on Saturday, The Red Hot Chili Peppers close out the month at the big house at Amway Center.

Tampa

Friday – two different ends of the spectrum, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing at Tampa Bay Times Forum and the aforementioned Black Lips at Orpheum. We’ve seen Bruce many times, and he’s great live, but I’d be inclined to check out the Black Lips this day.

Sunday you can take a “Slow Ride” with Foghat at Screwy Louie’s Porpoise Pub.

Wednesday 3/28, it’s hot Alt-Rockers The Naked and Famous at State Theater in St. Pete.

Thursday, RHCP hits Tampa at the TImes Forum.

Friday, the 30th, Blue October hits the West Coast with a show at Jannus Live. All of The Parrotheads will be inland at the Ask-Gary Amphitheater in Tampa. Here’s our review of last month’s Buffet Show in Orlando to whet your appetite.

Enjoy the Rcok – Mike G.

 

The Best Albums of 2011

When I started this, I suspected that when we look back on 2011, we wouldn’t consider this an amazing year for music.  Unlike the amazing contributions we heard both twenty and forty years ago, this year’s contributions seemed a bit  more mediocre.  Nonetheless, after digging through the candidates, it became clear there were a few future classics out there.

So, grab your favorite beverage, crank up the music and check out the RARA’s Farm Farmer’s Dozen, the Top 12 albums of 2011.  Take a look and a listen, and let us know what you think:

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Bonus Selection: The Last Royals EP (read the RARAs Farm review)
This eponymous debut from a talented band out of New York City was one of the best discoveries of 2011.  Everyone knows their wildly popular “Crystal Vases,” but the rest of the EP is just as good, and quite diverse, especially for a four song sampler.  These guys have a ton of potential; look for their first full length album, Twistification hitting the streets soon.

12. Angles, The Strokes
Returning after a five year respite, the lads from New York are back, and in great form.  All of the classic garage sound we’ve come to love from the band, as well as some more modern stuff, and an occasional retro rock flashback – the result is a long overdue strong return. The first cut “Machu Pichu” is a great example of their newer sound.

11. White Rabbit, Egypt Central (read the RARAs Farm review)
The second album from this Memphis based quartet was one of the best hard rock offerings of the year.  Kick Ass features a wide variety of polished powerful rock and has prompted well deserved airplay on stations like SiriusXM’s Octane. The title track is an excellent hard rock tune, while “Goodnight” spotlights more of the ballad side of their repertoire.

10. Move Like This, The Cars
These guys are back for the first time since the eighties.  The only original member missing is the late Benjamin Orr who passed away ten years ago.  The rest of the band sounds eerily similar to their trademark sound that made them New Wave royalty.  It’s odd that so many other bands are tapping into that 80’s vein nowadays, but these true masters couldn’t get a sniff of airplay.  Nonetheless, it’s a nice overlooked return effort.

9. Codes and Keys, Death Cab for Cutie
Benjamin Gibbard and Chris Walla took a new approach for Death Cab on this album, eschewing their previous guitar laden sound for more of a keyboard driven groove.  It’s a refreshing change and makes the album more enjoyable than their previous six.  “You Are a Tourist” and “Stay Young and Go Dancing” are prime examples of the excellent new sound.

8. Torches, Foster the People
A nice debut from the L.A. trio includes their huge breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks.” Their sound is modern through and through and Mark Foster’s vocals truly unique.  Admittedly there are a few weak tracks on the album, but the good far outweighs the bad.  Make sure you check out “Helena Beat” and “Don’t Stop.”

7. Covering Ground, Chuck Ragan
The long-time punk rocker turned folk troubadour gifted us with this excellent collection of introspective songs early this year. His gravely voice is paired perfectly with the stripped down instruments: an acoustic guitar, a fiddle and a stand up bass.   The songs reflect on a tough life on the road and the loved ones in his life.  Grab a whiskey and give it a listen.

6. Suck It and See, The Arctic Monkeys
Album number four is the band’s best yet.  It’s a different sound for the foursome, and a welcome change.  “She’s Thunderstorms” is a great opening cut on an album packed with excellent tunes all the way through to the closer  “That’s Where You Belong.” “Piledriver Waltz and “Black Treacle” are two of the stronger offerings. Listening to the band I’m reminded of a comfortable old favorite: Echo and the Bunnymen – good stuff!

5. Eureka, Mother Mother (read the RARAs Farm review)
In our album review, we described their unique sound as a diverse collection of alt-country-dance-funkadelic-harmonic rock. It’s impossible to classify their sound as anything but original; they sound like Mother Mother, period. Their sound is all their own, and it’s great stuff. The group revolves around the infectious harmonies of brother/sister combination Ryan and molly Guldemold. The Canadians really shine on “Baby Don’t Dance,” “The Stand” and “Chasing It Down.”

4. El Camino, The Black Keys
The Akron based duo broke through last year with the hugely popular album Brothers. This one might be even better.  There’s a bit more commercial appeal to this one, and the songs will translate well into live versions on their forthcoming tour. It’s straight forward, stripped down raw rock and roll; sounds a bit like a modernized version of Bad Company, if you can imagine that.  “Lonely Boy” is one of the best songs of the year, and has plenty of competition on the rest of the album. “Money Maker” and “Hell of a Season” are two other powerful tracks.

3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher and friends prove that there is life after Oasis for both brothers.  Liam’s Beady Eye project was decent, but Noel’s new offering is great stuff.   The talented guitarist penned all of these tunes and nails the vocals throughout. Some of the tunes will remind you of What’s The Story Morning Glory era Oasis (“Dream On” and “AKA What A Life”), which is a good thing, and all of them are well produced and written. Favorite track: “The Death of You and Me.”

2. Never Trust a Happy Song, Grouplove (read the RARAs Farm review)
A great collection of songs from this quintet who met by chance at an artists’ retreat in Crete a few summers ago. The band has put together a fantastic assortment of Alt Rock anthems.  The feel of each song is distinctive yet they weave together nicely thanks to the consistent strong vocals from Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi. “Chloe” is the best cut on the album, but has plenty of company including “Colours,” “Lovely Cup,” and iPod favorite “Tongue Tied.”

1. Thank You Happy Birthday, Cage the Elephant
Fantastic album that also has a cool back story: The band basically had an album in the can ready to release when they realized no one was really passionate about what they recorded. They started over leveraging songs that the band members were planning to use for their own side projects.  The result is a tremendous passion-filled trip from the opening notes of “Always Something” through all dozen tunes.  “Around My Head,”  “Aberdeen” and “Shake Me Down are already classics for the quintet from Kentucky. It’s only their second album, but these guys are key linchpins for the future of American Rock and Roll.

There you go, twelve great albums that will define 2011 music for years to come.   Let us know what you think; what did we leave out? what doesn’t belong? And, if you want to take a trip down memory lane, check out how these discs compare with some classics: The Best of 1971 and The Best of 1991.

Rock On – Cretin

 

Social Distortion Shares Some Nursery Rhymes at HOB

Mike Ness and Social Distortion delivered a powerful set at House of Blues in Orlando last night in front of an electric and packed House. Ness has long epitomized the consummate bad-ass rock and roll front man and he still carries that torch.

Social D is touring in support of Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, their first studio album in the past seven years. Still they only included two songs from the latest album: “Machine Gun Blues” and “Bakersfield.” Instead of shamelessly pushing the new tunes, they reached deep into their catalog, featuring classics from the past three decades, and throwing in a few nice surprises along the way. Perfect for the fervid fans in attendance.

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The band exploded onto the stage with a powerful version of “1945” and immediately ratcheted it up a notch when they moved into crowd favorite, 1983’s “Daddy’s Little Monster,” which pushed the considerably-sized mosh pit into a fever pitch. Then it was directly into their current hit “Machine Gun Blues” and a great singalong version of “Bad Luck” before Ness finally caught his breath.

Ness was energetic and engaged the crowd all night.  His signature vocals may have been even a bit more raspy at this point in his career, but still sounded strong considering his three decades of heavy touring.

Longtime sidekick Jonny Wickershamm was back on guitar.  He and Ness traded off the lead throughout the evening while bassist Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo, Jr kept the hard driving rhythm guiding the set all night. The only issue all night was that the sound mix was a little muddy – especially earlier in the show.

Other setlist highlights included “Story of My Life,” “So Far Away” and another fun singalong, this time to “Six More Miles” – an old Hank Williams cover.  The band closed the core sixty minute set with “Nickels and Dimes.”

For the encore, they took the pitch up a notch and started with “Dear Lover” and “Don’t Drag Me Down” before closing it out with powerful versions of fan favorites “Prison Bound” and their fantastic cover of “Ring of Fire.”

Eighty minutes of energy and passion with a set-list clearly designed with the fans in mind; a great night with the greatest hard rocking punkabilly band ever.

Setlist

  • 1945
  • Mommy’s Little Monster
  • Machine Gun Blues
  • Bad Luck
  • So Far Away
  • King of Fools
  • Story Of My Life
  • Bakersfield
  • Sweet & Lowdown
  • Reach for the Sky
  • Six More Miles (Hank Williams cover)
  • Nickels and Dimes

Encore:

  • Dear Lover
  • Don’t Drag Me Down
  • Prison Bound
  • Ring of Fire
Chuck Ragan warmed the crowd up with an impressive set of his trademark folksy rock.  He and fiddle player Jon Gaunt and bassist Joe Ginsberg filled the forty minute set with an interesting and unique blend of contemporary rock.

Checkout our video snippets of the show on our YouTube channel: Social D in Orlando