Tag Archives: Flogging Molly

Central Florida February Rock Calendar


This month sees the concert scene heat up tremendously. Lots of good stuff and many classic rock bands joining the snowbirds this month.

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Orlando

02/04 – The xx, The Beacham

02/07 – Reel Big Fish, House Of Blues

02/09 – The English Beat, The Plaza Theatre

02/10 – Old 97’s, The Social – Jeff Tweedy and Company always put on a good show, seeing them in a small venue like The Social is a nice bonus.

02/11 – Flogging Molly, House Of Blues – One of RARA’s Farm’s all-time favorites, they always put on a great show and pack the house.

02/14 – Fishbone, The West End (Sanford)

02/15 – Imagine Dragons with Atlas Genius, House Of Blues – Two excellent Alt-Rock acts playing to a sold out crowd at HOB.
02/15 – Johnny Winter, The Plaza Theatre

02/16 – Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project, The Plaza Theatre
02/16 – The Beach Boys, Sea World Orlando Adventure Park Bands. Part of the Brew & BBQ Concert Series”
02/16 – Jefferson Starship, Mt. Dora Music Festival. Paul Kantner and David Freiberg lead this version of Starship/Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship in an acoustic set.

02/17 – Anberlin, The Beacham. Strong Alt-Rockers from the Sunshine State, always put on a good show. Check out a recent review of Anberlin.

02/20 – Jukebox The Ghost and Matt Pond PA, The Social

02/24 – Pink and The Hives, Amway Center
02/24 – The Queers, Will’s Pub

02/25 – Muse, Amway Center – They may be the biggest name in rock music today, and they are excellent live.
02/25 – The Irish Rovers, The Plaza Theatre

02/28 – Ed Roland & The Sweet Tea Project, Hard Rock Hotel. The former Collective Soul front man headlines this month’s Velvet Sessions. Check out our recent review of Collective Soul
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Jacksonville

02/03 – The xx, Florida Theatre

02/05 – The English Beat, Jack Rabbits

02/06 – Soul Asylum, Freebird Live

02/07 – Jimmy Buffett, Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena – Parrotheads invade the East Coast. Check out our recent Buffett review. 

02/08 – Willie Nelson, Florida Theatre

02/10 – Reel Big Fish, Freebird Live

02/14 – Holopaw, Nobby’s (Saint Augustine)
02/14 – Johnny Winter, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall (Ponte Vedra Beach)
02/14 – Steve Miller Band, Florida Theatre

02/20 – Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project, Florida Theatre

02/21 – The Queers, Jack Rabbits

02/22 – The Lovin’ Spoonful, Times-Union Center For Perf. Arts

02/27 – The Aggrolites, Cafe Eleven (Saint Augustine)

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Tampa Area

02/02 – G. Love & Special Sauce, Jannus Live (Saint Petersburg)
02/02 – Willie Nelson, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

02/06 – Paul Revere & The Raiders, Stanleyville Theatre

02/07 – The English Beat, Jannus Live (Saint Petersburg)
02/07 – The xx, The Ritz Ybor

02/08 – Reel Big Fish, State Theatre (Saint Petersburg)

02/09 – Frankie Valli, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
02/09 – Old 97’s, State Theatre (Saint Petersburg)

02/10 – John Kay & Steppenwolf, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

02/11 – Starship Starring Mickey Thomas, “Florida State Fair” Florida State Fairgrounds. Thomas still has a phenomenal voice, Check out our recent review.

02/12 – Frankie Valli, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)
02/12 – Jonathan Richman, Skipper’s Smokehouse

02/13 – Steve Miller Band, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

02/14 – Sheryl Crow, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)

02/15 – Alan Parsons ‘Live’ Project, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
02/15 – Jefferson Starship, Skipper’s Smokehouse – four days after the other Starship hits Tampa. Interesting…
02/15 – Sheryl Crow, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)

02/16 – The Marshall Tucker Band, Florida Southern College (Lakeland). Unbelievable talent in the band’s current line-up. Check out our recent review of their show in Orlando.

02/17 – The Beach Boys, Van Wezel Perf. Arts Hall (Sarasota)
02/17 – Johnny Winter, Capitol Theatre (Clearwater)

02/19 – Jukebox The Ghost and Matt Pond PA, The Crowbar

02/23 – 3 Doors Down and Daughtry, Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
02/23 – The Irish Rovers, Capitol Theatre (Clearwater)
02/23 – Muse, Tampa Bay Times Forum
02/23 – The Queers, Local 662 (Saint Petersburg)

02/27 – Pink and The Hives, Tampa Bay Times Forum

02/28 – Foreigner – “Florida Strawberry Festival” (Plant City)

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X102.9 Alt-Rock Festival – Band Reviews


This is the third part of our Big Ticket trilogy – sort of our version of Fifty Shades of Great.

      Part I – The Best of The Big Ticket
      Part II – The Festival Wrap-Up
    Also, We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site.  Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page.  

 

As I’ve noted in my two prior articles, when I first saw the line-up for the Big Ticket Festival, I had lofty expectations.  I had covered about half of the acts previously and was a big fan of each.  As it turned out, the bands I was familiar with all delivered what I expected, but I was amazed by how good the rest of the acts were.  Here’s a quick peek at each band in the order they played. (All of the bold text link to related material).

Sunbears! – This duo had a chance to play in their hometown of Jacksonville.  We arrived just at the tail end of their set and they sounded good, in front of a decent crowd.  I’d describe their sound as a modern blend of psychedelic rock, but take that for what it is worth as I only heard a small sample. Sunbears Photos

Paper Tongues – Our first nice surprise of the night. I was aware of these guys out of Charlotte but didn’t know much about their music.  They seem to have a bit of a cult following in Florida, and after seeing them perform live I totally get it.  Lead singer Aswan North just reeks charisma, which is matched by their leopard clad bassist, Daniel Santell.  The entire band sounded great and got a rousing welcome from the crowd. The highlight was North singing “Trinity” from the crowd. Next time these guys are in the neighborhood, I need to see them.  Paper Tongues Photos

Whole Wheat Bread – Another band with local ties, these three guys also hail from Jacksonville. They have a unique sound, sort of a mainstream Southern Rock Alt-Rock thing from the inner city, and it works!  The crowd was grooving to the trio that reminded me of Lenny Kravitz with more of a funk groove. Bass player, Willy, won the award for best dreads at the festival.  Whole Wheat Bread Photos

Grouplove – I had great expectations for this LA Band, as their Never Trust A Happy Song was our #2 Ranked album of 2011 (that’s right, we knew they’d be special long ago). Still, they blew me away. All three lead vocalists sounded great, the music was superb and they just put on a damn good show.  They immediately amped the energy level with a great version of their current hit “Itchin’ On a Photograph” and offered up a great ukulele  driven version of “Spun,” before closing with a killer version of “Colours.” Oh, and they sneaked in a version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Cool, cool stuff. Grouplove Photos

Twenty | One | Pilots – True confession – these guys opened for a band recently at HOB – Orlando, and I skipped their set when I saw they wore skeleton suits on stage and dismissed them as a gimmick act.  Sometimes, I’m an idiot. These two guys are tremendous entertainers and musicians.  Lead singer Tyler Joseph plays organ and is accompanied on stage by drummer Josh Dun. The music was good, Joseph interacted with the crowd the entire set and was a madman – singing one song from the speaker stack, one from the scaffolding in the middle of the crowd and the finale from the Griswold Family Winnebago next to the stage. Not to be outdone, Dun uncorked an impressive back flip off of the speakers onto the stage as they wrapped up the show. One hell of an entertaining set.  Twenty One Pilots Photos

Of Monsters And Men – I caught the band in Orlando two nights before the Festival and thought their show was great.  Shorter set, Festival mode, this day, but still very impressed.  These guys had a slew of their peers watching from back stage and did not disappoint.  Their names are impossible to remember (and pronounce), so check out our earlier review for the particulars, but the vocals and the music are superb.  They started with a great version of “Dirty Paws” and featured some fun interactive versions of “Mountain Sound” and “Lakehouse.”  Was wondering what the Icelanders were thinking of the toasty Jacksonville weather… Of Monsters And Men Photos

The Joy Formidable – This Welsh trio sure delivers a big sound.  Singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan was a whirling dervish and had great chemistry with animated bassist Rhydian Dafydd.  Good, energetic set that was highlighted by a fantastic closing version of “Whirring.” The Joy Formidable Photos

Silversun Pickups – Love the band’s sound, but wasn’t sure how their layered perfection would translate into a festival atmosphere.  Bottom line, the sound was superb, despite the absence of bass player Nikki Monninger who was home preparing to give birth. Brian Aubert’s voice was pristine and dominated the performance   Not the most exciting stage show, but the setlist was great, featuring “Bloody Mary,” “The Pit,” “Panic Switch” and a rocking extended version of “Lazy Eye.” Silversun Pickups Photos

Flogging Molly – One of my favorite live bands ever, and they actually disappointed a bit this show, but I had set the bar pretty high. I wasn’t crazy about their set list, but perhaps that is because I am used to them having twice as long to play.  There were still some great moments.  Loved “The Likes of You Again,” and really enjoyed the tin whistle and Dylan cover of “The Times They are A-changin.”  Bassist Nathan Maxwell absolutely tore it up during a rollicking version of “Saints and Sinners.”  Flogging Molly Photos

Fun. – I was curious about these guys, not sure what to expect. I knew that every teen chick within 100 miles was there to see Nate Ruess, which made me a bit skeptical,  but I also knew that their album, Some Nights is masterful.  To put it simply, I was impressed. Ruess is a charismatic guy who sounded excellent, and the band (which doubles in size for their road show) was spot on. “Some Nights” and “Gets Better” were great, for the band who opened the festival just last year. Good stuff!  Fun. Photos

Anberlin – Yet another local band. These guys closed out the day at The Jagermeister Side Stage in grand fashion. Front man Stephen Christian had the crowd engaged throughout and the band offered up some nice punk pop with a Christian touch.  Their six song set was highlighted by “Little Tyrants” and a killer version of “Someone, Anyone.” Anberlin Photos

Chris Traynor of Bush at The Big Ticket Festival
Chris Traynor of Bush at The Big Ticket Festival

Bush – From the moment the spotlight hit Chris Traynor for the opening guitar riff of “Machinehead” you knew this was going to be a special set.  Twenty years after founding the band, Gavin Rossdale and Bush are just getting back into their rhythm after a seven year hiatus. The music was impeccable and Rossdale, sounding great, put on a great show.  They played all of their hits in a show highlighted by one of their more marginal hits, “The Afterlife,” during which Rossdale raced through the packed crowd, singing from a few different spots on the field.  Immediately after he returned to the stage, his band mates left him alone for a stark solo version of “Glycerine,” which was the best song of the entire festival.  They closed with a rousing version of “Comedown” leaving the rocking crowd thirsting for more.  Bush Photos

Rise Against – OK, this didn’t work out well for us.  Due to the bands falling slightly behind schedule, and our 150 mile ride home, I had to split before Rise Against took the stage to close the night.  Based on Tweets I received, I can share that they opened with “Survive” and closed with “Savior.”  I also heard they did a nice acoustic version of “Swing Life Away.”

So, there you have it ten hours of great rock ‘n roll, 13 bands, and one incredibly well-oiled festival.  Already looking forward to the 2013 version!

We’d love to hear what you thought about the show – leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.

For those of you new to RARAsFarm.com we’re a site dedicated to Florida rock music.   Take some time to tour our site, Follow Us on Twitter and Like Us on Facebook and help us grow this community for Rock And Roll Animals.

Rock On!
Cretin

 


The Big Ticket Delivers BIG


Rock music festivals just don’t get much better than this!

Over the past twenty-plus years, I’ve been a rock music junkie, attending many hundreds of rock shows and festivals all along the East Coast.  But, I’m not sure I ever witnessed as much good music in one day as I caught at The Big Ticket on the riverfront in Jacksonville. X102.9 is Jacksonville’s New Rock Alternative, and they delivered a talented diverse line-up that was damn near perfect for Alternative Rock fans.

The festival featured Alt-Rock legends Bush and Rise Against and some of today’s hottest new acts, such as FUN. Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men, as well as a handful of local rockers.  The Met Park venue was set-up perfectly, with music alternating seamlessly between the two primary stages.

The Main Stage was packed with can’t miss acts the entire day, and no one disappointed.  I was just as impressed with the diverse line-up playing the Jagermeister Side Stage; – Rarely have I seen a second stage boasting the kind of talent we were presented with, including the likes of Flogging Molly, Anberlin and the most pleasant surprise of the festival Twenty One Pilots.

We’ll get to the band-by-band recap in a bit, but first, lets focus on the festival in general.

The Big Ticket Crowd scene
The Big Ticket Crowd scene

We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site.  Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page.  We also offered up our Best of The Big Ticket earlier in our three part Big Ticket series, if you want to check that out.

The Metropolitan Park location was the ideal venue for a festival, with plenty of room for four stages, dozens of bands, a slew of vendors and ten thousand rabid rock music fans. It didn’t suck that the weather on the riverfront was absolutely perfect either. Met Park is one of the few places I’ve seen a show where you could “get away” for awhile if you wanted, including some nice spots on the river, and still hear the acts on the Main Stage. At the North end of the park there were two smaller stages featuring local acts and numerous merchandise booths offering a kicked back festival feel.

The bands alternated between the Main Stage and Side Stage impeccably, with there rarely being a break of more than few minutes.  The only exception was a twenty minute delay for Grouplove that may have been the result of a wiring issue.  The stages were set-up close enough that a few thousand fans could literally just rotate 45 degrees, twice an hour to catch non-stop fantastic performances.

The Side Stage featured a bit more of aggressive Alt-Rock, and leaned towards the punk side.  Flogging Molly, Anberlin and Joy Formidable all had the crowd bouncing.  The earlier acts on the stage were also entertaining and well-received by the crowd.  Whole Wheat Bread, The Sunbears and the aforementioned Twenty | One | Pilots all had the crowd engaged, as well. Tyler Joseph was a mad man and one of the stand out performers of the day.

On the Main Stage most of the performances were exceptional.  Paper Tongues immediately got things started with an energetic, animated performance.  One of many bands with Jacksonville or Florida roots, they engaged the crowd as much as any band throughout the day.  Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men followed up with great sets that had the crowd dancing and singing along, and Silversun Pickups sounded superb.

The Main Stage closed with three great sets. An incredibly well-received set from Fun, sounded as good as their richly layered recorded material and Nate Geuss was thoroughly entertaining.  Gavin Rossdale was all over the venue, and disappeared into the crow a few times during Bush’s set. Then, Rise Against, delivered a powerful set to close out the night.  The sound quality was superb all day from both stages, and did not suffer at all from the outdoor locale.

It was a near perfect line-up in a fantastic venue on a spectacular day, run exceptionally well by X102.9 and the promoters.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Check back tomorrow for our final Big Ticket article, our band-by-band recap – lots of great anecdotes.

Rock On!
Cretin

 


The Big Ticket Festival – Best Of Edition


Wow – one hell of a show in Jacksonville yesterday!

Our first trip to The Big Ticketand damn were we impressed.  An absolutely great line-up, and everything ran fantastically well. We have a slew of excellent pictures and lots of material to share over the next few days. Like us on Facebook to keep up with all of our photos and Follow us on Twitter for updates.

In the meantime, here’s our Best of Listing for our first Big Ticket experience:

  • Song of the Day – “Glycerine” by Bush. Immediately after running through the crowd, Gavin Rossdale comes back on stage and plays this cut off of Sixteen Stone, unaccompanied for the first few verses – starkly spectacular The crowd sings along throughout, and the full band returns for a rousing close; a great performance of a great rock song.
  • Best Chill Spot – The gazebo down by the river. Soothing sounds of the water, yet still close enough to hear the bands on the Main Stage, and plenty of shade.  We caught a few folks meditating when we stopped by.  Cool spot, literally
  • Best Sounding Artist – Grouplove. Never Trust A Happy Song was one of our Top 10 albums of 2011, and the band played every song flawlessly.  All three vocalists sounded great and the music was perfect.  Bonus points to Andrew Wessen for the only ukulele of the day.
  • Best Mosh Moment – If you’ve read us before, you know we don’t love mosh pits, and thankfully not too many this day, but we did have a nice one spontaneously form during Flogging Molly’s rollicking “The Likes of You Again.” Moshing with a bit of Irish Jig tossed in.
  • Best Vendor – The tent right near our chill locale. Not sure of the vendor name, but they were selling psychedelic attire and classic concert merchandise.  Lots of cool threads and all kinds of cool niche items.
  • Top Singalong moment – There were a few nice ones throughout the day, but when Fun hit the stage, the crowd was packed and in a frenzy.  No surprise here, but EVERYONE sang along to We Are Young.”
  • Most Chatty Artist – Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots was a blast throughout his set.  Constantly chatting with the crowd, he was entertaining and funny.  Loved his request for the crowd to pretend they were calling the band out for an encore.  Creative stuff…
  • Best Food – The $9 funnel cake.  I hate having to buy a ticket before spending money, but for this monstrous and perfectly greased treat, it was worth the effort. Good stuff, and good for you (right?).
  • Crowd-pleasing Moment – There were a bunch of great sets and a few moments that really stood out, like Rossdale’s tour through the crowd or Joseph’s trip up the rafters, but I’ll go with Aswan North of Paper Tongues who jumped across the Photos pit and then Security to mix with the crowd, and they loved it.
  • Best Parking Spot – we grabbed the first lot we saw and may have ended up outside of Duval County.  The Jaguars lot right across from the venue was much closer, the same price and had plenty of spaces, and a more vibrant tailgating feel.  Sold…
  • Justin Bieber Moment – No doubt about it, when Fun’s Nate Reuss stepped onto the stage, my ears started bleeding from all of the high-pitched squeals, but damn can that guy sing – an excellent entertainer!
  • Act of the Day – As I mentioned, so many great acts to choose from, but I’m going to go with Twenty One Pilots.  I already mentioned the interaction with the crowd, we also had lead singer Tyler Joseph sing one song from atop the speaker tower, another from the rafters in the center of the crowd, and the finale from the roof of the motor home next to the stage.  Drummer Josh Dun was nearly as animated, and the dup were just an absolute blast their entire set.

So, that’s it for now.  Lots of material still to come.  Make sure you Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for all of our Big Ticket coverage and loads of photos.

(Here’s our summary review of the Festival)

Rock On!
Cretin


The 25 Greatest Rock Albums Ever, According to Me


A few years ago, I started jotting down thoughts about the seminal albums of my lifetime, the pieces of musical genius that helped shape my musical being.  What better time to dig out that list and freshen it up, as RARA’s Farm posts our one hundredth article.

As a self-described rock ‘n roll freak, there were many fantastic albums to choose from, but what set these apart was that every song on every album was great. Not just one great “side” for you old timers. I will admit first that for most of these, there’s no great deep personal meaning, and for some, I don’t even know the lyrics – but hey, I liked the MUSIC, and it’s my list…

My self inflicted rules: No compilations, which ruled out Bob Marley, The Baby’s, Ramones and the Beautiful South; and no live albums eliminating Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Cheap Trick. Also, I only allowed myself one from each artist. So, with all of those considerations, I think what follows would better be described as 25 Great Albums, not quite the 25 Greatest.

The albums are listed in the order that I fell in love with each of these masterpieces. You can click the iTunes link after each album to check them out yourself.

Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed – my Uncle turned me on to this one and it was my first taste of album rock – a great suggestion by a smart man. Classic rock with a full orchestra, and some pretty diverse stuff. This psychedelic treat is an amazing headphones experience. It was a tough choice between this and Long Distance Voyager, only because Voyager bridged the gap from my Aunts’ and Uncles’ musical era into the 80’s and was the first big concert I attended. Days of Future Passed - The Moody Blues

Who – Who’s Next – sure I was first attracted to “They’re all wasted” from “Baba O’Reilly,”  but this album is packed with nothing but great rock, “The Song is Over” never gets enough credit – but it’s my favorite Who song of all-time. Most of these songs were penned for Lifehouse, Pete Townshend’s failed follow-up to Tommy. This was Townshend’s first major foray into integrating synthesizers and it works perfectly. Who's Next (Remastered) - The Who

Queen – Night at the Opera – My brother loved this album before I did. I actually liked the non-Freddy tunes at first, like Roger Taylor’s “I’m in Love with My Car”, or Brian May’s “39,” but later came to appreciate Freddy’s pure genius on songs like “Love of My Life” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Another very diverse collection. I’m bummed that I never got to see these guys live. A Night At the Opera - Queen

Kansas – Leftoverture – this album was the second album I heard where everything seemed to fit together perfectly (after Nights in White Satin). The best album ever for headphone listening – can’t imagine how many times I fell asleep to this one with those soup bowl sized headphones still on, as the eight track continuously clicked through the tracks. To give you an idea how good this one was, “Carry On My Wayward Son” is the only hit, but probably my least favorite song on this great concept album. Leftoverture - Kansas

Bruce Springsteen – The River – I loved everything Bruce did before this and a few after. With so many great albums, this was a tough decision – but this is a rarity – a double album where every track is strong. The album featured Bruce really diving into relationships and telling stories we could all relate to. “Sherry Darlin,” “Ramrod,” “Crush on You” and “I Wanna Marry You” are in my all-time list for Bruce. Born to Run didn’t exactly suck either. The River - Bruce Springsteen

Cars – Cars – an amazing debut album, and although they followed this with many hits, they never came close to a collection as complete as their initial effort. This is a rarity on the list, an album that I admire, performed by a band that just sucked live on stage. Absolutely love “All Mixed Up/Moving in Stereo,” and not at all because of the Fast Times flashback… The Cars - The Cars

Tom Petty – Damn the Torpedoes – This was fabulous the first time I heard it and grew better every time I listened to it. I remember playing this often when I first moved away from home to live at college, and the familiar feel eased the transition. Such a smooth diverse album. It starts off with “Refugee” and EVERY song after is better. Great stuff! Damn the Torpedoes (Remastered) - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell – Meat sure could sing, but the arrangements and musicians on this album overshadow his great voice. This is one of the few where I knew every word to every song. These are still classic and timeless party songs, including Phil Rizzuto’s captivating play-by-play and the perfect boy/girl trade-offs of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” And, “No,” you don’t sound just like the record when drunkenly singing this at late night karaoke! Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf

Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – My first words as an infant were actually “Yeah, Yeah. Yeah,” from their 1963 hit “She Loves You,” but I never realized how great the Beatles were until I got this album. McCartney and Lennon at their best, but this one also features Ringo’s best “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The way the album ends with “A Day in the Life” is the best ending to any album EVER, which is appropriate, as this just might be the best of the best, from the best. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here – I loved all of their efforts, including The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon and 1990’s under appreciated Division Bell. But this one, a tribute to the mercurial Syd Barrett is their most musically packed. This classic features “Have a Cigar” and “Welcome to the Machine;” then there’s all nine parts and 26 plus minutes of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,”  just amazing… Wish You Were Here (Remastered) - Pink Floyd

The Alarm – Strength – One late night on my first shift on college radio I popped in the cart for “68 Guns” and fell in love with this unknown band – two years later, they released Strength, and played close by. I skipped the show because the $3.00 price tag was the equivalent of 30 beers at the Bus Stop – figured I’d have plenty of other chances. Unfortunately a few years later Mike Peters walked off the stage in the middle of “Blaze of Glory” and they were done. This album features the classic “Spirit of 76,” and the song I walked down the aisle to: “Walk Forever by my Side.” Strength 1985-1986 (Remastered) - The Alarm

REM – Reckoning – yeah, I confess that I don’t understand the lyrics to half of these songs – but does anybody? Every one of the tracks off of the band’s second album is a memorable ditty. Simple, catchy and fun. My first “go to” album as a college DJ. “Pretty Persuasion,” “So. Central Rain (Sorry)” and “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” were the classics, but “Harborcoat” and “7 Chinese Bros.” were just as good. Reckoning - R.E.M.

Prince – Purple Rain – Truthfully, a girl named Nikki turned me on to this one, but I did not meet her in a hotel lobby…  Before this, I thought Prince was a flash-in-the-pan pop star. This album proved he was a rock legend, and that my first impressions were pretty pathetic and way off-base. Solid from the first note of “Lets Go Crazy” through the final chords of “Purple Rain;” and it includes my all-time favorite Prince song, “Baby I’m a Star.” Purple Rain (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) - Prince & The Revolution

Alice Cooper – Schools Out – Didn’t listen to this until long after it was released when I stumbled across it on my late night Heavy Metal show. It’s another great concept album, with lots of creative stuff complementing the title track. “Public Animal #9” is pure rock, and “Grande Finale” is fantastically diverse! Mr. Furnier never got enough credit for being a great musician, and this classic never gets its just due. School's Out - Alice Cooper

Dire Straits – Love Over Gold – 5 songs. “Industrial Disease” is the only one that ever got any airplay – but this is packed with amazing guitar work from Mark Knopfler. The 14 minute “Telegraph Road” is one of my Top 10 all-time songs, and one of the great drum songs of all time from Pick Withers. It was hard not selecting Brothers In Arms, too. Love Over Gold - Dire Straits

U-2 – The Joshua Tree – I loved Boy, too, and Achtung Baby and Unforgettable Fire, and… This one edges them out because the non-hits are better, including “Trip Through Your Wires,” “Running to Stand Still” and “Red Hill Mining Town.” The album was driven by the band’s new found infatuation with America, but starts off with an amazing song about Belfast, a place where the streets had no name. The Joshua Tree (Remastered) - U2

Thrashing Doves – Bedrock Vice – I’m about to leave the Chestnut Cabaret after an energy packed Chasers show, and these “kids” get on stage pimping their first album. I decide to hang around and loved their stuff. If you ever see this one in a bargain bin grab it. “Biba’s Basement” and “Beautiful Imbalance” were addictive, but “Jesus on the Payroll” was the most intriguing. Definitely the most obscure album on the list, but it’s an unknown treasure.

Paul Westerberg – 14 Songs – I know this will piss off Replacement fans, but I think this is better than any of his efforts with the quartet from Minneapolis. The first time I listened straight through I assumed this was a greatest hits CD – lots of great stuff. “World Class Fad” is tremendous and “Things” is a beautiful ballad. 14 Songs - Paul Westerberg

Barenaked Ladies – Gordon – I bought it for “$1,000,000” – but there were so many more valuable tunes in store. “Enid,” “Grade Nine,” and “Yoko Ono” are just a few of the fun ones.  The album also features the magnificent “Brian Wilson, and some of BNL’s most touching stuff.  The best song is the under-appreciated “What a Good Boy.” Gordon - Barenaked Ladies

Stroke 9 – Nasty Little Thoughts – another band I found by mistake. They opened for someone else – I think Lit – and I loved their stuff. Yup, this is the one with “Little Black Back Pack,” but it’s packed with a bunch of other great tunes. Still amazed this band never took off. On this album, we also get to listen to “Letters,” “Washin’ and Wonderin'” and my favorite S9 tune, “Not Nothin’.” Nasty Little Thoughts - Stroke 9

Flogging Molly – Within a Mile of Home – They admittedly get extra points because of my Irish romanticism. I love the diversity on this one, and the lyrics touch my soul. “Factory Girls,” with a guest spot from Lucinda Williams is a great ride. We get to see the band stretch themselves in new ways, and it works throughout.  “Tobacco Island” is a historic flashback sure to get your Irish up. Within a Mile of Home - Flogging Molly

Green Day – American IdiotDookie and Nimrod were great, too, but I selected this one because it showed how the band was growing and adjusting to the times, and because it absolutely kicks ass. The album is written around a fictitious character “Jesus of Suburbia” and his trials and travails.  The title track is great, and one of a handful of true classics, including “Are We the Waiting,” “Holiday” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”  The non-hits include some of the band’s most creative efforts to date, as well. American Idiot - Green Day

Muse – Black Holes and Revelations – One of the first songs I heard on XM’s old Alternative Rock station Ethel was “Starlight.” I went out and bought the album the following day, and it is packed with hard charging rock and roll, pre-Twilight fame. The final track, “Knights of Cydonia” is one of the best songs of the new century. Black Holes and Revelations - Muse

Arcade Fire – Neon Bible – This one is a reflection of the times – The first selection on this list where I don’t own this album, but instead have the MP3’s. Haven’t seen them live yet, but I’m sure they’ll blow me away. From “Black Mirror” to “My Body is a Cage” – they are all powerful songs. Funeral, their debut album, was another great collection. Neon Bible - Arcade Fire

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend – A surprise quirky Indie-Rock hit in 2008. This eponymous debut album was packed with gems that dominated Indie and Alt-Rock radio for a few years.  “A-Punk” was the biggest hit, but there were plenty of other excellent tracks. “Oxford Comma,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Walcott” highlight the band’s diversity. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Just missed – The Clash – London Calling – should have been a single album, there are a dozen or so great songs, but they unfortunately stretched it out to 4 sides, and Armed Forces by Elvis Costello – loved the songs and sang along, even though I still have no idea what “Green Shirt” and “Good Squad” were about…

So, there you have it – a bit longer than I thought, but that was fun for me. If you made it through the entire list, thanks for your patience, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below…

Rock On!
Cretin

Flogging Molly Gets Their Irish Up

With a cover of Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song” pouring through the PA system, Flogging Molly exploded onto the stage at House of Blues, Orlando last night.

The Detroit based rock band with Irish punk roots, brought their sold out 6th Annual Green 17 Tour to the City Beautiful.   After taking the stage, the band immediately ripped into “Drunken Lullabies” and the fever-pitched party was underway.  By the time they wrapped up “Requiem For a Dying Song,” the capacity crowd had morphed into a writhing, bouncing, screaming mass of flesh.

They are touring in support of their recent Speed of Darkness release, one that is filled with lyrics addressing the dire straits most Americans suddenly find themselves in. From “The Power’s Out,” Dave King sang “The power’s out, just like the economy.”

Flogging Molly fans are a passionate bunch.  The band rarely gets a sniff of airplay, even over the satellite airwaves, but the Mollies’ fans know every lyric to virtually every song in their diverse catalog.  They’ve put their passionate fans before commercial success and the fans love to repay that loyalty. This night, they were in for a treat, as front man and guitarist Dave King announced they’d be digging deep into their library and reviving some of their older tunes.

Watching the show as more of an independent observer, I can share that the quality of the musicianship is impressive.  Dennis Casey’s lead riff’s were powerful all night, and his duet with drummer George Schwindt during a rollicking extended version of “Black Friday Rule” was an interesting and engaging twist on the classic guitar solo route. Nathan Maxwell on bass and Robert Schmidt on banjo had their shining moments, too; Maxwell on “Saints and Sinners” and Schmidt on “The Son Never Shines.”

Matthew Hensley’s accordion and King’s wife, Bridget Regan, on tin whistle and violin were the perfect complement to their hard rocking band mates. Regan also did a nice job taking the lead vocals on “A Prayer for Me in Silence.”

King writes the music and is clearly the heart of the band, he’s an accomplished guitar player and offers a unique, powerful and emotive voice.  He commands the stage, conducts the audience throughout and was witty and engaging.  A fantastic front man who absolutely appears to be enjoying this gig.

The crowd sang along, danced and moshed all night, and truly reached a fever pitch during “Swagger,” “The Likes of You Again,” and “Revolution.” It was an impressive site watching the mass of fans singing, chanting and gesturing at King’s biding.

The band wrapped up the set with a rocking version of “Seven Deadly Sins,” that again had the crowd bellowing along.  In a nice nod to the band’s Irish roots, the fervid crowd pulled them back onto the stage with a rollicking soccer chant of “Ole.”  King returned to the stage, congratulating the U.S Soccer team for their recent match, and slid into a relatively relaxed cover of Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing.”

From there it was back to the fever pitch as the crowd deliriously sang along to “Salty Dog”.  At the end of the song, they brought up the house lights and the PA pumped out Monty Python’s “Bright Side of Life.”  The band gradually exited the stage, as the fully satisfied fans slid through the doors into the Darkness.

The setlist and a link to the band’s excellent 3 disc live album are provided below.

Devil Makes Three, a unique punkish-Americana trio out of Vermont opened the show.  They had a great original sound and featured a guitarist, a banjo player complete with Gibbon-esque beard and woman on stand-up bass. No drummer, and they didn’t need one.  Their enrgertic thirty minute set absolutely left me craving for more.

Black Joe Lewis followed up and warmed up the raucous crowd with a powerful and passionate set.  The seven man wrecking crew absolutely left it all on the stage and tore through an invigorating 45 minute set. The crowd actually pulled them out for an encore, where they treated us with a fun cover version of “Surfin Bird.” Good stuff and an excellent prelude to the main act.

Rock On! – Cretin

Setlist:

Drunken Lullabies
Requiem For a Dying Song
The Speed of Darkness
Revolution
Life In a Tenement Square
Whistles the Wind
Saints and Sinners
The Likes of You Again
Swagger
The Power’s Out
The Son Never Shines
A Prayer For Me in Silence
Us of Lesser Gods
Black Friday Rule long version with Guitar/Drum duet interspersed
Oliver Boy
Float
Devil’s Dance Floor
Rebels of the Sacred Heart
If I Ever Leave This World Alive
What’s Left of the Flag
Seven Deadly Sins

Encore:
Times They are A-Changing (Dylan Cover)
Salty Dog

Drowning Men Beheading The Song Bird

The Drowning Men
The Drowning Men

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Damn, just seeing that album title convinced me that I needed to listen to this band.  Beheading of the Songbird?  Twisted? Maybe. Interesting? For sure. I think I’d describe it as eclectic and hectic – and good for the ears.

I first became aware of this San Diego area quintet when Flogging Molly brought them on tour and subsequently signed them as the first act on their new Indie label Borstal Beat.

The album was originally released in the UK two years ago, but has just now been released in the United States.  It’s an excellent introduction to their powerful and divers music.  It’s a unique sound. I would imagine the progeny of Arcade Fire and The Pogues would have resulted in a band just like The Drowning Men.

Their music is deep and layered, packed with dark lyrics and filled with passion.  It seems as though it would translate fantastically into an excellent live show.  And, you’ll be able to see for yourself this fall, as they tour the country supporting The Airborne Toxic Event.

The selections on Beheading of The Song Bird are hit or miss, but the best tunes are very strong.  “Songbird” is a future anthem in the making. It’s a song about a troubled youngster struggling with the aftermath of something horrible he’s done: “I took all his worries, I cut away his charm. From the nest to the hand, What a mess Iʼve done.” The song starts with some nice keys from Gabriel Messer and features moving vocals from Nathan “Nato” Bardeen throughout; where he seems to channel Arcade Fire’s Win Butler.

“Oracle Meets Weeping Willows” is beautiful and is a fitting intro to another strong song, “Down These Days,” which resembles Arcade Fire.  “Get A Heart”and “More Than This” are also excellent arrangements that spotlight the band broad musical talent. The songs that feeatured piano and keyboards were the most memorable.

The cut with the greatest potential for airplay is “Rita” driven by the powerful drums of Rory Dolan, and melancholy vocals of a relationship gone bad.  It’s got a nice sing-along vibe despite the dour message.

“Courageous Son” is my personal favorite. The lyrics reflect tough times adjusting to life in America. “This is the wishy washy land, That you hold so dear. This is the final cure, This is America. In their hearts you will never win!” The music belies the lyrics and conjure images of a crazy musical carnival ride. It brought back good memories of The Killers and Pogues. Good stuff!

Check out the tracks on iTunes.

Rock On – Cretin