Tag Archives: Freebird Live

Curt Towne Band Rocks Fans in Jacksonville

Curt Towne Band Show Review

Hello RARA’s Farm Magazine Fans, Happy Jack is back with another concert review. It’s Halloween night in downtown Jacksonville, and the city is alive with excitement.

Make sure you Like our Facebook at the top of our site for more rock music coverage and to see photos from this show.

This night featured the “World’s Biggest Cocktail Party” – the annual Florida Gator and Georgia Bulldog game at the Gator Bowl; and the city is swarming with all of the Florida & Georgia fans here for the game. Florida Georgia Line, the Country duo, is also in concert just a couple of blocks away. But the real story is a special group of guys playing on a double-billed show, opening for Southern Rockers Molly Hatchet. Our hometown favorite, The Curt Towne Band is definitely the band to see this year.

Fans can relate to everything these guys do, as they are very experienced in many genres of rock music: Southern Rock, Outlaw Country, Classic Rock n Roll, and more. They were raised under the wings of great artists, learning the styles and building on that foundation.

Let’s talk about the band: Curt Towne, Lead Guitar/Vocals; James Aaron, Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar; Mike “the Sultan” Cansler, Drums; and Stewart “Doc” Dalrymple, Bass/Vocals

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See more photos from the show on our Facebook page: Curt Towne Band Album

Curt Towne, Guitar
Towering over six feet with sleek long blonde hair, he instantly reminds you of a young Duane Allman. He was dressed in flared jeans and a cool shirt that fit in well with his persona. Playing the hardest leads, he flashed his amazing ability to find the right note with every tempo or song change-up, I was instantly a fan.

I could tell this was no ordinary run-of-the-mill guitarist. He made everyone pay attention to his passionate playing, and we were happy to see him do it live in concert. Most lead guitarists sound redundant after a while, as we already know what they’ll be playing, and how they’ll be playing it — not with Curt, he really puts the heart into his work, taking the time to have patience with every note and knowing what the note is worth to the music that he is playing.

Not just settling in for the basic generic note, he finds chords that really push the song to outstanding heights – a diamond guitarist! Towne has the ability to reel you in with his mesmerizing chords, taking you on a journey, through every emotion of every song.

James Aaron, Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
As soon as the band arrived onstage you hear this voice; this voice that sounds like a bluesy outlaw seemingly grabbing your thoughts from you. His voice made you feel like you knew him for years. The songs that were written and performed this might in Jacksonville were mostly crafted from this wonderful singer-song writer with amazing vocals. He looked to be enjoying every note and he sung his heart out.

Aaron also played rhythm guitar and the chords changes were astounding. He did not settle for basic chords on the bridges in the songs, going instead to higher planes. They have the perfect singer with enough gusto to take them even further in 2015.

Mike “The Sultan” Cansler, Drums
Looking cool with a tight vested leather hat and goatee, he is steady on the drums. Delivering a swampy beat that makes you tap your feet, he played very well on all the drum breaks and ending hits. Bass drum was solid all night.

I asked him after the show how long he has been playing – over 30 years now! I myself have been playing over 30 years, and I have to tell the truth, I went directly home after the show and popped the Cd in my stereo. I grabbed my drumsticks and jumped behind my Ludwigs, and then played right along with Mike on the first song from their new CD. I was smiling when I was done knowing we had the same beat.

Mike really made this band sound like they came straight from the studio, which they did, recently wrapping up the new songs for the new EP CD.

Stewart “Doc” Dalrymple, Bass/Vocals
This is the most solid bassist rock n roll. I watched Dalrymple play a bass with such perfection that I smiled all night. I kept thinking that he must be playing with a special pedal that makes him sound wide. He knew exactly when to pluck that string and when to pick that string. It was almost like I was hearing six guitars in one bass and he made it all look easy.

His fingers reaching for bass chords that are almost impossible to figure out. I was so thrilled to finally see him play in person. The Bass is important to us.

His stage presence was obvious and the large crowd loved it.

The fans did not want to see this band leave the stage tonight, and thankfully they came back out and did another wonderful song “Long Live My Country.” The house went wild, this song was our LONG AWAITED ANTHEM! Every hand was in the air, all ages waving with the tempo to this heartfelt song. We have been waiting years for these type of songs, you gotta get this CD.

Here’s the single on iTunes: Long Live My Country – Single

The Curt Towne Band took the time to make some diehard Southern Rock fans happy tonight with new music that has so much to offer. The band’s playlist was perfect. The songs were fresh and executed in proper order; songs that seemed like old friends, even though you never heard them before.

Townes, you could tell, enjoyed the heavy crowd in attendance and between songs thanked them all for supporting Southern Rock music. Seeing a person like Curt Towne is so refreshing; the energy, the talent and the commitment to his fans. I suddenly realized I was watching history, an important new face in Southern Rock Music. You can see them yourself when they play Freebird Cafe in two weeks, and I’ll have that review also.

They will also be part of history again, sailing with Skynyrd on the Simple Man Cruise. We have been waiting many years for someone to step up and take the reigns and now we have them – The Curt Towne Band. 2015 will be a big year for the talented band with a new tour being booked while the band also finishes the master tapes for a soon to be released EP.

If you buy anything this year – get this band’s New CD. You’ll be thanking me for the CD you’ll never take off the playlist. This music is just that strong.

Next article is an interview with questions and answers for the band.

Until then – I’m jamming on drums with Curt Towne Band new CD! And as always you can catch me on WJXR 92.1FM

Rock On!
Happy Jack

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Against Me! – Concert Review

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Against Me!  – Concert Review
01/22/2014 Freebird Live, Jacksonville Beach, FL

I have had the opportunity to see Against Me! a few times over the years.  Never have I seen them in such an intimate setting or on such a cold night.  I took A1A from St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach and got delayed by what I first thought was a police checkpoint, but would later learn was actually a crime scene.

The county was doing controlled burns and afterwards found human remains among the now black, burned seaside.  Foul-play in such an affluent community?  It’s hard to believe, which only reinforces my assertion that everyone has their own crap to deal with; some are just better at hiding it.  I honestly don’t think that the internet needs another article about the strange, crazy stuff that happens in Florida.  Suffice it to say that the St. John’s County Sherriff’s department is “hot” on the case.  Too soon?

If you’ve never been to Freebird Live at Jacksonville Beach, it’s nestled right across the street from the pavilion and a couple of blocks down from everyone’s favorite Irish pub, Lynch’s.  It has always been a favorite venue of mine for the simple fact that during the summer you can spend a couple hours at the beach prior to the show, and when you hear the sound-checks begin, that’s your cue to change clothes and get in line.  That must be a happy memory from weekends long ago, because this was a Wednesday and it was frigid.  I got there as soon as I could after work, but I’m going to blame the St. Augustine tourists and the A1A crime scene for delaying me to the point where I missed the first band, The Shonds.  Sorry guys, I heard you were great.

When we arrived The Sidekicks were just beginning their set and I don’t think I can say enough good things about these guys.  Hailing from Ohio, The Sidekicks are equal parts My Morning Jacket and Jawbreaker.  The singer/lead guitarist had a stage presence of someone of much more advanced years and his sense of melody left me in awe.  The drummer cracked my friend up with how happy he looked as he banged away at his drums, and she also noticed that the other guitarist had a very far-away look in his eyes as he was playing.  We discussed this after the show for quite a while.  We have never been in touring bands ourselves, but both agreed that sometimes you just can’t help but have stuff on your mind.  A thousand miles from home in a nearly  frozen Florida he could have been cursing the weather, thinking about people back home, or wondering if he locked the door before he left for the tour.   As a side note, I was looking through their Tumblr page and I got all nostalgic for the glory days of the D.I.Y. work ethic in punk rock, which seems to have changed with the rise of social media.  I used to love the collecting show flyers because of the artwork, and it’s something I hope makes a big comeback once it finally gets to the point where it’s cool again.

The evening had a very “school night” vibe to it, and it wasn’t just because of the large number of high school kids in the crowd.  It could have been the 7 o’clock doors, or the 12 and over age designation on the tickets.  Once The Sidekicks finished their set, Against Me! didn’t waste any time coming to the stage.  Thunderous applause came when Laura Jane Grace took the stage, and with very little fanfare, they launched into roughly a fifty minute set.  The set-list was varied and seemed to cover their entire discography.  In the review I did for their new album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, (read the review here) I lamented the fact that I would never see Tom Gabel singing “Walking Is Still Honest” again.  I don’t think that I have ever written down a more inconsequential idea in my life.  Laura sang it with all of the intensity and power that the song deserves.  She was all smiles, a mountainous weight lifted from her shoulders, and she seemed to be reveling in the fact that they were back in Florida, just down the road from the city she calls home.

Someone brought a State of Florida flag, which she graciously accepted, and proceeded to drape over the shoulders of guitarist James Bowman.  “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “Sink, Florida, Sink”, “Miami”, “Don’t Lose Touch”, “I Was A Teenage Anarchist”, and so forth and so on, were all covered.  Even if, like me, you thought that New Wave and White Crosses had left something to be desired, the set-list was designed to please.  They played 3-4 songs from Transgender Dysphoria Blues, including “Black Me Out”, “Dead Friend”, and “True Trans Soul Rebel”.  I believe it was during “Drinking With the Jocks” that someone half-heartedly tried to start a mosh pit.  Content not to join in, I set my focus on not getting kicked in the head by crowd surfers, or crushing the 90 lb. 9th graders in the front row.  It was at this point that I noticed that Laura switched guitars due to a broken string.  She handed her roadie her black Rickenbacker to take care of and he handed her an identical guitar right back.  So, yes, she has at least two.  Another side note before I wrap this up.  Against Me! has one of the hardest working roadies I’ve ever seen.  He sound-checks, he tunes, he changes strings, he sets up filming equipment, he shows drunken crowd surfers off the stage (either to the side, or off the way they came), he picks up knocked-over half-stacks, and occasionally he takes a microphone to the face, and he does it with a smile.  I think for having such a relatively thankless assignment, he should receive some recognition.  Thank you, sir.

The band left the stage after saying goodbye, and in typical fashion the crowd didn’t move an inch.  Laura, James, Atom, and Inge came back to the stage and gave us three more songs before calling it a night.  The boys left the stage, but Laura stuck around to shake hands with the crowd and then bid us farewell.  Soaked in sweat, ears ringing, and adrenaline levels still soaring, we were sent back to the cold street, and we walked back to my friend’s apartment.  We looked at pictures, and video, that she had taken for this article, and I fell asleep already thinking ahead to the next time I would get to see Against Me!

A very special thank you to the incomparable Bailey.

Broken Birdie