Of Montreal @ The Cat’s Cradle 3/23/18

    Of Montreal playing NC is no surprise to those that are fans of their music.  In fact, they seem to play here on a yearly basis, whether they have a new album to support or not.  One of my best friends, Patrick, and I were there almost every time. While I have been a big fan of them since 2004 (roughly between when Satanic Panic in the Attic and The Sunlandic Twins were released), I must admit that my attention paid to them has slipped in recent years.  The Cat’s Cradle venue was their main home when their tour came through NC, so when they decided to make a stop in Raleigh at the Lincoln Theatre in 2015, I was very excited at the prospect of having a favorite band of mine play in my hometown, but I’d also be lying if I said that not having to make two separate 45 minute drives back and forth from Carrboro wasn’t appealing as well. Unfortunately, the live show left a lot to be desired. [Peep Negadave’s review here.] I recall the crowd turnout being low, and since Lincoln Theatre is bigger than Cat’s Cradle, I would’ve expected a much bigger turnout for a band of that caliber. The performance itself was pretty lackluster as well, which was very unlike their reputation. After this show, my interest in Of Montreal had started to subside.

    Fast forward three years into the future, the very same friend and I decided to go see Of Montreal return to their familiar stomping grounds at the Cradle. While walking up to the venue, I began to take notice of the lack of people around me which began to worry me that I might have a repeat of three years prior back in Raleigh. “Have Of Montreal sunk in into the pits of irrelevance where a lot of popular indie bands from the 2000s now resides?” Those doubts were squashed when we walked into the Cradle to see the big crowd already inside watching the opening act.  Apparently, we were fashionably late. The opening act (whose name escapes me) seemed very out of place by musical styles. Their tempo was slow with vocals reminiscent of Bjork. Unfortunately, this style did them little favors with the large crowd that was only getting larger, with their sound seemingly beginning to be drowned out by hundreds of conversations being had by the crowd.  They apparently had limited material to perform, with their last song having enough tempo and volume to hush the crowd and gain their attention. Unfortunately, it was their last song.

    The venue filled out even more once they knew Of Montreal was set to take the stage.  I was happy to see an even mixture of thirty-somethings, like me, and a much younger crowd.  Once Of Montreal took the stage, the collective cheers of a nearly full house rang out. Something that was drastically missing from their show in Raleigh.  When Kevin Barnes, who is, essentially, Of Montreal, showed up in an outfit that was equal parts a creation of something from a John Waters’ movie and an Andy Warhol painting, I knew we were in a for fun, energetic show that I associated with this band.  Majority of the songs performed were from their latest album, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, an album I’m unfamiliar with, however, it’s more dancy approach was a welcome surprise.  While the new material was foreign to me, the spectacle and theatrics of the show were not.  It is not uncommon for random masked and costumed figures to appear on stage to interact with Kevin, or to interpretively dance to a theme of that current song.  That night’s show even had two Chinese style dragons parading back and forth on the limited real estate that is the Cat’s Cradle stage. Massive projections enveloped the stage at all times with pop-art patterns or videos of drag queens.  No Of Montreal show would be complete without multiple outfit/costume changes from Kevin. Very few songs were performed from albums that I was familiar with, but some of my favorites from Hissing Fauna were played as well as the obligatory “Wraith Pinned to the Mist” (AKA The Outback Steakhouse song).  There were also more than a couple of songs played from the album, Skeletal Lamping, which conveniently happened to be the last album I was familiar with.

    Much like any live performance, the crowd is what makes the show.  This night’s crowd, which consisted of older and younger fans, were the driving force.  It was refreshing to see concertgoers dancing and jumping to the music since NC is notorious for tame and reserved crowds.  While I post up in the back at most club shows nowadays, I can still feed off the energy from the crowd that is in front of me, and that energy was such in full force that it reminded me of the old days.  I was reminded of how much fun a concert can be simply based on the crowd around me. This show definitely rejuvenated my love for Of Montreal, so much that I’ve started listening to the all the material they’ve released on my hiatus, but will also make it a point to see them again live the next time they stop by Carrboro.  When it comes to Of Montreal, it’s either Cat’s Cradle or nothing at all.

Setlist

Gronlandic EditHissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Paranoiac Intervals / Body DysmorphiaWhite Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

Plastis WaferSkeletal Lamping
(first half only)

Writing the Circles / Orgone Tropics White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

Sex Karma (Solange Knowles song)False Priest

Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)The Sunlandic Twins
(first half only)Sophie Calle Private Game / Every Person Is a Pussy, Every Pussy Is a Star!
White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

It’s Different for GirlsInnocence Reaches

Plateau Phase / No Careerism No Corruption White Is Relic/Irrealis MoodCome Wander With Me Bonnie Beecher cover

Soft Music / Juno Portraits of the Jovian Sky White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood

For Our Elegant Caste Skeletal Lamping

Touched Something’s Hollow Skeletal Lamping

An Eluardian Instance Skeletal Lamping
(first half only)

A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger Hissing Fauna, Are Your the Destroyer?

Encore:

Gallery PieceSkeletal Lamping

Let’s RelateInnocence Reaches

Toadies and Local H at Motorco

The RDU Music staff was approached about covering a Tuesday night show in Durham. That’s one strike for a weeknight and another for Durham. [That shit is like 30 minutes away! – Ed.] It’s a good thing that the bands in question happened to be two of the best grungy, alternative rockers that the 90s had to offer: The Toadies and Local H.

Local H at MotorCo Durham, North Carolina

Local H at MotorCo Durham, North Carolina

Local H

Let me tell you: Local H’s Scott Lucas is looking great at 47 years young. Life on the road must have been good to him because I look like shit at 35 while he can still hit the high notes with ease. Alongside drummer Ryan Harding, Scott brought Local H back to the Triangle area for a raucous set that flirted with disaster for its entirety. By the middle of song two, Scott proclaimed that it was, “one of them shows already,” as kick drum mics got tangled in patch cords and certain over-the-hill drunkards tried their best to ruin an otherwise powerful set from one of my favorite and most underrated rock acts of the 90s.

Durham did not put its best foot forward at Motorco for this show. The majority of the crowd were likeminded thirtysomethings or higher who wanted to be reminded of how it felt to spin an excellent record like As Good as Dead for the first time in their parents’ basement. Unfortunately, a couple of bad apples spoiled the bunch as two middle-aged assclowns decided to get shitfaced before 9pm on a Tuesday and bum everyone out.

In the middle of the first goddamn song, these tools were taking cell phone photos from the first row with the flash on and pantomiming hitting Scott’s guitar as his rockitude brought him to the front of the stage. “I don’t want to be in your selfies,” said Scott as he unironically flipped off the camera. Things went downhill fast as the meatheads in the crowd began to feel like their declining masculinity was in question, causing them to pop off at the mouth about wanting to fight a complete stranger who was nice enough to play a show for them. Scott tried diffusing the situation with some humor as he called out one of the assholes for sloppily making out with his insufferable girlfriend during the set. “This is a rock show, not prom. Get the fuck out of here. You are bumming everyone out.” This was apparently akin to insulting one’s saintly mother so the shitty party boys proceeded to continue causing a scene while one of their girlfriends got into it with another woman, each ending up with a handful of each other’s hair before a larger and more level-headed woman stepped in. I was more than embarrassed and hope that Local H will accept my apologies on behalf of Durham at large.

I had written about three more paragraphs on the topic of the deplorable behavior exhibited by these buttmunchers but I realized that I was starting to bum myself out so I decided to not waste any more keystrokes on these garbage people. For those of you that need closure, I heard from a reputable source (some dude) that the buffoons in question got thrown out and were starting shit outside. All is right in the world. Now back to the true star of the show: Local H’s set.

I never thought I’d see Local H with a bassist [Scott’s guitars are modded with a bass pickup. – Ed.] but The Toadies’ Doni Blair made a guest appearance on stage to join the duo for “Michelle (Again)” from 2008’s Twelve Angry Months. Other set highlights included a rockin’ cover of the recently deceased Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know” in addition to some great crowd participation on hits from the Island years like “Fritz’s Corner” and “Bound for the Floor,” both of which found yours truly screaming along at the top of his lungs. Those lyrics are so deeply ingrained into my memory that I won’t ever forget them.

If my memory serves [It usually doesn’t. – Ed.], Local H closed the set with a fiery double-time version of “High-Fiving MF” which was worth the admission price alone.

The Toadies at MotorCo Durham, North Carolina

The Toadies at MotorCo Durham, North Carolina

The Toadies

Photog extraordinaire and RDU Music‘s own, Lan, busted out 1994’s seminal Rubberneck on the way to a party we attended the prior weekend. I was immediately transported back to a simpler time when rock had that fat groove and the weed was chockful of seeds and stems. I could almost taste the ill-gotten packs of smokes we had to get older kids to buy for us. If good music doesn’t have that effect on you, it’s time to hang it up and go sell some insurance for The Man.

On the surface, the years have not been quite as nice to The Toadies’ Vaden Todd Lewis but he and his cohorts have not missed a beat when it comes to knowing how to lay down the chunkiest riffs this side of 1995. The frontman laid it out from the beginning of the set: “We’re gonna play songs from the new record, songs from Rubberneck, and some in between.” He wasn’t lying as The Toadies burned through 7 songs from their biggest record, 4 from the new record, and a handful of others including an encore consisting of two covers flanking Rubberneck‘s underrated, slow-building closing track, “I Burn.”

Durham showed up with some solid crowd participation on hits such as “Backslider” and “I Come from the Water.” I had to laugh at the poor roadie who rigged up a separate mic solely for one song’s worth of some egg-shaker percussion. Toward the end of the set, I spied the best-dressed concertgoer I have seen all year: Coexist t-shirt and suspenders with a drug rug tied around his waist. Man, I miss the 90s.

The first cover of the encore saw The Toadies paying homage to the recently fallen rock hero, Tom Petty, with their rendition of 1977’s “Breakdown.” They then closed the set with some sweet back-to-back guitar courtesy of Local H’s Scott Lucas on the classic hit, “I Put a Spell on You,” which culminated with the Scott effortlessly crowd-surfing back to the bar as if he had done so a hundred times. I have good money that says these two bands had a blast at every single stop on this tour.

Manchester Orchestra @ Ritz

Manchester Orchestra at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Manchester Orchestra at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

It was a busy week for RDU Music and the Ritz as we attended two shows in two nights. In the famous words of Roger Murtaugh, “I’m getting too old for this shit.” It’s a good thing that Manchester Orchestra is incapable of disappointing an audience. Since it was a Wednesday night, I was unable to catch openers Foxing and Tiger’s Jaw. That was unfortunate because I hear good things about both of those bands. Rain check?

Manchester Orchestra brought seven tracks off of their excellent new album, A Black Mile to the Surface, to the Ritz along with a healthy dose of back catalog tracks, making for a fun and varied 17-song setlist. They opened the night with the first three tracks off of Black Mile in front of a surprising amount of gear. MO brought enough stage lights to make stoned Pink Floyd fans wander in off the street thinking that a laser light show was breaking out. There was also an auxiliary instrument station, complete with a microphone that invited a revolving door of members from opening bands to join in for a variety of songs, adding some additional live texture that I am sure was as fun for the guest musicians as it was for the crowd. That was a real classy move by Andy Hull and co.

As the set progressed, I quickly realized that I hadn’t written a scathing piece about shitty rock music fans in a long time. It’s a good thing that I was standing directly behind the Jolly Drunk Giant and his cadre of tiny whores. They provided me with a nearly endless supply of material. Thanks, you gangly prick.

In case my ardent misanthropy hadn’t shone through in any of the other pieces I have written for this website, please allow me to express my feelings on cell phones at concerts: fucking stop it. If you want to whip it out and take a couple of snapshots to commemorate the event, more power to you. I am not an unreasonable man. I do it myself. But if you want to record 30 minutes of video when you are standing directly next to the stage-left speaker stack, maybe ask an adult first. We’d be happy to tell you that you are a ludicrously tall moron and are ruining the experience of literally everyone behind you so that you can get 4 Insta pity likes on a video that is wholly unwatchable due to the atrocious audio quality and your inability to fucking hold still.

To top it off, when my view wasn’t 89% obstructed by this gargantuan monkey-person, his tiny girlfriend managed to snake the final 11% by holding her PBR tall boy as high as possible while, naturally, screaming, “Woo!” at the top of her lungs. It’s really hard to drink your PBR when it’s a foot above your head, young lady. That beer was also roughly eleventy dollars (thanks, Live Nation…) so maybe take it easy over there. I love Manchester Orchestra as much as you but seeing Andy bathed in multi-colored electric light didn’t make me forget how to pound a tall boy. This ain’t my first rodeo.

Oh, wait. I was supposed to be writing about the Manchester Orchestra set. Shit. Why didn’t anyone stop me? [Maybe because you are your own editor and are drunk with power. -Ed.] Regardless, the real star of the show was Manchester Orchestra, who brought an immensely powerful set, ripe with thumping bass, soaring harmonies, and poignant lyrics. I had seen MO in the past but I think they are really proud of Black Mile, and it showed through in everything they did at the Ritz.

Andy was giving 100% on the high notes. He was not phoning it in at all. On personal favorites such as “Colly Strings” and the pre-encore closer, “The River,” Andy was able to evoke the same intense level of feeling from me live as he does on wax. I was visibly affected by the sheer power of, “I’m gonna leave you the first chance I get,” followed by a mic drop to end the set. Had Manchester Orchestra actually ended the set on “The River,” I might have been forced to walk out of the Ritz holding back a tear. Luckily, the crowd was graced with an encore of “I Can Feel a Hot One” in order to let the crowd know that Andy was indeed capable of feeling love again, followed by the apt closer of Black Mile, “The Silence.” It left me eternally grateful that Manchester Orchestra “let me open my eyes and be glad that I got here.”

Mastodon w/ Eagles of Death Metal & Russian Circles

If you’re like me, then Christmas came early in the month of October.  A mega-bill of “music festival” proportions had descended upon the Ritz this past Tuesday.  Mastodon along with Eagles of Death Metal and Russian Circles brought all the rock, groove, and thunder that Raleigh could handle.

Russian Circles at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Russian Circles at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Russian Circles

Chicago’s Russian Circles opened the night with their intoxicating brand of instrumental post-metal heaviness, touring in support of last year’s excellent full-length, Guidance. I managed to get two $20 gin drinks in me (thanks, Live Nation…) as the venue slowly filled up. By the time RC hit the stage, the Ritz crowd was in full effect, ready to be mystified.

I love the no-nonsense approach taken by instrumental bands. No need for banter. No point in even rigging the mics. Let’s just kick right into some expertly-crafted rise and fall. Bassist Brian Cook, dressed as dapper as ever, sports an impressive pedigree of previous Pacific Northwest musical projects including mathcore legends, Botch, and post-hardcore noise merchants, These Arms are Snakes. [TAAS’s Steve Snere accidentally hit me in the face with his mic in the back of a dive bar in Lawrence, KS sometime around the release of 2004’s Oxeneers. It was magical. -Ed.] Both of those outfits were short-lived compared to his 10-year run with Russian Circles. He really found his niche playing alongside guitar wizard Mike Sullivan, whom I last saw join Sargeant House labelmate Chelsea Wolfe onstage at the Lincoln for Hopscotch 2016. At one point in the set, Mike effortlessly looped a riff into finger tapping into another riff, layering more into one song than most guitarists can cram into an entire album. Drummer Dave Turncrantz knocked his drums around with such authority that I didn’t mind his “solo” as Mike re-tuned. (And I hate drum solos.) Russian Circles was an excellent way to kick off a diverse bill at the Ritz. [Negadave]

Eagles of Death Metal at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Eagles of Death Metal at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Eagles of Death Metal

At first glance at the bill, I was a tad shocked to see EODM on the poster.  While I am a huge fan, I wasn’t entirely sure how the band would take to a crowd that was predominantly metalheads.  EODM proved that a quality performance matched with the same energy can make believers out of anyone.  RDUMusic’s own photographer extraordinaire, Lan, who was not the biggest fan could not deny how much fun their set was.  EODM started with their hit, “I Only Want You” which definitely got the crowd into a frenzy.  It took a minute for me to notice Brett from Mastodon playing guitar alongside them for that song.  This was my first time seeing EODM, and let me tell you, frontman Jesse Hughes has charisma for days.  It appeared as though staying still would result in immediate death as he would constantly be dancing in place even if he was not singing or playing guitar.  It was clear to see that they were having a blast on stage, and the crowd picked up on that enthusiasm.  In between songs “Complexity” and “Whorehoppin,” Jesse Hughes would constantly survey the crowd to see if the women or the men were having a better time (all in a southern preacher delivery).  Spoiler Alert: the ladies won!  The set was disappointingly short, only spanning eight songs, however, a near-perfect rendition of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and the concluding “Speaking In Tongues” more than made up for the short set.  I look forward to seeing a show in the future that will feature Eagles of Death Metal in a headlining spot, as there were so many more songs I wanted to hear from them.

Mastodon at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Mastodon at The Ritz Raleigh, North Carolina

Mastodon

If you know me personally, you won’t be surprised to know how much I love Mastodon.  I guess owning 10 shirts of the same band might be a dead giveaway.  Mastodon was supporting their latest album, Emperor of Sand, an album that personally took some getting used to.  So I was not expecting the “mega-hits” set that I had seen the past few times I’ve seen Mastodon.  If you were a fan of the earlier albums such as Remission and Leviathan, then you were in for a bit of disappointment as only one song from each album was performed, none of which included hits like “Blood and Thunder” or “Crusher Destroyer.”  While it was strange to see Mastodon not play those songs, it certainly wasn’t a negative since they have such a rich catalog.  I also had to make peace that only one song from 2011’s The Hunter was played, though “Black Tongue” is one of my favorite songs so it was hardly a concession.  Most songs were dedicated to Emperor of Sand, though a number of songs from Crack the Sky, Blood Mountain, and Once More ‘Round the Sun made their way into the rotation: “Divinations”, “Bloodcatcher”, and “Oblivion” to name a few.  I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of their latest album upon first listen, but like most concept albums from Mastodon, it would take repeated listens to finally appreciate the next step in their evolution.  Even if I had remained tepid on Emperor of Sand, that opinion would’ve surely changed after seeing those songs performed with ferocity and volume that comes with a Mastodon show.  As expected, Brann Dailor (who I think is one of the most underrated drummers in the world) banged the skins like the machine that he is.  Brett Hinds and Troy Sanders still remain one rock’s best vocal tandems.  Bill Kelliher continues to have the best mustaches in the history of facial hair.  Put them together and you get an ever-evolving rock band that transcends labels and genre.  If you haven’t had the luxury of seeing Mastodon live, I highly recommend doing so the next time they swing through your town.  You certainly won’t regret it.

Toadies To Release ‘The Lower Side of Uptown’ on September 8th

Cross-Country Tour With Local H In The Fall

June 20th, 2017 Ft. Worth, TXToadies will release their next album The Lower Side Of Uptown September 8th via Kirtland Records. This will be the band’s seventh studio album and a ‘return to form’ as explained by frontman Vaden Todd Lewis: “This album is ‘roots Toadies”, full of riffs and time shifts.’ The Lower Side Of Uptown is the follow up to 2015’s Heretics which saw the band taking a change of pace with a stripped down sound and mostly acoustic. When they were preparing to enter the studio this time around there was no set idea for what was to come but, the process ultimately had the band going back to their signature sound: “I feel that subconsciously we thought that this record would have ended up incorporating some of that quieter sound, but that didn’t happen. When we got to the studio with nothing more than a pile of riffs, what came out of the band was really loud and heavy music. So not only is this album louder than Heretics, I think it’s louder and heavier than the last couple Toadies albums” guitarist Clark Vogeler said of the sessions, which were recorded Arlyn Studio, a favorite of the legendary Willie Nelson, and The Bubble in Austin.

Long time collaborators, producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith, along with mixer Rob Schnapf once again joined the band in the studio for the new set. Frenchie produced the last ‘loud rock’ album from the band: 2012’s Play. Rock. Music., and Rob produced Heretics and Feeler, and co-produced Rubberneck and Hell Below/Stars Above.  Vogeler adds: “Recording with Frenchie is always an interesting experience. He brings such enthusiasm to the process that it’s infectious. He’s got a great ear for what makes a good rock ‘n’ roll record, and as much as anyone else, he put his heart and soul into this record.”

The cover imagery for The Lower Side of Uptown was done by renowned comic artist Michael Lark, the artist of the critically-acclaimed, Eisner-nominated series LAZARUS from Image Comics. Since 1992, Lark has provided artwork for a variety of comics including DaredevilCaptain Americaand Winter Soldier and books for Marvel and DC/Vertigo. He collaborated on the critically acclaimed, multiple-award-winning Gotham Central with Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka at DC Comics. He is the recipient of two Eisner Awards, both for his  work with Greg Rucka. (A little info on how Toadies and Mark came to work together?)

Since reuniting in 2008, after disbanding in 2001 Toadies have released 4 albums, played hundreds of shows and festivals, released 4 signature craft beers, and have been featured in an X-Men comic. Last month they partnered with the Texas Rangers to release their own version of ‘Take Me To The Ballgame.’  This year, the band continues that busy streak with The Lower Side Of Uptown showcased on a cross-country tour over two months along with Chicago’s Local H. on the bill. The band are stoked to tour with an act they got to know at their own Dia De Los Toadies festival says drummer Mark ‘Rez’ Reznicek: “We’re super excited to be going on tour with Local H, a band we’ve long been fans of. We’ve wanted to tour with them for years, and it’s finally happening!” Toadies have also hosted and played nine Dia De Los Toadies festivals.This year’s Dia De Los Toadies 10 will be returning to Possum Hollow at Possum Kingdom Lake. More details to be announced soon.

The Lower Side Of Uptown Tracklisting:

  1. When I Die
  2. Take Me Alive
  3. Polly Jean
  4. You Know the Words
  5. Mama Take Me Home
  6. Keep Breathing
  7. Amen
  8. Human Cannonball
  9. Broke Down Stupid
  10.  I Put s Spell on You
  11. Echo
  12. Sentimental

Tour Dates:  More TBA

September:

Sept. 6 – Denton, TX                 Rockin Rodeo
Sept. 7 – Oklahoma City            Diamond Ballroom
Sept. 8 – Kansas City, MO        KRBZ Beach Ball
Sept. 9 – St. Louis, MO             Delmar
Sept. 10 – Cincinnati                 Bogart’s
Sept. 12  – Knoxville, TN           The Concourse
Sept. 13 – Nashville, TN            Exit In
Sept. 14 – Memphis, TN            New Daisy

Sept. 16 – Possum Kingdom Lake, TX Possum Hollow
Sept. 19 – El Paso, TX              Tricky Falls
Sept. 20 – Tucson, AZ               Congress
Sept. 21 – Las Vegas, NV         Beauty Bar
Sept. 22 – Phoenix, AZ             Crescent
Sept. 23 – Solana Beach, CA    Belly Up
Sept. 24 – Los Angeles, CA      Troubadour
Sept. 26 – Anaheim, CA            House Of Blues
Sept. 27 – Berkeley, CA            UC Theater
Sept. 29 – Seattle, WA              The Crocodile
Sept. 30 – Portland, OR            Star Theater

October:
Oct.  1 – Boise, ID                     Knitting Factory
Oct.  3 – Salt Lake City, UT       Metro Music Hall
Oct.  4 – Grand Junction, CO   Mesa Theatre
Oct.  5 – Denver, CO                Gothic
Oct.  6 – Omaha, NE                Waiting Room
Oct.  7 – Milwaukee, WI           Turner Hall
Oct.  8 – Minneapolis, MN        1st Ave.
Oct.  10 – Chicago, IL               Metro

Oct.  11 – Louisville, KY           Mercury
Oct.  12 – Indianapolis, IN        The Vogue
Oct.  13 – Detroit, MI                St. Andrews
Oct.  14 – Cleveland, OH         Grog Shop
Oct.  15 – Pittsburgh, PA          Rex
Oct.  17 – Washington DC        Black Cat
Oct.  18 – New York NY            Gramercy Theater
Oct.  19 – Philadelphia, PA       TLA
Oct.  20 – Boston, MA               Brighton
Oct.  21 – Asbury Park, NJ       Stone Pony
Oct.  22 – Norfolk, VA               Norva
Oct.  24 – Durham, NC             Motorco
Oct.  25 – Wilmington, NC        The Muse
Oct.  26 – Atlanta, GA               Masquerade Hell
Oct.  27 – Orlando, FL              Plaza Live
Oct.  28 – Ft. Lauderdale          Culture Room
Oct.  29 – Tampa/St. Pete         Ritz
Oct.  31 – New Orleans, LA      Tipitinas

November:
Nov.  4 – Carrolton, TX              Carrollton Festival at the Switchyard
Nov. 10 – Austin, TX                  Stubbs BBQ

CLUTCH TO RELEASE LIMITED EDITION VINYL COLLECTOR PICTURE DISCS

THE FIRST IN THE SERIES “LIVE AT THE GOOGOLPLEX” OUT TODAY 

October 6th, 2017 – Clutch and Weathermaker Music have prepared three very special Clutch limited edition vinyl collector picture discs.  The first in the series, “Live At The Googolplex” will be available tomorrow.
Recorded in 2002 in Chicago, Montreal, Kansas City, and Columbus, OH.  “Live At The Googolplex”, like all three releases in the series will be the first time these releases will be available as a picture disc vinyl.
The next two releases in the series will be “Jam Room” (scheduled for release October 27th, 2017) and “Pitchfork & Lost Needles” (scheduled for release November 24th, 2017).
Weathermaker Music is releasing 3 limited edition picture discs” states frontman Neil Fallon.  “The first will be Live at the Googolplex.  That will be followed up by Jam Room and thenPitchfork and Lost Needles.  All feature art from the original releases.  For what it’s worth, I drew Medusa’s head for the Jam Room release.  With a pen.  And paper.  This is your chance to own a bit of art history”.
All 3 in the series will be available at all major vinyl outlets and is available to pre-order now at https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/clutch.
Clutch is set to embark on another leg of the Psychic Warfare World Tour 2017starting November 29th, 2017 and running through December 31st, 2017. All tour and ticket info can be found at:https://www.pro-rock.com.
Clutch is currently in the throes of working on new material for a 2018 release.
CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:

WINTER PSYCHIC WARFARE TOUR DATES WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT & THE OBSESSED

September 12th, 2017 – Clutch has just announced Winter tour dates for the continuum of their Psychic Warfare tour. Supporting the tour will be Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed. Fan club pre-sale tickets will start at 2:00pm ET today, public stale starts 10am ET on Friday.  Exclusive fan club pre-sale tickets and show info available here: mt.cm/clutch.  The on sale date for the 4 Florida shows is TBD due to the hurricane in the region. Check the bands official website www.pro-rock.com for all upcoming ticket and show info.
Clutch will be entering the studio in early 2018 to begin work on their 12th studio album.
Psychic Warfare is the latest and eleventh studio effort from Clutch.  The disc debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Billboard Independent,  No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock and Billboard Rock charts.     Psychic Warfare was produced by longtime producer Machine (Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die).
Clutch, Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed Tour Dates:
Wed, 11-29-17               Greensboro, NC at Cone Denim Entertainment Center
Fri, 12-01-17                  Myrtle Beach, SC at House Of Blues
Sat, 12-02-17                 St Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live
Sun, 12-03-17                Fort Lauderdale, FL at Revolution
Tue, 12-05-17                Saint Augustine, FL at Backyard Stage @ St Augustine Amphitheatre
Wed, 12-06-17               Pensacola, FL at Vinyl Music Hall
Fri, 12-08-17                  Baton Rouge, LA at Varsity Theatre
Sat, 12-09-17                 San Antonio, TX at The Aztec Theatre
Sun, 12-10-17                Houston, TX at House Of Blues
Tues, 12-12-17               Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre
Wed, 12-13-17               Lincoln, NE at Bourbon Theatre
Fri, 12-15-17                  Peoria, IL at Limelight Eventplex
Sat, 12-16-17                 Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works
Wed, 12-27-17               Clifton Park, NY at Upstate Concert Hall
Thu, 12-28-17                Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom
Fri, 12-29-17                  Richmond, VA at The National
Sat, 12-30-17                 Knoxville, TN at The International

Sun, 12-31-17               Columbus, OH at Express Live

CLUTCH:
Neil Fallon – Vocals/Guitar
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums/Percussion
For more  information, check out the band’s website:

Raleigh Hopscotch Music Festival 2017 Part Two

Big Boi at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Big Boi at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Downtown Raleigh

I think I finally figured out the key to surviving my…6th?…Hopscotch festival: Leave early. Not like “early bird special” early but maybe early enough that you can get to bed by about 1am because you have at least 2 more days of drinking, walking, and rocking ahead of you. I met up with JOM outside of CAM after Torche finished their great set on Day 1 and he was like, “I have to work in the morning.” Say no more, fam. You need a ride?

After a solid 7 hours of sleep (and another 4 of laying around on the couch), I was feeling good and was ready to head back to City Plaza to start Day 2 of Hopscotch 2017. Little did I know that I was going to stumble upon RDU Music’s hands-down favorite set of the festival later in the evening.

Birds of Avalon at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Birds of Avalon at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Birds of Avalon @ City Plaza

FB

Kicking off Night 2 was Raleigh’s own Birds of Avalon. You might recognize some of their members from Kings and Garland. They brought a rollicking rock ‘n’ roll set fueled by dual drummers to City Plaza. Everyone had a mic so there was a nice, varied vocal approach to individual songs. I could have done without the extended, rambling jam session at the end but was overall impressed with Birds of Avalon’s rockitude.

The Make Up at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

The Make Up at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

The Make-Up @ City Plaza

Wiki

Up next was a band whose reunion tour was lost on most of the unsuspecting City Plaza crowd, D.C.’s The Make-Up. About 8 seconds into their opening number, enigmatic frontman Ian Svenonius jumped into the crowd and commenced to get weird with bird noises all up in the faces of Raleigh’s musically hungry. They had an MC5 sort of feel…if MC5 were emotionally disturbed people. I will say that their glitter-encrusted mauve suits were 10/10.

Our very own Yang had this to say about the band: I didn’t know much about The Make-Up when they were announced on the bill.  The little I heard of them would not prepare me for what my ears and eyes were about to see. To this very day, I still can’t figure out if my confusion borders on “like” or “dislike.”  On one hand, The Make-Up brought a ferocious amount of energy to their set.  The crowd, like me, was also a tad bit skeptical but they eventually took to the DC band after the first couple of songs. I would bet that frontman Ian spent more time in the crowd or balancing on the barrier and photographers’ shoulders than the actual stage. Songs were frantic and fast, and if you’re a fan of the incoherent ramblings of a mental patient in between songs, then Christmas came early.  I spent a good majority of this set tapping my finger on my chin trying to process what exactly my eyes were seeing, especially at the point when he put the microphone in his mouth and began bellowing like a wild animal. Like a David Lynch film, I applauded the effort and presentation but left confused and baffled. Also, I think they set the record for saying “baby” most times in a song that wasn’t R&B slow jam. [Yang]

So many types of pills…so little time to do them.

Run The Jewels at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Run The Jewels at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Run the Jewels @ Red Hat Amphitheater

FB

I had “offhandedly” mentioned to some co-workers that I was going to be covering Hopscotch again this year and the subject of Run the Jewels came up. One of the guys was hella stoked but I, being generally too-cool-for-school in addition to a pretentious music snob, mentioned that I wasn’t really into “modern” hip-hop. [I’m all about the GZA. -Ed.] RTJ made me take that viewpoint and stick it in my ass.

We trekked the short distance over to Red Hat Amphitheater and met up with soon-to-be #personalboy and friend of the program, Greg, where we queued up to see RTJ straight burn that motherfucker to the ground, which they verbally intimated that they were planning to do, early in the set. They definitely had the tools to do so but I was hoping that they wouldn’t literally do that. Some of us live here. But in a metaphorical sense, holy shit. By about the 3rd song in the set, I was bobbing along with the rest of the crowd, having the time of my life. Speaking of the crowd, could Raleigh BE any whiter? I heard a Nantucket-Reds-wearing fella behind me proclaim, “Killer Mike is, like…the hypest dude.” Truer words were never spoken, random white guy.

Killer Mike is, like…the hypest dude.

Future Islands at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Future Islands at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Future Islands @ City Plaza

FB

In what would turn out to be the worst decision we made during Hopscotch 2017, we left RTJ early to make it back to City Plaza in time for Future Islands. Now I know that we here at RDU Music have been known to be…assholes from time to time, but Jesus Fucking Christ, Future Islands. I don’t know who gave you a record deal but your frontman wishes he were Morrissey but is actually a goat wearing the skin of a man. And not in a cool, death metal sort of way. More like, he just sounds like a goat. And not in a cute, Shakira kind of way. All bitchiness aside, FI is actually a pretty good band but they are not for me, despite the HUGE crowd they draw wherever they play. Godspeed, Future Islands. I hope you enjoy your money and fame without being too offended by little fish like me.

…your frontman wishes he were Morrissey but is actually a goat wearing the skin of a man.

Har Mar Superstar at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Har Mar Superstar at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Har Mar Superstar @ The Basement

FB

There are defining, watershed moments in a person’s musical life journey that stick with them forever. Personally, I bounced around from Jane’s Addiction to Type O Negative to Converge before I settled in for the long haul. Little did I know that I was about to have my musical worldview shaken by a Jay Sherman lookalike from Minneapolis.

I knew that Har Mar Superstar was opening for one of my all-time favorite rock bands, the Afghan Whigs, but I was perplexed when he wasn’t playing the same venue as Greg Dulli and co. at Hopscotch. Instead, the powers-that-be decided to put Har Mar into a goddamn airplane hangar underneath the Raleigh Convention Center. It turned out to be a good thing that the festival organizers did so because there is no other meeting space in town capable of containing Har Mar’s raw sexuality and musical prowess.

Har Mar remained little more than a novelty in my mind for the last 20ish years. I was unaware that he had the voice of an angel and the sex appeal of a young Burt Reynolds. He is The Critic meets Neil Diamond. He is so unassumingly soulful that he could replace Justin Timberlake on any stage, any night of the year, and no one would be the wiser until they were smoking their post-coital cigarette.

Har Mar made his entrance wearing a wide-lapelled leisure suit and immediately commanded the crowd’s attention with his bravado and silky smooth R&B stylings. I couldn’t help but notice the crowd’s incredulous reaction. Some of us (the entire RDU Music extended family included) were blown away by Sean’s skill and showmanship while others were closer to, “Who is this weirdo making me horny?” Either way, Har Mar commanded the attention of an entire airplane hangar for a solid 45 minutes.

Har Mar’s band was a sight in and of themselves. They were all dressed in satin jackets and consisted of who I can only assume was the Tobias Funke on drums and Desaparecidos’s own Denver Dalley on guitar. They maintained an unaffected posture while Har Mar made the first 6 rows’ nether-regions wet until key moments in the set where they would join Har Mar in some minimal yet strangely effective choreography. It was magical. I lost track of myself until the slag next to me spilled her drink on me for the third time. Honestly, I was unfazed since I knew she had a good reason: She was in a hysterical fit of sexual torture brought on by one of our generation’s greatest showmen. I didn’t want it to end but I knew that the rest of the world needed to experience Har Mar for themselves as well. What kind of man would I be if I kept him for myself? This bird was not meant to be caged. Fly free, you magnificent bastard. Fly far.

After the smoke cleared, I did some amateur Googling of our Sean Tillmann and fell down the deepest rabbit hole of his superb videos and live performances. Sadly, I also stumbled upon Pitchfork’s reviews of his early 2000s albums. We’re talking 5.8, 2.0, and 1.9. Now I firmly grasp that Pitchfork’s writers have their heads so far up each others’ asses that they have ceased to comprehend the meaning of “fun,” but Christ, can anyone be so wrong? [American voters circa 2016 spring to mind. -Ed.] For the love of all that is good and pure, PLEASE don’t base your life on Pitchfork. You will end up alone wondering where your life went wrong.

Thou @ Pour House

The tease of any kind of metal was a highlight for me this Hopscotch so I ventured to Pour House to catch Baton Rouge’s Thou.  There was a staggering lack of metal artists on this year’s bill, so anything heavy was a welcome treat.  Vocalist Bryan Funck’s presence was felt on stage, even though the fellow never seemed to move or blink.  Gripping the mic stand and holding that pose like a statue, he growled and screamed with some of the best doom metal vocalists out there.  I’ll be the first to admit that after 4 songs, the rest of the show began to feel repetitive. [Yang]

Whores. @ Pour House

Whores. were definitely in my top three bands to see on the bill, so you can imagine my worry when lead singer, Christian, approached the stage on crutches and left knee in a brace.  Apparently, Christian had blown out two ligaments in the same knee.  If you’ve seen Whores. before, you’ll know that they play with a shit-ton of energy, so I was naturally worried that this show might suffer due to his injury.  Spoiler Alert: I was wrong! Whores. brought the ruckus and the entire RDU Music staff cannot wait to catch them again at Local 506 in December with the ’68. [Yang]

Afghan Whigs at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Afghan Whigs at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

The Afghan Whigs @ Lincoln Theater

FB

To be perfectly honest, the main reason I bought Hopscotch tickets this year was that I heard Afghan Whigs were playing. My buddy Jeremy played me Gentlemen for the first time longer ago than I can remember. Ever since then, I have followed Greg Dulli’s every move: the Twilight Singers, Amber Headlights, the Gutter Twins. It may only seem like it, due to my age and the ages of the performers, but with the recent influx of bands from my youth reuniting, the Afghan Whigs may very well take the crown for Best Reunion Albums with 2014’s Do to the Beast and this year’s In Spades. [Surgical Steel by Carcass is another top contender. -Ed.] Needless to say, I was more than stoked to see them perform live for the first time in my life.

Greg and co. witchcrafted a sinister atmosphere with their stage setup as illuminated pyramids and skeleton etchings on their amps intermingled with dead priests and demons while the band burned through a setlist comprised heavily of their two most recent albums. Non-festival gigs on this current tour consisted of nearly twice the songs and included many fan favorites from the Afghan Whigs’ initial heyday but I was happy with anything they played as this was the culmination of roughly 20 years of fandom for me.

A couple of set highlights were the cover of the Twilight Singers’ “Teenage Wristband” off of 2003’s stunning Blackberry Belle in addition to a guest vocal performance by tourmate walking Spanish Fly, Har Mar Superstar for “Demon in Profile,” which Har Mar also covered on his recent EP, Personal Boy. Greg switched over to piano in order to let Har Mar’s light shine for that particular track.

The Afghan Whigs closed the night with “Into the Floor,” the appropriately-themed closing track to In Spades, setting a melancholy tone that told me that the band had to be moving on to the next stop of their tour. But at least they left me this excellent performance so that “I’ll always remember you this way…”

Hopscotch 2017 Day 2 Winner = Har Mar Superstar

Raleigh Hopscotch Music Festival 2017 Part One

Downtown Raleigh

Hopscotch is akin to the Super Bowl for us here at RDU Music. We haven’t been very active this summer because we were apparently saving ourselves for this particular weekend, to which we showed up in full-force. For more of Lan’s stunning photography work, check out the RDU Music Instagram. Otherwise, you’re stuck with my humble words (with some assistance and color commentary from Yang and Jom) for this recap of Hopscotch 2017 Day 1.

Datura at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Datura at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Datura @ Pour House (Day Party)

Bandcamp | FB

The sounds of brutal thrash/death metal that were echoing down the hallway of Pur House were a welcome treat for this music fan.  From the outside, I heard the deep growls ala Cannibal Corpse which segued into high pitch banshee screams, leading me to think, “Oh cool, they must have two frontmen in this band.” So you can imagine my surprise when saw those vocals coming from one female vocalist. Punishing, brutal, energetic, and loud are just some of the superlatives I can throw to describe the set by Raleigh’s Datura. Lead singer Kellie Gates’ variation in vocals gave the rest of the band so much range as a metal act, with no song sounding exactly like the other.  In the short time they played, they definitely made a fan out of me, and I look forward to seeing their next performance! [Yang]

City Plaza

I met up with the fellas at City Plaza where Lan and I proceeded to grab a couple Goose Island Fest Biers [4/5 stars from me. I’m a sucker for the Oktoberfest style. -Ed.] and met up with our own Jom (John Michael Buscemi) to witness the official kickoff of Hopscotch 2017 with Durham’s Skylar Gudasz.

Skylar Gudasz at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Skylar Gudasz at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Skylar Gudasz @ City Plaza

FB
Skylar opened with a soulful, solo piano number before inviting the full band on stage for some more tunes with a wide variety of instrumentation, including a flute interlude. It was early so the City Plaza crowd was only starting to file in but as they did so, they were treated to Skylar’s beautiful Americana folk voice.

Extended flute interlude!

Big Thief at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Big Thief at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Big Thief @ City Plaza

FB
Next up was Saddle Creek’s newest darlings, Brooklyn’s Big Thief, who brought their emotionally-raw lyrical storytelling to a rapidly growing City Plaza crowd. At one point, I looked back and the place had filled up to hear Adrianne Lenker’s wounded lyrics and strong vocals. Being such a huge fan of the early days of Saddle Creek [Mayday’s Old Blood is one of the best records I’ve ever heard. -Ed.], I was hoping that Big Thief would be the torchbearer for the label’s resurgence back into the popular zeitgeist but I think they would have fared better in a more intimate venue than City Plaza. Still, keep an eye on Big Thief as they progress.

Jom had this to add on Big Thief: There was a line in a song that gave me chills though: “The blood of the man who killed my mother with his hands, is in me.”  That’s pretty fucking heavy, and it was then met with some awesome, noisy, spacy, loud jamming.  But just as a song started picking it up, it would end…leaving something to be desired.  As the set was coming to an end, I couldn’t help but notice how the drummer, as terrible as his posture may be, was really into all the songs.  Singing along as he played.  I like bands that are into their own music…shows it’s something they believe in.  And if Big Thief ever starts pulling off live what they do on a recording…watch out! [Jom]

I like bands that are into their own music…shows it’s something they believe in. [Jom]

Margo Price at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Margo Price at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Margo Price @ City Plaza

FB
Capping off an interestingly subdued yet stylistically cohesive opening night at City Plaza was Nashville’s Margo Price who brought her brand of traditional country to Hopscotch 2017 concertgoers. The RDU Music squad did not stay long as we had places to be [I kind of wanted Margo and her band of Berklee grad, studio musicians to…”go back to Tennessee.” -Jom] but we left a mostly full City Plaza to enjoy the Nashville starlet’s set without us.

CAM Raleigh

We made a brief pitstop at Parkside where I was enjoying a delightful Three Little Pigs sandwich and the Chiefs/Patriots game until I looked at the clock and my heart skipped a beat. My second most anticipated band of the 2017 Hopscotch lineup was about to take the stage at CAM! I drained the last of my beer in two gulps, threw a $20 on the table, and made for the door like my ass was on fire while Jom stayed to enjoy his ridiculous-sized burger. [Huge patties. Big ol’ slap-that-meat-on-your-black-eye-sized patties. -Jom] As I powerwalked up to CAM, I could hear Brooklyn’s weirdest sons, Kayo Dot, opening their set.

Kayo Dot @ CAM

FB
I have been a fan of Toby Driver’s musical collectives for a very long time [Maudlin of the Well’s Bath and Kayo Dot’s Choirs of the Eye are undeniable classics. -Ed.] so I was extremely excited to see them live for the first time. Despite a set marred by technical difficulties, Kayo Dot were still able to prove that they are on a whole other level. To the untrained ear, Kayo Dot might be considered “too” avant-garde and downright cacophonous at times but I found their live set to be a mystically moving experience. This live incarnation of the band was a 3-piece but was still able to fill the air with all manner of transcendental sounds. I was physically saddened when the set ended. Afterwards, I bought a Maudlin of the Well shirt from Toby himself at the merch booth and complimented him on his 2017 slab of solo gorgeousness for the Flenser, Madonnawhore. I then grabbed another gin drink and began waiting for what turned out to be the best set of the night.

Also, the singer has a haircut…that is maybe influenced by cocaine. [Jom]

Pallbearer @ CAM

FB
Little Rock’s Pallbearer have been making waves in recent memory with their last couple of records under the excellent Profound Lore label but I never gave them much of a listen. Their dense and impactful live set at CAM let me know that I was woefully late to the party. Huge, sludgy riffs with some surprisingly elegant vocals for a “doom metal” band proved to be a killer combination. All I could do was bang my head and sway along with each funeral dirge as amateur photographers struggled with the lighting while bassist Joseph D. Rowland fought to get back in the game after he blew his bass cab. Seriously, the CAM stage must be cursed. Either way, I hope Pallbearer was able to see my face melt from the front row because I was viscerally affected by their adroit hooks and soaring solos. Pallbearer made a believer out of me after about a song and a half.

Pallbearer did an amazing job of fighting through the technical hiccups and overall suspect acoustics that CAM is notorious for. [Yang]

The Tills at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

The Tills at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

The Tills @ Pour House

Oh man!  The Tills are based out of Nashville and come out to Raleigh a couple of times a year.  They have yet to disappoint me, and tonight was no different.  I’ll start by saying…haircuts.  This year’s Hopscotch theme is haircuts.  Haircuts that may or may not be infused by Schedule I substances.  Haircuts that frontman of The Tills, Harry Harrison, described to me one day as “Me and Marty (the drummer) are bringing back the haircut.  People get a haircut all the time, we’re not bringing the act of haircuts back…but look at my hair!”  It looks like he just got some scissors and cut some bangs, cut some stuff from the sides but not all of it, got what he could off the back and balanced out the top.  And the drummer, I grew up with this guy and know that he’s a free spirit.  Lan described him as, “The type of guy that would pick up lonely wives on the beach.”  And I can almost guarantee he’s done that before, so just picture that person.  Harry and Marty are both happy dudes, living the lives they want to live and making music with energy, spirit, enthusiasm, volume..and just pure joy.  Their live performance perfectly portrays that spirit.  This was the first band that I saw that really brought life to the crowd.  People dancing.  Faces smiling while singing along with the band.  And it’s hard to not feel that when Harry is flash dancing in a polka dot patterned shorts and shirt ensemble while ripping off energetic British riff after riff.  There were 5 guys on stage playing their hearts out for a crowd that was sweating out their own hearts.  I’ve known Marty to finish a show in his boxers, but tonight he just ended it shirtless.  Singing duties were shared across the band, and the set climaxed with a stage dive from Harry.  If The Tills are ever coming through town, do yourself a favor and bring some friends to their show, drink some cheap beer, and have a blast!  You won’t be disappointed.  Until that day though, go buy their records.  Their latest album Canon is available on vinyl from their Bandcamp site. The song “Cold Ones” is a must listen. [Jom]

The type of guy that would pick up lonely wives on the beach. [Lan]

Thee Oh Sees at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

Thee Oh Sees at Hopscotch 2017 Raleigh, North Carolina

The Oh Sees @ The Basement

What venue is The Basement?  Where is it? Oh, it’s in the Convention Center? Ok. Ho. Lee. Fuck.  As soon as Red Hat Amphitheater shuts down for the season, shows should pick right up at “The Basement.”  This was hands down the best venue of the festival.  It was like an airplane hangar with a huge stage in it.  It could have been loud and echoey and shitty, but the sound was mixed perfectly.  Plenty of natural reverb, but nothing too washed out.  Whoever put this together deserves a raise!

The Oh Sees are a band that I’ve heard all this buzz about, and apparently so had a lot of other people because the venue was packed. Overall, I was very impressed with the Oh Sees. Two drummers seemingly in a competition to see who could play harder, louder, and better kept the rhythm upbeat and energetic. One loud-ass, clear acrylic SG-shaped guitar drove riffs to new levels.  This band brought it in an incredible venue that only had more in store for us the rest of the weekend.

The only downside here was the line for drinks at the venue was REALLY long.  But at midnight on a Thursday, with a workday steadily creeping around the corner…I think it was for the best I didn’t have another drink. [Jom]

Torche @ CAM

FB
A perennial favorite of mine since buying their 2005 self-titled debut for Robotic Empire, Florida’s Torche brought the ruckus with them on this particular trip to our fair City of Oaks. I have seen Torche perform live about 5 times now and this might have been my favorite set of the bunch, despite the technical difficulties that prevailed throughout the entire night at CAM. Frontman Steve Brooks had a hard time hearing anything out of his monitors and eventually decided that he would just rock the fuck out sans the ability to hear himself. He didn’t miss a beat but was noticeably irritated for a hot minute there.

Torche seemed like they were all having a good time during their high-energy set at CAM. Especially drummer Rick Smith who was playing so hard and with such zeal that stagehands had to bring out some mic-stand bases to put in front of the kit to minimize movement. Rick was undeterred. He banged so hard that bassist Jonathan Nunez even had to stand on them to keep Rick from vibrating the kit the entire 6 feet off the front of the stage. All that energy from Torche made for a supremely satisfying set.

Hopscotch 2017 Day 1 winner: Pallbearer