How music concerts are affecting our planet, brought to your attention by Jack Johnson. Read the article here.>>
c is currently dancing her socks off in the middle of the country to Mumford & Sons as part of their Gentlemen of the Road series. Not being there has put me in a Mumford mood and while watching a dozen, or maybe, eh, twenty-three videos of their performances, I remembered that I FORGOT TO WRITE ABOUT THE TIME I SAW THEM LIVE LAST MONTH. Some jammer I am, right? c will have a debriefing of tonight’s performance by noon tomorrow. Here is mine…a month overdue…
When Mumford & Sons come to NYC/NJ/Metro-area, they do so in style. Not the signature tweed vest, flannel, bowler hat kind of style, but the we’re-going-to-perform-sold-out-shows-in-the-vaguest-venues-during-ominous-weather-that-will-make-headlines-in-the-newspapers kind of style. Remember Pier A in Hoboken last year? On August 28, 2013, the quartet did it again. They revitalized Forest Hills Stadium, a tennis court with amphitheater seating that magically held 17,000. The venue was frequented by The Stones, Joan Baez, and The Beatles during the ’70s and until the British invaded again this August, the stadium had not hosted a concert since 1997. Don’t call it a comeback.
Getting off the LIRR at Forest Hills was like walking into Magic Kingdom after a curious ride on the Monorail at Disney World. Roads were adorned with M&S logos; streets were shut down and packed with blissful twenty-somethings patiently (yes, patiently in NYC) waiting to enter the Romanesque site. After receiving tennis sweatbands as souvenirs, the sold out crowd hopped on line to buy craft beers, artisan pizzas, and probably turkey legs and/or frozen lemonade. Unfortunately, the Gentlemen of the Road (who should reconsider the lottery system for ticket sales) and the Bowery Presents realized far too late in the game the “growing pains” of the night’s dynamic. Refunds were offered to anyone who did not enjoy their trip to
Disney the Stadium.
However, those of us who came for the music had nothing to complain about. Bear’s Den (who are worth listening to) and The Vaccines (eh) opened and due to a neighborhood curfew, M&S finished the encore by 10:00pm.
Lovers’ Eyes, Babel, I Will Wait, Winter Winds, Whispers in the Dark, Little Lion Man, Below My Feet, Timshel, Lover of the Light, Thistle & Weeds, Ghosts That We Knew, Hopeless Wanderer, Roll Away Your Stone, Awake My Soul, Dust Bowl Dance, I’m On Fire, Reminder, Holland Road, The Cave.
1. Marcus botched a verse during “Winter Winds” and the crowed helped him through. This is why you go to live shows. “For fucks sake,” he’s not Mickey Mouse.
2. “Dustbowl Dance.” Even though Marcus resembles either Tebow or Hilter or both, he makes even my sister speechless during this performance. Mmmhmmm watch it.
3. “I’m On Fire,” a Bruce cover. If you’re a musician and you come to NJ or NYC your choice in covers better be spot on. Between “New York, New York” in Hoboken last year, “Atlantic City” in February, and “I’m On Fire” in Queens, these guys can do no wrong. I couldn’t find the version from this show, but this is the reason I give them even more props because they kindly asked in their British accents to put the cell phones down and just be present for this encore. Or maybe it was something like “fucking enjoy the concert.” We sure did, we sure did.
While everyone was dancing around in the trendiest boho threads in the Californian sunshine at Coachella on April 12-13 weekend, I was doing some East Coast dancing of my own at Madison Square Garden. I don’t understand why this quasi-festival didn’t get more press, other than the pathetic pbandjams post I hopelessly wrote months ago.
Eric Clapton’s (epic) annual Crossroads Festival featured more than thirty legen…dary guitarists whose celebrity spans decades. The creator himself says, “the Crossroads Festival is the realization of a dream for me, to gather a group of amazingly talented musicians to perform on one stage…the crossroads performers are all musicians I admire and respect.”
Friday, April 12, the first night of the two-day “festival,” had a line-up that included: Eric Clapton himself, who performed some favorites including “Lay Down Sally” and “You Look Wonderful Tonight,” Any Fairweather, Booker T, Vince Gill, Matt Murphy, Albert Lee, Steve Cropper, Blake Mills, Keb’ Mo’, Robert Cray, who was joined on stage by good (87 year) old B.B. King and Jimmie Vaughan. The last three performed with a lot of life, “Everyday I Have the Blues.” The night continued with Doyle Bramhall II, Citizen Cope, who played “Bullet and a Target” and “Son’s Gonna Rise” with Gary Clark, Jr. I was part of the minority who was standing during this set…
Between sets, there were performers who played small sets on side stages. Some of these performers were Philip Sayce who let real loose and absolutely destroyed his solo, Gary Clark Jr., who impressed the hell out of me by simultaneously sang and played the drums and guitar, and Los Lobos. John Mayer, who I admit has reaaaaally grown on me, was outstanding on stage with Keith Urban when they played “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Beatles. Although Mayer was close second, Buddy Guy had the best performance of the night in my book. He was joined on stage by a 14-year old prodigy Quinn Sullivan and the supa fly Robert Randolph. The night didn’t wind down but the show had to end. The Allman Brothers, Taj Mahal and Clapton teamed up on stage to “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”.
Love and my ears were certainly not sad as I skipped down the halls of MSG to the Allman Brothers’s “Whipping Post.” I can’t say anything more about Crossroads than what I already have. This may not have been the best concert I’ve been to, but it was/is by far, the best music I have ever heard. TY.
As told in Rolling Stone‘s recent Mumford & Sons story, “The members of Mumford & Sons have no trouble saying sorry. ‘We’re not, like, hard men,’ Marshall says. ‘We’re emotional, weeping pussies. We’re not, like, rock and roll. If AC/DC had ever apologized, that’d be the end of their career.'”
If you haven’t read that story, I highly suggest you do because you’ll learn every band members’ strengths, and their weaknesses (of being weak) as a band. You’ll also learn why the second album, Babel, sounds very similar to their first, Sigh No More. If you listen closely, every song tells a different story; they are much more instrumentally sound on Babel. This is what it is like to be an artist. It’s the same reason why painter Mark Rothko’s work is a variation of another. It’s important for everyone who says that “every song sounds the same” to understand that they were simply not ready to stop making the music they wanted to make. Why would they stop if it sounds so good?
The sold out show at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on February 16, was a w e s o m e. Mumford & Sons have some Jersey mojo because when I thought their kickoff show in Hoboken was outstanding, they just had to put on another outstanding show in South Jersey. Haim opened the show for Ben Howard who preceded Mumford. Haim, a band of sisters, didn’t do it for me, although many of the Philly hipsters were thrilled to see their dramatic performance. While I favor this tribal-drum-beating trend that was featured in all three sets, words can’t explain how nice it was to have Ben Howard break up the night. Actually, they can: he was a breath of fresh air. You should probably listen to him right now. Or I’ll make you in my next post.
It’s easy to lose yourself in Mumford’s songs when Marcus Mumford seems to be pouring his heart and soul out, confessing his rage, and passionately apologizing for being incredibly attractive and good and what he does. Well, maybe I exaggerated the latter, but every word he sings he sings to me and you and the person who inspired the song. When you sing along, you feel like every word you sing is to that person (and maybe to Marcus, too). Like they said in Rolling Stone, they have no problem apologizing.
The night ended with an encore of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” Everyone poured back on stage: Mumford with Marcus at the drums, Ben (who I think was MIA), Haim, and all of the outstanding string and horn accompaniments. Imagine a packed bar down the shore around closing time. Everyone has their last beer of the night in one hand and someone else in the other. Well, this bar was a few thousand deep. Blissful, everyone bounced up and down, sloppily shouting the words to a New Jersey anthem. Bruce’s song or not, that’s how every Mumford & Sons show ends…with a smile on your face. Sorry I’m not sorry.
Wednesday, August 1st was dreary, hot, and humid. The humidity broke when rain hit the East Coast up until minutes before show time. And just like that, the skies cleared and there was the most picturesque sunset for the kickoff of Mumford and Son‘s month long U.S. tour. Having never performed in Jersey, the British group made their first time memorable by playing an outdoor concert at Hoboken’s Pier A Park. It’s no wonder the show was sold out to 15,000 fans in a matter of a few hours. Other than the unique talent, the views of the Manhattan skyline were breathtaking–and the sunset was a gift with purchase.
The quartet has a choir before them as they cheerfully played “Winter Winds,” “Little Lion Man,” and “White Blank Page” (during which I would bet Marcus shed a tear…or was that me?) from their first album Sigh No More. Between praising the vibe of the venue and boasting the site of the Olympic Games, Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane were eager to share several songs off of their new album, Babel. (due September 24th!!!!) Much to our surprise, Marcus put down his guitar and assumed position at the drums. The newer songs are more rock than folk as you will notice a heavy focus on the drums and electric guitar.
As the show came to a close, the men thanked Hoboken native, Frank Sinatra with a rendition of “New York, New York,” not to be slighted by a cover of Paul Simon’s “The Boxer.” It was eerie how they could manipulate the energy of some 15,000 people. Not moment before we all were stopped dead in our tracks at the opening of “The Boxer” were we all jumping around like drunks at a jamboree.
A surge of energy spread across the sea of people, again, as Mumford and Sons concluded the show with harmonious melodies of “The Cave” beneath fireworks.
On August 2nd, the boys on the Unity Tour 2012 rolled into town at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, NJ. Due to too much pre-show fun, I missed the opening act. SOJA was the reason I drove down the Parkway because I knew it’d be the only chance to see them this summer. It still boggles my mind why they not only were the openers, but they also only had a half hour set (that started at 6:30)! What gives?!
The show seemed to take a turn for the worse after discovering that we had missed the opener. Slightly Stoopid rose some spirits, as they were the middle act. They performed some of their classics, but really focused on their new album, Top of the World, as this tour served to promote their new songs. Unfortunately, us who enjoyed the pleasures of the lawn were subjected to lousy acoustics. As the average age at the show was probably 19, we could have appreciated a few notches up on the volume.
To be honest, at that point, I was not really feeling the whole experience, so I stayed for about three of 311‘s songs. Being that I have seen all three acts several times before, I wasn’t as bummed as I could have been, just a little let down. Such is life as a benny.
So. I have a confession to make. I never was a big DMB fan. It all started back in elementary school–a boy I knew was obsessed with DMB. I mean o b s e s s e d. It was almost like a Lord of the Rings obsession. Fast forward 6 years and I go to school in New England, a place that treasures its summerfests: Dave and country included. I didn’t even bother to listen to more than what came on the radio because I thought I has missed the DMB bandwagon.
Well, I sure was wrong. After going to a sold out DMB show at Bethel Woods in NY, I realized that I should have jacked a DMB mix tape from that boy in the 6th grade. (note: Bethel Woods is the site of Woodstock and a phenomenal venue in its own right today. Highly recommended) I didn’t see nearly as many colored shorts and Vera Bradley purses as I had thought–the crowd fit the venue, if you catch my drift.
Dave was awesome, really awesome. When he played “Jimi Thing” the place went nuts. And that energy carried on for what seemed to be close to a 3 hour set! I, for one, had no idea Dave was such a jam band. Don’t make the same mistake I did! Go see DMB next summer!