May 14, 2011

Chris Robinson Brotherhood @ SOhO ~ May 10, 2011

Try It, You'll Like It

I'm not normally a big jam-band fan. It's not that I hate the genre, it's just not my cup o' tea (being a punk rock girl and all). So it took a lot of persuasion from friends whose musical opinion I trust to get me out to a Chris Robinson Brotherhood show, dragging my feet the whole way. I was pleasantly impressed.

CRB took to the stage starting the set with a bluesy number, thereby pulling me in. There was visible chemistry amongst the five band members, as well as considerable talent. The drummer in particular was definitely feeling the music, while the keyboardist often sounded like a third guitar. My fear of an hour long jam session subsided as the set varied between blues, southern rock, and jam rock. In fact, I counted only two Dead-like jam songs out of eight in the set - not bad.

The crowd was engrossed in the melodious sound and groove produced by the Brotherhood and the elation was tangible. The first set was a full hour, comprised of eight songs of a good variety. I was told the second set really "opened up" - which was explained to me as "more grooving" (or "music you can dance to"). The crowd was full throttle grooving as the CRB launched into the second hour set and I took my leave.

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood is definitely worth experiencing, even if it is out of your musical comfort zone. It may even open your mind.


May 8, 2011

Frank Turner @ Velvet Jones ~ May 6, 2011

Home is Where The Heart Is

It is wrong for a punk rock venue to feel like home? Nah....

A Frank Turner show at Velvet Jones is like homecoming; everyone comes out to the big what to do and expects to have a good time. Expectations were met this last Friday night.

Here's a little background, as I know it: Craig, the handsome owner of VJ, drove the tour bus for
Frank Turner's band on their recent tour with Social Distortion and Lucero. They were friends before, now they are family.

Along with Frank, Dave Haus (frontman of the punk band The Loved Ones) played acoustics sets for a full house of adoring friends, family, and fans. Dave sang his little heart out playing his solo stuff, some Loved Ones hits, as well as a Hot Water Music cover or two. Dave rallied the crowd, calmed the drunks (there were a lot of 'em), then handed them all off to Frank.

Frank quietly took to the stage and just started playing. No pomp or circumstances, he was just there, alone but his guitar. Familiar with a few songs, but not a die hard fan, Frank was able to bring me into each of his songs. His folk punk rock style begged to be sung along to, so I did so - as did the rest of Velvet Jones. The songs were heartfelt and honest, their truth resonating trough the crowd. Except for the cover of Abba's "Dancing Queen," which oddly enough even my most musically knowledgeable friend didn't recognize. Hmm.

Unfortunately, the fun came to an end, and Frank is now headed back home himself. I'm grateful I got a chance to experience an intimate show before this rocker makes it big - and he will.