Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tomorrow: TEEN @ Beachland Tavern

Teen is an alternative pop group from Brooklyn, NY and will be performing at the Beachland Tavern tomorrow night!  Their new album has a much more synth driven sound which elevates this Tavern show for me.  Check out some videos, and a great NPR quote below!  Opening is Port Lucian who I enjoyed opening for Lala Lala.
"As a band that defines itself through constant searching, TEEN sounds most stirring when coupling upbeat and elated sounds with such unflinching honesty. For all its yearning and heartache, Good Fruit lands on a self-actualizing message about working through personal pain and coming out stronger on the other side." - NPR Music

Better Oblivion Community Center (3/25/19)

I was able to catch seeing Better Oblivion Community Center at the Agora after having immediately sold out at the Beachland Ballroom.  However I thought the Agora show was sold out, as the FB event stated, but it clearly was not.  Kind of disappointing if some fans stayed away thinking there were no tickets left.

As for the show, i’m a huge Phoebe Bridgers fan, and have always appreciated Conor Oberst.  As the show neared, I really dug into the album and started liking it more (despite their atrocious band name).  The live show wasn’t as good as I was hoping - and I’ll attribute it to my perception of the performer’s interactions.  Conor seemed oddly boisterous and Phoebe didn’t seem to be engaging with it.  There were some other hints (Conor stating he’s alienated all his friends?) - but I’m ultimately speculating.  Still, I would have rather just seen a Phoebe Bridgers performance.

Better Oblivion Community Center  3 25 19

Luckily Lala Lala was opening!  Their last show at Mahall’s was great, and I was happy to see them again.  It turns out that the lead singer of Lala Lala and Phoebe Bridgers went to High School together!  Anyway - I captured much more of their set, which may be an indication of how much more I preferred it.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Article(s): Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic Chuck Yarborough delivers his State of the Concert address

(I’m a little late catching up on this - but still wanted to share)


Recently Plain Dealer /’s music reporter Chuck Yarborough released his “State of the Concert address"

"CLEVEAND, Ohio – Mr. Guitarist, Madame Singer, Honored Drummers (I’ll type slowly so you can follow along), Ticket-holding fans. I am here today, writing this august body to tell you the State of the Concert is . . . in trouble."

(Via Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic Chuck Yarborough delivers his State of the Concert address |

 Shortly thereafter, p.stoops countered with a perfect rebuttal.

"My State of the Concert? I think it’s great. Every year we get exposed to more and more artists because of our increased communication with each other. We saw experimentation in onstage electronics, new takes on old forms, and wild youthful abandon. Cleveland got a ton of fantastic acts like Jungle, Prefuse 73, Punch Brothers - just to name a few I really loved.

This past year the Beachland Ballroom, the Grog Shop, Mahall’s, and many other venues saw hundreds of wildly talented musicians come through their doors. Concertgoers fell in love with each other. Drinks were shared. People came together."

(Via A Rebuttal to the Plain Dealer's 'State of the Concert' Piece and Chuck Yarborough's Dislike of DJs | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

Chuck Yarborough sounds like an old-school, rock-n-roll bred Clevelander who’s stuck in the arena rock days of music.  Oh the prices!  Oh the DJ’s!  Oh the phones!  Oh the Auto-Tune!

While the big venue business exists, and is a major money-maker for the titans of the concert world, Chuck is missing an incredibly vibrant, talented and crucial aspect to our state of the concert.

times10 (3/22/19)

I’ve been seeing things here and there about times10, an avant-garde electronic local band helmed by Dylan Glover, who’s also in another local band, ITEM (you’ll also find him booking shows for Mahall’s).  I’ve been interested in their sound and was excited to finally catch them at Mahalls.  (I should note that the headliners for this show was actually Royal Beasts, but there were other plans later this night).  

I’m not going to attempt to describe the music, as I know I couldn't do it justice - but they themselves say they're "a 4-piece electronic band from Cleveland, OH whose forays into evolving, textural ambient music is paired with a collective obsession with percussion and groove, and at times, the overwhelming density that results.”  Bam.

The stage show was amazing, and was really my first time seeing an interactive light show you could engage with on your phone.  I was a little too engaged with the music to participate in those shenanigans, but I get it.   The music, the lights, everything was on point.  I hope to catch these guys again soon.

Times10  3 22 19

Times10  3 22 19

Mark Tester + the MK-ii (3/22/19)

I was at Mahalls for a different show when I discovered there was another one up in their upstairs apartment.  I popped up there and caught some incredibly interesting sounds from Mark Tester + the MK-ii, two minimal synth musicians from Indianapolis.  I didn’t get to spend much time up there, but was intrigued while I was.

Mark Tester + the MK ii  3 22 19

Article: Folk Alley Joins the FreshGrass Foundation has a pretty special place in my heart, as it served as the basis for my Masters project in Grad School at Kent State.  It’s an incredible resource and I’m glad to see it remaining vibrant.

"Today, the FreshGrass Foundation announces the addition of Folk Alley to its community of roots music organizations. The Foundation, which began in 2017 aims to preserve, support, and create innovative grassroots music, and actualizes this mission by producing the annual FreshGrass Festival, publishing No Depression, and offering a range of financial commissions and awards. By welcoming Folk Alley into this family of independent roots music entities, the FreshGrass Foundation will continue to fulfill its mission through yet another means — digital folk music discovery, streaming, and distribution."

(Via Folk Alley | Folk Alley Joins the FreshGrass Foundation.)

Sean McConnell (3/21/19)

Straight up Country music doesn’t often draw me out to a live show, though I guess there are a lot of options for it in my circles. I liked what I was hearing with Sean McConnell.  A straight-up country singer/songwriter from Nashville, being performed in the Beachland Tavern, was a pretty easy yes.  However, the bonus here was the introduction of the opener Caleb Elliott, hailing from Louisiana.  

While Caleb’s album is flush with full instrumentation, his skill as a songwriter (and just being a lovely human being) really shined during his opening set.  His sound is a little more smoothed out, calling himself a “rhythm and strings guy".  His show was a real treat, and I’m really looking for a full band headline show from him, hopefully in the near future.

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Sean McConnell took the stage - with Caleb Elliott on guitar.  I found out that Sean McConnell actually recorded all the instruments on his latest album himself, except for Cello which Caleb played.  Sean’s polished with a great sound and solid production.  Very satisfying.  

Sean McConnell  3 21 19

Friday, March 15, 2019

Let’s Play House (3/8/19)

Following that Robyn performance, there was no going home.  Luckily I found this dance party in Brooklyn called Let’s Play House at Good Room feat. DJ Boring and Jaques Renault.  The place was packed, as evidenced by the line around the corner.  The good news is that it was totally worth it.

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Let s Play House  3 8 19

Let s Play House  3 8 19

Let s Play House  3 8 19

Robyn (3/8/19)

What a special night.  I’d seen Robyn several times before (much closer than this vantage point), but this might have actually been the best show.  After being out of the limelight for a good number of years, only popping up on some collaborations, Robyn came back full force with her new album, Honey.  Everyone was thirsty.  She immediately sold out this Madison Square Garden show and I expect was probably the biggest show of her career to date.  The audience was electrified, as was Robyn - and both were equally thankful.  We were all back together again.  Check out my video below, and some of the extended audience participation moments.  I’ve also included Stereogum’s review of the show.  Incredible.  Now I really can’t wait to see her headlining at Pitchfork.

Robyn  3 8 19

Robyn  3 8 19

"Robyn committed a crime last night and I’m here to tell you about it.

The 39-year-old Swedish pop star had already gone through two costume changes and 11 songs at Madison Square Garden when she broke out ‘Dancing On My Own,’ off of 2010’s Body Talk. The crowd, which was one of the most excitable I’ve seen in New York, totally lost it. When the chorus hit, Robyn put her mic down and motioned for the audience to sing for her and the band, a cappella, which we did. ‘I’M IN THE CORNER WATCHING YOU KISS HER/ WO-OH-OH,’ everyone screamed.

We expected Robyn to sing the next bit, but instead she just stood there smiling. ‘This is your time,’ she seemed to say. And so, an audience of a zillion people sang the chorus of ‘Dancing On My Own’ for Robyn, in its entirety, until we were hoarse. I’ve seen a lot of musicians do that move, and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone but maybe Bruce Springsteen do it so effectively."

(Via Robyn 'Honey' Tour Review - Stereogum.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Aurora (3/7/19)

I was lucky enough to have friends in Brooklyn (Williamsburg) who allowed me to crash during trip to NYC to see Robyn.  This allowed me to extend the weekend, starting on Thursday night.  I found the local Brooklyn Steel venue was hosting Nordic artist Aurora.  I’d had her music and was enjoying it - and it seemed like a perfect way to kick off a great NYC weekend.  It’s hard to not pull out the Bjork parallels, but she definitely put on her own delightfully weird pop show.

Aurora  3 7 19

Aurora  3 7 19

Opening for her was Talos, a grandiose pop band from Ireland.

Talos  3 7 19

Opening the entire show was Sean McVerry, who was also Aurora’s piano player.

Sean McVerry  3 7 19

Article: Apple Music Is Only Major Streamer Not Trying To Cut Songwriter Royalties

On the tech front...

Apple music

"Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon are appealing the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board ruling that would increase streaming payouts to songwriters by 44%. Notably absent from the list of music tech giants is Apple Music.

Under this CRB ruling, streaming services will be required to pay songwriters and publishers 15.1% of revenue, up from 10.5%.

Apple Music are not appealing the ruling, according to multiple sources. While they too will benefit if the appeal results lower royalties, Apple's decision to accept the new rates provides and artist and publisher friendly contrast to its competitors. Last week Spotify angered many in the music publishing by launching in India without a licence from WMG's Warner/Chappel Music publising arm."

(Via Apple Music Is Only Major Streamer Not Trying To Cut Songwriter Royalties - hypebot.)

Derrick Carter (3/2/19)

There are few dance nights like this in Cleveland.  The most recent I can think of was the tribute party to Rob Sherwood almost a year ago.  I guess what they both have in common is a throwback to house and 90’s influenced music - but what I also liked were the larger spaces for both events.  The Winchester was perfect for this show - plenty of people and plenty of room to dance.  I think this was also my first official Groovehaus party, which I’ll have to make it back to another soon. So. Much. Fun.

Derrick Carter  3 2 19

Derrick Carter  3 2 19

Video Day #tzachill

FINALLY, we have a video from A. A. Bondy for Images of Love (and hopefully an album soon)!!  A co-worker turned me onto this Houses video for Fast Talk, and I was immediately smitten.  Mike Edel (a former TZA House concert performer) released his minimal new video for Ocean View.

Bonus: Another TZA House Concert Alum, this time a car cover of Cecilia by Oliver Hazard!

Brite Winter Festival 2019

10 years!  My favorite part of the festival continues to be multiple DJ tents with dance floors.  That’s not just because they’re warmer either.  I stepped out for a couple performances, but the dance floor has a particular pull.

Brite Winter Festival 2019

Brite Winter Festival 2019

Brite Winter Festival 2019

Brite Winter Festival 2019

Brite Winter Festival 2019

More photos here

Elise Davis (2/21/19)

I couldn’t have told you how I ran across Elise Davis, but have really been enjoying her most recent album.  Once I got to the show, I remembered.  My friend Jeff, who also hosts house concerts (and drag house performances!), was there.  He’s hosted her before, and was actually hosting the band overnight on their trip!  It all came together, and had me even more excited to see this performance.  Elise, and her all male band packed the small stage. They brought a powerful, yet subtle performance.  Beautiful voice and great songwriting accompanied by the pedal steel guitar!

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Elise Davis  2 21 19

Opening was our own Sarah Arafat.  A unique voice, a great songwriter, and some swag (watch for the cover/mash-up in the video).  

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