Monday, April 23, 2018

The F Word: Sing, sing, sing

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 4:39 PM

The F Word. An online column for Frank De Blase to pontificate, ruminate, placate, and salivate. We'll have reviews and previews, we'll discuss trends in local and national music scenes, and we'll try to do it as reverently as possible. Yup. Let's get started.

For this week’s F Word, we’re coming up with songs that have numbers in them, kind of like license plate bingo: “9 to 5,” “The Magnificent Seven,” “Eight Days a Week,” “One,” “It Takes Two,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “Ten Years Gone,” “Take Five,” “99 Problems,” and so on.

And of course, you can’t leave out Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” A quick ring on the phone from Steve Gadd brought Simon and the song to a gobsmacked, starstruck audience in Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre last night.

Let me back up and explain a little. Last night proved to be a Prime Time, funkified, celebratory affair at the seventh induction ceremony for the Rochester Music Hall of Fame. The show was completely sold out and stayed that way for more than four hours; my butt is still asleep. From the opening segment with Alyssa Coco, Bree Draper, and Danielle Ponder to the cacophonous collision at the night’s conclusion that included all inductees and guests jamming on Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” it was a show to remember.
My only complaint was the show’s flow; it dragged a little. All the nominees are each prolific artists in their own right, but they could have trimmed their sections just a bit. However, the Tony Levin and Steve Gadd portion of the evening could have gone on forever. Gadd positively rocked the vibes while Levin redefined the bass before our very ears — all before giving us a lesson in how to leave your lover from the leaver himself, Paul Simon.

Simon, a secret surprise guest, approached the mic and asked if the crowd had any requests. Rabid shouting ensued and continued until Simon said in his classic deadpan “I don’t take requests.” He did however, play “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” — Gadd wrote and recorded the song’s drums — and “Late In The Evening,” which Levin wrote the bassline for.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention John Beck’s solo piece — before going over to the drums to regale us with a jumpin’ version of “Sing, Sing, Sing” — and The Campbell Brothers, who over the years have drained my vocabulary of superlatives and hyperbole. Suffice it to say, they move me to tears … Hey, that’s another one: “99 Tears.”

I Scene It

This past Saturday was Record Store Day, where at the Bop Shop they had guest DJs spinning 7-inch nuggets from their personal stash, like Greg Townson, who spun my request of Bill Haley’s “40 Cups of Coffee” (there are those numbers again).

Over at the Record Archive, Hanna PK played with her group The Blue Hearts and rocked the house. It was the best she’s ever sounded. She sang pretty and played gritty. She rocked and rolled, bopped and strolled, all over the baby grand’s eighty-eights. I’d like to hear her do Connie Allen’s “Rocket 69” or Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88,” considered by some to be the first rock ‘n’ roll record. I just know she’d do a number on them.

Later that evening at Sticky Lips BBQ City Music Hall, I saw Nobody’s Marigold in the dark. It’s not like the lights were down for atmosphere; there were none. They sounded great augmenting themselves around new stuff with a nod to their former Raw Magillys selves. I know it ain’t new, but I like it, like it, yes I do.

Play Along with the F Word

In this week’s cover story, “Parkinson’s, cannabis, and hope,” I threw in a Chuck Berry lyric. If you can find the lyric in there, you’ll win a new local CD. Name the song it’s from and you’ll get two. Email me at the address below.

By the Way

Mary Gauthier plays Tuesday at Lovin’ Cup, for those who dig their happy mixed with some adroit bittersweet. And Friday, April 27, it’s the new and improved Hi-Risers at The Arbor Loft. See you there.

Any questions? Any answers? E-mail me here at frank@rochester-citynews.com. F-out.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

The F Word: One Step Beyond

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 5:02 PM

The F Word. An online column for Frank De Blase to pontificate, ruminate, placate, and salivate. We'll have reviews and previews, we'll discuss trends in local and national music scenes, and we'll try to do it as reverently as possible. Yup. Let's get started.

This F word is gonna deal with lyrics, real and non-existent. You see, artists don’t always write lyrics for a piece of music, relying instead on the title to convey what the music means. Sometimes, that's with mixed results: Link Wray’s 1958 hit, “Rumble,” was banned because authorities saw it as a way to fire up juvenile delinquents. They were afraid it would cause knife fights and rumbles to break out in the playground, just because of the title. And poor ole Link was just trying to write a stroll.

Instrumental music can be a catalyst for those words and urges in your head, and a song with lyrics can be flexible and contradictory as well. I’ll never listen to Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle” the same way again after seeing the bloody scene Quentin Tarantino used it in in “Reservoir Dogs.”

I’m sharing this practice, this quasi-meditation, with you because we’re not always graced with the fidelity to audibly pick out the words in a performance. Or maybe you just like to daydream. You can, however, join the band in your head and create specific, personal music — your own private symphony with its own story line. It may sound nuts, but I do it at virtually every show I check out.

I applied this technique when I went and saw Tom Hanney’s “Blues and the Harmonica” class recital at the Backroom Lounge with some 20-odd harmonicas on stage. I didn’t have my expectations set too high, and I figured there was the possibility it could be a trainwreck. It had the potential of sounding like a fire drill, what with all that stainless steel up there, all trying for the same notes. That’s what I thought anyway, and I was all prepared to set it to the fractured words in my head.

With a prompt from Hanney, the harmonica orchestra set upon “When the Saints Go Marching In.” And you know what? It was absolutely gorgeous. It sounded like tiny violins played by butterflies that fluttered by my imagination.

Here are some hints: Next time you’re in an audience or underneath your headphones or in the car, try to visualize the mood or the colors the music conveys. Are the instruments angry? What are the drums saying? And again does the title say anything? Try this exercise to get more out of your music listening experience. More on this in the future.

I Scene It

Wednesday, and it was back at the Backroom happy hour with some ska band aptly named Some Ska Band. The joint was packed. I’ve seen the pre-gig jitters before — hell, I’ve had them. But Some Ska Band was in a dead panic as I arrived: the band’s lead singer was home worshiping the porcelain god. Fortunately the band knew a fair amount of instrumentals that I could dig and let loose in my brain. Between that and a couple of fellows in the audience who knew enough ska standards to fill up the set, Some Ska Band emerged victorious and one step beyond.

It was the most anticipated show of the year so far: Abilene’s 10th anniversary show at The Harro East Ballroom Friday night with JD McPherson, Woody Pines, and Jake La Botz. I missed Woody Pines but made the scene in time for La Botz’s set of primal, blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. Just the man and his guitar captivated the capacity crowd with satirical, lyrical tunes from a dark place deep inside. His guitar sounded menacing as he picked random patterns beneath his reedy baritone. I could listen to this cat all night.

McPherson and his band burst out onto the stage in a cloud of feedback and preceded to shake the walls. The light show belied the bands dungaree demeanor a little, but the songs are so good that they could have been wearing clown suits and it wouldn’t have mattered.

After the show I watched the crowd pour themselves across the street into Abilene without a funnel to hear Bobby Henrie strum and croon with The Goners. By the time I made it outdoors I had somebody else’s wallet in my pocket and a ringing in my ears.

By the Way

Check out my interview with songwriter Mary Gauthier. It’s online now and in print Wednesday.

We've got a Fresh Cut coming Wednesday with Komrad's newest single, "Control."

And I’m curious: What are you guys looking forward to at this year’s Jazz Festival? Or if there's anything you want to discuss, catch me at frank@rochester-citynews.com. F out.



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Monday, April 2, 2018

I Scene It: NoBunny at Photo City

Posted By on Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 2:06 PM

A live show can change your mind, I’m telling you. If you’re on the fence about a band and not really sure if they deserve your love, just give them the live test. I’m not saying the recordings fall short. I’m saying that with the perfect storm of audience participation, reciprocity, a good sound man, silly string, and flying underpants, you’ve got a show, sluggo.

I’m talking mainly about NoBunny, who when I walked in, liking a little bit and left liking a lotta bit. The band was put together a lot tighter than they appeared at first. It was the audience, frankly that was behaving like maniacs.

Now I was already amped for the weirdness within by the openers, The Fox Sisters and Rotten UK.  Rotten UK was as derivative of Bludwulf, its former self, as it ever was — and that's not a bad thing. Not everyone dug them all the way down, and one patron said to me, “Do you know why this band is together? Because they hate music.” Well, I love music and I love this band, but I do have to say lose the phony British accent, please. Next, The Fox Sisters positively pounded out the blue-eyed soul and gave it a black eye. No ballads on this night, just good ol’ soul music delivered with a stomp and a shout.

NoBunny came out in bunny masks and cut-off jeans and preceded to rock the joint right outta the garage. The band came off like Jane’s Addiction on a pogo stick, but almost got upstaged by the audience’s shenanigans, including tossing Easter candy into the ceiling fan (it’s never any fun until someone gets a SweeTart in the eye), throwing underpants  at the band, and spraying silly string. ‘Twas the most fun I’ve had with my pants on in a long time.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

City announces 2018 Party in the Park lineup

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 4:39 PM

Mayor Lovely Warren along with Party in the Park Producer Jeff Springut today announced the lineup for the 2018 Party in the Park. For nine consecutive Thursdays, starting June 7, music will ring out of Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Acts range from the sublime (Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and G Love and Special Sauce) to the mediocre (Led Zeppelin and Queen cover bands).

The complete lineup:

June 7 — Turkuaz
June 14 — Anders Osborne with Parsonsfield
June 21 — Get the Led Out
June 28 — Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
July 5 — Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
July 12 — G Love and Special Sauce with Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express
July 19 — The Original Wailers with Ginkgoa
July 26 — Devon Allman Project with Duane Betts
August 2 — Almost Queen

New this year is a VIP Ultra Lounge, a craft beer garden and bazaar. Tickets are $35.

Patrons may bring in one sealed bottle of water. Lawn chairs, skateboards, bicycles, in-line skates, go-carts, and pets — including horses — are not permitted unless they are sealed in a bottle of water.

In case of bad weather, the rain location is Anthology, 336 East Avenue. Parking can be found at Washington Square Garage, 111 Woodbury Avenue; Court Street Garage, 194 Court Street; The East End Garage, 475 East Main Street; and at the Strong, 1 Manhattan Square.

Music starts at 5:30 p.m. General admission is $5 (Children under 12 are free to a good home). Tickets available at the gate or through Ticketmaster.

For more info, go to cityofrochester.gov/PITP.


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Monday, March 26, 2018

The F Word: He ain’t heavy

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 3:20 PM

The F Word. An online column for Frank De Blase to pontificate, ruminate, placate, and salivate. We'll have reviews and previews, we'll discuss trends in local and national music scenes, and we'll try to do it as reverently as possible. Yup. Let's get started.

It’s fun at dinner parties, and it sure beats the hell out of license plate bingo on long car rides with the kids. We’re talkin’ about talking about your first time. Not your first time fumbling around with hooks and zippers at the drive-in. No, we’re talking about your first rock ‘n’ roll moment: your first show.

Whether it was in a corner dive bar or an arena, everyone has got a first time. Just pitch that question at your next social mixer or blind date, or while sitting next to a guy on the bus wearing a German helmet from World War I and talking to himself. You’ll see: people want to talk about their first time.

Folks get hung up, though, and don’t look past the who, the when, and the where. There are plenty of firsts; firsts beyond the firsts, I call them. I’ve got a pile myself.

My absolute first show was in 1982: The Police at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Those barroom Casanovas, The Fugitives, were the first local band I saw in an East Main Street dive bar called Shatzees, later renamed Richmond's. That experience made me wanna play in a local band in a dive bar. The Ramones' show at RIT in 1986 was my first time in the mosh pit, although we called it slam dancing in those days. Motorhead in 1996 was my first so-loud-I-couldn’t-hear-myself-talk-for-roughly-two-days show.

The first time I saw Ray Charles was the first time I saw Ray Charles. What else can I say? The same goes for James Brown and Link Wray.

Garage rockers The Chesterfield Kings were the first rock stars I knew who would talk to a greasy young kid backstage after the show. They are tied for that honor with the Colorblind James Experience. In 1986, The Blasters played Rumors — which is now Lux — and packed the joint so thoroughly that the crowd spilled into the street and continued dancing. It was my first time dancing in traffic.

Black August was playing an outdoor show in Brown’s Race the night I met my wife, 12 years ago, and there’s all kinds of firsts — and lasts — tied up in that one.

But the best first show that I cherish most is actually my brother Tommy’s first. He was 11 years old when I took him to see The Ramones at the UR Gordon Field House in 1994. Now he was familiar with the music, but he had never seen the spectacle of a huge audience and he’d never experienced something so majestic and thunderously loud. The look on his face was priceless.

What was your first?

I Scene It

That leads me to Suzi Willpower, a young lady who sings for Anonymous Willpower as if her life depended on it — as if it was her first time. Anonymous Willpower was in fine form in front of a well-fed, Wednesday night Dinosaur BBQ crowd when I made the scene. The band dropped in a lot of that New Orleans, Professor Longhair boogie that they always do. Sometimes the power and bombast of the players drowns out those subtle and sweet sub rhythms, but you could hear it with all its casual big shuffle and easy swing. The crowd dug the racket and ate it up as if it were pulled pork — some for the first time.

Thursday night, Albany’s Lustre Kings were rockin’ the joint with a couple of Bradley Brothers on stage. It always turns into a bottom-heavy, slap-happy, open jam when the Kings roll in to town. That’s because there is an unprecedented amount of dog house bass players here in Smugtown. Brian Williams, Hot Rod Mike, Big Mike, Jay Bird, Ron Hart, and Trevor Lake keep it low-down and thundering ... I’d like to see them on stage, all together, playing at the same time. It would no doubt sound like a herd of tap dancing elephants. Now that would be a first.

By the Way

The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival released its lineup and it’s pretty cool, and with cats like Dmitri Matheny on the bill it’s gonna be positively frosty.

Keep an eye out for some upcoming stories, I’ve got brewing in CITY Newspaper, like interviews with The Hi-Risers, Anamon, and Sirens and Sailors.

And last but not least, we've got a new Fresh Cut by Soviet Dolls coming on Wednesday. Up now, you can dig the new video Fresh Cut from the Able Bodies. Click here to check it out. F out.


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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Jazz Festival announces full 2018 lineup

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2018 at 12:54 PM

Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival producers John Nugent and Marc Iacona on Tuesday announced the lineup for this year's festival, the XRIJF's 17th edition, and to music fans, the most wonderful time of the year. The festival runs June 22 through June 30 in downtown Rochester.

Having already announced this year's Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre headliners -- Seal, BozScaggs, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Lake Street Dive, and Jill Scott -- the press shindig focused on the artists performing at the Club Pass venues and the free outdoor stages.

This year's lineup is a broad mix of artists that have played the XRIJF before and rookies who are new to this world-class event. Some of the returning favorites are Stephane Wrembel, The Joe Locke Group, Terell Stafford Quintet, Joey Alexander Trio, Davina and The Vagabonds, Robin McKelle, The Brubeck Brothers Quartet, The Bad Plus, and Junior Brown.

The new blood in the lineup includes Django Bates' Beloved, The Dmitri Matheny Group, Tower of Power, Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot, and Vicki Kristina Barcelona Sings the Music of Tom Waits.

There will be one new Club Pass venue, the 1,100-capacity Temple Building Theater. And in addition to the free stages on Jazz Street (Gibbs Street), East & Chestnut, and the RG&E Fusion stage, there will be a new outdoor free stage: Manhattan Square Park for the final Friday. The lineup for the free stages includes Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot, Tower of Power, Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles, Vintage Trouble, and St. Germain, plus a plethora of Rochester-based artists.

Club Pass options have already been announced. There will be four buying options: non-transferable three-day ($184) and nine-day ($204) passes, and transferable three-day ($194) and nine-day ($244) passes. The XRIJF site is rochesterjazz.com. Check out the full lineup below, and be sure to pick up CITY's Jazz Festival Preview Guide on Wednesday, June 13.

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (Separately ticketed; 8 p.m.)

Seal

Boz Scaggs

Bujazz Orchestra + ESM Jazz Ensemble for the Gerry Niewood Jazz Scholarships Night

Béla Fleck & TheFlecktones

Alison Krauss

Lake Street Dive

Jill Scott

Kilbourn Hall ($35 or Club Pass; 6 p.m. & 9 p.m.)

Terell Stafford Quintet

Melissa Aldana

One for All

The Royal Bopsters

Joe Locke Group

Songs of Freedom

Vincent Herring Quartet

Nicholas Payton Front & Center

Matt Wilson's Honey & Salt Band

Max of Eastman Place ($30 or Club Pass; 6:15 p.m. & 10 p.m.)

Duchess Trio

Des Sourcils

Star People featuring Bobby Militello

Joe Farnsworth Quartet featuring Eric Alexander

House of Waters

Megumi Yonezawa Trio

Gwyneth Herbert

Stephane Wrembel

William Sperandei Quartet featuring Pat Labarbera

Christ Church ($30 or Club Pass; 6:45 p.m. & 8:45 p.m.)

Will Vinson Trio

Django Bates Beloved Trio

Beats 'n' Pieces

Partikel

Zara McFarlane

Julian Siegel Quartet

Georgia Mancio and Alan Broadbent "Songbook"

Gwyneth Herbert

Mark Lewandowski Trio

Montage Music Hall ($30 or Club Pass; 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.)

Hip SpanicAllstars

Ron Artis II & The Truth

Christian Sands Trio

Moon Hooch

Vicki Christina Barcelona plays The Music of Tom Waits

Liz Vice

Davina & The Vagabonds

Buried Treasure featuring Bari Koral

Akiko Tsuruga Trio

Xerox Auditorium ($30 or Club Pass; 6:30 p.m. & 9 p.m.)

Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez

Mwenso & The Shakes

Jack Broadbent

Strings Attached

Bujazz Orchestra

Shake Stew

GoGo Penguin

Geoffrey Keezer Trio

Gap Mangione Big Band celebrating Gap's 70th birthday

Hatch Recital Hall ($30 or Club Pass; 5:45 p.m & 7:45 p.m.)

Matt Savage

David Hazeltine

Bill Dobbins

Christian Sands

Gary Versace

Harold Danko

Megumi Yonezawa

Jean Michel Pilc

Geoffrey Keezer

Lutheran Church: Nordic & Euro Jazz Now ($30 or Club Pass; 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.)

Marius Neset

SigurderFloasason

Kuara Trio

Trail of Souls

Lucia Cadotsch "Speak Low"

TorbenWaldorff

Pilc - Moutin - Hoenig

MaciejObara Quartet

Thomas Stronen

Squeezers Stage at Anthology ($30 or Club Pass; 7:45 p.m. & 9:45 p.m.)

Phony PPL

Charlie Lindner Trio with Danielle Ponder & Friends

Knower

Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why

Junior Brown

Rai Thistlethwayte

Ghost Note with Mononeon

Jazz is PHSH

Eric Krasno Band

Harro East Ballroom ($30 or Club Pass; 5:30 p.m. & 7:15 p.m.)

MindiAbair & The Boneshakers

Jack Broadbent

Dustbowl Revival

Cold Chocolate

All our Exes Live in Texas

Ghost Note with Mononeon

The Suffers

Robin McKelle

Deva Mahal

The Wilder Room ($30 or Club Pass; 6 p.m. & 10 p.m.)

Sara Gazarek Quartet

Doug Stone Quartet featuring Josiah Williams

Charlie Pillow Trio

Paul Jost

Dmitri Matheny Group Jazz Noir

Kate McGarry Trio

Amanda Monaco Quartet

Rochester Jazz All Stars

Bill Goodwin Trio

Temple Theater ($30 or Club Pass; 7 p.m. & 9:15 p.m.)

Joey Alexander Trio

The Bad Plus

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

Brubeck Brothers Quartet

Jazzmeia Horn

Jazz Goes to the Movies with Mark Watters

Jerry Granelli Band

Sultans of String

Big Tent (Free; 6 p.m.)

Prime Time Brass

78 RPM Big Band

Penfield Rotary Big band

Brockport Big Band

Rochester Metro Jazz Orchestra

Greater Finger Lakes Jazz Orchestra

Syndicate Jazz Band

Greece Jazz Band

New Energy Big Band

Big Tent ($30 or Club Pass; 8:30 p.m. & 10 p.m.)

Ron Artis II & The Truth

Hip SpanicAllstars

Moon Hooch

Johnny Goldtooth & The Chevy Casanovas

Johannes Linstead Guitar of Fire

Davina & The Vagabonds

Sax-O-Matic

TFunk Crew

Butcher Brown

East Ave. & Chestnut St. Stage (Free; 7 p.m.)

Vintage Trouble. Opener: Scott Sharrard & The Brickyard Band

Brian Setzer's Rockabilly Riot! Opener: Significant Other

St. Germian. Opener: The Klick

Tower of Power. Opener: Toronto Community Soul Project

Manhattan Square Park (Free; 7 p.m.)

Pokey Lafarge. Opener: Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Rochester MusicFest becomes new Summer Soul Music Festival

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 1:38 PM

George Clinton will perform at the new Rochester Summer Soul Festival in August. - PROVIDED PHOTO
  • PROVIDED PHOTO
  • George Clinton will perform at the new Rochester Summer Soul Festival in August.
Mayor Lovely Warren announced in a press conference Thursday that The Rochester MusicFest has been re-tooled, re-branded, and re-named The Rochester Summer Soul Festival.  The newly named festival will be handled by  Xperience Live Events, LLC., a promotions and events planning company based in Maryland and founded by Rochester native Varick Baiyina.

The festival will make its debut Saturday, August 25, and Sunday, August 26, at Frontier Field. Two headline acts have been secured so far by: Morris Day & The Time and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. Both are slated to perform August 26. Xperience Live is in the process of lining up more acts for the two-day event and plan on releasing that information in the coming months.

In addition to the live music, The Rochester Summer Soul Festival will be a block party, featuring a community stage, children's activities, health zone, local vendors, and food trucks to complement the fest's overall community feel.

The re-branding could be a fresh start for the festival. As The Rochester MusicFest, the annual event struggled with inconsistency over the years: it frequently moved locations and had difficulty consistently securing big name talent (John Legend, Al Green, and Macy Gray performed in the festival's early days).

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The F Word: Sixty Minute Man

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2018 at 3:12 PM

Wait a minute. Think about it: 50 is only middle age if you live to be 100. And how many of us are going to be that lucky? Time is flyin', man, and there's none to waste.

As a creative person, there are certain things I want to do and add to my legacy before the big adios. And it looks like I've only got minutes left. Looking at time in minutes as opposed to hours, days, weeks, or months is motivating — and it's as daunting as the mystery of how it'll all end. It just cost me three minutes writing this paragraph. Shit.

Seeing live music is a shared experience in a microcosm over a select period of time; it's a swapping of minutes, if you will. And it's your responsibility to spend those minutes wisely or get out.

Unless you're — warning: hardcore catholic reference ahead — Padre Pio, you can only experience one performance at a time. So making it count should be a priority for all parties involved. Don't waste your time talking while an artist is playing, and don't tolerate a band that doesn't present their best.

Jonathan Richman. - PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED
  • Jonathan Richman.

My outing on Saturday to see Jonathan Richman is a classic example. People packed Skylark, paying around $25 and potentially 90 minutes to see Richman, who refused to turn up the volume — kind of a dick move if you ask me — after repeated requests from the audience who couldn't hear. Me and my minutes got the hell out of there.

As I write this, so far, I've lived approximately 51 years or 612 Months, or 18,615 days, or 446,760 hours or 26,805,600 minutes. But they're ticking away at an alarming rate; almost too fast to look back and reminisce like "Gee whiz, those sure were the good ole minutes." The minutes are dwindling as we speak. This haunts me every time I see a lousy show or a crumby movie; it's just a waste of time; time I can't get back. I'm rapidly developing the attitude that it has to be worthy of my minutes if I'm to bother with it all.

For instance those who engage in small talk or talk about the weather, you're done. People that say "irregardless" or type "LOL" — sayonara. Mainstream media news can go, too, along with people that think my wife's accent is English. Spend your minutes wisely, kids, who knows how many you have left. It could only be in the millions.

I Scene It

Last Wednesday, I started out my evening as I frequently do, with a pocket full of minutes. I went over to the Record Archive's Backroom Lounge for the Infrared Radiation Orchestra, which blew my mind and the lid right off the joint with slick interpretations of Eastern Dark and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Kim Draheim's guitar was violent and majestic. When it's a Mosrite, it's all right.

For a hairpin turn in dynamics, I vacated the space for The Little Theatre Café, where the Margaret Explosion had taken up the psychedelic baton, lit the fuse, and followed the muse. It was a different exploration as guest guitarist Steve Piper (Watkins & The Rapiers) led the attack with his guitar and fed my head. It was atmospheric and trippy as always, but a little more sure-footed. It established the mood in under a minute and maintained it for the 30 that I stuck around for.

Saturday, after bailing on Jonathan Richman, I limped on over to Anthology to catch the last few songs with The Weight Band, featuring members of The Band, The Levon Helm Band, and the Rick Danko Group. In particular, the group features Jim Weider of The Band, featuring some amazingly soulful guitar over the band's world-weary groove. The sound was amazing and the crowd was jazzed. So was I. I left with my head buzzing and minutes to spare.

By the Way

The Hi-Risers stopped in for an interview (comes out in April) to introduce the new drummer, Trevor Lake, and discuss the new album, "My Kind of Fun."

A hearty hell yeah goes to Passive Aggressives Anonymous who got some NPR love for its entry video of "Middle Class Male Cry" to the Tiny Desk Contest. Check out the story over at NPR, and the watch the video below.

And check out my interview with country darlings Stay The Plow, in this week's CITY Newspaper, on stands Wednesday. F Out.


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lilac Festival announces 2018 headliners

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 5:14 PM

It’ll be the fragrant flurry of lilacs in the air — air that's made electric by live music. Organizers just announced the headliner lineup for the 2018 Lilac Festival. Annually the festival brings in 500,000 people each year to enjoy the music, food, and vendors. And it’s all free.

This year, organizers have added a VIP Ultra Lounge Experience that offers front of stage access, in-tent and outdoor lounge area, full private cash bar, food for purchase, and air conditioned restrooms, all for $35. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 9, at 10 p.m. For more information go to rochesterevents.com.

This year's artists are:

Friday, May 11: The rootsy and raw trio from Brattleboro, Vermont, The Devil Makes Three.

Saturday, May 12: It's Al Copley tickling the ivories with fellow Roomful of Blues members Doug James and Greg Piccolo. Quinn Sullivan, the teenage guitar phenom  who wowed them here last year, will also play Saturday.

Sunday, May 13: Zac Brown Tribute Band. What can I say — they sound like the original band. Parsonsfield is also scheduled for the day.

Monday, May 14: Texas rock 'n'roll trio, The Record Company.

Tuesday, May 15: 10-time Grammy Award nominee and reggae superstars Third World.

Wednesday, May 16: Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.

Thursday, May 17: Uprooted featuring Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root.

Friday, May 18: Smooth Hound Smith with it's arresting Americana, and The Wood Brothers —  it ain't old time music;  it's all time music.

Saturday, May 19: New Orleans party dog and Rochester favorites, the percussive, the impressive, Mingo Fishtrap.

Sunday, May 20: Driftwood with its blue collar bluegrass. And Big Eyed Phish, this Rochester band sounds a lot  like The Dave Matthews Band.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to correct dates.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The F Word: If it's too loud, you're not old enough

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 5:32 PM

The F Word. An online column for Frank De Blase to pontificate, ruminate, placate, and salivate. We'll have reviews and previews, we'll discuss trends in local and national music scenes, and we'll try to do it as reverently as possible. Yup. Let's get started.

Going out to see all these shows is taking its toll on my precious ears. So I'm here to remind you volume villains, you're confusing "loud" with "big." Big can hurt, too, but it's not as shrill.

I go out to see live music a lot, whether it's loud or not. Now, most Rochester musicians know how to work the room — some just know how to work the room over, and that's OK. Some music calls for getting in the audience's face. Some wanna fist-pump; some wanna dance. I understand the musicians' pain in fitting into a venue and communicating with the crowd. And I know what it feels like to want to be loud.

The problem is that you're trying to move the air with the sound, and I understand that. I also understand being on stage is kind of like a mating ritual of sorts. But I'm here to tell you: a Marshall amp cranked to 10 will yield no harvest of attention or affection. Rather, it'll make a mass exodus for the door.

Hearing damage can begin around 85 decibels, but the average metal show comes in at around 100. Wear your earplugs kids or learn to read lips. Somebody get the phone... it's tinnitus calling.

I Scene It

The Electro Kings leader, Luca Foresta, makes his own harps, and they shone bright —sonically — when he beared down between bluesy verses last Wednesday in the Record Archive's Back Room Lounge. The band plays swingin' blues — not too loud — with a hint of Texas push and shuffle. And let's not forget Foresta's sharp duds. He dresses like a gabardine pimp on Easter Sunday. A perfect cocktail.

PHOTO PROVIDED
  • PHOTO PROVIDED

Friday night at The Dome, Anthrax brought the metal home along with Killswitch Engage. Killswitch Engage played too damn long, and the drummer overused the double kick, but the band was tight and had the crowd pumped.

Now, when you have an older metal band with an older following, there's not too much moshing going on, especially with no first aid station within limping distance. But about four songs into Anthrax's set, I witnessed a guy walking toward me and my buddy the Tin Man rather awkwardly before collapsing before us. By the looks of the unnatural angle of his leg, I thought he had broken it. That is until I saw him remove it the rest of the way, reattach it, and head back to the front of the stage. Coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

Anthrax sounded fantastic, by the way, with Joey Belladonna's voice soaring to the top of the Dome's dome while the band sped below. I totally forgot that the band covered Joe Jackson's "Time," and I went bananas when they pulled it out halfway through the rather short set. By the by, the sound was big and loud. Loved it.

I've been catching a buzz about 19-year-old guitar player Jon Dretto, so Saturday night, me and Red Wing Nick trucked down to Murph's in Irondequoit to see if he shreds. And it's true, the kid is good, but I'd rather he focus on originals. However, the Amy Winehouse cover was clever. We'll be hearing more from Dretto, I'm certain.

Later that night, I flew solo to Dinosaur BBQ, to catch The Swooners swoon, croon, swing, groove, bop, and sing a lot of Prince-esque falsetto before a jumping dance floor. The band was followed by Syracuse's Dracula Jones who came out blasting high octane rock reminiscent of Social Distortion or a car bomb exploding ... followed by the afore-mentioned exodus. A bunch of us stuck around just the same. But DJ was almost too loud for the venue. They were good, and loud, and loud. Perhaps there was some big in there. And they were loud.

By The Way

Lilac Festival headliners will be announced tomorrow, and we'll have them here as soon as we get 'em.

And check out the print edition of CITY Newspaper on stands Wednesday for my interview with The Demos.

Whatever happened to Coolio?


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The Jake Svendson Trio @ Downstairs Cabaret Theatre

Part of The Grove Place Jazz Project series....
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