Archive for the ‘Live Show Reviews & Photos’ Category

December 1st, 2012 The Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

December 1st was a cool, crisp night in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. I had successfully persuaded my girlfriend and some friends to come with me to a bar called The Empty Bottle. There were a few bands playing, but The Stone Foxes were the real reason for us going. My friends had never really heard them before, but I was well aware of what was in store. Having spent many hours listening to their albums and watching countless live videos of them on YouTube, I had set the bar pretty high for my upcoming experience. Shannon, Spence, Aaron, and Elliot (Aforementioned Stone Foxes) took my expectations and absolutely annihilated them.

I’m not entirely sure how many people attended that night, I’d guess somewhere around 100. The Stone Foxes had some kind of strange power over all of us, absolutely captivating. From the first few notes of “Beneath Mt. Sinai,” I could tell that my senses were going to be obliterated in the best way possible. This was a real show and they made sure that every last one of us were going to be a part of it. The atmosphere for this loud, energetic, dirty blues band could not have been more perfect. Personally, I enjoyed the packed, dingy, sweaty aura of that small bar. It was a wonderful garnish to the face melting that was served that evening.

I have seen a lot of great bands, such as Incubus, Rush, Roger Waters, Gorillaz, B.B. King, Alabama Shakes, and many more. However, not a single one of these artists can match the energy that The Stone Foxes are capable of producing. I have never had so much fun at a concert before. The great thing about them is that they can switch instruments and do something completely unexpected. Their drummer, Shannon, is also a great harmonica player and a very solid singer. His drumming is comparable to John Bonham’s (Led Zeppelin). He plays the drums the way they are meant to be played: BEAT THE HELL OUT OF ‘EM! His brother, Spence, is the guitarist. His playing is very precise and his slide playing is very fun to watch. My favorite thing about his style is that it’s loud. Very loud. Fearless.

Everyone in this band interacts so well with each other, which really lays the foundation for a truly enjoyable live experience. Their sound is heavily influenced by the blues, rock, and hints of folk. I understand that there are an infinite amount of bands out there doing the same thing. However, these guys really bring something different and savory to the table. They really know how to put on a good live show. No fancy tricks or acrobatics, just raw music delivered with passion and charisma. During one song, Shannon left his throne and left the drumming up to bassist, Aaron. This allowed him to be front and center for lead singing and harmonica duties. About half way through “Mr. Hangman,” he jumped down into the crowd, got everyone circled up, and started a chant. I can’t really remember what that chant was because I had treated myself to a few beers by that point. Anyway, I do remember that he had us all crouched down as low as possible and chanting softly. Then we elevated a little higher and chanted louder. Then a little more. Higher and louder. Higher! Louder! We did this until we were all screaming and jumping like heathens. The room felt like it was going to explode! The pure, raw energy that came forth was unforgettable. Any normal person after performing a set like this would have simply fallen over and plunged into a brief coma. These guys kept going.

Overall, the show was fantastic. Spence, Shannon, Aaron, and Elliot are all great musicians and each offer something unique that blends together perfectly. I highly recommend seeing The Stone Foxes, regardless of your musical taste. You will have fun, and lots of it. The guys are really easy to talk with, and they’re just good people. They currently have two albums out: The Stone Foxes and Bears & Bulls. February 12, 2013 marks the release of their new album, Small Fires. Make sure to check them out on their website, Facebook, and their PledgeMusic page. Buy some tunes, shirts, vinyl, tickets, or whatever you can to support this phenomenal band.

Set list: Beneath Mt. Sinai, Patience, Ulysses Jones, So Much Better, Cotto, Reno, Small Fires, Everybody Knows, Stomp, I’m a King Bee, Psycho, Jump in the Water, Mr. Hangman

Encore: Spoonful, Christmas Wave

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September 30, 2012
White River State Park, Indianapolis, IN

On September 30, I attended the Avett Brothers concert at The Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana. There was no opening act, so us fans were graced with two hours of uninterrupted Avett Brother tunes. The line into the venue was roughly a quarter of a mile long and filled with the recognizable flannels and band shirts of the hipster generation. Between the skinny jeans and “Keep Calm and Avett On” t-shirts were hundreds of fans, young and old, anticipating the sweet, soulful, Southern sounds of Scott and Seth Avett.

Lawn chairs were handed out to all of the fans but were quickly piled in stacks across the grass to allow the fans to get as close to the stage as possible. The music playing off the speakers before the concert began was part of what I like to call “the classics” from which the Avett sound was derived. Speaking personally, at a concert, walking in to Johnny Cash, followed by the Rolling Stones, Wilco, and lastly The Beatles, is more than enough to get me pumped up for a great show.

Finally, the music died out, and just as the sun was setting, the Avett Brothers took the stage. By the time they finished the opening line, “Okay, so I was wrong about my reasons for us fallin’ out”, the crowd had already erupted with cheers and began to sing along to one of the Avett’s most popular songs, “Shame”. Weaving between each of their albums, including their new album, The Carpenter, the Avett Brother’s performed an incredible 23 songs, ending on an intense bluegrass jam, “Old Joe Clark”, an old war song previously covered by country legends like Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie.

While known as more of a bluegrass band, Seth and Scott Avett showed off their “rock” edge throughout the show, with songs like “Pretty Girl From Chile”, which segued into a heavy rock and roll jam. Band member, Joe Kown, also brought diversity to the expected “typical bluegrass” show with a cello performance you’d confuse with the shredding of an electric guitar. As the final note was played, and the Avett Brothers left the stage, the chanting for an encore began to echo louder and louder throughout the park. Finally, the band returned, picked up their instruments, and the audience screamed with joy.

The encore began with “Talk of Indolence” followed by a Neutral Milk Hotel cover of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”, which offered the perfect vehicle for the beautiful Avett harmonies we all know and love. After they finished this cover, their father, Jim Avett, joined them on stage for an old gospel tune, “Down by the Riverside”. Standing in a circle on stage with a spotlight on the family, Jim put his arms around his two boys and joined them in singing what was clearly an old favorite. The night ended with the family performing “Salvation Song” from their 2004 record, Mignonette.

Between the instrumental jams, vocal harmonies, crowd excitement, and effortless talent, this was truly an unforgettable show. With a live performance epic enough to match the success of their records (The Carpenter ranked number 4 on Billboard’s Top 200), there’s no holding back these North Carolina brothers!

Setlist: Shame, I Never Knew You, Down With the Shine, At the Beach, Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, Paul Newman vs. The Demons, Winter in My Heart, Paranoia in Bb Major, Salina, Love Like the Movies, February Seven, Pretty Girl from Chile, Through My Prayers, When I Drink, Distraction #74, January Wedding, November Blue, Slight Figure of Speech, The Prettiest Thing (David Childers & The Modern Don Juans cover), Live and Die, Go to Sleep, Laundry Room, Old Joe Clark

Encore: Talk on Indolence, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Neutral Milk Hotel cover), Down by the Riverside (with Jim Avett), Salvation Song (with Jim Avett)