Posts Tagged ‘Review’

Jake Bugg

I hear people say how badly they would have loved to be alive for the music revolution of the 60s almost every day, and I suppose I’m victim to this statement as well. There’s a lot of great music in the modern age, but classic rock ‘n’ roll and folk music seem to have taken a hiatus the past decade or so. After hearing Jake Bugg’s debut album, I’m happy to say that the hiatus is over.

Jake Bugg channels his inner Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan vocally, Johnny Cash musically, Simon & Garfunkel harmonically, and even pulls in influence from bands like The Beatles and Nirvana as well as artists like Buddy Holly and Hank Williams. In other words, all the great music we listen to when we want to be transported to another time is back, and stronger than ever.

At only 18 years old the time of recording, Jake Bugg’s debut album instantly makes you feel as though you’re in the 1950s listening to your record player, while the Ed Sullivan show plays in the background.

The record starts off with the biggest single from the album, “Lightening Bolt”, which inhabits the “scratchiness” of an old vinyl record and even portrays a hint of skiffle music, popular in England during 1956-57. The upbeat tune is then followed by “Two Fingers”, which was not only recorded in Liverpool (home of The Beatles), but even has a drum beat noticeably influenced by Ringo. “Country Song” reminds me especially of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, with its simplistic yet meaningful lyrics, and heart-wrenching guitar.

“Ballad of Mr. Jones” is a song full of storytelling and incredible imagery, similar to early pieces by Bob Dylan (which is ironic considering Dylan uses the name “Mr. Jones” in one of his songs as well). It feels like Bugg took one of Bob Dylan’s stories and put them to Nirvana music.  The album closes with the song “Fire”; a song so reminiscent of classic country-folk music, I had to go back and check to see if it was a cover.

Overall, I was extremely impressed by Jake Bugg’s debut album, and at such a young age, I’m hoping to see a lot more great things to come from him. So turn off the lights, press play, and be transported back to a much simpler time; you won’t regret it.

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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)