Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Bob Seger's Farewell Tour Coming to the Q in December

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 11:12 AM

  • Ken Settle
Yet another classic rocker will embark on a farewell tour before the year’s over. Earlier today, singer Bob Seger announced that he’ll hit the road with his Silver Bullet Band for the very last time.

The tour kicks off on Nov. 21 in Grand Rapids and it comes to the Q on Dec. 6.

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With Its New Album, the Latin Alternative Band Café Tacvba Goes Back to Basics

Concert Preview

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 9:39 AM

  • Courtesy of Paul Dryden
When Café Tacvba formed in the late ’80s, the Latin alternative rock scene was still in its early stages. At best, Café Tacvba could hope to play clubs. Arenas seemed out of reach.

“There wasn’t a choice for us to play in the club scene,” says bassist Enrique "Quique" Rangel from a Salt Lake City tour stop. The group performs at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Agora Theatre. “It wasn’t like that. We couldn’t aspire to play to more than a 1000 or 1500 people. When radio stations and promoters started to discover these songs, it began to grow and was considered Rock en Espanol in the United States. That’s how we got signed to do our first record.”

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Annual Speedbump Fest to Take Place Next Month at the Outpost in Kent

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 5:42 PM

Jaclyn Wright, the organizer of the annual Speedbump Fest, a benefit that began as a memorial concert to friend Garrett Janos, a suicide victim, has said she would like to think of Speedbump Fest as “aimed at not only celebrating his life but also building trust and an openness to our community.”

For the third annual rendition of the festival, which will again serve as a benefit for mental health, Wright has recruited the underground bands Mockingbird, Face Value, Fringe Candidate, the Repos, Nullum and Slut Bomb to perform.

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Ozzy Osbourne Brings Blossom's Season to an End With a Bang

Concert Review

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2018 at 10:41 AM

Osbourne on the first date of his No More Tours 2. - MARK WEISS
  • Mark Weiss
  • Osbourne on the first date of his No More Tours 2.
When singer Ozzy Osbourne announced the dates for his No More Tours 2, his PR firm issued a press release that emphasized it was simply “the end of global touring” for the Prince of Darkness. In other words, he might not tour the world anymore, but he’d still play “select live shows.”

Performing last night in front of a capacity crowd at Blossom, Osbourne, who took the stage wearing a flowing purple robe, maintained it wasn’t goodbye. “It’s not my farewell tour,” he said early in the nearly two-hour set. That might be the case, but it certainly felt like a farewell as Osbourne capably revisited his past and played hits from both Black Sabbath and from his solo career. It was the last concert of the season at Blossom.

We'd normally post a slideshow of photos from the concert, but local photographers weren't allowed to shoot the show.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

In Advance of Their Upcoming House of Blues Concert, Matt and Kim Talk About Their Unhinged Live Shows

Posted By on Fri, Sep 14, 2018 at 8:59 AM

  • Caleb Kuhl
Known for their off-the-rails live show, Matt & Kim — singer-keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino — had to take a break from touring last year after Schifino tour her ACL.

But now that Schifino has healed, the group has hit the road in support of its new album, Almost Everyday. Guest vocalists Mark Hoppus (blink-182), Kevin Morby, Santigold, SWMRS, Flosstradamus and King Tuff contribute to the indie pop mayhem. Matt spoke via phone from his New York home while Kim replied via email.

The group performs with Michael Christmas at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, at House of Blues.

You guys first met at art school. What made you want to start a band together?
It started pretty much by accident. We were together as a couple for two years, I think, before Kim decided she wanted to play drums. She never tried it before. She got these pieces of drums from friends and pieced together a drum kit. The kick drum was a floor tom, and she had a tambourine on a high hat. We brought a snare drum from a sketchy guy down the street and couldn’t get the gasoline smell out of it. When we were practicing in our bedroom, our bedroom constantly smelled like gasoline. I had keyboards I had borrowed from my neighbor. I still have it. It’s been over a decade. I should return. We were two people who liked the same music and we worked well together on different art projects. We fell backwards into playing music together.
Kim: We didn’t start a band. It all happened by accident. I wanted to learn how to play drums, and Matt had a keyboard he wanted to figure out. Then, a friend forced us to play a show.

What were your initial influences?
The stuff happening in the Brooklyn scene was a big influence. Japanather was around. We give a lot of credit to those guys. They made us play our first show. They told us we had to open for them even though we weren’t a band. We were just messing around with instruments. Parts & Labor was playing then. There was a cool vibe of bands happening at the time. There were lots of electronic-inspired things with this punk energy. You’d have these house shows where everyone was moshing. I think that energy was something that we were all about. I think it was in response to what was happening in Brooklyn prior to that, which was the I’m-too-cool shit with bands that don’t move on stage. They stand in one place and recite their songs, and they don’t have any expressiveness. That was happening in Brooklyn for a little while. We were playing because we just loved it and wanted to be excited about it. Bands like Ninjasonik and the Death Set started happening. It was a fun time.
Kim: Anything fun!

What was the live show like back then.
We literally played parties. We didn’t play venues. Even when we toured, we were playing garages, and it was always BYOB with oeple who were drunk and falling on each other. It had that energy of the show and we wanted to keep that going, even onto bigger stages. I remember one time we played a bigger show in Chicago with Dan Deacon. We had it as a cheap ticket and it was at some kind of ballroom. I remember having this skull beer funnel. It was shaped like a skull and you poured the beer into a funnel and it went through the spinal cord. We called it the “beer skunnel.” We were "skunneling" beers on stage.
Kim: Our live show hasn’t changed in a way. Well, I guess we have more lights and video now. But the vibe is still the same!

How easy or difficult was it to release your first EP, To and From?
We recorded it in our practice space. The walls were paper thin. There were probably 30 other bands in the place. You had to go first thing in the morning if you wanted to record something. Trying to rock first thing in the morning isn’t easy. I remember I was really into yogurt, and I was eating yogurt and singing vocal takes. One of the guys from Japanther came in and told me that eating yogurt and singing wasn’t a good idea. It also turned out I was lactose intolerant.

Did your approach change once you started recording at proper studios?
I feel like it was never a linear forward direction. We did our first official self-titled album in a studio, but we did the next one in my childhood bedroom with all my skateboarding posters on the walls. That was at my parents’ house. The next album we did at a studio in Atlanta, but the next one we recorded ourselves at our apartment. I feel like this is consistent with us. We do it one way and then the unofficial way. Even with the album we put out this year, we recorded half of them at home and half at a studio.

Did you want to do anything differently on the new album?
Maybe this is all incorrect, but I felt like I wanted to make an album that was beginning to end a really cool album. A lot of time albums are just trying to make singles. They try 20 times to make a single and then cut that down to 12 songs. I wanted instrumental songs and there’s an a cappella song. There’s also vibey things. I wanted to make it feel rounded out. That might be ill-advised because we live in an age of taking a bunch of singles and putting them onto a playlist. But for me, some of my favorite albums are ones I can listen to from beginning to end. We still make ten-song albums because of Weezer’s Blue album. I love listening to that from the beginning to the end.
Kim: Adding backing vocals from our friends was a new thing. I feel like it gives the recorded songs a more live show vibe.

What has kept the group going for almost 15 years?
It doesn’t feel like it. It’s just been me and my lady traveling the world playing song. It feels easy, and it’s also what I’ve done my entire adult life. Last year Kim tour her ACL, and we didn’t do any shows. It was a really fucking weird year. It made me see what it might be like if we don’t get to do this anymore. It was a bummer.
Kim: We fucking love what we do. Once you done something you love, you try to do it as long as you can!

Matt & Kim, Michael Christmas, 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583. Tickets: $30-$45, houseofblues.com.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Party of Helicopters Fly High Once More This Weekend in Akron

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 3:17 PM

  • Photo courtesy Party of Helicopters
Jamie Stillman is calling from the future. He’s in Australia on a business trip, working to bring his Akron-based pedal company, EarthQuaker Devices to the folks Down Under, and it’s Saturday afternoon there when he calls Scene Friday night.

What’s the future like?

“Tiring,” Stillman admits.

An airport customs agent is now yelling at him to get off the phone, but he wants to talk about his old indie rock band the Party of Helicopters and their reunion show. It’s their first in three years, and he’s excited. All of the band members are playing, including the group’s two drummers.

“Every couple years, someone asks us to play and that’s all it takes,” the guitarist says. “We’re not hard to convince.”

And that’s what Square Records owner Dave Ignizio did for his Akron shop’s 15th anniversary show, going down Saturday at Musica. Wanting to bring back the bill of bands from the first show he ever booked after starting his record shop, he tracked down the guys from Kent's own the Party of Helicopters, which broke up in 2004 when many rock critics and (now nostalgic) fans deemed it just on the cusp of stardom.

“I don’t think they even remember playing the show,” Ignizio says. “But it was a huge deal for me as it was the first show I booked.”

When asked if he remembers, Stillman pussyfoots around saying he does, only to admit defeat. “I do remember when the record shop opened though. That was a huge deal in Akron,” he says.

Stillman explains that the shows he does remember are the weird ones — like the one in a Baton Rouge bayou with an opening puppet act, or the time they played in a trailer park. He says that after traveling the country with his band for years, gigs start to swirl together.

“We were always broke,” the 41-year-old recalls. “But it was fun, and it was goofy all the time. The world was different; the internet was new. We were traveling around with an atlas trying to find places. It was hard to get things done, and I think we were pretty successful that way.”

Stillman, who is also a former Black Keys tour manager, started his pedal company the year his group officially called it quits in 2004. Since then, the band members have gone their separate ways, mostly staying in the Kent and Akron area with the exception of drummer Cory Race who moved to New York. Many have continued making music, including Stillman and POH singer Joe Dennis, who play in the band Fringe Candidate together.

“We’re all older and fatter,” Stillman says with a laugh.

Known for their riotous progressive rock instrumentation, dreamy vocals and honest lyrics (including a song about a mustache), they're back for a one-night-only show where original fans and the uninitiated alike are invited to relive the happier and care-free times of their adolescence.

Getting back together also reminds Stillman they have one whole Party of Helicopters album’s worth of material that still needs to be recorded. And he’s hoping this time they’ll get in a studio and hammer down the tracks.
  • Photo courtesy Party of Helicopters

“Every time we do these shows, that’s the other thing we remember, that we need to make that record. I’m excited for that to happen,” he says. “Somehow, it’s hard to get it done. We’re all still in contact, but it just never comes up.”

Stillman says the labels that released their last two records, Space ... and How Sweet it Was and Please Believe It, no longer exist (nor do many of the music venues they played at back in the late ’90s and early aughts). Getting that last record out would cement the band’s legacy.

Reflecting on the final days of the POH run, Stillman says, they still weren’t famous. But that wasn’t the deciding factor in why the four-piece called it a day. “Near the end people were sick of seeing us,” he says. “When people stop showing up all the time, they’re kind of telling you that.”

Yet, like every reunion show the crew has done in the past, Stillman says he’s hearing good feedback and at least some friends and family are expected to attend. The band even has time for a few rehearsals before the show this week.

“We may even do up to 15 or 16 songs this time around,” he says. "Not just our usual 20-minute set."

Square Records Anniversary Party with Party of Helicopters, This Moment in Black History, Kill the Hippies, GS Schray, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, Akron Musica, 51 E. Market St, Akron, 330-972-7111. Tickets: $5, celebrityetc.com/musica

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Rock Hall to Celebrate Member and Donor Appreciation Day on Sept. 29

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 10:50 AM

Little Anthony  and the Imperials at their 2009 Hall of Fame series. - NEAL HAMILTON
  • Neal Hamilton
  • Little Anthony and the Imperials at their 2009 Hall of Fame series.
From 2 to 8 pm. on Saturday, Sept. 29, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will celebrate Member & Donor Appreciation Day with a series of special events.

There will be an interview and book signing with 2009 Inductee “Little Anthony” Gourdine of Little Anthony and the Imperials, a “Voice Your Choice” event that will allow patrons to recreate the Inductee nominating process during a live interactive event, an opportunity to see items from the museum’s vault, live themed presentations and docent-guided tours.

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