Iron & Wine - Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida
Iron & Wine - Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Iron & Wine - Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida

The last time Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine) came through town, it was a solo show.  That’s a bit of an underwhelming statement compared to the reality of it.  At that show, Beam strode on stage with acoustic guitar to much applause, paused and asked: “What do you want to hear?”  That was the format for the next ninety minutes and it was amazingly intimate and effective.  Some kid in his dad’s lap yelled out for ‘Dead Man’s Will’ and left me with nothing to do but be awed.  There was no buffer between Beam and his audience that night many years ago, and though he had a four-piece primarily acoustic band in tow this time, the wall between artist and fan remained very transparent.

Mark Moody
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Richard Thompson - Town Hall, New York
Richard Thompson - Town Hall, New York
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Richard Thompson - Town Hall, New York

When we think of Rock’s great guitar gods, Hendrix, Clapton and Page always come to mind. Its criminal Richard Thompson remains a too well-kept secret. These days, he’s more famous for not being more famous. In addition to a spellbinding virtuoso, he’s also a wickedly talented songwriter. 

Kevin Orton
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Killing Joke - O2 Academy, Bristol
Killing Joke - O2 Academy, Bristol
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Killing Joke - O2 Academy, Bristol

To watch Killing Joke take to the stage is like seeing the Mount Rushmore of post punk assemble before your eyes. Masterful drummer who can switch from tribal power to fluid subtlety on a dime, or a penny if you prefer, guitarist carving arcs of controlled noise from the air, always precise never gratuitous, bassist driving beneath it all with just the right amount of space around the notes, and a singer for whom the term is woefully inadequate.

Simon Heavisides
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Amanda Shires - Gram Parsons' Derry Down - Winter Haven, Florida
Amanda Shires - Gram Parsons' Derry Down - Winter Haven, Florida
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Amanda Shires - Gram Parsons' Derry Down - Winter Haven, Florida

There are a handful of venerable listening rooms and dance halls in Texas that have been graced by the presence of undisputed songwriting legends.  Places like Anderson Fair in Houston, The Cactus Cafe in Austin, and Gruene Hall in New Braunfels have had the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams, and Guy Clark cross their stages.  Tonight in an interesting twist an accomplished songwriter with Texas roots, Amanda Shires, took the stage at another legendary listening room, but this one in Winter Haven, Florida. 

Mark Moody
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The Lovely Eggs - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
The Lovely Eggs - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

The Lovely Eggs - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

I’m not sure but I think The Lovely Eggs might have been out on tour for the entirety of 2018. Fuelled by cider and an undimmed passion for all things DIY, Holly Ross, and David Blackwell have been nigh-on unstoppable. They’ve even found time to release one of their strongest albums to date, the psychedelically inclined punk-rock opus This is Eggland. Even a bout of pneumonia (David spent some time in hospital) didn’t come close to slowing them down. Tonight will be the third time I’ve seen them this year and I can’t wait.

Andy Brown
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Melvins - Stylus Leeds University Union, Leeds
Melvins - Stylus Leeds University Union, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Melvins - Stylus Leeds University Union, Leeds

As Halloween approaches what double-header could be more appropriate than Jon Spencer and Melvins? Spencer is currently out on tour with Buzzo and his sludge-rock crew and tonight, much to my giddy excitement, they arrive at Stylus in Leeds.

Andy Brown
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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Barclays Center, New York
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Barclays Center, New York
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Barclays Center, New York

Going back into the last century, I’ve seen Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds a ton over the years. He has never disappointed. No kitchen sink remains unscathed. Passions are torn to tatters and flung in your face. To take the edge off, he croons beautiful ballads telling you terrible things. And all of that was in store for the crowd at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last night. And more.

Kevin Orton
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Nine Inch Nails - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn (Night 2)
Nine Inch Nails - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn (Night 2)
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Nine Inch Nails - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn [Night 2]

Well, I just saw Nine Inch Nails play all of Broken in sequence. If that weren’t enough, they whipped out their cover of How To Destroy Angels’ “Parasite”, “Me, I’m Not” from Year Zero, and “The Background World”, the phenomenal closer from last year’s Add Violence. Somehow, after three unique and surprising sets, Trent motherfucking Reznor keeps things interesting.

paul_guyet
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She Makes War - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
She Makes War - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

She Makes War - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Bristol’s Laura Kidd has been releasing music as She Makes War for the last 8 years, steadily amassing an army of fans. A slot supporting The Wave Pictures a couple of years ago and the album Direction of Travel showed me what I’d been missing. Fast forward to 2018 and Kidd is headlining the Brudenell Social Club in support of her brand new album, Brace for Impact.

Andy Brown
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Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS
Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Titus Andronicus - The Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS

It’s hard to believe this, but Titus Andronicus are one of the few bands that I can rely on to hit up the Kansas City market on almost every album tour. Which they legitimately have done. I’ve seen them on each of those tours – they rocked the hell out of the Riot Room in 2011, riding high off of their 2010 masterpiece The Monitor.

Tim Sentz
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Austin City Limits Festival 2018 - Day 3
Austin City Limits Festival 2018 - Day 3
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Austin City Limits Festival 2018 - Day 3

After a couple of typically toasty early Fall Texas days, Day 3 was further welcomed by a hard rain overnight which left parts of Zilker park a little swampy and more than a little humid.  Not to jinx it, but somehow I’ve attended many music festivals and had plenty of close calls, but never suffered a meaningful weather delay or cancellation.  In spite of some threats, ACL Weekend 2 went off without a hitch or delay.  

Mark Moody
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Nine Inch Nails - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn (Night 1)
Nine Inch Nails - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn (Night 1)
Alternative Music - Gig Reviews - Soundblab

Nine Inch Nails - Kings Theatre, Brooklyn [Night 1]

There’s something to be said for collecting. I’m not a collector in the sense that I obtain things, keep them in their wrapping, and never touch them again. I don’t go to conventions to trade my unwrapped things for other people’s unwrapped things, but there is a part of me that yearns for completion. In that sense, I enjoy the idea of “collecting” an album's live performance, in other words, hearing all of the songs on an album played live; not all in one night or in order, but over the years.

paul_guyet
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