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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Light those birthday candles because The Golden Cabinet is celebrating 5 years in the business. Nestled away in Shipley the Cabinet has quietly (well, noisily if you attend the actual events) become West Yorkshire’s finest night for experimental music, attracting a plethora of sonic innovators and dancefloor shakers to the unassuming Kirkgate Centre.
After a loaded Day 1, the second day of the festival promised a more concentrated list of highly diverse talents. The prior day had us crisscrossing amongst the seven stages, not stopping at many twice. Saturday kept us in the Western most section of the event, which was thankfully also where the best appointed Press Lounge we have experienced was located. This provided for some much needed down time in the peak heat of the day.
There's a reason why I never try to miss Robyn Hitchcock when he hits town. He never puts on a bad show. The past three times I've seen have been solo acoustic gigs, all of which had their fair share of surprises. This time, Mr. Hitchcock was backed by a trio going by the moniker, The Nashville Fabs. The results were suitably fab.
- Kevin Orton