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Archive for the ‘live music’ Category

Having seen Crowded House a handful of times over the last couple of decades, I’ve grown to expect a lot from them.

Crowded House Photo by Samantha Murphy

Crowded House Photo by Samantha Murphy



Last week at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, they didn’t disappoint. The venue on the other hand was a big disappointment with very limited seating and a surly staff to say the least, but I digress.

Every time Neil Finn starts singing live, I’m very aware that I’m in the presence of something out of this world. With a voice like no other, Neil tells stories that are all at once mysterious and understandable.

Photo by Samantha Murphy

Neil Finn Photo by Samantha Murphy

Neil is working on a new project with his wife Sharon and he’s also sporting a new mustache, which we joked about backstage after the show.

The band opened with I Feel Possessed, a dark mid-tempo from their 1988 release Temple of Low Men. As with most of the band’s songs it was written by Neil, an incredibly gifted songwriter. They followed up with In My Command, which the audience clearly was by this point, clapping and singing along to every word. Speaking of the audience, most of the crowd were predictably middle aged, but I was surprised to also see a lot of twenty somethings in attendance. My favorite song as always was Fingers of Love. So wonderfully dark and moody.

I’m always taken aback by the sheer musical talent of my friend Mark Hart, the band’s lead guitar/keyboard/backing vocalist. He literally plays everything exceptionally well. I didn’t get a chance after the show to ask him if he has always had a slide guitar perched on top of his keyboard or if that was new. In any case it was the first time I’d noticed it.

Mark Hart Photo by Samantha Murphy

It was wonderful to see Nick in great spirits and get a chance to chat with him about his studio in Dublin and the baby girl he has since I last saw him. Such a nice guy.

Since 2007, Matt Sherrod has been the drummer in Crowded House and he really is a great fit both in terms of playing style and personality. Matt was previously in Beck’s band and is now a Nashville resident.

The band signed autographs and took photos with their fans for a long time before getting back on the bus to head to Nashville. Neil made a point to call out “Bye Samantha!” as he was heading for the bus and it made my night. I felt sad to say goodbye to Mark and was filled with memories of being neighbors on Beachwood Drive when I would wake up hearing his beautiful classical piano playing drifting through my bedroom window from downstairs. Safe travels guys and see you next time!

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Guest Review and Photo by Gregory A. Roach

Imogen Heap filled the hearts and minds of her adoring faithful last night at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom even if she couldn’t actually fill the hall itself. The audience didn’t seem to care. Piling layer upon layer of ethereal sound until her lyrics were literally lost in the mix, she prowled the stage and preened her way through a fairly long setlist compiled and ranked earlier online by her fans. “I’m playing the top 12 or 14 in each city with an added four or so of my own.” she explained. This strategy guaranteed a touch of Frou Frou and a satisfying closer with the top ranked song held for her finale. “Hide and Seek” did not disappoint.

But she’s frankly not my cup of tea. A live show this tech assumptive may offer a geektopia of laptops, filters and mixing boards but for an old-head like me, too few actual musical instruments. The net result was a hot banquet poured from a can with one fresh element added. It didn’t work well for me. I like my meals from scratch.

The well-lit stage came to life under her dedicated band but each time they left her alone with her thin voice and her piles of blinking hardware, the fresh air of live performance seemed to leak back out.

Some of her looped recordings were created earlier in the studio while others were laid down live on the fly. But all were cycled again and again with harmonies and percussive textures added with each play until the mix was more akin to aural painting than actual songwriting. It crossed my mind that I was watching a leonine sculptress at work carving sound instead of marble, her fans as raptured by the falling sound chips as the actual work itself. Perhaps her colored vibrancy was on occasion overmixed to brown, but she certainly knows how to build her emotional peaks.

Alas, she was plagued all night and almost sabotaged by a series of technical gaffes so blatant they robbed her set of the pacing and momentum essential for a moving live performance. Whether she stopped to reboot an incalcitrant electric piano–and a looong reboot it was–or fumbled live for a missing audio jack or a switch that would bring a dead instrument mercifully back to life, her talent promised an emotional wallop that was doomed to dissipation under her uncomfortable stage patter while sorting problem after problem, distracted and at times visibly annoyed. Her fans loved every moment but I kept thinking of the satisfying rush she’d be capable of delivering if only her sound crew were as focused on her performance as she was. A show this computer complex could never truly be a one-woman affair. But it just goes to prove again if you want something done right, you really do have to do it yourself.

May 25, 2010, @ The Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC, General Admission/Standing $27.50 plus fees and taxes.

You can email the author at RoachGAR@aol.com

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The Highway Girl Presents @SXSW 2010 Prepare yourself for the madness that is SXSW by enjoying a glass of wine and listening to some incredible storytellers play live music!

We have two tickets up for grabs to our PRIVATE event. If you’d like a chance to win and hear live sets from Rob Giles, Rosi Golan, Samantha is The Highway Girl and more, send us an email with ‘SXSW Party’ in the subject line to enter.

Winner will be notified by email no later than 3/10/10. In honor of our new partnership with Roku, we will be giving away a Roku box at our party!

RSVP on Facebook >>

Featured Artists:

  • Rob Giles
  • Rosi Golan
  • Samantha Murphy
  • More Artists!


Sponsors:

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