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Pink Martini - Home for the Holidays - A Holiday Spectacular

Pink Martini - Home for the Holidays

by John Noyd

A festive night of globe-trotting holiday cabaret, Portland Oregon’s Pink Martini delivered sophisticated cheer and musical good will in their yule-log livestream, “Home For The Holidays.” A talented family of like-minded musicians, Pink Martini’s show exemplified warm welcomes and cozy charm, uniting cultures and lifting spirits with tropical vibes infecting the winter songs, jazzing up old standards and creating new traditions with old friends. Segments featuring blues singer Storm Large, the real-life Sound of Music offspring Sofia von Trapp and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana enlarged the party and broke the livestream into bite-sized delights that made the hour plus show fly by, while the back-story banter between long-time members China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale relaxing on a couch between sets added a casual atmosphere to make this feel more like a classy gathering than a staged performance. Expanding from their 2010 album, ‘Joy to the World,” the “little orchestra.” as they are affectionately known, gathered Lebanese snow songs, Spanish Hanukah songs and Chinese New Year songs for tender ecumenical merriment. Classic carols and show tunes from holiday movies rounded off the night with savvy nostalgia for gentler yesterdays and dreamier tomorrows. Watching the band unmasked performing around a thirty-four-foot Douglas Fir and hearing an unseen audience’s applause helped remove the dark cloud of this season’s quarantine, if only for a short time. Even after the credits ran a special Christmas sing-along acted as an encore in days when such common concert courtesies are sorely missed. The first of two Holiday concerts, New Year revelers are highly encouraged to check out PM’s, “Good Riddance 2020,” streaming December 31st.  Information and tickets can be found at

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Courtney Barnett: Live from the Royal Exhibition Building

Courtney Barnett: One Night Only

by John Noyd

Thursday, December 17th Courtney Barnett reassembles her band and premieres their one night only livestream; From Where I’m Standing: Live from the Royal Exhibition Building. In a pre-show interview Barnett admits the band’s under-rehearsed, she prefers writing to performing and has been known to write songs that languish unfinished… but she also loves a challenge, was eager try out some new material and get back together with her band. After years of non-stop touring, Barnett’s time off made the prospect of playing live again exciting and gave her the time to finish songs she had accumulated during the solo tour she was on just before everything stopped. A shy person at heart, Barnett felt playing a big hall without an audience worked to her advantage, giving her a better chance to focus and pour her energies into the songs.

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At Home with Lindsey Buckingham - 12/5/20

At Home with Lindsey Buckingham

by John Noyd

When I think of Lindsey Buckingham, I think about the tight precision of his studio work. So, I was pleasantly surprised when his at home livestream was indeed Lindsey at home; just him and an unnamed guitar tech feeding him a stream of freshly tuned guitars. Set in his home studio, the mood was loose, and the playing was beautifully intuitive. Three-quarters into the show, Lindsey mentioned his 2012 tour he dubbed the One-Man Show, where he brought click tracks and pre-recorded guitars to flesh out typically ensemble pieces. Though Lindsey closed out the night using pre-records in order to wail away in head-spinning frenzies on the last three songs, it was largely Lindsey singing classic cuts and a few rarities accompanied by a single six-string acoustic tweaked with subtle delay and nimble shimmer.

While he had performed a short set back in May 2019, this December show was the first time Lindsey played a full concert since bypass surgery damaged his vocal cords. Not taking the easy route, Lindsey sounded ferocious, choosing songs that often built into grand climaxes. In a Q&A session earlier that evening, Buckingham spoke about the past three years where his separation from Fleetwood Mac, his surgery and the pandemic put his latest solo album on hold and changed his normally busy schedule. Enforced leisure for a restless artist drew Lindsey’s focus to his family. He said he hadn’t really felt like writing much during his time locked down but was anxious to tour and show off the new album, which he framed as straight-ahead pop. Not previewing any new material during the livestream, Lindsey chose instead to focus on his impressive legacy, revisiting Mac classics, “Never Going Back,’ and, “Big Love,” as well as drawing from his solo work with wonderfully raw versions of, “Go Insane,” and “Trouble.” Lindsey even went back to the Buckingham-Nicks album with an incandescent instrumental, “Stephanie.” The set list showcased Buckingham’s nuanced chord progressions, casual hooks and unique fingering technique while highlighting timeless themes of romantic conflict and personal frustration.

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Greg Dulli - solo performance L.A.'s Gold Diggers

Greg Dulli

by John Noyd

When the pandemic locked everything down Greg Dulli was dealt a double blow. The tour for his new album, “Random Desires,” was cancelled and his second revenue stream operating two classic watering holes in New Orleans and three bars in L.A. was also shut down. A one-two punch that wouldn’t sound out of place in one of Dulli’s hard-luck story-songs where streetwise woe seeks out soulful poems.

Playing well over half the new album, Greg fleshed out the eighteen-song set with an array of gems from his time with the Afghan Whigs and Twilight Singers. Occasionally assisted by Dr Stephen Patt on pedal steel, bass and electric guitar, Dulli’s solo performance at l.A.’s boutique hotel, venue and recording studio Gold Digger’s was intimate, almost voyeuristic. The spacious venue was filled with unplayed musical instruments, scattered studio equipment and a few vacant-eyed mannequins for an effectively solemn space to absorb the music and focus one’s attention on Dulli’s literate visions and matter-of-fact abstractions.

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Crowd-surfing Mime at the of Montreal Show Madison

of Montreal with Lily and Horn Horse

by John Noyd

A musical cornucopia brimming in kaleidoscopic show-stoppers, of Montreal has long put the sizzle in the glitter on record and in concert. Riding high on the new, love-struck, “UR FUN,” the antics of the band’s quasi-psychedelic romantics were bright and shiny when they visited Madison’s Majestic Theater. Frivolous mischief fitted into power-pop riffs with radiant stadium reach, the paisley pranksters threw a multi-sensory extravaganza that leaped, slithered and grooved from transcendent frenzies to churning jams with barely a breath in between.

Beginning with a dark stage and a recording of a weirdly whimsical, “I’m Glad To Be Me,” the lights came up to reveal three giant skulls washed in swirling colors that suggested a Mexican Day of the Dead fiesta, as the band and dancers kicked off the evening with, “Peace To All Freaks.” Flamboyant frontman Kevin Barnes’ hyper-verbose songs needed no introduction and defied explanation as the spectacle melted time and space joining old songs next to new in a vivid mythology versed in gender politics and accompanied by anthropomorphic gorgons, crowd-surfing mimes, middle-finger puppets and fun-loving Furbies.

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