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Noah Gundersen High Noon Saloon

Noah Gundersen with Silver Torches

High Noon Saloon October 12th, 2017
by John Noyd

A healthy helping of heart and soul powered Noah Gundersen’s Thursday night show at Madison’s High Noon Saloon. The five-piece band doubled up on keyboards and percussion to deliver a well-coordinated arsenal combating existential crises with ballistic conviction and social afflictions with vengeful chords. From the light-drenched staging to the well-executed pacing, Gundersen threw out musical life-lines and walked emotional tight-ropes with breathless power-ballads exuding a David and Goliath vibe, uniting the crowd and rallying hope all the while seamlessly moving from full band to trio then solo and back to full band. Opening with the slow burning, “After All,” and closing with the climatic, “Bad Desire,” the evening never stopped changing dynamics. A rotating wheel of funeral pyre finales and flickering intimate interludes that inspired alliances between dancing air-guitarists and romantic mosh-pit singers.
A far cry from his simpler acoustic folk beginnings, Gundersen’s recent album, “White Noise,” shows an artist whose compound sound drives earnest certainty into parading crusades and self-conflicting benedictions into crucial resolutions. In performance, the lengthier tunes like, “Cocaine, Sex and Alcohol,” and, “New Religion,” blossomed in epic connections dredging deep and soaring high as sister Abby’s violin swept through brother Jonny’s lusty drumming and ace guitarist in the shadows fleshed out Noah’s passionate passages with delicate intensity while supporting the roaring choruses with finely-tuned fury.
Opener Silver Torches consisted of lead singer Erik Walters playing a solo acoustic set that drew incredible fire from his bold, rich vocals for a ferocious busking of his new rockin’, “Let It Be A Dream.” Both acts took time to remove the spotlight from themselves and point out they had brought on tour a spokesperson for SOS Children’s Villages, an independent, non-governmental international development organization which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children since 1949. A giant clue as to Erik and Noah’s focus in song and beyond, their grateful sincerity filled the night. Frankly, compassion never sounded so fierce or so good.


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Ted Nugent - BB King’s, NYC, 8.8.17

by Michael Sherer

Right wing politics and classic rock anthems come hand-in-hand at a Ted Nugent concert, and during his show in NYC, a much more diverse and liberal place than most any other, the Nuge needed to be careful and stayed clear of much talking about his politics. He stuck mainly to his meaty and very loud rock and roll for this nearly full club date in the heart of Times Square/tourist central location.

Supplying the volume were a stack of Kustom and Magnatone amplifiers. Nugent, bassist Greg Smith and drummer Jason Hartless could be heard from hundreds of feet away. Nugent, who in the ‘70’s wore a loin cloth on stage, opened with a energized rendition of America’s national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”


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Mick Fleetwood and Anthony DeCurtis

Mick Fleetwood in conversation with Anthony DeCurtis - 92Y, NYC, 8.1.17

by Michael Sherer

The first thing I was struck by was how very tall Mick Fleetwood is. At 6’6, lanky and dressed like an English aristocrat, the 70 year old drummer for Fleetwood Mac over its fifty year existence makes for quite an impression. The ensuing conversation between Fleetwood and Anthony DeCurtis, a veteran music based writer and journalist, centered around Fleetwood’s new book, called “Love That Burns - A Chronicle of Fleetwood Mac, Volume One, 1967-1974.” It was put out by Genesis Publications, a high end outfit based in England. On the cover of this very handsome and hand bound release is a doll made by Günther Kieser that was originally featured in the promotion of a Fleetwood Mac tour appearance in Munich, Germany in 1970. It’s included as a numbered print, co-signed by the artist and Fleetwood. It also includes illustrations by former band member Jeremy Spencer and selected memorabilia. Only 2,000 copies of the book were printed, rendering it an instant collector’s item. The cost? Well, be prepared to drum up the sum of 495 pounds, which is $643.


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McCoy Tyner Quartet

McCoy Tyner Quartet - Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center, NYC, 7.18.17

by Michael Sherer

The Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Lincoln Center honored 2017 inductee McCoy Tyner at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. The other inductees this year for the same honor are Tito Puente and Don Redman. It’s named after prominent financial contributor and supporter Ahmet Ertegun, the late co-founder of Atlantic Records in 1947 and a true jazz appreciator and aficionado. This prestigious honor is determined by vote between ten potential nominees by a fifteen musically orientated person panel. 

The concert began with Todd Stoll, Vice President of Education at Jazz at Lincoln Center, giving a thoughtful and sincere introduction, invoking Mr. Tyner’s importance and influence, and noting a bit about the induction process and history. From there, the other members of the quartet came to the stage and played for about fifteen minutes. Those musicians are bassist Gerald Cannon, drummer Francisco Mela, and saxophonist Sherman Irby. Mr. Tyner then joined them on a gorgeous Steinway & Sons grand house piano, whereby the whole quartet proceeded to play a stirring and excellent set.


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The Yardbirds - Highline Ballroom, NYC, 7.8.17

by Michael Sherer

The Yardbirds started in London, England way back in 1963. With a bunch of hits such as “For Your Love”, “Heart Full of Soul”, “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down” and as one of the inventors of the “rave up” and British psychedelic sounds, they are one of the most influential and copied groups of modern times. They were also one of the earliest British groups to earnestly cover American blues artists, including the Chicago blues of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James. Songs such as “Smokestack Lightning”, “Good Morning Little School Girl”, “Boom Boom”, “I Wish You Would”, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” and “I’m a Man” all came of this reverence and made their young audience aware of these relatively obscure black, American blues artists.

Additionally, the group launched the careers of guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, as each of them, in that order, started out in the group. It was Beck that initially brought fuzz tone, sustain, reverb, feedback, distortion and hammer-on soloing that fit well and helped propel the increasingly raw style of British beat music which spawned heavier groups such as Birmingham’s Black Sabbath.


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CoCo Carmel, Bobby Whitlock & Ricky Byrd in background

Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel, BB King’s, NYC, 6.13.17

by Michael Sherer

To paint an overall picture of Bobby Whitlock, it’s clear that he’s a versatile and talented pianist, guitarist, singer and songwriter that’s written or co written some very well known and classic songs, especially in the blues-rock vein. His best known are from Derek & The Dominoes’ only record, 1970’s Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Whitlock wrote or co-wrote seven of the album’s fourteen tracks, including “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tell the Truth”, “Anyday” and “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”

Whitlock also played on George Harrison’s classic “All Things Must Pass,” (1971) and two records with Delaney & Bonnie in ‘69. It was through touring with them that Whitlock met Eric Clapton, who was also in their touring band. Clapton is, of course, the “Derek” of Derek & The Dominoes.


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