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LIVE SHOW REVIEWS


Sam Moore at the City Winery in New York City 7/17/2012

Sam Moore, City Winery, NYC, 7.17.12

by Michael Sherer

After fifty years on the scene, soul legend Sam Moore still has the pipes and presence to stir up his audiences around the world, and in this case the intimate and tasteful City Winery in downtown NYC was the spot. Moore, of course, is half of the dynamic duo Sam & Dave, an act who’s stage moves and energy in the ‘60’s were in the same league as the late James Brown. Their company to do what they did was few and far between. At 77, Sam is now quite subdued, but with his voice and conviction intact, he was a pleasure to hear live. The fine acoustics of the venue allows for an instrument, including a voice as rich as Moore’s, to sound natural and clear.


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Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector

Live at the City Winery, NYC 7-14-2012
by Michael Sherer

It was nearly fifty years ago when Ronnie Bennett, then 16 and living in Spanish Harlem, went with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra to audition for a record producer on the rise, Phil Spector. He would become known for his “Wall Of Sound” and being a hit machine in the first half of the ‘60’s. Spector, originally from the Bronx, was bowled over within seconds of hearing lead singer Ronnie vocalize. He excitedly exclaimed that this was the sound that he’d been searching for. He immediately signed them to his two year old Philles record label and christened them The Ronettes. They were to be one of Spector’s flagship acts, and set a high bar for all such “girl groups” to follow.


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Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley

Vans Warped Tour - Milwaukee, WI

by Joanna Fox

Founded in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, the Vans Warped Tour is one of the largest alternative music tours in North America. For the first time in 14 years the tour will be going overseas to visit London this November.

Even on the walk from the parking lot to the entry gates, anyone can tell that today belongs to Warped Tour. Crowds of people old and young anxiously await a day filled with sunburns, lost shoes, and more live music than most of this year’s newbies have seen in their entire lives. Every color of hair dye imaginable can be identified with a quick sweep of the crowd and half the day’s attendees haven’t even shown up yet. Local musicians mingle and promote their bands latest endeavors. As the clock strikes 11:30am the first of many sets starts as fans pour into the Marcus Amphitheater grounds.

From the moment one enters, there is no escaping the music. With 86 scheduled performances spread over 8 stages on today’s lineup, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From the mosh pit inducing breakdowns of headliners Of Mice & Men, to the scandalous rhymes of T. Mills, to the reggae jams of The Green, and even an acoustic performance by Thursday’s Geoff Ricky. There will be no lack of happy festival goers today.
As the lineup of headlining bands work the main Kia Rio/Soul stages, fans work their way in and out of the main amphitheater, but at no point from the opening of the gates to a good half hour after the last performance are the areas in front of the stage empty. Fans pack the floor and most of the lower level seating in anticipation of their favorite bands taking the stage and when they do, the floor turns into a sea of bobbing heads, mosh-pits, crowd surfers, and bodies jumping to the beat of the kick drum.

When festival goers aren’t aurally fixed on the various stages they can often be found perusing Tent City, network of booths dedicated to band merchandise, information from non-profit organizations, and even a cell phone charging station.


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John Waters

John Waters

Live at City Winery, New York City 6/22/2012
by Michael Sherer

For forty eight years, John Waters has been directing what have been become the most well known of U.S. independent, unconventional and exploitative films. With ‘72’s Pink Flamingos being John’s first hit, it afforded him name recognition and a degree of cult status, which has grown a great deal over the decades since. It was the ‘70’s that John also embarked on a side career, that being stand up comedy.

I personally respect the ability for one to do two or more challenging crafts well, as John does. Stand up comedy is not only a difficult endeavor, it also takes a tremendous amount of courage and confidence, as one is all alone up on stage and has nothing to hide behind.

I caught this side of John for the first time at the classy and cool venue called City Winery, located just north of Canal Street in lower Manhattan. John is proverbially lanky and tall, which was the first thing that struck me. I also noticed quickly that John carefully prepares his entire set, in a script fashion, as that’s what works for him. While some comedians use elements of improvised material, John is one that operates along highly developed and guided lines. John noted later that as with most all comedians, he’ll modify his material as he sees how the audience reacts to the bits, as well as when new experiences occur.


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Mick Taylor

Mick Taylor - Iridium, NYC, 5.13.12

by Michael Sherer

For a great deal of Rolling Stone fans such as myself, the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s was their finest period. They had truly found their own voice by then, after starting as essentially a cover band doing mostly blues based songs. To my mind, they had more swagger, ferocity and bite than ever before or since during this second period. This era coincides with the years that guitarist Mick Taylor was in the band, having replaced original member Brian Jones. Jones was sacked in ‘69, and shortly after tragically drowned in his outdoor swimming pool. He was 27. Taylor joined in ‘69, at the age of 20, and quit five years later in ‘74. One of the reasons he left was that his girl friend at the time persuading him to, predicting that the band didn’t have much life left. Look at how that turned out, 38 years on.


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Bernard Purdie

Masters Of Groove - Live at Iridium, NYC, 3.30.12

by Michael Sherer

Masters Of Groove are literally just that. These three guys, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums, Grant Green, Jr. on guitar and Reuben Wilson on Hammond B3 organ, (also handling bass with it) kick serious ass. They serve up greasy and supremely funky, grooving, extended original jams, as well as interpretations of others’ memorable songs. These included “Stella By Starlight” by Victor Young, “It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, and “Mr. Magic” by Grover Washington, Jr., to name a few. They add their own thing to them, “funkitizing” the sound and locking together as players in the most proverbial way. They conjure the mid to latter ‘60’s soul/funk/jazz vibe completely, and remind anyone who knows shit from shimola musically that was the golden era for the confluence of those impactful genres.


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