Show Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Al Schnier of moe. Feb. 8, 2013, at the Capitol Theater in Madison. - photo by Nicole Richmond

Al Schnier of moe. Feb. 8, 2013, at the Capitol Theater in Madison. - photo by Nicole Richmond

moe. - back in the Madison saddle again!
Feb. 8, 2013, at the Capitol Theater in Madison
Show Review By Sal Serio
Posted: Feb 2013
(2814) Page Views

Sometimes bands are like sports teams, and when one member of the team is under the weather (or injured in a sporting contest), someone else has to step up and give more than 100% to make up for the loss. This was the scenario when the progressive rock jam band moe. came back to Madison after an eight year absence.

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Dweezil Zappa at the Barrymore in Madison 12-8-12 - photo by Sarah Warmke

Dweezil Zappa at the Barrymore in Madison 12-8-12 - photo by Sarah Warmke

Zappa Plays Zappa
Dec. 8, 2012, at Madison's Barrymore Theatre
Show Review By Sal Serio
Posted: Dec 2012
(5442) Page Views

I have no way of really adding up all the bands that I’ve seen over the years at the Barrymore, but I would guess it would have to be well over one thousand at this point. There’s been some incredible events to be sure, many of my favorite bands… the Meat Puppets, Butthole Surfers, Todd Rundgren, Cheap Trick, Emmylou Harris, Hawkwind… way too many to list. However, there was something really special about the Zappa Plays Zappa concert that took place December 8th. For one thing, I don’t think any concert has ever sounded this crystal clear and pristine in the Barrymore, which generally has pretty good acoustics, but this was just exemplary. There was also a genuine buzz in the air, like all the attendees knew they were in for something truly special and unique.

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Lzzy Hale of Halestorm 12-5-12 at the Majestic in Madison - photo by Kris Huehne

Lzzy Hale of Halestorm 12-5-12 at the Majestic in Madison - photo by Kris Huehne

HALESTORM !!
Dec. 5, 2012, at the Majestic in Madison
Show Review By Sal Serio
Posted: Dec 2012
(4285) Page Views

Lzzy Hale, came out blazing in a sexy tight black leather jacket, SHORT black hot pants, and mouth-watering detailed black nylons with studded heels… can you tell I was watching her every move?? As if coveting her stunning good looks and ballsy vocal delivery didn’t already have me in the palm of her hand, the guitar geek in me wanted Lzzy’s killer white Gibson Explorer as well! The opening song was “Mz. Hyde” from the new ‘Strange Case Of…’ CD, and the moment everyone in attendance was waiting for skyrocketed right through the roof of the Majestic! Drummer extraordinaire, and Lzzy’s brother, Arejay Hale, wore some weird old man rubber mask as he started the song, but quickly threw it off to reveal his metallic red hair dye. If you’ve never seen Halestorm, be ready for quite the drum calisthenics display… Arejay makes Keith Moon look like a mellow dude! From the very first beats, through to the end of the show, Arejay was jumping around behind the drum kit, flailing his arms like a man possessed, and throwing his sticks EVERYWHERE. And… it didn’t even look like he broke a sweat! The guy is an animal.

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Tony MacAlpine - photo by Michael Sherer

Tony MacAlpine - photo by Michael Sherer

PSMS - BB King’s, NYC, 11.18.12

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Nov 2012
(1748) Page Views

On occasion, a group of musicians from various bands, which may include a solo artist or two, join together and form what’s often called a “super group.” The common denominator should be musicianship that’s off the charts, but often big egos match it, which can cause issues. If things go right though, there’s no stopping a colossal force like many such experiments turn out. PSMS most certainly are everything a progressive, heavy rock fan could hope for, and are such a super group.

The initials stand for Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Tony MacAlpine and Derek Sherinian. These are all crack musicians that are at the top of their game. Drummer Portnoy, 45, was a founding member of Dream Theater 25 years ago, and left the group in ’10. Bassist Sheehan, 59, was a founding member of Talas in the ‘70’s, as well as Mr. Big in the late ‘80’s. MacAlpine, 52, has been a solo artist since the mid ‘80’s. Sherinian, 45, has been a professional session and touring man since the late ‘80’s. They’ve all been heavy, progressive rock players in their own right, and together they continue in that genre, with enviable ferocity and combined skill level. Their cohesive abilities push each other even higher than usual, and they clearly love playing together. This show concluded what I trust was an exhausting 22 date tour of Europe, Israel, Russia and Asia. It was their only U.S. gig.

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Greensky Bluegrass 9/28/2012 at the Majestic Theatre - photo by Sal Serio

Greensky Bluegrass 9/28/2012 at the Majestic Theatre - photo by Sal Serio

Greensky Bluegrass 9/28/2012 at the Majestic Theatre
Goodbye, Blue Skies... Hello, Greensky!
Show Review By Sal Serio
Posted: Sep 2012
(2209) Page Views

I like living in the capital city of Madison, Wisconsin, but it sure is “feast or famine” sometimes when it comes to cultural offerings. Last Friday, September 28th, the feast was definitely ON, and quite a bounty it was! The evening got off to a rocking, lubricated start with a free concert on King Street by The Hold Steady, and well before their set had reached it’s last crunchy, eardrum-rattling, power chord, the fragrant jamgrass faithful were lining up in front of the Majestic Theatre to see the late night Greensky Bluegrass concert.

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Sam Moore at the City Winery in New York City 7/17/2012 - photo by Michael Sherer

Sam Moore at the City Winery in New York City 7/17/2012 - photo by Michael Sherer

Sam Moore, City Winery, NYC, 7.17.12

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Sep 2012
(2198) Page Views

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 - photo by Michael Sherer

Ronnie Spector - photo by Michael Sherer

Ronnie Spector
Live at the City Winery, NYC 7-14-2012
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Aug 2012
(2351) Page Views

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 - photo by Joanna Fox Photography

Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley - photo by Joanna Fox Photography

Vans Warped Tour - Milwaukee, WI

Show Review By Joanna Fox
Posted: Aug 2012
(2563) Page Views

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 - photo by Michael Sherer

John Waters - photo by Michael Sherer

John Waters
Live at City Winery, New York City 6/22/2012
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Jul 2012
(1784) Page Views

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 - photo by Michael Sherer

Mick Taylor - photo by Michael Sherer

Mick Taylor - Iridium, NYC, 5.13.12

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: May 2012
(2546) Page Views

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 - photo by Michael Sherer

Bernard Purdie - photo by Michael Sherer

Masters Of Groove - Live at Iridium, NYC, 3.30.12

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Apr 2012
(1856) Page Views

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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Gregg Rolie & Alan Haynes - photo by Michael Sherer

Gregg Rolie & Alan Haynes - photo by Michael Sherer

Gregg Rolie & Alan Haynes
Iridium, NYC, 3.2.12
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Apr 2012
(2234) Page Views

As a founding member of Santana and then Journey, Gregg Rolie has an illustrious past. Since ‘80 though, when he left Journey, he’s had a much lower key life. That’s the kind of performance that he led at the Iridium, a jazz geared club in the heart of midtown Manhattan. With only Rolie’s piano and singing accompanied by guitarist Alan Haynes, it was a bluesy, mellow and soulful affair. There were some well known songs from Rolie’s past, such as such as Evil Ways and Black Magic Woman by Santana, and the lesser known Look Into The Future by Journey, and the rest were a hodge podge that included songs that he and Haynes have composed together.

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