Show Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


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
(2398) 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
(1665) 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
(2445) 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
(1759) 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
(2126) 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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Andy Mitchell - photo by Michael Sherer

Andy Mitchell - photo by Michael Sherer

The Yardbirds
Live at Irving Plaza, NYC, 2.3.12
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Apr 2012
(1990) Page Views

While The Yardbirds are often thought of as serving as the starting point for, respectively, guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, they are one of the most important rock, blues and pop bands of the ‘60’s. They didn’t become huge like their British counterparts The Beatles, Stones, Kinks, etc., but did have some notable hits such as “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” “Shapes of Things,” and “I’m a Man.”

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Avicii

Avicii

Avicii Keeps The Beat In Milwaukee
22-Year-Old Tim Bergling, Better Known As Avicii, Moves The Masses
Show Review By Mario R. Martin
Posted: Jan 2012
(3713) Page Views

One wouldn’t dare call Milwaukee a DJ city. It’s also not mistaken for the birthplace of electronica or house music. But despite what Milwaukee might be known for, the institution known as The Rave has been good about bringing world renowned DJs to the people of Milwaukee. Saturday was no different when Milwaukee played host to 22-year-old Swedish DJ Avicii (born Tim Bergling).

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Wilco at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, WI

Wilco at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, WI

Wilco w/ Nick Lowe at Riverside Theater

Show Review By Joshua Miller
Posted: Dec 2011
(5438) Page Views

Wilco and Nick Lowe returned to the Riverside Theater with a thrilling night of rock and roll and quality songwriting.

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John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp
Riverside Theater 11/16/11
Show Review By Joshua Miller
Posted: Nov 2011
(3168) Page Views

Although he might often be left out of the conversation when talking about legendary singers, John Mellencamp has chipped out an impressive career of All-American, small-town hardworking folk/rock that’s in a league of its own.  Not only does he know how to create a rock anthem but also knows how to make a song with an impactful message.  While other singers might sing about mortality, faith and relationships, Mellencamp Indiana-raised honest approach has hit home with many people.  Over the past few years Mellencamp has played Milwaukee several times, including a stellar Farm Aid performance.  But in the intimate confines of the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, he and his band seemed to relish the atmosphere and for two hours provided a diverse collection of songs spanning Mellencamp’s career.

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Gordon Lightfoot - photo by Michael Sherer

Gordon Lightfoot - photo by Michael Sherer

Gordon Lightfoot - BB King’s, NYC, 9.12.11
Gordon Lightfoot - BB King's, NYC, 9.12.11
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Oct 2011
(4178) Page Views

Canada’s Gordon Lightfoot gave his audience in the chaotic Times Square his sensitive, thoughtful, personal and self penned folk music, and they appreciated him giving his all in doing so. As it often happens over so many years though, Gord, as he’s affectionately known, doesn’t possess the strength in voice or body of the old days. Given that he’s 73 and suffered a near-fatal abdominal hemorrhage while performing in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario in ‘02, which put him in a coma for weeks, this is not at all surprising. The nearly life ending health scare took a further toll on what had already been a thin and lanky frame. Being a smoker for many decades and continuing to do only worsens things.

It’s clear that Gord does admirably try his best, and in a rather intimate setting like BB King’s, he still comes across with enough conviction to connect. His stellar band supports and accentuates him very effectively. They consist of bassist Rick Haynes, who’s been on board since ‘69, drummer Barry Keane, retained since ‘72, Michael Haffernan on keyboards, present since ‘80, and newcomer Carter Lancaster on guitar, who replaced long time guitarist Terry Clements after his most unfortunate passing from a stroke last year. They gel with exceptional ease, and don’t ever get in Gord’s way, which allows for him to be heard and understood.

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Billy Joel - photo by Michael Sherer

Billy Joel - photo by Michael Sherer

Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame - Marriott Marquis Hotel, NYC, 6.16.11

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Oct 2011
(995) Page Views

The 42nd annual Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame was held on June 16th at the imposing Marriott Marquis Hotel in the middle of Times Square. This year’s ceremony honored John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint. Veteran songwriting team and married couple Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil received the Johnny Mercer Award. The “Towering Song” distinction was “It Was A Very Good Year,” given to composer and lyricist Ervin Drake. The Hal David Starlight Award was also presented to Drake. The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award recipient was Chaka Khan, and the first-ever Visionary Leadership Award was presented to SHOF Chairman Emeritus Hal David.

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Mike Watt at Shank Hall - photo by Joshua Miller

Mike Watt at Shank Hall - photo by Joshua Miller

Mike Watt & the Missingmen
Live @ Shank Hall April 16, 2011
Show Review By Joshua Miller
Posted: Apr 2011
(5425) Page Views

Punk rocker Mike Watt (Minutemen) & the Missingmen played Shank Hall with a lot of energy.

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