Archive for the ‘Lexington and beyond’ Category

(Taken from Absalom Absalom's official Facebook page)

Last Tuesday, April 17, a concert was held on the rooftop of Kresge dorm, featuring local bands Living with Hermits and Absalom Absalom.

Absalom Absalom is based out of Lexington, Ky., and consists of guitarists Gideon Maki, Andrew Foster and Colin Cook, drummer Daniel Gallutia and lead singer Stephen Gallutia.

They have two albums out: “a day of Death, a day of Birth, a chasing after the Wind” and “We Grow Together,” in addition to an EP project, “Bootleg Radio.”  “We Grow Together” is their most recent album, which came out in Jan. 2012.

I wasn’t able to go to the concert, but my roommate, Julia Hudson, was in attendance, and has gone to many other of their performances. “Absalom puts on a really good show,” she said. “They provide an atmosphere very conducive to dancing…I had fun bouncing about.”

The last time I saw Absalom Absalom in concert was in 2010 on Halloween, when they played a show in the art studio in downtown Wilmore. What I remember most about them was their passion. They would get so lost in the music that you couldn’t help but get pulled in, too. I also remember people walking through the “stage” while the band was playing to get to the bathroom, which was directly behind them in the cramped studio.

Absalom had the same mesmerizing effect on the crowd on Tuesday night. “It’s cool to see how much the band gets into it,” Julia said. “They all have their own way of moving to the music, but it looks really cool together when the song gets really intense. My favorite song is ‘Thunderclaps,’ the one about birds dying in an oil spill—at least I think that’s what it’s about.”

The band just played a show at Natasha’s Bistro in downtown Lexington this past Sunday, April 22, along with singer/songwriter Sam Lockridge. Their next event will be at Al’s Bar on Saturday, April 28 at 10 p.m., with band Bears of Blue River.

Like Absalom Absalom on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @absalomabsalom. And be sure to check out their website where album downloads are available: http://absalomabsalom.bandcamp.com/

 

Last Sunday night, after the initial opening night fever had died down, I went and watched the most anticipated movie of the year, “The Hunger Games.” As expected, the film was amazing and as a result I want to become Mrs. Mellark more than ever (but what else is new); however, even the soundtrack is being talked about all over Facebook–almost as much as the film itself, even.

“The Hunger Games” was filmed primarily in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, which is why the soundtrack’s folk sound is so appropriate. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Taylor Swift described the album as, “Appalachian music 300 years from now–what Americana and bluegrass music would sound like in the future” (http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20419951_20578463,00.html).

Find these songs on iTunes, Spotify or YouTube, and decide for yourself if they sound like futuristic folk or not:

1.      Arcade Fire, “Abraham’s Daughter.” Arcade Fire won Album of the Year at the 2011 GRAMMYs, and for good reason. This song has a dark, eerie feel to it, which is perfect since “The Hunger Games” film is sinister, too.

2.      The Secret Sisters, “Tomorrow Will Be Kinder.” This is a beautifully simple folk song about how much life sucks. I love it. Its premise is that, although everything is terrible right now, things will get better in the morning: “Sorrow weighs my shoulders down and trouble haunts my mind, but I know the present will not last and tomorrow will be kinder.”

3.      Neko Case, “Nothing to Remember.” This is a celebration song with a great sound. It just makes me happy; that’s all there is to it.

4.      Taylor Swift, featuring The Civil Wars, “Safe & Sound.” This is by far the most popular song on the album, but I’ll be honest: putting teen idol Taylor Swift and one of my favorite bands, The Civil Wars, together in one song did not appeal to me. However, after actually hearing the song, I have mended my ways. If Taylor keeps cranking out more songs like this, I will no longer write her off as a happy-go-lucky pop star.

 5.      Kid Cudi, “The Ruler and the Killer.” Wait, what is Kid Cudi doing on this album? It actually works, somehow. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite song, but it gives the soundtrack an edgier feel. When I listen to this track, I feel like I’m Katniss striding through the forest about to take down a young elk with my bow and arrow.

 6.      Punch Brothers, “Dark Days.” Easygoing and folksy, this song is complete with mandolins, violins and beautiful harmony.

 7.      The Decemberists, “One Engine.” This is one of the more upbeat songs on the album, as you’d except from The Decemberists. There’s even a snare drum and electric guitar—how’d they get on this soundtrack, anyways?

 8.      The Carolina Chocolate Drops, “Daughter’s Lament.” This track makes me feel like I am standing in a clearing in the woods with one of the members of Celtic Woman as she serenades me. If this song were a river, I would swim in it.

 9.      The Civil Wars, “Kingdom Come.” Again, I love The Civil Wars, so anything they sing is like pumpkin ice cream for my soul. All that Joy Williams and John Paul White need are their wonderfully-compatible voices and an acoustic guitar, and they’re golden.

 10.  Glen Hansard, “Take the Heartland.” Although Hansard is the lead singer of indie rock band The Frames, I can’t stand this song. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the album at all.

 11.  Maroon 5, featuring Rozzi Crane, “Come Away to the Water.” I’m not the biggest fan of the pop rock band Maroon 5, but lead singer Adam Levine’s nasally voice actually works in this song. The haunting melody is far removed from Levine’s usual sound, and I’m okay with it.

 12.  Miranda Lambert, featuring Pistol Annies, “Run Daddy Run.” Although country music isn’t my preferred choice, this is probably one of my favorite songs on the whole album. The mandolin in the background gives it a folksy feel, which I love. Well done, Miranda. None of this “Gunpowder and Lead” crap.

 13.  Jayme Dee, “Rules.” I will admit that I’d never heard of this artist before, but now that I have, I’m a huge fan. This song doesn’t just sound lovely, but the lyrics are beautiful, too: “This blood keeps me alive, but what is it that runs through you? Electricity and wires, dictating everything you do. You tell me that you hear me and all your memories are real, but how do I know you don’t just feel what you’ve been told to feel?”

 14.  Taylor Swift, “Eyes Open.” Taylor has come a long way since “Teardrops on my Guitar,” but she still has some room to grow. This song—although catchy—is a bit too cliché to be on this album, in my opinion.

 15.  The Low Anthem, “Lover is Childlike.” This song is easygoing and entirely lovely–a clarinet makes an appearance at one point.

16.  Birdy, “Just a Game.” I love Birdy, particularly her cover of “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver.  This song is from Katniss’s point of view and is all about the love game that she and Peeta have to play in order to stay alive during the Hunger Games. The lyrics are very specific to the storyline, too: “Take my hand and my heart races. Flames illuminate our faces, and we’re on fire. Blow a kiss to the crowd; they’re our only hope now. And now I know my place, and now I know my place: we’re all just pieces in their games.” It’s a beautiful and poignant way to end the album.

My only question is this: why aren’t  The Weepies or The Head and the Heart on this soundtrack? Please work on that for “Catching Fire,” you movie people.

(Soundtrack list courtesy of amazon.com)

Christian artist Brandon Heath opening for Third Day on their "Revelation Tour," 2009. (source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Christian music industry has blown up in recent years, pumping out artists like it’s the way to win souls. Not that the Christian genre is in itself bad, but to some in our generation, it falls on deaf ears.

I grew up in a God-fearing home, went to a private school and now go to Asbury University, but I can’t stand listening to mainstream Christian music.

Why? Well, for one, it’s been stuffed down my throat my whole life. We sing the songs in Church, blast them on the radio on family road trips and receive them for Christmas in CD-form from well-meaning family members. And since we have become so saturated with it, we are now desensitized. “Open the Eyes of My Heart” just doesn’t move us like it did when we were children belting it out in Sunday School.

In some ways, the accessibility of Christian music has actually made it lose its meaning. It’s like that one pop song you used to like when it first came out until they played it on the radio for two months straight…except imagine that for your whole life.

Not only that, but most Christian music sounds the same, to be frank. Brandon Heath sounds like Aaron Shust who is indistinguishable from Chris Tomlin. Each song starts with a quiet, heartfelt intro, and then comes the acoustic guitar, which slowly crescendos into the chorus where the drums and electric guitar join the club. There’s a bridge, a key change, some high notes, at least one profound—but cliché—statement about life, and end.

Perhaps it’s the alternative culture we’ve found ourselves in, but for some reason, our generation tends to shy away from the conventional. Matthew West, who is often featured on local radio stations like K-Love and Air1, just doesn’t have that unique sound that Christian indie artists like Gungor or Asbury’s own Jenny & Tyler have.

I, personally, feel like my mother (bless her heart) when I listen to a Christian radio station, because that’s the kind of music that she listens to. So, perhaps in an attempt to be my own person and all that, I rebel, and instead escape to the less-familiar genres of indie-folk and synth-pop that have less childhood connotations. It is there that I have a chance to build my own musical tastes without the influence of my Church upbringing.

And honestly, our generation is tired. We’ve heard the same songs, messages and chord successions since we were in the cradle. It’s not that we’re opposed to the idea of worship music, but we long for a new approach to it. After all, doesn’t the Bible itself say in Psalms 61:7, “Sing a new song to the LORD!”? A new song. How interesting. It doesn’t say, “Sing the same songs you’ve known by heart since the third grade!”

Many of us are sincere in our faith, passionate about Christ and are eager to worship Him, but we need to find our own way to do it. And didn’t generations before us do the same thing? In fact, back in the time of Martin Luther (who wrote “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” by the way), even hymns were considered too creative and altogether scandalous. Then there came the charismatic hippies of the ‘60s who brought guitars and (no, it can’t be) dancing into the sacred house of God.

Maybe in 20 years the elder members of Church congregations will complain that the mandolins are too loud or that the music “just doesn’t speak to them the same way that Brandon Heath’s songs did.” But if the Church doesn’t make changes to ensure that it stays relevant in today’s culture, it will surely fall by the wayside.

Boyce Avenue concert

Posted: March 19, 2012 by Shelby Weakley in Lexington and beyond

With two large black x’s on my hands, I waited outside Marathon Music Works in Nashville.  The cold, smoky air could not quench my excitement to see what I had been waiting for since Christmas. “When you reach the door, have your ID and tickets in hand,” yelled the gateman. It was time.

This past Christmas, my boyfriend gave me two concert tickets to a band that I knew very little about: Boyce Avenue. I had listened to a few of their covers before then, and didn’t realize that I had mentioned them to him.  But like with any music that I am introduced to, I did my research. Boyce Avenue is an up-and-coming band of three brothers that reaches their audience mainly through YouTube, and is gaining popularity with their unique, acoustic covers of popular songs. I fell in love with the songs, such as my favorite and popular pick, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

When Jeremiah (my boyfriend) and I walked into the venue, I anxiously made my way to the stage. Ensuring that we were in a comfortable and close spot, we waited and stood while the show was getting started. The opening act was a band from Kansas, called The After Party, a pop/skater band whose band members were apart of the 2010 high school graduating class. They played cute, poppy songs that dealt with the same “boy-meets-girl” love and high school romance.  Secondhand Serenade followed, as one-man band man, John Vesely sang his set.

In between songs, Vesely would say non Asbury Appropriate words and even dared someone to bring him a beer, which was very entertaining to watch the toast happen on stage.  I was mildly amused, but was even more anxious to see the next and final act.

Then, the lights dimmed.  The first chords of the song “Daylight” were strummed, and I was in heaven.  Boyce Avenue came onto the stage and jumped right into their original music, songs including: “When the Lights Die,” “Every Breath,” and a big hit, “Find Me.” I was surprised at this action, thinking that they would perform covers rather than their personal set list.  Though this longing was fulfilled by covers of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love.”

Though I did not stay for the encore, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and can bet that I will be looking for another chance to see Boyce Avenue live. It was an experience that any music lover would crave to have. I can’t wait to have my moment, when a certain song comes on the radio, and I will be able to say “O Boyce Avenue? I saw them before they were mainstream.”

March music madness

Posted: February 28, 2012 by Leslie Ferrell in Lexington and beyond

With March right around the corner, there are some great concerts coming up in Lexington and close by in Louisville, Cincinnati and Nashville that you will not want to miss.

The Black Keys

Friday, March 2

U.S. Bank Arena – Cincinnati

The Black Keys will be on tour with their latest album “El Camino” featuring songs including “Lonely Boy.”

Brad Paisley

Saturday, March 3

Rupp Arena – Lexington

Brad Paisley will be in Lexington with The Band Perry. With these two very popular and loved names in country music, it is sure to be a great show.

Boyce Avenue with Secondhand Serenade

Sunday, March 4

Marathon Music Works – Nashville

Known especially for their cover songs, including “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry, Boyce Avenue will be in concert with Secondhand Serenade, most popularly known for their song “Fall for You.”

Winter Jam

Saturday, March 10

Rupp Arena – Lexington

Who would want to miss several popular Christian artists all in one place for only $10? This year Winter Jam will be hosted by Newsong and will feature Skillet and Sanctus Real among many other popular names in Christian music.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Tuesday, March 20

Rupp Arena – Lexington

Trans-Siberian Orchestra continues to be well known for their amazing Christmas orchestrations. They are sure to give a performance complete with amazing lights and loud music.

Miranda Lambert

Saturday, March 24

KFC Yum! Center – Louisville

Miranda Lambert was just in Lexington this past weekend, and in March she will be playing in Louisville along with special guests Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann, all of whom are sure to give a show that all country fans will enjoy.

Daughtry

Saturday, March 31

Louisville Palace – Louisville

Daughtry will be on tour with their new album that released this past November, “Break the Spell.” This album includes the single “Crawling Back to You” which released in September.

54th annual GRAMMY Awards

Posted: February 21, 2012 by Leslie Ferrell in Lexington and beyond

Last Sunday night, Feb. 12, the 54th annual GRAMMY Awards were held in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Following the sudden death of Whitney Houston, an icon in the music industry, the show had a few more somber, reflective moments than usual, but it was still a great night that has had people talking.

As always, many of today’s most popular artists appeared on the red carpet dressed to impress at Sunday night’sceremony. Music of all genres came together with some of the biggest names, both old and new, including Taylor Swift, Diana Ross, Mumford and Sons, The Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and Nicki Minaj. Hosted by LL Cool J, the show did not disappoint.

Adele was the biggest winner of the night. She won all six of her nominations, including album of the year with “21” and song of the year with “Rolling in the Deep,” which she also performed at the show, a much anticipated performance as it was her first since having throat surgery. The Foo Fighters were right behind her winning five out of their six nominations, including best rock song with “Walk.” Other winners included the Civil Wars winning folk album with “Barton Hollow,” Lady Antebellum winning country album with “We Own the Night,” Chris Brown winning R&B album with “F.A.M.E.,” and Bon Iver winning best new artist.

There were also many momentous performances. Jennifer Hudson performed Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” in memory of the artist. On a different note, Nicki Minaj’s dramatic performance of her upcoming single “Roman Holiday” was one that left people talking. Bruno Mars and Katy Perry performed, as well as Taylor Swift who played the banjo during her performance of her song “Mean,” which also won in the category for best country song.

There were also some combined performances with Rihanna and Coldplay, who performed their new song “Princess of China” from Coldplay’s newest album, “Mylo Xyloto.” Maroon 5 and the up-and-coming Foster the People both played in tribute to the Beach Boys, celebrating their 50th anniversary. The Beach Boys then took the stage to play their song, “Good Vibrations.” Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, and Mark Foster, lead singer of Foster the People, joined the group to finish out the performance.

Overall, this year’s GRAMMY Awards were filled with big winners, many memorable and entertaining performances, and appearances from amazing and esteemed artists, both old and new. It was a music-filled night that only the GRAMMYs can provide.

Super Bowl halftime 2012

Posted: February 7, 2012 by Leslie Ferrell in Lexington and beyond

This past Sunday, people all across the country gathered around their TVs surrounded by friends, family and good food, to watch Super Bowl XLVI. Before the game, Blake Shelton and his wife Miranda Lambert sang “America the Beautiful”, and Kelly Clarkson opened with the national anthem. But after two quarters of touchdowns and tackles made by both the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, Madonna took the field to play in the famous halftime show, which proved to be quite an interesting experience in itself.

As it had been rumored that several other popular artists would join her, Madonna did not disappoint. The show opened with what appeared to be Roman gladiators, and Madonna took the stage singing one of her classics, “Vogue.” Next, the stage turned into a boom box, and Madonna performed “Music,” another fan favorite. She was also joined by the always-partying LMFAO, dressed in costumes of their own, for a brief mix of their most popular hits “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It.”

After this, the stage was filled with cheerleaders, and none other than Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. appeared to feature in their new song with Madonna, “Give Me All Your Luvin’.” As Minaj and M.I.A. made their exit, a drumline emerged with Cee Lo Green entering as the drum major to sing a few measures of Madonna’s “Open Your Heart.”  As the lights went down, a gospel choir appeared, and Green accompanied Madonna to end the show with her classic, “Like a Prayer.”

From dancing Romans to cheerleaders to choirs, this halftime show really had it all, and if you looked away for even just a second you could miss something that still has people talking. Joined by several of today’s popular artists, Madonna performed a mix of beloved classics as well as a taste of her new single, and ended with a pretty cool dramatic exit and the inspiring message of “world peace.”