Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Cactus Blossoms Live Review

Let me start out by saying - I'm not the worlds biggest county fan.  In fact I went to Nashville barely a year ago and when I walked up and down the strip and heard that twangy country music coming out of every boot shop and bar - I didn't care for it.  It all sounded the same to me.  To be fair, I do like some country though.  Anything that is somewhat related to rock, pop, rockabilly, etc. that works for me.

With that being said - I have a total man-crush on The Cactus Blossoms.  HOLY F - are they good.  So good, they brought me over to the dark side that night and I actually enjoyed old time country for about 12 songs (Even bought their live CD after the show)!

Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets Live Review

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets came through Charlotte the night before Brian Setzer's Christmas Rocks! show - so I was treated to TWO nights in a row of Christmas awesomeness!

I'm a big powerpop fan, so having the opportunity to catch Lowe was big on my list of to-dos.  

With the addition of Los Straitjackets - that was just icing on the cake.  

Make that a Christmas show AND you get to hear "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" and a surf version of "Linus and Lucy" - sprinkles on the icing!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Low Volts Live - Pictures

Tim Lowman A.K.A. the Low Volts, was the supporting act for the Christmas Rocks! show last Friday when it rolled through Charlotte.
Being a one man band - I was impressed with how he was able to capture the attention of a 2400 seat theater.

Brian Setzer Orchestra Live Review

Brian Setzer and his orchestra made a stop in Charlotte a couple of nights ago and I finally had a chance to see him do his big band show after a number of years.

I've been to my fair share of concerts.  I mostly go see acts that I dig, with the occasional show of an artist I'm not familiar with.  Some shows are OK, some are good, (some opening acts are horribly bad) and some shows are great.  

Then there's the show where I leave with a crater between my shoulders because the show absolutely blew me away.

The Setzer concert falls unequivocally into the last category.  

What. A. Concert.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Grace Potter Live Review Charlotte NC

Grace Potter came to the Fillmore in Charlotte last week and absolutely killed it.  

The only performances of Potter's that I had seen prior to the concert were on YouTube (With one of the best performances being "Paris" on the Late Show With David Letterman - see link below).  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Particle Visulite Theatre 10/9/2015 Review

Particle rolled through Charlotte with their Accelerator Tour a while back and I had a chance to check it out.  (Who am I kidding, I generally never miss these guys when they come to town)  

Monday, October 12, 2015

LH Labs Geek Out V2 Review


When it comes to new versions of anything, it’s always a little "iffy" whether you should upgrade or not.  I myself was skeptical when it came to my current DAC.  My Geek Out 450 sounded so good – it was hard to believe LH Labs could make the Geek Out V2 sound THAT much better and justify the upgrade. 

Curiosity killed the cat and I decided to take the plunge and recently received the Geek Out V2 that I ordered (and paid for) and finally had the time to put it through its paces.

I’ve put together a nice article that compares the two units so if you are in the market for a new portable DAC or are thinking about upgrading your current Geek Out…read on!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ministry Pics

In this post we welcome a local guest photographer by the name of Ken Bloch, Jr. (@KenBlochPhoto).  Ken contributed some pics from a recent Ministry concert.

Check out some of his other work at @KenBlochPhoto.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

St. Vincent Live - Review

Shortly after the Earth Wind & Fire concert, I had the pleasure of seeing St. Vincent at the Fillmore.  

What a show! 

In all honesty, before this concert I was really only a casual fan.  I’ve watched her performances on YouTube, listened to her albums in the background while working, but if you asked me to recite some lyrics – there’s no way I could do it (besides maybe a chorus or two).  At the same time, I was extremely excited about seeing the show because of all of the performances I've seen online.  If she was that good on video, the real thing should be spectacular.

Earth Wind And Fire Live Review

I finally had the opportunity to see Earth, Wind & Fire the other day - a band that I’ve always wanted to see.  I’ve seen their live shows on Palladia a bunch of times and the shows always looked like a a lot of fun - so it was great to finally attend a show.

The band started a little late that night and although waiting for a concert can sometimes be annoying for a fan, the band had good reason to delay the start of this show.  People just kept coming and coming and coming.  Driving up to the concert there was a line of traffic and then once you parked the line was around the corner to get into the venue - needless to say, it was a PACKED house that night.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Zappa Plays Zappa Review

I recently had the opportunity to photograph the Zappa Plays Zappa show when Dweezil and company came to town.  I’m familiar with some of Frank Zappa’s catalog, but by no means am I an expert in all things Zappa.  I've watched plenty of YouTube videos of Frank back in the day and Dweezil, so I was still plenty excited to see the show.

The show kicked off with the band playing the entire One Size Fits All album from start to finish.  Once they ripped through the album, they tore through a bunch of selections from the Zappa catalog including:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Joan Jett And The Blackhearts Duluth, GA Review

Joan Jett opened for The Who in Duluth, GA last week - and man, did she bring the place down!  While I normally only write a blurb about the opening band (If there is an opening band) at a concert, Jett and The Blackhearts did so well that I felt they deserved their own review.

The Set List

The Who Hits 50! Duluth, GA Review

I caught The Who with Joan Jett last week in Duluth, Ga.  The combination of the two was a perfect bill.  Jett and The Blackhearts did an amazing job as an opening act (you can read about it HERE) and The Who kept the party rolling with a combination of great playing and entertaining interludes. 

Anyone that has been to a ton of shows knows that the worst part of a concert is waiting.  Waiting for the opening act to start, waiting while the opening act’s equipment is broken down, and then waiting for the headliner to start.  What this usually means is that you’re stuck looking at an empty stage and listening to some pre-selected music to pass the time.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

G. Love Interview

I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Garrett Dutton (G. Love) about the G. Love & Special Sauce album Sugar a couple of weeks ago.

The interview has received rave reviews from die-hard G. Love fans and is probably the best interview I've done yet.

We explored everything from the album making process, to touring, to Dutton's roots as a street performer.  He was very candid and an absolute pleasure to work with.

So sit back, relax, and have a listen to TheSoliLama.com G. Love interview!!

The G. Love Sugar Interview

The Soli Lama YouTube Channel

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

G. Love The Sugar Blues Tour Review

The Sugar Blues Tour came rolling through Charlotte on Saturday and absolutely smoked the Fillmore to the ground. 

The night started out on a mellow note when G. Love’s Brushfire Records label mate, Matt Costa, took on opening duties to warm the crowd up.  There was a pretty good crowd developing at the Fillmore when Costa started his set, but by the time G. Love & Special Sauce took the reigns - it was a packed house.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Particle Spring Tour 2015 Charlotte Review

On the 3rd night of the 2015 Spring Tour, Particle made a stop in Charlotte, NC with Greenhouse Lounge pulling supporting duties.

I hadn't seen Particle since the end of the Calilicious Tour in Asheville, which I believe was one of the last shows with Charlie Hitchcock.  Since then there’s been a few roster changes and now the band website (http://www.particlepeople.com) lists the current members as: Steve Molitz on keys, Ben Combe on guitar, Clay Parnell on bass, and Brandon Draper on drums (For the Spring Tour, Allen Aucoin will be on drums).

When a band has lineup changes, in my mind there’s always the question of, “Will they sound the same as when I saw them last”?  I’m here to report that yes, they sound the same but with one important distinction…

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Howard Jones Engage Review

Engage is Howard Jones’ project that brings together his classic synth pop style with a number of different forms of art.  In his promotional video on PledgeMusic (Essential it’s the artists sales pitch on why you should contribute to their new project) he explained that he didn’t want to create just another studio album or live DVD, he wanted it to be an immersive experience with dramatic visuals that coordinated with the music.  This project was to combine elements from all of his influences including:

  • Classical Music
  • Electronic Music
  • Pop Music
  • Cinema
  • Contemporary dance
  • Ballet
  • Philosophy

WOW!  This was an exciting prospect for some new music.  Although I have a hard time getting into and appreciating dance and ballet, everything else on that list was right up my alley.  I’m a huge fan of prog rock, which took elements from different forms of music and combined them into something new.  Much in the way progressive music incorporated the ideas of classical music and complex conceptual ideas, Howard appeared to have taken a step to elevate the synth pop style he’s known for…but would this be a successful marriage?  Would my pre-order be worth it? 

Let’s find out…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LH Labs Verb Review

LH Labs recently sent me a pair of the new Verb earbuds that are currently being offered through their Geek Wave campaign (On Indiegogo) for review.  LH Labs actually has two versions of their earbuds coming to market.  The first version, known as Geek IEM on the campaign (Verb), is the version I was sent –which is unbalanced.  The second version is fully balanced and is called Geek IEM-X ($69 perk price).  Those earbuds should be coming out a few weeks after the Verb starts shipping here shortly.

The Verb is more of a “mainstream” set of buds, meaning the tuning is more U shaped.  If you sniff around on the various audiophile websites and forums, you’ll see that a lot of people that consider themselves audiophiles prefer a flat tuning.  In fact, I’ve seen the U / V shape tuning referred to as “Kiddie Tuning”.  

If you’re a “mainstream” listener and don’t know what all of that means – don’t worry about it.  All you need to know is that these earbuds will perform like the ones that came with your phone…on steroids.  If on the other hand, you are an audiophile and prefer a flat tuning - these earbuds are not for you.  Not to worry though, the Geek IEM-X will be fully balanced and have that “Big Boy” flat tuning which you desire. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Jellyfish Remasters By Omnivore Recordings - Hit...OR A Miss?

Many People remember the day The Beatles appeared on Sullivan for the first time, or when Lennon died, or…fill in the blank.  I remember the day when April gave me a tape of Bellybutton and Spilt Milk.  It was probably about 1994 or ’95 and I was working at Disc Jockey, a record store in the local mall.  Everyone there knew I was a huge Beatle nut.  For whatever reason, the topic came up and I believe Tom (The manager and fellow Beatle freak) was the one who asked if I had ever heard of Jellyfish.  “Who are they?” I said.  “OH MAN! You have to hear these guys.”  

A few days later at the end of my shift April finally handed me a tape that would change my musical life.  I still remember where we were in the store – right in front of the check out island.  I walked to my car and popped in the tape and HOLY S#@T what was this?!?!  Like everyone else that hears "The Man I Used To Be" for the first time, I was floored.  I devoured the tape so many times, I'm surprised I didn't wear the tape out.   I finally called my uncle/musical mentor and said, “Have you ever heard of Jellyfish?”  He said, “Yeah, I could have seen them in Detroit for 6 bucks with World Party and skipped the show – biggest mistake I’ve ever made!”

The point of the story is to disclose that yes, I’m an Uber Fan.  I don’t have as much Jellyfish stuff as Pablo Melons (Actually, I don’t think anyone does), but I’ve definitely bought a few things off of eBay in my day.  I'm also the type of fan that buys all of the offspring work (Sextus, Imperial Drag, Moog Cookbook, Umajets, Falkner, Grays, Manning, Etc.) as well. 

In fact I still buy CDs like Bent Van Looy just because Jason produced it or CDs where Roger just played Keyboards...just to hear him play.  I nearly bought Alanis Morissette tickets just to see Imperial Drag (Thank God I didn’t) and almost drove 4 hours to see Coward in hopes that Roger might be playing with them, I’ve driven 4 hours to see the Drag, this past summer I drove 3 hours by myself just to see Roger play with Beck (and was pleasantly surprised to see Jason as well).  And the worst bonehead move I made?  Yeah, that was probably when I met a keyboard player named Phil Bennett who plays with Starship.  They came into Disc Jockey killing time one day and then a few of us ended up hanging out with Phil after we closed.  All I could do was ask him if he knew who Roger Manning was and was he into Jellyfish...yeah you get the picture.  Not my proudest moment - I think it might be a right of passage to act like an idiot when you meet your first "rockstar"...and that was mine.  The things you do when you're 16!

Now that we have our disclosure that I'm a huge Jellyfish fan out of the way, let's get into the review.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How To Get Famous Artists To Play On Your Album: The Toxic Melons Interview

As a follow up to my review of Bus Therapy by Toxic Melons, I was able to get Paul Fairbairn of Toxic Melons to sit down with me and talk about the album.

I'm really excited about this interview.  I really wanted to explore how Paul made this album with all of the different artists that he was able to pull in to play on it.  I think other artists can really benefit from listening to this interview and it will point them in the right direction if they ever had aspirations of working with their heroes on their own albums.

Toxic Melons Interview

The Soli lama YouTube Channel (You can subscribe HERE)

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Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Toxic Melons Bus Therapy Album Review

Through my interview with Jason Falkner, I discovered two power pop gems at the end of 2014 - one through Jason himself (which I will be discussing in a later post), and one where the band actually reached out to me. 

Being that this isn’t my full time job, I don’t have time to listen to every album that someone sends along.  But in this case, it was worth taking the time for a listen because of the names in the power pop genre that contributed to the album.  So when Paul Fairbairn of Toxic Melons emailed me and mentioned that Linus of Hollywood, Taylor Locke, Chris Price, and Eric Dover (among others) had all contributed to the project, I had to take a listen!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm Back!

I'm back from India and made it through the holidays!

I have one interview in the can and a review for that same artist.  Also working on another interview with an artist who's review should be up by this weekend (Tuesday at the latest).

Looking forward to a great year of interviews, reviews, and everything else!