Off Beat Music Guide

More on Bon Iver August 6, 2011

Filed under: Concerting — bethstephenson84 @ 10:37 am
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I found a couple of pretty amazing videos of the band’s performances of “Skinny Love” and “The Wolves (Act I & II)”. They are from the Atlanta show at the Cobb Energy and Performing Arts Center, and it makes me a little sad to see how much better the band is in an indoor venue. I will make sure the next time I see them it is somewhere like this. Just amazing…

Skinny Love


The Wolves (Act I & II)

The Wolves (Act


Concert Review: Lost in the Trees February 3, 2011

Filed under: Concerting,Music,Now Hear This — bethstephenson84 @ 12:17 pm
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Lost in the Trees- Charlotte, NC 1/22/2011

Where: Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC

When: January 22, 2011

I like having concert weekends. The more you can cram into Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, the better. After seeing Those Darlins on Friday, I went back to Snug Harbor on Saturday to hear the much lauded Lost in the Trees.

I’ve done a lot of research on this band, and it seems that the only common denominator is lead singer/composer Ari Picker. The rest of the band has been made up of something like 20 of Picker’s friends who weave in and out of the band as they like.

Picker put together his band of misfits while studying film scoring at Berklee College of Music. And it’s easy to see where his flair for the dramatics has crept into the compositions of Lost in the Trees’ debut LP All Alone in an Empty House. The strings are dark and mysterious, menacing even some times, but the folk elements of the music provide an overall comforting effect.

The variation of the band I saw was comprised of two cellists, a violinist, an accordionist/vocalist, a drummer and Picker on lead vocals/guitar. This was a sound the likes of which the punk/rock-in-roll venue, Snug Harbor had never heard.

Picker opened the set with vocalist/accordionist Emma Nadeau in a very stark minimalist style. It was a bit shocking to hear Picker’s first few notes burst out amidst the crowd of Pabst Blue Ribbons and decorations of stars and tinsel. His clear and haunting voice, reminiscent of Damien Rice, made for a theatrical backdrop to the other five band members’ parade onto the stage as a giant white dragon. Yep, it was about as weird as it sounds.

Lost in the Trees- Charlotte, NC 1/22/2011

The stage show may have been a little over the top. The girls, who all wore dark clothing, glittery eye makeup, and feathers in their hair, were force feeding us their caricatures of woodland sprites.

Yeah, yeah, yeah…we get it; you are “lost in the trees”.

But I have no complaints other than the theatrics. I found the band to be one of those rare treasures that sound even better live.  Their harmonies were lovely and the string instruments absolutely breathtaking.  The band certainly warrants the hype surrounding them.

Pardon the darkness of the videos. Snug Harbor is 99% bar/ 1% concert hall, so dark lighting prevails. Also please pardon the drunk guy beside me who sang/talked the entire time.

Walk Around the Lake

Lovely instrumental while Picker fixes a broken guitar string


Concert Review: Those Darlins with Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent February 2, 2011

Filed under: Concerting,Music,Now Hear This,Uncategorized — bethstephenson84 @ 10:57 pm
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Where: Snug Harbor- Charlotte, NC

When: January 21, 2011

I can’t tell you how impressed I have been with the concert lineup in Charlotte this spring. We are certainly not known for our burgeoning music scene, and I often have to travel to either Raleigh or Atlanta to catch the really good shows, but it feels like the tide might be changing for my little big city.

Those Darlins- Snug Harbor 1/21/2011

My first concert of the New Year was Those Darlins who played a sold out show at Charlotte’s token indie bar, Snug Harbor. And as far as booking goes, the band couldn’t have picked a more perfect place to rock-and-roll in the Queen City.

As it sometimes happens, opening acts are better than the headliners. The headliners in this case were a great band, but opening act Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent seemed to stun the hipster crowd with their twangy sound.

If you married the smoky, raspy voice of Loretta Lynn with the soulful voice of anyone in Motown, you would have the powerhouse voice of Cary Ann Hearst. What this little lady lacks in height she makes up for big time in sound and presence. Michael Trent was a pleasant addition, but Ms. Hearst could have sung names out of the phone book, and brought down the house on her own merits.

If Cary Ann Hearst was ice cream Sunday of the night, then Those Darlins were the cherry on top. They were just what you would expect from their album: loud, tatted up, and absolutely gorgeous. With their mix of Rockabiliy and 60’s pop, this all girl band ripped Snug Harbor a new one.

I have mentioned this before about Snug Harbor, but it doesn’t hurt to mention again, the sound quality at the venue is pitiful. It was sort of fun when I saw Japandroids there because it added to their garage band feel. With Those Darlins though, I really thought it was a hindrance to their show. You couldn’t hear the lyrics very clearly and the sound guy had cranked the guitar amps up way too high.  Luckily those ladies were bad ass enough to still make the show fun.

I was stuck at the back of the bar, so I didn’t get any of my own video footage, but here are some videos of both Cary Ann Hearst and Those Darlins. It’s worth the listen.

Cary Ann Heart- Hell’s Bells

Those Darlins- Red Light Love


Concert Review: OK Go May 26, 2010

Filed under: Concerting,Music,Uncategorized — bethstephenson84 @ 8:29 pm
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Where: Visulite Theatre- Charlotte, NC

When: May 12, 2010

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. If you like this band’s music videos then you will definitely like their live show. Cool effects, random bell playing and tons of confetti made this show one of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen in a while. Now if we could only keep lead singer Damian Kulash from spouting out ridiculousness in between songs…

Here are some of the videos I took during the show. Enjoy!

I Want You So Bad I Can’t Breathe

What To Do (Bell Version)

This Too Shall Pass


Concert Review: Alberta Cross May 13, 2010

Filed under: Concerting,Music,Uncategorized — bethstephenson84 @ 12:37 pm
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Where: Visulite Theatre

When: May 5, 2010

I don’t claim to know many things, but I feel pretty confident saying I know southern rock. I was raised in Alabama, where kids know the words to the entire Lynard Skynyrd catalog before they’re taught the Pledge of Allegiance…I know southern rock.

So what an odd and pleasant surprise to find a British/Los Angles based band trying to revive southern rock (sorry Southern friends, it may come as a shock that it ever died) and they are doing a darn good job at it!

Alberta Cross’ southern rock inspired album Broken Side of Time was one of my favorite albums of last year, and when I heard they were coming to Charlotte, I was beside myself.

This concert was my first at the Visulite Theatre in Charlotte, and upon walking in I was confused as to why this venue didn’t support the same acts as Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC…and then I saw the crowd (or lack thereof) that showed up. I’m not going to turn this into a rant about my city, but let’s just say you can’t gripe about the lack of bands touring in your city if you don’t show up to the ones that do. There, I’ve said my peace.

Back to the band.

I like this band’s style, both personal and musical. And though they played to less than a full house, they really put on a good show.

Lead singer, Petter Ericson, donned his trademark hat and unforgiving skinny jeans (which gave “skinny” a whole new meaning).  And as I watched him hide behind his long hair and large hat, I started to wonder if he just wasn’t self conscious. All I have to say to that, Mr. Ericson, is we all know you’re British and we expect you to have bad teeth, so pull that hair back and let us see whatcha workin’ with!

Regardless of what he’s hiding under there, the boy can sing. And when he belted out “Rise from the Shadows” there was no questioning that fact.

The show lasted about 75 minutes and they covered most of Broken Side and even squeezed in a cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Steel and Glass”.

I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I enjoyed seeing this band live. if you’d like to see all of my videos from this show, you can check out my YouTube page here.

Rise From the Shadows

The Thief and the Heartbreaker

Song 3Three Blues