Live Reviews

Worldwide concert reviews

Jack White "Plays" Farm Aid

If you want people to want something, tell them they can't have it. From the moment I arrived Saturday morning, the buzz among the photographers was that Jack White wasn't going to allow photography during his set. Never mind the message and purpose of Farm Aid or the other musicians on the bill, "The Story" seemed to be Jack White.   Certain photogs were issued blue wristbands at check-in, but not told why. This only served to add fuel to the rumor mill.  It all seemed too orchestrated.  If it smells like a fish . . ..  Turned out the blue banded photographers...

The War On Drugs Kick Off Tour in Toronto with an Exultant Show, Califone in Steady Tow

The presumption is probably safe that when a musical layman hears the name of a band they assume a sort of democracy.  Who of us has been in a band?  How do they operate from the inside?   Do most bands operate similarly or differently?  Oddly enough the former is probably more true than the latter.  Which is to say that most bands are probably more similar than they are different.  Inevitably even the most democratic-seeming of groups has a musical and business leader and invariably they're one in the same.  Some groups are more group groups but the...

Joe Henry at Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre (Australia - Sept 12, 2014)

I’ve been a fan since 1992’s Short Man’s Room, and I’d been looking forward for months to Joe Henry’s show at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Save for a brief industry showcase in the early 90s I’d never seen Henry live – nor set foot in the gorgeous Elisabeth Murdoch Hall. Two birds with one stone? You never know. The pairing of artist and venue is fraught. Would it work? Would enough of Joe Henry's varied catalogue translate to the duo setting of Henry and son?He’s clearly at home in the studio. Is he as comfortable on stage? Yes, yes, yes and yes. From the first moments...

Sturgill Simpson's Last Small Stage

While such proclamations can ring hyperbolic at times, it’s no stretch to say Sturgill Simpson’s hourlong set before a couple of hundred spectators in a public park a few miles east of Mount Rainier will be the last time he plays a venue that cozy or out of the way. Simpson’s been on the road with Zac Brown, the sort of exposure that portends at least a few years of playing dates far glitzier than Chinook Fest, a charming three-day festival in the middle of nowhere that featured mainly local bands, among them Seattle’s Hobosexual, a raucous two-piece whose uncut rock and witty lyrics bridge...