From Indian Lakes and Tokyo Police Club @ Vinyl Music Hall

 

Photos by Katy Newbill (ktdidit)

It’s always a plus to me when I go to a show and have a lineup of bands that really have nothing in common, other than the fact that they fit in that ever widening definition of alternative rock. The show Sunday night at Vinyl Music Hall was such a show. You had From Indian Lakes going from layered dreaminess to aggressive indie rock, and Tokyo Police Club with their infectious indie pop with a punch. Both bands have seen their fair share of the road, but this was our first opportunity seeing them, having missed Tokyo Police Club at Shaky Knees in 2014 because of scheduling.

From Indian Lakes

We have been following From Indian Lakes since their excellent 2012 release Able Bodies caught our attention and since we have had a regular Wednesday night radio show on Radio Free Pensacola, we have consistently played We Are Sick from that record. They followed that up 2 years later with an equally excellent Absent Sounds, which contains probably one of my all-time favorite songs, Breathe Desperately. Since then they have released the EP Wanderer, which contains three new tracks with acoustic renditions of two tracks from Absent Sounds

From Indian Lakes

All of their recordings are brilliant collections of music which belong in everyone’s personal collection, however hearing the material performed live brings out an edgier sound not found on record.  It’s quite addictive. Makes me want to see them again. During the set, front man Joey Vannucchi promised new music in the near future so we will definitely keep our ears alert for that.

From Indian Lakes

From Indian Lakes

Tokyo Police Club burst on the scene in 2006 with A Lesson In Crime, which contains Cheer It On (a station favorite!). They followed that up with a classic record Elephant Shell. Each record is filled with alternative rock goodness both aggressive yet catchy. Both records solidified their place on the festival circuit and they had garnered spots at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and UK’s Glastonbury.

Tokyo Police Club

2010’s Champ seemed to signify a band on the rise and then they seemed to disappear from the radar a bit. They finally came back on the music scene with 2014’s brilliant Forcefield with its eight minute plus Argentina (Parts I, II, III). We find it very cool that a band whose tracks usually clock in at two and a half to three minutes can pull off an eight minute track. But pull it off they did. 

Tokyo Police Club

Tokyo Police Club

They are currently touring in support of the EP Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Part 1) which brought them to a very excited crowd Sunday night in Pensacola. The band blasted through a set scattered with songs across their entire catalog, and provided an intense musical experience that sounds just as good in a packed club as a large festival stage.

A Night at the Vinyl Music Hall, April 21, 2016

Sara Jane Howland and Katy Newbill

 Photography by Katy Newbill (ktdidit)

I was lucky enough to attend the meet-and-greet with the Joy Formidable, giving fans an informal half hour with the band before the show. The band impressed me with their sincere interest in what I and the other fans there wanted to hear—they came across as genuinely nice people. The band played “The Last Thing on my Mind” and “Lonely,” a lovely pair of acoustic songs with Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan singing and playing guitar; Rhydian Dafydd, the band’s bassist, playing guitar and singing harmony; and Matt Thomas, the drummer, playing a cajon, or drum box.

Ritzy brought her dog, a longhaired dachshund named Tony, who, by the end of the meeting, managed to completely disembowel the stuffed toy he was playing with. 

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

"Ritzty" Brian

"Ritzty" Brian

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

The main event opened with the Helio Sequence, indie rockers out of Portland, Oregon, who created a full, powerful sound. The pair, consisting of Brandon Summers on guitar and vocals, and Benjamin Weikel on drums and keyboards, were enthusiastic and energetic. The size of the band was belied by their sound, which they augmented with looping to create a big, full wall of music. And though they were but small, they were fierce!

The Helio Sequence

The Helio Sequence

The Helio Seuquence

The Helio Seuquence

A shoutout needs to be given to the roadies and other hardworking people who work behind the scenes, as well as onstage, to make the shows possible. They lug equipment on and off stage; they set up and tune the instruments; and they make sure the musicians have what they need to entertain us. And they make the transitions between sets appear quick and painless.

Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

When the Joy Formidable opened for the main set, the sweet acoustic sound of the meet-and-greet was replaced with a long set of hard-driving, alt-rock numbers. The band started with “The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade,” and they played a good portion of their CD The Big Roar with “Whirring,” “Ever-Changing Spectrum of a Lie,” and other songs; then they performed several songs from Wolf’s Law and from their new CD, Hitch. Ritzy shredded the guitar and Rhydian blew up on the bass, while Matt's punchy drums drove the sound, which was big and driving and full of energy. The crowd went wild—the excitement was incredibly loud and almost palpable. It was a good night at the Vinyl!

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

If you weren't there, you should have been. Great night at the Imogene!

            Sara Jane Howland and Katy Newbill

            Photography by Katy Newbill (ktdidit)

 

             John Hart Project and Tyler Mac Band

             John Hart – Guitar and vocals

             Tyler Mac – Guitar and vocals

             Sean Peterson – Bass

             Owen Finley – Bass

             Tucker ZT – Drums

             Isaac Eady – Drums and keyboards

             Adam Cooper – Sax and keyboards

 

 

My voice is hoarse after a night of hollering, woo-hooing, and downright screaming at the Imogene Theatre in Milton, listening and watching and grooving to the musical offerings of the John Hart Project.

Katy Newbill and I were there to review the show for the Lost Sandal and won the lottery! These guys were fabulous, and the rest of the audience thought so too. We weren’t the only ones losing our voices!

It was my first time at the Imogene, and the first person I met was Kyle Verner, the manager,  who told me about the theatre. Originally an opera house, the Imogene Theatre, built in 1913, is currently owned by the Santa Rosa Historical Society. In addition to hosting concerts, the theatre is used for weddings, family reunions, and other events. 

Kyle Verner outside the Imogene Theater in Milton   https://www.facebook.com/TheImogeneTheatre/?fref=ts   Click Picture to Go To Imogene Theater Facebook Page

Kyle Verner outside the Imogene Theater in Milton  

https://www.facebook.com/TheImogeneTheatre/?fref=ts   Click Picture to Go To Imogene Theater Facebook Page

The main room is upstairs, has beautiful wooden floors, a balcony that spans three sides of the room, and fantastic acoustics—very much the small opera house. It's an intimate setting that allows a close view of the stage wherever one happens to be sitting.

The bar served beer, including two selections from the Pensacola Bay Brewery. Cajun Meat Train "New Orleans Cravin's To-GO" provided great food; the red beans and rice were wonderful. They also had some pulled pork nachos and other offerings. 

The sound was provided by Patty Briggs' Promotion and Sound (https://www.facebook.com/promotionandsound/)—it was amazing to watch how sound was managed by the soundman walking around with an iPad, making adjustments from all parts of the theatre!

 

Because the theatre was originally an opera house, the stage is particularly beautiful and provides a great space for the band. The John Hart Project, for this night, also included the Tyler Mac Band. The two bands intermingled, with musicians appearing on- and offstage for different numbers that featured their individual talents. 

The show opened with John Hart playing an acoustic solo, a sweet, lovely, folky song, "I'll Always Come Back to You." He was joined by Adam Cooper on sax for the second number, a kind of jazzy song, "Gotta Let the Music Flow." Sean Peterson on bass and Isaac Eady on drums joined them for the third song, "Scared of the Light," another nice, jazzy tune. The John Hart Project played some nice R&B and blues, with Adam Cooper playing sweet, sexy saxophone and John Hart playing soulful guitar while Peterson and Eady kept the groove solid.

Tyler Mac came onstage and joined John Hart for a great rendition of "Shoes," a nice bluesy tune. The magic of the two of them together doubled the energy of the audience.

Tucker ZT took over for Isaac Eady on the drums, and John Hart left the stage, leaving the Tyler Mac Band onstage. The band played some great blues numbers, R&B—great tuneage and strong guitar. John Hart returned to the stage for several numbers, and the band members had a chance to solo and show off their chops in a long number. Finley played some great funky bass with some cool fuzz effects; Cooper's soulful sax solo was incredible; Tucker ZT killed on the drums; and of course, Mac's guitar solos were electrifying.

John Hart rejoined the band for a nice swampy blues number, and then Isaac Eady joined on keyboards for an amazing cover of the Allman Brothers' "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"—I could not stay in my seat!

For the finale, both bands came on stage and played the rest of the set—another half hour at least—and had the audience rocking out to a powerful finish and even returned for an encore. These guys obviously loved playing, and the audience loved hearing them play!

Voodoo…..And then the rain came.

We have covered our fair share of festivals. By the middle of day two, you wonder what you have (again) gotten yourself into. By early day three you cannot wait to hear that last note of the last song by the last day’s headliner so you can get home and get into your warm bed. Voodoo Experience in New Orleans never seems to feel that way for some reason. Maybe it’s the time of year, a slight chill in the air, and Halloween that make it so special. Especially in a city like New Orleans. The cool crisp air, the architecture of the buildings, the moss hanging from the trees, all add up to a unique experience. Just walking into the festival grounds you wonder what spirits or ghouls lay just around the corner. While there were plenty of ghouls, goblins, monsters, and superheroes in the crowd, the majority of the musical acts got in on the Halloween fun as well. Jason Isbell and band performed their set all dressed as Batman. The Suffers all dressed as Andrew W.K. donning white pants and t-shirts, chins and chests stained blood-red as if they had just dined on human flesh. And Florence and the Machine performed a truly spectacular set to top off the first day, all in Day of the Dead face.

Florence of Florence and the Machine haunts Voodoo on opening night

Florence and the Machine

Jason Isbell "I'm Batman"

Joey Bada$$ and the Soul Rebels

Maybe it is the food. Voodoo Experience almost always has a great selection of food centered on the taste of New Orleans. Missing are the typical county fair food venders. If you want to try Cajon cooking, you will find it en masse at Voodoo. The minute I walked into the festival, I first set out in search of coffee. At Hangout Fest, I can always rely on the coffee vender being right where they were the year before and ready to feed my addiction. It did not take me long to find the coffee at Voodoo. And Ice Coffee too! Oh, so good. I told the nice lady at the coffee stand that we would grow to be friends over the weekend. And we did. I also frequented a taco stand that had the most incredible tacos in which you could order 3 and choose from BBQ (good), Carnitas (Great), Vegan (Don’t know), or Beef & Chorizo (awesome!) mix and match. Dear lord. I miss them….

Peaches

Santigold braves the rain

Santigold

It definitely was NOT the weather. Voodoo Experience usually takes place when there is a slight chill to the air (unless it was the 2013 Nine Inch Nails set which was freezing) with clear skies. Day one was uncharacteristically cloudy, warm, and very humid. Day two started out the same way but by the time Clutch hit the Alter stage in the early afternoon, the rain went from a slight sprinkle to a downpour. Trying to take photos of the sets by Peaches and Santigold all but did my camera in. It still does not work. Unfortunately, some of the best sets of the festival were during the worst of the downpour. The crowds for Peaches and later, Babes in Toyland were sparse and only thinned out even more as the night progressed for the later acts. Day two headliner Ozzy Osbourne repeatedly thanked the crowd for enduring the weather for his show. The major casualty of the rain was Day three. Cancelled. The continuous downpour from Saturday and overnight with the threat of even more rain forced the organizers to cancel. To be honest, this was a good call. I had been looking forward to many of the acts on Day three, but trekking across the festival grounds from Steve Angello’s set on the Le Pleur stage to catch the rest of Ozzy Osbourne on the Alter stage felt like making my way through the jungles of the Congo, with water and mud reaching has high as my shins in some places. 

Florence and the Machine

Hundred Waters

Hundred Waters

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas

The Joy Formidable

Modest Mouse

It most definitely is the music. This year’s edition of Voodoo Experience once again provided an eclectic mix of different musical tastes and genres. There are always some gems in the Voodoo lineup that are worth taking time to check out. Hank & Cupcakes was such a gem. Hank & Cupcakes have played Pensacola a couple of times and it was great to see them again. Sagit Shir and Ariel Scherbacovsky are a couple of the hardest working performers in the music business and they took full advantage of their time in front of a growing early crowd. I was able to speak with Sagit before their set and they are hoping to confirm a night at Vinyl Music Hall during the 2016 Pensacon. They would be the perfect act for a Pensacon crowd. Can we make this happen? The Joy Formidable provided an early face melting on the main Alter stage in the early afternoon of Day one. Having seem them many times before, I was pumped up for their set and spent a good amount of time in the media tent motivating and building up the anticipation in some of my friends in the press corp who had never seen them before. They did not let us down. Always providing a loud, boisterous, and energized set, The Joy Formidable in my opinion are one of the best live bands out there. In addition to all of the usual favorites, they debuted a new track, “Passerby” which maintains the heaviness of their earlier work. We also caught up with the band at the Toyota Music Den for a short “unplugged set” and a quick conversation. Many things to look forward to in the coming year from Joy including a new record in February and a lengthy tour in support of it. Public Image Limited and leader John Lydon held their own during the downpour Saturday night, providing a loud and energetic set in which the crowd seemed to get larger and more animated as the rain came down. Public Image Limited is touring behind their latest release “What the Worlds Needs Now….” and Voodoo provided a great opportunity to showcase both old and new tracks.

The Struts

Hank & Cupcakes

Babes in Toyland in the Toyota Music Den

The Toyota Music Den provides the opportunity of seeing some of the bands, DJs, and singers, up close and personal. We were able to witness the “unplugged” set by The Joy Formidable, and an intense set by the incredible Babes in Toyland. Amazingly, the tent was never completely full and I often wondered if people really knew what was going on inside.

Babes in Toyland in the Toyota Music Den

The Joy Formidable in the Toyota Music Den

As we were watching this year’s Coachella live stream back in the spring of this year, there was a significant amount of audio bleed from one stage to another. Having never been to Coachella, I have no idea how close the stages are to each other. In a majority of the festivals that we attend throughout the year, there really never seems to be an issue. Even at Voodoo where the stages are relatively close to each other, it had never before been a problem. This year, however, it was a significant problem, and a number of artists took exception to it. It was extremely irritating during Hundred Waters, who create an ethereal soundscape, to have the band on the main stage almost completely drown them out. The volume from the main stage was simply TOO LOUD. This happened on a number of occasions throughout the two days of music.

Overall, Voodoo Experience continues to be one of our favorite music festivals. The lineup does appear to get smaller and smaller every year, however, the organizers are able to continue to bring diversity in musical styles and genres. The presence of many artists exhibiting their work is also an additional attraction and this year seemed to have a bumper crop of different artists displaying and selling their work. We will be back I am sure, I will just remember to bring rubber boots next time.

Words and Pictures by Clifford Judd




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Left Of The DIal 6/29/15: John Agnello Day!

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