North Carolina festival Mantrabash has announced that it will go on hiatus in 2016. Hosted by the jam band baring its name, The Mantras, Mantrabash has grown steadily since its inception in 2010, featuring bands like Dopapod, The Werks, Particle, Snarky Puppy, TAUK, Aqueous and Consider The Source. In a short statement posted on the festival’s social media pages, Mantrabash organizers state, “Due to circumstances well beyond our control, Mantrabash will be taking this year off. Look for us to be back, better than ever, in 2017… We love you all!”This news comes in the wake of a number of festival hiatuses, including Wakarusa and the Gathering Of The Vibes, as well as a festival terminations in the All Good Music Festival and Tomorrowland. Here’s to the return of Mantrabash in 2017![H/T NYS Music/Cover photo via Mantrabash]
From 2010-2016, AURA Music & Arts Festival held a spot in our hearts as one of the best spring season jam festivals. AURA moved to the beautiful Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in 2013, continuing to bring countless artists to the locale. Just recently, the festival’s 2016 lineup featured The Disco Biscuits, Thievery Corporation and more. Today, however, AURA founder Daryl Wolff has shocked the community by announcing that there will be no more AURA Festivals in years to come.The Many Faces Of AURA Music Festival 2016Wolff penned an open letter to fans everywhere, saying that the festival had exceeded their expectations, but that the team had decided its run had come to an end. “Producing a show of this scale is no easy task for an independent promoter, yet we still managed to pull off consistent growth each and every year since inception…. Pretty amazing!,” writes Wolff. The silver lining: “We’ve still got PLENTY of archives to release from the last seven years, including a complete video recap of the entire history of AURA Music & Arts Festival (coming soon!)…”It’s a sad day for a beloved music festival in the jam scene. You can read Wolff/AURA’s full statement, below.
My Morning Jacket remains as busy as ever these days, having just recently gone through their seminal 2003 album It Still Moves for an extensive re-release. The band also rocked Red Rocks Amphitheatre for two nights, and are set to headline Lockn’ later this summer. So what does the group have in store?According to Jim James, in a new interview, a live album release could be imminent. James was asked about including demos for each track on the It Still Moves re-release, and he spoke about how the songs have changed in the live setting over time. The quote from the Noisey interview reads:“I think [demo versions are] fun. I know any band I enjoy I really love hearing the demo recordings. It’s such a cool thing to hear. It’s usually just the person sitting there with a guitar or piano or whatever just working through the song or committing the song to tape for the first time just to remember it. I dunno… there’s just something so fascinating about that when you compare it to not only what the album version ends up being but if you listen to a live recording of how the song is now it’s even different still. It’s kind of cool that a song can change and grow over time. We’re in the process of doing another live record so another thing that I found while remixing this is like ‘Wow, all these songs have changed even more live.’”We can’t wait to see what MMJ has in store!
Fans were delivered a double dose of pleasure on Friday, August 5th at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY. Counting Crows and Rob Thomas put on an impressive display of professional musicianship for over three hours. The sprawling and bucolic venue is nestled in the rustic setting of Bethel, New York – and actually a historic site as it was built where the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place. The weather was perfect and the pavilion and lawn housed a near-capacity crowd. Rob Thomas has been entertaining the masses for two decades and he brings a celebrated catalog of well-written songs. He led a varied set which represented many of his past hits and recently released hits. He is touring in support of his album, “The Great Unknown,” a title which refers to his wife’s brave struggles with a severe illness. With his trademark look with an earring in each ear, skinny jeans and a buzz haircut, the man is admired by men and women alike. It is his passion for the music and a powerful delivery that lures them in like a tractor beam. There were multiple highlights over the course of the one hour+ set. At one point he stated from the stage, “I’ll be playing a bunch of cover songs tonight, but it’s ok – I wrote them.” Naturally he was referring to the classics he created as frontman and composer for the band Matchbox Twenty. The “covers” included “Bent”, “Unwell” a poignant and alternate take on the band’s biggest hit, “3 A.M.” This presentation was an alternate piano version both subtle, yet powerful and contagious. The crooner also covered David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” which was offered in a fun and punchy fashion as Thomas darted around the stage with an enthusiastic and youthful exuberance. The peak of the night was the incendiary version of the 1999 latin-tinged blockbuster #1 song “Smooth.” The song helped Thomas garner 3 Grammy Awards that year including the coveted “Song of the Year” and “Record of the Year.” Buoyed by the bombastic beats, the crowd erupted to their feet to dance and sing along to the classic. Thomas added a call and response to the audience at the end with the delivery of “Give me your heart, make it real” before turning the microphone towards the audience for their participatory, “Let’s not forget about it.” It was ironic as Thomas had given his heart to the crowd and the fans indeed would not forget about it anytime soon. The show concluded with a fiery “This is How a Heart Breaks” – a song derived from the 2005 “…Something to Be” album. Setlist: Rob Thomas at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY – 8/5/16Set: Something to Be, Mockingbird, Her Diamonds, Getting Late, Lonely No More, Let’s Dance, Fire on the Mountain, 3 AM, Someday, Bent, Pieces, Unwell, Streetcorner Symphony, Smooth, This is How the Heart BreakLong-time Counting Crows frontman, Adam Durwitz, celebrated his 52nd birthday last week and clearly the party is still going. They shared a satisfying and intense set of quality music. Counting Crows is Adam Duritz (vocals), Jim Bogios (drums), David Bryson (guitar), Charlie Gillingham (keys), David Immergluck (guitar), Millard Powers (bass) and Dan Vickrey (guitar) – all professional musicians who know how to pound out a groove and fill in around Durwitz’s low and unique voice. Having released seven albums, with the most recent being 2014’s “Somewhere Under Wonderland”, there is a trove of rich material to choose from. The band jumpstarted the show with “Round Here” – a slow, emotional song and second single released from their 1993 debut smash album, “August and Everything After.” The live version demonstrated the range of the band and was an alluring start.Adorning his patented dreadlocks, Durwitz again exuded cool and it comes to no surprise he is well-known to have dated some of the most beautiful actresses in the land. Wearing an ELO t-shirt, paying homage to the successful 70’s band, he steered the band through an anticipated highlight. The band’s biggest hit, released in 1993, “Mr. Jones” was a bit of a disappointment. A deliciously well-crafted pop song, fans sought to scream and dance, but Durwitz slurred his delivery through an uneven and uninspired take on the chart buster. He never even said the line, “I wanna be Bob Dylan” but perhaps having performed it so many times over the past 20+ years he is a bit tired of the ditty that put him on the map. A glaring omission from the set list this tour was their hit from the soundtrack, “Shrek 2”, called “Accidently in Love. “ However the highlight of the night was the evocative and intense “A Long December” which had Durwitz on keys and accompanied by a sexy accordion. Some fervent fans even had tears in their eyes as Durwitz poignantly continued with the popular1996 song. After 3 energetic encores, the band left the crowd feeling satiated and happy for a Friday night filled with such enjoyable musings.There are 30 more national tour dates with one probably at a local venue near you, so check it out! Setlist: Counting Crows at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, NY – 8/5/16Set List: Round Here, Hanging Tree, Mr. Jones, Color Blind, Los Angeles, Sessions, God of Ocean Tides, Michelangelo, Ghost Train, Elvis Went to Hollywood, A Long December, Murder of OneEncore: Palisades Park, Rain King, Holiday in Spain[Photos by Kevin Ferguson/Courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts]
Vulfpeck has proven to be masterful with their use of social media. While their style is decidedly throwback–both in the music they play and in the way they choose to present it–the band has proven to be particularly savvy when it comes to connecting with their über-modern audience. They use their Facebook page live to their advantage whenever they can, making great use of their ever-growing social media following by delivering a steady stream of new content, such as funny videos, song tutorials, and of course, new music.Today, Vulfpeck kept the flow of content coming with a new music video for “Aunt Leslie” from their 2016 release The Beautiful Game. The song features a host of familiar guests, with Antwaun Stanley turning in another stand-out vocal performance, and Cory Wong holding it down on rhythm guitar, welcoming Bethanni Grecynski and her killer trombone skills. Of course, the regular cast of Vulf-characters are also there, with Joe Dart on bass, Woody Goss on keys, and Jack Stratton taking over on drums while Theo Katzman provides backup vocals. The collaboration stuck out on the record, and stands even stronger with the visual aspect.Check out the new music video for “Aunt Leslie” below.
What is “roots pop” music? San Francisco progressive bluegrass quintet Front Country has been rapidly gaining fans as they explore that query with their unique, string-driven sound. As anticipation builds for the release of their new album Other Love Songs on April 7th, Live For Live Music is proud to premiere the upcoming LP’s newest single, “I Don’t Wanna Die Angry,” a stripped-down string-pop lament driven by singer/songwriter Melody Walker‘s attention-grabbing vocals:The punchy bluegrass-tinged pop track explores the frivolity of a lovers’ quarrel, and the fear that, given the fragile nature of life, any silly argument could end up being your last. Says singer/songwriter Melody Walker, “This is probably the most straight ahead pop song on the whole record. It sort of makes fun of the ridiculous ways our emotions affect our thinking. How, even if you’re in a solid and loving relationship, you can sometimes get insecure and think that one little fight could be the end of it all. The chorus is simple: it’s the raw and honest reason anyone ever decides to put down their pride and kiss and make up, because holding a grudge until the grave just isn’t practical or any fun.”Other Love Songs is Front Country’s Roots Pop opus, and promises to be the band’s most intensely creative and original project to date. The songs are emotional in nature and examine love with a self-aware twist. This is also the group’s first record comprised predominantly of lead singer Melody Walker’s songwriting, with 8 of the 12 tracks penned by the vocalist. Mandolinist Adam Roszkiewicz also contributed two songs to the album, a pair of sophisticated instrumentals. With the winning combination of Walker and Roszkierwicz’s songwriting, the creative band arrangement style of guitarist Jacob Groopman, and the skilled musicianship and harmonizing of bassist Jeremy Darrow and five-string violinist Leif Karlstrom, the synergy on the album is electric.“These songs follow the lessons that everyone learns in their own personal evolution toward emotional maturity and vulnerability,” says Walker, “in which all of us learn to break down toxic romantic fairy tales and write our own Other Love Songs that work for real people in the real world.”You can pre-order Other Love Songs today here, or purchase the album when it is released on April 7th. For more information on Front Country, their new album, upcoming tour dates and more, head to the band’s website.
The Brooklyn-based Escaper is on the precipice of releasing their debut album, Skeleton Key, via Ropeadope Records. Comprised of guitarist Will Hanza, drummer Andrew Nesbitt, bassist Jay Giacomazzo, keyboardist Adam Ahuja and saxophonist Johnny Butler, the group’s members have previously played with Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, The Breakneck Boys, and even Beyonce, while as a unit, they’ve supported acts such as Aqueous, Jimkata, and others.Together, Escaper is an open-minded musical project, flirting with the title of jam band and thriving without the limiting confines of a specific genre. As guitarist and bandleader Will Hanza notes, “The term ‘jam’ can be a loaded one, but the idea of having some concrete ideas yet still allowing the music to be open and flowing to take advantage of the moment is really important to us.” This flow is captured on their new album, due out May 12th, as Skeleton Key was tracked live, then perfected in the studio with the help of John Davis (Lettuce, Brad Mehldau, The Black Keys).In anticipation of next month’s release of Skeleton Key, Escaper has been kind enough to share a brand new single off the album. The song is called “Mutiny,” a track that oscillates between grandiose and expansive and precise and jazzy, all the while maintaining a danceable, forward-thinking beat throughout. In describing the track, the band explained the idea behind the song, “The definition of ‘Mutiny’ is ‘an open rebellion against the proper authorities.’ While this can have a dark connotation, on occasion, the ‘proper authorities’ act in such a way that is a great detriment to the people. Who will watch the watchmen? It’s up to us, the people. Sometimes, the authorities abuse their power and the people must rise up in rebellion.”You can listen to the Live For Live Music premiere of Escaper’s “Mutiny” below. If you like what you hear, their new album Skeleton Key goes on pre-sale today and can be purchased via the band’s Bandcamp here. You can join Escaper in celebrating the release of this new album on May 12th at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 in New York City for their album release party, or check out the group’s upcoming tour dates below to catch them in the Northeast sometime this summer.[Photo courtesy of Bryan Edward of Sobokeh]Escaper 2017 Upcoming Tour Dates:4/21 – Nyack, NY – Olive’s5/6 – Bridgeport, CT – Bryac5/12 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 *5/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Ortlieb’s6/23 – New Haven, CT – Stella Blues7/26 – New York, NY – American Beauty ^7/28 – New Paltz, NY – Snugs* Skeleton Key release show^ Phish Baker’s Dozen Pre-Party
Phil Lesh performed his first of five shows in five cities last night in Washington DC at The new Anthem. Currently on a mini-run in the northeast with The Terrapin Family Band—featuring guitarist Ross James, drummer Alex Koford, keyboardist Jason Crosby, and guitarist (and Lesh’s son) Grahame Lesh—Phil also recruited vocalist Nicki Bluhm and steel guitarist Robert Randolph for the dates. The new, 6,000 person venue became home to the Grateful Dead reliables on Wednesday, as the musicians played through an uplifting night of music as the first night together. During the second set, New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined in for the majority of the set.Phil Lesh & Jake Peavy Tap Krasno, George Porter Jr., Marcus King For Inaugural Outsiders BallWhile the first set delivered slower, heart-filling tunes, especially with the unique contributions of Bluhm and Randolph, the second set quickly picked up with the help of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. After performing two of their own New Orleans-esque numbers, Lesh and his selected bandmates returned for a monstrous “Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station > Terrapin Transit > At A Siding > Terrapin Flyer > Jack O’ Roses > I Know You Rider” to close the second set. After a quick break, the band returned for an anthemic “Ripple” to close the evening.Phil Lesh, Holly Bowling, Members Of moe., TAB Tapped For Everyone Orchestra ShowsLast night’s show marked a rare occasion, as Phil and the TFB performed a venue outside of the family circle. While Terrapin Crossroads and The Capitol Theatre, among other Peter Shapiro-owned joints, remain Phil Lesh faithfuls, this Halloween run will see the Grateful Dead bassist perform the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey and the BB&T Pavilion (indoors) in Camden, New Jersey. The run will conclude with a show at NYC’s Brooklyn Bowl on 10/30 and the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on 10/31 for the ultimate finalé.The final two shows will be webcast via nugs.tv. Both webcasts are expected to begin at 8 pm (EST). The shows’ streams are available for pre-order here.Thanks to taper Alex Leary, you can enjoy the full audio from Wednesday night’s performance below via JamBuzz:Setlist: Phil Lesh & Friends | The Anthem | Washington DC | 10/25/17I: Mason’s Children, They Love Each Other, Broken Arrow, Second That Emotion, Passenger, What She Said > Bertha, Cumberland BluesII: Viola Lee Blues * > The Other One * > Monkey Man *, Throwing Stones *, PHJB 1, PHJB 2, Lady With A Fan > Terrapin Station > Terrapin Transit > At A Siding > Terrapin Flyer > Jack O’ Roses > I Know You Rider, Donor Rap, Ripple[photo via @farmhauspresents]
New years often bring new beginnings and, for the people of California, 2018 brought the official implementation of marijuana legalization. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe to light up anywhere in the state. No, there’s at least one place in California where marijuana will remain a banned substance: Coachella.The beloved Indio, CA music festival is gearing up for two weekends with Beyonce, Eminem, The Weeknd, David Byrne and many, many more April 13th through 15th and 20th through 22nd. However, the festival’s site makes it clear that legal cannabis will not be on the lineup—at least not officially.A section on the festival’s FAQ page declares, “Sorry bro. Marijuana or marijuana products aren’t allowed inside the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Even in 2018 and beyond. If that changes we will update this answer.” You see, even though marijuana legalization is now in full effect in California (the state voted to end pot prohibition in 2016), the festival is allowed to enforce whatever rule it likes on its own property. Fortunately, past editions of Coachella have featured “amnesty boxes” at its entrances where people can ditch their stashes before entering the fest with no questions asked. As previously reported, Coachella will also feature sets from Jamiroquai (their first U.S. show in 13 years), St. Vincent, the War on Drugs, HAIM, alt-J, Fleet Foxes, Chromeo, Chic feat. Nile Rogers, Odesza, Portugal. The Man, A Perfect Circle, Kamasi Washington, Tank and the Bangas, and many more.[Photo: Coachella’s Facebook page]