Jason Narducy has been a well-respected name among musicians for the past 20 years. He remained pretty much under the radar until an appearance on Dave Grohl’s HBO series Sonic Highways in 2014. The latest version of his punk/rock/pop musical stylings is the solo project Split Single. The debut album featured Jon Wurster and Britt Daniel. We got some new tracks mixed in with songs from Fragmented World and Metal Frames, and a little comedy from the band’s domestic life.
Narducy let us know that the show almost didn’t happen after a small spat over correct dish loading procedure between he and his wife. We were also let in on the tale of his drummer having his scrotum punctured by the claws of his cat in a freak accident. A fun show to be sure.
Thursday night singer Vérité proved not only a talented singer/songwriter, but a consummate pro. When she lost her mic’s power she didn’t panic. Instead she found her way back to her keyboards where another mic was already set up and sang on that one until the techs fixed the issue.
Betty Who put on a fun, energetic set at Concord Music Hall on Thursday, highlighting tracks from her new record The Valley.
Earlier this year Sundara Karma put out a great record called Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect. It came out so early, in fact, that I keep forgetting it’s a 2017 release (which is why it isn’t in my top albums of the year list-I plan to rectify with the next update). There isn’t anything flashy about what they do, but they craft really strong songs within the typical rock band arrangement of guitar, bass, drum, and singer. The lads from Reading don’t add any whizbang pyrotechnics or crazy visuals during their live set, allowing the songs to speak for themselves.
This Chicago performance was part of a tour Alt Nation put together, featuring Sundara Karma, Coast Modern, and 888. While the crowd seemed to be there for Coast Modern, they definitely got down and danced with these Brits. Everyone seemed to know the words to their single “Flame,” which came earlier in the set than expected.
While music is a lasting art form, that doesn’t mean people will appreciate it. That’s why I’m always impressed when a band can go out on a huge tour based solely on the anniversary of a recording. Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds 50 tour was the first one I saw, and this week I got to see The Zombies do the same with Odessey & Oracle. The album has held up better than most, and a lot of fans (especially in the States) who never got to see it performed in the 60’s now get to check it off their bucket list.
The band (featuring Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Chris White, Hugh Grundy, Tom Toomey, Jim Rodford, and Steve Rodford) opened with an hour of songs that are not on Odessey, and I honestly enjoyed it as much as the music everyone was there to hear. It’s easy to forget that both The Zombies and their offshoots after they split had a whole slew of hits starting with “She’s Not There.” Rod Argent introduced this tune (the first he ever wrote) by dedicating it to his mother who had sadly passed away earlier in the day. What could have turned the night into a somber affair was, instead, a beautiful tribute and a great performance of a classic.
Rod and Colin both did a great job relaying stories from the band’s past. My favorite was about their first and only experience working in the movies when they were featured in a film starring Sir Laurence Olivier.
After a short intermission the band returned to play Odessey & Oracle. I kid you not, they sound as good as ever. It was like a time machine was placed over Thalia Hall and we were all transported back to 1968 through the songs and great visuals that acted as their backdrop.
It was an absolutely fantastic evening of music, and if I get the chance to go again I most definitely would. There are a few dates left on the west coast, so get tickets while you can!
Friday night I had the opportunity to sit down with the trio that make up Goodbye June to chat about their new record, Magic Valley. Really nice guys that seem to be serious about making the kind of music they’ve always loved. We talked about the Nashville scene, the humbling experience of playing to festival crowds, and the last songs to which they cried.
After that, I got to see them perform. They really get after it on the stage, and I had a great time hearing the songs I’d spent the morning with live the same night. They remain pretty true to the sound on the record-eclectic, but never backing down. It’s a fun kind of music that’s perfect for a night of drinking at a bar.
I’m not sure who was having a better time during Beach Slang’s set last night at House Of Blues: the band or the audience. Everyone was in high spirits as they played their quick-tempered rock songs and intermingled them with some hilarious musical cues, including “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors, “My Own Worst Enemy” by Eve6, and of course “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas. They even promised one fan in the crowd that they would learn to play “Two Princes” for real at their next show if that person comes.
Here’s a quick clip to give you an idea of how much fun they were having.
I believe this was the band’s first show in Chicago since their lineup change last year, and things seemed to go over pretty well. New drummer Cully Symington never missed a beat, and guitarist Aurore Ounjian’s nimble fingers deftly maneuvered through some great riffs. Lead singer James Alex showed a great affection for the audience and for Minus The Bear for bringing them on tour to open shows for them. He also, at one point, read a list of people he’s been told he looks like while on tour, and it was everything from Eddie Munster to Jack Black and Angus Young.