Walk The Moon kept the crowd on their feet in dance last night at The Mill & Mine. Known for their hit song, “Shut Up and Dance“, which spent 47 weeks on Billboard Charts in 2015, the band continues to create new music with their new single “Timebomb” releasing just last month.
Indie rock king, Father John Misty, sung to a sold out crowd Tuesday night at The Mill & Mine in Knoxville, TN with King Tuff opening. Playing all the hits, from Real Love Baby to Nancy From Now, he gave the crowd what they wanted. Through his truth and emotion rich lyrics, Father John Misty has a way of providing great insight on life in a light-hearted manner. It’s truly a gift to everyone in the crowd. Thank you Father John Misty. Until next time…
Photos by Eli Johnson and Johnson Giles
Chvrches Lights Up Asheville
The Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, NC slowly filled with the short set of LA based Lo Moon, opener for Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches, on October 9th, 2018. The stage, set with moody fill lighting and a darkening fog rising behind the band, was perfectly matched with the melancholic sounds from the four members. Reminiscent of mid-90’s heartbreak grunge meeting recent sounds with a likeness to Kings of Leon, the group proved captivating. The drummer, no doubt the heartbeat and backbone of the band, carried the set with an extraordinarily crisp percussion, as the singer tugged at emotions with tenor sounds of heartache. Their debut album, released this past February, is definitely worth a listen if you enjoy the rollercoaster of rock and ethereal sorrow.
Next up, Chvrches. A heavy bass line vibrated through the auditorium. The crowd was instantly on their feet as the backdrop composed of a grid of lights began flashing, upstage two leaning crosses lit up with stripes and static, followed by haunting electric beats and voices. After a minute or so, Johnny Scott (drums), Martin Doherty, and Iain Cook took their respective platforms. Last, Lauren Mayberry, front man and lead singer stopped front and center, lifting her arms to shoulder height pausing as the audience cheered on in anticipation, before the band leaned strongly into opening hit single, “Get Out”.
Mayberry’s youthful energy and fashion (sequined shorts, a midriff exposing tank, her “Love is Dead” necklace and dramatic pink eye makeup) supported her unique soprano voice and characteristic spinning and pacing to lure the auditorium in while contrasting lyrics and flashing colored lights rode atop steady volumes of synth delivering heartfelt messages often speaking to current politics. Mayberry lead the group through 5 more songs including “Bury It” from Every Open Eye, and more from 2017 Love is Dead, “Graffiti” and “Graves” before handing center stage to Doherty.
Transitioning from an almost distracted Mayberry, losing her place mid song, telling stories of ripped trousers and sharing her mother’s wisdom, “Everybody sh!+s”, Doherty stole the show with “God’s Plan” and “Under the Tide”. With an oversized long sleeved black t-shirt and a vocal authenticity making its way through piercing synth and blinding white and blue lights he brought life to the songs and the audience.
The second half while starting with more energy, offered more flashing colored lights, shrill electric beats and heavy bass vibrations, until Mayberry’s pacing stopped and the lights dimmed. Sitting on a low stool for “Really Gone”, her voice showed range and she seemed more natural, more present in a moment of calm. The set finished with “Leave a Trace” and “Clearly Blue” and the audience was left wanting.
The encore brought no surprise, but a welcomed treat with a stunning performance of “The Mother We Share”, a hit from The Bones of What You Believe, Chvrches first album. Finally, “Never Say Die”, brought the audience in and seemed to hold them there even while Mayberry walked off stage. The audience was left to finish the last repeats of “Never Say Die” and Scott, Doherty and Cook shared a moment in the spotlight before the stage darkened and the house lights came up.
Written by Cara McKinney
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite Bring “No Mercy” to Knoxville
Grammy Award-winners Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite brought an exceptional evening of blues ballads to The Mill & Mine performance hall Monday, September 10th.
Having just released their second collaborative album No Mercy In This Land, Harper and Musselwhite bring a new and exciting energy to the classic sounds of the delta blues. Harper at 48 years old and Musselwhite at 74 display a vast appreciation to tradition all while adding an innovative twist to create a bluesy sound of their own.
The show kicked off with jolting guitar riffs and roaring harmonic tones immediately captivating the audience that filled what Harper referred to as “the jewel of the South.” Harper and Musselwhite spent the first half of the show seated giving the performance an authentic back-porch blues feel.
Next came a shout out to the bartenders with “The Bottle Wins Again.” “Make sure to tip your bartenders” said Harper. The song reveals some of Musselwhite’s past struggles with drinking which he describes in an interview with Rolling Stone. He specifically talks about his struggles to stay sober after the murder of his mother. Musselwhite’s hardship is the primary subject to the title track of their new album “No Mercy In This Land.” For Musselwhite music helped him stay sober during his grief. These aspects of Musselwhite’s personal life are evident in the powerful melodies from his harmonica and the pain behind his vulnerable blue eyes.
More stand-out moments from the show include a mind-blowing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks,” and watching Ben Harper play most of the show with a bloody thumb after one of his guitar strings snapped. Add a bloody finger to an already extraordinarily authentic performance and you truly have a one-of-a-kind show.
The encore featured a powerful performance of “No Mercy In This Land” and a raw finale of “All That Matters Now” with a bone-chilling acoustic serenade from Harper.
Between Ben Harper’s singing and sliding and Charlie Musselwhite’s wheezing and wailing, there is no shortage of soul in their performance. Like the nature of the human soul, Harper and Musselwhite present an evolving sound while remaining deeply rooted in old time blues. That said, their distinct and original sound makes them one of today’s top must-see blues acts.
Written by Marie Kolzow
Photos by Johnson Giles