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August Burns Red, Between & The Buried and Me – Guelph Concert Theatre, April 10th, 2016

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Review and Photos by Mike Bax

I hadn’t planned on attending this show until the day before when it was made known to me that the evening was a co-headliner show with Between & The Buried and Me (BTBAM) and August Burns Red (ABR). I’d assumed it was an ABR show with a 45-minute set from BTBAM. The evening was actually a 65-minute set from both bands, BTBAM going on at 8:00pm and ABR going on at 9:25pm.

In advance, I didn’t have a clue who ABR was prior to this show. I hadn’t heard a song. Nothing. My apologies to anyone reading this expecting a wordy ABR review. I attended entirely for BTBAM, and it was nice to see I wasn’t alone in this regard. I got to chat with a few fans in attendance boasting the same split mentality for this show.

There was much malaise about The Faceless dropping off the bill; I heard this from a few youngsters in attendance. The girl who was behind me had tried to get a ticket refund when they dropped out but wasn’t able to. She still came though, as she seemed to be an ABR fan. Good Tiger, a band comprised of ex-Tesseract vocalist Elliot Coleman, ex-The Safety Fire guitarists Derya Nagle and Joaquin Ardiles, along with ex-The Faceless drummer Alex Rüdinger and bassist Morgan Sinclair took the stage at 7:10.

I was in the same boat with Good Tiger as I was with ABR; witnessing them for the first time this evening. Musically, they seemed competent. They have some tight guitar licks and drumming. Their show felt a bit like they were still finding their mojo together as a band.

Raleigh, North Carolina 5-piece Between & The Buried and Me went onstage right on time and opened with both ‘Foam Born (A) The Backtrack’ and ‘(B) The Decade of Statues’ from their 2007 album, Colours. They surprised everyone and went back to their 2002 debut with ‘Shevanel Cut a Flip’, a track I’ve never heard them play live. Fans also got to hear the 13-minute intro of The Great Misdirect as both ’Mirrors’ and ‘Obfuscation’ were played back to back.

Only ‘Telos’ was performed from their wildly popular The Parallax II: Future Sequence album (2012). Both ’The Coma Machine’ & ‘Famine Wolf’ represented last year’s Coma Ecliptic tonight – too short in my opinion, but I’m from the camp that wants them to take the album on the road and play the whole damn thing in its entirety. BTBAM finished off with ’Selkies: The Endless Obsession’ from 2005’s Alaska.

All said and done, this was an opportunity to revel in a painfully short but representational feast on the 15-year BTBAM back catalogue. While it was a bit of a surprise, it was totally enjoyable. Tommy Giles Rogers asked the audience how old they all were in 2001, and some of the answers made me laugh. I was 34 in 2001, a response I did not yell out at the top of my lungs – I already knew I was the old man in the audience.

Their performance was pretty much flawless. Blake Richardson’s drumming was epic. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring were both on fire from intro to outro, and Tommy Giles Rogers was in fine form, hitting the high sonics flawlessly on every song.

Manheim, Pennsylvania’s August Burns Red took the stage amidst a hail of cheers from the audience and a wash of bright rotating lights set up on either side at the back of their stage. They exude a different vibe than BTBAM, a more cocksure approach to the genre, if you will. After getting past that, their material was indeed both intricate and approachable.

Since the show, after playing some of their albums, I’ve picked out both ‘Everlasting Ending’ from their most recent Found in Far Away Places and ‘Cutting the Ties’ off of 2011’s Leveler as songs I enjoyed live. Given their fan following, and their recent Grammy nomination, I feel somewhat lucky I got to see them in Guelph. Guelph Concert Theatre really is a venue that keeps on giving, drawing in marquee bands outside of the Toronto core and allowing fans to see them in an intimate setting.

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BTBAM Setlist:
Foam Born (A) The Backtrack
(B) The Decade of Statues
Telos
Shevanel Cut a Flip
The Coma Machine
Mirrors
Obfuscation
Famine Wolf
Selkies: The Endless Obsession

ABR Setlist:
Martyr
Identity
Empire
Everlasting Ending
Spirit Breaker
Cutting the Ties
Provision
Back Burner
Ghosts
Marianas Trench
Composure
Majoring in the Minors (Drum Solo)
White Washed

Album Review

Two Faces West – ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ [Album Review]

Two Faces West knows how to play blues rock. On ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ they’re at their best when pumping out nasty, swaggering, trash-laced melodies.

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Two Faces West ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ album artwork
Two Faces West ‘Postcards From Lonely Places’ album artwork

Denver, Colorado-based blues rock trio Two Faces West released their debut album, Postcards From Lonely Places, in the middle of last year. The album’s title discloses a singular theme: stories of American lives and the daily grind of life experienced, in all its glories and defeats, tragedies and triumphs.

Produced by Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop, the album was initially intended to be an EP but grew into an album after a change in personnel.

The band explains, “If Postcards From Lonely Places seems like a stylistic mess, it probably is just that. This album was originally conceived as a 5 song EP and slated for release in early 2020. Vince Carmellini joined Two Faces West in 2019, and the new line-up decided to write five additional songs. The result is a group of songs with essentially a very dynamic group of songwriters and players, with different flavors and moods.”

Made up of Kurt Ashmore (vocals, guitar, sax, banjo), Mick Knudsen (drums, vocals), and Vince Carmellini (bass, organ, vocals), Two Faces West’s sound merges rootsy blues rock, rock, and hints of funk into what the band calls ‘crankin’ rock and blues.’

Of the 12 tracks on the album, entry points include opener “Ain’t Got a Clue,” riding a funked-out rhythm topped by skiffing guitars and dramatic flourishes of braying brass. Because of its familiar, irresistible funk flavors, the song grabs listeners’ attention.

Rolling out on a cool drum shuffle, “Vegas at 3AM” features dark, dirty guitars giving off grimy tones as Ashmore vocals imbue the lyrics with cautionary timbres. The mood of the song conjures up suggestions of ZZ Top, especially in the solo section, highlighted by sleazy, virtuoso licks.

Hot Tamale Baby” ramps things up with its scorching textures of galloping blues-rock, radiating retro-infused energy. A personal favorite because of its muddy, growling guitars and Elvis-like vocals, reminiscent of “Jailhouse Rock,” “Brand New Suit” struts the pure essence of down-and-dirty blues rock.

Another grinder, “Moonshiners,” travels on a deep, gritty bassline and Mitch Mitchell-like percussion as Ashmore’s raspy vocals give the lyrics the dangerous savors of whiskey bootleggers. Whereas “Dirty Ol’ Man” snarls and grimaces on murky, sliding guitars that ride an austere, pummeling rhythm.

Freedom,” a live track recorded at The Bluebird in January 2020, recalls the grand live performances of Humble Pie, oozing low-slung, smoldering, bluesy surfaces and a jam band atmosphere.

Two Faces West knows how to play blues rock: they’re at their best when pumping out nasty, swaggering, trash-laced melodies.

Two Faces West, photo by Perks Photography

Two Faces West, photo by Perks Photography

Postcards From Lonely Places Track Listing:

1. Ain’t Got a Clue
2. Vegas at 3AM
3. Hot Tamale Baby
4. The Ballad of Jerry Davis
5. Rocks Like a Country Song
6. Mountain Sunrise
7. Brand New Suit
8. Moonshiners
9. Late Night
10. Spinnin’ Circles
11. Dirty Ol’ Man
12. Freedom (Live at the Bluebird 01/02/2020)

Run Time: 56:33
Release Date: June 16, 2023
Record Label: Independent

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Album Review

Gianfranco Pescetti – ‘DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL’ [Album Review]

Gianfranco Pescetti delivers a series of ambient/dance bangers, coalescing a nexus of complexity and intoxicating extracts on ‘DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL.’

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Gianfranco Pescetti ‘DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL’ album artwork
Gianfranco Pescetti ‘DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL’ album artwork

Composer and producer Gianfranco Pescetti recently unveiled his latest album, DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL, his first new album in almost a decade.

Speaking about the album, Pescetti says, “DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL is my attempt to explore the depth of emotions and create a profoundly personal and evocative sound without conforming to the rigid specifications of a particular genre, all while keeping an eye to the dance floor.”

Originally from the Tuscan Island of Capraia, he previously lived in France for a few years before moving to the United States to continue his music career. He currently lives on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

Influenced by an eclectic range of music, including modern chillwave, Depeche Mode, and The Cure, Pescetti’s sound incorporates instrumental atmospheric electronica with dance vibes and elements of modern indie rock.

Comprising ten tracks, DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL starts with “Clownspunk.” Flickering tones shape a rising intro that evolves into a shimmering, ambient-flavored dance melody. As the melody progresses, a psychedelic-lite dance vivacity slowly takes over, pushing the ambient surfaces into the background.

High points include the changing emotional sensations of “Obsidian,” which utilizes amiable layers of shifting colors riding a galloping rhythm to fashion a warm, sparkling melody punctuated by glistening, chiming textures.

Gianfranco Pescetti, photo courtesy of Gianfranco Pescetti

Gianfranco Pescetti, photo courtesy of Gianfranco Pescetti

Sundog” places darker rhythmic pulses against the illumination of drifting, humming, twinkling blushes, thus giving the melody a lingering, hypnotic intensity, at once exotic and full of lavish refinement. “Be My Ghost” swings away from the ambient and pushes into the more muscular momentum of EDM, employing a driving kick drum and elusive tints of disco.

Capraia,” a blend of industrial and heavy, atmospheric dance components, molds a mechanistic mood, simultaneously shadowy and foreboding. “The Wake,” eerily haunting on one level, pours like a waterfall on another level, giving the tune dual interpretations: either a progressive lament or a celebration of natural beauty.

The album concludes with “Stopless,” traveling on a propelling rhythm topped by intertwining layers of scintillating, aerated percolations, heady with impetuousness. For some reason, the melody conjures up the impression of EDM gingered with hints of Ennio Morricone-like Spaghetti Western.

Gianfranco Pescetti delivers a series of ambient/dance bangers, coalescing a nexus of complexity and intoxicating extracts.

DAYSTAR NOCTURNAL Track Listing:

1. Clownspunk
2. Macchia, I’ll See You…
3. Obsidian
4. Sundog
5. Nostalgia Aime Le Rouge
6. Be My Ghost
7. Capraia
8. The Wake
9. Fogbound
10. Stopless

Run Time: 35:47
Release Date: January 25, 2024
Record Label: Independent

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Music

Tinashe Enthralls the Crowd at The Royale in Boston on a Cold February Night [Photos]

R&B/pop singer and dancer Tinashe lit up the stage on Monday, February 12th, at The Royale in Boston, and fans gushed about the show.

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Tinashe on Feb 12, 2024, photo by Kaitlin Prince
Tinashe on Feb 12, 2024, photo by Kaitlin Prince

Tinashe lit up the stage on Monday, February 12th, at The Royale in Boston. The R&B/pop singer and dancer started the show with her hit song “Treason.” Which is the opening song off her new album BB/ANG3L and also the name of her tour.

BB/ANG3L is Tinashe’s sixth studio album and her third album since 2019 when she went independent. One thing that makes Tinashe so unique and different from other artists is the way she blends R&B and pop songs. She’s not worried about sticking to one genre and is not afraid to experiment with different styles and types of music, combining them to make truly unique songs.

Despite it being a cold Monday night in Boston, the crowd was queued up and ready for Tinashe, with eager fans in a line wrapped around the outside of the venue.  Once inside, it was packed with people and when the Tinashe countdown came on the screen you could hear the excitement building.

Performing with four extremely talented male dancers and a crazy electronic lighting setup, Tinashe came out with some serious heat and kept the Boston crowd hooked from her very first note. She jumped between performing new songs off of her BB/ANG3L album and old hits, such as fan favorite “2On,” the first single that brought Tinashe into the spotlight back in 2014. Tinashe and her background dancers shined with fun and creative choreography, which was one of the highlights of the show, in my opinion. The energy they all brought to the stage was palpable and was perfect for the club setting of The Royale.

In total, Tinashe performed 28 songs and was on stage for a little under an hour and a half. She had a few short monologues, but for the most part, she went right from one song to the next. She even performed a few mashups of her songs, such as one that combined her new song, “Gravity,” and an older song, “Superlove.” She finished her performance with her song, “Needs,” the most popular song off of BB/ANG3L, and this had everyone in the crowd bumping and grinding to the beat of the music and singing along with her.

Altogether, the show was high energy and a lot of fun. Tinashe has been doing this for ten years now, and her performance shows that she’s a seasoned vet who knows how to entertain. At the end of the night, I heard multiple people gushing about the show as they were leaving the venue, and I think the crowd would’ve stayed there all night to watch Tinashe perform if they could have.

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