Robert Randolph and the Family Band with Eric Krasno at Celebrate Brooklyn

Robert Randolph - BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn - Feast of Music Jul 13  2017 Jul 13  2017  9-12 PMVirtuosos come in all stripes, as Robert Randolph showed on Thursday night, as he melted the stage at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn with his pedal steel guitars - both sitting and standing - along with his crack band of blues rockers. Eric Krasno (Soulive) opened with a sharp set of his own before joining Randolph onstage to really ramp things up. 

More pics on the photo page


A Berkshires Bounty: Opening Weekend at Tanglewood

Tanglewood - Feast of Music Jul 9  2017  3-33 PMLENOX, MA - I've been going to Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's longtime home in the Berkshires, almost every summer now for the past two-and-a-half decades. Those that have been to Tanglewood know that it is a special place, where the mix of manicured lawns, mountain vistas, and world class musicians make it one of the most satisfying places to experience music (not to mention some pretty elaborate picnics) in the world.

But, in all of those years, I've never made it up for the official opening weekend, which typically falls right after the 4th of July. Usually, these early concerts lean towards the pedestrian, featuring a flashy soloist performing under some second-tier conductor. (Tanglewood has actually been open since mid-June, mostly with a mix of pop and jazz concerts for the baby boomer set, including an annual appearance by local resident James Taylor.) 

This year, however, I was enticed by the early arrival of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, who has expanded his presence at Tanglewood this year to some 10 concerts over four weeks. (11, if you count his participation in the Boston Pops' annual John Williams Film Night on August 19.) A promising development, to be sure, but with Nelsons about to take on the additional role of Kapellmeister (music director) of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, it remains to be seen if the trend will continue beyond this summer. 

Regardless, Tanglewood has always been about more than whomever's on the podium any given night. In addition to some two dozen concerts by the BSO in the 5,100 seat Koussevitzky Music Shed, a parade of world class soloists and chamber ensembles can be heard in the more intimate Ozawa Hall on most evenings. Then, there's the Tanglewood Music Center - Tanglewood's real raison d'être - which provides advanced training and performance opportunities for some of the world's top young musicians. In past summers, I've seen the TMC fellows perform everything from Wagner and Mozart operas under James Levine, to the U.S. premiere of George Benjamin's Written on Skin, in addition to chamber music and orchestral concerts. No matter where you turn, there always seems to be some kind of music happening at Tanglewood.

Continue reading "A Berkshires Bounty: Opening Weekend at Tanglewood" »


Nashville's Diarrhea Planet and Daddy Issues at Brooklyn Bowl

DSC01096When my friend Sean told me he wanted to check out Nashville outfit Diarrhea Planet at Brooklyn Bowl last night, I had my suspicions. Expecting another run-of-the-mill hardcore band, I was instead surprised by a tight 90 minute set of straight-ahead rock, fueled by a wall of guitars - five of them, to be exact. The crowd was completely caught up in the popcorn vibe, stage diving their way to indie bliss. Not a bad way to kick off a holiday weekend. All-girl threesome Daddy Issues opened with their own thrashing, high energy set. 

Watch Diarrhea Planet's set from their appearance on Seth Meyers below. More pics on the photo page


The Soul Rebels with Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch and Kirk Knight at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!

The Soul Rebels with Pharaohe Monch - BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn - Feast of Music Jun 24  2017  9-12 PM Jun 24  2017  9-015Rounding off a stellar weekend of music at the Prospect Park Bandshell, New Orleans brass ensemble The Soul Rebels blew into BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Saturday night with a high energy set that blended funk, rock and R&B. Eschewing the traditional sounds of the Preservation Hall or Dirty Dozen Brass Bands, the Soul Rebels have made a name for themselves by collaborating with everyone from Metallica to The String Cheese Incident, along with dozens of hip hop and R&B artists.

On Saturday, the Soul Rebels were joined onstage by a trio of MC's, including Talib Kweli, Kirk Knight, and the mesmerizing Pharoahe Monch, who exhorted everyone to "Get the Fuck up!" and shout at the sky for the recently deceased MC ProdigyGoapele opened with a sunny set of soul and R&B, followed by a DJ set from Natasha Diggs. 


More pics on the photo page