I’m way behind on these and just thought I would do a quick blurb about each one:
Scott H. Biram @ Martin’s Downtown – Roanoke, VA 11/13/10
This show here had to be one of the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen some killer shows recently. The one thing that struck me about Scott, talking with him before and after the show, was how genuinely happy he was to be there doing his thing. He was just having a blast doing what he does, and man let me tell what he does is something to behold. If you ever get a chance to see him live…DO IT! do not miss him when he comes to your area. Unless you hate yourself and hate good music and hate highly energetic performances. I would say the highlight of the show for me, was when he made his guitar do some crazy feedback, set the guitar on it’s stand, left the stage to go take a piss…guitar still blaring….returned, picked it up and started right into the next song. Bad. Ass.
No vids of the show (well I did take some crappy vids with my cell but you don’t want to see that, I still need to replace that infamous camera lost at the McMurtry show), but this vid I found online of him doing Muddy Water’s classic “Can’t Be Satisfied” is the closest approximation of what I experienced that night, when he did this song it blew me away…so good, check it out: (embedding seems to be effed, so click here)
Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm @ Awful Arthur’s – Roanoke, VA 12/4/10
(sorry, no picture for this one)
This was my second time seeing Cedric and Lightnin’, and my first time at Awful Arthur’s (who have amazing fried oysters I might add). There was a blizzard going on outside, and I drove to my buddies and after watching a few vids online and me telling him how good Cedric was, we climbed in his Jeep and made the 30 mile trek in the snow to Roanoke. It was worth it.
The opening act was a group of local blues jam types who played some by the numbers blues standards, this gave us time to chow down on some of those killer fried oysters and get a few drinks in our bellies. Then Cedric came up to do his solo acoustic set, this set was particularly powerful because he dedicated it to his Uncle who had just passed a few days prior. He poured all his grief into those acoustic songs. After that set Cedric switched to drums and Malcolm took the stage with his Telecaster. The proceeded to blow the roof off the joint. If you’ve never seen Cedric Burnside live you are missing out on seeing one of the greatest drummers of our time. And the music…this is not John Mayer blues…this is BLUES the way it was meant to be played, dirty and raw. The only downside of the night was after the show I lost my favorite coat at the nearby waffle house
Todd Snider @ Stuart’s Opera House – Nelsonville, OH 12/30/10
This was my first Todd Snider show, me and a buddy decided to road trip up to Nelsonville, Ohio and swing by Huntington, WV on the way back for New Years Eve. First let me say Stuart’s Opera House is a great great venue. Reminds me a lot of the Lincoln Theater in Marion, VA where they tape Song Of The Mountains, and the Nelsonville/Athens area of Ohio was a really cool area. The stage was set up with a piano a guitar, and a table with a Todd Snider hippie flag draped over it. We were sitting stage left 2nd/3rd row. When it was time for Todd to come out, the PA started playing the theme from Sanford and Son…awesome.
When Todd came out, he sang Can’t Complain, he then opened it up to requests, matter of fact he played requests the whole show, even encouraging people to write what songs they want to hear and throw it on stage during the intermission between sets. As expected, he told stories, great stories…in particular one about Bill Elliot that was spectacular. Another highlight of the show, early on when he first opened it up to requests, someone requested Vinyl Records….to which he claimed it had “a shitload of words” but he persevered….forgetting the words halfway through but carrying the song anyway the way only Todd could. My buddy who had seen Todd two times before said this was definitely the best Todd show he has seen so far. Another highlight was after the intermission he came out to do the second set and sat on the piano and did a cool piano version of the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. This whole show can be downloaded at toddsniderlive.com for $7. A great thing to have for a show I attended. Here is a sample from the show below, the version of Vinyl Records I was talking about:
The Fox Hunt & The Demon Beat @ The V-Club – Huntington, WV 12/31/10
When I heard about this show, I knew we had to add this stop to our roadtrip on the way back from seeing Todd Snider in Ohio. First I want to say that The V-Club just may be my new favorite bar/venue in any town. Just a great place, no TV’s, an outside bar, pool tables, great bands, great atmosphere, cheap beer, great local characters, and the cutest bartender in west bygod. Plus the V stands for Valhalla, which is kind of badass. Now about the show itself, this being a New Years Eve show, it was just one big party…the place was packed, the ladies were all decked out and everyone was having a good time. I don’t recall much about the opening band Universes, but they took the stage around 10 or so. It wasn’t until after midnight that the Fox Hunt took the stage. Let me tell you this is the way to see the Fox Hunt…the way they feed off the energy of the crowd…they seemed to be calling the songs off the cuff, deciding what songs to play based on the crowds response to the last song. They finished their set with Four Horses, which the crowd also ate up. They said they could tell whether or not they had a good show by how the crowd responds to that song. They had a good show. Those worried about the new lineup need not worry, the new guys sound like they were always in the band, the only thing missing is all those great songs by Matt Kline. Luckily they have many other great songs to take up the slack.
Sometime later (excuse my time lapse, I had had a quite a few beers by this point), The Demon Beat took the stage. I knew this because THEY WERE LOUD! This was a damned rock show…no doubt about it. The guitarist Adam Meisterhans performed THE BEST windmills on the guitar I’ve ever seen. I mean I’ve only seen clips of Townsend, but I will say the windmills Meisterhans performed are as fucking good! Speaking of The Who…The Demon Beat’s drummer Jordan Hudkins played the drums like a mad man. I’ve never seen anything like this. By the end of each song the drum kit would be completely destroyed and have to be re-set up. Cymbals falling over, snares and toms falling over…all from sheer ferocity of his playing. At one point he picked up a fallen tom and used it to hit one of his crash cymbals. WOW. Check these guys out if they come to your area, we are talking balls to the wall, high gear, meth in your cocaine type of energy coming from this band. A ROCK SHOW!
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit @ The V-Club – Huntington, WV 1/15/11
So at the V-Club on New Years we saw the posters for this show, and had such a good time we decided to make the trek again to see Isbell. Now, I may or may not have drank entirely too much at this show so my recollections are a bit cloudy. Should have probably let my buddy Brad (who will doing some upcoming guest posts) write this one. However, Jason and the gang put on a killer show. They played for over 2 hours, mixing in many covers such as crowd favorite “Psycho Killer”, and many songs from Jason’s DBT days like a killer version of “Decoration Day”, even some new songs from his upcoming album. Only disappointment about this show is that I did not see Jason at the local Applebees pre-show with Meghan McCain sharing the date night special (those who follow Jason on twitter will understand that joke). Though I did meet him on the street while we were walking to the club. Nice guy that Jason Isbell, puts on a hell of a show too. [EDIT: Professional-like photos from this show can bee seen here]