Matt, Adam, and I all slept in a little longer than we wanted to. Needless to say I missed some artists I wanted to see like the Heartless Bastards and Allen Toussaint. I guess when you stay up till almost 5am sleeping in is expected.
We actually made it to the day lot without getting searched or even stuck in a traffic jam. It was nice for once to actually get there not pissed off.
One of the highlights of my weekend was sharing the stage with the sorrowful folk singer William Elliot Whitmore. During his set he decided to invite the fans to come a little closer and join him on stage. I took the opportunity and actually snuck into the back end of the tent where I got to watch the backside of William Elliot Whitmore and also all the fans who were glued to him.
One thing I like about William Elliot Whitmore is how personal he is. In between the songs he would run around and shake hands and give out hi-fives. He’s a friendly fellow who, with his guitar and banjo, is a one man show telling tales of what he sees from his eyes. His voice is haunting yet so appealing. His set was one of my favorites of the weekend.
Adam and I walked around a lot again on Saturday and the ever so smart Matt purchased a folding chair at Wal Mart in the morning and took it into Centeroo. He did his thing, we did ours, and later we would meet back up with him before the Boss took stage.
Throughout the day I was entertained by some artists I knew and others who I had not had the pleasure of hearing before. One of the new bands to my ears was grassroots heavy The Del McCoury Band. I really got a kick out of their material but had to cut it short so I could see Ms. Jenny Lewis.
While trying to see Jenny Lewis I managed to make way into a sectioned off side stage area where others were already viewing her set. As I was looking for the best place to see Jenny Lewis I noticed a certain someone checking out her set. Elvis Costello. Pretty damn cool.
After Jenny Lewis played we checked out Wilco, a band I really need to see live in their entirity. Every time Wilco plays a festival I seem to skip their set to see someone else. I enjoyed the couple songs I heard them play but really wanted to see Elvis Costello play.
Elvis Costello once again just blew my mind during his set. I saw Elvis Costello perform at the 2006 Bonnaroo so I knew what I was in for. I was pleasantly thrilled to see both Allen Toussaint as well as Jenny Lewis both join Elvis Costello on stage separately during the set. I was kind of figuring it would happen since both artists have worked with Elvis Costello but still when it happens live in front of you, you can not help but get excited.
Seeing how this was my first Bruce Springsteen experience Matt was quick to tell me what to expect. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band were everything I thought they were going to be. Where as I am not a huge fan of The Boss, I have enough appreciation for him and his band to watch the entire set and thanks to the live performance am looking to listen to look last the hit songs and dig deep into his catalog. Matt had taken off get a closer look and later told me he made it about fifteen rows back from the main stage. Good for him. I don’t think I could have done it myself.
Nine Inch Nails was awesome as I expected. I was pissed because I felt NIN deserved the What Stage, the main stage of the event. Instead they played the Which Stage which to me was not big enough for NIN. Playing through a mix of songs they shocked me most by busting out “Burn”. That song alone won me over for their set list. Sadly this performance by NIN is slated to be their last US performance for who knows how long… Glad I was there to witness it.
NIN sounded awesome as usual and as soon as MGMT and Moe took their respectful stages some of the douchbaggery cleared out. That made things much better for us as I am pretty sure the three of us were the only folk who were not retarded on substances.
Once NIN finished up and we got back to our hotel it was almost 4am. I stayed up till 6am writing the above review and managed to get a couple hours of shut eye.
Today is of course the last day of the event. We plan on getting there in time to check out Dillenger Escape Plan as well as come other artists. Once Coheed & Cambria finish their set we are done with the ‘Roo. I have absolutely so desire to see Phish close the festival with their hippie material.
This has been one hell of a trip so far and I am really looking forward to the final day to this outstanding festival. Time to head to the farm now, but first we need to stop at Tennessee / Alabama Fireworks for some souvenirs that might be illegal in Ohio.
If you have never heard of either of the record labels, know this… Ramseur Records once were the former home of The Avett Brothers and Thirty Tigers were the ones who introduced Those Darlins to me. You might have heard me talking about Those Darlins before (perhaps HERE, or HERE), it is quite possible…
She’s 22 and has a voice that reminds me of Bjork at times, minus the weird of course and full of southern soul. She has a singing style I could listen to all day. Having never heard anything by her before I am intrigued now to hear more.
Here is a short bio:
With their debut full-length, Songs in the Night, Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers deliver a shudderingly beautiful unique batch of songs in a style that’s been described as “meshing freak folk with a deep-seated, dust-bowl soul.” The 22-year-old Shawnee, OK native’s haunting voice, well-chosen words and emotional depth ring true in a way that sets her apart from most artists of her generation. Picking up where her critically acclaimed 2008 Ramseur Records EP, The Confiscation, leaves off, we find Crain presenting each song with an unfeigned fervor as her voice rises and falls over the panorama painted by the Midnight Shivers and their roots-infused, fertile arrangements.
It’s been over ten years since this anti-folk artist has released any material mostly thanks to a personal battle that Paleface finally overcame. His previous material is folk fun goodness and after hearing just a handful of songs I am intrigued to hear his new album.
Here’s another short bio:
More than a decade since his last major label release and collapse from alcohol abuse, Paleface, a founding member of NYC’s Anti-folk movement, is back with The Show Is On The Road (Ramseur Records). The album is an intimate, 11-song diary that transcends genres with its ingenuous lyrics and deceptively unassuming style – just Paleface on acoustic guitar and harmonica and his girlfriend Monica “Mo” Samalot on drums and backing vocals, along with the occasional piano overdub. Paleface is the sort of artist who brings you into his world. His voice is sweetly ravaged and effortlessly expressive, as intimate as a friend whispering in your ear. The album is a farewell love letter to his longtime home, New York City, and an embrace of his new life in the South.
When I hear the term “Girlyman” I immediately think of a certain Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit featuring Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon playing Hans and Franz the Austrian bodybuilders who where said to be cousins of action bodybuilder superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger. I still laugh at those skits…
The Girlyman I am referring to though is not associated with SNL or even the current governor of California. Instead I speak of a three piece folk act originally from New York City. I was introduced to them through my wife who has a love, almost obsession, for them. She shared them with me one day after saying “We’re still making payments on the cannon” and I had no idea what she was talking about. After giving her a puzzled look she told me about the Girlyman band. She sampled some songs to me and I found myself quite interested in them.
Girlyman is a trio of harmonic performers, rather best friends, who have stated they play “harmony-driven gender pop” featuring “leading edge three-part harmony folk-pop”. Consisting of Nate Borofsky, Doris Muramatsu, and Ty Greenstein, the band has a huge following with their “gender pop” music.
Gender pop? That’s right folks all of the members from this band are involved in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community one way or another. Don’t let that hold you back though because if you do you are missing out on some amazing harmonic folk music with heavy doses of comedic interludes, especially when seen live. Think Rupaul meets Simon & Garfunkel with more folk harmony then you have ever heard before. Where a lot of the songs are fun, many have meaning about life, love, and living but all with perfect collaborated vocals from all three members.
Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Doris Muramatsu, the “tootsie roll center of Girlyman”, who has the duties of vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo in the band. The multi-talented musician was more than kind to answer some questions for me.
So what exactly is a Girlyman?
A Girlyman is whatever you want it to be, just someone who is nontraditional in some sort of way or like to play with gender roles or isn’t afraid to have a sensitive side.
How would you describe Girlyman to someone who has never heard of you before?
We’re a folk pop trio of almost lifelong friends who sing traditional and nontraditional three part harmonies and play multiple instruments and like to laugh and be ourselves on stage.
When you started creating music was it clear you all wanted a more folk sound? Was the harmony always there between the three of you or did it need some fine tuning? I have to admit your combined harmony is all so appealing.
Ty and I started singing harmony when we were 12 years old and have always been fascinated by the beauty of interweaving voices. Our voices blended very well and we knew we wanted to write and sing music that was harmony-based. When we met Nate his voice seemed to naturally blend with ours, so it was a go. Of course there is always fine tuning whenever harmony is involved, for instance, we have realized that if we all don’t sing a certain vowel in the exact same way it will sound out of tune, so we’re always examining how the lead person is pronouncing that vowel.
Who/what are your influences for the music you create?
I understand that you and Ty have been best friends since elementary school. When did the two of you decide to start your first band The Garden Verge?
We officially started up the Garden Verge out of college although we had been signing together as a duo since middle school.
How and when did you meet up with Nate?
We met Nate [during] our sophomore year at Sarah Lawrence College at a cross-dress cabaret [that was more] like a talent show with more gender-bending. He was backstage [while] Ty and I were singing an Indigo Girls song to warm up. He came [up to us] and joined us out of the blue. We were insta-friends.
How was it being cramped up in NYC trying to start a band? Where are you currently residing?
It didn’t feel cramped at first. [It was] mostly just really exciting and creative time for us all. Of course our first rehearsal for Girlyman was scheduled for September 11th [and] after witnessing the events of that day we were shocked and speechless. We didn’t really know what to do but all that felt right to do was to be together, make music, and share it. So that was the birth of Girlyman; formed in the spirit of upliftment.
After seven years of living together and touring together, however, things did start to feel small and cramped. We were basically living on top of each other with no privacy and the need for expansion, both creatively and physically, became paramount. Nate and Ty moved to Atlanta in 2007 and I chose to stay in Brooklyn [NY] for another year but [soon] joined them in 2008. We all live separately now but happily see each other practically every day.
What types of venues did you first start playing at? Did you have success from the get go or was it more of a slow start?
We played at little coffeehouses and churches as well as some lunchtime college gigs. We just kept building out audience from the get go and even though we didn’t shoot up into massive fame, we definitely started climbing slowly but steadily.
Your live shows are full of humor and fun, especially in between songs. When did live Girlyman shows turn almost into a stand up performance or has it always been like that?
I have always been a pretty shy person in front of large crowds and I think it was hard for Ty and me [as Garden Verge] to be as funny as we are in private. When Nate joined the group he added an element of humor and improvisation that allowed us all to be more relaxed and silly together. It’s a strength in numbers thing I think. I also thing it keeps things interesting for us to do or day things on stage that makes each other laugh because then every show feels like its own thing. We need to keep things light and fresh in order for the [live] show to feel fun for us too.
In 2006, OUTmusic awarded Girlyman for the OUTSong of the year for “Young James Dean”, how did this make you all feel?
We were really honored! It always means a lot when something you’ve created reaches people and speaks to them in a significant way.
What can you tell someone about OUTmusic who has never heard of the organization before?
OUTmusic is a wonderful organization that connects [the] lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual musicians, composers, producers, and artists [together]. It works to create opportunities and tried to raise awareness for the growing number of us [LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)] out there.
I understand you are currently touring and will be performing at a couple of folk festivals as well. Having sold out venues before how exciting is it to be on the road?
We love being on the road and we love being at home too. It’s a balance but we are doing exactly what we want to do and have so much fun doing it. Sure being on the road has its challenges, like endless drives and late hours, but when we’re on stage and connecting with each other and the audience it is always worth it no matter now many people show up. It’s the energy from the audience that really helps us keep going.
How long have you actually been touring now?
We have been touring since 2001 when we first became a band.
Do you prefer festivals or venues?
I prefer venues because I find it’s easier to connect with people. Festivals are fun because there’s a feeling of celebration but I also get distracted by all that’s going on… like all the funnel cakes and hot dog stands!
Where is your favorite venue to play? Is there a favorite city you all enjoy?
How are the lodging arrangements when you travel? Have you ever crashed in the van?
Thanks to Priceline.com lodging is fantastic! We often stay in three star hotels which makes us feel rich and comfortable. We don’t stay overnight in the van though we have a loft and a refrigerator set up in it. It’s too small for all of us [to sleep in].
Who usually takes up the driving duties on the road? Is there anyone in the band who is not allowed to drive?
Everyone takes turns driving although I can’t parallel park the Sprinter [van] for the life of me [as it’s] 21 feet long. Ty is not allowed to drive at night because she usually falls asleep.
Any crazy touring stories you want to share? Maybe a run in with the law or just something drunk and hilarious?
Well, the scariest thing that happened on the road was when we hit a deer at two in the morning in the middle of Wyoming and the Sprinter broke down. Nate and I didn’t have cell[phone] service but Ty thankfully did; but only when she stood a few feet from the van. We had to get towed 200 miles to the nearest Dodge dealership in Montana. When the tow truck came and started towing us it broke down too, so we had to wait until [the tow truck] got fixed.
Finally after a scary drive where the driver [of the tow truck] kept falling asleep and running [over] all [of] the rumble strips on the highway we arrived in Billings, MT at seven in the morning. We had to stay there for a couple of days while out manager found a U-Haul truck that could fit three of us in the cab. [We] then made our way though treacherous, snow-covered passes in Washington state [on the way] to Seattle. We were [all] totally traumatized by the whole experience.
You’ve been in Cleveland a few times now. Just curious what you think of the city as it is my hometown. Any favorite memories?
Our favorite time in Cleveland was when we played at Cleveland Pride. They put us up in a fancy hotel and we shared the stage with Rupaul.
Do you think the folk festivals may help recruit new fans who may not necessary be involved in the LGBT community?
Some of our fans are part of the LGBT community, but just as many are not. We have a wide range of fans of all ages and identities.
Not everyone is accepting of the LGBT community unfortunately, have you ever had problems with people while out on the road?
It’s funny, we have a lot of people who, not knowing our music, initially feel put off by our man, but then when they hear us they immediately get over it or feel surprised that they actually like our music. Other than that, I think we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had many incidents being a queer band.
Tell me about your “Girlyfans”.
Out Girlyfans are our best support network. They are the ones who help promote us and bring new people to our shows. We couldn’t tour and do this for a living without them.
Can you tell me about the Brauner VMA that many of the Girlyfans helped raise money for you all to acquire? It looks like a masterpiece of a microphone. How is it working out for you?
It IS a masterpiece of microphones. It’s a handmade microphone from Germany and sounds out of this world. We are really happy with the sound quality we’re getting out of it.
When can your fans expect some new material to be released?
We are hoping for a fall release of our new studio album, although we’ve been playing out a lot of our new stuff at shows.
What’s next for Girlyman?
More of everything! We love how life just presents us with the next logical stay and that we’re brave enough to take it.
Just one last question… Are you still making payments on the cannon?
-For more information about Girlyman check out their website.
It was an entertaining evening Thursday night fueled by heavy doses of country twang and serious rock n roll thanks to the bands that performed at one of Cleveland’s best little venues, the Beachland Ballroom. The line-up was enough to call for that simple dreadful sign stating that tickets were sold out. All who were lucky enough to obtain admittance to last night’s performance certainly are still talking about the show that Those Darlins, Hacienda, and Dan Auerbach who is known as the lead signer of The Black Keys all put on.
Having heard about the show last week I decided that it was a show not to be missed and make plans to attend. Accompanied with a couple of friends who have love for the country and the rock I was sure they would have a great time checking out all the bands. We arrived to the Waterloo Rd. venue a little early as I was not certain how long it would take to make the trek there. The Beachland Ballroom is not located exactly downtown Cleveland but just a short drive away on a sketchy yet hip part of town. We arrived with no problems and finally made way into the ballroom. One of the things I like about the Beachland Ballroom is how quaint it is. It reminds me of a gymnasium from a middle school of my past with a stage and no real distractions in the main gathering area itself.
Once we finally got in we made a pit stop at the merch tables and I dropped five dollars on Those Darlin’s Wild One EP. For three songs the five bucks was totally worth it. The main reason I even planned on attending the concert was because of the trio of ladies otherwise known as Those Darlins. I just had received a taste of their sound last week and promptly posted a blog about it. What I heard not only made my day but also made me what to see them perform live.
Normally people get excited for the main act at a concert and the openers are almost like icebreakers for the evening. For the first time in a long time this was not the case for me. I dig the Black Keys and I have seen them live before. I actually had not heard the solo release yet on Dan Auerbach yet and to be honest I was more interested in seeing the opener over the other two bands.
Nashville’s neighboring sweethearts Those Darlins took the stage to a decent sized crowd and opened with “Wild One“. I think it is safe to say that they impressed the crowd right away physically and musically with their mix of country, folk, bluegrass, and sass. Dressed to impress, the three fine-looking girls and their mustache clad drummer had an amazing stage presence and were all smiles through their set. Sipping on strong drinks in between songs the girls shared singing duties and entertained all. “I love you” was shouted more than one time, and although I admit a major crush on the three darlings, I assure you it was not me.
They played the two other tracks on their Wild One EP including the humorous “Whole Damn Thing” as well as a healthy bout of tunes to be hopefully released on their debut CD in June. At times they sounded like The Carter Family and other times reminded me of a female version of Hank Williams III but much better looking. Seeing them live on stage having such a good time really added to the attraction. I was not ready for them to finish when they did and really could have listened to them play all night with their unique sound. I can only hope for a return by the sassy ladies once their debut CD is released.
Many people were excited to see the San Antonio rock jam band Hacienda take stage. I wish I could say I was too, but honestly the only thing I knew about this band is that they were backing up Dan Auerbach during his set and that their latest album, Loud Is The Night, was recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Akron Analog . I checked out some of the set and at times was shaking my head along to the beat. It was good music, but just not what I was looking to hear at the time.
Dan Auerbach with Hacienda and friends took stage after a short break. It was at this moment that I realized how sold out the show really was as I could barely move through the crowd to find a good place to watch the headliner. With only hearing a track or two off of Dan Auerbach’s Keep It Hid I knew it was not anything Black Keys but still was not completely sure what was going to happen.
The sounds Dan Auerbach and crew put forth reminded me of early rock at it’s finest with a jam feel at times. Each member on the stage had their own specialty to make the live performance even more interesting. Guitar solos, dual vocals, and smiles ear to ear by the performers just added to the good time being had by all. I got a huge kick out of the duel drumming and especially seeing Patrick Hallahan from My Morning Jacket do his thing moving from drum set to congo and maraca and even beating upon a giant triangle. Rocking out until after midnight the band continued to electrify. I can not tell you what songs they played as I still have yet to pick up the CD but I can tell you Keep It Hid is on my “to buy” list.
It was an excellent night for new music to hit my ears thanks to all three acts playing on stage. I became a bigger fan of Those Darlins as well as gotten a good taste of what Dan Auerbach’s solo material sounds like backed with a full band. Spite the sold out crowd it was a great evening and I know I was not the only one who enjoyed it. If these three acts happen to come your way and you are looking for a night of fun and music do yourself a favor and grab a ticket before it sells out.
The tour continues for just a few more dates. Catch them if you can!
March 5 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
March 6 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
March 7 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
March 10 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
March 11 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
March 13 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s
March 14 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
Before I even begin this blog, props need to go to my good pal Matt at Addicted To Vinyl for his assistance in helping me through rather vulgar texts on some mp3 help… Thanks jerk.
I had one of those days today. It was a bad day at work. It was just too much for me and I really wish I had a special remote control to help fast forward through all the BS. Unfortunately I do not so I had to go through my work day at a regular speed hating stressful moments.
Finally getting home I just needed some chill time and what better way to do that than to geek out on the laptop. I checked my emails and one in particular grabbed my attention. It was an email inviting me to check out a band called Those Darlins who are currently touring with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys). Having never heard of them and being a huge Black Keys fan I decided it could not hurt to listen to the attached MP3.
What I heard completely changed my entire day and I am not just saying that. After hearing the song “Wild One” I just felt better. It was a fun folky honest song of sorts and something I really needed to brighten up my day.
So who are these three darlins I speak of? Those Darlins are a folk/country/indie/punk/appalachian/blue grass (hope I did not miss anything) band featuring Kelley Darlin on bass, Jessi Darlin, on guitar, and Nikki Darlin on, get this, baritone ukulele. Awesome.
The trio currently resides in the college town of Murfreesboro, TN a city that rests somewhere between the country capital of the world Nashville and the Woodstock replacing town of Manchester, the city Bonnaroo is held in. Taking their love of playing music and love for a variety of bands of all genres Those Darlins created their own style of music and released the sassy Wild One EP.
Before I even continue you should just click on the link for the song and listen to it for yourself…
With one song not enough of a sample I headed to their MySpace page to check out a few more tracks. The vocals on some of the tunes reminded me of a female version of Hank III as well as a twangy Jenny Lewis or even Zooey Deschanel. The music is classic at times and all around enjoyable.
I have a feeling these three cuties and their mustache sporting drummer really will be going places with their unique and chipper sound. To make things even better, I just found out that Those Darlins are coming to the Beachland Ballroom next week. I have to go see them in person and I think I will. Look for an update next week.
-To pick up the EP for just $5.00, or to purchase some of their self-made merchandise visit their site at: