Icon for Hire at The Rutledge, Nashville, TN
Downtown Brown at 12th & Porter, Nashville, TN
LEAGUES just wrapped up their fall tour with a phenomenal hometown show on Friday at the infamous Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, TN. After seeing them earlier this year open for Local Natives at Live On The Green, a free outdoor fall concert series with thousands in attendance each week, I was excited to see LEAGUES in a hard ticket venue setting. Live On The Green was a huge show for the band, but 10,000 people on a downtown lawn can also come with a number of distractions. The Cannery show was thankfully quite different. There were hundreds of people focused solely on enjoying a show from one of their favorite local bands. LEAGUES delivered. Man, they sure did deliver. If you haven’t heard them before, check out the video of their recently recorded performance of “Spotlight” live at Chicago Sound Exchange:
Although awesome, it just doesn’t do them justice to see a video. Hearing LEAGUES play their songs live truly brought the album to life on Cannery Row. They even treated us to a beautiful cover of “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan, and a new song. I’ve been to number of shows there, and this was the best sounding by far. Tyler Burkum (guitar), Thad Cockrell (lead singer), and Jeremy Lutito (drums) have a natural ability to bring their studio-level musicianship to the stage. Before their existence as a band, each member was accustomed to hours of work in the studio for their individual careers, perfecting tones, rhythms, textures, grooves, and understanding the balance of songs that brought them joy. When asked about their inspiration, the band would agree that they aren’t necessarily inspired by artists as much as they are “inspired by songs.” “Songs that stop the room for a quick second,” adds Jeremy. It was in 2010 when they unknowingly played their first show as a band at Bowery Ballroom in New York. Just ten shows later, they stepped onto the stage at the great Ryman Auditorium opening for The Fray. It seems like there’s been a vibe of no looking back for the band as they now headlined their own tour this fall. Check out another live in studio performance; this time, at The Smoakstack with “You Belong Here.”
“In order to truly create something new you have to do something you don’t know how to do,” – Thad.
I believe that statement is relevant to a lot of art and product that gets exposure these days. It’s that, combined with an ability to pinpoint the one thing you are best at and can execute to full potential, to transform good to great. In this case, LEAGUES is the best at what they do. They have received some major press in the last year from the likes of MTV, Esquire, Paste, and many more. In a recent interview with Paste, Burkum described some of the band dynamics. “In my opinion, for it to be a LEAGUES song, all we have to do is agree. And it’s going to sound a little different and be a little different than anything any one one us would do [on our own]. If what we’re making excites us all, then that to me is a good sign.” They’ve also described the audience and listeners as being an unofficial fourth member member of the band, which is evident in the way they play shows. “My favorite music connects people and engages you to participate,” says Cockrell. “Look at folk music, those songs got passed down because it was something people could sing together.” As folk music has been passed down, there are many ways in which people can discover music today. The best, in my opinion, is still simply word of mouth. If you dig it, share it! And of course, get a copy of their album, You Belong Here, by clicking on the album art below. Thanks for listening!
By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
The Limousines at Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
California indie dance outfit The New Division are an active bunch, each member active in at least one side project in addition to their prolific output as a band. Building anticipation for their forthcoming full-length followup to September 2011′s Shadows, they’ve been doing quite a bit. In addition to having songs from their November 2012 Night Escape EP placed in commercials for GoPro and Coach, they released a remix EP featuring new versions of all of its songs. A remix competition for “Stockholm” from the new album is in full swing, and not content to let others do all the remixing, they’ve reopened several of their past remixes for other artists for free download on their Soundcloud page.
2 Hearts and Chemicals‘ “Coming Home” provided an excellent playground for frontman John Kunkel’s mixing skills, with a male vocal not far off from his own on original TND tracks, joined by female backing vocals. The two groups share a predilection for strong melodic synth lines and a steady groove, both of which serve this song well both in one’s headphones and on a dancefloor.
Nashville’s Future Unlimited share some sonic similarities with The New Division as well, but in remixing “Golden”, John decided to take it in the direction of progressive house. TND’s clear interest in dance music far removed from the bedroom electronica they began with sets them apart from many bands that have been lumped into the ‘nu-disco’ and ‘chillwave’ genres over the past few years, with digressions into house and even trance becoming an increasingly prominent feature of their output.
Jim Smith, aka Teeel, is heavily indebted to the ’80s, an influence he wears proudly on his internet ‘sleeve’. Kunkel’s work on his angsty anthem “Crystal Lake” brings it squarely into the modern era, with much more clearly digital effects and processing de-emphasizing Smith’s distinctly analog sounds.
The spirit of collaboration goes beyond just remixing for The New Division, as they took it one step further to record a song featuring Keep Shelly in Athens as the title track of the aforementioned Night Escape EP, the Hypefactor remix of which you can stream and download for free.
As an added bonus, and to let those of you who haven’t heard of TND before this post hear John’s voice, here’s the Sanfernando Sound remix of “Devotion” from January 2011′s EP, The Rookie. If you like what you hear, you can catch them live at the Loft at UCSD December 6th.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC
Blink 182 are the seminal pop punk band of the last 10-15 years. Aside from maybe Green Day and a hand full of others Blink 182 has risen to become a monster in the punk gone arena rock scene. With a ton of albums released and the hits to match I was curious as to how my night was going to go. Prior to Wednesday night the band announced a series of “smaller shows” in LA at the Palladium and Wiltern where they would play the entire “Untitled” album from front to back to honor the records 10 year anniversary.
Arriving at the venue the line was stupid long which is to be expected for a very sold out and very sought after ticket. This was opening night of 5. As my first Blink experience I know they have rabid fans and was ready for an on slaught of high school girls and bros with their shirts off. While those stereotypes existed what I saw was 4,000 hungry music fans waiting for what was to be a pretty intimate experience. As announced at 9:45 on the dot Blink 182′s Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Tom DeLong took the stage to thunderous applause and with out a word started into the “Untitled” album. Kicking off with one of the singles “Feeling This” past the break out slow burner “I MIss You” through the last song “I’m Lost Without You” (which was the first time they had ever played the later of the three songs live) the energy from the band toward the crowd and vice versa was electric. They plowed through 9 songs beofre even saying a word. They didn’t have to. People knew what they were in for and it wasn’t a surprise so the excitement was already in the air.
Greedy old me having never seen the band was hoping for a short second set highlighting the hits from some of thier other records. I didn’t wuite get that but after the band finished the album and walked off stage breaking back into the encore with “Not Now” off their self titled album form early 2000′s was a great way to start.
This is where it get’s cool. The group then tore into “an old one” and busted out “MnMs” which was thier debut single from 1995 and according to the setlist post I found they haven’t played it live in 10 years. That was a treat.
A show closing “Dammit” sent the crowd and me into the streets of LA feeling pretty good about what I had just witnessed. Seeing a band thats been around as long at Blink 182 reminds you that bands with longevity are around for a reason. They are good and they remain good/ tight and they sound awesome live. As a first time Blink 182 concert goer I got my monies worth and enjoyed the show. I’ll cross my fingers for a 15 year Enema Of The State anniversary show next year.
Full Setlist: (Untitled Album In It’s Entirety) Feeling This, Obvious, I MIss You, Violence, Stockholm Syndrome, Down, The Fallen Interlude, Go, Asthenia, Always, Easy Target, All Of This, Here’s Your Letter, Im Lost Without You
Encore: Not Now, M+M’s, Mutt, Dammit, Family Reunion
Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC