Archive for the “Reviews” Category

DSC_0278For 25 years the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival has been rocking the Florida/Alabama coast, and this year is no exception. Running for two weekends, the festival started Thursday night and will run till Sunday the 22nd.
The festival offers workshops, performances from a wide array of known artist and open mic opportunities for budding songwriters. Multiple venues are listed with a schedule of acts on the festival’s website. A few of the venues, including the festival’s birthplace, the Flora-Bama, Janna’s Market & Deli, Pirate’s Cove, and the Silver Moon, Then, of course, there are venues, not a part of the festival, that compete by bringing in acts such as Grayson Capps.

Saturday evening at the Silver Moon and Janna’s Market & Deli began with musicians jockeying for their chance to perform during the time allotted for open mic. If sitting at the bar in the Silver Moon, one would have witnessed the many artists rushing to write their name on the list assuring their chance to perform 3 songs for the gathered audience. At either venue you would have to suffer through quite a few, to put it politely, less-than-stellar acts, and some that were just plain boring. But, if you sat there long enough, and endured the awful onslaught of old men whining out “woe is me, nobody loves me,” then you would have the pleasure of hearing noteworthy performers such as: Riley Yielding, Sassafrass, Daniela Demaria, and Mark Green.

Yielding shined, with solid vocals and guitar work, but really earned his applause with catchy, fun lyrics like: “so fine but she was someone else’s wife” and “the sweetest thing she does is call me her man.” He then wows with a blues number that sounded almost like a dead on rendition of the classic St. James Infirmary, off by a note or two, that pairs the classic tune with worthy lyrics.
Unique among the typical open mic performers was Sassafras. The environmental folk duo grabbed the audience’s attention with a message of protest, prodding the audience to become more Earth-friendly, with interactive songs like Wolves, guitar runs that become ingrained in ones head via such tunes as Rainforest and the more light-hearted, yet still somehow ominous Water Wars.
Young but filled with potential, Daniela Demaria entered the stage a bit nervously, but when she opened her mouth the crowd knew she was worth staying for.

Owning a voice with the timbre of an unpolished Regina Spektor, Daniela and her guitar reduced our hardened minds to a fluid state of sublime relaxation with a song she wrote about New Orleans street musicians, Wrapped Up in Blue, and one called It’s Not Fair. She may have low ambitions, to become a New Orleans street musician, but her voice may have other plans.
If blues and folk music aren’t your preferred genres maybe Mark Green’s definite country flair is more up your ally. Mark Green opened the open mic session at Janna’s Market & Deli. He may have appeared somewhat unrefined, but once his set started. if you closed your eyes, one would think they were listening to a member of the Nashville elite, someone who had already arrived.

All of the above were a true pleasure to anyone’s ears, but no one can put you in a trance like Grayson Capps. Ending the night at The Reef was definitely worth the second-hand smoke. Grayson puts on a live show like no other. The bar was packed to capacity with some of his biggest fans, there to revel in the experience. Despite being quite popular in Ireland it is no shock he’s southern made. Grayson’s recorded music doesn’t do his live show justice. Though his recordings are consistently good, there is just no way they can capture the raw energy of his live show. You just have to be there.

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by: C. D. Harvill

Tuesday night, as it does on just about any given night, High Ground in Metairie, Louisiana, hosted an “all-ages” rock show. The evening’s lineup was comprised of headliners Hit The Lights, joined on the tour by the pop groups I Rival, Sparks the Rescue, Fireworks, and There For Tomorrow.

All of the bands were decent musicians and tight, as a whole. However, some aspects of certain bands’ stage shows should be noted. It needs to be understood that the High Ground is an ALL AGES venue.

Sparks the Rescue obviously misunderstood the nature of their audience, to stand on a stage and feel the need to announce what each song is about with descriptions such as: “This next song is called Skeletons. It’s about bone-rs….” Then, when there is a blatant awkward vibe in the room, the front man feels the need to explain himself to a room full of 14-year-old girls and a few mothers, “the song is about bones….. boners.” One would naturally think that, after his first attempt at humor wasn’t appreciated, he would back off, but, to the audiences misfortune, he did not. He went on to explain another song as being about oral pleasure and, if anyone would like to see the group of guys giving each other oral pleasure, they could find them in the van. He went on to open another song by saying it was about having too much of “the devil’s lettuce” and announcing that, if anyone knew where they could get some “devil’s lettuce” to come find them after the show. As if the band’s stage manners weren’t appalling enough, it is to be said that, as a pop band, you are expected–at least to some degree–to be heartthrobs. Showing up for a gig with greasy hair and having forced your, by most standards, chunky body into a pair of skinny jeans doesn’t usually scream heartthrob.

Although the next band, Fireworks, would neither be classified as heartthrobs, by most girls’ standards, nor as flawless musicians, they were at least a wholesome-looking group of guys who put on a show that had even your most unlikely audience members, with their hands in the air, singing along. Near the end of their set, the band suddenly stopped playing for one of the guitarists to ask everyone to chill out (a fight had broken out in the audience). Upon being cursed at by one kid involved in the fight, the guitarist shouted “my bad I thought he had something of value to say” and the band once again started playing. The kid continued to provoke the band, looking for things to throw, according to guitarist Chris Mojan. Once they had finished their gig, multiple fights broke out. The the drummer asked the kid if he wanted to go and just talk but, according to Mojan the kid started trying to fight again. The High Ground’s security and one of the sound guys had to help break up the evening’s violence. Mojan stated how embarrassing it was for them to be the band up there when everything broke out “we don’t support violence in any way; our music doesn’t provoke violence, it’s not even aggressive”.

Once the audience had settled down from the fights, the band that shined above all took the stage. There For Tomorrow holds the complete formula for a pop band. Each member is attractive, appropriate, charming and, not to be forgotten, the music is up to par.

The quartet has been together since 2003. Upon graduating high school they decided to start touring. They have won multiple upcoming artist awards, played Van’s Warped Tour this past summer and, upon finishing up this tour in their native Orlando, will be heading out again with Mayday Parade. Despite all the positive attention, they are still looking for more. Even though Maika Maile says he doesn’t want them to come across as needy and wanting to be in the limelight, as can be expected, the young musicians want success and deserve it. Their songs are well written, with catchy lines, not so typical minor harmonic lead riffs and flattering rhythm partnered with tight backing-bass and drums.

If you’re looking for the next band to follow until they hit it big, it would be recommended you jump onboard with There For Tomorrow as fast as you can.

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by: C. D. Harvill

Some of you older music fans may remember a time when a certain local environmental/political folk musician graced the Marquee and other media outlets. Karen Harvill, once a Mississippi Mama, is now teamed up with long-time friend and fellow folk musician Jo Billups. The pair make up the recently formed group, Sassafrass. With all the talk of global warming, the two passionate artists could not simply sit back without saying a word; so, once again, they’ve picked up their guitars and started singing. Most of their gigs have been in coffee shops in the Pensacola area; however, they have traveled as far as Ohio to perform in “green” festivals. This past Saturday was International Climate Day. To call for a clear solution to the climate crisis 350.org organized 5200 rallies in 181 countries around the world, the most widespread political action in history. The New Orleans rally, which was Sunday in Congo Square, featured Sassafrass, Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown and the marching bands from Sophie B. Wright School, Martin Behrman Charter School and O. Perry Walker High. There were speakers from 350.org, Alliance for Climate Protection, Alliance for Affordable Energy and The Coastal Restoration Network.

Sassafrass performed before and after the marching bands. Their theme-appropriate lyrics, voiced as sparkling harmonies riding on top of catchy guitar runs and compelling rhythms, served as good background music for the opening of the rally. Even for those in the audience who might not have been environmental loonies or lovers of folk music, it was a welcome respite from the foul-mouthed snowball saleswoman heaping abuse upon a fellow street vendor just outside of Armstrong Park. Once everything got started you could hear such poignant songs as “Water Wars” and the more eloquent “White on White” and “Wolves” projecting across Congo Square.  This might not have been their most energetic performance, but it was still clear that the ladies are musicians first and foremost; definitely not your average coffeehouse band.

As a former band geek, one must give kudos to “Kid Chocolate” Brown’s mad trumpet skills and, of course, to the middle and high school bands that performed as well.

With Sassafrass at the head of the parade (sporting gold umbrellas with scenes of melting ice caps and sad polar bears) the group danced second line through the Quarter to DBA on Frenchmen St. to watch the Saints play the Dolphins.

Whether you are interested in saving the environment, or simply a folk music fan, Sassafrass is a must listen.  You can check out both Sassafrass and Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown on MySpace.

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by C. D. Harvill

The 69 Eyes visited the Howlin Wolf in New Orleans on October 12. They are currently on tour with The Becoming and Dommin, promoting their new album, Back in Blood, which was released in September. Some of you may have heard of The 69 Eyes via Kat Von D’s promotion of the vampire rock band, maybe you are a fan of Bam Margera who did a beautiful, stylistic job as director of the music videos for “Lost Boys;” “Dead Girls Are Easy,” the first single off the new album, and the second single, “Dead and Gone,” or (as one fan shared with me) maybe you were listening to HIM on Pandora radio and, being a similar sound, The 69 Eyes caught your attention. Whatever the case they are worth a listen.

Surely some of you are curious as to what they mean by vampire rock? Jyrki (pronounced: yur-key) described the group as more of a cartoon rock band; their songs are not so much about love but about Jyrki’s favorite film genre–¬¬horror: more specifically, vampire flicks.

The heart-throb front-man, Jyrki, is not only a vampire rocker but also holds a master of science degree in analytical chemistry, is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and won the Outstanding Young Person of the World Award in 2006. As a Goodwill Ambassador he feels strongly about the education of children and talked about how important it is that children are educated: because if the children are knowledgeable and doing well, then mother earth is doing well. He said his being chosen for the role of Goodwill Ambassador was because he is more edgy and not someone “safe”, such as a sports star. He loves that he can be out doing his thing in a rock band while also doing something good.

Listening to the Helenski, Finland-based band’s earlier album the music has more of a melodic instrumental feel. This latest album ,unlike the rest, was recorded in the USA, with producer Matt Hyde, who, according to Jyrki “…squeezed every drop of blood and sweat and tears from us into the album.” Jyrki claims the band wanted a fresh sound, and Hyde certainly squeezed a more mainstream punk-alternative sounding album out of them. “The sound is very aggressive compared to the previous stuff… we wanted to get rid of all the extra orchestration…it’s more in your face, with an American attitude….”

Their stage performance sounded just like their recorded music, and it was fun, as an audience member, hearing Jyrki, with his accent, pumping the crowd between songs. However there was a feeling, bleeding through their performance, that they were bored, and one could spot Jyrki thinking about doing his Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson-esque stage antics before and while executing them. Whether it was simply because of it being a rainy day or because they’ve been doing this for 20 years, one can’t be sure. It was evident they weren’t really into the performance until they began playing newer hits, such as “Dead Girls Are Easy,” during which the band definitely had more than enough overflow energy from the enthusiastic audience.

With such a theatrical headlining band the opening bands were fitting. The Becoming came out with their own lights, glitzed us with their gold drum set and had a sound like Emery, if Emery was less punk and more Marilyn Manson.

On stage just before The 69 Eyes and appropriately revving the crowed for the main event was Dommin. Theatrically dressed with leather jackets bowling shirts and slicked back hair the young, more mainstream, Depeche Mode-sounding band wowed the venue with their simple keyboard progressions, catchy lyrics to hit-worthy songs such as “My Heart In Your Hands.” Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, Kris Dommin, shocked with vocals unique to the genre, giving the band a refreshing taste.

Overall, a terrific show and, if you are in an area where this murder of bands is touring, it is worth your time and money to check out the show. If not, all three bands have music worthy of livening up your computer time or drive home from work.

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by C. D. Harvill

Having just finished the Mississippi Coast Coliseum’s brand new convention center a group of local bands decided it was perfect timing to break it in and blow the roof off. Fosterpalooza ‘09 was headlined by: 12 Stones (based out of Mandeville, LA and signed to Wind Up Records) and Egypt Central (based out of Memphis, TN and signed to Fat Lady Music). Warming up the stage and audience, excellently so, were: Falls From Grace, Touching the Absolute, Jane Doe’s Dead and added last minute to the lineup Wake the Light.

From start to finish the show was full of energy. As it should be the show’s energy seemed to flow and build as the night continued. Despite the convention center not being acoustically friendly to music the audience didn’t mind. By the time 12 Stones had step foot on stage the crowd was potently spirited with each bands musical performance as well as stage antics. After seeing revved up performances from local favorites such as Falls From Grace’s Tony Burn’s signature entrance wearing a gas mask and, paired with amateur pyrotechnics and Jane Doe’s Dead’s ability to produce rowdy dedicated fans; how could the audience not be salivating for more?

Egypt Central had the crowd and WCPR’s Special K singing along with the successful “You Make Me Sick”. Front man John T. Falls entertained the venue not only with his vocals and visual performance, but also with his sense of humor. Their performance only left the audience wet for more.

Paul McCoy, being the front man that he is, couldn’t help but deliver the icing on the cake during 12 Stones’ set. From their entrance and throughout the rest of their performance 12 Stones delivered an energetic and musically pleasing show.

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by C. D. Harvill

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In the heart of the New Orleans ghetto, an industrial- electro metal show headlining a said musical genius took place this past Friday night. Combichrist, kicked off Demons on Tour, their sixth US outing, on a billing that included Julien K, Aesthetic Perfection, and Ego Likeness at The Hangar on South Rendon.

Upon approaching the building one could easily spot the makings of an appropriate crowd. Fans and overall members of the scene were clad in fishnets, dreads, combat boots, capes, and the almost compulsory black.

Once inside The Hangar Combichrist’s tour manager led me backstage (or outside and upstairs to a hotel room in what was once Rendon Inn) where I met with the brain behind Combichrist, Andy LaPlegua.

After playing in other metal bands Andy decided metal’s sound needed more experimentation, so he birthed Combichrist. His sound pulls from electro, house, metal, industrial, and punk. The result is a juggernaut that defies simple description. In order to stay fresh, he shared with me, he avoids listening to any music that has the same style as he. He’ll listen to the basic electronica, metal, punk, etc., but nothing that has the same experimental roots that he excels so strongly in.

Being so innovative, the average radio station would never grace its listeners’ ears with Combichrist, but Andy isn’t concerned with Combichrist getting airplay as long as what he’s doing works. “If that were my goal I would do hip hop or something, my personal goal isn’t to get my music played on the radio or be on the top of the sales charts; if it were then I’d be doing something different” Although he did admit that “if it gets to that point that’s awesome, obviously¬¬–if we still had our musical integrity in tact…I’m never gonna jeopardize my integrity, my art form just, to get airplay.”

As a vital organ in this unique body of music Andy LaPlegue is obviously a passionate individual and it shows in many aspects of his life. From his love of animals to the creation and presentation of his music, his fervent personality shows.

Having come from a family of hunters in his native Norway, Andy is displeased that because of the over-processed foods being bought in supermarkets and fast food restaurants people have become disconnected with where their food originates. He has always had a love of animals and especially frowns upon dog fighting. Andy has spoken out through PETA and while on this tour is giving fans a chance to spend the day with Combichrist. The catch is you buy a VIP package, for which a portion of the profit will be donated to PETA.

Hearing so much about Combichrist’s theatrical performances I was excited to be invited back to get ready for the show with the band. Part of the agreement, however, was that I sport full onstage makeup, which stand-up percussionist Trevor, so eagerly reminded me of as he and Z_Marr, the keyboardist, began applying a black line stretching from my hairline down my nose to my cleavage along with strategically placed blood across my mouth, chest, and finally the infamous bleeding ears.

After everyone’s makeup was complete, the guys relaxed listening to music before their set where you saw the transformation complete. The laid back, fun group of guys backstage became intense entertainers displaying the true definition of a rock show backed with pulsating catchy electronic beats.

Although Combichrist has played their fair share of sold out concerts this event didn’t draw quite as large a crowd. Even with that in mind the band put their all into the performance. Delivering a set well worth driving into the ghetto to experience.

Every second of Combichrist’s presence on stage had an electric current keeping the room hot with the lust for more. Each member of the live band was a power animal daring the audience, whether fans of the band and/or genre, not to remember the show above all others. A Combichrist concert is a form of self-discovery far outweighing the cost of a ticket or commute. So check out their tour dates and make sure you’re up front and center at their next closet venue.

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More Than Motion

More Than Motion

by C. D. Harvill

Stereohype’s fifth, and debut full-length, studio album, More Than Motion, is loaded with hits. The title track, More Than Motion, as well as Loco Motive and No Heroes can be heard on the band’s MySpace page. Other tracks include Blackout, The One, Times Like These, and Stockholm.

In the past one of Stereohype’s hits was a drinking song and they didn’t let us down with this new album. More Than Motion is filled with drinking songs and references. If you have ever had a few too many drinks and found love in a bar Blackout is the song for you; and if you haven’t, its catchy chorus is still a lot of fun to sing along to.

The One starts off with very popular rock runs and then falls into full-on trumpets. No album is complete without at least one broken-hearted song, and although there are multiple on this album, The One will most definitely be a favorite with its “emo” lyrics, heavy rock drums and even a screamo line made original with the bands signature ska flair pumping the chorus.

Given that Stereohype’s genre is ska expect to hear various musical stylings intertwined throughout their songs. Times Like These starts off very reggae with blues overtones, but proves itself rock before the theatrical rap mid way through the song.

Showing the guy’s humor, Stockholm’s clever lyrics are a prime example of the cliché that a guitarist’s axe is his girl. Chase Thomes vocals, mixed with the guitars, drums and horn line, showcase a jazzy funk style that only a southern-bred band could pull off appropriately.

Every song on this album is high voltage, demanding you to get up and dance (or skank in ska terms). No matter the situation, More Than Motion has you covered; after listening to a song or two you’ll be driven to get out there and live life to your fullest. Despite your preferred genre or Stereohype’s unsigned status, this album is a must listen for 2009. The album’s May ninth release date, however, is now uncertain. A car ran a red light and struck guitarist, trumpet player and vocalist Nicholas Rohde on his motorcycle after the band’s victorious participation in a battle of the bands at the Hard Rock Casino.

Rohde is in good spirits. While having sustained serious injuries that may inhibit his ability to play and perform, he was wearing a helmet and padded riding jacket that may have helped save his life. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery and can return to what he does so well–making great music.

The driver who struck Rohde was uninsured, leaving Rohde with the burden of medical expenses, etc. If you are interested in donating to the Nic Rohde benefit you can either go in person to Hancock Bank and make a deposit to the credit of: BENEFIT FOR NICHOLAS ROHDE 044288920 or attend the benefit show at Nate’s Sports Bar and Grill on May 8th.

Stereohype’s Myspace Page

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Amazon is offering three free House of Heroes songs for free download in celebration of the release of the physical copy of The End Is Not The End. I know all of you love free stuff just like me. Download it, listen to it, make love to it on your ipod.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro blogging social networking site that allows you to write what is deemed as “tweets”. These posts can be about anything you can imagine, within a 140 character limit. You can also follow other people on twitter and their “tweets” will appear on your own page.

When it comes to twitter, you can follow whoever you choose to follow. The tweets are very short glimpses into someone else’s life, their thoughts, or just observations. You can quickly share a link that catches your eye or easily make plans with a group of people to have a wild night out on the town.

Basically, twitter is a simple man’s (or woman, gotta be politically correct) way of blogging. You can do this via the web or by text messaging from your phone. With the iphone and blackberry apps, this is extremely easy and addicting. It’s really easy to find and follow other people on Twitter.

Twitter, Connecting You to Your Fans

If you are a band, then you would be a fool to think that your fans do not want to connect to you in all levels possible. They want to know about you, your life, your music, and how they can become closer to the band as a whole. Every band has these diehard types of fans, even if your music sucks there is that groupie who always comes to your show, drives hours to see you play in some nasty bar, and they tell you thanks each and every time. Twitter can help you gain new fans and become closer to old ones.

How do you start on Twitter?

First, sign up as your band name. Go to http://www.twitter.com and establish an account. There is a video on the homepage to give you an easy-to understand overview of how to use Twitter. Even a bass player can understand it.

Second, use your email sign up list that you have saved to your computer from shows (Because every good band has a sign-up mailing list!) and see if any of your fans are already using twitter. You may have quite a few already on twitter tweeting away. Also be sure to setup your profile to reflect your band image. Use a good image, maybe a band picture or album picture as a static image in the background. Fill in the info about yourself, input your website or MySpace address. This is all so your fans have something to see you as when they view your page.

Third, decide who is going to run the account from their mobile device. Sign up with this mobile device and link to the account. This will be the phone you send texts/updates from. You can also update via the web. If you have a band account on Facebook, link the status update from twitter to your Facebook account. Each time you post to twitter, it will update Facebook for you.

Now you have to decide how you are going to post on Twitter. Don’t post the same thing over and over again or people will stop following you. I don’t suggest only posting for people to buy your merch all the time. You should actually spend a little time having a conversation about what is going on in the band or about you, one of the musicians in the band. Do post a few times about the business aspect of your band, after all this is a free marketing tool. Then you can actually engage in communicating with your music community.

You communicate directly by repling to other people’s tweets. You do this by using the @ symbol and then their username. If you wanted to type something directly to gulfcoastbands, you would type @gulfcoastbands first and then the message. You can also send a direct message that only the user can see. This can be a very effect way of talking to someone without exchanging telephone numbers per say.

As a band, you can use twitter as a very powerful tool. Just think, you are on tour so twitter can be your online diary of your adventures. You can use Twitpic to take pictures and share them easily from your phone. Maybe you want to share your set list to your fans for your show later in the week in Memphis, TN or Chicago, IL. Maybe you want to let them know you just had a great sound check and you can’t wait to meet them at the merch booth after the show. The possibilities are endless.

You can also get a Twitter Badge or Twitter Widget to add to your myspace page and website page. This will allow your non-Twitter fans to see what you are up to as it will update as your update your tweets.

As you can see, Twitter is a very powerful tool if taken advantage of and used correctly. It is in my opinion, that every band and musician should have a twitter for their fans to follow. It’s free and the possibilities are endless on who can spread the word about your work. Check out some links below to other people using twitter.

Music Bloggers & Podcasters & Zines

http://twitter.com/gulfcoastbands

http://twitter.com/coverville

http://twitter.com/fave

http://twitter.com/weheartmusic

http://twitter.com/indiefeed

http://twitter.com/cc_chapman

http://twitter.com/billpalmer

http://twitter.com/jeffhinz

http://twitter.com/zaldor

http://twitter.com/rubyfruitradio

http://twitter.com/cybster

http://twitter.com/indieradiochatt

http://twitter.com/fascinated

http://twitter.com/DprShadeOfSoul

Bands on Twitter

http://twitter.com/imogenheap

http://twitter.com/gerardway

http://twitter.com/bobbryar

http://twitter.com/michaeljamesway

http://twitter.com/franklero

http://twitter.com/LetMyPrideBe

http://twitter.com/jimmyeatworld

http://twitter.com/DaveJMatthews

http://twitter.com/SLessard

http://twitter.com/kanyewest

http://twitter.com/lisaloeb4real

http://twitter.com/remhq

http://twitter.com/snoopdogg

http://twitter.com/interpol

http://twitter.com/themaccabees

http://twitter.com/rootsmanuva

http://twitter.com/HenryRollins

http://twitter.com/kristinhersh

http://twitter.com/MCHammer

http://twitter.com/bjork

http://twitter.com/thesubways

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Article by Gina Turner

Have you ever walked into a place and felt like you were in on something special? The Julep Room, located in the cellar of Aunt Jenny’s restaurant in Ocean Springs, is a shining example of a well kept secret raising its voice and spreading the news: Original Music Lives Here.

The Julep Room’s roots run deep and far, mingling with music since even before it became one of Elvis’ favorite Coast haunts. The venue is the home of the oldest (and for a long time ONLY) all-original Songwriters Nights, known as the premier spot for singer-songwriters and bands to showcase their original music to an appreciative crowd. Not only that, but it’s faithfully remained the most consistent venue in the area, hosting live music of every persuasion six to seven nights a week.

The cellar also puts a new twist on tapping into the spirits, as local lore will tell you the place is more than just a nice place to have a drink…it’s been regarded as a nice place to see a ghost too (and THAT is a whole other history best told by one of the many ‘regulars.’ Stop in sometime and ask about it.)

It’s all of these things and more that makes The Julep Room so special amongst its peers. And what pushes it over the edge of ‘awesomeness?’ – THE PEOPLE who frequent it. The people, the sounds, the visual (floor joists hanging just overhead, just the ‘right’ lighting, the spirit of a cozy pub, the musicians, the folks behind the bar culminate to make the Julep experience once for the books. Curious? Go see.

On Friday, December 12, 2009 from 10pm-2am, The Julep Room and local performer Gina Turner are teaming up for a Toys For Tots drive. The night will feature music from Gina as well as early performances by Anthony Ainsworth, Matt Hoggatt, and Danielle Thomas – three of the area’s greatest songwriters. ADMISSION FOR THE EVENING = 1 NEW, UNWRAPPED TOY and there will DEFINITELY be some surprises in store. So, if you’ve never stepped a foot into the cellar, December 12th is a fantastic night to do it. If you’ve been there before but not in a while, December 12th is a fantastic night to revisit. If you’ve been looking for a reason to celebrate the season in the most spirited mix of music, magic and mostly importantly – charity – December 12th is the best day of the whole year to make a trip over…and, well…under!

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Have you ever wanted to find that special entertainment venue where something is always happening?  Well, I think I have just the place for you.  Nate’s Sports Bar and Grill located off Hwy 49 in Gulfport is just that place.  Sporting the slogan, “There is always something going on at Nate’s!” this bar is not your average sports bar by any means. 

Just for starters, Service Industry Night is 7 nights a week.  What other bar on the Mississippi gulf coast offers this?  You can start this off by purchasing your first drink of the night and the second one is on the house no matter what your choice of liquid courage is.  This also includes $5 pitcher of beer and $5 hot wings all night long off the employee menu.  Cha….Ching baby, where else should someone go to party for service industry night but other that Nate’s Sports Bar and Grill?

Calling all karaoke singers!  Did you know that Nate’s has karaoke on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday nights?  If you feel like partying and singing like the next American Idol, check out Nate’s and their amazing sound system.  Just maybe you can be the next gulf coast super star or in my case, receive free drinks from the wonderful patrons to keep you away from the microphone. 

Maybe live entertainment with a band is your thing.  Well guess what?  Nate’s has this as well.  Every Saturday night, there is a live band taking the stage at 10pm.  “You may not know the name of the band playing that night, but I will guarantee you that you will have a good time!” says Nate.  Some of the acts they will be featuring in August are: Heist at Hand from Houston, TX with Stereohype on August 2nd, Wes Loper Band on August 9th, Harry Slick (One of my favorites!) on August 16th, Easy Street on August 23rd, and Trick Bag Live on August 30th.  You just can’t go wrong with a line-up quite like this. 

Food is one of the greatest American pleasures we have and Nate has not let his patrons down in this pleasure by any means.  The grill is open all night serving some of the best local bar food around.  You can indulge yourself in such pleasures as a fried foot long hot dog loaded with all the fixins’, hot wings, crab claws, and the highly recommended Philly cheese steak.  The portions are more than enough for the blue collar worker or just to put back that hunger pain from partying the night away.  This high quality and reasonable prices is backed up by amazing customer service.  “Customer service is key in any service industry”; and after my night spent here, I can see that customer service is a number one priority.

If you are looking for a sports bar that is a step above the rest, be sure to check out Nate’s Sports Bar and Grill located at 11444 Hwy 49N in Gulfport, MS.  This bar is packed with quality entertainment, drink and food specials.  You never quite know what to expect when you visit Nate’s.  For more information, visit them on myspace at http://www.myspace.com/1teddybear2 .  (don’t ask me who teddybear2 is).  I highly recommend the philly with a combo platter. 

Marc Ramey

www.gulfcoastbands.com

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Stereoside – So Long

Jessica DePineuil

Out of Ocala, Florida, Stereoside is a four-piece band of radiant musicians with a knack for crafting music that etches itself into the mind. Jeff Shields (lead singer), David Oliver (bassist), Chris York (drummer), and Ben Foster (guitarist/vocalist) contribute their own unique styles to Stereoside, together creating a sound that is both recognizable and individual. After signing with Bieler Bros. Records in March of 2006, Stereoside released their debut album with Jeff Shields, So Long.

Anyone who has witnessed Stereoside’s superior performances in their shows can look forward to the same emotion-rich music on So Long. As “Sinner” is played on radio stations around the country, listeners should expect to hear many more hits from this album in the near future: Yes, So Long is packed with such radio-ready songs.

“Too High” starts the album with fire and force. One can literally feel the driving intention and emotion of each of the band members. In this song, Stereoside’s capabilities of creating musical masterpieces are made obvious, and Jeff’s vocal talent sends the already-amazing instrumentals to soaring heights. “Too High” is a track that necessitates driving with cruise-control and steering with your knees, while strumming away on your air guitar of choice and banging your fists on the dashboard.

The second track is “So Long,” and if listeners didn’t get enough of a head-nodding anthem from “Too High”, they’ll be sure to have no regrets in buying this album by the end of track number two. “So Long” is bursting with the same reproachful emotion that the first track featured, and though it would seem difficult to follow “Too High” with a song just as praise-worthy, Stereoside makes it happen. This is the next song I anticipate hearing on the radio and watching growing numbers of fans sing along to. With the intensity of York’s drum lines and Foster’s guitar, “So Long” possesses that exceptional sound destined for jam-packed concert floors.

“Sinner” demonstrates Shields’ true vocal talent and Stereoside’s ability to exemplify what perfected music should be. It’s no wonder that this track is already a radio hit; every instrument is tightly woven into “Sinner”, and one couldn’t possibly find a single replacing note or chord that would improve this track. These guys know how to write music that’s strung together flawlessly, and “Sinner” is full of remarkable instrumentals without being excessive or overcrowding the song itself.

Track number four is “Tattoo”. Stereoside’s southern-rock influences are confirmed in this track with squealing guitar solos and Shields’ penetrating vocals typical of the subgenre. The focus in this track is sound, as the lyrics aren’t “to die for.” All in all, “Tattoo” is a good quality addition to the album, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the first three tracks.

“Wasted” is one of the songs on this album that more sensitively describes heartbreak. Stereoside’s softer instrumentals accentuate the message of this song, and Shields’ melodic vocals efficiently express love-related anguish. Though heartrending, “Wasted” is one of my favorites on So Long. This track is yet another display of Stereoside’s talent in changing things up a bit without losing their distinguishing sound.

The sixth track is titled “Ain’t So Bad,” and is one more song that will beat through listeners’ veins just as “Too High” and “So Long” do. Stereoside has an inherent ability to change rhythm and tone so impeccably and smoothly, and this precision is recognizable in “Ain’t So Bad.”

“Always Remember” is a song of encouragement for those in “battle,” whether as soldiers or as regular people going through difficulties in life. The lyrics are somewhat repetitive, but that repetitiveness and the drums’ imitation of battle marches add to the theme of this track: staying strong when you feel like giving up.

“My Life,” is a catchy, up-beat song marked by positivity, which is felt through every change in tempo and intensity. This track is one to add to the list of favorites for its unique qualities that are difficult to find in mainstream rock’s genre-specific sound.

Another track rich in love and heartbreak is “On and On.” This song is beautiful in every instrumental piece, especially Foster’s guitar. Shields’ voice is incredible in its softer tones as well, and ladies will undoubtedly fall in love with Shields and Stereoside as a whole through this sensitive, love-struck track.

“It’s Not My Day” brings So Long back to its hard rock roots. Shields’ vocal range is again brought forth in his ability to vocally climb to astonishing highs and drift back down to rich, melodious lows. Foster, Oliver, and York work beautifully together in bringing this track to a perfect instrumental harmony that’s hard to come by when each instrument is so distinct and clear. “It’s Not My Day” will surely be another radio hit from this album.

“Little Pill” adds to the album’s theme of love and drug-related heartbreak. While the lyrics could use a little help, they don’t detract from the beauty of this song. This track is definitely the slowest on So Long, and, as can’t be said enough, Shields’ voice is beauty at its greatest. Stereoside transitions well from hard rock anthems to slower, more heartfelt tunes, and their versatility in creating damn-good music is commendable.

The last track on the album is “On Our Way,” which features more of a blues/southern rock feel as a reminiscent tribute to the rock n’ roll heroes of the past. Just as in “Little Pill,” the lyrics aren’t great, but Stereoside still manages to pull off including them, through the band’s clean intensity in the instrumentals and Shields’ vocals.

So Long is an album to put on your must-buy list. Stereoside’s music features a familiar, yet still unique, sound not typical of today’s mainstream rock. Jeff Shields, Ben Foster, David Oliver, and Chris York form a band with true talent, and So Long is a must-hear album filled with songs to sing along to and get to know by heart.

http://www.myspace.com/stereoside

http://www.stereoside.com

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Xerus – “…this impossible everything”

Jazz Babbage

From Minneapolis, Minnesota, Xerus is an extremely original band of three: Michael Townsend Letsinger (vocals/guitar/songwriter), Travis Washnieski (drums), and Scott Sachs (bass guitar). “…this impossible everything” on SkinCell Record Group is Xerus’ second album, preceded by “Wrath of Ra” which included number one hit on New Artist Radio, “Easy Pieces.”

Slipping “…this impossible everything” into my CD player, I was surprised at the intro, “Recoil.” The a cappella track starts quietly and calmly, with lyrics touching on the end of the world, politics, and relationships. Soon, the proposed meaning of this track gets jumbled and covered by screeching and deep vocal rambling: disharmony at its greatest. I listened on with a smile on my face, thinking this would be a comical band, purposefully comical, that is.

The rest of the album featured the same whirlwind of disharmony. I will say that most of the tracks start out crisp and fresh in the instrumentals. The guitar, drum, and bass lines fit well together. The music isn’t terrific, but it is somewhat harmonious and almost pleasing to the ears. In just about every song a funky guitar riff sets a mood of amusement and enjoyment until Letsinger’s vocals come in and disturb the flow of the track. “Invisible Excuse,” “Sacra-Official,” and “Full Circle” are three tracks that I was pleased with in their early moments, but disappointed with as soon as the vocals were introduced. Neither the band as a whole nor its vocalist has a clear, defined sound, and this is demonstrated in the rough changes in tempo and Letsinger’s constant variations in tone of voice. The songs lack synchronization and present themselves as a bunch of notes and beats crammed into a track with off-key vocals.

Without regard to the previous tracks, my favorite track on “…this impossible everything” is the last one, “Another Friday.” This upbeat, fast-paced song got my attention, as it is about having an orgy with friends. Letsinger’s crazy vocals fit so much better in comical music, and I enjoyed this song for its absurdity.

M.T. Letsinger’s voice, and Xerus collectively, have potential to be admirable once they discover their sound. In an industry full of mainstream music that tends to blend identities, Xerus does “sound unlike most everything else you have heard.”

http://www.Xeruslives.com http://www.myspace.com/xerus

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Thunder’s Tavern Welcomes Waitin’ On Jake

Jessica DePineuil

On Friday, August 7th, 2007, I made last-minute plans to catch Waitin’ On Jake at their first Thunder’s Tavern show. Days prior, I’d looked up the band’s Myspace page after Marc mentioned them coming to Pascagoula to play that weekend, and from the sound of the band’s music on their stand-alone player to the high energy easily displayed in their photos, I was eager to check them out.

I arrived at Thunder’s Tavern as Waitin’ on Jake were finishing their sound check. The first thing I noticed was the professionalism the band and crew demonstrated as they adjusted their sound with incredible diligence. What I didn’t expect from them was the volume intensity the sound check foretold. I was slightly hesitant about how loud they were, but being in a cheerful mood, I was forgiving and still anxious to see them start the show.

For a Friday night, the Tavern’s crowd was small, but the band assumed position on the stage with smiling faces, as if they were playing for hundreds. They introduced themselves and jumped right into their first set. I was taken aback at how clear and precise their covers were in both instrumentals and vocals. The guys of Waitin’ on Jake collectively bring forth a standout style of performance, and still every song they played was perfectly mastered. From modern rock chart-toppers such as Disturbed’s “Down with the Sickness” to Cameo’s “Word Up” hit from 1986, Waitin’ on Jake catered to every musical taste and gave us all songs to sing along to.

Front man Justin’s vocal power really made each song come alive, and with Ra’s strong drum performance, Dave’s vigorous guitar riffs, and Aubrey’s energetic bass lines, the band gave the crowd that night a reason to party. My previous apprehensiveness about the band’s volume had been drastically proven false. Waitin’ on Jake is one of the strongest, most energetic bands I’ve seen, and their intensity was very well complemented by powerful sound.

All in all, Waitin’ on Jake brought Thunder’s Tavern an exciting, electrifying experience. Thanks, guys, for putting on a true show for us, and please…

Play it LOUD!

From here, visit Waitin’ on Jake’s Myspace and the Waitin’ on Jake website . To view pictures from the show, click here.

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I want to introduce you guys to a band out of Philadephia that I am really starting to get into.

The Pawnshop Roses have been playing their brand of Americana rock in the Philadelphia area’s top venues for the past few years. In December, they got some national attention when they won the YouTube Underground Contest for Best Live Video and appeared on Good Morning America. Following the YouTube win, the band signed to Earvolution Records and hit the studio.

Their first full length record “Let it Roll” is an Americana rock gem produced by Pete Donnelly of the Figgs (Amos Lee/G-Love/Graham Parker) with a couple song co-arrangements by noted alt-country artist Tom Gillam. Donnelly adds some vocal, guitar and bass backing on a few tracks while Jonn Savannah (Van Morrison, Joe Cocker, Squeeze) sits in for piano on a two tracks as well. The record is being distributed by Home Grown Distribution and is available on all electronic outlets including iTunes. The band has quickly jumped into Home Grown’s top seller list alongside established acts like Spearhead, Phish, Derek Trucks, Xavier Rudd and more.

Listen to some of their music:

Here We Go

The Life We Lead

Pawnshop Roses Myspace

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