Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Beautiful Music – Tyler Ramsey at Schubas (April 22, 2019)

Tyler Ramsey has been a guitarist in Band of Horses since 2009. They formed in 2005. Tonight he is performing his solo work with a band consisting of a slide guitar player, a drummer, and a bassist (playing a brand new bass from Guitar Center).

Ramsey is a bit disheveled tonight. When talking about writing a song, he can’t remember when he wrote it. “Who cares anyway?” he says. The reason for his absentmindedness is that last night he slept on an air mattress in his van while camping in Turkey Run Sate Park in Indiana. He kept falling off the mattress and didn’t sleep very well. However, when he plays and sings, he enters the zone and there is no evidence of a lack of sleep. His beautiful music brings everyone into the zone with him with it’s sweet melodies and calming lyrics.

Today. He writes his music out in the woods by his home, outside of Asheville, North Carolina. And his music has that natural sound that gives one the calmness of nature. Towards the end of the set, he takes a minute to thank the opener, Matthew Fowler, who could be seen moving throughout the crowd taking pictures of the band playing.

Catch Tyler Ramsey on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $15
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

 

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So Fun! Carbon Leaf at City Winery (April 19, 2019)

Carbon Leaf are a very fun band to see live. Their songs are great sing to along with. Take “Life Less Ordinary”, which they play mid way through their set. “Live a life less ordinary, live a life extraordinary with me!” It’s a joyous tune that is so catchy.

The band is in a good mood tonight despite dealing with vehicle issues causing them to arrive to the venue with only an hour to set up. Also, even though they have been playing as a band since 1992, they still enjoy making music together. They formed the band back in Richmond, VA, the same city that Dave Matthews Band started in.

Another great song that they play is “Let Your Troubles Roll By”. “When all of your tears dry, let your troubles roll by!” sings the entire audience joyfully. The lead singer uses a tin whistle, which looks like a large recorder. This adds an Irish sound to their music that suits them well. He also plays a piccolo excellently.

Catch Carbon Leaf next in Chicago at the Chop Shop in Chicago!

Cost of a ticket: $30
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney

Party Music! Shwayze at Beat Kitchen (April 5, 2019)

Shwayze created a new style of rap with his musical partner, Cisco Adler. It a sun and fun filled style completely different from the NY or Detroit style. And tonight, he brings this party music to Chicago’s Beat Kitchen. Early on, he plays a new song that is a bit darker and harsher than his usual style. However, he quickly gets back to his roots with “Buzzin'”. “She was buzzin’ all over me like she fell in love” sings along everyone as they sway to the beat.

Shwayze is in a party mode as he asks the bartender for some tequila, because he is all out. Fans go ahead and start to buy him shots. He goes on to take about 4 shots throughout the night. One fan ups the ante and hands him a lit joint mid song. He takes a puff and then carries it around with him until the next break in the song when he can take another puff. Then, he hands it back to him. Shortly afterwards, this fan is escorted out of the building, despite the pleas from Shwayze saying “Don’t kick him out!”

The ejected fan luckily only missed a few songs, including the closer, “Corona And Lime”. “Baby, will you be my Corona and lime? And I will be your main squeeze.” It’s impressive how he can command a room with just a microphone and a DJ behind him.

Catch Shwayze on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $19
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Engrossing! José González and The String Theory at The Chicago Theatre (March 28, 2019)

When they said Jose Gonzalez was touring with an orchestra, they meant it! They filled the giant stage at The Chicago Theatre with musicians. They even had a conductor who at one point played a power drill. It was an engrossing experience that drew you in and then suddenly it was two hours later!

Most orchestras don’t do encores, but this one did. Every single one of them got up and left the stage, and then returned shortly after. They closed the night with the fantastic Leaf Off / The Cave. It’s a beautiful song with González’s voice and his great guitar playing. Adding in a full orchestra makes it even better!

Here is the full lineup:

Orchestra conducted by PC Nackt.

Guitar & Vocals by José González.

Flutes by Marta Torkilsdóttir Johannes and Agata Tuchołka.

Bass clarinet by Andreas Thurfjell.

Trumpet by Erik Rosenkvist.

French Horn & Trumpet by Stephanie Deckers.

Trombone by Erik Dahl.

Violins by Karin Hagström, Emelie Molander and Robert Marberg.

Violin & Sound effects by Christoph “Mäcki” Hamann.

Violas by Elke Brauweiler and Lina Molander.

Cellos by Frédérique Labbow, Maja Molander and Katarina Palm.

Percussion & Sound effects by Daniel Schröteler and Ben Lauber

Percussion by Andres Renteria.

Piano & Keyboards by Nils Tegen.

Electric guitar & Backing vocals by Sebastian Gäbel.

Backing vocals by Nathalie Barusta, Chérie and Monika Humienna

Catch José González and The String Theory on tour now!

Quinn Delaney

Midwest Americana! Red Wanting Blue at Subterranean (March 27, 2019)

Red Wanting Blue are from Columbus, Ohio, the 14th largest city in the US. They have been playing their brand of Americana for 22 years. After playing the City Winery last year, the lead singer was looking to play a rock club in Chicago this time. He remembered playing at Subterranean 13 years ago with his uncle in the crowd. His uncle complained that it was too loud. That’s the place he wanted to play! Here are some of the top moments.

“Younger Years” is a great singalong song. “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” “I don’t know! I don’t know!” It gets the crowd going early on and they maintain this energy throughout the show.

“You Are My Las Vegas” is a crowd favorite. It’s a joyfully fun song that puts a smile on everyone’s face. “What are the odds that you’re going home with me, real soon?”

“This is the End” is a great track from their latest album, the Will Hoge produced The Wanting. “Cause we both know, this is not the beginning, this is the end.” It occupies the space they have cornered, the beautiful melancholic.

They launch into “My Name is Death”. It’s a fantastically cool tune from the point of view of the Grim Reaper. “I’m the baddest motherfucker you’ll ever meet” sings the audience gleefully.

Catch Red Wanting Blue on tour now!

Cost of a ticket: $19
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

A Great Voice! Tyson Motsenbocker Opening for Colony House and Switchfoot at House of Blues Houston (March 16, 2019)

As Tyson Motsenbocker sings, it quickly becomes clear that he has a great voice. With just a microphone and his acoustic guitar, he fills the House of Blues with his beautiful music. He draws you in with his charm and his comfort on stage. Before you know it, his short 30 minute set is over.
After Colony House performs, he returns to the stage to talk about the charity he supports, Food for the Hungry. With them, he traveled to Bangladesh with Switchfoot as a volunteer to help the children there break the cycle of poverty.
During Switchfoot’s encore, he returned again to help sing “Native Tongue”. It’s clear he has bonded with the band and they have brought him in under their wing.
Quinn Delaney

Aaron Neville at City Winery Chicago (March 4, 2019)

Aaron Neville’s set consists of mostly covers including “Stand By Me”, “Killing Me Softly”,  “Just the Way You Are”, and “Georgia”. For just about every song, he cuts it off short. Perhaps this is to get more songs in? Also, within the songs, he cuts each note short. It’s especially evident during “Tell It Like It Is” when the audience is still singing a note and he has stopped. During a few moments, you can hear his iconic voice, but these are few and far between.

On this tour he is accompanied by Michael Goods on piano. He is a talented musician, but he shows no emotion at all while playing. Even during his great solos, his head is down with no expression on his face.

Suffice it to say, this show was a bit disappointing.

 

Cost of a ticket: $75 – $95

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Go for Free

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

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Quinn Delaney