Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Commentary Videos! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Swan Lake at The Auditorium Theatre (Through October 28, 2018)

In 1875, Pyotr Ilyich Tchiaikovsky was commissioned to write a full evening ballet. The first performance of Swan Lake took place in 1877. The Joffrey Premiere took place in 2014. And now, in 2018, it returns to the Auditorium Theatre.

Sometimes, a performance leaves you grasping for words. Graceful, athletic, and powerful come to mind. They make it look so easy, but it is very difficult. In the Stage Notes videos, they discuss the hours of rehearsal and the physical intensity of the performances. It’s a cool look behind the scenes.

It would be interesting to see this live performance with surtitles describing what is happening or with a running commentary, like in these videos.

Get tickets now for Swan Lake through October 28th!

 

Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review of Midsummer Night’s Dream here.

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Something to Prove! Lindsey Buckingham at Athenaeum Theatre (October 17, 2018)

When you go to see musicians who first gained fame back in the 70s, there is always a chance they are just doing a victory lap and they aren’t really excited about the music anymore. This is definitely not the case with Lindsey Buckingham. His live show is full of energy and excitement. Also, he has something to prove since he was kicked out of Fleetwood Mac, according to the lawsuit he filed against the band.

“Been down one time / Been down two times” he sings on “Never Going Back Again”. “I’m never going back again!” and he nods to the audience in a clear comment on his current situation with Fleetwood Mac. The issue is a clear undercurrent of the night. It comes up again when he says that Warner Brothers wants to make a greatest hits compilation of his solo work. He notes that he doesn’t like to look back and prefers to look forward with a wink.

Along with his solo songs, he mixes in some great Fleetwood Mac songs including “Go Your Own Way”. Buckingham’s enthusiasm was strong for the entire show. He goes into a really great groove on “I’m So Afraid” as he shreds the solo. Afterwards, he pumps his fists in triumph. He’s one of the greatest performers of our time and it’s an absolute pleasure to watch him in action, especially in the intimate space of the Athenaeum Theatre.

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Hudson Taylor opening for Hozier at the Riviera Theatre (September 21, 2018)

Despite waiting in a line that was two blocks long, the crowd is in good spirits as Hudson Taylor takes the stage. The band is full of energy and enthusiasm as they launch into their set.  It’s contagious and the crowd quickly gets into their music. Harry and Alfie Hudson-Taylor, the lead singers, are brothers from Dublin, Ireland. Alfie is especially energetic while playing the tambourine and singing his heart out.

 

They have put together a great band for this tour that really shines. Each time a new member gets a solo, the crowd cheers. The band consists of Tadhg Walsh Peel on violin and mandolin, Oisin Walsh Peelo on piano and whistle, Holly Hudson Taylor on vocals, Jonny Colgan on percussion, and Ronan Sherlock on bass. After this great performance, it’s clear they will be back to headline their own show!

Hozier also rocked the house. See our previous review of them here.

Cost of a ticket: $50

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

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

 

Quinn Delaney

Storytelling and Singing: John Popper of Blues Traveler at City Winery (September 18, 2018)

15 minutes after 8, John Popper comes up on stage. He is joined by Ben Wilson on piano. To start off the night, they play “Cara Let The Moon”. It’s a beautiful song that is perfect for the setup of a duet. Popper’s vocal skills are on full display and everyone has a good view at the City Winery, a very intimate venue.

Later on, he tells a story about the first time they heard their song on the radio. The band was touring in a van and they heard the song start to play. Only, it wasn’t their recording! It was a Coors commercial that had stolen their song. “And I can’t tell you what happened next,” smirks Popper as the audience laughs. He goes on to play the song they stole, “But Anyway”.

In between songs, an audience member yells out, “What is your favorite Bobby Sheehan memory?” Sheehan was the founding Blues Traveler bassist who died from an overdose in 1999. After thinking out loud for a bit, Popper shares it was Bobby’s ability to be so observant that he seemed to be psychic in his ability to notice the smallest things.

Toward,the end of the night, Popper says “I forgot to prostitute myself!” He goes on to mention his book, Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed to Tell. It’s very appropriate that he is promoting a book rather than an album as he talks just about as much as he sings tonight.

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To close out the set, John sings “It doesn’t matter what I say, as long as I sing with inflection.”  It’s the start of “Hook”, and everyone shows a smile on their face. The harmonica solo on this track is legendary. Also, the fast-paced singing is quite the feat.

Quinn Delaney

Charming – Madison Cunningham opening for Punch Brothers at the Symphony Center (September 7, 2018)

Madison Cunningham is a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She says she has a love/hate relationship with the city. “You may not recognize the local references in this next song” she warns. During the song, she mentions taking the 5, and she comments mid song “There it is!”. This self-comment throws her off and then she flubs the next lyrics. However, she quickly recovers with style. It’s a charming display that wins over the audience.

To set up her closing song, she says she wrote it for her fiancé. The crowd responds, “awwww”. She goes on to sing “Something to Believe In”. It’s a beautiful song that sounds absolutely excellent in the acoustically grand Symphony Center. Her vocal talent and guitar chops point to a bright future for this young artist.

Quinn Delaney

Consistent – 311 with The Offspring and Gym Class Heroes at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (September 6, 2018)

311 was formed in Omaha, Nebraska by singer/guitarist Nick Hexum, singer S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, drummer Chad Sexton and bassist P-Nut. The band now resides in Los Angeles, California.

311 mix rock, reggae, hip-hop and funk into their own unique sound. After years of consistent touring, 311 have developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining & dynamic live bands in the U.S.

Last year, they released their 12th studio album MOSAIC (BMG) with its unique album cover–which is made up of nearly 10,000 photos submitted by fans.  Even the image of the 5 band members on the cover is made up of tiny fan photos–to solidify the concept of band and fans as one. Fans can view a high-resolution pan & zoom mosaic of the cover image now at 311AlbumArt.com.

311

“This cover captures the spirit of the collective nature that is 311–band and fans together to form something greater than the sum of its parts.” says Nick Hexum (singer/guitarist). Chad Sexton (drums) adds, “We have a very symbiotic relationship with our fans that see us on tour year after year.  We wanted to have an album title that would describe our fan base, our band & our music. And to tie all of this into a concept that could be presented in the album artwork as well.”

Quinn Delaney

Cost of a ticket: $60
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

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

 

Hilarious! Black Button Eyes Productions Presents Nightmares and Nightcaps: The Stories of John Collier at The Athenaeum Theatre (Through September 15, 2018)

Nightmares and Nightcaps is a collection of short plays adapted from John Collier’s stories. They are like the twilight zone in that they usually contain as elements of fantasy, bizarreness, and morality. They all come together in a darkly humorous fashion.

One of the stories is about a man who wins 50 million dollars. His wife just wants to buy a house in Jacksonville, but he wants to travel the world, especially to see mysterious creatures.

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Another story is about a couple that is over consumed with thoughts of the death of the other person. They decide to spend 9/10ths of their income on insurance so that they can live with piece of mind. However, it isn’t long before this piece of mind is lost.

The entire cast is excellent. Kevin Webb is delightfully mysterious as The Dweller, aka the narrator. His performance as the seller of potions is spot on and devilishly delightful. Megan Delay (The Liar) is excellent as The Huntress. She drives a man so wild that he wants to be stuffed like one of her conquests just so he can live in her house. Kat Evans as the Bird of Paradise is absolutely hilarious.

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Get tickets now for Nightmares and Nightcaps through September 15th!

 

Cost of a ticket: $35

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It!

New Rating Scale:

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

 

Quinn Delaney