Category Archives: Concert Reviews

[CONCERT REVIEW]: WBRU’s Birthday Bash at Lupo’s (11/13/13)

Night One of 95.5 WBRU’s 44th Birthday Bash offered several memorable live performances.  Beginning with local openers Torn Shorts, the four-band bill proved to be a worthy decision by those in charge at WBRU.

Torn Shorts started the party with a brand of alt rock quite reminiscent to any or all of Jack White’s projects.  A few of their songs included extended jams, which added to the performance quality in a positive manner.

Contrary to the potential bewilderment from the name Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., the next band was an extremely fun live performer.  Their band name suggests that it might be one guy, perhaps playing on the acoustic guitar or using a one-man band body kit. This was indeed not the case and the group proved to be quite energetic.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. easily worked up the crowd and resurged an enjoyable atmosphere.  It helped that the group was clearly having fun performing for this audience full of WBRU listeners.  Besides the energy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., highlights of their set included the songs “Don’t Tell Me” and “If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t On The Dance Floor).”

The second-to-last act of the night was California’s The Colourist.  This was the indie rock group’s first performance in Providence. The female drummer cracked a joke regarding at least one of her band mates thinking Rhode Island was actually a tropical paradise. In terms of The Colourist’s set, they were able to impress the crowd with their catchy tunes.  They were the right band to fill the direct support slot in this concert’s lineup.

Young the Giant rounded out the bill, hitting the stage at 11 PM. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia showed his full vocal potential on Wednesday night, hitting notes many men should not even attempt to try.  Despite the disappointment of new material overload in their set list, Young the Giant demonstrated their perfected performance skills.  Their energy and positive vibes permeated the audience’s senses and heightened the power of the atmosphere orchestrated by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and The Colourist.  Gadhia also managed to offer a humorous anecdote as he jestingly singled out an audience member “nursing his beer.”  He ended his little lecture with “Man up; drink it down!”

It would have been nice to hear more tracks off 2010’s Young The Giant and perhaps a cover or two rather than the excess of songs from the forthcoming album, Mind Over Matter. However, judging from how those five or six new songs sounded live, this new record should steer the band clear of the sophomore slump and should be one worth promoting over a lengthy touring cycle.

Overall, WBRU threw an awesome show in honor of the radio station’s 44th year in existence.


Young the Giant



[CONCERT REVIEW] Jay-Z & Justin Timberlake Got 99 Problems But Fenway Ain’t One (8/11/13)

On their second consecutive night performing at Fenway Park, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake succeeded with their promise of “bringing the party” to Sunday night’s crowd.

Opening with “Holy Grail” from Jay-Z’s new record, Magna Carta…Holy Grail, the “Legends of Summer” woke up the crowd from the get-go.  They subsequently powered through Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body,” Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” and a short cover of “I Want You Back” by The Jackson Five.

After the first handful of songs, the duo started to gradually give the fans more of each song.  Still, they rattled through a lot of material in the joint set maxing out at over two hours in duration.

One of the most entertaining moments was Timberlake playing the guitar on a couple of Jay-Z’s songs.  Until the camera focused on him, no one knew he was the one doing it. At that point, JT was decked out in Boston gear, including a Red Sox hat and a Boston Strong t-shirt.

While Justin was often on the stage for Jay-Z’s song, the acclaimed rapper did not seem to return the favor.  To be fair, JT’s songs do not always have room for Jay-Z to spit a rhyme, which he nailed throughout the night.

Unlike some artists that often rely on the audience or back-up singers to either sing or rap most of their songs, Jay-Z did not really use any of those utilities.  There were points where he spit faster and better than anyone could expect from him.

While the Boston Strong business seemed a bit overdone by the “Legends of Summer,” it still had an impact on the crowd.  The duo really connected with the packed ballpark, both during and between songs.

One last notable highlight was Jay-Z’s smile peeking from behind his microphone.  That was weird and unexpected, especially since his songs do not always provoke smiles, per se.

Photo Courtesy: Boston Common Magazine

Grammy’s 2013: Focus on Live Performances

As portrayed on the official MusicTalker Twitter page, Sunday night brought the annual Grammy’s Awards Ceremony to national television.

The amount of live performances seemed to overpower the number of actual awards presented at the ceremony.  Of course, CBS only showed the most popular awards being presented.

Still, there were a couple exceptionally noteworthy live performances that CBS televised.  Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys’ duet was entertaining, but was not the best of the night, by any means.  The highlight of their “set” was Keys’ song, “Girl On Fire,” but only once Maroon 5 joined in for musical back-up.

The Bob Marley tribute performance was arguably the greatest moment of the night. Bruno Mars kicked it off with his song, “Locked Out of Heaven,” which sounds like a song the Police could have written.  Heating up the room with good vibes, Sting stepped out on stage and started singing this Police-like song with Mars.  The performance continued to better itself with Rihanna and Ziggy Marley joining in on a couple of other songs.  If that doesn’t seem exciting enough, Damian Marley jumped in, too.  This all-star tribute performance brought a big party to the Grammy’s, if only for a few minutes.

Another highlight of the evening was Kelly Clarkson’s acceptance speech for “Best Pop Vocal Album.”

The video speaks for itself:

[CONCERT REVIEW]: Ellie Goulding at House of Blues Boston 1/23/13

Performing to a sold out Boston crowd on a frigid Wednesday night in January, British singer/songwriter Ellie Goulding found a way to keep her fans warm in the House of Blues. Taking the stage at nine o’ clock, after openers St. Lucia warmed up the crowd with their retro 80’s sound, Goulding drilled through a solid 90 minute set with a heartfelt response from the crowd.

Goulding connected with her audience as any talented performer would, talking to them between songs, winding them up during songs, and dancing her way into everyone’s hearts.  She also felt comfortable enough with her Boston fans to share some personal information relating to her music. For instance, Goulding explained that her song, “I Know You Care,” was written about her father.

During the first of two songs in her encore performance, “I Need Your Love,” Goulding was delivered a bra on stage via air toss. This one bra led to a revolution of loose bras, to which Goulding hung each prize on her microphone stand. In regards to this event, she said, “I would expect this to happen to One Direction, not me.”

The set list for Ellie Goulding’s performance in Boston, MA on January 23, 2013 was a combination of both of her releases, relying a little heavier on 2012’s Halcyon than on 2010’s Lights.

ellie goulding

[CONCERT REVIEW]: Jack White at Agganis Arena on 9/28/12

On this rainy evening in Boston, I arrived shortly before the opening act took the stage.  Shovels & Rope were the best openers I have seen support any of Jack White’s acts.  I haven’t seen The Raconteurs yet, but the Screaming Females, who I saw open for the Dead Weather, didn’t do it for me.  Although, Dan Sartain wasn’t bad when I saw him support The White Stripes in 2007.  Anyway, Shovels & Rope sounded like an offspring of the Civil Wars and Jack White.  They were from South Carolina and definitely had that Southern twang in their sound.  I enjoyed their performance overall.

After about a half hour of waiting for the headliner, Jack White and his all-female backing band took the stage.  Before they actually went on, the arena’s lights went out and back on, tricking the crowd.  The second time the lights went out, though, the band came on.  My big problem with this concert was the constant sound issues.  I can deal with loud music, but when everything screeches and you can’t pinpoint any specific instruments, that is where a problem arises.

With all that said, this concert was still really enjoyable.  White played a solid set, but the crowd went absolutely crazy when “Seven Nation Army” came on for the last song of the night.  At least for this song, I was able to move past the troubling sound quality.  “Seven Nation Army” was the perfect way to end the concert, leaving everyone smiling and cheering.



Here is Jack White’s set list from last night (via

Sixteen Saltines

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground   (The White Stripes song)

Love Interruption
Missing Pieces

Hotel Yorba   (The White Stripes song)

Weep Themselves to Sleep

Cannon   (The White Stripes song)

Broken Boy Soldier  (The Raconteurs song)

Top Yourself   (The Raconteurs song)

Hypocritical Kiss

You Know That I Know  (Hank Williams cover)

I Guess I Should Go to Sleep

We’re Going to Be Friends  (The White Stripes song)

Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy

Screwdriver / Blue Blood Blues

I’m Slowly Turning Into You   (The White Stripes song)

The Hardest Button to Button   (The White Stripes song)


Freedom at 21

Ball and Biscuit   (The White Stripes song)

Seven Nation Army   (The White Stripes song)



[CONCERT REVIEW]: Machine Head at the Worcester Palladium 2/4/12

As the first band of the night, Darkest Hour took the stage at right about 7 PM.  Stirring a mosh pit that would continue until after the headliner’s set, these Washington, D.C. natives showed why they were opening this esteemed concert bill.  Despite front man John Henry’s awkwardness on stage, Darkest Hour received a respectful and entertained response from the crowd.

Suicide Silence was the second band of the night and the last act before the mighty Machine Head.  While Suicide Silence’s music targets a small niche, it was evident why that small niche loves the band’s live shows.  Lead vocalist Mitch Lucker holds a phenomenal stage presence.  He has mastered the art of performing from talking to the crowd to having fun with them.  He divided the crowd on the floor for a competition to see which side was louder and jokingly criticized the left side for being really weak-sounding.  Needless to say, the right side won.

Following the completion of “Diary of a Madman” on the Palladium’s sound system, Machine Head took the stage to bring their fans a memorable set just shy of two hours.  Some highlights of their performance included Robb Flynn’s speech before “The Darkness Within,” the images on the screen during “Who We Are,” and the entirety of the song “Halo.”  He spoke some very wise, heartfelt words before leading into “The Darkness Within,” off of their latest release, Unto The Locust.  He discussed how music helped them and their fans, alike, persevere their darkest times and feelings, especially in terms of heavy metal.  It was really touching, as were the slideshow images on the big screen during “Who We Are.”

This is Machine Head’s first headlining tour in over four years.


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