Tag Archives: jacksonville

The 10 Best Jimmy Buffett Songs He Probably Won’t Play On Tour

Florida Times-Union — Jimmy Buffett has scored unimaginable bank as king of an empire that encompasses music, restaurants, apparel, shrimp, tequila, casinos and whatever industry puts blowup pools in the back of pickup trucks.

But before he was able to convince untold thousands of concertgoers in suburban amphitheaters and basketball arenas they were actually watching the sun drop in someplace like Tahiti, Buffett really was a struggling, easygoing and fairly well-lubricated storyteller from the Gulf Coast, a guy who came up in the early ’70s singer-songwriter golden age of John Prine, James Taylor, Steve Goodman and countless others.

It’s tougher to find that side of Buffett onstage after decades of sold-out cheeseburger parties, but it’s not impossible: For decades he’s ended his beach blanket blowouts with a solo acoustic number (we call it the Let’s Get The Hell Out Of Here Before These People Get In Their Cars song), his best chance to retune his guitar, rummage around in the song trunk and revisit some of the softer, simpler corners of the catalog. If you’ve gotten your fill of the songs you know by heart, here are a few lost treasures worth digging up.

Read more at Jacksonville.com.

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Concert Review: Guns N’ Roses – Democracy Now! Or, Who The Hell Are You People?

Billboard — Even on a sticky Halloween night in Florida, with much of the crowd in costume and spooky holiday decor swinging from the rafters, nothing could quite out-weird the main spectacle: watching 1/8th of Guns N’ Roses perform a batch of 20-year-old smashes — as well as a few from a record originally slated for release during the first Clinton administration — in front of, among other things, a large and inflatable Homer Simpson balloon.

Welcome to the jungle, kids. We’ve got fun and games.
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Review: Dave Chappelle explains that whole thing about South Africa

Florida Times-Union — So how do you review a Dave Chappelle show in a newspaper most generally enjoyed by folks over their morning Cocoa Puffs? Well, first, you leave lots of it out, like the extended bit about the show “Cheaters,” or hilarious tale of an old fight with a crystal meth addict, or the series of stories regarding the gynecologist. Especially that last part.

But that’s easier to do than you think, because only about half of the first of Chappelle’s two sold-out shows at the Times-Union Center on Tuesday night fit the strict constructionist definition of comedy. Divorced for years from his insanely successful “Chappelle’s Show” and still clearly reeling from the bizarre media speculation regarding his self-imposed exile to South Africa, the Dave Chappelle who turned down $50 million from Comedy Central is a new animal these days, and much stronger for it.

Sure, on the surface, 2006 Chappelle is the same guy you watch on the DVDs, laser-quick with his trademark riffs on race relations, “Girls Gone Wild” videos and his own fragile reputation (“Rest assured, if you see ‘Half Baked 2,’ I ran out of money,” he cracks, probably not kidding). He’s sneaky with his smarts, masking them under dorm-approved comic riffs, and quick to diffuse whatever tension he builds by breaking himself up in fits of innocent-looking hilarity, rubber limbs flailing all over the place.

But there’s a fire in his more measured paces now, a bigger purpose, and it’s grounded in that bizarre exodus that sent him to Africa for an unspecified time. As pure his motives may have been – the explanation of which seems to be the point of his return to the stand-up circuit – there’s still something about a guy who turns down fat bags of cash to do a dozen episodes of skit comedy. Well, strike that – there’s something in America about that guy, and that difference provides the crux of an act that’s now grounded in “The Game,” which seems to have become for Chappelle what the obscenity trial was to Lenny Bruce.

That’s because after a typically rat-a-tat-tat opening set involving rumors of his own insanity (“When you read in Newsweek that you’re crazy, you start to think … maybe I’m crazy!”), the illegal immigration debate (“I only knew immigration was a problem when I started finding Mexicans in my hiding places”), and invading Iraq while North Korea waved nuclear threats around (“We don’t invade countries with WMD – that shit’s dangerous!”), Chappelle smoothly careened off of his comedy highway into a craggier, hard-to-predict and fairly astonishing monologue.

Fully getting into it involves way more ink than we have, and besides, it ruins the closure he provides at its end. But it proves a visceral riff on capitalism, American excess, the structure of language and the genesis of subtle stereotyping and it stars Iceberg Slim, a notorious Chicago pimp from the ‘40s. Chappelle spins this tale like a master storyteller, and though you know this is a guy who Richard Pryor christened the savior of smart comedy in America, his story of a pimp, a “bottom bitch” and a briefcase of cash transcends even those accolades, and blows the future of this onetime sketch comedian wide open. Most importantly, it concludes with the nature of The Game, and the real reason Chappelle fled to Africa. It’s a secret. But he knows. Just trust him.


Interview: Herbie Hancock’s endless possibilities

Headlining this weekend’s Jacksonville Jazz Festival: Herbie Hancock, who says of his work: “You have to feel it strongly within yourself,” he said. “Strength in your own conviction about what you want to project.” An interview with the legendary pianist.

And for all you hardcore purists out there, a column on the fest’s other headline: Mr. Kenny G.


Interview: Grace Potter’s magic

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Florida Times-Union — If the name Grace Potter and the Nocturnals sounds familiar, maybe it’s because you caught the band opening for Robert Cray on Thursday night at the Florida Theatre. Or opening for Soulive a few weeks back at Freebird. Or opening for Cray last year. Or on the bill for this year’s Springing the Blues festival.

They call what the New England-based performer is doing “market saturation.” They also call it still a really good way to get people to remember your name.

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• Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Nothing But The Water (1).mp3

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All of 22 with an infectious giggle, Grace is out to make herself the world’s most famous Potter since that magician kid, gig by gig.

Reached en route to a New Orleans show on what sounds like a beast of a van ride (“We’re not a tour bus band yet,” she says with a laugh), Potter lets on that it’s a big night. She even bought herself a present for the occasion: a 1957 Gibson she picked up in Austin, Texas, a day prior.

“I only pay money in towns that I like,” she said. “I’m a Gibson girl, so I went in for a vintage one. I love it. It’s a really sexy little thing.”

Potter played guitar when she started about a year ago, but she spends most of her time these days behind the Hammond organ, which, not counting a crazy good a cappella performance of Nothing But the Water, is the main thing you take away from one of the band’s shows.

“According to the guys in the band,” she laughs, “there are no chicks in the country that knew how to play it. They said, ‘Come on, it’ll set you apart from all the sad girls with pianos.’ So it’s sort of become the centerpiece of the band.”

Potter gets compared to Norah Jones, but where Jones’ supple voice tends to quietly kiss her notes, Potter goes full steam ahead with her funky blues/rock, hence slots opening for Dave Matthews, Trey Anastasio and Derek Trucks. The production speaks to that, as well – she and the guys (guitarist Scott Tournet, drummer Matthew Burr and bassist Bryan Dondero) recorded their most recent, Nothing But the Water, in a New England barn. The work is a mix of gospel and funk and rock and plenty of the blues that helped secure her place in the Springing the Blues festival this weekend.

Jacksonville enjoys a special place in Potter’s heart. It was here that her band first opened for the relentlessly touring Cray last year, a performance that, by most accounts, brought down the house.

“[The 2005 Cray concert] was one of the most big-deal shows we ever had,” she says. “We were such a baby little band, and he called us up and said, ‘Hey, here’s a random opportunity to play in front of 2,000 people.’ ”

Until that show, Potter says, the band stuck mainly around its northeastern base. They formed at St. Lawrence University in New York, when they all met regularly to do what music people do when it’s too cold: plunder whatever vinyl shops they can find and sit around and play records.

Potter was into Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin (“Total chick music” she says), but she already knew that wasn’t her direction. When she met “the boys,” she found her heart was in something a little more rocking.

“We all got into the same sounds, late ’60s and early ’70s rock that nobody, for whatever reason, was paying attention to anymore,” Potter said.

And once the band started picking up, she quickly pulled the plug on school – “I’d always planned on not going for the full four years,” she jokes – and the band relocated to its native Vermont, where it still makes its base.

“If we’re not touring, we all kind of sit around there. And if there’s no money to buy groceries, we have my mom make us up some catfish soup.”

There’s a little more money now. The band recently signed to Hollywood Records, which will re-release a spiffed-up version of Water on May 2.

“It’s not really a big-shot deal, but it’s a great opportunity for us to open up creatively and brush off this record that was recorded two years ago to see if there’s something about it that’s worth putting out again.”

Plus, it’s a pretty great prologue to a summer that’ll include a stop on Bonnaroo and more touring. World domination is still a ways away for the muggle Potter. But at least maybe her mom can take a break from whipping up the catfish soup.


Live from New York: Rock Hall plays some Skynyrd, man

Florida Times-Union — Bridesmaids since 1998, Lynyrd Skynyrd finally soars into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a Monday night induction ceremony in New York City. A report from the ceremony, held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. “We were actually the one band tonight that seemed to get along OK,” cracked guitarist Gary Rossington.


Lynyrd Skynyrd in the Rock Hall: Turn it up, or turn it down?

You know, it did take the Rock Hall seven years to admit these guys. Which brings up the question: Is Lynyrd Skynyrd a Hall of Fame band that jump-started a musical genre, or are they overrated good ol’ boys with a history of troubling content? An argument from both sides; I report, you decide.


Live review: Both sides of Ben Harper in Jacksonville

Florida Times-Union — Ben Harper is the missing link between human and mix tape, a shuffle button that can walk. His set is the jam-band counterpart of the menu at the Cheesecake Factory: nearly every style is readily available (as long as you don’t feel like anything too weird), and if you think you can trump it, you just haven’t turned enough pages. Feeling like reggae? Try the “Steal My Kisses/Pressure Drop” medley, wash it down with a crisp Red Stripe. A little wah-wah funk? Might I suggest the “Excuse Me Mr.” Some sensitive-guy singer-songwriter stuff? Ah, the “Another Lonely Day” is excellent tonight. A review of Harper’s sold-out show at the Florida Theatre.


Interview: John Prine, standing by peaceful waters

John Prine’s sterling show at the Florida Theatre encompassed what Prine’s so skilled at conveying: discovery, pain, peace, the primal, therapeutic power of music and the impossible mess all these things make when handled by us humans.

A review of Prine’s Jacksonville stop, as well as an extremely enjoyable talk with the singer-songwriter.


Live review: Nine Inch Nails reclaim their empire of dirt in Jacksonville

Florida Times-UnionHow much can you blame a band for its weaker, subordinate offspring? How much can you hold into account the inventor of a cliche if it was novel when he thought of it? Is it fair to blame Pearl Jam for Creed? And is it fair to blame Nine Inch Nails for the tiring parade of industrial-rock welterweights who ungraciously jammed the airwaves during the post-Downward Spiral mid-’90s? (Don’t make me come over there, Gravity Kills).

Trent Reznor certainly deserves his slice of the pie for conceiving some of industrial metal’s most inspired moments — all of Spiral, most of Pretty Hate Machine and its follow-up EP, Broken. But after Spiral in 1994, things got itchy. Following a trademark Reznorian layoff of slightly more than a presidential term, he returned with 1999’s sprawling two-discer The Fragile, an unspectacular work that occasionally slipped into unintentional comedy and left many wondering if Nine Inch Nails had peaked and would be ladling up Sin to the state fair circuit before long.

Happily, last spring’s With Teeth laid to rest those worries, and Nine Inch Nails’ 21-song tour de force Friday at the Arena finished shoveling dirt on them.

Proving that he’s lost none of his punishing power, Reznor reclaimed that industrial title while proving that, at 40, he’s still got what’s probably a medically worrisome capacity for apocalyptic but often danceable rage, delivered with the cobweb-free precision of a guy who’s newly clean and sober and knows he’s getting his belt back. Might have been the strobes, but I think I even caught a little smirk there during March of the Pigs.

Much of Reznor’s enduring appeal lies in his ability to use synapse-reprogramming industrial songs and their darkly erotic sonic underbellies to disguise insanely catchy pop hooks (Closer and Head Like A Hole chief among them). The overwrought Fragile got away from that, but With Teeth brings it back. the anti-Bush screed The Hand That Feeds bounced along on a bassline that was almost merry, and new single Only is the closest thing he’s birthed to Pretty Hate since the late-80s, a piece of bent metal with a slithery synth riff and hook you can bob to (though it also works in that album’s most aged trait, predictable lyrical mumbo-jumbo about being “less concerned about fitting into the world — your world that is.”)

But the hooks and the noise were both at full throttle all night, punctuated by a crack band as adept at handling Reznor’s often-convoluted song structures as they were rocking grotesque guitar-god poses. Nine Inch Nails paused occasionally to let mists of piano-driven melody drift into the maelstrom, particularly during a de facto intermission of the more meandering Eraser, Right Where It Belongs and Beside You In Time. But for most of the night, they left the nuance and color to the CD and used the live setting to generally throttle the soundboard.

Predictably, Pretty Hate went largely unheralded, save for Head Like A Hole, the obligatory set closer; Terrible Lie, whose blippy late ’80s effects were retrofitted for extra bang, and a small tease of The Only Time dribbled into Closer to keep the overplayed latter something approaching fresh. This was a show designed for maximum output– You Know What You Are roared, March of the Pigs blazed and the blackly sexy Reptile created a mass of sound that threatened to break out of the arena and take over entire sections of town.

Moreover, Alex Carapetis, who stepped in when original drummer Jerome Dillon was forced out off the tour for heart troubles, was a gallant knight. It’s not like Carapetis was filling in for BTO or something – Reznor had him juking and time-shifting as much as he had him thrashing to the noise, and the new guy stepped up like a pro.

One exception to the noise was Hurt, which Reznor, taking a welcome cue from Johnny Cash, performed alone at his keyboard, welcoming the crowd participation and letting their contributions wash over him — “If I could start again a million miles away, I would keep myself,” he and everyone in the house sang. If the rest of the night was a industrial catharsis for them; one got the sense,that hearing their responses was an equally potent catharsis for him.

Stoner-rockers Queens of the Stone Age made some fans of their own in an inspired, workmanlike opening set that gained steam with every passing minute. Frontman and potential Craig Kilborn stunt double Josh Homme drove his four-piece through new-era psychedelia that touched on thunderous ’70s rock, trippy-but-efficient jammy detours and some hooks of his own (Little Sister, No One Knows).

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