Tag: The Civil Wars

Bonnaroo Part III: Return of the Jedi

Bonnaroo Part III: Return of the Jedi

Chapter 1: Sunday Morning

On the morning of my final day at Bonnaroo, I was prepared for what would certainly be our most relaxing day. With only four acts to check out (and the first one not going on until 1:00), I was ready to chill and maybe have a beer with BeeZnutz.

 

It had rained the whole night and well into the morning, but by the time we left our tent at about 9 or so, the rain had died down to a light drizzle as the clouds above threatened similar weather in our near future. Which of course is a whole lot better than heat and sun. Reminds me of Washington. *sniff*

After a big breakfast that consisted of pop tarts, eggs, and bacon (seriously, THANK YOU Tony) we hung out a little more and talked about Phish with our neighbors, asking questions such as “If you see Phish two nights in a row at the same place, does that count as seeing them twice?” The answer, obviously, is yes.

Eventually, it was that time of morning where we would have to walk on the wet grass over to the What Stage to catch bluesy newcomer Gary Clark Jr.

 Chapter 2: The Savior of Blues

If you’ve paid attention to festival lineups lately, then you’ve probably noticed many common names. But one that you’re gonna want to remember is Gary Clark Jr. This 28-year old guitar virtuoso may come off as intimidating at first (I compare him to 1994 Samuel L. Jackson sans afro) he is actually an astoundingly skilled musician and seemingly vulnerable person. For example, when he breaks into falsetto for a song like Please Come Home, your heart immediately melts. Gary has what most guitar players lack (I also noticed this with Annie Clark): EMOTION. He actually feels the notes and chords of the guitar buzzing through his entire body, and lets his emotions affect how he plays and what he plays. It worked with Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King (who I’d compare Gary to without hesitation) and it will work for literally every guitar player with a heart.

Gary played an hour-long set full of songs both rockin’ and beautiful, sometimes both. He uses a fuzzy type of distortion that gives it an old school sound while also giving it a garage-revival sound. Something not exactly unique, but it is definitely put to good use.

And the dude, like I said, plays guitar extremely well. Whether it’s the crazy finger-picking riff on Don’t Owe You a Thang to, well pretty much any guitar solo he played. He played tastefully, not trying to draw the attention away from his fantastic band. That is another important part of being a blues musician. Your name may be the one on the CDs, posters, and t-shirts, but the band onstage is what’s making it happen. It’s easy to see now why they call Gary Clark Jr. the savior of blues.

Chapter 3: the Adult Swim Carnival

If you’re the kind of person that watches Adult Swim, then you’re also probably the kind of person who eats corn flakes at 2 in the morning and makes jokes about unicorns.

But seriously, Adult Swim is one of the strangest channels on television, and when they’re sponsoring a festival known specifically for its weirdness… well, you never know what could happen.

This year, they opened up an Adult Swim sponsored section of Bonnaroo right by the entrance that runs sort of like a carnival, but if the carnival was invented by Syd Barrett and Jim Morrison. There were classic carnival games like Balloonicorn, Smack Up My Uvula, and everyones favorite: Babies vs. Old People!

During Balloonicorn, you had to put on a comically oversized unicorn head with an extra-sharp horn tip and jump up repeatedly to try and pop the balloons that were above. Pop enough of them, you win a prize. Because of the long line and promise of a headache, I decided to skip that one.

During Smack Up My Uvula, you had to climb a horizontal ladder that is VERY unsteady and try to reach the uvula at the end. And then you smack it. And then you win a prize. I tried (and failed) but my dad won!

And during Babies vs. Old People (On Segwags) you stood on a mounted Segway with a sling shot between the two handles and fire small babies at the cardboard old people that are moving across. Again, I lost and so did my dad. Slingshots are hard.

After failed attempts to complete these games (thank goodness it was all free) we headed out towards the Which Stage to catch the second Ben Folds Five performance in over 10 years. Unfortunately to do this, we had to do the unthinkable: sit through Mac Miller.

Chapter 4: The Unthinkable and Ben Folds Five

While we waited in line to get into the pit for Ben Folds Five, we had nothing to do but listen to Mac Miller’s performance. And since I don’t have many kind words to say about Mac Miller, reviewing him wouldn’t exactly be fair. So I’ll just skip to the part where we were in the pit waiting for Ben Folds Five.

Ben Folds Five (who are actually a trio, HOW IRONIC!) parted ways in 2000, leaving Ben Folds with a successful solo career, but nothing that would ever match the greatness that is BF5. They were known for their pleasant nerdiness, jazz influences, and for being all-around happy people.

“This is our first concert as Ben Folds Five in over… seven days,” said lead singer/pianist Ben Folds, referring to the Mountain Jam Festival. “But before that it was over 10 years.” I guess he means as an actual working band, because they performed a one-off concert in 2008. But that doesn’t matter, it worked on a humor level.

The band kicked off the set with the first song off their debut album, Jackson Cannery. And afterwards they just let the hits flow through, not playing any of their new material (if there was any) but did invite us to check it out online. But hey that’s fine with me. Soundgarden did the same thing last year and I had a great time with them.

At one point Ben Folds stopped the show and said “Uh, this is a tradition at a Ben Folds Five show where I take a picture from atop my piano. So, if you could all very kindly flip me off…” and got on his piano. Everyone in the crowd very kindly put their middle fingers up to Ben Folds as he took a picture.

One of the coolest parts of the show was when they broke into Song for the Dumped, one of the most musically insane Ben Folds Five songs. It includes a solo where Ben Folds holds his mic up to the strings of the piano and just rubs on them, while bassist Robert Sledge holds his amp chord up to his hand producing rhythmic feedback with the buzz of the amp. It really is hard to explain, but it’s something to see.

Ben Folds Five are quite impressive to watch, even if you don’t know many of their songs. Their musicianship alone is enough to make you a lifetime fan. And Ben Folds’ smile is as contagious as wook flu at Bonnaroo.

Setlist: Jackson Cannery, Theme From Dr. Pyser, Fair, Selfless Cold and Compose, Uncle Walter, Where’s Summer B?, Battle of Who Could Care Less, Brick, Emaline, Philosophy, Army, Kate, Alice Childress, Song For the Dumped, Narcolepsy, Underground ENCORE: One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

Chapter 5: The Civil Wars

Of the many power duos to come about in the last few years, the one that has captivated me more than I ever would have imagined is The Civil Wars. With just two voices and a guitar, The Civil Wars churn out very interesting folk songs with haunting melodies.

At 6:25 PM in an over-capacity The Other Tent, singers John Paul White and (a very pregnant) Joy Williams appeared with smiles pervading their faces. Everything about the Civil Wars is just happy! Even the sad songs. And these two very talented vocalists almost make country music interesting, it seems.

I only got to catch the first half of their set due to a scheduling conflict with Phish, but was still mesmerized, and found it difficult to look away. John and Joy have sort of a lovers’ chemistry going through the performance, but they are both married to different people. It could be just what sells their songs. For some reason I think of the scene from Step Brothers where Will Ferrell is singing to his therapist in the woods whenever I see John and Joy interact on stage.

And when they cover songs (I only got to see one) it is a sight to see. Because they don’t cover easy guitar/vocals songs. Before I left I got to see them cover Sour by Portishead, but according to www.setlist.fm, they also threw in covers of I Want You Back by Jackson 5, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, and Dance Me To The End of Love by Leonard Cohen.

The Civil Wars are a great band to see live. They’re so fun to watch that you almost forget that you’re standing there doing nothing for 90 minutes (or sitting there, depending on the venue.)

But at 7:00, we left and headed to catch the band that I really wanted to see. More than any other band at Bonnaroo. I was ready for one of the greatest live experiences in the history of ever.

Setlist: Tip of My Tongue, Forget Me Not, From This Valley, 20 Years, I’ve Got This Friend, Sour (Portishead cover), Barton Hollow, Falling, Birds of a Feather, I Want You Back (Jackson 5 cover), Oh Henry, My Father’s Father, Poison and Wine ENCORE: Kingdom Come, To Whom It May Concern, Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover), Dance Me To the End of Love (Leonard Cohen cover)

Chapter 6: A Tasty Phish Philet

One thing Bonnaroo was known for pre-2006 was its impressive lineup of jam bands. They’ve hosted Umphrey’s McGee 7 times, as well as bands like Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, The String Cheese Incident, and members of the Grateful Dead. But no jam band (that currently tours) is as highly regarded as the legendary and almighty Phish!

If you’ve visited this website at all, then you probably know that the majority of its contributors are huge Phish fans. I mean, just look at how big the word “Phish” is on the tag cloud at the right of this post!

Anyway, I was anxious to finally see Phish. To finally see what Reverend Justito and thenaturalstoner have been talking about all these years. To see what guest they bring out and what covers they do and just… everything! I was prepared. Come at me, Phish!

At around 8:05 or so the lights went down and out from Stage Right appear the mighty phoursome: Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Jon Fishman. As Mike started to hit his bass (which was set to phaser) I thought it would be too good to be true: They would kick things off with Down With Disease? Nah! Can’t be! And then Mike slaps the bass riff and I knew from that moment that this would be the greatest thing I see at Bonnaroo. And I was not disappointed.

After Down With Disease they played Funky Bitch, a Son Seals cover, during which Mike Gordon took over singing duties. Afterwards they went right on into The Moma Dance during which Jon handled most of the singing. After a very funky performance of Moma I heard the chord progression to Sample In a Jar and once again had that feeling of “Nah! It can’t be!” But lo and behold, another shining moment from the Hoist album played within the first half of Set 1. And at this moment the rain that was looming over us started pouring a little bit harder and the glowsticks started going up and down at a faster rate. Seriously, I saw more glowsticks being thrown around during Phish than I did during Skrillex.

It really did seem like Phish brought their A-Game, and with two of my favorite songs already making an appearance, what could happen next I could not even begin to imagine. They followed Sample with Axilla I which I don’t think is on any of their studio albums. I know Axilla Part 2 is on Hoist, but I know nothing of a part 1.

Anyway, after Axilla, Trey invited up the special guest that everyone was so anxious to see. “It seems like every time we come here we get to play with people who we really admire, and, um, and we’re going to bring up someone we’re absolutely thrilled to play with right now. Please give a warm welcome to Kenny Rogers.” This was totally unexpected in my opinion. Kenny, who played a set earlier that day, seemed happy to play to a crowd bigger than his usual turnout of 300, while Trey could barely contain his excitement to be performing with the country-music legend. And with that, they broke into The Gambler, the one Kenny Rogers song that I didn’t even know I knew.

As much as I would love to go into each individual song and tell you how much I loved it, I just don’t want to write a review THAT long. But I will leave you with a setlist, and on a note that explains how much fun I had.

Bonnaroo was just nonstop fun. Sure, I only got like 3 hours of sleep each night. Sure I felt disgusting most of the time. And sure it was crowded and hot and expensive and there were long lines for things. Either way, I can’t for the life of me think of a time where I had so much fun at a place ever. If you get the chance, hit your local festival. Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Fire Fly, Wakarusa, Dave Matthews Band Caravan; whatever it is, it’ll be worth going to. Trust me.

Setlist: SET 1 Down with Disease, Funky Bitch (Son Seals c0ver), The Moma Dance, Sample In A Jar, Axilla I, The Gambler (with Kenny Rogers), Possum>Wilson>Tweezer, Free, Backwards Down the Number Line, Cavern SET 2 Golden Age (TV On the Radio cover), 2001 (Richard Strauss cover), Chalkdust Torture, Carini>Shafty>Rock and Roll (Velvet Underground cover), Alaska, Harry Hood>Light, Character Zero, Rocky Top (Lynn Anderson cover) ENCORE Show of Life>Julius>Tweezer Reprise

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGWwqfeYErA&feature=player_embedded

Epilogue

Of all the shows I caught, I’d say the best was Phish. Without a doubt. Childish Gambino and Radiohead get 2nd and 3rd. After that, it’s pretty much up for grabs. I wasn’t disappointed at all by anyone I saw. Bad Brains were a little sloppy and Red Hot Chili Peppers had issues connecting with the audience, but overall everything I saw was nigh perfect. And with that, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Sasquatch Music Festival

You could use a ton of clichés to describe our pal Phishbeard. Let’s just say homeboy marches to the beat of his own drum. A nomad, a free spirit, someone who shoots first and asks questions later. Homeboy spent Memorial Day weekend at the Gorge enjoying the 2012 Sasquatch Music Festival. He took no less than 1200 photos. Here are the best ones. We hope you enjoy.

The Austin City Limits 2012 Line Up Released

So to save some time, we’ll tell you who’s playing at Austin City Limits in one word: EVERYBODY. Every single act(besides Jay-Z and Pearl Jam.. so far at least) is on this list. From headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, The Black Keys and Jack White to Iggy and The Stooges(in which Mike Watt Plays Bass) and Florence + The Machine. Weezer has come out of hiding for this one as well. Childish Gambino continues to take over the world with an appearance, and Gotye plays that song that everybody used to know.(see what I did there?)

 But we here at Concert Confessions don’t just give you the highlights, we give you the whole enchilada.  So below, you can view the endless list of acts that will be taking the stage in Austin at Zilker Park October 12-14. Check out the festival’s website here, for on sale dates and prices and all that jibber jabber.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Neil Young and Crazy Horse

The Black Keys

Jack White(I hear  some folks are into this guy)

Florence + The Machine

The Avett Brothers

Iggy & The Stooges

AVICII

BASSNECTAR

The Roots

The Shins

Weezer

Gotye (is it pronounced ‘Goat-Tee’ or ‘Got-Ya”???)

The Civil Wars

M83

Tegan and Sara

Childish Gambino

Two Door Cinema Club

Thievery Corporation

The Afghan Whigs

Crystal Castles

Andrew Bird

Gary Clark Jr.

Metric

Band of Skulls

Esperanza Spalding

Alabama Shakes

Delta Spirit

M. Ward

Randy Rogers Band

Die Antwoord

Rufus Wainwright

NEEDTOBREATHE

Big Gigantic

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra

Steve Earle

The War On Drugs

Umphrey’s McGee

Barrington Levy

Old 97’s

Punch Brothers

Bombay Bicycle Club

A-Trak

Trampled by Turtles

Patterson Hood

Michael Kiwanuka

Big K.R.I.T.

Oberhofer

POLICA

Tennis

Zola Jesus

Stars

Kimbra

Black Lips

Los Campesinos!

Jovanotti

Ben Howard

Ruthie Foster

Freelance Whales

Civil Twilight

The Whigs

Dev

The Lumineer

Bad Books

The Devil Makes Three

Asleep at the Wheel

First Aid Kit

Patrick Watson

LP

Caveman

Lee Fields & The Expressions

Father John Misty

The Wombats

Dry the River

The Boxer Rebellion

Soul Rebels Brass Band

Thundercat(Really!! There’s a band named Thundercat?! That’s awesome!)

Willis Earl Beal

He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister

Kishi Bashi

Deep Dark Woods

Moon Duo

Kopecky Family Band

River City Extension

Quiet Corral

Wheeler Brothers

The Relatives

Space Capone

The Staves

Native Run

Nikki Lane

Quiet Company

Infantree

Wild Child

La Vida Bohème

The Eastern Sea

The Dunwells

Kenny Vaughan Trio

Justin Jones

Sonámbulo

Royal Teeth

Noah Gunderson

The Aaron Ivey Band

The Mighty Sincere Voices

G.S.T.

Colorfeels

Lera Lynn

Megan McCormick

Shields of Faith

Stapletones

The Baylor Choir

Disciples of Joy

Ralph’s World

Orange Sherbet

Big Don

Rocknoceros

Hullabaloo

Jambo

Peter DiStefano & Tor

The School of Rock

The Q Brothers

Beale Street Music Festival Announces All-Star Lineup

Beale Street Music Festival Announces All-Star Lineup

Every year, something glorious happens on the legendary Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. That glorious happening is Beale Street music festival, an affordable way to spend the first weekend of May. Like heavy metal? Like alternative rock? Like pop music? Like rap? Like country? Almost every existing genre of music is represented at Beale St., thus making it that much more appealing to a music fan.

This year’s festival will be headlined by Jane’s Addiction, My Morning Jacket, Florence and the Machine, and Wiz Khalifa. Also appearing are Bush, Coheed and Cambria, Megadeth, The Cult, Primus, Cold War Kids, Childish Gambino,The Civil Wars, Jerry Lee Lewis, Black Lips, Big K.R.I.T., Girl Talk, Gary Clark Jr., Evanescence, Three 6 Mafia, Volbeat, Dr. Dog, Needtobreathe, Al Green, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Lupe Fiasco, Breathe Carolina, Alison Krauss & Union Station, The Head and the Heart, Old 97’s,  Herbie Hancock, Michael Franti & Spearhead, North Mississippi Allstars, Needtobreathe, Pitbul, Yo Gotti, Son Volt, Black Stone Cherry, Johnny Winter and a whole lot more.

See the lineup broken down by day and stage on the website: by clicking here.

 

 

Bonnaroo 2012 Lineup Announced

Bonnaroo 2012 Lineup Announced

As always the lineup for the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester Tennessee is nothing short of impressive. Headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead and Phish, the festival is set to take place June 7th-10th, 2012. Other highlights on the bill include Alice Cooper, St. Vincent and a reunited Ben Folds Five.

With the first two price levels already sold out, you best get your tickets soon as this annual event almost always sells out. If you have a little bit of extra cash after buying your ticket, perhaps you can send some to our youngest Concert Confessions family member Jakob who is trying to make it to his first Bonaroo. Click here to help him out.

For more information on everything Bonnaroo, please check out the official site by clicking here.  Check out some past footage of Bonnaroo from our pal BeeZnutZ below.

As of 03/12/2012 Bands added to the Festival’s lineup include: Danzig Legacy, Puscifer, Santigold, The Temper Trap, fun., and The Cave Singers

2012 Bonnaroo Comedy Line Up (a/o 03/29/12)

Aziz Ansari

Steven Wright

Marc Maron

Brian Posehn

Judah Freidlander

Reggie Watts

Rhys Darby

Colin Hay

Garfunkle & Oat

Amy Schumer

Pete Holmes

Rory Scovel

Mike O’Connell

Ali Wong

Kyle Kinane

Sasquatch 2012 Lineup Announced!

Sasquatch 2012 Lineup Announced!

 

Sasquatch is one of Washington’s most widely regarded music festivals. Held annually at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheater, Sasquatch is known for hosting big name acts like Jane’s Addiction, Kings of Leon, Bjork, and Flaming Lips. Well this year, they’ve got a treat for you.

Here is the full lineup in order as it says on the website:

Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, Pretty Lights, Tenacious D, The Shins, Beirut, Girl Talk, The Roots, Portlandia, Feist, Silversun Pickups, Metric, The Head and the Heart, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Nero, M. Ward, John Reilly and Friends, Childish Gambino, St. Vincent, The Civil Wars, The Joy Formidable, Little Dragon, tUnE-yArDs, Beats Antique, Wild Flag, Blind Pilot, Wolfgang Gartner, Apparat, The Walkmen, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Mark Lanegan Band, Spiritualized, Blitzen Trapper, The Cave Singers, Shabazz Palaces, Jamey Johnson, fun., Grouplove, Tycho, SBTRKT, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Deer Tick, Imelda May, Dum Dum Girls, The Helio Sequence, Kurt Vile, Cloud Cult, Ben Howard, Here We Go Magic, Zola Jesus, The War on Drugs, Shearwater, Cass McCombs, Active Child, Trampled by Turtles, AraabMuzik, Star Slinger, LA Riots, Com Truise, Unknown Mortal, I Break Horses, Walk the Moon, Dry the River, Allen Stone, Hey Marseilles, Gary Clark Jr., Alabama Shakes, Purity Ring, Yellow Ostrich, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Nobody Beats the Drum, Electric Guest, Coeur de Pirate, Lord Huron, Pickwick, STRFKR, We are Augustines, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Beat Connection, THEESatisfaction, The Sheepdogs, Hey Rosetta!, Said the Whale, Howlin Rain, Gardens and Villa, Felix Cartal, Craft Spells, Vintage Trouble, Poor Moon, Black Whales, Gold Leaves, Greylag, Awesome Tapes from Africa, Dyme Def, Fresh Espresso, The Physics, Sol, Metal Chocolates, Grynch, SPACE3MAN, Don’t Talk to The Cops, Scribes, Fatal Lucciauno, Fly Moon Royalty, Katie Kate, Nick Kroll, Todd Barry, Beardyman, Rob Delaney, Pete Holmes, John Mulaney, and Howard Kremer.

BEST OF THE BEST: Well it appears that Jack White will be making his solo US debut here at Sasquatch a month after the release of his debut solo album. That is certainly something to watch for.

With Beck, you should always expect the unexpected, so whatever he does will most likely be some sort of garage-punk/funky-pop weirdness explosion.

The self-described “greatest band in the world” Tenacious D will be returning to the stage after five long years, to coincide with the release of their new album.

Girl Talk is a mashup artist that can combine everything from War Pigs, to Teach Me How to Dougie, to 99 Problems, all without being sued.

Portlandia, a show led by Wild Flag’s Carrie Brownstein (who will also play the festival with that group) and SNL’s Fred Armisen. It’s an amazingly funny and amazingly bizarre sketch comedy show that sold out crowds across the US when they brought it to the stage. Definitely something to see if you watch the show.

If you’re looking to relax after a long day’s festival, Explosions in the Sky should help (not Bon Iver). This post-rock emotional explosion of instrumental beauty is like a symphony of guitars that will put you to sleep in the best sense of the word.

Childish Gambino, or as Community fans know him Donald Glover, is a brilliant lyricist and deliverer of rap music. He’s also wicked funny. So whether he does something comedic or something serious, it should be brilliant.

Blitzen Trapper are Americana-folk at its best. With Sub Pop signing more folk bands like Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper hopped on the first train out of Portland to play magnificent folksy music. It’ll be like a portal to another world, a world where all you should care about is not getting anyone’s vomit on your shoes.

ALSO CHECK OUT: Grouplove, fun., SBTKRT, Dum Dum Girls, Wild Flag. AraabMuzik, Gary Clark Jr., Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, STRFKR, The Sheepdogs.

Great lineup this year, if you ask me. Enjoy the show, all who are going!

The Civil Wars @The State Room in Salt Lake City UT 06/28/11

On 06/28/11, The Civil Wars returned to Utah. They brought along a young man named Rayland Baxter as the opening act. He is a quiet, humble man who simply plays his guitars and sings songs that you know are his own stories. Rayland has a very simple and sweet manner about him. He made jokes and told tales about each song. Rayland makes his music mold to you, and as a singing storyteller he teaches you that the best things in life are often the most simple and overlooked. Rayland is definately worth listening to. On a side note, he just opened for Grace Potter and is on his way to California.  After Rayland’s enchanting songs, The Civil Wars took the stage.

For those of you who don’t know this band, it is a haunting duo made up of notable Christian artist Joy Williams and soulful John Paul  White. The two began just a little over two years ago, and since this “holy union” had its debut, they’ve been capturing the attention of fans all over the world. I first had the opportunity to see the duo sing here in Salt Lake in January of this year. To say the least, they were stunning.

Joy Williams is your quintessential vocalist. She has a range that is just unexplainable. Throughout each song, she takes risks with harmonies that I’ve never heard any other artist do. Her counterpart, John Paul(who happens to look like Johnny Depp by the way) is right there with her. Watching these two perform is like being on a date with the two. They are both married to other people, which often shocks people, as they seem “made for each other”. The two have been perfectly machined for this act that they take on the road.

While on stage, The Civil Wars appear simple. Joy has a piano and a constantina that she occasionally plays, and John Paul a guitar or two. However, during songs like, “Dance Me to the End of Love” and “Falling”, you hardly notice that there is a crowd. It is the way that these two sing to you that really captures me. I was standing at the front of the stage, singing along to the songs while taking photos, and I felt like I was the only one in the room in a crowd of 300.

The gentile vocals of Joy and John Paul are not to be taken lightly. They often place a dark twist on familiar tunes, such as their performance of “You Are My Sunshine” in January. This current set included a cover of Smashing Pumpkins’ song “Disarm”. This was a very clean and melodic version of the song, and it really got to some in the crowd. The two also covered “I Want You Back”, the Jackson-5 tune of yesteryear. This is a pleasant and very “cute” song. Another highlight was “Billie Jean”. Not only does this song get the crowd to lively up, but it allows the lovely Joy to take on a “flirty” and slightly devious personality.

The on-stage chemistry between these two only adds to the aura of the show. The folky,dark, and sometimes nostalgic songs that come out of this relationship are sure to captivate  fans of punk and rock music. This is music for every one. The Civil Wars stressed that they are independent artists, and that the fans are the ones that make this possible. Joy mentioned that “this is not a fact that we forget or take lightly”, and that impresses me. I hear a lot of acts say that, and I believe that The Civil Wars are sincere in this. If you have the chance to go to a show, pay the small ticket price of around $20.00, grab a loved one, and head to a night you won’t forget.

This show included a complete set, nearly covering every tune that the two have to offer.  Please enjoy the photos I took:

The Civil Wars … Serenading the State Room In Stunning Style

The Civil Wars

On their first visit to Utah, John Paul White and Joy Williams — The Civil Wars — promised the crowd at The State Room in Salt Lake City on Thursday they’d hear “folk.”  Never a million years did I think I’d hear Michael Jackson’s trademark “Billie Jean” rendered in folk and that I’d absolutely love it.

Besides “Billie Jean” and “You Are My Sunshine” sung “darkly,” the duo sang a host of original material … “The Tip of My Tongue” and “Dance Me To The End of Love,” among others.  Williams’ dulcet voice is intoxicating when layered with White’s whispery vocals and gentle guitar. Together they led the audience on a aural yin and yang of romantic love in “Poison and Wine.”

Williams is a brunette sprite with a darling tease of a smile.   You’d never hear her California roots when she sings “Barton Hollow.”  White, who’s actually from Alabama, looks the refined mountain boy-man.  They both wore wedding rings — or at the least third finger left hand — yet aren’t married to each other.  The stage chemistry between them is completely charming.  Even the chit chat between songs, which typically appeals to me as much as nails on a chalk board, was genuinely likable.
The success that has landed The Civil Wars on the Jay Leno show, the Sundance Film Festival’s Music Cafe, and on tour throughout the US despite their short history is easily explained.  The Civil Wars are every music couple’s music couple.  Warm, silly, spontaneous, happy, and musically stunning.  Yet their show was minimalist in so many ways: it wasn’t long, it wasn’t wide ranging in genres, and there wasn’t a huge back up band or props.  And besides the acoustical excellence, every minute was exquisitely well orchestrated.
The audience left energized and wanting more.  It was nearly impossible to navigate in the lobby outside The State Room, as crowds waited for their photo opportunities and demo CD signings with the two.  The Civil Wars has a new album coming out on February 1st and based on the crowd response at The State Room, they’ll have a sellout.
If you missed seeing The Civil Wars at The State Room, you may be able to catch them in Park City at the Sundance Music Cafe during the coming week.  Check their website for details.
Disclosure: Admission $12 + fees of $3.50.  I did NOT receive payment for this review.

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