Ayron Jones and the Way Rock the Neptune Theatre

If you haven’t heard of him already, you will soon. Ayron Jones just released his sophomore album “Audio Paint Job” on July 2nd. His music reflects the Seattle music scene he grew up in, resulting in a beautiful mashup of Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Yet, he’s breaking new ground by incorporating elements of gospel, soul, and hip-hop.

Last night, Ayron Jones and the Way took the Neptune Theatre by storm. It was a guitar onslaught from the get-go. The kid is making a name for himself in the local scene as a guitar wonder, and it won’t be long before news starts to spread. It’s one thing to listen to the album recordings, but live is a whole different experience. The stage is where he belongs, and he knows it.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram| Spotify (First album is under Ayron Jones and the Way)

Performance Highlights

Every. Damn. Guitar solo.

Ayron lets it rip every time he steps away from the mic (sometimes even while he’s singing). There’s an attitude that comes with his guitar play, which is something that has been missing from the scene for quite some time.

While certainly a highlight, the solos don’t take away from the rest of the arrangements.

Whether a casual or avid guitar fan, you owe it to yourself to see this man play. Don’t miss him next time.

Best Songs:

“Boys from the Puget Sound” – What better way to take the stage in Seattle than to hear “the baddest band in town” come in guns blazing, screaming “here come the boys from the Puget Sound”?

“Take Me Away” – This is my favorite track off “Audio Paint Job” and it did not disappoint. The dynamics of the song translate perfectly to the stage. While Ayron is certainly shines in every song, the rhythm section displayed their chops, laying down a perfect groove underneath the guitar god’s wailing.

“Mr. Jones” – Once again, the rhythm section held it down enabling Ayron to get the crowd involved. We gleefully chanted “Mr. Jones, tell me, are you ready?” while getting our two-step on.

“West Coast Feeling” – this is a track I hadn’t spent as much time on. That said, I haven’t been able to stop listening to it since the show. This track has an identity factor to it and I can see this translating extremely well to a broader audience. The Neptune was certainly feeling it. Check it out. I’m sure you will too.

Honorable Mention

Noelle Tannen and the Filthy No Nos

Another act that I cannot wait to see again. This was the first act of the night that I caught, and boy am I glad I did. When reading about them they were advertised as a hip-hop/pop group. What I saw live was a full-blown blues/rock show. Noelle is a killer vocalist and knew how to work the crowd. The highlights of the set were the final two tracks (didn’t catch the names) which will be on the group’s upcoming record.

To my fellow Ducks, they will be performing in Eugene tomorrow night (June 26th) at Old Nicks Pub. Be sure to check them out!

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Black Stone Cherry’s First Seattle Headlining Show

Review of Black Stone Cherry’s First Seattle Headlining Show

After five worldwide releases, mainstream rock radio success, and sold-out arena tours across the US and Europe, you’d think that Kentucky’s finest southern hard-rock group would have headlined The Town. Not so! Though overdue, as guitarist Ben Wells stated mid-set, El Corazon’s “dirty, sweaty, basement atmosphere” was the most fitting – and rock n roll – setting for their first Seattle headlining show.

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Performance Highlights

Chris Robertson’s Vocal Delivery

They don’t call this guy the “Big Mouth of the South” for nothing. This guy belts it out, no-holds-barred. I’ve watched their “Thank You: Livin Live Birmingham UK” DVD  and countless YouTube videos of them performing from the likes of Germany’s Rock am Ring to hidden gems like fan footage of them rocking Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, and I was still not prepared for the gusto this guy has on the mic.

Ben Wells’ Energy

The dude was head banging and kicking like a mad man. All the while, he was singing every word and cutting through insane southern rock/metal riffs for a solid 90 minutes straight. He made sure that everyone stage-right was engaged the whole night.

Okay…so there was a break where he sat down and played an acoustic guitar for “The Rambler”. You got me. But I’m sure he was still moshing in his head.

I feel obligated to note that the whole band had an incredible amount of energy. The rest of the band still blew the roof off the place.

John Fred Young’s Harmonica/Drum Solo

The man was jamming out on the harmonica AND playing a drum solo. Such an act was something I’d never heard of and I don’t think I’ll ever see anyone do it better. This may have been the most joyous moment of the concert. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something special about this moment. Throughout the show, I was amazed by his chops. I’m convinced that he’s one of the most underrated drummers in the business.

Jon Lawhon: The Friendliest Guy On & Off the Stage

Jon was a close second in the energy department. If Ben went stage-left, he was jumping right up to the front of the stage. Throughout the night, he and a woman who was clearly an avid Black Stone Cherry fan went back-and-forth all-night yelling, dancing (head banging), and screaming every lyric. He made sure he was at the center of the camera for every photo/video she took, including a mid-song selfie. Towards the final third of the show, he walked directly up to her and handed her a pick.

After the show, while waiting for my Uber ride he took the time to chat with me on the curb by their tour bus. It felt like talking to an old friend. We talked the band’s journey over the past 16 years, rock n roll’s dominance in Europe (and the contrast here in the US), his home-town in Kentucky, and the band’s day off in Eugene (where I went to school – hence my excitement).

If he ever reads this, I do want him to know that two canceled rides was truly the reason I was out-front for so long and that I wasn’t using that time to trick him into hanging out.

Dean: The Gentleman Working the Merch Table

The Black Stone Cherry experience is rife with genuine, kind men. This guy isn’t around just to hustle merch, but making genuine connections with the fans at these shows. What started as buying some shirts turned into a night-long conversation. Between each set I made my way back to the merch table to chat with him. Like with Jon, it felt like talking to a life-long friend. It was fascinating to hear a different perspective on the tour-cycle, how things have changed since the band switched labels, and why none of them have the desire to call any place other than Kentucky “home”.

When you go see these guys on tour, make sure you say hi to Dean and throw a few tips his way.

Best Songs

“Devil’s Queen” – this is one of my favorite Black Stone Cherry songs, hailing from their second album Folklore & Superstition, and I did not think this would be played. It served as a kick-ass opener.

“White Trash Millionaire” – a talk box, heavy guitars, and talk of “trans-ams in primer paint”. What’s not to love?

“Soul Machine” – my favorite song off of the new album Kentucky, which I feel is the epitome of the band. Fresh, yet still a throwback to their older material.

“The Rambler” – this was the most heart-felt performance from Mr. Chris Robertson. The performance featured Ben on acoustic guitar and Chris on the mic. You could feel the heartache the man feels from being on the road and away from his family.

Honorable Mentions

Citizen Zero (2nd Opener)

I was familiar with their material and they did not disappoint. I’d go as far as saying that they’re better live than they are on their records. “State of Mind” and “Save the Queen” were my favorite songs of their set. The Detroit rockers brought the party to Seattle on a Tuesday night. If these guys come back around, don’t hesitate to buy a ticket.

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Letters from the Fire (1st Opener)

I only caught the last 3 songs of their set, but the lead singer has PIPES! I wish I had more here, but they certainly showed that they deserved to be sharing the stage with the likes of Black Stone Cherry and Citizen Zero.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post! Hit me up on Twitter at @duncanbyargeon.

Until next time,

Duncan Byargeon

 

Highlights of Sasquatch 2017

Sasquatch is a fantastic festival for many reasons. The Gorge Amphitheatre has phenomenal scenery, as the main stage overlooks the Columbia River Gorge. Frankly, I’m not sure if there is a more beautiful place to go see a show. The festival’s eclectic mix of artists ensures that there will be something for everyone.

Company is also crucial to the success of one’s festival experience, and I was fortunate to go with my best friends for the weekend. While hanging out together was the best part of the weekend, I’ll remain focused on the music acts themselves.

Me and Kayla with Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis of July Talk

Favorite Act: July Talk

July Talk was the band I was most excited to see going into the festival. Not only did they meet expectations, they smashed them. The chemistry between the two singers, Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis is unmatched. Not only that, but they seem like they’re truly having a blast up there. Moreover, they know how to get a crowd going. Peter didn’t stop moving for a single moment throughout the hour-long set, banging his head while bent over the keys and while wailing on his guitar. Leah engaged most with the crowd, hopping up on the barrier, coming into the crowd for the limbo, and standing on crates in front of the stage to get up close and personal with the front row.

The entire July Talk experience, from soundcheck to getting to meet them after the show, was the highlight of my festival experience.

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Awesome picture I took of July Talk that I feel obligated to share.

 

Favorite Stage Setup: LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem – Standing Stage Right

LCD Soundsystem was a last-minute headliner to replace Frank Ocean, but they certainly delivered a high-octane performance. The stage was set up like an industrial mad-house, reminiscent of Oingo Boingo. Each section of the stage was used to create different sounds, live. This sounds redundant, but with today’s EDM culture, most electronic/dance music is simply a DJ mixing on a turntable. LCD Soundsystem plays every single sound live, and it’s fascinating to watch the band bring the songs to life. For the LCD fans out there, the singer announced during the set that their album was just finished. Other news outlets are reporting that it could be out in as little as six weeks. Keep you eyes and ears peeled!

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Favorite Song From a Superhero [Anti-Hero] Movie Performance: Heathens – Twenty One Pilots

95% of the reason I was excited to see Twenty One Pilots was because of their song “Heathens” which was written for Suicide Squad. The song itself was the primary reason I wanted to see the movie, though I have yet to see it (though I found out today that it’s on HBO, so I’ll be watching it this weekend). The band drew a massive crowd, nearly filling the Gorge Amphitheatre to the brim. This set was only rivaled (if not beat out) by Chance the Rapper. The performance was aesthetically pleasing, and the two guys had some entertaining gimmicks – drummer performed on a platform being held up by the crowd, and the singer ran over the crowd in a giant hamster ball.

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Saturdays are still for the Boys

Biggest Surprise: Vulfpeck

These guys are FUNKY! I have to admit, I’m very hit-or-miss on their recorded material. I saw that they essentially had a headlining spot on the second stage (Bigfoot) on Saturday, from 9:30pm – 10:30pm. The band may have been the most musically gifted group at the festival, with members switching instruments throughout the set. The guys were funny, tightly knit, and knew how to throw a dance party. This is a band that I will certainly go out of my way to see when they come through town, from now on.

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Honorable Mentions:

Chance the Rapper:

No one can deny that this man has soul. His hits were a blast and he seemed truly grateful to everyone who came out. I really dug the gospel vibe that he brought to close out the Sasquatch (main) stage for the weekend. No labels will be stopping this guy any time soon.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify | SoundCloud

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires:

This fella has some PIPES! Having only heard his recorded music, I was taken aback by how soft-spoken of a man Charles was. Like Chance, he was extremely grateful to the crowd and delivered one of the most inspired performances of the weekend.

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Boogie: I didn’t know any of their songs (and still don’t) but the crowd was one of the most hyped ones that I witnessed throughout all of Sasquatch. I was just there to snag front row for July Talk after the crowd dispersed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this group quickly works its way up towards the top of future festival lineups.

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Advice to Artists:

  1. Don’t cut your set 30 minutes short to go “hang out with [your] sorority sisters”. Or just don’t tell the crowd that’s why. You know who you are.
  2. Get a lawyer (see blog posts 1-3)