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What we’re stoked for: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

When: Thursday, June 29. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.
Where: The Blue Note
Tickets: $12 in advance | $15 day of show
Openers: The Flood Brothers

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Black Joe Lewis playing at The Blue Note in 2010. Lewis discovered his love for the blues after learning to play guitar as a teenager.

The first time I heard of Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears was when a friend of mine put on “Booty City.” I listened for a minute and learned two things. 1) With the exception of two lines, the entire song is made up of Lewis singing the hook “Right on everybody, won’t you take me to Booty City.” 2) It was catchy and I liked it. I decided I could overlook the repetitiveness of the song, though I can’t listen to it on repeat, and I added a few of his hits to my playlist of the moment on Spotify.

The group’s sound is a contemporary take on blues, soul and funk. A Texas native, Lewis draws inspiration from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. Their most recent album, Backlash, returns to their contemporary take on soul and “punked-up” R&B. Lewis joined forces with Grammy Award-winning producer Stuart Sikes (The White Stripes, Cat Power, Modest Mouse) to record the album, revisited deep-seated influences. “I wanted to go for more of a soul/blues/rock-and-roll sound compared to the last one—the kind of stuff I was doing back in the day, but with the songwriting a little more evolved,” Lewis says.

Lewis says the album is about the ugly reality of “dealing with the backlash from the things you’ve done in the past.” The album is joyful, chaotic and full of Lewis’ high-energy screams. Given his track record and previous show at The Blue Note, it’s safe to say that his performance is sure to follow in the same path.

 


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Show Review: Manic Focus

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I was familiar with Manic Focus after seeing him open for fellow All Good Record label artists, The Floozies and GRiZ at Electric Forest 2016. This time Manic Focus took main stage at The Blue Note with Linear Symmetry opening.

I wasn’t as familiar with Linear Symmetry, a band composed of keyboards, drums, violin, and some powerful vocals. I looked them up before the show to see what they were about and although I liked a few of their songs, I was really hoping for something more heavy-hitting.

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They turned out to be a total dark horse and played an amazing set. Their songs I listened to before the show sounded nothing like their live performance, which had a sound that almost matched that of Manic Focus. The vocals were a perfect complement to the drums. Their performance also had more of a dance feel to it than I had expected, especially when vocalist/violinist, Huma Haq jammed out as the drums broke down during their “How Deep is Your Love” cover.

After that sweet surprise of an opener, Manic Focus came on. Silence and darkness filled the theatre. The lights went up just as the beat did and the funk took over. He was ready to throw down. Lazers that went with every song illuminated the dance floor while his music provided the rhythm. The crowd went nuts and sang every word when he played his hit remix of “Dani California”.

Another crowd favorite was when he threw Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumpinng” in the mix. He really got into the throwbacks. I had stepped outside to cool off when he hit his fans with another popular mashup with Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” (my favorite) and I had to run inside to check it out.

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Manic Focus was a great time, he killed his set and stayed after the show to sign autographs and take pictures. The night was a constant dance party full of some great electronic music and mashups that everyone loved…but his “I Walk the Line” cover was the best part of the night.

 

This post was written by Joey Morando, contributing writer for The Blue Note and Rose Blog.

Videos by Joey Morando. Photos by Bryan Pitman. 


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Show Review: Dopapod and TAUK at Mojo’s

The audience at Mojo’s Tuesday night were treated to a crash course in contemporary jam bands, as openers TAUK and headliners Dopapod played their own brands of electronically tinged improvisation at their first Columbia show.

The instrumental group TAUK had a spacey, krautrock vibe to their wordless jams, though that’s not to say they were confined to one genre. TAUK seemed to weave through psychedelic rock, jazz, hard funk, and even some hip-hop beats for good measure.

At one point, they even performed a sprawling cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” that seemed to meander through multiple genres. Starting out as a straightforward cover, the song soon devolved into a hazy extended improvised jam with a rising tension that crescendoed as the band reigned in the noodling for an explosive finish.

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Though TAUK reminded me of a grittier Sound Tribe Sector 9, Dopapod made me think of a groovier Umphrey’s McGee. The Boston-born four-piece played a marathon two sets filled with uplifting progressive rock and smooth, dirty dance grooves. The most notable difference between Dopapod and TAUK’s set were how many people were getting down with they bad selves at Dopapod.

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Dopapod were like a dancier version of Yes, with harmonized vocals fighting to be heard over rhythmic jamming. The band was musically tight, showcasing their group virtuosity by moving through extended jams while keeping in-sync, always ready to keep up with a bandmates improvisation.

Their jams were epic in length, with middle sections so long you think they’ve moved on to an entirely different song until they reprise the first part of the song. At one point they teased the riff of White Zombies’ “Thunder Kiss ’65,” which had me running through the Guitar Hero soundtrack in my head throughout the show trying to think of that title. You the real MVP, Google.

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Between songs, guitarist Rob Compa joked that the band wasn’t used to the crowd not talking among themselves during the show, which I usually prefer to be the case, truth be told. Keyboardist Eli Winderman offered a coy challenge to the crowd in response to Compa, saying “Or just pay very close attention to everything we are doing up here.”

With such a fiery introductory show, Dopapod can’t return to Columbia soon enough.

This blog post was written by Zachary Van Epps, contributing writer for The Blue Note.