THE ARTISTS

The Out of SPACE summer festival lineup includes nationally touring bands, including returning SPACE favorites Shovels & Rope, The Lone Bellow, Split Single and Marc Broussard. Scroll down to see a full list of artists performing this summer and check back often, as new artists will be added in the coming weeks.

 

BECCA MANCARI

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SUPPORTING SHOVELS & ROPE

WHEN: June 20, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

Becca Mancari is rewriting the rules.

Born in Staten Island, New York, to an Italian-Irish preacher and a Puerto Rican mother, Mancari has lived a life of transition – from working as a janitor in South Florida, to writing songs with train hoppers in the Blue Ridge Mountains and seeking spirituality in India. But it was her time in Virginia and Nashville where she found the roots music that would continue to inspire her musical evolution to today.
Her anticipated debut album, “Good Woman,” is hauntingly lonesome, with dust-cloud swells of electric guitar and don’t-look-back lyrics revealing scenes from Mancari’s well-travelled story. She recalls, “I remember being 19, and I would go to this old warehouse where a bunch of old timers would be siting around picking and drinking moonshine…and we are talking straight up moonshine.” During this time, Mancari’s curiosity to see the world with eager, fresh eyes grew, drawing her to travel and experience all types of people and places. Her travels would inevitably impact her music; since her music is the landscape of all she’s seen, “Good Woman” evokes the sound of city grit and the mountain music of her youth, swirling into a fresh, nostalgic sound.

Mancari explains that she wants her music to be familiar to audiences, but also pushing creative boundaries, rewriting the rules for her genre. She explains, “Our hope is that we’re doing something that respects the roots but also has space and the galaxy in it.” It’s these planetary frontiers, along with the powerful fragility in her voice, that make Mancari’s music beyond standard classifications.

Perhaps more striking than Mancari’s sound is the tender honesty and vulnerability present in each of her songs. Ann Powers describes Mancari’s writing as “lyrical and raw,” commenting on the “great personality in her songs.” As a gay woman in the south, she has fought hard to reconcile her spiritual beliefs with her sexuality. Her strong personality enables her to be a spokeswoman to the outcast and the misfit, helping her redefine the categories that so often divide people. Mancari explains, “It was not an easy road when I came out. No matter how hard I tried to fit into society’s molds, I could not. I want to be open and proud of who I am, because I needed people like that in my life when I was young.” Mancari hopes that people will find the bravery in her story and be able to discover their own inner strength.

When Mancari sings, she shines with authenticity. It is evident that Mancari knows exactly who she is, and her music has a strong sense of identity. But it is her refusal to subscribe to molds and societies trends that sets Mancari apart. Mancari is challenging all of us to throw away the old book and create a new genre of music.

In a short time, Mancari has made a name for herself in Nashville and the southeast. She has toured and played with Margo Price, Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Lone Bellow, SUSTO, Joan Osborne, The Weeks, and more.

 
 

DINOSAUR JR.

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WHEN: July 19, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

The original line-up of Dinosaur Jr. (J Mascis, Lou Barlow & Murph) only recorded three full albums during their initial run in the 1980s. Everyone was gob-smacked when they reunited in 2005. Even more so when they opted to stay together, as they have for 11 years now. And with the release of Give a Glimpse, this trio has released more albums in the 21st Century than they did in the 20th. It's enough to make a man take a long, thoughtful slug of maple-flavored bourbon and count some lucky stars.

2015 saw the amazing live shows Dinosaur Jr. played to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their eponymous debut LP. There were too damn many guest stars poking their noses into songs and amps for some of us, but the shebang was upful enough, and the songs they were celebrating are amazing enough, that it was tough to gripe. But essentially that was a nostalgia fest -- a very fine nostalgia fest -- but it's the future that beckons the living. So you have to be pretty damn chuffed that the band has managed to pull another magnificent rabbit out of their collective hat.

The songs on Give a Glimpse were recorded over the past year or so, again at Amherst's Bisquiteen Studio. The sound is great and roaring with J's various bleeding-ear psychedelic guitar touches oozing their way into the smudge-pop modeling, while Murph's drums pound like Fred Flintstone's feet, and Lou's bass weaves back and forth between proggy melodicism and post-core thug-hunch.

Of the 11 songs presented, nine are J's. Mascis has had so many projects going at various times -- from the retro glam of Sweet Apple to the metal dunt of Witch to the ostrich-rock overload of Heavy Blanket -- it's always a little shocking he can compartmentalize well enough to keep his tunes with Dinosaur Jr. sounding so instantly recognizable. Which is not to say they're interchangeable, it's just that he has a very idiosyncratic way of structurally assembling and presenting the songs. Even when they're not being played in concert (with amps turned to 12, and vibrating 'til they glow red).the way he hits his guitar strings has a unique quality that immediately lets you know you're listening to Dino. It's a very cool trick, and something only a small percentage of guitarists ever manage.

The other two songs here were written and sung by Lou, and they're quite great as well. Although Barlow's template and palette are more mercurial and shifting (as they are with his other ongoing projects, like Sebadoh), the two here have a consonant resonance. Both songs carry the same vibe as Roger McGuinn's great early sides with the Byrds (although this has to do more with spirit than specific notes), reminding us that albums like Fifth Dimension and Notorious Byrd Brothers were among the main models for East Coast bands like the Soft White Underbelly. “Love Is...” and “Left/Right” represent the same kind of style displacement.

Mascis' songs offer a lot of formal style moves as well. Over the last three decades, J's songwriting has continued to pursue confusion, isolation and mis-communication as its main themes (which is one of the reasons he's always been the artist-of-choice for so many misfits), but he has really worked on the craft of songwriting, and he's constantly improving his ability to convey these feelings rather than merely inhabit them. “Lost All Day” might be the most eloquently sad of the songs on Give a Glimpse, but my favorite is probably “Mirror,” which comes off like the best song Blue Oyter Cult didn't record for Agents of Fortune. The opening (and repeating) line, “I've been crawling around since I met you,” branded itself onto my brain the instant I heard it. But then, “Goin' Down” (not the Freddie King tune) is a stone classic as well. And “Tiny” has the prettiest pop architecture. “Be A Part” continually makes me flash on the first time I heard “Cowgirl in the Sand.” “I Told Everyone” is almost like a Bowie tribute when you hear it from another room. “Good to Know” has the record's most insane guitar solo. “I Walk for Miles” contains the most thuggish riffs. “Knocked Around” features the most elegant use of falsetto. And the whole damn thing is great.

With all the insanity that is stalking the Earth, it's nice to have something to rely on. Who'd've dared to think it'd be Dinosaur Jr. 

 
 

INDIGO GIRLS

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W/ SPECIAL GUEST LYDIA LOVELESS

WHEN: July 28, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7pm show

WHERE: Canal Shores

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Twenty years after they began releasing records as the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have politely declined the opportunity to slow down with age. With a legacy of releases and countless U.S. and international tours behind them, the Indigo Girls have forged their own way in the music business. Selling over 14 million records, they are still going strong. Amy & Emily are the only duo with top 40 titles on the Billboard 200 in the '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s.

“Along with Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers rank at the very top of all-time great duos. The sublime music-making-machine-skewering “Making Promises” is one of their finest rockers.” – The Boston Herald

After signing to Epic Records in 1988, the Indigo Girls released their critically acclaimed eponymous album to thunderous praise; it remained on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 35 weeks, earned double platinum status, received a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist” and won “Best Contemporary Folk Recording.” They were overnight folk icons who continued to live up to the high standards they’d set for themselves: they’ve since released 14 albums (3 platinum and 3 gold), received six Grammy nominations and have won one. Indigo Girls have toured with innumerable star acts including Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, R.E.M., Sarah MacLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Jewel and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

The duo has balanced their long, successful musical career by supporting numerous social causes – the Indigo Girls don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk. Having established an intensely dedicated fan base, the duo continues to remain relevant and attract new fans. With their latest release, Beauty Queen Sister, released on IG Recordings distributed by Vanguard Records, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have secured their spot as one of the most legendary musical acts of this generation.

“Their 14th studio album finds the Indigo Girls operating as powerfully as at any time in their career, on a set of uncommonly strong songs performed with the kind of typically understated Nashville polish that affords their signature harmonies the full spotlight.” - The Independent (UK)

In 2015 Indigo Girls released their 14th studio album, One Lost Day, produced by Jordan Brooke Hamlin and mixed by Brian Joseph.

 
 

LYDIA LOVELESS

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SUPPORTING INDIGO GIRLS

WHEN: July 28, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7pm show

WHERE: Canal Shores

Blessed with a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice, the 25-year-old Lydia Loveless was raised on a family farm in Coshocton, Ohio—a small weird town with nothing to do but make music. With a dad who owned a country music bar, Loveless often woke up with a house full of touring musicians scattered on couches and floors. She has turned this potential nightmare scenario (eww….touring musicians smell…) into a wellspring of creativity.

When she got older, in the time-honored traditions of teenage rebellion, she turned her back on these roots, moved to the city (Columbus, OH) and immersed herself in the punk scene, soaking up the musical and attitudinal influences of everyone from Charles Bukowski to Richard Hell to Hank III.

Loveless’s Bloodshot debut album Indestructible Machine combined heady doses of punk rock energy and candor with the country classicism she was raised on and just can’t shake; it was a gutsy and unvarnished mash-up. It channeled ground zero-era Old 97s (with whom she later toured) but the underlying bruised vulnerability came across like Neko Case’s tuff little sister. Indestructible Machine possesses a snotty irreverence and lyrical brashness that’s an irresistible kick in the pants.

On her second Bloodshot album Somewhere Else, released after a few 7″ singles and an EP, Loveless was less concerned with chasing approval – she scrapped an entire album’s worth of material before writing the set – and more focused on fighting personal battles of longing and heartbreak, and the aesthetic that comes along with them. While her previous album was described as “hillbilly punk with a honky-tonk heart” (Uncut), this one couldn’t be so quickly shoehorned into neat categorical cubbyholes. No, things were different this time around—Loveless and her band collectively dismissed the genre blinders and sonic boundaries that came from playing it from a safe, familiar place. Creatively speaking, ifIndestructible Machine was an all-night bender, Somewhere Else was the forlorn twilight of the next day, when that creeping nostalgia has you looking back for someone, something, or just… anything.

2016’s Real is one of those exciting records where you sense an artist truly hitting their stride, that their vision is both focused and expansive, and that their talent brims with a confident sense of place, execution and exploration. Whether you’ve followed Lydia’s career forever, like us, or if you are new to her ample game, Real is gonna grab your ears.

On her first two Bloodshot albums, there were fevered comparisons to acknowledged music icons like Loretta Lynn, Stevie Nicks, Replacements, and more. She’s half this, half that, one part something else. We hate math. But, now Real and Lydia Loveless are reference points of their own. Genre-agnostic, Lydia and her road-tightened band pull and tease and stretch from soaring, singalong pop gems, roots around the edges to proto-punk. There are many sources, but the album creates a sonic center of gravity all its own.

Always a gifted writer with a lot to say, Lydia gives the full and sometimes terrifying, sometimes ecstatic force of the word. Struggles between balance and outburst, infectious choruses fronting emotional torment are sung with a sneer, a spit, or a tenderness and openness that is both intensely personal and universally relatable. It is, as the title suggests, real.

Lydia Loveless has toured with artists such as Old 97’s, Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Iron & Wine, Scott H. Biram, and the Supersuckers. Her music has been praised by Rolling Stone, NPR, Pitchfork, SPIN, Stereogum, Chicago Tribune, and more.

Loveless penned an original song for the 2015 film I Smile Back, starring Sarah Silverman, and was the subject of the 2016 documentary Who Is Lydia Loveless?, directed by Gorman Bechard. 

 
 

MARC BROUSSARD

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SUPPORTING MAVIS STAPLES

WHEN: July 27, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Canal Shores

ABOUT THE ARTIST

 

Marc Broussard is an artist with a unique gift of channeling the spirits of classic R&B, rock and soul into contemporary terms. This gift has been a matter of common knowledge since 2002, when Broussard released his debut album, Momentary Setback, which he recorded and released independently at age 20. It was no secret before then, going back to those lucky witnesses who heard him belt "Johnny B. Goode" onstage at age 5 while sitting in with his father's band. Throughout his life, Broussard has been tapped as a talent to watch.

Marc’s song “Home” was successful at radio and catapulted him onto the national touring stage. His music has been placed in many TV shows and movies. The timeless, soulful nature of Marc’s vocal lends well to Film and TV, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Marc released a follow up to his S.O.S. album on 9/30/16. It is a soul covers album appropriately titled “S.O.S. 2”. He donated 50% of the profits to City of Refuge. The live performance video of the acoustic version of “Cry to Me” has garnered over 1,000,000 views on youtube.

Marc’s  record “Easy to Love” came out on 9/15/17.

 
 

MAVIS STAPLES

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WITH SPECIAL GUEST MARC BROUSSARD

WHEN: July 27, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Canal Shores

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Mavis Staples recalls crossing into Arkansas around 1:00 am in November 1964 when West Memphis police pulled over her family’s Cadillac, ordering them out of the car with shotguns and dogs. Before things had gone badly wrong, she had been driving for some two hundred miles when they stopped for gas, with pops and sister Cleotha along for the ride, and her brother Pervis asleep under the family’s coats in the back seat.

At the station, she asked the attendant to clean the windshield and recalls him doing it but responding with a slur when she asked for a receipt for the gas. He said if she wanted a receipt, she would have to come back to the office for it. Pops headed to the office in her place, only to be insulted with the same slur. Grabbing the slip from the attendant's hand, Pops clocked the man, who fled into his office. As he returned, Mavis saw a crowbar in his hand.

Meanwhile, Cleotha woke up Pervis in the backseat. The family managed to free Pops and escape in the car but realized they were in serious trouble. Pops told Mavis to head for the state line, but police caught up as they crossed from Tennessee to Arkansas. In the trunk, officers found a gun and a cigar box holding more than $1000 cash in receipts from the family's latest performance. 

The attendant had called in a story about them beating and robbing him, and everything in the trunk looked like evidence. Pops was put in one squad car, Cleotha in another, and Mavis was handcuffed to her brother in a third. At that time, Mavis says, "black people could just be killed." She remembers that as they were driven off into the night, "I thought they were going to lynch us."

This history is still with us. At the beginning of her eighth decade of singing truth, Mavis Staples has delivered If All I Was Was Black (ANTI- Records), ten songs about America today, where the present is filled with ghosts of the past. "Nothing has changed," Mavis said in early August, just days before the world watched neo-Nazis march with swastika flags in Charlottesville, Virginia, as a young woman was murdered. "We are still in it." 

If All I Was Was Black represents Mavis' third collaboration with songwriter and producer (and Wilco frontman) Jeff Tweedy. Their first partnership in 2010, You Are Not Alone, won a Grammy Award for Best Americana album. Their second effort together, One True Vine, was a Grammy nominee. But If All I Was Was Black marks the first time Tweedy has composed an entire album of original songs for Mavis' legendary voice and a nation she's uniquely poised to address.

In the wake of the race-baiting and rhetoric of exclusion appearing not just on the streets in 2017 but issuing from statehouses and even the White House, Mavis and Tweedy found themselves in sync and wanting to say something about the fissures dividing the country. "We're not loving one another the way we should," Mavis confided, as if sharing the secret to happiness, or something better. "Some people are saying they want to make the world great again, but we never lost our greatness. We just strayed into division."

Explaining why he decided to tackle the state of the union, Tweedy said, "I've always thought of art as a political statement in and of itself—that it was enough to be on the side of creation and not destruction. But there is something that feels complicit at this moment in time about not facing what is happening in this country head on."

Emerging from this pairing is an interracial, multi-generational collaboration. If we've fallen short of our brightest promises, this record stands to remind us what we're still capable of. The partnership itself is part of the point.

The album opens with another position statement ("This life surrounds you, guns are loaded") and runs immediately down a "long, narrow road" where any misstep can be deadly. Mavis leads listeners through call-and-response vocals in a soundscape that recalls Sly and the Family Stone's mix of joy and social criticism unfolding over a funk-edged rhythm section.

After years of working with Mavis, Tweedy tried to imagine the words that she would want to sing, and also wrote music with the sound of her band in mind. The first track, "Little Bit" swells into a cautionary anthem of all the ways in which those regarded as suspicious have to weigh their actions just to survive day to day: "A little bit too high, a little bit too low, a little bit out of line, and my baby won't make it home." The joyous groove of the title track then tackles the same issue by directly addressing those who respond to someone's race without seeing their shared humanity. "If all I was was black, don't you want to know me more than that?"

Current events appear on the record, but only obliquely. "We Go High" borrows its chorus from Michelle Obama's speech on the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. "Build a Bridge" parses exactly which lives matter and how we can begin to talk about it. But across 35 minutes of music, there is not a single proper name to bind any song to a specific place or individual.

Asked why he didn't come up with narrative songs tackling specific recent moments of violence or injustice, Tweedy explained that when he first wrote "Little Bit," it had included a roll call of the dead. And there is no shortage of names from which he could have chosen: 12-year-old Tamir Rice shot on a playground. Eric Garner, who suffocated in a police chokehold on the ground. Sandra Bland, who died three days into custody after a routine traffic stop. Walter Scott, shot in the back running away from an officer in South Carolina.

Mavis' hometown of Chicago agonized over the death of Laquan McDonald, as a video emerged establishing that contrary to official reports, he had been shot sixteen times while walking away then lying on the ground. Yet one misgiving Tweedy felt about putting the names of the dead in songs for Mavis was that so many have died under unbearable circumstances, it would be impossible to include everyone. He worried he would be doing an injustice to the memory of those left out. 

Instead, the songs take a universal approach. "We didn't make the songs point to a specific person," Mavis explained. "If you follow the lyrics it's about yesterday and today."

The lyrics are still occasionally shot through with anger. "I have a mind to bury them whole, when they go low," Mavis sings on "We Go High." "There's evil in the world, and there's evil in me" opens the first verse of "Try Harder." "Oh, they lie, and they show no shame" adds a harsh undercurrent to "Who Told You That," an anthem against accepting the status quo. Unsettling musical elements wind their way through the record, too, from the abrasive guitar distortion of "Try Harder" to a descending bassline that signals danger on "Little Bit."
 
Despite all this, the mood ring on Mavis' 2017 outing is set to love, which runs through and over both fury and despair. The songs move less like a hammer and more like the tide, with Mavis countering the anger with an eye toward the work that is required to bring change. She is singing the world as it is, but also a way forward.

In the end, Mavis is sure that the answer is to lift each other up. She's not embracing the anxious hesitation of respectability politics but the possibilities of love. "It's the compassion that I feel," she said. "I want you to feel that same compassion."

Talking about writing for Mavis, Tweedy said, "The love I have for Mavis and the desire to be part of some kind of positive change are a big part of this album for me."

If All I Was Was Black contains elements of many styles that Mavis has performed in her lifetime, tying them together with the closing number declaring that she would "Do It All Over Again." Handclaps on "Peaceful Dream" recall the Staple Singers' legendary use of the same percussive technique. "Ain't No Doubt About It," a duet between Mavis and Tweedy, underlines the fluidity between the gospel, soul, rock, and country genres of the Americana roots music in which both artists have innovated and built careers.

Mavis sang with family for her first paying gig at Holy Trinity Baptist Church in 1948, moving over time from the gospel circuit to radio and eventually even to stadium shows, collecting a number one hit along the way and adding almost every musical form to her repertoire. She has performed with Bob Dylan, Booker T., Ray Charles, and The Band, among many others, and has had music written for her by everyone from Prince and Nick Cave to Neko Case.

At the age of fourteen, Mavis made a trip into the studio with the Staple Singers in September 1953 to record for United Records. Two years later, a boy who had himself just turned fourteen was found dead in the Tallahatchie River near Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, like Mavis, was from Chicago, and they brought his body home to bury him. "I grew up with all this," Mavis says.
 
For the funeral, Emmett's mother kept the casket open, so that everyone could see the brutality of the men who murdered her son and the system that would let them get away with it. Mavis met Till's mother after his death, and notes that more than fifty years passed before the woman whose honor had been the justification for murder admitted to a historian that she fabricated her testimony about Till making advances toward her.
 
Nearly a decade after Till's funeral, the Civil Rights era hit full stride, and the Staple Singers threw in with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision of America, even though some churchgoers felt that God's holiest work might be done in some less political realm. Mavis and her family had built a vast audience around the country, one they visited by driving show to show in their car—the same Cadillac that was stopped leaving Memphis late in 1964. 

Arriving in handcuffs at the West Memphis police station that night, they were recognized by the police chief and the custodian. Producing the receipt showing they had paid for gas, they instantly obliterated the station attendant's false accusation of robbery. The chief and his men released the Staples family, and even made a point of coming to one of their shows soon after.

Without their celebrity, however—and without that receipt—what would have happened? If All I Was Was Black doesn't turn away from that part of America, the part in which black Americans can be shot by the side of the road. But it embraces the idea that the country can redeem itself, that we can, one by one, each rise above our worst selves.

And Mavis thinks she has an idea how to do it. "Bring us all together as a people—that's what I hope to do. You can't stop me. You can't break me. I'm too loving," she says. "These songs are going to change the world."

 
 

REBIRTH BRASS BAND

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WHEN: June 23, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Whether seen on HBO’s Treme or at their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they have also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. “Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.”

In the wake of the sometimes-stringent competition among New Orleans brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack, and they show no signs of slowing down. Following the Grammy-winning Rebirth of New Orleans, Rebirth Brass Band is at it again with Move Your Body, an infectious, groove-laden collection of hip-shakers sure to saturate the dance floor. Rollicking originals like "Who's Rockin, Who's Rollin'"? and "Take 'Em to the Moon" reaffirm the band's position as head of the brass throne while the rasta-esque "On My Way" and leave-nothing-to-the-imagination lyrics of "HBNS" showcase the unit's talent for penning unabashed party starters. Boasting a mastery of Rebirth's signature "heavy funk" sound, Move Your Body pushes and swings, leaving behind an 11 track thumbprint, approved by the Frazier brothers themselves, of a sultry Tuesday night spent dancing on their home court at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans. Rebirth Brass Band has been revered for their groundbreaking workshops: Watch Rebirth's Keith Frazier and Derrick Tabb hosting a Drum Workshop at Tulane University. Syracuse Jazz Festival + Workshop Review “Just saw THE REBIRTH BRASS BAND, unbelievable. hard as hell, free as a ray of light, there is not a band on earth that is better. stunning.” -@flea333 Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers via Twitter "...saw the Rebirth Brass Band playing at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street, and it changed my life. It was one of these transcendent musical experiences." -Ani DiFranco

 
 

SHOVELS & ROPE

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WHEN: June 21, 2018| 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Little Seeds, the electrifying New West Records bow by Shovels and Rope, finds the award-winning South Carolina duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst exploring fresh dimensions in their sound with a brace of bold, candid, highly personal new songs.

The 12-song collection, produced by Trent at the couple’s home studio in Charleston, succeeds 2014’s Swimmin’ Time and 2012’s O’ Be Joyful; the latter title garnered the twosome Americana Music Awards for Song of the Year (for “Birmingham”) and Emerging Artist of the Year. Last year’s Busted Jukebox, Volume 1 was a collaborative collection of covers featuring such top talents as the Milk Carton Kids, Lucius, JD McPherson and Butch Walker.

On the new release, Trent and Hearst as ever play all the instruments and penned the material, which range from stomping rockers to delicate acoustic-based numbers. Many of Little Seeds’ finely crafted and reflective new songs – completed in the late summer of 2015 — are drawn from tumultuous events experienced by the couple over the course of the last two years.

“There were two major changes that happened at the same time,” Hearst says. “We found out we were pregnant, and at the same time Michael’s parents had been living with us, because his father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Those two things, having the baby and facing the reality that our parents were aging, made this weird, awesome circle of humanity that really just took us out. I guess we were in the crosshairs of human existence.” Trent continues, “We started putting this record together right after the baby was born. Every spare moment I had I was in the studio doing my best to work around the cries, and Cary would have to sneak up and do her parts when the baby was asleep. It’s a funny thing trying to make a rock n roll record with a sleeping baby in the house.”

Hearst adds, “As we were finishing the record and making the final decisions about what to include in it, our good friend Eric was killed here in town. We ended up dedicating the record to his memory. The beginning of ‘This Ride’ is actually Eric’s mother telling the true story of how he had been born in the back of a police car. With her blessing, we added that to frame ‘This Ride.’”

“Invisible Man” and “Mourning Song,” were directly inspired by the debilitating illness faced by Trent’s father. Hearst says of the former song, “The disease is preventing him from being able to mentally wrap his mind around it. I wanted to speak for him. I wanted to express what it would be like for a man like him, a capable, funny dude. I wanted to put that in an up-tempo pop song, because it’s always interesting for dark material to be presented that way.”

Of “Mourning Song,” Trent says, “I was envisioning what it was going to be like for my mother after he wasn’t around anymore. It’s weird, maybe, to write a song about the death of your father who hasn’t died yet. It seemed like something he would do – write a tune to comfort my mother after he’s gone.

The hushed, moving spoken word “BWYR”, a song of unity at a time when some try to divide, is torn from an event close to home: the mass shootings at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015.

“The night we heard about it, we were in Denver and approaching the end of ‘touring while pregnant’, which was pretty intense,” Trent says. “We flew to Chicago, our show was cancelled – it was rained out – and we were stuck in the hotel, and that’s where it was written. We were talking to our friends and texting, and we wanted to be home so bad, to be with our people. These mass shootings seemed to be happening every weekend, and the thought of bringing a child into the world was overwhelming and scary.”

“Buffalo Nickel” takes on the most personal of all subjects: Trent and Hearst’s relationship as a married couple who also collaborate creatively. Only as the song developed did they begin to understand its topic. “We were trying to figure out what the story was about,” Trent says, “and the more we wrote on it, we said, ‘Are we talking about us here? Are we airing some things here?’” Without a beat, Hearst adds with a laugh, “And we were.”

Little Seeds also contains songs that deploy Shovels and Rope’s widely admired talents as storytellers: the thrashing “I Know,” a wryly observed description of intra-band backbiting, and “Botched Execution,” a darkly funny tale of a convict on the run in the manner of Southern gothic writer Flannery O’Connor. Inspired by a concise history written by Hearst’s father, “Missionary Ridge” looks back at the decisive 1863 Civil War battle.

The album also tips a hat to the group’s Americana forebears. “The Last Hawk” pays homage to Garth Hudson, the master keyboardist of the Band, who Hearst calls “a quiet genius, this weird, wonderful creature who can do anything with music.” Trent recalls, “There was an article in Rolling Stone that was one of the first things you’d ever seen where it was just Garth, explaining things from his take. We read it on an airplane, and I looked over at Cary, and she was crying – it really moved her.”

Both Trent and Hearst acknowledge that making Little Seeds took the band into previously unexplored and even unimagined creative terrain.

“It was cathartic,” says Trent. “There were some songs we had trouble getting through because it was too emotional for us. That’s not really how we had approached songwriting in the past — we got really into writing character-based songs on Swimmin’ Time. For Little Seeds, this is what was going on, and it was all consuming, physically and emotionally, and I feel like we couldn’t help but to be very raw and honest.”

Hearst says, “At a certain point in your relationship, professional or personal, you think it’s maybe run its course – ‘We can’t possibly write more together than we have in the past. We can’t possibly live closer than we have in the past. We can’t possibly understand each other more.’ But in the last couple of years, that has happened. We have become even more intimate as writing partners, and in life, collaboratively. It showed me that there were new depths to conquer in our creative life and our personal life and our family life. It’s all deeper and wider than I could ever have imagined it. Which is great.”

 
 

SKYWAY MAN

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SUPPORTING THE LONE BELLOW

WHEN: July 20, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

An Introduction to the Wide World of James Wallace & Folk Futurism

“He says the sun came out last night. He says it sang to him.”
― Project Leader, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

“If you are not a myth whose reality are you? If you are not a reality whose myth are you?”
― Sun Ra, Prophetika Book One

For the last decade, James Wallace & the Naked Light recorded and released music from the fringes of Music City USA, touring all over with a singular vision and purpose. All the while, James Wallace’s name figured in as a trusted companion to a few scenes in particular: the Spacebomb sound coming out of his hometown Richmond, Virginia alongside old friends Natalie Prass and Matthew E. White; inside the new Nashville “underground:” where his bands’ magnetic performance listed them as a favorite among Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard; producing records, occasionally filling in on keys with cult-treasured Promised Land Sound; and roaming with the Oakland collective of songwriters centered around a converted school bus who travel under the banner “Splendor All Around.” But now the name is Skyway Man. Solo tours in Japan and China, a new batch of songs intertwined with his fascination with UFO religion, signaled a shift in direction. His inner mercury nudged him toward a new role, and the name Skyway Man rose to the surface again and again. Was it the trickster of mythology, the soul of some eternally missing astronaut, or the old singing storyteller trying to get through?

Wallace possesses a knack for getting caught up in outlandish events – discovering a trove of mysterious letters written by a Ufologist to a woman, describing the New Jerusalem and the 4th dimension, or months spent playing Mahjong in a smokey trailer behind Opryland, working as a Mandarin interpreter for Chinese Ice carvers in Nashville. This knack also extends to orchestrating outlandish events, getting interesting people on board in his endeavors–sweet-talking the flow of life into altering its course. Time for a new name and new record. Seen Comin’ From a Mighty Eye is a dense undertaking, recorded in different locations, simmering influences, channeling all the correct energies, paying the people and spirits who need to be paid, finishing the work the right way over the slow course of time. He recorded the last Naked Light record in Matthew E. White’s attic, and returned to that revered spot to track this new psych opera about strange futures, haunted pasts, and the Mighty Eye in the sky. Spacebomb house bassist and composer Cameron Ralston provided the horn arrangements and Spacebomb house drummer Pinson Chanselle sat at the kit. Wallace sang, compiled and mixed back in Nashville. It’s the usual stew of B-movie scifi, cosmic American boogie, psychedelic folk and it’s apocalyptically good, focused and potent, an immersive fully realized song cycle and visionary sonic structure.

From his modest rancher in Bordeaux on the Cumberland River, the lights of downtown Nashville are visible at night, shining sweetly or casting a lurid glow depending on atmospheric conditions and the viewer’s mood. Music City is changing fast, but James Wallace is invested in its community and spirit–the true believers, auteur session aces and acid cowboys and cowgirls who need each other to survive the sweltering industrial music machine. Skyway Man transcends this landscape, tapping into an older, more spiritual commerce. Seen Comin’ From a Mighty Eye offers the kind of music you would want on the radio for a first or last kiss, the incidental music from some forgotten Spielberg adventure, a soundtrack for the later (not quite latter) days of earth. If lightning strikes and the car radio explodes, it might just be part of the track. Music for driving along the skyway, and thank god the skyway is made of music anyway.

 
 

SPLIT SINGLE

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SUPPORTING THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

WHEN: June 22, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

“…a first-rate songwriter and band leader.” — Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

“‘Metal Frames’ [. . .] is full of compact, bristling and melodic rock songs indebted to snarling punk, noise-laced pop, muscular classic rock and Cheap Trick.” — Salon

“You won’t see more indie rock cred than on the CV of Jason Narducy.” — KEXP, “Song of the Day”

Taking their name from one of indie rock's most beloved formats, the wily trio Split Single are fronted by singer/guitarist Jason Narducy and also feature drummer Jon Wurster and bassist/vocalist Britt Daniel. While Daniel's work with Spoon and Divine Fits is well known, the other two-thirds of the band boast pedigrees that are just as lengthy and impressive: Wurster and Narducy have both played with Superchunk and Bob Mould, while Narducy is also a former member of Verbow and Telekinesis. After forming in 2012, Split Single recorded an album's worth of tracks, three of which ("Fragmented World," "Waiting for the Sun," and "Last Goodbye") they shared on their SoundCloud page in 2013. That album, Fragmented World, arrived in April 2014. A follow-up LP, Metal Frames, arrived two years later, this time with Wilco bassist John Stirratt taking over bass duties from Daniel.

 
 

SLICK RICK

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WITH SPECIAL GUESTS THE COOL KIDS

WHEN: July 21, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

On January 14, 1965, Ricky M. L. Walters, known in the music industry as Slick Rick aka Ricky D., was born in South Wimbledon, London, England to his Jamaican parents. Known as Ricky back in the day, the soon-to-be entertainer moved with his family to the Bronx in 1975.

Exposed to the hip-hop beats and music scene in the Bronx, Ricky began making a name for himself by competing in and winning nearly every MC battle contest he entered. He finally hit the jackpot at a MC contest at the 369 Armory in Harlem, where he attracted the attention of Doug E. Fresh, who was garnering his own attention due to his ability to imitate drum machines and various special effects.

Striking up a friendship, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick released the history-making, single “The Show and La Di Da Di” in the summer of 1985. With Fresh’s beatbox and Rick’s smooth lyrical delivery, the duo nearly single-handedly transformed rap.

With his music career in works, Rick moved to New York City, where he signed with Russell Simmons at Def Jam Records. In 1988, Slick Rick released his solo album “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick”. The debut album hit number one Billboard R&B/hip-hop charts and ended up being one of the first hip hop records to go platinum.

As his star rose, Rick played the part of the MC to the hilt, decking himself out in jewelry and chains sometimes up to $60,000 in baubles at a time. And besides the trademark eye patch –which covers his eye that was blinded by a piece of glass while Rick was still an infant living in London – Rick wore a gold crown, soon causing fans to refer to the rapper as The Ruler. What else would you expect from the Ruler?

 
 

THE COOL KIDS

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SUPPORTING SLICK RICK

WHEN: July 21, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Part of the mid-2000s hip-hop movement that found kids in all-over prints rapping about their shoes and favorite forms of transportation (which often weren't cars), the Cool Kids proved to be both an Internet and live show phenomenon. The duo of Mikey Rocks (born Antoine Reed in Matteson, Illinois) and Chuck Inglish (Mt. Clemens, Michigan native Evan Ingersoll) met in mid-2005 after Mickey came across some of Chuck's beats online and liked what he heard. They met up in their Chicago-area homes with the intention of making beats to sell to other artists, but soon realized that their own measured, smooth flows and lyrics fit best. In 2007, though they had yet to release any material outside their MySpace page and MP3 blogs, they started receiving press from tastemakers Pitchfork, who invited the Cool Kids to play at their summer festival. This led to a spot at New York's CMJ Music Marathon -- where they shared a showcase with DJ A-Trak -- as well as an an opening spot on a tour headlined by M.I.A. That year, the Cool Kids also signed to Chocolate Industries, which released their debut, an EP titled The Bake Sale, the following January. Mixtape releases and additional touring preceded their full-length album When Fish Ride Bicycles, which arrived on Green Label Sound in June 2011 and debuted at number 76 on the Billboard 200 chart. Mikey and Chuck worked on individual projects for several years. At one point the Cool Kids' inactivity appeared to be permanent, but the duo returned in September 2017 with Special Edition Grandmaster Deluxe.

 
 

THE LONE BELLOW

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WHEN: July 20, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

It’s been six years since The Lone Bellow was first formed by Zach Williams, multi-instrumentalist Kanene Donehey Pipkin and guitarist Brian Elmquist. But one only needs to get the lead singer and guitarist speaking to their songwriting process to witness firsthand just how passionate he remains about its teeming creativity. “It’s a beautiful process,” the effusive singer says of the almost epiphany-like manner in which the band typically translates its vivid ideas to melodies and lyrics. “You’re trying to figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to say. And then, ‘Bam! Lightning strikes, everybody’s in the room, and it’s like the heavens open. Suddenly you’re able to write a song.”

The Lone Bellow, which also now includes Jason Pipkin on keys/bass, has long nurtured a deep and highly personal connection with their music. But with Walk Into A Storm, their third studio album, due on September 15 via Descendant Records/ Sony Music Masterworks, the band turned inward like never before. “We covered such a broad range of emotion on the album,” Elmquist says of the raw, intimate and undeniably soulful Dave Cobb-produced LP recorded in Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A. The 10-track album, Elmquist says, is centered on “the human condition and how you’re trying to connect with it,” and with stunning tracks including “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy?” and “Long Way To Go,” it features some of the band’s most poignant material to date.

When creating the follow-up to 2014’s cherished Then Came The Morning, the band confronted — and ultimately overcame — a host of personal obstacles: not only did all the members and their respective families work through a relocation from New York City to Nashville, but on the day they were to begin recording the album Elmquist entered a rehab facility for issues stemming from alcohol abuse. “There’s a thousand different ways this could have gone down but it’s the way it did,” says Elmquist, says the tumultuous experience helped “put what we’re doing in perspective.” “I got to see the love and friendship we have for each other in action. I’m thankful.”

“Our band was the receiver of a lot of grace and kindness from the music community,” Williams adds, citing peers and industry folks offering words of encouragement as well as the non-profit MusicCares greatly aiding in the costs of the guitarist’s treatment.

Elmquist’s situation presented a logistical challenge for the band — they now had nine days to record instead of the pre-planned 20. But as Pipkin notes, the sacrifice “paled in comparison to what we have with each other. Without our friendships we don’t have anything,” she says. “That’s the reason we do this. To forge ahead without taking care of each other doesn’t work. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do.” 

Working with the notoriously no-nonsense Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), was a richly rewarding process. It was also one that helped the band kick out the jams in short order. “There’s no real bells and whistles,” Elmquist recalls of Cobb’s no-frills recording process. “You go practice a song, play it, record it and put it on a record.”

The results are stunning: from the orchestral, uplifting “May You Be Well,” to “Long Way To Go,” a beatific piano-anchored ballad Elmquist wrote while in rehab; and “Between The Lines,” a harmony-drenched sing-along Williams says acts as both a letter to Elmquist and an exploration of the push-pull of drawing art from pain.

“There’s this lie that the only good and worthy art that can be made has to come from tragedy and darkness,” Williams offers. “And I get it. But it doesn’t only have to come from that. It can also come from joy and gratitude.”

And that’s exactly what The Lone Bellow is full of as they look to the future. The band kicks off an extensive tour on September 21st with Central Park’s Summerstage supporting The Head and the Heart. And as they crisscross North America they’ll have a new member in tow. “‘How early is too early to teach a child how to tune guitars?’” Pipkin, whose newborn son will be joining them on the road, asks with a laugh. “It’s going to be really exciting and different.”

Williams seems nothing short of in awe of where life has taken him and his band. The process that led to Storm, the forthcoming tour, the deepening of bonds with his band mates -- it all adds up to The Lone Bellow “becoming even more like family,” he says. “I just love being able to have that opportunity with these friends.

The singer pauses, and with a supreme sense of contentment in his voice, notes proudly of his band mates: “They’re pretty good musicians. But they’re truly amazing people.”

 
 

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS

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WITH SPECIAL GUEST SPLIT SINGLE

WHEN: June 22, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

“Cohesive.” It’s a word New Pornographers founder A.C. Newman still sounds a little bit surprised to say as he describing the band’s seventh album, Whiteout Conditions. It’s a quality that you wouldn’t necessarily intuitively associate with a so-called supergroup that, by its very collective nature, seems bound to have a good deal of stylistic variance built into the formula (or lack of it). Can an outfit built on the appeal of multiple frontmen and frontwomen develop a signature sound after all? Maybe, and maybe better late than never.

“On other records,” says Newman, “it felt like sometimes it was very clear: oh, this is a fast one with me singing, and then the next would be a slow song with Neko (Case) singing. And I’ve always liked that in a White Album kind of way — being a band that just does whatever the hell they want from track to track. But when we did Brill Bruisers (the band’s previous album, released in 2014), it was the first time where I thought: Let’s try to make a cohesive record. Let’s try to give it a sound and see how focused we can make it. And on this record, I think we went a lot farther down that road.”

The focus on Whiteout Conditions (The New Pornographers’ first album on their own imprint, Collected Works Records, in partnership with Concord Records) comes down to a couple of notable shifts: increased tempos, for one, and increasingly blended vocals, for another. There are fewer extended solo lead vocal turns by any of the band members and more choral effects or interplay between the men and women in the group. If you’re of a certain age, you might start thinking of them as an indie-rock Mamas and the Papas, or… “I’ll take that,” Newman says, “but the Fifth Dimension is always the one we’re going for, way more than the Mamas and the Papas! I hesitate to throw out catchphrases that might be repeated back to me a thousand times, but at the beginning of this record, there was some thinking that we wanted it to be like a Krautrock Fifth Dimension. Of course, our mutated idea of what Krautrock is probably doesn’t sound like Krautrock at all. But we were thinking: Let’s try and rock in a different way.”

As pacing goes, the overriding modus operandi here might be described as (with apologies to Russ Myer) “Faster, Pornographers, kill, kill!” Says Newman, “If we did an album that was just nothing but very quiet ballads, I would think, this isn’t right. If we were trying to sound like Bon Iver, I’d think, no, this is not what we’re supposed to be doing.” No danger of any confusion there, this time. You might flash back at this moment to some thoughts Newman shared right after the group finished that last record, Brill Bruisers. At that time, he said, “After finishing this record, I’m thinking to myself, ‘The next record should be even faster.’” Three years later, does Newman think he fulfilled that prophecy on the new album? “We did get faster, I think!” he laughs. “With the last song on this album, ‘Avalanche Alley,’ we thought, ‘This has to be the final song,’ because it’s 180 BPM or something, and if we put it anywhere else on the record, the next song would sound like it was in slow motion.”

But the album is hardly just about a need for speed. “Avalanche Alley” is every bit as haunting as it is fleet, something that applies throughout a record rich in evocative and possibly even spooky earworms. Says Newman, “I tend to think, ‘Oh, these songs are so different from anything I’ve done,’ but they probably aren’t, because it’s still got the sense of melody, and that’s probably what people notice the most. But also, when we were working on songs like ‘Play Money’ and ‘Avalanche Alley,’ we were just wanting them to have some amazing drive.”Fifth Dimension associations notwithstanding, the very title of Whiteout Conditions lets you know that this is not just going to be an album about letting the sunshine in. While Newman emphasizes that “it’s not a concept album,” it does have a few weighty things on its mind amid the frantic fun.

“Sometimes I don’t think my songs are about anything you could pin down, but then I listen to ‘em and go, ‘Oh, this song is definitely about something very specific’ —like ‘Whiteout Conditions.’ It’s basically a song about going through a depressive episode. It’s about the eternal battle, which feels like an epic battle, and just trying to get out of that place and into another place.” Why make that emotionally downbeat a song the title track to such an up-tempo album? “The whole album is not about that, at all,” he says, “but the argument could be made that emotional whiteout conditions are what drive me to create. So maybe it is a literal title in that respect.”

The road veers toward the political on “High Ticket Attractions,” in which any seeming allusions to topical events and the state of the world are strictly intentional. Newman says this single “was written before Trump won the election, although there was already a lot of anxiety of ‘Holy shit, things could go terribly wrong.’ Sometimes in the past, I’ve been very flippant about writing about the end of the world, or society falling apart, or revolution, just as iconography to dabble in. So it’s strange to get to a point where we’re seriously concerned about things like that and feel these are dangerous times. There’s a lot of anxiety to lines like ‘The Mayans took their science and dumped it all in the drink and went silent,’ and the Magna Carta being underwater. All the water stuff is an obvious reference point for global warming: We came from the water; are we going back there?”

“Clockwise” has some major irony going on with a chorus that repeatedly invokes “the valley of lead singers.” Newman explains, “Something I’ve always done is trying to be sort of meta with lyrics. When you’re a musician, sometimes you feel like you live in a very closed-off bubble. So that’s what I was thinking about when I wrote that—trying to write a folk song about some place, and the only place I could think of is a place that’s filled with nothing but lead singers. And I just liked to put the words ‘lead singer’ in a chorus that you’re singing lead on! It comes back to the communication theory that the medium you use is so loaded, it’s hard for the message to escape that.”

Anyway, if that mythical Valley of Lead Singers includes as many all-star vocalists as The New Pornographers employ, who’d want to go to the mountaintop? It’s a gorgeous gorge to be speeding through, experiencing Whiteout Conditions with the hazard lights blinking at more exhilarating beats-per-minute than ever before.

 
 

PURLING HISS

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SUPPORTING DINOSAUR JR.

WHEN: July 19, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

Purling Hiss’ Mike Polizze has put in much time in the fried Philly blooze overdrive of the group Birds of Maya, but in his own vehicle he’s expanded his grotty guitar wailing into the further cosmos, still shredding speakers aplenty. With releases out on Drag City, Richie, Woodsist Records, and a previous LP on Permanent, Purling Hiss became a full-fledged touring unit in 2010, revealing themselves to not only be purveyors of Rallizes Denudes/Vermonster-style guitar jams, but to have a serious 90’s grunge/pop ethic not too far removed from bits of Bleach-era Nirvana. Lots of ooh-oohs to coincide with the growls, severe hooks to get lodged in your cranium.

 
 

NEW ORLEANS SUSPECTS

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SUPPORTING REBIRTH BRASS BAND

WHEN: June 23, 2018 | 6pm gates, 7:30pm show

WHERE: Temperance Beer Co.

New Orleans Suspects began playing together in 2009 as a pick-up band at the Maple Leaf in New Orleans. Comprised of some of the most seasoned, highly respected players in NOLA, the group called themselves The Unusual Suspects. Their chemistry was undeniable and by the summer of 2011 they decided to tour full-time, renaming the band New Orleans Suspects. They quickly began attracting large crowds from San Francisco to New York. In five short years they’ve released four CDs and established themselves as one of New Orleans’ best supergroups.