THE LIVE WIRE: Crowbar – “High Rate Extinction” (5th Quarter Lounge, 12/5/2016)

There’s never a disappointing moment when you’re at a Crowbar show. I love the fact that they bridge the gap between my appreciation of the best elements of doom metal, brooding thunder that shakes your brain until it bleeds, andpassages that are equally at home in the world of hardcore punk. Easily the most influential band to ever come out of New Orleans’ metal community, these guys have been destroying convention for almost thirty years.

The track I caught on video tonight is the opener off their self-titled sophomore album, released back in 1993, but there’s nothing dated about the sound here. The way they slam right into the opening riff you’d think they wrote that bastard two weeks ago!

After the bruising I took to get Goatwhore shots, I wasn’t in position to get the best photo of Crowbar, so here are what I was able to snap … hope the video makes up for it! (All photos credit: Jonathan Sanders)

LIVE PHOTOS: Goatwhore at the 5th Quarter Lounge (12/5/2016)

I’ve learned to take my shots in the world of metal. And in this case, to get my shots of New Orleans’ Goatwhore, a band I’ve wanted to see now for months, I had to take a few … to the balls! Yeah, the crowd got a bit physical during this band’s particularly solid set Monday night, but it was worth it to be part of the wildest crowd I’ve experienced yet at the 5th Quarter. I got my photos, I took my punches, I got a few in of my own, and then got the hell out of the way and enjoyed plenty of amazing metal in the process!

If you haven’t had the chance to catch a show at Mona and Shannon’s bar, get your asses down there — the 5th Quarter is among the upper echelon of live music venues in the nation hands down, metal or not! And it’s right in our back yard here in Indianapolis. No excuses!

(All photos credit: Jonathan Sanders)

LIVE PHOTOS: Lillake at the 5th Quarter Lounge (12/5/2016)

Oh … my … God …

Let me just tell you. I was prepared for Crowbar. I’ve fucking seen their asses before, at the 5th Quarter. I knew what they could do. And I was told what Goatwhore was capable of by friends who had seen them before. But I had never seen Lillake. Few have.  They’d only done nine live shows prior to tonight’s show at the 5th, though Nico Santora’s a legend if you’ve followed Suicidal Tendencies. So you’d at least know he’s capable of pulling out some serious rabbits from that hat.

But damn!

Tonight this band seriously fucked my shit up. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Check out the video below of the 12 minutes I taped … two songs they’ve given me permission to post. And enjoy the photos below as well. And then, by all means, GO BUY THEIR ALBUM! Support music that fucking matters!

Thank you.

(All photos credit: Jonathan Sanders)

LIVE PHOTOS: The Why Store at the Vogue (12/2/16)

Muncie’s The Why Store, local legends celebrating their 20th Anniversary at the Vogue this past Friday, played to a packed house of wildly excited fans who fully appreciated their nostalgia-heavy setlist. My review of the evening’s show will be in this week’s NUVO Newsweekly but you can enjoy my photos below, along with video from their mid-90s performance on the Conan O’Brien show of “Surround Me” from right before their Mellencamp support stint — how did Letterman miss the boat on the most popular band to come out of Muncie?

(All photos credit: Jonathan Sanders)

LIVE PHOTOS: Endiana at the Vogue (12/2/16)

Endiana made  their debut on the Vogue’s storied stage Friday night, introducing hundreds of rabid Why Store fans to their eclectic blend of folk, blues and down-home alt-rock. For a full review of the entire show, including the Why Store’s performance, check out this Wednesday’s print and online editions of NUVO Newsweekly! In the meantime, check out all my photos from the evening. And as soon as you get a chance, buy a damned copy of How To Walk Out, the band’s brand-new album, for yourself and everyone on your Christmas list.

(All photos, credit: Jonathan Sanders)

Greenfield native Craig B. Moore releases “Thin Blue Line” to raise money for local police charities

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Greenfield’s own Craig B. Moore has partnered with C.O.P.S. (Concerns for Police Survivors-Indiana Chapter), the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department (to help purchase protective vests for officers), and the Rush County Sheriff’s Department (to help purchase 2 K-9s for the dept) as he releases his latest single, “Thin Blue Line.”

The single, which is available for sale at iTunes, Amazon and GooglePlay, speaks directly to the families of police officers who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. As Moore told me in a recent interview:

“The story behind the song is that my brother-in-law, Officer Joshua Brinson, had penned many thoughts about the increasing number of fallen brothers in uniform around the country. In his thoughts he wrote how devastating it must be for the family of these fallen officers as well as how it affects the officers who continue to work the Thin Blue Line every day and night. He asked me to take his journal and create a song in an attempt to capture the strong emotions a family may feel when being told their officer, their hero in blue, has lost his/her life in the line of duty. Not only the emotion of pain, but also the overwhelming sense of pride in knowing he/she was serving and protecting all of us so we can live out our life in peace.”

All proceeds, 90 cents for every 99-cent download purchase, will go directly to the above-referenced charities, Moore says. For more information, you can visit a Facebook page Moore has set up to promote the single, where you can reach out to him directly.

INTERVIEW: Matthew Ryan

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“I heard Chris Rock once say that his comedy came from profound sensitivity,” Matthew Ryan tells me during a recent career-spanning interview. “That if he didn’t find comedy he would not be able to deal with what he believed to be his ability to feel what people around him were feeling. And I really identify with that.”

Ryan, a Pennsylvania-based singer-songwriter who has spent the last two decades inspiring countless songwriters with his distinctive vocals as a forefather of the alt-country scene, privately struggled with that sense of identity for years.

“I’ve spent a really long part of my career so far being paralyzed by my sensitivity,” he says. “I’m not saying that there weren’t good songs written or there weren’t good recordings made but I couldn’t quite stand by or tolerate what I was feeling once the work was outside of myself. So I followed that mode for a very long time — too long. It started on my second record, and it didn’t end until Boxers.”

Boxers, his 12th proper studio album, came out in 2014 but by his own account seemed his most unlikely of albums, if only because he’d intended his 11th to be his last. “With Boxers my choices were simple because the record before was, by design, planned to be my last record,” he explains. “I didn’t want to do it anymore. [But] something happened between In the Dusk of Everything and Boxers where I decided that I had to stand by my work in a way that felt more like redemption rather than some form of … I don’t know if I can describe it. But I think the difference is that in some ways I rediscovered the commitment to my work and my characters that I had on my very first record, that I hadn’t had for a very long time.”

Ryan’s currently on the road for his Fall tour, built of a mix of house concerts and venue shows throughout the eastern half of the country. One of those will be a Friday night house show right here on Indy’s north-side, in Carmel.

“Generally what I do is in towns where I maybe had a hard time growing over the years it makes more sense to do a house show,” he says. “Indianapolis traditionally has been a tough city for me, to be honest. But what’s funny is I have some really good long-time listeners and supporters there, so that’s one of the beautiful things about today. Listeners will open up their homes to let you not only have that experience, but to help you continue to do what you do.”

After two decades in the business and a dozen albums, one thing Matthew Ryan has plenty of is experience, and on both sides of the coin, as a major label signee and an independent. That, he says, can be a double-edged sword, though he insists there’s little mystery in why he’s remained inspired to create albums which differ from each other throughout his career.

“I don’t know where I got the idea that that was important, as an artist, but it’s not a shell game! You know what I mean?” he laughs. “It’s just trying to locate weather that feels right to songs that have presented themselves, and it’s really not ‘one size fits all’. But that’s definitely been … I wouldn’t call it an issue, but I can’t think of anything more boring than [insert voice here] to the same record over and over. That sounds like a sentence of solitary confinement.”

Isolation comes up frequently in conversation, particularly when discussing the one song he wishes he could take another crack at recording.

“I have never re-recorded a song, because I rarely have any interest in retreading things,” he told me. “But there’s one song that haunts me, and that’s because I really think it’s one of the best songs I’ve written but I don’t know that the presentation allowed it to be what it could be. And that’s “All That Means Nothing Now” on my album I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall. It’s frustrating, because the guitar part on that song is so sturdy, and usually I’m such a utilitarian player, I wish I would have let that be more of a spine for the song. Plus I was self-recording at the time. That was really invigorating when I did Dear Lover but by the time I got halfway through I Recall Standing I started kind of hating myself quite a bit. It was a very lonely experience. I can’t see me ever wanting to do it again.”

I ask him if it’s a lonely experience recording alone because of the lack of someone to bounce ideas off of.

“Even just the non-verbal stuff,” he elaborates. “When you feel that ignition switch go on between a group of people, it’s not even necessarily about propping each other up but the sensation of being in a room with people when something special happens. Not to be crude, though it is crude … it’s the difference between masturbation and sex! Rarely do you get done masturbating and say ‘wow, you did a great job! Great finish!’ I think loneliness is becoming an epidemic, particularly here in the West, as we isolate ourselves more and more in technology. And I kind of felt like with I Recall Standing that’s where I hit a wall very quickly with my relationship with technology. I was spending so many hours confronting one-self through a screen. I was like ‘there’s something wrong here, I do not feel more alive through this process!’”

As someone who has worked to hone his live performance as a way of connecting with audiences and encouraging two-way communication, Ryan says he finds it to be disconcerting how much of a distraction our technological devices have become at live shows.

“I’ll be honest with you — I hate it,” he says. “every once in a while I’ll check, especially if I asked when I played a new song ‘please don’t upload it,’ and people upload it. That kind of rubs me the wrong way, because I’m trying to share something with the people in a room. This isn’t a broadcast! And it never translates, man. It never translates. Please! Just put the phone down and let’s feel something together. I don’t say this as an attention-whore. I’m not even all that comfortable with an audience’s attention anyway! What I don’t understand is why people feel so compelled to remove themselves from the experience, as if they’re gonna save the experience for later. I don’t think people realize the conflict of energies when you participate in something like that.”

He chooses to focus on what he can do, which is encourage those people at a live performance to remain open for that sense of community and connection.

“It’s a funny thing, because when I watch a performance of somebody else I can be moved by what a performer is doing,” he explains. “But what moves me more is when I see an audience member moved, when I see them helpless with something that has been moved in them. That’s just true of my experience. You can’t go into a situation thinking of ways to move people, but I can look for those moments where we all collectively feel something. And there is a difference.”