Simple Minds Still Play to Arenas, Even in the Saenger

What do you do on an election day when you’re too anxious to watch the returns and too anxious to watch something else instead? On Wednesday, Simple Minds at the Saenger Theatre were that third option for me, and at times it was hard to separate the show from its context. Singer Jim Kerr sang, “make love your armor” in the opening “The Signal and the Noise,” and I wondered if there were people in America who could no longer do that. Was the uplift in the band’s sound beyond some people at this point?

The Vettes Lose Context on "Gold Star"

In 2008, The Vettes’ “Give ‘em What They Want” got airplay on B97, and you could imagine the song finding the band a national audience. It didn’t happen, likely for a number of reasons that had nothing to do with music, but it didn’t help that The Vettes’ ‘80s new wave-influenced dance rock wasn’t in style at the time. That year also gave us Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song,” Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” all of which were on a different musical page.

Bobby Z Recalls The Evolution of The Revolution

Bobby Z’s pride in The Revolution is as obvious in conversation as it is justified. Prince had many bands, but The Revolution was the band. Prince’s “last band,” Z—Robert Rivkin—said in an interview, and the thought rings true. Prince may have played with New Power Generation and steady groups of musicians after The Revolution, but those musicians all signed on to play with an international star. Members of The Revolution signed on with a guy who had more talent than buzz and more buzz than sales. And, they grew together.

Tysson Aims for Plastic, Not Gold

In 2008, John Michael Rouchell made himself an important part of the New Orleans music story. He recorded and released online a song a week for a year, and the musicians he worked with evolved into the band MyNameIsJohnMichael. The album culled from the best of those tracks, The People That Come and Go, found a spot where the folky, working class, storytelling songwriting of someone like Bruce Springsteen met indie rock.

Chris Mast Time is Here

[Updated] Nicholas Krgovich enjoys identity games. He records under a number of names, including No Kids, Gigi, and P:ano, and for Christ Mast Style, Chris Mannheim. On the six-song EP, he musically masquerades as The Human League, quoting "Human" in his version of "O Come All Ye Faithful," and he infuses "Children Go Where I Send Thee" with The Pet Shop Boys' beloved wistful melancholy.

Rotary Downs Traces a New Wave

When Rotary Downs concluded its Jazz Fest set with a cover of Gary Numan's "Cars," the choice seemed obvious. The band's set featured much of the music from its new album, Traces, and new wave sonic textures show up regularly on the album's songs. Sting's bass drives "Orion," a hairy, farting synth opens "Tent City," and Chris Columbo seems to have an endless arsenal of compressed guitar sounds that give his lead lines unnatural presence in the mixes.

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