Tag Archives: Lynyrd Skynyrd


Kick Off Your Weekend with Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires

July 16th, 2014

Lee Bains III is no stranger to New York City. In fact, he studied literature at NYU. But four years was enough, and the lure of the South, specifically his hometown, Birmingham, Ala., was too strong. So he returned to his roots and four years ago teamed up with the Glory Fires—Eric Wallace (guitar), Adam Williamson (bass) and Blake Williamson (drums)—to make Southern rock with a punk ethos. Their first album, There Is a Bomb in Gilead (stream it below), was released in 2012. AllMusic said Bains “knows how to tell a good, compelling story with an interesting set of characters, and he successfully walks a fine line between letting his literate instincts have their day and keeping these stories unpretentious and realistic.” Additionally: “This is a band worth watching, and an album that deserves your attention.” Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires (above, performing “There Is a Bomb in Gilead” for BreakThru Radio) gained further attention thanks to an opening slot on tour with Alabama Shakes. And now the quartet has returned with a heady follow-up, Deconstructed (stream it below). According to NPR, “This isn’t a new space for Southern rock; in many ways, it is Southern rock, made by rebel sons who question that identity from the Allman Brothers through Skynyrd and on to Drive-By Truckers…. Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires are intense enough to fully refresh the legacy they’ve joined.” Out on the road in support of their excellent LP, they play Mercury Lounge on Friday night. Local five-piece Brooklyn What open the show.


Blitzen Trapper Mean Business

October 4th, 2013

Blitzen Trapper – Music Hall of Williamsburg – October 3, 2013

Watching Blitzen Trapper, dressed to a man in coats and ties, take the stage last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg to the Knight Rider theme (!) playing over the PA, I could think but one thing: These guys mean business! Despite a great new album to work with, the Portland quintet opened with the first track off their seminal Furr album, “Sleepy Time in the Western World,” and despite some technical difficulties handled with humor and grace, you could tell from the start they had brought their A game. The second song, “Thirsty Man,” off the new VII record, wrapped up the Trapper sound—glorious and groovy countrified Southern rock by way of the Pacific Northwest. It went full exploratory with a spaced-out, double-guitar-and-keys jam that reached some nice places.

The show proceeded through several movements, the band pushing the boundaries of what their Americana roots could do while maintaining their unique crunchy sound. The new material fit in perfectly with the old, wolf in sheep’s clothing ready to devour the crowd, lots of teeth-bared moments. Small tweaks of instrumentation—acoustic guitars, harmonica, dashes of electric piano and organ—provided a lush soundscape on songs like “Valley of Death.” Midway through the set, just like on the album, the band delved into a manic movement, Eric Earley switching to electric banjo for the wild, almost experimental pairing of “Heaven and Earth” and “Neck Tatts, Cadillacs.”

Zipping through the set like pros, they followed that with a fantastic three-song stretch of pro’s-pro songsmanship, Earley and Co. pairing delicious imagery with gorgeous melody and perfect execution on “Black River Killer,” “Astronaut” and the sing-along-inducing “Furr.” The set’s final section was throw-the-hammer-down Southern rock highlighted by a two-guitars-are-better-than-one take on “Fletcher.” Jackets off and ties plenty loosened by the time the encore rolled around, Blitzen Trapper put in some serious overtime, playing a hefty six more songs. These included a positively Neil Young–like solo performance from Earley on “Stranger in a Strange Land” and the honoring of a couple audience requests like “Country Caravan,” off 2007’s Wild Mountain Nation. After 90 minutes of nose-to-the-grindstone rock and roll, they finally punched out their time cards with a Skynyrdesque rock out in “Big Black Bird.” Some serious business, indeed! —A. Stein



Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires Turn Up the Heat

February 5th, 2013

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires – Mercury Lounge – February 4, 2013

It was like something out of a TV show: Mercury Lounge, late on a Monday night, a few scattered folks lining the walls waiting for the headliner to take the stage, trying to stay awake, a distinct ho hum vibe in the room. Then the band hops onstage, guns a-blazin’ and takes the place from 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds, the room going from a blah, half-empty to a hyped-up where-did-these-people-come-from half-full, all caught in the thrall of Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. Within the first few songs, Bains and the band went through the introductory chapters of the rock and roll book: Bains falling into the crowd mid-guitar riff, then getting into his lead guitarist’s face, then double solos back-to-back before climbing on the drum kit. Every rock band needs a great frontman, and the Glory Fires have Lee Bains III, who rocked the red-white-and-blue guitar strap embroidered with “LEB3” on it like few can.

The Glory Fires—two guitars, bass and drums—played a fireball set of Southern classic rock, channeling forefathers like the Allmans and Skynyrd with a healthy dose of the Black Crowes. After the first few numbers, they tweaked the sound in the monitors, as bands will do, asking for more guitar: The drummer petitioning the audience, “Hope y’all ain’t scared of a little guitar!” I hope not, too, because there was plenty of it as Bains rifled through songs off last year’s There Is a Bomb in Gilead and a whole slew of new ones, barely pausing in between. The running theme of the set was the band’s hometown of Birmingham, Ala., playing at least three songs about the city, stretching from general civic pride to missed sweethearts back home, all just another opportunity for Bains and his Glory Fires to crank up the volume and play some rock and roll. —A. Stein





And This Bird You Cannot Change

November 19th, 2009

Lynyrd Skynyrd – The Wellmont Theatre – November 18, 2009

(Photo: Sean O’Kane)

(Photo: Sean O’Kane)

After more than 30 years in music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Lynyrd Skynyrd has earned the right to have a boisterous stage setup. Before their set even started, the stage boasted two acoustic guitars, three keyboards, a piano, two drum sets worth of drums, four flat-screen televisions and a logo that spanned about 20 feet. When all nine touring members took the stage last night at The Wellmont Theatre, they proved just why they’ve earned it by unleashing a set of megahits during a loud and thrilling set lasting longer than an hour.

They played every hit, from the honky-tonk “Gimme Three Steps” to the sweeping ballad “Tuesday’s Gone” (during which raised lighters actually outnumbered cell phones) to the darker grit of “That Smell.” With hardly any material the band has released in the last decade, the night was dedicated to the biggest and best of Lynyrd Skynyrd. All three guitarists constantly rotated solos in practically every song, often dueling back-to-back. Vocalist Johnny Van Zant roamed the stage while belting out each song, either laughing with his bandmates or engaging the crowd by reaching his microphone stand (adorned with a Confederate flag for half the set) over the seats.

As the first few plucky notes of “Sweet Home Alabama” signaled the beginning of the end, the crowd (a mix of people in cowboy hats, American-flag-branded clothing and, of course, Derek Jeter jerseys) roared with delight. When the band finished, they turned their collective attention to one thing, and for the first time ever at The Wellmont Theatre, the crowd actually yelled for “Free Bird” in the correct setting. —Sean O’Kane