Tag Archives: Stax Records

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Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears at Music Hall of Williamsburg

February 21st, 2017

Joe Lewis (guitar and vocals) was working in an Austin, Texas, pawnshop when he first picked up a guitar. He began playing around-town gigs as part of a blues trio, but, inspired by the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Iggy Pop, his interests also included, rock, soul and R&B. So Lewis branched out musically and eventually started playing with different people. Then things clicked: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears—rounded out by Bill Stevenson (drums), Jason Frey (tenor sax), Derek Phelps (trumpet), Joseph Woullard (baritone sax) and Eduardo Torres (drums)—have a big, full sound, and so even the songs that are straight to the point, like “I’m Broke” or “Big Booty Woman,” will keep you moving. The Honeybears have earned comparisons to Stax Records groups—although keeping it local, they don’t sound too dissimilar from the Dap-Kings—and with his big, shouted vocals, Lewis’s name is mentioned alongside Wilson Pickett’s. After a four-year break, Lewis and Co. (above, performing “PTP” for KEXP FM) returned with their fifth album, Backlash (stream it below), two weeks ago. “There aren’t many acts out there throwing down with this kind of high-energy trashy intensity,” says American Songwriter. “For those unafraid to get the neighbors calling the cops during their next party, Lewis and his growling Honeybears bring the dangerous, hard-charging soul goods to tear the roof off the sucker.” See them do it live, tomorrow night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Vampire Weekend drummer Chris Tomson’s Dams of the West open the show.

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Dance the Night Away with Fitz and the Tantrums at Terminal 5

June 20th, 2016

Inspired by the likes of Motown and Stax Records, Michael Fitzpatrick (vocals and keys) formed the neo-soul six-piece Fitz and the Tantrums eight years ago in Los Angeles. Initially, it began as a solo project, but wanting horn arrangements, Fitzpatrick started adding instruments and musicians until the band was rounded out by James King (sax, flute and guitar), Noelle Scaggs (vocals and percussion), Joe Karnes (bass), Jeremy Ruzumna (keys) and John Wicks (drums). Their first full-length, Pickin’ Up the Pieces (stream it below), was released in 2010, landing atop Billboard’s Top Heatseakers list. “These songs find them playing to the polished and poppier end of the R&B spectrum,” per AllMusic. “On their own terms they’ve made a solid album that fuses past and present and creates a space that’s a cool place to be.” While out on the road in support of the album, Fitz and Tantrums (above, doing “HandClap” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show) earned even more fans thanks to their upbeat, energetic live performances. The hard-working band’s third LP, a self-titled affair (stream it below), came out this past March. And again AllMusic weighed in, calling it a “fun, exuberant album that finds the Los Angeles outfit moving completely away from their old school R&B roots and embracing a slick, contemporary dance-pop style.” And while their sound’s changed some, “Thankfully, Fitz and the Tantrums have lost none of the funky, sweaty, high-energy soul that made their previous work so indelible.” Catch them tomorrow night at Terminal 5, when they arrive on their Get Right Back Summer Tour. Bay Area rockers Finish Ticket open the show.

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A Celebration of the Rich Musical History of Memphis

February 12th, 2015

Take Me to the River – Brooklyn Bowl – February 11, 2015

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Last night Brooklyn Bowl hosted a celebration of the rich musical history of Memphis, Tenn., in conjunction with Take Me to the River, a new documentary that traces the roots of the incredible blues, soul and R&B that originated in the city and shows how new generations of artists are carrying on and reinventing this musical legacy. That legacy was on display last night, beginning with the Hi Rhythm Section—musicians who once backed Al Green among many others—performing as the house band for the night.

With expert style, the Hi Rythym Section treated the crowd to a wide range of Memphis music history, as a rotating cast of multigenerational performers took the stage. Otis Clay, who was celebrating his 73rd birthday, performed a soulful rendition of “Precious Precious,” while later Bobby Rush, in a crisp white suit, looking (and sounding) great at 81, performed the Stax Records hit “Push and Pull” alongside rapper Frayser Boy (of “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” fame). Later, William Bell worked his magic on a cover of “Knock on Wood” before enlisting rapper Al Kapone to help perform “I Forgot to Be Your Lover,” a smooth new song featured in the film. In addition to the foundational and contemporary Memphis performers who came together last night, the show featured some very up-and-coming young musicians from the Stax Records Academy, a music school that mentors and trains the next generation of Memphis musicians.

By night’s end, there was really only one natural choice for the finale: So all of the performers crowded onto the stage to collaborate on a rendition of the Al Green version of “Take Me to the River,” joined by Jerry Harrison, of Talking Heads (whose popular cover of the song is yet another example of the impact and power of Memphis music). It was a joyful, freewheeling, inclusive sing-along—a nice distillation of the spirit of Memphis, now and then. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

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Catch Okkervil River and Black Joe Lewis Tomorrow at Terminal 5

September 25th, 2013

Okkervil River began playing the Venn diagram overlap of alt-country, indie rock and folk rock a decade and a half ago in Austin, Texas. And although the lineup has changed over the years, Will Sheff remains the band’s guiding presence. Their fantastic seventh album, The Silver Gymnasium (stream it below), is the most personal to date—telling tales of Sheff’s small New Hampshire hometown. And the frontman, who’s been a Brooklyn resident since 2007, tells Brooklyn Magazine: “In order to bring that passion and substance and emotional investment to rock music, which I feel is becoming a little milky and watered down right now, I felt like I should put something of my own on the table.” And it worked. The LP has earned Okkervil River (above, doing “It Was My Season” in studio for WNYC FM) plenty of worthy acclaim.

Joe Lewis was working in an Austin, Texas, pawnshop when he first picked up a guitar. He began playing gigs around town as part of a blues trio. But his interests also included, rock, soul and R&B, so Lewis branched out musically and eventually started playing with different people. Then things clicked. With seven talented backing musicians (including horns), Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears (above, playing “Come to My Party”) have a big sound and so even the songs that are straight to the point, like “I’m Broke” or “Big Booty Woman,” will keep you moving. The Honeybears have earned comparisons to Stax Records groups—although keeping it local, they don’t sound too dissimilar from the Dap-Kings—and with his big, shouted vocals, Lewis’s name is mentioned alongside Wilson Pickett’s. The band’s excellent third album, Electric Slave (stream it below), came out last month. The Boston Herald says, Black Joe Lewis’s music never felt restrained. But his new album, Electric Slave, shows he’s been holding back.” See both bands tomorrow night at Terminal 5.

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Get Ready for Bowlive IV: Eight Crazy Nights in Brooklyn

March 6th, 2013

The soul-funk trio Soulive—Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and has been bringing its own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of studio albums, EPs and live discs followed, including 2010’s instrumental take on the Beatles, Rubber Soulive. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. Which works out great because with Bowlive IV beginning tomorrow, you’ve got eight chances to see them in person. That’s right: Soulive (above, in highlights of last year’s Bowlive) play Brooklyn Bowl eight times between now and 3/16.

And as always, there will be special guests galore, like Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on Thursday, Robert Randolph, Lee Fields and the Expressions, and Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds on Friday, Nigel Hall, DJ Logic and the Alecia Chakour Band on Saturday, a tribute to Stax Records with Booker T. Jones on 3/12Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo and the London Souls on 3/13, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/14, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/15, and the Alecia Shakour Band and the Shady Horns on 3/16. Plus, this is Bowlive, and the only way to know which unannounced special guests will show up is if you show up yourself.