So I was lucky enough to catch Youth Lagoon on Saturday, March 24, at Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., along with my friend Travis (you might remember him as the pioneer of the Gaga Challenge) and our music-loving wifeys. The following Friday, our better halves proved that the “better” is short for “better judgement,” as both of our spouses decided to rest up in Richmond in preparation for the Monument 10K, while Travis and I espoused certain sleep deprivation and inflated race times by driving west to Charlottesville with my buddy Josh to catch Reptar at the Southern. Both shows were great, and there was something especially cool about seeing one up in Travis’ neck of the woods and one closer to Richmond inside of a week (OK, so Charlottesville isn’t exactly my neck of the woods, but ever since the Jefferson started stealing a sizable percentage of the good central VA shows, it’s starting to feel that way… but I digress). I thought a fun way to report back on this mini concert series would be for Travis and me to do some yearbook-style superlatives, so let’s dive right in…
Justin Townes Earle
Miracles happen, you guys. Wanna know how I know? OK, besides Tim Tebow. I know they happen because it’s January 11, and I’m still rockin’ and rollin’ with my third New Year’s Reso-tune-tion! In case you missed it, as part of my resolution to start keeping better track of concert and album release dates, I created a special Google Calendar — the YHT Pumped Up Calendar — and made it public so all the interweb could join in on the fun (and… um… keep me honest). Click here to check it out — you’ll see that it’s been filling up with tons of great stuff (the upcoming Reptar and Rodrigo y Gabriela concerts in Charlottesville are two highlights), but yesterday I added what very well may be the most important calendar entry yet: the March 27 release of Justin Townes Earle’s new full-length, Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now. I was reminded to add it because Rolling Stone just posted an exclusive download of the album’s title track. I’ve been hearing amazing things about the album from the lucky ducks who managed to score an advance copy (my jealousy of these folks knows no bounds), so getting to download this track is an unexpected thrill, and it confirmed some of the best rumors about the nature of the album. For instance, rumor has it that Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now goes in a Memphis soul direction, which suits me just fine, with plenty of horns, which suits me just super-fine. And yes, I did spend extra time on that last sentence to keep the phrase “rumor has it” intact so I could link to the Adele song. My bizarre obsession with that song also knows no bounds. What were we talking about? Oh yeah — listen to “Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now” below and click here to download the track over at Rolling Stone.
Justin Townes Earle — “Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now“
What the Hell Just Happened?!? Week: Day 2 — Reptar
I’ve written before about how an unfamiliar song can hit you just right, forming an instant connection. It’s a great feeling. Now take that feeling, multiply it by 1,500 people, add a healthy dose of personal space violation and what do you get? Reptar! The Athens, GA four-piece was the first of three bands to perform before a jam-packed, early-arriving, capacity crowd at the National in Richmond, VA on Friday night, but if you didn’t know any better, you would have thought they were headlining. Sure, the attendees were no doubt pumped up to see the night’s main attraction, Foster the People. Nonetheless, Reptar elicited a remarkably strong response for an opener with just one EP to its name. What’s even more remarkable is that, to my knowledge, their set included just one song — the wonderfully layered and bouncy “Phonetics” — of the five featured on their EP. (By the way… the name of this EP? Oblangle Fizz, Y’all. I love it. Doesn’t Oblangle Fizz, Y’all sound like it should be the title of an Outkast album? Can’t you hear someone in a record store saying, “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was dope, but Oblangle Fizz, Y’all is my JAM!” And isn’t it a little weird that Reptar hails from Athens, just down the road from Outkast’s Atlanta? Hmmmmmmm…) Testing new material when you’re the first of two opening acts strikes me as ballsy, and that ballsiness was rewarded handsomely, as one new song after another was greeted with cheers, dancing and percussive clapping. In a word, they resonated. It seemed like so many of us were having that rare instant-connection moment, which made for a first impression I will not soon forget. You can preview the first four tracks of Oblangle Fizz, Y’all here, listen to “Phonetics” below, and click here to snag the EP from iTunes.
Reptar — “Phonetics“