Upcoming shows you should check out
A DEBUT FROM SMALL TOWN GOSSIP’S FRONTMAN AS BEAR STEVENS
A well-worn pipeline to the big classical institutions, like the Met or the Philharmonic, serves as a powerful motivator for North Carolina School of the Arts performance hopefuls, but once in a while there are those who seek out a more conventional path to creative expression. When Steven Hall left NCSA in 2008, his transition from the friendlier confines of conservatory classrooms and recital halls to the more unforgiving world of public performance wasn’t quite the unnerving experience he anticipated. While studying classical voice and appearing in Die Fledermaus, La Traviata and an operatic adaptation of Our Town, Hall was hustling Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix covers in bars and coffee shops on the side while fine-tuning his own music. He formed a folk-pop trio called Small Town Gossip with classmates Daniel Seriff (guitar, now with the Deluge) and bass freelancer Nathan Scott, released one album to moderate acclaim, before Stevens split to try and make hay in Los Angeles under the solo moniker Bear Stevens.
This Friday night, Stevens will return to Winston-Salem to debut a brand-new record, entitled Sing Me Loud, before his hometown crowd. Sing Me Loud chronicles the experiences of a young songwriter cast into the unknown: the intimate personal relationships and shared experiences that come with forming creative associations in a new place. It retains the grandiose major key acoustic folk that takes root in classic Winston-Salem power pop of Small Town Gossip, but broadens the arrangements beyond the original trio’s limited, albeit virtuosic, palette with horns, strings and backing vocals to enrich his powerful baritone even further. The release show at the Hanesbrands Theatre is his lone east coast date, after which he’ll return to the west coast in support of his Bear Stevens debut. Tickets are $15 and the show starts at 7:30.
CROSBY, STILLS & NASH IN THE WAR MEMORIAL’S PENULTIMATE PERFORMANCE
At one point during the final show of Buffalo Springfield’s short-lived reunion in 2011, Neil Young introduced the band to a throng of festival-goers with the simplest, most clever reduction possible. “Hello, we’re Buffalo Springfield. We’re from the past.” Most of their audience had probably glossed over the stoning significance that they were watching Buffalo Springfield in 2011, a band who hadn’t been seen on stage in 43 years, and arguably the band that gave rock its conscience in its three years of existence. They were indeed a relic from the past, a group whose principles had been washed over and eroded by shifting ideological tides, but they opened up a new canon of rock when Neil Young and Stephen Stills joined the Hollies’ Graham Nash and the Byrds’ David Crosby. The new formation drew from the yawning breadth of all four of the songwriters’ previous associations in addition to the countercultural flashpoints they would create together and by themselves.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young delivered a firm reminder of their potency when they gave an official release to the often-bootlegged 1974 tour last month, CSNY 1974, a 40-year-old, three-disc revisitation of the band simultaneously at their crepitating electric/acoustic best and their excess-ravaged shakiest. Minus Young, it forms the foundation for Crosby, Stills & Nash’s current tour of what’s being called “career-spanning” work, coming to the War Memorial Auditorium this Friday in the venue’s second-to-last booking, and that’s pretty spot-on. Running upwards of 25 songs per show, CSN does its best to condense five decades of music from the band and its extended family into two hours. They’ll go as far back as Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country”, which CSN originally recorded during a tour that came in lieu of Buffalo Springfield’s ill-fated 2012 tour, and as current as David Crosby’s “What Makes It So”, a melancholic ballad that postdates even his early 2014 release CROZ. So yeah, they might be pulling from the past, but they’re still very much in the present. Tickets start at $60.50 and the show starts at 8 p.m.
A QUEENSRYCHE FAREWELL, KIND OF
If only Great White and the Temptations could attain this kind of closure. The sustained saga over the rights to the name “Queensryche” between Geoff Tate and the rest of his former bandmates reached its most logical conclusion. Two weeks ago, Tate announced in a release that, beginning in September, he would begin fronting a band called Operation: Mindcrime. This, in essence, is the exact same band that he’s currently fronting under the name Queensryche Starring Geoff Tate, it’s just that he’s ceding the naming rights to the members who arguably are not in possession of the band’s defining sonic aspect: Geoff Tate’s quasi-operatic wail. It’s a fairly amicable divorce that allows for one final run for old time’s sake. So who gets the kids? As the name suggests, Tate gets performance rights to the platinum-selling concept album that lends his new project its name, as well as its had-to-do-it 2006 follow-up. Those terms won’t yet be in effect when Queensryche Starring Geoff Tate perform at Ziggy’s on Saturday night, and he’s taking advantage of it. It will be among the last times anyone gets to hear Tate sing the Empire work, in particular “Jet City Woman” or “Silent Lucidity”. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door, and the show starts at 8:30 p.m with the Voodoos. !