[Photo Post] The Lees of Memory at Exit/In

Recently a friend told me that she hadn’t received any of my blog updates since our email migration at work. That email migration was on August 23 and my last post was …

… also on August 23. So it’s not email’s fault — it’s your humble narrator’s.

In addition to my 40-hour-a-week job, I’m teaching five classes a week at TITLE and I now have seven paying personal training clients that I meet with weekly. I’m working on trying to finish this nutritional specialist program for my PT certification and my current workout program has me scheduled to work out four days a week (of which I usually only get in three). With that said, I think it’s reasonable to say that when I have some down time, I’d rather spend it sleeping or watching the Office for the fifty-leventh time on Netflix.

The concept of treating myself has certainly changed as of late. On December 9th I went from being 33 years old to being the ripe-old age of 95 and I can’t explain it. In the words of the carnival and side-show talkers I so admire, What has nature done?.

Despite the aches and pains that come with being another year older and following a 5/3/1 heavy-lifting routine, I was able to make my way to Nashville to catch one of my favorite bands — The Lees of Memory — play a hometown show at the historic Exit/In. I covered what makes these guys so special in my eyes in my previous post so if you want the back story, go there. Otherwise just know these guys are the real deal and never cease to amaze.

The opening acts included the Vamptones of nearby Murfreesboro and a Christmas jazz set played by Nashville legend Krazy Kyle (organist for the Nashville Predators) with his band The Sanatarium. While the two acts were completely different from the headliner, they set the stage perfectly for the wall of sound that hit the 200+ people in attendance on that rainy Friday evening in Music City.

The same crew from Birmingham was back together with Brandon Fisher on guitars and vocals, John Davis on vocals and a variety of other instruments, Nick Slack on drums, Sam Powers on bass, Dan Benningfield on keys, Jason Moore on guitar and Ethan Luck on guitar. The addition of multi-instrumentalist Josiah Holland — who performed with the guys at SXSW a few years ago — rounded out the Lee’s lineup. The setlist was made primarily of songs from their 2017 double LP The Blinding White of Nothing at All but also included fan favorites from 2014’s Sisyphus Says, 2016’s Unnecessary Evil and a couple of Superdrag covers from their 1998 classic record Head Trip in Every Key that closed the set.

When you get a group of accomplished musicians like this together, magic happens before your very eyes on stage and they definitely brought it. This magic was then paired with the psychedelic effects produced by Silver Cord Cinema’s liquid light show — literally the only way a Lee’s set could be any better. Brandon has since told me that they’ve unofficially decided that they can’t do another headlining show without them and I can see why.

Anyway, here are a few picks from the set as well as a hot picture of my super hot date. Everything was taken with my Canon EOS 77D with a 50mm lens (that was giving me hell with focus that night for some reason). If you want to see more, there’s plenty of them on my Flickr page.

If you want to rock out with any of the above mentioned bands, you can do so below. Show them all some love, they deserve it.

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[Photo Post] The Lees of Memory at Secret Stages

Back in my last Bachelor Chronicles post I talked about all the times I got in trouble for drumming too much and how often I played faux concerts for equally faux audiences. I thought for sure I’d be in a band once I got old enough — and actually learned how to play an instrument.

I got old enough but didn’t learn an instrument properly until I was in college. But even then it didn’t really matter — I was too introverted and self-conscious to ever step on stage with a band. Hell, I was too introverted and self-conscious to approach a group of guys to start a band. Double hell, I was too introverted and self-conscious to play my instrument in front of anyone but my girlfriend and mom.

Being in a band was just never going to happen for me. But I’ve always had an appreciation for the scene and wanted to be involved in it in any way I could. I’d spend the next decade or so doing freebee design work for local artists, most of which were never used (The Beat Officers changed their name after I made several t-shirt designs for them; Woe to the Inhabiters broke up after I made a custom painting and album cover design for them; Pink Carnage took my favorite graphic I ever designed and tossed it aside for someone else’s logo design that was merely a downloaded font colored pink).

Finally, a year or two ago, I got a pretty rewarding gig doing design and layout work for my friend’s band The Lees of Memory. The Lees are made up of John Davis, Brandon Fisher — both formerly of Superdrag, a band I’ve admired for years — and Davis’ Epic Ditch bandmate Nick Slack. The guys released a couple of full lengths — Sisyphus Says (2014; released by SideOneDummy) and Unnecessary Evil (2016; released independently) — and a few 7″ singles including 2015’s Soft Places / Within a Dream II, 2015’s Ain’t No Changing Baby’s Mind / Let’s Turn Our Love Up Loud and 2016’s All powerful You.

It wasn’t until 2017 that I got to help the guys out. I did center label design for their 7″ single Run Away to Here / Tears of Joy, center label and sleeve layout design for the 7″ single When The Roses Bloom/The River and finally, center label and gatefold layout design for the band’s most recent masterpiece, the double LP The Blinding White of Nothing at All.

While their band has three proper members, the nature of their sound requires a much larger band (read: 7-9 guys) to replicate in concert. A combination of this and the fact that the members all live in different towns means concerts are extremely difficult to organize if not impossible altogether. So when the band was invited to play Secret Stages Music Discovery Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, on August 4, you’d be an idiot if you’d think I’d miss it.

And, of course, I took my camera. Small festival though it may have been, it was one of the coolest projects I’ve ever gotten to be a part of.

The band played at midnight to a sexy audience at the Hangar in Birmingham’s Avandale neighborhood. In addition to Brandon, John and Nick, the band was rounded out by Sam Powers (Superdrag alum) on bass, Dan Benningfield on keys, Jason Moore (of Nashville band The Katies) on guitar and musical powerhouse Ethan Luck (of too many noteworthy bands to list) on guitar.

Here are a few photos from the set. Everything was taken with my Canon EOS 77D with a 50mm lens. If you want to see more, as always, they’re on my Flickr page.

Secret Stages was a pretty rad weekend festival. While we were only in town for the afternoon/evening, we were still able to see a lot of great acts including Mobile, Alabama, hip hop act BassHead Jazz, electro-soundscape artist BÊNNÍ (New Orleans, Lousiana), midi sample composer Seth Graham (Dayton, Ohio) and wild-ass sexy rock and roll group Telefones (Nashville, Tennessee).

There are a ton of links above but I’ll go ahead and post them all again below and implore you to follow everything if you’re into music or art in general.

05/21/2010

Gruesome Twosome Tour Review 3/3: Rob Zombie

After a nearly 40 minute intermission that consisted of watching the hilarity that is the average concert attendee and talking about how awesome Alice Cooper was, it was time for the headliner of the show, the one and only Rob Zombie. We were getting pretty excited in the moments before this set as we saw the drums being wheeled around to center stage, the screens were set up and there were horribly terrifying props lined flush with the drum set that ran the length of the stage that were fully equipped with the ability to shoot sparks out of the sides and full on flames from the top. It was time to rock and roll.

The black curtain had been draped over the front of the stage and Bach’s Toccata & Fugue was piped through the sound system so loud it was actually rather frightening. Erin and I joked, of course, because that is the song that plays when a hockey player gets put into the penalty box on one of my old hockey video games. What a cool way to open your show…only…it wasn’t really the opening to the show…it was the opening to the opening of the show, which was a little weird, but cool nonetheless, Sawdust in the Blood being the opening musical number that starts Rob’s set.

Rob Zombie in Knoxville

Zombie in Knoxville before the show (not my photo)

I prepared for American Witch but was instead treated to Call of the Zombie, which is super cool considering I really wasn’t expecting to hear that. The band was revealed behind the curtain and we were exposed to 4 nasty looking dudes rocking out much harder than expected. Joey Jordison of Slipknot pounded on the drums like a man gone mad while John 5 was vocally silent for the most part, but incredibly outgoing with his movements and interaction with the crowd (not to mention his amazing guitar playing ability, playing a large portion of the show either behind his head, above his head or with his tongue). Piggy D just kinda chilled out in his corner, moving around several times but going unnoticed for the most part, which was a little bit of a letdown considering how big of a fan I am of his other acts, but I didn’t know what to expect and figure he’s probably like that all of the time. Bummer.

A couple other cool non-staples that made its way into the set list were Scum of the Earth and Meet the Creeper, each proving to be a lot of fun. Otherwise, Rob ran through the standards like Living Dead Girl, Never Gonna Stop and Superbeast as well as a few of the old White Zombie tracks, Thunderkiss ’65 and More Human Than Human, and knocking out several tracks from his latest album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool like What, Sick Bubblegum, Werewolf Women of the SS and Mars Needs Women.

Rob rocked for just over an hour, though it should be noted that he didn’t play as many songs as Alice did, mostly because his set consisted of a lot of talk and 4 “encores” (Werewolf Women of the SS, Dragula, Sick Bubblegum and the closer that I’ll get to shortly). The set also included an incredible drum solo from Joey Jordison and an at least 5 minute guitar solo from John 5 that was played just before the final 3rd of Thunderkiss ’65 and while Rob ran through the floor audience with a spot light, haphazardly shining it on random people. We were also told during Mars Needs Women that that portion of the show was being recorded for the music video, which I thought was super cool. As I told Erin, we’ll have to watch it when it comes out so we cannot see ourselves.

Zombie's Band

John 5, Zombie, Piggy D and Jordison, Knoxville--(not mine)

Rob’s fourth and final encore, which came only moments after a ton of morons started leaving, was a revamped version of the first song we heard that night, Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, which was an incredible homage to the opening act and was actually much better in many aspects.

Rob’s show was incredibly visually stunning just like Alice’s only with a different approach. Rob puts a lot of his efforts into pyrotechnics, a goofy (yet my favorite) robot character that’s half costume-half puppet, some crazy robot that shined a green laser at the audience and randomly shot out smoke from a pipe and an awesome video show that took place behind the band that included clips from Rob’s movies, classic horror flicks, naked women and for some reason a whole lot of Anime (is that supposed to be capitalized?). Rob’s live show really brings across a feeling and experience that’s just as strongly influenced by science fiction as it is horror, and I sometimes forget that.

Now I have to gripe about a couple of things. First of all, I was highly disappointed that I wasn’t able to see Rob’s wife Sherri Moon Zombie in the flesh. I’ve always known her to be a live dancer at his shows and was hoping to get to sneak a peak at her half-naked body on stage but was denied that privilege. I’ll also say that while I understand that he has a new record out and the songs he picked from the new record to play live were some of the best tracks on it, I hated that those new songs were probably responsible for pushing off a lot of the old White Zombie tracks like Black Sunshine, I Zombie and Electric Head pt. 2 from the setlist. I also really wanted to hear American Witch and Foxy Foxy but was denied.

I’ll say, though, that Rob’s show was truly amazing. I was told that he wasn’t very good live because he wears himself out, which became slightly evident towards the end of the show, but for the most part he rocked the house with no problem whatsoever. I also thought it was cool that the band had taken on a theme again, all dressing like the living dead and each wearing some kind of face paint, which was something I thought was so key to Zombie’s image, especially when the first Hellbilly album came out, so the look really pulled the group together and pushed the show over the top, even donning identical Nazi uniforms during Werewolf Women of the SS.

In conclusion to part 3 of my 3 part review of the Gruesome Twosome Tour stop in Knoxville, I’ll have to say that even though the bill said Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie, a ton of credit has to go to both men’s backing bands. I had no idea who any of the guys were in the Coop’s band, but they were all incredibly talented and made their talents known throughout the show. Rob’s band was a supergroup of horror metal gods, so it goes without saying that the talent was endless, even though a lot of reviewers think that John 5 and Joey Jordison are wasting their talent playing Rob’s songs. I have to disagree and say that their presence was definitely felt and I absolutely cannot wait to go see Rob again. Man, I love living in Knoxville!

Rob performing More Human Than Human in Knoxville, May 18, 2010 (video courtesy of chill247)

Rob performing Living Dead Girl in Knoxville, May 18, 2010 (video courtesy of tabby312)

Rob performing Sick Bubblegum in Knoxville, May 18, 2010 (video once again courtesy of chill247)

Enjoy today’s haiku:

My concert review
was longer than most of my
dumb college reports