Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stone Sour: concert review, Carrie-style

If you're a regular Carrie Winchel reader, (all 3 of you) you might be tired of me describing the concerts I go to as "amazing." Well, two things: I probably need to get a thesaurus...and, yeah, I'm going to concerts featuring my favorite bands because I ain't gettin' paid for this.

Stone Sour, Stolen Babies, Evalyn Awake/Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland/Kansas City

This show wasn't originally announced as part of Stone Sour's current tour, but a KC radio station booked it as a "low dough" show. Mike found out about it on facebook because Evalyn Awake, a Kansas City band, mentioned they were opening.

The Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in downtown KC is absolutely gorgeous. There's a photo gallery here, but these pictures don't do the intricate detail in the theater justice. It opened in 1927, and definitely has that historic, grand feel. Perfect for a rock concert featuring who may be music's most adorably potty-mouthed front man.

Corey Taylor. Pic from:

If you've never seen Stone Sour live, (this was my first time) they are one of those bands that sound very true to the albums in concert. Every member is talented, their performances tight. This tour was in support of their recent albums, House of Gold and Bones Parts 1 & 2.

Because you asked, while Part 1 had some very solid songs on it, I think Part 2 was a better album as a whole.

No, I can't figure out what most of Stone Sour's lyrics are about.

The band played a really solid mix of hits, and great cuts from the HoGaB releases. "House of Gold and Bones," "Made of Scars," "Say You'll Haunt Me," "Gravesend," and "Mission Statement" were standouts for me. The video below is "Black John," recorded earlier this month in Boston. It's probably not safe for work. Blabbermouth shared more great live footage from that show. You're welcome.

I'm a sucker for a singer. And for tattooed rock stars in dress shirts. Corey Taylor completely impresses me. His voice is absolutely killer. He moves seamlessly from singing to screaming to aggressive growling and back again. He manages to make it look effortless, but at the same time, makes us feel like he's pouring everything into his performance. He handles his songs like he feels them to the core, and makes the audience feel them too. He's charismatic and enthusiastic. And handsome.

I enjoyed the band that played before Stone Sour, Stolen Babies. Because I'm also a sucker for a lady singer who dresses awesome. They describe themselves as "experimental." Some of their songs had a cabaret style that really isn't my thing, but several were pretty heavy. I'd describe them as a goth No Doubt. This is the best quality live video I could find of Stolen Babies. Not from the KC show:

My goal for the evening was to do something I suck at: be in the moment. Even at concerts--my favorite thing ever--I feel like I'm never really there. My brain is a 26 different places and I cheat myself out of a great experience. So I tried to keep my phone in my purse and really FOCUS on what was in front of me, instead of this terrible inner monologue:
"I feel guilty for taking a day off work. What if something bad happens? What if my dad forgets to check on the dogs? This quick 'n dirty road trip necessitates eating fast food. I can feel that Taco Bell making me fatter. And this new T-shirt I just bought is already tight around my stomach and I better not put it in the dryer. I gotta mail off the mortgage payment tomorrow."

I tried anyway. The effort was worth it. I loved the first of what is already shaping up to be a year of awesome shows!

Up next: Turnpike Troubadours for my 30th birthday. I'll talk about the Troubadours, but not turning 30.

Rock on, friends!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blame it all on my roots part 2

This is a follow up to my exciting and engaging ramblings about the sweet Christmas present my sweet husband got me. I promised a part 2. I know you have been waiting.
6 CDs, 2 DVDs, and a book. 'Murica.
The Blame It All on my Roots set is:
  • four CD's of Garth covering his favorite songs that influenced him
  • a book featuring some great performance shots, pics of Garth as a kid, and--this part is SO cool--an explanation about why he decided to cover each song, and a few behind the scenes stories from the recording sessions.
  • his Ultimate Hits double album 
  • a DVD of music videos 
  • a DVD of the show Brooks did during his stint in Vegas. 
Say what you will about the evils of Walmart, but all that for less than $30?!

As a fan, I believe that Garth can sing anything. None of the cover albums here reinvent the wheel. They aren't going to blow your mind with a new spin on a classic. The production and music is straightforward, not flashy. He "Garths them up" a bit. He can't help it. But I'd say if you liked the original version of these songs, you'll enjoy his versions.

I've only listened to each album once, but here are my faves, which at this point are honestly the ones I'm most familiar with and liked already:

Country Classics: 
"Fishin' in the Dark"
"Unwound"-George Strait's first single. From that opening fiddle lick to the lyrics, to the catchy tune, this song is soooo country. And it's fantastic.
"Good Ole Boys Like Me"-This was a Don Williams song. I mentioned he was my Grandma's favorite in my last post. Listening to this made me a little teary, I must admit.
"Don't Close Your Eyes"

Melting Pot:
"Black Water"
"Maggie May"-This song is so much fun. You can hear Garth and the band must have been having a ball recording it.
"The Weight"

Classic Rock:
This is my favorite of the covers discs.
"Life in the Fast Lane"-Garth says it's his favorite rock song of all time. When the opening guitar riff of this song starts, it takes you on a crazy ride, and you don't it want to end.
"Bad Company"-Great song. He does a decent job with this badass anthem.
"Midnight Rider"
"All Right Now"-Try to listen to this song and not dance around the room while singing along. You can't.
"Addicted to Love"

Blue-Eyed Soul:
"Midnight Train to Georgia"
"Ain't No Sunshine"
"Drift Away"
"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"

If you expect Garth to actually sing a whole song in the Live at the Wynn DVD--he doesn't. It's definitely a "one man show" type of thing. No band, just a guitar. Stories from childhood, about the songs that influenced him.

Garth talks about listening to Merle Haggard and George Jones as a kid...and how those songs were a little "mature" for young, innocent ears. Well, I didn't really know what "That Summer" and "Papa Loved Mama" were about until I listened to them as an adult. Cougars making moves on young farm hands and spouses murdering each other. By driving semi trucks into hotel rooms. Awesome.

Oh, and Trisha Yearwood makes an appearance. She has a gorgeous voice, and she is looking great. A class act, that Trisha. I like her because I can tell she doesn't let Garth get away with his rock star crap at home.

In about the last 40 minutes or so of the DVD, Garth puts on the black cowboy hat, (cue wild applause) and sings his hits. This part supports those with the opinion that Garth Brooks probably is a cocky bastard. But he puts just enough self-depreciating humor in there. My favorite: admitting he doesn't really know how to play "Callin' Baton Rouge" because the electric guitar he used on stage on tour wasn't plugged in.

If I listed all of the songs that I love on Ultimate Hits, I'd basically have to just copy the track list. I think I can narrow down my absolute favorites to:
"Shameless," (a Billy Joel-penned tune) "More Than A Memory," "Callin' Baton Rouge," "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)," "The Dance," "Standing Outside the Fire," and "We Shall Be Free." No wait--there's more! Oh well...

Apparently, Garth is playing some shows in Ireland this summer and is planning a huge tour for the fall. I will be there. (But, you know, not in Ireland.) Now...I wonder if my cowhide and rhinestone belt from my rodeo days still fits?