Best of Boston Calling Music Festival

by Alx Bear on June 1, 2016

In the past music festivals were sporadically strewn throughout the spring and summer. Events like New Orleans Jazz Fest, SXSW, and Lollapalooza were mainstays and people rarely traveled from their locals to attend. Now it seems like there is a festival each weekend and more and more are being created. In such a saturated environment, the independent Boston Calling Music Festival stood out as a uniquely curated showcase featuring artists from all genres.
Christine and The Queens
The seventh festival, which will be relocated to the larger Harvard University athletic fields in 2017, brought thousands of guests to the three stages in City Hall Plaza. While headliners like Sia, Robyn, Disclosure and HAIM garnered attendees, it was the midday acts that drew on their cult followings to pack the plaza. When interviewing the crowd, many in the front row stated they had been there since the gates opened so they could see The Vaccines, Courtney Barnett, BØRNS and Janelle Monáe. One guest bought a three-day pass just to see Christine and The Queens.

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Preview: Boston Calling Music Festival

by Alx Bear on May 23, 2016

BC0915_©MIKEDISKIN-49 copy

This weekend marks the beginning of summer and we have the perfect kick-off event if you want to escape the Big Easy. Boston’s City Hall Plaza will host the seventh annual Boston Calling Music Festival from Friday, May 27th to Sunday, May 29th.  The festival will feature acts from musicians and comedians like Sia, Disclosure, Robyn, and Lamont Price.
Disclosure at Marquee-13 - Version 2
It is not only the headliners that should draw you to this festival. The real gems will take the stage during the day and early evening. The soulful and sassy Lizzo is guaranteed to destroy her 1:30 PM Saturday set. The R&B singer and rapper gained increased recognition after touring with Clean Bandit and Sleater-Kinney and has proven that she can both sonically compliment different acts and bring a distinct attitude that is all her own.  After Lizzo’s performance, City and Colour will help ease you into your Saturday evening.
 Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires add an interesting funk mix to the festival’s lineup. Since releasing his first album at the age of 62, Bradley has brought his raspy voice backed by a strong horn section to stages across the world. On Sunday afternoon, pray that he plays his soulful rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Changes.” It is unclear if Elle King should be on the list of comedians or musicians this weekend. King plays up her bad girl persona by ragging on people in the crowd, making crass jokes and downing whiskey. But she’s also a killer blues and rock musician. (Her song “Ex’s and Oh’s” has over 100 million listens on Spotify.) Close the night out with the Los Angeles based sister trio, Haim. They sound and perform a little differently live than when in a studio. Their performances are more rock than pop and there is guaranteed to be some witty banter between the musicians.

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Jazz Fest Day 5

by Gretchen Erickson on May 5, 2016

The fifth day of Jazz Fest got off to a great start with the Paulin Brothers Brass Band- a traditional New Orleans style brass band.  Other local acts included the great Irma Thomas, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, John Boutté and The Revivalists. Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket and Ms. Lauryn Hill closed the day as the headliners.


Paul Simon and his seven-piece band played a mixed set of old favorites including “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” and “The Boy in the Bubble,” as well as a couple of new songs on his new album “Stranger to Stranger” including “The Werewolf” and “Wristband” – a quirky story about a singer who gets locked out of the venue because he doesn’t have a wristband. While the audience had mixed reactions to his new songs, his old classics excited and mesmerized the crowd. After an encore performance, he closed the show with a brilliant performance of “The Sound of Silence.”  One festival-goer from San Francisco named this as her favorite festival moment and described the magical quality that was created by  the  crowd softly singing along with the great Paul Simon.


Sync Up 2016 at Jazz Fest Connects Music, Film, & Digital

by Gretchen Erickson on April 21, 2016

The 9th annual Sync Up conference  brings together leaders in music, film, and digital media for educational and networking sessions during Jazz Fest.  With panel discussions and interviews in the mornings before Jazz Fest, Sync Up explores various aspects of a career in music: recording, touring, distribution, crowdfunding and more – all from the perspective of an independent artist.

All events take place at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 70116 (map).

Admission is free, but seating is limited so advance registration is required. Register online here.


Discussion Topics and Speakers

9:00 a.m. – Registration Opens

10:00 a.m. – Panel Discussion
How To Launch A Career In Jazz
So, you just graduated from Berklee, Juilliard, UNO or another fine jazz conservatory. Now what? How do you get your career off the ground? Do you apply for the Monk Competition? Do you hope that whoever plays your instrument in Wynton Marsalis’ band gets a better gig (whatever that could be) and makes room for you? Do you hit the road like a punk rock band? All of the above? We talk to two rising young stars of the jazz world – who took very different paths to their current success – to get their perspectives on how best to approach launching a career as a jazz musician.
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, trumpeter and bandleader
Jamison Ross, drummer, singer and bandleader

11:00 a.m. – Keynote Interview
The Art of a Career in Jazz: Geri Allen
How do you start a career in jazz? By talking to one of the most respected pianists, composers and educators around. Far from being a traditionalist, Geri Allen – who headlines the Jazz Fest’s Jazz Tent – started her touring career with Mary Wilson and the Supremes. After that, she worked with the genre-busting Black Rock Coalition and Brooklyn’s M-Base Collective. Whether working with Ornette Coleman or recording jazz versions of Beatles and Motown classics, she’s a restless artist who breaks all manner of boundaries. Now, as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, she mentors young musicians as they take their own places on the global stage.
Geri Allen, musician; Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Pittsburgh
Moderator: Geoffrey Himes, Jazz Times/Paste Magazine

12:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion
Take Me To the Next Level: Artist Managers On What It Takes to Make It
You’ve got talent. You’ve got smarts. You’ve got a great work ethic and 50,000 likes on your SoundCloud. But you still don’t have a manager. Could it be that there’s something essential that you just don’t understand? Our panel, of some of the most experienced artist managers in New Orleans, sounds off on the biggest misconceptions about what managers can – and can’t – do for your career.
Alex Bowen, Able Partners Group (manager of Earphunk, Flow Tribe, George Porter, Jr.)
Howie Kaplan, Howlin’ Wolf Management (manager of Rebirth Brass Band)
Jon Phillips, Silverback Artist Management (manager of Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk)
Tavia Osbey, Simple Play Presents (manager of Tank & the Bangas)

9:00 a.m. – Registration Opens

10:00 a.m. – Panel Discussion
The Business of Gospel Music
Gigging, recording, social media and… God? Gospel has lots in common with its secular cousin – and a lot that makes it different. Still, it can be a lucrative path for artists who feel the call. We reveal the mystery of how to pursue opportunities in gospel.
Alfred Caston, Jamalar Entertainment and Rampart Street Music
Reginald Nicholas, Jr., gospel and secular artist/producer
Jeremiah Stewart, booking agent
Jai Reed, gospel artist
Charles Driebe, Manager of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Grammy-winning gospel group

11:00 a.m. – Presentation
$treaming, Spotify and You. Or, Where the Money Goes from Online Streaming Services
What do Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke know that you don’t? Is there a good financial reason to keep your music off of streaming services? Or are you the one who is missing out? Our man from New York, who handles Bruce Springsteen’s online publishing, breaks down the revenue streams from streaming.
Jedd Katrancha, Executive Vice President, Downtown Music Publishing

12:00  p.m. – Keynote Interview
Newport Revived: Jay Sweet
A few short years ago, the Newport Folk Festival was known more for its history than for breaking new acts. Now, after consistently providing the crucial gig that has helped to push dozens of indie bands into the media spotlight, we talk to the talent booker who gave the spark back to the event where Dylan famously went electric.
Jay Sweet, producer of the Newport Folk Festival and executive producer of the Newport Festivals Foundation
Moderator: Dave Margulies, co-producer, High Sierra Music Festival

9:00 a.m. – Registration Opens

10:00 a.m. – Panel Discussion
Busting A Move: S-8ighty On His Trip to a Major Label
Singer/songwriter/producer S-8ighty (Dave Welcome, Jr.) is a New Orleans native who has been working in the hip-hop trenches for years – most notably contributing tracks to albums by Juvenile in 2009 and 2010. After some independent output of his own, he’s signed to a major label and making noise with his song “Halfway,” with a remix that features Li’l Wayne and Mannie Fresh. New Orleans’ favorite hip-hop DJ, Wild Wayne, talks to S-8ighty about his ride so far.
S-8ighty, artist
Moderator: Wild Wayne

11:00 a.m. – Keynote Interview
Managing a Platinum Rap Artist: Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad
Three albums, three Number Ones, more than a million copies sold, headlining arenas – J. Cole has had quite a ride. Along for the entire trip has been Cole’s wingman, Ib Hamad, who has provided the steady hand and calm support that a rising megastar needs. New Orleans’ own rising rap star, Dee-1, talks to Ib about the thrills and challenges of managing a platinum-selling artist.
Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad
Moderator: Dee-1, rap artist

Thursday, April 21: 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Sync Up Cinema + NOVAC’s 3rd Thursday + BYO Storytelling presents:
(Not) For The Money
The things we’re ashamed to say we did for that paper, and/or what we do knowing there’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Like shooting a Fruity Pebbles commercial in between making your own doc, even though you didn’t know they still made Fruity Pebbles…or selling your own fruity pebbles… The theme is inspired by this month’s partner, Sync Up Cinema, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s conference that focuses on how to make it in the industry as an indie.

Sync Up Cinema Screenings and Panels:
Monday, April 25, 1:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 27, 2:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Our showcase for the Louisiana independent film community features screenings and panel discussions. It’s produced in partnership with the New Orleans Video Access Center and the New Orleans Film Society. For details, see here.

TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Esplanade Studios, 2540 Esplanade Ave.
Featuring a keynote by Geoff Emerick, recording engineer for the Beatles. Also featuring panels on demystifying mastering and the studio magic of Allen Toussaint. Free admission for Sync Up registrants and Recording Academy members. Detailshere.
9:00 a.m. – Registration Opens

10:00 a.m. – Keynote Interview
Running a Grammy-winning Independent Jazz Record Label: Jana Herzen, founder and CEO, Motema Music
Gregory Porter, Arturo O’Farrill, Geri Allen, Monty Alexander and dozens of other jazz artists entrust their recordings to Jana Herzen, founder of the indie label that gets more Grammy nominations that just about any other. What’s the secret to selling records – and supporting creative artists – in the digital age? Danny Melnick, Producer of the Newport Jazz Festival and other events, interviews Jana to find out.
Jana Herzen, founder and CEO, Motema Music
Moderator: Danny Melnick, President, Absolutely Live Entertainment, and Producer, Newport Jazz Festival

11:00 a.m. – Keynote Interview
Crowdfunding Originator: Brian Camelio, Founder & CEO, ArtistShare
Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Pledge Music, GoFundMe – all of them are well-known crowdfunding sites for music and other creative projects. And they all followed – by a long shot – in the footsteps of ArtistShare, which is not only the oldest crowdfunding platform but also the one with (by far) the most Grammy nominations and wins. Founder and CEO Brian Camelio has dedicated his life to helping off-the-beaten-path jazz and classical ventures, providing the kind of support that leads to not just awards but sustainable careers outside of the label system. Now he has a new project up his sleeve – one that he hopes will do for the masses what ArtistShare has done for a select few.

12:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion
Hitting It Big the Old Fashioned Way: The Suffers
A soul band in the age of EDM? A 10-piece that tours even when the money can barely support a trio? How does that happen? The old-fashioned way: By rising to the top of a local scene, hitting key showcases and getting national exposure (thank you, NPR). Still indie (that is, with no record label but their own), the Suffers has management, booking and a publicist – and is playing major festivals around the world. We bring the band and their team together for an inside look at how an unlikely combo – one that started as a reggae jam band – now has the tiger by the tail.
Kam Franklin, lead singer, the Suffers
Adam Casteneda, bass player, the Suffers
Marc C. Austin, The Convoy Group (Suffers’ manager)
Gregg Little, New Frontier Touring

9:00 a.m. – Registration Opens

10:00 a.m. – Panel Discussion
Social Music Platforms: Turning Content into $$
Alex Ebert – best known as the leader of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes – says he releases one album every three years, but in that time may write and record 300 songs. He didn’t want the songs to go unheard, or to deny his fans the chance to pay for the privilege of hearing them. So he built an app for that, Skrapps. Tim Quirk, a veteran of Rhapsody and Google Play, has started a new company, Freeform Development, to help musicians make money the same way game developers do. 
Tim Quirk, Founder & CEO, Freeform
Alex Ebert, Skrapps

11:00 a.m. – Keynote Interview
How to Build a Rap Artist’s Career: The Story of PELL
Born in New Orleans, evacuated after Katrina, the rapper Pell has steadily built the kind of career most indie artists dream about: More than 15 million spins on Spotify, a tour schedule packed with more than 200 gigs a year, and he owns the rights to all of his music. No wonder his web site rhymes with “hell, yeah.” With Pell since the beginning has been Chris Cajoleas, whose own success as a manager has mirrored that of his fast-rising client. We talk to Chris for a peek at what it takes to build a rap artist’s career. 
Chris Cajoleas, Founder & CEO, SWMMNG, manager of PELL

12:00 p.m. – Keynote Interview
Making Money From Artist-Owned Records – Ghazi Shami, Founder & CEO, EMPIRE
You want to put out your own records? You want to keep ownership of your master recordings and publishing? And sell lots of copies and make it onto the Billboard charts? If you’re in hip-hop, R&B, rock, pop, gospel or Latin, you want to talk to Ghazi Shami, founder and CEO of the indie distributor EMPIRE, the San Francisco-based company that launched the career of Kendrick Lamar.



The Mowgli’s with Lights at House of Blues

by Alx Bear on November 5, 2015

Mowgli's-1-2The seven-piece hippie outfit, The Mowgli’s, plays at House of Blues Friday night. Three and a half years after their debut album, Sound the Drum, the group is on tour promoting their newest feel-good record, Kids in Love.

Mowgli's-2The band- Colin Louis Dieden (vocals, guitar), Katie Jayne Earl (vocals, percussion), Dave Appelbaum (keyboards), Josh Hogan (guitar, vocals), Matthew Di Panni (bass), Spencer Trent (guitar, vocals), and Andy Warren (drums)- uses a combination of catchy choruses, jubilant beats and reassuring harmonies to boost listeners’ spirits. Their vibes will swallow you up so you cannot help but clap and sing along.

Mowgli's-1While many are familiar with their hit “San Francisco,” few are aware of their mission to bring awareness and kindness to others. The group launched a social campaign called “Be a Mowgli,” which encourages people to perform good deeds and spread love. It is this combination of mood-raising music and a genuine drive to change the world that is refreshing amongst rockers.

There’s more!


The Suffers at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

by Alx Bear

After delivering soulfully gripping performances at Landmark Music Festival, Austin City Limits and CMJ Music Marathon, The Suffers will take the stage at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience on Saturday. The ten-piece soul band hails from Houston, Texas and released its debut EP Make Some Room earlier this year. Adam Castaneda (bassist) and Pat Kelly […]

Intermission Report for Austin City Limits

by Alx Bear

It’s a given that at a large music festival people will rave about the headliners. But for the not-so-commercial music lovers and rock ballad enthusiasts, here is your guide to the second weekend of C3 Presents’ Austin City Limits. Ben Howard Time: Sunday, October 11th from 4:30-5:30pm Stage: Samsung About: English folkstar, Ben Howard, takes festival-goers on a […]

Southern Love at Landmark Music Festival

by Alx Bear

During the first weekend of fall Washington, D.C.’s West Potomac Park played host to the inaugural Landmark Music Festival. The festival drew musical acts from around the country, including D.C. local Ex Hex, Los Angeles based The Mowgli’s, New York City’s The Strokes and New Orleans’ locals, Dr. John. & The Nite Trippers. The two-day event, […]

‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Will Screen at the Saenger Accompanied by a Live Orchestra on Oct. 10

by Arthur Vandelay

The Best Picture-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild features a fantastic score. And soon, you’ll be able to hear it performed live during a special screening of the film at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans. Here’s the press release with all of the details. NEW ORLEANS, LA (September 16, 2015) – WORDLESS MUSIC is pleased […]