Live Review: Neil Young + Promise Of The Real, Port Chester, NY, Sept. 26, 2018

Neil Young’s opening show at Port Chester’s Capitol Theater was clearly one for the fans. Fresh from playing both Farm Aid on Saturday and Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival on Sunday, Neil Young + The Promise Of Real have put two consecutive evenings aside at this historic hall with its intimate, 1,800-person capacity. From the outset, it was clear that Neil + The Real were going to be digging deep into Young’s treasured catalog, leaping across the decades and playing something for everyone.

Opening with a long, rumbling version of “Like An Inca” from 1982’s Trans followed by the acoustic treat of “Tell Me Why” from 1970’s After The Gold Rush, Young appeared eager and energized, pushing his (young) band—featuring Willie Nelson’s son Lukas on guitar—in a number of different directions.

It was a nostalgic, romantic set at times, with familiar songs like “Heart Of Gold” and “Lotta Love” presented in authentic, sing-along fashion. A sprawling version of “Words (Between The Lines Of Age)” had the veteran audience grooving in approval, as did a revival of treasured nugget “Winterlong” followed by other old classics like “Unknown Legend” and “Harvest Moon.”

Rekindling memories of Crazy Horse, the band then poured out a heaping helping of crunching rock ‘n’ roll with “Fuckin’ Up” followed by “Cortez The Killer” and a buoyant, celebratory “Cinnamon Girl.” Stretching out inevitable closer “Rockin’ In The Free World” to outrageous proportions, Neil + The Promise Of The Real showed they could still add something new to the familiar standby.

All in all, Young was in great voice for the entire evening and played remarkably well, extending the unique guitar vocabulary he has been refining for decades. For the encore, he gave the crowd one more blast from the past with doper anthem “Roll Another Number” from 1975’s Tonight’s The Night.

—Mitch Myers; photos by Wes Orshoski

SET LIST
Like An Inca
Tell Me Why
Field Of Opportunity
Heart Of Gold
Lotta Love
Eternity
Words (Between The Lines Of Age)
Winterlong
Unknown Legend
Harvest Moon
Fuckin’ Up
Cortez The Killer
Cinnamon Girl
Rockin’ In The Free World

Encore
Roll Another Number (For The Road)

Wayne Kramer’s All-Star MC50 Kick Out The Jams In New York City

The MC5 is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the recording of punk ‘n’ roll classic “Kick Out The Jams,” and co-founder/guitarist Wayne Kramer is hosting the traveling party, coming together with some serious bandmates: vocalist Marcus Durant (Zen Guerrilla), guitarist Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), bassist Billy Gould (Faith No More) and drummer Brendan Canty (Fugazi). The MC50 recently played New York City’s Irving Plaza, and MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was there to document this high time.

Live Review: Roger McGuinn And Chris Hillman, “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” Tour, New York City, Sept. 23, 2018

Photo by Jeremy Gordon

To everything there is a season, and the season for 50th Anniversary shows is upon us. On Sunday night at New York City’s Town Hall, it was hats off to Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, celebrating 1968’s Sweetheart Of The Rodeo by their old band, the Byrds. That recording also featured the talents and influence of the late Gram Parsons, so there were lots of country-rock bona fides for Messrs. McGuinn and Hillman to unpack, which they did with the accomplished help of Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives. The evening also served as a virtual primer of Americana, showcasing classics written by McGuinn, Hillman and Parsons as well as Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, Pete Seeger and even Tom Petty.

The band’s first set served as a warm-up to the main event, highlighting the more countrified tunes from the Byrds’ early catalog including Wagoner’s “A Satisfied Mind.” It was a sheer pleasure to watch McGuinn playing electric 12-string and Hillman picking the bass on the opener, Dylan’s “My Back Pages.” Guitars were ringing as McGuinn, Hillman, Stuart, Kenny Vaughn and Chris Scruggs switched up on acoustic, electric and steel guitars, bass and mandolin all night long. The vocal duties were well distributed as McGuinn sang “Mr. Spaceman,” Hillman did “Old John Robertson” and Stuart took the lead on  Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home.” The harmonies were full on with Stuart and drummer Harry Stinson adding the third and fourth voices behind Hillman and McGuinn.

The show was peppered with nostalgia, as Hillman spoke about Parsons and McGuinn recounted their meeting the country-music DJ who provided the inspiration for “Drugstore Truck Driving Man.” After an intermission, the second set began with Stuart’s band doing two songs, “Country Boy Rock And Roll” and “Time Don’ Wait.” It must be said that choosing Stuart and the Superlatives as a backing band was a shrewd move. These cats all can sing and they all can play—and quite well. Vaughn is a true badass guitarist, and Stuart can match him punch for punch. Stuart also dazzled on the mandolin, and bassist Scruggs moved over to pedal steel for most of the Sweetheart segment. It should also be noted that Stuart possesses and plays an original string-bender guitar once owned by late Byrds guitarist Clarence White, and nobody deserves it more than he does.

With McGuinn singing Dylan’s immortal “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd,” things were off and running. Hillman showed himself to be in great voice with his performance of Parson’s “Hickory Wind” and “One Hundred Years From Now.” McGuinn authentically embraced Louvin Brothers classic “The Christian Life,” as well as William Bell’s plaintive ode “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” After closing out with a sing-a-long reprise of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and a churning “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” the band did a heartfelt mini-tribute to Petty. McGuinn sang “American Girl,” Hillman did his version of “Wildflowers” and Stuart led the band through an acoustic rave-up of “Runnin’ Down A Dream.”

The evening concluded with a ringing version of Seeger’s immortal tune, “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season).” And everybody went home with a satisfied mind.

—Mitch Myers

David Byrne Delivers A Once In A Lifetime Stage Show With Brains And Brawn

David Byrne brought his American Utopia tour to Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, complete with a guest appearance from former MAGNET cover star Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards) on a show-ending cover of Janelle Monáe protest song “Hell You Talmbout.” MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was there to start making sense of this incredible 21-song stage show filled with somethings old, somethings new, somethings borrowed and somethings blues.