Live Review: Solid Sound Festival, North Adams, MA, June 28-30, 2019


MAGNET’s M.J. Fine picks her favorite musical moments at Solid Sound (mostly in chronological order). Photos by Chris Sikich.

The most spirited version of “Aw Shit Man” I’ve ever seen the Minus 5 play, capping off an uncharacteristically sunny performance.

Jeff Tweedy joining the lovely Cate Le Bon for the Kinks’ “Strangers” and Arthur Russell’s “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face.

Wilco’s powerful renditions of “Bull Black Nova” and a pair of new songs (“Empty Corner” and “White Wooden Cross”), plus the freight train that accompanied “Theologians” and “Someone To Lose.”

Daveed Diggs of clipping. leading a late-night crowd through a whispery refrain of “Shooter” as Saturday drew to a close.

Jonathan Richman

Rough Francis launching Sunday morning by ripping through gloriously loud, pointed punk tunes.

A series of packed gallery performances (Lakou Mizik’s rootsy Haitian soul, Buck Meek’s gentle country tunes, CUP’s hypnotic guitar-and-keys soundscapes) that provided refuge from the storm outside.

When Jonathan Richman asked the audience to sing along to “People Are Disgusting,” and I heard what felt like my very own Mike Mills harmony vocal coming from a few feet behind me.

Jeff Tweedy and Friends—notably Scott McCaughey—embracing a sudden downpour with “Let’s Go Rain” and playing long enough to spot a Pride Day rainbow directly across Joe’s Field from the stage.

Other highlights: Aparna Nancherla’s anxiety-fueled stand-up act; a feast from Broccoli Bar; and taking time to wander through the museum to admire the impressive art collection.

Cate Le Bon
The Feelies with Jeff Tweedy
The Minus 5

Live Review: The Mekons, Philadelphia, July 18, 2019

The Mekons seemed to be having the time of their lives at Johnny Brenda’s, and their good humor and great tunes put us in a similar state of mind.

It was a strong set and a true joy from start to finish, with high points including “Thee Old Trip To Jerusalem” (the history of English socialism distilled into a three-minute pop song, as Jon Langford said), “Millionaire,” “How Many Stars,” “Harar 1883” and a volley of jokes about Mick Jagger between Langford and Sally Timms.

Fond Farewells opened with their own engaging performance (“Home” sounded particularly lovely), and the opportunity to see Megan Reilly was a rare treat.

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich

Fond Farewells

Edge Of Pier 17: James Rocks New York City’s South Street Seaport

James is in the middle of a co-headlining jaunt with Psychedelic Furs, supporting latest album Living In Extraordinary Times. The tour hit The Rooftop At Pier 17 in NYC, and the only thing that rivaled the views was the stage presence of 59-year-old Tim Booth, who puts frontmen half his age to shame. MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was there, because he only shoots when he’s on top.

Live Review: Amyl And The Sniffers, Philadelphia, July 17, 2019

On a blisteringly hot day, Amyl And The Sniffers rearranged the molecules of a sold-out Boot & Saddle with their quantum punk. Amy Taylor led the charge with fierce vocals—and her Daryl Hannah-in-Blade Runner look—that entranced the crowd into the rowdiest antics seen at this South Philly venue, with multiple stage divers nearly kicking the lights out of the ceiling. The raw energy from Amyl And The Sniffers will only take these Australians further into the rawk stratosphere. Philly’s the Out-Sect opened with a stellar set.

—words and photos by Chris Sikich

The Out-Sect

An Invitation Across The Nation: The Struts Say Good Morning, America

If you’re the type who likes a side of the new breed of British classic rock with your oat-milk, half-caf cortado and seasonal artisanal toast, here’s hoping you were tuned into Good Morning America on July 12. The Struts played their cover of the Bowie/Jagger version (or was it the Van Halen version?) of Martha And The Vandellas hit “Dancing In The Street,” written by Marvin Gaye and two other dudes you never heard of. (The Struts also played five originals, which you can find video of online.) MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was up early and ready for a brand-new old beat.