KEXP is an independent radio station in Seattle which streams live and also hosts musical artists playing in their in-house studio. The station makes these live performances available on YouTube. I have discovered many new bands by following KEXP’s YouTube channel. Here are some of my favorite live performances. See also Best of KEXP 1 and Best of KEXP 2.
On Friday evening, January 10, 2020, we got the shocking news that Neil Peart, drummer for the band Rush, had died. He had died the previous Tuesday, January 7, but the announcement came days later. Like many people, I consider Peart to be the greatest drummer of all time.
My cousin Mark introduced me to Rush in 1980 after the release of Moving Pictures. Even at the age of 12, I could tell this band was composed of amazing musicians. I don’t play an instrument myself, but have always been drawn to the drums. And Neil was the best.
During Rush’s nearly 3-hour shows, Peart would include an extensive drum solo. Towards the last ten years, Peart played some form of this solo. This version is from the R30 (30th anniversary) tour around 2004.
So Peart not only bangs on the drums and cymbals, but he plays an electronic MIDI percussion mallet controller (MalletKAT) like a vibraphone with his sticks.
Here is another version of the drum solo, called “The Rhythm Method” from 1997.
Of course, the first famous Neil Peart drum solo appeared in the middle of the song “YYZ” on the live Exit… Stage Left album from 1981. In the middle of a difficult solo, he plays a little song on toms and cowbells.
In addition to his playing (and lyrics) for Rush, Peart created a tribute album to Buddy Rich. In this video he plays a much simpler drum setup in a jazz format, but also includes an extensive solo, some of it taken from the “YYZ” solo.
Neil confined most of his recorded work to Rush, but he did release a few solo works. The best of these was a song called “Pieces of Eight” composed entirely of drums and percussion (including his MalletKAT). It was included as a sound supplement to the May 1987 issue of Modern Drummer.
Neil had already retired from the band, and Rush had ended in 2018. But now we certainly know there will be no more amazing performance by Neil Peart.
Peart was also an author, writing several travel memoirs. He rode his BMW motorcycle all over the world and wrote about it in books such as Ghost Rider (North and Central America), The Masked Rider (Africa), Far and Away, and Far and Near.
His passing feels like losing a longtime friend.
Living in the small town of Daytona Beach, I don’t get to enjoy a lot of live music. But in 2017 my boss introduced me to a local punk bank called SHOT OUT. George, Rob, Furey, and Jon put on a fun show, four geeks not taking themselves too seriously and who clearly enjoy playing together. That night I bought their eponymous six-track CD.
I saw them play a few more times in various venues in 2018 and 2019. They frequently played in an Irish pub called Tir na nOg. Here they are in 2018.
They played at Rok Bar, a larger venue, in February 2019.
The last show I saw of them as a quartet was back at Tir na nOg in July 2019.
In mid-December 2019 we were shocked to hear of the sudden death of George Chenoweth. George was the main songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist for SHOT OUT. Their scheduled show for December 20, 2019 at Tir na nOg turned into a tribute show. They played as a trio but still sounded great, definitely a bittersweet show.
Immediately after the show, SHOT OUT released their first full-length album called Tails from the Shite Factory Volume 1 on SoundCloud.
Furey told me that before he died George and the band had written another album’s worth of songs. They plan to record Tails from the Shite Factory Volume 2 in early 2020. It’s unclear whether they will continue to play live shows, but we hope they will.
Did you know May 22nd is World Goth Day?
Goth Day started in the UK in 2009. BBC Radio 6 Music DJs Cruel Britannia and Martin Oldgoth started the annual celebration of goth music and culture.
While not really a goth myself, at least not on the outside, I have enjoyed listening to “goth” music (and its rougher mate “industrial” music) as my favorite subcategories of classic alternative music. I am a longtime listener of Sunday Night Vinyl on Orlando’s 104.1 which plays all of these genres of music.
Below is a sample of some of my favorite goth bands. Please enjoy in a low-key, introspective way.
Joy Division was a relatively short-lived Manchester, England band who released only two studio albums before the singer and guitarist, Ian Curtis, died. They started out known as Warsaw. This song is their best-known release and comes from the Closer album in 1980.
The Sisters of Mercy
Another English band from the same period is The Sisters of Mercy, originally from Leeds. The lineup changed several times with the band producing only three studio albums. I could have chosen almost any song from the 1987 album Floodland, but this is my favorite today.
If you don’t know the name Peter Murphy, you might know the band he fronted from 1978 to 1983 called Bauhaus. He’s from Northampton, England (seeing a pattern?). I prefer his solo work, with this song being a standout from the 1989 album Deep.
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Siouxsie Sioux is probably the best-known female goth voice. She was the face and voice of Siouxsie and the Banshees out of London. This song comes from the 1986 album Tinderbox.
When most people hear the term “goth” music, they probably think of The Cure. And they were really popular starting in the 1980s. Most people can identify Robert Smith with his unchanging wild hair and makeup. The Cure come from Crawley, outside of London. The band had several later hits, but my selection is from an earlier album, Faith, from 1981. Interestingly, both Smith and Simon Gallup play bass on this song accompanied by drums, but no guitars or keyboards.
Although not technically a goth band, The Smiths were very popular with the goths with Morrissey’s melancholy voice and lyrics and Johnny Marr’s original “jangle pop” guitar sound. The band produced many singles but only four studio albums. This song is from their third album, The Queen Is Dead, from 1986.
A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
KEXP is an independent radio station in Seattle which streams live and also hosts musical artists playing in their in-house studio. The station makes these live performances available on YouTube. I have discovered many new bands by following KEXP’s YouTube channel. Here are some of my favorite live performances. See also Best of KEXP 1.
Ben Gibbard (2018)
Wolf Alice (2018)
Wolf Alice (2015)
We Were Promised Jetpacks (2018)
The Church (2017)
Sunflower Bean (2018)
KEXP is an independent radio station in Seattle which streams live and also hosts musical artists playing in their in-house studio. The station makes these live performances available on YouTube. I have discovered many new bands by following KEXP’s YouTube channel. Here are some of my favorite live performances.