Motown: The Musical Offers Spectacular Performances Despite Berry Gordy's Half-Told Tale

Categories: Concert Review

Joan Marcus, compliments of Broadway Across America

Surely there should be a certain trepidation about Berry Gordy's Motown: The Musical, since it is based on the famed founder's 1994 book To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown. Motown's story is not an easy one to tell and has further been complicated by some rather unflattering interpretations of Gordy in the past. Those were probably the catalyst for creating this production.

Gordy knew what he was doing then, and he knows what he is doing now. Taking the story for what it is, Gordy manages to depict himself in a fairly positive light. Even the one moment of impotence he chose to share from a personal recollection of intimacy with Diana Ross serves as a humanizing point for the man.

In other words, the story line will not please everyone, and it certainly leaves a lot of the label's history off the table. That said, the production recently wrapped up its original Broadway run this past January, and the cast performing it at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts did a phenomenal job with the music and choreography, which are the real reasons for seeing this musical in the first place.

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Against Me! Slam-Packed Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room Once Again

Categories: Concert Review

Michele Eve Sandberg
Against Me! gave Culture Room quite the treat on Friday night.

Friday night, Against Me! slammed back into town for the final show of its tour for the second year in a row, playing Culture Room -- same as last time.

Before the concert, Radio-Active Records hosted a meet-and-greet with the band. Attendance was surprisingly light, though I'd have to agree with the theory that fans skipped it because of chilly weather. Radio-Active's Mikey Ramirez warned that they'd be capping the crowd if it got crazy, which meant a line to get in should have been expected. South Floridians are a warm people, and being outside when it's 50 degrees doesn't work with our constitutions, apparently.

Laura Jane Grace, James Bowman, Atom Willard, and Inge Johansson smiled, laughed and chatted while signing stuff and taking pictures. I mentioned to Grace that I hadn't seen the band live in a long, long time, probably since my college in Gainesville (which would place us at Common Grounds around 2003, not long after Reinventing Axl Rose came out).

"Oh wow," she said, "It's a totally different show."

See also: Photos from Against Me! Live at Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale 2015

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Rave of Thrones in Fort Lauderdale Got Every Game of Thrones Fan Dancing

Categories: Concert Review

James Argyropoulos
Rave of Thrones is for both ravers and raving Game of Thrones fans.

Girls wearing fairy wings and glitter twirled around while a guy dressed as a White Walker creepily watched over the crowd on one of the staircases. Hip white dudes with perfectly coifed 'dos danced wildly with Dungeons and Dragons fans and kandi girls clad in fuzzy leg warmers. There's pretty much no other place where these worlds collide but a Rave of Thrones blowout.

Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn drew hundreds of people for his DJ set at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale last Saturday night. Of course, plenty arrived in costume, representing all imaginable characters from the HBO hit series. We spotted everyone from Oberyn Martell to an airbrush-abbed Khal Drogo -- the latter of whom manned the DJ booth for a while and posed with fans for pictures before opener DJ LinderSMASH took over.

See also: Photos from Rave of Thrones at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale

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Alice Cooper Was an Animal at Hard Rock Live, Hollywood on February 18

Categories: Concert Review

Ross Halfin
Alice Cooper: The ugliest woman Johnny Depp's ever seen.

You could complain that Alice Cooper's voice sounded strained Wednesday night at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, but that would be like visiting the zoo and whining about the quality of the food. If you go see the Godfather of Shock Rock live, it's not to hear a fine baritone, it's for the sheer, utter spectacle. And last night Alice Cooper was an animal.

At 67-years old, Cooper moved around like a man half his age. Enthusiastic throughout the nearly two hour set, he unleashed horrors, fury, imaginative props, and countless pelvis thrusts.

See also: Alice Cooper Assures That He Is "Still the Oldest Vampire Here"

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Ingrid Michaelson Had Fans in Tears at Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale

Categories: Concert Review

Shervin Lainez
This woman will make you cry.

Culture Room was crowded with women to see Ingrid Michaelson last night except for a few dates or chaperones. The room was buzzing with excitement to see the songstress sing in such an intimate space. The place was packed even an hour before showtime, and by the time the show began.

Greg Holden took the stage first, and although he had to earn it, he warmed up the crowd by the second song on his setlist. The room started swooning because that's what a Scottish accent will do to an American. Each and every song the singer performed was packed with emotion with different messages about giving back, accepting yourself and others, and being grateful for what you have in life. The most impactful song of his set though was "Boys in the Street" a song he told the audience he wrote for friends of his who ran a charity called Everyone is Gay.

See also: Ingrid Michaelson Says "Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously"

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Bob Seger Got Caught Up in the Music at His BB&T Center Concert on February 7

Categories: Concert Review

Patrick McBride

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

BB&T Center, Sunrise
Saturday, February 7, 2015

Better than: Most performers half his age.

Watching Bob Seger at a concert is like watching an old-fashioned preacher stir up a congregation.

"Give me that old-time rock 'n' roll!" Seger commanded his fans on Saturday night. It doesn't take much to convince the faithful to sing rock's praises. Over the course of nearly two stirring hours, he had the BB&T Center dancing, clapping, and standing spellbound with many of the great songs in his own hymnal. And when he wailed anthems like "Rock 'n' Roll Never Forgets" and "Old Time Rock and Roll," along with a handful of newer songs from his current album Ride Out... well, suffice it to say, the message couldn't have been clearer. It just "soothes the soul."

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For the Love Festival Gave a Glimpse of FAT Village's Future

Categories: Concert Review

Photo by Ian Witlen
Danny Brunjes (left) and Eric Blythe (right) of the West Palm Beach band Rivers rock out inside C&I Studios.
It's getting hard to use words like "emerging" and "blossoming" these days when describing Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village. It's no longer a neighborhood trying to establish itself. Crowds grow larger with each monthly art walk, and its expanding nightlife scene provides many options for the rest of the days of the month too. The neighborhood has gone through puberty and come out the other side with hair in places it never imagined.

But is the hard part over or just beginning? What now for the area that has so recently discovered its first whisker?

See also: How Flagler Village Became Fort Lauderdale's Cultural Core

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Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and Authority Zero Sold Out Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale

Categories: Concert Review

Ian Witlen
Reel Big Fish

Both Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish have a 20-year reputation of providing the best live shows you can witness based on sheer fun. Nobody has a bad time at either of their concerts. It's almost a rule.

Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and Authority Zero brought their all-star ska road show to Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday night, drawing people from all over South Florida and even as far as Argentina, to be here to skank their asses off.

Doors opened at 6:30 and the lines were long. It was clear that old people know and young people have figured out that ska shows, specifically with these bands, are worth staying out late for. If the line wasn't enough to deliver the message that South Florida was revved up for the night, the announcement minutes later that tickets had sold out made it obvious just how many people had shown up.

See also: Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale

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Wake Up, Hypoluxo, and Washa at Radio-Active Records Brought a Little Bit of the Future and a Lot of the Past

Categories: Concert Review

Radio-Active Records' Instagram
The young and talented Washa in-store at Radio-Active.

Music can make you feel old.

Standing in the aisles of a record shop waiting for an in-store performance, you come upon used records from your youth. You scratch your head wondering if that can be right, that it has been 26 years since De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising came out.

Then the opener Washa takes the floor equipped with a guitar and a laptop computer, and you feel positively ancient. You own a flannel shirt older than this talented kid, and he's pouring out optimistic bedroom confessionals and confidently baring his soul about the origins of the songs to the 30 people listening among the stacks of records to his five-song set. Excited as hell about going on his first tour and hopeful he can sell enough T-shirts on the road to eat, Washa makes you feel every one of the years you have on him.

But the great thing about music is, like nothing else, it can also make you feel young again.

See also: Fort Lauderdale's Washa Pens Dreamy "Baroque Pop"

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Through Art Fuzz, Collective America Exposes South Florida to Bands, Art, and Museums

Categories: Concert Review

Taylor M. Cohen
Milk Spot

Musicians Pino and Taylor M. Cohen are a legitimately cool pair. Though each is separately involved in different sorts of musical endeavors, the two young women come together with other exciting musical acts to raise arts awareness in Fort Lauderdale. They're doing these good deeds through different projects that unite music, video, alternative art spaces, museums, local stores, and the visual arts.

The two "lady friends" met at drag rendition of the '80s sitcom about boarding school teens, The Facts of Life. The show took place in Fort Lauderdale at Empire Stage, a small place run by a few guys who play all the roles. Pino and Cohen joked that they also caught a version of Silence of the Clams there.

Pino plays bass for Fort Lauderdale-based band Milk Spot, but she's also attending FAU with plans of becoming a teacher. Cohen, originally from Colorado, is a singer, rapper, and songwriter. Though she went to hairstylist school, she's currently the lone female in African hip-hop coalition Space Boy. Her main focus right now, though, is her project with Pino: Collective America.

See also: Milk Spot's Rob Kingsley: "A Fun Band Made Up of Whimsical People"

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