On Monday, November 16th Ben Folds teamed up with yMusic to perform at the Old National Centre. WTTS was given an opportunity to give away passes for listeners to attend the sound check and meet Ben Folds. Below are photos from Monday evening.
Tuesday night, October 20th, the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in Indianapolis filled with the fans of both John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett. The two legendary singer-songwriters took the stage for the second WTTS Rock To Read show of the year. WTTS Rock To Read benefit concerts help to raise money for children’s reading programs through the Indianapolis Public Library.
John Hiatt is a Hoosier singer-songwriter who has written Americana, folk rock, and country blues songs since he moved to Nashville when he was eighteen. Hiatt’s songs have been covered by many other successful musicians. Lyle Lovett is a Texan country folk, Americana, and bluegrass songwriter. Both saw most of their success throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Once Hiatt and Lovett were introduced to the theatre audience, they entered the stage to a standing ovation without having played one song yet. That was an incredible kick-start to the acoustic evening. The stage setup was simple and focused on the two musicians. The two sat in chairs in the middle of the stage. A table of waters and harmonicas sat between them and they were each surrounded by two guitars which they played all evening. No stage hand entered the audience’s vision all evening and it felt informal and relaxed, yet Hiatt and Lovett’s professional and classy demeanor could be felt from start to finish.
Hiatt opened the show with “Detroit Made” and Lovett covered Chuck Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” to get the evening started. The two musicians have been friends for years, and it was obvious to the audience. Lovett, the younger of the two, showed open affection for his role model that he shared the stage with. Lovett served as the emcee for the evening, interviewing Hiatt about his favorite guitars, his hippie tendencies, and his time growing up in Indianapolis. Hiatt admitted that “It’s always great to come home” and reminisced on days of being the “ghost of bars past,” playing a coffeehouse on Indiana Avenue, Crazy Al’s, The Vogue, and The Patio in Broad Ripple.
Hiatt and Lovett are both extremely talented guitar players. They discussed the guitars they brought with them (Hiatt’s 1947 Gibson LG2 is notably cool) and the coolest guitars they’ve ever played. Hiatt complimented Lovett on his “damn fancy pickin’” and no one could have described it better. Both musicians had wonderful senses of humor as the two went back and forth with witty banter and comic rapport all night. The men also seemed relatable as they told stories of the past and their homes. Lyle Lovett introduced “White Boy Lost In The Blues” by saying he heard it in 1978 and thought, “This is my life…they know me.” Who hasn’t felt that way?
Highlights of the night included Hiatt’s “Perfectly Good Guitar,” “Feels Like Rain,” “Slow Turnin’” (by request), and “Real Fine Love.” Lovett played crowd favorites “Record Lady” (by request), “Nobody Knows Me,” “If I Had A Boat,” and “Up In Indiana.” The evening closed with Lovett’s “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” before an encore of Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me” and Lovett’s “Church.”
Lovett admitted near the end of the spectacular evening that they were “proud to be at the Old National Centre and the Murat Theatre at the same time” and the crowd roared with laughter. Indianapolis fans and WTTS listeners were absolutely smitten by the pair of singer-songwriters. John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett’s modern-day vaudeville show provided comedic interest on a stage that was inevitably beaming with years of artistry and craftsmanship.
The final WTTS Rock To Read benefit concert of the season is coming up! Tickets are on sale now for Guster at the Old National Centre on November 13th. Don’t miss the final chance to benefit children’s reading programs in the Indianapolis area and see a WTTS favorite artist.
All photos courtesy of Rhythm In Focus Photography.
Saturday night, October 3rd, Mark Knopfler played a sold-out show at the Murat Theatre in the Old National Centre in Indianapolis. He was joined on stage by his band of eight other people to play a two-hour concert filled with classics from his former band, Dire Straits, and solo tracks, too. Knopfler is a musicians’ musician after having worked with and even producing records for the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Randy Newman. Rolling Stone ranked Knopfler the 27th greatest guitarist of all time and that title rang true on Saturday night in Indianapolis.
As the crowd sat in anticipation, a man appeared on stage wearing a bright, bold Union Jack jacket and introduced the one and only Mark Knopfler. The entire band then entered the stage and led the crowd in a clapping rhythm to warm up the room. In fact, Knopfler warmed the entire evening with his quick little jokes and asides. He even told his band “good luck” a handful of times. The entire crowd was giggling from his dry British humor and he kept it understated and consistent all evening.
The stage was set up with appropriate but discrete lighting and three blocks of instruments. Almost every instrument the band used throughout the evening (and there were many) was housed right there on stage. This gave the show a sort of living room or studio feeling. If you add in the fact that Knopfler hinted at the show being whimsical with a loose set list and the lack of large monitors at the front of the stage blocking the band, you can understand how this show may have felt personal in a way.
At one point in the evening, Knopfler took a moment to introduce his band members. Not only did he introduce them to an energetic, cheering crowd, but he had the most genuine and heartfelt things to say about them. The audience could feel the shared admiration between band members and this made for a special evening. These band members played more instruments than most other rock concerts ever have. Multiple guitars, electric bass, double bass used with and without a bow, keys, organs, accordion, fiddle, Uilleann pipes (the national bagpipe of Ireland), mandolin, saxophone, and others all made appearances on stage. This band is wickedly talented.
Highlights of the night included “Privateering,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Postcards From Paraguay,” and the Dire Straits classic, “Sultans of Swing.” The show closed with
“Speedway at Nazareth” before an encore of “So Far Away” and “Going Home: theme from Local Hero.” During “Sultans of Swing” Knopfler played his signature Mark Knopfler Stratocaster guitar. He had the amazing ability to be able to play that song’s incredible guitar solo and have the rest of his body be as relaxed as can be. It was awe-inspiring.
In fact, the entire audience was awe-struck all evening. Knopfler himself used the term “Transatlantic Blues” at some point in the evening and that perfectly describes this classic bluesy rock with inspired hints of Celtic instruments and melody patterns. Mark Knopfler and his band left the audience in a unique kind of sensory overload with so many instruments doing so many things. One can’t help but try to watch them all at once, and that kind of musical overload is the best kind of musical overload.
Tuesday night, September 29th, WTTS presented a show from The Decemberists at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre. Earlier that day they stopped by Sun King Studio 92 powered by Klipsch Audio; you can find that performance here. English singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney opened for The Decemberists’ big return to Indy. The band was booked to play a show in Indianapolis in August of 2011, but unfortunately had to cancel due to lead singer Colin Meloy’s voice being damaged.
In fact, the first thing Meloy did when he took the stage alone was utter a sincere apology and express excitement to be here to make it up to their Indianapolis audience. He then played an acoustic, solo version of their appropriately titled, “The Apology Song” to begin the evening on such a wonderfully humble note. The band soon joined him on stage and the evening took off.
As the rest of the band enters, the stage suddenly changes. Their latest album, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World’s cover artwork comes down in layers of sheets that look like a quilt, adding to the folk feel of the evening. Even the amps on stage had shapes from the album cover painted to continue the theme. The band members all look very professional, wearing dresses, jackets, vests, and ties. It gives off the impression that they both take their jobs seriously and respect their audiences and that’s admirable.
The Decemberists are known for their incredible storytelling abilities in their songwriting, but that tradition carried to the stage as well. Colin told the audience that “Calamity Song” was originally written as a song to get his son, Hank, to eat his oatmeal. During “Calamity Song” the seated crowd was moved to stand and they didn’t sit again for the remainder of the show; they were unable to cease dancing and it was infectious.
The 5-part band was joined by two backup vocalists on stage who did so much more than sing (tambourine, shakers, mandolin, and even a little drumming). The bass player, Nate Query, toggled between an electric and stand-up double bass. Jenny Conlee is known for her diverse talents in organ, accordion, keys, and synthesizer. Needless to say (but we’ll say it anyway) this band is talented. Highlights of the night included “The Crane Wife 3,” “Make You Better,” “Down By The Water,” and the set’s closing song, “The Chimbley Sweep.”
“The Chimbley Sweep” and a couple other songs featured a break in the song for Colin and the band to absolutely entertain the audience in every sense of the word. He conducted a three-part crowd interactive singing session filled with ‘bas’ and ‘wees’ and ‘oos’. Later, he conducted the band with his hands in an improvisatory symphony that had the crowd roaring. The band played a six-song encore made up entirely of songs from their fifth album, “The Hazards of Love” before coming out for a second. This time, they played “Of Angels and Angles” and the epic “The Mariner’s Revenge Song.” This incredible story of a song included many instruments, voices, characters, and “screaming like you’re being eaten by a whale.” Yes, that’s what Colin asked the crowd to do on cue. And they did. The crowd sang along and danced shamelessly for The Decemberists. Their fans are passionate and awe-struck, as one should be after seeing a show like this.
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