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Plenty of live rock lighting up downtown Nashville

May. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

We rolled down to Music City last weekend to catch The Black Keys and Flaming Lips lighting up downtown Nashville with all the wild stripes that three hours of live rock will allow at Bridgestone Arena.

Even with a bit of a stripped down stage show, the Lips are a mind-blowing audio-visual feast with veteran ringmaster Wayne Coyne armed with his hand-held spotlight and stoking up the crowd.

"The promoter wanted me to tell you this is not a hockey game this is a rock concert so get (expletive) loud," Coyne called out.

Although I thought they seemed a bit run down, The Black Keys, the once Akron-based duo (now armed for most of their show with a full band) tore through the heart of their work with the best pieces I felt when Dan and Patrick stomped out their original recipe sound -- two guys bashing out the rust-belt city blues.

"Oh yeah it feels good in here it feels like home," Dan Auerbach said about playing their first big show in Nashville since moving there 2 1/2 years ago.

And I have to say it too felt like home a bit. We lived outside Nashville for several years and so it was old hat to get to bum around ol' Broadway and get enveloped in the cacophony of neon lights and the non-stop live jukebox bar bands banging out old country between rows of boots and long-neck bottles.

It also felt a bit like home because although we spilled out of the arena in the rain with the thousands of folks after the show, we ran smack into two of Huntington's biggest music fans.

Shannon Petree and Angel Blackwell (of the Front Row Center blog) were out tearing up the town (their motto is " We are not amateurs. We are not afraid. We rock hard and dance harder.") and indeed they were on a weekend run of shows that also had them racing to Atlanta on Saturday.

You can catch their blog and pics on the live music and festival scene online at http://frontrowcenterblog.tumblr.com/ and on the FRC Facebook site as well.

Annie Up

While we were in Nashville, I snagged a couple copies of the Nashville Scene's coverage of the George Jones funeral, and tore through a Sunday Tennessean as well.

It's a coveted spot for sure when a Nashville band gets a full page Sunday spread, but almost unprecedented for someone's side project to get such inked love.

Of course, as we know, The Pistol Annies isn't just any ol' side project -- Chris Gaines this is not.

This triple-barreled music machine is made up of Country Music Highway native, Angaleena Presley (of Beauty, Ky.), and fellow fiery country songslingers, Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe.

The Pistol Annies are back out on the trail with their second album, "Annie Up" (RCA Nashville) a 12-song collection that is chock full of more of these gals' sassy songwriting like ("Hush Hush") and ("Being Pretty Ain't Pretty").

Log onto www.pistolannies.com to hear a bit of the new CD and catch them live next Monday and Tuesday. They're on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," at about 11:35 p.m. Monday and then at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" on CBS.

A nod to Walker

A note of condolences to the family of George Walker, the long-time host for West Virginia Public Radio who passed away last week at his home at the age of 60.

The local host of "All Things Considered," Walker was known in the music community here for his long-time work producing the stellar mountain music show on West Virginia Public Radio, "Music from the Mountains," which was hosted by The 1937 Flood's first-rate fiddler, Joe Dobbs until Dobbs retired.

Walker, who was also for a time married to the 1937 Flood's singer, Michelle Walker, also produced The Flood's second and third CDs as well.

You can hear those CDs and read more about Walker on the Flood's site, www.1937flood.com.

The last word on the street

As a former college DJ, it sure is hard when graduation comes and you've got to give up the mic on a show you built.

From 9 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 10, it's the last show for co-hosts DJ DC(John Lewis) and DJ Twin (Jason Grady) and their show on WMUL-FM, 88.1.

They've had a five-year run on the hip hop show and will celebrate on air with a host of Huntington hip hop artists including Tevin Courts, Kenny Mann "Big Kutta," DeeJay Illspin Johnson and Michael MrMike Crawford among others.

You can listen live on air or on the WMUL website as well.

A Mason Jar o' new country at Whiskey Rocks

Indiana native Matt Mason returns to Huntington for a 10 p.m. Friday, May 10, concert at Whiskey Rocks, 809 3rd Ave., Huntington.

Mason, a former contestant on "Nashville Star," is best known as the winner of "CMT's Next Superstar." He has played Huntington before. Mason was on the CMT on Tour bill back in September of 2011 with headliners Luke Bryan, Lee Brice and Josh Thompson.

Lee Gant is also on the bill tonight. Cover is $10. Go online at www.mattmasonmusic.com to check out such Mason cuts as "Smoke Ya," and "Easy Ain't Easy."

Pop goes the symphony

Great news in from Hogan Haas, CEO of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, as of last week, all tables for the 2013 Picnic With the Pops series at Harris Riverfront Park are sold out.

General admission and reserved tickets are still on sale for the Pops which includes: June 22: "Happy Birthday West Virginia," concert featuring Huntington native Broadway star J. Mark McVey (who starred in "Les Miserables") on Broadway and in London; July 20: "Bond, Kim, Bond," spirited HSO conductor Kimo Furumoto leads the HSO on a musical tour of the James Bond movies and beyond; Aug. 17, "Great American Songbook," featuring "America's Got Talent" winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.

For tickets, call 304-781-8343.

Also, you can help the HSO gather more funds for its programs by buying tickets to an intimate event set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at the Touma Museum, 314 9th St., Huntington. There will be appetizers and wine while some members of the HSO perform.

Dave Lavender writes about music for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at lavender@herald-dispatch.com.