2 Mar

The Wood Brothers & Amy Helm Deliver Heartfelt Performances In Austin

first_imgThe Wood Brothers graced Austin, Texas, with a captivating and emotionally-driven show to welcome the final month of 2018 with yet another hauntingly brilliant performance on Saturday, December 1st. The show took place at the historic Paramount Theatre in Downtown Austin, Texas, and opened with a taste of the astounding elegance held by the equally lovely and talented Amy Helm and her just as lovely band.If you are not familiar with the majesty of the Texas Capitol’s longest running performance art venues, let us freshen up with a little glimpse into the Paramount’s rich history. This remarkable Austin landmark has stood the test of time and proves to be one of the first, and one of the only remaining, establishments that keeps the spirit of early and distinctive architecture alive and thriving in the vibrant city of Austin.This living and breathing non-profit theatre has housed iconic names such as Harry Houdini, Katherine Hepburn, Barack Obama, Tom Waits, The Temptations, Oliver Stone, and endless others, who have left a piece of their magic inside the theatre’s intricate and magnificent walls. The over one-hundred-year-old historic landmark was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1976, and was originally established in 1915.Amy Helm opened the intimate space–sending a warm blessing throughout the crowd with her fusion of deeply expressive vocals and the band’s balance of strong musicianship and exuberant stage presence. She recently released her second namesake album, This Too Shall Light, produced by Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Joe Henry.Helm’s lifelong span of being totally immersed by music rings true when the angelic figure interlaces heartwarming tales of her father’s late memory throughout her truly captivating performance. The band enveloped the audience in gospel-like serenades with a seemingly unplugged rendition of the old hymn “Gloryland,” a tune Helm recounts singing with her father from the young age of childlike wonder. Helm’s set closed with a moving cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can,” to set the stage for The Wood Brothers.Approximately one thousand music lovers nestled closely together in the dark theatre, becoming instant pals by way of the snug seating chart made for the apparently smaller humans of the early 20th century. The Paramount is an atmosphere where avoiding screen time is highly respected and taking film or photography is not encouraged, creating a focused and precision-packed experience.The Wood Brothers ignited the Paramount with a string-driven spin-off of Bach’s “Toccata and Fuge in F Major”, appropriately introducing themselves to the embracing crowd, before inducting one of their most loved tunes “Luckiest Man” to kick things off. Few bands match the repertoire of this genre-spanning and innocuously talent-filled trio composed of bassist Chris Wood and his expansive free jazz understanding and brother Oliver Wood’s pseudo-southern rock roots, all fused seamlessly with the effortless finesse of multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix.“Sky High”, an edgier and raw rock and roll lick from the band’s latest One Drop of Truth, set the momentum at a flavorful pace, with begrudgingly seated guests slowly making rounds to stand up and get their dance on, no matter the incorporated rules of the venue. Next up came the closing tune “Can’t Look Away”, off the before mentioned sixth studio album. The song weaves three separate downbeat stories over a bass ladled and slide guitar driven ballad that indeed makes it hard to look away. Fan favorite “Keep Me Around” invited the entire theatre to join voices for this Wood Brothers classic from 2013’s The Muse as Chris Wood’s inarguable talent simultaneously playing the harmonica and stand up bass highlighted this beloved number.“Mary Anna” summoned a widely accessible and completely distinctive plea by brother Oliver for a second chance, with faint whispers of the crowd affirming forgiveness for the genuine man’s appeal. The band shifted gears one drop closer to the truth with back to back songs off the recent release, the soulful Stevie Wonder-esque “Sparkling Wine” and Chris Wood’s “Seasick Emotions,” inspired by both the real turmoil of a hurricane as well as the political climate of the world during the heat of the last presidential election.The end of “Seasick Emotion” cascaded listeners through a beautifully dreary sea of synchronistic wreckage that eventually opened way to “Payday”, a carefree song of heartbreak and integrity from 2010’s Live, Volume 1: Sky High album–going to keep my skillet greasy if I can! The Paramount Theatre was energetically lit up in flames of pure bliss as both Wood brothers took to their guitars comparable to headstrong cowboys riding off into the sunset, breaking free of any chains into “Snakes Eyes” from 2015’s Paradise album.A down, dirty and grit-filled version of “That’s Where My Baby Might Be” kept the crowd in cahoots as Jano took full form for a breathtakingly brilliant “The Muse” complete with Rix rip-roaring on the melodica. We were treated to a real delicious treat when Amy Helm joined the boys on stage to break out “Christmas Must Be Tonight”, an aptly appropriate cover of The Band’s song to properly say ‘hello’ to December while also showcasing the singer-songwriter’s take on a song near and dear to her heart.The show took a trip to Medeski, Martin & Wood town with a jazz-centric break down into fan-pleaser “I Got Loaded”, which morphed into a call and response style jam by the song’s third chorus. The triumphant trio soared into older song “Atlas” from the band’s 2006 album Ways Not To Lose. One of the funkier numbers off of One Drop of Truth “Happiness Jones” soared the crowd once more into a fun-loving frenzy of toe-tapping and hip shaking before “Shoofly Pie” truly caused the crowd to break into an all-out get-down fury.Chris Wood held the reigns for the last songs of the night, as he dedicated “Postcards From Hell” to all of “the artsy fartsy Austin artists” who are not afraid to be themselves and shake things up. The artistic capabilities and heartwarming harmonics presented by The Wood Brothers is slightly intoxicating, especially in a venue as magical as Austin’s Paramount Theatre. The show ended with a crowd-pleasing encore composed of all-time favorites “Twisted” and “Honey Jar.”last_img read more

16 Sep

Syracuse struggles to drive in runs despite new hitting approach

first_imgIn the first frame against Indiana, Syracuse had a chance to grab a first-inning lead against better opposition. Alicia Hansen was in scoring position, and Alexis Kaiser came to the plate. Ahead 2-1 in the count, Kaiser popped out to third base on the fourth pitch. Inning over with no runs on the board.Seven more times in that game, the Orange stranded runners on base. Their offensive production under a new hitting philosophy, which struggled opening weekend, amounted to just one run in a 5-1 loss.Under first-year head coach Shannon Doepking, Syracuse (5-11) has one main offensive change in 2019: hit less singles, blast more home runs. Rather than stringing together hits, Doepking believes it’s easier for the Orange to rely on power. When the Orange have a chance to drive-in runs, Doepking’s “three good swings” approach hasn’t produced.“We try to avoid taking first pitch strikes, a lot of times pitchers will try to get ahead, and it’s usually right there,” sophomore shortstop Neli Casares-Maher said.But SU is just 1-3 in one-run games and batting 38 points worse than last season. As Syracuse enters its final nonconference tournament of the season, scoring with runners on base will turn one-run losses into one-run wins, Doepking said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPlayers said that under former head coach Mike Bosch, hitting for contact was a priority. The Orange tried to score runs by stringing together singles last year. After just 14 home runs in 50 games in 2018, SU already has five this season from four different players. But following the loss to Indiana, Doepking told her team that they can’t be passive in big moments with runners on.“Coach talks about that, when it does come down to those situations, you have to be the person that wants to be in the game,” sophomore Miranda Hearn said. “Even though that didn’t happen that game, we had a really good talk with her about it.”On Feb. 15 against Penn State, the Orange had the game-tying run on second with just one out. But the final plate appearances — Anya Gonzalez took a called third strike and Toni Martin swung and missed contact — ended the game. Syracuse lost 3-2 to the Nittany Lions, leaving the tying run just 120 feet from home plate.Eight days later, the Orange faced one of the best pitchers in the nation in Kelly Barnhill. Even in the loss, though, the Orange struck out just five times because of their aggressive approach, much lower than Barnhill typically averages.“The fact that we only struck out five times against her is progress,” Doepking said.To improve their timing, Syracuse takes batting practice, but doesn’t swing. A hitter loads up as if they were to swing, moving their hips through the ball in time if it’s a fastball. But if it’s a changeup, the player holds their hips back. Doepking wants the Orange to swing earlier and ensure they get their three good swings. While the bat never leaves the hitter’s shoulder, the Orange use their body movement to time pitches.When SU strings together multiple hits, as they did against then-No. 20 Oklahoma State last weekend in the second inning, a base-running error cost them a run. With runners on first and second, Lailoni Mayfield singled to right field. Hannah Dossett was thrown out at home, and it was as close as SU came to scoring that afternoon in a 8-0 loss to OSU. Syracuse has gotten runners on base, but hasn’t done much with them this season. Now, it just has to get them home.“She was talking about our mindset and how we need to have the type of mindset where we aren’t timid,” Hearn said of Doepking. “Once we do well in those situations, we won’t lose those close games as much anymore.” Published on March 5, 2019 at 11:43 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more