On Stage: Music offerings, domestic and international

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

David Cook

If you’re looking for some live music this weekend, you can go American or international.

On July 6, American Idol winner David Cook will play at the World Café Live while Tengger Cavalry, a metal band fronted by a Mongolian throat singer will headline a show at The Fire.

On July 7, internationally-acclaimed Irish songstress Sharon Shannon has a concert at the Sellersville Theater and Boogarins, a band of rockers from Brazil, will take the stage at Boot & Saddle.

Cook, who plays the intimate World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com), is an American rock singer-songwriter who rose to fame after winning the seventh season of American Idol in 2008.

Prior to Idol he released an independent album entitled “Analog Heart.” This was followed by his post-Idol major-label debut “David Cook,” which was released on November 18, 2008 and has since been certified platinum by the RIAA.

Cook broke several Billboard chart records when 14 of his songs debuted on the Hot Digital Songs chart and 11 of his songs debuted on the Hot 100.  Collectively David has sold over 5 million tracks worldwide including an album and 2 singles that have been certified Platinum.

“I grew up watching my dad play guitar

“This is my last day at home before I leave for the tour,” said Cook, during a phone interview Tuesday morning from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “I’m packing and we have one more rehearsal before we leave.”

After moving to Nashville in 2012, Cook began writing for other artists while continuing with his solo career. His 2015 studio album, “Digital Vein,” debuted in the top 5 on the Billboard Pop Chart.

“I grew up watching my dad play guitar,” said Cook. “He played acoustic guitar. My mom was always in 70s/80s country and my dad loved classic rock.

“Baseball was my focus as a kid and music was always something I fell backwards into. I got busted when my mom heard me singing and put me into musicals at school.

“I started my first band when I was 13 but it was always just a hobby. I didn’t get serious about music until I went to college at the university of Central Missouri on a theater scholarship.

“I got into a band there and then later moved to Tulsa and put out a solo album. I never had any intention of trying out for American Idol.

“My younger brother Andrew wanted to audition for the show. He and my mother asked me to join them in Omaha for the audition. While there, one of the show’s producers asked me to audition.”

The rest is history.

“I sang Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On a Prayer” and it just snowballed. I kept waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me but I kept getting passed on from audition to audition.

“It wasn’t until the Hollywood week that I realized what was going on and started focusing on it. It took me a couple weeks to get my footing.

“I realized that I wasn’t the best singer in the room but that I had good character to my voice. I leaned on my musicianship. I took songs that people knew and molded them into songs that fit me. I just tuned in.”

After he resumed his recording career, the tsunami of 14 singles charting at the same time took Cook by surprise.

“To the best of my knowledge, it happened fairly organically,” said Cook. “I don’t know what caused them to chart at the same time.

“I released the ‘Digital Vein’ album in 2015. I put out a new single ‘Gimme Heartbreak’ last Friday. I’ll have a new EP out in the fall and then follow later with an album. We’re getting there – slow and steady wins the race.”

Video link for David Cook – https://youtu.be/96VI2cWzhBs.

The show at the World Café Live, which has Kathryn Dean as the opener, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $30.

Other upcoming shows at the World Café Live are C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and Dibbs and the Detonators on July 7; Headliners of R&B on July 8; Dia Frampton, Castro, Jesse Ruben on July 9; Love + Ladies + Power: All Ladies Concert + Open Mic Jam Session Celebrating Women’s Empowerment on July 10;Tank and The Bangas and Sweet Crude on July 11; and Michael Mwenso & the Shakes and Underground System on July 12.

Sharon Shannon, who headlines a show on July 7 at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) is an Irish musician who gained international fame for her accordion playing and her signature fiddle technique. She also plays the tin whistle and melodeon.

Her 1991 debut album “Sharon Shannon” was the best-selling album of traditional Irish music ever released in Ireland.

With Irish music as the starting point, Shannon, who won the lifetime achievement award at the 2009 Meteor Awards, has a canon of work that demonstrates a wide-ranging number of musical influence.

“Sacred Earth,” Shannon’s first new studio album in three years and her 10th studio album to date, blends her Irish influences with musical styles from around the world including Shetland fiddle tradition, country, hip hop and blues.

The new disc was co-produced by Justin Adams, a musician known for producing African music. The guitarist in Robert Plant’s band, The Sensational Space Shifters, Adams has long been an expert in African and Middle Eastern styles and produced the great Malian band Tinariwen.

“The new album was made over a long period of time last year,” said Shannon, during a phone interview Thursday from a stop in Dublin, Ireland on her way to a show in Glasgow, Scotland.

“It was made in bits and pieces. I was touring a lot last year so I’d be in the studio for a few days here and there – whenever I had a break in the touring.

“We recorded most of it at a studio in Wicklow, Ireland where my friend Craig has a studio. Justin brought the African element.

“I had been thinking about making an album like this for a long time – an Irish music version of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland.’ African rhythms work so well with Irish music.”

The album was the musical equivalent of blending the recipes for Irish stew and Ethiopian wat (chicken stew).

“All my recent albums have had a lot of variety,” said Shannon, an animal rights activist who lives with eight dogs and nine cats.

“We achieved that again with this album. I knew Justin from before and he knew a lot of great African musicians. We have Irish tunes with all this stuff going on in the background.

“I always have a lot of different stuff and special guests on my albums. ‘Sacred Earth’ is one of the most international albums I’ve made.”

For her current tour, Shannon has a four-piece band on stage.

“Jim Murray has played acoustic guitar with me for 20 years,” said Shannon, who is a strict vegan.

“Sean Regan plays percussion, fiddle and mouth percussion and Jack Maher is on electric guitar. The four of us have been playing together for a long time and we’re really tight.”

Video link for Sharon Shannon – https://youtu.be/yAdJUWVfKzY.

The show at Sellersville, which has Richardson & Purcell as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $39.50.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Walter Trout with Nick Schnebelen (of Trampled Under Foot) on July 6; “Defending the Caveman” starring Vince Valentine on July 7 and 8; and The Andy T Band featuring Alabama Mike along with Anson Funderburgh on July 9.


Boogarins, a Brazilian psychedelic rock band that has already built a strong fan base in Philly, return to the area on July 7 for a show at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com).

The band from Goiânia, Brazil, plays psychedelic pop featuring repeating melodies, lots of reverb and vocals in Brazilian Portuguese.

Boogarins, who took their name from a jasmine flower in Brazil, came into existence in 2013 when Dinho Almeida (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Benke Ferraz (solo guitar) teamed up. Later, they expanded to a four-piece with Hans Castro (drums) and Raphael Vaz (bass guitar). In 2014, Ynaiã Benthroldo replaced Castro as drummer.

Fernando “Dinho” Almeida and Benke Ferraz began playing music together as teenagers in the central Brazilian city of Goiânia– recording psychedelic pop in their parents’ gardens, filtering their country’s rich musical history through a very modern lens.

The group’s debut LP, “As Plantas Que Curam,” was a decidedly lo-fi home recording pieced together in isolation when they wewre still in school — before the pair had recruited a proper rhythm section or played a single gig.

By the time the album was released in late 2013 on Other Music Recording Co., Boogarins were already developing a name around Goiânia, and soon after, the now-expanded band was booking regular gigs in São Paulo and across the country.

The last two years have seen Boogarins on the road continually. They toured internationally for nearly six months behind their debut, playing American and European festivals from Austin Psych Fest to Burgerama to Primavera, and headlining clubs from London to Paris to Barcelona to New York, and performing alongside many great artists around the world.

Back home, where most young groups sing in English like the popular American and British indie bands everyone listens to, Boogarins spoke directly to their Brazilian audience – literally and figuratively – with their Portuguese-sung rock and roll rooted in the traditions of Tropicalismo but nurtured in contemporary global music culture.

“As a band, we’ve been together for four years,” said Ferraz, during a phone interview Thursday afternoon from a tour stop in Charleston, South Carolina.

“Before that, I was recording my first album with Dinho. We didn’t even have a name for the band. We were really excited with the music we played. Then, fans encouraged us to play those songs live and to get serious.

“For a long time, we just played shows in Goiânia. In 2013, we went to Sao Paulo and Recife. They were the only two cities we played before making our first album.”

Last week, Boogarins released a surprise EP in celebration of their Summer USA tour. “Lá Vem a Morte” features five original tunes, surrounded by three movements. “Lá Vem a Morte” translates to “Here it comes – Death.”

“We recorded ‘Lá Vem a Morte’ last year in Austin in the middle of our last tour,” said Ferraz.

“We were doing a residency at Hotel Vegas in Austin. We played there every Saturday and recorded the rest of the week. We went to a house with a lot of rented gear.

“Most of the writing is done by Dinho and all the arrangements were collaborations with the band. On this album, the bass player wrote a song and the drummer wrote the first song of his life.

“There wasn’t really a theme with ‘Lá Vem a Morte.’ Some of the songs were old ideas and others were created during the recording process. The whole concept of what we do is not pre-thinking.

“Our music is Brazilian rock that is really crafted with the layers. We care about the songs and we always have good hooks. Fans understand our music even if they don’t understand the language.”

Video link for Boogarins – https://youtu.be/IIQajQ3DVEA.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which also features Groovy Movies and Secret Nudist Friends, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Other upcoming shows at Boot and Saddle are FOTOCRIME, The Silence Kit, and Exmaid on July 6; Arc Iris reimagines Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” and Upholstery on July 8; Now, Now and DEM YUUT on July 10; and Langhorne Slim & The Law and Jonny Fritz on July 11 and 12.

Despite all odds, the Vans Warped Tour is well into its third decade. The touring music festival was started back in 1994 by Kevin Lyman and has continued to grow and flourish ever since.

In its early days, the tour featured mostly punk rock and ska bands.

Over the years, the lineup has become more diversified. It is an impressive tour that features more than 90 bands and covers a variety of genres — mainly punk, hardcore, power pop and the harder side of alternative.

Those attending the Vans Warped Tour, which touches down at the BB&T Pavilion (1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey, 856-225-0163, www.livenation.com) on July 7, can listen to live performances by bands as diverse as Barb Wire Dolls, The Alarm and West Chester’s CKY.

Vans Warped Tour features a grueling schedule of non-stop dates — frequently in venue parking lots in addition to main stages. And, it hits the road during the hottest part of the summer.

Each year, there are number of bands making their Vans Warped Tour debut. One of 2017’s rookie entries is a band that came into existence 11 years before the inaugural Warped Tour – GWAR.


GWAR — Beefcake the Mighty (bass), Pustulus Maximus (guitar), Balsac the Jaws of Death (guitar), Jizmak Da Gusha (drums), Bonesnapper, Sawborg Destructo and Don Drakulich (backing vocals) and Blothar (vocals, occasional bass guitar) — is a band known for its elaborate costumes and long, outrageously-themed concerts.

The Warped Tour, on the other hand, limits acts to 30-minue sets performed on outdoor stages in extremely hot conditions. Its huge line-up includes CKY, The Ataris,Anti-Flag, Blessthefall, Dance Gavin Dance,  Memphis May Fire, Save Ferris, Hatebreed, and Never Shout Never.

Obviously, GWAR and the Warped Tour is not a match made in heaven. But then, nothing about GWAR could be considered made in heaven – more about that later.

Based on the true definition of the word “unique,” there are really very few things that can claim to be unique — especially in the world of popular music where copycat acts and songs are more the rule than the norm.

But, unique is the perfect word to describe GWAR. There is, never was and never will be a band like GWAR. The Virginia-based costume-wearing thrash metal band exists in a universe all its own.

When GWAR first arrived on the scene back in the 1980s, no-one would have — or could have — ever imagined that the group would still be playing to packed houses more than 30 years later.

GWAR was a metal band with music performed by outrageous characters that looked and acted as if they had stepped out of a horror film done science fiction style.

With musicians wearing elaborately grotesque foam latex costumes, the band’s live shows were best described as raunchy, graphic, obscene and over-the-top.

According to the band’s mythology, GWAR is a group of alien monsters who were banished to Earth millions of years ago as punishment for their cosmic crimes.

GWAR was frozen in the wasteland of Antarctica, to wait for the cosmic summons that would herald their return to the stars. But fate intervened, and GWAR was de-thawed by global warming.

Led by pig-nosed lead singer Oderus Urungus, they began wandering the world, where they were quickly discovered by music mogul and mob boss Sleazy P. Martini.

Transformed into the ultimate heavy metal band, they set about the business of destroying the human race with this savage sound, throwing great “concerts” where thousands of humans would be lured to their deaths.

According to GWAR, “People come to watch the destruction onstage every night. And, not many people survive. Humans are ground into cat food. We kill all enemies of GWAR who attack us.”

I hope the POTUS isn’t listening to this. Whether or not he is, he still meets his fate at the hands of GWAR.

A number of people are “beheaded” in every show — including personalities from the news. Victims have included O. J. Simpson, John Kerry, Mike Tyson, Jerry Springer, Osama Bin Laden, Michael Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Adolf Hitler, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, and every American President since Ronald Reagan.

“With the Warped Tour, it’s very magical,” said Pustulus Maximus, during a phone interview Thursday from a tour stop in Atlanta, Georgia.

“And, it’s been very hot. Right now, we’re in Hot-lanta. On this tour, we’ve played shows when the temperature has been in triple digits – cities like Albuquerque, Vegas and Phoenix. At one show, it was 122.

“It’s disappointing that no-one in the band has died from the heat yet. I lost money in the death pool. Still, somebody is going to die on this tour. This has taught us what heat stroke is – it’s like masturbating with Warrior Gel or Heet.

“This is a new audience for us. When the first blood spillage happens on stage, you can tell it’s their first GWAR show – and their first time witnessing someone die.”

According to Blothar, “There is a lot of (fake) blood in our shows — 100 gallons of blood every night and we shoot it all at the audience. There aren’t too many safe distances. Just ask our soundman. We empty the tanks at the end of the show and turn the hoses on the humans.”

GWAR’s founding member Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) was found dead by a roommate in his Richmond, Virginia apartment in March 2014. The cause of death was later confirmed to be a heroin overdose.

Now, everything GWAR does is an homage to Onerus and his slave Dave Brockie. The band honors him with a special song in every performance.

Last week, during GWAR’s “Vans’ Warped Tour” social media takeover, the band announced the name of their forthcoming new album – “The Blood Of Gods.”

The record will be released this fall via Metal Blade Records. The album is a hard rock masterpiece — a new milestone for GWAR’s music that will be totally unexpected.

“‘The Blood of Gods’ is coming this fall,” said Maximus. “People are going to hate us all over again. The album was produced by Jesus Christ himself and sounds like what used to be on the radio.

“It speaks to the band in its preset state – a bunch of miserable old farts. Blothar was born grumpy. I’m just mad at being alive in general. Our music is the only thing that makes me happy.

“But, it only makes me happy for the 30 minutes we’re on stage. Still, it’s the longest I’ve been happy in 1,000 years.”

GWAR’s most recent previous album was “Battle Maximus” in 2013.

“We took some much-needed time off after losing Oderus,” said Maximus. “It’s a difficult process for any band to lose a member after losing another member.”

In November 2011, Flattus Maximus since 2002, was found dead by his fellow band members in the band’s tour bus. The cause of death was “a coronary artery thrombosis brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease.”

“This was the first time we were able to sit down and make a record as a group,” said Maximus. “Before, it was always under distress – like members needing money. This time, we pulled out all our best songs.”

On the Warped Tour, Gwar will be one of the headliners on the Mutant South Stage.

The full line-up for the 2017 “Vans Warped Tour” includes

Attila, Hawthorne Heights, I Prevail, Jule Vera, New Years Day, Watsky, Andy Black, Beartooth, Hands Like Houses, Neck Deep, Our Last Night, Being As An Ocean, Candiria, Counterparts, Fit For A King, Silent Planet, Stick To Your Guns, Sylar, The Acacia Strain, After The Burial, Carnifex, Emmure, Hundredth, Silverstein, Sworn In, Too Close to Touch, Alestorm, Barb Wire Dolls, Big D And The Kids Table, Microwave, Sonic Boom Six, Stacked Like Pancakes, The White Noise, War On Women, William Control, Bad Cop / Bad Cop, Fire From The Gods,

Municipal Waste, Sick Of It All, Strung Out, The Adolescents, Valient Thorr, Bad Omens, Boston Manor, Courage My Love, Creeper, Farewell Winters, Feeki, Knocked Loose, Movements, One Last Shot, Separations, The Gospel Youth, and Trophy Eyes.

Video link for GWAR — https://youtu.be/KqsW0TnZIAk.

Video link for GWAR at Warped — https://youtu.be/iKC2ZHZB3gI.

The day-long concert in Camden will start at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $41.50.

Ben Arnold

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Radio Free Honduras on July 8 and a residency with Ben Arnold starting on July 11.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host

Marielle Kraft and Anna Spackman on July 7 and Cliff Eberhardt and Louise Mosrie on July 8.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present The Church on July 7.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live!” on July 7.

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