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HARTFORD, CT — Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthew, and John Mellencamp and other acts performed at the day-long, sold-out annual Farm Aid 2018 concert that took place on Sept. 22 at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. The amphitheater holds 30,000 people and tickets for the benefit concert sold out shortly after they went on sale.  

The day’s lineup also included Nathaniel Ratecliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson, and Ian Mellencamp. There were also demonstrations and farmers on hand to show concertgoers the importance of supporting Farm Aid. 

For more on the Somerville, MA, based Farm Aid, read here

All photos are by Steven Tackeff

 

Willie Nelson at the pre-concert press conference

Neil Young plays late in the night at Farm Aid 2018

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Neil Young performs at Farm Aid

Photo by Steven Tackeff

John Mellencamp, at the pre-concert press conference, above right, and performing at the concert. 

Jamey Johnson at Farm Aid 2018

Ian Mellencamp got things started at the Farm Aid 2018 concert.

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Chris Stapleton at Farm Aid 2018

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Dave Matthews, right, with Tim Reynolds

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Kacey Musgraves performs at Farm Aid 2018.

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real at Farm Aid 2018.

Margo Price at Farm Aid 2018.

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Nathaniel Ratecliff & The Night Sweats at Farm Aid 2018.

Photo by Steven Tackeff

Ian Mellencamp was the day-long concert opener.

Photo by Steven Tackeff

The fans get to the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford hours before the start of Farm Aid 2018.

Photos by Steven Tackeff

The pre-concert press conference featured Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews. Photos by Steven Tackeff

The crowd stayed all day to see the acts at this year’s Farm Aid. Photo by Steven Tackeff

 

 

 

 

 

By: Anna Paula Goncalves

Charlie Puth performing live at the Clive Davis Theater

With pop[ular] culture placing considerable focus on the “marketability” of an artist, most would agree that the misplaced focus has weakened the quality of Pop music and jeopardized the potential of what it can become. It’s no longer solely about the raw “talent” anymore. This can – and to some degree, has – made the music we listen to in mainstream radio more commercialized than ever before. So when someone comes into the scene as a “Pop Artist,” whose attention is on reinventing the pop sound with unlikely melodies and chord progressions using a hint of the formulas by timeless musicians before him, I welcome them with open ears.

Clive Davis Theater

Last night, I got the chance to see multi-Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and producer, Charlie Puth, during his candid sit down with Grammy Museum’s Artistic Director Scott Goldman at The Clive Davis Theater. Chances are you’ve heard some of Charlie’s chart-topping hits, when he first emerged about three years ago with, “See You Again,” “One Call Away,” “Marvin Gaye (feat. Meghan Trainor),” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore (feat. Selena Gomez).” But believe it or not, these tracks – although successful – were more experimentation for the 26-year-old; tracks that he jokingly referred to as “crap shoots” as he was still discovering himself as an artist.

Charlie Puth and Scott Goldman

The Berklee College of Music alum also graced us with a stripped down performance of three of his tracks, including his latest single (“The Way I Am”) off of Voicenotes – one he credits as his “debut” album since he feels he has fully grasped his artistry this time around. Voicenotes was certified “Gold” only five days after its release, according to Forbes. And has been considered as “one of the year’s best pop albums” by the New York Times.

With the admirable ambition to “write soundtracks to people’s lives,” his musical genius is undeniable. His genuine desire (because it clearly shows) in “making people happy” and believing whole hardly that “what matters to [him] the most is how [people] take the music and apply it to [their] everyday life” is what sets him apart in an age where people are hungry for raw and timeless talent.

Some people are simply born with it and born for it. It has become more than apparent that the self deprecating artist with perfect pitch (he jokingly called out the key to an audience member’s sneeze mid interview) is one of those people.

Thank you to Communications Manager Jasmine Lywen-Dill and her team at the Grammy Museum for inviting me to the show. For more information on the museum and their future events, visit GrammyMuseum.org.

MC Sloan-7th generation descendant of Toussaint Louverture

Coming from the East Coast, I did not know what to expect when it came to Haitian Flag celebrations in Los Angeles. I was born in Jacmel, my father is from there and my mother is from Port-de-Paix, so I think that qualifies me as 100% Haitian but this Haitian had never been to a flag celebration like this one before.  I have to say this festival did not disappoint! Premier Event Promotion Services did an amazing job putting together this Haitian Heritage festival and they locked down Leimert Park in Los Angeles with good food, live music and positive vibes.

One of the highlights of the concert had to be artist MC Sloan, who is a 7th generation relative to Toussaint Louverture, arguably one of the biggest names in Haitian history. Because of Toussaint’s resilience and ability to lead Haiti, he successfully defeated colonialism and slavery. Another nod to history was delivered by MC Sloan, who did an outstanding with a brief lesson reminding us of where we came from and where we need to be today. Alongside all the beautiful West Indian faces we saw that night were countless numbers of supporters from the American and African American community.

The host, Mr. Haiti, kept us on our toes and grinning as we saw live performances from MC Romane Simon, a respected film producer in Los Angeles, Mr Surprise, a Reggae artist for the soul; my favorite tune of his is “Send no Gun”, Hip Hop artist Lil Litty, who had me craving Lemonade Juice by the end of his set, Theresa King, who relaxed us with her vocals and Pickleez California’s go-to Haitian band.
It’s safe to say we can’t wait to see what else P.E.P.S.LA has up their sleeves…stick with LeftCoast.LA for all things LA!

One thing that you can count on when talking about Wyclef Jean is that he is not going to walk a familiar path. From running for office in his native Haiti to leading humanitarian efforts after natural disasters, this Grammy Award-winning performer always seems to be on a road less traveled. For his current “Carnival” tour is making stops from cities as varied as Harrisburg, Pa., to Boston, where Jean will play the Wilbur Theatre on March 1. styleboston pulled our interview with Jean from our archives to share. You can view it here.

https://vimeo.com/257992275.

Britney Spears performs

Photographer Steven Tackeff is a Boston area native who recently returned to his favorite professional subject: photographing concerts and capturing the music scene.

While working as a freelancer in the mid-1990s for The MetroWest Daily News, Tackeff went out one night in search of a cow escaped from a Hopkinton slaughterhouse, a story that was dominating the daily’s news pages. Emily the Cow, as the bovine was named by the local community, wandered in area backyards, living off of what she could glean (or, was left for her by the residents), but many still doubted the tale. That all changed when Tackeff tracked the cow and took the first photographs. With the addition of the cow’s photo the story garnered international attention and was developed into a movie.
From then on, Tackeff continued to work with one of the editors in charge of the Emily the Cow story ( our own Carol Beggy) who then assigned him to photograph a concert. That lone assignment lead to Tackeff “shooting” photos of more than 400 music acts from Tony Bennett, to Sinead O’Connor, Steven Tyler, Pink, and U2. He has taken the portraits of an estimated 1,000 celebrities, including shots of Christina Ricci when she was in her early teens and Ed McMahon on his last public appearance in Boston.
“I had been doing news assignments when Carol sent me to a concert,” Tackeff says. “I returned to the paper and told her and the arts and features team that all I wanted to do from then on was shoot entertainment.”
Tackeff approaches his work as an artist who loves not just his work, but that of the artists he photographs. His photos have been published in numerous publications including The Boston Globe, Metro and other papers. An agency picked him up and started selling his work worldwide. He was approached by Rolling Stone to shoot concerts for their online site weekly sometime 3 to 4 times a week from that point on for a several years. Overall his work has included covering the the Grammy Awards and several MTV-hosted events. He also toured with No Doubt as their photographer. “Music moves me like little else,” Tackeff says.
With this gallery of photos, Tackeff is launching his presence on the styleboston.tv and leftcoast.la sites. His work will appear regularly.

Matt NathansonThe talented Matt Nathanson is an American singer-songwriter, whose work is a blend of folk and a bit of rock. Originally from Lexington, MA but now a resident of San Franscisco, he has an amazing voice and plays acoustic (sometimes a 12-string) electric guitar, both solo and with a full band. You might recognize him with his platinum selling song, “Come On Get Higher.”

The 43 year-old singer-songwriter released his 8th album, Last of the Great Pretenders, on July 16th, 2013 and was his 3rd album with Vanguard Records. His first single, “Mission Bells” was released on March 11th on San Fran radio station KFOG. This album debuted at #16 on the Billboard Top 200.

His songs have been featured on TV shows such as: “NCIS”, “One Tree Hill”, “Private Practice”, “Women’s Murder Club”, “Big Shots”, “Scrubs”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Life Unexpected”, “The Bachelor” and more.

Matt is currently touring with his band, which features Aaron Tap (acoustic & electric guitar), Victor Indrizzo (drums), Chris Reynolds (drums, engineer and synthesizer), Jake Sinclair (bass, drums, guitar, mixing, producer, programming, background vocals), and Mike Viola (bass, guitar, keyboards, producer, background vocals).

He tours and opens for Train this summer so Boston fans, don’t miss him! at Xfinity Center on June 20, 2015.

Ed’s been in the news lately, and not for his intimate friendship with Taylor Swift but for his intimate relationship with pot. His latest release, “Sweet Mary Jane” gives a few clues as to how much he enjoys this particular pastime, and it’s been suggested that he wrote the love song to be “cool”. Well, we’ve always thought Ed was cool enough, so here’s a flashback to season 4 with Ed and Kennedy, weeks before the Grammy’s and a duet with Sir Elton John.

Tove-Lo-Talking BodyTove Lo might have caught your ear this time last year with her slow building hit, “Habits (Stay High)”, an ode to marijuana self-medicating. I’m all for some green but the track just didn’t tickle my fancy. So I took no interest in this artist with the odd name, who reminded me of another emo, indie pop Lorde – no thank you. Well, I’m owning my bad judgement because I was wrong and if you were at this year’s Boston Calling you might have caught Tove Lo tearing up the stage. What changed my opinion on Tove Lo? Her second single, “Talking Body”. Released in January of this year, the track has gained popularity on top 40 radio over the last few months and I guarantee it will have your feet moving this summer. The lyrical content and musical composition seamlessly flow together to create a mid-tempo bass, heavy groove with the sexiest, catchiest hook you’ve ever heard. After hearing “Talking Body” I listened to the rest of her album and was not disappointed. Check the track below and get your summer groove on.

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music:Bear's DenWith so many alternative bands in this world, it’s hard to find one that fits all your criteria, especially when it comes to folk. Look no further because Bear’s Den brings you just that. Originally out of West London, this British alternative folk band not only brings you soothing music but also brings the comfort of bands like The Lumineers and more.

2012 was one of their first tours on the road with Ben Howard, The Staves and Nathaniel Rateliff but their big break was touring alongside Mumford & Sons as headliners. They also toured alongside Australian singer/songwriter Matt Corby in October of 2013. Soon after, Bear’s Den received the Deezer Award from the PRS for Music Foundation in June 2014 and landed the chance to participate in the CMJ Music Marathon in NYC.

After years of releasing EP’s, their debut album, Islands released on Communion Records in October 2014.  The label was founded in 2006 by Bear’s Den member Kevin Jones, Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons and producer Ian Grimble.

From their new album, Island, the song to listen to is “Above the Clouds of Pompeii.” Its smooth sounds of the country side provokes the thought of just letting go and being free. If you are a Mumford & Sons fan, then Bear’s Den is for you so relax and take the journey with this talented band. Featured in television shows such as Reign, The Royals, Parenthood and more, you’ll want to see them live. Check out when they’re coming to your home town.

If you are a huge Mumford & Sons fan, then this band is just for you. Relax and take the journey with this talented band. Featured in many TV shows such as Reign, The Royals, Parenthood and more. You’ll want to see them live. Check out when they’re coming to your home town.

Vancouver-Sleep-Clinic_2471-1024x641We all dream of that chill night, where all you want to do is tune out the world. You need that one band or artist, who will motivate you to grab that glass of wine, sit on the couch with a roaring fire or help you ease into that bubble bath. Look no further, because Vancouver Sleep Clinic is the perfect background music to make that happen. Tim Bettinson, a talented 17 year old Australian from Brisbane grew up listening to his dad’s Eagles and Fleetwood Mac records. He later found his EUREKA moment after listening to Bon Iver’s album, For Emma, Forever Ago and the band “Sigur Ros”. He fell in love with modern pop and decided that he wanted to channel a bit of his idols into his music. Taking hints from Bon Iver, you can hear how soulful Bettinson’s voice is on his tracks “Collapse” and “Vapour”.

What does the name Vancouver Sleep Clinic really mean to Bettinson? The music creates an atmosphere that people could fall asleep to, hence the Sleep Clinic part. But as for Vancouver, it’s just a beautiful place, no explanation needed.

After months of assembling lyrics from his math books, notes, whiteboards, his bedroom walls and of course an old laptop, his EP “Winter” was born (2014). His song “Collapse” has been featured in TV shows such as “The Vampire Diaries”, “Teen Wolf”, “Eye Candy”, “The Guardian”, the new hit series “The Royals” and much more.

Bettinson says that his dream is to be playing a 10-piece band in forests, castles and canyons. It’s never been his goal to be in the spotlight; his goal is to give people a collective experience and to have fun. So for now, step into the soothing world, relax, and take in the beautiful sounds of Vancouver Sleep Clinic.

Follow him on twitter @vcsleepclinic. Listen to him on ITunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and visit his website: www.vscsounds.com

 

magicParis, Texas and Chicagoland is Where It All Starts for this band. Magic Man is a five-piece, major label, synth rock band from Boston. Formed in 2010, they released their first EP You Are Here in September 2013, followed by their first major full-length release, Before The Waves on July 8, 2014. In February 2014, their song Paris debuted at #39 on the alternative charts and in March 2014, Alt Nation debuted Paris at #1 on the Alt 18 countdown. Also in March, they decided it was time to take things to the next level and perform at the well-known Austin, Texas festival (SXSW) alongside other bands such as Smallpools, Grouplove, New Politics and more. Shortly after opening for these bands, they embarked on their west coast US tour, headlining for the first time alongside Panic! At The Disco and Walk the Moon.

If you’ve listened to these guys, you’re probably familiar with their Passion Pit vibe. They released their first music video (PARIS), which debuted on VH1’s Mid Morning Buzz with Nick Lachey, and in a few days they sold out their first concert in NYC. Signed to Columbia Records, this band is a must see.

Happy to say that I’m friends with such a talented band. Make sure to see them this year as they headline a show near you.

dancing with myself cover

Disco does something to my body. I’m not sure if it’s the tempo, the funky synthesizers, occasional brass influences or piano chords, but there’s something about it that takes my two Jewish left feet on a ride that I never want to get off. The Knocks never fail in my book; they take the world of disco and funk to an unparalleled level of greatness. Their music speaks for itself and the new track, Dancing With Myself, follows the trend of becoming another dance masterpiece. With smooth vocals from Mr. J. Patt, over a bass heavy piano driven track, this mid-tempo funky jam should have your head bobbing. Dancing With Myself is the lead single from The Knocks’ debut full length album. If their past singles and EP’s are any indication, the future of the Knocks,  should be nothing less than spectacular. Watch the brand new video for Dancing With Myself below.

young-summerPalm trees, salty air, ocean breeze and driving with the top down…the small things that make up a whole season of summer. Some might even call it a Young Summer. DC-based electronic pop songstress Bobbie Allen did just that. Her band, Young Summer, started when she found herself opening for American singer/songwriter Trent Dabbs from Mississippi. With great anticipation and hard work, Bobbie released her debut EP, Fever Dream, which made her songs infectious across the country. With her song, ‘Waves That Rolled You Under’ making TV placements from hit shows including “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Pretty Little Liars” and “Vampire Diaries”, to name a few.

Bobbie Allen’s voice, which has been compared to Sarah McLachlan and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, is smooth and soulful. Her voice is light, but is strong enough to carry heavy lyrics. Signed to Ready Set Records, her debut album, SIREN- a collaboration with Trent Dabbs- dropped August 26, 2014. Get it now on iTunes: http://bit.ly/ysSIREN.

 

dabin bloodless

This track blew me away on so many levels, the first being that I did not believe it was the bass heavy, synthesizer enthusiast and producer Dabin, whom I discovered via Pandora last summer. The track is unlike any of his previous work, which tended to be on the heavier side of the electronic music spectrum. Dabin brings his signature electro style to Bloodless with impeccable melodic instrumentation, but with a softer touch. It is filled with screaming synthesizers, hand claps, ominous horns and an interchangeable bass line that gives you enough time to let it all out on the dance floor, take a break and start all over again. The composition of the track, combined with breathy vocals provided by guest feature Sarah Lee – not to be confused with the cake – conjoin in an effortless, electro dance production. I give Dabin’s new sound five stars and look forward to hearing more from this illusive DJ. His newest track was just featured as a premier on the popular Euro based UKF, which could be a real sign to rising recognition. Give Bloodless a listen below and see if you agree.

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Madonna-Rebel-Heart-thatgrapejuiceAm I biased because I owned the Immaculate Collection at age 5? Probably. That really is beside the point though because Madonna is back in full force with her new album Rebel Heart. After what was being called the “madonnagate” (her whole upcoming album leaked online in demo version and she was NOT happy) – Madonna decided to release five official versions of the leaked tracks on iTunes to hold her fans over until the full set is released in March. One of those tracks is called “Devil Pray” an acoustic bass-heavy ode to self-medication. Or is it? At first listen you might think, okay girl sit down, it’s not cool to sing about drugs when you’re in your mid 50’s (I for one think it’s great, light up that J Madge). The interpretation of “Devil Pray” is up for debate, but I think the song speaks to people coming together as one, an unstoppable force for the devil to reckon with, rather than self-medicating with drugs alone – which doesn’t get you too far. Either way, the track is fun to sing, and the hypnotic bassline should have you bopping around happily. Listen below and see what YOU think Madge is talking about with “Devil Pray.”

Catch the queen live this year at the Grammy’s, the “Unapologetic Bitch” singer should have an interesting performance for us all to say the least.

 

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