Mono: The LEO interview

Beautifully rocking around the world for 15 years now, Japan’s Mono has earned many fans, especially for their live performances. Mono plays Headliners Music Hall on Friday, and LEO asked leader/guitarist Takaakira Goto a few questions:

LEO: You play an average of 150 shows a year – so how do you balance time for family, friends, and other interests?

Takaakira Goto: It is complicated, but everyone you mention – friends and family – they understand how much music means to each of us, and how this is our passion. Because of this, they are forgiving and generous about the time we must spend away. When we are home, we don’t have other jobs. So we are able to spend as much time as possible then with family and friends.

LEO: How do people in different countries define, or talk about, your music? Does it vary based on which country or continent you are in?

Takaakira Goto: It seems that fans in most places are similar when talking about music. We have a wider audience elsewhere in the world, as does most music. In Europe, for example, it would not be uncommon for older people (50+) to be at a show, and possibly be people who simply read an article about the band and decided to come hear it. American audiences seem to be less adventurous than that, and we are mostly playing to people who know about the band.

LEO: What is your favorite way to compose music? Solo, together, at home, on the road?

Takaakira Goto: I write the music solo, and mostly at home alone. Sometimes I have the time during soundcheck to work on ideas or play through them late at night in the hotel, but mostly tour is too busy to accomplish much.

LEO: You plan to record a new album again this fall. Is this an especially productive time for the band, or a normal pace?

Takaakira Goto: We will record immediately following this tour in late May. We recorded our last album almost 2.5 years before that, but the album before that was three years. It’s sort of a normal schedule for us. When we first started as a band, we put out albums every two years, but now the touring involved is longer, which makes less time for writing new music, taking a break, etc. So it seems like regular pace now.

LEO: Your American label, Temporary Residence Ltd., is run by Jeremy DeVine, who is from my hometown, Louisville, Kentucky. What is your relationship like with him and his crew? Do you have a favorite TRL band (besides yours)?

Takaakira Goto: We’ve worked together with Jeremy and TRL for about 13 years. He is my hero, and also a part of our family. I feel we’ve been growing together all this time, and I am always telling him we will be releasing new albums on TRL even when we are 80-year-old rock guys. There are many great bands and artists on TRL who are long-time friends, especially Explosions in the Sky, Envy, Bellini, The Drift, Eluvium, Tarentel, Majeure and Maserati.

Clifton Center season features Leo Kottke, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Fatoumata Diawara and more

The Clifton Center has announced a series of headliners for their next season. Kicking off in September, the names announced so far include Leo Kottke, Fatoumata Diawara, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Las Cafeteras, Rahim Al Haj, The Miguel Zenon Quartet, Dirk Powell & Riley Baugus, Brooklyn Rider, and Jayme Stone with Tim O’Brien (the latter celebrating Alan Lomax).

A full schedule of upcoming concerts can be viewed here. As for ticket sales, the Center says, “Tickets are on sale now for Friends of the Clifton Center only. (If you’re a member, you’ll receive a subsequent email with details). Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday, April 24th.”

Iroquois Amphitheater adds Broken Bells, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Umphrey’s McGee shows

The South End’s most beautiful live concert venue, Iroquois Amphitheater, has added three concerts to their summer schedule.

Pop soundstylists Broken Bells star on Friday, June 20, with openers Elf Power. Tickets on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela headline on Sunday, August 10. Tickets here.

Jam band Umphrey’s McGee return for yet another Louisville performance on Thursday, August 14. Tickets here.

Ways to hear more Slint

You read about Slint in this week’s issue of LEO Weekly. You want to hear more, but the 200 tickets made available for their intimate hometown surprise show/celebration/tour warm-up sold out ASAP. Don’t worry – there’s an app for that.

The online radio station Art FM is providing a live stream of the concert tonight at 8 p.m. HERE. Opening band Wishgift plays at 8, and Slint follows at 9 p.m.

The station can also be heard via their “ARTxFM” app, available through iTunes.

Local bars Meta, Nachbar, The New Vintage and Seidenfaden’s have also been invited to share the live broadcast, with more establishments to be named soon.

Takuya Kuroda – “Rising Son” review

Takuya Kuroda
Rising Son

Japan-born, Brooklyn-based trumpeter Takuya Kuroda opens his Blue Note debut with the album’s namesake, a vibey, soulful introduction to jazz audiences not already familiar with his boss and producer José James’ work. The atmospheric keys of Kris Bowers and Questlove-esque snares of Nate Smith hearken back to the early 2000s Soulquarians period, with Kuroda filling in the Roy Hargrove space. The album is a solid effort, if not earth-shattering. Kuroda is still finding his space, his playing still a bit by-numbers in the studio. Having listened to a few live sets from James over the past couple years, this is not a problem Kuroda has in front of an audience, so we’ll chalk it to overthinking his first date with a national audience. James steps out in front but once on Rising Son, a cover of Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”, easily the record’s best. — Damien McPherson

Cut Copy coming to Headliners

Australia’s best dance/rock band, Cut Copy, is finally coming to Louisville to play. Hear and see more here. Ticket info follows:

Cut Copy
with Classixx
Thursday, June 26
Headliners Music Hall
Tickets $22 adv. / $25 DOS
On sale: Friday, April 11
Presented by Shark Productions & Headliners

Eric Church, Dwight Yoakam tour comes to the Yum

Eric Church will headline a night of country music at the KFC Yum Center on Thursday, September 25. Dwight Yoakam will be the middle act for the entire tour; the Louisville opener will be the Brothers Osborne.

“Tickets for the tour will go on sale April 18 in select markets, with additional information made available on Members of the Church Choir will have access to a pre-sale starting on April 15 … The best seats on The Outsiders World Tour will once again be paperless, so fans get them instead of scalpers. A limited number of VIP tickets for each show will also be available for purchase. Each VIP ticket includes a premium ticket in the first 15 rows or in the general admission pit, an invitation to a pre-show party at The Outsiders Joint, a two song acoustic pre-show performance by Eric Church, a limited edition show poster, and a dedicated VIP concert concierge. Fans have the chance to gain access to pre-sale tickets for each show by becoming a Standard or Premium member of the Church Choir. Join the Church Choir by visiting”

“While The Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour employed a succession of backdrops as the focus of the show, Church’s The Outsiders World Tour will use a much more high tech design and will offer fans a 360° view of the entertainer and his band.

Paul McCartney gets Yummy in Louisville

Sir Paul McCartney (ex-Wings, star of the 1984 movie Give My Regards To Broad Street) will perform at the KFC Yum Center on Thursday, June 26. It is his first concert in Louisville, oddly enough.

How do you like these corporate names?
June 19 – New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center
June 26 – Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
July 5 – Albany, NY – Times Union Center
July 7 – Pittsburgh, PA – Consol Energy Center
More dates to be announced

Ticket info:
“Tickets for the Louisville show go on sale to the public beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 14 at,, the KFC Yum! Center box office and all Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Thursday, April 10 at 10 a.m. through Sunday, April 13 at 10 p.m.
Keep checking for further announcements.”


Here is the rest of the press release info:

“Following an incredible 2013 which saw Paul’s universally acclaimed ‘Out There’ tour launch in Brazil and visit 23 cities across South America, Europe, North America and Japan, today Paul confirms he’ll be getting back out there in the U.S. by announcing his first Stateside dates of 2014.  In addition to his dates this month in Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica, and his return to Japan and first ever performance in Korea in May, Paul has confirmed the first four stops of an upcoming summer trek through North America:

* On June 19, Paul will return to the Smoothie King Center for the first time since his Driving USA Tour in 2002.

* Paul will play his first shows ever in Louisville KY and Albany NY, respectively, June 26 at the KFC Yum! Center and July 5 at the Times Union Center.

* July 7 will see Paul returning to Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center for the first time since opening the arena with a pair of instantly sold out shows August 18 and 19, 2010.

The ‘Out There’ tour, as always, features music from the most beloved catalog in popular music, as Paul performs songs spanning his entire career–as a solo artist, member of Wings and of course as a Beatle.  The set list will also include material from Paul’s most recent studio album NEW, a global hit upon its release last year.

The McCartney live experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity; in just three hours some of the greatest moments from the last 50 years of music are relived; music which for many has shaped the very soundtrack of their lives.  The last decade has seen Paul and his band perform in a staggeringly impressive range of venues and locations, including outside the Coliseum in Rome, in Moscow’s Red Square, Buckingham Palace, at the White House, a free show in Mexico to over 400,000 people, and even broadcast live into Space!  Featuring Paul’s band of the last 10+ years–Paul “Wix” Wickens (keyboards), Brian Ray (bass/guitar), Rusty Anderson (guitar) and Abe Laboriel Jr (drums)–the show never disappoints.

The tour also uses state of the art technology and production to ensure the entire audience has the best possible experience.  With massive screens, lasers, fireworks, unique video content and, of course, the best songs in the world, a Paul McCartney show is so much more than just an ordinary concert.  Paul’s shows attract a multi generational audience from different backgrounds all brought together by his music.

2014 got off to an incredible start for Paul as he set a personal career best by winning an incredible five GRAMMY Awards in one night.  In the UK he was honored by music bible NME with a special one off award, the ‘Songwriter’s Songwriter Award’ chosen for this unique accolade by his fellow peers.


“Two songs into the first of two shows at the Erwin Center, Paul McCartney announced, ‘we are going to have a party here tonight.’ For three hours on Wednesday night, McCartney fueled that party with a mix of hits from his days with the Beatles and his later career with Wings, showing off his skill as a writer of both simple, poignant ballads and more complex rock pieces… left the crowd alternating between singalong and awe… a big, joyous trip.”

“The still ‘cute’ Beatle played 38 songs in two hours and 45 minutes Thursday night at the Erwin Center. McCartney, not rock & roll, may be the universal language… You may only ever see Paul McCartney live once, but it’ll define a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“Thanks to his unparalleled repertoire, his miraculously still-marvelous voice, and the skills of his crackerjack, four-man backing band, even the most intimate moments — a delicate, solo acoustic ‘Blackbird’ or the chills-inducing ‘Eleanor Rigby’ — were as captivating as brawny, spectacle-assisted rockers like ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’”

“McCartney packed his latest Fenway show — he sold the park out twice in 2009 — with Beatles classics, Wings hits, and a few odd nuggets… The legend did so many things well it’s hard to find an entry point… There was hugging, there were tears, there was a 35,000-strong singalong. Everyone knew the epics were coming, everyone knew they would be cathartic. But this guy born in 1942 — this working-class Liverpool lad who’s been playing some of these songs for 50 years (!) — made us feel the love.”

“For three sweaty hours and two encores, fans got to bask in the presence of a legend who seemed genuinely glad to be there, and who still commands the star power to drive a crowd of nearly 44,000 giddy with the smallest gesture.”

“… dazzling show of enduring hits… McCartney didn’t hesitate to salute the American music that shaped his career”

“… the Beatles legend left a capacity crowd buzzing… McCartney’s concert at the arena reaffirmed his place as the popular champion… a nearly 40-song, three-hour set of Beatles classics, rarities, tributes and favorites from his Wings and solo catalog, a truly epic and awe-inspiring performance.”

“… though the show was dominated by classics from several different periods of the 50-odd years this remarkable artist/icon has been performing, there was no oldies-show aura to any of it… McCartney’s refusal to age or to go gentle into dilapitude or obsolescence is uncanny. His lithe and youthful appearance was matched on Sunday night by his seemingly undiminished stage energy.”

“McCartney treated the crowd… the largest attendance for a non-baseball event in Miller Park history, to 38 songs and nearly three hours of material… including a handful of songs — including ‘Another Day’ and the playfully simple ‘All Together Now’ — McCartney said weren’t performed before this tour.”

“It’s amazing that, with a catalogue more exposed and beloved than any of the last 50 years, McCartney could find something fresh to give fans. It’s equally unlikely, and pleasing, that… he could deliver these songs with such verve and verisimilitude.”

“Paul McCartney played a tight and polished headlining show Friday at the Bonnaroo festival… He sounded strong and energized… It was a bit like a performance from a head of state, and the enormous crowd held its respect through nearly all of it: walking against the flow of faces, you saw a remarkable kind of quiet concentration… In a scene where music from different stages is always competing in the air, sometimes aggressively, your ear gravitates toward these kinds of musicians, who seem to be giving you something rather than selling it.”

“Paul McCartney is always up for a challenge. His two-hour-and-40-minute set was also a model of efficiency, barely breaking between songs for more than a few words of banter or a quick story… what made his show memorable were the songs – and the chance to see McCartney himself. It doesn’t get much more rock and roll than that.”

“Opening with the 1964 Beatles’ classic, ‘Eight Days A Week,’ Paul brought the energy throughout his three-hour set, playing an expansive mix of Beatles, Wings and solo material.”

“At its heart, every McCartney performance is a reminder of the unmatched inspiration and influence of timeless Beatles music, the soundtrack of a band that legitimately changed the world… the show was a testament to McCartney’s own longevity… a legend, one of the rare pop musicians to really deserve that over-used title.”

“There are certain things you expect from an arena show (glitz/glam), and there are certain things you expect from a music legend (hits/banter)… the show crazy-delivered on both counts… Sir Paul bested even his FX team with rocking, fearless vocals… McCartney’s fans were a mix of old and young. He blew kisses to all of them throughout the show; I swear, you could see them floating like little hearts through the neon lights. I had the pleasure of sitting across the aisle from an actual screaming teenage girl, who bobbed and cried and shrieked, her phone overhead pumping it repeatedly. She wore braces and at one point shook so hard, her orthodontic wax fell on the floor… even a music legend can continue giving his fans something extra… there was nothing to do but love McCartney do.”

(BONNAROO) “Seeing the 70-year-old Beatle, whose voice has hardly aged a day since Please Please Me, play universally loved, time-transcending staples like ‘Let It Be,’ ‘Eight Days a Week’ and ‘Yesterday’ – selections from inarguably the most influential song book in pop music history – in 2013 (and all in their original keys!) is like being able to go see Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettysburg Address in person. It’s a privilege for anyone born in the last half century to hear this music performed live, in the moment, and with such grace, by the man who composed them. That wasn’t lost on the 80,000-or-so elated festivalgoers that congregated for Macca’s extraordinary performance… the single greatest Bonnaroo headlining performance in the festival’s 12-year history, as it was moment after awesome moment of fever-pitched collective transcendence. ‘Paperback Writer,’ ‘Maybe I’m Amazed,’ ‘Band on the Run,’ ‘Blackbird,’ ‘Something; (played in tribute to George Harrison), ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘We Can Work It Out,’ ‘Hey Jude’ – to have not gotten swept up in and invigorated by the life-affirming celebration would be an outright rejection of joy… Now the question is, how will Bonnaroo ever top this?”

(OUTSIDE LANDS) “… the biggest fireworks at Outside Lands’ opening ceremony – literally and figuratively – came with the day’s anchor act… Paul McCartney. Some fans found the performance cathartic. Some cried. Others had wide smiles from start to finish. Nearly everyone understood the weight of Sir Paul tearing soulfully through Beatles and Wings numbers with the conviction of the person who wrote those songs – ‘Blackbird,’ ‘Paperback Writer,’ ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘Let It Be,’ and so on and so forth – which, individually and collectively, helped shape our very idea of rock & roll… moved virtually every single person in the field, including security guards and food vendors.”

(BARCLAYS CENTER, BROOKLYN) “It’s nearly impossible to feel anything but excitement watching McCartney play many of the greatest rock songs ever written, and he’s careful to bring more than a few surprises each time he comes around… McCartney clearly lives for this. Crazy as it sounds, he very well might pull a Chuck Berry and still be at this late into his eighties. Why the hell not?”

“… a moment in history… Sir Paul McCartney played to a sold-out crowd of 47,000 people at Safeco Field on Friday… There won’t be a more historic concert in Seattle this year than Paul McCartney’s show on Friday night. That was a given even before McCartney came on stage, as it was Safeco’s first-ever concert. But McCartney made it a night for the ages by playing an inspired set of mostly Beatles songs, and ending with a Nirvana reunion, of sorts… It was magnificent.”

“… one of the best I’ve seen… nothing short of a fan’s dream. This was about as close to perfect as it gets. McCartney himself remains a force of nature… he has clearly inherited the mantle of ‘world’s oldest teenager.’”

“Last night in Golden Gate Park, tens of thousands of people sang along… The words, the melodies, and the voice carrying them arrived like a burst of long-captive air — familiar, yet revelatory. Soul-stirring, even… sung by Paul McCartney, who for the first night of Outside Lands 2013 took a sold-out San Francisco audience back to one of pop music’s original supernovas, and let us bask in its incredible warmth for the best part of three hours… Sir Paul can still sing, still play, and still charm… So the question of whether or not it was a ‘good’ show almost doesn’t apply — Paul McCartney… was good in a way that no other show could be.”

“He gave his fans what they came for, with a set including nearly three dozen hits over 2½ hours. Fans shot to their feet, clapping and cheering, twisting and singing, as McCartney blasted into ‘Eight Days a Week.’
Grown women cried. Their husbands held them tight as McCartney let loose the soundtrack of rock ’n’ roll history… His voice strong, his stature strait-backed, the affable British Invasion pioneer thanked the crowd for the warm welcome… A woman handed a packet of tissues down an aisle, eyes moist. Down the aisle it went until it was nearly empty.”

“McCartney sends all his loving to D.C. audience, and they send it back… There he was, 71 years old and forever young, presiding over another evening of civic ecstasy on another American ball field. And the guy made it all look so easy-breezy, with sly grins, and knowing nods, and four backing musicians who summoned big sounds with calm assurance.”

Naomi Wachira – review

Naomi Wachira
Naomi Wachira

Kenya-born, longtime Seattle resident Naomi Wachira has a near-perfect debut, with production help from Damien Jurado and choice Seattle players. The album is a spare listen focused on Wachira’s voice and acoustic guitar. Every bit of bio and background on Wachira emphasizes Miriam Makeba and Tracy Chapman as key influences, with the latter being the most evident. The record sounds like the best discovery an open mic night could ever offer. “We Are in Trouble” recalls Marley’s “War” in structure and cadence. It and “I am a Woman” are the strongest cuts here, declarative anthems that beg for audience participation, foot stomps and hand claps. “Sacred Love” swings, and begs to be heard in warmer weather and someone next to you. Jurado’s touch on the record is invisible, simply a name to catch eyes and ears. Put this album on your list immediately. — Damien McPherson

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy plays solo

Here’s all the info you could possibly need for this Jeff Tweedy solo show:

“The Kentucky Center and Production Simple are pleased to announce that Jeff Tweedy will be in Louisville for a performance at The Brown Theater on Broadway on Wednesday, June 11.
Tickets for this all ages show will go on sale to the public Friday, April 11, at 10 a.m.
Reserved Seated tickets start at $40.
Purchase tickets in person at The Kentucky CenterBox office, by phone (502) 584-7777 or on line at Phone, internet & outlet orders subject to convenience fee.

As the founding member and leader of the American rock band Wilco and before that the co-founder of alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy is one of contemporary American music’s most accomplished songwriters, musicians and performers. Since starting Wilco in 1994 Tweedy has written original songs for eight Wilco albums and collaborated with folk singer Billy Bragg to bring musical life to three albums-full of Woody Guthrie-penned lyrics in the Mermaid Avenue series.

In addition to his work with Wilco, Tweedy tours frequently as a solo artist,  playing intimate unscripted acoustic sets that draw from his 400-plus song repertoire. A departure from Wilco’s carefully orchestrated, sonically complex performances, Tweedy’s solo concerts showcase his prolific output as a
songwriter, his proficiency as a guitarist, his charismatic and compelling stage presence.”