On Stage (Bonus): Anders Osborne is on a writing spree

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

Anders Osborne

On May 20, downtown Wilmington will welcome the inaugural staging of David Bromberg’s Big Noise Festival at Tubman Garrett Park (815 Justison Street, Wilmington, http://www.bignoisefestival.com).

The festival’s all-star line-up will feature David Bromberg Big Band, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Dr. John, Anders Osborne, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams and Front Country.

A lot of artists go several years between releasing albums. That was hardly the game plan followed by Osborne last year.

In July, Osborne released “Flower Box,” his second full-length album of 2016, recorded in his hometown of New Orleans late last year. Earlier in the year, he released an album titled “Spacedust & Ocean Views.”

“I get on these writing sprees,” said Osborne, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “At a certain point, you have to document things. I don’t need a record drop strategy. My plan was to drop three or four records last year – but we slowed it down. I tracked a bunch of stuff – just kept recording stuff. I try to keep the muse going. It just percolates. I get musical ideas and put them down. Almost daily, I noodle around a bit. As soon as we finish a release, we go out on the road.”

Osborne, who was named the best guitarist in New Orleans by Offbeat magazine a few years ago, will be treating fans to some of the music from both new albums.

“I’m touring with my band and we’ll be playing four or five of the new ones each night,” said Osborne. “‘Spacedust & Ocean Views’ came out later than I wanted.

“I started recording it in November 2014, finished recording it in March 2015 and mixed it in spring 2015. It took a while to find the right distribution.

“I financed it with a pledge campaign. We had a lot of things that we gave to fans and raked in enough money to make the album. I recorded it at The Parlor Studio in New Orleans with a group of musicians I work with a lot. And, we had a lot of guests like Rikki Lee Jones and Ivan Neville.

“Half of the songs on ‘Flower Box’ came from the same period as ‘Spacedust.’ For the other half, I added some new ones.

“Once I had an idea of what I wanted ‘Flower Box’ to be, I honed in on some tunes. I wanted it to have a ‘break-up’ feel – a little anxiety I wanted it to be raw. The energy was more important than the polish.”

According to Osborne, “I love the way this record comes out stout and determined right out the gate, a four-piece rock and roll band making beautiful and conquering noise.

“The producer, Mark Howard, has a way of making you play in the moment and being confident.  His sounds and engineering style is that of classic records, with his own special sauce of ‘haunting’ on top of it.”

Osborne, a native of a small city in southeastern Sweden, was a musician who travelled the world when he was a little younger and eventually settled in New Orleans.

“I’ve been living on New Orleans for 35 years,” said Osborne. “It’s a great music city. I can’t see myself living anywhere else.”

Video link for Anders Osborne – https://youtu.be/GU_fTBYoZM4.

The Big Noise Festival will start at noon. Tickets are $44.

The Dream Syndicate

Last year, Osborne took just six months to release an album after its predecessor. This year, The Dream Syndicate will release a new album in the fall – just 29 years after its last album “Ghost Stories” in 1998.

The Dream Syndicate — Steve Wynn (Guitar & Vocals), Dennis Duck (Drums), Mark Walton (Bass), Jason Victor (Guitar) – is already taking the new songs on the road and will play a show May 20 at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com).

The Los Angeles-based band’s first incarnation lasted from 1981-1989. Wynn reformed the Dream Syndicate for a festival performance on September 21, 2012 at Festival BAM in Barcelona, Spain.

The revival of the band and the announcement of a new album came as a surprise to many.

“It was almost like a random happenstance,” said Wynn. “I got asked to do a festival in Spain. The promoter said – can any of your bands do it? I said – how about The Dream Syndicate?

“I’ve always maintained a good relationship with Dennis and Mark. I brought the idea to them and they were into it. Paul Cutler, our original guitarist, didn’t want to do it so the natural choice was Victor – and he was into it.

“We gave ourselves three days to rehearse in Madrid. In 15 minutes, it felt like we were back in 1988. We didn’t take the reunion too heavy and just booked a few shows here and there.”

Eventually, it came time to think about making a new The Dream Syndicate album.

According to Wynn, “I wrote a bunch of songs to take down to Montrose Studios in Richmond, Virginia —  a place I had worked often in recent years and felt was the perfect immersive retreat where we could conduct our laboratory of past, present and future.

“It’s the kind of studio where you can grab a guitar, sandwich, cup of coffee or beer from your temporary home and stroll just a handful of steps to the studio, ready to work at almost any hour of the day. The Dream Syndicate, after all, was never really about a ticking clock, never a slave to time or space.”

Wynn found out quickly that the magic was still there.

“These songs were all written for a Dream Syndicate record,” said Wynn. “This record was written for this band right now. This is a really good band.

“Anyone who has seen any of these shows says –this is a really good band. It feels true to Dream Syndicate but it doesn’t feel like a museum piece.”

Video link for The Dream Syndicate — https://youtu.be/1tuU7MC_Qi8.

The show at the World Café Live, which has Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $25.

On May 20, The Arts at Trinity (Trinity Episcopal Church, 1108 N. Adams Street, Wilmington, Delaware, www.theartsattrinity.org) will present a special concert featuring the Serafin String Quartet with pianist Hugh Sung in the final concert of its 2016-2017 season

The Serafin String Quartet

The Serafin String Quartet will perform Mozart String Quartet in F Major, K. 590 and will be joined by pianist Hugh Sung for Dvorak Piano Quintet.

The Serafin String Quartet includes Kate Ransom and Lisa Vaupel (violins), Sheila Browne (viola) and Lawrence Stomberg (cello) — all of whom are current or former professors at the University of Delaware. The foursome is UD’s “Quartet in Residence.”

String Quartet in F Major, K. 590 is the last of Wolfgang Mozart’s quartets and was written in 1790, a year before he died. The quartet, often referred to as a “Prussian” quartet, was composed for the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II.

“The first half of the show will be the Mozart String Quartet,” said Ransom, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “It has four movements and is 25 minutes long so it is a substantial piece.”

The four movements are Allegro moderato, in F major; Andante, in C major; Menuetto: Allegretto; and Allegro, in F major.

“This was the last quartet that Mozart composed a year or two before he died,” said Ransom, who is president of the Music School of Delaware. “It was written at the height of Mozart’s creativity.

“It’s a gorgeous and interesting work. It has classic Mozart touches like operatic singing and a lot of character changes. It’s a really a terrific piece of music.

“The first movement is an allegro movement – graceful and, at times, playful. The second is a very gorgeous slow movement – very virtuosic on the first violin’s part.

“The third is a light, dance-like movement with a rustic flavor. The fourth movement is a lot of fun. It’s spritely – full of pep and vigor.”

Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81, B. 155, is a quintet for piano, 2 violins, viola, and cello. It was composed in 1887.

“This is the ultimate piece of repertoire for piano and strings,” said Ransom. “It’s a brilliant composition that also has four works. It’s 45 minutes but it moves along really well. It absorbs people.”

Video link for Serafin String Quartet – https://youtu.be/pfc3meXrY6k.

The concert at Trinity will start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free – with donations accepted.


When Beastmaker headline a show at the Voltage Lounge (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215- 964-9602, www.facebook.com/Voltagelounge) on May 20, the concert will not be for the faint of heart.

The heavy trio from Fresno, California has been described as “Purveyors of some of the most ecstatically thunderous and raw doom metal to emerge in decades – with a sound that is instantly recognizable and yet thrillingly otherworldly.”

Beastmaker – Trevor William Church, Guitar, Vocals; Andres Alejandro Saldate, Drums; John Tucker, Bass – just released its new album “Inside The Skull” via Rise Above Records on May 19. Now, the band is touring in support of the new disc.

“It’s a long tour and we’re still in the Midwest area,” said Church, during a phone interview Tuesday morning. “We’re just getting out. It’s a long haul from Fresno to New York City. It’s a long tour but it’s a pretty awesome tour. The new album is out and we really want to promote it.”

Doom metal fans found a new favorite band when Beastmaker released its debut EP “You Must Sin” in 2015 and followed with its debut album “Lusus Naturae” in 2016.

According to Church, “When I describe what we do to do people that don’t know about us, I like to say if Danzig and Black Sabbath had a child of darkness it would beBeastmaker.

“I’ve always wanted to express my love for horror films through music, so you could say it was planned, but it took some natural evolution to figure out what works.”
“We’ve been playing ‘Inside The Skull’ live pretty much since we started touring with this band three years ago, In my opinion we’ve gotten heavier. Really our only goal in evolving is to get heavier and obviously improve our playing abilities.”

The band’s evolution is evident on “Inside The Skull.”

“Early on in the band’s history, we sucked,” said Church. “We weren’t that tight. Me and Andy had been friends for 13 years and had played in a lot of bands together.

“One day, we started jamming together again. I had some ideas. After a few weeks, we decided we needed a bass player. John Tucker was a guitarist in Blind Bison and we got him to play bass with us.

“His band was breaking up and I took that as a sign. He’s one of the best musicians in Fresno. He came over to jam and the connection was instant. It locked in together.

“At first, we tried to record some demos and failed miserably. In the beginning, I didn’t want to play lead guitar and sing at the same time. It was an issue for me for a while – but I got over it.

“When we put out the EP ‘You Must Sin,’ that was the real beginning of the band. Everything started to fall in line. When Rise Against contacted us to do an album, we were on our way.”

Video link for Beastmaker – https://youtu.be/BVBU0df4ynA.

The all-ages show at the Voltage Lounge, which has Heavy Coughin, Heavy Temple, and Holy Smoke as opening acts, will start at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10.

All That Remains is a power-packed band that grew up in the metal core world after first seeing the light of day when formed by vocalist Phillip Labonte and Oli Herbert in 1998.

The band released its debut album “Behind Silence and Solitude” in 2002. All That Remains just released its eighth album “Madness” on April 28 via Razor & Tie Records.

The band has been on the road supporting the album since the middle of April. This leg of the tour will wrap up with a show on May 24 at the Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net) and May 22 in Patchogue, New York.

As the years have gone by, the band has gone through a number of personnel changes but has had a stable lineup for the last few years. After Labonte and Herbert, the longest tenured member is guitarist Mike Martin who joined in 2004.

The current line-up of the band from Springfield, Massachusetts features Labonte (lead vocals, piano), Herbert (lead guitar), Mike Martin (rhythm guitar), Jason Costa(drums) and Aaron Patrick (bass guitar, backing vocals).

“This tour has been a pretty long one,” said Martin, during a phone interview Friday afternoon from a tour stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“After the album cane out, we did some fly-outs. Then, we’ve been headlining this tour along with a few co-headlining shows and a few festivals.”

The band took most of last year off to work on the new album.

“A lot of bands can write on the road — but not us,” said Martin “And, we don’t like to play new songs before the album comes out because fans don’t know them. It takes about six months — that’s when I can really notice that the fans are singing along.

“We finished touring at the end of 2015 and then wrote and recorded for all of 2016. We worked for a few months to get things set up. We probably only did 10 shows all year.

“The writing process for us is very scattered. Oli comes in with a song. Sometimes, I come in with a song. Phil went to L.A. to work with the producer on melodies and then would send us rough tracks.”

The bulk of the work was done at West Valley Studio in Los Angeles with producer Howard Benson, who produced records for Halestorm, Papa Roach and Chris Cornell.

“We all eventually went to L.A. to get our parts done,” said Martin. “We were rarely all in the studio together. But, it worked doing it this way.

“I like recording an album as a band – and I like doing it at home. This time around, the band wanted to do something different.”

Fans of All That Remains know that the band will always travel down unexpected paths.

Like most metal and hardcore bands, All That Remains has always featured vocals that are growled rather than sung. But, over the years, the band from Western Massachusetts has also recorded a number of songs with “clean” vocals.

“We can do any style of metal,” said Martin. “There aren’t many bands that can get away with what we do. Our records are so different all the time – all over the place stylistically.

“Our band has changed a bit over the years but not a lot – and whatever changes there are have been very gradual.

“Still, with us, you have to expect the unexpected. With ‘Madness,’ the 12 different songs could be 12 singles by 12 different bands.”

The album has already seen massive success, reaching Number 1 at metal radio with the first few singles – which can be heard in heavy rotation on Sirius XM’s Octane and Liquid Metal.
“We play three or four of the new songs in our live set on this tour – and that’s a lot,” said Martin. “You can’t hit fans with a lot of new songs all at once.”

The latest single off the album is titled “Louder.”

According to Labonte, “The song ‘Louder’ is about not backing down or self-censoring because people yell about what you think or believe. There will always be people who want to shout you down or say you can’t and that’s when you have to stand firm.

“There isn’t really an overall theme of this record any more than there was for any other ATR disc. Lyrically it’s all small parts of my life I put together and laid down. They’re all small parts of me.”

After a long wait, ATR finally can hear live performances by Labonte, Martin and the gang.

“We get a lot of fans coming up saying that they’ve been coming to our shows for years – that this is the 20th or 25th time they’ve seen us play,” said Martin.

“And, we’re also getting a lot of 15- and 16-year-olds in our audience – and 40-year-old moms. It’s great to see.”

Video link for All That Remains – https://youtu.be/qFnE2_pEFJo.

The show at the Chameleon, which has She Pulled the Trigger, American Sin, and Through Fire as openers, will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $18.

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