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Man, Alive!!!!! August 24, 2008

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CheckOneTwo and BabySham have had one OUTSTANDING weekend of music here in Lotta Rock.  Friday night with Rodney Block in Conway (see earlier post), then last night at Crush Wine Bar was just redonkulous.   I’m talking about 150-200 folks jammed into Crush, and they got their $10 worth.

Crush was the first time we ‘ve gotten to see The Dapper One, Sean West, carry a whole show and, brother, he carried it.  He’d put some thought into this–door prizes, gift bags, costume changes…oh yeah.  Backed up by the mega-tight Solefud band–and Crystal Hayes keepin’ it sweet ‘n’ funky on backup vocals–Sean came at it like a madman, crooning smooth and soulful like a locked-out suitor wanting you to quit playin’ around and let him in the damn house.   Sean brought on guests Epiphany and Osyrus for a coupla songs, but this was his show and he made sure you knew his name.    

As if that weren’t enough, Sean gave way to an intensely hot set from Epiphany & One Night Stand.  I’ve written a lot of times about how much I like this bunch, but last night’s set was off the charts.  Maybe it was the tight quarters, mixed with sweat, perfume, lots of wine, no stage, and an insanely good band, but Piph and Gina Gee had it moving from go.  Big plusses for a coupla songs featuring Gina on lead–“Butterflies” and “Spotlight” (at least that’s what I think the titles were), and for guest trumpet from Rodney Block on “Can’t Tell”.  I wasn’t ready for this one to end–the mark of a great show. 




The Way-ay-ting. Yeah, it’s the Hardest Part August 21, 2008

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Dagnabbit–is it only Thursday?  Yours truly is visibly itching for some good shows coming up over the next few days.  If you were me, here’s where you’d be:


Time to doll it up, get swanky, and take a journey to Conway, for the Rodney Block & The Real Music Lovers show.  I’m talking about nifty jazz/hip-hop/gospel with one of the finest hornblowers around.  I’ve seen him a few times playing mad trumpet with Epiphany & One Night Stand, but this is the first time I get to see him with his own crew.The setting?  Michelangelo’s, one of those membership joints ($5–I can drink in Conway!!) which looks to be far too posh for Faulkner County.  I predict a night of well-dressed folks sippin’ grappa and gettin’ they jazz on. 


Saturday is just a dadgum embarrasment of riches.  I must have overloaded on good karma, because there are two super shows within walking distance of each other. 

7:00 p.m. kicks things off with Pop in the Park. 


Saturday’s selection:  Kyoto Boom, 4×4 Crew, and Browningham.  (Word around the campfire is that Suga City ain’t gonna make it after all).  You never quite know what Browningham is gonna pull out, but you can count on some falsetto good times.  4×4 Crew brings the positive energy and Kyoto Boom, well, can I just say that they blew me away a coupla weeks ago when they shared a stage with The Moving Front?  Kyoto Boom is poised to take over in a big way.  You heard it here.   Don’t miss the chance to see these guys.

9:00 p.m.

at Crush Wine Bar:  Sean West and Solefud the Band, plus Epiphany & One Night Stand.  Are you kidding me?  Love these little club sets.  CheckOneTwo has seen Sean West a lot of times, but this will be his breakout solo gig.  A night of crooning and, according to Sean, “church announcements.”  If there’s an altar call, you might just see me rolling down for some salvation.   You might need to get there early for this one, b/c seating is limited.  I also strongly suggest you dress to impress.



Your Official CHECKONETWO Riverfest Planning Guide May 21, 2008

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Sweet Fancy Moses!  Riverfest is almost upon us, and it’s time to get all logistical-like.  Lots of great bands, plenty of stages, and some decisions must be made.

The full Riverfest music schedule is available right cheer.  As a public service, CheckOneTwo has sifted through the schedule and humbly offers this handy guide as a resource for the discerning Riverfest attendee.  Click the hot links for more information about each of the bands.

NOTE:  the Arkansas Music Tent is a gold mine, and is located on the NLR side on the east end of the park. 

Highlights that I see:


6:15 SILVERTON (Triple-S Alarm Stage)–upbeat, old-school folk/country

7:30 607 (Triple-S Alarm Stage)–smart rap

9:30 THE MOVING FRONT (Arkansas Music Tent)–guitar/keyboard-driven post-punk


1:30 P.M.  SMOKE UP JOHNNY (Budweiser Stage, NLR)–rowdy barroom punk

3 P.M.  KEVIN KERBY & BATTERY (Triple-S Alarm Stage)–lyrical good ole Americana rock

4:30 P.M.  RUNAWAY PLANET (Acxiom/Miller Lite Amphitheatre Stage)–killer bluegrass

4:30 P.M.  KYOTO BOOM (Budweiser Stage, NLR)–80s-themed bass driven hypnotic new wave goodness

6 P.M.  CHRIS DENNY & THE OLD SOLES (Acxiom/Miller Lite Amphitheatre Stage)–country/americana with surprising vocals

6 P.M.  GREG SPRADLIN OUTFIT (Triple-S Alarm Stage)–Arkansas’s best guitarist leads Americana rock

7:30 P.M.  BETTER THAN EZRA (Budweiser Stage/NLR)–New Orleans party rock

9:30 P.M.  EPIPHANY & ONE NIGHT STAND (Arkansas Music Tent)–don’t miss this hip-hop/soulful show with a crack backing band


2:30 P.M.  RODNEY BLOCK (Acxiom/Miller Lite Amphitheatre Stage)–masterful jazz trumpet

3:30 P.M.  DAMN BULLETS (Triple-S Alarm Stage)–folk/country that gets ya movin’

6:30 P.M.  BOONDOGS (Arkansas Music Tent)–laid-back ambient indie folk rock

9:30 P.M.  FIREWORKS!!

Come on out–and bring me some sunscreen, willya?


Arkansas Earth Day Concert Lineup April 16, 2008

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The Arkansas Earth Day celebration is coming right up.  I hope you’ll get on out to the festival on April 26th on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center–learn more about all the good stuff going on at ArkansasEarthDay.org.  If you get out, stop by and see us at the Sierra Club booths.

I’m psyched about the Earth Day concert that will cap off a great day of festivities.  The show will be from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. at the ArtsScene space in North Little Rock, and you get a HUGE lineup for only $5.  Truly a great lo-do show. 

Here’s the lineup:

7:00pm-7:30pm Bryan Frazier

7:30pm-8:00pm Stone Trio
8:00pm-8:30pm Epiphany
8:30pm-8:45pm Fashion Show Segment 1
8:45pm-9:30pm Moving Front
9:30pm-9:45pm Fashion Show Segment 2

9:45pm-10:15pm Rockst*r

10:15pm-10:30pm Fashion Show Segment 3

10:30pm-11:15pm Butterfly

Emcees: Ron Mack and Razormack

DJing by g-force
Guest trumpeteer, Rodney Block




Keepin’ it green,



Posted by glenhooks in Show Reviews.
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Confession:  I have a seriously fierce bandcrush on Epiphany & One Night Stand.   

The kind of bandcrush that I’ve only had a few times in the History of Glen.  It usually happens when I stumble across an act that brings it in a new way, with a new sound and a new vibe.  Think Devo, with their robotic herky-jerk.  Think about Rage Against the Machine’s uncompromising fist-in-your-face meld of rap and funk/metal.  Think Stone Roses–so lush and British that my bangs magically grew over my eyes while I involuntarily shoegazed.   Locally, think The Moving Front, who mashup 80s keyboards and guitar sounds with smart, punkish vocals.  Each of these bands I’ve loved in a way that’s different from my appreciation of other music over the years.

Epiphany & One Night Stand are now officially added to the list.

I had the chance to see this act twice in the last ten days–once at a Sierra Club “Energy Shift” concert, and last night at a taping in Conway for AETN’s “Front Row” series.    This is a musical act in the true sense of the word.  It’s not a rapper vocalizing over a pre-recorded track, although Epiphany would probably hold his own in any battle.   This man’s style is intelligent, thoughtful, bitches-and-hoes-free, and madly skillful, in the smart vein of Mos Def or KRS-One, but with a southern flair that makes it utterly his own.  Take Piph’s rhyming and add the diva soulful vocals of Gina Gee.  Add the rock edge of Sixtring’s guitar, then mix in keyboards, bass, drums—this is a sound that I haven’t heard before.  It’s not rap, it’s not hip hop, it’s not soul, it’s not rock, it’s not jazz.  It’s the whole enchilada, and I’m diggin’ it hard.

All the times that I’ve seen these folks before have been in a club setting:   Sticky Fingerz, The Village, Downtown Music.  On the way to AETN last night, I was very curious how the incredible live show would carry over to an austere public television studio, with TV cameras rolling.  The vibe is an important thing–would folks react well without the social atmosphere and alcohol that fuels crowd reaction in a club?  A real challenge.

The challenge was met.  Piph and the band strolled onstage quietly, but quickly took over to the point where the onstage monitor was visibly smoking.  Before too long, the heads were bobbing, hands were waving, and the vibe was building strong.  At mid-point, Epiphany brought excellent onstage the excellent horn of Rodney Block to help out on “Can’t Tell,” who added an extra sonic layer of jazz to a hit that was already bringing folks out of their chairs.   The set ended with an electric hand-waving singalong of “5 Dollas” that I can’t get out of my head hours later.  CheckOneTwo predicts big things ahead for these folks.

Check out Epiphany & One Night Stand when this set broadcasts on AETN April 16.   This ain’t your father’s PBS.