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Love Me Nots Bug Jar

A sound is worth a thousand pictures

I told you that I love me some Love Me Nots.

I told you that they were coming to my town, were gonna party it down, and I was excited. Well, here’s what happened. Check out the review at BLURT…but more importantly, check out the band!

By the way…that picture up there is from one of the coolest DJs in Rochester. One of these days we’re gonna shake hands, because we’ve walked by each other unknowingly for years. But probably not during his shift.

And the picture in the BLURT article is from this guy, who is the unsung hero of this town. (We have shaken hands).

They’re Really Something

Love Me Nots 2

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For The Price of a Song

And the flame still burns

And the flame still burns

“Fans aren’t curious people coming out to check something out. Fans are intimately attached to your music.”

I’ve written about Marah several times over the years; they’re one of my favorite bands. Over the last decade plus, their albums have consistently connected and resonated with me, and when they are “on” (which is just about every time I’ve seen them play) they can light a room on fire like few others. And much like Dave Bielanko states above, I’ve seen the depth of devotion that Marah fans have to the band and their music.

The most recent show I saw was February of this year, part of a low-rent under-the-radar tour initially scheduled to work some new material out on the road and get the sea legs out from underneath a new rhythm section. By the time they hit Rochester, New York, the show had turned more electric and there were no new songs in the set. But while the band was still looking for clues (and cues) on occasion, there were enough moments of magic to keep the flame of hope burning. (You can read about that performance here and here.)

I noticed that there was a film crew darting about that evening at the Bug Jar, and hoped that the show was being filmed for a DVD. Frankly, after months passed and I didn’t hear much about it, I forgot about the taping. Wouldn’t be the first time I saw cameras circle at a great show with no public, tangible result.

Until today! Watch the mini-documentary here.

And in case you missed the credits, here’s a link to creator Topher Hopkins’ website. I was hoping the director and producer was a Rochestarian that I just hadn’t met yet, but no such luck; just serendipity that he decided to film at the Bug Jar. And thanks to the fine people on the Marah Board for posting and sharing this. I think more people outside the circle need to see it…it provides a glimpse behind the curtain at what happens on the other side of the stage.

It’s probably hasn’t been the easiest year for the band. A year before, they were ready to hit the road behind a great new album (Angels of Destruction) and the band imploded. This year saw Serge Bielanko take a breather to celebrate the birth and care of his new born daughter while the band would alternate playing as a duo, trio or quartet. Some woodshedding in Pennsylvania ala Big Pink. Some guest spots at festivals. The usual fun of trying to forge ahead and progress without a label, without a distributor, without the financial freedom to be able to do what they wanted when they wanted.

And although the road only got bumpier after this February date – failing equipment, broken down vans – I cling to the unflagging spirit that Dave has in this clip. Because at the end of the day, if you are an artist, the crowds and the attention and the buzz is sweet.  But it’s got to be about you. Without that drive, that soul, that emotional tug to pour yourself onto a canvas or into a microphone, you’re not going to matter. Like a bite of cotton candy at the circus, you’re a momentary burst of glory for the taste buds, then gone, almost before you can swallow.

Marah is more than that. I’m not certain how they will re-center themselves, but I hope what I’m watching is more than a detour. Perhaps it’s a transfiguration. They have earned my faith. I’m pulling for them.

Marah website.

Marah on MySpace.

There is no "i" in Marah

There's no "i" in Marah

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Love Me Some Love Me Nots

What's not to love?

What's not to love?

They’re coming to my town, gonna party it down.

Their first two albums were short, sharp and killer; the second (Detroit) made my Top Ten in 2008. Now they have a brand new one, Upsidedown Insideout, and it is yet another ass-kicker. More on that very soon, as I’ll be reviewing both the live show and the album. Bug Jar, here I come!

Until then, check this out, and this, and this! Then listen to some new tracks here. (You might also want to check out these guys too – Michael Johnny Walker doesn’t like to sit still.)

 Of course, anyone watching The Love Me Nots won’t sit still either. Matter of fact, with a stunning duo like Nicole Laurenne and Kyle Rose Stokes up front, my blood pressure will need to be watched closely. New drummer Bob Hoag has his work cut out for him, but I’m sure he didn’t make the cut by being anything less than awesome.

Did I mention that I’m excited that I’m going to finally get to see them live tonight? (I thought so.)

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Marah: Eventually Rock?

"One day I'll turn and face the flame and you will show me to the door..."

"One day I'll turn and face the flame and you will show me to the door..."

Anyone who has followed my writing over the years knows that Marah is a band that has absolutely floored me on many occasions; their albums usually wind up high on my best-of lists. When I first got Let’s Cut The Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight (one of the best album titles ever) and eyeballed the cover I was certain that the two guys leading the band were middle-aged rednecks. Oops. Oddly titled songs like  “Formula, Cola, Dollar Draft” were enough to get my curiosity piqued, but I quickly fell under the spell of the marriage of dramatic lyrics and back porch instrumentation, a refreshing breath of fresh air in the late 1990s.

When Kids In Philly landed, I was gobsmacked, especially trying to wrap my head around how a couple of Philly guys in their twenties could write about Vietnam with such naked authority. (I had not yet learned about Serge Bielanko’s voracious reading habits and astute eye for dynamic authors). And when I trekked to snowy Buffalo to see them rip a club from the face of the Earth, pound it into submission and then spike it back into the ground, I left The Mohawk determined to spread the gospel of one of the best rock’n’roll experiences of my life.

The past ten years have seen some amazing highs and lows for the band. Musical validation from Bruce Springsteen and Steve Earle giving them a career boost, writers Stephen King and Nick Hornby praising their work as unabashed fans and supporters…but every time momentum seemed to be their friend, something would knock the wheels off the bus. Rhythm section jettisoned. Goodbye, Philly. Float Away With The Friday Night Gods. Goodbye, England. Another rhythm section jettisoned, this time on the eve of a tour to support a critically acclaimed new album. And now, in 2009, no label, no album and as for the band itself…who knows? There are those who think that Marah is afraid of success, turning away from the current when it seems to be at its strongest; others think the band must be cursed.

Earlier this month I got to see Marah for the tenth or eleventh time, and while I’m not certain where they’re headed, I’ve got too much invested not to go along for the ride. I’m hoping for a Phoenix-like resurrection. Read all about it here.


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