Five Bands You Should Know

Five Bands You Should KnowMaking it all the way to the top is no easy feat.  Landing a record deal is hard enough let alone being able to tour and get your name out there.  Unfortunately, there are several extremely talented and very entertaining bands out there that are not household names and as a result, are flying under our radar.  Do not deprive your ears any longer from their musical brilliance!  If a band didn’t make MTV, that doesn’t mean a thing!  We’ve got a little something for everyone on this list, so without further ado, I present to you five bands that you should know…

Captain and the Night Creatures

#5  Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures

I came across these guys (and girl) at a Rob Zombie concert in late November (see my previous article) and they absolutely caught my attention.  This rockabilly group from Texas sports a steel pedal guitar, drums, bass and the Captain on his flashy King guitar.  Their lyrics are humorously macabre and cover anything from redneck vixens in outer space to two-headed teenage transplants.  That’s right, gather the family round for these guys!  Okay, maybe keep the little ones out of it, but these guys fulfill a perfect Halloween mood and even if you’re a bit off kilter upstairs, you’ll still be able to enjoy the music throughout the year.  Unique lyrics aside, Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures are a treat to see and hear live and deliver a sound that a studio album cannot come close to relaying.  

Visit Captain Clegg on the web.



The Answer

#4 The Answer

These lads from Belfast opened for ACDC on the ’08-’09 tour and many a jaw hit the floor when their first note hit the air.  The Answer plays determined and loud on the live stage while their lead singer  occasionally bears a musical aura reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant.  It’s not very often that an opening act keeps the audience’s undivided attention, but after seeing these guys open twice, I can say that people got to their seats early to catch this band in action.  They do not disappoint, rocking out tune after tune, pouring everything they’ve got into their set.  Sure, we all came for ACDC, but at the same rate, who the heck wanted The Answer to leave the stage?!  With so many music genres out there today, it seems like the area of just plain old rock n’ roll is dwindling.  Have no fear as The Answer fulfills this increasingly deprived pocket of audible art with a truckload of energy that leave audiences clamoring for more.

Visit The Answer on the web.




Acoustic Alchemy

#3 Acoustic Alchemy

Let’s tone it down a bit and take a walk down smooth jazz boulevard.  Low and behold, I discovered this duo on what I call the ‘statue channel.’  You know, those music-only cable channels that show still images while flashing obscure facts across the screen about the artist.  Think of it as poor man’s Pop-Up Video, but I digress.  Originally fronted by the acoustic guitar expertise of Simon James and Nick Webb, Acoustic Alchemy has delivered a plethora of magnificent influences, all blended into a fusion of incredibly relaxing, mood-setting music.  Their array of musical accents is so widespread that I wouldn’t know where to begin, yet album after album, this tag-team effort releases recordings of pure magic.  Though the faces of today’s Acoustic Alchemy are different from what founded the group nearly 30 years ago, they continue to harmonize the musical essence of Oriental, Latino, American and reggae sounds into one musical masterpiece after another.

 Visit Acoustic Alchemy on the web.



Robert Randolph & the Family Band

#2  Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Up until 2005, I had come across very few opening acts that I enjoyed.  It was just one boring, unappealing band after another.  Could someone please light a fire under these so-called artists?  I must have found the cure for insomnia time and again.  Then came June 15, 2005.  I was attending a Dave Matthews Band concert and the opening act was the lengthy-named Robert Randolph & the Family Band (RR&TFB).  What was the first thing I did?  I judged a book by its cover and thought, “With a name that long, they’re probably just another poor attempt at entertainment.”  Yes, that was my ridiculous reasoning back then and boy did that group prove me wrong.  Labeled as a funk/soul band, fearless leader Robert Randolph paves the way on his steel pedal guitar that is played with such undeniable energy, you can’t help but get up and move to the relentless beat.  The band follows suit with such a smile-inducing style and sound that carries the speed of a V8, it’s impossible to not tap your foot at the very least.  With a wicked cover of Billie Jean that sunny June day and a slew of their album-toting arsenal readied for our ears, these guys left quite an impression on me.  RR&TFB deliver a fast-paced, fun ride with their sometimes instrumental, sometimes vocal music whose (arguably) mascot tune is that of the 13-minute jam-it-out-and-get-crazy-wit-yo-bad-self tune, Ted’s Jam.  You want to do a backflip when you arrive at the office Monday morning?  Listen to these guys on the way to work.  It’s more energy than a can of Red Bull and licking a 9-volt will ever give you.

 Visit Robert Randolph on the web.




Seven Nations

#1  Seven Nations

It was sometime around 1999 as my dad and I watched CNN, only to have the last few minutes of the slow news hour be filled with the oddball story of a rock band with a bagpiper.  “Oh wonderful,” I sarcastically thought to myself, “This outta be good.”  To my surprise, the band called Seven Nations sounded decent and the bagpipes fit perfectly into their Celtic (that’s pronounced kell-tick) rock foundation.  Fast forward to July of that year where I was attending the Cleveland Irish Festival.  Ironically enough, Seven Nations (or 7N for short) was there that day where I immediately made it a point to snag a front row seat.  When lead singer Kirk McLeod, piper Scott Long and the rest of the crew finished, I was absolutely blown away.  If there was one standout memory of that performance, it was that you’d be hard pressed to find the Highland instrument played so furious anywhere else.

Delivering a breath of fresh air in the music industry, Seven Nations is a crowd magnet, fan favorite and just an outstanding band making use of the fiddle, bagpipes and occasional tin whistle along with the traditional lead guitar, bass guitar and drums, creating an audible electricity in the air.  McLeod’s smooth vocals front the meaningful delivery of their large library of songs such as the popular ballad Twelve to the punk-inspired Last Call to the more traditional rock-sounding Time as the Enemy.  This band, like any on this five-strong list, thrive under the lights and sound best up close and in person.  How much do I appreciate the work of McLeod and company?  Enough to make me take up the pipes a decade ago.  I’m not saying their music is going to make you run out and buy a set of bagpipes or a fiddle, but the energy they leave in their wake and the quality of their music is inescapable. 

Visit Seven Nations on the web.






3 Responses to “Five Bands You Should Know”

  1. Brian White

    Impressive review Gregg!

    I am VERY familiar with the talents of Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures, but I’m going to have to check these other acts out. My curiosity is peaked!

  2. Bob Ignizio

    Captain Clegg was about the only good thing in ‘Halloween 2’. Haven’t picked up the album yet, but I’ll get around to it. The Answer are good, too, if you’re in the mood for bluesy seventies hard rock. I actually hear a little more Paul Rodgers/Bad Company than Zeppelin. A little tame for my tastes, but undeniably good at what they do.

    As for me, if there was just one band I could force people to listen to, it would be Denmark’s Volbeat. They’re pretty big everywhere else in the world, but just now getting a little attention in the U.S. as Metallica’s opening act. They’re kind of like a thrash metal band crossed with early rockabilly/country ala Johnny Cash, Elvis, Hank Sr., etc.

  3. Gregg

    Thanks for the heads-up, Bob. I will look for some of their material. You’re right about the vocals in regard to The Answer’s lead singer. I should have clarified, I was referring more toward the guy’s stage presence. His actions and body language bear a striking resemblance to Plant.