Red Baraat Showcase ‘Bhangra Pirates’ at Mohawk Photo Review

Red Baraat proved why they’ve been dubbed ‘the best party band in years’ with a vibrant and eclectically raucous performance at Austin’s Mohawk. The pioneering 8-piece band from Brooklyn, NY is currently touring to celebrate the release of their latest project, Bhangra Pirates, an unprecedented, high energy, gut-busting fusion of jazz, hip-hop beats, rock muscle, funky go-go and scalding hot bhangra.

The band is also on tour promoting their Festival of Colors, a celebration of HOLI, a Hindu holiday marked by public gatherings of families, friends, and strangers rejoicing in song, dance, and the exchange of “colors.” The holiday signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and an opportunity to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive. The festival debuted in 2012 at a sold out Le Poisson Rouge in New York City and has since expanded to cities nationwide.

Photographer Corey Mendez had the opportunity to celebrate Bhangra Pirates style with Red Baraat at Mohawk. Scroll through some of the evening’s highlights below.



Photos by: Corey Mendez

Something Rotten! Hits Bass Concert Hall

The completely original new musical Something Rotten! directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Aladdin), with music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Tony Award nominee Wayne Kirkpatrick and Golden Globe Award and Tony Award nominee Karey Kirkpatrick and a book by Tony Award nominees Karey Kirkpatrick and best-selling author John O’Farrell, opens at the Bass Concert Hall, May 30 – June 4, 2017.

The New York production opened in April 2015 on Broadway and continues performances at the St. James Theatre through January 1, 2017. Three of the current Broadway principals will be reprising their roles on tour: Rob McClure as Nick Bottom, Adam Pascal as Shakespeare and Josh Grisetti as Nigel Bottom.

The award-winning design team of Broadway veterans includes Scott Pask (scenic design), Gregg Barnes (costume design), Jeff Croiter (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), Josh Marquette (hair design), Phil Reno (music direction / conductor), Glen Kelly (arrangements), Larry Hochman (orchestrations) and casting by Telsey + Company/Bethany Knox, CSA.

From the director of Aladdin and co-director of The Book of Mormon and the producer of Rent, Avenue Q and In the Heights, this hilarious new musical comedy tells the story of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, two playwrights stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar Will Shakespeare. When a soothsayer foretells the next big thing in theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, the Bottom brothers set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL! With the most singing, the most dancing and the most gut-busting laughs on Broadway, it’s something wonderful… something for everyone… It’s Something Rotten! “the funniest musical comedy in at least 400 years” (Time Out New York)!

With its heart on its ruffled sleeve and sequins in its soul, Something Rotten! is an uproarious dose of pure Broadway fun and an irresistible ode to musicals — those dazzling creations that entertain us, inspire us, and remind us that everything’s better with an exclamation point!

Track Rambler caught up with Something Rotten! actor Nick Rashad Burroughs to hear more about what fans can expect from the show.

TR: Can you start off by introducing yourself and who you’ll be playing in the musical?

Nick: My name is Nick Rashad Burroughs and I play the Minstrel in Something Rotten!, and he’s the narrator of the show.

TR: Can you introduce us to the play? Give us a sense of what it’s all about without spoiling too much.

Nick: Well, the show is set back in Shakespearean times. It’s about the creation of the very first musical, and so you have these two playwrights dueling, one of them is the great Shakespeare and one is Nick Bottom, who is an upcoming talented playwright. [Nick] is trying to come up with a better idea than Shakespeare so that he [would] be able to provide for his family and beat Shakespeare once and for all. And in that, he comes up with the musical, and with that comes just a bunch of ridiculous parodies, fun, dancing, glitz-and-glamour, and a real appreciation for musical theater.

TR: I can’t even imagine the environment that you’ve immersed yourself in. Can you tell us what it’s been like preparing with all of the cast and crew?

Nick: Well, actually from the very beginning it was so family-based. Rob McClure, who is our leading man, did the show on Broadway and transferred from the Broadway production to the touring company and he knew the ropes and welcomed everyone. He’s just a great leader. We all do everything together. We go snorkeling, and so the rehearsal process started out with a great family environment.

TR: What’s it been like on a personal level? What have you done to get in the mindset of Minstrel? Any rituals or anything like that?

Nick: Well, my character is the first person that the audience sees and so I have to welcome everyone into this world that they don’t really know about. They don’t see anything until I come on the stage, and I come out and I welcome them. I put on a mask of welcoming. I lift my chest up and become inviting. I have a secret, which is the show, that I let everybody in on. I sing the first the song called “Welcome to the Renaissance,” which brings everybody to the show and introduces the setting. Before I go on I smile. I just become this character of happiness.

TR: What do you think people will be saying when they leave? How will they be feeling as they’re walking out?

Nick: I think when people come to the show they get a real appreciation for musical theater and for Shakespeare. I think that’s what people will really take away from it all. It’s about connecting the past and the future. That’s what people will take away from it all.

Nick Rashad Burroughs

Nick Rashad Burroughs

Follow Something Rotten! on Twitter: @RottenBroadway, Facebook, and Instagram.


Interview by: Sawyer Click

Mood Live Series With Gina Chavez Photo Review

Austin Music Foundation and Mood Media kicked off their Mood Live Series on Tuesday at the Mean Eyed Cat with an incredible performance by Latin soul artist Gina Chavez. The collaborative monthly music showcase will continue to feature artists participating in AMF’s Artist Development Program with upcoming performances by Charlie Faye, Jackie Venson, Jane Ellen Bryant, James Junius, Magna Carda and Migrant Kids.

Designed by the Austin Music Foundation along with leading music industry professionals, the Artist Development Program is an intensive seven-month program that will prepare a select group of emerging artists for the next step in their careers by providing advanced-level business education, expert mentoring, and high-visibility opportunities. The program will involve monthly classroom-focused group sessions along with tailored breakout sessions between artists and mentors.

“The Austin Music Foundation has been a catalyst for incredible growth for artists in the local music scene,” said Jackie Venson, participating artist. “This targeted program is a collaboration of talent and resources, and I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

“AMF is meeting the needs identified within the Austin Music Census,” said Danny Gillespie, Austin Music Foundation Board of Directors President. “By applying our industry expertise and building on the organization’s existing artist support services, which include free educational panels and ongoing consultations, the Artist Development Program will prepare seven local artists at pivotal stages in their music careers for an optimal future.”

Track Rambler photographer Demetrius Judkins Jr. was on hand at the Mood Live Series with Gina Chavez and captured these fantastic photos below.

GChavez (4 of 4)GChavez (2 of 4)GChavez (1 of 4)GChavez (3 of 4)GChavez (14 of 14)-2GChavez (4 of 6)GChavez (3 of 14)-2GChavez (5 of 6)GChavez (7 of 14)-2GChavez (2 of 6)GChavez (6 of 6)


Photos by: Demetrius Judkins Jr.


Emily Bell & The Talkbacks ‘Kali’ Release Party Photo Review

Last Saturday, Austin’s alt-rock goddess Emily Bell & The Talkbacks debuted their brand new Kali EP at 3TEN Austin City Limits Live with special guests, ZEALE and The Warplanes. Track Rambler photographer J. Alan Love managed to sidestep Bell’s path of destruction just long enough to capture these images from the show.

Emily Bell & The Talkbacks



The Warplanes

Photos by: J. Alan Love

Juiceboxxx Releases Punk Rap “Freaking Out”

Out of my mind but I’m a hell of a guy” boasts Milwaukee-based punk rap artist Juiceboxxx in his newest single, “Freaking Out”. With his forthcoming album similarly titled, Freaked Out American Loser, and a tour on the way, Juiceboxxx has begun to hit stride. The Beastie Boys reminiscent track is high energy and intense, and incredibly nostalgic.

Juiceboxxx goes beyond simple nostalgia however and has placed himself into a league of his own. Modern angst disguised in an eclectic pool of genres cover the broad variety of sounds that JB includes in his discography. “Freaking Out” comes out swinging and doesn’t show any hint of tiring out. A strong beat similar to those popularized in 90s alternative hip-hop flows through the track, offering no break from Juiceboxxx’s freaked out intensity. From the bouncing beat to the whip of the turntables, the track radiates reinvigorated originality over old shool flavor. JB says that the theme of the song is “hitting brick walls and fucking everything up but despite it all staying the course and trying to change your life in a positive way.” It’s pretty apparent in the lyrics that this is a song for those that are down, but not out.

Mark your calendars for July 28 of this year, for then the whole album will be available to blare in your car with no worries in the world weighing you down. Building off the momentum presented with this track, Juiceboxxx has allotted himself a true chance to bring his genre to prominence. It’s a cohesive flow that energizes the audience through a hypertensive backing track and pure optimism. Not many people could combine punk, noise, and rap in the way that Juiceboxxx prides himself in doing. A catchy beat, irresistible flow, and meaningful lyrics all come together to make this a track for the people, and even better, for Juiceboxxx himself.



Written by: Sawyer Click


Naomi Wachira Shares Her Love of Diversity with New Single “Beautifully Human”

Naomi Wachira is aware of the negativity around the World; from the constant attacks on her homeland of Kenya, to the police brutality sweeping across her new home in the states, she makes no mistake of hiding her disdain. Throughout her archive, you’ll find her contempt for xenophobia as she analyzes the beauty of human diversity. Her 2014 self-titled debut started this trend for her, deploring her frustration, with the folk twist on reggae that she carried on into her 2015 acoustic EP ‘I am Because You Are’.

Named best folk singer by Seattle Weekly, in 2013, Wachira’s now sophomore album – ‘Songs of Lament’ – again finds the relaxed reggae beat as she illustrates the hopelessness found in today’s society, with an all-inclusive promise of diversity’s virtue. Kenyan at heart and Seattle-residing, she features both of these aspects of herself in the song released so far – ‘Beautifully Human’ – recorded at the famous London Bridge studio in Washington.

With such a heavy topic, Wachira employs a pretty happy beat to accompany her sunny voice, buoyant atop of the inexplicably ignorant hatred that fuelled this song. You’d almost be fooled to think this is just another catchy folk song until her radiant tones call forward the goose bumps on your arms and send a shiver down your spine. She leaves her message reverberating in your mind, and her honest vocals a soft, comforting memory.
The album, she says, was “born out of the many tragic losses we’ve witnessed globally”, as she uses her vexation to bring the survivors together. She begins the song with a heartbreakingly simple notion, “I wish the World could believe, that my brothers and my sisters, we are meant to be.”

“We are human too”, she sings, abhorring the need to prove who she is, and why she is, with her lyrics against the beautifully antithetical blithe melody. Wachira laces each song with her hope for a better future and her positivity beams through the darkness of society’s fragmentation.

Yet another beautiful portrayal of the dystopian we live in can be found on her 2015 EP ‘I am Because You Are’ ‘Up In Flames’. You can find it on her SoundCloud.
Twitter: @imanafricangirl
Instagram: @imanafricangirl

Author: Megan Matthews

Gorillaz’s Evolution Stagnates on Humanz

Gorillaz have always been conceptually diverse, whether they are confronting personal demons on 2005’s Demon Days, musing on environmentalism with Plastic Beach or genre hopping on their self titled debut, there has always been the feeling that they know exactly what they are trying to say. Humanz, the virtual band’s fifth full-length effort (that’s if you include 2010’s iPad recorded fan club Christmas release, The Fall) is no different with tangible frontman Damon Albarn and band-penning artist Jamie Hewlett crafting an ‘emotional response to politics’ with the primary concept being the fallout of an unexpected Earth shattering event (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). With seven years since the group graced the airwaves expectations were understandably stratospheric and Humanz does indeed deliver the biggest surprise of 2017 thus far: a mediocre Gorillaz album.

The record gives the impression of a dystopian dance party with over twenty features from Michigan-based rapper Danny Brown to Jehnny Beth of Savages fame reflecting upon a world falling apart via colourful melodies and Sonic the Hedgehog circa 1991 style arrangements. Albarn is first and foremost a collaborator with projects prior to 2010’s The Fall ranging from Afrobeat supergroup Rocket Juice & the Moon to, a musical inspired by Alice in Wonderland with the Gorillaz themselves being no strangers to working alongside other artists but on Humanz something doesn’t quite fit. Whereas previous albums seamlessly drifted in out of collaborators, here the features hit you like a freight train leaving a sparse amount of breathing room for Albarn to come and deliver his two cents. The result is an LP that has so many personalities that it somehow lacks any definable personality. Hewlett’s artwork is better than ever and yet you have never felt more disconnected from fictional band members 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russell.

That’s not to say on their own the tracks don’t work, ‘Ascension’ is a particular highlight with Californian rapper Vince Staples conquering racism and police brutality over an apocalypse-tinged instrumental whilst the synthpop tribute to Colchester nightclub, ‘Andromeda’, finger paints its way across an LP that had the potential to be devoid of colour. Elsewhere De La Soul put in their time on ‘Momentz’, a glitch-hop banger that laments lost time with misleading enthusiasm and Columbian singer-songwriter Kali Uchis joins Albarn on ‘She’s My Collar’ in one of the album’s finest collaborations, although comparisons are immediately drawn to Plastic Beach’s superior Little Dragon duet, ‘Empire Ants.’ The delicate ‘Busted and Blue’ stands out as the only song devoid of features while Mercury Prize winning poet Benjamin Clementine graces ‘Hallelujah Money’ with a divine eeriness and potentially one of the LP’s most experimentally beguiling moments.

Despite the superiority of some tunes the record just doesn’t quite meld together with only the odd interlude preventing it from resembling a well-compiled playlist. Clocking in at 26 tracks on the deluxe edition (also known as a cynical attempt at a money grab edition) Humanz is far longer than it ever should have been. Tracks such as ‘Sex Murder Party’ feel completely redundant and let’s be honest, ‘We Got the Power’ is just plain shit. Tonally the track is jarring, striking similarities to beige chart topper James Newman and also featuring superfluous background vocals by Noel Gallagher that lend nothing to the song other than the inevitable headlines: ‘OMG BRITPOP RIVALS BROUGHT TOGETHER AT LAST BY CARTOONZ!!’

Before the album’s release Gorillaz teased seven singles and unfortunately these tracks are all that Humanz has to offer with the finished product bringing little in the way of revelations. As Tobias Fünke from Arrested Development once said unironically ‘I’m afraid I prematurely shot my wad.’ Gorillaz aren’t just a band, each album cycle is a multimedia project that usually comprises huge rosters of stars and talent which is why it is so surprising that their latest feels so underwhelming. The record isn’t bad by any stretch it just isn’t good enough.


Written by: Matthew Barnard

Swimming With Bears Play KGSR Unplugged at The Grove Photo Review

Austin alternative rockers Swimming With Bears played a sweltering set for KGSR’s summer concert series at The Shady Grove. Photographer Corey Mendez was in attendance to capture the spectacular images below.


Photos by: Corey Mendez

Wendy Bevan Releases Retro-Electro ‘Love From The Moon’

British cold wave artist Wendy Bevan gets intergalactic with the retro-electro “Love From The Moon” single off her similarly titled forthcoming EP, out May 12th on Kwaidan / !K7 Records. The atmospheric starry synths and shooting bass chords of “Love From The Moon” combined with Bevan’s glimmery vocals create an ethereal galaxy straight out of an 80’s sci-fi fantasy. This fuzzy, psychedelic voyage should fit nicely into your ‘summer of love’ playlist.

A musician and multimedia artist, Bevan combines a surreal and theatrical approach to her work across genres in performance, photography, live visuals and experimental art-works, on stage, musical performance, galleries and photographic imagery. She has developed a unique cinematic world and style of her own making. Wendy’s free spirit and personality as an artist in the most authentic sense enables her to freewheel between genres making panoptic, multifaceted art works.