Photo Recap: Glen Phillips at Music Box

Best known for his talents as the lead singer and songwriter of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips has continued to perform as an independent artist focused on honest storytelling and compelling songwriting. The latest stop on tour in support of his latest album, Swallowed by the New, was to a packed but chilly crowd at Cleveland’s Music Box Supper Club. The biting cold and rain on a wintery March night couldn’t stop his passionate fans from sitting in on this show.

Amber Rubarth live in concert at Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland
Amber Rubarth photo by Mara Robinson

But first, wrapped in comfy scarf, blue dress and rose cowboy boots, Amber Rubarth took the stage and warmed up the icy crowd with a selection of acoustic numbers. The comforting blend of indie country and folk rock from her upcoming new album Wildflowers in the Graveyard were lovely and her light, soft voice captured the intimacy and strength of her songs. Even her gentle spin on REM’s Losing My Religion recast the classic song in a new light. Later in the set, the crowd got a preview of Glen Phillips as he joined Amber onstage for a stirring guitar and vocal duet. Amber will be returning next month for the Cleveland International Film Festival in support of her starring role in the movie “September 12th.” The film discusses people’s compassion and coming together following the events of September 11th. Amber and co-star Joe Purdy will perform after the screening in Tower City on April 1st and 3rd.

Glen Phillips live in concert at Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland
Glen Phillips photo by Mara Robinson

Glen Philips was excited to finally feel better for once. After just getting over a recent bout of sickness, he was finally able to let loose, bringing smiles and laughs to the crowd and his friends onstage. Joined by talented musicians/songwriters Amber Rubarth and fellow Toad collaborator Jonathan Kingham, Glen featured a majority of the tracks from Swallowed by the New, while taking time to weave their stories and settings between songs. At one point, he told the story of how Baptistina was named for the original source of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, only to find out the source was later disproven.

Jonathan Kingham and Amber Rubarth live in concert at Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland
Jonathan Kingham, Amber Rubarth, photo by Mara Robinson

Even though Phillips’ songs are emotional, the night was filled with fun and good spirits. His priceless reaction after his mention that the tour would be ending in Pittsburgh the following night was met with jeers and boos. “Is it a sports thing?” he asked innocently, before getting briefly educated about the infamous rivalry between the two cities. He started a new song, only to stop and remark, “You know, back in the day, this kind of hate was reserved for someone else breaking into your town and stealing all your sheep or something.”

Jonathan Kingham live in concert at Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland
Jonathan Kingham photo by Mara Robinson

The standout moment of the night belonged to Jonathan Kingham. Before turning the stage over to Kingham for a song, Phillips asked the crowd what they wanted to hear him play. Unanimously, we voted for “funky freestyle,” which Kingham obliged with a solo acoustic version of Every Little Step by Bobby Brown, complete with dance breakdown and off-the-dome freestyle lyrics. Bars included having the meatsweats from his pre-show shortrib dinner, and apologizing to the guy stage right for having to pay full price for a seat with a direct view of his ass all night. “You won’t normally see that at a Glen Phillips show!” he quipped at song’s end.

Glen Phillips, Amber Rubarth, and Jonathan Kingham live in concert at Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland
Glen Phillips photo by Mara Robinson

Glen’s voice is still as distinct and expressive as ever, with touching and tragic lyrics about love, loss, faith, his divorce, and hope combined with his signature folk-inspired songwriting. Even while Glen admitted on stage that “my songs are mainly about how sad I am,” each song of the evening’s set illustrated a wide range of feeling: from the forlorn lighthouse love song in the album’s opening song Go — which muses that sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is to let them go — to the closing inspirational, stomping, hymnal chorus of Held Up. Glen also played several popular songs and fan favorites from his Toad The Wet Sprocket years, including All I Want, Walk On The Ocean, and an encore crowd request of Crowing that got the room singing along and ended the evening on a high note.

Glen Phillips live in concert at Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland
Glen Phillips photo by Mara Robinson

Photos: Howard Jones Plays Cleveland

New wave/synthpop musician Howard Jones is on a North American tour and made a stop in Cleveland last night at the Music Box Supper Club.

The English artist is known for 15 top-40 hits in the 80s and early 90s, including No One is to Blame, Everlasting Love, New Song, What is Love, Like to Get to Know You Well, and Life in One Day.

Howard Jones by Mara Robinson
Howard Jones photo by Mara Robinson

Whereas past tours have featured simply Jones and a piano, this tour adds the flavor of a second synth player and an electronic drummer for a fuller, more rocking sound closer to the way we hear them on his albums.

Jones is a fantastic performer, and he peppered his set with just the right amount of between-song storytelling. He introduced Life in One Day as a song that is full of lies. “The old man said to me don’t always take your life so seriously? That’s a lie, my father never said that. The record company asked for another hit so I made this up,” Jones admitted. “No. Take your life seriously, especially in this day and age.” Although he agreed that learning to “play the flute and dance and sing your song” is pretty good advice, especially given the flute stylings of Ron Burgundy.

A couple times he’d interrupt a song to tell a quick story, like when he stopped New Song‘s chorus to talk about how much the critics hated his music back in the day, but how the public loved it.

For an encore he played Things Can Only Get Better, bringing a fantastic evening to a close. He described it as a mantra for when life isn’t going so well. But after such a fun and inspiring show, things were just about as good as they can get.

Howard Jones by Mara Robinson
Howard Jones photo by Mara Robinson
Howard Jones by Mara Robinson
Howard Jones photo by Mara Robinson

Photos: Death From Above 1979 at Cleveland HOB

Death From Above 1979 performing live at the House of Blues Cleveland October 11, 2016.
Death From Above 1979 features Sebastien Grainger (drums, vocals) and Jesse Keeler (guitar, vocals).

Death From Above 1979 played in support of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (photos here) and along with Deap Vally (photos here).

See more images from this show and others at MaraRobinson.com.

Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 by Mara Robinson
Death From Above 1979 at House of Blues photo by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson

Photos: Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues

Deap Valley live at the House of Blues Cleveland, with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Death From Above 1979.

Deap Valley features Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and guest drummer Lia Simone filled in last night for Julie Edwards.

See more of last night’s photos here: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Death From Above 1979.

All photos by Cleveland music photographer Mara Robinson.
See more images from this show and others here.

Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues Oct 11, 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues Oct 11, 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues Oct 11, 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues Oct 11, 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues Oct 11, 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues by Mara Robinson
Deap Vally at Cleveland House of Blues Oct 11, 2016 photo by Mara Robinson

Photos: BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) live at the Cleveland House of Blues, Tuesday October 11, 2016.
All photos by Cleveland Music Photographer Mara Robinson.

BRMC features Peter Hayes (guitar, vocals), Robert Levon Been (guitar, bass, vocals) and Leah Shapiro (drums, vocals).

See more of last night’s photos here: Deap Vally and Death From Above 1979.

See more images from this show and others at MaraRobinson.com.

BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson
BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson

 

BRMC at Cleveland House of Blues 2016 by Mara Robinson
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Cleveland House of Blues October 11 2016 photo by Mara Robinson

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