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Heart – Critic’s Pick

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Heart

7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 17. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, 14141 Riverport Drive, Maryland Heights. $19 to $136. 314-298-9944.

Heart is well into four decades of musical success, and that success was built on the skills of Ann and Nancy Wilson. The sisters led an accidental feminist revolution by doing everything that the boys of ’70s rock did, but better. The ladies of Heart didn’t just keep up with their male peers, they blew them away. Ann’s powerful voice and Nancy’s expert guitar playing always set the band apart, and it is their irresistible combination of skilled songwriting and musicianship that has earned them well-deserved international fame.

These Dreams: From power ballads to rock burners to sweet folk tunes, the Wilsons have done it all over the years, finding commercial hits with songs like “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man” and “Barracuda.”

—JAIME LEES

link: Riverfront Times

Full Circle with The Flaming Lips: 2012 In Review

Flaming Lips at LouFest. Photo by Khoolod Eid.

Flaming Lips at LouFest. Photo by Khoolod Eid.

Full Circle with The Flaming Lips: 2012 In Review
By Jaime Lees
Thu., Dec. 20 2012 at 11:54 AM

Editor’s Note: The end of 2012 is upon us (also the end of the world, if you believe in that sort of thing), so we thought we’d put a cap on things by sharing some of our personal favorite shows, albums, events and general shenanigans. Join us as we indulge in some navel-gazing!

When I write articles for RFT Music, I’m not just reporting on music happenings — I’m writing about my life. One day my priorities might change, but for now what matters the most to me is music. Maybe that’s wrong or unhealthy or something, but it’s true, and luckily most of my favorite music moments of 2012 have been documented in some way on these pages.

I’m lucky in that I have a lot of freedom in this space. It’s curated not only by people who give a crap, but by people who value what I have to offer. After seven years of writing for this publication, I’m still grateful and excited for the opportunity. I absolutely adore my job here at RFT Music. My life is my work and my work is my life, and I’m honored to share it with you.

That said, here was my life in 2012:

I rang in the New Year in Oklahoma City. My sweet old dog, Ruby, had just passed and I was in the middle of some serious grief. I ran away for the weekend to hang out with old friends and see two shows with the Flaming Lips and my spirit animal, Yoko Ono. At the stroke of midnight, I was tipsy on pink lemonade moonshine, bathed in kisses and standing inside a massive sonic blast fortified by a fog of rainbow confetti, flashing lights, jumping lasers, hundreds of bright balloons and the twinkling reflections off of a giant disco ball. The Lips played Beatles covers with Yoko and Sean Lennon and Nels Cline; it was absolute bliss and served as a strong reminder of the healing power of live music.

Flaming Lips and Yoko Ono - JAIMEVILLE.COM

I’ve been saved again and again by amazing music — most of it local. I’m a huge fan of so many of our local bands. Many people wait years for their favorite bands to tour, but for me, my favorite bands play all the time. As an extra treat, I get the opportunity to write about these St. Louis music makers: Lion’s Daughter, Prince Ea, Jimmy Griffin, Jans Project, Demonlover, Roland Johnson, Fred Friction, Nelly and the list goes on and on. I know that a lot of what I write reads as love letters to St. Louis, but I just can’t help myself — St. Louis just makes it too easy. Stop being so awesome and I’ll stop writing about you. Until then, the locals have my heart. (Extra double shout-out to people that I’m proud to call my friends, the hard-working folks at Big Muddy Records, Tower Groove Records and the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra.)

I’m not sure why, but this year I felt particularly productive. I was given space to write about music-minded locals who inspire me creatively (Dana Smith), about St. Louis music history (STL 2000) and I got to hype the touring bands that I was the most excited about (Future of the Left, R. Ring). I’m still not quite over the fact that I actually get paid to get drunk and watch Guided by Voices, to eat pizza and listen to Taylor Swift, to try to convince readers that Heart is badass, to watch classic bands like Kiss and Mötley Crüe, to review Madonna from the second row, to jump into the world of Juggalos, to get Sinead O’Connor‘s take on St. Louis (and Chuck Berry) and to praise my personal heroes like Bonnie Raitt and Henry Rollins. If you can find a girl that is luckier than me, I’d sure like to meet her.

Under the advice of my very favorite punk rock couple, I attended a show with a band I’d never heard before: I saw Useless Eaters at CBGB and it was the best damn show I saw all year. These kinds of happy accidents only occur when you actually listen to the suggestions of others, so try keep some cooler-than-you friends around.

And though I was stoked on the lineup this year at our big summer festival, LouFest, I had originally declined to do any LouFest coverage. I wanted a weekend of fun, without having to spend all night writing reviews. But there was a last-minute rescheduling and Kiernan came and found me right before Dinosaur Jr played. He needed someone to write about Dino’s set. I said sure, knowing that it would actually be easy– on some level I’d been prepared to review a Dino show for at least half of my life. Kiernan hunted down an empty beer box for me to write on and then he went back out into the crowd, off on his next mission. I found a pen, ducked under a friend’s umbrella and wrote my notes out on the cardboard. Improvising ain’t just for musicians, you know, and the Dino review turned out to be one of my favorite things that I wrote all year.

The second night of LouFest, I again found myself at the emotional mercy of the Flaming Lips live show, but this time as a participant. I danced onstage with some of my favorite people, and I absolutely rocked that slutty Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume, if I do say so myself. It was one of the best days of my life and it’s far too personal to write about here, but trust me, it was a good time and I felt absolutely smothered in love.

Since then my life and routines have gotten back on schedule, and this fall has been one great event after the last, and with the upcoming holiday season is bringing tons of shows that I’m excited about– I predict that I won’t get much sleep through the end of the year.

As for the future, who knows? I’m excited about the new crop of weirdness on the South Side. Magic City, Black James, Syna So Pro, Demonlover, Bug Chaser and Horsey Drawers have my interest right now, but nobody can predict what insanity will come in 2013. I, for one, can’t wait. Bring on the New Year. I’ll be lurking in the many venues, festivals, dark basements, loud practice spaces and fancy recording studios around town. See you at the barricades.

link: Riverfront Times

Ten Reasons Why Heart is Badass

Courtesy randee st. nicholas / peters management

Ten Reasons Why Heart is Badass
By Jaime Lees
Tue., Jul. 3 2012

Heart is playing at 8 p.m. on July 4 at Fair St. Louis. In celebration of this free event, we’ve made you a short list of reasons why Heart is badass. Enjoy.

01. Heart is run by badass bitches.
At the core of Heart is two sisters: Ann and Nancy Wilson. So let’s just get this out of the way: They are women. No, that shouldn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter as much now as it did in the ’70s when Heart was pretty much the only major band run by women with all of the decisions being made by women, but let’s acknowledge it. They are each the H.B.I.C. And they are talented as fuck. But please don’t call them women who rock. Barf. They just rock, okay? And they’ve been doing it for almost 40 years, so fuck you if you don’t think that broads are badass.

02. Heart has a badass logo.
Well, it does.

03. Heart is badass, even when it’s bad.
Let’s talk about “These Dreams” for a minute. Great tune, right? But the lyrics… yikes.

“Is it cloak n dagger / could it be spring or fall
I walk without a cut / through a stained glass wall
Weaker in my eyesight / the candle in my grip
And words that have no form / are falling from my lips”

I mean, what kind of fairy wonderland Renaissance Faire shit is that? But still, here we are singing along. Ah, fuck it. Don’t fight it. That songs rules. I’ll search for the time on a watch with no hands all damn night.

04. Heart has produced badass shit by overcoming some actual shit.
There were always problems about in Heart Land. Ann had a well-publicized weight problem and she was a stutterer. (This was cured by her singing, apparently.) And those in the know say that Nancy was a turbo slut who seemed to love the drama. (She once dumped her guitarist and then started banging her drummer, just like Fleetwood Mac’s resident ho, Stevie Nicks.) And both Wilsons endured painful rumors of incest and lesbianism. Still, all of these trials only made them stronger. These problems worked their way into their songs and then those songs made the ladies rich and famous. Booya.

05. Heart tells it like it is, and that’s badass.
Basically, if you fucked with the ladies, they were gonna call you out. In public. So you broke a Wilson girl’s heart? Yeah, they are going to to make sure that everybody knows. They’re gonna put your shit on Front Street. Hard. Every single person with a radio is going to know exactly what a dirty cheater / liar / dickhead you are. And this legacy lives on: Ann Wilson singing “If Looks Could Kill” is just a precursor to Taylor Swift writing “Dear John” about John Mayer. Date any one of these ladies and eventually you will hear about your mistakes in song form. Your grandchildren will hear it, too. So tread lightly, shady bastards.

06. Heart is a badass product.
Heart has had shit tons of success. It just released a box set and its 14th studio album, Fanatic, is coming out this October. They’ve been in the Top 40 twenty times and their shows are always selling out. All together, they’ve sold more than 30 million albums. What have you done lately?

07. Heart has mastered badass trick endings.
This is a songwriting skill rarely done well, and even then it’s usually only implemented in country songs. If you’ve ever really listened to the lyrics of “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” then you know what I’m talking about. It’s not a song just about bumpin’ uglies, it’s a deeper story filled with a predicable story line and then – bam! – everything changes. Heart didn’t compose this song, but Ann’s delivery is what makes it believable. That shit will give you the chills like whoa.

08. Heart is a badass family business.
In this band it is always family first. And honey, there is nothing more important than your sister. The Wilson girls grew up as military kids and they apply that same brand of strength and adaptability to their careers. They share the title of co-songwriter and they always seem to look out for each other. Family businesses are hard as fuck, but the Wilsons make it look easy, even after all of these years.

09. Heart still puts on a badass live show.
Straight up: Ann can still sing and Nancy can still play the shit outta that guitar. Decades of hard work has only served to make them even better. Their band is populated with world-class musicians and it is absolutely dumbfounding to witness a full concert where you get to experience just how many hits they’ve produced. And the cover songs they do are executed with great mastery. Ann’s version of “Unchained Melody” will ruin all other versions of the song for you forever, it’s that freakin’ good.

10. Heart wrote some of the most badass songs ever.
I mean, can I get a witness?