Have I died and gone to heaven? Both The Struts and The Glorious Sons on a Saturday night at the beautiful Palace Theatre? If you want to see a true rock show ( twice-over) don’t you dare miss this pair of premier live acts on Saturday July 13th in Downtown, St. Paul. Frontmen Luke Spiller and Brett Emmons are so different, yet so the same, in captivating audiences and leaving them begging for more. These bands teamed up just over a year ago at First Avenue and now make room for more of you to attend at the larger Palace Theatre. This shapes up to be the best show of 2019 in my book. Be a part of it! Doors are at 6:30 pm and show at 7:30 pm for this 18+ show. Rising star JJ Wilde is the opening act. Get your tickets HERE.
In just a few years, The Struts have found themselves massively embraced by some of the greatest icons in rock-and-roll history. Along with opening for The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Guns N’ Roses, the U.K.-bred four-piece was hand-picked by Mötley Crüe to serve as the supporting act for their last-ever performances, while Dave Grohl praised them as the best band to ever open for Foo Fighters. After making their full-length debut with 2016’s Everybody Wants, The Struts now return with YOUNG&DANGEROUS — a sophomore album that cements their status as one of the most unstoppably passionate and endlessly thrilling bands making rock music today.
On YOUNG&DANGEROUS, The Struts let loose with the sing-along-ready and riff-heavy sound they’ve brought to stadiums and arenas all around the world. Working with producers like Butch Walker (Weezer, Panic! At the Disco) and Sam Hollander (Fitz and the Tantrums, Neon Trees), the band adorns that sound with deeper grooves and more inventive textures, dreaming up a majestic glam-rock revamp that’s unabashedly fun but full of pure heart.
The lead single from YOUNG&DANGEROUS, “Body Talks” brings that dynamic to a blues-spiked track capturing what Spiller calls “that moment when you mosey on over to someone on the dancefloor, and the music’s blaring so loud you can’t even talk to each other.” In creating an alternate version of “Body Talks,” The Struts amped up the song’s seductive power by enlisting Kesha to lend her soulful growl to a fiery duet with Spiller. The Struts also infuse some social commentary into YOUNG&DANGEROUS sending up selfie culture on the falsetto-laced epic “In Love With A Camera,” taking on trolls with the swampy and smoldering “Bulletproof Baby,” and pondering identity with the sweetly melodic “Who Am I.” And for the soaring and glorious “Primadonna Like Me,” The Struts brilliantly turn the lens on themselves. “It was written about my stage character, my alter ego,’” notes Spiller. “It’s this completely deluded guy running around his small town, all dressed to the nines—a full-on 21st century dandy going around saying, ‘Don’t you know who I think I am?’”
Formed in Derby, England, in 2012, The Struts almost instantly drew a major following with their outrageous live show, and later made their debut with Have You Heard (a 2015 EP whose lead single “Could Have Been Me” hit #1 on Spotify’s viral chart). Before they’d even put out their first album, the band opened for The Rolling Stones before a crowd of 80,000 in Paris and toured the U.S. on a string of sold-out shows. Known for his lovably swaggering stage presence—the very factor that gave The Struts their name—Spiller soon inspired legendary designers like former Queen costumer Zandra Rhodes to custom-create his lavish and glittering onstage attire. As the frontman points out, that heightened element of spectacle is all a part of the band’s mission of making an unforgettable impact on the crowd. “We believe in giving our absolute all every night, because that’s what our fans deserve,” he says. “The goal is always to get everyone dancing and screaming and shouting, and to make sure they leave dripping in sweat with huge smiles on their faces.”
With the release of YOUNG&DANGEROUS, The Struts have undoubtedly met another of their main ambitions as a band. “One of the things we most want to do with our music is inspire young people to pick up a guitar again,” says Spiller. “We live in a time that’s very much dominated by hip-hop and dance music, and that’s a great thing, but we want to give the world a big reminder that there’s something else going on out there. This album is our way of saying, ‘If you feel a little out of place, there’s always an electric guitar—and just look at what you can do with it.’”
THE GLORIOUS SONS
The Glorious Sons have built a rabid grassroots following for their signature brand of “dirty, sweaty rock” (Alternative Press). Their 2018 album ‘Young Beauties and Fools’ won the Juno award for Best Rock Album, with lead single “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)” climbing the Spotify Viral 50 charts and making waves in the top 30 at Alternative radio. The Glorious Sons will tour extensively throughout the summer, including a performance at Osheaga. They’re also in the studio working on their new album.
The Glorious Sons just released their explosive new single “Panic Attack” (Black Box/BMG) on June 5th from their upcoming third album. It’s a driving, brutally honest track about anxiety’s all-encompassing grip, delivered by frontman Brett Emmons’ signature snarl. In the visceral accompanying video, directed by Brume., Brett finds himself strapped to a chair with walls closing in as he attempts to escape his own nightmare-ish panic attack.
The song is yet another milestone in an exciting year for The Glorious Sons – they had their first Billboard #1 with “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)” which held the #1 slot on the Active and Modern rock charts for 4 consecutive weeks. On June 29th they’ll open for The Rolling Stones in Toronto, and on July 7th, they’ll play with Twenty One Pilots as a part of Festival D’été de Québec. The band is currently on the road for a summer tour with The Struts.
The Glorious Sons’ second full-length album, Young Beauties & Fools, is all about honesty. More specifically, it’s about exploring the adventures (and frequent misadventures) of main songwriter Brett Emmons in the truest way. It’s also an album where The Glorious Sons — rounded out by Brett’s older brother Jay Emmons (guitar), Chris Koster (guitar), Adam Paquette (drums) and Chris Huot (bass) — capture all the listlessness and confusion of young adulthood in 10 doses of modern rock. “It’s basically the story of a 24-year-old kid,” says Brett. “They’re simple songs about alcoholism and the mostly autobiographical story of my life. The whole thing is derived from the thoughts, actions and feelings of a kid who doesn’t really know himself and the consequences of those actions.”
Glorious Sons’ hardscrabble tales come naturally. A high-spirited rock band with blue collar roots, they truly found themselves when Brett quit school in 2013 to join them as lead singer. Subsequent years of hard touring and hard partying — sometimes in places so sketchy, as Brett puts it, “There was no electricity in the building” — provided fuel for the songs on Young Beauties & Fools. “It’s me writing about the things I’ve done, the things that have happened to me and my family, and the things that I think about,” says Brett.
Whether it’s the rock ‘n’ roll bender “My Pour Heart,” the not-so-classic boy-meets-girl story of “Josie,” or the deeply embarrassing punch-up at a wedding tale “Everything Is Alright,” Brett’s songwriting deftly explores the imperfect humanity of both himself and the many characters he introduces over the course of the album. It wasn’t easy to capture that realness. The band wanted to range further, to grow and evolve from the successes of 2014’s The Union album. That record was an immediate hit on the Canadian radio rock landscape. Glorious Sons scored seven consecutive Top 10 rock radio tracks, won two SiriusXM Indie Awards (Group of the Year and Rock Group of the Year) and received a Juno Award nomination in 2015 for Rock Album of the Year.
Eighteen months of recording fits and starts led the band to Los Angeles to work with production team Fast Friends (Frederik Thaae, Ryan Spraker, Tom Peyton). It wasn’t until they started exploring a collection of old voice memos on Brett’s phone that they had their eureka moment. The subsequent creative outburst resulted in an album written in 12 days and recorded in 14. “It was our first time working with these guys in the studio and we were still kinda feeling each other out,” says Brett. “There were times when it almost felt like a blind date. And we had been in the studio with a couple of other producers prior to that and went home empty handed. So after a few lukewarm conversations about ideas, I said to them, ‘Boys, can I show you something?’ I took out my iPhone and played ‘Josie’ and they just went fucking nuts. They wanted us to challenge ourselves as players and songwriters and pushed me to write from personal experience. After that, the hardest part of recording was choosing which songs to keep for the album. I’m forever grateful to them for teaching me to trust myself as a writer and help find that voice.”
There should be lots of opportunities to see Glorious Sons play the songs from Young Beauties & Fools. By their count the band has driven across Canada “at least 10 times” and played upwards of 300 shows to support their last album. “You don’t know what you’re going to get night to night from us,” says Jay. “It’s something you have to see and it’s interesting and powerful.” “It’s also an inch from either side of falling off the tracks every single night,” adds Brett. Which is perfectly fitting for a band living young and foolish.
JJ Wilde just released her debut EP ‘Wilde Eyes, Steady Hands’ on June 21st, making a major impression on the modern face of rock music. The EP is out via BMG/BlackBox on all streaming services and is a brash declaration of artistry from a refreshing new voice in rock. The four-song EP is a cathartic, rousing and well-varied amalgamation of pure, “fiercely unapologetic” (Atwood) rock n roll. It strikes the perfect balance between raucousness and sincerity, mixing together sweltering odes to independence (like the riotous “The Rush” which serves as a perfectly executed soundtrack for reckless indulgence) with warmer self-reflective moments (like “State of Mind” which finds JJ confronting her imperfections, knowing she’ll eventually learn from her mistakes). She pairs her earnest songwriting with her instantly memorable, velveteen rasp and full-throttle guitar.
Atwood Magazine said that “such an artistry is hard to come by” praising “State of Mind” and first single “Wired” as “a kind of high-octane affirmation that she’s holding nothing back from her audience” (w/ the latter track being also featured on a variety of Spotify’s most important rock playlists, including widely-streamed “New Noise,” “New Music Friday Canada,” and “Fierce Femmes”). Sewing together an honesty that calls to mind Liz Phair, a swagger reminiscent of Bikini Kill, and a Courtney Love-esque snarl, JJ Wilde is not only paying respect to the heart and soul of rock music, but fully chiseling her own place within the genre.
I couldn’t be more excited to get out on the road to play these songs for you live. As you may already have seen, I’m headed out in July with The Struts and my pals The Glorious Sons, while in August I’ll be supporting Incubus. Earlier this week we added another handful of shows with Reignwolf in the US as well. There’s much more to come – join me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to let me know what you think of the EP and to keep in touch about upcoming shows. Hope to catch you on the road soon. – JJ