in performance: ken vandermark and paal nilssen-love

ken vandermark and paal nilssen-love.

ken vandermark and paal nilssen-love.

It was almost as though last night’s volcanic performance by Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love at the University of Kentucky’s Niles Gallery was a set to a timer – a curious design for performance devoted almost exclusively to free jazz improvisation. But at the exact stroke of 9 o’clock, with the audience still casually chatting away, the Chicago saxophonist/clarinetist and the Norwegian drummer/percussionist tore into a ferocious and unyielding duet. The two didn’t spend time building an idea or riff, nor did they didn’t pace themselves into a gathering frenzy. They began at full force as equal engineers with a level of physical drive that was as expressive as it was fearsome. In short, the music didn’t simply seek and explore when it began. It detonated.

But while the stamina and intensity seldom subsided from these two longtime musical allies (and frequent visitors to Lexington’s Outside the Spotlight concert series, which also presented this concert), their musical vocabulary continually expanded. Nilssen-Love, for instance, began two of the evening’s three extended improvisations playing a snare drum with brushes. While the resulting sound may have been more subtle in terms of volume, the immediacy seemed just as vital as in the more thunderous sections. Those heavier segments, by the way, sounded even more torrential given the echo within the Niles Gallery. Both artists played without amplification, but the sound was atomic.

Vandermark shifted between tenor and baritone saxophones as well as clarinet and bass clarinet. While that certainly offered a wide musical palette for a duo configuration, it was the sheer force of his playing – whether he was responding to snippets of groove Love created or instigating broader reactionary blasts (especially on baritone) – that underscored the concert’s overall urgency.

Curiously, the dimensions offered within this often unrelenting performance were defined by the endings of the first and third improvisations. The first stopped on a dime with the same clarity and drama that began the set. The third, however, presented a very specific coda.

The audience had already applauded the preceding 12 minutes of rich chaos helmed largely by Nilssen-Love’s combustible playing. But then the music downshifted for one of the evening’s few plaintive moments. Nilssen-Love switched to mallets for a subtle percussive chant colored by tenor sax accents from Vandermark that sounded positively mournful in contrast to the sonic cyclone that shot through the room during the rest of the set. It was as though the duo has guided the audience through profound musical fury but chose to send them home with safe passage.

the art of duo

ken vandermark (left) and paal-nilssen love. photo by claudio casanova.

ken vandermark (left) and paal-nilssen love. photo by claudio Casanova.

How do you measure the level of musical possibility that can be sparked by only two instrumentalists? Before you answer, consider the sounds they create are totally improvised yet open to shifts in mood, style and approach. Finally, know these artists are longtime collaborators and friends and have reached across two continents for music that approaches jazz not as a hybrid of tradition and groove (although there is plenty of both in their playing), but as an open road headed to an uncharted destination.

This is the route Chicago saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Vandermark and Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love have followed for well over a decade as a duo and even longer in a variety of ensembles that have regularly visited Lexington during the entire run of the 13 year old Outside the Spotlight Series.

On Thursday, though, the two will perform their first OTS show as an unaccompanied duo.

“The duo is a kind of reference point for all the things we’ve learned in other projects,” Vandermark said. “Because it has developed an ongoing thread over so much time through concerts and recordings, it has become a way to look at how things have developed in our own work apart from each other. It’s like a gauge.

“There tends to be an interest in velocity and high speed communications and changes in the music. That attitude, I guess, hasn’t changed. But what we’re making today has completely evolved and shifted over the years. Some tours, we’ll work on finding an area to explore and stay with that for almost a whole set. On other tours, every idea is like a slide show. It’s like, ‘Here’s an idea, here’s an idea, here’s an idea.’ It’s rapid fire. It’s not that the ideas don’t get developed, but it’s more like you touch on an idea that signals another idea.”

What that translates to on a series of fine duo recordings by the two, including 2011’s immensely engaging Letter to a Stranger, is music that may adhere to a rugged groove, engage in a tug-of-war of textural drama or explode into a passage of free improvisation. The title of the newest Vandermark/Nilssen-Love album, released in conjunction with their current duo tour, illustrates the immediacy that emerges out of such music: The Lions Have Eaten One of the Guards.

“Our focus is this idea of tension and intensity. But intensity can be silence. It can be the air of the room you sense when waiting for the next event, the next action, the next sound. Silence can be unbelievably intense. Paal and I are very aware of that range, from doing nothing as an action that has a lot of purpose – which sounds contradictory, but it’s very, very true – to full on activity.

“One thing that’s different about Paal and I when we improvise is how a lot of the music really works with grooves as opposed to free time. There is a pulse. There are phrases that happen in a groove, whether it’s a jazz kind of thing or a funk thing or a rock thing. Paal and I really enjoy working with that kind of time playing. Then there are instances when the music is completely open and there is no pulse, and we work that way, too.” Especially curious is the fact that this week’s duo performance follows OTS shows that had the two artists leading large ensemble groups – Vandermark’s Audio One in August 2014 and Nilseen-Love’s Large Unit as recently as May.

“The way I think when I’m playing with Paal is that we’re an orchestra, that the two of us carry equal amounts of melodic weight. In a totally improvised situation like the duo, it’s not that the circumstances are completely different from the larger groups. It’s just that it all has to happen in real time. That means the compositional process, the editing process, the structural process all have to happen immediately.

“To me, that’s the most exhilarating thing you can do when playing. There’s this sense of surprise in having to solve problems suddenly that you didn’t expect. To work like that with a person you have trusted for so many years is just an incredible gift.”

Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love with Sick City Four perform at 8 tonight at the Niles Gallery of the John Jacobs Niles Center for American Music, University of Kentucky. Admission is $5. Call (859) 257-4636.

guitarist at play

Jason vieaux.

Jason vieaux.

You have to love a classical artist – any artist, for that matter – that manages to reference Bach, German composer Hans Werner Henze and California metalheads Deftones in the same sentence.

Then again, for all his international acclaim as an instrumentalist and a resume that includes performances as concerto soloist with nearly 100 orchestras, the reknown Cleveland-based guitarist Jason Vieaux sees beyond stereotypes in the music he plays and the audiences he hopes to reach.

“I’ve never really worried too much about trying to keep within one style of music,” said Vieaux, a featured artist for multiple concerts this week at The Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. “My listening interests are really pretty varied. They always have been. I mean, I’ll always record classical music. But for me, music by Hans Werner Henze is as different from Bach in some ways as Deftones, or something like that. In my ears, they are that different. Sometimes I think we get a little too wrapped up in categories and genres and such. I guess I’m just a big music lover. That’s my thing.”

Variety has always been as essential to Vieaux’s musical outlook as the precision of his playing. Over the past decade, he has devoted entire albums to the music of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and tango pioneer Astor Piazzolla. But his 2014 album Play offers perhaps the best example of his stylistic reach by placing pieces by Bossa Nova master Antonio Carlos Jobim, British film composer Stanley Myers and jazz icon Duke Ellington alongside works from Spanish guitar giant Andre Segovia, Paraguayan guitarist Agustín Barrios Mangore and American guitarist/ lutenist Andrew York.

“I was kind of a ‘90s CD age recording artist where you were encouraged to make a CD that would focus on one composer. Back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, the classical recording companies said that was basically the standard. You did an all Bach record or all Chopin, all Liszt or all Beethoven. You didn’t make a recital disc. They didn’t allow it. They didn’t want to have a thing where if you were a pianist you went, ‘Well, I’m going to play Scarlatti, then I’m going to play a Beethoven sonata and then I’m going to play something by Liszt.’ It’s like they didn’t do records like that anymore.

“So this was fun because we’re now getting back to that idea. Every piece on the CD represented something very special to me.”

As it turned out, Play and the concept it represented played out well for more than just Vieaux’s fanbase. It won a Grammy in February for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.

“That was a shock,” he said. “That was a total shock. We were just working away and doing our thing and it’s awesome. But what it means is a lot of people voted for that CD that clearly we don’t know. To be recognized by that many of your peers is tremendous.”

The sense of variety surrounding Play also underscores Vieaux’s mini-residency for The Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. In addition to a trio of collaborative performances at Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, the guitarist will contribute to a cabaret style concert at Natasha’s on Thursday. The show is an invitation of sorts to audiences not devoted to – or even familiar with – classical repertoire to enjoy his playing.

“Actually, I’m very comfortable with those kinds of settings. I did a thing for the Leeds Center in Lincoln, Nebraska where they had me play two sets in a cabaret setting. It was an old-timey jazz thing where you did two 45 minute sets or one hour sets. There was a little bit of chatter. But basically everyone was eating, drinking and listening, and it was super fun.

“To be perfectly honest, classical artists have to build our audience. We have to build for the future. We can’t have this kind of ivory tower attitude of either you get it or you don’t – this ‘you come to us’ attitude. We have to come to you, and there is nothing wrong with that. Classical musicians are now finally on point about this kind of thing.”

Jason Vieux will play multiple concerts this week for The Chamber Music Festival of Lexington including mainstage performances at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26 (centered on pieces from Play), 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 (featuring the world premiere of Jeff Beal’s Six Sixteen) and 2 p.m. Aug. 30 (featuring works by Astor Piazzolla and more) at Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, 2400 Newtown Pike. Vieux will also participate in a cabaret performance at Natasha’s Bistro, 114 Esplande at 7:30 Aug. 27. For a full schedule of events and ticket prices, go to www.chambermusiclex.com.

charlie and the blues

charlie musselwhite.

charlie musselwhite.

For Charlie Musselwhite, the blues has served as a companion, a kindred spirit that has been his love and livelihood for the last 50 years.

“I’ve always said that blues is your comforter when you’re down and it’s your buddy when you’re up,” said the veteran harmonica stylist, guitarist and vocalist, 71, who performs Monday for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. “It’s there for you however you feel. It just accompanies you in life.

“You can’t say that about all other music. It’s a part of life, it’s a reflection of life. It can be healing. It can be joyful. It can join you in your grief. The music is an extension of life and can be an extension of you, too, if you’re playing it.”

A Mississippi native who migrated to two of the country’s most roots music rich cities, Memphis and Chicago, Musselwhite emerged as a recording artist in the midst of a dramatic electric blues boom with his 1967 debut album Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite’s Southside Band, a record so caught up in the music of the moment that his record label misspelled the artist’s name in the title.

“I don’t worry about stuff like that,” Musselwhite said. “I just play what I feel and I play from the heart. I realized at some point early on that you can’t please everybody. So hopefully, if you please yourself, there will be some other people that will like what you’re doing, too. That seems to have worked out pretty good for me.”

Though a highly capable guitarist, Musselwhite’s primary instrument in establishing his blues voice has been the harmonica. His tone is sweet, lyrical and often jazz-like in its range and improvisatory reach. That might explain why one of his signature tunes remains the luscious instrumental Cristo Rendentor, penned by the neglected jazz pianist Duke Pearson but transformed into a moody slow blues epic decades ago by Musselwhite. The tune has been such a staple of live shows through the years that the bluesman has featured it on his two newest albums, a pair of independently issued concert recordings – 2013’s Juke Joint Chapel and 2015’s I Ain’t Lyin’.

“I don’t know of another song like it,” Musselwhite said. “For awhile there, I was thinking, ‘People must be getting bored with this. I’m going to quit playing it.’ Then they would come up to me at the end of the night angry saying, ‘I waited all night to hear Cristo Redentor and you didn’t play it.’

“That happened enough that I knew people really did want to keep hearing it.’ So every night I end with Cristo and it always seems different somehow every time I play it. I can’t explain it. It has its own life. I just start playing the first few notes of it and it’s like the spirit of that song just shows up and takes me where it wants to go.”

Musselwhite’s solemnly soulful harmonica sound has been captured numerous times through the decades on recordings other than his own. Ben Harper, Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Tom Waits are just a few of the artists that have sought out Musselwhite for their music.

“It’s always interesting for me to play what I play in a different setting with a different style or add blues to some kind of music that’s not really blues but still has feeling.

“It like Tom Waits would tell me. ‘Charlie, why don’t you come over and see if you can gussy up this tune I got.’ So that’s what I like to do – go in and gussy things up.”

Charlie Musselwhite and Gill Landry perform at 6:45 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 East Third for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Admission is $10. Call (859) 252-8888.

in performance: jc brooks and the uptown sound

jc brooks.

jc brooks.

“We don’t usually have this kind of child-band interaction,” remarked Chicago soul stylist JC Brooks as his set with the Uptown Sound for Crave Lexington celebrated sundown last night at Masterson Station Park.

The observation addressed the fanbase that took up Brooks’ invitation to dance at the front of the stage – specifically, a group of a dozen kids that seemed to be having the Saturday Night of their lives as the band meshed vintage Muscle Shoals-style soul, ‘80s keyboard-heavy funk and numerous modern rock assimilations.

From the later category came the show-opening cover of fellow Chicago troupe Wilco’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. But instead of the tense, dense ambience of the original, Brooks and company accelerated the pace to redo the tune as a soul hullabaloo.

From there, the 80 minute show sailed through the ages, recalling ‘60s era falsetto runs runs (I Got High, Rouse Yourself) but regularly updating with comparatively modern Prince-like funk (Howl, Baadnews). Add in the stylistic breadth of the Uptown Sound, especially the Rhodes-like keyboard colors of Jeremy Tromburg and the percussion drive of JoVia Armstrong, and the performance became less and less specific of any soul era.

But it was the tougher edge of the songs that underscored the set’s distinction. Sure, there was plenty of celebratory reflection. But there was also a restless lyrical front that flew in the face of any retro leanings, whether it was the warm embrace offered to the band’s often wintry hometown in the show-closing You Can’t Break Me (“Ain’t too cold in the city I love”) or the dissing of a different metropolis in Baltimore is the New Brooklyn (“Nobody really wants to be down in Washington, DC”).

It would have been nice if the Crave crowd had involved itself in the show more. Brooks was a skilled and forthcoming showman, but the audience seemed largely passive – ensnared more of by festival’s primary focus on food and its own abundant chatter.

The kids got the message, though, and Brooks took notice.

“Meet the newest members of the Uptown payroll,” he said. But that was hardly the case, either. The youthful dancers surrendered readily and gleefully to the groove all on their own.

craving soul

jc brooks.

jc brooks.

JC Brooks steers a conversation in much the way he drives a stage performance. In both instances, his voice reflects a restless but soulful vigor, an almost orchestral fluidity and, above all, a seemingly caffeinated urgency that comes from filling every open space with a consistently evolving idea or sound.

“Obviously, I’m a bit of a talker,” Brooks said as our interview drew to a close last week ahead of his Crave Lexington performance this weekend at Masterson Station Park. “I hope you were recording everything because I just shoved a lot down your earhole.”

Ever since forming and fronting the Chicago-based Uptown Sound band in 2007, Brooks has been at the center of an R&B sound both modern and retro in design that has played out on a pair of dramatically different albums for the indie Bloodshot label – 2012’s traditionally slanted, soul revue-style Want More and 2013’s more modern punk-funk infested Howl. But when it comes to spreading the word on his cross-generational soul blend, Brooks and his band do things with a very old fashioned work ethnic – specifically, a high octane live show and a desire for serious roadwork.

“I scream and jump around and stuff like that onstage. But all of that aside, even if I was more of a stand up performer, what we do is pretty uptempo dancing music. If people are going out with the intention of having a good time, then it’s hard for them to not at one of our shows unless they straight up don’t like our music, which is entirely possible.

“Generally after the first song or two, we get them going. We try to start with more traditional soul – something uptempo to serve as an in-road to what we do. Then we throw some of newer stuff in there, a lot of the stuff from Howl.

Want More was pretty much a party soul album. With Howl, we decided to include some of our other influences. We added synths and just did stuff that sounded less like traditional soul. It was more in the vein of a post punk thing, so that’s a little less accessible for people. But I think once they’re in there they get it. Then by the end of the set we bring them back out, too, with let-your-body-move-type stuff. It’s just a good place and a good time to come and forget your troubles for however long we’re playing. The troubles will be waiting for you afterward. You don’t have to worry about that.”

Aside from the stylistic disparity between Want More and Howl, Brooks is a walking vocabulary of soul-pop vocal references, from Wilson Pickett-style gusto to James Brown falsetto runs to a level of performance daring that wouldn’t be out of place (albeit with some stylistic adjustments) at a Bad Brains concert.

Naturally, the question of influences surfaces when addressing his stage stance. With a background in musical theatre, Brooks mentions artists like Tina Turner and Patti LaBelle, but more as performance inspirations than specific singing guides.

“I’m more into performing than vocals. I think it’s way more important to give a great performance than to just get up there and sound good. As far as vocal inspirations, that’s especially hard to say with us because when I started doing bands, I was listening to a lot of rock and punk stuff – Eddie Vedder and Ben Folds, guys like that.”

A new album with a new Uptown Sound lineup is in the works that should expand even further on the modern soul charge of Howl.

“As we recorded and brought in these songs, the music has shifted direction so many times, so we all decided, ‘Let’s not make a declaration here. Let’s just make songs and then find out what they have in common later on.’ That’s sort of the way Howl worked, too. This time, we have a hard rock song, we have a disco song, we have a Pixies-esque song, we have something that sounds like old Stones, we have something like that sounds adult contemporary R&B. We’re kind of all over the place right now.”

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at Masterson Station Park, 3051 Leestown Rd., as part of Crave Lexington. Admission is free. Call (859) 266-6537. For info cravelexington.com.

critic’s pick 288: wilco, ‘star wars’

wilco star warsNow that two full decades have elapsed since Wilco surfaced with its alt-country leaning debut disc A.M., Jeff Tweedy and company have earned the kind of pop clout to journey down whatever stylistic path it chooses. But the marvelous thing about Wilco’s enduring appeal, an aspect underscored by its total blast of a new album, Star Wars, is whatever artistic profile it has amassed has been reinforced by pure fearlessness.

On the 11 new songs that make up Star Wars, the pattern would seem to reference every record it has made since A.M. Specifically, the game plan centers around pure pop with the edges corroded and refashioned to the band’s specifications. How else do you explain the New Morning-era Dylan surge of I Was Only Asking that flirts with psychedelia as it heads into the home stretch or the catacylismic finale tune Magnetized that surrenders to it completely. Then there is the fuzzed out bass that bumps and bounces under Tweedy’s skittish singing on Pickled Finger, a tune as deliciously peculiar as its title. Best of all is the way Star Wars heads straight for the ditch right out of the starting gate with 76 seconds of frenzy called EKG that introduces the two chief constructionists of Wilco’s warped pop charge – guitarist Nels Cline and drummer (and University of Kentucky grad, lest we forget) Glenn Kotche – through a woozy calliope of criss-crossed riffs and beats that set the album’s gleefully irregular heartbeat.

Humor and unrest, as always, abound in Tweedy’s songs and especially in his vocalwork. His wily pop spirit has a field day on the merrily wigged out Random Name Generator. You could easily imagine an entire horn section fueling the tune’s roaring groove. Instead, guitars define the rhythm in a way that better befits Tweedy’s cheery mumble (“I kind of like it when I make you cry, a miracle only once in awhile”). This is the Star Wars tune destined to stick to your brain after your first listen to the album.

But the Dylan-esque grin resurfaces on the hapless The Joke Explained, a quixotic meditation masquerading as a bit of defused pop fun. “It’s a staring contest in a hall of mirrors,” Tweedy sings as if the lyrics were pouring out of his mouth as an aside. “I sweat tears but I don’t ever cry.”

The only real problem with the album is its length. It clocks in at a scant 33 minutes. Then again, the secret to any presentation is to state your case, engage your audience and leave it wanting more. On that score, all that can be said for Star Wars is Roger Wilco that.

late night with chris stapleton

chris stapleton performing at forecastle in july. herald-leader staff photo by rich copley.

chris stapleton performing at forecastle in july. herald-leader staff photo by rich Copley.

It’s been a busy summer for Chris Stapleton.

The Kentucky country traditionalist, whose debut recording Traveller has been chosen by National Public Radio as one of NPR Music’s 25 Favorite Albums of the Year So Far, has shared concert dates in recent months with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr., Alan Jackson, Warren Haynes and Jason Isbell as well has played sold out shows of his own in New York, Nashville, St. Louis and several other cities. He also served up a killer set at Forecastle in Louisville and took part in an all-star salute to Waylon Jennings for Austin City Limits Live during July.

On Tuesday – well, technically, Wednesday – Stapleton heads straight to your living room. He will perform Might As Well Get Stoned on NBC-TV’s Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:35 am Aug. 19 (after The Tonight Show on Tuesday, so no one gets confused).

For more info, go to nbc.com/late-night-with-seth-meyers.

last of the hot burritos

wrflOne of the guiding local voices in Americana music makes its final bow this weekend. The Hot Burrito Show, WRFL-FM’s weekly serving of indie and roots driven country and more (sounds it has regularly dubbed “cosmic American music”) airs for the final time on Sunday (Aug. 23) from noon to 2 p.m.

The program, which has run continually for the past 25 years, has traced an entire generation of new and indie Americana sounds, running from the rise of so-called “alt-country” in the ‘90s to the music’s acceptance as a genre unto itself over the past decade.

Rob Franklin has been at the helm for the program’s entire run, aided by several knowledgeable co-hosts. For many, Hot Burrito has become a Sunday brunch time roots music tradition. Imagining weekends without it is a sad prospect indeed, although WRFL said in a press release last weekend it plans to carry on with a new, reformatted Americana music program. The release also said halting the show was the decision of the show’s hosts, not the station itself.

WRFL has been honoring Hot Burrito all week with each of the programs on its broadcast schedule playing one Americana track in tribute to the show.

 

in performance: wycliffe gordon with the lexington philharmonic

wycliffe gordon. herald-leader staff photo by mark cornelison.

wycliffe gordon. herald-leader staff photo by mark cornelison.

Just before launching into the gleeful charge of Hallelujah Shout, a robust display of swing and instrumental sparring, Wycliffe Gordon sized up the spirit of the crowd before him with a level of playfulness that reflected the mood of the musical fireworks about to unfold. In short, the celebrated trombonist who now calls Lexington home offered this reasoning incase the Keeneland audience on hand for the first of a two-night Picnic with the Pops engagement with the Lexington Philharmonic wasn’t enjoying itself: “It’s probably your fault.”

With that, Gordon and his International All-Stars quintet rode a tide of gospel-esque swing that had the bandleader juggling two distinct duet patterns. One centered on vaudevillian vocal scatting with drummer Alvin Atkinson, Jr. where the latter clearly emerged the victor. The other was an instrumental duel with Gordon’s trombone sass working off the tenor sax torrents of Australian native Adrian Cunningham.

The program was titled Night on Bourbon Street: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong, but leaned more to the first half of that billing with tunes by Fats Waller, Hoagy Carmichael and Gordon himself fortifying the repertoire. Armstrong’s joyous imprint on this music – whether it was a distant reference or a generous nod to his interpretations of the compositions – was continually evident in animated breaks Gordon offered on trombone and, more sparingly, on trumpet. But Cunningham and Israeli pianist Ehud Asherie proved strong and distinct collaborators by playing That Old Feeling with ultra cool elegance. The two also teamed for a muscular yet agile duet reading of Chinatown, My Chinatown.

The Philharmonic and conductor Scott Terrell may have seemed like they were operating in support mode given the heavy focus placed on Gordon’s arrangements and performance. But both nicely adapted to the program’s theme by starting the concert’s second set with a reading of the W.C. Handy staple Saint Louis Blues that was full of lightly hued blues and colorful detail. It was also a blast to watch the orchestra’s principal trombonist, Andrew Duncan, step fully into jazz territory for duets with Gordon during a pair of original works, Somebody New and What You Dealin’ With.

The latter tune offered the Philharmonic in an atypically groove-conscious setting by complimenting the broadly contemporary strokes Gordon used to embellish the evening’s party feel. This was truly when the Pops went pop.

Picnic at the Pops Presents Night on Bourbon Street: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong featuring Lexington Philharmonic with Wycliffe Gordon and his International All-Stars will be presented again tonight at 8:30 p.m.. Gates open at 6 p.m. at the Meadow at Keene Barn, Keeneland. Tickets: $15-$300. Call (859) 233-3535 or go to lexpops.com.

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