K625 is a Music Blog based in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's focus is Knoxville's local music scene as well as the National and Regional acts that visit Knoxville. It is written by John Cortese, a student at the University of Tennessee.

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I’m taking a hiatus.

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First feature band ever! Since this is the first one of these I’m doing it might be a bit rough, but I hope y’all find it interesting.

This months feature band is Take a Side out of Farragut, Tennessee. Take a Side formed back in December of 2011 as a way for 4 friends, with a love for both listening to and playing music, to combine their unique talents. The band consists of Mason Laning on lead vocals, Alex Ferguson on guitar and backing vocals, Henry Pack on bass and Trevor Burkett on drums. What most impresses me about these 4 young men is that they are only sophomores in high school. Which is crazy beacuse they have loads more talent than lots of much older bands posses   Their sound is self describe as “Underwater elevator music on steroids, with Bill Cosby”. Though I’m not sure what they mean by that, I guarantee you their brand of Alternative rock speaks for itself. A few of their major influences include: Incubus, Circa Survive, Foo Fighters, The Joy Formidable, Mutemath, and Pierce the Veil. Speaking of Mutemath, they will be playing at the Bijou coming up on the 21st.

Take a Side’s song writing is to say the least, a group effort. In fact that’s where they derive their name from. What I was told is that when writing material all the band members have different ideas of what to do, they all take their own side but in the end are able to settle on ideas they can all agree on. It’s the variety of ideas that imparts the name “Take a side”. Their lyrics draw heavily on shared experiences both good and bad that they feel anyone can relate to. So far they have released two songs : “No Turning Back” and most recently “The Right Track”, both of which you can find on their Facebook page. They currently have plans to start recording more later this month and hope to have their debut EP out early next year.

If you want to see them perform live you have but to wait till October 27th when they will be playing a Halloween show. More details are to be announced so keep an eye out for that, I hear though that they will be playing band favorite “Deep End” at the show,. As well they plan to play more gigs once they release their EP. In the mean time I hope you enjoyed this look at one of Knoxville’s up and coming bands and be sure to check out their 2nd single “The Right Track” below. 

The Right Track by Alex Ferguson 2



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My friend Jim, a writer for UTK’s the Daily Beacon, recently saw The Cadillac Black (not to be confused with the Black Cadillacs), Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top play at Smokey’s Stadium in Kodak Tennessee. This is what he had to say about the experience:

The concert was fun and entertaining. All three bands put on a rockin’ show.

Cadillac Black played three of their songs, which were centered mostly around heavy-metal guitar riffs and country-style singing and lyrics. They said they were out to prove Southern Rock isn’t dead, and their point was proven well.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is really more of a cover band of its former self, seeing as only one of its original members is still alive. The most substantial difference between the original and contemporary Lynyrd Skynyrd is the new lead singer Johnny Van Zant. He is the younger brother of the late Ronnie Van Zant, Skynyrd’s original singer, but Johnny cannot hit the high notes or sing nearly as smoothly as his older brother could. The band is still very good, though, and even has some great songs written and performed in its own right. (“Last of a Dying Breed” being the most notable/rockinest.) The band did not disappoint by forcing the audience to hear every song from its new album “Last of a Dying Breed”, though. They played only the best from that album, and the show focused more on their classic hits.

ZZ top played their usual role- super chill Rock stars who embrace flashy bad-assery. Their sequin rose pattern jackets, fluffy guitars, cool demeanor’s, and of course their bluesy-rock guitar playing was a hit with the women in the crowd. ZZ Top didn’t waste much time talking, only playing the night away as a host of loosened up fans cheered them on as they rocked to the beat. They did not focus much on their new album either; they played mostly the classic hits that took them to the top in the first place.

Passion Pit Pictures are up on Facebook

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Last night I had the luck to be able see Passion Pit play at the Valarium. The show was packed. I overheard one security guard say that 400 tickets had been pre-sold and from my spot by the stage that looked about right.

The first opening band was a group from Southern California called Pacific Air. The group is pretty new having just formed in January. According to their onstage banter this was only their 6th show. I found this hard to believe, they just sounded too coherent to have been performing together for such a short time. Their sound was pretty mellow with a hint of surf music to it. It relied heavily on distorted guitars and synths. The vocals were smooth and the singer often went into a sort of falsetto voice. I founded it very dance-able, as did most of the crowd many of who took the opportunity to sway or bounce or bob their heads. They played six songs over a span of 30 minutes. One of the crowd favorites was their song “Float”. You can listen to it here: http://soundcloud.com/pacificairmusic/float-1

The next opener was a group called The Neighborhood also from California. Their music was very guitar heavy, however the drums where also very prominent. They sounded almost bluesy. There lyrics where nothing special and the singer sounded like he was mumbling into the mic. He also threw around the f bomb like it was an article, that got very annoying very fast. By the end of their 30 min set people were beginning to grumble. I give them a thumbs down.

Then came the main event… Passion Pit! They did not disappoint. They had the crowd dancing and singing along from the first down beat of “Take a Walk” to the last chorus of “Little Secrets” Lead singer Michael Angelakos seemed to revel in the energy coming from the crowd and would often hold the mic out during choruses. At some point they dropped streamers from the ceiling, I didn’t notice till the end though because my back was to the rest of the crowd. The group played a total of 16 songs from both their current album Gossamer and their first album Manners. I managed to nab a set list after the show and I will post a picture of it shortly. It was a fabulous show and I can’t wait till the next time they are in town.

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         Hey everybody! I’ve always loved music so I thought it would be cool to do a blog about the local scene here in Knoxville. In the next few days I will post about the recent ZZ Top/Lynyrd Skynyrd/Cadillac Black concert as well as the Passion Pit concert that is coming up tomorrow night. I will be the main writer for this blog, however I am only one man and can go to only so many events so occasionally I will have guest posts by some of my friends who managed to get to something  I didn’t. As well I plan to post a feature once a month about a local group from Knoxville. I have a few in mind for the first few, but I’m open to suggestions. So, if you have suggestions either leave a message on Facebook or send a tweet my way. The links to both are above.