Music News & Reviews

Walter Tunis: Local favorites Coralee, Palisades and Big Fresh play first shows of 2015

Coralee and the Townies in rehearsal on Sept. 2, 2014 in Lexington
Coralee and the Townies in rehearsal on Sept. 2, 2014 in Lexington Herald-Leader

Coralee and the Townies

10 p.m. Jan. 2 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $10. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com

Q: Are We Not Them? A: We Aren't Devo!: Palisades and Big Fresh play Cheap Trick

10 p.m. Jan. 3 at Cosmic Charlie's. $8, $10.

We know the feeling, too: that hazy afterglow that comes after the holidays. At first, you suspect it's just a lingering New Year's Eve hangover. But you sober up pretty quickly when you realize that all the holiday parties, vacations and general excesses are over. You notice that instead of Target commercials on TV with their bull's-eye doggie running around, there are suddenly H&R Block ads. In short, the party is complete, and all we have to look forward to is winter.

Well, Cosmic Charlie's will have none of that. The club has a full weekend of Lexington's finest rocking out as if it were the Fourth of July.

Friday night, it's another evening with Coralee and the Townies. Fresh from holiday shows with the North Side Sheiks, where she brought the Phil Spector-ized Christmas music of Darlene Love to life, singer, songstress and Townie CEO Coralee digs into 2015 with more of her champion roots country and soul tunes. And if you have yet to dig into the Townies' album Criminal Pride, then shake off your inner Scrooge and get a copy. It remains one of the truly sublime releases of 2014.

The party continues Saturday with something a bit different. The curiously titled Q: Are We Not Them? A: We Aren't Devo! is not a Devo tribute but instead a roundabout moniker for two proven Lexington rock and pop brigades, Palisades and Big Fresh, as they devote the evening to Cheap Trick covers.

The Louisville five

Last week, we offered snapshot reviews from 10 area venues during the past year. We deliberately excluded mention of anything presented by our neighbors in Louisville. So with the new year just two days old, it seems only fitting to offer a final look back at 2014 with five primo artists that didn't make it to Lexington. Maybe someday they will.

Paul McCartney at KFC Yum Center: At age 72, Sir Paul ran through 39 songs composed largely of Beatles and Wings classics (from the show opening Eight Days a Week to the final encore of Abbey Road's The End) in a three-hour set and sounded positively youthful. The past obviously agrees with McCartney.

The Black Keys/Cage the Elephant at KFC Yum Center: The Keys dug through the increasingly expansive psychedelic boogie of their past three albums. But Bowling Green's Cage the Elephant was equally fun from the instant the band ignited its set with the James Brown-meets-Green Day charge of Spiderhead.

Pat Metheny Unity Group at the KCD Theater: The billing credits the industrious band that guitar great Metheny pilots with pals including tenor saxophonist Chris Potter. But the secret weapon was the Orchestrion, a ghostly, Rube Goldberg-like gizmo that summoned sounds from walls of unmanned instruments.

Elvis Costello at the Louisville Palace: Armed with five guitars, a keyboard and 35 or so years' worth of champion songs (from Watching the Detectives to the new and unrecorded The Last Year of My Youth), Costello took to the Palace stage alone for a show that was part folk reverie and part hootenanny.

Jay Farrar at the Clifton Center: The Son Volt chieftain, along with bandmate/multi-instrumentalist Gary Hunt, offered a soulful, subdued Derby Week party. The repertoire reached back to Farrar's days with Uncle Tupelo, but it was the country-leaning songs from the 2013 Son Volt album Honky Tonk that drove the show.

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