Back in the saddle
It’s been a long time

By Kevin Elliot Reynolds

Sabbatical: a period of leave from work for research, study, or travel, often with pay and usually granted to college professors every seven years, though occasionally granted to ACE music journalists for a summer…without pay.

Love it or hate it, Scene and Sound is back to keep you on top of the incendiary music scene flourishing right here in the crown jewel of the Bluegrass. This summer has been a hot one and Lexington has been a great musical host welcoming country superstars, rock’s hottest newcomers and of course a plethora of Kentucky’s finest melodic talent. Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The seasons have to changed, students have to go back to school, and a certain writer has to get his a$$ back on the job.

But worry not; this poignant transition of seasons can be made easier, which is where this weekend comes in. The culmination of this summer of sound begins Friday night as Z-Rock 103 brings you Rock the City, a free-for-all-ages outdoor rockfest featuring Tony C. and The Truth, Flaw, Black Stone Cherry, and Fizzgig atop the Transit Center downtown. What better way to say goodbye to your favorite time of year and welcome back the cram sessions and cute freshmen rejections? As if this rock and roll extravaganza wasn’t enough, Lexington will welcome not one, but two of the country’s hottest new rock troupes in the week to come. Who could top Friday’s excitement? Read on to find out why this weekend is being dubbed “The Weekend of Rock.”

First things first, Friday night’s lineup deserves a closer look. The big shindig kicks off at 7pm with the winners of the 1999 Rolling Stone/Ernie Ball Strings Regional Title in the Battle of the Bands, Cinci’s own Fizzgig. Roughly translated as what a soda does when shaken and a form of late-night frog hunting with a long, sharp fork, the quartet of Fizzgig have been playing together since their grammar school years. Their hard-hitting post-alt sound has been well received in many major cities throughout the mid-west and east coast and is sure to do the same here.

Don’t be late; you will not want to miss a second of this night’s explosive opening act. Next to hit the stage will be the young prodigious Western Kentucky rockers known as Black Stone Cherry. Taking their name after what old-timers called pipe-tobacco stuffed cigars, each of the group’s four members come from musical stock, including drummer John Fred Young, whose father Richard Young is an original member of The Kentucky Headhunters. As a self-described metal, hip-hop and hard rocking country blues band, the guys of BSC deliver a high-energy musical fusion that is sure to entertain fans of all genres. Together only three years, their unique and innovative sound has caught the attention of record labels and concert promoters alike. Recently the band has had the opportunity to perform with many of the groups of which they idolized growing up including Lynryd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent, Seven Mary Three, Grand Funk Railroad and of course, The Kentucky Headhunters. If you love tight riffs, catchy hooks and enough rock to fill a stone quarry; then you’ll love Black Stone Cherry.

As the spirits begin to possess your motor skills and the first tinkles of blood drip from your ears, you will realize that you have only witnessed the first half of the show. With the stage thoroughly warmed up, Louisville-based Universal/Republic recording artists Flaw will bring their explosive nu-metal force to the crowd. Defying the simplistic drop-tuned guitars, assiduous power chords and primal screams the genre has been know for, Flaw provides a melodic aggression to their catchy and dynamic sound. Their style is very versatile, combining a variety of musical influences but still delivering a sound that is easily identifiable as their own. Flaw has spent the majority of the summer on tour with Ozzfest, honing their skills, promoting their new album Through the Eyes and landing a spot on the new Ozzfest CD. Friday they land in Lexington to provide an inexorable performance that should not be missed.

Headlining the night is the blue collar no frills barroom rock of Tony C. and The Truth. Hailing from upstate New York, Tony and The Truth bring an eclectic blend of roadhouse blues, honky-tonk roots rock, and hip-hop that rebels against the punk-pop and garage rock movements so popular today. Their latest album, Demonophonic Blues, incorporates each of these musical influences with candid and thought provoking lyrics steeped in bass-heavy, low-rider thump. With his soulful voice and hardcore delivery, Tony C. has fine-tuned hip-hop hard rock. Their first appearance in Lexington in early summer provided eager music lovers with a high-energy, unyielding performance that left new fans wanting more. This weekend they’ll get it.

So who will finish out this weekend of rock? None other than Columbia, South Carolina’s own self-made hard rock enthusiasts Crossfade. Returning to town after a stellar performance three months ago, Z-Rock 103 will once again present Crossfade performing in The Verve Concert Hall at Avio Saturday night. Bursting onto the hard rock scene in early spring with their self-titled debut album and runaway hit single “Cold,” Crossfade are making a name for themselves with their relentless touring and unrelenting sound. Rap rock meets catchy riff driven melodies that even your father will nod his head to. Be sure to save some energy for this one, you’ll be glad you did.

As if that wasn’t enough rock for the month, much less the weekend, Z-Rock once again teams up with Avio to bring you another one of the country’s hottest rising rock acts in Breaking Benjamin. With their breakthrough debut Saturate and hot new single “So Cold,” Breaking Benjamin flaunt their grunge roots and original melodic sing-along hooks. Once again, this is a show you should not miss, talent of this caliber will not do club tours forever. Enjoy the music, be safe, be responsible and as always…Support Local Music!!!! n