Concerning Lions Make a Splash In Chattanooga’s Indie Music Scene

By Grahm Long

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — From their polished vocals to their seamless integration of jazz and folk rock, The Concerning Lions are emerging as a bright spot in Chattanooga’s independent rock scene.

As their Facebook biography page states, “Split between Nashville and Chattanooga, Concerning Lions is a quintet divided geographically, but united by writing songs they enjoy performing together.”

The group’s formation goes back to a childhood bond between leader singer and UTC student Brian Beise and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Durham.

After a couple of years playing various gigs in downtown Chattanooga with Beise, Durham discovered lead guitarist Chase Gamble and banjoist Daniel Hallum. Through Gamble, the band acquired drummer and fellow UTC student, Nathan Miller.

The fall of 2008 marked the quintet’s debut at The North Chatt Cat, a bar located on Frazier Avenue in the downtown area. Click here to listen how the Concerning Lions got their big break.

The North Chatt Cat, located on 346 Frazier Avenue

While the band generated buzz among music enthusiasts in the region, it also captured the attention of the Sodium Glow record company in Nashville, TN.

David Terry, one of the producers at Sodium Glow, had previously worked with Beise under an internship during high school. However, it was Durham’s connection to Terry that sent them to Nashville.

The meeting with Terry produced the band’s five song EP album titled A Movement Back and Forth, which released in the fall of 2009.

“On the first track of Concerning Lions’ debut EP, A Movement Back and Forth, singer Brian Beise implores: ‘Meet us,’” says Paste Magazine columnist, Rachel Bailey. “Canon” offers a salutation of acoustic strumming and stretchy electric yawns, punctuated by banjo interjections and the occasional tambourine jingle, suggesting the Tennessee mountains from whence these Lions hail.”

The band’s first time in the studio was not only a rewarding experience but also a learning one as well.

“Recording the drums in the studio was interesting, sometimes your hands and feet are not on the beat they should be, but it was good – it made me a better drummer,” says Miller. “It allowed me to listen to things that I never knew that I did before, either good or bad. It was pretty tough at times, because I had to redo things over and over again.”

The Concerning Lions: Pictured from left to right - lead guitarist Chase Gamble, drummer Nathan Miller, banjoist Daniel Hallum, multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Durham, and lead singer Brian Biese.

Beise says the process of composing music has made the band “more intentional about exploring and listening to music.” Brian Biese tells how the Concerning Lions made him a better musician

Recently, the Concerning Lions released a live-in-studio, full length, sophomore album titled The Winter Set.

“Every time we get to do a gig, I try to remember that standing up in front of people and playing songs is kind of a ridiculous thing to do,” says Beise. “And to ask them to take it seriously and clap at the end of the song, it’s obscene in a lot of ways and sort of audacious, so you have to be really grateful.”

Idol Favorite Is Eliminated

By Grahm Long

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Songbird Pia Toscano was eliminated from “American Idol” on Thursday, leaving the judges who had lavished praise on her in despair over the audience’s decision.

Randy Jackson covered his head and mouthed a repeated “No” after host Ryan Seacrest announced that Toscano received the lowest number of viewer votes after her performance Wednesday of “River Deep — Mountain High.”

Toscano, 22, a dark-haired beauty from the Queens borough of New York City managed to remain composed on stage as the judges decried the results.

“I have no idea what happened her. I’m shocked. I’m angry,” said judge Jennifer Lopez.

Steven Tyler said viewers were wrong, adding, “She’s beautiful. When she sings, she’s a bird.”

Jackson called her one of the best singers in the show’s 10th-season field and warned that “no one is safe” if votes aren’t cast for them.

“I’m never upset on this show, and I’m never really mad, but this, like, this makes me mad,” Jackson said. “What is going on?”

After choosing “I’ll Stand by You” for her swan song, Toscano was embraced by Jacob Lusk, 23, of Compton, Calif., who had landed in the bottom three vote-getters with her and Stefano Langone, 21, of Kent, Wash.

Lusk had held to his gospel roots, replacing his planned version of Marvin Gaye’s sexually charged “Let’s Get It On” with Michael Jackson’s inspirational “Man in the Mirror.” Langone sang Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Also left to sing another day were Paul McDonald, 26, of Nashville, Tenn.; Casey Abrams, 20, of Idyllwild, Calif.; Haley Reinhart, 20, of Wheeling, Ill.; Lauren Alaina, 16, of Rossville, Ga.; Scotty McCreery, 17, of Garner, N.C., and James Durbin, 22, of Santa Cruz, Calif.

The show Thursday also included a performance of “Real Wild Child” by a shirtless Iggy Pop, with either technical or language glitches causing a loss of sound on occasion.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


Peer Mentoring Group Converges To Clean Streets

By: Grahm Long

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – The Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group met with the Chattanooga City Council on April 5 to present resolutions to safety issues at Coolidge Park.

Heightened attention comes shortly after a flash mob scene at the park three weeks ago, where more than 300 minors engaged in fighting and shooting. The incident eerily parallels what happened a year ago, when five people were shot. Although reports indicate no one sustained life threatening injuries, there is still concern among members of the community, particularly with Brainerd High School students, over potential future occurrences.

Alexis Moore, Brainerd High student and Vice President of the mentoring group, says that the recent increase of violence in the evening calls for a stricter curfew to be enforced at the park. Moore feels that by implementing a stricter code, it will help decrease the incidence of residential gang violence.

“I have personally lost loved ones due to the curfew not being enforced,” says Moore.

Among those with Moore at City Council, were fellow students and group members Dominique Green, Cordell Parachuri, Rodney Cameron, and Jennelle Thom.

Most of the ideas are about enforcing existing city code:

Code 25-2a, which imposes an 11 p.m. curfew for minors under the age of 16.  Code 25-2b, which holds parents accountable when minors under 16 break curfew.  And Code 25-1, which prevents congregating and obstructing traffic on city streets.

The new ordinance sign at Coolidge Park.


However, the students also have new ideas that promote safety for the park, such as employing individual security searches upon entry to events, security at all minority-hosted parties in the park and certification of hired security.

Other ideas consist of incorporating anti-violence or anti-gang violence education into local school’s curriculum and enacting a summer job program for at-risk teens.

Thom says that like her peers, she too has experienced losing friends and family to gun violence and believes that “it only takes one person or one thing to stop events like this.” Click here to listen to Jennelle Thom’s solution for gun control.

The City Council ordinance, which passed by a 7 to 2 vote margin in last Tuesday’s meeting, calls for the adult supervision of minors in Coolidge Park between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Grizz Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with 90-87 Win Over Celtics

By Grahm Long

BOSTON (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies are still in the playoff chase, and they’re doing it with a couple of guys who know a little bit about the postseason.

Leon Powe and Tony Allen, members of the Celtics’ 2008 championship team, returned to Boston on Wednesday night to help the Memphis Grizzlies win 90-87 and solidify their hold on the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

“When you can come on the road and beat a great team like that, and do it on the defensive end, it’s huge for a young, up-and-coming team,” said Powe, who scored 13 points. “That just adds to our confidence.”

Marc Gasol scored 11 points with 11 rebounds and Zach Randolph had 13 and eight for Memphis, which improved to one-half game behind seventh-place New Orleans in the West. The Grizzlies remained two games ahead of ninth-place Houston, which beat Golden State later Wednesday.

Powe, who spent the first three years of his career in Boston, saw little action in Cleveland before the Cavaliers released him to sign with Memphis on March 5. He came off the bench to score 13 points in 17 minutes — his best game since signing with the Grizzlies.

“Leon Powe was the baddest man on the planet tonight,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s not like they tricked us. They just drove through somebody and scored.”

Allen spent the first six years of his career in Boston before signing with Memphis as a free agent last summer. He scored nine with five assists.

“They’re both really tough, physical guys. They’re veteran guys who have been to the mountaintop and won,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “This is our second year in a row coming in here and getting a win, so this is special. But I’m sure for those guys this is extra special.”

Paul Pierce scored 22 for Boston, but he missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have sent the game into overtime and the Celtics lost for the fifth time in nine games and fell one game behind Chicago (51-19) in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Rajon Rondo had six points, seven steals, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but he missed an ill-advised one-handed floater in the lane with 18 seconds left and Boston trailing 88-87.

“It’s so easy to second-guess it now,” said Rivers, who didn’t call a timeout because he thought Rondo was going to pass it to Pierce. “I just think your best offensive player should always touch the ball on the last possession.”

Memphis led 84-77 in the fourth quarter before Boston cut the deficit to one point, 86-85, with just over 3 minutes left on Pierce’s 3-pointer. Gasol made it a three-point game before Glen “Big Baby” Davis made a jumper with 52 seconds left to cut the lead to one point.

Davis had a chance to put Boston ahead, but Gasol blocked it, and then Gasol stole a pass from Ray Allen with 80 seconds left before converting a layup to make it 88-85. Davis’ jumper made it a one-point game again, then Rondo rebounded a Memphis miss and brought the ball the length of the court before floating up a one-handed shot that bounced off the back of the rim.

The Celtics sent Mike Conley to the line with 14 seconds left, and he made both free throws. Davis’ 3-point attempt to tie it missed, but after Gasol was fouled he missed both free throws with 4.6 seconds left, giving Boston the ball and a chance to send the game into overtime.

Boston inbounded the ball to Pierce but he couldn’t get off a clear shot.

“He is one of those prolific-type dudes,” Tony Allen said. “He’s hit shots like that in his career. He missed and we got the win.”

After falling behind 36-26 in the second quarter, the Celtics scored eight straight points — including back-to-back 3-pointers from Allen— to make it a two-point game. It was 38-34 when Boston again scored eight in a row to take the lead before Memphis scored twice in the final minute to make it 45-44 at the half.

Notes: Powe and Tony Allen received a warm welcome from the crowd at introductions. … Ray Allen wore a bandage above his right eye. He received seven stitches after being elbowed by Jared Jeffries in Monday night’s game against the New York Knicks. Allen and Pierce are the only Celtics to play in all 70 games this season. … The Grizzlies said on Tuesday that No. 2 scorer Rudy Gay would miss the rest of the season to have surgery on his partially dislocated left shoulder.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


Grizzlies Rout T-Wolves 102-84

By: Grahm Long

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (AP/The Loop) — Midway through the fourth quarter, Zach Randolph bulled his way to a rebound and accidentally loosened Kevin Love’s tooth with a meaty elbow to Love’s jaw.

It was the literal example of what Randolph had been doing metaphorically to Love all night long.

Randolph had 23 points and 13 boards and Rudy Gay had 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 102-84 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Sam Young scored 18 points and the Grizzlies dominated the league’s best rebounding team on the boards, 47-38, to win their fourth straight game.

“I took it as a little challenge to come out and play good,” Randolph said of his matchup with Love, the league’s top rebounder. “Kevin is having a tremendous year. When I was in Portland, he was watching me, grew up looking up to me. It was an important win. The young fella’s got a lot of talent, plays hard and has a great work ethic.”

And the Timberwolves (11-37) have a long way to go.

Michael Beasley scored 19 points and Love had just 10 points and 10 rebounds, narrowly getting his 34th straight double-double. Love is hoping to make the Western Conference All-Star team, but he was thoroughly outplayed by Randolph, one of his primary competitors for a spot.

The Grizzlies limited Love to four points on 1-for-4 shooting in the first three quarters, opening up a 22-point lead that turned the fourth quarter into garbage time.

“To say we played poorly was an understatement,” said Love, who will have X-rays on his tooth on Thursday.

The Grizzlies are the best team in the league at forcing turnovers, and they feasted on the mistake-prone Timberwolves all night. They scored 26 points off 17 Minnesota turnovers and improved to a season-best two games over .500 (26-24).

Beating the worst team in the West wouldn’t seem to be a big deal, but it actually was a sign of progress for the young and improving Grizzlies. They have had a tendency to play down to their competition this season, losing to Golden State, Washington, Cleveland, Sacramento and New Jersey twice.

But this game was never in doubt.

Memphis ripped off a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter and never trailed the rest of the way. They put the game away with a 30-16 third quarter.

“In the beginning (of the year), these are the kind of games we would have lost, but I still think we have room to get better,” Gay said. “Sky’s the limit.”

Gay showed everyone why the Timberwolves tried to sign the restricted free agent this summer. The smooth small forward, who signed a max contract to stay in Memphis, did a little bit of everything, getting to the bucket, knocking down 3-pointers and scoring in transition.

“I was really serious,” Gay said of his consideration of the Timberwolves last summer. “I was on my way here when I got my offer. It was definitely on my mind, thinking about being a Timberwolf.”

It looks like he made the right decision. Randolph and Marc Gasol took care of Love down low, muscling him out off the block and rendering him obsolete for most of the game.

The burly Randolph had eight points and six boards in the first half, and more importantly limited Love to just two points and four boards on the other end.

“The ball didn’t seem to find me tonight,” Love said. “I couldn’t tell you what it was. I never got into a rhythm.”

The Timberwolves were listless all game, delivering an uninspired performance despite coming off a win over Toronto on Saturday, a day off on Sunday and two practices to prepare for this game.

Darko Milicic had three points on 1-for-6 shooting with two rebounds and five turnovers in 20 minutes and Wes Johnson had just four points on 2-for-11 shooting.

“This was bad tonight,” said point guard Jonny Flynn, who started his first game of the season. “This was really bad tonight.”

Notes: Memphis coach Lionel Hollins’ son Austin is a freshman at the University of Minnesota. But dad said he doesn’t watch his son play very often “because I don’t like college basketball.” Lionel said he gets frustrated by the slow pace. … Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak sat in for a portion of the television broadcast to tout the plan for renovating Target Center. The city and the Wolves are asking for $155 million to update the 21-year-old facility. … The Wolves played without PG Luke Ridnour, who missed the game to tend to a family matter.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Vince Young says he plans to compete to start

By: Grahm Long

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vince Young has his sights set on competing to be a starter for an NFL team.

Young says in a segment aired by ESPN on Wednesday night that he will work to let his next team know he’s an elite quarterback who just wants to win games and be the best. Asked if he could work as a backup, Young laughed.

“I’m going to go into the organization, the team, and compete. That’s all I can do, and let them make their own decision after that,” Young said. “Definitely I am a starting quarterback, an elite quarterback in the NFL. I want to go ahead and start. But like it always is, the coaches have the last word.”

Tennessee owner Bud Adams actually had the last word Jan. 5 when the Titans announced that they would either release Young or try to trade him away because he’s not in their plans for 2011. Adams agreed with coach Jeff Fisher the quarterback drafted No. 3 overall in 2006 had to go after an incident Nov. 21.

That’s when Young cursed at the coach and blew out of the locker room. The Titans placed him on injured reserve two days later, and Young had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right thumb. But the team can’t release Young until Feb. 7, and a trade won’t happen until the NFL has a new labor deal.

A trade isn’t likely considering the rest of the NFL knows the Titans aren’t keeping Young for 2011, and Young’s contract has him due $8.5 million in salary for this season.

Young said he felt he and Fisher had a great relationship but didn’t get along with different personalities. He told a reporter Jan. 5 that Fisher could have trusted him more. Asked about that, Young said he could have used better words. He said their chemistry should have been better for the rest of the team.

“It goes back to communication. Our chemistry should’ve been a little bit better … That’s why the season kind of finished like it was,” Young said.

As for Adams choosing Fisher over Young, the quarterback said he didn’t have the slightest idea why.

“It’s a business decision he had to make for his organization, which I’m OK with, and I think it’ll be the best for both of us. Me starting off fresh, getting a chance to play for someone else. To be a starting quarterback, that’s what my focus is on right now,” Young said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.