The St. Augustine Amphitheatre is proud to announce that legendary rock icon Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with special guests The Sonics will perform at the Amphitheatre on Sunday, March 6, 2016. Tickets for Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with special guests The Sonics will go on sale this Friday, January 15 at 10 a.m.
With over 40 years of success as a solo singer/songwriter, former Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant continues to be a force in modern music. On his most recent album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, Plant—whom Rolling Stone readers had already voted as the top rock vocalist of all time in a 2011 poll—essays what are among the finest vocal performances of his solo career, balancing power and pathos—intimate and emotional at times (the keyboard-and-voice ballad “A Stolen Kiss,” recorded starkly in a chapel), atmospheric and incantatory at others (the dramatically unfolding “Embrace Another Fall,” a trip across the Welsh border).
As he contemplated the writing process, Plant had been instinctively drawn back to the impressively eclectic group of musicians he had previously toured and recorded with as Strange Sensation, early in the last decade. With a few members of that combo, he’d cut 2002’s Dreamland, an album of covers dating mostly from the late ’60s psychedelic folk and rock era, and, with more of these live band members, 2005’s acclaimed Mighty Rearranger. Plant explains, “As I was turning towards the east and back across the Atlantic, I was starting to make moves to reunite with my friends from Strange Sensation and see what we could do. We played together for about 15 months and those were such exciting concerts. We changed the name to The Sensational Space Shifters and brought in the amazing Juldeh Camara from West Africa, from the Gambia, who plays the ritti a one-string fiddle, and the kologo, which is the African origin of the guitar. And Dave Smith joined us on drums. So this amazing hybrid developed. This is where it all began.”
The Sensational Space Shifters created a serious buzz on the concert and festival circuit (and, thanks to a legion of fans, all over YouTube). They built a rapport and a sound on stage that allowed them to freely experiment together when they finally reconvened in the studio. Working at Helium Studio in Wiltshire and Peter Gabriel’s Real World complex in Bath with Plant himself as producer, they quickly and intuitively found a fierce groove. Recalls Plant, “There were moments when the songs quite openly and inevitably told us what they would be. They were not only recorded but written on the spot.”
His band’s name couldn’t be more apt, given their ability to move rock and folk melodies into exotic new places with a seeming improvisatory ease. A glimpse at their individual resumes underscores Plant’s own adventurousness in his choice of collaborators. Guitarist Justin Adams had been instrumental in the world music crossover discs of such groundbreaking artists as Jah Wobble and Natasha Atlas, and he produced the world-renowned Tuareg group Tinariwen. Both keyboardistprogrammer John Baggot and bassist Billy Fuller had been key players in fashioning the deep, dub-influenced Bristol Sound alongside Massive Attack and Portishead (and Fuller has been collaborating with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow in a trio called Beak). Young Gambian multi-instrumentalist Camara, who learned his craft from his venerable griot father, regularly collaborates with Adams in a hybrid project called Juju. Drummer Dave Smith is part of the London-based Loop Collective and specializes in jazz and electronic music. Finally, guitarist Liam “Skin” Tyson hails from the chart-topping Brit-pop band Cast.
“It’s so joyous,” Plant told London’s the Guardian of his work with this line-up, “and the great thing is that it’s not a precious metal at all. People come together to do what they want to do, and what they can. The sound Justin and Juldeh make melds into one beautiful thing. The space-shifting is a natural movement.”
So, too, is lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar: a natural movement, another fascinating progression, for Plant himself. More than any artist of his generation, Plant, an indisputable rock legend, continues to surprise and challenge his audience—and himself—with music that is smart, exciting, and completely of the moment. His decades of experience, his incredible legacy as the front man of Led Zeppelin and as a solo artist, only serve to keep pushing him forward. He’s steeped in history but his ears are attuned to the entire world around him, listening for the future.
Originally from Tacoma, Washington, The Sonics are claimed worldwide to be the first punk band, or garage, or hard rock, or alternative, setting the stage for all that would follow. Their first full-length, Here Are the Sonics, was recorded in Seattle, Washington late 1964 and released early 1965 to widespread raves. A second album, Boom, followed in February 1966. During the recording, the Sonics ripped the soundproofing off the walls at the country and western-oriented Wiley/Griffith studio in Tacoma to “get a live-er sound.” Though the band fell apart between 1966 and 1968, their aggressive, hard-edged sound lived on to become a major influence on punk, garage, and hard rock music worldwide. Notably, they’ve been named as inspirations to Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, the Fall, as well as scores of other major artists. Since reuniting in 2007, the band has been sporadically active—eventually leading to the 2015 release of their first new album in 40 years, This is the Sonics.
Tickets for Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with special guests The Sonics will go on sale this Friday, January 15 at 10 a.m. at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Box Offices. Save on fees by purchasing tickets at the Box Office, walk around the venue to scout your potential seat and have first pick when tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Tickets will also be available at ticketmaster.com, all authorized TicketMaster outlets or by phone at 800-745-3000.
SHOW: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters with special guests The Sonics VENUE: St. Augustine Amphitheatre
DATE: Sunday, March 6, 2016
TIME: Doors 5:30pm / Show 7:00pm
ADMISSION: $79.50 – General Admission Standing Pit $79.50 – Level 100 $64.50 – Level 200 $64.50 – Level 300 $49.50 – Obstructed View
WEBSITE: www.robertplant.com; www.thesonicsboom.com; www.staugamphitheatre.com
LOCAL CONTACT: Dianya Markovits, Marketing and Community Relations Manager (904) 209-3751