When you think of Augusta, Georgia in April, one thing naturally comes to mind: The Major Rager concert series! Okay…SOME of you may make mention of some golf tournament happening the same weekend, but whatever. With The Flaming Lips, Moon Taxi and The Eric Krasno Band playing, and for a great cause to boot, the place to be in Augusta that blustery Thursday wasn’t on a putting green…it was front and center at a rocking downtown day-long jam.The charity clearinghouse Friends With Benefits pairs great bands with great causes. The Major Rage uses the opportunity presented by The Masters coming to town to create unique fund raising opportunities. Since their founding, they have raised a quarter of a million dollars for a variety of worthy non-profits.Sunny skies were filled with gusting winds and unseasonably chilly temperatures for the event but music lovers were undeterred. There were plenty of opportunities for craft beer and BBQ but the main course on the menu was served onstage. After a fun warm-up set from Stop Light Observations, one of the hardest working men in the music scene did what he does best…bending his guitar strings until they sang the blues.Eric Krasno BandEric Krasno brought his new band to the Major Rager and wowed the fans with his blues licks and wailing solos! While still getting the funk down with his bands Lettuce and Soulive, Krasno seems to relish the chance to do his own thing. Krasno has gathered a band he seems to trust, including multiple members of the Dap Kings, to form the Erik Krasno Band.Keyboard player and vocalist Deshawn Alexander brought a burst of energy and stage presence with his contributions on the mic and ivories. Vocalist Mary Corso had the crowd in awe of her emotional, bluesy delivery. Krasno got in on the act as well, singing while playing the blues. While his schedule may not allow much time for sleep, with this many amazing bands to play with, Krasno doesn’t have time to rest anyway.Watch Krasno and company pump up the jams below:“Jezebel”“Move Over”People Of The Sun (Moon Taxi)Nashville’s own indie-rockers Moon Taxi have a secret. Though they write artful, melodic rock songs for themselves they secretly kinda wish they were the most bombastic rap rock protest band of all times! So, whenever they can’t fight the urge to go buck wild, they metamorphose into “People Of The Sun” and play tribute to Rage Against The Machine, pioneers of the anger-rock movement of the nineties.Organizers of The Major Rager were more than happy to let them work out their identity issues on stage. Throughout the crowd, fists were raised and middle fingers were unfurled. Classic RATM tunes like “Bulls On Parade” and “Guerilla Radio” were dropped left and right as People Of The Sun quickly moved from hit to hit. Check out a couple of their most brutal jams below:“Bulls On Parade”“Bombtrack”The Flaming LipsSince their inception, the Flaming Lips have purposefully followed a path all their own. Mercurial frontman Wayne Coyne serves as nexus for the swirling mayhem the band has created in the studio and on stages for decades. Whether The Flaming Lips are building a monument to the psychedelic insanity in their hearts, or pleading for love to conquer all, they are always remembering to first and foremost…ENTERTAIN!Flips shows are a senses shattering cacophony of sights and sounds designed to overwhelm onlookers and leave them receptive to new ideas. Wild man Coyne serves as the eye of the storm, urging listeners to embrace love and insanity. Music fans at the Major Rager were lost in a wave of jubilation. Confetti filled the air, Coyne ventured out into the crowd on a giant LED illuminated unicorn, and the general ridiculousness factor needle was buried on eleven.That sense of irreverence has served to connect the band and their fans on a very instinctive level. Humor has a way of disarming a situation. In the context of a Flaming Lips show, it allows the overall message the band shares, peace, love and unbridled artistic expression, to resonate on a more personal frequency.See The Flaming Lips play a pair of the most beloved tunes below:“Race For The Prize”“Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robot (Part One)”
Record warmth in 2010 and 2012 resulted in similarly extraordinary spring flowering in the eastern United States — the earliest in the more than 150 years for which data is available — researchers at Harvard University, Boston University, and the University of Wisconsin have found.“We’re seeing spring plants that are now flowering on average over three weeks earlier than when they were first observed — and some individual species that are flowering as much as six weeks earlier,” said Charles Davis, a Harvard professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and the study’s senior author. “That’s a dramatic advancement of spring. We have a long historic record that shows these are far and away the earliest flowering times on record for the eastern United States.“When we looked at the data, I was stunned at just how early flowering was occurring,” Davis added. “It is striking, how early we’re seeing spring.”To explain the early arrival, Davis and his colleagues point to temperature increases produced by global climate change. Using data collected in Massachusetts and Wisconsin from the mid-1800s to today, they show that the two warmest years on record — 2010 and 2012 — also included record-breaking early flowering. The study was published Jan. 16 in the journal PLoS One.“Given what we know about historical trends in temperature and flowering times, the question has been whether the flowering dates we see today fall within expectations, and it appears that indeed they do,” Davis said. “It suggests that many spring plants haven’t hit some sort of breaking point — they just keep pushing things earlier and earlier.”Many researchers believe that some plants have, or soon will, reach a point where they may not be able to keep pace with warming temperatures. For example, they may no longer meet their winter chilling requirements, which means that they may not get enough cool days to prepare them for spring. “With the several dozen species we looked at, that doesn’t yet appear to be occurring,” Davis said.The possible consequences of plants reaching their limits are worrisome, to say the least.“Thoreau was making observations on flowering times across Concord for nearly a decade,” said Davis. “We believe he may have been preparing a book to document the change in seasons in this region.” A stemless lady slipper is one of the specimens collected by Thoreau and preserved at the Harvard University Herbaria.“One potential negative consequence of early flowering is that these plants are adjusting to the point where important ecological associations are disrupted,” he continued. “One possibility is that they may shift so far that they simply miss their primary pollinators. The other aspect of this is that we don’t have a great sense of how this relates to variation among and between populations within these species. It could very well be that these species as a whole are being very negatively affected, and we’re just seeing the evidence of more resilient populations — in particular, those that are able to greatly adjust their flowering times.”To conduct the study, Davis and colleagues relied on two “incredibly unique” data sets.Henry David Thoreau initiated the first in Concord in the mid-19th century. Davis said, “Thoreau was making observations on flowering times across Concord for nearly a decade. We believe he may have been preparing a book to document the change in seasons in this region.”Botanists in the early 1900s followed in Thoreau’s footsteps, collecting similar data for more than a decade. Most recently, researchers from BU have continued this effort since 2005.The second data set was initiated in the mid-1930s in central Wisconsin, with observations made by the environmental pioneer Aldo Leopold, then a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. Other researchers made additional studies of flowering times in the 1970s.“The striking finding is that we see similar patterns of earlier spring in Wisconsin and in Massachusetts,” Davis said. “It’s amazing that these areas are so far apart and we’re seeing the same things — it speaks to a larger phenomenon taking place in the eastern United States.”Davis expressed hope that the study will serve as a tangible example of the potential consequences of climate change.“The problem of climate change is so massive, and I worry that the temptation is for people to tune out,” he said. “But I think being aware that this is indeed happening is one step in the right direction of being a good steward of our planet.“On average, it’s about 3 degrees Celsius warmer today than when Thoreau studied Concord,” he continued. “When we talk about climate change, it can be difficult to grasp what it means when we talk about future increases in temperature. Humans may weather these changes reasonably well in the short-term, but many organisms in the tree of life will not likely fare nearly as well.”Elizabeth R. Ellwood and Richard B. Primack, both from Boston University, Stanley A. Temple from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the late Nina L. Bradley of the Aldo Leopold Foundation contributed to the research.