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Friday, September 30, 2011

Bush/Chevelle/Filter concert review: Anaheim

Gavin Rossdale of Bush
A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com/entertainment. 

On a day when many news outlets reported details about Gwen Stefani’s new kids clothing line being available at Target next month, husband Gavin Rossdale performed a sold out show with Bush in his wife's hometown.
 
Although the group did some festivals and other sporadic shows last year, the current run of dates is its first proper headlining trek since reuniting. During the mid-to-late 1990s, Bush was a dominant force in alternative rock and saw its first three CDs go platinum or beyond.
 
After the band broke up, Rossdale formed Institute, then did a solo album in ’08 that spawned the major Adult Rock radio hit “Love Remains the Same.” Now the band has been welcomed back warmly: current single “The Sound of Winter” reached the top 10 at modern rock radio and is getting KROQ airplay.
 
Besides singer/guitarist Rossdale, the present Bush lineup includes original drummer/fellow England native Robin Goodridge, lead guitarist Chris Traynor - who toured for 2001’s “Golden State” and has been Rossdale’s main collaborator ever since - and bassist/backing vocalist Corey Britz (founding guitarist Nigel Pulsford declined to participate).
 
Produced by Bob Rock (Metallica, Offspring), The Sea of Memories (Zuma Rock/Entertainment One) - the quartet’s first studio album in a decade - boasts plenty of melodic flourishes and is the best Bush release since 1994’s Sixteen Stone.
 
Wednesday night at the City National Grove of Anaheim, Bush launched a powerful, nearly 90-minute set with the brawny “Machinehead.” As Rossdale repeated the refrain, “breathe in/breathe out,” he looked lithe as ever, clad in a trademark cutaway tank top and long hair tied back. The hirsute Traynor, who could be mistaken for Rob Zombie or a member of Motorhead, started the crunching “All My Life,” the first of five Memories tracks performed. He interacted with both Britz and Rossdale throughout the evening.  
 
Two large ramps jutted out from the sides of Goodridge’s wide and tall drum platform. Paired with fancy lighting, the configuration made the Grove seem like an arena. At first, only Britz traversed the ramps; Rossdale would do so later. The fast-paced “I Believe in You,” driven by razor-sharp guitar riffs, was an early highlight.
 
Rossdale rarely stood still, jumped around and went into the audience. “I’m happy to be back with Bush for this ‘hometown show by default.’ I still don’t like the 5 [freeway] though,” he said, prior to “Winter.”
 
Shards of guitar feedback on Bush’s inaugural hit “Everything Zen” immediately had the crowd amped up as Traynor let loose with some amazing slide work. Rossdale went into a dreamy sounding, mantra-like tangent that incorporated lines of R.E.M.’s “The One I Love.” (the irony of Rossdale singing David Bowie's famous lyric “Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow” in close proximity to Disneyland didn’t go unnoticed, either).
 
On the psychedelic-tinged “The Chemicals Between Us,” Rossdale totally embodied the charismatic Rock God. New ballad “All Night Doctors,” with Traynor on standup bass and Britz on keyboards, was a nice change of pace. Its simple fuzztone guitar recalled “Glycerine” and the singer pointed to various females in the crowd as he sang (no word on whether Stefani was in the house).
 
Toward the end of the main set, Rossdale seemed to get a second wind and vigorously bounced around to the clarion call guitar of “The People That We Love.” Come encore time, Bush did a menacing take on The Beatles’ ‘Come Together.” Rossdale enthused about “spreading the word on Bush” once again and took his usual solo spotlight alone during “Glycerine,” before the rest of the musicians joined in. Another Fab Four nod in  the lyric: “when we rise it’s like Strawberry Fields” – was likely coincidental.      
 
All told, this was a welcome O.C. return for Bush.
 
Opening acts Chevelle and Filter both hail from Chicago and toured together in the past. But it was apparently the first time all three rock radio stalwarts had shared a stage. Filter leader Richard Patrick said it was “a regular love fest out in the parking lot.”
 
Too bad that feeling of camaraderie didn’t extend to concertgoers. Two separate fights were broken up. A minor one during Filter's set prompted Patrick to halt a song while he investigated it; the other was more violent, with beers thrown in the air (yours truly was doused) and participants being escorted out.
Chevelle's Pete Loefller
Last spring, Chevelle put out Any Last Words (Epic), a live DVD+CD recorded in the Windy City; a new studio release is expected in the near future. 
 
During an enthusiastically-received, hour-long Grove set, singer/guitarist Pete Loeffler, his drummer brother Sam and their brother-in-law bassist Dean Bernardini packed a mighty heavy punch.
 
Pete reportedly inhaled some smoke when an onstage speaker caught fire the night before in San Diego , but he had no problem moving from guttural growls to keening high vocals. Fans moshed and sang a long loudly to such menacing alt-metal hits as “Jars,” "Vitamin R," “Send the Pain Below” and “The Red,” while the band saved its hardest maelstrom for “The Clincher.” Chevelle also debuted “Face to the Floor,” containing a lean, sinewy groove that was a welcome respite from the onslaught.  
 
First up on the evening’s bill was Filter. Saddled with a sludgy sound mix, Patrick’s vocals were nearly indecipherable (not a good thing when all your yelling is for naught). Yet the onetime Nine Inch Nails touring member still gave it his all for the 40-minute set. Hunched over the crowd to deliver the anguished lyrics, Patrick hopped into the audience, crowd surfed and even grabbed a fan’s camera to shoot the band.
 
Richard Patrick of Filter
Two tunes from 2010’s “The Trouble with Angels” (“Drug Boy,” “No Love”) proved satisfactory, but the band – with recent recruit Jonny Radtke (Kill Hannah, Ashes Divide) on guitar -  pummeled through “Welcome to the Fold,” “The Best Things,” “Hey Man, Nice Shot” with abandon.
 
The more pop-oriented hit “Take a Picture” found Patrick singing to his darling three-year daughter Sloan, who enjoyed standing next to her daddy onstage. Bassist Phil Buckman pointed out that Patrick marked his nine years sober anniversary date.
 
Filter’s take on ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin’” (the lead track off “A Tribute From Friends,” featuring contributions from Daughtry, Coheed & Cambria, Steven Tyler and others, due out Oct. 11) proved harrowing.
 
Setlist: Bush, City National Grove of Anaheim, Sept. 28, 2011
Main set: Machinehead/All My Life/Little Things/I Believe in You/The Sound of Winter/Everything Zen/The Chemicals Between Us/All Night Doctors/Prizefighter/Swallowed/The People That We Love/The Afterlife
Encore: Come Together (Beatles cover)/Glycerine/Comedown 
 
Photos by Kevin Sullivan

Graham Colton's expanded album+green tour

Pacific Coast Eyes is another solid effort from Graham Colton. I look forward to hearing the newest songs and catching a show next time he plays Southern California...

Singer-songwriter Graham Colton will celebrate the release of Pacific Coast Eyes Vol. 2 on Oct. 18 by launching the Go Natural tour, a two-month jaunt across the Southeastern U.S. that will feature stripped down live performances, intimate fan interaction and a powerful environmental message. Instead of crossing the country in a tour van burning dirty diesel fuel, Colton will embark in a vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).

CNG produces up to 90 percent fewer particle emissions than conventional fuels including gasoline, and is considered one of the cleanest fuels on the planet. It also costs about 50 percent less than the price of gasoline and is nearly one-third the price of diesel.

The Go Natural tour is engineered to draw awareness to the CNGnow movement, an effort to educate the public about the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas vehicle technology.

Throughout Go Natural, Colton will document his experience driving a CNG vehicle, reporting back with video blogs, tour diary entries and road reports via Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, including his website. He will also be the first featured contributor on CNGnow.com, a social network and information hub for people who drive CNG vehicles, or are interested in learning more about this cleaner and more affordable alternative fuel that is available in an increasing number of cities nationwide.

In addition to learning more about CNG vehicles, fans who visit Colton’s page on CNGnow.com will receive access to an exclusive, previously unreleased MP3 download from the artist. Fans can also sign up to join Colton and the movement as an advocate for CNG.

“This tour hits very close to home for me because natural gas is a fuel that’s produced in my home state of Oklahoma,” Colton said. “Driving a CNG vehicle gives me an opportunity to do my part in limiting my eco-footprint, as well as raise awareness about American dependence on foreign resources and oil. By educating people along the tour, I hope to show my fans just how detrimental our reliance on foreign oil is, and how making the switch to compressed natural gas can not only help us end that reliance, but also make a powerful, positive impact in the battle to curb carbon emissions.”

Pacific Coast Eyes Vol. 2 will feature all of the material from Colton’s acclaimed sophomore album Pacific Coast Eyes, alternate versions of the title track, "1981" and "Everything You Are." In addition, the release will include three brand new songs completed just last month. Pacific Coast Eyes Vol. 2 will be available for $5.99 via iTunes and http://grahamcolton.com, where new tour dates can also be found.

Watch the video for “Pacific Coast Eyes” at http://grahamcolton.com/pacificcoasteyes/music.html

Stream Pacific Coast Eyes cd here: http://grahamcolton.com/pacificcoasteyes/music.html

Duran Duran concert review: Los Angeles

Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran
A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com/entertainment 

When Duran Duran appeared on the third day of Coachella this past April, the band turned in a tight, transcendent performance that proved all the cynics wrong (you know: the ones who sniped about them belonging on a festival bill alongside Arcade Fire, the Black Keys, the Strokes, PJ Harvey, etc.).
 
Even bassist John Taylor later cited the gig as a career highlight. A month after, front man Simon Le Bon lost his voice amid a show in Cannes . The group’s summer European tour had to be scuttled while doctors determined the problem. He went through vocal therapy, learned better techniques and posture and Duran Duran’s North American tour of large venues started last week.
 
Latest release All You Need is Now, produced by Mark Ronson, is among the British synth-pop vets’ sharpest and well-received albums to date. He sought a return to Duran Duran’s avant garde spirit of the early 1980s and definitely succeeded. The title track went to No. 1 on the iTunes singles chart in 15 countries last December, followed by the digital and eventual physical CD release of Now.
 
Why it hasn’t sold like gangbusters is baffling. Maybe the upcoming music video for “Girl Panic!” by award-winning director Jonas Akerlund (Lady Gaga, U2, Madonna) featuring former supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and Yasmin Le Bon will help refocus the spotlight.
Duran Duran's John Taylor
 
Tuesday night in Los Angeles, the original four members – including keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor; plus guitarist Dom Brown and three auxiliary musicians - packed Nokia Theatre. The impressive 100-minute set was filled with a generous dose of mostly upbeat hits, a stellar chunk from “All You Need is Now” and a couple surprises.
 
Taking the stage to the orchestral “Return to Now,” Duran Duran got off to a highly dramatic start with the regal ballad, “Before the Rain.” A risky move, but it worked. An extended drum intro to “Planet Earth” built excitement as the audience stood and females shrieked upon the first close-up glimpse of bassist Taylor on the big screens. 
 
The first test of Le Bon’s current vocal stamina was on the James Bond film theme “A View to a Kill,” now back to the original live arrangement. It’s a selection that can be difficult even on good days, but he managed just fine (the same circumstances held true on “Ordinary World” toward the end of the evening).
 
Some rare Duran humor came in the form of four transparent synthetic masks placed high above the stage. A few times, the guys’ faces would be projected on them, either singing or sporting garish sunglasses, while backing vocalist Anna Ross’ face was transformed into an animal. I thought the props should’ve been used more often. 
 
Among the concert highlights: an infectious, danceable “Safe (In the Heat of the Moment),” a nod to John Taylor’s early Chic influence; a fun, extended “The Reflex,” complete with Le Bon’s famous spin from the video; the funky, percussion-heavy “Girl Panic!”; the sinister rocking edge to “Careless Memories,” where still proved to be a worthy successor to Andy Taylor and Warren Cuccurullo; and the exhilarating “(Reach Up For the) Sunrise.”  
Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran
 
There were also some surprises.
 
John Taylor admitted to being a “tweet-o-holic” onstage and urged people to tweet messages about Duran that appeared on the screens during exotic, rare “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” instrumental, “Tiger Tiger.” Later, during the encores, Brown used an enticing new guitar effect for his weepy “Ordinary World” solo.
 
The beefy, tribal “Wild Boys” whipped fans into even more of a frenzy and was a showcase for Roger Taylor. It segued into Frankie Goes to Hollywood ’s “Relax” (unfortunately just a snatch) then circled back to the original song.
 
While listening to Simon Willescroft’s sax work on always electrifying concert closer “Rio,” I couldn’t help think about how that solo is one of the most iconic from the ‘80s New Wave era. And Duran Duran is the quintessential band.
 
Neon Trees, reviewed here recently at Coachella, was a perfect fit to open for Duran. The Utah-via-Temecula alt-rock group did an exuberant 40-minute set consisting of tunes from their 2010 Habits EP, notably the multi-format radio hit single “Animal.”
 
Duran Duran and Neon Trees head to Harrah’s Rincon Casino, Open Sky Theatre, 777 Harrahs Rincon Way, Valley Center , 8 p.m. Oct. 1, $54.50-$70.40. ticketmaster.com.
 
For future tour dates and info, go to duranduran.com.
 
Photos by Chris Young

The Cure brings special shows to LA, London, NYC


The Cure's “REFLECTIONS” show - first experienced last spring at the Vivid Festival in Sydney - will be performed seven more times in November.

Three final chances to experience the show on the West Coast will take place at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood on Nov. 21-23. On sale details below.

"REFLECTIONS" sees an evolving line up of band members past and present playing the first three Cure albums live in their entirety - from the punchy, offbeat, starkly unadorned songs of Three Imaginary Boys (1979), through the increasingly shadowy and quixotic pieces of Seventeen Seconds (1980), to the singular melancholic grandeur of Faith (1981) - in a truly extraordinary concert experience. 

SET 1 (approx 40 minutes)
'THREE IMAGINARY BOYS' (1979)
The Cure Trio - ROBERT SMITH: Voice & Guitar / SIMON GALLUP: Bass / JASON COOPER: Drums
>approx 15 minute changeover interval

SET 2 (approx 40 minutes)
'SEVENTEEN SECONDS' (1980)
The Cure Quartet - ROBERT SMITH: Voice & Guitar / SIMON GALLUP: Bass / JASON COOPER: Drums / ROGER O'DONNELL: Keys
>approx 15 minute changeover interval

SET 3 (approx 40 minutes)
'FAITH' (1981)
The Cure Quintet - ROBERT SMITH: Voice & Guitar / SIMON GALLUP: Bass / JASON COOPER: Drums / ROGER O'DONNELL: Keys & Percussion / LAURENCE TOLHURST: Keys & Percussion
>approx 5 minute interval

SET 4 (approx 30 minutes)
'ENCORES' of the period...

The Cure at the Pantages
ON SALE               Oct. 31@10:00 AM
SHOW DATES      Nov. 21-23 @ 7:30 PM
TICKET PRICES   $105.00 / $85.00 / $65.00 (2 tickets per person maximum)


The additional final "REFLECTIONS" shows will take place at the Royal Albert Hall, London on November 15 and the Beacon Theatre, NYC on November 25-27.

For more information, go to: www.thecure.com


R.E.M. retrospective set for November

R.E.M. recently ignited the blogosphere with news that they had decided to "call it a day as a band" via a statement on their website. Now the band will release their final album, R.E.M., Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage, 1982 - 2011, on Warner Bros. Records on Nov. 15.

The album is a 40-song career-spanning retrospective that collects, for the first time ever, songs from R.E.M.'s entire back catalog, including the American group's years on both the IRS label (1982-87) and Warner Bros. Records (1988-2011). The album is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. A new song, "We All Go Back To Where We Belong," goes to radio and will be available for sale on Oct. 18.

"Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey," says Mike Mills of choosing the songs that appear on the collection. "We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together."

In addition to liner notes written by band members, the album also features three new songs that R.E.M. finished after they completed their last album, Collapse Into Now: "A Month of Saturdays," "We All Go Back To Where We Belong," and "Hallelujah." All were recorded over the summer in Athens with Accelerate and Collapse Into Now producer Garret "Jacknife" Lee.

The track-listing follows:

Disc 1
Gardening At Night
Radio Free Europe
Talk About The Passion
Sitting Still
So. Central Rain
(Don't Go Back To) Rockville
Driver 8
Life And How To Live It
Begin The Begin
Fall On Me
Finest Worksong
It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
The One I Love
Stand
Pop Song 89
Get Up
Orange Crush
Losing My Religion
Country Feedback
Shiny Happy People

Disc 2
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
Everybody Hurts
Man On The Moon
Nightswimming
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
New Test Leper
Electrolite
At My Most Beautiful
The Great Beyond
Imitation Of Life
Bad Day
Leaving New York
Living Well Is The Best Revenge
Supernatural Superserious
ƜBerlin
Oh My Heart
Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter
A Month of Saturdays
We All Go Back To Where We Belong
Hallelujah

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Bangles 'Sweetheart' album release party

Model Music Group
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend The Bangles' exclusive release party for their new album "Sweetheart of the Sun," due in stores next week. Hosted by the band's new label, Model Music Group, it was held in Hollywood.

The location? The iconic Capitol Records tower, inside a room where The Beatles did a mid-1960s press conference (that was my first time back to the building since interviewing Neil Finn of Crowded House in 1993 at one of Sinatra's old studios).

KROQ/106.7 FM's veteran DJ Rodney on the Roq emceed a fun Q&A session where they recalled how he gave the Bangles (then known as the Bangs) their first LA radio airplay, the price of their first recording session ($35), why they had to change the name, the time when Rodney escorted singer Susanna Hoffs to a music awards show and the band ended up performing on it the next year.

Hoffs also shared her excitement about the time The Bangles played across the street at the Hollywood Palace (now Avalon) and Prince jumped onstage to guest with them. 

Lead guitarist Vicki Peterson (see my July interview with her elsewhere on this blog) talked about what an easy time they had recording the new album with co-producer Matthew Sweet and Hoffs marveled about all the instruments he has at his home studio. Finally, they threw it out to the audience, which asked questions about Desert Island Discs (Hoffs: The Beatles' "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver"; Peterson: Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend") and their kids' favorite music.

Sweet was among the VIPs in attendance at the party, alongside the album's mixer: legendary sound man Jim Scott, the Go-Go's guitarist Charlotte Caffey (she co-penned one of the new songs) and '80s pop star Debbie Gibson. 

Assisted by their regular touring keyboardist and bassist, The Bangles did a short acoustic set including "Manic Monday" and three numbers from the blissful "Sweetheart" release: "Under a Cloud," "I'll Never Be Through With You" (the Caffey co-write, which Peterson joked was about a stalker) and "Anna Lee."

I was in the front row and hearing the ladies' heavenly harmonies up close was simply amazing.  

Counting Crows 'August' live 2007 set

Now available in stores, August And Everything After – Live At Town Hall (Eagle Rock Entertainment) from Counting Crows. 

The DVD and Blu-ray are the first-ever video releases from this acclaimed band and all formats of this release (including CD) feature the complete album August And Everything After performed live with extended running times and a few surprises.

Among the set list of this live show are the hit singles “Mr Jones,” “Round Here” and “Rain King.” Counting Crows’ debut album August And Everything After was released in late 1993 and went on to sell over seven million copies in America. On Sept. 18, 2007, the band performed the complete album live at Town Hall in New York City.
 
The lineup for this stellar evening captured on August And Everything After – Live At Town Hall was: Jim Bogios (drums, vocals, percussion); David Bryson (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals); Adam Duritz (vocals); Charles Gillingham (piano, hammond B-3 organ, accordian, harmonica, vocals); David Immergluck (electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, pedal steel, vocals), Millard Powers (bass, vocals, piano); Dan Vickrey (electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, vocals).  
 
TRACKLISTING:
1) Round Here / Raining In Baltimore  
2) Omaha  
3) Mr. Jones  
4) Introduction To Perfect Blue Buildings  
5) Perfect Blue Buildings  
6) Anna Begins  
7) Time And Time Again  
8) Rain King  
9) Introduction To Sullivan Street  
10) Sullivan Street  
11) Ghost Train  
12) A Murder Of One

Journey's 'Greatest Hits, Vol. 2' due in November

When I caught the current lineup of Journey in concert over the summer (see my review elsewhere on this blog), they were amazing. I look forward to hearing some of these tracks again...

Greatest Hits Vol. 2, a new collection of original recordings by the multi-platinum band Journey will be available as a single CD, digital download and special gatefold double-vinyl edition (which includes a code for a free digital download of the vinyl remastered album), available starting Nov. 1.

This new Columbia/Legacy package, spans singles and album tracks recorded between 1978 and 1996. Journey's original Greatest Hits collection is one of the top-selling American rock albums of all time with worldwide sales in excess of 25 million.

In conjunction with the double-LP version of Vol. 2, the original Hits collection will also be issued as a gatefold double-vinyl edition on the same date (which also includes a code for a free digital download of the vinyl remastered album).  

When asked about his experience in the remastering back to vinyl of the original recordings of the Greatest Hits and the new Vol. 2, former lead singer Steve Perry replied, "I truly forgot how sonically exciting and just plain better these Journey tracks sound back where they originally lived...on vinyl. The stereo separation, the center imaging and the sonic depth of the tracks themselves is more true to what we all loved about these original final mixes. All the instruments and voices, to me personally, sound so damn good that all I want to do is reach for the volume and turn it up!"

"I'm very excited to be releasing this compilation," said founding guitarist Neal Schon. "Many of these songs were written in our earlier days by Steve Perry and myself, and hearing them again brings back great memories. 'Little Girl' has an extra special meaning for me because it's one of the songs my father, who worked with us for many years, worked on with us. All our songs have stood the test of time, and I hope our fans will enjoy this collection."

Keyboardist Jonathan Cain added, "'Escape' was my first album with Journey in 1981 and I never looked back. A lot of the songs in those days were in pieces -- like a puzzle to figure out. The connection we had was magic -- and like a Super Bowl team -- we always found a way to get it right."

As Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild wrote, "Whether on the radio or on some stage, these well-built tunes remain sturdy crowd pleasers to this very day, in their second century of airplay. Some DJ is playing a Journey song somewhere right now and many more are out there singing along -- you can bet on it."

GREATEST HITS VOL. 2 
Selections: 
1. Stone In Love
2. After The Fall
3. Chain Reaction
4. The Party's Over (Hopelessly In Love)
5. Escape
6. Still They Ride
7. Good Morning Girl
8. Stay Awhile
9. Suzanne
10. Feeling That Way
11. Anytime
12. Walks Like A Lady
13. Little Girl
14. Just The Same Way
15. Patiently
16. When I Think Of You
17. Mother, Father (Live In Houston, 1981).

Billy Joel's 'Piano Man' gets expanded treatment

The forthcoming Legacy Edition of Piano Man, Billy Joel's 1973 debut album on Columbia Records - out Nov. 8 - includes the 10-song original album in its entirety, remastered for this release in addition to a second disc premiering the first-ever release of Billy's mythic performance at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studio on April 15, 1972 (a year prior to his signing with Columbia).

Philadelphia Daily News music writer Jon Takiff, an eye-witness to the event, has penned a new essay on the Sigma Sound show for the Legacy Edition of Piano Man.  

The release and failure of a flawed Cold Spring Harbor, his first solo album, on an indie label in 1971 prompted then-struggling musician Billy Joel to go to Los Angeles and cut-his-chops incognito in local piano bars as Bill Martin (chronicled in Piano Man's title track).

Unbeknown to Billy, WMMR, a top-rated Philadelphia FM station, had begun spinning "Captain Jack," a live track from a Billy Joel show they'd recorded at Sigma Sound, and the station's phones were going off-the-hook. The "Captain Jack" live recording was turning into a bonafide underground FM anthem, opening the door for a New York audition, competing major label interest, and a Columbia Records contract for the song's author and performer. 

"Columbia was Bob Dylan's label," Billy said. "That was the deciding factor. At this time, you were allowed to build your career through FM radio, album tracks, concerts, singles and Bob Dylan was iconic for not being a hit singles type of artist. This was a company that knows how to build a career with an artist, so we decided to go with Columbia. 

"I never sat down and said I'm gonna write a hit record. I wouldn't know a hit record if it bit me.  I just wrote songs. I wrote them for me, I wrote them for the band, or I wrote a song for the women in my life.  I was just writing songs for me. It's music that I wanted to hear. If I didn't hear certain kind of music on the radio, I realized, 'Well, if I write and record this it'll probably be on the radio and that's what I'll hear.' That's what I was thinking. Not so much about having hits, but about making music that I liked. I only really ever did it for me. That may sound selfish, but I'm the only person that I really know all that well." 

The Legacy Edition of Piano Man makes available, for the first time ever, Billy's full performance at Sigma Sound, re-mixed from the original studio recording. The concert includes three Billy Joel songs --"Long, Long Time," "Josephine," and "Rosalinda"-- which do not appear on any other albums by the artist and, of course, the performance of "Captain Jack" which launched one of the most remarkable careers in show business. The legendary Sigma Sound performance is available exclusively on the new Legacy Edition of Piano Man.
 
Billy Joel - Piano Man (Legacy Edition)
DISC ONE:
The Original Album
  1. Travelin' Prayer
  2. Piano Man
  3. Ain't No Crime
  4. You're My Home
  5. The Ballad Of Billy The Kid
  6. Worse Comes To Worse
  7. Stop In Nevada
  8. If I Only Had The Words (To Tell You)
  9. Somewhere Along The Line
  10. Captain Jack

DISC TWO:
The Sigma Sound Studios Performance
Introduction
Falling
Travelin' Prayer
The Ballad of Billy the Kid
She's Got A Way
Everybody Loves You Now
Nocturne
Turnaround
Long, Long Time
Captain Jack
Josephine
Rosalind
Tomorrow is Today
Recorded live in April 1972 at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA
Previously unreleased
legacyrecordings.com

Daryl Hall's new album in stores next week

In more Hall news... 

Legendary singer-songwriter Daryl Hall is releasing his fifth solo studio album, Laughing Down Crying, on Sept. 27 (Verve Forecast). With his soulful vocals, Hall’s newest collection feels fresh and current while still maintaining his signature style and songwriting prowess.

Late collaborator T-Bone Wolk (Billy Joel, Carly Simon, Elvis Costello), lent his production expertise on three tracks. This album was the last project they worked on together after a prolific 30-year relationship. 

Hall is the co-founder and lead singer of the “rock and soul” duo Daryl Hall and John Oates. His solo career began in the ‘70s and includes the critically acclaimed albums Sacred Songs (1980), Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine (1986) - which spawned the No. 5 Billboard chart hit “Dreamtime” - Soul Alone (1993) and Can’t Stop Dreaming (1996).

Daryl Hall's web music show heading to TV this weekend

Born on the Internet four years ago as a “light bulb moment” for Daryl Hall, Live from Daryl’s House, the award-winning webcast, will make its broadcast premiere nationally with two back-to-back half-hour episodes featuring Train and Fitz & the Tantrums, on Sept. 24.

Live from Daryl’s House marks the first full-length music web show to successfully cross over into the television syndication marketplace. It has been a hit monthly live-performance web series since 2007, featuring Daryl Hall jamming (and cooking and drinking) with friends, musicians and guest artists.

The 30-minute broadcast version is a performance reality series which takes place in the intimate setting in Hall’s home.
 
“This is a dream come true for me,” said the musician. “When I first had the idea for this series four years ago, I was hoping to reach a wide audience, and this is just another step in that plan. We’re all raring to go.”
 
So far, the show has been cleared in several major markets including New York (WPIX), Los Angeles (KTLA), Chicago (WGN), Dallas (KDAF) and Houston (KIAH) as well as Philadelphia (CBS-owned KYW), Boston (KBIN) and Atlanta (WATL). Most stations will air a full hour with two original shows back to back on Saturday nights.
 
“My time at Daryl’s House was incredible,” said Train lead singer Pat Monahan about the experience. “Daryl’s bandmates were super-seasoned pros and Daryl was gracious and right on with what I hoped such a legend would be like.”
 
“To get to play with one of my biggest influences and idols was a dream come true,” raves Fitz’s Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick. “Daryl and the guys put it down and we all left it on the floor! We went pretty deep into the Daryl Hall catalog to sing the first song Daryl ever recorded. It was a day we will never forget!”
 
Live from Daryl’s House made its broadcast debut on WGN America last year to impressive ratings, which spurred interest in syndication. The past four years have marked a steady stream of superlatives and recognition for Live from Daryl’s House, with Hall receiving a Webby Award for Best Variety series before garnering an O Music Award from MTV earlier this year.
 
The 40+ previous episodes of Live From Daryl’s House have featured a mix of well-known performers Booker T & the MGs, Rob Thomas, Smokey Robinson, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Toots Hibbert, Nick Lowe, K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Travie McCoy, Dave Stewart, John Rzeznik and Patrick Stump, along with newcomers such as Nikki Jean, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Mayer Hawthorne, Eric Hutchinson, Chromeo, Kevin Rudolf, Matt Nathanson, Parachute, Plain White T’s, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Sharon Jones, Diane Birch, Neon Trees and Guster.

Daryl launched the free monthly web series in November, 2007, after wanting to “play with my friends and put it up on the Internet.” The show marked its broadcast debut New Year’s Eve on superstation WGN America, where it greatly improved ratings for the time period.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scott Weiland Xmas album due


Stone Temple Pilots and ex-Velvet Revolver leader Scott Weiland finds inspiration from the iconic songs and singers of Christmases past, putting his signature baritone on some of his favorite holiday classics for "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," arriving Oct. 25 from Rhino at all physical and digital retail outlets.

It also includes the singer’s own original holiday song, “Happy Christmas And Many More.”

The inception began two years ago when Weiland first performed “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” The singer says Frank Sinatra’s legendary 1957 recording of the song, which featured an orchestra conducted by Gordon Jenkins, inspired his take on this sentimental favorite.

Similarly, the album is filled with lush orchestrations punctuated by horns and sweetened with strings, which were arranged by Michael Birnbryer and Jessica Catron. Weiland leads the musicians through timeless holiday standards made famous by the likes of Nat King Cole (“The Christmas Song”), Bing Crosby (“White Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”), Perry Como (“Winter Wonderland”) and Andy Williams (“The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”) The album was produced by Weiland and his longtime collaborator, Doug Grean.

There are surprises as well, including a reggae version of “O Holy Night” complete with steel drums, a spritely “Silent Night” propelled by a bossa nova beat and a jazzy “What Child Is This?” where Weiland channels his inner Van Morrison.

The holiday album is very much a passion project for Weiland.

In his note accompanying the album, he writes: “I hope this music, a labor of love from all of ‘us,’ finds you and touches your heart and soul. For that was the purpose of it. Not just these fabulous musicians but moreover, it was the absolute intent of the original writers, players, and legendary icons from days long gone. I have to pause and wonder...whether it be Frank, Bing, or Nat King Cole himself. Are these times really so different? A lot of these tunes were written during times of strife within our country and, in fact, around the world. Whether it be the depression or wartime, when these Christmas messages were sent out to men & women of our armed services in a fox hole or hospital, just as today those brave souls who dare to give it all.”

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
 
Track Listing
1.      “The Christmas Song”
2.      “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
3.      “White Christmas”
4.      “Silent Night”
5.      “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year”
6.      “What Child Is This?”
7.      “Winter Wonderland”
8.      “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
9.      “Happy Christmas And Many More”
10.  “O Holy Night”

Don Henley concert review: Greek Theatre

Photo by Kelly Swift
A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com/entertainment/music. 

It was a real treat to see Don Henley playing solo again in Los Angeles last Saturday.

While the Eagles have performed multiple times in Southern California since their highly successful 2007 comeback album “Long Road Out of Eden” was released, the band’s de facto leader (alongside Glenn Frey) hadn’t done his own full concert in the vicinity for seven years.

The Greek Theatre was filled - except the upper terrace sections, which were draped with camouflage netting. Henley was in a humorous mood and fine vocal form throughout this kick off for a short string of gigs around California , Las Vegas and Oklahoma. 

Early in the evening, Henley informed the crowd, “We’re going to go way off the map.” Indeed, several surprising covers peppered the two-hour set. More than half the songs were hit singles. There weren’t any country-leaning tunes from a project Henley has reportedly been working on for awhile though (I wouldn’t liked to have heard some deep album cuts).

Backed by a tight eight member group that included two female backing vocalists and a seven-piece horn section that appeared on selected songs, the sound was full, but not overbearing. Henley stuck to playing guitar and didn’t get behind the drums, even for occasional Eagles rock classic. 

Opening with an intriguingly dramatic take on Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” he sung to simple organ accompaniment with eyes closed until the horns added a punchy kick. The front man dedicated the icy social commentary of “Dirty Laundry” to Rupert Murdoch, the head of scandal-plagued media conglomerate News Corp. Guitarists Steuart Smith – a frequent Henley/Eagles collaborator – and Peter Thorn traded searing solos. 

As an introduction to the chiming, elegant “Everybody’s Famous” by Wisconsin folk artist Jeffrey Foucault, Henley sounded off on a variety of topics, as only he can: reality TV (the song’s focus), Rick Perry and living in Texas (“Governor ‘Good Hair’ may become president; I’ll move to Canada”), finding Foucault on satellite radio because terrestrial stations are in such a sad state. 

Photo by Kelly Swift
The stellar “Everything is Different Now,” from Henley ’s 2000 solo effort “Inside Job,” veered from haunting to ebullient and had a gospel-type group vocal finish. Before a stirring “The Last Worthless Evening,” Henley recounted a funny story about how he attended a Hollywood party in the ‘80s and got the cold shoulder from an actress chatting with Jack Nicholson. 

Plaintive ballad “It Don’t Matter to the Sun” (recorded by Garth Brooks under his alter ego, Chris Gaines) featured just piano and standup bass and recalled “Desperado.” A warm, inviting “The End of the Innocence” was revamped with musical director Will Hollis providing the only accompaniment on lush and airy keyboards. It showcased Henley ’s still-rich vocal timbre. Halfway in, the rest of the band entered and the crowd started clapping along and gave the clarinet solo a rousing response.

Most of the audience remained seated and applauded politely until a sunny, faithful  cover of Tears for Fears’ got them up and dancing (coincidentally, the British synth pop duo was playing across town at the Wiltern; I thought, ‘what if they were playing this tune right now?’). 

“This is the story of my life,” the singer quipped, leading into the subtle version of Randy Newman’s Guilty (from the 1974 album “Good Old Boys,” which Henley and fellow Eagle Glenn Frey actually contributed vocals to). 

Other deft covers included the punchy pop/soul on newcomer Eric Hutchinson’s fun, finger-snapping “You Don’t Have to Believe Me” and the Otis Redding/Jerry Butler soul classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” a real surprise. Henley pulled out all the vocal stops and swelling horns really elevated the intensity level on both. 

Between the two tunes was an extended funky instrumental. If someone walked in at that point, they could’ve easily mistaken the band for Earth, Wind & Fire. Henley said “sometimes you get tired of doing country rock.” A solid stretch of fan favorites followed. 

The encores commenced with the original - albeit a seemingly slower - arrangement of “Hotel California” (the image of Henley playing drums and singing the song as well as “Life in the Fast Lane” is so ingrained in our minds, it was hard getting used to him not keeping the beat). 

Toward the end, the band rocked out on “I Will Not Go Quietly” (dedicated to Henley ’s pal Sting, who turns 60 soon) and concluded with a party hearty “The Long Run.” 

Lucinda Williams' enthralling 45-minute warm up set was probably puzzling to the uninitiated in attendance. Performing with her trio, the unassuming alt-country singer/guitarist began with a batch of sparse numbers, often colored by Blake Mills’ tasteful slide guitar and reverb effects (the title track from winsome latest effort “Blessed,” “World Without Tears,” “Copenhagen” “Born to Be Loved”). 

Once they picked up steam, the crowd really got into the material, especially a raucous “Buttercup” from the new album (Elvis Costello and Matthew Sweet guest on the studio version), “Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings,” the jagged, Neil Young-esque “Essence,”  a sinewy “Change the Locks,” where Williams’ quavering Southern drawl vocals stood out and the sexually-charged stomper “Honeybee,” with a smoking Mills solo.

Henley returns Sept. 25 for a San Diego area concert at the Open Sky Theater, Harrahs Rincon Hotel & Casino, Valley Center. Tickets are $64-$86 (including fees) and available through Ticketmaster.

Setlist: Don Henley, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles , Sept. 17, 2011
Main set: I Put a Spell on You/Dirty Laundry/Everybody’s Famous/Sunset Grill/Everything is Different Now/New York Minute/The Last Worthless Evening/One of These Nights/It Don’t Matter to the Sun/The End of the Innocence/Everybody Wants to Rule the World/The Heart of the Matter/Guilty/You Don’t Have to Believe Me/Funky Stuff/I’ve Been Loving You Too Long/The Boys of Summer/All She Wants to Do is Dance/Life in the Fast Lane
First encore: Hotel California/Desperado
Second encore: I Will Not Go Quietly/The Long Run