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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Stagecoach 2019 news

Stagecoach 2019 takes place Friday, April 26-Sunday, April 28 for its 13th year at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, CA. American Idol judge Luke Bryan headlines Friday of the festival while Sam Hunt leads Saturday and Jason Aldean closes the event out on Sunday.

“I am so proud to present the Stagecoach 2019 lineup following our record breaking show last year,” says festival Talent Buyer Stacy Vee. “This line up is gigantic! Guy Fieri is coming back! We are going to make the site look even more incredible. The whole team is already working overtime to deliver an unforgettable experience from top to bottom.”

The 3-day event will also feature performances by Cole Swindell, Luke Combs, Old Dominion, Kane Brown, CAM, Lauren Alaina, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bret Michaels, Tom Jones and more. (Full lineup as of October 16 is below).

Guy’s Stagecoach Smokehouse is back this year with a new cast of the nation’s finest pit bosses alongside the most celebrated restaurants and BBQ vendors. Guy and friends will be showcasing their pits and rigs and offering taste tests to fans throughout the weekend with live demos. Stay tuned for the full food lineup.

“Just like everybody stands by waiting to hear the lineup for Stagecoach,” Fieri says in a quote to Entertainment Weekly about last year’s Stagecoach, “I want them standing by waiting to hear the lineup on who the barbecue badasses are, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Returning to the festival this year is the SiriusXM Spotlight Stage, which will once again highlight today’s rising stars like Tyler Rich, Travis Denning, Mitchell Tenpenny and more. The Honkytonk Dance Hall also makes its return alongside the latest fan-favorite, Nikki Lane's Stage Stop Marketplace.

High Class Hillbilly, owner and singer Nikki Lane hosts the Stage Stop Marketplace which highlights carefully curated artisans, vintage fashion and unique one-of-a-kind western wear. Cool down with a cocktail and a taste of Nashville while watching singers, songwriters and special guests on the all new Stage Stop Horseshoe Stage.

Car camping returns for 2019 with the added option to purchase Companion Camping Parking for additional vehicles. Revisit The Resort this season with full amenities like the internet café, charging stations, General Store, Supermarket Shuttles and on-site pedal cabs. These options and more will be available for purchase, with Travel Packages, Shuttles and the all new Safari Camping Experience available via Valley Music Travel.

Festival passes go on sale Friday, October 19 at 11 AM PDT at stagecoachfestival.com.

Pass Prices:

3-Day General Admission $349
3-Day General Admission/Shuttle Combo $409
3-Day Corral Standing Pit $1,399
3-Day Corral C1 Reserved Seating $1,399
3-Day Corral C2 Reserved Seating $899
**Prices as of the October 19 sale

All taxes, domestic shipping and fees are included in listed ticket prices. Pay in full or choose the Stagecoach Payment Plan to pay up to four equal payments from October 19 through January.

The STAGECOACH 2019 line up (as of October 16th) is as follows:

Abby Anderson
Adam Hambrick
Ashley Monroe
Aubrie Sellers
Becca Mancari
Brandon Lay
Bret Michaels
CAM
Carlton Anderson
Charley Crockett
Cody Johnson
Cole Swindell
Cordovas
Danielle Bradbery
Dan Tyminski
Dawn Landes
Devin Dawson
Filmore
Jason Aldean
Jessie James Decker
Jimmie Allen
Joe Diffie
Jon Langston
Jordan Davis
Kane Brown
King Leg
LANCO
Lauren Alaina
Luke Bryan
Luke Combs
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Mark Chesnutt
Michael Ray
Mitchell Tenpenny
Old Dominion
Parker Millsap
Rachel Wammack
Rita Wilson
Ross Ellis
Ruby Boots
Russell Dickerson
Sam Hunt
Sammy Kershaw
Scotty McCreery
Smithfield
Terri Clark
The Wild Feathers
Tom Jones
Travis Denning
Tyler Rich
Whiskey Myers
Whitey Morgan
William Prince

STAGECOACH is produced by Goldenvoice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lost Glen Campbell songs come to light on 'Sings For The King'

This collection sounds very intriguing...

From 1964 to 1968—in between recording sessions with the Wrecking Crew, touring with the Beach Boys, and recording his own albums—Glen Campbell was recruited to record songs for Elvis Presley.

Originally intended for Elvis’s ears only, 18 of these recently unearthed and unreleased gems will be released together on CD, LP and digitally for the first time, more than half a century later, as the lost album Sings For The King on Nov. 16 via Capitol/UMe. The collection will also be available on limited edition 180-gram clear vinyl exclusively at GlenCampbell.com.

Pre-order Sings For The King now: https://UMe.lnk.to/GCSingsForTheKingPR

Sings For The King includes songs written by the songwriting team of Ben Weisman and Sid Wayne. Weisman is significant for having written the most songs recorded by Elvis than any other songwriter in history at 57. Weisman and Wayne turned to Glen Campbell who had perfect pitch and an uncanny ability to match Elvis’s key and even mimic his delivery, to record fully fleshed out studio versions that they could present to Elvis for his recording consideration.

The songs were discovered by Executive Producer Stephen Auerbach who found the fifty-year-old recordings on long-forgotten reel-to-reel tapes in a storage space belonging to his uncle-in-law, Ben Weisman. Of the 29 recordings that have been rescued, there are 12 of Glen’s recordings that went on to be recorded and released by Elvis including “Stay Away Joe,” “Clambake,” “Spinout” and “Easy Come, Easy Go,” which were all made famous with singing performances of the title tracks in his movies. “Easy Come, Easy Go” is available today on all streaming services and as an instant grat download with digital pre-order. Listen to “Easy Come, Easy Go” here:https://UMe.lnk.to/GCSingsForTheKingPR

Glen and Elvis first met in 1956, when Elvis performed in Albuquerque, where Glen had recently moved to join his uncle’s band, Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. “I saw him in the rough,” Glen later said. “He was so electrifying.” In 1960, Glen headed to Los Angeles to find work as a session musician and took a regular gig at a club called the Crossbow, where Elvis and his friends would sometimes come watch from a small private room upstairs.

As a member of the incomparable group of LA studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, Glen appeared on dozens of immortal hits, from “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ ” to “Strangers in the Night.” In 1963 alone, he added his guitar to almost 600 sessions, including his one and only recording with Elvis, for the “Viva Las Vegas” soundtrack.

By 1967, Glen’s own career was exploding with the release of his breakthrough albums Gentle on My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix, which both reached Number One on the charts, and made Grammy history by sweeping the Song and Performance awards in both the pop and country & western categories. The following year, By The Time I Get To Phoenix took home the prize for Album of the Year, the first country record to do so. Yet Glen continued to knock out songs for Weisman and Wayne in whatever spare time he had.

The relationship between these two Hall of Famers might have become more extensive: When Elvis was assembling his TCB band in 1969, his two finalists for the lead guitar chair were Glen and James Burton. But while Glen was riding high as a solo artist following the monster hits “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “Wichita Lineman,” Burton was available since his previous boss, Ricky Nelson, had recently broken up his backing band.

As it turns out, though, there was a deep connection between Elvis and Glen that almost no one was aware of—until now, with the release of Sings for the King. This historic collection casts new light on the quiet influence that one musical giant, and an often-overlooked songwriting team, had on America’s greatest rock and roll star.

Track listing:

1. We Call On Him (A Duet With Elvis Presley) *
2. Easy Come, Easy Go *
3. Any Old Time
4. Anyone Can Play
5. I Got Love
6. I’ll Never Know *
7. All I Needed Was The Rain *
8. How Can You Lose What You Never Had *
9. Spinout *
10. Magic Fire
11. I’ll Be Back *
12. Love On The Rocks
13. Stay Away, Joe *
14. Cross My Heart And Hope To Die *
15. Clambake *
16. There Is So Much World To See *
17. Do The Clam *
18. Restless

* Recorded by Elvis Presley

Paisley Underground bands The Bangles, Dream Syndicate, Three O’Clock, Rain Parade come together for unique album project

This album sounds very exciting. I interviewed Vicki and Danny when they played together for the benefit mentioned below in the OC Register. Read more details from the press release...

At the dawn of the ’80s, The Bangles (then just known as The Bangs), The Dream Syndicate, The Three O’Clock (originally called the Salvation Army), and Rain Parade were all new bands in Los Angeles who formed the core of the small yet influential Paisley Underground scene.

In 2013, the four ensembles got back together to share the bill at L.A.’s Fonda Theatre for a charity concert that benefited the non-profit Education Through Music organization. The show went so well and everybody had so much fun that Danny Benair(The Three O’Clock), Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), and Vicki Peterson (The Bangles) started talking about doing some type of album to celebrate their Paisley Underground beginnings.

The idea quickly formed that each band would cover one song of the three’s. Plans were discussed but lingered. The project didn’t take off until Benair mentioned it to Yep Roc Records co-owner Glenn Dicker, who loved the idea. The four groups then got to work, resulting in the terrific twelve-song collection succinctly entitled 3 x 4: The Bangles, The Three O'Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, which Yep Roc will issue on purple swirl vinyl double LP and CD for Black Friday Record Store Day (Nov. 23) with a wider release (including digital formats) coming on Jan. 11.

These grads of Paisley High, Class of ’83, all went on to enjoy long careers in music, and are still active today. The Three O’Clock released several albums in the ’80s for Frontier, I.R.S., and Prince’s Paisley Park labels. They reformed in 2013, with principal members Michael Quercio (vocals/bass), Louis Gutierrez (guitars) and Danny Benair (drums) along with keyboardist recruit Adam Merrin, to perform at the Coachella Music Festival. The Bangles enjoyed wide success on Columbia Records throughout the ’80s with hits like “Manic Monday,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” and “Eternal Flame.” Their 3 x 4 recordings feature a lineup consisting of all four original members, including bassist Annette Zilinskas.

Rain Parade made albums on Enigma and Island during the ’80s before splintering. Matt Piucci spent time with Crazy Horse. David Roback formed the band Opal with the Dream Syndicate’s first bassist, Kendra Smith, before teaming with Hope Sandoval in Mazzy Star(“Fade Into You” fame). Roback’s brother Steven founded Viva Saturn with fellow Rain ParaderJohn Thoman in the ’90s. Those two joined Piucci in reviving Rain Parade in 2012. Between 1982-89, the Dream Syndicate put out a quartet of acclaimed albums. After years of solo or short-term group projects, Steve Wynn reconstituted the Dream Syndicate in 2012 with original drummer Dennis Duck, long-time bassist Mark Walton, and guitarist Jason Victor.

3 x 4: The Bangles, The Three O'Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade winds up not just only celebrating these bands’ shared past but also celebrating how the musicians are today. As Steve Wynn puts it: “I’m glad we’ve kept this thing going. I’ll go on a limb here and say that we all like and respect and admire each other as much as we did back in 1982, maybe even more. We’ve lived lives and learned a few things and know how important and lucky it is when like-minded souls find each other and collide on something really exciting. It’s all still happening!”
CD Track listing:

1. Getting Out Of Hand (The Bangles) - The Three O'Clock
2. That's What You Always Say (The Dream Syndicate) - The Bangles
3. You Are My Friend (Rain Parade) - The Dream Syndicate
4. As Real As Real (The Three O’Clock) - Rain Parade
5. Tell Me When It's Over (Dream Syndicate) - The Three O'Clock
6. When You Smile (The Dream Syndicate) - Rain Parade
7. Talking In My Sleep (Rain Parade) - The Bangles
8. Hero Takes A Fall (The Bangles) - The Dream Syndicate
9. Jet Fighter (The Three O’Clock) - The Bangles
10. Real World (The Bangles) - Rain Parade
11. What She's Done To Your Mind (Rain Parade) - The Three O'Clock
12 She Turns To Flowers (The Three O’Clock) - The Dream Syndicate

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New Tom Petty retrospective coming next month

On Nov. 16, Geffen Records/UMe will release The Best Of Everything, the first career-spanning collection of all of Tom Petty’s hits with The Heartbreakers, his solo work and Mudcrutch.

The 38-track set also features two previously unreleased tracks: “For Real” and the collection’s lead single—an alternate version of the title track, which restores a never-heard second verse to the song that was originally recorded for the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 1985 album, Southern Accents. Listen/share “The Best of Everything (alternate version)” HERE. The song is also available today with album preorder: https://TomPetty.lnk.to/TheBestOfEverything

The Best of Everything will be released simultaneously as a 2-disc CD, featuring deluxe packaging, and in all digital formats. LP editions—in both black and clear vinyl—will arrive on December 7. The collection also features an essay on Tom Petty written especially for this collection by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director, author and journalist Cameron Crowe.

All 38 recordings on The Best of Everything have been re-mastered for this collection from pristine transfers of the original studio multi-track masters.

Track listing:

Disc 1
1. Free Fallin’
2. Mary Jane’s Last Dance
3. You Wreck Me
4. I Won’t Back Down
5. Saving Grace
6. You Don’t Know How It Feels
7. Don’t Do Me Like That
8. Listen To Her Heart
9. Breakdown
10. Walls (Circus)
11. The Waiting
12. Don’t Come Around Here No More
13. Southern Accents
14. Angel Dream (No. 2)
15. Dreamville
16. I Should Have Known It
17. Refugee
18. American Girl
19. The Best Of Everything (Alt. Version)

Disc 2
1. Wildflowers
2. Learning To Fly
3. Here Comes My Girl
4. The Last DJ
5. I Need To Know
6. Scare Easy
7. You Got Lucky
8. Runnin’ Down A Dream
9. American Dream Plan B
10. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (feat. Stevie Nicks)
11. Trailer
12. Into The Great Wide Open
13. Room At The Top
14. Square One
15. Jammin’ Me
16. Even The Losers
17. Hungry No More
18. I Forgive It All
19. For Real

Joe Jackson news

I reviewed Joe's show a few years ago in Riverside, Calif. (see it elsewhere on this blog) and put his last album on my year's best list. I look forward to hearing the new material...

Following the 2015 release of the critically acclaimed Fast Forward, legendary songwriter Joe Jackson has announced the release of his new studio album, Fool. The record, which is the 20th of Jackson's career, was the fulfilment of a career-long dream: to finish a tour and head straight into the studio with the band firing on all cylinders. So, on July 29, Joe wrapped up his 2018 summer tour at The Eqyptian Theater in Boise, Idaho -- and the following day set up shop at Tonic Room Studios in town. 

When asked to reflect on the recording Jackson had this to offer:

"When it looked like I'd be recording in late July and mixing around my birthday, in August, it struck me that the only other occasion that had happened was while making my first album. It still took a while for it to sink in: this would be 40 years on... The road to this album is littered with the wrecks of songs and half-songs that didn't make the grade. There are eight survivors, which I think is enough. How significant the resurgence of vinyl is, I'm not sure, but I did think of this as an album, with two complementary sides of about 20 minutes each...

I never have an overall theme in mind when I start trying to write songs for an album, but sometimes one will develop. In this case it's Comedy and Tragedy, and the way they're intertwined in all our lives. The songs are about fear and anger and alienation and loss, but also about the things that still make life worth living: friendship, laughter, and music, or art, itself. I couldn't have done this in 1979. I just hadn't lived enough."

The album was co-produced by Jackson and producer Pat Dillett (David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard, etc.). The band in question was the same group that Jackson has played live with ever since the release of Fast Forward: Teddy Kumpel on guitar, Doug Yowell on drums, and long-time collaborator Graham Maby on bass (Maby was on that first recording session 40 years ago as well). The Fast Forward Tour saw the band playing 103 shows together.

Starting February 2019, Jackson and the band will embark on a new world tour, playing shows throughout North America and Europe. In his own words: "So, here comes a big tour. We want to celebrate the fact that this is happening after 40 years -- anything else, would be like sulking in a room by yourself on your own birthday party. Looking for some way to organize a show out of 40 years' worth of material, I decided to draw on five albums, each representing a decade: Look Sharp (1979), Night And Day (1982), Laughter And Lust(1991), Rain (2008), and Fool (2019). We'll also throw in a couple of songs from other albums and some new covers. I can't wait. Let's party."

Tickets go on-sale to the general public on Friday, Oct 12 at 10am local time at JoeJackson.com. Each North American concert ticket includes a digital download of Fool.

The first new song from the album, "Fabulously Absolute" sees it premiere with an accompanying live performance video found on earMUSIC's official YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/Bnc1EasHvZg

LISTEN TO "FABULOUSLY ABSOLUTE" HERE: https://joejackson.lnk.to/FabulouslyAbsolute

Fool is going to be released as CD Digipak, 1LP+download and Digital on Jan. 18, 2019 on earMUSIC.

PREORDER THE ALBUM HERE: https://joejackson.lnk.to/fool

Track list:

1. Big Black Cloud
2. Fabulously Absolute
3. Dave
4. Strange Land
5. Friend Better
6. Fool
7. 32 Kisses
8. Alchemy

Tour dates:

Feb 5 / Bijou Theatre / Knoxville, TN
Feb 7 / Center Stage / Atlanta, GA
Feb 9 / Lincoln Theatre / Washington, DC
Feb 10 / The National / Richmond, VA
Feb 12 / Scottish Rite Auditorium / Collingswood, NJ
Feb 13 / Shubert Theatre / Boston, MA
Feb 15 / Town Hall / New York, NY
Feb 16 / Town Hall / New York, NY
Feb 18 / Danforth Music Hall / Toronto, ON
Feb 21 / Thalia Hall / Chicago, IL
Feb 22 / Thalia Hall / Chicago, IL
Feb 24 / Paramount Theatre / Denver, CO
Feb 27 / Aladdin Theater / Portland, OR
Feb 28 / Neptune Theatre / Seattle, WA
March 2 / The Masonic / San Francisco, CA
March 3 / Crest Theatre / Sacramento, CA
March 6 / Balboa Theatre / San Diego, CA
March 8 / Orpheum Theatre / Los Angeles, CA
March 9 / Orpheum Theater / Phoenix, AZ

March 16 / De Roma / Antwerp, Belgium
March 17 / De Oosterpoort / Groningen, The Netherlands
March 19 / Auditorium della Conciliazione / Rome, Italy
March 21 / Teatro Auditorium Manzoni / Bologna, Italy
March 22 / Teatro Dal Verme / Milan, Italy
March 23 / Teatro Colosseo / Torino, Italy
March 25 / Kaufleuten / Zurich, Switzerland
March 28 / Admiralspalast / Berlin, Germany
March 29 / Fabrik / Hamburg, Germany
March 31 / Liederhalle / Stuttgart, Germany
April 1 / Muffathalle / Munich, Germany
April 3 / Gloria / Cologne, Germany
April 4 / Theatre Sebastopol / Lille, France
April 5 / La Laiterie / Strasbourg , France
April 7 / Paradiso / Amsterdam, The Netherlands
April 8 / Paradiso / Amsterdam, The Netherlands
April 10 / Muziekcentrum / Enschede, The Netherlands
April 11 / Concertgebouw De Vereeniging / Nijmegen, The Netherlands
April 14 / Olympia / Paris, France
April 15 / Ancienne Belgique / Brussels, Belgium
April 17 / Palladium / London, UK
April 18 / O2 Birmingham Institute / Birmingham, UK
April 19 / City Halls / Glasgow, UK
April 21 / O2 Ritz / Manchester, UK
April 23 / Cork Opera House / Cork, Ireland
April 24 / Olympia Theatre / Dublin, Ireland

High Tide Beach Party w/Sammy Hagar & the Circle, REO Speedwagon, Reel Big Fish, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers concert review: Huntington Beach, Calif.

photo courtesy: Kelly Swift
Few musicians can throw a party quite like Sammy Hagar.

Each October, the veteran singer, guitarist and entrepreneur marks his birthday by performing in Cabo San Lucas. The shows at Hagar’s flagship Cabo Wabo Cantina nightclub/restaurant have a legendary reputation among diehard fans.

High Tide Beach Party and Car Show, held last Saturday at Huntington State Beach, was envisioned as a much bigger extension of those bashes. It drew an estimated 13,000 people and ran nearly eight hours. Unlike the smaller-scale Like Totally ‘80s Festival, which I attended in the same location last spring, this one was located right on the sand (with classic autos lined up on an adjacent parking lot).

Once the gates opened, people could take photos in front of Hagar’s black Ferrari from the 1984 music video to “I Can’t Drive 55” and marvel at a few dozen other eye-catching cars, sample grub and drinks from the Cabo Wabo pop-up, enter cornhole or limbo contests and more.

Introduced by deejay and television personality Eddie Trunk, Hagar and the Circle put on a spirited and powerful 100-minute set that encompassed The Red Rocker’s days in VH (“Poundcake,” “Right Now,” “Why Can’t This Be Love”; bassist Michael Anthony provided plenty of lead and harmony vocal assists), Montrose (“Rock Candy”), Led Zeppelin (“Rock and Roll,” “Good Times Bad Times”; drummer Jason Bonham did his late father John proud) and solo hits (“Heavy Metal,” “I Can’t Drive 55,” “There’s Only One Way to Rock”; Hagar displayed his electric guitar prowess.

The band also debuted “No Worries,” a laid-back new song from the forthcoming Circle album due in early 2019 that had scene appropriate lyrics about “crashing on the beach” and “not a care in the world.”

Special guest Vince Neil was shaky at best during his own “Kickstart My Heart,” “Girls Girls Girls” and “Wild Side” (REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin and Dave Amato enthusiastically joined in), but the Motley Crue singer still moved energetically around the stage. The latter part of the show dragged when Joe Satriani appeared for a flashy instrumental and then he and Hagar performed their minor lumbering rock hits from Chickenfoot, “Oh Yeah” and “Big Foot.” Hagar was in fine vocal form throughout the night.

photo courtesy: Kelly Swift
REO Speedwagon’s solid 70-minute set went down a storm. Kicking off with the tribal “Don’t Let Him Go,” it featured crowd singalongs galore, all the hit singles from 1980’s multi-platinum album “Hi Infidelity,” many of their classic rock radio staples and longtime concert faves.

Affable frontman Cronin recalled the band’s “rich history” in SoCal and how they first came here in ‘72 to play the Whisky. “Rock ‘n’ roll will keep you young forever,” said the singer/guitarist, celebrating his 67th birthday.

Standout moments included some sunny group harmonies during “In Your Letter,” Dave Amato’s wicked guitar solos amid “Take it On the Run” and “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” original member Neal Doughty’s shining piano and organ work during “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “Roll with the Changes,” respectively, plus Cronin’s passionate vocal delivery on “Time for Me to Fly” and “Keep on Loving You” (where he described how it was written). REO backed guest Eddie Money for a perfunctory take on his 1978 hit “Two Tickets to Paradise” with daughter Jesse on backing vocals. I really thought the Money Man would do more than a single tune and possibly reappear with Hagar, but no.

Reel Big Fish is always a joy to watch, especially with leader Aaron Barrett’s sarcastic banter and antics. Even obvious classic rock fans seemed to warm to the Orange County ska/punk band. Starting with the popular cover of A-ha’s “Take on Me,” the exuberant 11-song set went by in a flash. Alt-rock hit “Sell Out,” “Ban the Tube Top,” a quick tease of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ and full cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “She’s Got a Girlfriend Now” (with a guest female singer) were all performed with whimsical fervor.

Having several songs that reference alcohol and being South of the border was a boon for Arizona’s Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. They got a hearty reception, especially when the Reel Big Fish horn section helped elevate “Mexico” from Clyne’s 1990s alt-rock band The Refreshments, as well as “Flowerin’” off last year’s “Native Heart” album (kudos for keen lyrical nods to David Bowie and Paul McCartney and Wings). Other set standouts in the engaging set included The Refreshments’ hit “Banditos,” the insanely catchy newer tune “Hello Tiger” and “Counterclockwise.”

(Diehard Clyne fans should check out "Live from the Belly Up," a nearly two-hour, 24-song download taken from a show in Solana Beach, Calif. on November 2016 as part of the venue's ongoing series via www.bellyuplive.com.) 

Tre Cool and his satirical “Icelandic” metal band Dead Mermaids were good for a few laughs. The Green Day drummer was out front on vocals and looked as if he just stepped off a Sunset Strip curb circa 1988. At various points, he threw rubber fish into the small crowd, banged on a gong and did a not-too-awful cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”

My review originally appeared at ocregister.com

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Stones marks 50th anniversary of 'Beggars Banquet' with deluxe set














ABKCO RECORDS will release the Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet (50th Anniversary Edition) on all formats Nov. 16.

Recorded in 1968 at Olympic Sound Studios in London, mixed at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, Beggars Banquet was the first Stones album produced by Jimmy Miller, and marks the start of what is considered their most prolific album era.

Beggars Banquet has a special place in the history of the band, as it is the final album completed with the original lineup of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.

In the August 10, 1968 issue of Rolling Stone, magazine founder and editor Jann Wenner previewed the album for his readers noting, “The Rolling Stones have returned, and they are bringing back rock and roll with them. They have finished their next album — titled Beggars’ Banquet — and it is the best record they have yet done. In all aspects it is a great album; great Rolling Stones’ material and performance; a great rock and roll album, without pretense, an achievement of significance in both lyrics and music.” Wenner also put Mick on the cover of that issue, with a boastful headline, “The Stones Make the Great Comeback of Their Career."

Long after its original release, legendary rock journalist and author Ben Fong-Torres heralded Beggars Banquet as “an album flush with masterful and growling instant classics” that “responds more to the chaos of ’68 and to themselves than to any fellow artists . . . the mood is one of dissolution and resignation, in the guise of a voice of ambivalent authority.”

As Fong-Torres refers to, “Street Fighting Man,” the most politically charged Stones song of all time, was partially inspired by Mick Jagger’s first-hand experience at an anti-war rally at the U.S. embassy in London where he saw activist Tariq Ali speak. Simultaneously, student protests in Paris were taking place, leading to a massive uprising that May in which almost a quarter of the nation participated in strikes and demonstrations. Jagger told Rolling Stone in 1997, “It was a very strange time in France. But not only in France but also in America, because of the Vietnam War and these endless disruptions . . . I thought it was a very good thing at the time. There was all this violence going on. I mean, they almost toppled the government in France . . .”

A new lyric video has been created for the song capturing the spirit that Jagger describes above. Watch the 2018 lyric video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUt0dZXPFoU&feature=youtu.be

Listen now to “Street Fighting Man” from Beggars Banquet (50th Anniversary Edition):
https://open.spotify.com/album/3ySN2G13fVXvndb79YSy0p

February 1969 marked the album’s second single, “Sympathy for the Devil” written mainly by Jagger after Marianne Faithfull gave him a copy of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel The Master and Margarita. The story follows the devil as he visits Stalin-era Soviet Union. Originally intended to be played in a folk style, Richards suggested changing the tempo and adding percussion, turning the rhythm into a samba. The evolution of this incredible song was captured in the Jean-Luc Godard film Sympathy For The Devil aka ONE PLUS ONE. The film has recently been carefully restored in 4K and is available now as a Blu-ray, DVD and download in North America.

With the 1969 release of Beggars Banquet in Japan, the album included a 7" flexi disc capturing a telephone interview between Mick Jagger and a representative of the King Records in Tokyo, the distributor of London Records in Japan. The rare artifact’s title translated to “’Hello, This Is Mick Jagger!’ LONDON to TOKYO April 17, 1968” has been restored and reissued on flexi disc with identical sleeve art. A limited run will be included in the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Vinyl package, worldwide, making it available for the first time outside Japan. A cunning moment in the exchange captured over the telephone, halfway around the world, while the band was busy recording the yet-unnamed album Beggars Banquet in Olympic Sound Studios, Jagger was asked “What do you think is the future direction of your music?” And with no hesitation, he responded “Sideways.”

The original intended album cover art for Beggars Banquet was initially rejected both by London Records, their U.S. label as well as Decca, their UK label. The Michael Vosse photograph of a vandalized restroom wall (Jagger and Richards provided the graffiti, the restroom was inside a Porsche dealership) was deemed offensive, possibly because the top of an open toilet is captured in the shot. The replacement cover was simply the band name and album title written in the style of a wedding invitation, and remained that way for several years before the intended bathroom photo art was no longer perceived as offensive, and finally gained its rightful place on the cover. Beggars Banquet (50th Anniversary Edition) pays tribute to both, as the package will be housed with the Vosse image, with an overwrap of the “inoffensive” wedding invitation art.

The limited edition vinyl package will come in gatefold jacket, with a bonus 12” of their iconic single “Sympathy for the Devil” in Mono cut at 45rpm, backed with an etching of the original ‘toilet’ cover. Also included is a replica of the rare Japanese bonus flexi disc containing a phone interview with Mick Jagger from 1968, and a download code for the album plus interview. The landmark album has been newly mastered by Grammy Award® winning engineer Bob Ludwig, lacquers cut at Abbey Road and pressed at RTI in California on 180g vinyl.

Beggars Banquet (50th Anniversary Edition) CD/digital track listing:

1) Sympathy for the Devil
2) No Expectations
3) Dear Doctor
4) Parachute Woman
5) Jigsaw Puzzle
6) Street Fighting Man
7) Prodigal Son
8) Stray Cat Blues
9) Factory Girl
10) Salt of the Earth

David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000 finally coming out next month

I've been in a Bowie frame of mind since seeing A Bowie Celebration live last week (see review on this blog). This looks to be a must have release...

Parlophone Records in association with BBC Studios and Glastonbury Festivals Ltd., announce DAVID BOWIE GLASTONBURY 2000 on 2CD/DVD, 3LP, 2CD, and standard and high resolution digital formats, for release Nov. 30.

The package includes the full 21 song set and for the first time, a DVD of the entire show (only 30 minutes of which has ever been broadcast on TV) including the Glastonbury performance of "Heroes," the only track that has been previously released.

All formats feature Bowie's diary, originally written for Time Out, which documents him preparing for the show in his own inimitable manner:

"As of 1990 I got through the rest of the 20th century without having to do a big hits show. Yes, yes, I know I did four or five hits on the later shows but I held out pretty well I thought...big, well known songs will litter the field at Glastonbury this year. Well, with a couple of quirks of course."

In addition to newly mastered audio and upgraded video DAVID BOWIE GLASTONBURY 2000 features new artwork from Jonathan Barnbrook (who worked with Bowie on the sleeves for Heathen, The Next Day) and notes from the author Caitlin Moran, who reviewed the show for The Times.

The package features photos of Bowie resplendently dressed in a 3/4 length one-of-a-kind Alexander McQueen frock coat, the pattern of which was made to echo the hat (the famous 'bipperty-bopperty hat' mentioned in the song "Queen Bitch") and worn by Bowie at his Glastonbury Fayre debut in 1971.

Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis commented "I often get asked what the best set I've seen here at Glastonbury is, and Bowie's 2000 performance is always one which I think of first. It was spellbinding; he had an absolutely enormous crowd transfixed. I think Bowie had a very deep relationship with Worthy Farm and he told some wonderful stories about his first time at the Festival in 1971, when he stayed at the farmhouse and performed at 6am as the sun was rising. And he just played the perfect headline set. It really was a very special and emotional show".

Emily's father Michael, the founder of the festival who first met David at Glastonbury in 1971 said, "He's one of the three greatest of all-time: Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and David Bowie."

Track listing:

2CD/DVD Version

CD 1
"Introduction (Greensleeves)"
"Wild Is The Wind"
"China Girl"
"Changes"
"Stay"
"Life On Mars?"
"Absolute Beginners"
"Ashes To Ashes"
"Rebel Rebel"
"Little Wonder"
"Golden Years"

CD 2
"Fame"
"All The Young Dudes"
"The Man Who Sold The World"
"Station To Station"
"Starman"
"Hallo Spaceboy"
"Under Pressure"
"Ziggy Stardust"
"'Heroes'"
"Let's Dance"
"I'm Afraid Of Americans"

DVD
"Introduction (Greensleeves)"
"Wild Is The Wind"
"China Girl"
"Changes"
"Stay"
"Life On Mars?"
"Absolute Beginners"
"Ashes To Ashes"
"Rebel Rebel"
"Little Wonder"
"Golden Years"
"Fame"
"All The Young Dudes"
"The Man Who Sold The World"
"Station To Station"
"Starman"
"Hallo Spaceboy"
"Under Pressure"
"Ziggy Stardust"
"'Heroes',"
"Let's Dance"
"I'm Afraid Of Americans"

3LP VERSION

Side 1
"Introduction (Greensleeves)"
"Wild Is The Wind"
"China Girl"
"Changes"

Side 2
"Stay"
"Life On Mars?"
"Absolute Beginners"

Side 3
"Ashes To Ashes"
"Rebel Rebel"
"Little Wonder"
"Golden Years"

Side 4
"Fame"
"All The Young Dudes"
"The Man Who Sold The World"
"Station To Station"

Side 5
"Starman"
"Hallo Spaceboy"
"Under Pressure"
"Ziggy Stardust"

Side 6
"'Heroes'"
"Let's Dance"
"I'm Afraid Of Americans"

Van Morrison album set for late this year

Van Morrison has announced details of a new album, The Prophet Speaks. His 40th studio album will be released on Dec. 7th on Caroline International.

This studio set follows a recent run of acclaimed albums (Roll With The Punches, Versatile and You’re Driving Me Crazy), each of which has delved into vocal jazz and R&B.

There are covers by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke (among others) and six new Van Morrison compositions.

Van Morrison says, “It was important for me to get back to recording new music as well as doing some of the blues material that has inspired me from the beginning. Writing songs and making music is what I do, and working with great musicians makes it all the more enjoyable.”

The Prophet Speaks again finds Van working with multi-instrumentalist Joey DeFrancesco (the artist co-credited on You’re Driving Me Crazy) and his band (including Dan Wilson on guitar, Michael Ode on drums and Troy Roberts on tenor saxophone).

Pre-order hereThe title track from The Prophet Speaks is available now

Track listing:

Gonna Send You Back To Where I Got You From (Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Leona Blackman)
Dimples (John Lee Hooker, James Bracken)
Got to Go Where The Love Is (Van Morrison)
Laughin’ and Clownin’ (Sam Cooke)
5 am Greenwich Mean Time (Van Morrison)
Gotta Get You Off My Mind (Solomon Burke, Delores Burke, Josephine Burke Moore)
Teardrops (J.D. Harris)
I Love The Life I Live (Willie Dixon)
Worried Blues / Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (J.D. Harris)
Ain’t Gonna Moan No More (Van Morrison)
Love Is A Five Letter Word (Gene Barge)
Love Is Hard Work (Van Morrison)
Spirit Will Provide (Van Morrison)
The Prophet Speaks (Van Morrison)

Tour dates:

Nov 14-15 Fox Theatre, Oakland, Fox Theatre, Oakland
Jan 25-26, 30; Feb. 1-2, 2019 Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Feb 5, 2019 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness reveals 'Upside Down Flowers,' 2019 tour dates

When Andrew McMahon went “into the wilderness” he started a transformative journey that was both introspective and imaginative. That journey comes full circle with the release of his third full length album Upside Down Flowers available worldwide on Nov. 16 via Fantasy Records and available for pre-order now.

The band will also kick off the Upside Down Flowers 2019 U.S. Tour in January in Phoenix. Tickets on sale today. Full list of tour dates below. For more information visit www.andrewmcmahon.com.

Upside Down Flowers’ 11 album cover is a 1960s-’70s SoCal pool scene with a twist (inspired by jet-set photographer Slim Aarons).

“I have so much emotion wrapped up in this album,” states McMahon, “Upside Down Flowers is a version of real and surreal Southern California that surrounds me physically and emotionally.”

First single “Ohio,” which reached Top 40 at Alternative radio, and the autobiographical track “Teenage Rockstars” are available for immediate download when pre-ordering the album HERE. The official music video for “Teenage Rockstars” features personal footage from McMahon’s time performing and touring with Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin and AMITW. Watch “Teenage Rockstars” HERE.

Upside Down Flowers was produced by Butch Walker (Pink, Weezer, Panic! At The Disco) who also plays drums, bass and guitar on the album. In addition, the album features guest keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (Beck), and strings arranged by Emmy-winning, Tony & Grammy nominated composer Rob Mathes and recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

“It was just this breath of fresh air to go ‘Here’s a bunch of songs I wrote on my piano,” stated McMahon. Here’s this great producer. And the two of us are gonna play everything and sing everything.’ We would get into the weeds on the songs, yet the process was this really fast, kind of beautiful thing.”

“The thing I tell people often is that when you write great songs, you can record them in any style or production aesthetic and it will still be a great song,” said Walker. “This is Andrew with his songwriting craft. I’m glad to call him a friend and proud of the music we made together.”

Upside Down Flowers is the follow up to 2017’s Zombies on Broadway which featured Top 5 alternative singles “Fire Escape” and “So Close” and the subsequent Zombies in America Tour, their sold-out headlining jaunt across the U.S. Earlier this year, AMITW thrilled fans and critics alike with the intimate setting of the Pen and Piano tour. McMahon recently returned from a string of dates in the U.K., Japan and Australia.

Tour dates:

January 23rd - Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
January 25th - Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
January 26th - Austin, TX @ Stubb’s BBQ
January 27th - Houston, TX @ House of Blues
January 29th - New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
January 30th - Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
February 7th - Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
February 8th - Jacksonville, FL @ Maverick’s At the Landing
February 9th - Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
February 10th - Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
February 15th - Philadelphia, PA @ Metropolitan Opera House
February 16th - Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre
February 17th - Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
February 19th - Boston, MA @ House of Blues
February 21st - New York, NY @ Terminal 5
February 22nd - Mashantucket, CT @ Fox Theatre- Foxwoods Casino
February 23rd - Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
February 24th - Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
February 26th - Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
February 28th - Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
March 1st - Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
March 2nd - Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
March 3rd - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
March 5th - Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
March 7th - St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
March 9th - Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
March 10th - Aspen, CO @ Belly Up
March 12th - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
March 14th - Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
March 15th - Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
March 16th - Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
March 19th – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
March 21st - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
March 22nd - Los Angeles, CA @ The Orpheum
March 23rd - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
March 24th - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

Ronnie Milsap's 'The Duets' slated for early next year

I was glad to finally see Milsap live at Stagecoach last spring (see review elsewhere on this blog). Can't wait to hear the album...

Two years in the works, Ronnie Milsap: The Duets (Riser House/Sony) is scheduled for Jan. 18. The collection spans mainstream country, Christian, Americana, rock & roll and roots music. To give longtime fans an idea of what the project contains, the six-time Grammy winner teamed with People and Relix to debut the first tracks, available at all digital retail outlets now.

People offered Kacey Musgraves' duet of the 1982 Grammy-winning "There's No Getting Over Me." The country legend said of their duet in People, "Singing with Kacey is so much fun. She's a pure vocalist and knows how to lean into a melody. Having her on this gave the song a whole new twist, which is what music is all about. How do you take what you know and make it even more?"

It was all recorded at Ronnie's Place, the studio the former Entertainer of the Year exactingly built at the height of his success. "A Woman's Love," Milsap's duet with Willie Nelson, premiered at Relix. Nelson ended up recording the Mike Reid-penned song on his own God's Problem Child project.

"It's a compliment to me that Willie loved the song enough to want to record it on his own," Milsap explains. "It says so much about the quality of the song, because the best songs want to be recorded over and over. Ray Charles heard 'Lets Go Get Stoned' all those years ago, and he cut it. It just shows how universal music can be, and how it brings people together."

LISTEN TO RONNIE MILSAP AND KACEY MUSGRAVES
LISTEN TO RONNIE MILSAP AND WILLIE NELSON

Co-produced with long-term collaborator Rob Galbraith, Ronnie Milsap: The Duets also includes collaborations with fellow Entertainers of the Year Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, George Strait and Dolly Parton, as well as CMA winners Little Big Town and Montgomery Gentry, on what may be Troy Gentry's final recordings. The album also features collaborations with Rock icon Billy F. Gibbons, Christian music's Steven Curtis Chapman, newcomers Lucy Angel and Jesse Key, as well as with Leon Russell for what is probably the Songwriters and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's last recording.

With its roots in the Academy of Country Music 50th Anniversary Duets special, where Milsap sang "Stranger in My House" with Luke Bryan, Ronnie Milsap: The Duets served as a floating jam session. Merging legends, superstars, young artists and myriad generations, the project was met with enthusiastic support from the many collaborators.

Track listing:

1. Southern Boys and Detroit Wheels ft. Billy Gibbons
2. Stranger in My House ft. Luke Bryan
3. Smokey Mountain Rain ft. Dolly Parton
4. Prisoner of the Highway ft. Jason Aldean
5. A Woman's Love ft. Willie Nelson
6. Happy Happy Birthday ft. Lucy Angel
7. No Getting Over Me ft. Kacey Musgraves
8. Lost in the Fifties ft. Little Big Town
9. Houston Solution ft. George Strait
10. What a Woman Can Mean to a Man ft. Jessie Key
11. Misery Loves Company ft. Leon Russell
12. You're Nobody ft. Steven Curtis Chapman
13. Shakey Ground ft. Montgomery Gentry

Box set of archival concerts from The Fall coming soon

The Fall, the legendary UK post-punk band once led by Mark E. Smith, who passed away earlier this year, are the subject of “The Fall Live: Set of Ten Box.” It features 10 previously unreleased live performances in one box set is now available for pre-order. 

“Set of Ten.” (Issued on Cog Sinister, The Fall's official label), is extremely limited edition (less than 300 units left) of 10 discs of previously unreleased live recordings, spanning three decades. The earliest recording taken from 1980 and most recent being 2001, including the legendary London, Astoria from 1998 and the ultra rare New Orleans recording from 1981.

The full list of CDs:

Birmingham 20/11/80
New Orleans 23/06/81
Frankfurt 01/10/93
London 23/10/95
Kings Lynn 28/09/96
Stoke 30/11/97
London 12/08/98

An interview with The Wild Feathers















The Wild Feathers was a standout among all the acts at Ohana Festival in Dana Point, CA last weekend (see my review elsewhere on this blog). 
Next up for the guys are four California gigs with Billy Currington: Oct. 6, Norco; Oct. 7, Fresno; Oct. 13, San Diego; Oct. 14, Silverado-Orange County. Here's an interview that I did over the summer...

Any band with three singer/songwriters could easily get bogged down by disagreements about who’s going to handle lead and secondary vocal duties.

Not The Wild Feathers.

“Most of the time it’s pretty straightforward,” said bassist Joel King.

“You get in where you can fit in. A lot of times, I’ll be singing the higher part just because I can hit it. I like how The Band and The Stones [did] their harmonies. Sometimes you can sing in unison or an octave above in falsetto. I think we try to use our ears and not so much, our ego. That’s what makes us who we are. We’re not The Beach Boys and not that great at singing harmonies. We just find that magic spot when we’re singing and figure out how to do it.”

King is being slightly modest.

This Nashville-based Americana group - which also includes guitarists Taylor Burns and Ricky Young and drummer Ben Dumas – has a seamless harmonic blend. It’s evident throughout The Wild Feathers’ sumptuous third studio effort Greetings from the Neon Frontier, especially the breezy early Eagles-styled “Wildfire” and “Big Sky.”

The former track describes life on tour and the idea came to fruition after “our manager thought we should do an honest, ‘Who the hell are you guys’-type song.’

“We sat around my kitchen table and wrote it,” recalled King. Unlike in the past, where they “would’ve totally tried to mask” lyrics that might be considered cliché, this time, good ‘ol truth won out.

While 2016’s Lonely is a Lifetime was crafted on the road, had songs that evolved from “jamming out” and an expansive sound that sometimes recalled My Morning Jacket, the new album often has a more laid-back vibe because much of the material was penned at home. Instead of adding weird noises, King said they tried to make it “like a Tom Petty record or something and serve the song.

“This record is just sitting down with acoustic guitars and getting down to the core of it.”

The Wild Feathers reteamed with Jay Joyce, the award-winning producer whose credits range from the top names in country music to Cage the Elephant and Mikky Ekko. King said one of the things he likes about Joyce is that he’s tuned into the guys’ musicologist side.

“He knows exactly what we’re doing. If he wouldn’t have got it, we would’ve went with somebody else. It probably would’ve been a different album. We kind of look for that George Martin-type dude with us playing. Maybe he can get behind the keys or shake the maracas while we play, and it feels like home.”

There’s still some rocking out in strategic places. The spacey dramatic sweep of “Hold onto Love” is akin to U2. Organ-drenched opener “Quittin’ Time” could be a Black Crowes outtake. “No Man’s Land” has a Tom Petty feel and chunky guitars drive “Stand by You,” co-written by country veteran Jeffrey Steele (Keith Urban, Tim McGraw).

“That was really great,” King said about the rare experience. “We’d been burnt before, trying to co-write. Except for Gary Louris of The Jayhawks – because we loved the dude and thought he was awesome. We wrote a couple songs” together.

(“American” appeared on The Wild Feathers’ 2013 self-titled debut disc and “Backwards Women” finally made it on The Jayhawks’ Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, out now.)

“With Jeffrey, I didn’t know what to expect. We went over to his place and he’s telling stories, just yukking it up and having a great time.

“He’s such a craftsman and a pro, like smoothing things out with sandpaper,” King continued. “We had a bunch of verses. He reigned it in and made it a cohesive thing.”

Lately, the band has been getting prominent airplay on Sirius XM’s The Highway channel. Satellite radio has been a major supporter for years.

“Before, The Spectrum would play us and people really responded to it. The Highway is huge. When they said they’d play us, it was amazing. We take any fans we can get. We didn’t realize we could fit in.”

Judging from comments online, fans have been excited about the fact that The Wild Feathers restarted its popular Truck Stop cover video series.

“People asked about it all the time,” said King. “We needed something else to do. We stopped it because we were so busy and didn’t have time. This record had been done for a little bit and we needed to be seen on the internet, so we resurrected the Truck Stop thing. We came up with a million ideas. We’re still talking about it. Maybe getting some of our buddies in to do it and trying to make it fun. It gives people something else to do besides listening to the record over and over again. We should do a song by Ryan Bingham, who’s one of our best buds, and have him play accordion on it.”

In the time since The Wild Feathers’ 2010 inception, it has shared stages with Paul Simon, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. Did the young musicians glean anything from those legends

King said, “Simon talked to us for a while and gave us some words of wisdom.” As for the Red-Headed Stranger, “His whole career and the way he runs his whole organization is fucking awesome. He makes it like a family. We learned how to be on the road and treat people.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ohana Festival (Day 2+3) review: Dana Point, Calif.

photo: George A. Paul
In Hawaiian culture, the word “ohana” means extended family. Last weekend, during the third annual Ohana Festival in Dana Point, Calif., event curator Eddie Vedder helped foster a sense of community by performing with Mumford and Sons, Johnny Marr and X’s John Doe.

Meanwhile, Switchfoot, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and the Pearl Jam leader all stressed the need to forget about negative news and all our differences for awhile and share a common love of music.

The relaxed vibe and beautiful locale at Doheny State Beach makes Ohana stand out from other area music festivals. Even Bahamas frontman Afie Jurvanen raved about his view from the stage. Many concert attendees got into the spirit by donning Hawaiian leis, shirts or flower crowns (McMahon’s entire band sported the latter item).

Having the large Main stage and medium sized Tiki stage located side by side meant people didn’t have to walk far to view each one. Those who arrived early enough could lay out their towels and blankets between both and not even have to move. Everything seemed to go right according to schedule, with no major delays. As soon as one act finished, the next stage started soon after. One minor quibble: Saturday’s sound mix from both stages was fine; Sunday’s was too bass heavy on the Main stage.

photo: George A. Paul
A portion of festival proceeds are slated to benefit the San Onofre Parks Foundation, a local non-profit that works with California State Parks to develop, preserve and enhance the Golden State’s coastal parks.

Beach conservation was a prime topic at the Storytellers stage as reps from Surfrider Foundation, National Geographic, Sea Legacy Collective and others provided tips and food for thought about plastic usage. A silent auction of music memorabilia benefitted some of these groups.

Award-winning OC surfer Greg Long mentioned the recent bans of plastic straws, Starbucks’ future lid reformulation and said only 9% of what we use gets recycled. “If we make small changes in our lives, eventually, we’ll force the plastic industry to look for better alternatives…it helps to demand (them).” He described surfing in remote locations around the world where he still saw plastic remnants around.

photo: George A. Paul
San Diego surfing legend Rob Machado (pictured far left) talked about how his namesake foundation initially stemmed from going to his daughter’s grammar school and noticing that they didn’t have a simple recycling program and none of the kids drank water from the fountains.

Ohana had water stations sponsored by Machado where you could fill up your empty reusable container. Nearby, kids could marvel at Ranger Jim’s Mini Museum, which displayed shark teeth of various sizes. A visual artist periodically did live painting on surfboards.

Early Saturday afternoon, Bahamas’ breezy brand of pop/rock, included songs from latest album Earthtones on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire label such as “So Free” and “Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song).” There was a nice early John Mayer feel to “No Wrong.” Before “Lost in the Light,” Jurvanen deadpanned that he and his fellow Canadian musicians onstage were “honored to represent the soft rock community; it’s a dying art.” They closed with “Lost in the Light,” a top 10 hit at Adult Album Alternative radio here in 2014. 

For this writer, one of the must-see acts at the entire festival was Johnny Marr. Over the past five years, the former Smiths guitarist has been on a creative tear, putting out three compelling solo albums. In Dana Point, the Brit opened with “The Tracers,” an eerie song from current release Call the Comet, where the shimmering guitar effect was unmistakably Marr.

photo: Paul Hebert for Ohana
The crowd responded loudly during a fierce take on The Smiths’ “Bigmouth Strikes Again.” They went crazier for “How Soon is Now,” as Marr twisted the tuning pegs on his Fender Jaguar in tandem with his backing guitarist on slide to get the classic ‘80s modern rock tune’s famous swirling sound. When it ended, Marr said “that’s a good one” (lest anyone needed convincing). Both “Bug” and “Easy Money” were extremely catchy. Vedder was among the all-star collaborators with Marr on Neil Finn’s Seven Worlds Collide projects in the 2000s. Here, he handled lead vocals for closing Smiths song, “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” and acquitted himself well. Marr prompted a crowd singalong at the end.

A few months ago, Matador Records released Girly-Sound to Guyville: The 25th Anniversary box set to commemorate Liz Phair’s acclaimed debut Exile in Guyville. The remastered collection includes that title along with all the content from the infamous Girly Sound demo tapes. 

photo: Amy Harris for Ohana
Playing electric guitar on the Main stage, Phair sounded great, constantly smiled, pogoed a bit and obviously had some fun. Her winsome Ohana set was highlighted by “Never Said” and hits like “Supernova,” the melodic gem “Why Can’t I” and grungy “Extraordinary (where she noticed “all the ladies vibing on it”).

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – led by singer Karen O. – were wild as ever. Clad in a shiny and colorful, seemingly tailor-made patchwork outfit with kneepads, she laughed while singing opening number “Y Control” as Nick Zinner added clarion call guitar effects. Later, she’d do such risqué moves as putting the microphone in her mouth and caressing the cord. Fans in front near the stage barrier got to contribute their own yelps as Karen walked in front and went all down the line, putting the microphone in their faces. “Heads Will Roll” (inflatable eyeballs were rolled out into the audience) and the ballad “Maps” fared the best.

Eddie Vedder’s nifty center stage setup included an old reel-to-reel machine, a cluster of various electric and acoustic guitars, a chair and more items. His walk on music was the “Batman” theme sung by children. The solo, sometimes acoustic, set started with the first of many Pearl Jam tunes. Fans sang along loudly to “Wishlist.” The singer talked about how being grateful is a key to life and that he was grateful for Mother Nature before doing a fine take on Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me in Your Heart.” Another hearty singalong ensued amid Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.”  

photo: Steve Sherman for Ohana
Phair guested on “Better Man” and Vedder wondered whether he’d "ever heard a woman sing it." Other times, Vedder would go on humorous tangents about surfing etiquette and politics.

There were some quiet ukulele songs from the soundtrack to “Into the Wild.” Then Scott Thurston from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers appeared on organ and guitar for songs by his former boss, like a touching “Wildflowers,” “Room at the Top” and “I Won’t Back Down.” Simply amazing. Alone again, Vedder took to the organ for a quiet cover of George Harrison’s “Isn’t it a Pity” as a cameraman zoomed in on a lyric sheet.  

Sunday afternoon, Dana Point’s own Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness drew a large audience. With his parents watching, McMahon turned in a high energy set as always. Starting with “Fire Escape,” he briefly stepped away from the piano to work the stage and go into the crowd on a percolating “Island Radio.”

“I wrote this in San Clemente,” the singer said before a soaring, syncopated piano-led “Dark Blue,” by previous band Jack’s Mannequin. On-again, off-again guitarist Bobby “Raw” Anderson is now back by McMahon’s side. The singer’s usual crowd surfing on a yellow inflatable duck was fun to watch.

Reaching all the way back to the Something Corporate days, the guys played “I Woke Up in a Car” after McMahon proudly recalled growing up on Doheny Beach and going to high school nearby. “This is my town! It’s a dream for me to be here. My mind is blown.”

Majestic new single “Ohio,” from the forthcoming new album, was a highlight. The multi-colored parachute came out for “Synesthesia” as McMahon went underneath it to sing. Finally, the jubilant “Cecilia and the Satellite,” penned for his daughter, ended the terrific set on a high note.

Americana was well represented at Ohana. One of the more underrated bands of the genre is Nashville’s The Wild Feathers, whose latest album Greetings from the Neon Frontier is among the year’s best. Launching with a rousing “Quittin’ Time,” the guys provided some seamless harmonies on “Wildfire” and impressive vocal tradeoffs during the Petty-ish “No Man’s Land.” By this point, the crowd was stomping, clapping and dancing up a storm. So the catchy-as-hell, Motown-styled bass groove in “Happy Again” fit perfectly. A vigorous take on The Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” also went down well. The band capped it all off in fiery fashion with “The Ceiling.”

Jon Foreman's messianic stage presence and Switchfoot’s inspiring anthems proved especially life affirming near the beach. Mostly eschewing hit singles (except for “Meant to Live,” “Dare You to Move”), the San Diego band with a few surfers among the musicians brought out expert boarder Rob Machado to play guitar on a couple tunes and pal around.

Beck didn’t really scale down the dazzling production that I caught at Hollywood Bowl two days prior for his Ohana set. This hour-long version opened with a frantic “Devil’s Haircut.” Surprisingly, “Loser” was dispatched early and OC got to hear “Black Tambourine.” Elsewhere, “New Pollution,” “Mixed Bizness,” “Girl,” “E-Pro” and “Where It’s At” were all given spirited deliveries and greeted with plenty to enthusiasm from the huge crowd stretching all the way back to the grandstand seating.

Having been impressed with my first Ohana Festival, I definitely hope to return again next year.