“Is that the new iPhone 6?” Roland Orzabal, early on in the show, as he and Curt Smith looked out over the sea of cell phones in the air, held by an exuberant sold out crowd at the historic Wiltern in Los Angeles last night. Tears for Fears, best known for their collection of timeless and classic New Wave hits from the 80s, do not tour very often, and when they do, the tours are usually not too many dates and cities. So there was a bit of an “event” feeling in the air, and based on some of their comments later in the show, they both seem to have quite an affinity for the City of Angels. As such, it seemed to be one of those special sort of shows, that unfold in a different sort of way. About halfway through the show, Curt even gave a shout out to Richard Blade, who was at the front of the GA crowd in the pit… if you didn’t know him by his own lifetime in music, you would think he was the band’s biggest fan (and maybe he is). Perhaps the development that represented the biggest point of fan service, prefaced by Roland with “nothing like changing it up for L.A.; obviously this is a special place for us…” was the surprise encore opener, a song that “we haven’t done for many, many years”. He said that this version will be included in their deluxe reissue of Songs From the Big Chair in November. He said it has been impossible for them to do live “until now”, and then proceeded to play “The Working Hour”. Definitely a special show by a fantastic band, and the place was certainly buzzing when it all came to a close after upwards of a two hour show.
Better Than Ezra at House of Blues Anaheim | Anaheim, California | 9/21/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)
“Michael, I want you to take this crowd – this hardened crowd of entertainment junkies – on a percussion journey…” Kevin Griffin of singer and guitarist for Better Than Ezra, along with co-founding member Tom Drummond on bass, setting the stage for the most blazing cow bell drum solo ever, by their drummer, Michael Jerome. This was my first time seeing Better Than Ezra live in concert, and I came away with my expectations far exceeded… and maybe a bit sad that they didn’t become bigger back in the day; big enough to carry them forward in a way that was, for lack of a better explanation, more successful. They are talented songwriters, and it all manifests itself on stage in a unique way. Everything is framed in a bit of irreverence… not quite on the scale of, say, They Might Be Giants, but let’s just say that Griffin doesn’t take himself too seriously and makes the show fun for him, and in turn, the band’s mix of audience. An audience that I couldn’t really begin to stereotype, as it seemed to be made of people of all ages, genders, and walks of life. They certainly captivated and entertained the crowd, and there is a real sense of expecting the unexpected throughout their set. I really recommend checking out their live show if you have a chance, and either way, I think the new album released this month, All Together Now, is certainly worth a listen.
Weezer’s New Album “Everything Will Be Alright In The End” Coming October 7th, Handful of Live U.S. Dates Through End of 2014
Prolific alternative rock band Weezer will be releasing their ninth studio album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, on October 7th, and in support of this release. Having played the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas tonight, their next date is at San Jose State University early next month. Special packages for the album can still be ordered via PledgeMusic.com. [Read more...]
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour this week released their latest studio album, Bring Us Together, which debuted in the iTunes Top 50. They also have a new music video out for “My Club”. Next month they will be headlining a short concert tour targeting major cities in the U.S., including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. [Read more...]
Elton John has had an extensive world tour underway since last year (following a hugely popular and periodic residency in Las Vegas with The Million Dollar Piano, which I reviewed in 2012). Playing Denver tonight, shows in Portland, Seattle, Sacramento, San Jose, and a pair of back-to-back concerts in Los Angeles will bring the U.S. tour to an end. In addition to many Top 40 hits, he will also be performing songs from his latest release, The Diving Board. [Read more...]
British soul singer-songwriter Sam Smith, who’s debut studio album In the Lonely Hour debuted in June, has launched a tour of North America this week, with a little over a dozen headlining shows and key appearances at Austin City Limits in October. The young artist has quickly found international success on the charts, and most shows coming up are long sold out. [Read more...]
“In the spirit of toasting, here’s a song by Paul McCartney…” Nancy Wilson of Heart giving an appropriate intro to their cover of the Wings song, “Let Me Roll It”, from 1974, with her sister Ann sharing the stage in the wonderful atmosphere at Mountain Winery in Saratoga last night. This was one of several cover songs performed, though the rest were Led Zeppelin songs for their encore. I’ve saw Heart twice last year, and they always deliver with stunning performances and are truly as great as they’ve ever been. In addition to their own vast and growing (with last year’s Fanatic) catalog, they’ve also in some way become the caretakers of keeping Led Zeppelin songs alive and well (in addition to Jason Bonham’s own Led Zeppelin Experience, which toured with them last year). Who else but Ann Wilson can give epic delivery of those vocals, and yet with her own trademark style? But of course fans turn out to hear Heart songs first and foremost, though they only played one song off the new album, “Mashallah” (which Ann said drives her into the stratosphere). Each time I see them, the familiar songs sound a bit different, as though they find new and innovative ways to translate them into a live experience. In any event, they put on a fantastic show in a gorgeous venue, so it was a wonderful celebration of them and their great music (as well as a tribute to some other greats in music).
Erasure’s duo of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have had a busy 2014, with their 16th studio album, The Violet Flame, coming out next week, on the heels of their successful PledgeMusic efforts. 2014 also will feature their biggest world tour in years, playing dates all over the U.S., UK, and Europe, with a set of shows at the end of December ringing in 2015 at Terminal 5 in New York. There is one week left to pre-order the album (with special packages) via PledgeMusic, and tickets for all shows are currently on sale. [Read more...]
Daryl Hall & John Oates, currently in the midst of a Summer U.S. tour, will be coming to the west coast next month, playing Saratoga, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. The Philly duo hit makers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year (already recognized by the Songwriters Hall of Fame); each also have new solo work out in 2014 (John Oates’ A Good Road To Follow and Daryl Hall’s Laughing Down Crying). They put on one of the best live shows today, so it is most definitely worth turning out to one of their concerts if you have the chance. [Read more...]
Better Than Ezra, the alternative rock band from New Orleans, will be kicking off a new U.S. tour this week, promoting All Together Now, their first new studio album in five years, which was released last week. Singer-guitarist Kevin Griffin was been busy in the past few years as a professional songwriter for other artists, but has freed up time for the new album and tour.
“Big Block Party” with Morris Day & The Time (The Original 7ven), Sheila E., Guy, and Doug E. Fresh at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 9/13/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)
“Sacramento… you may notice a bit of moisture forming on my forehead… falling down my face… I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Morris has lost it.’ You may even be thinking, ‘Morris is not cool anymore.’ But let me fix that shit for you, Sacramento. Just like you take a cool bottle of champagne out of the refrigerator, and you set it on the counter… what does it begin to do? See, it sounds like you all don’t know. See, it begins to condensate, Sacramento. Because that’s what you do when you’re cool from the inside out… So please understand, Morris is not sweatin’. I’m condensatin’. And, hell yes, Morris Day is still cool!” Words from the legendary Morris Day from Morris Day & The Time (now The Original 7ven), headlining the Big Block Party by WorldOne Presents at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Saturday night. Having come on stage after the sun dropped out of view, which hit a high of 100 degrees, it left me wondering if the sweat rolling off everyone in the sold out concert venue was from the heat of the day, or the heat coming off the stage from the outrageous funk band, who followed the incredible line-up of Sheila E., Guy, and Doug E. Fresh.
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we are going on a journey together…” Graham Russell giving a bit of a preface to an amazing concert, along with his songwriting partner Russel Hitchcock, the duo that comprise Air Supply have “been on tour” now for 39 years, though this is the first time I’d ever seen them live. Playing to a sold out crowd of around 1,300 or so at the Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa in Lake Tahoe, from the vantage point of the front row, eyes on the stage, it felt like they could have been playing to a vast sports arena. Hands down, I would have to say that Air Supply gave me the biggest surprise of the year in terms of my expectations against the actual performance – they were spectacular. Playing over 100 shows a year, unless there was something different about this concert (and I have no reason to believe that there was), these guys know how to put on a stunning show with a variety of music, up tempo and slowed down, and in many cases rocking, and they have a brilliant band backing them up. I cannot stress enough my recommendation to check them out if you get the opportunity – these guys put on a stellar live show.