Clive Farrington, former lead singer of When In Rome at Hogue Barmichael’s | Newport Beach | 12/6/2014 (Rehearsals & Concert Review + Photos + New Wave Bar)

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I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days with Clive Farrington, to see what is going on with the former front man and lead singer of the popular 80s band, When In Rome.  On the itinerary was sitting in on a rehearsal with his new band prepping for 2015, checking out the New Wave Bar & Restaurant in Bellflower for Danny Sanchez’s birthday (“70s Disco Night”), and a few days later attending their special charity concert at Hogue Barmichael’s in Newport Beach, which benefited the Orangewood Children’s Foundation.

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Berlin Featuring Terri Nunn at The Canyon Club | Agoura Hills, California | 12/5/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“You’ve excited me so much I’ve lost my voice all of a sudden…”  Terri Nunn in her intro to “Take My Breath Away”, Berlin’s Academy Award and Golden Globe winning 1986 song.  Playing to somewhat of a hometown crowd at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, the place was packed and the band changed things up a bit for Christmas, with a few festive classics fit in midway through their set.  They’ve had a heavier tour schedule in 2014, in part to support their latest album, Animal.  This marked the third time seeing Berlin in 2014, having seen their shows at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach in January and at City Winery Napa in August.  As per usual, they put on an incredible show with a mix of songs from old and new, including my two favorites, “Metro” and “Will I Ever Understand You”.  Hopefully I’ll have a chance to see them just as much in 2015, and they are one of my highest recommended live acts to check out.

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Fleetwood Mac “On With The Show Tour” at Sleep Train Arena | Sacramento, California | 11/24/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“I walked out of there with not much, except a feeling in my heart that it was all going to work.  And the reason that I tell you this story, is that I want you to know that if you have a dream, and you believe in yourself, and you believe something that you really want, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t have it.  Don’t ever let anybody get in your way, because you can have it, and we are living proof of that…”  Optimistic words spoken by Stevie Nicks at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento last night, joined on stage by the core members of one of the best rock and roll groups of all time, Fleetwood Mac.  I think we collectively need more optimism in the world today, but not just lofty words and sentiments, but used to power individuals to look to themselves and their own abilities and opportuities to make their dreams come true.  Somehow, this collection of gifted artists – Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, and Christine McVie – all found one another back in the 70s and made music that has endured as classics to this day.  I first saw Fleetwood Mac with their tour in 2013, and marked it as one of the best shows of the year.  As that tour did not include Christine McVie, with her return on this year’s tour, I marked this show as my top “must see” concert of the year.  It did not disappoint.  All of the players sound like they are truly at the top of their game, and they seemed to love performing as much as the audience loved watching it.  It was also a bit different than last year’s tour, with even higher production standards and maybe the best sound quality I’ve ever heard in a sports arena.  It was truly an epic show, and Fleetwood Mac is one of those rare bands that can make playing to a large indoor arena work (I rarely go to such shows because they typically do not work on many levels).  They really exceeded my expectations with their nearly three hour show, and I think the highlight for me was “Little Lies”, with Christine McVie’s beautiful voice and the overlapping chorus with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – a real showcase for the distinct character in each of their voices but how well they harmonize and blend together to such effect.

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Peter Hook & The Light Performing New Order’s “Low-Life” and “Brotherhood” (with Moby) at The Fonda Theatre | Hollywood, California | 11/22/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“And that’s how you play The Perfect Kiss!” An emphatic Peter Hook, currently touring as Peter Hook & The Light (formerly of Joy Division and New Order) – rock and roll’s greatest bass player – is apparently a skilled mind reader as well, as he pulled that quote right out of my head to shout back through his microphone after playing the best rendition of the classic song that I’d ever heard.  Hooky and his band are in 2014 touring New Order’s third and fourth albums (Low-Life and Brotherhood, respectively) in their entirety, having done the same in 2013 with the first two (Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies).  As an added bonus with each of these outings, they open for themselves as Slaves of Venues with dedicated Joy Division sets, which collectively makes for quite a substantive and lengthy set of shows each night.  At The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood Saturday night, the dedicated fans in attendance were also treated to a surprise guest appearance on stage for the encore, with none other than Moby coming out to perform vocals for the first two songs of that set to close out the evening.  All and all, with a show kicking off around 9:30 PM and going until 12:30 AM, it was three solid hours of celebration for fans of Joy Division and New Order.  It was certainly one of those special shows were the venue, artist, and fans all clicked perfectly to make for a very memorable experience and a blazing hot and awesome show by a legendary artist and performer, who in my opinion is the heart and soul of New Order keeping the most authentic live performance of their music alive for old and new fans.

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Reignwolf Closes Out 2014 with Headlining West Coast Shows at End of December; Exclusive Never-Before-Published Concert Photos from 2013

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Reignwolf won over the Rock Subculture Journal back in 2013, with a supporting slot with Pixies at the El Rey Theater (I then counted Reignwolf as my #1 Supporting Act for the year).  I was blown away by Jordan Cook and his two bandmates and their performance on stage, and have been eagerly anticipating seeing a full set from them ever since.  Having supported Black Sabbath for much of 2014, Reignwolf will be playing a handful of special shows to close out 2014, with appearances in San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle.  If you are anywhere in the vicinity of the West Coast, I can’t recommend enough coming out to one or more of these shows.  Reignwolf will become a huge phenomenon once their first full studio album hits the streets and the rest of the world catches up to this incredible artist. [Read more…]

Milo Greene Album “Control” Due in January; Headlining Tour Coming in February & March 2015

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Milo Greene’s second studio album, Control, is due out via Elektra  on January 27th, with the second album track, “On The Fence”, having come out last week (which you can stream on YouTube).  Having recently finished a tour with Bombay Bicycle Club and a few sold out headlining dates of their own, they have now announced their first headlining tour in support of their Jesse Shatkin-produced sophomore album, which will kick off at SOhO in Santa Barbara and run through mid-March. [Read more…]

Anna Nalick Finishes U.S. Fall Tour In November/December; Last Two Dates on West Coast

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Singer-songwriter Anna Nalick, who has been performing in the U.S. this year, will be closing out her Fall Tour on the west coast, with the final date at Bootleg HiFi in Los Angeles.  Having seen Anna for the first time myself in November of last year, I marked it as one of my top ten favorite shows of 2014 (out of over 100 concert event with hundreds of artists), so I would highly recommend checking out one of her upcoming shows if you can. [Read more…]

Fleetwood Mac “On With The Show” 2014 North American Tour Adds Second Leg for 2015

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Rock and roll icons Fleetwood Mac and their “Own With The Show” tour is heading west later this month, with a second leg of shows added for January, February and March of 2015 as part of their extensive North American tour featuring their historic line-up of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks. [Read more…]

The Psychedelic Furs 2014 Concert Tour In U.S. Continues Through November and January of 2015

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English post-punk and New Wave band, The Psychedelic Furs, will be completing the U.S. tour that kicked off last month throughout November, with a break in December, and picking back up in January of next year.  With many of their hits being synonymous with 80s pop culture, the band remains one of the best known from that era to turn out for at new concert tours today.  The Lemonheads are touring with the band. [Read more…]

Culture Club North American Tour Starts 11/15; New Single “More Than Silence” Out Today with New Album “Tribes” Coming Early 2015

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80s music and Grammy Award-winning New Wave icons Culture Club released a brand new single, “More Than Silence”, today; with news of an all-new sixth studio album, Tribes, due out early next year.  The much anticipated 2014 North American tour kicks off on November 15th in Rancho Mirage, California.  The band will be touring with all of the original members: Boy George (lead vocals), Mikey Craig (bass guitar), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards) and Jon Moss (drums and percussion). [Read more…]

Erasure (“The Violet Flame Tour”) at Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort | Las Vegas, Nevada | 10/31/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“Halloween is so brilliant though, isn’t it?  ‘Cause everyone can dress up; be what they want to do…  nobody is like judging you at all for how you look or anything or what you’re doing or who you’re with, blah, blah, blah …” Andy Bell of Erasure on Halloween at the Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.  Certainly an interesting combination of band, date, and city to be sure.  As the more extroverted of the duo, Andy came dressed in a sort of skeleton costume with accompanying face paint that has some resemblance to the cover art of their latest album; Vince Clarke, set back from the front of the stage and back to one corner, I don’t think said anything all night, and was dressed in more business-style attire (though he had the aforementioned art one his laptop lid.  However the two contrasting personalities found one another for their journey into music that has gone on for nearly three decades, the magic worked in the beginning and continues to do so today.  This was definitely an interesting (in a great way!) night on many levels.  I had an opportunity to meet Vince Clarke and Andy Bell from Erasure via the special tickets made available through their PledgeMusic campaign for that newest latest album, The Violet Flame.  The aptly named Violet Flame Tour included a number of those new songs mixed into the set, as well as a lot of their many, many hits and favorites.  I got the sense that it was a different sort of show for this series of shows, and I’m happy that I got a chance to experience this new music and tour.

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The Airborne Toxic Event at Ace of Spades | Sacramento, California | 10/28/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“We had a new song come out today…  We got a lot of comments on the site.  You know, people asking us, are we a rock band?  Or are we a folk band?  Are we an electronic band?  The answer is: fuck off!”  Comments from The Airborne Toxic Event’s frontman Mikel Jollett, before kicking into that new song, “Wrong”, toward the end of the initial set at Ace of Spades in Sacramento.  The comment might read as  negative, but their music and connection with the crowd was anything but, with that same signer and guitarist jumping off stage and interacting with the crowd several times throughout their one and a half or so set.  At one point, he even held a young boy in the air, asking (somewhat rhetorically) if he had the coolest mom there, but virtue of his presence.  The band, and supporting act In The Valley Below before them, put on a fantastic show with great music.  They are both certainly worth checking out.  Even Mikel said, at the end, “Every now and then you get to have a night like tonight – I think this is the best show I’ve ever played in Sacramento!”, and I suspect the fans agree.

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