The Muse concert in Sacramento last night at the Sleep Train Arena was, on a personal note, Night #2 of 2 for me, having seen them the night before at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Two totally different experiences (more on that later), but another Epic show by a band that delivers rock entertainment like no one else on tour today. Over the course of seeing them, one thing I’ve learned is that location matters at these shows, and I wouldn’t necessarily say one place is better than another (close or far), as they have such an elaborate and brilliant production and presentation, wherever you are in the venue you will experience something very special indeed. As I said in yesterday’s review, they are most definitely a band that needs to be experienced live in concert and their music is designed to be performed live in front of thousands. [Read more…]
Muse are unlike any other band recording and performing today. And having watched them perform at Oracle Arena last night, they are most definitely a band that needs to be experienced live in concert. It’s as if the band, and their music, is designed to be performed live in front of thousands… and having been to a great many concerts in my time, I would rate their stage production itself in the top three I’ve ever seen. [Read more…]
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, presented by Goldenvoice, has announced their 2013 line-up of artists and bands performing at the annual music event in Indio, California. Featured artists include New Order, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phoenix, The Stone Roses, Blur, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The xx, Phoenix, Modest Mouse, Lou Reed, Metric, Of Monsters and Men, Johnny Marr, Moby, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Vampire Weekend, Jurassic 5, Hot Chip, Postal Service, Social Distortion, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and more. For residents of Northern California, like myself, are just as excited about the announcement, in that though we may not make the trek to Southern California, we have the benefit of what has been dubbed “Fauxchella” by SpinningPlatters.com… with concert venues in the San Francisco Bay Area playing host to many of the bands adding on their own headlining shows on dates just before and after the famous festival event.
The Black Keys played the first of two special New Year’s Eve show at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino last night, and delivered the special mix of garage/blues/indie rock to what appeared to be a sold out crowd in the Las Vegas venue. Having seen them earlier this year at Sleep Train Arena, which was a phenomenal show, I knew what to expect but was still blown away by the brilliance of this drums and guitar duo, who played through old and new material, including hits from one of 2011’s best albums, El Camino. On a personal note, as my 58th concert of the year, I can’t imagine a better way to close out an incredible year of live music. The Black Keys have no other purpose on stage other than to put on a rocking show and get their fans jumping with authentic rock and roll.
The world needs Billy Idol. The world needs cool, and it needs a bit of a rebel yell. But it also needs dreamers. And, sometimes, a crazy, impossible, outlandish dream can lead to great things. And all of this was proven on an epic night in Seattle, as a young man with hope, ambition, persistence, and ingenuity leveraged the Internet in a way that lead to rock music legend and icon Billy Idol playing his 26th birthday party at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle last night. I’ve seen Billy Idol many, many times over the years, but I can say without a doubt that last night’s special show featured the best audience I’ve ever been a part of at one of his concerts. And in these challenging times we live in, it felt like everyone left their struggles and frustrations and all other negativity at the door, and embraced the awesome music and amazing live performance of Billy Idol and his band, as the put on a scorching show. As just the second (by my count) U.S. date this year (with a third in Eugene tomorrow night), I believe it serves as evidence of the significant demand for fans to see Billy Idol play live. He is one of my all-time favorite artist, has such a fantastic catalog of songs, and is one of the best live acts performing today accompanied by a peerless band and the incomparable Steve Stevens on lead guitar. Cheers to Michael Henrichsen for having a dream and putting such effort into something that brings joy not just to himself, but everyone who loves Billy Idol who came to take part in it. Michael certainly knows how to party, and he brought it to Seattle last night, in the form of the legendary Billy Idol.
Alice Glass may dispense with the audience chit chat you might find with other artists; for her and her bandmate Ethan Kath and their gigs as Crystal Castles, it certainly doesn’t make them any less interactive… with a reputation for high energy shows, she spent a good portion of the concert diving into the audience and literally surfing the crowd at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle last night. The Canadian duo, along with drummer Christopher Chartrand, rocked their unique and experimental lo-fi electronic synthpop/synthpunk sound with synthesizers including an Atari 5200-chip modded keyboard. Their live act is definitely worth checking out, as the somewhat chaotic staging and delivery is somewhat in contrast with the electronic music, fusing raw energy with 8-bit retro sounds to bring something to life that felt and looked like raw rock and roll, but sounded like something altogether new and different.
New Wave revolutionary? Prince?? Pirate??? Adam Ant has adopted a multitude of roles spanning many decades… but as an icon of post-punk and early 80s music and pop culture, he still knows how to kill it on stage, which is what he did for the sold out crowd at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco last night, tearing through a massive 28+ song set list that still left out some fan favorites. Who would have imagined when he came on the scene in the mid to late 70s that not only would he still be selling out shows, but he’d still be relevant (and, looking backward, prescient) well into his late 50’s. Truly an artist musician, Adam Ant has created a culture and world all his own, and it is definitely a fun place to visit.
Last night at The Warfield was my second time seeing Garbage this year, having seen them back in April in Las Vegas. I was astounded at how much the band has evolved in this short time, having just been resurrected earlier this year, now completely transformed into one of the most kick ass bands touring in 2012. This group – that completely defies genre – burst onto the stage and played a tight and rearranged set, including many songs off their incredible new album for upwards of two hours. They also brought out one of the best audiences I’ve been a part of all year (and yes, audiences do matter!), who could not get enough of this band that comes across as beings from another, much more interesting planet. All in all, I think the fact that Garbage isn’t currently selling out huge stadiums is a tribute to the fact that the 90s was, as a decade, mostly filled with crap music (compared to the decades that preceded and followed), and somehow this band never received the recognition nor massive following that it deserved. People in the 90’s generally had no taste in music and it was a weak era in pop culture, and Garbage is, in my estimation, one of the most outstanding group of artists born of that time, and the fact that they somehow got back together to make music and perform live better than ever is nothing short of remarkable. Hopefully at some point the masses will catch up to what they are missing, as the concerts this band puts on are among the best live shows from any band today.
The Go-Go’s and the Psychedelic Furs closed out my own personally selected Summer concert series at the always awesome Mountain Winery last night and I can’t imagine a better send off, with two classic and important 80s bands in top form playing their many hits, back to back. A bit of a contrast in styles (though both bands, in their own ways, were a result of and reaction to the 70s punk movement), it was very much a celebration of the wide ranging and innovation music born during my favorite decade. The Furs opened with what I would characterize as the best live performance I’ve seen from them, and the Go-Go’s closed it out with a fun and energetic set that felt very warm and personalized for the audience. A great night hosted by two stellar bands, and I feel fortunate to have had a chance to be part of it.
“I am not perfect. But I’m perfect for you.” This was a sentiment expressed by Huey Lewis early on in his performance with Huey Lewis and the News at Mountain Winery last night, which was a reference to the fact that this was a make-up show for one that was canceled about a month ago. A Bay Area native, the band certainly put in a lot of “heart and soul” into producing a very special concert last night, playing through many of their hits and going the extra mile to bring their special brand of rock and roll to the stage. It was a great show put on by this classic band that helped to define the 80s while mostly defying the sound of their peers with a musical identity all their own. As one might expect, they put on a classy, positive, high energy show in Saratoga last night.