Blondie’s spectacular show at the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco Thursday night was a reminder of how seemingly effortlessly Debbie Harry and the band crossed into and innovated within so many different styles and genres of music in the late 70s and early 80s. Punk, post-punk, disco, pop, New Wave, even some rap, reggae, and infusions of some world music, they were quite the innovators, really serving as a pioneering force in music, and they continue to record new and relevant music today. The Debbie Harry-fronted East Coast post punk/pop/disco group Blondie share the bill on the “No Principals Tour” with Exene Cervenka and John Doe fronting on vocals for the West Coast, L.A. punk pioneers X, which features its original line-up. Both artists brought amazing energy to the stage, which created a frenzy within the crowd at the Masonic unlike anything I’d seen at the usually mellow venue, with fans of both bands flooding the area between the all-seated venue and the low stage. It was definitely a different sort of concert (in a great way) and celebration of music that really served as a pivotal transition from the 70s to the 80s, paving a pathway into what turned out to be fresh and new world.
2013 is shaping up to be a great year for new music and exciting artists playing live dates, and AM & Shawn Lee are most definitely a part of both. With the release of their second collaborative studio album last month, La Musique Numberique, it is fueled by some amazing songs that translate brilliantly well in their live sets. The transatlantic writing and recording process (with AM in Los Angeles and Shawn Lee in London) produced an electronic and synth-driven collection of songs that fuse sounds from past decades (particularly the 70s and 80s) but sound as contemporary as anything else released in the past few years. As performers, both sides of the duo have a very relaxed style and great chemistry. As the climax to their “Sounds of Summer” touring album release party, it was a festive night at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco last night, with a great crowd in an intimate venue. If you’ve never checked out their music, you are missing out and you can preview over at SoundCloud… awesome stuff!
New Wave icon Debbie Harry will be touring the United States again this year as Blondie, including Clem Burke and Chris Stein from the original line-up, as well as special guest X supporting. The tour is promoting her forthcoming, as yet untitled album with the promise of ticket buyers being able to download five new tracks from the upcoming release. [Read more…]
AM & Shawn Lee are touring their second studio album, La Musique Numerique, with release party concerts in Chicago, IL, Rochester, NY and tour dates spanning California with shows in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego. With AM hailing from Los Angeles and Shawn Lee from London, the duo have collaborated to create a fresh sound influenced by disco, soul, R&B, funk, electronic, and other genres, with a bit of a late 70s/early 80s vibe. The track “All The Love” has earned significant acclaim. [Read more…]
This is the second and last of my 2012 “Year In Review” articles, though this one is mostly a pictorial. I went through the pictures I took at shows throughout 2012 and pulled out 100 of my favorites to republish here, in celebration of an amazing year for concerts and a fun year for me with photography. You can also check out my other Year in Review article with my Top 10 Live Music Concerts and Top 10 Studio Albums & Songs. [Read more…]
2012 was an amazing year for both new music and live concert events, and although writing this “year in review” proved to be a monumental task, it was fun for me to do it to relive some special moments and appreciate the opportunities I had over the past 12 months to find new music and attend so many awesome live shows. It’s funny because many concerts and tours are announced with little notice, so at the start of any given year, you don’t really know what to expect, and 2012 definitely held a lot of surprises. When all was said and done, I ended up going to 58 concerts in 2012, each of which featured anywhere from one to seven artists, so that is a lot of live performances.
Last night, Mountain Winery in Saratoga played host to a true co-headlining concert, with the two artists – Blondie and Devo – alternating opening and closing duties, date-to-date, as this joint tour gets underway, having kicked off just this week. The show was mixed overall, with Blondie putting on a stellar performance in her opening slot and Devo powering through some technical glitches that diminished their quite obvious intent to provide some serious fan service. Overall, it was a great night of 80s nostalgia for those in attendance. Both artists brought their very unique styles and presence to the stage, and overall it was a great opportunity to experience two very different performances.