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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Lily Allen Brings “Sheezus” To North America and UK Through End of 2014

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English singer-songwriter Lily Allen is back in the spotlight with a new album and tour, following time off from starting a family.  Her current tour marks her return to North America after a five year absence.  The new album, Sheezus, is her first since 2009, and third album since her big debut in 2006 with her #1 UK hit “Smile”. [Read more…]

Tears for Fears at The Wiltern | Los Angeles, California | 9/23/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“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.

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Tears for Fears Launch Small Concert Tour in The United States This Month

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Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith’s English New Wave band Tears for Fears will be playing a select number of concert dates in the U.S. this month, which has caused quite a buzz among fans and anyone with a fondness for their many hit songs.  They celebrated the 30th anniversary of their classic album, The Hurting, last year, and also recorded a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Ready To Start”.  Tears for Fears will be kicking off this tour in Austin next week, following by a show in Oklahoma, a pair of shows in California (Northern and Southern), and a three-night showing at Project Pabst in Portland.  Rock Subculture Journal last reviewed Tears for Fears back in 2012. [Read more…]

The Zombies at Harrah’s South Shore Room | Stateline, Nevada | 8/23/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“Before I sing each song, if you’re ever thinking, ‘what’s going through his mind?’, I’m thinking: ‘sing from your ass, project out the back of your neck, and try and get your tits over your shoulders!'” Colin Blunstone, vocalist for The Zombies, giving the summation of his three anecdotes regarding decades of experience with singing techniques, offered to visiting students from The Royal Academy of Music.  The concert at Harrah’s South Shore Room in Lake Tahoe last night marks the third time I’ve seen the band live in the past year (having seen them at the indigO2 in London and at Yoshi’s in San Francisco in 2013) and they are still full of surprises.  Joined on stage with co-founding member Rod Argent on keyboards and vocals as well as rock veterans Tom Toomey on guitar, Jim Rodford (from Argent and The Kinks) on bass, and Jim’s son Steve Rodford on drums, the British Invasion band continues to prove that they are both music legends of the past as well as relevant today, with their mix of classics and all new music (with one newly polished gem previewed last night and due to be to be recorded in studio in the next two weeks).  These guys are the real deal, and represent real rock and roll. [Read more…]

New Order & La Roux at The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, California | 7/11/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“…since we’re in San Francisco, we thought we’d do something special.”  Bernard Sumner, singer and guitarist for New Order, as preface to an unexpected, second encore closer and cover of “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium last night.  One of just a half dozen dates on this North American tour, the concert showed a band that has worked to refine their live set, with updated visuals as well as a bit of tweaking and reworking of what has become their usual selection of songs.  It was definitely the best I’ve heard them in the past four years, and they seemed most energized during their performance of new song, “Plastic”.  The sold out crowd of around 7,000 never stopped moving and bouncing as they ripped through a sequence of favorites at the end with “True Faith”, “The Perfect Kiss”, and “Blue Monday”.   As has been tradition, they closed out with an encore of a few Joy Division covers, but the Scott McKenzie cover at the very end showed that they can still surprise when they are inspired to do so.

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New Order Returns to North America in July with “Summerfest” Appearance & Small Tour; La Roux Joins in California Concerts

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New Wave and electronic music pioneers New Order will be returning to the United States next month for a limited number of special performances, one festival appearance, and one show in British Columbia.  La Roux – with new album Trouble in Paradise due July 7 – will be supporting at the two California shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  New Order are also working on new music, and debuted one of those new songs, “Singlularity“, at their appearance at Lollapolooza Brazil back in March. [Read more…]

Hotel/Resort Review: Hilton London Tower Bridge – London, England [REVISIT]

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This review is for the Hilton London Tower Bridge. I have stayed at this property multiple times, so this is an updated review, for a lengthy stay in March and April of 2014.  This is far and away my favorite hotel in London. [Read more…]

Hotel/Resort Review: Hilton London Tower Bridge – London, England [REVISIT]

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This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This stay was during my extension trip throughout Eastern Europe and London in December 2013. This review is for the Hilton London Tower Bridge.  I have stayed at this property multiple times, so this is an updated review. [Read more…]

Kim Wilde’s Christmas Party at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire | London, England | 12/21/2013 (Concert Review)

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“I wanted to know if you were up for a bit of dancing now – I know it’s a bit tight out there with bodies and antlers and everything, but hey, there’s no excuse…”  Words in-between songs by 80s New Wave pop icon Kim Wilde at “Kim Wilde’s Christmas Party” at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, England on Friday night.   Given that these four special shows (one in the Netherlands and three in England) were her first solo gigs in some time, I really had no idea what to expect.  And since she just came out with her Wilde Winter Songbook of Christmas songs, I thought perhaps the whole show would be dedicated to maybe an hour or so of holiday music.  I really couldn’t have been more wrong, as she ended up doing a mix of pop music (including covers) as well as Christmas music, with a sprawling setlist clocking in at two dozen songs, with a two hour performance.   At 53, she still looks stunning and sounds amazing, and it truly had a party-like atmosphere, and among other talented musicians, she was joined on stage by her niece, brother, and father, so it was a real intimate family affair.  All in all, a brilliant show, and I feel very fortunate to have had an opportunity to be there for it.

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“Crisis Presents…” with Jake Bugg, Bastille, Michael Kiwanuka, AlunaGeorge, and Foxes at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith | London, England | 12/20/2013 (Concert Review)

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This special benefit concert was organized by Crisis, with proceeds designated for their “Crisis at Christmas” as well as their Year-round services throughout the UK.  The stellar line-up featured Bastille, Foxes, AlunaGeorge, Michael Kiwanuka, and Jake Bugg, with presenter Clara Amfo from BBC Radio 1Xtra managing the event on stage.  It was a high energy show that drew a young and enthusiastic crowd, and was certainly in line with the festive spirit of this week leading into Christmas.  The night kicked off with a great performance from the charity organization’s own Crisis Starlight Band and that moment carried through the night.  A great evening for a great cause.

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Crisis Presents… with Jake Bugg, Bastille, Michael Kiwanuka, AlunaGeorge, Foxes, and Al Doyle (Hot Chip) at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith on December 20th

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Crisis – the national charity for single homeless people across the UK – will be holding a special concert event at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London on Friday, December 20th.  “Crisis Presents…” will be hosting a special concert with UK artists featuring Jake Bugg, Bastille, Michael Kiwanuka, AlunaGeorge, Foxes, and Al Doyle from Hot Chip doing a DJ set.  Also planned is a special performance by singers and musicians from their London Skylight centre. [Read more…]