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.
Blondie with X “No Principals Tour” at Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium | San Francisco, California | 9/19/2013 (Concert Review)
GROUPLOVE “Seesaw Tour” (Night 1 “Heavy”) at The Independent & (Night 2 “Light”) at The Chapel | San Francisco, California | 9/14/2013 & 9/15/2013 (Concert Review)
“We do it for love, sweet love…” Fittingly, the final words sung on stage both Saturday and Sunday night in San Francisco by GROUPLOVE, from their hit song, “Colours”. Playing back-to-back shows as part of their special run of their “Seesaw Tour”, performing at two small venues in select cities, doing one traditional show and one acoustic-style show, each night featured a different kind of show, almost as if seen, heard, and felt through a kaleidoscope that shifted not just night to night, but within each show. GROUPLOVE is a band with probably the best energy of anyone playing today – such joy and positivity beaming not just from the speakers at the venues, but from the artists themselves – their expressions and jumping around, and interactions with the audience. The funny thing is that the audiences and shows kind of played counter to expectations, with the “heavy” night at The Independent skewing older and more mellow and the “light” night at The Chapel being much more youthful and boundless, which seemed to fuel the band into rocking their acoustic instruments on the tiny stage, which could barely contain them. Two incredible shows that delivered well beyond expectations.
Brand New 4-Track EP (EP-1) & New Music Video Released by The Pixies Leading Up To New Concert World Tour
As reported recently, there has been a lot of news coming from one of my all-time favorite bands, The Pixies, who will be playing four special concert dates in Los Angeles next week at El Rey Theatre and Mayan Theater, with new bass player Kim Shattuck. Last month The Pixies released one new song (as a free MP3 download) and two versions of a music video of the same (Ver 1, Ver 2). This week The Pixies have released EP-1, a new 4-track EP with all new material written by The Pixies and recorded at Rockfield Studios in the UK almost a year ago with producer Gil Norton. They have special artwork for the EP created by Vaughan Oliver. Full details can be found here: http://newpix.es/ep1 [Read more...]
GROUPLOVE Announce Special “Seesaw Tour” Dates & Venues, Pre-Sale On Today, “Spreading Rumors” Due September 17th
American alternative band GROUPLOVE today announced a special “Seesaw Tour” supporting their sophomore album, Spreading Rumors, due September 17th. The nine city tour will feature the band playing back-to-back gigs in each city, the first an all-rock set and the second at a non-traditional venue doing an all acoustic show (“one night heavy, one night light”). Special pre-sale packages went on sale this morning for the nine cities that are part of this special tour – Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Chicago. [Read more...]
Huey Lewis and The News “Sports 30th Anniversary Tour” at Mountain Winery | Saratoga, California | 7/27/2013 (Concert Review)
“30 years is a long time. Think back 30 years ago… no cell phones… no Internet… no CDs… no reading glasses… Those were the days. And in case you guys haven’t figured it out yet, we’re going to play the Sports album. From the beginning to the very end. And that… was Side 1. That was the ‘video’ side, if you will. And now we’re going to take the record, and we’re going to turn it over… because that’s what we did, kids. We took the record, and we turned it over. Right? “ Part of a pretty entertaining monologue by Huey Lewis of Huey Lewis and the News at Mountain Winery last night, half way through their #1, septuple platinum 1983 album, which had four Top 10 hits (“Heart and Soul”, “I Want a New Drug”, “The Heart of Rock & Roll”, and “If This Is It”). Playing the classic album front to back – side to side – in honor of the “Sports 30th Anniversary Tour”, they did not end with that, as the concert continued on beyond with a new song as well as more non-Sports classics and covers. It was really a phenomenal show, and Huey and the band were in top form playing in their Bay Area home at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, which Huey Lewis characterized as “the scene of so many of our youthful indiscretions“. The sold out venue was filled with an awesome crowd of fans, and I think this was the first time I checked StubHub before a show at this venue and found that there was only a single ticket for sale, which I illustrates that it was the hottest ticket for the night in Northern California on the beautiful Saturday evening overlooking the lights of Silicon Valley.
“Hey Gina, did you play your brother’s 78s?” The Go-Go’s bass player Jane Wiedlin giving their drummer a hard time as Gina tried to give a preface to their stellar cover of the Rolling Stone’s hit “Paint it Black” by talking about how when you were a kid you would borrow your older brother or sister’s “records or CDs or whatever“. Like co-headliner The B-52s, both bands brought a combination of rock and good fun on stage at Mountain Winery in Saratoga last night, and even shared the stage for one song, contributing to the intimate, party-like atmosphere. I’ve seen both bands in the past 12 months, but it was something special to be treated to their respective New Wave sound on the same night. It was also kind of neat to see members of each band watching each others’ sets from side stage (like Belinda Carlisle fully immersed in The B-52s show and Kate Pierson taking in The Go-Go’s performance). Maybe the combination gave special energy all around, as each put on the best show I’ve seen from either band, so it was a pretty amazing night celebrating some of the best songs from my personal favorite era of music.
Pixies News Overload… New Music (“Bagboy”), New Bassist (Kim Shattuck), New World Tour (Starting in Europe in September)
There has been a lot of news coming from one of my all-time favorite bands in the past two weeks, with the Official PIXIES Statement on founding member and bass player/vocalist Kim Deal’s departure from the band, Friday’s surprise release of a new song, “Bagboy” (with music video and free MP3 download of the track), the discovery that the backing vocals that sound like Kim Deal is actually the voice of Black Francis friend Jeremy Dubs, and tonight the announcement of Kim Deal’s replacement (Kim Shattuck from The Muffs) and a new World Tour with dates in Europe and the UK. [Read more...]
AM & Shawn Lee at Rickshaw Stop (“Sounds of Summer” Album Release Party) | San Francisco, California | 6/26/2013 (Concert Review)
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!
The Go-Go’s and The B-52s started touring North America this month, and lucky fans in certain cities will be treated to co-headlining shows featuring both bands. Each innovators in their own right, the groups each have innumerable hits from the past three decades. While both have their own distinct sound of New Wave and pop rock, most of the songs are high energy and positive, and together I imagine create quite a party atmosphere. [Read more...]
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...]