“It’s a happy and a sad occasion…“ Thomas Dolby talking about his last stop at Creat Theatre in Sacramento last night, in his preface to “performing” his very personal documentary film, The Invisible Lighthouse Tour. Really a film unlike any I’ve ever experienced, it was just that – an experience. Dolby has been a pioneer in pop culture from his very beginnings, well known for his 1982 New Wave hit, “She Blinded Me With Science” among a number of other accomplishments in and out of music. Dolby’s partner on the stage, Blake Leyh, produced some amazing “analog”, impressionistic sound effects during the film, which Dolby scored and narrated, which made it clear that each performance of his film has been quite unique and different. A real pioneer in the arts, Dolby certainly has consistently blazed his own path, and after hearing his candid thoughts throughout the event, it would seem that he operates in a bit of a pop culture bubble, and looks to technology to find new ways in which to create meaningful art and vehicles for expression, and currently he is inspired by the ability today to make powerful films, sans Hollywood budgets and crews. The result is something that literally has to be experienced in a theater, and hopefully this event is truly not the last for The Invisible Lighthouse.
The Invisible Lighthouse – A Film and Live Performance by Thomas Dolby at Crest Theatre | Sacramento, California | 11/23/2013 (Concert Review)
Charli XCX’s first U.S. headlining tour kicked off this past week, making an early stop in San Francisco at Slim’s last night to a dedicated and enthusiastic young crowd. The high energy evening kicked off with opening sets by LIZ and Kitten, providing a showcase of music with three young women fronting acts with three different styles of music. While Charli has been making music and performing going back several years, she broke much wider into the pop culture consciousness in the past year with Icona Pop’s “I Love It”, which she wrote and also provided vocals to in the hit pop song. Her own music, off her debut album True Romance, is a bit more experimental and darker by contrast, which is why she gave the song to the synthpop Swedish duo for their own album. Charli has had a productive time since I last saw her opening for Santigold in the Summer of 2012, having toured with Coldplay, Paramore, Marina and the Diamonds, as well as put out a lot of new music and music videos like the recently released “SuperLove“. She is definitely one to continue to watch as she forges her own unique path through the music industry. She put on a great show last night and really seems to have grown into having a real command on the stage (with new band in tow) and has inspired and sparked the imagination of a generation of fans.
This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Charli XCX. She released her first studio album, True Romance, earlier this year, and is embarking on her first headlining tour of the U.S. this month. This month she also released a new song and music video for SuperLove, with plans to release a second studio album in the Spring. She took the time to call in from Stockholm this morning to participate in this interview.
“This is actually the first song we ever wrote… do you remember your first time?” Susan Ottaviano, vocalist for Book of Love, providing her introduction to “It’s in Your Eyes” halfway through their set at DNA Lounge in San Francisco last night, one stop in a handful of California dates this month. The New Wave synthpop band from Philadelphia, which was formed more than 30 years ago, have started working together and recording together again, and these special concerts are a part of that rebirth for the group. Based on the packed nightclub and enthusiasm of the crowd, they are not forgotten, and there was a large fan base in attendance, many of whom traveled special for the relatively intimate show. As the style of music that they helped to develop back in the 80s gains in popularity today, it is exciting to see the band active and killing it on stage as if they’ve been active all along, rather than reuniting. Hopefully it will mark the start of more to come.
This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Chloe Chaidez of Kitten. Chloe is the singer and driving force in the very young band that has been blowing up the music industry with their high energy live shows and interesting blend of musical genres. They will be supporting the upcoming Charli XCX tour, which has recently been rescheduled. Kitten just released their new EP, Like A Stranger.
This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Susan Ottaviano with Book Of Love. The pioneering New Wave favorite from the 80s and early 90s will be releasing some all-new music later this year and will be playing some special live concert dates in California in October.
This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Keven Preston with Prima Donna. The Los Angeles-based rock band will be embarking on a North American tour with Adam Ant starting later this month, running July, August and September.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Fillmore | San Francisco, California | 4/22/2013 (Concert Review)
“We did something rather foolish here…” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been, reminiscing about a past performance at the historic Fillmore, in San Francisco where the band was born. A fitting venue from which to launch their North American tour last night, supporting the new studio album, Specter At The Feast. Robert never came back around to explain their past foolishness, but there is always a bit of mystery about this band and their music, as well as a genuine politeness, on and off stage. In any event, Robert and co-singer/guitarist Peter Hayes and drummer Leah Shapiro did not hold back at all with their overpowering sonic performance; a virtually non-stop set clocking in at about two hours and fifteen minutes. The hard rocking band only slowed down a little for a few acoustic numbers in the second half of the show and at the end, and later with the encore and set closer, “Lose Yourself”, which played out in a way that felt as if the building were unwinding itself like an overspun vintage pocket watch, beat by beat, with minimalist yet powerful drums that even improve on the studio recording. But I’ve learned to expect the unexpected with this band, who take their live sets to levels only dreamed of by other artists. It was one of those shows that felt like a special one, and I can’t imagine a better way for them to kick off what is likely to be a stellar tour.
This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Steve Marker with Garbage. The band is finishing a tour in the United States currently (and I will be covering their show in Las Vegas at The Pearl Theater at The Palms Casino Resort next week), and news has begun to circulate about the possibility of a new studio album coming early next year. Steve was kind enough to talk with me today about the music industry in general, being part of the band, what they have planned for Record Store Day this year and more.
Caprices Festival 2013 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland: 9-Day Music Artist Live Concert Event Review & Recap
Since this was a pretty special experience and International music event, I thought I would share some thoughts and photos in summary here, mostly in an effort to genuinely promote and recommend this event to those who might not have heard of it or ever considering attending themselves. The 9-day event took place in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, a coming together of twin ski/resort towns to put on Caprices Festival, hosting dozens of musical artists spanning many different genres and styles. I actually only ran into a couple of Americans during the nine days of concerts (both had come out from New York for Tori Amos), so I think spreading some more information about the event on a U.S.-based site might bring out more people from the United States for future incarnations of this annual event, which celebrated it’s 10th anniversary this year, which also happened to mark some big changes and growth in size and line-up. [Read more...]
This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. My latest guests are Method Man and Redman. The guys were kind enough to make some time to sit down and chat with me at their hotel prior to their performance. This special edition of the podcast was recorded at Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland on March 16th, 2013.
Spencer Page, Daniel Taylor, Chris Ellul, and Kelvin Swaby are The Heavy: “Rock Talk” Interview (Caprices Festival Special)
Yesterday I had the opportunity and honor to meet with The Heavy backstage in their dressing room after their soundcheck for their set at Caprices Festival in Crans-Montana, Switzerland to talk to them a little bit and ask some questions about their band and perspective on a variety of topics. You can also check out my thoughts on their subsequent performance was well as photos over in my Day 7 coverage of this event. [Read more...]