Charli XCX and Bleachers (Charli and Jack Do America) at Fox Theater | Oakland, California | 7/23/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“Oakland, I want to see you go fuckin’ crazy!”  One of a set of similar sentiments shouted by Charli XCX throughout her high energy performance at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Thursday night, along with co-headliner Bleachers in their “Charli and Jack Do America” tour, though the latter had already whipped the crowd into a frenzy before she even had a chance to take the stage.  At only 22 years only, Charli XCX has had a remarkably long and prolific career thus far, and in her ongoing evolution of her unique and varied brand of music, she has veered solidly into the pop diva lane of the genre highway.  It was an interesting pairing of artists, with New Jersey-born Jack Antonoff from Bleachers building and building their own set with anthem-driven pop/rock songs that are catchy and captivating (even on first listen), contrasted against England’s Charli XCX pushing sexually-fused tunes with saccharine pop choruses.  As a dual headlining show, each artist seemed to bring out a different crowd, though all skewed younger.  Most certain is that each artist – though having respectively accomplished much already – will certainly continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.  [Read more…]

Dale Bozzio, Missing Persons & Clive Farrington, When in Rome at The Karman Bar | Laguna Niguel, California | 7/18/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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Music from the 1980s continues to permeate pop culture today – it seems like every commercial break cycle includes a familiar New Wave hit song repurposed for selling something or other.  In addition – and on the positive end of the spectrum – we sometimes have the opportunity to catch a multi-artist live concert with a few or a variety of 80s artists perform at the same event.  One such event was held at The Karman Bar in Orange County, providing a double headlining show with Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons and Clive Farrington from When In Rome.  Taking a step back, one of the most interesting things about this show is how the two principals from the two very different 80s bands collectively covered the decade in music, with Missing Persons originally together from 1980 to 1986 and When In Rome being active from 1987 to 1990.  So listening to their music at this event, there was also a contrast in sound from the beginnings of that decade (with it’s more traditional rock and roll emphasis of vocals, guitar, bass and drums) to that at the end (with vocals and keyboards/synth and electronic beats at the forefront).  In any event, it is of course awesome to see two key players from the era keeping their music alive and turning out fans to celebrate it.

[Read more…]

San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Travel/Hotel/Resort/Ferry Travel Advice for Staying on Coronado Island for Comic Con (#SDCC)

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I have been going to San Diego Comic Con (AKA Comic-Con International) since 1987, when I was 14 years old, but have until this year always stayed in Downtown San Diego apart from one time I stayed at Humphrey’s By The Bay on Shelter Island. Planning my travel and accommodations for 2015 was actually the first time that not only did I not get my first choice with the Travel Planners “lottery” style system for reservations and special rates for booking rooms, I did not get any room with them at all. As registered press, it has always been convenient for me to stay at the adjacent San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina, which is where I’ve stayed in the previous four years. With not a lot of options, I ended up booking a room at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort on Coronado Island (see my review here). While I was disappointed with the service of the hotel, and the distance to Ferry Landing (which offers a short five minute boat ride directly from Coronado Island to the Convention Center), I did find that not only is staying on Coronado feasible, but there are some significant benefits as well. So I thought I would share my findings with those who might consider staying on Coronado in future years. [Read more…]

San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Photography Journal & Photos of The Convention, Cosplay, Exhibit Hall (#SDCC)

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As in past years, this is a photo journal from San Diego Comic Con 2015, showcasing photographs of the exhibit hall, around the convention center and the Gaslamp District, and some of the popular cosplay participants. Images are from Wednesday (Preview Night), Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. [Read more…]

Hotel/Resort Review: Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel – Beverly Hills California

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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 recent trip to Beverly Hills in June 2015. This review is for Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel. [Read more…]

Aerosmith (Blue Army Tour 2015) at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s | Stateline, Nevada | 7/3/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“Remember baby, the lake may be cold, but the light at the end of the tunnel may be you…”  The final words from the immortal Steven Tyler as he turned his back to the crowd and strutted topless down the ramp and into the bright lights glowing from the back of the stage, as “Bad To The Bone” played him out.  Performing at Harvey’s Outdoor Arena in South Lake Tahoe as part of their Summer Concert Series two years running, the explosive live show by Aerosmith kept a sold out crowd on their feet for over two hours.  In my own opinion, Aerosmith is not just the best live rock and roll band touring today, but maybe of all time.  They do pretty much everything better than anyone else, and they have so many hits in their arsenal that it just builds and builds and builds all night.  Steven Tyler was born to do what he does, and even at 67 years old, he does it like no one else (and last night appeared to be have more energy than any of the 7,000 people in attendance).  As much as he is the ultimate front man and performer, he is absolutely beaming when “Joe Fucking Perry”, “on guitar for 40 fucking years” is beside him, bringing the familiar riffs to life in a way that seems to be equal parts passion and effortlessness.  Their songs feel like they were made to be performed live, and maybe more than any other band today, they know how to put on a show that’s brilliant no matter where you are, from up close to far away in the bleachers.  Even if you are not a dedicated Aerosmith fan, I would say above any other band today – if you are a fan of ANY contemporary music – you’ve got to turn out to their show at least once, just so you have a new benchmark from which to judge all other concerts.  It really doesn’t get any better when you consider every critical element that goes into a live concert event.  They’ve earned the title, “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band”.

[Read more…]

Martin Gore of Depeche Mode (DJ Set) at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club | Santa Barbara, California | 6/27/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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Depeche Mode has been my favorite band since Black Celebration came out, so when I came across the new of this special DJ set show at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club in Santa Barbara, I was excited for an opportunity to see the man behind some of my all-time favorite songs express himself in a completely different setting.  Part of SOhO’s 20th Anniversary Fundraising Show Series, it did not disappoint.  Martin Gore played his unique style of live music for around two hours.  It was amazing to see the man at work, and being close enough to see his own facial expressions reacting to his own music.

[Read more…]

Live 105’s BFD 2015 at Shoreline Amphitheatre – PART TWO (MAIN STAGE) | Mountainview, California | 6/6/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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Live 105’s BFD 2015 festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountainview, California marked the 21st time that the annual event has been held.  Live 105, “The Bay Area’s Alternative”, had a well curated line-up of known and emerging acts, covering a wide range of musical genres that all fall under the “alternative” banner, including 15 local acts.  All of this resulted in a quick sell out for the entire show.  With a vast line-up, they managed to squeeze it all into one day, with two “Festival Stages” that alternated back and forth throughout the day (to mitigate any downtime – it was literally non-stop music) as well as a “Subsonic Tent” and “Soundcheck Local Band Stage”, which ran concurrently.  It all lead up to the “Main Stage” acts within the Shoreline Amphitheatre itself, which ran back to back through the night.  A fantastic show that seemed to come off without a hitch, playing to over 20,000 fans.  This article features my PART TWO coverage, which focuses on the nighttime “Main Stage” artists and performances.

[Read more…]

Live 105’s BFD 2015 at Shoreline Amphitheatre – PART ONE (FESTIVAL STAGE) | Mountainview, California | 6/6/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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Last weekend was Live 105’s BFD 2015 festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountainview, California.  Representing the 21st time that this annual event has been held, it sold out in advance of the concert date on June 6th.  Live 105, “The Bay Area’s Alternative”, had a well curated line-up of known and emerging acts, covering a wide range of musical genres that all fall under the “alternative” banner, including 15 local acts.  With a vast line-up, they managed to squeeze it all into one day, with two “Festival Stages” that alternated back and forth throughout the day (to mitigate any downtime – it was literally non-stop music) as well as a “Subsonic Tent” and “Soundcheck Local Band Stage”, which ran concurrently.  It all lead up to the “Main Stage” acts within the Shoreline Amphitheatre itself, which ran back to back through the night.  A fantastic show that seemed to come off without a hitch, playing to over 20,000 fans.  This article features my PART ONE coverage, which focuses on the daytime “Festival Stage” artists and performances.

[Read more…]

Meg Myers at The Boardwalk | Orangevale, California | 6/5/2015 (Concert Review + Photos)

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I usually open my concert review articles with a quote from one of the artists on stage that night, though with Meg Myers at The Boardwalk on Thursday night, it would have been words in reference to asking some loudmouthed people in the venue to shut up.  More on that in a moment.  In spite of the ongoing source of annoyance to those who showed up to enjoy the music and the artists who came to perform, Meg and her band put on a stellar performance.  I’ve been a strong supporter of Meg and her music since I first saw her open for the Pixies in Los Angeles two years ago, and she has continued to build on her works and cultivating fans who understand her and her music.  Her debut album, Sorry, is due next month, and it will be interesting to see how much it fuels her career and where it will take her coming into 2016.  The single, “Sorry”, has been a big hit for her.  She is, in my opinion, one of the most creative and interesting (and exciting) artists active today, and her live show is definitely one not to miss.

[Read more…]