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.

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Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (Run-D.M.C.): “Rock Talk” Podcast Audio Interview

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This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal.  Today’s guest is Darryl McDaniels, best known as DMC with Run-D.M.C. (he prefers to be called “D”).  D was a featured guest at Sac-Con in Sacramento this past weekend, promoting his authentic foray into the comic book publishing world with his new independent publishing company DMC (Darryl Makes Comic) Comics and its first series, DMC, with his collaborator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez.  I met up with D at his hotel following the concert to sit down to talk about his latest work, his past, accomplishments, and his thoughts on a variety of topics related to his life, work, and influence on pop culture.

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Dick Dale, Guitar Legend: “Rock Talk” Podcast Audio Interview

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This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. The first guest for 2015 is Dick Dale, a legend in music, regarded as both “The King of the Surf Guitar” and the “Father of Heavy Metal”.  Now 77 years old, Mr. Dale is well known to younger generations for his 1962 song, “Misirlou”, which was used by Quentin Tarantino as the title track in his film, Pulp Fiction.

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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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Peter Hook & The Light Performing New Order’s “Low-Life” and “Brotherhood” (with Moby) at The Fonda Theatre | Hollywood, California | 11/22/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“And that’s how you play The Perfect Kiss!” An emphatic Peter Hook, currently touring as Peter Hook & The Light (formerly of Joy Division and New Order) – rock and roll’s greatest bass player – is apparently a skilled mind reader as well, as he pulled that quote right out of my head to shout back through his microphone after playing the best rendition of the classic song that I’d ever heard.  Hooky and his band are in 2014 touring New Order’s third and fourth albums (Low-Life and Brotherhood, respectively) in their entirety, having done the same in 2013 with the first two (Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies).  As an added bonus with each of these outings, they open for themselves as Slaves of Venues with dedicated Joy Division sets, which collectively makes for quite a substantive and lengthy set of shows each night.  At The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood Saturday night, the dedicated fans in attendance were also treated to a surprise guest appearance on stage for the encore, with none other than Moby coming out to perform vocals for the first two songs of that set to close out the evening.  All and all, with a show kicking off around 9:30 PM and going until 12:30 AM, it was three solid hours of celebration for fans of Joy Division and New Order.  It was certainly one of those special shows were the venue, artist, and fans all clicked perfectly to make for a very memorable experience and a blazing hot and awesome show by a legendary artist and performer, who in my opinion is the heart and soul of New Order keeping the most authentic live performance of their music alive for old and new fans.

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Peter Hook of Peter Hook & The Light, New Order, Joy Division: “Rock Talk” Podcast Audio Interview

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This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Peter Hook.  Peter Hook is a founding member of Joy Division and New Order, and next week embarks on his latest tour as Peter Hook & The Light, covering the third and forth New Order albums, Lowlife (1985) and Brotherhood (1986), in full.  Last year, he and his band covered the first two New Order albums and my review of that tour can be found in a separate article (see: “Peter Hook & The Light Performing New Order’s “Movement” and “Power, Corruption & Lies”…).

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Kitten, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Bomba Estéreo at Cargo at the Whitney Peak Hotel | Reno, Nevada | 9/4/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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I wanted to give a shout out to the other bands that played tonight; weren’t they all so hot?  I was like, ‘damn, I got some work to do tonight – those bitches were hot!’”  Kitten’s Chloe Chaidez giving props to the other two amazing bands sharing the stage with her at Cargo at the Whitney Peak Hotel Thursday night, which also featured Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas and Bomba Estéreo.  Kind of a triple headliner show, each act put on incredible sets with tons of energy, with the awesome lighting and sound at the Cargo giving them a lot to work with to showcase their unique approaches to their music.  As this was all filmed by PBS member station’s KNPB, each set will be an episode of the upcoming television series, Cargo Live at Whitney Peak Hotel, due to start airing early next year.

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MØ with Erik Hassle at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco, California | 6/3/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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The Popscene concert at Rickshaw Stop on Tuesday night was one of those rare shows that was very surprising (in a good way).  Danish singer-songwriter MØ (Karen Marie Ørsted) headlined the night that featured Swedish singer-songwriter Erik Hassle supporting, and both put on stellar performances, with awesome bookend DJ sets by Aaron Axelsen.  Candidly, I was not familiar with either of these young artists until recently, and I would mark the night as one of the best concerts I’ve attended so far in 2014.  MØ and Erik Hassle should be on the pop culture watch list as ones to expect big things from in the future.

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Erik Hassle: “Rock Talk” Podcast Audio + Video Interview

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This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Erik Hassle. He released his latest work as an EP, Somebody’s Party, which debuted earlier this year.  He is also one of the songwriters for the current single, co-featuring Rihanna, “Can’t Remember to Forget You“.  Erik is just finishing up his U.S. tour with MØ, and took time before his concert at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop last night to participate in this interview.  The full concert review with photos from the live show can be found in my separate article (see: “MØ with Erik Hassle at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco, California | 6/3/2014″).

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