“Okay, you all know this song and you need to sing along, because we don’t know what fucking hours of music were going to play tonight we’re going to keep going, so you guys sing along with this one…” Jules De Martino providing an intro into one of The Ting Ting’s biggest hits, “That’s Not My Name”, just before Katie White throws down with the vocals and gets the audience into a frenzy at their sold out show at Harlow’s Restaurant and Nightclub in Sacramento on Saturday night. As mentioned in my review of their show for Popscene at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco the night before, The Ting Tings haven’t passed through on a tour since supporting their sophomore album, Songs from Nowheresville, in 2012 (see my review of that show at The Fillmore). Their newly released third studio album, Super Critical, just came out late last year via their successful PledgeMusic campaign. Co-produced by original Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, the album pivots them into a different direction, though with their trademark infectious and experimental sound and energy. I thought the show Friday night was amazing, and illustrated how the band puts a lot of thought and attention into creating a live show that refashions their music a bit with each outing, keeping it all fresh and exciting for the crowds they turn out… Somehow, the Sacramento show was even better, and will definitely be in my Top Ten shows of 2015 at the end of the year, and has set the bar high for all of the other shows I’ll be seeing in the next 11 months.
“San!!! Fran!!! Cisco!!!” A city turned into a three-word chant by Jules De Martino, he and the other half of The Ting Tings duo Katie White aren’t the type to chit chat too much in-between songs at their live shows, but they certainly know how to get a place jumping. And that’s just what they did at the sold out show at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop on Friday night. The Ting Tings haven’t passed through on a tour since supporting their sophomore album, Songs from Nowheresville, in 2012 (see my review of that show at The Fillmore), and this latest gig was even more of a special occasion since they aren’t hitting but a handful of cities on this front end of touring in 2015 (and the dates in play are predominantly in California). Their newly released third studio album, Super Critical, just came out late last year via their successful PledgeMusic campaign. Co-produced by original Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, the album pivots them into a different direction, though with their trademark infectious and experimental sound and energy. The show Friday night was amazing, and illustrated how the band puts a lot of thought and attention into creating a live show that refashions their music a bit with each outing, keeping it all fresh and exciting for the crowds they turn out. I loved every second of it, and while it was a full set, they left me wanting more, but I’ll get that at their follow-up show in Sacramento… one of those rare bands who inspire me to follow them around a bit.
“When it hits the fan, people usually show up for each other…” Joan Jett of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, talking about surviving tragedy, and how real life experiences inspired their latest album, Unvarnished. It was really quite inspiring to hear the punk icon with roots in music – in her teens – going back to the 70s, today crafting music that is informed by a fascinating and full life. Yet regardless of her growth as an individual and as an artist, she still has that counter culture swagger and joy with a guitar strapped around her and a mic stand before her… she can still rock it unlike any other, and she certainly made that clear at their appearance at the California State Fair at Cal Expo last night. Whatever it is that she’s had since her formative years, that motor still drives her today. A real rock and roll legend.
“Before the night is over, I’m going to be in with these guys…” At some point into the sprawling one hour, forty five minute set put on by (an at times plain goofy) James Blunt and his band, the singer-songwriter looked up at the small section of balcony seats in the sold out show at The Fillmore in San Francisco, then glanced at the standing crowd right below, and made those up front feel that something special might happen toward the end of the show. Keeping his promise, a sweaty James Blunt did indeed end up surfing the crowd – not what one might expect of the emotional crooner, best known for his kind of dark, break out hit song “You’re Beautiful”. Full of energy and great humor (much of it self-deprecating, which wasn’t surprising coming from an Englishman), James Blunt seemed like a born entertainer, feeding off the crowd and giving it all back in spades. At times it seemed like a bit of an odd affair all around; kind of like what might come about from making cookies without a cookie cutter… the audience certainly didn’t fit any particular profile or stereotype, and his music seemed to draw what you might call “people who don’t dance at concerts” (and funny enough, I would classify myself as one of those), so there was a sort non-traditional connection between artist and fan – not so much seen, but felt. It seems that the James Blunt fan might be more of a devotee – quizzing the crowd up front, people started a line at 2:30 for the 7:00 doors show. With four studio albums under his belt (with the latest, last year’s Moon Landing serving as the theme for this tour), he seems to be doing well, and enjoying himself along the way.
Having sold tens of millions of albums around the world, singer-songwriter James Blunt will be making some stops in the U.S. this month in the midst of his world tour, showcasing his fourth studio album, Moon Landing, which came out late last year. [Read more…]
Duran Duran kicked off their North American tour this week with two back-to-back dates at my favorite venue, Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California. I was fortunate enough to attend the second date on August 9th. Duran Duran is one of my all-time favorite bands, and it was just an amazing night, with an incredible set that stretched two hours and kept the audience on their feet and singing and chanting along to favorites, old and new alike, as soon as they came out onto the stage. [Read more…]
Tonight I had the opportunity to see The Ting Tings in concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco. This is my first time seeing the band, and they were absolutely fantastic, which is all the more astonishing given that Katie White (vocals, guitar, bass drum, keyboards, and even cow bell) had an emergency appendectomy last Friday. The way she performed and danced all over the stage, and even into the audience (more on that later), you would never imagine that she had surgery just about a week ago. Jule de Martino is the other half of the band, on drums, guitar, bass guitar, vocals, and keyboards. [Read more…]
Tonight I had an opportunity to see Peter Murphy in concert at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. A special event that was part of a handful of California shows, the gig at Yoshi’s was actually two, back to back shows – one slated for 8:00 PM (which I attended) and another scheduled for 10:00 PM. It was a fantastic show, and I really can’t say enough good things about the experience. An incredible performer with an amazing voice. [Read more…]
Following last night’s Coldplay iHeartRadio benefit concert at Club Nokia, I was lucky enough to share a pair of tickets with another Coldplay fan who won them from The World Famous KROQ for a special Jimmy Kimmel Live! outdoor mini-concert / block party (or “bloq” party) behind the El Capitan Theater, where the regular show is shot in studio. Some of the songs performed at this concert will be broadcast on a special post Academy Award special of the JKL! show, following the Oscars telecast. This concert was originally scheduled for February 7, 2012, and rescheduled for tonight, February 9th.
I was fortunate enough to attend a very special Coldplay benefit concert tonight, which took place at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, in collaboration with iHeartRadio and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Los Angeles radio stations KIIS FM, 98-7FM and MYFM. The proceeds of the show benefit two charities – A Place Called Home and Youth Mentoring Connection. [Read more…]