“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.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts at Cal Expo (California State Fair) | Sacramento, California | 7/18/2014 (Concert Review)
“But the problem is, it’s a piece of shit… so things like the little thing, that goes on here… the plastic thing that keeps you from slicing your fucking finger in half? That fell off in the middle of that song…” A post song, play by play recap by Damien Kulash of OK Go, talking about how part of his favorite guitar (purchased at a pawn shop in New Orleans) fell off and how he waited for the right break in singing to pick it up amid a floor covered in confetti… and for some reason decided to put it in his mouth for the rest of the song. Quirky, funny, and entertaining… an OK Go show would probably be worth the price of admission even if they didn’t play any music at all, as the between-song banter was all quite amusing on its own. But they did put on an impressive showcase of music at Assembly Music Hall in Sacramento… kicking off their 2014 tour that culminates in the release of Hungry Ghosts, their fourth studio album in October.
!!! (Chk Chk Chk) Starting 2014 with Three Northern California Concerts in Sacramento and San Francisco
Sacramento dance-punk band !!! (Chk Chk Chk) will be doing three shows this month, the first in their home town at The Assembly and then back-to-back shows at The Chapel in San Francisco. Their latest EP, R!M!X!S, came out a few months ago, following their fifth studio album, THR!!!ER, which came out earlier last year. [Read more...]
The Invisible Lighthouse – A Film and Live Performance by Thomas Dolby at Crest Theatre | Sacramento, California | 11/23/2013 (Concert Review)
“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.
Anna Nalick at Harlow’s Restaurant and Nighclub | Sacramento, California | 11/20/2013 (Concert Review)
“I know I got that Adult Top 40 reputation, but don’t let that fool you… I’m wearing leather pants. And I will put foot on the amp and show you what’s what.” Anna Nalick definitely showed the packed crowd inside Harlow’s in Sacramento last night what was what, and then some. The genre defying singer-songwriter kicked off her mini tour of the West Coast, with shows in Oakland, Grant’s Pass, Spokane, and Seattle to follow through the end of this month. Best known for her triple Platinum hit, “Breathe (2 AM)”, from her debut album Wreck of the Day, she is on a two week break from starring in Scott Caan’s play, 100 Days of Yesterday at Playhouse West. This set of concerts presents a rare opportunity to see a truly gifted musical talent perform her original music as well as a number of new songs she’s crafted since 2011′s Broken Doll & Odds & Ends. I definitely have a lot of thoughts about the show… in short, I can’t recommend enough turning out to catch this special tour if you can. Brilliant, brilliant artist and performance, and a fascinating woman.
Singer-songwriter Anna Nalick is scheduled to play a handful of concert dates along the West Coast this month. The critically acclaimed artist is best known for her debut album, Wreck of the Day, which featured the hit song “Breathe (2 AM)”, and she has since released a second studio album, Broken Doll & Odds & Ends. [Read more...]
“Just warming up again… look darling, what a surprise!” A wry comment from Cy Curnin, front man for English New Wave band The Fixx, in the middle of a rare second encore during their amazing show at Assembly Music Hall last night, about half way through their current U.S. tour supporting their latest studio album, Beautiful Friction. The iconic band, best known for a string of 80s hits like “One Thing Leads To Another”, “Saved By Zero”, and “Red Skies”, played a great mix of old and new, and the band certainly showed that they can still record great music as well as play it live.
Fleetwood Mac “Fleetwood Mac Live 2013 Tour” at Sleep Train Arena | Sacramento, California | 7/6/2013 (Concert Review)
It isn’t often that real, genuine rock and roll legends come into my hometown of Sacramento to perform in concert, but after last night’s Fleetwood Mac show at Sleep Train Arena, they’ve set the bar quite high for any act to follow. Have loved this band since I was a kid, but have never seen them live, so this was an eagerly anticipated show for me. I did see Lindsay Buckingham on his own last year, and Stevie Nicks with Dave Grohl’s Sound City Players earlier this year, so have had bursts of greatness, which really fed my desire to see them together as Fleetwood Mac even more. As amazing as those other performances had been, they did not prepare me for the magic of having their best line-up (unfortunately sans Christine McVie) on stage together. I think it cements Lindsay Buckingham as the true rock God of the 70s/80s generation and Stevie Nicks, fittingly, as the rock Goddess. Mick Fleetwood is like Zeus (or maybe a mad pirate), with twin balls hanging (in a dangling/dancing sort of way) from his belt. John McVie is content to leave center stage to the others, throwing down his bassline and keeping everything on the tracks as much as possible. This is a band who know who they are, and haven’t strayed from their identity in sound or fashion. What really hit home is how much they appreciate their fans, which was expressed not just in the performance but in eloquent statements from Nicks and Fleetwood to close out the show, calling us their “Dreamcatchers”, and really articulating the music fan/musician dynamic better than I’ve ever heard before. This date closed out the U.S. leg of their tour, and certainly inspires one to start following them around Europe later this year…
The Muse concert in Sacramento last night at the Sleep Train Arena was, on a personal note, Night #2 of 2 for me, having seen them the night before at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Two totally different experiences (more on that later), but another Epic show by a band that delivers rock entertainment like no one else on tour today. Over the course of seeing them, one thing I’ve learned is that location matters at these shows, and I wouldn’t necessarily say one place is better than another (close or far), as they have such an elaborate and brilliant production and presentation, wherever you are in the venue you will experience something very special indeed. As I said in yesterday’s review, they are most definitely a band that needs to be experienced live in concert and their music is designed to be performed live in front of thousands. [Read more...]
Shawn Colvin at Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center | Sacramento, California | 1/27/2013 (Concert Review)
“So that’s what that last song was; that was my contribution. I kinda infused it with my own special brand of hopelessness, because the person is never going to get out…” Part of an explanation about one of her songs, and her sometimes facetious and self-deprecating view of the unwritten rules of being a part of the singer-songwriter world. Shawn Colvin provides a lot of thought-provoking entertainment during her concerts, including a few bits of dark humor and perspective here and there, in contrast to the “bright and cheery” impression that the delivery of her music might leave on someone who listens to her music without learning the meanings and ideas behind the words. Shawn Colvin really puts her heart and soul into her music, and in a live music setting, holds nothing back. [Read more...]
Lost 80′s Live: A Flock of Seagulls, When In Rome UK, The Motels, Bourgeois Tagg, The Escape Club, Gene Loves Jezebel at The Crest Theatre | Sacramento, California | 8/10/2012 (Concert Review)
Last night was quite an amazing concert event for fans of 80s music. Under the banner of “Lost 80′s Live”, the one night show at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento featured performances by A Flock of Seagulls, When In Rome, The Motels, Bourgeois Tagg, The Escape Club, and Gene Loves Jezebel. In addition to the incredible line up, the event was hosted and DJ’d by the legendary Richard Blade. There was also a meet and greet opportunity made available for those who bought VIP tickets, which I participated in, and it was of course a thrill to meet the artists behind the music. Essential, the show was a sextuple header. [Read more...]