“I know you know the words to this song; we love the words to this song because it’s more timely and relevant right now than it’s ever been… It was relevant in the 60’s when it was written but it seems to have grown only more relevant with the years. This song, if people sing along with us and sing it loud, maybe the rest of that world out there will hear what we’re saying tonight…” Michael McDonald at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento on Tuesday night, in preface to his encore beginning with a soulful cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. It was quite a night for fans of one of the great voices of his generation, as he played hits from his solo career as well as works he created with the Doobie Brothers. Special with his most recent tours is the showcase of several songs from his latest album, Wide Open, which was released in late 2017. His first studio album of all-new material in 17 years, it’s really a brilliant work and the songs are even more remarkable live in concert. If you have seen Michael McDonald in concert in the past, it is well worth turning out for this current tour just to hear some of the new songs. Fantastic show. [Read more…]
“How we doing out there?” Ellie Rowsell with Wolf Alice at a rare appearance in Sacramento at Ace of Spades Saturday night, a few shows into their massive schedule taking them all over the world in 2018. In addition to their own headlining shows, they are playing gigs in support of Queens of the Stone Age as well as shows across the festival circuit. I’ve been following the band since 2015, and now with two studio albums under their belt (sophomore effort Visions of a Life came out late last year), they are better than ever, with a massive amount of killer songs to fill up their sets. I’ve always seen them as a band made to play live, and they did not disappoint. This concert will certainly rank among the top at the end of the year for me personally, so I can’t recommend enough getting out to one of their shows if they stop in at a city near you. [Read more…]
Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskings have formed a new band, Poptone, to perform a series of live dates, including a stop in Sacramento at Ace of Spades on June 6th. As Poptone, Daniel Ash serves on vocals and guitar, his daughter Diva Dompé on bass, and Kevin Haskins on drums. Ash and Haskins played together in Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, and Love and Rockets, and are playing music from all three bands in this series of live shows. [Read more…]
Johnny Marr, singer-songwriter and legendary guitar player, will be kicking off his “California Jam Tour 2016” on February 28th at Ace of Spade in Sacramento. The English musician will be supporting his latest, a live album called Adrenalin Baby, though he is widely regarded as one of the most important music artists of the past three decades. Associated with a who’s who gallery of groups, bands, artists, and influencers such as The Smiths, Electronic, Modest Mouse, The Pretenders, Pet Shop Boys, Talking Heads, Noel Gallagher, Kirsty MacColl and more, his live shows promise a lot of electricity. [Read more…]
“You gotta keep believing in what you wanna do; don’t give up…” Howard Jones on stage at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub in Sacramento on Wednesday night, playing to a sold out crowd in an intimate space holding about 450 fans. He was reflecting back on when he was working in a factory as a very young man, and writing “New Song”. His debut single – released in 1983 – is all about optimism… and that is in my estimation what the man is still about today, some three decades later. Throughout his performance, he was beaming with joy and fun between each song, chatting with fans and tossing out anecdotes and familiar lyrics that can still be instructive today (“try and enjoy the here and now… the future will take care of itself somehow!”). But it’s not just the classic tunes that had people moving. Having released his 11th studio album this year – Engage – he is as creative and relevant as ever, with fresh new songs. My own feeling is that in all this time since the 80s have come and gone, he best represents not just the style of music but the feelings of that era, and it is awesome that he continues to spread his work and message in live shows like this one. Things can only get better, indeed.
“I’m happy to live in the mystery…” One of a seemingly endless set of poetic and thoughtful comments made on stage at The Crest Theatre in Sacramento on Sunday night. Part of a solo performance by Colin Hay, best known as the front man, vocalist, and guitarist for the Australian, early 80s, Grammy-winning New Wave/Rock/Raggae band Men at Work. In 1983, the band had a number one album (Business as Usual) and a number one single (“Down Under”) and gained international fame with their music and quirky music videos. Here we are, 32 years later, and Mr. Hay has cultivated not only an interesting career but an interesting life with insights and experiences that continue to guide him. All this time later, there is no ego, no regret, and an incredible depth of self-awareness. He seems to have a vivid and real view of the world and how it works, and seems quite settled and comfortable with who he is and his role in life as not just a musician, but as a storyteller and philosopher, with much of the latter coming in the form of brilliant comedy. I’d been lucky enough to catch his Finding My Dance one man show in 2013, so I had an idea of what to expect, but his current tour supporting his latest album, Next Year People, was even better. He is one of the most entertaining and gifted artists touring today, and I can’t recommend enough turning out for one of his shows if you have the opportunity.
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.
“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.
I recently had an opportunity to see The English Beat at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, for my first concert of the year (on my birthday no less!). Unfortunately, with all of the cold and flu going around, after shooting the first three songs of their set, I had to bail as my fiancée was under the weather and burning up with fever. Rather than waste the opportunity to talk about one of the best live bands playing today, I thought I would put up this preview for what they have coming in 2015, with a list of upcoming concerts, a little bit of information about For Crying Out Loud – the new album due early this year – as well as share a few photos taken at the show last week. Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to attend another one of their shows soon, and put up a proper feature about it. [Read more…]
“I walked out of there with not much, except a feeling in my heart that it was all going to work. And the reason that I tell you this story, is that I want you to know that if you have a dream, and you believe in yourself, and you believe something that you really want, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t have it. Don’t ever let anybody get in your way, because you can have it, and we are living proof of that…” Optimistic words spoken by Stevie Nicks at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento last night, joined on stage by the core members of one of the best rock and roll groups of all time, Fleetwood Mac. I think we collectively need more optimism in the world today, but not just lofty words and sentiments, but used to power individuals to look to themselves and their own abilities and opportuities to make their dreams come true. Somehow, this collection of gifted artists – Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, and Christine McVie – all found one another back in the 70s and made music that has endured as classics to this day. I first saw Fleetwood Mac with their tour in 2013, and marked it as one of the best shows of the year. As that tour did not include Christine McVie, with her return on this year’s tour, I marked this show as my top “must see” concert of the year. It did not disappoint. All of the players sound like they are truly at the top of their game, and they seemed to love performing as much as the audience loved watching it. It was also a bit different than last year’s tour, with even higher production standards and maybe the best sound quality I’ve ever heard in a sports arena. It was truly an epic show, and Fleetwood Mac is one of those rare bands that can make playing to a large indoor arena work (I rarely go to such shows because they typically do not work on many levels). They really exceeded my expectations with their nearly three hour show, and I think the highlight for me was “Little Lies”, with Christine McVie’s beautiful voice and the overlapping chorus with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – a real showcase for the distinct character in each of their voices but how well they harmonize and blend together to such effect.