The Cure (for Teenage Cancer Trust) at Royal Albert Hall | London, England | 3/29/2014 (Concert Review)


“It’s not my instrument; for the last time…”  Not very talkative during a concert, a funny line blurted out by Robert Smith, front man for The Cure, after returning a cowbell to the side of the stage, during a sprawling set that ran continuous for nearly four hours, with no less than three full encores.  The second of two nights playing to benefit Teenage Cancer Trust, The Cure played sans opener, coming on a about 7:30 and performing 29 songs…  then the came back for a six song encore…  then another seven song encore…. and finally a last three song encore.  The sound was amazing, and the band was brilliant.  An amazing evening with a stellar crowd, at a historic venue, all for a very worthy cause – it doesn’t get much better than this show…

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Prince with 3RDEYEGIRL at Fox Theater | Oakland, California | 4/24/2013 (Concert Review)


“You know how many hits I got?”  The genius at work on his keyboards/samplers toward the end of his initial set (in the midst of a freestyle mix/onslaught of some of the best pop hits of my generation – “When Doves Cry”/”Nasty Girl”/”Sign ☮ the Times”/”Pop Life”/”If I Was Your Girlfriend”/”Housequake”/”I Would Die For You”/etc…).  All culminating in a mind blowing rendition of “Purple Rain” (in which Prince made a comment about how he will never get tired of that song).  I don’t know if it was just a fantastic audience at the Fox Theater last night, or if Prince simply had the power to bring us to life and in perfect unison with his music, but this one off, last minute (instant sell out) show was certainly one I won’t forget.  I’ve never seen the Fox that rocking before (and I’ve seen many shows there) and I would even go so far as to say last night’s show blew away his set of shows played at the relatively tiny DNA Lounge last year (see review Night #1, Night #2).  As epic as those were (and I counted the two I went to among the very best of the nearly 100 concerts I attended last year), this one bested them on nearly every level.  Truly a musical genius at work alongside the brilliant 3RDEYEGIRL, as though they came down from some other planet for a few hours to illustrate another way of life.  Words really can’t describe, and without photos to aid in retelling the experience, it was really something you would have had to have been there for to fully appreciate and understand.

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Another Planet Entertainment Brings Prince with 3RDEYEGIRL to Fox Theater Oakland on Saturday, March 15th


It all started with a late night tweet from the official Fox Theater Oakland Twitter account tonight, announcing that Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL will be playing the venue this Saturday, March 15th.  On the heels of epic shows in England and most recently a 4-hour gig in Los Angeles, it looks like Prince will be heading to Northern California to follow up on last year’s four shows across two nights at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. [Read more...]

The Cure, OneRepublic, Suede and Others to Headline Teenage Cancer Trust’s Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London


Teenage Cancer Trust, who “lead the world in the care of young people with cancer”, in partnership with The Body Shop, is holding their 2014 concert series at The Royal Albert Hall at the end of March in London.  This year, headliners include Ed Sheeran (March 24th), an evening of comedy featuring Micky Flanagan and John Bishop as hosted by Jason Manford (March 25th), Paolo Nutini (March 26th), OneRepublic (March 27th), The Cure (March 28th and March 29th), and Suede (March 30).  This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Cure’s debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, and they are expected to put out three hour sets each night for these special shows. [Read more...]

Phantogram at Fox Theater | Oakland, California | 2/20/2014 (Concert Review)


“We love you so much…  you’re so beautiful!  We’ve been playing San Francisco for years and years and years, and every time we come back here, you’re so fucking great and it’s so fucking fun…”  Sarah Barthel, standing beside long time collaborator Josh Carter, both of whom seemed moved at times by the enthusiastic crowd that sold out the Fox Theater in Oakland for Phantogram’s debut show touring their latest album, Voices, which hit the streets earlier this week.  Joined on stage by Chris Carhart on drums and Nick Shelestak on keyboards, the band put on an amazing show with a fantastic ability to recreate their unique studio sound live on stage, which was itself bathed in a pulsating light show that suited their songs well.  This is definitely one of the must see tours of the year – really brilliant performance of their incredibly unique music and fantastic new album.

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Tori Amos to Tour United States in July & August Following May 13th Release of “Unrepentant Geraldines”


Legendary singer-songwriter Tori Amos has announced her U.S. dates for 2014′s world tour supporting the May 13th release of her 14th studio album, Unrepentant Geraldines.  She will cross the United States throughout July and August.  Fans can gain access to a special pre-sale of all dates and venues by pre-ordering the new album (in CD, CD/DVD, and vinyl formats) on a special site. [Read more...]

Imagine Dragons “Into The Night Tour” at SAP Center| San Jose, California | 2/13/2014 (Concert Review)


When I last saw Imagine Dragons in concert, I was packed into a small club with about 500 other fans, pressed against the small stage, with frontman Dan Reynolds dripping sweat onto those of us in the first few rows.  Fast forward just one year later, and now the band is easily selling out the 17,000 capacity SAP Center in San Jose (which even the Rolling Stones had trouble filling last year), and striking less successful music bands with envy (more on that later).  With their performance Thursday night, it was fascinating seeing how they’ve built up a fan base, yet retained their modesty.  At one point, during an ad lib, Dan became a bit self conscious about what he was saying, stopped himself, and confessed, “it’s because of you – you make me nervous…”  Honesty and earnestness is rare in rock stars these days, but I have a feeling that it is something innate in this one, and will always stay with him.  While photographing the first few songs at the start of their set, watching from a couple feet away, I saw Dan pause at one point and briefly stare out across the massive audience before him, and get choked up a little in the same way he did a year ago talking about the charity they were supporting for that small gig in San Francisco.  These are definitely genuine guys, and it certainly comes through in their music and performance.  Definitely one of the must see tours of the year, as I suspect they will get even bigger once they release their sophomore album.

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Phantogram Leads Out With U.S. Tour Following Next Week’s Debut of “Voices” Album


Electronic synthpop/trip hop duo Phantogram is releasing their second studio album, Voices, next week, and late next week they will be kicking off a small U.S. tour.  I was a big fan of their eponymous EP released last year (particularly “Black Out Days”, which I counted among my Top 100 Songs of 2013) and have previewed their new album and it is excellent. [Read more...]

Ash at Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco, California | 1/30/2014 (Concert Review)


“We’ve got a few more songs here for you here…  if you fucking want them!”  Tim Wheeler, vocalist and guitarist for Northern Ireland’s alternative band Ash, which was born in the early 90s, yet seems to bring the best of that vibe forward in their music today.  An enthusiastic crowd of fans packed Popscene at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco last night, and they certainly wanted those few more songs that finished out a pretty lengthy and extremely impressive and rocking set.  For a loud, ripping show, the sound was absolutely phenomenal, and these music veterans of the alternative music scene certainly are masters at the live show.  It really exceeded my expectations, and was just a fantastic concert showcasing their unique brand of rock and roll.  As one of their first shows on the West Coast of the U.S. in 9 years, they certainly came back to make a statement.

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The Pack A.D.’s “Do Not Engage” Hits The Streets Tomorrow; North American Tour Launches This Week


Vancouver’s The Pack A.D. will be kicking off a substantial North American tour in Seattle later this week, supporting their latest album, Do Not Engage, which comes out tomorrow.  Having had a chance to preview the album, it is truly stellar and should make a great foundation for some rocking live shows. [Read more...]

Frankie Rose Tours North America in January and February 2014 with Latest Album “Herein Wild”


American singer-songwriter Frankie Rose is touring North American over the next two months, part headlining and part on tour with White Lies.  The former Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls member released her latest album, Herein Wild, this past September.  You can check out the song “Sorrow” over at SoundCloud. [Read more...]

Berlin Featuring Terri Nunn at Saint Rocke | Hermosa Beach, California | 1/24/2014 (Concert Review)


Berlin Featuring Terri Nunn kicked off 2014 with their first live date of the year at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, California, just as they did last year (which is a show I caught and reviewed as well).  The biggest difference between last year and this year is that their amazing new album, Animal, came out this past September.  While they have been playing some of this new material in their shows in the past few years, somehow it felt much more seamlessly intertwined into the set, maybe because now I’m so familiar with the songs.  Like last year, it was another stellar show with excellent supporting artists, and Saint Rocke is a great little venue.  I think more than most bands, Berlin gets what their music is about, how it affects people, and the power a live show can have on celebrating life and living it with some passion.  They definitely bring it all out on stage and they are one of those bands that can carry you along with them vicariously. [Read more...]