Morrissey To Tour United States Ahead of New Album Due In July, “World Peace Is None of Your Business”

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Following the news of his first record deal since 2009 (a two-album deal with Harvest Records and Capitol Music, to be produced by Joe Chiccarelli), Morrissey announced a significant tour of the United States, which is scheduled to kick off in San Jose on May 7th.  Some of the dates will have special guests, with Tom Jones being part of the show in Los Angeles.  His forthcoming album, World Peace Is None of Your Business, is due in July. [Read more...]

Boy George Makes 18-Date North American Concert Run in April as “King of Everything”

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Boy George, best known for fronting 80s New Wave pioneer Culture Club, will be playing 18 cities in North America this month following the release of his new single, “King of Everything”, from last year’s studio album, This Is What I Do.  The tour will include a 9-piece band with brass section, promising to tap into his brand of fusing together many different genres, including gospel, reggae, pop, rock, and soul. [Read more...]

MS MR at The Fillmore | San Francisco, California | 4/14/2014 (Concert Review)

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“You’re one of the first cities that really, really supported us.” Lizzy Plapinger, the “MS” half of MS MR showering the crowd at the sold out Fillmore in San Francisco Monday night with some sincere gratitude.  I’d seen the break out duo twice at The Independent last year, and as their success continues, they have stepped up from supporting at the Independent, to headlining multiple shows there, to now headlining multiple shows at the historic Fillmore, where they opened for Marina and The Diamonds a few years ago.  As has been my experience seeing the band evolve, the “MR” half, Max Hershenow, seemed as thrilled as ever to step away from his keyboard a few times to dance and provide some backing vocals on Lizzy’s mic. I personally ranked their incredible debut studio album, Secondhand Rapture, as my favorite release of 2013, so they certainly won me over as a fan.  While they always sounded amazing live, they seem to grow in confidence with each new tour, while maintaining that humility and earnestness which is somewhat rare in the contemporary music scene.  This was their best show year, and while it clocked in at just under an hour, to me that was just perfect, and I applaud that they keep the studio length of the songs rather than trying to stretch them out to fill out more time as some young bands succumb to when touring with just one album under their belt.

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Pet Shop Boys “Electric Tour 2014″ at Fox Theater | Oakland, California | 4/8/2014 (Concert Review) #PSBtour

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It was one year ago to the day that I saw Pet Shop Boys and their Electric Tour in San Diego… and while the “show” was mostly the same on this 2014 tour, kicking off at Fox Theater in Oakland, my own personal experience was worlds apart.  The actual concert itself was the same as last year’s, with the exception of I think just one change to the setlist, but that is actually a good thing – why mess with near perfection?  While there are a few favorites of mine I would have loved to have heard, the highly prolific duo have been making hits for over three decades now, so there will always be some songs that aren’t going to make the cut for every tour.  As with last year, the avant-garde stage production is of the highest order, with credit also due to Stuart Price with his music production and programming, Creative Director/Designer Es Devlin and Stage Director/Choreographer Lynne Page, the two colorful dancers (Merry Holden and Tom Herron) with their interesting costumes and stage presence, and many others behind the scenes.  This show was their first of 2014, and at one point Neil even confessed to having some nerves in coming back on the stage, but his voice and delivery was spot on, and the blending of old and new music maybe even works better the second time around.   It was one of my favorite shows last year, and it was great to revisit it as well as share it with someone very special in my life this time around – it is a concert that I will never forget (more on that later)!

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

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“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)

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“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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Rick Springfield “Stripped Down” at Yoshi’s San Francisco | San Francisco, California | 3/13/2014 (Concert Review)

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“…I thought, ‘you know, there’s no better translator of Black American Blues than a middle-class, 16 year old Australian white child’.”  Part of Rick Springfield’s storytelling in-between songs, it was apparent early on that not only has he led an interesting life, but he has real depth as well as a self-deprecating sense of humor.  Though he is best known for that one big 80s hit (“Jessie’s Girl”) and acting on General Hospital as Dr. Noah Drake, he is a great storyteller and certainly a real artist with some great music and a knack for bringing it alive in a special way in an intimate venue.  The highlight of the night for me was his very personal rendition of “My Father’s Chair”, a song about the loss of his dad many years ago.  It’s rare to see an artist connect with such a powerful song on stage, and present such vulnerability to an audience.  This set of solo shows is definitely well worth checking out, and in many ways more compelling than the traditional, full band rock show, as Rick Springfield has a lot of storytelling in him, in both personal accounts from his life as well as his music.

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

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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...]

Peter Hook & The Light To Tour “Lowlife” and “Brotherhood” Across North America in November

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Former Joy Division and New Order principal Peter Hook will be taking his Peter Hook & The Light across North America later this year, performing New Order’s third and fourth albums, Low Life and Brotherhood.  Currently they have plotted out 14 dates in Canada and the U.S. during the first three weeks of November.  The special tour promises to play many of New Order’s biggest hits produced during that period between 1983 through 1987, including “Confusion”, “True Faith”, “Thieves Like Us”, “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “The Perfect Kiss” and more, including B-sides. [Read more...]

Rick Springfield Takes on 2014 with Solo “Stripped Down” Shows and Co-Headlining Gigs with Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo

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2014 is shaping up to be a great year for fans of Rick Springfield, as he is kicking things off with his solo “Stripped Down” shows currently, and plans to take on Summer with a co-headling tour with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.  The former should be an opportunity to hear his classic songs in a different style and at more intimate venues, while the latter will team him up with one of the true female rock and roll icons of the 80s, Pat Benatar, as well as her husband, phenomenal guitarist Neil Giraldo, who famously recorded “Jessie’s Girl” with Rick Springfield at Sound City Studios, as recounted in the documentary put out by Dave Grohl last year (and in concert as Sound City Players).  [Read more...]

Throwing Muses at Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (Noise Pop 2014) | San Francisco, California | 2/28/2014 (Concert Review)

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“Oh…  ‘elaborate’…  I know that word…  I’m elaborately fine!”  The end of a funny exchange between Kristin Hersh and the audience, which began with her asking how we were doing, which was turned back to her, which resulted in a short answer – “fine” – to which someone else asked her to elaborate…  There was a bit of chit chat between songs throughout the show, including a reference to a recent dog bite that nearly caused this short West Coast run of Throwing Muses dates to be canceled.  But the trio of Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo, and Bernard Georges did indeed show up at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco last night to play to a sold out crowd of enthusiastic fans.  While Kristin founded the band way back in 1980, and has produced a wealth of albums and songs over the years, the set list was heavy with their latest book/CD combo, Purgatory/Paradise, which was their first new studio release in a decade.  They put on an electric show with great intensity, and I’m sure all in attendance felt fortunate to catch a rare appearance of the band that is legendary to those who have paid attention to music for the past 30 years.

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Throwing Muses to Play Rare Dates at Noise Pop in San Francisco, in the Pacific Northwest, and Multiple Dates with Tanya Donelly in NY & MA

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Alternative rock pioneers Throwing Muses will be playing a handful of rare dates in the next few weeks, starting with shows in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco (at Noise Pop) as well as a growing collection of shows in New York and Massachusetts featuring former Muses singer-songerwriter Tanya Donelly playing along with her step sister Kristin Hersch.  With the release of new material in the form of book/album Purgatory / Paradise (the first new album in a decade), it should prove to be an interesting set of shows for fans of the innovative band. [Read more...]