Tears for Fears at The Wiltern | Los Angeles, California | 9/23/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“Is that the new iPhone 6?”  Roland Orzabal, early on in the show, as he and Curt Smith looked out over the sea of cell phones in the air, held by an exuberant sold out crowd at the historic Wiltern in Los Angeles last night.  Tears for Fears, best known for their collection of timeless and classic New Wave hits from the 80s, do not tour very often, and when they do, the tours are usually not too many dates and cities.  So there was a bit of an “event” feeling in the air, and based on some of their comments later in the show, they both seem to have quite an affinity for the City of Angels.  As such, it seemed to be one of those special sort of shows, that unfold in a different sort of way.  About halfway through the show, Curt even gave a shout out to Richard Blade, who was at the front of the GA crowd in the pit…  if you didn’t know him by his own lifetime in music, you would think he was the band’s biggest fan (and maybe he is).  Perhaps the development that represented the biggest point of fan service, prefaced by Roland with “nothing like changing it up for L.A.; obviously this is a special place for us…” was the surprise encore opener, a song that “we haven’t done for many, many years”.  He said that this version will be included in their deluxe reissue of Songs From the Big Chair in November.  He said it has been impossible for them to do live “until now”, and then proceeded to play “The Working Hour”.  Definitely a special show by a fantastic band, and the place was certainly buzzing when it all came to a close after upwards of a two hour show.

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Comic-Con International in San Diego 2014: Blake J. Harris and “Console Wars” Discussion Panel of Sega vs Nintendo

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This is off topic from music, but I thought some readers might enjoy…  During my coverage for The Original Prop Blog at San Diego Comic Con last week, the one “must see” discussion panel for me was the one that came about from the Blake J. Harris book, Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation.  Panelists included Sega of America’s former President Tom Kalinske, and former Director of Marketing Al Nilsen, as well as Nintendo of America’s former Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Perrin Kaplan and former Director of Marketing Bill White. [Read more…]

Replay America (The Go-Go’s, Patty Smyth from Scandal, Martha Davis and The Motels, and Pete Byrne from Naked Eyes) at Thunder Valley Casino Resort | Lincoln, California | 7/19/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“Are we not in the desert?  Where are we?” A  bit of comic relief part way through The Go-Go’s set by Gina Schock, who as per tradition emerges from her drum kit at some point in the show to give us a bit of fun.  And that is kind of at the heart of The Go-Go’s punky/poppy/surfy/beachy New Wave music, so what better a group to headline 2014’s newest 80s-centric tour, Replay America.  Also on the bill is Patty Smyth from Scandal, Martha Davis from The Motels, and Pete Byrne from Naked Eyes.  A real assortment of 80s hitmakers each took to the stage at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday night to take the crowd back about three decades to a real innovative time in music.  Though there was a lot of music to be heard, things proceeded along quite quickly with the first three artists sharing a band (with some changes set to set), and a quick changeover for the aforementioned Go-Go’s, who closed out the night with a string of classic songs.  Definitely a unique opportunity to catch many favorites in one sitting, and I know I thoroughly enjoyed each artist, only half of whom I’d seen live before (though I was already a fan of all four).  Awesome show.

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Veruca Salt at The Independent | San Francisco, California | 6/26/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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“We’re Veruca Salt, and we’re gonna blow it out your ass…” Early on in their sold out show at The Fillmore in San Francisco last night, Louise Post made reference to their EP that followed their hit 1994 album, American Thighs, though it seemed to sum up what they came to do on stage, with Louise and co-singer and guitarist Nina Gordon shredding, singing, and shrieking through just south of a two hour set to a crowd of people who were more into this show that I generally see.  I became aware of Veruca Salt when their song “Seether” became a smash hit.  Unfortunately, I never had an opportunity to see them play live back in the day; in the late 90s, I was living in LA and going to grad school full time and working full time, which left almost no time for concerts.  However, I have to imagine that they are better than ever in their current comeback, which includes not just touring but new music as well.  As a matter of fact, I am fairly certain that their new single – “Museum of Broken Relationships – is perhaps my favorite Veruca Salt song to date.  The two things that most struck me about their concert at The Fillmore last night was that 1) they put on a stunning show and 2) they seem to be having more fun than anyone.  Hopefully this is just the beginning of bigger and better things, because it would be well-deserved and a long time coming.

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Veruca Salt Reunites with New Music and Concert Tour

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A recently reunited Veruca Salt (with the original line-up) has made a splash with new music, releasing “The Museum of Broken Relationships” and “It’s Holy” on Record Store Day this year (which included their biggest hit, “Seether”, as a B-side and in celebration of it’s 20th anniversary.  They did their first live performance in 18 years on Conan a few weeks ago, sounding as fresh as ever, and you can watch their new music video on YouTube as well.  In addition, this month they will be embarking on a tour of the U.S. and Australia. [Read more…]

MØ with Erik Hassle at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco, California | 6/3/2014 (Concert Review + Photos)

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The Popscene concert at Rickshaw Stop on Tuesday night was one of those rare shows that was very surprising (in a good way).  Danish singer-songwriter MØ (Karen Marie Ørsted) headlined the night that featured Swedish singer-songwriter Erik Hassle supporting, and both put on stellar performances, with awesome bookend DJ sets by Aaron Axelsen.  Candidly, I was not familiar with either of these young artists until recently, and I would mark the night as one of the best concerts I’ve attended so far in 2014.  MØ and Erik Hassle should be on the pop culture watch list as ones to expect big things from in the future.

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Erik Hassle: “Rock Talk” Podcast Audio + Video Interview

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This article features the latest in an ongoing series of “Rock Talk” podcast audio interviews for the Rock Subculture Journal. Today’s guest is Erik Hassle. He released his latest work as an EP, Somebody’s Party, which debuted earlier this year.  He is also one of the songwriters for the current single, co-featuring Rihanna, “Can’t Remember to Forget You“.  Erik is just finishing up his U.S. tour with MØ, and took time before his concert at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop last night to participate in this interview.  The full concert review with photos from the live show can be found in my separate article (see: “MØ with Erik Hassle at Popscene at Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco, California | 6/3/2014″).

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

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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…]

Recommendations for Fans for Music Concert Digital Cameras and Photography (Full Frame, APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, Point & Shoot; DSLR vs Mirrorless; Settings)

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As I’ve published the periodic article with recommendations and discussions about cameras for fan photography at music concert events, which seem to be fairly popular, I know with changing technology it is long overdue for an update.  With this feature, I thought I would provide a broader overview with my own observations and experiences shooting with a variety of cameras and formats, including full frame, APS-C, micro four thirds, and smaller sensor cameras, spanning full-featured DSLRs, mirrorless, and point and shoot cameras.  With this article, I will also provide some advice on general settings and shooting tips and tricks.  Overall, I discuss options for cameras from shooting up close right in front of the stage as well as at a distance, for both still photos and video.  In short, I’m still a huge fan of the Sony RX100, a year later, and feel it is the best overall “go to” option for fans – great image quality and truly pocketable.

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“Kids Company and Coldplay Present: Under 1 Roof” with Coldplay, Lily Allen, David Brent And Foregone Conclusion, Dynamo, Rizzle Kicks at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith | London, England | 12/19/2013 (Concert Review)

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“Essentially, the word around here is grateful…”  Chris Martin at his piano, backed by the Royal Academy of Music, opening the encore for the night with a cover of “White Christmas”.  I’ve written quite a few articles about Coldplay in the past, so any who have read them would know that they are one of my favorite bands (along with Depeche Mode and Pixies).  I hadn’t seen them live since their show in San Jose in April of 2012, so it has been a while.  They took 2013 off as far as performing live goes, and have been in the studio working on new material.  The band has always used their gifts and successes in music to help others, and one of the organizations that they’ve been a big supporter of is Kids Company in the UK.  And, as per tradition, they tend to do a special show each year for Christmas and/or New Year’s, so this year it was another of their “Under 1 Roof” multi-artist events.  Sharing the bill with them this year was Lily Allen, Ricky Gervais reprising his character from The Office performing as David Brent and Foregone Conclusion, magician Dynamo, and Rizzle Kicks, with Fearne Cotton hosting the evening, along with some surprise guests like Robbie Williams and Tim Rice-Oxley from Keane.

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Anna Nalick at Harlow’s Restaurant and Nighclub | Sacramento, California | 11/20/2013 (Concert Review)

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“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.

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Alison Moyet (The Minutes Tour) at The Fillmore | San Francisco, California | 11/11/2013 (Concert Review)

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“Joy is not supposed to… it’s never meant to be this seamless stream of happiness, you know?  Joy happens in moments, in little minutes, in little capsules of time…”  Alison Moyet, talking about the ideas and themes and inspiration behind her latest studio album, The Minutes.  As I gushed about in my preview last month of this very special three date, three city stop in the United States by New Wave icon Alison Moyet, she has been one of my all-time favorite vocalists, so I had really high expectations for this concert.  I expected it to be a highlight among the approximate 100 concerts I’ll have attended by the end of the year.  Remarkably, my expectations were exceeded in every way.  Truly a fantastic concert and I know from being within the crowd of fans that I am not alone in my assessment.  She was joined on stage by band members John Garden and Sean McGhee, and there were ample songs from her latest album (in my opinion maybe her best solo record of her career) as well as favorites going all the way back to her beginnings with Vince Clarke with whom she partnered with for Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.).  It is too bad for the masses here in the States that this must-see show is limited to just San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, but if you have a chance to catch one of the other two upcoming dates, it is well worth it.  A phenomenal and unforgettable show by one of the most gifted singer-songwriters of my generation.

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