“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.
“We played the Whiskey last night for their fiftieth anniversary, and I don’t want to kiss your ass or anything, but this is way more fun…” X vocalist and bassist John Doe at The Casbah in San Diego last night, in the midst of a rocking set in the tiny club, well sold out at its 230 capacity. I had seen the band last September on the “No Principals Tour” with Blondie in San Francisco, but this was more like taking a step back in time. Depending on where you were standing, they frequently could not be seen at all, which made the illusion all the more convincing. An authentic throw back to the earlier 80s punk scene they pioneered, it was a fantastic night of music and definitely an interesting, somewhat quirky crowd, which was apparent to those on the stage as well.
Everyone knows all of the classic Christmas songs, but what about those that have emerged from the Pop and Rock music world and various subgenres (New Wave, Modern Rock, Punk, Indie, R&B, Hip Hop) from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today? Original songs and creative covers… I think many great songs are lost to time, in that the window in which they might be heard is too small, and then many fall off of the collective pop culture radar. So this is my attempt to put together a list of some of my favorites, though I’m sure there are many others out there that I’d love that I’m not even aware of, or have forgotten about myself. So if you have any recommendations, please post a reader comment below. [Read more…]
Maita Honda and WorldOne Presents will be holding their Holiday Jam 2013, featuring The Whispers and S.O.S. Band at Holiday Pavilion inside Thunder Valley Casino Resort. The R&B event will be held on Saturday, December 28th (right in-between Christmas and New Year’s Eve). [Read more…]
Blondie’s spectacular show at the Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco Thursday night was a reminder of how seemingly effortlessly Debbie Harry and the band crossed into and innovated within so many different styles and genres of music in the late 70s and early 80s. Punk, post-punk, disco, pop, New Wave, even some rap, reggae, and infusions of some world music, they were quite the innovators, really serving as a pioneering force in music, and they continue to record new and relevant music today. The Debbie Harry-fronted East Coast post punk/pop/disco group Blondie share the bill on the “No Principals Tour” with Exene Cervenka and John Doe fronting on vocals for the West Coast, L.A. punk pioneers X, which features its original line-up. Both artists brought amazing energy to the stage, which created a frenzy within the crowd at the Masonic unlike anything I’d seen at the usually mellow venue, with fans of both bands flooding the area between the all-seated venue and the low stage. It was definitely a different sort of concert (in a great way) and celebration of music that really served as a pivotal transition from the 70s to the 80s, paving a pathway into what turned out to be fresh and new world.
2013 is shaping up to be a great year for new music and exciting artists playing live dates, and AM & Shawn Lee are most definitely a part of both. With the release of their second collaborative studio album last month, La Musique Numberique, it is fueled by some amazing songs that translate brilliantly well in their live sets. The transatlantic writing and recording process (with AM in Los Angeles and Shawn Lee in London) produced an electronic and synth-driven collection of songs that fuse sounds from past decades (particularly the 70s and 80s) but sound as contemporary as anything else released in the past few years. As performers, both sides of the duo have a very relaxed style and great chemistry. As the climax to their “Sounds of Summer” touring album release party, it was a festive night at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco last night, with a great crowd in an intimate venue. If you’ve never checked out their music, you are missing out and you can preview over at SoundCloud… awesome stuff!
An ongoing personal tradition of mine, I have made a commitment to try to see Daryl Hall and John Oates perform live every year, preferably at my favorite venue – Mountain Winery in Saratoga – and am happy to have been a part of that event again last night. As readers of the Rock Subculture Journal would likely surmise, music from the 80s is the foundation for my love of popular music, and among all those wonderful artists that were highly prolific in those times, I would personally rate Hall and Oates among the very top. Billboard Magazine rates them as the number one duo of all time for very good reason – they are simply brilliant songwriters, and have published seemingly endless hits, and their live shows are some of the best I’ve experienced. Last night I had a great vantage point from which to take it all in.