P!nk’s “The Truth About Love” tour is part pop/rock concert, part carnival, part dance revue, part live movie, and part acrobatics. It’s such a tight and interactive event, most of it happens faster than you can really process it. P!nk is like part rock star, part Olympian, and it’s amazing how much energy she can put into the “show” part of the show and still manage to catch a breath to sing in addition to everything else. But somehow she pulls it off, and of all of the artists touring today, makes use of a massive indoor arena to create both spectacle and up close and personal opportunities between her and her fans (no matter where they might be sitting or standing). A really fantastic event, and pioneering way of building on great music with really unique and innovative performances.
Going to a Marilyn Manson concert is quite an experience, and probably not understood except by those who have done the same. To draw a comparison with the art world, it is akin to going to art museums in London and stopping in at the Tate. Except not to confuse matters… not in the past two weeks during Kraftwerk’s residency. That’s something else entirely. In any event, he puts on quite the impressive show, and is maybe the modern day rock concert equivalent of circus freak sideshows, only with Manson, though his band is supporting, it is decidedly a one man attraction. Most striking is how interactive it is – not just the literal interactions with the audience (and there are many), but his ability to lock onto members of the audience with his eyes, in a kind of staring match version of “chicken”, to see if he can make it striking enough to have you look away first (benefits of being right up close). He’s a natural performer, though interestingly comes across quite different off stage (more on that later). Really an exhilarating evening and hosted courtesy of Marilyn Manson’s unique and stylish version of reality.
There are a lot of variables that go into what makes a great live music experience – the band, your own personal connection with their music, how their music has touched your life, the venue, the energy of the crowd, supporting acts, and obviously a lot of other factors as well – and this was one of those shows that delivered on all of that and more. Berlin featuring Terri Nunn headlined a show at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach Friday night, and it was an incredible show in an intimate setting that felt more like a friends and family atmosphere than the typical concert. In addition, Berlin played a new material from their forthcoming studio album that was nothing less than fantastic – new songs that are distinctly Berlin yet fresh and exciting. [Read more…]
Last night Dave Grohl brought together some of his music icons from his newly released Sound City documentary on stage as part of his Sound City Players concert at the Hollywood Palladium. The concert followed the Hollywood premiere of his film, just down the street earlier in the evening, and the legacy lived on with an epic show played before fans and VIPs in the upper levels of the packed venue. It was nothing short of one of the most creative celebrations of rock music I’ve seen, with Stevie Nicks fronting the Foo Fighters-based group closing the night out with the powerful Fleetwood Mac hit, “Gold Dust Woman” (a track from one of the best albums of all time, Rumors, which itself is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week with a series of special reissues). What an amazing concert, and one that will be long remembered by those in attendance at the show, which ran nearly three and a half hours. [Read more…]
“Tonight we’re doing something that means something…” Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds from the stage last night, commenting on the $10,000 raised for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland, in conjunction with Brad Brooks as supporting band, KFOG, and Another Planet Entertainment, as well as The Independent, who played host to the amazing concert put on by the Las Vegas-based alternative band. Imagine Dragons, about to launch their first headlining concert series this Spring, put on an incredible performance to the sold out 500-capacity venue for this special one-off fundraiser. In stark contrast to the band’s explosive success over the past year, Dan and his group seem very humble and grounded; appreciative of their fans and career trajectory. Having had an opportunity to see them twice in as many months, I can say that they are one of the most exciting bands to see play live today, and I suspect that by the end of this year, they will be playing much, much bigger venues to huge crowds, as word spreads that they are a must-see band with fantastic music.
“I would kind of skim through and look at the influences that they had, you know… if it was Megadeath, nothing against Megadeath, it just wasn’t gonna be the guy that I was gonna call…” As per tradition, The Killers front man Brandon Flowers reminisces about the fortuitous twist of fate in his life which lead to his musical partnership with guitarist Dave Keuning in the City Life section of their local Las Vegas Weekly more than a decade ago, though I’m not really sure if it is a tradition for the benefit of the audience or his own grounding in life. Regardless, the audience in the second and final night of the sold out show at the 4,000 capacity Chelsea Ballroom at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas were treated to an amazing show by the home town band that reimagined an 80s New Wave sound over a decade ago with great success. Maybe his now traditional on stage retelling of the anecdote is more out of tribute to the happenstance from which this music and their careers were born rather than being insightful, as the crowd was heavy with hardcore, long-time fans of the band, who traveled for this show from all over the U.S., and even overseas to see what was for me, and some I talked with after the show, the best show that the band has put on… a really great night with a perfect mix of old and new material that pushed the show well into the next day on this special New Year’s Eve weekend.
“You’re singing the words to the new songs… I can’t express… how happy I am that it touched you and connected to you… thank you for that… it’s the greatest feeling ever.” Gwen Stefani taking a moment (one of many) to chat with her fans at the sold out show at the 6,200 capacity Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City – the sixth of their “Seven Night Stand” special residency shows running late November through tomorrow. Having recently released their first new album in 11 years, Push and Shove, the audience of mostly dedicated fans flocked from all over the U.S. and beyond to see this amazing band perform live truly better than ever. In addition to putting on a phenomenal show, front woman Stefani took many moments to reach out to fans – sometimes literally – and all the members of the Anaheim band (Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, Adrian Young, Stephen Bradley, and Gabriel McNair) seemed to be having the time of their lives on stage. Hopefully this will serve as a prelude to a full tour next year, given the reception of these shows and the strength of the new album, which is fantastic. Truly an epic night that will not be forgotten by those lucky enough to have attended this show or one of the others.
Last night I had an opportunity to see Styx perform at Thunder Valley Resort and Casino in Lincoln, California. Really quite the performance… it’s rare these days when a band comes onto the stage, sans opening act, and just let’s it rip, and has the audience from the first riff. Given that the band, born in Chicago, has been around since the 70s, they obviously have a stellar catalog of work to choose from, and the set tonight spanned everything from their more anthemic rock to popular hits on the ballad side, showing a real versatility in their musical style as well as an unusually democratic (small “d”) sharing of their various talents, and (quite literally) the spotlight. It is obvious that these guys love to perform, feed off their audience, and seem to play together well, and really appear to enjoy their music and playing it live – together – to an enthusiastic crowd. And given some back and forth, and my interview with Lawrence Gowan leading up to the show, and, well, just looking around within the amphitheater (which at least appeared to be completely sold out), their audience today very much spans many, many generations, with old and new fans alike just soaking in some genuine rock and roll. Styx really delivered, and it was an awesome performance, from beginning to end. [Read more…]