2017 is a big year for Depeche Mode. The band has released their 14th studio album, Spirit, and they embarking on their latest world tour this year. However, DM are doing something really interesting this year – inviting fans to apply for an opportunity to takeover their official Facebook page for one day, with plans to do this for one full year with a different fan featured each day. Well, I was surprised to learn I was selected to do this, so I thought I would publish this supplemental feature for fans who make their way over to my Rock Subculture website… [Read more…]
The show at Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Outdoor Amphitheater Sunday night was continuing on in WorldOne Presents’ tradition of their annual “80s Rewind Festival Music Fest”, and arrived in Lincoln, California with it’s own unique line-up and variation on the newly christened Retro Futura Tour 2014 (formerly Regeneration Tour). With this event, the same co-headliners – Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey and Howard Jones – shared the bill, as did Katrina Leskanich (formerly of Katrina and The Waves. But in place of Midge Ure and China Crisis was the incredible English Beat featuring Dave Wakeling. As usual, the show took on a character all it’s own, playing out to a large and enthusiastic crowd. I think the Katrina/English Beat/Howard Jones/Tom Bailey line-up featured artists that all have one thing in common: authentic optimism driving their music. Of course, the modern day ’10s are not the classic ’80s, and though the music played came from the past, it could also serve as a beacon of hope for the future. And, as with the show at Mountain Winery the night before, there seemed to be quite a reception for Tom Bailey, who stopped touring and performing live as Thompson Twins way back in 1987. It was another exceptional performance by all of the artists, and both shows are certainly on the short list for top concerts of the year for me personally.
It’s not often that you attend a non-festival concert with ten (!) different music artists performing on the same stage in one night, all in the span of about three and a half hours. It was a pretty special event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose last night, with the Super Freestyle Explosion turning out about 7,000 fans of the predominantly Latin, electronic/synthesizer/samples-centric, and mostly mid-80s era genre of music. Representing the relatively short-lived but highly influential music scene and style for the evening was Stevie B, Lisa Lisa, Exposé, Debbie Deb, Shannon, Trinere, Johnny O, Nu Shooz, Pretty Poison, and Stacey Q. Really a remarkable line-up, to the credit of promoter ITP Records/Pacific Concert Group, for pulling together such a vast roster of artists to play through a series of highly recognizable hits to those who grew up with the music or perhaps rediscovered it later. Of course, pulling off such an event in such a time frame requires some concessions and trade offs, but in my opinion they found a near perfect balance to make for an incredible evening of 80s freestyle nostalgia.
“Are you ready? Are you really, really, really ready?” The English Beat front man and voice of the band, Dave Wakeling, is one of those music artists that is completely tuned into his audience, particularly in an intimate venue such as The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, California, where he performed last night. The part seated, part standing 360-capacity venue was packed and from the moment the band stepped onto the stage, the majority was on the dance floor moving to the very unique blending of 2 tone ska/punk/new wave/reggae hits from the band known simply as The Beat in their home of the UK, though also on offer were as some tunes from General Public, the subsequent musical efforts by Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger following the original break-up of The Beat (Ranking Roger currently performs in the UK version of the band back in England). The band dispensed with having an opening band on the bill, and instead performed two full sets of their own on either side of a short intermission. It was a true live music experience that made great use of the excellent sound system and acoustics of the charming venue as they played song after song for the energetic crowd.
The Black Keys played the first of two special New Year’s Eve show at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino last night, and delivered the special mix of garage/blues/indie rock to what appeared to be a sold out crowd in the Las Vegas venue. Having seen them earlier this year at Sleep Train Arena, which was a phenomenal show, I knew what to expect but was still blown away by the brilliance of this drums and guitar duo, who played through old and new material, including hits from one of 2011’s best albums, El Camino. On a personal note, as my 58th concert of the year, I can’t imagine a better way to close out an incredible year of live music. The Black Keys have no other purpose on stage other than to put on a rocking show and get their fans jumping with authentic rock and roll.
Thursday night was a special evening of music for fans of 80s music in Dixon, CA at the Dixon May Fair. Featured in concert were two great bands, with The Romantics opening and The English Beat (or just The Beat in their home of the UK) headlining. The 80s is my personal favorite era of music, particularly anything that fell into the broad categories of “Modern Rock” (later “Alternative”) and it’s various subgenres. The performances did not disappoint, as each group played favorite, catchy tunes with a great crowd of real fans in attendance. Fantastic show and awesome to see both bands on the same night, back to back. [Read more…]
Powerbalance Pavilion in Sacramento hosted an incredible concert event Saturday night, with two awesome bands – The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys. Being fans for both, I would have paid to see either one, so it was something special to have both acts on the same bill. Both rocked the stage and the packed stadium hard, but in totally different ways, with Arctic Monkeys bringing their UK style of alternative rock, and The Black Keys showcasing a more raw style of soulful rock. Collectively for about three and a half hours, it was a relentless onslaught of rock and roll, and it was freaking awesome. I was fortunate enough to take it all in from arguably the best spot in the house – center front of the GA floor in the immense area. If you are a fan of either or both these bands, I highly recommend checking out this show, should you have a chance to see them on tour. Phenomenal. [Read more…]