Errols Weekly Music Update.

July 31, 2009

Weekly Update – 07/31/2009

Rob Thomas  has added a third show at The Beacon Theater for Sat. Nov. 14. Tickets for this show go on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $45.50 – $105.50

Kelly Clarkson with The Veronicas and Parachute at Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Rocktober 6. Tickets on sale next Fri. Aug. 7 at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $75.

A.F.I. at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville NJ on Sat. Rocktober 10. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $28.

Robert Earl Keen at the Town Hall on Thurs. Rocktober 29 and Wellmont Theater (Montclair NJ) on Sat. Rocktober 31. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35.

The Decemberists  at the Wellmont Theater on Mon. Sept. 21. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35. Guests include Laura Veirs and The Hall of Flames.

Monsters of Folk featuring Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst, M. Ward and Yim Yames at United Palace and the Beacon Theater on Fri. Nov. 6 and Sun Nov. 8. Tickets for both shows on sale today at noon. $40.50 (United Palace only) and $50.50.

Of Montreal at Terminal 5 on Fri. Sept. 18. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25 ($30 day of show).

Tesla at the Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Thurs. Nov. 5. Tickets on sale now. $39.50

Colbie Caillat at Roseland Ballroom on Fri. Rocktober 16. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $28.50 ($30.50 day of show).

Push Play at New York Fillmore on Sat. Sept. 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $17.50 ($20 day of show).

Regina Spektor at Radio City Music Hall on Wed. Rocktober 14. Tickets on sale Mon. Aug. 10 at 10:00 a.m. (more ticket info to follow).

Other items:

Ace Frehley has released his first single from his upcoming new album-“Anamoly”- which is scheduled for a Sept. 15 distribution through his own “Bronx Born Records” (he’s a part of the Bronx “Hall of Fame”) and the song is called “Outer Space.” The song can be listened to at this site http://www.idesignprod.com/AF/ I like it, sounds pretty good. It rocks!!

Zakk Wylde has asked that Ozzy “Man Up” and call him to tell him what the deal is. On a phone call with a radio station dude in Eugene, Oregon this past Wednesday, Zakk rambled on about Ozzy’s recent comments that stated he was auditioning for a new guitarist. That was news to Zakk as he has not heard a thing from the Oz man. Osbourne feels that his band is starting to sound more and more like “Black Label Society”-which is Zakk’s band. Ozzy did not deny the rumor that Rob Zombie’s guitarist-John 5- will be auditioning. It appears their partnership has ended, Zakk has been with Ozzy since he was 19.

The editor of Guitar Player has listened to five of the new songs on the upcoming Rocktober 6th release of the new Kiss album and says that “Stanley sings his ass off” while “Simmons finally plays all bass parts and has a driving sound.” As previously mentioned, Tommy Thayer has written and has lead vocals on one song while Eric Singer has lead vocals on another song. Rumor has it Gene has reached an agreement with Walmart to distribute the new album. Supposedly an entire section will be utilized to see Kiss albums and it will be labeled “Kiss Korner.” Looking forward to Rocktober 6. \m/ \m/

The Black Eyed Peas have set the record for “Billboard’s Hot 100” by having two consecutive number one songs for 17 weeks straight-the previous record was 16 by Boyz II Men. “I Gota Feeling” has been number one for five straight weeks after “Boom Boom Pow” spent 12 weeks there.

Anita Baker is supposedly collaborating with Snoop Dogg on a song for some new material to be released in 2010. She and Snoop are putting their spin on the Curtis Mayfield song-“Give Me Your Love (Love Song)” from the “Superfly” soundtrack. “Who knew that Snoop is madly in love with his wife” Ms. Baker was quoted as saying. It’s an intriguing duo and I am looking forward to it.

It’s been a while since I have written about Shinedown but I’m back. As you all should know by now “Second Chance” has hit the number one spot on the charts. (Actually it was the last number one song that Casey Kasem announced as he retired a few weeks back). They will be embarking on a new headliner tour-so far no tri-state area dates. The “Sound of Madness” was released as a single a few months back and now prepare yourself for “If You Only Knew” to be released as a single in a few weeks. Folks, before long every one will be singing “It’s 4:03 and I can’t sleep- without you next to me I toss and turn like the sea” –mark my words. This song will do better than “Second Chance” which is already a homerun.

After our game last weekend, a debate between who is (was) the better singer and the two candidates were Freddie Mercury (Queen) and Brad Delp (Boston). Now if I had to choose-this is so tough- but I’d have to say Freddie had more range. But this in no way means that I don’t love Delp’s voice-which I think is a great rock and roll voice. Mercury had a lot more material as well, Delp probably wanted more material to be released but worked with Tom Scholz, the notorious studio perfectionist. Either way, the rock and roll world lost two of the greatest singers in recent history way too early. 

My favorite “new” song of the week is actually an old Frank Sinatra song –“The Way You Look Tonight” performed by Maroon 5. Not for nothing but this genre suits Adam Levine like a glove, he’s perfect. (But he knows it).

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “Get Ready” by The Temptations. When you really sit and think about it, this generation of Motown music may be the best recorded music ever and has never been replicated.

Album Review: “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC released on July 27, 1979.

In honor of AC/DC playing tonight at Giants Stadium, I decided to make this an AC/DC weekend and review one of their best albums- “Highway to Hell.”Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a classic album and if you are a fan, there is no excuse for you not to have this in your library. This was their sixth album and last one with Bon Scott as lead singer. This was also the first album not produced by Harry Vonda and George Young. (older brother of Angus and Malcolm).Eddie Kramer was set to produce it, but was fired before a single track was made. This set up the production to be performed by none other than Robert “Mutt” Lange, who went on to produce “Back in Black” and “For Those About to Rock.”

The album starts off with the title track and just like that you are out of your seat-head-banging, air-guitaring, dancing and singing all over the place. I had the DJ play this song at my wedding (yes I had to bring my albums as they did not have it). I can remember my friend, Robert, air-guitaring with me following along behind him as the people at my wedding could not believe that I had AC/DC being played at the reception, especially “Highway to Hell.” Track # 2 kicks it into high gear with the blazing “Girls Got Rhythm.” This song reminds me of this dude back in Brooklyn, Richie, (on 54th street) who was a short guy with long blond hair-sort of motorcycle dude and he loved this album and song. I can picture him sitting on his stoop blasting this song. Angus has a great solo and Bon’s vocals are so “rock and roll.” The next song is the very cool “Walk All Over You”-it starts off slow but you know what’s coming right? That’s right-straight out speed guitar riffs with a slamming drum beat that will have you jumping around in circles in no time. I think this is the perfect “bar band” song and if you have a band that like to play rock and roll-look no further than this song. I love the background vocals “Walk all over you” as it slows down again, then BOOM-blast off again. I can picture the necks of the AC/DC die hards moving a “break-neck” speed as everyone air-guitars Angus’ solo. Whew, I’m sweating already and it’s only the third track. Then it’s on to my personal favorite track on the entire album-“Touch Too Much.” A few months ago I put this CD in my car rotation and when this song came on; I had forgotten how much I loved it. The guitar sound is so different from any song on the album. “Too much for my body, too much for my brain…” Take your headphones and squeeze your hands into your ears as hard as you can and listen to this perfection. The last track on side one is the “funk-i-fied” break-neck groove of “Beating Around the Bush.” Folks it doesn’t get much better than this!!! The sweat is pouring down my face as I dance around the room trying to match the enthusiasm of Angus on guitar. Bon Scott is so freaking good on vocals, he really was the perfect singer for rock and roll.

Side two kicks into gear with the driving “Shot Down in Flames.” Phil Rudd, Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams keep feeding the coal that runs the train in this song. The focus is usually Angus and Bon (and now Brian) but those guys are the engine that runs AC/DC. Flat out phenomenal song. The bass line in the next song-“Get it Hot” will have you bouncing your head up and down. I could picture the Rolling Stones actually doing this song as the guitar riff sounds like something Keith Richards would crank out. Very simple beat but you won’t be able to sit still. Track # 3-the electrifying “If You Want Blood (You Got It).” If I had to pick a song from the Scott era to identify what AC/DC was all about- I think I would have to go with this one. This is a perfect “work-out” song for either boot camp class or Spin class. You will be rocking very fast for over four minutes. “I want you to bleed for me.. If you want blood, you got it!!” “Love Hungry Man” takes it down a bit and if you listen closely you’ll hear that this song is very different from any other on the album. I t is very melodic-I don’t mean that as a knock-so hopefully you get what I’m saying. If you are in your car with this song on, just roll down the windows (or pull down the roof), let the air blow your hair and blast this tune as loud as you can. People will be giving you the \m/ \m/ signs. The last track on the album-“Night Prowler” is a bluesy rocking song that always reminds me of being near an old cemetery late at night and you keep thinking that you are hearing noises as you try to get out of there as fast as you can…but that prowler still seems close by. Angus’s work on the guitar is so spot on, you kind of drift away as you sway from side to side in a slow groove as Bon’s vocals screech with the passion of a pure rock and roll singer, the song ends with “Shazz-bot” which is what Mork from the “Mork and Mindy” show would say all the time. And just like that- the fastest 41 minutes have gone by in a blink of an eye. I am saturated right now and need a shower.

“Highway to Hell” has sold over 7 million albums since its release in 1979 and was listed as the #199 album out of 500 greatest albums according to Rolling Stone Magazine in 2003. You know how I feel about this band and of course this album, everyone needs a little AC/DC in their diet every once in a while. (For me, I need a whole lot more but that’s me-if you need to ease your way into it-fine). “Highway to Hell” is a classic- I would not steer you wrong. After this one, work you’re way back into other great ones such as “Let There Be Rock” and “Powerage.”

This past week I have had a heavy dosage of Billy Squier, he was a favorite of mine way back in the 1980’s. I saw him open for Queen back in the day and he was fantastic. He was real close to my home this week appearing at the Ridgefield Playhouse but the prices were a bit steep, so I decided to have my own concert in my car and house. Here are my favorite ten songs from Mr. Squier, who I am glad that he is back on the road again and one of these days I will catch him again. Don’t kid yourself, during the early 1980’s Squier was as big as anyone out there.

10.     All Night Long-The beginning of the song is so cool, sounds like a heavy piece of coil being thumped as well as a heavy heart beating. “Don’t You Wanna Live??” You know the guitar riffs are coming and they blast right into your headphones. Billy has the perfect rock and roll voice. Believe me you need to listen to the guitar solo with a great set of headphones, you won’t be disappointed. This song kicks off his 1984 super solid album “Signs Of Life.” Obviously “Don’t Say No” is his best album but this is no slouch either. This could be a great song for your next Spin class.

9.     Learn How to Live– Third track of side one of his 1982 “Emotions in Motion”- another good album but I’d put “Signs of Life” ahead of this one. I love how it goes from an acoustic atmosphere to a rocking song. “Learn to forgive.. learn how to wait.. learn how to live before its too late” – poignant lyrics from Mr. Squier. This guy really can rock.

8.     Eye on You-Love the beginning and the transition into a cool finger snappin’ song. How can you not like the chorus-it is so addictive-“I got my eyes on you.. got my eye on you..” The guy knows how to make some melodies and one can look to this song as near perfection.

7.     My Kinda Lover– One of five songs in my top ten from “Don’t Say No” which is right up their in 1981 as one of the best albums of that year. Billy had this way of making huge accents on his songs (think “The Stroke”) and this song had them all over the place. I can remember being on the beach in Coney Island in 1981 and this song was on multiple radios (yes, not only mine) and it is something I will never forget. If this song doesn’t move you, you need to check yourself at the door.

6.     Rock Me Tonite-I don’t care that MTV over played this video- there was a reason for it- it is so friggin’ good, how could they not play it all the time? “Take me in your arms-roll me through the night. Take me to your heart-Rock Me Tonite.” I defy you to say you don’t like this song, c’mon it’s that good!!! “Rock, Rock, Rock and Roll Me!!!”

5.     I Need You– The next to last track on “Don’t Say No” and there is something about this song that puts me in a different world. I can’t explain it. You know when something is so good that you don’t know how to express how happy it makes you? This is that song for me. I love the bass line and the whole production of the song-this could be the best song he’s ever written. You don’t know how many times I have listened to this song in my lifetime, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

4.     Two Daze Gone-The last track on side one of “Don’t Say No.” If my mother were here to tell you, she would let you know how loud I played this song from my bedroom. (And she would say “Turn it up and open your door!!”). If you looked up the word “rock and roll,” the dictionary just might refer you to this track. “Gone through the games that you want me to play.. pass the point of caring.” The drumming is phenomenal and the keyboards adds the topping. Listen LOUD!!!

3.     Lonely is the Night– Turn over to side two of “Don’t Say No” and listen to this masterpiece. I actually have to pause the song every ten seconds or so because I get so psyched up that I don’t want to lose that feeling. Do you know what I’m talking about? This song… is the ultimate friggin’ rock song!!! There is no way this can not pump you up. The guitar riff is flat out magical and my walls are shaking right now. My wife is screaming for me to turn it down but I can’t hear her…. I just listened to the vinyl version yesterday.. tears came to my eyes, that’s how good it sounded.

2.     Nobody Knows– The song was written for John Lennon and this definitely ranks up in my top ten slow songs of all time. I get the chills every time I hear it. This is pure perfection folks and if you don’t own this song, you need to run out and buy it right now!!! I get choked up when I hear it now because I think of my mom. Talk about passion? This is by far Billy’s best vocal ever, you can feel his… well “everything” bleeding through the speakers. Priceless…

1.     Don’t Say You Love Me –A freaking classic from his 1989 “Hear & Now” album. This song has it all- grooving beat, twists & turns, powerful guitar sound and perfect chorus with phenomenal background vocals. I jump up and down all the time when I hear this and would have joined the mosh pit at the Ridgefield Playhouse last night if I was there. And you know the only way to listen is?? YES YES YES!!! LOUD!!! LOUD!!! LOUD!!!

I’m telling you right now folks, Billy Squier has made some phenomenal songs in his career and is finally back again, so do yourself a favor, check out his library- but I-Tunes is not the place-they have a limited suplly of his songs and albums. You’ll have to do Amazon and get either the CD’s or vinyl. If you are a true fan, check out his 1993 album “Tell The Truth.” His record company, Capitol, did not promote it, causing Squier to walk away from the music business for at least five years. His albums are now finally be reprinted.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week (Thanks Tricia you had them right!):

1.     Pat Benatar

2.     Oak Ridge Boys

3.     Diana Ross.

4.     Darlene Love

This week’s trivia (AC/DC and Billy Squier)

1.     True or False: AC/DC has released a “greatest hits” collection.

2.     What does AC/DC stand for?

3.     Who played guitar on Billy Squier’s “(Another) 1984?”

4.     Which video did Billy Squier say sank his career?

 Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Dirty Laundry”- Don Henley

2.     “Get Ready”-The Temptations

3.      “Mack the Knife”-Bobby Darin

4.     “No More Mr. Nice Guy”- Alice Cooper

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “In the city ladies look pretty.. guys tell jokes so they can seem witty…”

2.     “Little things that I should have said and done I just never took the time…”

3.     “Mash potato, do the alligator, put your hands on your hips…”

4.     “Ten true summers we’ll be there and laughing too.. twenty-four before my love”

Sadly back on this day in 1964, Jim Reeves (“He’ll Have to Go” and plenty of Christmas tunes including “Jingle Bells” which was featured in the movie “Elf”) died in a plance crash near Nashville, TN.

Back on this day in 1969, Elvis held his first concert in eight years at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.

If it is your birthday today, you share the same birth date with the late Ahmed Ertegun, Gary Lewis (“This Diamond Ring”) Daniel Boone (“Beautiful Sunday”-love that song) Bob Welch and Donny Osmond Jr. (1979).

July 29, 2009

Concert Review: Green Day at Madison Square Garden on July 28, 2009

Concert Review: Green Day at Madison Square Garden on Tues. July 28, 2009

Green Day Rocks the Garden”

Green Day has come a long way from its days of playing in small local clubs and/or bars but the only thing that really has changed (because they always have and always will- Rock) are the venues to accommodate the hordes of fans that they have attracted over the years, especially the last five or so, – and to be completely honest I am one of those fans- after their release of their epic “American Idiot.” Yes, that is true- my first album ever purchased by this band was “American Idiot.” (I have their “International Greatest Hits” collection which was released before “Idiot” but don’t consider that a “real” album). The reason I throw that out there is because for me the show was SOLID. (If I were giving out letter grades, this would be a “B+”). Now I know many of the fans that have been with them since the beginning are screaming at their computers right now saying that I’m crazy and that the show was great or in other words, “An A+.” And I would not disagree, but for me, as in the Foo Fighters show last February at the Garden- there were “great” moments last night that rivaled the many enormous highlights that I have experienced at The Garden since I started going, dating back to the 1980’s. Sustaining those vast displays is my only hesitation of labeling this as one of the all-time great shows. But this in no way is a criticism of the show, like I said- this was a solid rock and roll display which included lots of audience participation.

Let me set up the night- As some of you may have known, this was the first show that I was attending with both of my son’s. (I took my oldest a few months ago to Bryan Adams and will be taking my youngest to AC/DC this Friday at Giants Stadium). Now as you can imagine, I have been waiting for this day a long, long time and was so excited that their first show together would be at “The World’s Greatest Stage”- the incomparable Madison Square Garden.I couldn’t wait for them to feel that “NYC” vibe in the air and believe me after attending many shows in NJ and CT, there is nothing like the New York feel to a show. (I now live closer to attend shows in Hartford CT but will always go to New York to see the bands I really want to see). Anyways, they were now part of my routine when I attend shows in NY, I drive to the upper west side to look for a spot on the street, instead of paying an arm & leg to park (one draw-back to NY). As we exited the West Side highway at 79st, I figured we’d have to circle the area for at least a half-hour but to our pleasant surprise as we turned left up 76st, someone was pulling out and just like that we all knew the night was going to be all right. My tradition, which they will now be part of, is to head over to Freddy & Pepper’s pizzeria on Amsterdam Avenues between 74th and 75th streets. (They have the best pizza). After eating, we took the subway down to Penn Station and walked a half block to MSG. They were amazed at the amount of people in NYC. As we entered, I mentioned to them that we were walking into the “Land of Oz” and then we checked out all the merchandise. The T-Shirts were OK but for $35, we decided to snatch up a program for $20 and headed to our seats in section 424. Yes, we were way up top but it didn’t matter, we were in the building and set to see arguably the biggest band in the world today. As we sat in our seats, every once in a while, we would hear these screams and we thought it was someone from the band making an early entrance to the stage but that was not the case. Sensing the shift in things to come for live shows, for the first time ever I witnessed how a sponsor of a concert can literally take over a venue. Green Day must have signed an agreement with Verizon because every where you went all you saw was their “black and red” logo and endless promotions (in the lobby) of their product. Anyway, on the overhead screen were messages that were being “texted” by Verizon users with comments like “Scream if you like Green Day” “Yankees all the way” etc. Now I know I’m old but come on, first I had to deal with cell-phones taking over for lighters, now this? Texting at a show?; Oh well. The opening band, the Kaiser Chiefs hit the stage around 8:00 p.m. and played for about 35 minutes. They were pretty good,-their music is perfectly suited for Green Day as their music was hard hitting and straight-forward-although I had a hard time understanding their singer- the only clear thing I heard throughout the show was him saying “1, 2, 3, 4” and then the crowd would scream. As the lights went on and the roadies started to set up the massive stage for Green Day, I explained to my boys that the first band does not get the same treatment as the featured artist. I let them know that the stage is always smaller and the sound is a lot lower. (The key here is the sound). As the preparations were coming to an end, we discussed what song we thought they would open up with. As I looked around the place, it appeared that there were a lot of empty seats and that vibe that I was talking about didn’t seem to be infiltrating the Garden as of yet. Internally, I was getting nervous as I had been talking endlessly about how great it was to see a show at the Garden and at 8:55 p.m. there wasn’t that much excitement being generated. (It had to be the “texting.”) But then as a “drunken” Pink Bunny appeared on the stage, you could kind of feel the adrenaline get going, as Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” was pumping through the speakers. Then as the Ramones “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio” blared one could sense it would be at any minute and sure enough you heard the opening to “Song of the Century.” As that song ended, it was like a volcano erupted as “21st Century Breakdown” began and as the lights hit the Garden, those empty seats were now filled with standing bodies swaying their arms back and forth to the first part of the song. I knew what was coming with the change in the pace of the song but my youngest wasn’t prepared, as the speed of the song picked up, Billie Joe Armstrong was already at a fever pitch and there were explosions to accent the change of the song. Well my youngest covered his ears (I always jump as well) and my worst fears were coming true, it was too loud for him. (Yes I offered- I know I should have made him- to get ear plugs but he declined). I told him that the pyrotechnics would not be shot all the time and that it was OK but I guess when he took his hands off his ears, he realized how much louder it was, so he was OK the rest of the show by covering his ears. For me, as long as he was OK-like he said- I turned my focus back to the show and couldn’t believe how quickly the whole vibe of the place turned. The Garden was at a fever pitch already after the first song (Ok second but only technically as the first song is 58 seconds long) and my worries about my boys not feeling the NY atmosphere totally disappeared and they were now on the roller coaster ride called Green Day. (We didn’t realize it at the time but they were going to pull a “Springsteen” and play for over three hours-OK so Bruce does four but you get the drift-how many other bands play over three hours as the headliner?). Now the stage is one big oval with an extension for Billie to run out approximately 15 rows deep. There are wall speakers on each side of the drum set, which had four steps to get to the pretty simple drum arrangement-but Tre Cool created a sound as explosive as he. There was a huge background- which showed images throughout the show and of course fireworks throughout the evening. The lighting was different from other shows that I have attended as there seemed to be a big spotlight on the entire audience as opposed to just sections of the crowd. As the song ended, Billie scolded the audience and said there would be no cell phone pictures and that the audience was there to sing and dance and have a good time.

As the crowd was now into it, Tre began pounding the skins as the ever popular-“Know Your Enemy” blasted its way into your ears. Billie seemed to disappear and was now headed into the crowd in to the lower tier section near sections 120-122. I couldn’t believe it, I think this was also the first time I’d ever seen a singer go into the crowd so eagerly. Billie’s energy polarized the entire audience and they listened to his every command, they had no choice- he was going to make sure everyone was going to have a good time. As the song played the background was full of fire and flames, although a little later we all had the sense that Billie sees his America changing for the better. As “Know Your Enemy” was reaching its climax, a young male was trying to reach out to touch Billie and as he was closer, Billie pulled the lad on the stage. The guy looks like he stuck his hand in an electric socket as he is so stoked that he’s up on stage with Green Day as he is doing a “mosh pit” dance… he has a story to tell his grandkids- as I know like everyone else- I was wishing that it was me up there. The fever pitch continued with the blistering “Murder City” and at that point it was like being swept up into a tornado, there was no way to escape the enthusiasm. People everywhere were air-guitaring and trying to keep pace with Tre as they banged their arms over their head. Then it was on to one of my favorites on the new album-“East Jesus Nowhere”- the guitar riff on this song is so awesome and it sounded like more than a few guitars at the same time- oh wait maybe it was as even though Green Day is known as a trio-there were at least three other musicians up there helping them rock out the Garden. Another lucky person, this one a 10-year old boy named Trevor was the next contestant up on the stage for the game called Green Day interaction with the fans. We all saw Billie whisper (well maybe not whisper) in the boy’s ear and didn’t know what was going to happen but as the song neared its end, there was a “shot” and Trevor fell straight to the stage floor. The audience cheered wildly for Trevor as Billie told him to get off his stage now that he was finished with him. (By the way I am leaving out all the “F” bombs that were exploding the whole night from Billie’s mouth but take my word, my boys have their fill for that word for the rest of 2009 and 2010).

One of the first highlights of the show was “Holiday” from “American Idiot.” In a word- “Wow” freaking phenomenal, the entire Garden was singing word for word. As I looked at my boys, I knew at that point there could be nothing that could top this. It was so cool to hear the whole crowd say “Amen” (if you know the spot in the song for it). Billie took control of the lights and made different sections of the Garden his target utilizing the laser ability to make it seem like he was going to shoot. The next highlight for me came with “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” from the same “Idiot”- again everyone sang word for word. This was after a few more songs from “21st Century” and “We are the Waiting” and “St. Jimmy” from “American Idiot.” So after the first ten songs, I’m thinking that this is going to be right up there as one of the best shows I have ever seen. Maybe it was because I was unfamiliar with their earlier stuff but as the show approached the second hour, that “edge” started to flatten out as the songs appeared to become longer. Now in between some of the songs that I was unfamiliar with, there were staples such as “Welcome to Paradise”- which was ferocious, so at points I was going back up hill on the roller coaster called Green Day. They went into “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor-just messing around as Billie screamed “Yo Adrian” into the mike. “When I Come Around” was a home run as the crowd did everything it could to sing louder than Billie.

There was a stretch of five songs in a row that had the pendulum swinging back to “this is the greatest show ever” with such classics as “Brain Stew”, “Basket Case” and “She.” “She” was a must for almost every boot camp class we took at MBIA from 2002-2005. And the words were true in the case of my little guy-“ scream at me till my ears bleed.” “Basket Case” was an obvious crowd pleaser and also one of the highlights. Then as the show headed for the stretch run, the pendulum swung back the other way, especially with the cover of the Isley Brother’s classic “Shout”- don’t get me wrong they did it great but it went on way too long and it lost its luster for me. The show ended with their next huge song “21 Guns”-this may go on to be their biggest hit yet and the next to last song on “21st Century”-“American Eulogy.”

The encores began with the best two songs of the night- “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Surburbia.” I will remember this live version of “American Idiot” for a long time as the seemingly endless line of arms swaying back and forth in the air was a sight to behold. Talk about a “head-banging” song- does it get any better than this song? Tre was unbelievable on drums. As it was closer to midnight, Billie told the audience that he was going to play “Jesus of Surburbia” and my oldest son noted that he was blown away by the fact that everyone in the audience was singing this nine minute song word for word. This for me was the very best song of the night and to me, this is the best song they have ever recorded. “City of the Damned” is friggin’ phenomenal. To keep the crowd into it, Billie brought yet another person from the audience (earlier he had brought up three people to play drums, guitar and bass for the three main members of Green Day on the song “Knowledge”). This time it was a young woman, who did a masterful job singing the “Dearly Beloved” part of the nine minute masterpiece. If the show had ended there, I would have been in my glory. The roller coaster seemed to go down again as the performed the classic “Minority” but there were way too many requests for the audience to say “Aye-Oh” and I was done at that point. The night ended on a soft note with “Good Riddance.”  (I remember that song appearing on “E.R.” way back when).

Green Day has proved that they are a force to be reckoned with as their last two albums could be considered “Masterpieces” by many out there and now they are putting out all their heart and energy to perform three-plus hour shows for the faithful. Sounds to me like they now have to be mentioned in the same breath as “U2” “Springsteen” and others as the biggest acts in rock and roll. To me, these guys will be voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their first year of eligibility. Stay tuned, the best is yet to come.

Set List:

1.       Song of the Century

2.       21st Century Breakdown

3.       Know Your Enemy

4.       Murder City

5.       East Jesus Nowhere

6.       Holiday

7.       Static Age

8.       Before the Lobotomy

9.       Are We the Waiting

10.     St. Jimmy

11.     Boulevard of Broken Dreams

12.     A Quick One (While He’s Away)- cover of The Who

13.     Hitchin a Ride

14.     Welcome to Paradise

15.     Stop, Drop & Roll

16.     F.O.D.

17.     When I Come Around

18.      Going to Pasalacqua

19.     Stuart and the Avenue

20.     Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?

21.     Brain Stew

22.     Jaded

23.     Knowledge (Operation Ivy cover)

24.     Basket Case

25.     She

26.     King for A Day

27.     Shout (Earth Angel/Christie Road/I’ll Be There)

28.     21 Guns

Encores

29.     American Idiot

30.     Jesus of Surburbia

31.     Minority

32.     Macy’s Day Parade

33.     Say I Love You

34.     Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

July 24, 2009

Weekly Update: 07/24/2009

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary show at Madison Square Garden on Thurs. & Fri. Rocktober 29 and 30th. Thursday’s show will feature Bruce Springsteen & E-Street Band, Simon & Garfunkle, Stevie Wonder and Crosby Stills & Nash. Friday’s show will feature Aretha Franklin, U2, Eric Clapton and Metallica. More guests will be announced soon. Pre-sale tickets for American Express cardholders go on sale this Mon. July 27 at 9:00 a.m. General public on sale is Mon. Aug. 3 at 9:00 a.m. $79.50 – $2,504.50. (It’s a benefit concert and the proceeds will go to the endowment of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and museum in Cleveland OH).

Nine Inch Nails at Terminal 5 on Tues. & Wed. Aug. 25 & 26. Pre-sale tickets on sale today at 5:00 p.m. until next Fri. July 31 at 4:00 p.m. Password is “byebye.” General public tickets on sale Fri. July 31 at 5:00 p.m. This is a paperless ticket tour. You will be required to bring your credit card and Government-Issued ID to the venue, if not you will not be allowed in, no excuses. $55.

3 Oh! 3 at the Starland Ballroom on Fri. Sept. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $22.50.

The Get Up Kids at the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Sat. Rocktober 31. Tickets on sale now. $23 ($26 day of show).

Yo La Tengo at the Roseland Ballroom on Fri. Sept. 25. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Tiesto at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thurs.-Sat. Sept. 24-26 at 10:00 p.m. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $37.50-$125.

The Whispers and Friends at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Fri. Nov. 27. Tickets on sale this Sun. July 26 at 12:30 p.m. $50 and $69.

Other items:

My favorite “old pop rock” song of the week is “The Kid is Hot Tonight” by Loverboy. Go ahead make fun of it but I love it. I saw these guys a few times in their “hey-day” and just like a Bon Jovi show- guys were outnumbered at least ten-to-one by females. Still laughing?

This past week I went back listening to “No Line on the Horizon” by U2 and I am still blown away on how good that CD is. I say it ranks up there with “Joshua Tree” that’s right I said “Joshua Tree.” From top to bottom, there is not a bad song. “Get on your boots” is great, go back and give it another try. “Fez: Being Born,” “Stand Up Comedy”… what are you waiting for? (And most of you know that I wasn’t the biggest U2 fan to begin with but this album is stellar). And there is an animated video for the song “I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight.” You can see it on U2.com.

There was a listening party this past Tuesday in Lincoln Center for the upcoming Whitney Houston album –“I Look to You” that was hosted by her mentor Clive Davis and attended by many music and TV personalities. She does a cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” as well as nine other new songs. Look for it in September.

John Fogerty will release an album of his favorite songs on Sept. 1 called “The Blue Ridge Rangers Ride Again” and will feature help from Bruce Springsteen and The Eagles. Springsteen duets with John on the classic “When Will I Be Loved” by The Everly Brothers while Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmidt help harmonize on the Rick Nelson classic “Garden Party.”

Eddie Van Halen is recovering from surgery on his left hand but is expected to make complete recovery. It was initially thought that he had arthritis but then he was discovered to have a bone spur (very painful I had one in my shoulder) a twisted tendon and a cyst in the joint of his left thumb.

Album Review: “Low Budget” by The Kinks released on July 10, 1979.

This week’s I-Pod shuffle landed on “Catch Me Now I’m Falling” by The Kinks and I was reminded how much I loved the album that generated this song- “Low Budget,” so you know I had to go back and listen to it in its entirety. Now I know for the “die-hard” fan there are probably better albums for them and to be quite honest, this is the only Kinks album that I own (I don’t consider a “greatest hits” an album but I have that as well). In 1979, I was only 14 and the Kinks were formed before I was born and we all know that they have some real classic tunes. “You Really Got Me,” “Well Respected Man,” “Tired of Waiting for You,” “Waterloo Sunset” and many others. These guys didn’t get as much attention that the “other British bands” were commanding but they were right there in the thick of things and should hold their heads high as they were an integral part of the British movement in the U.S. music industry. In 1979, they made their “commercial” comeback with “Low Budget” as they were kind of dormant during the mid 1970’s. They had achieved huge success in the mid-to late- 1960’s and in my opinion picked up many new fans (including myself) with this almost of a masterpiece album. To give the younger audience some perspective the world in the late 1970’s had suffered from a national oil crisis with rising gas prices and limited supply, poor health-care system and a weak economy. Oh wait you can relate now, right? So anyway many of the songs on this album reflect on these topics. In my opinion, there were some really good albums put out in 1979 and this one was right at the top for me. And we can’t forget “disco” which was also very prevalent in 1979 which made its way on to this album.

The album starts off with probably the weakest song, in my opinion, on the album-“Attitude” (I know what you’re thinking how could it be a classic if it doesn’t start off that good but the rest of the album will make you forget that it started off…well “not so great.”). The singing in the beginning of the song almost makes me skip right to the second song but if you can get past it, the song isn’t so bad. It has its rockin’ moments but dare I say that this is almost a “filler.” Anyway on to the rest of the album the aforementioned “Catch Me..” I remember that 102.7 WNEW-FM radio use to play this song all the time and I was immediately hooked when I first heard it. “I bailed you out when you were down on your knees”- how apropos, no? Anyway I loved the Captain America reference as he is begging for help after assisting America for so long and now he was down on his luck. I know this song has to hit a nerve across the U.S. right now. Getting back to the music, I like the way they plugged in the saxophone with the nice guitar work and the song has the pounding drums throughout with an addicting chorus. Dave Davies, who at last check was not part of the reunion, plays a mean guitar throughout this album and makes this song so good. Track # 3-“Pressure” will immediately get you out of your seat and have you dancing in no time. It has a driving beat and is probably the closest song that they can say is “head-banging.” Doesn’t it seem all the fast and rocking songs are always the shortest? As this one is, it lasts only almost 2.5 minutes but again you will be singing, dancing and hand clapping along. This is classic rock and roll which will make you forget about the “pressure.” This is a perfect workout song-either “boot camp” or “Spin.” “National Health” could be the best song on the album, now when I first heard it I thought it was the weirdest, strangest song and thought I would never like it. But the more I listened, the more it seeped into my system and is now one of the songs I love best. Ray Davies makes some strange noises with the organ but it definitely works and Mick Avory’s work on the drums keeps you moving in all different directions, very cool song.

Side one ends with disco song “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman”- talk about a song with an addicting chorus- I guarantee once you hear this song again you will be singing all day long –“Superman, Superman I want to fly like Superman..” Now in 1979 it was hard to admit I liked disco because I was a “rocker.” But at the time disco was so popular that it made its way into at least one song for albums done by some of the biggest rock bands around. Think about it-“Some Girls” by the Stones; “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen; “I Was Made for Loving You” by Kiss (which gave many fans an “out” for them, including myself but that was only done to go along with the crowd because I never really left the Kiss bandwagon) and “Do You Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart-yes he’s was the Rock Rod Stewart back then). So in my mind it was cool for me to like “Superman” because it had the guitars but I knew there were other “extended” versions of this song that made it into the dance clubs back then-but I ignored that fact and concentrated on the rock. (Of course I don’t think like that now, right?).

Side two begins with the classic rocker-“Low Budget.” There is no other way to listen to this song but… LOUD!!!! I love the guitar riff-gets me all the time and I have to crank it up. “Cheap is small and not too steep..” I love Ray Davies vocals on this song more than any other song the Kinks have ever done. “They squeeze me so tight that I can’t take no more They’re size 28 but I take 34…” The lyrics are very funny but at the same time are so real. This is another song that I could do on a karaoke night in some local pub and hit every “nook and cranny.” This song would crack my top 100 songs of all time.“In a Space” is a cool grooving song that has a bluesy feel to it. I love the part where Ray sings “seconds into minutes…” and by the “forever” part he just screams. This song should be covered by every “bar” band around the world, this is a perfect song for a small local pub on a Friday night after a long work week and people are just looking for some release-this is it. Then it’s on to my favorite song on the album-“Little Bit of Emotion”- I know another slow song but it’s such a great song all around- the music, the lyrics and the “feeling.” You feel it right near your heart- do the two hits to your chest and point your right arm towards the sky. I love Ray’s vocals as he almost disappears as he says “Look at that looney with a smile on his face He knows no shame and feels no disgrace..” The saxophone work done by Nick Newell is so delicate that you don’t even realize that its there but the song would not be the same without it. “A Gallon of Gas” gets back to the bluesy rocking sound and don’t even tell me you don’t like this song, it’s not allowed. Crank it up baby!!! “A Gallon of Gas can’t be purchased anywhere..” Remember that folks? Man the lines for gas were city blocks long and people were so tightly wound that any disagreement could lead to gun fire in a moments notice, it was crazy. At this point you start to realize that this album is something else and you’re nine songs deep into it. “Misery” is a blistering rocking song that again has to get you out of your seat. The guitar work by Dave is flawless and the piano adds the nice touch as this is another “pub” song where everyone should be singing, dancing and having a blast. The last track on the album is “Moving Pictures” and this could be the second disco song on the album as the groove is very easy to move your feet and shoulders. When you hear Ray’s voice it will really remind you of the Christmas song they do –“Father Time”- I don’t know why, but it will. When you sing the chorus it will sound like you’re mumbling “Life is only a moving picture”- I just picture those disco lights where the liquid in one side would flow down to the other side and then you’d pick up and make it go the other way-don’t ask why-that’s what I feel. The bridge to the chorus is picture perfect in this song.

Like I mentioned, this is the only Kinks album that I have (they have over two dozen) but I wore it out. If not for the first song, this would be a masterpiece, so I consider this a “classic.” I recommend going out and getting many songs, albums from these guys (I-Tunes is severely lacking with these guys but it’s probably the bands prerogative) as they were on the ground floor with the British invasion. They are a classic rock band that deserves their time in the “spotlight.” And in my opinion, “Low Budget” should be included in your library of music- you can’t be disappointed-it’s that good.

I have to say that in 2009 the one artist that I have really gravitated to with such enthusiasm has been David Bowie. I can’t get enough of his early albums and the more I listen the more I wonder how I could have gone this long without really feeling his impact on the music world. He is freaking phenomenal. So I will now try and do the near impossible and list my favorite top ten songs from this living legend. This is tough but here goes:

10.     A Song for Bob Dylan-The third song on side two of “Hunky Dory” is for me a classic tune which highlights Mr. Bowie’s singing capabilities, he’s perfect on this tune as he pays homage to another legend. It’s a simple but yet very addictive song that keeps me coming back for more. If you listen to the beginning guitar work along with the piano, you’d think that Skynyrd was paying close attention to this song as “Freebird” sounds a little bit like this. Take a listen for yourself.

9.     Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed– This has the Beatles and Dylan influence all over it and if I had to pick a song that could maybe define David Bowie as an artist, this just may have to be it. Put on a great set of headphones and let this song take you away. This is the second of the “one-two” punch that kicks off the “Space Oddity” album released in 1972.

8.     The Width of a Circle-Pure masterpiece from “The Man Who Sold the World.” Mick Ronson’s work on guitar can match up to any song ever recorded. This is definitely a “progressive” rock song and probably was a major influence on bands like Rush and Yes. This is the heavier side of David and if you don’t know this side of Bowie, you are really missing out.

7.     After All– A cut from the same album-“The Man Who..”; there is something about this song which just makes me sit at attention and listen very closely. It sort of reminds me something that the Beatles would do and I could picture this song on the recent “Love” CD. It is a slow psychedelic song but is so good that I’m mesmerized every time I put it on.

6.     Kooks-Another song from the super solid “Hunky Dory” and this is the “softer” side of David that I also love. It has a catchy hook with perfect piano playing throughout. “Will you stay in my lovers story.. If you stay you won’t be sorry..”

5.     Space Oddity– One of my all time favorite songs ever recorded, it is so funny my wife and kids can’t stand when I put this song on but I don’t care- I force them to listen because I know eventually they will come around (well my boys anyway). To be quite honest I am surprised that any of the many American Idol contestants hasn’t attempted to cover this epic tune. Now I know there are David Bowie fans who are very happy about that but if it could grab more fans, I say why not?

4.     Starman-The last few months I have been playing “Ziggy” endlessly and I think I’ve convinced my oldest son that it is a classic and it is probably because of this song. They told me that I needed to cool it for a while because I kept saying “booo.. gey” instead of boogie. This song is friggin’ phenomenal, if you don’t own it, well what are you waiting for?

3.     Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide– Another song which stops me dead in my tracks and I have to listen with no other noise around and try to match Mr. Bowie’s fervor. “You’re Not Alone!!!” I feel like ripping my shirt like the Incredible Hulk would do but wouldn’t want others to laugh-that would take away from the song-but you get the picture.

2.     Life on Mars– I finally succeeded in getting my boys to like this song and I hope that they will treasure it as much as I do. This is a flat out masterpiece. I’m really amazed on how many times that I can listen to this song and not ever get sick of it. I love the whole production of this song and give it a standing ovation every time it finishes!!!

1.     The Jean Genie –This could be the coolest song ever made. I just saw the “video” the other day on “VH1 classic” and screamed at my youngest son to run into the room and watch it with me. You have to see Mick Woodmansey on the drums- all you see is his hands and arms like pounding a hammer- so friggin’ cool. This song rocks and again if this doesn’t get you psyched, nothing will. It’s from the 1973 classic album “Aladdin Sane.”

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park

2.     Tom Synder’s “The Tomorrow Show.”

3.     Mr. Edward Van Halen.

4.     “Christine Sixteen”

This week’s trivia (Random)

1.     Which female rocker trained at Julliard as an opera singer?

2.     What country band sang background vocals on Paul Simon’s “Slip Sliding Away?”

3.     Who has 18 number one hits in the U.S. but has never won a Grammy?

4.     She played Danny Glover’s wife in all four “Lethal Weapon” movies and was part of a girl band in the 1960’s, who is she?

Name That Tune

Answers from last week:

1.     “Run Like Hell”- Pink Floyd

2.     “Hey There Delilah”-Plain White T’s

3.      “Against All Odds”-Phil Collins

4.     “Not Ready to Make Nice”- Dixie Chicks

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “She can tell you about the plane crash with a gleam in her eye…”

2.     “If you want to play hide and seek with love, let me remind you…”

3.     “On the sidewalk one Sunday morning lies a body oozin life…”

4.     “I opened doors for little old ladies.. I helped the blind to see…”

Back on this day in 1985, a section of Washington Boulevard in Detroit was renamed “Aretha Franklin’s Freeway of Love” in her honor.

Back on this day in 1978, the film version of “Sgt. Peppers Lonley Hearts Club Band,” starring Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees debuted.

Back on this day in 1987, “La Bamba” hit the movie screens depicting the life of Ritchie Valens. Was it that long ago? Wow…

July 17, 2009

Weekly Update – 07/17/2009

Rob Thomas at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. & Fri. Nov. 12 and 13. Pre-sale tickets begin this morning at 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. tonight and the password is Metro. General public on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. $45.50, $60.50 and $80.50. One Republic and Carolina Liar are the openers. Also appearing at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City on Fri. Nov. 6. Tickets for this show on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Band of Skulls at the Mercury Lounge on Mon. Aug. 17. Tickets on sale now. $12. (I’m in, who else?)

Brandi Carlile at the Beacon Theater on Sat. Rocktober 3. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $35 – $50.50.

Guster at the Beacon Theater on Fri. November 7. Tickets on sale today at noon. $39.50.

Lamb of God with GWAR at Wellmont Theater in Montclair N.J. on Tues. Sept. 22. Tickets on sale today at noon. $35 ($38 day of show).

Hercules and Love Affair Weekender at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn on Sat. Aug. 15. Tickets on sale today at noon. $20.

Bob Weir & Ratdog at Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center on Mon. & Tues. Rocktober 19 and 20. Also appearing at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. – Sat. Rocktober 22-24. Tickets for Grand Ballroom on sale tomorrow at noon. $49.50. Tickets for Beacon on sale tomorrow at noon. $39.50 and $49.50.

Dan Auerbach at Webster Hall on Wed. Nov. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $25.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at Webster Hall on Sat. Rocktober 3. Tickets on sale today at noon. $16 ($18 day of show).

Britney Spears at Madison Square Garden on Wed. Aug. 26. Tickets on sale this morning at 9:00 a.m. $39.50 – $499.50.

Moby at the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Mon. Sept. 21. Tickets on sale this morning at noon. $32.50. (Live Nation Event).

Clutch at the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Fri. & Sat. Rocktober 9 & 10. Tickets on sale today at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Rick Springfield at The Music Box at The Borgata in Atlantic City on Fri. Sept. 25. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Queensryche at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Sun. Rocktober 25. Tickets on sale this Sun. July 19 at 12:30 p.m. $35 and $49.

Other items:

Daughtry’s sophomoric effort- “Leave This Town” – was released this past Tuesday and I have not made the plunge as of yet but I think I am really close. I have listened to the 30 second samples on I-Tunes and I have to say I am pretty impressed. It sounds like many of these songs will be “radio friendly” and will certainly be hits before too long. I-Tune listeners (over 750) give it a 4.5 star rating- out of 5 stars. “No Surprise” is already one of his classics and my prediction is “Life After You” will be the biggest hit from the album. Really folks, this sounds pretty amazing, I say run out and buy it.

My favorite “hair band” song of the week is “Still of the Night” by Whitesnake. I heard it the other day on the radio and wow did it bring me back. For me, this is the ultimate “poster child” song for hair bands (I know what you’re thinking-“Cherry Pie” by Warrant or even “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake.. but hear me out). By the time Coverdale formed Whitesnake (don’t even ask who he was with prior to Whitesnake because I’ll cry that you don’t know) he had the spandex down and the “polished hair band” sound down pact. I’ll be the first to admit that when it came out in 1987 I thought this was the greatest and even though they caught a lot of slack for sounding like Led Zeppelin, I still loved it. (How come Whitesnake was able to survive by “copying” Zep but poor Kingdom Come does one album and they are lambasted?). The reason I think this is the song that represents “The Hair Band Era” is because it has many essentials: A) David Coverdale in his spandex with his “poofed out” blond hair; B) Loud guitars with a slick hook that leads to head (I’m mean “hair”) banging C) Video that contained a beautiful woman (Tawny Kitaen); D) slow middle of the song that lasts a little too long but then gets back to the catchy hook; and E) the word “mama” -if you think about it is used in many hair band songs. So no offense to “Cherry Pie” by Warrant but for me-this is the song that defines the “Hair Band” era.

One Republic has made a duet with Sara Bareilles and the song is called “Come Home” and the beginning actually sounds like “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue. It’s a nice song, check it out.

My favorite “hard rock” song of the week is “Mean Street” from Diamond Dave and the boys from Van Halen. I took my boys to the town fair and this dude had the XM station “Hair Radio” blasting to the max when this song came on. I grabbed my younger son’s hand and ran to get closer to the speakers (he didn’t know what was going on) and made him listen to greatness. I lip-synced and “air-guitared” throughout and did not care who was watching. “Gonna hunt somebody down…”  \m/ \m/

My favorite song of the week belongs to The Thermals with “Now We Can See.” I saw the video on MTV University over the weekend and was immediately struck by the hook. See for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJu611UdfxA . Good stuff, this came out in April.

My favorite “new” song of the week is “Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson, this is the first single from her upcoming album “Everybody” which will be released on Aug. 25. This was another song that hit me the first time I heard it and my prediction is that this will be a hit by the end of the summer. Just a real nice song.

My favorite “classic” song of the week belongs to the Mighty Led Zeppelin with the phenomenal “How Many More Times” from their classic debut album circa 1969. Words can not express the greatness of this band as well as this song. It highlights Mr. Jimmy Page’s skills on the axe and as usual Mr. Bonham’s unmatched skills on the drums. Of course this band (and song) would not be complete without the massive talents of John Paul Jones and Robert Plant. (Plant-when are you going to take a break from the “soft” side of Alison and jam with your brothers? The world would never be the same again. You would single handedly save the world from…. well… everything). One favor I ask of you- one of these summer nights in your backyard (or wherever you hang out)-play this song so LOUD that your neighbors will come out and ask you if you could “turn it up?!!!”

Slash has nothing new to report on the future of Velvet Revolver but states that the “dream is still alive” and they will be auditioning singers since they dismissed Scott Weiland last year. Slash is putting the final touches on a solo album while Duff McKagan already has a side project-Loaded-which issued its third album a few months back. Duff also spends his time as a columnist for Seattle Weekly.com and also as a “financial” columnist for Playboy. (Are you kidding me?) Drummer Matt Sorum has released his own clothing line and a store. Wow, sounds like they don’t have any time to look for a singer.

Win a chance to next Tueday’s listening party (July 21) for the new Alice In Chains album by sending an e-mail to aliceinchains@ velvethammer.net and include your name, phone number & e-mail address. Be sure to put “New York” in the “subject” header.

Album Review: “Horehound” by The Dead Weather released on July 14, 2009.

The amazing Jack White has done it again. He has created a third band which fits him like a glove. But now he is doing the opposite of Dave Grohl, meaning he has gone from playing guitar for the White Stripes and The Raconteurs and now sits behind the skins for The Dead Weather. (Although that was Jack’s first instrument- Grohl as you should know was the drummer for Nirvana before playing guitar for the Foo’s). Mr. White pulled bassist Jack Lawrence from The Raconteurs and he also plays with The Greenhornes. Performing many of the vocal leads (as well as playing guitar) is Alison Mosshart who in her spare time is the lead singer and guitarist for the band, The Kills. Rounding out the new foursome is Dean Fertita who plays organ, electric piano, synthesizer and guitar. Mr. Fertitia replaced the late Natasha Schneider as keyboardist in 2007 for The Queens of the Stone Age. Putting this band together seems to be like trying to put a complicated puzzle together-remember those 1,000 “tiny” piece puzzles where each piece looks the same and you just don’t know what the end result will be. But just like when you complete the puzzle, you look back and realize all the pieces fit and there is no other way you could have done it. These four individuals have such diverse musical backgrounds but yet give the impression they have been together just as long as the Allmans or U2. It almost seems like this was an experiment to see what the outcome would be like. Well folks, I have to tell you- I was completely blown away after only listening to this album just one time. I can’t imagine how many more times I will be turning this one out. And just like when you know there had to be a sequel to “Spiderman” “Rocky” or “Harry Potter”- there has to be a follow up album because this one is so good, it has quenched my appetite for more. This psychedelic “funk-a-fied” experiment uses all sorts of genres including blues, rock, punk, rap and Jamaican influences to create some of the most electrified, “stop & start” beats and crushing bass lines that is totally different from anything out there today.

The album begins with “60 Feet Tall” which takes a while to get started but you are intrigued by the sound and don’t seem to mind that it does take some time to get going. If there is to be a 40th anniversary concert for Woodstock, this tune should either be the song that begins the show or ends it. I can tell you that Jimi Hendrix would be watching front row center with a big smile on his face as this has his influence smeared all over it. This song is reminiscent of the late ‘60’s where new and untried sounds became the norm. Take a listen for yourself and tell me this doesn’t put you on a huge lawn on a hot summer day with the sun beaming in your face as you ask yourself “Does it get any better?” Track 2-“Hang You from The Heavens”- was the first single released a few months ago and Alison actually sounds like Jack on the “mike.” This song has a lot of energy and the aforementioned “stops & starts” really stand out on this song as there are a number of times you think its is going to end but it continues to groove. “I Cut Like a Buffalo” features Jack on vocals and this song sounds like something that Bob Marley would record if he got together with Jack. There is a haunting organ behind all the back beats with some weird sounds that sound like the guitar but I think they are noises coming from Jack. You will be forming your arms in the shape of the letter “U” and making quick motions like you are doing push-ups throughout the whole song. I could definitely see the Beastie Boys covering this song at their live shows. This could be the best song on the album. “So Far from Your Weapon” takes it down a bit as again you are glued to the sound emanating from these four individuals who create this unbelievable harmony. It’s a slow trudging groove with fantastic blending vocals from both Alison and Jack. One thing that stands out is the “crashing cymbals” throughout the song and it made me pause as I asked myself- “Is this Jack White on drums?” I’ll tell you, pretty impressive. Track # 5-“Treat Me Like Your Mother”- sounds like something that has been recorded in the year 3000 as it has this “futuristic” feel to it. It is a fast pace song (again you hear the “high hat” drumming from Jack) that mixes punk with rap and by the middle of the song you will be mashing in circles. The organ/synthesizer playing is phenomenal in this song and Jack keeps the frantic pace going with his mad skills on drums. (This could be my favorite song on the album). “Rocking Horse” starts off similar to the “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals with that clear bass line and also has a Johnny Cash feel to it as I picture an old western movie where you tie up the horse as you head into the saloon. Jack and Alison do their thing on vocals and this mysterious sounding song may just be the “dark horse” on the album, you will find yourself going back to this tune again and again.

Track #7-“New Pony”- will rock your socks off. It has that “fuzz box” sound screeching out from the guitar and you will be “head-banging” in no time. The guitar solo is “lights out.” This has a definite “rap” feel to it and I guess you could say that “Rage Against The Machine” could have recorded this. And to boot this is a cover of a Bob Dylan song. “Bone House” is so “freak”-ing phenomenal that I don’t have the words to describe it. (But of course, you know I will try). The psychedelic synthesizer is eminent throughout and if you could imagine a Black Crowes song on the 78 rpm speed on your old record player, then I would say you’re close to the sound of this track. I love Alison’s screams of “I build your house I build a home..” Then it’s on to the next track-“3 Birds” which is the only instrumental on the album and you know what? I want more of these songs because it highlights all four individual skills on their respective instruments. I’m assuming Alison is playing guitar as Dean seems to be playing all the organ sounds and this really works as they are so cohesive, so tight it makes you wonder what took them so long to get together. “No Hassle Night” is the shortest track on the album but packs a powerful punch and it does remind me of the “Yeah Yeah Yeahs.” It could be the “filler” on the album, not one of their best but it’s still good. The last track-“Will There Be Enough Water”-is the longest track on the album but it won’t feel like it. What a way to end a spectacular debut album, it has the passion that is needed for a slow “bluesy” song and the musicianship displayed gives it the feel that this song came naturally for them. Jack and Alison ride out on the sunset with their arms held high as they have given the world something totally new and refreshing.

I don’t want to pass over the other individuals of the Dead Weather because obviously without their talents this album could have never been brought off the ground but I really have to point out to everyone the massive impact that Jack White is having on the music world since the mid-to-late 1990’s. Now I know I’m “preaching to the choir” to many of you out there but for those of you who are not familiar with this man, you need to start focusing on him. He is already a legend in my mind and he clearly is someone who was born with a talent that few others possess. He will go down in music history in the same breath as Hendrix, Zep, Beatles etc. and I don’t know if everyone out there apprehends this. (On a separate note- my oldest son finally realized how phenomenal “Elephant” is from the White Stripes after shunning it for a long time). That is the thing with Mr. White-maybe you have to give it some time (or multiple turns of his albums) but eventually it will click the light bulb will turn on and you’ll love it, I promise you. This new effort by the Dead Weather is amongst the top ten albums of 2009…already!!!

In honor of the recent statement that the new Kiss album will be released in early Rocktober-perfect month, no? I have decided to list my favorite ten songs from the entity called Kiss. With no further accolades as you all know that I love this band:

10.     Hotter Than Hell-I remember trying to hide this song from my parents as I knew they’d be upset with the lyrics, so this one was played when they were far away from my bedroom. I love the “gong” (you know like on the “Gong” show) used towards the end, after the “cowbell” came the “Gong” as Queen use to utilize it as well.

9.     Let Me Know– I love this song from their first album. Gene’s vocals are crystal clear and this song just rocks. Paul and Gene share lead vocals while Ace & Peter keep the train moving along. Ace’s guitar solo that takes the song to it’s end is real nice. This is the “early” sound that I’m hoping appears on the upcoming Rocktober release.

8.     Mr. Speed– The cover of “Rock and Roll Over” is something that I use to draw all the time. This song takes me back to my pre-high school days as Kiss became the biggest thing in my life at the young age of 12. Posters filled my walls (yes of course, the classic 1976 bi-centennial poster) and I kept scrap books of the “hottest band in the world.” I love the whole “Rock and Roll Over” album.

7.     Every Time I Look at You– From the album “Revenge”(which is one of their heaviest and best albums) but I actually love the version on the MTV unplugged album better than the original. I know it’s a “sappy” song but that’s me sometimes. On the unplugged album you can really hear Paul’s vocal skills, especially on this song and “I Still Love You.”

6.     Larger Than Life-This song had me on the first guitar licks, I friggin’ love it. Gene’s vocals are classic and Paul’s “Uugghh” gets me all the time. “Kiss Alive II” was the best Christmas present that I received in 1977 and the whole vacation week was spent listening to this album over and over and over. My friends were pissed that I didn’t come out the whole week. I couldn’t- I was soaking this album in and the “studio” version on side 4, well let’s just say that the album sleeves are taped and stapled. (Also loved “Rocket Ride”.)

5.     Nothing to Lose– I love the original version from their debut album but the version that appears on MTV unplugged just blows me away every time I hear it. I can’t get enough of it as Kiss pull an “Allman’s” as both Peter Criss and Eric Singer are playing the drums in unison.

4.     Love Gun– I remember waiting for “Love Gun”-the album- to finally arrive as all of us Kiss fans awaited the highly touted change in their costumes, remember that? (I personally would have stuck with the old ones but..) (Love Gun was the first album where Ace had his own song-“Shock Me”). Side 2 kicks off with this classic and it always is a highlight at their live shows. “I’ll be a gambler baby, lay down the bet, we get together mama (see mama?)” Love the “machine gun” style of the song, perfect.

3.     Shout it Out Loud (Alive II)- “Do you people want a little bit of rock and roll.. I said do you people want a little bit of rock and roll??!!!” I love the explosions and the background vocals, c’mon you have to like this song, no? I get so psyched when I hear the live version. Of course I love the original from “Destroyer.” “We Love You- Goodnight!!!.. We Want Kiss, We Want Kiss!!!” \m/ \m/

2.     I Stole Your Love– This is the song I point to when the “haters” say that Kiss wasn’t any good. I’d put this song up against any one, any time, any where!!! This song rocks your socks off and Ace’s friggin’ solo is the icing on the cake. “Listen.. I stole your love.” This is a perfect song for your next Spin workout, tell your instructor to get with it.

1.     King of the Night Time World (Alive II)- another classic from “Destroyer” but the live version is my ultimate Kiss song. It starts off with the “gong” again. I love Peter’s drumming as it reminds me of the “Wipeout” song by The Safari’s. If this doesn’t get you psyched, then I give up.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Toms River, New Jersey

2.     Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora

3.     By using the name of Phil Lynott’s first band. Lynott went on to success with Thin Lizzy.

4.     False, Matt Fallon was original singer

This week’s trivia (Kiss)

1.     What was the name of the Television movie that appeared on Rocktober 28, 1978 on NBC? (Of course you know I was glued to the TV that night).

2.     On what late night TV talk show in 1979 did Ace upset Paul & Gene with his uncontrollable laughter and ramblings?

3.     Who supposedly wanted to join Kiss after Ace was forced out of the band?

4.     What Kiss song was played on WABC AM radio during the summer of 1977?

Name That Tune

Can you guess the title from the following lyrics from part of the song?

1.     “Cause if they catch you in the back seat trying to pick her locks…”

2.     “Close your eyes, listen to my voice it’s my disguise…”

3.     “Cause we’ve shared the laughter and the pain and even shared the tears…”

4.     “I’m through with doubt there’s nothing left for me to figure out…”

Sadly back on this day in 1959, the legendary Billie Holiday passed away in New York City.

Sadly back on this day in 1996, Chas Chandler of The Animals passed away from a heart attack.

Back on this day in 1968, The Beatles movie “Yellow Submarine” premiered in London.

Back on this day in 1971, Sly & The Family Stone had a number one hit with “Family Affair.”

If you were born on this day you share the same birth date with Phoebe Snow. (“Poetry Man.”)

July 10, 2009

Weekly Update – 07/10/2009

Alice In Chains at New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Tues. Sept. 8. Pre-sale tickets for Citicard members begins this morning at 10:00 a.m. General public tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Rob Thomas at Mohegan Sun on Sat. Nov. 7. Pre-sale for club members on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. next Fri. July 17. General public on sale next Sat. July 18 at 10:00 a.m. $45.  Also apperaring at the Beacon Theater on Thurs. & Fri. Nov. 12 & 13. Pre-sale for Citi card holders starts tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. General public on sale next Sat. July 18 at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band at the Beacon Theater on Wed. Nov. 4. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $49.50 – $79.50.

Taking Back Sunday at the Bay Stage at Jones Beach on Fri. Aug. 28. Pre-sale tickets on now for Citicard members. General public tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $27.50.

Clutch at the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Fri. & Sat. Rocktober 9 & 10. Tickets on sale next Fri. July 17 at noon. (Live Nation Event).

Seether at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville N.J. on Sat. Rocktober 3. Tickets on sale tomorrow at noon. $25.50.

Michael McDonald & Boz Scaggs at The Music Box at The Borgata in Atlantic City on Fri. Sept. 18. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Loggins & Messina at The Music Box at The Borgata in Atlantic City on Sat. Sept. 19. Tickets on sale tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. (Live Nation Event).

Brian Wilson at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Sun. Nov. 8. Pre-sale tickets on sale now for Citi cardholders. General public tickets on sale this Sun. July 12 at 12:30 p.m. $59.50.

Engelbert Humperdinck at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. Nov. 14. Tickets on sale this Sun. July 12 at 12:30 p.m. (Live Nation Event).

Tony Bennett at The Capital One Theater in Westbury NY on Sat. & Sun. Nov. 21 & 22.Pre-sale tickets on sale now for Citi cardholders. General public tickets on sale this Sun. July 12 at 12:30 p.m. $72.50 and $87.50.

Lupe Fiasco at the Beach on Governor’s Island on Fri. Sept. 11. Tickets on sale today at noon. $34.50.

Billy Squier at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Wed. July 29. Tickets on sale now. $82.50 and $75.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at BB Kings on Tues. Rocktober 6. Tickets on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. $35 ($40 day of show).

Counting Crows with Augustana at Hammerstein Ballroom on Tues. Aug. 25. Tickets on sale this morning at 10:00 a.m. $59.75

Other items:

Pearl Jam has announced a short U.S. tour later on this fall and so far the closest place to the tri-state area is in Philadelphia at The Spectrum on Wed. & Fri. Rocktober 28 and 30. Tickets for those shows go on sale next Fri. July 17 at 10:00 a.m. Their ninth studio album “Backspacer” is due out on Sept. 20 and will be distributed by “Target.” The new single “The Fixer” will be played on radio stations across the States beginning on July 20.

I-Tunes has this cool “Sinatra” thing going on now, they have his songs and then covers from some of today’s artists out there. Maroon 5 does an excellent cover of “The Way You Look Tonight.” Joshua Radin does an absolutely stunning version of “Fly Me to The Moon.” He makes it sound brand new and very contemporary. Seether continuing it’s covers (they did a George Michael “Wham” tune) with a completely different take on the classic “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

My favorite song of the week is “Not Meant to Be” by Theory of a Deadman off of their “Scars & Souvenirs” album. Actually I heard my youngest son singing this song word-for-word and I couldn’t believe it. He said “Dad this song’s been on the radio for a long time now.” You see I told you about these guys, keep an eye on these boys as they might become as big as the band that signed them-Nickelback.

My favorite “old school” song of the week is “Chapel of Love” by The Crystals. (I know the “Dixie Cups” did this song as well but for me- it’s The Crystals version). What a song?!! This is a super, super classic and reminds me so much of my aunt Carol. I can just picture her singing this song at the kitchen table.

My favorite “new” song of the week belongs to Nickelback with “Burn It to The Ground.” I heard it the other day for the first time and was pretty impressed. I like this band but in spurts, meaning I have songs in my library by them but not a complete album. I do like this, it’s pretty heavy. (I know not by metal standards but you know what I mean). Love the way the song comes to a crashing end.

The Foo Fighters spent the 4th of July at the White House performing for the President and over 1,200 active military servicemen and women. They performed a new song “Wheels” which is one their new album which is suppose to come out in November 2009.

Living Colour is back with their fifth studio album (first one in six years) “The Chair in the Doorway” and it will be released on Sept. 15. I will check it out.

Have you purchased the new Jet song like I told you? I can’t get enough of “She’s a Genius”- it’s friggin’ hot baby!!

Last week I told you that CS&N will put out a “covers” album and this week The Killers have announced that they will do the same and it will be out before the year end. Artists such as Neil Young, The Cars and Cyndi Lauper have been mentioned as some of their influences.

Mariah Carey has released a new song called “Obsessed” and the word on the street is that it is a direct hit on Eminem. He taunted her on his album “Bagpipes in Baghdad” and now apparently she is doing the same with this single off of her upcoming album “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” to be released on Aug. 25.

“And 5, now this is most important, Rat…comes down to making out… whenever possible.. put on side 1 of Led Zeppelin IV

Side 1 of “Slave to the Grind” by Skid Row released on June 11, 1991.

This week I was in a “head-banger” mood- don’t ask why- I don’t know and I came across “Monkey Business” by Skid Row from their heavy/ripping/hard rocking sophomoric effort- “Slave to the Grind.” Now I know there are the “haters” out there that will say that this is a “glorified hair-band” that made an “OK” album but would still label them as a “wannabee” metal band. Hey but that’s OK, you know I don’t get tied up with labels- if it makes me move or groove, I will usually like it. I admit I’m not into the “death” metal scene but I can tell you that most of the “general” public does not (or would not) gravitate towards this album and knowing this keeps a bit of a smile on my face. (Hey I didn’t say I was completely grown-up yet).One thing I will state is this is their best effort, I love the whole album but side one really blows the cover off the ball. Another recommendation is that the rule here is you have to listen to this very LOUDLY; there is no other way to get psyched out to the max.

Side one starts off with the aforementioned-explosive- “Monkey Business.” I remember buying this album-bringing it home- I had just been married that February and my music taste really started to lean to the “heavier” side of things- (I know weird but as I aged I liked the heavier stuff more and more-keeping in mind that I know some of you “real head-bangers” are laughing… but anyway..)- and I felt this electricity run through my whole body. I wanted more and wanted it louder. My wife hated it, so I knew that I could not play it when she was home but when the house was mine (before kids), the walls would shake- and if I could recommend a song to bring down the walls in your house when no one is around- then “Monkey Business” is your chance to see if I’m right. The first thing I remember about this tune is how raw it sounded- it seems like they recorded this in a dungeon-like the one on the TV show-“The Munsters.” The energy sprang right from the speakers straight into my veins and into my blood stream. I couldn’t get enough of this song and then when the video was played almost every hour on the hour on MTV it made me like the song even more. “Kangaroo lady with her bourbon in a pouch.. Can’t afford the rental on the bamboo couch!!!” This song made a statement that Skid Row did not want to join the crowded room of Winger, Poison and Cinderella [all bands that I like(d) as well]. They were angling for the heavier room of Metallica and the like; in my opinion this album put them in that category. Don’t kid yourself; this album will rock your socks off. Sebastian Bach incorporated Diamond Dave and Axl into his frontman repitore and the result is something that he can be very proud of. The next song is the title track and the blistering heavy bass line seeps out of the speakers like that some sort of smoke and gets you in a headlock and slams you to the floor. This is a perfect song to “shadow box” or “kick box” or any other kind of physical activity. If this doesn’t get you pumped, nothing will. Love it!!! Track # 3- “The Threat” reminds me of a mix of “Tora Tora” and “Kingdome Come” between Sebastian’s vocal style and the slamming guitars. If you loved the music of the late 1980’s, (“B.C.” Nirvana) then you should know both Tora Tora and Kingdome Come. Rachel Bolan’s bass work beams right into your chest and doesn’t let up while Bach’s screeching followed by the nice handy guitar solo by Scotti Hill all blends perfectly with the reckless abandon that Rob Affuso displays on the skins. Blast this song out of your car windows on your next trip to Grandma’s.

I’m trying to catch my breath and with track # 4- “Quicksand Jesus” I am able to get my cell phone out and wave it back and forth (the 2000 version of the “lighter” days). Even though you are starting to relax it doesn’t mean that this song is not good, quite the contrary- this is super solid melodic heavy metal. Skid Row (with Bach) had that way about them to make every slow song to sound like a “perfect” head-banging ballad that everyone can nod their head and say “that is some quality stuff.” Then it’s back to the banging of your head and neck with breaking speed with my favorite track on the album- “Psycho Love.” The beginning sort of reminds me of Megadeth’s “Peace Sells” with the clear bass line. This song is crazy and at points it really is chaos but sometimes I really need that-you know what I’m saying? I admit you have to be in the mood to listen to this song (as well as the album) because it is loud and in your face. Bach really hits the high points in his screams as he does Diamond Dave proud.

Now with the final song on side 1 I know some of you will be scratching your head because I am usually against cursing, especially the “F-bombs” and they are all over the track – “Get the **** Out.” I know it’s “sophomoric” and was probably recorded just to prove that they were “metal” and I am not advocating that the younger audience purchase this album for this song. But I admit that I like the song because of the music (just like I love the song by Puddle of Mudd – “She ***** Hates Me”), so yes even me-Richie Cunnigham- will listen to this song- and yes I still consider it a “perfect” album side.There is actually a “clean” version of this album and this song is excluded-so parents you can purchase this for your teenagers. The replacement song is “Beggar’s Day.”

“Slave to the Grind” was the first “metal” album to ever hit number one on the charts when it was released. Metallica and Pantera were the next to hit the number one during that year. We all know what happened next when “A.D. Nirvana” occurred later that year. In one fell quick swoop, Nirvana ended the “hair” band era but the Skidsters managed to get this classic headbanger out the door before it closed. (for a while anyway). Skid Row is still going strong-as their fan base already knows-so if you want to check them out, look no further than “Slave to the Grind.”

Since my oldest son is a huge fan of Rob Thomas, I asked him if he wanted to write a review of his second solo album-“Cradlesong” and he was happy to do it. So here goes, this review was written by my son. Hope you enjoy it:

Album Review: “Cradlesong” by Rob Thomas released on June 30, 2009.

Four years ago Rob Thomas, front man of the successful band Matchbox Twenty, put out his first solo album titled “…Something to Be” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 List making history. The music world has changed a lot since then.  Pop/rock music no longer dominate the charts like it used to. The genres of songs that make the Top 10 have changed since 2005.  With the odds against him Rob Thomas released his sophomore album called “Cradlesong” on June 30th 2009. I, being a huge fan of Rob, was very excited buying the CD at the store and popping it into the CD player in my dad’s car. I was eager to see if it was a better album than “…Something to Be.” It is better.

Rob Thomas’ second solo album, “Cradlesong” starts out with the hit single “Her Diamonds.” This song which was released back in April received airplay on a lot of FM radio stations. When I first heard this song it was a reminder that Rob was still alive and better than ever and it made me very excited to hear the rest of the new album. This is a perfect album opener for “Cradlesong”, it puts you in a happy mood and Rob sounds great with the background vocalists in the song. The album’s second song “Gasoline” is a bit of a step back from “Her Diamonds.” It’s a decent song but it’s just not one of the songs that stick out on the album. But then the next song, “Give Me The Meltdown” gets you pumped up again with a catchy chorus that you will be singing all day. This going to be the second single released and is easily going to dominate radio stations.

Another potential single, “Someday” follows that song and I award it with the best track on the album. This song has great lyrics, vocals, background vocals, and beat. This song is followed by two more upbeat songs “Mockingbird” and “Real World ’09.”“Mockingbird” is another great song but it is nothing compared to “Real World ’09.” That song is a perfect song for jumping around; it is great for singing along, and another great song by a fantastic artist. The next song is unlike any Rob Thomas song I have ever heard. “Fire On The Mountain” has a cool drum beat in the beginning and gives the song a different feel than most of his other songs. After that song the album starts to take a downward turn with the next two songs “Hard On You” and “Still Ain’t Over You.” They are just filler tracks and I can’t picture them as singles on the radio. They are just average songs on a record with a lot of above average songs.

Luckily the album starts getting really good again with the epic song “Natural.” This song has a different feel to it than the other songs on the album, it’s an angrier song and Rob sings it with a great amount of passion. This is the turning point of the album where every song from here on is a grade A song.Track 11, “Snowblind” is a beautiful ballad with great lyrics. Rob’s songwriting is something that always seems to get better every record he puts out. The next song follows is like “Natural” because it’s a song of frustration. Rob sings “No I can’t be myself and I can’t be nobody else, but if I could would you love me them?” This probably has to do with the fact that his music won’t top the charts like it used to, because his music is not what’s “cool” right now. He can’t change his style to rap/ hip-hop because that wouldn’t be staying true to himself. Musically it’s a little jazzy with the horns in the background and is a great upbeat song.

The fantastic lyrics continue with the title track “Cradlesong.” I have been a Rob Thomas/Matchbox Twenty fan for a long time now and to be honest this is probably the best song he has ever written. It truly is a touching and beautiful song and you really have to listen to the lyrics to understand its wonder. This fantastic album ends with another excellent song “Getting Late.” This reminds me of a song people would sing around a campfire. This really is a perfect album finally; it’s calm and lyrically is about the end of things, which is appropriate over an album closer. After the brief acoustic guitar solo after the end of the singing I thought “Wow Rob did it again!!” He made another fantastic record, it’s not perfect but it is sure close to it. Rolling Stone magazine called him “The last great pop/rock singer” and that statement could very well be true. This record is proof.

Overall Rating: An almost perfect record with great lyrics, vocals, and musical style. This is a must buy for any Rob Thomas or Matchbox Twenty fan and is a great buy for anyone who loves good pop/rock music. You will not be disappointed with this record.

Key Tracks:  Someday, Cradlesong, Real World ’09, Her Diamonds and Getting Late.

Order of songs best to worst:

1.       Someday

2.       Cradlesong

3.       Real World ‘09

4.       Her Diamonds

5.       Getting Late

6.       Snowblind

7.       Natural

8.       Wonderful

9.       Give Me the Meltdown

10.     Fire on the Mountain

11.     Mockingbird

12.     Gasoline

13.     Hard on Me

14.     Still Ain’t Over You.

Trivia Questions

Answers from last week:

1.     Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” which was number one in Sept. 1960 and then again in Feb. 1962.

2.     Whitney Houston

3.     “Ice, Ice, Baby” by Vanilla Ice

4.     Hall & Oates

This week’s trivia (Skid Row)

1.     Where was Skid Row formed? (What city and state)

2.     Who helped sign Skid Row to a record deal and then received royalties from the songs that Skid Row had written?

3.     How did they get their name of the band?

4.     True or False- Sebastian Bach was the original singer of Skid Row?

Back on this day in 1965, five weeks after its release, the Rolling Stones had their first number one U.S. hit with “ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

Back on this day in 1968, The Band released their debut album “Music from The Big Pink.” I have it, do you?

Back on this day in 1974, Gladys Knight debut her “Summer Variety Show” on NBC. Now that is something I did not know. Do you remember that show?

If you were born on this day you share the same birth date with Elijah Blue Allman.

Just a quick note on the Michael Jackson memorial this past Tuesday, I have to say that eulogies by Brooke Shields and Smokey Robinson were by far the best. The reason I loved Ms. Shield’s speech was because she gave us a view from the inside on what kind of person Michael was. She was poignant and one could tell she was speaking with her heart. You could also feel her pain. I also loved what Smokey Robinson said-“this boy can not be ten years old” and later on “someone that young could have that much feeling and soul and know, he had a lot of know…” It couldn’t have been stated any better. That’s what I have said when I talk about music-it’s a passion.. a feeling… something that hits your soul… Smokey, my hats off to you as that was one of the greatest tributes that one could ever hear. Other touching moments was Jermaine Jackson singing “Smile”- I don’t know how he did it but he did. It was a beautiful but at the same time, a heartbreaking moment. Marlon’s words at the end of the memorial had me in tears and when Michael’s daughter spoke, the tears just continued down my face.

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