Monthly Archives: August 2011
41point9 is a new progressive rock band consisting of Bob Madsen on bass (Enchant, Xen), Brian Cline on vocals and guitar (Enchant), and Kenny Steel on guitar and keyboards. Assisting them are Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard), Jimmy Keegan (Spock’s Beard), and Dave Weckl (Chick Corea) on drums.
The name 41point9 comes from a reference in the Douglas Adam’s book, “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” According to the book, the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, is the number 42. Since the band realizes they don’t have all the answers, but are pretty damn close, they figured they’d call themselves 41point9.
And the creative genius doesn’t stop there. Their debut album “Still Looking For the Answers” is taken from the same idea. That’s not the genius part. The album cover is nothing but pure genius. The cover has a cat, seemingly floating in the air, with a slice of buttered toast tied to its back. The band refers to this as Feline Butterology. I’ll let you visit their site for a thorough and entertaining explanation of what it all means.
So, what about the music on this wonderfully packaged CD? Well ““ wonderful!
This album takes you on an emotional journey beginning with “The Bullets in The Barrel” a dark song about a relationship gone bad. There’s some awesome fret work throughout, with great harmonies and, what I believe, some of drummer Nick D’Virgilio’s best work on the album.
“The Feather” is the most emotional and heart wrenching song on the album. It’s about a parent losing a son and really struck a chord with me, having lost a son several years ago. This song is well crafted and gives lead singer Brian Cline an opportunity to show off his smooth velvety vocals.
There’s some lighter fare, with a well put together instrumental that is a melodic adventure. “Surface Tension” starts your adventure with a great bass opening followed by bongos that segue into some great guitar riffs. And what would an instrumental be without a little tension ““ Ha! Get it? Tension, as in Surface Tension. I know I crack myself up too ““ Okay, back to the tension part. With nice quiet moments followed by pounding guitar and bass riffs, add some great keyboard work and this song definitely has some – Surface Tension ““ Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
There’s something here for everyone and you won’t be disappointed, just make sure you get the CD. The packaging just might provide you with the answers you’re looking for.
Friday night was quite the ride down memory lane for everyone who listened to the radio back in the ’80s. The Fixx, Wang Chung
and Naked Eyes all played to a packed Pano Hall at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort.
You could say this was a British invasion of sorts, since all three bands hail from England. They were a smashing success in the ’80s, all with No. 1 hits. It was quite an impressive lineup, with only one concern: What time will I get home? There’s a whole lotta hits to be played from each band.
– best known for their first single “Always Something There to Remind Me,” kicked off the evening with “Voices in My Head.” The band’s original members were Pete Byrne on vocals and Rob Fisher on keyboards. Fisher died in 1999, so Byrne is touring with three new members. When Byrne’s took the stage, he started searching the crowd as if looking for someone. I thought it a bit odd, but he may have been trying to size up the crowd.
During his set he kept telling the audience that it was OK to get up, dance and have a good time. The audience was slow to respond. However, by the end of the set he had a few people on their feet dancing, but only a small fraction of the audience.
Byrne had a good stage presence and was very energetic, but the lack of vocals on some songs hurt his performance. He sounded great on some of his older hits but not so good on others, as he seemed to struggle on the higher notes, and at the end of the set he only managed to get a small percentage of the audience on their feet.
Wang Chung followed with a number of their hits including “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” Original band members Jack Hues (vocals, guitar) and Nick Feldman (bass, guitar) were simply awesome. Hues worked up the crowd with his theatrics and excellent vocals, while Feldman did it with pure energy and total absorption in his performance.
The amazing story here is how awesome the band sounded, despite only rehearsing together for one day. I spoke to young keyboardist Dave Appelbaum, and needless to say, he was quite ecstatic about being able to play a couple of gigs with the talented Wang Chung.
Appelbaum explained his involvement with the band, that it was one of those friend
Each of the “newbies” were armed with MacBooks and referencing their sheet music often. Regardless, they appeared to be playing effortlessly, as if they had been playing the songs for years. Appelbaum looked totally immersed in the moment, pounding on the keyboard and just plain rocking it. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of these guys in the future.
Wang Chung had the crowd worked up in a sweat. Most of the seats were empty with people filling the aisles dancing. They didn’t sound just like they did when they were younger, but they still sounded awesome with Hues’ deeper more mature vocals taking center stage. They played “Rent,” a new song off their latest CD “Abducted by the ’80s.” The song is a very catchy tune reminiscent of the “’80’s with Feldman throwing a bit of Prince-like vocals into the mix.
With such an exceptional set by Wang Chung, I started to wonder how The Fixx was going to be able to follow such a performance. I didn’t have to wonder long. Front man Cy Curnin was just as animated, if not more so, than Hues. As Curnin sang, his hands were always on the move, telling their own story.
The Fixx stills tours with all its original members: Curnin, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, guitarist Jamie West-Oram, drummer Adam Woods and bassist Dan K. Brown. The band’s dynamic style and high energy immediately created a connection with the audience, bringing the majority of people to their feet. By night’s end there wasn’t a single person sitting.
Towards the middle of their set they played a new song, “Piccadilly,” which will be included in their upcoming CD. It will be their first original album in more than 25 years!
It was a fun night for all. Pano Hall started out full, but by the end of the night, about a third of the audience had left. I’m sure that was because the concert went past 11 p.m.
Thunder Valley Casino and Resort’s summer concert series runs through September so there’s still time to grab some tickets.
|Naked Eyes set-listVoices in My Head
When the Lights Go Out
Fortune and Fame
I Could Show You How
Piccadilly (new song)
In the Name of Love
Always Something There to Remind Me
|Wang Chung set-list Wait
Fire In the Twilight
Let’s Get Along
To Live and Die in L.A.
Dance Hall Days
Everybody Have Fun Tonight
|The Fixx set-list
Are We Ourselves
One Thing Leads to Another
How Much is Enough
Stand or Fall
Deeper and Deeper
Saved by Zero
Josh Groban and his team of very talented artists played to a capacity crowd at Power Balance Pavilion on Thursday night.
I was a little surprised when I arrived at around 7:30 and the opening act Eric Lewis, better known as ELEW, had already started. I double checked my ticket to find the opening act had started a tad early. The concert was scheduled to start at 8:00.
I was really looking forward to hearing his entire set. You see ELEW is a pianist and plays a melding of ragtime, rock and pop that he calls Rockjazz. (I just love saying pianist, it sounds so damn nasty). Well this dude was dressed more like a gladiator in his shiny silver arm band and black duds. He also played the friggin’ piano like a gladiator. Damn he was intense.
Then came the man of the hour and all the Grobanites, as his fans are referred to, rejoiced. The stage setup was high tech, yet intimate with Groban appearing on a small stage toward the middle of the crowd. By the end of the third song he made his way to the main stage.
The main stage was fabulously designed. Giving you an intimate feeling yet creating a larger than life set. The background was very high tech and appeared to be an ornate building. The color would change and during some songs it would change completely only to flash back into a solid wall.
Groban has a great stage presence and was pretty laid back in his delivery. With his velvety voice, sensitive demeanor and his boy next door good looks, it was obvious that the women in the audience were paying particularly close attention to everything he had to say. Giggling at things that weren’t even funny! Jeeez.
Groban went on to tell the audience how, at this very location, he was discovered in 1999 during Governor Gray Davis’ inauguration. At the time he was just 16 years old, and world-renowned multi-Grammy-winning producer/writer/arranger David Foster was in the audience when he performed. The rest as they say is history.
Throughout the concert Groban took questions that were texted to him from audience members. He gave their name, row, and seat number so the spot light could be shined on them while he answered their questions. He was asked – How do you like your eggs in the morning? Groban – Over easy with salsa. Another question was – What’s your next movie or TV role? Groban ““ The Office as Andy’s younger brother.
One audience member in particular, Beth Guido, had texted Groban letting him know how he’s been such an inspiration to her since she started singing. Groban immediately asked her on stage and even went out into the audience to bring her up. Trying to figure out what she would sing, Groban asked if it was anyone’s birthday. So Guido sang happy birthday, along with Groban, to audience member Lisa. Guido was awesome and the audience love it.
It was quite a moment when he ended the evening with his signature song “You Raise Me Up”. The audience was in awe and during the chorus everyone was singing along. It was one of those goose bump kinda moments.
Groban’s music isn’t for everyone and is more, what I would refer to as; gospel/crooner, but some would say pop music. Putting that aside, he is quite the entertainer mixing just the right amount of music with audience participation and good humor, and let’s face it ““ it was great just seeing the fabulously put together stage.
|The Set-list for the evening was:Straight to You
You are Loved
Bells of NYC
Alla Luce Del Sole
War at Home
Live and Let Die
You Raise Me Up
Yesterday a funny thing happened in the California National Guard. I say funny, but I don’t mean in a haha kind of way. I mean in a WTF kind of way.
Some jerk in the National Guard, a guy by the name of Major General William H. Wade II was forced into retirement. You see he was caught double dipping ““ hold on ““ he’s a Major? Does that make him a major jerk? I think it does.
A Sacramento Bee investigation determined that “‘ole Major Jerk had received about $155,000 in improper double-dip earnings. Basically this guy was getting two day’s pay for a single day of work.
A Guard auditor concluded that Major Jerk did in fact owe the state $155,000, but due to the statute of limitations for recoupment (whatever!) they could only go after him for a tad over $88,000, which he has yet to pay anything back.
So as punishment for lying, cheating, and stealing from the National Guard ““ basically us tax payers – they have decided to “summarily remove” him from the Guard, forcing the poor schmuck into early retirement.
I can assure you if anyone in the private sector came under this kind of scrutiny, they would have been fired as in – Don’t let the door hit you on the way out fired. As far as retirement? How many people in the private sector have a sweet ass retirement waiting for them at the end of their career? I’m betting not many.
Let’s face it, this state and this country are in a sorry state. There are a lot of Major Jerks out there, each one destroying the very fabric of this country. For example, when confronted by federal officials the California Guard refused to respond to federal inquiries, claiming it amounted to undue federal intrusion. “We bristled,” a top Guard official told The Bee, because “we are very protective of our state status and state sovereignty.”
The bottom-line is we need more people in office who are willing to clean up government.
I’d like to thank the Bee for bringing this to light.
It’s an awesome week for concert goes here in Sacramento.
Wednesday August 24, 2011 – 8:00 p.m. – Power Balance Pavilion
Josh Groban brings his “Straight To You” World Tour to Sacramento. He’s been getting rave reviews – how could he not with a set designed by the award-winning British multi-media and digital agency Knifedge. The tour has an intimate theater setting with stage, lighting, and projection combined with Groban’s onstage presence. Groban will also be taking questions from the audience during his performance via text messages.
Opening for Groban will be ELEW: A modern day pop artist combining ragtime, rock and pop that he calls Rockjazz.
Thursday August 25th, 2011 ““ 7:00 p.m. ““ Raley Field
Join country duo Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland at Raley field to show your support. After the recent stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, Sugarland had taken some time off to heal. They’re back on the road bringing all they’ve got to Sacramento with their Incredible Machine tour.
And I couldn’t have said it any better than Sugarland with this quote from an open letter to their fans. “This Incredible Machine is more than a tour and more than a set. We have always celebrated music as a Healer. While music cannot change the events and losses at the Indiana State Fair, it can hopefully serve as a ritual and a balm to provide comfort and facilitate healing in this time of great sorrow. We hope to see you all soon.”
Opening for Sugarland is singer-songwriter Sara Bareillis known for “Love Song” and her latest hit “King of Anything”
Friday August 26th, 2011 ““ 8:00 p.m. ““ Thunder Valley Casino and Resort
80’s bands The Fixx / Wang Chung / Naked Eyes bring you all of their hits from the past.
The Fixx hits include – “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Red Skies,” “Stand or Fall,” “Saved by Zero,” “Sign of Fire,” “Are We Ourselves?,” “Secret Separation,” “Driven Out,” “How Much Is Enough?,” and “Deeper and Deeper,”
Wang Chung hits include – “Dance Hall Days,” “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” and “Let’s Go!”
Naked Eyes hits include – “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” “Promises, Promises,” “When the Lights Go Out” and “(What) In the Name of Love.”
Political pundit, writer, actor and comedian Bill Maher played to a sold out crowd at the Sacramento Convention Center Friday night. Well he really didn’t play to a crowd as much as he ripped into the crowd, and only the way Bill Maher can.
True to form he jumped right into politics and attacked the current candidates campaigning for next year’s presidential election. Nobody was safe from his sharp tongue. He attacked every political party, and religion.
If there was anyone left in the audience that wasn’t offended at least once, I’d be surprised. For crying out loud he even had the audacity to attack Elvis Presley saying he was a pervert and druggie. The audience gasped while Maher went on to explain why it was all true.
I realize Maher has a sharp tongue and can cuss like a sailor, I didn’t expect some of the vulgarity that came spewing out. There was one point he referenced the relationship between a man and his dog. I won’t go into details other than the audience gave up a nervous laugh the whole time looking at each other trying to figure out if it was okay to laugh.
I wasn’t able to stay for entire show, but when I left Maher was well on his way to providing insight to everyone in attendance into the Politically Incorrect world of Bill Maher.
Bill Maher is currently making his way across the country to see just how many people he can offend, or in other words, just plain piss off. Will you be one of them? Check him out on tour and see if you can take the heat.
The one and only Gabriel Iglesias, better known as Mr. Fluffy, performed at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort on Saturday night, entertaining well over 3,500 people with his hilarious mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters and sound effects. I say well over 3,500 judging by the overflow in the parking lot next to Thunder Valley’s outdoor amphitheater.
Just prior to his performance, Iglesias had over 10 chocolate cakes delivered by fans to his dressing room. He said he performed a routine around seven years ago about a chocolate cake, and to this day fans are still delivering cakes to his performances. The record is 27 cakes at one event. Why do people bring him cakes from a joke made seven years ago? Iglesias said it’s all because of reruns.
As Iglesias took the stage, he told the crowd he was checking his tweets. He found out there was an 11-year-old with his family in the parking lot listening to his show. He apologized in advance for any foul language he may use. For the most part, it was a refreshingly good, clean show with very few offensive words. The four opening acts were Martin Moreno, Alfred Robles, Rick Gutierrez and Noe Gonzalez, and they were a bit more offensive.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed Iglesias’ ability to joke about the local area, including taking jabs at competing casino Cache Creek and joking about Chipotle in downtown Sacramento, where he ate earlier in the day.
This was a fun show with new material that Iglesias is trying out for an upcoming DVD. Even though the audience was falling on the floor laughing, some audience members were chanting for some of his older material. Being the gracious man he is, he did one more new routine and ended the evening with several routines from the past, starting with his Krispy Kreme joke, which had the audience cheering. When he did the Volkswagen routine, the audience started telling the joke in unison with Iglesias.
Normally the bars are hopping, but the audience was completely caught up in Iglesias’ routine and remained in their seats the entire show. As he ended the evening he was sure to tell the audience that he’s a gambling man and will be in the casino later on. He wanted to make sure that if anyone saw him gambling that he would be honored to have them come up say hi and take a picture with him.
I had a chance to talk to Iglesias prior to the show ““ my opportunity to ask Mr. Fluffy himself a hard-hitting journalistic type question.
“So what do you think about your new Xbox with Kinect?” Pretty lame question, but he loved it. He has the Zumba dancing game, and he’s been burning up some major calories. He did jokingly say that he was not about to go live with it.
Iglesias was in the fourth season of “Last Comic Standing” and won Comedy Central & Comcast Cable’s Comedy Special of the year in 2003. In 2004 and 2005 he was voted into the Top 25 of Comedy Central’s “Standup Showdown.”
He also has a brand new series on Comedy Central starting on Oct. 6th called “Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up Revolution.” The show will feature stand-up routines from Iglesias and other comedians.
Years ago when our kids were young, my wife would set their alarm to play Toad the Wet Sprocket’s CD “Fear.” Every morning I was treated to the song “Walk on the Ocean.” Some mornings I would hear just the beginning chorus, and other mornings I’d hear the entire CD. Those were the bad days ““ not to say the music was bad, but the kids just wouldn’t get their butts out of bed.
Well, the kids are all grown up now and in their 20s. Don’t ask me for their exact age. I’m not wired that way. So it was quite a delight to take a couple of them over to Harlow’s in Sacramento to see Toad the Wet Sprocket on Thursday. Seeing the two of them watching the band that started their day, every day as kids, brought a tear to my eye. I can still hear the CD going off in the morning as if it was just this morning ““ wait a second, it was this morning ““ they still live at home! I cried a lot that night.
The evening started out with Garrison Starr, a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. She did a great job warming up most of the crowd, but there was a lot of chatter going on while she performed. She didn’t appreciate the fact that so many people weren’t paying attention and took several jabs at the audience. During one of her songs she broke the “‘D’ string on her guitar. Being the trooper that she is she changed up her set-list and kept on going.
After a brief set change, Toad the Wet Sprocket took the stage with barefoot lead singer Glenn Phillips belting out “Something’s Always Wrong.” This caused the standing-room-only crowd to shout and cheer.
Phillips was having issues with his microphone and after their second song “Whatever I Fear,” the microphone was replaced.
Between some of the songs Phillips made his political views clear between songs, describing the Tea Party as an accident between two buses. The first bus was full of libertarians, the second full of Tea Partiers. The resulting crash combined the worst elements of both. After several more jokes about the Tea party Phillips said, “Great, now I’m going to get my ass kicked after the show.” To the best of my knowledge that never happened.
I found the music pretty loud and about halfway through the set one of the speakers started to emit a scratchy noise. Everyone on that side of the club started complaining and pointing to the offending speaker. After one of the sound guys turned off the offending speaker it made it difficult to hear any of Phillips monolog.
One of the songs, “Finally Fading” was a tune Phillips wrote during the band’s 14-plus-year hiatus. It was nice to see him perform it with the original members, guitarist Todd Nichols, bassist Dean Dinning and drummer Randy Guss.
Recently Toad re-recorded their original songs, allowing them to distribute and publish their own work, since rights to their original recordings are held by Columbia Records. This has helped them stay true to their original sound. Phillips, despite throat surgery early in his career, sounds exactly like he did at the beginning of his career, over 25 years ago. He doesn’t look like he has aged much since then, either.
Toad is scheduled to release their first new studio album since 1997’s “Coil” sometime next year. They played several songs that are slated to be on the new album. The audience enjoyed the newer music, but it was a completely different atmosphere when they started playing music that the audience was familiar with.
Toad ended the concert with “Walk on the Ocean.” That’s when I woke up. Realizing I must have been dreaming, I reached over to turn off the alarm clock and the music stopped. Once out of bed, I headed to the bathroom and yelled to see if Mom had breakfast ready yet. Ahhh, life is good ““ waking up to Toad and having a nice hot meal waiting for me. Why leave?
DISCLAIMER: I don’t live with Mom. Yes, I did once. OK, maybe more than once, but I don’t live with her now. I do live with my lovely wife Ruth and too many kids
|Set-list:Something’s Always Wrong
Whatever I Fear
Is It For Me
The Moment (new)
Friendly Fire (new)
I Will Not Take These Things for Granted
Come Back Down
All I Want
Finally Fading (Phillips Solo tune)
Walk on the Ocean
In yet another stage collapse, it appears at least two people have died at Belgium’s Pukkelpop music festival, after a sudden storm caused not one but two stages to collapse.
Earlier reports had the number of dead initially at six but that numbers is continuing to be revised.
About 60,000 people were believed to be at the event, one of Europe’s largest outdoor festivals. Bands scheduled to perform included a number of American band’s including 30 Seconds to Mars, Foo Fighters and Rise Against.
UPDATE: Pukkelpop organizers have set up an information number at +32(0)11 23 97 11
Smith Westerns, a Chicago based band was playing, or about to play, when the stage they were on collapsed, narrowly missing the band members. All of their equipment was destroyed.
The mayor of the town Hasselt, where Pukkelpop is held, said forty people were injured. Again, this number is fluctuating as officials continue to work the situation.
Television images showed festival-goers bracing against strong winds and rain. Fallen debris could be seen strewn about the ground. There were some reports of trees being uprooted and smashing into the stage. Some believed it was a tornado that had touched down.
If you recall five people were killed last week at Indiana’s state fair when high winds caused the stage to collapse moments before Sugarland was to take the stage.
This is the latest of a string of stage collapses this concert season. All have been attributed to bad weather.
I’d hate to think that promoters and venues alike are reluctant to send people home in inclement weather due to monetary reasons. I would like to believe they are above that, but in light of recent events, I have to question some of the decisions that have been made.
I get that hindsight is 20/20, but as concert goers we have to ask ourselves – At what point do we take ownership of our safety and leave the concert, or at the very least seek shelter.
There’s a saying ““ The show must go on – no it doesn’t – That’s why they have insurance! Next time cancel or reschedule. People will get over it.
Huey Lewis & The News rocked Thunder Valley Casino and Resort on Friday, playing to a sold-out crowd of over 3,500 cheering fans.
It was quite impressive watching as no fewer than 10 people (The News) stormed the stage while a booming heartbeat played in the background. As the crowd cheered, Lewis arrived onstage singing “The Heart of Rock & Roll” with the crowd joining in.
The next seven songs were off their new CD, “Soulsville,” which are soul cover songs from the Stax Records catalog. This earned a polite applause from the crowd with some shouts of “Hip to Be Square” and “Heart and Soul.” Starting with “Jacob’s Ladder,” Lewis got a bigger reaction out of the crowd. It was apparent the audience was looking for songs from the early years.
If anyone has seen Lewis perform in concert, then they know he always performs a couple of a cappella songs. Friday’s performance was no different. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the group’s rendition of The Dominoes’ “60 Minute Man” and “Uh-Huh,” both performed a cappella.
About an hour into the performance, Lewis had the audience on their feet with “Heart and Soul” and “I Want a New Drug.” That’s when I realized there was a sizable crowd gathered outside the amphitheater dancing and having a great time in the parking lot. To each their own. They serve alcohol in the amphitheater, not in the parking lot.
With a veteran 10-piece band that includes an awesome horn section, Lewis has a small arsenal at his disposal to perform a very diverse mix of songs. Add to that a 61-year-old voice, which, much like a fine wine, has matured with age. From the moment he hit the stage, his gravelly voice commanded attention and the audience was quite happy to give it.
There were a couple of Sacramento natives in the band. In the horn section was Johnny Colla, who was born in Sacramento and raised in Suisun. He is credited for writing “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” “The Power of Love” and “If This Is It.” Drummer Bill Gibson was also born in Sacramento and is currently living in Mill Valley.
It’s great to see a band like Huey Lewis & The News still going after all these years, although I was a little disappointed that they didn’t stick to their earlier hits. Playing songs from their “Soulsville” CD was nice, but I believe most people, myself included, would have rather had Lewis stick with the hits that brought him here, but, hey, someone has to keep working for a living.
Heart of Rock & Roll
Don’t Fight It
Got to Get You Off My Mind
I Want to Do (Everything For You)
Little Sally Walker
60 Minute Man ““ A cappella
Uh-Huh ““ A cappella
Heart & Soul
I Wanna New Drug
Don’t Let the Green Grass Grow
Never Like This Before
The Power of Love
Bad is Bad
Working for a Living