Monthly Archives: October 2011

Midnight Star Shines on Thunder Valley

Janice Marie Johnson & David Cochrane with A Taste of Honey - Click for more images

Eighties musicmaker’s Midnight Star and seventies A Taste of Honey packed Pano Hall at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Friday night, keeping the audience on their feet for most of the show.

A late start didn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm as Grammy Award-winning A Taste of Honey, featuring original band member Janice Marie Johnson, stormed the stage. Johnson was decked out in a pink sequin dress and high heels and sporting her bass guitar.

As soon as the band kicked into gear, the audience was on their feet, as the band played all their hits like “I’m Talking About You” and “Disco Dancin’.”

After a quick wardrobe change into an orange kimono, Johnson sang her hit song “Sukiyaki” as the audience settled back in their seats.

The audience catapulted out of their seats as Johnson finished the set with their biggest hit, “Boogie Oogie Oogie.”

Prior to the show, Johnson was backstage meeting some of her fans. I’ve attended a number of meet-and-greets, and Johnson was one of the most down to earth artists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She asked everyone their name, repeating it back to ensure she got it right. She would give them a hug and then start asking them questions while they were getting their picture taken. Class act all the way!

(Updated: I’d like to thank the anonymous caller who was kind enough to take time out to inform me that I was incorrect when I stated Kenneth Gant was a longstanding member. The fact is he was an original member of Midnight star).

After a longer than expected break to change out equipment, the audience was back up on their feet as original Midnight Star members Belinda

Melvin Gentry of Midnight Star - Click for more images

Lipscomb (vocals), Melvin Gentry (guitar/vocals), Bo Watson (keyboard/vocals), Bill Simmons (keyboards), and Kenneth Gant (bass) took the stage with longtime bandmate Bobby Lovelace (drums).

Pumping out their signature R&B electro-funk sound, they had the crowd singing and cheering to “Electricity,” leading into a brief version of “Headlines,” “Wet My Whistle” and “Midas Touch.”

I thoroughly enjoy bands like Midnight Star that take the time to choreograph their moves for each song. It adds a completely different dynamic to the performance, and it just plain looks good. Obviously the crowd agreed, because as soon as the band started moving in sync with each other, the audience responded with a round of applause.

After ending their set with “Freak-A-Zoid” and “No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” it was obvious the crowd was quite satisfied with the night’s performances by both bands.

Final analysis: The headliner of the show should have been A Taste of Honey because of their recognizable hits and extraordinary energy onstage. I don’t mean to take anything away from Midnight Star and their wonderful sound and choreography ““ they were superb and worked the crowd, but at the end of the day I would have liked to have heard more from A Taste of Honey.


 

Halloween Sizzles at Thunder Valley

Click for more images of Bridget and her smokin hot costumes & friends!

Thursday night Thunder Valley Casino and Resort  kicked off the Halloween spirit with the sexy Lodi native, and star of the reality TV show “The Girl Next Door,” Bridget Marquardt. Deric “DJ D-Wrek” Battiste from MTV’s Wild “‘N Out was – you guessed it – the DJ, and Tone Loc made a special guest appearance.

Pano Hall at Thunder Valley Casino was transformed into a nightclub, complete with semi-private lounge areas, a couple of dance floors, a popular DJ, a well-stocked bar, and a few hot babes thrown in for good measure.

Most of the attendees dressed for the occasion. Some wore evening wear, while others wore their favorite Halloween costume. Myself: Jeans and t-shirt (just thought you’d want to know).

Marquardt was a Playboy Playmate and one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends, which was the basis for the TV show. Luckily she brought along a few of her close friends and playmates along to show off her new line of Halloween costumes, called Bridget by Roma.

Marquardt wore her Peacock costume during the evening’s event. The costume was designed by Marquardt with the help of fellow playmate and Hefner girlfriend Holly Madison.

Smarty Pants - CJ Sparxx - Click for more images

Prior to the show, a number of the “girls” were working the room and taking pictures with audience members, while DJ D-werk was attacking the turntables. There was even a photo booth where people were taking their pictures and having them printed out, plus they could have them emailed to themselves.

Once the fashion show started everyone crowded around the runway to take a gander at the new costumes, or should I say the ladies.

Starting off the show was Branae Whitney a Playboy Live model wearing the Ring Master outfit. I won’t go into all the details of the ensemble other than to say it was red ““ as in red hot, but then all the costumes were.

There were ten costumes in all ending with the Fruit Cup worn by Leticia.

Click for more images of Tone Loc

Tone Loc took the stage armed with his deep, gravelly voice, a Nike t-shirt, sunglasses, and a towel wrapped around his neck. I’m

sure a large portion of the crowd was wondering how the rapper was doing in light of recent events.

A couple of weeks ago Tone Loc collapsed during a performance in Atlanta while singing “Funky Cold Medina.” He had a similar incident at a Pensacola, Florida concert back in 2009, again while singing “Funky Cold Medina.”

Loc made a wise choice and opened with “Funky Cold Medina.” Best to get that one out of the way before getting too far into the performance. He ended his set with “Wild Thing.”

Loc’s voice has stood the test of time. He sounded just like he did all those years ago and the audience ate it up. He walked up and down the runway shaking people’s hands while he belted out his hit songs.

He appeared to be in good health and spirits, joking around with the audience and remaining active through most of his performance.

Continuing with the Halloween theme Thunder Valley Casino is hosting a huge Sinners and Saints Halloween party, on Saturday at 9:00 p.m. I have it on good authority that the photo booth will be back. Sorry guys, the playmates won’t be there, but they will have go-go dancers!

Models

Ring Master – Branae Whitney
Colonial Cutie – Marlo
Mermaid – Heather Rene Smith
Smokin Bachelor – Kelly
Gypsy – Katarina Van Derham
Sexy School Girl – Melissa
Sexy Kitten – Brittney
Marty Pants – CJ Sparxx
Bavarian Beauty – Jenna
Fruit Cup – Leticia

Adele to Undergo Throat Surgery

Adele has been forced to cancel her remaining tour dates for 2011.

Adele has been plagued with vocal problems since last year. She was originally diagnosed with laryngitis and ordered to rest intensely for 10 days prior to doing a show in London and a month long promotional tour in the U.S.

Once rested Adele started her U.S. leg of the tour and was forced to cancel a performance in Minneapolis. She was later diagnosed with a hemorrhage to her vocal chords. She flew home to London after being told she had to take a month off to rest her vocal chords.

As Adele started to make a comeback, she was struck down by a respiratory infection causing her to cancel even more shows. During this time she lost her voice again.

Let’s hope she makes a full and complete recovery. She’s a class act in every way.

Today the below was posted on her website.

It is with deep regret that Adele has been forced to cancel her remaining live dates and promotional appearances in 2011. She is to undergo surgery to alleviate the current issues with her throat and a full recovery is expected. As a result, doctors have ordered her to rest her voice and completely recuperate before looking to schedule any work commitments.

Ticket holders for all cancelled live dates will receive a refund from the point of purchase. We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment caused, and appreciate your understanding during this time.

The cancelled dates are: ““

October (US)
7th ““ Atlantic City, NJ ““ Borgata Spa
8th ““ Durham, NC ““ Performing Arts Center
10th ““ Nashville, TN ““ Ryman Auditorium
11th ““ Asheville, NC ““ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
13th ““ Orlando, FL ““ Hard Rock Live
14th ““ Miami, FL ““ Waterfront Theatre
16th ““ Atlanta, GA ““ Fox Theatre
18th ““ Spring, TX ““ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion
19th ““ Austin, TX ““ Frank Erwin Center
21th ““ Grand Prairie, TX ““ Verizon TheatreNovember (UK)
7th ““ Wolverhampton ““ Civic Hall
8th ““ Wolverhampton ““ Civic Hall
10th ““ Blackpool ““ Empress Ballroom
12th ““ Bournemouth ““ BIC
14th ““ Cardiff ““ Motorpoint Arena
15th ““ Plymouth ““ Pavillions

 

 

Twilight’s Breaking Dawn First Music Video

Click to purchase box set

For all you diehard fans of all things Twilight, Christina Perri just released her new music video “A Thousand Years,“ from the Newest Twilight movie “Breaking Dawn Part1.” This is the first music video released from the movie soundtrack.

Perri is what she refers to as a Twi-hard fan and even sports a “‘Twilight’ tattoo on her wrist that is written in the same font as all the book titles and reads “‘bitten’. According to Perri she’s team Edward all the way.

Perri started writing the song after seeing a screening of “Breaking Dawn Part 1,” where they placed temporary music in spots.

Her song is a love song to Edward and Bella. Perri says she was inspired more so by the books she’s read, than the screening she attended.

The song is classic Perri and is sure to be a number one hit.

Perri’s song was originally slated to be the second single released off the soundtrack. Bruno Mars‘ “It Will Rain” was to be the the first. However, Mars was still working on his video.

Perri will be part of a promotional tour that will feature members of the Cullen clan, including Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed and Jackson Rathbone, as well as performances from musicians featured on the soundtrack.

The tour, which runs Nov. 7-11, will be traveling to five U.S. cities starting off in Atlanta.

For me, I’ve enjoyed the Twilight series of books, but I’ve struggled with the movies. However, I have a wife that insists on dragging my ass to every new release of Twilight. So I only have one question for the writers. Why the hell are you taking one book, “Breaking Dawn,” and making it into two parts!? They’d better be good.

Watch the video

Steven Tyler Rushed to Hospital

Downtown SacramentoFront man and American Idol judge, Steven Tyler, was hospitalized in Paraguay’s capital Tuesday after reportedly taking a spill in his hotel bathroom.

According to a bellboy from the Bourbon Hotel in Asuncion, Tyler had taken a “nasty fall,” and lost several teeth.

Tyler was rushed to the La Costa medical center in the capital city. He spent almost four hours in the hospital, where doctors administered stitches, and affixed two dental implants to replace his lost teeth. He has since returned to his hotel to recover, after being discharged in “good condition.”

Tyler was scheduled to perform with Aerosmith later that night.

A spokesman for the concert organizers said, “Mr. Tyler had a small accident that prevents him from staging the concert tonight. He is fine, he’s in his hotel, but he’s not able to do the concert.”

Tyler is still scheduled to perform Wednesday night.

Tyler should be accustomed to tumbling about. However, he generally leaves that for his onstage performances. Back in August 2010, he was knocked offstage by guitarist Joe Perry during their performance of “Love in an Elevator”. Hmmmm – Going down? Who knows maybe they had a tiff just before the concert.

A year earlier he was spinning off a catwalk while performing the same song resulting in a shoulder injury. Soon after the incident Tyler entered rehab for pain killers.

Declan MacManus Releases Limited Edition Boxed Set!

Elvis Costello's The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

Declan MacManus will be releasing The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook.

This is a 3 disc  – oh wait a second. You probably have no idea who the hell MacManus is, or do you?

Declan MacManus is the one and only Elvis Costello! Yes, I know, with a name like MacManus why would you change it to Elvis Costello? Call me crazy, but doesn’t Costello look like a Declan MacManus? I’m just saying.

The UK-born singer is best known for his unique style of performances. Costello was initially marketed as punk, but his music sounded more like pub-rock with a little bit of country thrown in for good measure.

In 1977 with his trademark geeky glasses and suit, Costello released his debut album My Aim is True, and the memorable single “Alison.” It was a classic debut, showcasing Costello’s witty songwriting and his unique sound. His follow-up album, This Year’s Model, featured three of his most famous songs: “Pump It Up,” “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” and “Radio Radio,”

In 1986 Costello and the Attractions opened their Spectacular Spinning Songbook tour with Costello playing emcee Napoleon Dynamite.

Elvis Costello - Click for more images

Costello would ask audience members onstage to spin a large wheel of songs, creating a completely different setlist each night.

Elvis/Napoleon Dynamite returns with an awesome 3-disc (CD, DVD, 10″ vinyl LP) live box set entitled The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning

Songbook. This was recorded over a 2-night stand at the art-deco Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011.

Only 1500 copies will be sold. Each set is individually numbered with a special commemoration card autographed by Elvis Costello. It will include a 40-page hardcover book filled with candid photos, a tour diary of Costello’s musings from each tour stop, a 20″ x 30″ concert tour poster and a limited edition postcard.

The DVD is from Costello’s show on May 12, 2011, and includes a special guest appearance by the Bangles, plus bonus footage including behind-the-scenes moments captured with the Imposters as well as extra performances not included in the main set of the show. The 10-inch vinyl record features four songs only available in this set.

All this is housed in a nicely put together box with a working spinning replica of “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” on the front cover!

Only 1500 copies were printed and autographed so don’t miss out.

And it looks like Amazon already has them up for pre-order for $250 and they show a shipping date of November 21st. That looks like it will be a busy day for Amazon, since their new Kindle Touch ships the same day. For that kind of money I think I’d by two Kindles and then listen to Elvis Costello on my new Kindle, but that’s just me.

DISC ONE
THE MUSIC
– I Hope You’re Happy Now
– Heart of the City (Nick Lowe)
– Mystery Dance
– Radio Radio
– Everyday I Write The Book
– God Give Me Strength
– Watching The Detectives
–Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s A Doll Revolution) featuring Susanna
Hoffs of the Bangles
– Out Of Time (Mick Jagger-Keith Richards)
– I Want You
– Stella Hurt
– All Grown Up
– Lipstick Vogue
– Man out of Time
– National Ransom
– (What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love and UnderstandingRecorded Live at THE WILTERN, Los Angeles, CA, May 11 & 12, 2011

DISC TWO
THE FILM
– I Hope You’re Happy Now
– Heart Of The City (Nick Lowe)
– Mystery Dance
– Radio Radio
– Clubland
– God Give Me Strength
–Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s A Doll Revolution) featuring Susanna
Hoffs of the Bangles
– Out Of Time (Mick Jagger-Keith Richards)
– I Want You
– Everyday I Write The Book
– Stella Hurt
– A Slow Drag With Josephine
– Jimmie Standing In The Rain
– Alison
– Earthbound
– (What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love And Understanding

Bonus Tracks
– Uncomplicated
– Watching The Detectives
– Monkey To Man

Filmed Live at THE WILTERN, Los Angeles, CA, May 12, 2011

DISC THREE (THE 10″)
Side A:
– Pump it Up (6/8)
– Busted (Harlan Howard)

Side B:
– Brilliant Mistake
– Strict time

 

Captain Kirk Seeking Major Tom

Click to view William Shatner's musical collection

Holy Shat!

William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek television series, has recorded Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Not only has he released it in mp3 format, but video, CD, and yes, even vinyl.

Shatner is 80 years old for crying out loud. What the hell is he doing in a recording studio? Shouldn’t he leave music recording to veterans like 85 year old Tony Bennett, who recently released an album Duets II. Bennett’s album has been sitting at number one for some time after teaming up with the late Amy Winehouse, Willie Nelson, Lady Gaga, and fourteen other celebs.

Well look out Bennett! Shatner and his awesomeness of all things space, is going to be hot on your tail! Shatner should have called his new two-disc set Duets III rather than Seeking Major Tom, since he also has a laundry list of side-kicks such as Peter Frampton, Sheryl Crow, Lyle Lovett, and even some prog-rock bands like Asia and King Crimson.

Hold on a minute though! William Shatner can’t friggin’ sing! True, but he can talk a good game.

It’s pretty amazing what he’s been able to pull off over the years. Shatner’s recorded Steve Miller Band’s “Space Cowboy,” a signature take on Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” and others.

The odd thing is Shatner can sell this stuff and sell this stuff he does. I checked over at Amazon and the vinyl records are selling for just under $50. Guess what? Last I checked they only had 19 left in stock!

Who knows. Maybe this summer we’ll see Shatner performing in downtown Sacramento, or at a Bay Area concert.

All I can say is beam me up Scotty.

Rappers dropping like a G6

Rick Ross - Click for more images

It’s tough to be a rapper these days. Last week Rick Ross suffered a seizure (not to be confused with search and seizure).

Ross lost consciousness onboard a Delta flight to Memphis from Ft. Lauderdale. The commercial flight was forced to make an emergency landing, the whole time a doctor onboard was providing CPR on the heavyweight rapper.

Later the same day, Ross appeared to be in good health tweeting a video of himself boarding a private jet. During this flight Ross suffered a second seizure, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Birmingham, Alabama.

Thankfully Ross is now back to his normal routine, traveling the world and blessing everyone with his greatness.
But wait!

Not be outdone by the Maybach Music Group leader, Tone Loc, best known for his hits “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina,” decided to jump into the fray, or should I say slump into the fray.

Eleven days after Loc pleaded no contest to weapons and domestic violence charges, stemming from a June arrest, he was struck with a seizure while performing onstage in Atlanta on Saturday.

Loc was transported to a nearby hospital and released. His handlers say he’s doing just fine and was suffering from exhaustion.

Loc had a similar incident at a Pensacola, Florida concert back in 2009.

Let’s hope Loc is ok! He’s schedule to appear at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort with Bridget Marquardt from TV’s “The Girls Next Door,” where she will be joined by her Playboy Playmate friends for a Halloween house party on October 27th.

I don’t know about you, but count me in!!

Journey Brings Eclipse Tour to Sleep Train Amphitheater

Journey's Lead Singer Arnel Pineda - Click for more images

 

It was quite the Journey down memory lane last night at Sleep Train Amphitheater in Wheatland, CA. It was surreal at times, leaving me feeling like a Foreigner in a strange land. I felt safe the entire Journey since there was always a Night Ranger close at hand.

That was one rockin’ show out Marysville way Friday night. Journey brought their Eclipse tour along with fellow rockers Foreigner and Night Ranger. Talk about an epic four hour journey.

 

 

 

Leading off the night was Night Ranger with original members Kelly Keagy (drums/ vocals), Brad Gillis (lead guitar/vocals), and Jack Blades

Night Ranger - Click for more images

(bass/vocals). Newest additions to the band were Joel Hoekstra (guitar/backing vocals) and Eric Levy (keyboards/backing vocals).

Playing to a less than half full crowd – or is that half empty? – Night Ranger opened with “Lay it On Me.”  The fans that showed up early

thoroughly enjoyed the set. The band also performed “High Enough” a Damn Yankees song. As some of you may recall, Jack Blades formed the Damn Yankees back in 1989 with Ted Nugent and Sammy Hagar, breaking up in 1994.

In between sets I wandered to the front gates to find 100′s of fans buying last minute tickets. By the time Foreigner took the stage the amphitheater was almost filled to capacity.

Foreigner - Click for more images

As Foreigner began their set with “Double Vision” it was quite obvious that the boomers in the crowd had become quite inebriated and weren’t feeling any pain. It was kind of comical seeing people staggering about due to their double vision while listening to “Double Vision.”

Obviously absent was original band member Mick Jones. Not to worry since lead Singer and Steven Tyler look alike, Kelly Hansen commandeered the stage with a take no prisoner’s attitude. Hansen was in complete control of the audience the entire set, jumping from one side of the stage to the other.

Hansen really got the crowding going as the band plowed through their hits including, “Head Games,” “Cold as Ice,” and ending with their smash hit “Hot Blooded.”

Much to the delight of cheering fans, Hansen really kicked it into gear when he jumped out into the crowd several times during his performance. Although there were a few fans that weren’t too happy to have the spotlight shining on them while taking a hit from their medical stash.

By the time Journey jumped up on stage the amphitheater was packed. The lawn seats were full and remained so to the end of the concert, which is unusual for a four hour concert.

I couldn’t believe the balls Journey had taking the stage. It was quite a sight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen balls that big. Seriously, these beach balls were huge. The audience really loved it as they kept hitting them to each other, back on stage, up in the air – quite fun!

Journey hit the stage in a sea of laser lights and of course those huge beach balls, performing “Separate Ways.” As many true Journey fans will tell you, there is no replacing Steve Perry as lead singer. However, I think the band has found a remarkable replacement with Arnel Pineda. He’s bundle of energy, sporting colorful tattoos and man can he sing. I’d swear it was Steve Perry on stage. In fact, I would argue he sounds like the young Steve Perry, which is even better sounding than the old Steve Perry.

Original band members included Neal Schon (guitar/vocals) and Ross Valory (bass/vocals). Another new member was Deen Castronova (drums/vocals).

Pineda has lots of energy onstage and while he tried to command the crowd I don’t think he quite had the entire audience eating out of his hand. I found him paying way too much attention to the fans in the first few rows ultimately spoiling it for people farther back in the audience. Many times he would almost lay down on stage to shake hands and sing to the few people who scored good seats, only to leave out the rest of the crowd.

Even though Journey is promoting their latest album Eclipse, they only played one song from it entitled “City of Hope.” Journey played many of their hits including “Wheel in the Sky,” “Open Arms,” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”

For their encore they brought the house down with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Any Way You Want It.” While they played many hits they still had plenty more to play, leaving me to think they should drop one of the acts and think about touring with one band, rather than three.

I’ve had a number of people ask me who was the better band ““ Foreigner or Journey? I have to say I thought Foreigner ruled the night, but Journey really stood out due to the newest lead singer, Arnel Pineda. I have to call it a tie. If it wasn’t for Arnel and his ability to sound like the young Steve Perry, I would have given the night to Foreigner. It really was a contest between front men Kelly Hansen and Arnel Pineda.

One thing I have to respect is a band that gives a shout out to the city they are in, not one that’s miles away. Every band gave a shout out to Sacramento! Guys it’s Wheatland. Ok, I’d give you Marysville, but Sacramento? It’s not like we were in downtown Sacramento. You don’t hear bands giving a shout out to Sacramento at any Bay Area concerts! Maybe they should.

Regardless, it was a memorable night with some great music and a whole bunch of inebriated people to watch and laugh with ““ never at.

Night Ranger set-list:
Lay it On Me
Sing Me Away
High Enough/Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)
When You Close Your Eyes
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me/Hotel California (the Eagles cover ““ Snippet)
Sister Christian
(You Can Still) Rock in America

Foreigner set-list:
Double Vision
Head Games
Cold as Ice
Dirty White Boy
Feel Like the First Time
Urgent
I Want to Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded

Encore
Juke Box Hero

Journey set-list:
Separate Ways
Ask the Lonely
Send Her My Love
City of Hope (Eclipse)
Only the Young
Faithfully
Stone in Love
Escape
Lights
Wheel in the Sky
Open Arms
La Do Da
Be Good to Yourself
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

Encore
Any Way You Want it
Don’t Stop Believin’

Idol Winner Scott McCreery Debuts at #1

18 year old Alfred E. Neuman lookalike and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery is already making music history with his debut release making it into the Billboard 200 chart, making him the youngest male artist to do so. Clear As Day, which was released October 4th, skyrocketing 196,739 spots in its first week, making it to the #1 spot. The last person to achieve such a debut was Carrie Underwood with Some Hearts

He is the first new country artist so far in 2011 to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The last time a country singer achieved such a feat was in 2005, when Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts was released.

Over 15,000 fans attended his album release party at Raleigh’s Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion on October 8. This was also a chance for fans to welcome him home and wish him a happy birthday. McCreery just turned 18. He was presented with a gold record certifying digital sales of more than 500,000 for the single “I Love You This Big”

 

 

 

And yes ““ He’s the spitting image of Mad Magazine’s mascot and cover boy Alfred E. Neuman.

 

 

 

 

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