Monthly Archives: December 2012

Air Supply in demand at Thunder Valley

Graham Russell (L) and Russell Hitchcock

Graham Russell (L) and Russell Hitchcock

Crap it happened again.

Last year Air Supply stormed into Thunder Valley Casino Resort playing all their hits from the ‘70s and 80’s, pretty much nothing but love songs, and I liked it. It was after that show, back in December of last year, that I started questioning my maleness. Was it time to turn in my man-card?

 
To prove to myself that I wasn’t playing for the other team, I decided to take in a Chippendales show (review) followed by a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight (review).  That didn’t go so well. You can read those reviews and decide for yourself, but in my mind, I think I failed – not that that’s a bad thing, at least that’s what my wife keeps telling me.

Air Supply

Russell Hitchcock and Jonni Lightfoot – Click for more images


Well I got a do over as Air Supply came back to Thunder Valley Casino on Sunday night playing to another sold out crowd.

It all started out quietly enough as founding members Russell Hitchcock (lead vocals) and Graham Russell (guitar/vocals) took the stage with fellow band members Jonni Lightfoot (bass/vocals), Aaron McLain (guitar/vocals), Aviv Cohen (drums), and filling in for Amir Efrat on keyboards Davy Nathan.

Hitchcock wading through the crowd

Hitchcock wading through the crowd – Click for more images

 

They kicked of the night with “Even the Nights are Better” and “Just as I Am,” as their fans greeted them with deafening applause, mixed with the occasional scream.

Midway through the show, Russell went unplugged with “Me and The River,” as Nathan accompanied him on keys. All the other band members, including Hitchcock left the stage.

As Russell finished “Me and The River” he was handed another guitar for his next song, only it wasn’t working. As Nathan, the guitar guy, not to be confused with Nathan the keyboard guy, worked on the problem, Hitchcock came back out on stage and told a joke about an elephant and something about a stocking over his head. It was quite funny, but you had to be there.

Taking a bow

Taking a bow

Once Russell had his guitar functioning again, Hitchcock appeared stage left, walking straight into a sea of fans. He was handing out hugs and kisses to a number of fans, as he sang “The One That You Love,” with Russell wading into the crowd as well.

That’s when everything changed.

As the crowd was worked into a frenzy Hitchcock and Russell made their way back onstage to play “Lost in Love” and “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” with the crowd still going wild.

Pandemonium broke out as the band left the stage, with the crowd on their feet clapping and screaming for more. After the requisite wait, the crew jumped back onstage to finish with “Goodbye” and “All Out of Love.”

By the time Air Supply finished their 90 minute set I was passing out hugs and telling everyone I loved them, like there was no tomorrow – Obviously the Mayans were wrong. It was then I realized I’d failed again.

Goodbye man-card.

These guys are pure entertainers and make for a great night out.

Set-list:
Even the Nights are Better
Just as I Am
Every Woman in the World
Sweet Dreams
Here I Am
Chances
Dance with Me
Power of Love
Me and the River
The One That You Love
Lost in Love
Making Love Out of Nothing at All
Goodbye
All Out of Love

 

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy roars into Thunder Valley

Scotty Morris - Click for more images

Scotty Morris – Click for more images

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brought the roaring twenties and swing revival to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday, as the casino continues their countdown to 2013.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has been bringing the big band era music to the masses for over 20 years. Their music takes the listener back to the days of old, when gangsters weren’t quite as scary, and a flapper was a young and trending woman, not something found in a toilet. Some say those were the good ‘ole days.

Mixing their roaring twenties attitude and big horns, the band of all things swing, fuses together some of the most prolific sounds of swing, jazz and contemporary classics to create an original and exciting array of sounds that put the likes of Cab Calloway to shame, well almost. Nobody can put Calloway to shame.

Gotta love them horns!

Gotta love them horns!

Kicking off their set with “Come On With The ‘Come On’” and “Calloway Boogie,” they had the audience dancing in their seats from the start. That was a bit strange, because at most concerts fans would be standing up in the front row dancing. Apparently this was a more subdued and polite crowd.

Thunder Valley missed out on an opportunity to provide a dance floor for the many fans wanting to get up and boogie. While a number of people were dancing off to the side, the carpet just didn’t cut it.

Still in holiday mode, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy went on to play a few of their songs from their Christmas album including “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Mr. Heatmeiser.”

Andy Rowley (L) and Karl Hunter

Andy Rowley (L) and Karl Hunter

 

As the band started up with Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” lead singer Scotty Morris led the crowd through the ho-dee ho-dee ho’s and the Hi-dee hi-dee hi’s. During the song the audience jumped in at the appropriate times as well.

This was an extremely fun concert with a high energy band. While some people may never give Big Bad Voodoo Daddy a listen due to their roaring twenties label and swing sound, others are quickly realizing that this is a band that has a sound all its own, with some very catchy tunes.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Click for more images

Band members include Scotty Morris (lead vocals and guitar), Kurt Sodergren (drums and percussion), Dirk Shumaker (double bass and vocals), Andy Rowley (baritone saxophone and vocals), Glen “The Kid” Marhevka (trumpet), Karl Hunter (saxophones and clarinet), Joshua Levy (piano and arranger), Anthony Bonsera Jr. (lead trumpet) and Alex Henderson (trombone).

You can catch these dapper fellows on The Tonight Show on Jan. 9, where they will perform “Why Me?”
Set-list
Come On With The “Come On”
Calloway Boogie
Merry Christmas Baby
Mr. Heatmeiser
Mr. Pinstripe Suit
Hey Now
The Reefer Man
Minnie the Moocher
Diga Diga Do
Devil’s Dance
5-10-15 Times
We Three Kings
Zig Zaggity Woop Woop
You and Me & The Bottle Makes 3
I Wan’na Be Like You
Go Daddy O

Encore
Why Me?
So Long Farewell-Goodbye

 

Brian McKnight woos the ladies

Brian McKnight - Click for more images

Brian McKnight – Click for more images

Brian McKnight entertained a sold-out crowd at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Friday night, kicking off the casinos countdown to 2013.

This was a stripped down version of his regular show, although this format is becoming his regular show. In 2011, McKnight set out to let America get to know more about him as he embarked on his Just Me Tour, which included his brother’s band, Take 6. During the show McKnight reflects on growing up and provides anecdotal information about his songs and life.

This being the stripped down version, it was completely solo with only McKnight playing a grand piano, guitar, or keyboards.

Big Al with local radio station V101.1 introduces Brian McKnight

Big Al with local radio station V101.1 introduces Brian McKnight

As the show began, the lights dimmed and the stage was deserted as a signal spotlight lit up the piano. Off stage McKnight started singing “Should’ve Been Loving You,” slowly working his way center stage, making for a very dramatic entrance.

After following up with “Home,” McKnight went on to explain the format of his show saying, “I write these songs, but I produce them too, and sometimes you got to produce them to be on the radio, and I don’t necessarily get to perform them the way I want to, so tonight, I’m going to give you the music the way I want to.”

McKnight continued with a medley of songs of people who most influenced him in his early years, including Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin,” and Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love.”

McKnight woos audience member Elsa - click for more images

McKnight woos audience member Elsa – click for more images

Working just the right amount of humor into his show, McKnight explained why he doesn’t serenade his “ladies.” Because his mother warned him about using his god given talents for his own personal purposes, and God will take those talents away, referencing erectile dysfunction commercials. That’s when he asked audience member Elsa Greco to come up on stage so he could serenade her with “Crazy Love,” as he played guitar.

This was pretty much an unplugged set, at least until his last song “Fall 5.0” when he played to a soundtrack. “Fall 5.0″ is off his new album due to be released in February.

The format just didn’t work for the testosterone laden guys in the audience, but it did work for all the ladies who were captivated by McKnight’s good looks and his smooth vocals as he belted out one love song after another.

For those fans of McKnight in the ‘90s and who have not kept up with his music, they were ultimately disappointed due to the unplugged format. At times it was difficult to determine what song he was singing.

As one of those testosterone laden guys, I’d rather have seen more standup comic routines from McKnight.

Multi-talented McKnight on the piano

Multi-talented McKnight on the piano

Setlist:

Should’ve Been Loving You
Home
The Only One for Me
Medley “L-O-V-E,” “I Keep Forgetting,” “On the Wings of Love,” “Overjoyed,’’ “A House is Not a Home,’’ “Rock With You”
Cherish
Crazy Love
Guitar solo
Can You Read My Mind
6, 8, 12
Find Myself in You
Let Me Love You
Still in Love
Still
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
Missing You
You’re Like a Dream Come True
Back at One
One Last Cry
Fall 5.0

Jo Koy tears up Thunder Valley Casino

Jo Koy

Jo Koy

Comedian Jo Koy entertained a packed house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Holiday Pavilion on Friday with audience members rolling on the floor and crying from laughing so hard.

Jo Koy

Stephanie performing onstage for t-shirt

Prior to Koy coming out onstage, DJ John Magic entertained the crowd with some tunes. He asked several audience members onstage to dance and earn a prize. Audience member Stephanie was first up, as Magic told her that there are certain songs for certain dances, and that she had to dance in the style of the song that he played. As “Gangnam Style” started up, Stephanie did her best Gangnam Style dance, earning her a Jo Koy t-shirt.

Jo Koy

Tom performing onstage

Audience member Kara won Jo Koy’s Lights Out DVD and audience member Tom failed a couple of times, but finally won a t-shirt.

Following Magic was comedian James Ponce as he warmed up the crowd joking around about everything from pot smokers to his car’s “oh shit” handle.

As Koy took the stage, the crowd was on their feet welcoming the 41 year old to Thunder Valley as they clapped and cheered him on. Koy wanted to let everyone know that he he’s finally made the big time since he’s playing in a tent at an Indian casino.

The Chelsea Lately regular immediately went after the various nationalities in the audience, especially the Filipino community and his mother, who he’s friends with on Facebook. Every time a fan loads a picture of him with a drink in his hand on Facebook, his mom yells at him that he’s going to get roofied.

James Ponce

James Ponce

He continued on with a number of topics including how Mexicans can cook great Chinese food, as well as how women laugh so hard they cry and “pee” their pants.

Proving to the audience that he was more than just a comedian, Koy ended the show with several songs as he had audience members helping him out through the chorus.

This was a fantastic show with Koy bringing down the house with his off color and racially charged show. DJ John Magic and James Ponce were the perfect openers as Koy put on a fantastic show, bringing the house down with his off color and racially charged show.

Rock concert breaks out at country bar

Rachel Steele and Jeff Keith – Click for more images

It was a magical night at Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill in Folsom, California as singer, songwriter Rachel Steele and country band Road 88 were joined by the venerable rocker Jeff Keith, lead singer for the rock band Tesla.

Keith joined forces with Steele and her band to celebrate the release of his new CD “Jeff Keith and Country Music Friends.” The Album is the result of a side project Keith’s been working on with friends Kent Goodson and Pat Boone from The George Jones band. Pat Boone is not the really old guy who likes to drink milk, but the not-so-really old guy who likes country music.

Frank Hannon – Click for more images

When Steele was halfway through her set Keith, donning a cowboy hat and blue jacket, jumped up onstage  singing several songs from his new album. As if that wasn’t enough to get everyone on their feet, Tesla’s Troy Luckketta (drums) and Frank Hannon (guitar), who were there in support of Keith, joined him to perform Tesla’s hit “Signs,” followed by a fantastic rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”  Only Brian Wheat (bass) and Dave Rude (guitar) were missing from Tesla.

Frank Hannon and Billy Haggard

Road 88’s guitarist Billy Haggard and Hannon brought the house down with a killer battle of guitars, with Hannon finishing off the battle playing the guitar using a beer bottle up and down the neck of the guitar.

It gave more than a few people the goosies!

Road 88’s members include Scott Prentice (guitar, vocals), Billy Haggard (guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), Todd Prout (bass), Paul Southerland (lap/pedal steel, dobro) and Maggie Keith (backup vocals).

So how did Keith get mixed up in all things country?

Jeff Keith (center) and Road 88

Apparently Goodson and Boone met Keith after a Tesla concert in Canada and the next thing you know, the three of them are paddling around in a pontoon boat somewhere in the middle of Nashville, slamming down sasparillas, and singing country songs – go figure.

The album is solidly in the country genre with song titles like “Same Ol’ Cowboy,” Oklahoma Bound,” and my favorite “Oh Hell.” You can read the complete review here.

Keith also wants to assure all of his Tesla fans that he’s not quitting his day job –  or would that be his night job? He remains with Tesla and they are currently planning out their 2013 schedule, including the Monster of Rock Cruise in March.

 

Rick Ross – Death Threats Cancel Tour?

Rick Ross – Click for more images

Several reasons have been cited over the last few days, including lack of organization on the part of the promoter, as well as rumors of death threats from Gangster Disciples, a street gang that originated from the Chicago area.

The MMG tour included Meek Mills, Wale, and more recently Machine Gun Kelly. The tour was originally scheduled for 23 days, but was extended to Dec. 16.

Representatives for the promoter, Live Nation, have not commented.

The cancelations started with two shows in North Carolina, where the death threats were rumored. Soon after that, the remainder of the shows were canceled.

The Gangster Disciples posted their threats on YouTube about a month ago, warning Ross and everyone who was signed with Mayback Music Group that they were coming after them. Since then a number of videos have surfaced on YouTube threatening the singer.

Their beef started back when Ross was better known as Teflon Don, when he released the single “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast), where he mentioned the gang’s imprisoned leader Larry Hoover.

Machine Gun Kelly – Click for more images

It doesn’t stop there! Gangster Disciples are also upset, or should I say pissed off, that Ross is using a design similar to their gang symbol on his Black Bar Mitzvah mix-tape.

Oh . . . one more thing. There’s also something about the pressure being on until the gang receives “the check”. Apparently the check is for providing protection for Ross in the way of security/body guards.

Do any of these people have anything better to do?

What’s the worst part about the cancelations?

Machine Gun Kelly is not going to be able to build up his fan base! As the opening act for the MMG Tour, he has stolen the show. Look for him headlining his own show next year, minus all the death threats and other crap that seems to follow Ross around wherever he goes.

Before the tour was canceled, Ross brought the MMG tour to the Sacramento area. You can read the review here.

 

Raining Men at Thunder Valley Casino

Chippendales – Click for more images

The Chippendales brought their A-game to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Pano Hall on Wednesday, performing to an overflowing crowd.

Some of you may recall that last year I attended a Mixed Martial Arts event (review), followed by the Chippendales (review). As I stated in my MMA review I believe I had failed the “maleness test,” since I actually enjoyed the Chippendales show compared to the MMA fights. In fact, my MMA review received some pretty heated email exchanges between me and a few of the fighters who didn’t take too kindly to my comparison of a Chippendales show to an MMA fight.

So this year I set out to see if I could muster the courage to try and pass the maleness test. This year would be different! I had the perfect strategy going in  – my wife!

Audience member was roped into this!

Yes, I figured I could bring my wife along, and once she started drooling over all the eye candy my jealous side would kick in and, voila, we would get into a good ole fight, leave in a huff, and have great make up sex the next day.

Now if you’ve never been to a Chippendales show, there’s a whole different kind of energy from the all-female audience. Yes, there is a smattering of males, usually gay, or whipped (if you get my meaning), but for the most part it’s nothing but women, which is why I enjoy the show – no seriously!

 

As the show opened with Chippendale dancers Jace Crispin, Chaun Thomas, John Rivera, Kenny King, Nathan Minor, Sami Eskelin, all coming out on stage showing off their wares, I was keeping an eye on Ruth (that’s my wife), to make sure that she wasn’t feeling that different kind of energy. While she had a smirk, I didn’t detect any outright drooling, at least for the moment, nor was she diving at the stage like most of the women.

Chippendales – Click for more images

As the show continued with the men ripping off their orange speedos (Ruth’s favorite color) they would strategically cover themselves with hats, hands or whatever was handy. I think Thunder Valley should spend a little more money on their heating system, because it looked like it might have been a little chilly in Pano Hall – I’m just saying.

Making their way through the audience, the men would stop and perform a quick little grinding action with some of the women. As they did, all the other women would scream, cheer, grab, and just downright go nuts trying to get a piece of the guys – that’s part of that special kind of energy I was referring to earlier.

At one point several women were asked onstage to act out different scenarios. One did her best lap dance, another demonstrated her favorite “position”, while another showed off her ability to place a condom on  . . .  a banana. Each woman performed their tasks with one of the Chippendales.

Of course the show wouldn’t be complete without the men coming out dressed as firemen, and construction workers.

It did get a tad risqué as several of the men went through the motions of masturbating. One was on a bed with a pillow while the other two were in chairs. It was at this point I realized I had forgotten about Ruth. I turned around and saw that she was laughing at me!

After the show Ruth told me she couldn’t help but laugh, since as I was drooling for the better part of the show. Damn, I hate that different kind of energy!!!

#Failed

Gemini Syndrome’s got a new video!

Aaron Nordstrom – Click for more images

The sometimes serious, sometimes mysterious, and always mystical Gemini Syndrome has just released a new video of their new track “Pleasure and Pain.”  This should placate their fans who are waiting patiently for the release of their new record due out in 2013 – not too much longer!

Alessandro Paveri – Click for more images

This band of lyrical geniuses comprised of Aaron Nordstrom (lead vocals), Rich Juzwick (guitar), Mike Salerno (guitar), Alessandro Paveri (bass), Brian Steele Medina (drums) have totally killed it with this video.

“Pleasure and Pain” is a great song with some heavy lyrics and some heavy guitar playing, as Nordstrom pounds out some awe inspiring guttural verses with just the right amount of his softer side, if there is one.

“Pleasure and Pain” is a testament to the talent of Nordstrom’s vocals, and the great guitar work that can be heard throughout the piece by Juzwick and Salerno.

The video really brings “Pleasure and Pain” to life with some fantastic graphics and some nice close-up and gritty footage of band members playing their instruments – not those instruments!!

Have a listen and enjoy the video!

 

 

Rick Ross brings his posse to Sleep Train Arena

Rick Ross (Rozay) – Click for more images

Rick Ross brought his MMG Tour to Sleep Train Arena on Saturday.

This is Rozay’s (Ross’s nickname) first headlining tour as he brought a supporting cast of characters including, Meek Mill (Robert Williams), Wale (Oluboware Victor Akintimehen), Omarion (Omari Ishmael Grandberry), and Machine Gun Kelly (Richard Colson Baker).

Opening the show was MGK storming the stage and daring the fans to have fun as he dove into the crowd on several occasions. Pro-skateboarder Ryan Sheckler was in attendance for MGK’s show and was invited backstage after his performance.

Machine Gun Kelly – Click for more images

While Rozay and crew put on a great show, MGK is the real story. Bringing his high energy and lightning fast rap, which earned him the nick name Machine Gun Kelly, this kid stole the show. If anyone in attendance didn’t know him before the show, they certainly knew who he was after the show.

Following MGK was Omarion. He was met with a lukewarm reception, which may have been because he was following a blistering performance by MGK. I don’t believe Omarion brought his A-game and luckily only played a brief set.

Omarion – Click for more images

 

 

I thought it was strange as each performer was represented by a cardboard cutout with their name displayed on it, which was being held by a couple of stage-hands. As if the audience needed to be reminded who was onstage. Not sure what that was about.

Wale followed Omarion and was met with cheers and screams. Wale won the crowd over and had fans on their feet. Wale also performed a pretty brief set, saving some time for the big man Rozay.

Meek Mill – Click for more images

Meek Mill followed Wale with “Racked Up Shawty” and “Young & Gettin’ It”  as the crowd started getting more intense and loud. Was it Wale’s performance, or the wildly good California weed?

When Rozay took the stage it could have been independence day as fireworks were going off all around. The ruler and king of MMG ripped through his hit’s including “Hustlin’ ” and “I’m Not A Star.”

Wale – Click for more images

Following Rozay’s lengthy solo set, Wale and Mill joined Rozay onstage to perform a number of songs including “Bag Of Money” and “Tats On My Arm.”

Rozay has put together quite a line-up for his first headlining tour and made a brilliant decision to include Machine Gun Kelly. I’m looking forward to seeing bigger and better things from MGK, including his own headlining act. The kids got talent!

 

 

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