Celebrities

When Bad Company is good

Paul Rodgers Click for more images

Paul Rodgers
Click for more images

LINCOLN, CA – English rock group Bad Company took to the stage at Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater, as a sold-out crowd was on their feet their entire performance.

Earlier this year Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd announced a joint 40th Anniversary Tour commemorating the 40th anniversary of Skynyrd’s first album release and Bad Company’s formation. While Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn’t on-hand, original members of Bad Company Paul Rodgers (vocals) and Simon Kirke (drums) were. The pair was joined by Todd Ronning (bass), from Rodgers’ solo band and Howard Leese (guitar and former member of Heart) who has been with the band for 8 years.

Bad Company performs at Thunder Valley Casino

Bad Company performs at Thunder Valley Casino

Bad Company has a long list of hits from the ‘70s with four platinum albums during that time. The band broke up in ’82 and reformed a few years later, churning out another platinum album and two additional gold records.

As the show got underway, a number of CO2 cannons shot smoke into the air, with Rodgers coming out in a lime green shirt and black vest, twirling the microphone stand in the air, singing “Rock and Roll Fantasy” followed by “Live For The Music.” The 63-year-old Rodgers continued to throw and twirl the microphone stand for most of the set.

For “Run with the Pack,” Rodgers took to a black piano with the crowd showing their approval.

Bad Company

Bad Company

“Burnin Sky” had the stage shrouded in smoke with the lights flickering to simulate lightning, complete with the sound of thunder.

The band left the stage early for their first encore and came back to play “Bad Company” and “Rock Steady,” after which they left the stage a second time, only to return to play “Seagull” ending their set. Fans were surprised by the short set and continued to wait for the band to come out and play more hits, but when the house lights came on people reluctantly headed for the gates.

Bad Company put on an excellent performance with Rodgers vocals sounding better than ever. The band was tight and sounded great, with the exception of a slight mix-up just before “Moving On,” when the band struck up two separate songs Rodgers said, “Well, can we all do the same song.” The length of the show was disappointing and could have continued for at least another 30 minutes.

Medley’s get righteous at Thunder Valley Casino

Bill Medley

Bill Medley – Click for more images
Photo: Randy Miramontez

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and legendary Righteous Brother Bill Medley along with daughter McKenna Medley, performed at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday.

Bill was backed by the very talented 3 Bottle Band, who has been playing together with Medley for over 35 years. Band members were Gabe Rabben (drums), Jamie Browning (bass/vocals), Tim Lee (keyboards), and Larry Hanson (lead guitar).

This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Righteous Brothers. The second half of the duo, Bobby Hatfield, died of a heart attack back in 2003; Medley now tours with the 3 Bottle Band and his daughter Mckenna.

McKenna Medley

McKenna Medley – Click for more images
Photo: Randy Miramontez

Kicking off the show was a video showing Medley as he made appearances in various shows throughout his career, including the David Letterman Show and the hit TV series, Cheers. As the video ended, Medley started to sing “A Song for You” while he was still offstage. After about a minute he started to make his way to the stage, providing for a nice dramatic entrance.

The audience was mesmerized with Medley from the start as he continued with “Show Me” and “Soul and Inspiration.” In between songs he would talk about life and joke with the crowd.

Jamie Browning

Jamie Browning
Photo: Randy Miramontez

The 72 year old Medley’s voice was rough at times, but had a nice coarse sound to it. He even made fun of himself after singing “Unchained Melody,” saying he knew everyone was waiting to see if he could hit the high note, but didn’t. He did follow the joke with a quick high note, which sounded great.

For his hit song, “Time of My Life,” from the movie Dirty Dancing, Medley brought out Mckenna to perform Jennifer Warnes’ part. McKenna did an awesome job and has a very melodic voice with a bit of a country/blues flavor.

 

Tim Lee and Larry Hanson

Tim Lee (R) and Larry Hanson
Photo: Randy Miramontez

McKenna went on to perform solo, singing “Silk Flowers” and “Give Me One Reason.”

After McKenna completed her set, Medley sat down at the keyboards and called on band member Jamie Browning to sing a few songs with him and McKenna. This is where Medley shined, providing the audience a glimpse of what it’s like to jam with one of the best.

Gabe Rabben

Gabe Rabben
Photo: Randy Miramontez

Mckenna has just recently started a blog called “A Righteous Fit,” chronicling her daily struggles and successes to keep fit. McKenna says, “Staying in shape is a constant struggle for me. I’m not here because I have all the answers, even though I may have a few tricks- especially when it comes to traveling,” she goes on to say, “But I just want to inspire good health, and have a place to be accountable for my own health.” It was fun following her posts on her trip to Thunder Valley.

V101’s Big Valentines Jam

(LR) Samuelle Prater, Vallerie Watson and Jay King of Club NouveauPhoto by: Randy Miramontez

Club Nouveau
Photo by: Randy Miramontez

Thunder Valley Casino Resort did it again Friday night as they packed them in for V101’s Big Valentine’s Day Jam with a stellar lineup including Sacramento’s own Club Nouveau, Zapp, and The Bar-Kay’s.

Thunder Valley Casino’s Pano Hall was at capacity as droves of fans crowded in to see their favorite bands from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Starting off the show was Club Nouveau performing a number of their hits including “Situation #9,” “Jealousy,” and their No. 1 hit “Lean on Me.” The crowd met them with wild applause as fans were jumping to their feet.

The Zapp Band Photo by: Randy Miramontez

The Zapp Band
Photo by: Randy Miramontez

A couple of their songs fell flat for me, but the audience didn’t seem to mind since the majority of the room remained on their feet for most of their performance. Closing with “Lean on Me,” the instrumentals were lacking with the piano getting lost in the mix of things. Founding members Jay King and Vallerie Watson were joined by original member Samuelle Prater.

The logistics for this show were difficult at best with Zapp and The Bar-Kay’s bringing in a large number of instruments with everything from drums and keyboards to Zapp’s  Peter Frampton style Talkbox. This may have contributed to the less than stellar performance by Club Nouveau.

The Zapp Band Photo by: Randy Miramontez

The Zapp Band
Photo by: Randy Miramontez

Zapp followed Club Nouveau with many of their hits which included “More Bounce to the Ounce,” “Dance Floor” and “Computer Love,” just to name a few. Founding members and brothers Lester Troutman, Terry “Zapp” Troutman and Vontel Troutman were joined by Gregory Jackson and Thomas Troutman.

What can I say about the Zapp band other than they simply killed it. Great colorful props, bright clothes, bright lights, and wonderful sounds, this group of guys had the crowd on their feet during their entire set.

As Zapp finished their set a large number of people headed for the doors. While some came back in for headliner The Bar-Kay’s many didn’t. Apparently a small portion of the fans were there to see Zapp.

The Bar-Kays Photo: Randy Miramontez

The Bar-Kays
Photo: Randy Miramontez

As The Bar-Kay’s took the stage the crowd was re-energized and back on their feet. The crowd seemed more subdued for The Bar-Kay’s than for Zapp, but that evaporated mid-way through their set.

Onstage was Larry Dodson (lead singer), James Alexander (bass), Tony Gentry (guitar), Ezra Williams (keyboards), Carlos Sargent (drums), Mark Bynum (keyboards), Darrel Stanley (background vocals), Archie Love (background vocals) and Mike Anderson (guitar).

The Bar-Kays

The Bar-Kays

Bringing on the funk, The Bark-Kay’s performed many of their hits including “Soul Finger,” “Let’s Have Some Fun” and “Hit and Run.”

While The Bar-Kay’s had a stellar performance, at the end of the day Zapp stole the show and clearly should have had top billing.

For a complete listing of upcoming shows visit Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

 

Concert Review: Madison Hudson

Madison Hudson - Click for more images

Madison Hudson – Click for more images

Madison Hudson is quickly becoming a local favorite in the country music world, as she’s starting to play larger venues such as Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill in Folsom, Calif.

I was first introduced to Hudson’s singing abilities at, of all places, a Doobie Brothers concert at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Film star and singer, Branscombe Richmond brought Hudson up on stage to sing “Listen to the Music,” along with the Doobie Brothers.

The 15 year-old Hudson is country pop singer from the small town of Wheatland, located in rural Northern California. She’s been singing the national anthem at sporting events and from time to time has been making appearances with singer songwriter Rachel Steele and the band Road 88.

Rachel Steele - Click for more images

Rachel Steele – Click for more images

Opening at Toby Keith’s was a big move for the country singer as she was joined by Rachel Steele, and Road 88 band members Scott Prentice (guitar) and Billy Haggard (guitar). She also had a special guest singer Courtney Chapman, but more on that in a minute.

Kicking off their set, Hudson and Steele performed Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels” and Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue.” Hudson appeared nervous, but quickly overcame any nerves after “Stuck Like Glue.”

Hudson went on to perform solo, singing Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round” and Hudson’s original song “Tommy.” She hit her stride as she began “Tommy,” and never looked back, as she performed a number of songs, both solo and with Steele, sounding more like a veteran performer than a 15 year-old up and coming star.

Scott Prentice - Click for more images

Scott Prentice – Click for more images

Courtney Chapman - Click for more images

Courtney Chapman – Click for more images

Halfway through her performance Hudson brought her special guest, and close friend, Courtney Chapman onstage to provide vocals. The duo brought the house down with a wonderful rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” Chapman did a sterling job on vocals and I was looking forward to hearing more from her, but that was not meant to be, as Chapman exited the stage after performing “Mean.”

Hudson has been hinting on her Facebook page that bigger things were coming this summer as she is scheduling more appearance and bringing Chapman along.

Billy Haggard - Click for more images

Billy Haggard – Click for more images

“Well I said 2013 would be crazy!” she wrote, “I will be working on stage with several artists working up to this summer. But I would like to introduce you all to Courtney! Courtney will be joining me starting this summer. We will be a new team and I am so lucky!! You will see us out and about together soon getting ready to rock it country style!!”

Looking forward to it!

Madison Hudson is someone to keep an eye on. You can find more information about her and Rachel Steele at the below links.

Visit Madison Hudson on:

Facebook
Official Website
See Hudson perform “Tommy

 

Rachel Steele with Road 88 can be found at:

Official Website
Facebook

Ohio Players frontman Sugarfoot dead at 70

Sugarfoot - Click for more images

Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner – Click for more images

I am extremely sad to report that Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the colorful and flamboyant lead singer for the Ohio Players, died yesterday at the age of 70.

UPDATE: In an official family statement released by Scott Hanover the family said, “Yesterday, Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner passed away quietly in his hometown of Trotwood-Dayton, OH. While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music, and legacy.”

The statement continued, “Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends.  He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on.  More details and an official historical perspective of his career will soon be forthcoming.

His Facebook page is available to all to post comments, reflections, and testimonials of this wonderful and gifted man: https://www.facebook.com/sugarfootsohioplayers.”

The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables. After a brief breakup the band regrouped in 1963 adding Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner on lead guitar and eventually he went on to front the band.

The band’s first big hit single was “Funky Worm”, reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973, selling over one million copies.

The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976 including, “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster” and “Who’d She Coo?”

Recently the master of funk brought the Ohio Players to Thunder Valley Casino Resort (read review). Sugarfoot was helped onstage and appeared frail. However, backstage he was jovial and very friendly to the staff and fans as they lined up to meet the ‘70s icon.

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.

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

Outlaws Take Over Thunder Valley

The Outlaws

Southern rock band The Outlaws performed in Thunder Valley Casino Resort’sPano Hall on Friday.

The Outlaws formed in 1967 and have been playing off and on since that time.

Founding members Henry Paul (lead singer/guitar) and Monte Yoho (drums), were joined by Chris Anderson (guitar), Randy Threet (bass), Dave Robbins (keyboards), and Bill Crain (guitar).

Kicking off their set with “Tomorrow’s Another Night” and “Love Song” it was evident that most of the audience was made up of diehard fans as they started singing along with the band.

They played quite a few new songs from their latest album It’s About Pride.From my past experience when older bands start playing their newer “stuff”, they tend to lose the audience, but that was not the case. Their fans remained engaged throughout their set with most of them on their feet.

The Outlaws

There was a problem with Crain’s amp when halfway through “Love Song” his guitar shutdown. After several frantic minutes of changing out the amp, he was able to resume once they started “Hurry Sundown”, one of their newer songs.

Checkout Thunder Valley Casino’s upcoming winter concert schedule!

Setlist:
Tomorrow’s Another Night
Love Song
Hurry Sundown
Hidin’ Out in Tennessee (new)
Freeborn Man
Born to Be Bad (new)
Grey Ghost
Main Street
Gunsmoke
Last Ghost Town (new)
Right Where I Belong (new)
Waterhole
Knoxville Girl
It’s bout Pride (new)
Trail of Tears (new)
Green Grass

Encore
Ghost Riders

 

Beach Boys Reunion Tour Comes to a Close

(LR) David Marks, Mike Love, and Al Jardine of the Beach Boys

Last year The Beach Boys announced a reunion tour that included the original surviving  members Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, plus longtime members Bruce Johnston and David Marks, along with Jeffrey Foskett.

When they kicked off their 50th anniversary tour in Tucson on April 24, they brought with them a set list of 42 songs. By the time they played at the Hollywood Bowl in June their set list grew to 46 songs.

Obviously they were saving their best for last because when they played their final concert at London’s Wembley Arena on September 27, the set list was a whopping 55 songs!

Prior to the final show Love announced that he planned on touring as The Beach Boys with Johnston, leaving out Wilson, Jardine, and Marks. While some have feigned shock over the announcement, it should come as no surprise, since Love had been touring with Johnston, and his son Christian under The Beach Boy name prior to their reunion tour.

Mike Love of The Beach Boys at Thunder Valley Casino in 2011

Brian Wilson, who stopped touring with the group in 1965, said at their September 18 Grammy appearance, “I wouldn’t mind getting together with Mike and the guys and recording an exciting rock ‘n’ roll album.” There’s no word on whether or not that will become a reality, but odds are that it won’t materialize.

Wilson told CNN in September, “I’m disappointed and can’t understand why he (Love) doesn’t want to tour with Al, David and me. We are out here having so much fun. After all, we are the real Beach Boys.”

For their reunion The Beach Boys released a new album which included “That’s Why God Made the Radio”, beating The Beatles’ record for duration on Billboard’s top 10 chart (the Fabs’ top 10 hits spanned 47 years, seven months and three weeks, versus the Beach Boys’ 49 years and one week).

So what did they play for their final set?

Set 1 Set 2
Do It Again
Little Honda
Catch a Wave
Hawaii
Don’t Back Down
Surfin’ Safari
Surfer Girl
Please Let Me Wonder
This Whole World
Wendy
Getcha Back
Then I Kissed Her
You’re So Good to Me
Kiss Me, Baby
Isn’t It Time
Come Go With Me
Why Do Fools Fall in Love
When I Grow Up (to Be a Man)
Dance, Dance, Dance
Darlin’
Disney Girls
It’s OK
Cotton Fields
Be True to Your School
Ballad of Ol’ Betsy
Don’t Worry Baby
Little Deuce Coupe
409
Shut Down
I Get Around
Pet Sounds
Add Some Music To Your Day
Sail On, Sailor
Heroes and Villains
I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times
California Dreamin’
California Saga: California
In My Room
All This is That
That’s Why God Made the Radio
Summer’s Gone
Forever
God Only Knows
Sloop John B
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
Good Vibrations
California Girls
All Summer Long
Help Me, Rhonda
Rock and Roll Music
Do You Wanna Dance?
Surfin’ U.S.A.Encore
Kokomo
Barbara Ann
Fun, Fun, Fun

The King of the Accordion

The King of the Accordion – Click for more images

Yes!! There is a king of the accordion and his name is Ramon Ayala.

Ayala, a four-time Grammy winner packed Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s summer amphitheater for the second year in a row on Friday night.

The 66 year old Ayala is a legend of norteño music and is one of the most recognized and best-selling artists of the genre.

Ayala played to norteño and tejano fans from both sides of the border, with fans singing along to every song. While I have no idea what the hell he was singing, I found it thoroughly entertaining as he worked his magic on the mostly older crowd.

Ayala arrived on stage with his trademark green, white and red accordion. The crowd erupted in cheers and several individuals made their way up to the stage to pay tribute to the man.

Ramon Ayala – Click for more images

Now as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am NOT a fan of the accordion, but I have to say when Ayala is playing its pretty spectacular to listen to.

Ayala was joined on stage by his band, known as Bravos del Norte. Band members were Mario Marichalar (bajo sexton and vocals), Fidencio Ayala (bass), Jose Luis Ayala (drums and vocals), David Laure (percussion) and Raul Rosales (emcee and percussion).

Lorenzo and Ayala

Ayala played a number of his hits including “Mi Piquito de Oro,” a Latin version of “Cotton Fields,” and “Un Puno de Tierra,” which had the entire audience on their feet.

Since I didn’t understand what was being said it was interesting watching the crowd’s reaction to, not only the music, but the dialog as emcee Rosales shouted out to the crowd. Apparently they were taking requests from audience members.

Midway through the performance Thunder Valley Casino gave away an autographed accordion signed the legendary performer. Audience member Lorenzo won the accordion and he was able to go onstage to collect his prize and meet the man himself.

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