entertainer

Frank Hannon’s Six String Soldiers

Frank Hannon

Frank Hannon – Click for more images

Tesla’s Frank Hannon has proven, once again, that he has complete command of all things guitar.

Hannon’s last album, Gypsy Highway, took the listener on an acoustical journey through the heart, as he stepped outside the world of rock and introduced us to his folksier side.

Hannon’s latest creation, Six String Soldiers, is nothing short of rock legend, as he builds on his foundation of hard driving rock, bringing a few of his friends along for the ride. His army of soldiers include 3 time Grammy winner Rick Derringer (Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo), Pat Travers (Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights), Dave Meniketti (founder of Y&T), and Dicky Betts (“‘Ramblin” Man).

Lending his vocals to the album is Jeff Sandoval, who does a commendable job with his smooth vocals on songs such as “Cross Your Mind” and “Love, Life, and Beauty.” Drummer Cortney DeAgustine even jumps into the fray on “Redemption,” as she provides backing vocals for Sandoval.

Leading the charge is the bluesy  “I’M Alive,” featuring Pat Travers, followed by my favorite “Set Me Free.”

“Lipstick, Smoke -N- Gasoline” featuring Dave Meniketti deserves a mention for its over-the-top riffs and overall tune as it insinuates itself into every fiber of your being, driving you to nod your head to the beat – for the true rockers out there that would be banging your head to the beat.

Six String Soldiers is what rock is all about!

Track Listing:
1. I’m Alive (feat. Pat Travers)
2. Set Me Free
3. Six String Soldiers
4. Lipstick, Smoke and Gasoline (feat. Dave Meniketti)
5. Invincible
6. Cross Your Mind
7. Touch the Ground (feat. Dickey Betts)
8. I’m Just Sayin’
9. Love, Life and Beauty
10. To the Light (feat. Rick Derringer)
11. Redemption
12. 12.21

The End for Power Balance Pavilion

(LR) Jason, Gavin, and Katie from The End’s morning show

For all you Sacramentans out there ““ Made you look!

107.9 The End held their annual EndFest at Power Balance Pavilion Friday night with Headliner and Disney alum Demi Lovato, American Idol runner up Adam Lambert, Owl City, and singing duo Karmin.

Karmin with Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan were slightly delayed due to an interview on the east coast for ABC’s Good Morning America. Flying from New York to San Francisco, then driving to Sacramento on a Friday afternoon wasn’t the best of ideas, but luckily, for everyone involved, it all worked out.

True to form the kind folks from The End were selecting a number of lucky fans to come up and sit onstage during the performers set. In attendance from 107.9 The End were the Wake Up Call’s own Katie, Jason, and Gavin, along with Dan Mason, Ashley Nickels, and the very entertaining, very talented, and all around nice guy Chris K. (we’re Facebook friends so were like really close, right Chris? ““ Chris? He must not have time to read this, after all he is a very busy man).

Karmin

Karmin – Click for more images

As Karmin kicked off their set with “Crash Your Party,” the audience erupted into screams as the mostly young female audience let loose some blood-curdling screams.

Karmin is a site to see as lead singer Heidemann came out with her pin-up girl looks, and pop-star attitude, sporting one hell of a hairdo. As she started belting out her Katy Perry sound, coupled with her blazing Nicki Manaj-like rapping, I could have sworn there were two people wrapped into this amazingly dynamic package.

Karmin went on to play “Hello,” from their new album of the same title. Of course their set wouldn’t be complete without the song that got them here, Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.” They wrapped it up with their hit single “Broken Hearted.”

Up next was Owl City, best known for their hit song “Fireflies,” they came out singing “Cave In.” I say “their” hit song, but Owl City is a one-man-band who goes by the name of Adam Young (lead vocals, programming, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitars, bass guitar, drums, percussion, vibraphone) – I know quite the list.

Adam Young

Adam Young – click for more images

Young does bring along a few friends to help him out while touring. Among them are Breanne Düren (keyboards, backing vocals), Daniel Jorgensen (guitar, vibraphone), Jasper Nephew (guitar), and Steve Goold (drums).

Owl City played a number of their newer songs including “Dementia” and “Meteor Showers.” Of course they also threw in their old standby “Fireflies.”

Adam Lambert sashayed out on stage wearing what appeared to be a lighted pair of pants, but my eyes were deceiving me. Turns out they were a very reflective and very shiny pair of pants with a tiger pattern in black and silver. I say sashayed, but he really strutted more than sashayed, but out of respect for his gayness, I thought I would say sashayed.

What? Where are you going? It was just a joke ““ Wonderful, I just lost half my readers.

Lambert kicked some major butt during the very short time he was onstage as he flawlessly performed songs from his new album including “Trespassing,” “Kickin “‘In,” and “Naked Love.”

I was quite surprised when Lambert didn’t end his set with “Whataya Want From Me,” which is clearly his biggest hit to date.

Lambert could easily have headlined this show, which may be why “they” kept him to only and handful of songs, leaving the audience wanting more. Many of the fans waited in anticipation for him to come back out and perform an encore.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert – Click for more images

After a brief set change, Demi Lovato arrived on stage as screaming fans greeted her. Many people around me had to plug their ears for fear of blowing out an ear drum or two. In fact, after a couple of songs into Lovato’s set you could see a number of audience members leaving the pavilion. Was it Lovato not being able to hold their attention, or simply the discomfort of all the screaming?

Lovato played several covers including Lil Waynes “How to Love” and Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey.” She also played her smash hit “Give Your Heart a Break.”

If you measured this concert purely on decibels, I would say the show belonged to Lovato as every girl under the roof screamed throughout her set, but I would have preferred to see more of Lamberts work, let’s face it those pants were hot!

While you’ll see a number of photos from the show, you will notice I’m lacking Lovato’s. It appears that Lovato has been so successful and in the media so much, that her management team didn’t think SacAndBeyond was worthy to shoot her portion of the show. I know ““ my therapists didn’t understand it either.

If you haven’t been to a concert put on by The End, it’s well worth it, and you never know, you could End up with some really great onstage seating!

Bret Michaels Slaughtered by Night Ranger

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels – Click for more images

Okay, maybe not Slaughtered.

It was an epic night Friday at Thunder Valley Casino Resort with Bret Michaels (Poison), Slaughter and Night Ranger providing over 4 hours of high energy entertainment.

While Bret Michaels was billed as the headliner, I do believe Night Ranger ruled the night with their intense, but fun loving, stage presence ““ more on that in a minute.

It was great to have the likes of Bret Michaels of Poison and Night Ranger’s guitarist Joel Hoekstra at Thunder Valley Casino the day after the new movie Rock of Ages premiered at theaters across the country. Music from Poison is featured in the movie and Hoekstra makes a cameo appearance. Hoekstra also stars in the Broadway hit Rock of Ages.

As over 4,000 fans filed into Thunder Valley Casino’s outdoor amphitheater, Slaughter took the stage kicking off this 4 hour extravaganza of hair flipping and high energy entertainment, with their hit song “Wildlife.”

As only true diehard fans can do in close to 100 degree weather, they rose up from the clutches of their nicely cushioned seats (ok, the bleachers ““ not so cushioned) to rock with the likes of Mark Slaughter (lead singer/guitar), Dana Strum (bass ““ makes sense with a name like Strum), Zoltan Chaney (drums), and Jeff “‘Blando’ Bland (lead guitar).

Slaughter – Click for more images

Within minutes into their set, the Slaughter crew were drenched in sweat and appeared to be totally into nothing but rocking and entertaining the crowd. Blando was the most energetic of the foursome, whipping his hair like it was 1999 and acting like he was still twenty-something.

The most violent award goes to drummer Chaney, who thrashed his drums to the point of having to pull out a wrench to fix one of his cymbals. The man was an animal!

While the entire crowd wasn’t on their feet during Slaughters performance, you could see them nodding their heads, pumping their fists, and just plain rocking out.

In between sets actor, stuntman, producer, director, and all around nice guy, Branscombe Richmond came out to joke around with the crowd and throw t-shirts at unsuspecting audience members.

Night Ranger

Night Ranger – Click for more images

As Night Ranger stormed the stage it was complete bedlam on stage and off, with Hoekstra immediately flipping his blonde locs of hair while ripping away at his guitar, while off stage the entire audience jumped to their feet.

Starting their set with “Lay it on Me,” founding members Jack Blades (bass) and Brad Gillis (guitar), along with Hoekstra were going back and forth playing off of each other. Hoekstra and Gillis were the most animated of the three, as they were making faces at each other and constantly engaging the audience.

Drummer and founding member Kelly Keagy joined in the fun too, as Hoekstra, Gillis, and Blades all would work their way to Keagy.

As they played through hits like “Sing Me Away,” “Touch of Madness,” “Hearts Away,” and of course “Sister Christian,” they continued to interact with the crowd and each other. Hoekstra had a grin on his face almost the entire set, as did Blades and Gillis.

Jack Blades

Jack Blades – Click for more images

Blades announced to the crowd that Gillis was celebrating his 55th birthday as he ribbed Gillis most of the night.

Night Ranger sounds just like they did years ago and they’ve maintained their high level of energy throughout the years. The addition of Hoekstra has added another, more theatrical, dynamic to their performances.

Prior to Michaels making his way on stage Richmond reminded everyone about Michaels ongoing battle with diabetes and how important it was to take care of yourself and get checkups on a regular basis.

It was a strange start as someone from Michael’s team came out and made some announcements regarding merchandise (nothing new here), but then after he yelled;

“The Party Starts Now!”

The audience ended up waiting for another 10 minutes before Michaels made it out on stage.

Sounding a bit off with Poison’s hit “Talk Dirty With Me,” Michaels had the crowd eating out of his hand. Wearing his signature bandana and long hair (come on! It’s gotta be a wig.) Michaels worked the audience like a true entertainer.

Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels – Click for more images

Thanking the audience for making the VH1 reality show “Rock of Love” the number 1 show on VH1 3 years running, Michaels started in with the theme song for the show, “Go That Far.”

Sounding much better after a few songs Michaels continued with a number of cover songs including Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” Loggins and Messina’s “Your Mamma Don’t Dance,” and  Kiss’ “Rock and Roll All Nite,” just to name a few.

He peppered in some Poison songs such as “Something to Believe in,” “Unskinny Bop,” and “Look What the Cat Dragged in”

While Michaels wasn’t Slaughtered by Night Ranger, I place him at a close second due to the number Poison hits he left on the shelf. Talking to a number of people after the show, they all agreed that Night Ranger won the night. However, all were in complete agreement that Michaels put on a high energy and entertaining show – so no, he wasn’t Slaughtered.

 

Coming to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series on June 29th is Trace Adkins and June 30th is Gabriel Iglesias. Read all about Fluffy’s last visit to Thunder Valley Casino.

Mahalo Thunder Valley Casino Resort

Henry Kapono

Henry Kapono – Click for more images

Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s Pano Hall was transformed into its very own Hawaiian island Saturday as Henry Kapono with guests Robi Kahakalau (aka Sistah/Sister Robi) and Jeff Rasmussen performed to a packed island.

First off were Sister Robi and Jeff Rasmussen singing a couple of Robi’s past hits. Her sound is a mix of Hawaiian and reggae, with a touch of jazz. It was obvious there was a large contingent of Robi fans in the audience as they cheered at the beginning of each song.

The standout song from their set was Fleetwood Mac’s “Leather and Lace,” with Rasmussen stealing the show. As Robi sang the first part beautifully, Rasmussen kicked it up a notch when he jumped in for the chorus. His voice was superb earning him a round of applause as soon as he started singing the chorus.

During a brief set change emcee for the evening, actor, and musician Branscombe Richmond chatted up the audience, while throwing out signed t-shirts, CD’s and other items to the audience.

Branscombe Richmond

Branscombe Richmond

Robi Kahakalau

Jeff Rasmussen and Sister Robi – Click for more images

Richmond was quite the comedian as he engaged various audience members, asking them what high school they graduated from. He made a request a couple of times for someone to come up and sing, which several people gladly did ““ and shouldn’t have. He definitely left the crowd wanting more.

Prior to Kapono taking the stage the band began playing his upbeat “Take Me to the Islands,” starting with an impressive bongo solo. As he made his way to center stage the crowd erupted into cheers, as he started strumming his guitar.

Right from the start you could hear shades of Bob Marley, John Lennon and Bob Dylan as he continued with “We are Friends” and “Kuu Home O Kahaluu .”

Henry Kapono

Click for more images

 

 

Kapono put on a great show, with Sister Robi joining in to assist. He has a great sound and while you can hear the Hawaiian influence in his music, his music is more than that. He adds just the right mix of jazz, blues, and folk, as he mesmerizes the listener.

If you haven’t had a chance to take in an Hawaiian show you’ll have another chance in October as Melveen Leed and Nohelani Cypriano with Waipuna and Bolo will be appearing at Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

Hanep sa WOW! Filipino Music Festival

Jae Buensuceso

Jae Buensuceso – click for more images

Saturday was quite the lineup at Thunder Valley Casino Resort with a Filipino Festival loaded with talent, and to end the evening, a good ole fashion boxing match between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and American Timothy Bradley.

Who knew that people would be talking about Pacquiao vs. Bradley  long after the fight. And what was up with all that wind!?

Jae Buensuceso, a Pinoy Pop Superstar finalist, started the show as the winds pounded the stage. She did a valiant job, as did all the performers coming out on stage, as she tried to keep it together.

Band members didn’t fare so well. Stagehands could be seen running for sheet music as the wind whipped the sheets from their music stands. After they completed a piece they would wad them into a ball and toss them.

Music and Magic

Music and Magic – Click for more images

Music & Magic with Fe Delos Reyes, Eva Caparas, and Jet Montelibano provided some comic relief with a little music, as they bantered back and forth with each other.

Legaci, a Filipino R&B group out of the bay area, was up next and really kicked it into gear. These kids have some major talent and people have taken notice. Legaci just finished touring with Justin Bieber in his My World Tour, providing backup vocals. Bieber also provided them a spot in the setlist giving them some alone time with the audience ““ How cool is that.

Legaci

Legaci – Click for more images

Lani Misalucha, the “‘New Siren of the Strip,’ as in the Las Vegas strip was up next. Having long hair Misalucha was in a constant battle with the winds as her hair whipped about her face.

Misalucha started performing on the Las Vegas strip in 2004. She can now be seen at the Waikiki Hilton Hotel in Hawaii performing in Return to Paradise.

Piolo Pascual

Piolo Pascual – Click for more images

Piolo Pascual came out on stage as hundreds of ladies crowded the stage. Obviously a Filipino heart throb, Pascual had the ladies screaming his entire set. I can’t recall what he sounded like ““ come to think of it, I don’t think I heard a thing. There was too much screaming!

 

The Pop Diva of the Philippines, Kuh Ledesma, headlined the show. While Ledesma may not have had hundreds of women screaming, she definitely had a large contingent of fans in the audience.

After the show the Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight went the full 12 rounds with a controversial split decision, in favor of Bradley. The World Boxing Organization (WBO) got into the fight too. Weighing in on the decision, the WBO sided with Pacquiao, but say they cannot overturn the results. Instead, they can force the two to fight a rematch, whether or not they want to.

 

That was One Sorry Concert at PBP!

LMFAO - Click for more images

Matthew Koma - Click for more images

LMFAO brought their Sorry for Party Rocking Tour to Power Balance Pavilion on Wednesday, playing to 7,000 adoring fans, most dressed in neon green and yellow, with some donning an afro wig (shoot – can I say afro?).

Before LMFAO came out to party rock, there were several starters on tap. Leading off the charge was Matthew Koma, who didn’t do it for me. Let’s just say by the time he was done, I was in a coma (that’s a joke. I really wasn’t in a coma). Apparently he’s an American Idol fan, as he add some Phil Phillip type mannerisms during parts of  his performance.

Eva Simons - Click for more images

Up to bat next was the very sexy Eva Simons who kicked some major butt. The Rhianna look-alike was energetic, sounded great, and looked even better! She sang several songs including her hit “Take Over Control” and her latest release “I Don’t Like You.” Expect to see bigger and better thing for Simons.

DJ Sidney Sampson brought his mixing skills as he weaved some great dance beats together, bringing much of the audience to their feet.

FM - Click for more images

If anyone’s seen Far East Movement (aka FM) before, you’ll understand what I mean when I say, they jumped up on stage. This crew has some wicked high energy and some real catchy tunes such as “Like a G6″ and “Round Round.”

With DJ Virman providing much of the tunes and Kev Nish providing lead vocals, FM energized the crowd in preparation for LMFAO as they bounce, hopped, skipped, and jumped on every inch of the stage. This included J-Splif and Prohgress who provided backup vocals and some entertaining moves.

In preparation for LMFAO’s appearance, several young ladies came out and threw flashing styrofoam glow-sticks to the audience. As I sat back and watched the audience you could see a sea of lime green as fans prepared themselves to party rock.

RedFoo - Click for more images

 

Prior to LMFAO making their appearance, a man dressed in the wildest glowing outfit sang  “Rocking the Beat” as the Quest dance crew did their thing. Berry Gordy’s son RedFoo and grandson SkyBlu (RedFoo is SkyBlu’s uncle) arrived on stage during “Rock the Beat” at the top of a two tiered stage, making for quite an entrance.

Dressed in their signature attire they started with “Sorry For Party Rocking” right out of the chute, causing the crowd to go absolutely crazy. As they were flying around the stage several members of their crew started throwing out beach balls, inflatable zebra’s, and palm trees.

There were several costume changes throughout the show, most notable was during “Put That A$$ to Work,” when several members of the crew came out in the most outrageous workout clothes imaginable. And yes, they were neon, bright, and way too revealing.

If you don’t like their music, don’t let that stop you from going to see a live performance. These two know how-to keep an audience totally engaged and completely entertained. It’s nothing but pure fun with a whole lotta neon – let’s not forget about the inflatable toys.

 

 

 

 

Bad Moon Rising Over Thunder Valley Casino

Creedence Clearwater Revisited

Creedence Clearwater Revisited - Click for more imags

With the recent annular eclipse of the sun, the lunar eclipse of the moon, and mercury working its way into yet another retrograde (just to mess things up),  it’s only fitting that Creedence Clearwater Revisited (CCR) performed their hit song “Bad Moon Rising,” at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday night.

Local radio personality Kat Maudru, with FM 96.9 the Eagle, introduced the band after she went through the long list of concerts coming to Thunder Valley (see below).

Kat Madru with 96.9 the Eagle

Storming the stage armed with their instruments and a long list of hits, CCR kicked the evening off with “Born on the Bayou” and “Green River,” as 4,500 screaming fans joined in.

Leading into their third song, original member, Stu Cook gave a shout out to Lodi, letting everyone know the town was still special to them after all these years. Then they started playing ““ you guessed it – “Lodi.”

In between songs Cook introduced the band members, singling out original band member, 67 year old, Doug “‘Cosmo’ Clifford, who he’s been performing with for 50 years.  Cosmo jumped up behind his drum set and ran around the stage, looking like quite the athlete, as he made his way center stage with Cook.

Cosmo - Click for more images

Cosmo talked about how they met back in El Cerrito High 54 years ago. As he was wrapping up he added;

“There are billions of dreams to choose from, so if you’re a dreamer you know what I mean. If you’re not it’d be a good idea to start looking because dreams are about hope and hope is a good thing to have.”

Amen.

As the band continued playing hits like “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Special,” I could hear audience members all around singing the lyrics. It didn’t matter where they were ““ standing in line for drinks, dancing in the aisle, even in the bathrooms (yes that was me).

The Original group, Creedence Clearwater Revival, had their hay day during the late 60’s and early 70’s with original band members John Fogerty (lead singer/guitar), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar), Stu Cook (bass), and Doug “‘Cosmo’ Clifford (drums). The band broke up in 1972 with each of the band members going their separate ways. In 1990 Tom Fogerty passed away.

Stu Cook - Click for more images

Surviving band members Cook and Cosmo got back together in 1995 to form Creedence Clearwater Revisited with new members Kurt Griffey (lead guitar), Steve “The Capitan” Gunner (guitar/keyboard/harmonica), and John “Bulldog” Tristao (lead singer). CCR now plays up to 100 concerts a year.

I have to admit I was reluctant to attend a CCR concert due to the lack of John Fogerty and his unique vocals, but the similarities between Tristao and John Fogerty’s voice is enough to give you the goosies – Yes I said goosies. However, it was strange listening to Fogerty’s voice come out of this huge tattooed biker dude. Regardless, it was simply an amazing show.

John 'Bulldog' Tristao

Griffey spent the majority of his time center stage pounding out flawless riffs lending to the original sounds of CCR.

If you haven’t been to a concert at Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert Series, you should seriously consider it. They have a new and improved layout with great seating no matter where you sit, bars, and great entertainment on tap ““ and some beer.

 

 

Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert lineup:

Super 70″²s Soul Jam Friday, June 8 ““ 7:00 pm
Filipino Entertainment Festival Saturday, June 9 ““ 5:00 pm
Brett Michaels w/Night Ranger and Slaughter Friday, June 15 ““ 7:00 pm
Trace Adkins Friday, June 29 ““ 7:30 pm
Gabriel Iglesias (aka Fluffy) Saturday, June 30 ““ 8:00 pm
Foreigner Friday, July 6 ““ 8:00 pm
Steve Miller Band Friday, July 13 ““ 8:00 pm
Earth Wind and Fire Saturday, July 14 ““ 8:00 pm
Creed Friday, August 3 ““ 7:30
Jeff Dunham (aka Jeff fa fa Dun Ham) Saturday, August 4 ““ 8:00 pm
Smokey Robinson Saturday, August 11 ““ 8:00 pm
ZZ Top Friday, August 17 ““ 8:00 pm
Diana Krall Saturday, Aug. 18 ““ 8:00 pm
REO Speedwagon  Saturday August 25 ““ 8:00 pm
Styx  Thursday, September 6 ““ 8:00 pm
Ramon Ayala Saturday, September 15 ““ 8:00 pm

 

La Original Banda El Limon

Banda El Limon - Click for more images

La Original Banda El Limon was kicking it old school ““ Mexican style – at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday.

The always sexy Carmen Jara opened for Banda El Limon in Thunder Valley Casino’s outdoor amphitheater for the second concert of the Summer Concert Series. While I don’t speak Spanish, I do appreciate good music, and thought Jara was doing a fantastic job. However, the crowd just wasn’t getting into her performance.

Jara was doing everything she could to work up the crowd. She unsuccessfully tried getting the crowd on their feet and clapping to the beat of the music.

Jara was popular in the 90’s and became known as a member of the new Mexican folklore. Performing in Tijuana as a child she moved to Mexico City at the age of 16 to further her career in music.

Carmen Jara

After her debut album Herencia, she signed on with Fonovisa, debuting with La Mujer…El Nuevo Folklore de Mexico and 1994’s Y Tú Te Quedas. She really came into her own in 1996 with the release of Mujer Enamorada, followed by Con Sentimiento in 1997.

Once La Original Banda El Limon took the stage the energy in the audience completely changed. As they went from song to song with horns blaring, including a gargantuan tuba, audience members were dancing in the aisles and at their seats.

The 17 member band put on a high energy show from start to finish. They were well choreographed and well-polished with every band member dressed in the same red suit.

Original Banda el Limón is one of the oldest groups in contemporary Mexican banda. Originating in the 60’s and led by clarinetist Salvador Lizarraga Sánchez, the 17-member band has featured many classic vocalists during its history, including Julio Preciado, José Ángel Ledesma (“El Coyote”), Jorge Cordero, Luis Antonio López (“El Mimoso”), and Nico Flores.

Throughout their history, the group has balanced old and new music with a traditional sound. There were the first banda artists to amplify and synthesize their sound.

I was not able to get all of the band member’s names, but below is a list of the ones I did get.

Gotta Love That Tuba!

Juan Barbosa Lizarraga

Alberto “Zapatitos”

Jorgito

Andrey Lizarraga

Jorge Lizarraga “EL MAYA”

Abraham Rodriguez “Tejillas”

Eduardo Osuna “TAPON”

Ruben Lizarraga

Juan Luis “EL TROSO”

Cesar Ochoa “EL SUPER”

Francisco Lizarraga “Panchito”

Luis Antonio “Tonio”

Agustin Torres

Carlos Lizarraga

Cesar Ochoa

Catch Ramon Ayala on Saturday, September 15th, at Thunder Valley Casino Resort. Last years show sold-out so get your tickets early.

A Little Bit of Jazz and a Whole Lotta Funk

Maceo Parker - Click for more images

Maceo Parker and the tightest little funk orchestra on earth performed to a not so stellar crowd at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday.

Parker, best known for his work with James Brown in the 60’s, as well as with George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic in the 70’s, has since come into his own and  has been touring under his own name since the 90’s.

Prior to Parker slapping down some funk, Fresno native Jeanette Harris took the audience on a magical ride of silky smooth jazz, with a bit of attitude. Starting off with her single “You Can Dance,” from her ingeniously titled album Saxified, Harris sounded more like a headliner than an opener.

Not disappointing, Harris continued the journey with a little bit of jazz and a dash of funk with “Down Wit’ It.” As she weaved her way through “All I Do” and “Take Me There,” I was beginning to wonder if Parker should have had someone else open for him. The band was flawless, including her brother Michael who was on the drums, Robin Bramlett (bass) and Aaron Thompson (keyboards).

Prior to Parker making it onto the stage, his manager introduced each of the members of the band while they played “Funky Fiesta!” Members included Will Boulware (keyboards), Rodney “Skeet” Curtis (bass), Bruno Speight (guitar), and Marcus Parker (drums).

Once Parker hit the stage it was obvious why he was headlining. This guy was bursting at the seams with funk, as his whole body was shaking to the beat, or maybe he just had to go. You know it happens to the best of us. (Ok already! It was a joke ““ back-off.)

Jeanette Harris - Click for more images

Parker kicked the set off with a very funkalicious version of “Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag,” providing the band a chance to show off their seamless and funky tones.

As Parker transitioned from one song to the next, the band kept up their funky beat. Most noteable was bass player Speight pounding out one bass note after another, adding to the musical tension between songs.

At one point Parker explained how a lot of people refer to his band as a jazz band. He led the audience through a brief jazz session with keyboardist Boulware as Parker played sax (It would have been a great opportunity to bring out Harris). Once he was satisfied everyone understood what jazz sounded like, he kicked it into funk mode with “Make it Funky,” complete with horns ““ gotta love them horns!

It was disappointing to see such a sparse crowd at Pano Hall while two very talented musicians kicked some serious butt. However, the crowd made up for it in energy and enthusiasm as they clapped and hooted throughout the evening.

Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s summer concert season kicks off Friday May 18th at 8:00 p.m. with Tesla. Check out there complete schedule at http://thundervalleycasino.com/entertainment

 

 

Van Halen 2012 Tour

Van Halen recently released their first new album in fifteen years, Different Kind of Truth, with front man David Lee Roth.

Their initial single from the album “Tattoo“ was met with mixed reviews:

“Crappy un-imaginative song, Crappy un-imaginative video………..This sucks! I really was hoping to like what I heard but I’m pretty let down that this is the best they could come up with. Van Halen 4?”

“it’s almost immediately forgettable regardless of a solid Eddie Van Halen guitar solo, but it’s otherwise bathroom-break material for the upcoming tour.”

When they released their new album fans started to change their tune. While the album continues to get some mixed reviews, it continues to gain ground. As of this week Different Kind of Truth is #2 on the Mainstream Rock charts, second to Black Keys.

Some of the positive feedback:

“After a couple of months since this album came out, I can’t believe how incredible it really is.”

“This album has truley (sic) come at a time in which “Rock and Roll” was really dead! As a singer in a band, trying to find modern rock n roll that could actually be sang live was almost impossible! The over processed music today is just…fake, uninspiring and talentless. “A Different Kind of Truth” is a roll down the window and turn it up kind of album.”

Putting aside all the reviews, you can judge for yourself as Van Halen kicks off their Van Halen 2012 Tour starting this month.

The original dates skipped Sacramento entirely, but they will be coming through on a later leg of their tour on August 25th at Power Balance Pavilion.

Be there – then decide.

It’ll be a trip seeing David Lee Roth bouncing around the stage regardless!

Free counters!