entertainers

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.

 

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

 

Blame Sally DVD Release at Harlows

Blame Sally at KVIE Studios – Click for more images

Award winning Blame Sally will be performing at Harlow’s in Sacramento on Sunday September 9th at 7:00 p.m.

Blame Sally brings you everything from stompboxes to fiddles, as they weave their magic in a tapestry of musical delight. And don’t for a minute think of them as a folk band as they add a little bit of rock, and a whole lotta heart into each and every performance, blending the different genres into a melodic work of art.

Their live performances are more than just a musical journey, as they banter back and forth with each other in between songs as only true friends can do, making for a very entertaining evening.

Their most recent Sacramento appearance brought droves of fans from the San Francisco Bay Area to the KVIE studios in Sacramento to record an intimate concert that would later be used to raise money for public television. You can get more information regarding the CD/DVD at KVIE.com, as well as donate and receive free tickets to their upcoming show at Harlow’s where they will be releasing the KVIE CD/DVD to the public.

Monica Pasqual

Winning top honors for “Big Big Red,” “Wide Open Spaces,” and “Bird in Hand,” as voted by fans in the Independent Music Awards, their popularity continues to soar as Blame Sally is quickly becoming a worldwide sensation. They are currently touring across the country and across the pond with upcoming stops in the UK and Ireland.

I’d be remorse if I didn’t mention that band member Monica Pasqual also won an Independent Music Award for Best Concept Album on This Cold Desire.

So who is Blame Sally?

Blame Sally is made up of four women, who decided to get together to play a little music in their spare time with no dreams of grandeur and no expectations, simply enjoying each other’s company while playing a little music.

Jeri Jones and Renee Harcourt

Band members include Pam Delgado (percussions), Renee Harcourt (guitar/bass), Jeri Jones (guitar/bass) and Monica Pasqual (piano/accordion) – I know, not a Sally in the lot!

I had a chance to ask Monica some questions:

SacAndBeyond – You originally got together as a group to hang out and have some fun. At what point did you realize there was something special happening?

Monica – Monica – We realized we had something special the first time we got together.  It was so fun and sounded so good – and that was the reason we really wanted to protect it and make sure that we were doing it for the right reason.  We had all pursued “careers” in music and had gotten tired of trying so hard to make it.  We loved playing together and we wanted to keep it that way, so we sort of dedicated ourselves to the idea of making great music and having fun together.

Sac- Do you have any regrets not pursuing your musical talents earlier in your careers?

Pam Delgado

Monica – We actually had all pursued music to varying degrees when we were younger.  I started playing piano very young and thought I would have a career in classical piano.  I was a professional dance accompanist and also composed for choreographers and then started writing songs and singing in my late 20s. I put out three solo albums before starting to play in Blame Sally.  I was definitely pursuing music, so it’s been sweet to finally feel the payoff of lots of years of work!

Sac – Do you have any advice for the many musicians with day jobs?

Monica – I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice – but I can say this much:  There are no guarantees, no matter what you do.  I got a lot of advice from family and friends to focus on a more stable career and in some ways I’m sure they were right.  Making money as a musician is not easy – and honestly, if the aim is to make money and get famous, it’s probably not the right career for you.  But If you are truly passionate about music, it doesn’t really matter what advice you get from other people – you find a way to do it, whether you have to keep a day job or not.  Most musicians and artists I know have hobbled together a life and career that includes “straight jobs” and their art – sometimes leaning towards one or the other full time.

Sac – Now that you are on the road so much, are you still able to take the time to just hang out and have a good time?

Monica – The truth is that sometimes when I get home from being on the road I just really need to be by myself for a while.  But there is a point where that retreat becomes habitual and needs to be broken, connections with friends and loved ones have to happen again.  It is incredibly important to check out completely from the band and the business of the band in order to be able to reconnect to it with energy and passion.  At least that’s the way it works for me!

Sac – In an effort to show women across the country that they can make a difference, you recorded a DVD to help out public television and spread the word. What did that mean to you and do you believe it has helped get the message out.

Monica – For some reason it seems like almost everything we do as a band has ended up being a message – and we’re okay with that.  I think that we represent the exception to a lot of rules that people accept but don’t really believe in.  We are 4 women who have chosen to work together for a common goal, we nurture each other and we manage to work together really collaboratively.  The fact that we are having our first real public success at our age is unusual – but it shouldn’t be.  For some reason people think that performers (particularly female performers) are more relevant when they are extremely young – but like people in any other career, there are incredible gifts that come from experience and time.  We tell a different story then a 20 year old would tell, and I think that we tell it in a fresh way that has nothing to do with “nostalgia”.

Regarding PBS – we believe that it will be a great opportunity to connect with more people who will resonate with that message.  The program is just starting to be aired now, so it remains to be seen.  We hope that it will be another mutually supportive relationship.

Sac – What is your most memorable moment on the road?

Monica – I’m having a hard time finding one – but I think we’ve all found it pretty incredible to be touring in Europe lately.  We have had the chance to travel in a way that is totally unique – instead of seeing the world from a tourist’s perspective we have been totally welcomed inside the living rooms of new friends who are eager to share their lives and perspectives, and are super interested in us, too.  It’s almost like being an ambassador – it’s one thing I never expected to experience.

Sac – As the recently announced winners of the Independent Music Awards for three separate categories, how does that feel and what does it mean to you as a band?

Monica – It’s great to be acknowledged for this.  It’s interesting that we were chosen in three different categories that really represent some of the variety that we encompass.  With three lead singers and writers in the band – we sometimes find it difficult to concisely categorize what we do.   It’s particularly sweet that we won all categories we were finalists in (including two more for my solo work) in the popular voting part of this.  It’s good to know we resonate with the people who actually go out and listen to music.

 

Legends of Soul – Playing it Old School

The Dramatics - Played by James Hill, Stan Lockwood, Rodney James, Douglas Stepney, and Chase Ruffin

The Legends of Soul Tribute Show is a group of individuals who impersonate ““ well ““ legends of soul.

This very talented group of guys and gals, put on nothing short of a true Las Vegas style show, with each impersonator in full character during their entire set, and many performers playing multiple characters.

As droves of young and old crowded into Thunder Valley Casino Resort‘s Pano Hall on Saturday, radio personality, and the evenings emcee Nick Harper thanked everyone for coming out to the show, as well as Thunder Valley Casino for providing such a great venue.

The Legends of Soul kicked off their 2+ hour extravaganza with the legendary Sam Cooke played by Elijah Sterling (Get it? Legends of Soul ““ legendary Sam Cooke. I know, it cracked me up too.) Cooke dressed in a powder blue suit with matching hat, sang “Cupid” and “Twist the Night Away,” easily two of Cooke’s greatest hits from the early “’60s.

Marvin Gaye - Played by Chase Ruffin - Click for more images

Following Cooke was Jackie Wilson, played by John Hampton. Wilson was known as Mr. Excitement due to his dynamic dance moves while onstage. Hampton didn’t disappoint as he took the stage by storm, dancing much like Wilson. Singing “You Keep Lifting Me Higher” and “Baby Workout,” Hampton delivered a high energy performance.

Wilson Pickett, played by Dwayne Thompson, delivered a soulful performance of “Mustang Sally,” followed by “In the Midnight Hour,” two of Pickett’s biggest hits.

The Legends of Soul wouldn’t be complete without the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, played by Samantha Richardson. A gentleman, accompanying Franklin on stage, removed a white fur she had draped around her neck and left the stage as she belted out “Chains of Fools” and “Rock Steady.” Franklin finished off her set with an extremely well done rendition of “Respect.”

The O’Jays arrived on stage singing “Love Train” and “Back Stabbers.” The trio was in perfect synchronization their entire set and sounded eerily familiar to the original O’Jays.

The Stylistics and The Dramatics also performed later in the show. Both groups performed flawlessly while they danced in-step with each other, lending to their credible performance.

Needing no introduction due to the silky tone and song choice, Lou Rawls, played by Russell Branch, came out singing “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” followed by “Lady Love.” I believe I saw a woman or two faint, he was that good.

Al Green - Played by Lionel Burns - Click for more images

So the show continued with one legend after another.  Some audience members were lost in the moment, as I’m sure they were thinking back to those long forgotten memories, or maybe they were just dosing ,as some folks in the crowd were just a tad on the old side.

Other stars that shared the stage were Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Patti Labelle, and Stevie Wonder.

Most notable was John Hampton coming out as Stevie Wonder. Lending to the credible performance was Producer Rudolph Peter’s as he guided Wonder to his keyboard, taking Wonder’s hand and guiding it to the keyboard and microphone to ensure Wonder knew where they were. Complete with the sound of Wonder, Hampton’s performance included all the mannerisms of the legend.

Every performer did an excellent job staying in character and singing just like the real thing. The real standouts of the show, and mostly forgotten in the background, was the band, as they played a wide variety of hits throughout the night.

Stevie Wonder - Played by John Hampton - Click for more images

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this group of talented individuals performing in Las Vegas at some point in the future. They pack in the people, they love what they do, and they do it well.

Complete Cast in order of Appearance:

Master of Ceremony:  Nicholas Harper
Sam Cooke: Elijah Sterling
Jackie Wilson ““ John Hampton
Wilson Pickett: Dwayne Thompson
Aretha Franklin: Samantha Richardson. Background Dee Johnson and Dewanna Slaughter
The O’Jays:  Charles Boomer, David Lige, and Lionel Burns
Lou Rawls:  Russell Branch
Curtis Mayfield:  Elijah Sterling
Marvin Gaye: Chase Ruffin
Al Green:  Lionel Burns
The Dramatics: James Hill, Stan Lockwood, Rodney James, Douglas Stepney, and Chase Ruffin
Patti Labelle: Dee Johnson ,background – Samantha Richardson, and Dewanna Slaughter
Stevie Wonder: John Hampton
The Stylistics: Ralph Greene (lead vocals), background- Elijah Sterling, Rodney James, and David Lige
Michael Jackson: Thurman Conners
Band:   (Lead Guitar) Richard Cravalho, (Drummer) Rich Aguon, (Bass Guitar) Darrel Broadnax, (Keyboard Left) Archie White, (Keyoard Right) Earnest Nation, and (Congo) Glen Austin
Producer: Rudolph Peters

 

 

Jingle Bells Rock Thunder Valley

Eddie Money and Mickey Thomas

Sixty-two-year-old veteran rocker Eddie Money brought his Jingle Bell Rock tour to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Thursday. Scheduled to appear was former Foreigner frontman Lou Gramm and former Jefferson Starship lead singer Mickey Thomas.

The day before their performance at Thunder Valley, it was announced that Gramm would not be performing for the remaining tour due to acute laryngitis, so Gramm was not in attendance.

As the concert kicked off with Money and Thomas taking the stage, the audience immediately started chanting, “Lou! Lou! Lou!” Money responded by explaining the situation and said they had added a couple of songs to their setlist to make up for the missing Gramm. This was followed by more than a few polite boos ““ is there really such a thing as a polite boo?

Money exited stage left while Thomas started singing “Jane.” Thomas wore a striped shirt with a loosely worn red Christmas tie, while he banged out “Sara,” “We Built This City,” “Nothings Going to Stop Us Now.” Thomas ended his set with “It’s Christmas Time Pretty Baby,” singing in the style of Elvis Presley.

The 62-year-old Thomas’ vocals really stood out throughout his set, sounding just as good as he did all those years ago, in particular when he sang Annie Lennox’s “Winter Wonderland.”

Mickey Thomas - Click for more images

Backing Thomas was Money’s regular crew consisting of longtime band members Tommy Girvin (lead guitar) and Glenn Symmonds (drummer), with more recent additions Lee Beverly (bass) and Chris Groves (keyboards).

Following Thomas, Money came out singing “Baby Hold On” and “I Wanna Go Back.”  As Money sang, he shuffled back and forth across the stage and even pulled out the saxophone to show everyone he can still play.

Rounding out the show, Money and Thomas took the stage together singing “Jingle Bell Rock” and a rocking version of “Jingle Bells.” For their encore they performed John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”

While Money’s vocals were not as pristine as Thomas’, he made up for it with his overall stage presence, sense of humor and kindness toward the audience, reaching out to shake hands with a few people in the front row.

Offstage, Money is extremely generous and cordial to all those around him, introducing himself to anyone standing near. His generosity doesn’t stop there.

Eddie Money - Click for more images

Money is a strong supporter of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which helps support families of military personnel lost in service to our nation and for severely wounded service members and veterans.

Money is hoping fans will help bring some holiday cheer to heroic members of the armed forces by going to eddiemoney.com and purchasing his single “One More Soldier Coming Home.” All the proceeds will go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

The Jingle Bell Rock tour was originally started by Money. This past summer, Money performed at a benefit in a Los Angeles club where Gramm and Thomas also appeared. After some discussion they decided to work with Money and tour with him in the Jingle Bell Rock tour.

While this was Money’s show and he was the headliner, Gramm’s absence was a big disappointment for many of the fans in the audience. Especially after Foreigner just came through the area a couple of months ago with their new frontman Kelly Hansen leading the charge. Hansen did an awesome job and put on a high energy show ““ check out my review. I for one, was hoping to see the real deal – maybe next year.

Yes, the audience booed after they realized Lou wasn’t going to be there, but these diehard fans enjoyed the show nonetheless. It’s these types of fans that keep the old-school bands going. And it’s these types of bands that keep the old people going ““ and a little help from Geritol.

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Air Supply in Demand at Thunder Valley

Click for more images

Wow. What the hell happened out at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday night?

It seems soft rock group Air Supply, playing to a packed house of lovesick fans, actually came out and rocked the house.

I know. I still don’t believe it, but it’s all true! It was bedlam, I tell you.

Here I Am thinking Sweet Dreams. What are the Chances I would find myself in a Sanctuary where Me Like You can feel The Power of LoveEverywhere, only to have a real rock concert break out. Seriously!?

Air Supply started out innocently enough with “Even the Nights are Better,” and then segueing into “Every Woman in the World.”

OK so far, but as veteran performers Russell Hitchcock (lead singer) and Graham Russell (lead guitar) weaved their hits through the guise of soft rock, I should have noticed the younger band members standing at the ready. That should have been my first clue.

CJ Burton - Click for more images

The newest members to the band could have been playing for Papa Roach the way they were attacking their instruments, running and jumping around the stage. This should have been my second clue.

Jonni Lightfoot (bass guitar), CJ Burton (drums), Amir Efrat (keyboards) and Aaron McLain (guitar), all kicked out some serious tunes.

As the band made their way through their repertoire, the crowd started to react more and more with every hit played, but that all changed when Russell went acoustic with their new song, “Everywhere.” Just prior to the song, Russell requested that some audience members crowd down on the floor in front of him, having them sit on the floor.

While everyone was gathering around Russell, he explained how he enjoys sitting on his balcony at home and looking off into the mountains. He pointed to the spotlight, saying it represents the sun going down, and you all are the mountains.

“This song is about how love is all around us, and it’s called “‘Everywhere,'” he said.

Now I know you’re asking yourself, how is this not soft rock? Well, it is, but it’s really rocking in a Tesla/Eric Clapton unplugged kind of way.

Russell Hitchcock - Click for more images

But really the trick here is how Air Supply corralled a large portion of the audience to the very front of the stage and between the aisles. As soon as Russell was done with “Everywhere,” the band struck up “The One that You Love,” and Hitchcock headed out into the sea of madness, followed by Russell on guitar, neither of them missing a beat. That’s when they begin working the crowd into a complete frenzy.

Hitchcock was handing out hugs and kisses as he made his way up one aisle and down another. Women were grabbing at him as his crew fought to keep them at bay. Once they made their way back onstage, it was too late for the audience. They were under Air Supply’s spell, swaying to the music, with the periodic fan jumping up to grab Russell as he came close to the edge of the stage.

For their encore they played “Me Like You” and “All Out of Love.” It was quite obvious the crowd was not ready to leave, and there could only have been a handful of people who left before the end of the show.

I hate to say it, but Air Supply is a master of entertainment. There, I said it.

I like Air Supply.

Setlist:

Even the Nights are Better
Every Woman in the World
Sweet Dreams
Here I Am
Chances
Sanctuary
Power of Love
Everywhere -accoustical
The One That You Love
Lost in Love
Dance with Me
Making Love Out of Nothing at All

Encore
Me Like You
All Out of Love

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