performer

Forrest Day to open for Flobots at Ace of Spades

Forrest Day – Gotta love the album cover!

Flobots, Forrest Day, and Astronautalis will make their way to Ace of Spades in Sacramento on September 18th at 7:00 pm.

The Flobots will be touring to promote their new album The Circle in the Square, starting September 14th! However, the big news is San Francisco Bay Area sensation Forrest Day will be opening for the Flobots on the western leg of their tour, along with Astronautalis.

Forrest Day has been accused of sounding a lot like rock, jazz, reggae, and even rap, as he passionately sings about everyday issues. His meticulously crafted tunes will have your toe tapping, your head bobbing, and your mind reeling as he lays out life’s struggles in a high energy show.

Forrest Day is coming off of a highly successful release of their self-titled debut album, Forrest Day. With a second album in the works, fans may get a sneak peak of what to expect when they play Ace of Spades.

You won’t want to miss this exciting night, and trust me when I say that you’ll walk away from the show talking about Forrest Day and the meaning of life, or you’ll just be scratching your head asking yourself, ‘What just happened in there?’ Either way it’s bound to be one hell of an experience.

Kooling Down at Sunrise MarketPlace

Kool and the Gang – Click for more images

Kool & the Gang, along with fellow R&B legends The Commodores, played to a very enthusiastic crowd of close to 2,000 fans Saturday night at Sunrise MarketPlace’s Sunrise at Night Concert Series.

This is the first year with an expanded venue at Sunrise MarketPlace, and my first time visiting. It was spacious with beer, wine, and Margaritas available along with various food choices such as hotdogs. Depending on where you were seated, you could be lazy and have a waiter/waitress get your drinks.

I found the sound lacking on the side bleachers, but still pretty loud. If you’re one of those purists who must have their sound just right, then you may want to get your tickets for the center area.

There really isn’t a bad seat in the house with a great view from pretty much any seat in the amphitheater. There are a few seats around the spotlights that may feel “cramped” if you are sitting right next to the platform, but that area is general admission and you can sit where you want – so don’t sit next to the lights, unless you think that’s Kool.

Sunrise at Night Concert Series

Many amphitheaters have monitors, or big projector screens for the cheap seats, but with such a small footprint fans didn’t have a problem seeing the action onstage.

Ok enough about the venue and on to the action, and there was plenty of action, with the exception of an overly long set-change.

Just prior to the concert someone came up to me and said he almost didn’t come out to the concert after he found out that Lionel Richie was no longer with The Commodores. Seriously!? Where have you been for the last 30 years!? Richie is gone people, get over it.

The Commodores stormed the stage playing “Too Hot Ta Trot,” followed by “Easy” with most fans on their feet and singing along. As for the great seating, that all goes down the proverbial crapper when everyone in front of you stands up to boogie down.

The Commodores – Click for more images

The three front men for The Commodores put on a high energy show and were in constant motion their entire set. They were founding members Walter Orange, William King, and longtime member J.D. Nicholas.

They headed into their encore with “Brick House,” but deviated in the middle with a bit of audience participation as they were simply jamming and yelling out to the audience with phrases such as “Say Yo Yo,” leading back into, and finishing off the set with, “Brick House.”

Walter Orange was kicking himself after their set. He told me he just wasn’t “feeling it” during his performance. Orange said it doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it really bothers him because he believes he can bring it up to a whole other level.

The set-change went way too long. According to my calculations, it took over 45 minutes, which is not a good thing for the fans, as some headed towards the door.

Walter Orange – Off night? No way!

Making a very Kool entrance Kool & the Gang, all dressed in white, came out singing “Fresh,” followed by “Tonight.” The crowd was pretty enthusiastic, but appeared to have more energy during The Commodores set. I attribute that to the lengthy intermission.

As they slowed it down with “Joanna” and “Too Hot,” most of the fans were singing the chorus along with the band. However, during the slower moments you could see a number of fans heading towards the door.

Kool & the Gang didn’t really hit their stride until late into their set. The vocals were lacking in the beginning songs, but seemed to smooth out as the night went on.

They really shined with “Get Down on It” leading into their finale with “Celebration,” which had the remaining crowd on their feet dancing and singing.

Kool & the Gangs Lavell Evans

It was a great concert, but whenever you have 30 minutes, or longer, for a set-change you’re going to lose some people. In this case Kool & the Gang wasn’t able to reenergize a number of their fans. I believe that impacted their performance, since bands and fans alike feed off each other’s energy.

As for the Sunrise at Night Concert Series – What can I say? It’s a nice little venue with an intimate feel and free parking, but more importantly they serve food and have a limited selection of alcohol, just be careful driving home!

Don’t miss Blondie and Devo as they bring their Whip it to Shreds tour to the Sunrise MarketPlace on Friday September 14th.

Embrace Your Funkiness

Morris Day – Click for more images

That’s what fans did at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Friday evening, when it turned into one funkalicious night as old school favorites Morris Day and the Time, S.O.S., Kurtis Blow, and Midnight Star tore it up for over three hours playing to an overflowing and extremely energetic crowd.

As Midnight Star took the stage and started playing “Electricity,” the crowd jumped to their feet and started dancing. There were very few occasions during the three hour show when the audience wasn’t standing.

Last time I saw Midnight Star I felt they were a little flat, but not tonight. They definitely brought their A-game as they continued with “Wet My Whistle” and “Midas Touch.”

Midnight Star – Click for more images

Band members consisted of Belinda Lipscomb (vocals), Melvin Gentry (guitar/vocals), Bo Watson (keyboard/vocals) and Bill Simmons (keyboards), Kenneth Gant (bass), and Bobby Lovelace (drums).

As they infuse pure energy into the crowd after ending their set with “No Parking (On the Dance Floor),” many in the crowd headed to the amphitheater bars, or remained standing and dancing to the music in between sets.

Kurtis Blow, The first rapper to ever be signed by a major label, came out blasting “If I Ruled the World” as he fully engaged the audience by saying ‘Say Yo!’ and then pointing the mic to the audience as they all screamed in unison ‘Yo’.

Kurtis Blow – Click for more images

Blow (ha! I said blow.) just wouldn’t shut up as he kept shouting out to the audience as only a true rapper can. In between songs he would continue rapping about being in Sacramento and giving a shout out to the audience. Some of the audience members started mingling more than paying attention to Blow, as a number of people headed to the bar, or bathroom, probably both.

Sounds Of Success (better known as S.O.S.) got everyone’s attention as they started up “Just the Way You Like It” and continued with “The Finest,” as fans were back on their feet dancing and singing. The crowd was on their feet bouncing to the music for the remainder of their set.

Founding member and lead singer Mary Davis was on fire as she blasted through their hits and finished with a flourish with the song that catapulted SOS to stardom back in 1980, “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” Fellow members included original member Abdul Ra’oof (vocals/trumpet), with Celia Georgie  (background vocals), Sultan Muhammad (saxophone), Reginald Ward (guitar), Ben Smith (keyboards), Allen Smith (keyboards), and Crystal Martin (drums).

Mary Davis with SOS – Click for more images

After a brief set change, Prince Classmate and protégé, Morris Day made his way on stage with his personal assistant in tow. As only Day can do, he was continually checking himself in the mirror as he strutted around the stage.

Starting off with “Get It Up” Day had the crowd singing through most of his songs as he worked the crowd with his signature moves, classic sound and his stylish attire.

Decked out in a yellow paisley patterned suit the 53 year old Day continued with “Cool” as his assistant followed him around mimicking his moves as he spelled out the chorus C.O.O.L.

For the fans that still had their butts glued to their seats, band members would shout out for everyone to get on their feet and wave their hands in the air. The band member names I did catch were Ricky “Freeze” Smith (bass), Torrell “Tori” Ruffin (lead guitar), and Jellybean Johnson (drums).

Morris Day and The Time

Part way through his set Day explained that he was still cool regardless of sweating. He said it was condensation which cooled him down, meaning that he was still cool. It was at this point he headed off stage to cool down. When Day came back out he flawlessly sang “Gigalos Get Lonely Too,” which had many in the crowd dancing with their significant other.

Towards the end of his performance Day had a large number of fans up onstage to strut their stuff. You could see the excitement in many of their faces as they attempted to groove with the likes of Day.

While a few people left the show early, the amphitheater was still packed as Day completed the night with “Jungle Love,” leaving people dancing in the aisles and wanting more.

This was one of the more high-energy shows at Thunder Valley Casino Resorts Summer Concert Series.

 

 

Thunder Valley Styx it!

Styx – Click for more images

As Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series heads into its final stretch, it’s only fitting to have one of the most popular traveling bands of the 80’s lead off the last month of the series.

Styx, like most of their fans, has gone through a number of changes throughout their existence. Most notably was the death of founding member John Panozzo in 1996, followed by the departure of founding member Dennis DeYoung in 1999.

Much like their fans, Styx consists of young and old including founding members Chuck Panozzo (bass) and James “J.Y.” Young (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar). Longtime member Tommy Shaw (vocals, lead/rhythm guitar), and the latest members Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards), Todd Sucherman (drums), Ricky Phillips (bass).

Due to health issues Chuck Panozzo only occasionally plays with the band. We were lucky enough to have him come out and play a few songs towards the end of the night.

Lawrence Gowan on his spinning music machine

While not quite a sellout crowd it was still pretty packed, especially for a Thursday night. Let’s face it, anyone who’s a fan of Styx from the 80’s is getting along in years, and may find it difficult to get out on a Thursday night, and then turnaround to schlep off to work the next day. The worst part is, at some point we became responsible, gone are the days of calling in sick the next day. What’s up with that?

As Styx kicked off the show with “Blue Collar Man” and Grand Illusion,” the mostly older crowd was on their feet and cheering.

Styx was firing on all cylinders as they continued with “Too Much Time” and “Lady” as most of the crowd started to settle down in their seats. The front rows remained on their feet the entire show. Not sure how the old geezers did it, must have been a miracle drug from the 70’s or 80’s – I’m just saying.

Tommy Shaw and Ricky Phillips

Everyone’s vocals were crystal as they went from one hit to another. In particular were Shaw and Gowan. Gowan really stole the show with his vocals and his antics on his famous spinning keyboard, as he twirled in circles jumping onto, and off of, his keyboard throughout the night’s performance.

It was a very high energy, and highly entertaining, show as the veterans weaved their way through their numerous hits from the 70’s and 80’s.

The highlight for me was when Gowan came out performing solo on his spinning keyboard. He played a melody of songs including Elton John’s “Pinball Wizard,” the Eurhythmics “Sweet Dreams,” and then Gowan would shout a part of a song, point to the audience for them to finish the verse, and they did, on command. As he started to sing “Come Sail Away,” the audience sang their part and then he started playing the song on the keyboard with the band jumping in at the middle of the song. That’s about the time Panozzo joined the band onstage playing bass.

For their encore they blew the crowd away with “Rockin the Paradise” and “Renegade.”

These guys are pure entertainers and a great bunch of guys as some of them stayed behind to sign album covers that fans had brought to the show.

For all of those that haven’t gotten off of their sorry old ass to see Styx, I would highly suggest you do it before you get any friggin older. The last thing you want to do is make your way to your seat – in a walker!

Ransom E. Olds performs at Thunder Valley

REO Speedwagon

(LR) Dave Amato, Neal Doughty, Kevin Cronin, Bryan Hitt, and Bruce Hall

Who?

Everyone knows them as REO Speedwagon.

Playing to an almost full house at Thunder Valley Casino Resort Saturday, 66 year old founding member Neal Doughty was the first to make it onstage. Leaving their walkers behind the rest of the crew slowly made their way onstage – I know they didn’t have walkers, quite the contrary these guys were in great shape.

As for the name REO Speedwagon, Doughty named the band after a flatbed truck he studied in college called Ransom E. Olds Speed Wagon, commonly referred to as Reo Speed Wagon. Doughty decided to call the band R.E.O. rather than Reo.

REO Speedwagon

Neal Doughty

Joining Doughty onstage were Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Dave Amato (lead guitar), Bryan Hitt (drums). They warmed up the audience with “Don’t Let Him Go” and “Music Man,” then kicking it up a notch with “Take It on the Run,” as the audience provided supporting vocals.

At some point during the show the 58 year old Hitt decided to take his shirt off. Most of the audience cheered, but come on!! He’s 58 ““ dude give us a break! At least Steven Tyler stopped the practice some time ago (at least for the most part).

REO SPeedwagon

Kevin Cronin – Click for more images

Continuing on with “Keep Pushin’,” “Golden Country,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” the audience became somewhat subdued, but remained engaged throughout the concert, just not on their feet cheering on the band.

As the band left and came back for their encore, they lost quite a few fans as they headed for the exits. Their encore included “Keep on Lovin’ You,” “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” and ended with “157 Riverside Avenue.” Even more fans started filing out after “Keep on Lovin’ You.”

REO Speedwagon

REO Speedwagon

During their encore the audience was completely engaged with “Keep on Lovin’ You,” but once they started “157 Riverside Avenue,” most of the fans were back in their seats, or headed for the doors. They really should have ended the night with “Keep on Lovin’ You.”

Cronin did an excellent job with vocals and sounds much like he did all those years ago. While his voice is a bit more gravelly, I believe it’s enhanced his sound.

All in all it was a good concert. There were some rough spots in the middle and they could have ended on a better note, but Cronin and crew did a great job keeping the audiences attention with plenty of picks flying through the air.

 

Papa Roach pulls out of UPROAR Festival

 

Jacoby Shaddix – Click for more images

Papa Roach pulls out of UPROAR Festival after only playing five of the scheduled 30 dates.

This after the 36 year old lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, announced that he had to undergo vocal cord surgery in order to remove a nodule that has been causing him problems.

“It’s no secret that I’ve been having issues with my voice lately,” Shaddix said, “I was hoping to be able to go out there and kill it on this tour by resting and doing vocal exercises, but my voice has just gone out on me. I hate to let our fans down, but unfortunately surgery is the only way to fix it.”

The Rockstar Energy Drink sponsored tour also includes Shinedown, Godsmack, Staind and Adelitas Way. The tour continues through September 30th, when it wraps up in Albuquerque, NM

The Vacaville-based band is responsible for hits “Last Resort”, “Between Angels And Insects”, “She Loves Me Not”, “…To Be Loved”, “Scars”, “Forever”, and “Hollywood Whore”.

Papa Roach will be releasing a new album The Connection  in early October.

 

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

Krall Enthralls

Diana Krall

Diana Krall – Click for more images

Grammy winning jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall transformed Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s outdoor amphitheater into a concert hall, as she brought her sultry and sexy smooth voice along with several, very talented, musicians.

It was amazing to watch the audience as Krall kicked off the show with Nat king Cole’s “I Just Found Out About Love” and her own “Lost My Mind.” After giving her a standing ovation to start, the audience was completely silent. You could have heard a pin drop, it was that quiet. If fact, the bars around the amphitheater were dishing out ice as quietly as possible, which isn’t easy.

There wasn’t a bad seat in the house as the hypnotic sounds traveled throughout the amphitheater reaching into the farthest corners, and sounding as if you were sitting center stage. The quiet calm of the crowd was interrupted a couple of times. The first interruption was by a passing train, and the second was caused by someone backstage, who accidentally hit the horn on a golf cart.

Anthony Wilson

Anthony Wilson – Click for more images

As the 47 year old Krall continued with “So Nice” and “You Call it Madness,” her trio of musicians poured their heart and soul into their instruments, taking the music on an emotional roller coaster. Included in the quartet was Karriem Riggins (drums), Robert Hurst (bass), and Anthony Wilson (guitar), and of course Krall on the piano.

The gracious Krall introduced the band members a couple of times during the performance, to ensure they received the credit they deserved.

In particular, Wilson’s guitar playing was nothing short of breathtaking as his fingers flew up and down the neck of the guitar, bringing the guitar to life and providing some very dramatic solos.

There were several shouts of “I Love You Diana,” with her responding in kind, causing the audience to erupt in applause.

Diana Krall

Diana Krall

The atmosphere was better suited for an intimate evening complete with a candle lit dinner rather than at an outdoor amphitheater, but Krall pulled it off as she continued with more of Nat King Cole’s works “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and  “The Frim Fram Sauce,” captivating the audience as they hung on every note.

Next month Krall will be releasing her newest album Glad Rag Doll. According to Krall, “It’s not coy. It’s not ‘peel me a grape,’ little girl stuff. I feel this album’s very womanly – like you’re lying next to your lover in bed whispering this in their ear.”

Krall, with the help of some really talented musicians, put on a tremendous show. I have never seen an audience so quiet and completely immersed in the music and the moment.

A little wine, a little music, add some major league talent, and you have one hell of a magical evening.

 

Getting Some ZZ’s at Thunder Valley Casino

ZZ Top

Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons – Click for more images

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s ZZ Top brought their legendary beards and rockin blues attitude to Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Friday.

Frank Beard

Sweet drum set!

ZZ Top, consisting of Billy Gibson, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard on drums, kicked of their show with “I Thank You” and “Waiting for the Bus,” as avid ZZ Top fans filled the outdoor amphitheater to capacity – some diehard fans were sporting their own long beards.

A number of fans were getting their ganja on as a brief video came on introducing band members Billy Gibson, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard on drums. You could see Beard (yes, the only one not sporting a beard) climbing into his nest of drums. Once the crowd spotted him they all began cheering.

Billy Gibbons

Billy Gibbons – Click for more images

Friday night was a special day for Beard as his brand new drum set, complete with pistons, gas tanks, and whole lotta skeletons, arrived at Thunder Valley for the drums inaugural performance. In between songs Beard could be seen admiring his sparkly new set.

As the band continued to play “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” “Pincushion,” and “Heard It on The X,” the crowd remained standing, with some fans dancing in the aisles.

ZZ Top played their latest single “I Gotsta Get Paid,” off their new album La Futura, due out in September. The song was recently in an advertising campaign for Jeremiah Weed, and appears on the soundtrack for the film Battleship. It’s a catchy tune!

This is the band’s first album in 9 years and includes “Flyin’ High,” which actually debuted in outer space. It wasn’t quite completed yet, but NASA astronaut Mike Fossum asked to hear it while en route to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz spaceship ““ kinda cool.

Dusty Hill

Dusty Hill – Click for more images

They played “Sharped Dressed Man” followed by “Legs,” as they pulled out their white furry guitars, causing the crowd to cheer even louder. After “Legs” the band exited the stage, only to come back and play “Tube Snake Boogie,” “LaGrange,” and “Tush.”

While I think this was a great concert, due to the fact it was ZZ Top, I believe they missed the mark musically. At times it was difficult to make out what they were playing, which could have been attributed to the sound system. However, other concerts at this venue have sounded superb, so that would be doubtful. I may have been in the minority, as most fans were singing along to quite a few songs.

Frank Beard

Frank Beard – Click for more images

 

A critical error was ending the show with “Tush,” as it left the crowd, not wanting more, but expecting more, with a number of boos coming from the audience as they made their way to the exits. In fact, most of the audience remained until the house lights were brought up and Brancombe Richmond came out to thank everyone for being there and announcing the upcoming lineup for Thunder Valley’s Summer Concert Series.

Set-list:

I Thank You
Waiting for The Bus
Jesus Just Left Chicago
Pincushion
Heard It on The X
I Gotsta Get Paid
Gimme All Your Lovin
Vincent Price Blues
My Heads in Mississippi
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
Stages
Sharped Dressed Man
Legs

ENCORE
Tube Snake Boogie
LaGrange
Tush

Scott Stapp to Release Tell All Book

Creed

Scott Stapp of Creed

Scott Stapp, Grammy Award winning voice of the multi-platinum selling band, Creed, announces his first tell-all memoir slated for an October 2, 2012 release. Recognized as one of the most accomplished artists of the modern rock era, Stapp’s memoir, Sinner’s Creed, unleashes behind the scene realities about his suicide attempts, alcohol-induced rampages and intimate details about his abusive childhood.

Stapp is no stranger to controversy in the media, yet through the rise and fall of fame, has managed to maintain his status as a multi-platinum artist selling more than 50 million albums worldwide. Die-hard Creed fans continue to line up for Creed tickets to watch Stapp deliver an unforgettable rock experience.

Scott Stapp collaborated with David Ritz of Rolling Stone Magazine to write a compelling story of his life. Ritz, a notable writer of biographies, has written memoirs for Janet Jackson and the best seller, “Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye.”

“The book describes my childhood, my internal battle with drugs and depression and how I lost control of my life,” says Scott Stapp. “My memoir reveals never before released details about my life and the challenges I’ve faced before coming to grips and finding sobriety.”

Sinner’s Creed is a riveting, untold story of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Finally, Stapp reveals what it is like to be at the height of controversy due to his fame, faith and addictions and why he has tried to avoid one-on-one interviews until now. The book discloses the true story of a man living on the edge at full tilt.  Sinner’s Creed is chock-full of page-turning experiences of a rock and roll visionary who was brought down to his knees by the pressures of fame, alcohol and an uncontrollable depression disorder. Through self-discovery and conviction, Scott Stapp was able to rise up again and walk a clean and sober path. In the midst of reconnecting with his fans while on tour, Scott has finally come full circle — a turnaround he credits to his renewed faith in God. Once a sinner, always a sinner, but what was once broken, has the power to heal.

Sinner’s Creed will go on sale October 2, 2012, available in hard copy and e-book versions through Tyndale Publishing. Visit www.sinnerscreed.com, www.scottstappofficial.com or www.Tyndale.com

 

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