September 21, 2023ZZ TOP & LYNYRD SKYNRD
Live at Coastal Credit Union | Raleigh, NC
September 22, 2023 Review by M.B. Edwards
The weather might have cooled off significantly, but The Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour featuring ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd with special guest Uncle Kracker at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park put a fire in our hearts and souls. I mean, it’s not every day you get to see two phenomenal classic rock legends at one event.
A hodgepodge of song snippets played while Uncle Kracker took to the stage. He started with “Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night” and then did a cover of Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long,” which Uncle Kracker said he wrote with his “best friend about a 100 years ago.”
The crowd livened up a lot when he started playing “Follow Me.” Keyboardist Marine Lacoste was the most energetic person onstage, often tossing her long, beautiful red hair about as she played and pointed out to the crowd when she could.
When Uncle Kracker played the cover to “When the Sun Goes Down” by Kenny Chesney, he asked the audience to help sing along.
He ended his set with a cover of “Drift Away.” There wasn’t a lot of banter or crowd interaction, and the times he did talk, it was short and sweet or merely a quick shout out to North Carolina. Overall, his song choices were good and they went over well with the audience, but you could tell the crowd was anxiously awaiting the headliners.
Green and red lights lit up the stage as “Got Me Under Pressure” rang out and bassist Elwood Francis played his 17-string bass. If the bass wasn’t flashy enough, the shoes of Francis and Billy Gibbons sure were. It was fun to watch the synched dance moves we’ve grown to love about ZZ Top, and the crowd screamed out when they shimmied and moved together. But the loudest screams came when Gibbons grinded against his guitar and rubbed it all over him.
During “I Thank You,” a cover song by Sam & Dave, the backscreen showed images of the band members throughout their lifetime; including long-time bassist Dusty Hill (may he rest in peace). It was a beautiful trip down memory lane and a chance to see them as young kids and performing in their younger years. Gibbons reminded us that that they’ve been hanging out with us for over five decades. They played “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Pearl Necklace,” and “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide.”
There was a nice guitar riff after “I Gotsta Get Paid,” when everyone was screaming and hollering, Gibbons said, “Don’t get too excited; we’re just making this shit up.” They then went into “My Head’s in Mississippi.” They ended the set with “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs.”
When they left the stage, everyone shouted “ZZ Top! ZZ Top!” begging them to come back out while the stage lights were all a buzz flashing every which way. When ZZ Top emerged again, they were donned in matching red shoes and jackets. Gibbons told us all they didn’t go anywhere; they just had to change to show off their new jackets.
They played three songs during their fantastic encore, starting with “Brown Sugar.” The audience was asked to sing along with the chorus of “Tube Snake Boogie,” and I have to say we sounded great. During the final song, “La Grange,” Francis twirled in circles while he played the guitar and millions of bubbles shot out from a cannon. Gibbons and Francis put their guitars in front of them and did a little bow before leaving the stage for the final time tonight.
It felt like forever before Lynyrd Skynyrd took the stage, mainly because ZZ Top was so iconic to watch, it was hard to take a break when you wanted the music to continue. Also, I’m not sure what ZZ Top did up there, but that was the first time I had seen the stage get vacuumed before the next performer. Then, just when we couldn’t wait anymore, their 50th anniversary video with the song “Thunderstruck” started to play and before long, all the band members were on stage singing “Workin’ for MCA” and then “Skynyrd Nation.”
Front-man Johnny Van Zant said they’ve been waiting all day to have fun with us and “let’s get ready to rumble” before going into “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller.” He thanked all of us for keeping Lynyrd Skynyrd music alive so long before playing “The Ballad of Curtis Loew.”
Before “Simple Man,” Van Zant had the lights turned on in the crowd so he could see us all and went on to thank all the first responders, paramedics, doctors, and nurses in the crowd. He then said if you can sing, whether you’re from Jacksonville, FL where he’s from, North Carolina, or across the ocean, “we all want to make our mamma happy so this goes out to all the mommas in the house tonight.” “Gimme Three Steps” was next with everyone singing along.
They closed the night with “Sweet Home Alabama,” but the real action and biggest part of the entire show was the encore performance where “Free Bird” was given all the extra attention it deserved.
While some may say Lynyrd Skynyrd is more of a tribute band at this point, being that there are no longer any surviving members of the original band, I say Johnny Van Zant, with the help of Rickey Medlocke (guitar) and Michael Cartellone (drums) are in fact Lynyrd Skynyrd and it’s evident that they take the place of their fallen brothers and sisters with the vigor and passion one would expect.
The concert was amazing: bubbles, a fog cannon, two iconic Hall of Famer bands, and an extra-long version of “Free Bird” at the end was the piece de resistance. What a night with a century worth of musical talent gracing the stage in one night. Unfortunately, the official tour has come to an end, but you can still catch them at festivals and other events in the future. Rock on!
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by Jed Gammon Photography
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September 21, 2023Miles Per Gallon | CH3’s Story of OC Punk
A Conversation with Mike Magrann
September 21, 2023 by Kevin Gomez
Growing up in the punk and hardcore scene in Orange County in the ‘80s, CH3 was just as synonymous as Adolescents, T.S.O.L., or Social Distortion. Truth be told, many bands can talk the talk, but only a select few can speak truth to power and precede their legendary status with their convictions. Luckily for all of us, an epic story 40 years in the making is about to be told.
Front-man and guitarist Mike Magrann is taking a change of pace by releasing his first novel, “Miles Per Gallon,” due out this Halloween.
After four decades, he and fellow CH3 co-founding member and childhood friend, Kimm Gardener are still playing music, touring the world, and even carpooling to their shows together. I caught up with Magrann to discuss his upcoming book, what the punk scene was like in the ‘80s, and CH3’s upcoming tour of Japan.
Kevin: Congratulations on “Miles Per Gallon.” You graduated college with a creative writing degree; is writing a book something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
Mike: I kept a blog for the band for a couple decades, just writing down little chapters about our adventures. I just never had the focus to sit down and do something long form, and then COVID – you’re just sitting there with nothing but time on your hands. So, I focused on a single tour we did back in 1983 and used that a starting point. The book is written almost a fictional novel based on real events and people, sort of a biographical fiction.
Kevin: What did you find to be the hardest part of writing a book? Were you surprised by it?
Mike: People think the hardest part is writing that much, but it’s the opposite – cutting it down. When I first finished it was like 140,000 words (laughs). Also, I couldn’t believe how long it takes between finishing the book and publishing it. The book has been done for like two and a half years. Going back and forth with the editor, getting it printed. It’s such a slower process than when a new album comes out, but on that same note I feel like books have a longer shelf life.
Kevin: Do you have plans to write more? Would it be fiction, perhaps, like Blag Dahlia (from the Dwarves)?
Mike: I don’t know if you’re familiar with “A Fan’s Notes” by Frederick Exley. He was one of the first guys who said, “This is me. I’m writing about a character named me and what happens to him, but it didn’t actually happen.” The story about me and the band was kind of this three-book project, where “Miles Per Gallon” deals with my childhood and getting into a hardcore band. The next book would be about disillusion and trying to make it in Hollywood as a long-haired rocker. And then the final book would be about this resurgence of punk in 2000.
Pick it up October 31, 2023
Early Pick-Up October 29, 2023 (Fingerprint Event)
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Kevin: One of the topics I’m most fascinated and horrified reading about ‘80s punk is the violence that unfortunately went along with it. Does “Miles Per Gallon” touch on any of that?
Mike: Yeah, it definitely does. Like a lot of the ‘80s punk bands, it was really a short window of 5,000 kids showing up as the Olympic Auditorium. It was really only like a year and a half, before all the shows turned into riots. Cops, tear gas, a real battle scene. The hardcore scene kind of disappeared, and it was just a bunch of strangers fighting. It made it all sweeter in 2000 when there was this big resurgence of punk music.
Kevin: In October you’re playing some shows with the Avengers and The Vaxxines in Japan. Is it true this is your first time playing there?
Mike: Yes. I’ve been there before but the band has never played there. We weren’t even sure if people knew who we were there. Last year we played a show with The Vaxxines and they mentioned this tour they were trying to put together with the Avengers and we said, “We are there, man.”
Kevin: How have you and Kimm (Gardener) managed to stay bandmates and friends all of these years, after all those hours stuck together in a van? Do you think it’s because you’ve known each other so long, as opposed to just meeting to form a band?
Mike: Yeah, I always tell people you can teach someone how to play guitar or drums, but you can’t teach them to be friends and get along for an eight-hour drive for three months. We were friends first and the music came after that. That’s also why we survived because the low points any band has: people quit on you, things fall through, we always had our friendship to fall back on. We’ve known each other since we were nine years old and we still even drive to gigs together.
Kevin: The last time we spoke you mentioned that CH3’s first show was at the Cuckoo’s Nest. Anything memorable that stands out about that show?
Mike: There is mention of that in the book. We did everything backwards – we had a record deal and had a record out before we even played our first show. We had been to the Cuckoo’s Nest a million times before as fans, but it was our first time playing together as a band. It was a rite of passage: we started playing backyard shows, then the Cuckoo’s Nest, and then clubs in Hollywood and went on tour.
Kevin: Your first few releases were on Posh Boy Records (which also released T.S.O.L., Social Distortion, Adolescents). How did you first get together with them?
Mike: It’s funny; we did this little demo in a recording studio and passed around to our friends. Through a friend of a friend who happened to be dating (Posh Boy Records founder) Robbie Fields he heard it. He contacted us, came to one of our practices and like a bad movie, pulled out a contract and signed us right there.
Kevin: In 2022 you released the double-LP 40th anniversary with the colored booklet. You guys even had the big launch party with your own beer, which is pretty cool. Are you guys interested in writing new material, as well?
Mike: It’s always on the back of our mind. But it’s kind of backburner right now because if we write new songs, it’s sort of just to keep our creative chops up. But at the same time, music has been criminally and sinfully devalued. The whole record industry has basically been chopped up and turned into digital, for better or worse.
Kevin: CH3 is playing this Friday, correct?
Mike: Yes, we’re playing with The Avengers at Alex’s Bar with The Vaxxines Friday, September 22nd. Then, we head with these same bands to do nine shows in Japan next month. “Miles Per Gallon” is released on Halloween, and I’m doing a special release event for the book at Fingerprints Records in Long Beach Sunday, October 29th. We’re playing Philadelphia, Boston, and New York in November. And we should have a couple of Christmas shows locally. So, we’ll be wrapping up the year with a rush of momentum.
Thanks to Mike Magrann for chatting with us! Head to Alex’s Bar and catch CH3 in person Friday!
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September 20, 2023Squeeze & The Psychedelic Furs
Live at The Grand Ole Opry
September 22, 2023 Review by Traci Turner
Two iconic ‘80s bands are headed to SoCal next month and – I cannot stress this enough – you are legally required to attend. The Psychedelic Furs and Squeeze brought their monster classics, new favorites, and distinctive voices to the legendary Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, and we enjoyed every minute.
The Grand Ole Opry House – complete with its famous six-foot circle of oak center stage – hosts the weekly radio program “The Grand Ole Opry,” plus most of the major country events in Nashville, along with various concerts of other genres, case in point this evening. The show began with lights spiraling across the darkened stage until The Psychedelic Furs walked out. Applause filled the room, but ramped up when Furs front-man Richard Butler appeared onto the legendary Opry stage. Looking very dapper in his suit, he gave a bow, they began “Into You Like a Train,” and that unmistakable voice filled the room.
September 17, 2023
Butler was engaging and charming – shaking hands with anyone who walked up to the stage – but spoke little to keep their full set going. He would often give a chuckle and “Thank you” after a song, sometimes with a cheeky bow. Butler, along with his brother Tim on bass, Rich Good on guitar, and sax genius Mars Williams made full use of the stage – which has no front barrier – and got up close with fans. Sadly, keyboardist Amanda Kramer and drummer Zachary Alford had to stay at their posts.
The crowd was appreciative of all of the songs, but of course went big for the well-known classics. I appreciated how few phones were out; people were just enjoying the music, dancing, singing, watching the Furs show off their skills.
The outstanding horn work of Williams (who also looked so badass in his leather ensemble with black hat) and fantastic drumming of Alford were standouts, but truly, the whole band sounded amazing.
“Heaven” garnered a huge response and the energy from the band and crowd at its end made it feel like it was a finale. “Wrong Train” showed off Butler’s powerful vocals in a way we don’t often get to hear, and the song’s ending displayed a vulnerability that impressed me. Yes, singers are used to it, but it always blows me away when someone sings with no music – just their voice in a crowded room – almost as if they are naked and exposing everything to thousands of people. It terrifies me! Well, Butler crushed it.
Butler moved across the stage throughout the set, giving little jumps, skips, and lots of handshakes. He would hang casually on other band members and was rarely still, except when his bandmates performed solos, then he would step back and allow them to shine.
After the politically charged “President Gas,” it was time for “The Ghost in You” which saw Butler singing to the women in the front row, and they ate it up. Of course, the crowd went bananas for “Pretty in Pink” and Butler sang it with such energy, it made it new (at least, for me).
They ran through “No‐One,” “This’ll Never Be Like Love,” and “Sister Europe” before getting to “Heartbeat,” which featured some more phenomenal horn work from Williams and earned him hearty applause. The megahits “Love My Way” and “Heartbreak Beat” wrapped their set and Butler said “Thank you” ever-so-politely, and skipped off the stage. How does he make skipping look elegant?
While they may not get through their 15-song setlist at Darker Waves in November, when they play with Squeeze in October, you should get it in full.
I was very fortunate to speak with Squeeze founder and guitarist Glenn Tilbrook recently and when I asked how this tour came about, he said, “It sounded like a really good pairing and we’re looking for that at the moment. The last lot of touring we did with Daryl Hall and John Oates, and that was an amazing tour. I think that you’re looking to hook up with people who wouldn’t necessarily just come and see either band, but the package is good, so it’s good for both of us. I think musically, it will be a good match.” It proved to be right!
Not to be outdone in the dressed sharp and looking dapper department, Squeeze hit the stage and Tilbrook said, “It’s really great to be here.” They kicked it off with “Take Me I’m Yours” and the crowd was clapping along, giving some good vibes. We were given a “Thank you lovelies” by Tilbrook at the song’s end.
Following the Furs’ example of “little talk, more music,” Squeeze jumped right into “Hourglass,” which featured an awesome guitar solo from Tilbrook. For some reason, with him being such a charming Brit, watching him rip a wicked guitar solo while wearing a suit was unexpected. Honestly, the whole band was phenomenal: professional, perfection, precision. Those were the words that kept coming to mind. They were having fun, but they were also prepared to dazzle their fans, and they did.
They played one of my favorite tunes, “Up the Junction,” then Squeeze’s other founder, Chris Difford spoke up, “It’s a great honor, Nashville. Thank you for coming to see us.” Difford sang “Here Comes That Feeling,” his first vocal duty of the night, but Tilbrook handled most of the songs. “If I Didn’t Love You” and “Another Nail in My Heart” were two more crowd favorites that had fans dancing.
A brief slow down with “Vanity Fair” gave way to the chaotic fun that was ahead. Tilbrook stated, “This is called ‘Slap & Tickle’ and it might get your asses going,” which it did. With strobe lights, insane keyboard work from Stephen Large, and excellent drumming from Simon Hanson, this was a highlight of the show. Seriously, this Squeeze track was never on my radar, and now, I want to watch a video of the performance repeatedly.
Tilbrook and Difford shared vocals on “Electric Trains,” which also had Melvin Duffy showing off his pedal steel guitar skills. In Nashville, especially at the Opry, this is a bold move. Duffy nailed it.
“Goodbye Girl” offered another entertaining sing-along and Hanson was tossing various percussion instruments to Steve Smith, the other percussionist, continuing the party vibe. Large stepped away from his keyboards to encourage the crowd to dance, and the audience willingly obeyed.
The hit parade was in full force now: “Annie Get Your Gun” was followed by “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),” which had another fantastic Tilbrook solo. He then started “Tempted” alone on his electric guitar, performing as if it were acoustic. Gradually, the song ramped up and the band joined in towards the end, the fans singing along the way.
Difford was up front again for “Cool for Cats” before a pumped-up version of “Black Coffee in Bed” led to band introductions with each giving a solo showcase. Melvin Duffy shredded on the pedal steel guitar. Ok, I don’t know if you are technically shredding on a pedal steel, but if not, he was the first. Displaying all the best in dancing skills and looking as if he was manning the Enterprise,
Stephen Large made me speechless with his keyboard abilities. No band is complete without some thumping bass and Owen Biddle gave us plenty. Handling the bongos and every other percussion instrument I do not know the name of, Steve Smith let his hands – and elbows! – fly across the skins. And finally, Simon Hanson was in control of the regular ole drum kit, plus a few other nifty noisemakers. Not a bad musician in the bunch!
With introductions and solos complete, “Is That Love” included some very loud crowd singing and gave way to a reprise of “Black Coffee in Bed” to conclude their 17-song set. Squeeze said farewell and disappeared into the night.
While I rarely have a bad time at a show, I REALLY enjoyed the atmosphere of this one. Both bands gave their all, seemed happy to be there, and did not rest on their classics to carry them through. I – a Gen X – attended the show with a Boomer and a Gen Z, and we all thought it was fantastic, so now you can see why your attendance is legally required.
Catch The Psychedelic Furs + Squeeze tour in San Diego on October 9th at The Sound, and Los Angeles on October 13th at The Greek Theatre.
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by Stephanie Pepper Photography
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September 20, 2023Hit The Wiltern
September 21, 2023 by Traci Turner
The Breeders have been busy this summer; joining Foo Fighters on their tour, earning the supporting spot on the monster-huge Olivia Rodrigo 2024 tour, and now, they are tossing a special show into the mix. October 19th, The Breeders – aka Kim Deal, Kelley Deal, Josephine Wiggs, and Jim Macpherson – will take the stage at The Wiltern in celebration of the 30th anniversary of their iconic album, “Last Splash.” Belly will be on hand to open the evening’s festivities.
The ‘90s wonders are also dropping a re-release of the album, which includes two unreleased tracks – “Go Man Go” and “Divine Mascis.” “Divine Mascis” is actually a “never before heard” version of “Divine Hammer,” but features the vocals of J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr.
Created during the original recording sessions, “Divine Mascis” was a “pleasant surprise” to the band. Kelley Deal explained: “At the time, J Mascis was a guitar god… we sent him the tape to put guitar on, so when it came back and he’s got rid of our voices and just put his vocal on, we were like, ‘Wha?!’ But it’s really cute. There’s a freshness to it, and it’s just so weird. I like his voice and the idiosyncratic way he sings and delivers lines. So I thought it was really neat.”
The band has been performing “Last Splash” in full on the road, which of course includes the mega hit “Cannonball,” an iconic song of the era. The record gets a fresh update by being remastered from the original analog tapes – which were previously thought to be lost – plus the two unreleased songs.
The reissue offers two 12” 45rpm vinyl discs, and an exclusive, one-sided etched 12” disc.
In addition to the Wiltern show, you can catch The Breeders in SoCal on October 18th in LA at The Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, or October 20th in San Diego at The Observatory with Belly supporting.
As for 2024, the local Rodrigo dates are August 13th, 14th, 16th, and 17th at The Forum.
Snag your tickets for The Breeders now, and pick up that “Last Splash” to get yourself all ready for The Wiltern!
SID 230923 | JIMMY ALVAREZ, EDITOR
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September 20, 2023ADAM SANDLER
I MISSED YOU TOUR
September 20, 2023 by Holly Jones
Life can give us many things; it is funny that way. Sometimes people get lucky, and sometimes they don’t. For Adam Sandler, life has been a mixed bag of a lot, and a little of everything. Going into the holidays, Sandler is doing extremely well, and now he has a tour coming our way.
We are all so invited to his I Missed You Tour that is slated to land in SoCal in October. First, you can catch the mad man of comedy at Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs on October 21st, and then at Honda Center on October 23
The Sand-man, as many of his fans refer to him, has done it all. He is an “SNL” alum, he’s been in some of the greatest big screen comedies of all time such as “The Waterboy,” “Happy Gilmore,” and “Billy Madison,” and now Sandler has a Netflix hit with “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzva.”
Sandler has the Midas touch in his music as well, which has given us another source of joy with hits like “Werewolves of London” (Warren Zevon cover, “Ode to My Car,” “I Wanna Grow Old With You,” “Lunch Lady” and “The Chanukah Song.” There seems to be no mountain he can’t climb and conquer.
Sandler hit us first with his Adam Sandler Live Tour earlier this year, which was very successful.
Now he will embark on a 25-city tour across the country. He gave us the news in a video on IG simply saying, “Let’s have some fun.”
Be warned, Sandler has a habit of bringing along some of his famous pals. Past special guests have included David Spade, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Judd Apatow, and Sarah Sherman. It’s not clear who will join him this time around, but that’s the magic that is going to a Sandler show: be prepared for anything!
This tour will kick off on October 12th in Vancouver, BC and run through December 12th where it will wrap up in Denver. In between, the tour will zig-zag throughout the country.
Tickets are now available for shows throughout the country.
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September 19, 2023R.E.M.
25th Anniversary Reissue of Up
September 20, 2023 by Traci Turner
The legends that are R.E.M. are celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Up” with a special reissue of the bestselling 1998 album, slated for release November 10th.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s album gave us “Daysleeper,” “Lotus,” “At My Most Beautiful,” and “Suspicion,” and is newly remastered and expanded for this special anniversary.
The Deluxe 2-CD/1 Blu-Ray edition includes the previously unreleased, 11-song set from their 1999 guest appearance on “Party of Five,” which features “Man on the Moon,” “Losing My Religion,” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine).”
The Blu-ray offers HD music videos “Daysleeper,” “Lotus” and “At My Most Beautiful”, a six-song performance from the era, and hi-resolution and 5.1 surround sound audio.
Inside the 32-page hardcover book, you will find liner notes featuring new interviews with the band members Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Bill Berry, and Mike Mills.
The expanded reissue – which includes the album and the “Party of Five” performance – is also available in 2-CD, digital and hi-res configurations, or 14-track, 2-LP album.
A limited-edition pressing on Green Marble vinyl is also available exclusively at R.E.M.’s official store.
You don’t have to wait until November for the remastered version of “Daysleeper,” or the band’s never-before-released performance of the song from the “Party of Five” taping as they are available online now.
Even though the ‘90s feel like 10 years ago, it really is time to celebrate 25 years. While they may have disbanded in 2011, you never know what is ahead for R.E.M. Maybe celebrating will draw them back on the road again…
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September 19, 2023THE DEVIL MAKES THREE
US Fall Tour 2023
September 20, 2023 by Thomas Ochoa
In 2002, a trio of East Coast transplants in Central California created an appreciation of bluegrass music delivered with a hint of punk rock attitude. The results: over 20 years as a band, six full-length albums, and a 2023 US fall tour, including a show at The Observatory in Santa Ana.
There are artists that seek validation from being labeled as a specific genre; then there is The Devil Makes Three. Formed in 2002, The Devil Makes Three could quickly be branded as another bluegrass band due to the instrumentation that comprises the group: primarily an upright bass, acoustic guitar, and banjo. Aside from their instrumentation, The Devil Makes Three, in most cases, feels and sounds more like a punk rock Americana band with how much volume they deliver with only three instruments playing onstage.
What sets them apart from any of their contemporaries in bluegrass is their story-telling delivery. This is not by accident, confirms guitarist Pete Bernhard. “I always want our songs to unfold like short stories,” he said. “You could think of them like the chapters of a book.” Regardless if listening to a song from their self-titled release, or the more recent “Chains Are Broken,” the listener quickly becomes engrossed in the lyrics and they become a character in the story, if not, the main character.
The founding members of The Devil Makes Three met each other in high school in Vermont, but the band did not form until 2002 when Pete Bernhard (lead vocals and guitar) and Cooper McBean (guitar and banjo) finally planted roots in Santa Cruz, California. In the early iterations of the band, Barnhard and McBean played punk and rock together. Not long after the move to Santa Cruz, Lucia Turino, another high school friend from Vermont, moved to California, learned upright bass, and joined the duo to form the trio.
One of TDM3’s first shows was hosted by the coffee shop where the band was also employed. In 2002, they released their self-titled album featuring “Old Number Seven,” “The Graveyard,” and “The Plank.”
Although the band released two more full-length albums, “Longjohns, Boots, and Belts” and “Do Wrong Right,” and two live albums, they did not appear on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Charts until their fourth full-length in 2014, “I’m a Stranger Here.” They followed up this album with another chart-topping full-length album, “Redemption and Ruin,” which caught large-scale media attention.
Their 2018 album, “Chains Are Broken,” leans more to the Americana feel with the percussions being the driving force of the album.
A few months ago, TDM3 released their EP “Puppets,” and is celebrating 21 years as a group. They will begin their fall tour later this week and will feature The Ditrani Brother and Christopher Paul Stelling. As part of the jaunt, The Devil Makes Three returns to Southern California for the first time in almost five years, performing four consecutive shows in San Diego, Santa Ana, Ventura, and Monterey. On Thursday October 5th, see them live at The Observatory in Santa Ana.
Although The Devil Makes Three’s ensemble is that of a bluegrass trio, they deliver a more traditional Americana sound with an appropriate blend of folk, rock and roll, and heavy punk tones that transcends multiple genres.
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September 19, 2023QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
“The End Is Nero”
September 19, 2023 by David Jackson
They are loud, they are the in your face kind of cool, they are insanely good, they are Queens of the Stone Age and they are coming out west this December.
Aside them originally being from Seattle, they tour everywhere on the planet, so a west coast tour is like home cookin’ for lead singer Josh Homme.
The band formed in the heyday of grunge, 1996 to be exact and since then they have become a staple of the alt rock scene, well, grunge too? With hits like “No One Knows,” “The Way You Used To Do,” “Go with the Flow,” “Little Sister,” “Make It with Chu,” “In My Head,” and “3’s & 7’s,” fans from coast-to-coast and across the pond love seeing this band perform live.
The new music is doing very well too with their legion of worldwide fans. Notably, “Negative Space,” is putting smiles on a lot of faces.
The tour is dubbed “The End Is Nero,” it takes off September 23 in Omaha and a few more stops before heading down to Mexico before it hits back across the pond. Then, it zig-zags its way back to North America. Well, the West Coast to be exact, that takes place in December. Locally, you can catch the tour when it hits the Kia Forum on December 16th.
The tour is in support of the bands eighth studio album, “In Times New Roman…” Tour support will be provided by SPIRITUALIZED , led by J Spaceman, SPIRITUALIZED is supporting its ninth album, “Everything Was Beautiful.”
Tickets go on sale this Friday, September 22 at 10 a.m. local time. So get your leather, docs and pomade ready for this one!
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September 18, 2023Live at House of Blues, Anaheim
September 18, 2023 Review by Jordan West
It was a very impressive night of rock at the stately House of Blues in Anaheim, as Swedish guitar shredder Yngwie Malmsteen and his band headlined an impressive array of legends for an approving crowd. “Yngwie who?” you may ask, if you are unfamiliar with this very talented musician. One look at the back of so many black T-shirts that were scattered about the crowd answered that particular question in white block letters: “YNGWIE F*CKING MALMSTEEN, THAT’S WHO.”
The evening’s opening acts were tremendous. Chicago’s Steve Ramone Band, which included fellow Chicago native, and Enuff Z’ Nuff leader Chip Z’Nuff on bass guitar, rocked a quick set of electric blues, that included a terrific take on Kenny Wayne Sheppard’s “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway.”
Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and his terrific trio – EJ Curse on bass and drummer Jimmy D’Anda – cranked out a raucous combination of original and cover songs, such as Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song” and the Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock N Roll.”
Clarke is a solid guitarist and he and his band went over very well with the still-arriving crowd. The spirited D’Anda is always a treat to see, and he kept his drum tech busy by bashing the hell out of the house drum kit. The band finished off their set with Clarke’s personal tale of debauchery, “Tijuana Jail.” This is a great band to see in a bar, and it gave off that same feel in the cavernous confines of the Anaheim House of Blues as well.
As direct support for Yngwie Malmsteen on this tour was another rock legend. The moniker “The Voice of Rock” has long been bestowed on vocalist Glenn Hughes, and at 72 years of age, he sounds fantastic. A more powerful, seasoned voice, you will be hard pressed to find. At an age, where many in the business have long ago lost their capacity to create and recreate, Hughes has not. He sounds as good now as he did when I first heard him in the early 1970s.
Hughes and his solid band were saluting his work in Deep Purple exclusively, in particular the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking “Burn,” in which he played bass and sang alongside David Coverdale. Naturally, Hughes supplied all the vocals this evening and did so, splendidly.
Opening with a rousing version Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer,” Hughes and company brought soul and feeling to every note. Clearly pleased to be back in his long-time home of Southern California (he expressed this a number of times during the set), he looked and sounded just like he did at the famous California Jam of 1974 – minus the shiny, satin suit!
A treat for me was the inclusion of “Might Just Take Your Life” and “Sail Away” from the afore-mentioned “Burn.” These two “deep cuts” from one of my favorite rock recordings are rarely heard live, and for Hughes to include these numbers and to perform them in the same key really made my night. The large crowd roared their approval, as the clearly touched Hughes smiled a huge grin at songs end and thanked them.
Sandwiched in-between powerful readings of Purple classics “Mistreated” and “You Keep on Moving” – which were superb in their showcasing of the soulful side of Hughes voice – was his tribute to his former band member and collaborator, the late, brilliant guitarist Tommy Bolin. The funky Bolin/Hughes single rocked the HOB crowd, as Hughes rocked his funky bass guitar beats and sang it pitch perfect.
After a nice take on the pre-Hughes version of Deep Purple’s classic “Highway Star” was performed, Hughes and company ripped the set closing title track to “Burn” and it did just that. The band was on fire. The crowd sang and stomped and raised their hands in the air. It was a truly a satisfying performance, and a great set-up to Malmsteen. A beaming Hughes thanked the crowd for coming and promised to return to the Southern California concert stage again.
Malmsteen, or “The Maestro” as he is known in some circles, put on a hearty 24-song set that featured a host of his material from the last 40 years of his career output. He has released over 22 studio albums, and took bits and pieces of most of them to showcase his skills. Opening with the title track of his first solo LP, 1984’s “Rising Force” it set the tone of things to come with its combination of sweeping arpeggios combined with crunchy, fat chords from his scallop-necked Fender guitar.
Sporting his trademark black, open shirt with gold chains and black leather pants and boots, Malmsteen looks exactly like he has for years. He uses a very flamboyant style that includes flipping his guitar, playing with his teeth, and stretching his legs, and sent plenty of the fans scrambling for the many guitar picks that he threw or kicked into the crowd throughout the set.
A very impressive stage set up of 50 Marshall amplifiers backed up his four-piece band, which included drummer Brian Wilson, bassist Emilio Martinez, and keyboardist and sometimes vocalist Nick Marino. It was, naturally, skull-crushing loud, and that suits Malmsteen and most of his guitar-loving crowd just fine.
Volume aside, it was all about seeing a talented guitarist at work. Malmsteen’s hands are his paintbrush, and he effortlessly flows from the classics to the contemporary. Case in point was the neo-classical composition “Into Valhalla/Baroque & Roll” combination which is a prime example of his appreciation of both classical and rock. His blazing speed up and down the fretboard, is breathtaking.
He did do some of his own interpretations of actual classics, such as Paganini’s “4th in D Minor” which brought the violin concerto into the electric guitar world. Malmsteen is totally focused while playing, a far cry from his younger years, when he always seemed distracted. A solid take on his “Far Beyond the Sun” segued into a lovely version of “The Star Spangled Banner” which I thought was quite clever.
Malmsteen seemed quite at ease and interacted a few times with the crowd. He also saluted a contemporary hero of his, former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore with a version of their classic “Smoke on the Water” in which Malmsteen also provided the vocals. More sweeps and blasts of his extraordinary fingers on the fretboard led to his set ending “You Don’t Remember, I’ll Never Forget” had the crowd chanting for more.
The band returned to the stage for an encore of Malmsteen performing an acoustic solo, which wowed the still cheering crowd, many of them standing still with mouths agape, watching this fret-master apply his numerous notes at lightning speed. Malmsteen and company sent the adoring crowd home with “Black Star,” which starts on acoustic guitar and turns electric, ending an impressive set.
As a resident rocker, and a guitar-oriented music fan, I have to say this evening was real treat. So much talent in one evening together, could have easily been sub-divided into four shows. My adrenaline is STILL going at top speed just writing about it.
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by Jordan West Photography
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September 17, 2023SO MUCH FOR (2OUR) DUST
September 18, 2923 by Nancy Evans
OMG, OMG OMG… that’s what many of us thought as the news was breaking that Fall Out Boy and Jimmy Eat World would be teaming up for a tour in 2024.
Sadly, I missed them last time they came to SoCal and played at BMO Stadium, I will make sure not to miss them this time around. The duo announced that in spring of 2024, they are ready to help us all make new “Mmrs” with a Part 2 tour!
The alternative rock lightning rods are hitting the road on a second North American leg of their The So Much for (2our) Dust spectacle.
This time around Fall Out Boy will bring along more friends as Jimmy Eat World will share the mic along with a few select bands throughout the planet. The US portion of the tour kicks off February 28th, 2024.
The tour is in support of Fall Out Boys’ eighth studio album, “So Much (for) Stardust.” And so far, so good for their loyal fans as they are digging the new tunes. So much so, it has spawned three hits already “Love From the Other Side,” “Heartbreak Feels So Good” and “Hold Me Like a Grudge.”
Of course, these cats are known for a few others hits as well, “Dance, Dance,” “Uma Thurman,” “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs,” “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” and their super-hit, “Sugar, We’re Going Down.”
As for Jimmy Eat World, their fans swoon over their favorite songs, “A Praise Chorus,” “Bleed American,” “Sweetness,” “Your House,” and “The Middle.”
They will play the UK for several dates before landing back to this side of the pond. Locally they’ll play the Honda Center on March 4th, 2024 and throughout the US of A and all points in between thereafter.
For the Anaheim show, support will be coming from other favorites to the alt rock crowd, The Maine and Daisy Grenade.
Need tickets to see Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump play some kickass music? Join the crowd and get your tickets for this tour!
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September 17, 2023California
Is For Lovers Fest
Live at Oak Canyon Park
September 14, 2023 Review by Tim Markel
While the Warped Tour remains a cherished memory of our recent past, its essence continues to thrive through regional events like the California Is For Lovers Fest.
While it’s challenging to envision any new festival stepping into the shoes of our beloved Warped Tour experiences from the past, it’s undeniable the profound impact that the Is For Lovers Festival is now making nationwide.
On the scorching Saturday of August 26th, the festival curated by Hawthorne Heights descended upon sunny Southern California, possibly marking one of the most sizzling concerts ever held in the state.
With just two stages and a promise of no overlapping set times, it was incredibly easy to catch every band on the roster. Kicking the day off, albeit before many concertgoers had arrived at the venue, were Diva Bleach, Winterhaven, and 82Fifty who each performed an amazing set.
As people continued to pour through the front gates, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was making new fans and appeasing old fans with crowd favorites such as “Don’t You Fake It” and “Face Down.”
Taking to the John Beatz stage across the venue was Arizona’s Scary Kids Scaring Kids. Kicking the set off with “Degenerates,” the band hit the ground running.
Leading the band at the Is For Lovers Fest was vocalist Albert Schweizer who did such an amazing job. The band mostly pulled material from their self-titled album, but mixed in a couple of tracks from their latest release before closing with “My Darkest Hour.”
One of the bands I was really excited to see was Emery. I can’t remember the last time I got to see Emery live, but I can safely say it was before the departure of guitarist/vocalist Devin Shelton.
Though I still yearn for a chance to see the band with Shelton again, I was not disappointed with Emery’s setlist or performance in the slightest. The band played a fantastic set that included “The Weak’s End,” “The Question,” “I’m Only a Man,” and “…In Shallow Seas We Sail.” It was also awesome to see them perform old songs like “Ponytail Parades” and “Walls” again.
Further Seems Forever put on an incredible set which was voiced by 2003’s “How to Start a Fire” vocalist Jason Gleason. Kicking the set off with the titular track from the aforementioned album, the band immediately started pulling the crowd from the other stage and captivated the growing audience until their final song.
Hawthorne Heights delivered an exceptional performance, showcasing hits like “Saying Sorry,” “Dandelions,” and “Silver Bullet.”
Towards the conclusion of their set, they surprised the audience by inviting a special fan onto the stage. Lead singer J.T. Woodruff shared a heartwarming story: over 15 years ago, this fan had sent the band a video of a young kid playing “Ohio Is for Lovers” on the guitar, bringing joy to everyone in the band. To the crowd’s delight, the fan turned out to be that very same young musician, joining the band for a heartfelt rendition of “Ohio Is for Lovers” during the final moments of the set.
Not be outdone, Norma Jean, Bayside, and Touché Amore each delivered extraordinary performances that had the power to transform even the most skeptical concert attendee into an ardent fan.
Sleeping With Sirens took to the stage and kicked off their set with “Apathetic,” which was the live debut of the song.
“Talking to Myself,” “Leave It All Behind,” and “Be Happy” were next in the set and were performed to what may have been the largest crowd for any band performing that day or night.
I was not prepared for what happened next. Thursday took to the stage and stole the show, with what, in my opinion, was the best performance of the day/night.
“For the Workforce, Drowning,” “Autobiography of a Nation,” and “Cross Out the Eyes” are three of my all-time favorite Thursday songs, and is coincidentally how the band kicked off their set. If you haven’t seen Thursday live, be sure to catch them if you get the chance. “Understanding in a Car Crash,” “Division Street,” and “War All the Time” closed out the band’s set and I was left in awe.
Thrice brought the heat as they commenced their set with three of their most powerful songs: “Firebreather,” “Under a Killing Moon,” and “Paper Tigers.”
Throughout the performance, the band delivered what could easily be described as one of their most well-rounded sets in recent memory.
Closing out the night, they treated the crowd to beloved classics like “Silhouette,” “Deadbolt,” and the hauntingly unforgettable “The Earth Will Shake.”
Atreyu was another band that gave an energetic and incredible performance, and their set comprised of songs from nearly every album. It was my first time seeing the band without original vocalist Alex Varkatzas and I was not disappointed.
As the night progressed, it became evident that those who remained in the audience were true Alkaline Trio enthusiasts. While the crowd had admittedly diminished in size, the upcoming sing-alongs would have easily deceived anyone with closed eyes.
Alkaline Trio kicked off their set with the beloved hit “Private Eye,” igniting an immediate chorus of voices from the entire crowd.
Following this energetic start, they seamlessly transitioned into “Blackbird,” “In Vein,” and “I Wanna Be Warhol,” all met with a thunderous response.
The crowd’s exuberant reaction to “Mercy Me” was exhilarating; however, the pinnacle of Alkaline Trio’s performance came during the rendition of “Clavicle.” For me, it was a standout moment, but there’s no denying the sheer power in the collective voices of thousands as they sang the final lyrics of the night during the closing song, “Radio.” It was a memorable conclusion to an unforgettable evening.
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by Tim Markle Photography
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September 14, 2023Live at Gallagher Square
September 15, 2023 Review by Greg Vitalich
Weezer is one of those bands that seem to appeal to almost everybody. Their catchy, melodic, light-hearted pop rock, geek vibe, and entertaining music videos have connected with mass audiences since their 1994 multiplatinum debut album. I last saw Weezer in the late ‘90s – at peak popularity – so I was curious how the current day Weezer show would compare.
The concert took place at Gallagher Square, adjacent to Petco Park in downtown San Diego. It’s a great concert location; extremely convenient for concertgoers to enjoy time at local restaurants and pubs, then walk to the show.
I caught the second supporting band on the bill, veteran indie rockers Spoon. Like Weezer, Spoon has been around since the mid-‘90s. I lived in Austin, TX during the time Spoon started gaining popularity in the vibrant local music scene, so now I had a second band to compare their ‘90’s performances to tonight’s show.
I appreciate Spoon’s unpretentious approach. They deliver a traditional rock / alternative / experimental style with tasty, rhythmic grooves often acting as the cornerstone of the song. Impressively, the quintet’s 2022 album “Lucifer on the Sofa” was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2023 Grammys. Co-founder and lead singer guitarist Britt Daniel brings a lot of cynical songwriting and passion to his performance, and the show was polished and impressive.
Spoon is a solid band that I’ll not hesitate to see again. Fans enjoyed “My Mathematical Mind,” “The Way We Get By,” “My Babe,” “The Hardest Cut,” “Inside Out,” “I Turn My Camera On,” and their Cramps cover, “TV Set.”
With Weezer’s showtime upon us, the stage revealed the first look at Weezer’s quirky creativity; a gigantic car dashboard backdrop, complete with Weezer emblem on the steering wheel and dials that lit up. The drums were situated on top of this vintage ‘70s-style dashboard.
The band casually walked on stage with a smiling Rivers Cuomo waving to the cheering crowd. Grabbing his guitar, they kicked off into a great set opener, “My Name is Jonas;” very appropriate since it’s the first song off their first album. Cuomo – the songwriter and heartbeat of the band – was clearly having a blast and looked fresh, despite this show being the finale of a 30-city Indie Rock Roadtrip. Ah – Roadtrip? Now the car dashboard stage set was making more sense!
With the diverse crowd of 20- to 50-somethings still going nuts after the opening number, the band kicked into their sing-along pop hit “Beverly Hills.” Contrasting with Cuomo’s simple jeans, shirt, and nerd glasses ensemble, guitarist Brian Bell proudly donned a loud pink leisure suit as he strutted back and forth across the stage, rocking the riff on “The Good Life.”
The band seemed loose, comfortable, and brought the energy for the packed house. Very entertaining! The stiff, somewhat awkward band I witnessed pre-millennium was certainly a distant memory. The fun, catchy hits kept coming: “Pork and Beans,” “El Scorcho,” “Undone – the Sweater Song,” “Island in the Sun,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Hash Pipe” … wow! How can you not have fun at a Weezer show?
Sandwiched in between all the big hits, Cuomo squeezed in some lesser-known acoustic numbers for an interesting change of pace. The first encore was the fun emo jam celebrating surfing versus going to a “rat race” job – “you take your car to work, I’ll take my board”- “Surf Wax America.”
Of course, the end to a perfect evening was when the 6,000 fans all joined Weezer singing the all-time classic “Buddy Holly” – the song (and memorable video) that started Weezer on the road to rock n’ roll greatness.
It was a great night for both Spoon and Weezer, proving once again that many rock bands who first rose to popularity in the ‘90s can continue to draw big crowds and thrive in today’s music scene.
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by Greg Vitalich Photography
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