September 29, 2023TUPAC SHAKUR
Murder Suspect Indicted
September 29, 2023 by Christina Sanchez
Like most people, I love my TV shows. In particular, I love murder mysteries and the cold case shows that are so engaging. Earlier today, we got the news that many have been waiting for – for what seems like an eternity.
Today is a day you will remember where you were when you heard this news. Depending where you live of course, the Tardis or Hot Tub Time Machine backed up and knocked on your door for a WTF moment as it was announced that a murder suspect in the Tupac Shakur murder was indicted.
Many years have passed and people started to believe that no one would ever be arrested for his murder. Finally, today was the day that justice was finally served. Duane “Keffe D” Davis was charged with Shakur’s murder.
Davis has been on the radar of the police department for quite some time. Hopefully now there is enough evidence to get a murder conviction and some closure to the mystery of Shakur’s death for the family and fans that have been in limbo all of these year
Davis previously put himself at the scene of the crime in his memoir, “Compton Street Legend,” he “was” a supposed witness to the shooting and murder that took place on September 7, 1996.
It was announced that a Nevada grand jury indicted him on one count of murder with a deadly weapon, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo announced earlier today.
Since we are going back in time, and if you were a music lover in the 1990s, chances are you were a fan of Tupac Shakur. His music was enjoyed by people of every race and gender. He was charismatic, smart, a great entertainer be it behind the mic or behind the camera. His film legacy includes credits for “Juice,” “Above the Rim,” “Gang Related,” and “Poetic Justice.” His music catalog propelled him to international stardom with his mega hit, “California Love.”
Unfortunately, during the ’90s there was a beef going on between east coast and west coast rappers that also claimed the life of another iconic figure from the genre, Biggie Smalls (aka The Notorious B.I.G.). Like Biggie – at the height of Shakur’s career, he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996. He was only 25 years old.
Hopefully today brings relief to people on both sides of the country. This is a developing story and OC Music News will update you as more information becomes available.
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September 29, 2023Peace Out Tour Postponed
September 29, 2023 by David Jackson
Sad news from one of the worlds larger-than-life bands. Earlier today we received the news that Aerosmith’s Peace Out Tour is indefinitely postponed. As you can imagine, emotions run the gambit when this news hit.
Not long ago Steven Tyler let us all know about some devastating medical news and advice he received from his doctor. In short, it said the band would have to postpone a few dates so that they could come back and give us all the performance we deserve.
Earlier today we received more news about Tyler, which has led fans to be very concerned for his health.
Today’s statement read:
“To our fans: Unfortunately, Steven’s vocal injury is more serious than initially thought. His doctor has confirmed that in addition to the damage to his vocal cords, he fractured his larynx which requires ongoing care. He is receiving the best medical treatment available to ensure his recovery is swift, but given the nature of a fracture, he is being told patience is essential. As a result, all the currently scheduled PEACE OUT shows must be postponed to sometime in 2024, with new dates to be announced as soon as we know more. I am heartbroken to not be out there with Aerosmith, my brothers and the incredible Black Crowes, rocking with the best fans in the world. I promise we will be back as soon as we can!” – Love, Steven.
Further details are not available. OC Music News will follow-up with updates as more details become available.
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September 28, 2023Live at The Hollywood Bowl
September 29, 2023 Review by Alaina Pierce
Iconic for its rich history and innovative architectural design, the Hollywood Bowl is renowned for its natural acoustics which are then amplified with superior quality and volume to every seat in the house.
Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, this outdoor amphitheater was no doubt the cause of your Friday night traffic jam last weekend, due to headlining band: The Lumineers!
The Lumineers are continuing on their current tour by playing to a sold-out audience in the most coveted venue under the stars that Southern CA has to offer.
Warming up the crowd for The Lumineers was their good friend, James Bay, who opened with a swooning 10-song set. Bay’s voice possessed irresistible magnetism, and new fans were made with every pulsating chorus that begged us to sway along.
Bay gave the audience what they wanted with his hits “Let It Go,” “Us,” and “Hold Back the River.” James Bay also treated the captivated crowd to an unreleased song – “Broken Pieces.” The new track stole my heart with its soulful lyrics, punctuated by Bay’s beautiful harmonic crooning.
As an special surprise, the audience was gifted an exclusive acoustic download of the song via QR code displayed on the big screen while he performed. Thank you James Bay! Closing out his set with his mega hit “Hold Back the River,” he left us on a high for The Lumineers.
An outpouring of excited conversations carried through the night air as fans waited in anticipation for The Lumineers to take the stage. Like clockwork, the band marched in right on time, already strumming. They didn’t waste a second, hitting us hard with three bangers in a row! “Cleopatra” playfully opened the set, followed by their toe-tapping “Flowers in Your Hair,” and as house lights shined on the audience during the chorus of their breakthrough hit single, “Ho Hey,” it revealed hundreds singing along in perfect unison.
The level of talent running through this band, intricate instrumentation, entertaining crowd interaction, and – dare I say it – athleticism I witnessed, was something I simply did not expect. It seems everyone in the band plays a minimum of three instruments. Not just play them; it was like watching musical chairs with a variety of instruments like an accordion, cello, mandolin, and percussion, all expertly executed. When Jeremiah Fraites jumped from drums to upright piano for “Salt and the Sea,” I was transfixed by his skill playing a brooding melody over front-man Wesley Shultz’s vocals and strumming, while others jumped on drums, organ, cello, and violin.
The Lumineers’ call for audience participation in their performances. When Shultz announced, “We need your voices!” with songs “Dead Sea,” “Angela” and “A.M. Radio,” the crowd obliged in a spirited call and response. The genuine gratitude the band has for their audience and opportunities to play live was palpable.
During their performance of “Brightside,” Shultz emerged from the stage, greeted fans in aisles, then made his way to the back of the amphitheater, still shaking hands and serenading us all along the way.
With everyone now on their feet, Shultz returned to the stage, and they kept the momentum going by hitting us with “Gloria,” “Sleep on the Floor,” and “Ophelia.” “Leader of the Landslide” was also notable for its snowball build, starting out with accordion, strings, and guitar. Then the drums kicked in with the piano and Lauren Jacobson switched from violin to organ. Something about that piano brings out the athleticism in whomever is currently playing it. For 30 seconds, Shultz freezes “Big Parade” in the middle of the song to give attention to the piano player holding a perfect handstand on top of the piano! It was unreal.
The Lumineers finished out their set with “Stubborn Love” to a captive audience. Looking around, there were nothing but smiling faces singing their hearts out.
It was the perfect ending to a viscerally exciting live concert experience. Their fans will not soon forget the soulful performance and heartfelt harmonies. Ask me if the two and a half hours spent in traffic was worth it and my answer will be a resounding yes! Go see The Lumineers live!
SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
by Alaina Pierce Photography
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September 28, 2023Announce 7-0-7 Tour
September 29, 2023 by Traci Turner
In 2024, you will get your “Pump It Up,” “Alison,” “Veronica,” “Everyday I Write the Book,” “Watching the Detectives,” “Peace, Love and Understanding,” and “Radio, Radio” in person when Elvis Costello and The Imposters hit the road.
Billed the 7-0-7 Tour, Costello will be joined by guitarist extraordinaire Charlie Sexton.
The month of January will see Costello and crew visit multiple Southern states, including Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia.
Once completed, Costello will head to Australia for several shows in March and April.
Catching Costello in person is definitely worth it; his shows typically include more than 25 songs and his decades of hits ensure fan favorites all over the place.
Tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m. local time.
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September 28, 2023Set to Get Cyco at Garden Amp
September 29, 2023 by Kevin Gomez
You know you’re a pretty dangerous band when you get banned from playing your own hometown by the Chief of Police, and violent street gangs spring up named after, and inspired by your band.
Well, that distinguished honor belongs to none other than Los Angeles’ own, Suicidal Tendencies.
Although these days, lead singer Mike Muir dishes out words of positivity and unity in between songs, the band’s sound and followers have not tamed over the years. The band is almost as hardcore and wild as their rabid fans are.
Suicidal Tendencies will bring that raucous live show for a special, two-night event at the Garden Amp in Garden Grove, just a short drive away from Venice where they first got their start.
Suicidal Tendencies are fresh off a slot playing with Danzig in Ontario, where there were as many as three pits going simultaneously during their set. Their ability to combine punk, hardcore, metal, funk, and even reggae was evidence during Memorial Day this year, when the band played both Milwaukee Metalfest and Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas over the same holiday weekend.
Having been at the latter, I can attest that the “Cycos” are still as rowdy and maniacal as ever as the band drew the largest and most violent pit of the night. I can only imagine what they will be bringing to the Garden Amp; however, this is not their first rodeo at the outdoor venue.
The band played a trio of shows leading up to Halloween last year, which people are still talking about a year later. They are continuing with a similar theme this year, with October 28th dedicated to a “Cyco Thrash Night” and October 29th reserved as a “Cyco Punk Night.”
Their past performances here are legendary and some of the most memorable shows the Garden Amp has ever seen. Special guests have not been announced yet, but if you’re smart, you’ll get tickets before these sell out instantly.
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September 27, 2023THE OCEAN BLUE
A Conversation with David Schelzel
September 28, 2023 by Traci Turner
The Ocean Blue may not immediately pop in your mind when reflecting on the ‘80s and ‘90s, but when you listen to “Between Something and Nothing,” “Drifting, Falling,” “Ballerina Out of Control,” or “Mercury,” you will say, “Oh yeah! I love them!”
The Ocean Blue was excellent then, and they are fantastic now… and headed our way.
Formed in Hershey, PA in 1986, The Ocean Blue features founding members David Schelzel and Bobby Mittan, along with Oed Ronne and Peter Anderson.
It did not take long for the band to find success as their sophomore album “Cerulean” found its way to alternative radio nationwide.
They recently released a new video for “Denmark,” the lead single from 1999’s “Davy Jones Locker,” which has just been remastered and made available on vinyl for the first time. Throw in a fall tour and The Ocean Blue has plenty to offer in 2023. Thankfully David Schelzel was able to take a break long enough to catch us up.
Traci: David I am impressed that you and co-founding member Bobby have known each other since you were teens!
David: Yeah, junior high school, to be precise.
Traci: Who knew this thing you put together as teens, you’d still be doing in your adult years!
David: I know. It’s a marvel, but given the fact, especially with Bobby, that I’ve known him for so long – and even Oed and Peter I’ve known for over 20 years and are best friends – it really makes it a beautiful thing.
Traci: What was that like – as youngsters – the first time one of your songs got on the radio? Were you guys together?
David: The first time I can remember hearing us on the radio, we were on our way to Boston to play a show. I don’t even know if the first record was out, but the single was out, and the people at the label were saying, “Oh, these radio stations are starting to play you.” So we were trying to dial them in, and I think it was a radio station out of Providence, Rhode Island, that was playing us. They played The B-52s, then they played the Pixies, and then they played us, and we were like, “Whoa!” And we’re all in the van together, just sort of taking the moment in. It was pretty great!
Traci: You guys had successful albums and then took a break for more than a decade. You do most of the songwriting, and I know you did some other projects, but in that time, did you just have so much stuff stored up that you were like, “I have to let all of this out!”
David: Kind of. For me, songwriting is a part of life, so I’m always thinking about music and writing things here and there, and it’s not so much like it gets pent up in me, and then I need to let it out. It’s more I kind of get it out when I can, and then I sit back and say, “Oh, wow, there’s a body of work here that kind of sounds like an album.” Or maybe I need to just start collecting these things. It’s more like gardening; I have to go out there and weed and tend to it, and then all of a sudden you realize you’ve got something. Particularly with the record we put it out in 2013, “Ultramarine.” It took me a while to realize, I’ve got a record done now and I should bring it in for a landing and make sure it’s happening.
Traci: What is your songwriting process, or do you have multiple?
David: It’s just kind of a natural part of life for me, so I don’t overthink it. Inspiration comes anytime, anyplace, and I think that there’s a part of it that’s inspiration and just as natural and organic, and then there’s a part of it that’s work. Just today, I was sitting down with a guitar, and some things came to me, and I wrote them down, but I’ll have to revisit that at some point and see if there’s something there that will actually make a song lyrically or musically. There have been times in my life where I’ve had very specific ideas that I want to work out and then other times where it’s completely random.
Traci: You just re-released “Davy Jones Locker.” What can you tell us about that?
David: “Davy Jones Locker” is a very different record for us. It kind of sits between our years that we were on major labels in the time where we started to just be on an independent label and be our own thing. And we actually wrote and worked on most of it when we were still on a major label and trying to figure out if we were going to do a second record for that label. And the songs are a little more experimental all over the map, like what I would normally say are kind of outtake songs, but there’s something interesting there, and that felt like a record as we went into the 2000s. So we put it out by ourselves and then on an indie label, and it was the only record we’ve done that had never come out on vinyl. So that’s one of the things we really wanted to do this year, is revisit that record. It was out of print. It sold out of all the copies we had and wanted to put it on vinyl. So we did some remastering and kind of relooking at that record and thought, “Well, let’s do that and let’s do some shows in connection with that.” So that’s what we’re doing this fall.
Traci: I always wonder how artists know when an album is “done” or if they continue to want to “fix” things. Were there any songs on “Davy Jones” that you tweaked or changed? Or were you happy with everything and left it as is?
David: Well, interesting you should ask because when I first went back to revisit “Davy Jones” for this release, I was very dissatisfied with what I heard and thought we needed to do a pretty significant, maybe even need to remix this record, because it sounded so not good to me. But as I talked about it with the guys and we listened to it more, and I talked about it with friends and a few fans, it was like, well, it is what it is and we really shouldn’t mess with it too much.
He continued: The more I started to try out different things and work through, it just came to the conclusion to just leave it alone. The remastering we did really only tried to address and improve some sonic things and get it in a space that worked for vinyl. I think it sounds a lot better, but it doesn’t sound different, which was tricky because there’s a lot of things that bothered me about the record, but I’m at a point now where, particularly as we’ve played some of it, it’s been good to revisit it and I’m kind of okay with it. I think it sounds good.
Traci: I know a year or two ago, record pressing was behind due to supply issues. Has that caught up or is it still kind of delayed?
David: It’s a lot better than it was a couple of years ago. I think there was a lot of pent up demand going into the pandemic and then the pandemic made it even more so. I think we’ve worked through that in the supply chains a lot better now. I know for the stuff we’ve had to repress, the turnaround time is now two to three months, and it was over a year at one point. So, that’s really changed for the better.
Traci: “Kings and Queens” came out in 2019, so COVID got in the way of touring in support of that record, but with “Davy Jones” being “new,” are you playing through that or a more standard setlist with a mixture of songs?
David: In sort of the modern era – the last 10 years or so – when we play shows, we try to pick up songs from every record, but we lean more heavily on maybe if it’s a new record like “Ultramarine” or “Davy” or “Kings and Queens, Knaves and Thieves,” we’ll do more songs from that new record. We’re doing more songs from “Davy Jones” than we would normally do, but it’s a pretty wide variety of songs and we always play the most popular songs; we can tell what our popular songs are, so we always try to play all of those.
Traci: Several of the shows are sold out and some moving to bigger venues, so that’s got to be pretty amazing, a good feeling.
David: Correct on both counts. Yeah, amazing and feels good. It’s pretty incredible to me too, because we don’t have big machinery behind us anymore. I mean, when you’re on , you’ve got this massive infrastructure behind you, right? Promoting and distributing, getting you on radio, getting you on Conan O’Brien. We don’t have that; we’ve got a PR firm, but we do most of the things on our own, and so it’s remarkable to me, and I think it’s just a testament to the fine people that have been following us for decades and the relationships we established early on when we were on those. We feel so fortunate and are so grateful for the fact that we will play a sold-out show in San Francisco or San Diego, and hopefully soon Ventura. But, yeah, it’s great, and it feels like the right balance, too, because we’re not playing massive arenas or anything like that, but we’re playing to people that want to hear the music.
Traci: Do you have a go-to snack when you’re on tour?
David: We do! For years, one of my childhood friends – again, this theme of friends in the band – a guy I’ve known since junior high does our lights and is one of our crew people. He makes these amazing protein bars, and I don’t even know what’s in them, but it’s what we always have when we hit the road. He gives each of us these four bars that were obviously cut out of some kind of cookie sheet thing in a Ziploc bag, and we could pretty much live off of those things for the run. We usually do three or four dates and that would sustain us. A little bit like Frodo and Sam going through with the Lembas bread, to use a “Lord of the Rings” reference.
Traci: Anything else going on that you’re allowed to talk about?
David: Well, I mean, I can talk about whatever I want! (laughing)
Traci: Well, any new music or things that are not secret!
David: We’re working on a new record; when it’s done and out remains to be seen. I’m excited about that, but it’s a slow process for us now. We don’t have a major label that’s like, “Oh, you’ve got to deliver this in Q 2025” or something. But I’m optimistic that we’ll get that done within the year, and then it’s just a matter of timing as to when it comes out.
Traci: Several of the newer bands that I’m following release a new song when they have it; they skip doing the album thing. Maybe they’ll put out an EP later. Is that something that interests you – releasing songs as you have them?
David: Yeah, I love that, too, but I’m still a fan of the album as an art form. I mean, I love songs too. but what really defines musical experiences for me is the album. A collection of songs that relate to each other, create a vibe, create an atmosphere. That’s what I really love myself, and that’s what I try to do with The Ocean Blue.
Traci: This question is really the most important question of this entire interview.
David: Oh, my, I’m scared.
Traci: If you’re going to have to fight an animal, what is the biggest animal you think you could take?
David: Well, I have a hard enough time dealing with my cat, so I don’t know. I’m constantly battling the squirrels in my yard. It’d have to be pretty small. That’s tough. Maybe a kitten. I think I could handle a kitten. (laughing)
Thank you so much to David Schelzel for taking time to talk – on the day before his birthday! – and getting us caught up on The Ocean Blue. They will tour the US through November with a stop in Ventura at Ventura Music Hall on November 15th, and a sold-out show in San Diego on November 16th at Casbah. Snag tickets to Ventura while you can!
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September 26, 2023New Music & The Rick Tour
September 28, 2023 by Monica Johnson
There’s a new Ricky in town and Montgomery be thy name. There are several new artists making noise, but Mr. Montgomery is definitely a compelling artist to follow.
His songs range between poignant, emotional anthems and catchy, upbeat music. The alternative-indie artist is set to release a new album this Friday.
In addition to the new music, he will be performing at a city near you very soon. For the locals and not so local, get ready because he is tuning his guitar and getting ready to entertain us live.
Montgomery first gained a following in 2014 on the social media app Vine, before releasing his debut album, “Montgomery Ricky,” in 2016. After joining and leaving the band The Honeysticks, he made an attempt to reignite his music career by posting his songs on TikTok. It was a move that paid off immensely.
In 2020, “Line Without a Hook” and “Mr. Loverman” went viral on the app, the latter even became associated with online fandoms, including Japanese anime. Montgomery commented on the social media app’s benefits: “Those TikTok songs brought me from never having any label interest to having nearly every single major label try to sign me at the same time.”
Montgomery is poised to find that success again with his new record. “Rick” has already caused a stir thanks to early released tracks “Eraser” and “Boy Toy” becoming TikTok sensations.
The social media app has also played a role in Montgomery’s public image due to his near constant interaction with fan made material. He can often be seen making TikTok duets, reacting side by side with sad, funny, or even ridiculous use of his songs in edit. He has also made a habit of reacting to names of Spotify playlists with his songs in them.
As a songwriter, Montgomery is not afraid to shy away from his personal tragedies, often pulling from his childhood experiences. In “Sorry for Me” and “Black Fins,” Montgomery grapples with his father’s suicide, which occurred when the artist was 15 years old.
Like with all successful artists, they have themes and lyrics that endear fans towards their music. In this video, Montgomery and his sister visit the very beach where their father’s body washed up after what was thought to be a snorkeling accident, only later to be found a suicide. Montgomery explained: “It felt like it would bring me closer to him again. I think that’s all this is really for me.”
On top of a new album, Montgomery announced The Rick Tour: Another Rick in the Wall.
The tour kicks off in February 2024 and takes him across the US before ending in SoCal. Locals can catch him at Soma in San Diego on March 22nd and The Wiltern in Los Angeles on March 23rd.
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September 25, 2023Live at The Ritz | Raleigh, NC
September 26, 2023 Review by M.B. Edwards
A longstanding favorite of OC Music News, Everclear is on the road this fall with The Ataris and Pink Spiders. The jaunt will keep them busy through mid-October, which includes a stop at The Wiltern in LA on October 9th.
But OC Music News got a preview in North Carolina last week, just for you!
Unfortunately, Kris Roe, front-man of The Ataris, ended up with COVID and the band couldn’t open for Everclear.
That left The Pink Spiders as the solo opener of the night. Sometimes, one of the best things about going to a concert is getting introduced to new bands that you didn’t know existed but find out you should have. Tonight, was one of those nights for me.
I’m not sure if it had anything to do with The Ataris not performing or if they’re always giving it their all, but The Pink Spiders from Nashville put on an amazing show.
They came out shouting “North Carolina” before playing “Gold Confetti.” During the song, singer and guitarist Matt Friction got down on his knees while he played a few riffs. Bassists JoCo was showing off his tattoos and sporting a pink beanie, and guitarist Young James was bouncing around the stage the entire time. The whole band’s energy was on point and got the crowd fired up.
They dedicated “The Boys of Summer” to The Ataris (the song that gained The Ataris mainstream fame), along with “Busy Signals,” “Freakin’ Freakin’ Out,” “Nobody Baby,” and “Little Razorblade.” Friction asked the audience if anyone needed a shirt; everyone got excited and shouted, hoping he’d throw them one, then he laughed and said they were for sale in the back.
The Pink Spiders have been around since 2003 and has some loyal fans; one of which was in the audience. This “superfan,” as we dubbed him, drove almost two hours just to see The Pink Spiders. He sang along with every song, shouted to the band, and was jumping all about. He made such an impact on those standing around him, when the guitar picks were tossed into the crowd at the end of the show, the person who caught it made sure that it went to the beloved superfan.
While waiting for Everclear to take the stage, music blared overhead and the entire crowd sang along to “Self Esteem” by The Offspring and “Fight For Your Right” by Beastie Boys which kept us all entertained and the mood just right. Then Everclear took the stage. Bassist Freddy Herrera shouted. “What’s up, Raleigh!” while Art Alexakis said, “Raleigh, make some fucking noise!” before starting the night with “So Much For the Afterglow.”
The motto of the night from Everclear’s front-man and founder Alexakis was the phrase “Fuck yeah!” He had us shouting it all night, and when we didn’t say it loud enough or didn’t convince him we meant it, we screamed it again.
Alexakis dedicated “Heroin Girl” to Nate, a 26-year-old kid who’s been going to their concerts for years. When he named the next song, “You Make Me Feel Like a Whore,” the entire crowd started screaming.
The band left the stage for a moment to allow Alexakis do his solo song, “Sing Away” without all the bells and whistles. A lady kept holding up a sign that read “AM Radio” and Alexakis acknowledged her a few times and said it’s coming. Herrera and guitarist Dave French pointed out into the crowd, recognizing the lucky individuals who were able to lock eyes with the band members and have a little moment.
Before “Father of Mine,” Alexakis said “If you don’t know this song, you were living under a fucking rock” before asking us to help him sing it. When we screamed “Yeah,” he said, “That shit’s weak; you sound like Virginia!” Alexakis dedicated “Like a California King” to his band member, Herrera. He played the song “The Swing” from “Scream 2” and joked about how many unanswered questions there were from the first which is why they keep making those movies.
Alexakis played a slower song and said after that “skunk bummer of a song” let’s hear an old school ‘90s alternative song and they did “I Will Buy You a New Life.” They also played “Strawberry,” “Wonderful,” and “Local God.”
During the night, Herrera said the band has been playing for 31 years. Even after 31 years, they still sound amazing and have the energy of someone much younger.
Herrera spun around while he played; Alexakis and French played in unison on their guitars and moved about the stage. They never stood still and talked to the audience and joked around with one another. It’s the little things like this that differentiates a good concert from a great one. Everclear and The Pink Spiders put on a great concert.
Both bands hung out at the merch booth after their set, giving autographs and connecting with the fans. SoCal residents make sure to catch Everclear on October 9th. While I can’t personally say how good The Ataris will be, The Pink Spiders and Everclear will have you saying, “Fuck yeah!”
SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
by Jed Gammon Photography
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September 25, 2023DWARVES
The Concept Album
September 26, 2023 by Kevin Gomez
The Dwarves are often referred to as “the greatest rock and roll band of all time” and “the last punk rock band around,” at least according to lead singer, Blag Dahlia.
They have had a raw, often brutally honest, and raunchy career spanning 40 years.
While most bands have tamed and even matured personally and musically, the Dwarves still deliver the same wild live show and unapologetic music that they have been brandishing since their early days.
While Blag released his own solo project last year – the wonderful, underrated “Introducing Ralph Champagne” – behind the scenes the Dwarves were busy at work recording their next release and the time has finally come for it to drop.
INTRODUCING RALPH CHAMPAGNE
The hilariously titled “The Dwarves Concept Album” is not just a clever name but a preview of what’s to come from the 20-track album. According to the band, the album – which will be released November 17th – will see the Dwarves covering various genres from “hardcore to garage rock and surf music, experimental noise, pop punk duets and bar band rock & roll.” The two core members of the Dwarves have always been Blag and longtime guitarist, HeWhoCannotBeNamed, often seen playing in just a Mexican luchador mask and a studded, leather thong.
HeWhoCannotBeNamed has been noticeably absent the past few years when the band has played, but rest assured he will definitely be present on the album and was integral to its recording process. Though the band has shifted members throughout the years, the past few have seen the lineup solidified with a talented group of musicians including the magnificent bassist, Nick Oliveri (aka Rex Everything), guitarist Mark Diamond (aka The Fresh Prince of Darkness), and drummer Gabriel Perez (aka Snupac). If you’ve seen the chemistry and energy when these guys play live then you’re just as excited as I am to see what the band has been working on for the past few years.
As if all of that was not enough to leave you on the edge of your seat, the band also collaborated with longtime friend and contributor Josh Freese. The Vandals and Foo Fighters drummer is who I consider to be one of the greatest session drummers in music history. Personally, I cannot wait to see what he and Perez have planned for drums as both are exceptionally skilled, fast and technical drummers.
Never one to shy away from controversy, particularly when it comes to album covers, the band released the album artwork for “The Dwarves Concept Album” on Instagram on Monday.
It features a beautiful model naked sans a pair of reading glasses, as she sits atop a pile of books in a contemplative glance looking above, with her bare breasts exposed.
The artwork was photographed by F. Scott Schafer and fits right in line with the rest of the band’s discography, and in fact might be their tamest, and even artistic cover yet.
The Dwarves plan to tour behind the album with a busy schedule that takes them throughout the end of the year, with a just-announced New Year’s Eve show with Pussy Riot at the Kilowatt in San Francisco.
For Southern California fans, the band will be playing day two of Punk in the Park Fest, November 5th at Oak Canyon Park.
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September 24, 2023Announces The Only Love Tour
September 27, 2023 by Kevin Gomez
Last week Kesha took to Instagram to announce a nationwide tour starting next month. While she was initially going to announce it as The Gag Order Tour to coincide with the album, she ultimately decided to name it The Only Love Tour to focus on a more positive message. As she describes it, “Life is too short, and I want to celebrate the freedom and love in my life with all of .” Her final stop of the tour will be a homecoming of sorts, as she plays the Palladium in Los Angeles on November 18th.
The singer-songwriter was born in Los Angeles, but her family moved to Nashville when she was just four. Her mother, Pebe Sebert, is a famous singer-songwriter in her own right, having penned number-one hits for the likes of Dolly Parton and Pitbull.
So, the apple did not fall very far from the tree as Kesha would go on to sign a multi-record deal with RCA Records.
Her 2010 debut album, “Animal,” was a monster success, hitting number one on the Billboard charts, going triple platinum in the United States, and selling over eight million copies worldwide.
“Animal’s” success was due to songs “Your Love is My Drug,” “Blah Blah Blah,” and of course, the lead single, “Tik Tok.” “Tik Tok” went platinum eight times over in the United States alone, and has sold a mind-blowing 18 million copies worldwide.
Kesha’s follow-up album, “Warrior,” would contain songs “C’mon” and “Crazy Kids,” but it was the lead single “Die Young” that continued to carry over her success from “Animal.” “Die Young” has gone quadruple platinum in the United States, selling over five million copies worldwide.
Unfortunately, as is often the case in the music industry, Kesha’s rise to fame has not been a fairy tale story. A dark cloud has hovered over the singer for the last few years, which she is hoping to exorcise and overcome with the release of her latest album and tour.
In January 2014, Kesha entered rehab for an eating disorder; however, at the time the public did not know what issues lie underneath for many of the problems, including her bulimia nervosa. In October of that year, Kesha sued producer Dr. Luke for sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and violation of California business practices which had occurred over 10 years working together. Dr. Luke had produced nearly every song on “Animal” and “Warrior.” In 2016 the New York Supreme Court dismissed her claim because the statute of limitations had run out on the alleged instances. Dr. Luke filed a countersuit for breach of contract and defamation that has been ongoing for several years. The two finally settled out of court in June of this year.
With that, Kesha released the aptly titled “Gag Order” in May, featuring a photograph of her with a plastic bag over her head as the album’s artwork.
This time around Kesha joined forces with legendary producer Rick Rubin, who she describes as making her fall in love with music again. According to her, the record bundles up emotions “of anger, of insecurity, of anxiety, of grief, of pain, of regret.”
While not able to comment about the lawsuit or allegations from her past, Kesha has found a way to transform her experiences and emotions that she’s had to endure and express them through 13 powerful songs.
The tour kicks off next month in Dallas, and as mentioned, will close out in SoCal. Tickets are available now.
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September 22, 2023Orange County Record Show
September 22, 2023 by Nancy Evans
If you are like most of us and re-live the best, worst, and favorite memories of your life through your music, this weekend will be like a journey to Oz as The Orange County Record Show takes center stage.
In the era of ever changing technology, it is nice to know that some things remain the same – our ongoing affection for physical media, for instance. As a fairly good judge and critic of all things music, I have never had anyone tell me that I have an impressive MP3 collection!
What is always a source of joy and discussion is any person’s collection of vinyl records, CDs, and cassette tapes. If you have them signed by the artist, that just sends us into a frenzy of discussing our sonic heroes.
Unofficially speaking of course, this just may be the largest event of its kind on the planet. It is guaranteed to have something for everyone; no matter what your musical taste is.
The event is held the last Sunday of each month, except in December of 2023.
This month, the all-ages and public event takes place September 24th and it will feature over 90 tables filled with thousands of records (full length EPs – 12-inch mixes-maxi singles – 45s), CDs, cassettes, and other music memorabilia.
The event will be held at the air conditioned 10,000 square foot UFCW Union Hall. Early admission starts at 7:15 a.m. ($10 admission) and runs to 10 a.m. General admission 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is just $5,
Children under 12 are free. And parking is FREE!
Get out and re-live the best way to experience your musical memories and make new ones; experience music like it was always meant to be.
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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!
SHOW PHOTO GALLERY
by Jed Gammon Photography
<<SWIPE TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY>>
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