Sunday, December 9, 2018

Beach Boys Brian Wilson And Al Jardine Spread Christmas Cheer At The Toyota Oakdale Theatre

Legendary singer/songwriter and founding member of The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, along with his 10-piece backing band strolled into the Toyota Oakdale Theatre Saturday night to spread Christmas cheer. He is currently in the midst of his holiday tour, which finds the artist, with fellow Beach Boy, Al Jardine and his band, performing the entire Beach Boys' "Christmas Album."

As the band took their positions, Brian Wilson was helped to his rightful place at center stage, right behind his white piano. The night kicked off with Brian singing lead on the Beach Boys' classic Christmas single "Little Saint Nick." The harmonies of his band are simply amazing, as displayed during the songs "The Man With All The Toys" and "We Three Kings Of Orient Are."

The spotlight was also shared by former Beach Boy, Blondie Chaplin for his performance of "Merry Christmas Baby" and the reggae-infused version of "Blue Christmas." Soulful falsetto singer Rob Bonfiglio laid down a perfect rendition of "I'll Be Home For Christmas," as his Carl Wilson-like vocals were the perfect support for Brian Wilson and Al Jardine's singing.

Jardine would introduce a couple of tracks that were recorded back in the seventies for a Beach Boys Christmas album that was never released, as he sang lead on "Winter Symphony" and Wilson on "Christmas Time Is Here Again." Wilson would also perform a couple of originals ("Christmasey" and "On Christmas Day") from his 2005 solo holiday album.

After a rocking version of "Run Rudolph Run," lead by Blondie Chaplin's guitar work, the music of The Beach Boys would take over, beginning with "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Sloop John B." A heartfelt rendition of "God Only Knows," sung by Wilson, and the summer vibe of "Good Vibrations" got the audience standing with applause. They stayed up to dance along to the classics "Help Me Rhonda," "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Fun, Fun, Fun," before settling back down for a beautiful rendition of "White Christmas." The night concluded with everyone, including the opening act, Beats Root Revival, gathering around Wilson's piano for an acapella version of "Auld Lang Syne." With a backing band as amazing as the one, the music of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys will continue to live on forever.

Setlist: Little Saint Nick, The Man With All The Toys, Santa's Beard, Merry Christmas Baby, Christmas Day, Frosty The Snowman, We Three Kings Of Orient Are, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Blue Christmas, Christmasey, On Christmas Day, Winter Symphony, Christmas Time Is Here Again, O Holy Night, Run Rudolph Run, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Sloop John B, God Only Knows, Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Barbara Ann, Surfin' U.S.A., Fun Fun Fun, White Christmas, Auld Lang Syne

Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Dare To Be Different" Documentary Pays Homage To Cutting Edge Long Island Radio Station

Arriving December 7th on DVD and digital formats is the new documentary "New Wave: Dare To Be Different." The film is about the story of one of the most influential radio stations in America, WLIR in Long Island, NY. While not being able to compete with the country-wide radio stations of its time, WLIR took a risk and starting playing the music of some underground rock bands at the time, like U2, Talking Heads and R.E.M, just to name a few from a long, long list of artists.

Director Ellen Goldfarb uses classic new footage and videos, mixed with recent interviews about everyone praising the radio station, in order to tell a modern story of David vs. Goliath. In 1982, the station changed their format, which switched from playing music by classic pop acts like The Beatles and The Monkees, to music by new wave rockers like Billy Idol and The Pretenders. New interviews with artists like Idol, Thomas Dolby and Dave Wakeling, along with former WLIR DJs explained that their popularity came about by what the BBC was not playing on their radio stations. It allowed for this small radio station to invite the second coming of the British Invasion.

This station was one of the first in the U.S. to play songs by then unknown artists like Blondie, Madonna, Prince and even started to blur the lines between rock, pop and new wave music. Hearing the stories first hand from those who worked at the radio station is priceless. The music that WLIR was playing on the radio started spilling into the club scene in the '80's and life was good for everyone involved, that was until the station was forced to shut down in 1987.

This film is also a great reminder as to how important radio was during the '80's decade and how it help many of today's popular bands break through into the mainstream. To find out more about this new documentary "New Wave: Dare To Be Different," please visit newwavedaretobedifferent.com.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Renaissance Are On "A Symphonic Journey" With Their New Live Release

The English progressive rock band, Renaissance continues to amaze audiences all around the world. The band's history dates back nearly fifty years, but they felt renewed on their latest tour, last year, which was captured for a new 2-CD/DVD release titled "A Symphonic Journey." It was recorded at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA in October 2017 and showcases the band covering their classic material, but this time with the specially assembled Renaissance Chamber Orchestra.

The 11-track set begins with the orchestra warming up the crowd with the "Prologue," as lead singer Annie Haslam joins in with her voice as her instrument. Renaissance then dive back to the mid-seventies for a wonderful rendition of "Trip To The Fair," as the addition of the orchestra fills in on the instrumentation perfectly. They stick to that decade with the classical/pop feel of "Carpet Of The Sun" and the gentle ballad "At The Harbour." They close out the first half of the show with the twelve-minute progressive masterpiece, "Symphony Of Light."

Renaissance touch upon one of their earliest tracks with the acoustic, folk-based harmonies of "Island," before delivering one of the show's highlights, a magical ten-minute version of "Mother Russia," which showcases the orchestra wonderfully. They finish up their show with the epic power of "Song For All Seasons" and grace of "Ashes Are Burning." To find out more about Renaissance and their latest live release "A Symphonic Journey," please visit cherryred.co.uk.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary Of Albums By Lenny Kravitz And Anthrax With New Vinyl Releases

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the debut album, "Let Love Rule" from Lenny Kravitz, Virgin/UMe will be releasing the entire album, for the first time on vinyl. This new 180-gram, double-LP set not only includes a beautifully remastered sound, but also includes three tracks that were previously only available on CD.

The thumping bass of "Freedom Train" will certainly rattle your speakers and wake up your neighbors. Kravtiz's sound on this debut release was so experimental that he did not stick to one genre. There is the blues of "My Precious Love," the funk of "Fear" and the grunge-like rock of "My Cab Driver." As Kravitz handled most of the instruments himself, you begin to get a sense of where his powers lie as he showcases the delicacy of "Rosemary" and the rock assault of  "Flower Child." This new vinyl release gives fans the cleanest, clearest version of the album to every be released to this point. To find out more about this new vinyl re-issue of "Let Love Rule," please visit facebook.com/lennykravitz.

Another album celebrating its 30th anniversary is the fourth release from thrash metal giants, Anthrax. Their album "State Of Euphoria" followed the mega-successful "Among The The Living" and delivered a more aggressive, less commercial sound, despite containing one of their biggest hits "Antisocial."

To celebrate the album's anniversary, Island Records/UMe released a 2-LP set and a 2-CD set of the album, with 15 bonus tracks. The original ten song album was remastered for this release, as you can hear that extra punch in the drums of "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind" and "Who Cares Wins." The chugging guitars of "Misery Loves Company" and "Finale" will simply rock your speakers with its new cleaner sound. The first CD disc closes with an additional six tracks that were released as B-sides to the songs "Antisocial" and "Make Me Laugh." These six bonus tracks also appear on side 4 of the double-vinyl anniversary release of the album.

The second disc of the 2-CD set contains nine tracks dubbed "Charlie's Archives," as they feature demo versions to almost every song on the album. As you listen, you are given insight into the development of this music as the tapes were just rolling when Anthrax were recording at Quadradial Studios in Miami, FL. It is really great to be given this access into how these metal giants created some of their masterpieces. To find out more about this new 30th anniversary release of Anthrax's "State Of Euphoria" album, please visit anthrax.com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

New Music From David Cross/Andrew Booker, John Greaves, Fernando Perdomo and Dean Ford

Former King Crimson member, David Cross and former No-Man member, Andrew Booker teamed up in 2006 to work together in the studio. The duo recorded about half-a-dozen songs together, but the project was shelved, until now. After twelve years, David Cross & Andrew Booker's previously unreleased studio album will see the light of day. It features seven-tracks that definitely highlights the talents of both artists as they stepped out of their comfort zones. Their collaboration explodes on the nine-minute adventure "The Shakes Rattled," as you can feel both artists pushing one another to be the best. They look to expand upon their sound with the space-rock approach of "Sleek," while Booker's drums lend a little excitement to Cross' solo in "Worship The Gourds." The album closes with the worldly, experimental sounds of "End Meeting" and the short ambient keyboard sounds of "Loopscape B." To find out more about this newly released collaboration between David Cross and Andrew Booker, please visit cherryred.co.uk.

British bassist/composer John Greaves (Henry Cow) recently released his new studio album "Life Size" on November 30th. It features twelve tracks, beginning with the French-sung piano ballad "Air de la Lune." Greaves continues with the ambient backdrop of "The Same Thing," as his baritone vocals demand your full attention. Vocalist Annie Barbazza lends her beautiful voice to the Italian-sung acoustic folk ballad. The two team up for the quiet passion of "Earthy Powers" and the electronic, Bowie-like delivery of "Still Life." The angelic voice of Himiko Paganotti will simply melt your musical soul with the subtle touch of "La Lune Blanche," before John Greaves closes out his new album with the quiet emotions of "How Beautiful You Are" and the spoken word of "Lie Still, Sleep Behind." To find out more about John Greaves and his latest release "Life Size," please visit johngreaves.org.uk.

Progressive rock artist Fernando Perdomo recently released his fifth studio album titled "Zebra Crossing." The excitement of Perdomo's new album album is felt in his music, as he felt honored to be recording this record as the famous Abby Road Studios. He begins with the build up of "I'm Here" and "Sometimes I Feel Nothing At All," as you can imagine him working in the studio with the ghosts of Beatles' albums past lending a hand to his contemporary pop sound. The album's first single "Find Love (Hold On)" is where Fernando finds his pulse with this up-tempo rocker, which features the work of Danny Ayala, Megan Zeankowski and Ken Sharp. The album continues with the gentle blues of "Somehow" and the stellar guitar instrumental "Not Meant To Be." Fernanado Perdomo wraps up his new album with the wonderful acoustic/folk melody of "Sundays" and a spot on cover of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gentle Weeps," which also features Diane Birch, Shawn Lee, Jason and Daphne Rowe. To find out more about Fernando Perdomo and his latest release "Zebra Crossing," please visit fernandoperdomo.com.


Scottish singer/songwriter Dean Ford recently released his new double-album titled "This Scottish Heart." It features thirty tracks that will solidify Ford as an established solo artist following his work in the U.K. group, Marmalade. The set mixes genres, from the energetic rock of "Running Out Of Time" to the country vibe of "The Blue Angel." His voice is so warm and inviting on the acoustic folk ballads "Butterflies In June" and "I Got You." He delivers such beautiful harmonies on the religious/Christmas story of "Precious Little Boy," before closing out the first disc with the electronic/keyboard pop of "He's An Angel" and the quiet lullaby of "Dreamland."

He begins the second disc with the energetic Celtic strumming of "Glasgow Road" and the gentle, acoustic storied ballad "Bonnie Mary." His songwriting shines in the simple sounds of "Daddy" and "For McDougall," before finishing with his cover of Marmadade's biggest hit "Reflections Of My Life." To find out more about Dean Ford and his latest release, "This Scottish Heart," please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/deanford.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Manifesto Records Begins Allan Holdsworth Live Archive Series With "Live In Japan 1984"

British born guitarist/composer Allan Holdsworth was one of the innovators of jazz fusion, with a career that lasted over four decades. Known for his complex cord progression and intricate solos, Holdsworth has been named as an influence by some of the world's biggest artists like Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen), Alex Lifeson (Rush) and Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot).

On December 7th, Manifesto Records will be releasing the first volume of an ongoing live archive series from Allan Holdsworth. This first release showcases Allan and his band, I.O.U., "Live In Japan 1984." The twelve-song set displays highlights from his first three solo albums, while also introducing tracks from his soon to be released album, "Metal Fatigue." The first 1,000 copies of this new release includes a DVD of the performance, which definitely makes this very worthy, as you are able to watch the master at work.

The CD plays through the entire set, while the DVD intersperses interview segments from Japanese television. The film certainly is not in high definition, given its age, but the close-ups on Allans guitar work is phenomenal, especially on songs like "Panic Station" and "Material Real." The excitement of this release comes together when the entire band locks in and becomes one unit, as in the rocking groove of "Metal Fatigue" and the progressive space rock of "The Things You See (When You Haven't Got Your Gun)." The album closes with "Was There?," which will certainly remind you of how great of an artist Allan Holdsworth was and the power of his band, I.O.U. To find out more about this new release "Live In Japan 1984," please visit manifesto.com/allan-holdsworth.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Rush's "Hemispheres" Gets Deluxe 40th Anniversary Release With Unreleased Live Concert

This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of Rush's most progressive albums, "Hemispheres." After the success of their previous two albums ("2112" & "A Farewell To Kings"), Rush tried to push the boundaries of their music, especially with their 18-minute, complex suite, "Cygus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres." This album ended up taking so much time and energy from the band, that they would not return with another new album for two more years.

This new deluxe, 40th anniversary release came out on November 16th as a 2-CD set and a triple-vinyl set, which includes a previously unreleased live show from 1979. The set includes the 2015 remastered edition of the album, which will appear for the first time on CD. The sound is simply amazing, as Rush, along with UMe, continue to deliver a masterful collection of Rush material. The remaster especially shines on the quiet acoustics of "The Trees" and the grand, guitar-led epic "La Villa Strangiato."

While most die-hard fans may already have the bonus concert in bootleg form, which was recorded at the Pinkpop Festival in June 1979, this is definitely the first time that it ever sounded this good. Almost the entire show is present, except for the entire "2112" suite. The Pinkpop Festival was originally recorded for a possible live album release, following the release of the "Hemispheres" album, but the idea was eventually shelved. Now, Rush fans can rejoice at having almost the entire show present in amazing quality. This new anniversary set does include a version of "2112," recorded seven months earlier during a "Hemispheres" tour stop in Tuscon, AZ. The sound is a bit rough, nowhere near high-quality, but the historic value and performance more that makes up for the recordings imperfections. To find out more about this great 40th anniversary edition of Rush's "Hemispheres" album, please visit rush.com.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sheryl Crow Encompasses Her Entire Career Into New "Live At The Capitol Theatre" Release

American recording artist, Sheryl Crow has had a successful solo career that is entering its third decade. She is a hit-making machine, with five platinum selling albums and three top ten singles. Her latest release is her only her third full-length live album, but it is also her most personable. It was recorded during her 2017 "Be Myself Tour" and is presented "Live At The Capitol Theatre." It was released on November 9th, as a 2-CD set, along with a DVD or Blu-ray.

The 21-song set is a run through of many of her greatest hits, along with a couple of cover tracks and some new, politically-charged anthems. Throughout the show, Crow is sporting a tank top with the word "Grateful" spelled out in gold and that is exactly how I think she feels about this new live release. Not many artist release their best live album 25 years after their debut album, but Sheryl Crow is that timeless artist that crossed many genres and age groups.

She come dancing out on to the stage with the beat of "Everyday Is A Winding Road" and "A Change Would Do You Good." She immediately warms up to the audience with a couple of her earliest hits, "All I Wanna Do" and "My Favorite Mistake." This is Sheryl Crow's first visit to the Capitol Theatre venue and she certainly makes the most of it, provoking the ghosts of past performers to come out and dance to her cover of Cat Stevens' "The First Cut Is The Deepest" and the Rolling Stones' inspired "There Goes The Neighborhood." 

Sheryl Crow is on cruise control with "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Strong Enough," as she now has the audience eating out of her hand. The film does intersperse some interview segments as Crow talks about her first album and the loss of music icons, David Bowie, Prince and Tom Petty. She finishes her show as strong as she started it, with the fun romp of "Soak Up The Sun," her cover of the Allman Brothers Band's "Midnight Rider" and the quiet inspirational blues of "I Shall Believe." To find out more about Sheryl Crow "Live At The Capitol Theatre," please visit sherylcrow.com.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Get "Revitalized" With New Remixes Of Billy Idol Classics

The story goes that when Billy Idol first arrived in the U.S., following the break-up of his punk band, Generation X, he stepped into a club in New York which was playing a dance version of their hit song "Dancing With Myself." Since then, Idol has always been attracted to his songs getting remixed, as displayed within his platinum selling remix set "Vital Idol." With the 30th anniversary of that release arriving last year, Idol though it would be great to update the idea with new remixes of some of his classic hits. But, instead of including the songs of "Vital Idol" along side these new mixes, Captiol Records/UMe released a new set of remixes titled "Vital Idol: Revitalized."

It features 11 brand-new remixes by some of today's top DJs, like Moby, The Chrystal Method and Paul Oakenfold. Fans may find this release a mixed-bag of treats, with highs like RAC's mix of "Dancing With Myself" and Juan Maclean's update of "Catch My Fall," sitting next to near-misses like Moby's mix of "(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows," which includes an unneeded filter on Idol's vocals. One of the odder inclusion on this set is Paul Oakenfold's remix of "One Breath Away" and not because of the mix, which is perfect for the dance clubs, but the fact that it is not a well-known song outside of Billy Idol's fanbase. DJDS gives "To Be A Lover" an entirely different feel, by removing the rockabilly swing of the original song and instead delivers a steady bouncing beat, highlighted by runs of piano keys. This new set closes with a new reworking of "Hot In the City" by Shotgun Mike, which doesn't stand up next to the version from "Vital Idol," but gives it a more laid-back vibe.

The set was originally released back in September on CD and digitally, with the digital version including an extra 4 bonus tracks, like alternative versions of "One Breath Away" and "(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows." But, the true way to hear this set is on the newly released double-vinyl set, which was recently released on November 16th. To find out more about "Vital Idol: Revitalized," please visit billyidol.net/vital-idol-revitalized.