Monday, December 17, 2007

National Theater Web Page is Up

The web site for the National Theater in downtown Richmond is now up: http://www.thenationalva.com/. Some of the links aren't working yet and there isn't a schedule of bands yet (though some dates are posted on pollstar.com). But good to see it is that much closer to opening.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Free Bruce Hornsby album

Bruce Hornsby is giving away a free download of an album (2 discs worth) at http://www.brucehornsby.com/free_christmas2007.htm as a holiday gift. Enjoy!

MST3K Fans Unite!

For those of you who don't know what MST3K is, it was Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of the funniest shows to ever grace our nation's TV sets. The show was about a guy named Joel (later replaced by Mike) who was kidnapped by his evil employer/mad scientist, sent to an orbiting space station (The Satellite of Love) and forced to watch really bad movies. Joel creates two robot friends to watch the movies with him and you watch them watching the movie and making humourous comments. It was like watching bad movies with your three funniest friends, but they were even funnier than your funniest friends. Intelligent writing was the key and they had it in spades, which let to repeated viewings of each episode just trying to catch everything. To get a nice taste for it if you don't know what I'm talking about, here is ten minutes from one of my favorite episodes where they mock the Joe Don Baker movie, "Mitchell": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K_MArL2cF4.

I still miss waking up on Saturday morning and spending 10 AM to noon laughing my butt off. A great way to start a weekend. And not to mention the annual Turkey Day marathon, when they would do 24 hours of MST3K on Thanksgiving. Always a fun way to blow off your relatives.

Now the MST3K guys are back with Joel at their new site, Cinematic Titanic, where it looks like they'll be doing what they do best: making fun of movies. Sign up for the email list now. Mike (the guy who took over when Joel left) also has new projects (again, making fun of movies) with The Film Crew and RiffTrax (in which they make fun of blockbuster films). I can't wait to check some of these out.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Future of Concert Tickets

Not much going on in the Richmond music scene this week as everyone really to starts to kick in with their holiday parties, buying gifts and preparing for Christmas. So I thought I'd write a little essay on something I've been thinking about for a while.

As I sat on the John Paul Jones Arena site last week, trying my best to get through to plunk down $95 + "service charges" to see Bruce Springsteen, I began to ponder a different way to sell concert tickets. As I much as I love Bruce, he has almost hit my personal $100 list price limit for tickets. U2 went over on their last tour, and as much as I love them, I passed on buying tickets. As I look at my limited concert fund, I can spend $100+ for tickets to a big show, have to travel at least 75 minutes to C'ville's JPJ Arena (where they don't even serve beer), pay for parking and probably dinner, deal with traffic getting in and out of the venue, then drive back to Richmond late night on dark, dark I-64 or, if farther than C'Ville, pay for a hotel. Not to mention that I now have kids and would either have to get a babysitter (if my wife wanted to go) or bargain for some "time-off" away from home. For all that money, I can attend 5 - 6 shows here in Richmond at places where you can buy beer and be within 15 minutes of any venue here in town. If we had big acts come to Richmond, there may be more inclination to see those acts but with C'ville the closest venue, big acts for me are now few and far between.

We all know that the reason for the explosion in ticket prices has to do with two things: (1) baby boomer acts touring for their now well-off baby boomer fans and (2) internet auctions. When a band can see their tickets going for 3 - 4 times above list price on eBay, they have to start to think "Why am I not getting a cut of that?" And rightfully so. With album sales going down the drain, touring has become the major cash cow for many a band. The Eagles, the band that started asking for and getting these high ticket prices with their first reunion tour in the mid-90s, have toured since that time with with no new album until this year. Sure they could probably live off sales of their back catalog, but they kept the reunion tours coming because the $ was nice. Bands much less successful in album sales then the Eagles depend even more on touring.

Unfortunately, your average fan has suffered because of a few willing to pay exorbitant prices to see a band. Out of a 20,000 seat arena, 100 - 500 fans (at most) buy tickets off eBay or from a broker. But those high prices on the Internet are what the band sees. So the next time they come around, the top ticket price goes from $75 to $200. Now your average (by average meaning average income, not necessarily average fan zeal) 19,000 fans have to pay more for a seat if they wants to see the band because a few hundred people were willing to pay exorbitant amounts.

And the band can pretty much forget about having casual fans give them a try. When I was 16 years old, I decided to check out Clapton at the Philly Spectrum on his Behind the Sun tour. I liked Clapton and was a fan, but not a huge fan. I bought a ticket for less than $20 the day of the show, was amazed and have been a huge Clapton fan ever since. When I was 16, the minimum wage (which is around what I was making) was $3.35/hour. So I got a ticket for about 6 hours work. Today the minimum is $5.85. Can anyone get into an arena show for $35 now? Fugeddaboutit. That will barely buy you 1/2 a seat for most arena shows.

What needs to be done for large shows is auction all the seats for shows that have assigned seating. (Yes, those of you who read the excellent weekly football column on ESPN called TMQ will know that Gregg Easterbrook wrote about this on Tuesday but I swear I had the idea for this blog last week. I was actually kind of pissed when I saw him do the story. Even though the number of people reading his blog are astronomical compared to mine. Like there is really some competition. But I digress.)

The auction would run for two weeks or so. Ticket prices could be set as low as the minimum needed to cover the venue/artist costs. Of course, minimums could be higher than that but then the artist/venue has to weigh the risk of playing to a less than full house.

Once you place a bid, you can't cancel the bid. Seats would be ranked by how close they are to center stage. The higher the bid, the better your seat. Bids are sorted by highest bids first, and in the case of tie bids, who placed their bid first. You can raise your bid at any time which would also update the time of your bid to the time you placed your latest bid. The seating list and prices would be updated on a periodic basis (daily, hourly, instantly) so you can see where your seats are currently and what you would need to bid to sit where you want to sit.

In this scenario, those 500 people who must sit in the front so they can spend the concert calling their friends on their cell phone to impress them with how much they spent on tickets, can go nuts trying to outbid each other. The artist/venue would get to keep the profits. Ebay and ticket brokers would be shut out from selling tickets to all but those who didn't get in on the auction. The ticket brokers would have no incentive to raise the bids up in the hopes of selling tickets later, because anyone wanting tickets would already have bid to their price level during the auction, choosing to outbid the broker (in which case they don't need broker tickets) or choosing not to go high (in which case they have decided the broker price is too rich).

So the top 500 seats may go for 3 - 5 times the "normal" ticket price, but if you are willing to sit further away you may get tickets for a more reasonable price.

Auctioning could also benefit an artist willing to try to please as many fans as possible. Let's say on the first day of an auction for a show at a 20,000 seat arena, 100,000 bids are placed. The artist could then (at the risk of lowering ticket demand/prices, but pleasing as many fans as possible) add another 3 - 4 shows. This strategy could also work in reverse. For example, on the first day of an auction for a show at a 20,000 seat arena, 1,000 bids are placed. The artist could move the venue to a 2000 seat venue, raising demand for seats (assuming additional bids will be placed) , potentially raising the bid prices and creating a more intimate show for the audience. Younger bands or bands at a certain level of popularity may also be more likely to give a big show a try, knowing they might get lower ticket prices, but getting the rush for themselves and their fans of 18,000 people going nuts.

Obviously there could be some ego strokes (in the first case or if an artist sells out a show at a high average price) or some ego blows (in the second case or if an artist sells less seats at low prices). So it will take some brave artists and/or hugely popular artists to try this first. But an artist would have a better chance of selling out a show and gaining new fans. If I have some marginal interest in an artist, I may be willing to bid $20 and get some seats that aren't the best but have a chance to check out someone new or see someone I have seen a number of times before. People might be more willing to risk a date night at a show if the tickets aren't high priced or maybe they'll take the kids.

Also, no could complain about high ticket prices or sell outs. Ticket price is set by demand. The only people you could bitch about are your fellow fans and you'll either pay the price or you won't. All those parents of Hannah Montana fans couldn't be angry and calling their local congressman if the show sells out because (1) the brokers wouldn't be able to snap up seats for reasons previously mentioned and (2) if the parents really want to get those tickets for the kids, they can bid more.

Now there is still a part of me that would lament the fact that I probably could never score close seats again for a big show by getting lucky. But between ticket brokers, corporate boxes, artist fan clubs, American Express pre-sales, etc. those chances of getting lucky are almost non-existent anyway now. There may also be ways to get lucky, for example, a random drawing of all bidders to sit in the front row or rows or good seats. As long as such a lottery was mentioned prior to on-sale so people who do want to bid high know what they are bidding on.

There is part of me that says that rock and roll should be egalitarian and salt of the earth. But arena shows have become too much of a big business to have that be really true anymore. And shows that would end up more for your average spending joe and real rocker, would do so naturally and might be better shows than the high priced ones for the impress their friends, cell phone talking, sit in their seat, rattle their jewelry type crowd.

But if you want to rock with the masses, your best bet is and would likely still be, to go to a club, where you can swap sweat, spill beer and feel the spit. The best rock 'n' roll is usually being made in a crowded bar at 1 AM on any given Saturday night anyway.

Good night, Richmond.

Tony Jordan

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Olive, Eddie, Bruce, Weng Weng, Spin Doctors & The Dirty Dozen

Well, the holidays have begun and with it comes my favorite new Christmas special, "Olive the Other Reindeer". Olive will be on Cartoon Network on Thursday, 12/6 at 8 PM and Sunday, 12/16 at 3 PM. Set you TiVos now. Olive tells the story of a little, sweet, kind dog who believes she must save Christmas from being canceled. Why Olive? She mishears a news report asking for help from "all of the other reindeer" as "Olive the Other Reindeer" and thinks she must be a reindeer. With help from her con-man, penguin friend, Martini, (get it...Olive, Martini) she begins a trek to the North Pole. Olive is voiced by the perennially cute Drew Barrymore, and Martini by Joe Pantoliano. It also features Michael Stipe as a tough reindeer (Michael Stipe as a tough anything is a stretch but that's part of the joke) and a song by REM. It was produced by Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons". It is great for kids but also features some jokes aimed at the adults (not dirty, mind you) and some creative animation which makes it great for all ages. Along with "Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves Of Fire", this is a new Christmas classic.

Onto my usual music happenings. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band plays at the Canal Club on Wednesday night. Doors are at 8 and tix are $17. Dirty Dozen took the New Orleans brass band concept and moved it forward with elements of jazz, funk and hip-hop. They are a blast to see live. They've played with people like Dizzy Gillespie, Elvis Costello, Widespread Panic, David Bowie, Dr. John, The Black Crowes and Modest Mouse. Check 'em out if you can.

Friday night at Toad's, Eddie From Ohio is playing. Eddie is a group, not a guy. They call themselves neo-folk which means mainly acoustic instruments, great harmonies and intelligent, often witty, lyrics. If you are one of those people that can't stand standing at a concert (as compared to me, who can't stand sitting, at least at a rock show), this show will be all seated. Doors at 7 PM, show at 8 PM with an opener, tickets are $25. These guys and a lady are kind of local too, hailing from Northern VA.

On Friday at 10 AM, tickets go on sale for Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at John Paul Jones Arena in C'ville. Ticket limit is 4. Price is something like $67 for general admission on the floor (with a chance to get in the pit in front of the stage) and $97 for seats. Bruce is troubling me as he rises toward the $100 tickets range. If you throw in the $13 or so in added charges from the ticket service, you're looking at $110. Bruce is probably the last and only band that I will pay that much for, but if the price creeps up too much more, there may have to be some reconsideration. I guess he can do it because he has such a rabid fan base, but when bands start to price tickets that high they are basically conceding that the casual fan will no longer be attending. I begin to look at spending $100 on one show or $100 for 5 shows at the local clubs at a place that serves beer and that I don't have to drive an hour to. But its Bruce and as one of his faithful minions I will be on the computer at 10 AM on Friday in the hopes of getting tickets and finally seeing him play "Kitty's Back".

Saturday at Capital Ale House Downtown, Chris Barron, vocalist of the Spin Doctors, brings his solo band in. Doors are at 9 PM and tix are $10. I always liked the Spin Doctors, even before they got famous. They put on fun shows and were pretty good musicians and you could bring a girl who didn't like deep spacey jams but loved to dance but still get some good improv jams at the show. They were poised to become the next big jam band after Blues Traveler and then had the fortune or misfortune of writing a really catchy song, "Two Princes". They became completely overexposed on MTV, bringing in new fans and causing the fan base they had spent a few years building to leave in disgust, through no fault of the band. By the time the next album came out, the new fans had moved onto the next one-hit wonder and their jam band fan base had moved onto Phish and Dave Matthews Band. Then Chris Barron got vocal cord paralysis killing any chance they had of a big comeback. To their credit, they have continued to play together, and apart, because they are musicians and its what they do. I suspect this will be a fun show on a Saturday night in a place where you can get good beer. And what more could you really ask for.

Finally, on Sunday at Toad's is Cake's Unlimited Sunshine Festival, with quirky alternative band, Cake, and four other new bands. Doors are at 7 PM, show starts at 7:30 and you get to see five bands for just $35. What a bargain!

Finally, some of you have already seen it, but those of you haven't, I bring you the biggest, small detective in the world and my new hero, Weng Weng: http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/2620. This gets better every time I watch it.

Have a great weekend and stay classy, Richmond!

Tony Jordan

Friday, November 30, 2007

DMB w/Robert Randolph - Watchtower

The highlight of the Dave Matthews Band webcast from West Point a few weeks ago was Robert Randolph joining them for "All Along The Watchtower". More proof of Robert Randolph's greatness. Check it out at: http://www.attblueroom.com/music/mediaplayer.php?pid=115927

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Major Rock Fest coming to NJ

"Promoter C3 Presents, of Austin, Texas, announced yesterday that the three-day rock festival originally proposed for Philadelphia's Fairmount Park will instead be held Aug. 8 to 10 on a 550-acre farm in Vineland, in South Jersey's Cumberland County.
Over three days, a crowd of 150,000 or more is expected at what C3 partner Charlie Jones called "a camping festival," similar to the Bonnaroo Music Festival held each June in Manchester, Tenn.
The camp-out concert at Menantico Colony, site of a former home for people with disabilities, would be the biggest rock festival New Jersey has ever seen and the biggest multiday music festival currently on the East Coast."

For more, see http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20071128_City_loses_rockfest__Vineland_gains_it.html

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Donna Jean, Blind Boys, Toubab Krewe, Van Halen, Cracker

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We are still eating leftovers from the weekend which isn't a bad thing. I loves me some turkey with all the fixins!

BTW, I think I'm going to post to the blog little items as I come across them during the week. I try to remember when it comes time to do the weekly one, but I inevitably come across something the next day that I wanted to put in that week's blog. I'll only send out one weekly reminder when I do the big blog, so if you want to be completely up to date, subscribe to the blog using your RSS or whatever. Or you could just scroll down a little more after reading the big blog to find the baby entries. Or you could check daily, even hourly, to be sure you don't miss one exciting entry!

Onto this week's exciting Richmond shows. Donna Jean & The Tricksters play the Capital Ale House Downtown Music Hall on Wednesday. Doors open at 8:30 and tickets are $10. Ms. Donna Jean Godchaux McKay was and always shall be the only female member of that boys club known as the Grateful Dead, performing with them in their peak 70s years (71 - 79). She also sang backup with Elvis (your Elvis-Dead, or Dead Elvis connection), Percy Sledge and Box Scaggs. They'll be bringin' those good Dead vibes and I'm sure will put on a good show.

Also on Wednesday, if you are in the mood for some blues & gospel but Christmasy, check out The Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show at Toad's Place. Doors are at 7P, show at 8:30P, tickets are $25. The Blind Boys are 4 time Grammy winners, Gospel Hall of Fame inductees and play that good blues gospel that you can find on the high end of your AM dial.

On Thursday at Capital Ale House Downtown, Toubab Krewe will be playing. Doors open at 9 and tickets are $10. I've heard some tunes from these guys and they are very intriguing. I'd love to check them out live. Look at their web site to hear some of their music. Its hard to describe, so here is their description:

Blending Malian, American, and "Dirty South" influences into a genre all its own, Toubab Krewe "has set a new standard for fusions of rock 'n' roll and West African music," says Banning Eyre at Afropop Worldwide. Members of the group developed their unique sound over the course of numerous extended trips to West Africa, where they immersed themselves in the local culture and studied and performed with masters such as Lamine Soumano, Vieux Kante, Madou Dembele, and Koungbanan Conde. The magnetic instrumental quintet formed in early 2005 and has attracted a diverse and devoted national following, captivating crowds everywhere from the Bonnaroo Music Festival and the Blue Note to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The band's energetic performances and acclaimed self-titled debut have won them praise from the New York Times, Global Rhythm, and Afro pop Worldwide.

For those of you looking to recapture your 80s youth, Van Halen tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 AM for their show at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville on February 22. (If the often rumored and probably never happening Led Zeppelin reunion takes place, they must play there for obvious reasons.) Van Halen played an integral part of my high school years, from walking around our development with the "1984" album blasting out of my friend's boom box, to listening to the song "Unchained" over and over again on the boardwalk in Sea Isle City, to driving around in my friend's big green 70s LTD with our VH, Police and Cars tapes accompanying us through the suburban NJ nights. I didn't get to see them on the 1984 tour. The tickets probably sold out too fast and/or I didn't have the cash. So I never go to see them with David Lee Roth. Until now. I'm starting to grow the mullet out now. I wonder if I'll still look good in the spandex zebra stripe pants.

VH took on Sammy Hagar in 1986 and I went to college and started to listen to too cool for you indie rock bands. One of those bands was Camper Van Beethoven led by David Lowery. CVB broke up, David Lowery started a new band called Cracker, which found some fame in the 90s and David Lowery and myself both ended up living in Richmond somehow. No foolin, David runs Sound of Music recording studios right here on Broad Street in downtown Richmond. And Cracker will be playing at Toad's Place on Saturday night. Tix are $18, Doors at 7 PM, opening band The Gaskets start at 8 PM. Start brushing up on the words to "Eurotrash Girl" now so you can sing along.

BTW, if you want a really cool free iTunes plug-in, check out iConcertCal. iConcertCal looks at the music you have loaded into your iTunes and then shows you a calendar which shows when any of those bands are coming to your area. Neato!

Speaking of iTunes, I was drifting off there for a moment listening to "Brothers On A Hotel Bed" from Death Cab For Cutie on my iTunes, a sad, spacey little tune about the death of a relationship and of innocence and youth. Sigh.

OK, melancholic haze has been lifted. "Dupree's Diamond Blues" is on now. And I am outta here. Have a great weekend, Richmond! G'night!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

REK and Toad's & Zappa reviews

Good evening. I dug deep into the videotape bag and pulled out one of the videotapes I made from the Amnesty Intl. Conspiracy of Hope Tour in 1986. I just saw hosts Christopher Reeve, Richard Belzer & Elliot Gould introduce Buster Poindexter (aka David Johannson) interviewing Bryan Adams. Right now, Joni Mitchell is playing. I had forgotten she was on this show. This is the tour that featured U2, Peter Gabriel and the first reunion of the Police.

Let's get right to it by letting you know that the great Robert Earl Keen will be playing at Toad's Place Thursday night. Doors are at 8, show starts at 9 and there is an opener (Matt King). Tickets are $25. For those that don't know, REK (as us fans refer to him) is part of the Austin music scene. Why do you never hear him on the radio? Because he is (repeat after me) too country for rock radio and too rock for country radio. However, he is an incredibly gifted lyricist, his band is great and his concerts are a hell of a lot of fun. He has written such classics as "The Road Goes On Forever" (this is the original mostly acoustic version. Believe when he plays this in concert everyone sings along, dances and Marines fight with cowboys. Its great.) and our Christmas favorite, "Merry Christmas from the Family". You know its a different kind of Christmas song when the opening line is "Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk/at our Christmas party". Speaking of drinking and REK, he is a great drinking band. I don't think I've found a song yet that doesn't reference alcohol at least once. Kathy (he is one of her favorites) & I will regrettably miss this one due to new baby, but he comes around once a year now, so we'll be there next year, for sure.

Speaking of Toad's, I finally got there for a show last Thursday and was impressed by the facility. Good sightlines all around, excellent acoustics, and an intimate feel. Also, you can start a tab at one bar and its good at any bar you go to in the place. Computers are cool! On the lower floor (I didn't get to check out the balcony because the band had just begun when we walked in), the bars are to the rear of the floor. This works well because when bars are closer to the stage, those more inclined to drink and talk than watch the show can be quite distracting.

OK, quick interlude. The U2 performance at the Amnesty show is beginning now. Bono's mullet is grown out a bit here and he has more of a Michael Hutchence haircut. Its weird to see Bono without the sunglasses. It seems like he has worn them forever. This performance and the one at Live Aid pushed them right to the brink of superstardom. Their next album had huge expectations attached to it and would make or break them. "The Joshua Tree" came out and the rest is history. I used to have this performance on a cassette tape also and would listen to it constantly. It was a concise setlist (MLK, Pride (In The Name Of Love), Bad, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Maggie's Farm / Cold Turkey (snippet), Help, Sun City) with Bad and the Maggie's Farm/Cold Turkey being the standouts.

Now, back to the present day and Toad's. The only minor quibble I had was that it got quite warm in there and this was on a cool night. Also, if you go, don't park in the free Toad's lot. The lot is on the river side of the flood wall at the entrance to Mayo Island. I am not one to fear the city, but the lot was dark and brush and trees obscured the lot from the road. There was no security that I could see and I thought that a crime could easily occur and not be seen. Pay the $3 or $5 to park in one of the garages nearby.

As for the show, Zappa Plays Zappa was excellent (3.5 stars out of 4). The show began on an ominous note when Dweezil had problems with his guitar. The band jammed without Dweezil and then they took a 10 minute break to replace his volume pedal which turned out to be the issue. From then on Dweezil's guitar was fine and a good thing, because Dweezil is an incredible guitarist. Whether its technical stuff or blues, he is the man. The rest of the band were all excellent players also, doing equally well on improvisation and the intricate Zappa songs. They did "Dirty Love" by request. "Joe's Garage" rocked. "City of Tiny Lights", one of my all-time favorite Zappa tunes, was all I could have asked for. Dweezil conducted the band and the audience together at one point. Another highlight was when Dweezil asked for a phrase from the audience that the band would then work into an improv jam. The phrase was "Oriental Exciter". After each band member took a turn jamming, Dweezil asked former Frank Zappa band member, vocalist Ray White, to work the phrases "Oriental Exciter", "Great Decider", "spawning", and "You Tube" into a song. With no hesitation, Ray improvised an excellent, dirty little ditty about our prez, his wife and the Oriental Exciter. Other highlights included Uncle Remus, Willie the Pimp, and Yo' Mama, The Illinois Enema Bandit and Muffin Man. When they played the song "Cosmik Debris", they merged video and audio of Frank singing and playing with the live band playing and it was cool to watch Dweezil jam with his father. Dweezil promised that Zappa Plays Zappa would be an annual tour to help spread Frank's music to a new generation and keep it alive for the people that love it. I know I will not miss it as long as Dweezil continues to bring it.

This week at Toad's, besides REK, pianist Leon Russell plays on Saturday night. Doors are at 7 PM, show at 8 PM, tix are $20 for GA and $30 for Gold Circle (thankfully, no gold circle at Zappa). Here is a short list of the people Leon has played with: Glen Campbell, Joe Cocker, Willie Nelson, Edgar Winter, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, J.J. Cale, David Gates, Bruce Hornsby, Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, B.B. King, Freddie King, Bill Wyman, Steve Cropper, Carl Radle, Chuck Blackwell, Don Preston, Jesse Ed Davis, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons, Barbra Streisand, Ike & Tina Turner, Ricky Nelson, Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Ann-Margret, Dean Martin, Marvin Gaye, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood, and groups such as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, The Monkees, The Astronauts, The Accents, The Fencemen, The Ventures, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Rolling Stones, The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Tractors and on and on and on…

On Monday night at Toad's are new bands The Hold Steady, Art Brut and 1990s. I like what I have heard from The Hold Steady. They play upbeat, straight forward rock n' roll, with nice pop touches (like layered "Yeah Yeah Yeah" vocals during choruses. I like "Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs". Rock needs more "Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs".). Think Modest Mouse but a little rougher and not as snobby. Also, they like Springsteen and he likes them, which makes them alright in my book. Doors are at 7, show at 8 and tix are only $20.

Regina Spektor plays Toad's on Tuesday night. Doors at 8, show at 9, openers are Only Son and tickets are $28. Part of the Anti-Folk movement (think folk rock with a punk attitude), if you dig Cat Power, Nellie McKay, Fiona Apple or the Strokes you might dig her.

At the Capital Ale House Downtown on Thursday night, Vienna Teng plays. If you like Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Colvin or Joan Osborne, you'll like her. Doors open at 8 and tix are $15.

On Friday at the Capital Ale House, blues guitarist Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin plays. Doors are at 9;30 and tix are $10. This guy played in Muddy Waters' band and has won the WC Handy Blues Award (the most prestigious blues award) for best guitarist.

On Saturday at the Capital Ale House, Bobby Lee Rodgers & The Codetalkers are playing. The Codetalkers are a jammy blues band and have featured Col. Bruce Hampton (ret.) and Jimmy Herring in the past. I haven't seen them for a number of years, but when I did see them they were always good. Doors at 8:30, tix are $10.

That's it. Isn't that enough?!? So go out and see some live music. Have a great weekend.

Tony Jordan
Richmond VA

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Zappa, Metheny, Galactic, Grateful Dead, Cosmic Charlie, Springsteen

Hey there! Thanks to Gordon for the VH review. If you missed it, click on the comments from last week's blog. Gordon, we will now expect one for the Police too. Gordon has traveled back to 1984 in the last week. Look for him at Genworth. He is the one with the mullet, the skinny tie, and the checkered Vans.

I will be attending Zappa Plays Zappa at Toad's on Thursday night with Phil. If you are interested in meeting up there, well, you know how to reach me. I'm going to be whizzing through the week's highlights because I need to get my sleep tonight and its late already. I had to do my football picks before the blog. Though the Zappa show starts at 8 and has no opener, so it should be done by 11:30. Good news for us working stiffs that have no days off left.

A number of good shows Friday night as Pat Metheny, the great jazz fusion guitarist, does two shows (7:30 & 10:30) at University of Richmond. Tix are $36.

Also on Friday, funky jam band Galactic plays at Toad's. Doors at 8, show at 9:30, all ages, and tix are $22.

Grateful Dead cover band, Cosmic Charlie, plays at the Canal Club on Friday. Doors open at 10:30, tix are $10. You can go early for "cinema" featuring animator Bill Plympton, who has done some crazy stuff over the years. That starts at 8. Then tix cost $15 for the movies and the band.

And if you haven't checked out the Dead's site lately, it has been completely redone with much to listen to (Taper's Section and classic Grateful Dead Hour's). There is also an announcement about the retiring of the Dick's Picks series and the new "Road Trips" series along with promises of much more to come.

For any of you in marathon or if you like to hang with people who have just run a marathon, there is a post marathon party at Toad's on Saturday at 7 PM. It says something about a voucher redemption so maybe you runners get that in your goodie bag when you finish. Good luck to anyone racing (Mike?).

Springsteen and the E Street Band are at the Verizon Center in DC on Sunday. Looks like I may miss "Kitty's Back" again. I am praying to the Rock n' Roll gods that he hits Richmond on the second leg.

Reverend Horton Heat is at Toad's on Sunday. Third Eye Blind is at Toad's Place on Monday.

I am outta here. Have a great weekend.

Tony Jordan
Richmond VA

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Zappa, Skaggs, Bush, Police, PBS, Derek Trucks and The Last Waltz

A few items of note this week.

Saturday night you can hit some bluegrass and bluegrass related shows with Ricky Skaggs playing at Toad's Place (8:30 PM, $40 advance, $45 day of show, $55 gold circle). Who knows, maybe his recent collaborative partner, Bruce Hornsby (who lives in Williamsburg) will stop by? Also Saturday, new grass pioneer, Sam Bush, plays with classical cellist, Edgar Meyer, and dobro player, Jerry Douglas, at a sold out show at Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond. Show starts at 7:30 PM if you have tickets or want to try to scalp.

The Police reunion tour pulls into Charlottesville's John Paul Jones Arena on Tuesday night. Tix are $50 - $225 and show starts at 7:30. The Police were one of my favorite bands and their cassettes had a permanent spot in my friend's big green LTD when we were cruising around town in high school (along with Van Halen. How about a review, Gordon?). They were the second concert I ever saw. The date was August 20, 1983 and we packed into JFK Stadium in Philly in 98 degree weather. Check out the openers: REM, Joan Jett and Madness. All that said, I find it hard to spend over $100 to see them. I listened to the show from Bonnaroo on line and they were good but not $100+ good. Apparently others feel this way, as the only seat level sold out for this show are the lower bowl $90 seats. You can still get the $225 seats on the floor. Wouldn't it be funny if there was no one in the $225 seats so there was a big gap between the stage and where the first fans were sitting? Serves the bastards right for charging that much. As the JPJ Arena is fairly small, the $50 seats would be a good bargain and if not for the young tyke, I might consider going for that price.

Wednesday, two great bands are in Richmond. New Orleans funk masters, Porter, Batiste & Stoltz are playing at Capital Ale House downtown. Doors open at 8:30 PM and tix are $12 in advance, $15 day of show. I saw these guys at All Good this year and they will get your booty movin'. You will probably have as much if not more fun (especially considering that they serve great beer here and no beer at all at JPJ Arena) than you would seeing that other trio from England the day before and spend a heck of a lot less money.

Also on Wednesday, at Toad's, is the Derek Trucks Band. Derek is of course the young guitar wiz who has played with the Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh and Eric Clapton. Doors open at 7:30, show at 8:30 (with opener, American Babies), tix are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. Derek's mellower jazz rock will probably work better indoors than it did at Innsbrook this summer and once he kicks into the blues there are few better guitarists that you'll ever hear.

Thursday at Capital Ale House, The Band tribute act, The Last Waltz Ensemble, play. "The Last Waltz" is one of my favorite albums/rock movies of all time and I am going to catch these guys eventually. Doors open at 8:30 and tix are just $6 in advance and $10 the day of show.

If I get out, Thursday night I go to Zappa Plays Zappa at Toad's. Doors at 7 PM, show at 8, tix are $32.50 advance and $35 day of show. Zappa Plays Zappa features Dweezil Zappa, an awesome guitarist in his own right, playing the music of his daddy, Frank. Included in the band is Zappa alumni (1976 - 1984), Ray White, on guitar and vocals. Zappa's intricate music is rarely performed live (I've only seen it twice, once on Frank's last tour in February 1988, once by NYC based Zappa cover band, Project Object, here in Richmond at Alley Katz) and I'm hoping to lace up my rock and roll shoes (Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, black with blue racing flames) again and get out to see this one.

So a full week. If I had no kids, lots of money and a job where I didn't have to get in until noon, I would be out a lot this week. As it is, hopefully I'll get to Zappa Plays Zappa on Thursday. Unless I hit the lottery this weekend, in which case I'll go to everything and you'll all be invited.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Franti's kids, JT in Hell, Punks Love the Dead, Vegoose, Thunderbirds, Go-Go

Good evening! Let's begin by opening up the mailbag. We had a report from Beth S. on the Michael Franti show which took place on 10/11 at Toad's: "Michael Franti was amazing. I got to shake his hand while he was on stage and then after his performance he came down and hugged his fans...I'd be one of them! :o) I even got his guitar pick! One of the pics that you'll see, he got a little boy up on stage and let him sing "Light Up Ya Lighter." That was something I will never forget, what an awesome little dude to know the words to such a deep song!"

Here is the pic of the little dude with Franti and another shot from the show courtesy of Beth:
If you get a chance, check out the "Michael Franti & Spearhead: Live in Sydney" DVD for a good taste of his show. I got to watch it recently courtesy of a free Starz preview weekend. Little Willie and I danced around while watching it and he seemed to enjoy it as I know you will.

I also received an email from Mike L. letting me know that James Taylor was playing a Genworth benefit in Richmond. I knew this was going on but deliberately omitted it because I find JT as exciting as a limp wet noodle. I recognize his talent but want no part of it. I also believe there is a special place in hell where his version of "Mockingbird" with his then wife, Carly Simon, plays on an endless loop. To spend some time in my hell and see some bad white people dancing, you can check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeOqD3uMIRs.

My dislike for JT stems from my first semester freshman year college roommate, Todd. Todd was the whitest of white bread boys from Greenwich CT. Even other white boys from Greenwich CT thought Todd was incredibly bland. So I show up for freshman year with long hair playing The Cult, Led Zep and the Stones. Todd shows up with three CDs and plays the same three CDs all the time. I am not exaggerating. He really only listened to three CDs. Those CDs were "James Taylor's Greatest Hits", Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell", and "Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits". I learned to despise all of them. I have come to love Paul Simon's solo stuff and while I like S&G, I don't really go looking for it. "Bat Out Of Hell" has also moved to OK, mainly due to drunken rail dancing to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" at Phi Psi's parties. But JT, well, I still have to change that radio station immediately if he rears his ugly little bald head. I'll listen to just about anything once, but JT makes my list of people/bands who I must change immediately or run screaming from the room if they come on. The others on the list: Journey, Celine Dion, Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing", "The Electric Slide" and anything by anyone associated with American Idol.

Moving onto happier things, check out a great article from Crawdaddy, "Are You Grateful For the Dead?" about a self-confessed angry punk's coversion from hating the Dead to having her "inner hippie find the courage to come stumbling into the daylight." This a good read whether or not you look the Dead as the author mentions a number of musicians who you may be surprised to find out are Deadheads.

On Saturday (starting at 12:45 PM) and Sunday (starting at 1:15 PM) you can check out the webcast from Vegoose, the concert the Bonarroo people put on in Vegas this weekend. Here is the link: http://www.attblueroom.com/music/events/vegoose.php. Never really know who they will play and they tape delay some people so they have continuous music but artists at Vegoose include Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Rage Against The Machine, the aforementioned Michael Franti & Spearhead, moe., Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Queens of the Stone Age, Robert Randolph, and others. I love these webcasts because you get to discover some bands you may not have discovered and also see if they can bring it live. And you don't have to pay $150 and stand out in the Vegas heat. Not that I would mind.

If you want to see live music, head to Toad's on Friday night for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, playing their brand of Texas blues. Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:30. Its an all ages show and tix are $22 or $30 for Gold Circle (Booo, Gold Circle!).

If you want to dance your booty off, check out the Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown at Toad's on Saturday night. This is an all ages show, doors at 8, show at 9, $25 in advance, $30 day of show.

If you want to eat haggis and see large men in skirts throwing telephone poles, see the Highland Games & Celtic Festival out at the Raceway Complex. Tix are $19 and kids under 10 are free.

Here is what's going on at the Capital Ale House Downtown. Band descriptions are theirs, not mine.

Back Alley Hoodoo, Friday, October 26, 5:00pm for Free. Together since late 2006, Back Alley Hoodoo is focused on bringing a natural sound and old school style to Richmond's Blues scene. Delta, Texas, Chicago, and even West Coast Jump all played roles in the formative years of Hoodoo's members, and today they bring it all home with a vengeance.

NrG Krysys, Friday, October 26, Doors open at 9:00, $7.00. Don’t miss the live sweatbox sounds of Richmond’s NRG Krysys. Their ’60s and ’70s soul and funk grooves have been steaming up the dance floors of clubs, restaurants, and private parties around town since the summer of 2001. Members Coby “Deep C” Batty, John “J Lo” Gotschalk, Kevin “Special K” Pittman, Armistead “Full Force” Wellford, Stephen “SuperSoul” McCarthy, and Todd “Bad Biggie T” Woodson comprise a Richmond “supergroup” of sorts as veterans of local and nationally known bands such as Love Tractor, The Fugs, Jayhawks, Long Ryders, Gutterball, The Red Hot Lava Men, The Skychiefs, The Nocturnes, and The Henry Mancini Orchestra, among others. And remember… no parking on the dance floor.

Jimmies Chicken Shack, Saturday, October 27, Doors open at 9:00, $7.00 in advance, $10.00 day of show. One gig is all you need to see to realize that the Annapolis, Maryland based quartet thrive in their own mildly twisted universe. And the first to admit it is Jimi HaHa, the front man of the eclectic group, who's known for his own brand of manic energy. "We mix up a lot of different sounds," he says. We’re schizophrenic because our tastes are." From bluesy rap-infused grooves to hard rock, their kick-ass, live set is lesson in controlled diversity from the band with the wacky name.

Willie is about to wake up so I have to take him up to the chuck wagon aka Mommy and then I'll be putting Zach to bed. After that, I'll try to stay awake for the entire World Series game 2. Ahhh, domestic life!

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clapton, Beam & BBQ, Bonamassa, TR and Black Cash

Watching my videotape of the first Clapton Crossroads festival that I taped off of PBS in 2004. Tons of great guitarists in it (Clapton, Buddy Guy, Santana, Robert Randolph, Joe Walsh, ZZ Top, and more). Watching this rejuvenated my interest in Clapton. I had grown somewhat tired of his lame pop stuff and just wasn't feelin' him anymore. But with the other guitarists here you can watch them challenging each other and Clapton seemed to go to another level. Check out the DVD if you get a chance.

Most of what's going on this week is happening on Thursday night. Out at the Richmond International Raceway complex is the ACCA Shriner's 25th Annual Central VA Pork Festival from 5 PM - 9 PM featuring "All you can eat and drink – Budweiser, Jim Beam, and BBQ”. There are some bands playing but I've never heard of them so don't go for that, go for the Beam and BBQ. Tix are $30 in advance and $40 at the gate.

Thursday at noon you can hit a free show from guitar prodigy Joe Bonamassa at Plan 9 in Carytown (the greatest record store in Richmond) as a preview to his show at Toad's Place that night. Joe was opening for BB King at ten years old and he was in a band called Bloodline in his mid-teens with Robbie Krieger's (Doors guitarist) son, and Butch Trucks' (Allman Brothers) son. I saw them at that time (early 90s) and could see he was talented but thought he had to age a bit because he was showing off a lot and not really playing with the band. I saw him in the bio-movie of producer Tom Dowd (Tom Dowd & The Language Of Music, a great movie about the man who both worked on the Manhattan Project and produced music by
John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, the Allman Brothers and many others) and was watching some of the videos on the Toad's Place site and he sounded like he has matured so he should be pretty damn good now. Toad's Place show is all ages, doors at 8, show at 9. Tickets are $20, Gold Circle $35. And opening for Joe at both Plan 9 and Toad's is Kenny Loggins' son, Crosby Loggins. I dare you to shout out for him to play "Danger Zone".

Also on Thursday, at Capital Ale House Downtown, is Dave Matthew's longtime collaborator, Tim Reynolds. My sister-in-law used to work for a caterer when she was going to school at UVA and says she would see Dave & Tim playing at cocktail hour at weddings. Of course, she didn't know Dave would be huge someday and his cocktail hour strumming gave no indication he would be. Now they've done a couple live albums and tours together. I've always enjoyed their "Live At Luther College" CD. Doors open at 9 and tickets are $20.

On Saturday night at Alley Katz, Black Cash & The Bad Seeds, the excellent Johnny Cash cover band, are playing. Show is for those 18 and over and starts at 10 PM and goes 'til 2 AM and is only $8.

I'm off to watch some more of Ken Burns' "The War" since there is no baseball game on tonight. Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Greatest Weekend Of Music in Richmond EVER!

Yes, this is the Greatest Weekend Of Music in Richmond EVER! However, I will probably be lucky just to catch a few hours of the National Folk Fest. Baby Will is not ready for big crowds yet. You're not supposed to take infants out in big crowds for six weeks or so because of germs, germs, germs! And he's still not sleeping enough at night that I can bail out and go to the shows at Toad's. I take some consolation in the fact that all the acts at Toad's are road horses and will probably be back in the spring now that Toad's and Richmond are on their touring radar.

Let's get right into things with the National Folk Festival in downtown Richmond. The weather will be absolutely perfect. This is the last of the three years in Richmond and it has been a lot of fun having it here. Richmond is planning to continue their own festival in years to come. The variety of music that falls under the "folk" category is huge and includes bluegrass, zydeco, gospel, Eastern European and Celtic, blues, old-time country, Chinese, and Native American. Its a great sampler and you are bound to find something you like. This is also a family event, with a crafts area and stage for the young ones and VA Folklife craft demonstrations to check out too. If Kathy needs a break, I'm hoping to drag Zach down for a few hours on Saturday or Sunday.

At night this week, I could live at Toad's Place Thursday through Sunday night. Thursday night, Michael Franti & Spearhead bring their reggae/punk/folk/funk revolutionary music to Toad's. Doors at 8 PM, show starts at 9 PM with Blue King Brown opening. Tix are $25. "Power to the Peaceful!" I also saw a large banner up yesterday at the corner of Ellwood and Thompson, put up by Ellwood Thompson's Market, that reference one of their songs, saying "All The Freaky People Make the Music Of the World". And ain't it true.

Friday night, my pick of the weekend is at Toads and that is moe. moe. is at the peak of their powers right now. Here is how their web site describes them:
"moe. is...
Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan and Gram Parsons...from hard rock to
melodic country, moe can write songs and they can play the bejesus out of them
live. They can deliver live energy to a studio recording and are equally
comfortable playing textural musical landscapes or balls to the wall guitar
solos. By not limiting their songwriting to preconceived genres, moe. are a
rarity in today's pop music culture. Their latest studio album, "The Conch", has
already received 4 out of 5 stars from Rolling Stone, and 3.5 out of 4 stars
from Paste. The Buffalo News calls "The Conch" "A Masterpiece". See them live,
Buy their album, or live an unfulfilled life."
Doors at 7:30, Show at 8:30 with the PMG opening. Tix are $27 in advance, $30 the day of the show.

Tower of Power plays at Toad's on Saturday night. Tower of Power horns are most famous in my book for playing on the greatest live album of all time, Little Feat's "Waiting For Columbus". The horn section has also played on albums by Santana, Elton John, Mickey Hart, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Rod Stewart, Sammy Hagar, The Meters, Heart, Molly Hatchet, Huey Lewis, Bonnie Raitt, Eurythmics, Phish, Fishbone, Aerosmith and more. They are the go-to horn section for the best musicians. The band plays great soul music and has been doing it going back to 1970. Doors open at 7 PM, show starts at 8 PM. General Admission is $25, Gold Circle is $40.

On Saturday night at the Charlottesville Pavilion is Phil Lesh (of the Grateful Dead) and Friends. Phil's latest version of his friends includes young blues singer Jackie Greene, Steve Molitz (keyboard player from Particle) and Larry Campbell, who was the guitarist and fiddle player for Dylan's band for a number of years. The shows with this version of the friends have been getting mixed reviews so far on philzone.com, with some weak first sets but usually killer second sets. The reviews are getting more positive as the band moves along its tour so it looks like things may be starting to gel just in time for this show. Doors are at 6 PM and show at 7 PM. Tix should be in the $40 range and may still be available but the Pavilion web site was not pulling up so I can't be sure.

On Sunday night back at Toad's, Gov't Mule plays, who I've never been a huge fan of, but I am becoming a big fan of the opening act, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. If you go for Mule, make sure you get there early to see Grace. Doors are at 7 PM and show starts at 8 PM. Tix are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. BTW, many of the shows at Toad's are all ages shows so those of you with teens who may be interested can bring them along. And if you go for Grace, stick around for the Mule. Last Saturday and Sunday, Potter jammed with Gov’t Mule during the final selection of its first set. On Saturday Grace & the Nocturnals joined Gov’t Mule for a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” at Upper Darby, PA’s Tower Theatre and on Sunday Potter performed with Mule on a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” at Schenectady, NY’s Proctor's Theater.

Finally, at Toad's on Tuesday night are up and coming jam banders, Umphrey's McGee who hail from Notre Dame. (You Notre Dame people need something to cheer about since your football team sucks this year.) Doors at 8 PM, show at 9 PM, $20 in advance, $22 day of show.

If you go to any of these shows or have comments, please post reviews or comments in the Comments section of the blog. That way we can all share and I can comment back to you in the blog.

Have fun this weekend and I hope to see you at the Folk Festival!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, September 27, 2007

First-time grabbers, Italian Festival

I'm back! After two weeks of newborn baby, I am not falling asleep all the time anymore and I have a few moments to type this sucker out. Actually, Will has been a very good baby so far. He's not very fussy and is a good eater and sleeper. Not that he is sleeping through the night mind you, but when he does sleep, he sleeps pretty hard and is not easily awakened.

If you are getting this on Thursday night, you can check out Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on the Today show on Friday. I think they are repeating it on Sunday if you miss it. I listened to a preview of his new CD, "Magic", and I thought it was pretty good. You too can listen to it HERE. I'm sure it will grow on me as I listen more and especially once I see/hear the songs live. Not making the first leg of the tour because of Will, but will surely catch Bruce and the Band when they return in the spring.

Listening to the album got me thinking about when I have heard music for the first time and it has totally grabbed me. Strangely, as much of a Bruce fan as I am, his albums usually have to grow on me for a while. Also, most of the list of instant "Wow!" songs came around college or shortly thereafter. I wonder if as you get older, it becomes harder to impress because your music vocabulary is larger so there is less of a chance to hear something that somehow touches you unlike anything ever before. Anyway, here is a short list of first-time "grabbers", in no particular order, and probably not all of them:
When Doves Cry - Prince
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana - I was driving to work when this came on a local college station. I arrived at the parking lot before it was over and had to sit in the car until it ended. Didn't know then that the face of rock 'n roll had changed but did know I had just heard a kick-ass song.
Epic - Faith No More - This was really one of the first times hard rock and rap would be blended and the song was truly epic. Another one where I had to sit in the car until it was over. We all know that the rap/rock thing was eventually doomed to destroy rock radio with the dreadful likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park
Drive - REM - I was working at the radio station at the time the single was released. The program director, who knew I liked REM, handed it to me and asked me to give it a listen. I sat in his office and listened to it three or four times in a row. Still a haunting, powerful song and was very different from what they had done before.
Ocean Size - Jane's Addiction - Can't remember what made me throw this on the turntable while I was dj'ing on my college station. All I remember is when it was done, my mind had been permanently blown. "Nothing's Shocking" would be one of my top albums for the next six months.
Should I Stay or Should I Go - Living Colour - This cover of the Clash song was out before they had released their first album. I was studying in the college library and listening to the college station on my Walkman. This came on and I immediately knew that this was an amazing guitarist and a killer band. Still love Vernon Reid and hopefully he'll do something, Living Colour or otherwise, that will bring him back to Richmond.
Icky Thump - White Stripes - My current rave. The car stereo goes up to 11 when this one comes on. With a guitar riff that Jimmy Page would kill for.

On to this week's events. Henry Rollins will be doing his spoken word thing at the Canal Club on Saturday night. Doors open at 6 and tix are $18.50 in advance and $20 at the door. I always find Henry entertaining. Some of his rants are quite insightful and funny and no one's neck bulges like his.

Delbert McClinton brings his rockin' blues to the State Fair on Sunday night. Show starts at 6 PM and is free with fair admission. You can load up on Fried Pepsi Turnovers (I kid you not, they have these), fried oreos and turkey legs before you go.

You may also want to check out the Italian Festival at Broad & 25th in Church Hill this weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday. We will have beautiful weather and if this is anything like the St. Pat's fest, its a good time and a good event to bring the kids too. Will is still a little too little to bring to something like that or we would be there in a second. Also, with no High on the Hog this year, this may be your last chance to party on the Hill until St. Patrick's Day.

Here is some other stuff going on at Toad's Place:

Marty Stuart
Friday, September 28 8:00pm
Marty Stuart is a country music singer, known for both his traditional style, and eclectic merging of rockabilly, honky tonk, and traditional country music.
Tickets are $27.50/advance, $30/day of show, $35/gold circle

RVA's Fist City Fury
Saturday, September 29 2:00pm
Fist City Fury Music Festival and the Canal Walk Arts Flea Market. Music and demonstrations by Richmond Luche Libre and Capoeira Resistancia inside Toad's Place, an Arts Flea Market on the Canal Walk with acoustic sets by Hoots & Hellmouth and late night DJ dance party. Tickets are available at http://www.rvamag.com/fistcityfury and at all Plan 9 Music locations.
Tickets are $10.00

Andrew Bird
Sunday, September 30 7:00pm
Andrew Bird is a musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, whose musical proficiency includes violin, whistling, guitar, and glockenspiel.
Tickets are $20/advance, $22/day of show

The United Abominations Tour: Megadeth
Monday, October 1st 6:30PM


with In This Moment
The Confession

Advance: $37.50 / Day of Show: $40

Loudon Wainwright III

Wednesday, October 3rd 7PM
with Lucy Wainwright Roche

First floor is seated for this show.

General Admission: $25

That's it for me. Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Paul Anka, George Jones

Hello, hello. I'm listening to XM's 70s station now and just heard Paul Anka's "Times of Your Life". I'm being quite open tonight and in touch with my feelings when I tell you that the song chokes me up a little. I'm not sure if its the lyrics, the music or that it was used in all those Kodak commercials in the 70s. It reminds me of the whole family sitting around on a Sunday night watching that big Sunday night event TV, whether a movie like "Gone With The Wind", or a TV premiere like "Battlestar Galactica" or a mini series like "Roots" or "Shogun". Those days of true water cooler TV, before VCRs and TiVos when you had to watch it when it was on or miss it. In a way the song "Times of Your Life" reminds me of those early comforting times of my life. Oh man, I am getting way overly sentimental. Must be because my next kid will probably be born next week.

Now they are playing Cher's "Half Breed". That song just makes me laugh. Though I did quite enjoy the "Sonny & Cher" show when I was a kid.

Speaking of overly sentimental moving into the maudlin, that is what country hits radio is these days. A whole bunch of crappy, over-produced, sensitive songs about God, family and country sung by men with shaved chests in black hats and American Idol divas who think they are talented because they sing a note long and loud. If you want to hear real country music, country music about drinkin' and cheatin' and drivin' a pick-up with your old hound dog, check out George Jones, Sunday night at the Landmark. Show starts at 7 PM, tickets are $38 - 48. This is a man who has placed over 160 songs on the country charts. This is a man who loved and lost Tammy Wynette. This is a man who, when his wife cut him off from alcohol, got on a riding lawn mower ride drunkenly into town to buy more. He did this not once but twice!

That's about all that's going on this week. I don't know if I'll have a blog next week. Looks like the new boy is coming early, maybe Wednesday, maybe Friday. Just as long as he waits until after this weekend so we can make final preparations.

Here's some stuff going down at Capital Ale House Downtown:

Lipbone Redding, Friday, September 7, After Work Brews & Blues 5:00-8:00pm, Free

Who is LIPBONE REDDING?

Inventive voicestrumentalist and Southern Gentleman, Lipbone Redding, creates original songs that effervesce with New Orleans swing, Memphis grooves and New York City style. Though his songs stand alone, his entire show is greased with uncanny riffs of vocal trumpeting (AKA THE LIP-BONE*), booming mouth percussion, hilarious side moments and esoteric lyrics.

Whiskey Rebellion

Friday, September 7

9:30pm

$5.00

The Whiskey Rebellion has covered a lot of ground in their first year together. Playing to audiences all over the region and bringing some attention to the band. They have been asked to come back to every venue they have played.

High-energy shows with solid playing is what you can expect from The Whiskey Rebellion. The band pushes the boundaries of traditional bluegrass music and has added a refreshing approach to the genre.

Saturday

Green Giant

September 8

Doors open at 9:00

Free

Green Giant plays a mix of Bluesy Funky Slightly Hard Edge Jam Rock from “Big Boss Man” to “Godzilla” with plenty of originals in between with the emphasis on having fun and getting in the groove.

Sunday

Watermelon Slim

September 9

Doors open at 5:00

$10.00

The Truck Drivin' Blues Man, Bill "Watermelon Slim" Homans is back with the band the Workers! Elwood Blues (a.k.a. Dan Akroyd) said, "He’s been a farmer, teacher, truck driver, and who knows what else. He’s also one of the best blues singers out there.” http://www.watermelonslim.com


Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rocket Queen, Cosmic Charlie, Flight of the Conchords

Its Labor Day weekend in Richmond and as usual the town pretty much shuts down while everyone barbeques and hits the pool for the last time.

Only two cover bands to tell you about this weekend. Rocket Queen, the Guns N' Roses tribute band featuring Blaxl Rose, will be at Alley Katz on Friday night starting at 10 PM. Tix are $10. Blaxl is a very large, black man, quite the opposite of the real Axl, who is a skinny, crazy white man, though they sound amazingly similar.

On Saturday at Alley Katz, you'll find Grateful Dead cover band, Cosmic Charlie. These guys get the Phil Benton stamp of approval as he & Angie stumbled upon them on a recent trip to Savannah GA and said they were very good. Doors open at 9 PM and tix are $10.

Finally, I want to bring your attention to one of my new favorite shows, "Flight of the Conchords" on HBO. This is a series about two New Zealanders who have formed a novelty rock band and are trying to make it big in NYC (or at least get a gig) with the help of their hapless manager (also a Kiwi). Think Tenacious D, but not as loud or crude and more subtle. The shows are a half hour long and have a story with a couple "videos" in the show that roughly have something to do with the plot. This is the song and video that sold me on the show, "It's Business Time": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GpTTf175aE. While you're there, you can also check out, "Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FArZxLj6DLk&NR=1 and "If You're Into It": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY8jaGs7xJ0&mode=related&search=.

That's it! Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pietasters, Good Beer, Webb Wilder, Thorogood

Howdy, howdy, howdy!

Listening to my iTunes right now. The artist is the Funky Meters, the song "Jungle Man". Deeeeep fonky bass.

Let's get right into it. Thursday night at the Canal Club, its The Pietasters. I saw these guys at All Good this year and they are a good time ska band. As I watched them play on the second stage during the day, I thought to myself, "These guys would be fun to see in a bar like the Canal Club with everybody drinking and dancing and getting sweaty." So now is your chance. Doors open at 8:30 and tix are $5.

On Friday from 5-10pm and Saturday from 12-7pm is the Third Annual Shockoe Craft Beer Festival at Kanawha Plaza. Kanawha Plaza is located between E. Byrd St and E. Canal Street between 7th and 8th Streets in downtown Richmond. This is the good beer fest as compared to the crappy one on Brown's Island in June. Real craft brewers and plenty o' good brew. Nary a Bud to be found. Admission is $15/One Day Pass (mug and 5 beer tickets) - $25/Two Day Pass (mug & 10 beer tickets). They'll have some good bluegrassy/alt-country music for you to listen to while you quaff your beers. I know there is some shade and a fountain in the Plaza so even though it will be damn hot again this weekend, you may want to brave the heat.

Friday night at the Capital Ale House Downtown, Webb Wilder will be playing. Here you can check out some Webb here on YouTube. Door time is 9:30. $7 in advance, $10 the day of the show. Webb had some minor hits in the early 90's with his Texas blues/honky-tonk style of play, most notably "Tough It Out". As they say on the YouTube description: "He mixes British invasion rock, Hank Williams country, Elvis soul, Screaming Jay Hawkins theatrics and Dick Dale surf punk (with a bit of rockabilly thrown in) who Rolling Stone says "flat out rocks."" Also, since its the Capital Ale House, you'll get to drink more good brews (especially if you went to the beer fest prior to this) while you watch him. If you went to the beer fest before this, you may want to think about getting a cab home that night.

On Sunday night, George Thorogood & The Destroyers play at Toad's Place. Show starts at 7:30 and tix are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. George will probably be doing what George has been doing since the late '70s. Playing the blues. I bet you'll hear "Bad to the Bone" and "I Drink Alone" and of course, the classic "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer". I saw George a lot in the early days because he is from the Philly area so he was a hometown boy. I believe I last saw George on St. Pat's Day at Lehigh's Stabler Arena while I was in college, oh, about 1987. George Thorogood and him multitude of drinkin' songs, St. Pat's Day and lax security at the arena made for a potent combo as my fraternity brothers and I snuck about 3 bottles of Southern Comfort into the show and we were not alone. Needless to say it was complete drunk fest and a quite enjoyable one if my hazy memories serve me correctly.

Here's some other stuff at the Canal Club:
Friday August 24 - Drowning Pool with The Exies, Separation and Fallen
Under. Doors open at 8:00, tickets are $15.00 in advance or $17.00 at
the
door. A portion of every ticket goes to The USO to support their efforts
for
our troops in Iraq. You can purchase tickets at our web site, Plan 9
Music
or Richmond Music Center.

Saturday August 25 - The 26th Annual Colgate
Country
Showdown. Presented by 93.1 The Wolf. This year, the Colgate Country
Showdown celebrates their 26th Year in 2007 (this is the 3rd one hosted
by
The Canal Club). Over the years, it has grown into the largest country
music
talent search in America with over 450 local radio stations
participating,
50,000 artists competing each year and over $300,000 in cash prizes
awarded
throughout the 4-level competition. As a testament to this fact,
virtually
every major country music entertainer of the past 26 years has
participated
in the Showdown. They may not have won the Grand Prize, but it was often
the
first time they experienced the thrill of performing before a live
audience.Admission is free and this, as is all of our events, is all
ages.
Doors open at 5:30 and the Showdown starts at 6:30.

Here's some other stuff at Toad's Place:

Bruce in the USA
Thursday, August 23rd - 8:00PM
“If Matt Ryan and his band, American Dream, took the stage at a Springsteen concert ...few people would be able to tell the difference.”
18 & Up - General Admission: $12.00 tickets

Stone Sour
Saturday, August 25th - 6:00PM
“The intensity. The drama. The emotion. The colors. The darkness. The melodies. The anger. The honesty. The drive. The new. All of the above and more.” According to Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor, those are the things that define Stone Sour’s passionately pulsing second album, Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner).

Keep an ear out on 102theX (WRXL) for a chance to win an autographed guitar!

Advance: $25.00 / Day of Show: $28.00 tickets

I don't know if I'll be hitting anything this weekend, as we must prepare for the new arrival (potentially arriving earlier now) and because the 100 degree temps may keep us away from the beer fest. Considering Kathy can't drink and can't stand the heat, she is highly not motivated to go.

Have a great weeekend!

Tony Jordan

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Alison Krauss, GWAR, Sam Bush, Erykah Badu

Watching the Phillies try to hang on and beat the Nats tonight. I'm also doing well in fantasy baseball, picking up a point so far tonight. But this isn't a baseball blog, its a rock 'n' roll blog so let's get down to it.

Wednesday night, Alison Krauss & Union Station will be at Richmond Coliseum. Show starts at 8 PM and tix are $39 - 48.50. Alison has got it goin' on. She can sing beautifully, play a mean fiddle and she's cute to boot. You could even take your mom to this show and both of you would enjoy it.

If your mom is completely twisted and doesn't have a weak stomach, you could take her to a completely different show on Wednesday night, which would be GWAR at Toad's Place. GWAR created the genre of grotesquely costumed, sexual prosthetic wearing, fake blood splattering, heavy metal. In fact, they are the entire genre. Doors are at 7:30, show at 8:30, tix are $20. GWAR is truly a unique concert experience. I do want to see them someday. I've been told by friends that if you do go, not to wear a nice shirt as you may be covered in fake blood by the end of the night. You have to love a band that titles their web site, "The Official Cyber-Fortress of Your Lords and Masters, GWAR!" and who has a member of the band named "Balsac The Jaws Of Death". BTW, GWAR is from Richmond, yet were banned by the City Council from playing here for many years because of their outrageous shows.

Yay! The Phils won!


On Friday, Sam Bush is playing at Toad's. Doors are at 7:30 and tix are $20 in advance, $22 day of show and $25 for the evil Gold Circle. Sam Bush is one of the originators of the "Newgrass" style of music, blending bluegrass with folk and rock. I've seen Sam a few times now, most recently at All Good, and I'm liking him better every time I see him. He's got a fun, upbeat show and features great musicians including Sam himself on the mandolin.

If you are in a soulful mood, check out Erykah Badu on Friday at Kanawha Plaza. Show starts at 8 PM and tix are $30. Yes, Erykah has some crazy hair but she can sing and I've seen some live video and she usually has a great band with her.

I will not be attending anything this weekend though. I can't take any more days off because of the impending arrival of the new dude (Sept. 21) and my mom is coming this weekend so I'll be spending Friday evening tidying up the house.

Here is some other stuff going on this weekend at the Capital Ale House Downtown Music Hall. I didn't write these comments. I'm just copying them from the newsletter because I'm lazy and don't know these bands anyway.

Friday: Pure & Sinful - Friday After Work Brews & Blues - 5 - 8 PM - FREE. Since 1997, Pure & Sinful have been entertaining Richmond, Virginia audiences with their mix of Roadhouse Rhythm & Blues and classic Rock ‘n Roll.

Friday: Crucial Element - 9:30 PM - $5. With a style that sticks to a Roots approach while bringing an aggressive attitude; Crucial Elements endeavors to bring some fire back to reggae music.

Saturday: Fully Loaded - 9 PM - $5. The Fully Loaded Band is a Virginia based blues power trio steeped in red-hot Texas blues, Chicago shuffle, greasy Memphis twang, and diesel powered rock and roll.

I'm outta here. Have a great weekend.

Tony Jordan

Update 8/17 - 4 PM - Rhonda Todd emailed me and took me to task for not including Keith Urban's show in the blog. He is playing at the Richmond Coliseum on Sunday, 8/19 at 7:30 PM. Tix are $46.50 - $56.60. Since I don't know any of his songs, I'll let Rhonda speak for Keith: "The man is not only fabulous to look at, but he can play guitar with the best of them. His musicianship ranks up there with guitar legends, country or not. We can't let a little rehab bias get in the way of supporting true talent, now can we?! 'nuf said!"



Monday, August 6, 2007

Buddy Guy, Wailers, Yardbirds

Coming to you early this week because Tuesday night is Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and probably a bunch of other Hall of Fames guy, Buddy Guy. Buddy Guy is one of our greatest living blues guitarists and has influenced Hendrix, Clapton and Stevie Ray among others. He's one of the last living links to the Chess blues masters like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. I've seen him twice and he puts on a great show. The only knock on Buddy is sometimes he may resort to "tricks" like playing behind his back, doing medleys, etc. to the point where you just want him to shut up and play guitar. But the show at Toad's Place will hopefully see a minimum of that since the crowd will be there to see him and won't be a festival crowd. Buddy plays Tuesday night at Toad's Place. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, $40 for Gold Circle. Doors open at 7 PM, show starts at 8 PM. DJ Williams Projekt will be opening.

The Wailers are at Innsbrook on Friday night. Gate opens at 6 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. There will be no Gold Circle at this show, thank God. Sometimes, I think the Golden Circle can suck the life out of a show. The Goldeners are more likely to sit on their ass and give nothing back to the band. Outdoor Rock and Roll shows weren't meant to have seats. You want to sit, go see some freakin' smooth jazz. You want to get in the front row, get there early and stand your ground. The Wailers were, of course, Bob Marley's back-up band. I saw them last year around Christmas and they were a lot of fun. The lead singer doesn't try to be a Marley imitator and just does his own thing. The band can still kick it.

On Saturday night, the Yardbirds are playing at the Capital Ale House downtown in their new Music Hall. Phil reports that the Music Hall is a very good venue. And the beer selection should be better than your average place. The Yardbirds were the band that gave a start to Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck, the holy triumvirate of British blues rock. However, I don't think any of them will be playing on Saturday night. There are two original members in this version of the Yardbirds, Chris Dreja - rhythm guitar, backing vocals and Jim McCarty - drums, backing vocals. Their track record would lead one to believe that they may have a good lead guitarist. Doors open at 9. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

On TV, you can check out Grace Potter on August 7th - Good Morning America (ABC) and August 10 - Craig Ferguson (CBS). Set your TiVos.

I went to the simpsonizeme.com web site and this is me as a Simpsons character:
I think its a pretty good resemblance. They actually base it on a photo though I had to make the nose a little bigger. And they got the circles under the eyes right.

Until next week.....
Tony Jordan

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Black Crowes, Beach Party Wine Fest, Lollapalooza, Virgin Fest

Hey now! Watching "Classic Albums" on VH1 Classic as I write this. If you haven't seen this show, its pretty cool. They pick a classic album (hence, the name) and speak with the musicians and producer that made it. They break the album down song by song and the coolest part is when they break down the parts of the songs themselves. For example, on "The Dark Side of the Moon" episode, they go back to the original master tapes and will isolate the slide guitar on "Breathe". Dave Gilmore and Alan Parsons then will talk about the sound of the guitar (but not too technically), overdubs and then show how they mixed in the other parts of the song. Its quite amazing how the choices and creativity of the artists come together to make a song, whose parts you may have taken for granted before.

Tonight's episode is on Deep Purple's "Machine Head". I'm not familiar with the whole album, but it definitely features two all-time classic songs. "Highway Star" is an awesome driving song, one of those songs that will play on the radio and you look down at your speedometer and all of a sudden you're doing 85. And then of course, the ultimate guitar riff of "Smoke On the Water". Everyone plays air guitar when that one comes on.

Onto this weekend's Richmond events. Brave the heat on Saturday night and come out to see the Black Crowes at Innsbrook. Gates open at 6 PM and General Admission tix are $16.50 in advance, $20 at the gate. Some band called Buffalo Killers is opening. The Black Crowes can still bring that loose Stonesy rock as well as anyone out there. When we saw them at Brown's Island last year, their guitarist had left three days before the show and even with the new guitarist, they were excellent. Now that the guy has been in the band for a year they should be even better. I won their recent live album "Freak & Roll - Live at the Fillmore" from the Grateful Dead Hour (thanks, David Gans!) . I put the tunes on my iPod and then the CD itself kind of got buried in my pile. Whenever one of the tunes would come on the iPod, I would be totally intrigued by the jamming and I'd look and ever time I would go "Wow! That's the new Crowes CD." So I'm looking forward to this show very much.

At Innsbrook on Friday will be Nickel Creek on their farewell (for now) tour with Fiona Apple. General Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Fiona comes on around 6:30. I have liked what I have heard from Nickel Creek and Fiona Apple is always interesting.

For you winos, you can check out the Beach Party Wine Festival at James River Cellars. That is Saturday & Sunday from 11 AM - 5 PM. There will be wine and food and wine and music and more wine.

While you are at home, you can watch Lollapalooza, now a single fest not a traveling one, on the web, live from Chicago. Here is the address: http://www.attblueroom.com/music/. They'll be on 1:30 PM - 11 PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They'll be on XM's Ethel station too. I'm looking forward to seeing Amy Winehouse on the web Sunday night at 8:15 PM.

The Virgin Festival is also taking place this weekend in Baltimore. Much to chagrin of the horses that wanted to step on me again, I will not be attending this year. I haven't found a webcast of it, but it will be on XM's The Move on Sunday from 6 PM - 10 PM.

Hope to see you at the Crowes on Saturday. Until next week, sayonara.

Tony Jordan