Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Michael Franti & Spearhead, Zoso

Doing the blog a little early this week. Wednesday night is "Lost" night while there are new episodes being shown. Gotta keep up on what's going on on the crazy, time-shifting island. Thursday night I want to try to get to sleep early because I'm going to be up late on Friday to see Michael Franti & Spearhead at the National.

Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 8. Tix are $26. If you aren't worried about them selling out (I was) and can wait to buy them at the door, then you can avoid the Ticketmaster surcharges which came out to an additional 40% on top of the ticket price. I hate Ticketmaster.

I'm not totally sure if there is an opening band. The show is listed as "Featuring Cherine Anderson and Courtney John" so I don't know if they are opening and/or playing with Spearhead. Get there early just in case. You don't want to miss a minute of Spearhead's blend of reggae, hip-hop, funk and world music. I have seen very few entertainers who can have a whole crowd on their feet dancing and hugging complete strangers by the end of the show. If you want to check out some Spearhead, here is a link to video of his complete show at All Good this year: http://www.iclips.net/content.php?content_id=21192. If you are going to the show, let me know and I'll keep an eye open for you.

If you are totally bummed that it looks like Led Zep will never be getting back together, you can check out Zoso, the Led Zep tribute band at The National on Saturday night. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and tix are $12.50.

That's about it for this week. I'll leave you with a little ditty called "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears. Only this version of the song shows what would happen if they just sang about what was happening in the music video. Enjoy.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you at Spearhead!

Tony Jordan

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jason Isbell, Wrinkle Neck Mules, Prabir & The Substitutes

Hello, hello, hello.

Jason Isbell (formerly of the Drive-By Truckers) comes to the National on Saturday night heading up his new band, The 400 Unit. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, tix are $15. Be sure to get there early because Richmond act DJ Williams Projekt is opening and the always get the party started right. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit just released their self-titled new album this week. The album got a 7.4 (out of 10) on the Pitchfork web site. Here is Jason and the band doing one of my favorite songs from his DBT days:

Wrinkle Neck Mules will be at Toad's Place on Friday night. Doors open at 7:30, tix are $15 and 6 Day Bender and The Hotdamns are opening. Wrinkle Neck Mules play bluegrass influenced roots rock. You might dig them if you like The Silos, The Eagles, Wilco or The Jayhawks.

Local act Prabir & The Substitutes play at Plaza Bowl on Saturday night w/openers You Guys Are Girls and David Sholtz & The Skyline. Plaza Bowl is at 521 E Southside Plaza and featurs duckpin bowling, bands and beer. Show starts at 8 PM. You'll dig Prabir & The Subsitutes if you like The Beatles, Flaming Lips, The Kinks, Elvis Costello, Ben Folds Five, or Tom Petty.

That's about it for this week. I'm tired so I'm out of here.

A heads up for next week: Michael Franti & Spearhead will be at the National on Friday night. I already got my ticket so I hope to see you there.

Tony Jordan

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Out O Blue Stage Revue, CJ Chenier, Mae, Prince

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I guess because V-Day falls on a Saturday this year, its a pretty slow weekend for music.

But if you feel like heading out on Sunday afternoon and showing your honey you support good causes, go on down to the Canal Club for the Out O Blue Stage Revue to benefit The Positive Vibe Cafe, the Central VA Food Bank, the Eric E Stanley Foundation and Page Wilson. The show runs from 2 - 1o PM and costs $20 donation. Here is the musical lineup:
2:30 - Page Wilson with Reckless Abandon (Billy Lux, Charles Arthur, Jim Skelding, Jay Gillespie), 3:20 - Kip Williams Quartet featuring James "Saxsmo" Gates & Anthony Dowd, 4:10 - Susan Greenbaum, 5:00 - Terry Garland with Bruce Courson, 5:50 - Janet Martin Band, 6:40 - Brad Spivey & the Honky Tonk Experience, 7:30 - Gary Gerloff Band, 8:20 - L'il Ronnie & the Grand Dukes, 9:05 - Bruce Olsen & the Offenders.

Should be some great music. A lot of you are off on Monday and its going to get chilly again this weekend, so get warm by moving your butt and warm someone's heart with your kind donations. There will also be a Raffle & Live Auction.

Tuesday night, get ready for Mardi Gras with CJ Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band at the Capital Ale House Downtown. Doors open at 7 and tix are $15. Here is what the Ale House site says about CJ: "C.J. Chenier was literally born into the musical tradition of southwest Louisiana and Texas Zydeco, a chugging, accordion-led blend of French Creole and African-derived influences. Born the son of great Zydeco king Clifton Chenier, the first Grammy Award winning musician of his genre, C.J. was totally immersed in R&B, funk and jazz from childhood.
Coming into adulthood, C.J.'s interest in the music of his ancestors grew and after college graduation he joined his father's legendary Red Hot Louisiana Band on the road. After his father's death in 1987, C.J. assumed leadership of the band. While he continued to develop his personal accordion style, C.J. also gradually began grafting on influences from his boyhood. As C.J. explains, "I play it the way I play it. All my father really told me was to do the best I could do with my own style.""

On Wednesday night at the Canal Club, Mae plays with Conditions, Against Grace, The Bigger Lights and We The Living opening. Show starts at 6:30 and tix are $15. Mae play alt-pop and hail from the Norfolk/VA Beach area.

Since its a slow week its time for another installment of Remember the Spectrum. For this one we go to a historic tour, Prince's Purple Rain tour, pulling into Philly on Thanksgiving night, November 22, 1984. I had been a Prince fan for a few years beginning with the 1999 album and of course 1984 was Prince's biggest year with the release of the Purple Rain movie and album. The tour was sold out but my girlfriend, Jennifer (also a big Prince fan), and I had managed to get seats in the third level but on the railing and close to stage so they weren't bad. If I remember her brother went with us, which was good because we weren't driving yet and the show was a late start due to the holiday, 9 or 10 PM, I think. The parts that stand out in my mind were the opening song, "Let's Go Crazy", when Prince rose from underneath the stage surrounded by smoke and light as he delivered the opening monologue ("Dearly beloved....").
The other moment that stands out was the "I Would Die For You/Baby I'm a Star" finale with Sheila E. (the opener) and her band. Must have gone on for 15 minutes with Prince conducting his giant funk orchestra and dancing and whirling about the stage. This show solidified my Prince fandom, with Prince extending and manipulating songs with one of the tightest bands EVER (The Revolution) and moving non-stop for the length of the show. I would not miss another chance to see him over the next 25 years.

Couldn't find video of either (Prince is pretty notorious for keeping his videos off of the web), but here is one of underrated songs from Purple Rain, live from the Purple Rain tour, "Computer Blue". This feature Wendy simulating fellatio on Prince, great Prince guitar work, band choreography and some typical Prince weirdness (the voiceover stuff at the end) all in less than five minutes. Enjoy!

We thought they were dead and gone but the band that ruined rock music for a good five years is making a comeback. Yes, its Limp Bizkit. Does anyone really want this? Couldn't someone put a stake into these guys before they play again?

Now I couldn't leave you on that note, especially on this holiday of love. In the spirit of the day, please enjoy this video from Finland's Armi & Danny, "I Wanna Love You Tender".

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your ticket price just doubled

Listen.... Listen..... What's that I hear? Its the cost of arena & amphitheater tickets doubling:

It may not be a done deal though. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY said, "As the Springsteen bait-and-switch shows, even on its own, it is very hard to trust Ticketmaster," Schumer said in a statement Tuesday.
"This merger would give a giant, new entity unrivaled power over concertgoers and the prices they pay to see their favorite artists and bands. It must be viewed skeptically and scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission," he added.

It will be interesting to see what will happen if the deal goes through. Could large acts who aren't under the Live Nation umbrella band together and start a new ticketing service? Would they then be shut out of all venues Live Nation/TM own or control forcing them to play in open fields and high school gyms? Would new bands be forced to kowtow to Live Nation/TM or risk never being able to move above the theater level?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dark Star Orchestra, WRIR Benefit, Monte Montgomery & More

Got a couple concerts in town this week and some news to share so lets get into it.

Friday night, you can check out a benefit for local independent station WRIR. The "Party for the Rest of Us" starts at 7 PM at the Renaissance Conference Center, 107 West Broad Street. The line-up will feature Bio Ritmo, Horsehead, RPG and Hot Lava. The cover charge is $10. There will be complimentary food, birthday cake and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a cash bar.
More information about the event can be found on WRIR's website, wrir.org.

For those of you who like the Grateful Dead but didn't want to spend $100+ to see them, go see Dark Star Orchestra on Tuesday night at The National. If you want to check out what they sound like before you go, they've launched a new live download site with nugs.net. The doors open at The National at 6:30, show starts at 7:30 and tix are $20 in advance, $25 day of show.

Coming to the National on Friday night is Austin TX blues artist, Monte Montgomery w/Darrell Scott opening. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 and tix are $15. You might dig Monte if you like artists like Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Wonder, or the Neville Brothers.

If you are more in the mood for World rhythms on Friday, check out Simon Shaheen at the Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond. The show starts at 7:30 and tix are $32. Here's what the Modlin site says about Simon: "Palestinian-American Simon Shaheen dazzles listeners as he deftly leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. His soaring technique, melodic ingenuity and unparalleled grace have earned him international acclaim as a virtuoso on the oud (the traditional lute that his father also played) and violin. Shaheen and his band Qantara incorporate and reflect a legacy of Arabic music, while it forges new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process."

At the Canal Club on Saturday night is Foxy Shazam, Dr. Manhattan, The A.K.A.s., Colin Healy & The Jetskis, and The Battle of Me. Show will go from 5 - 9 PM and tix are $12. Here's what Foxy Shazam says about themselves on their myspace site: "The self-proclaimed "Evel Knievel of Rock N Roll," Foxy Shazam is here to make a musical death defying stunt with their New Weathermen debut Introducing Foxy, to be released in January of 2008. The album, recorded with producer Casey Bates (Portugal the Man, Heavy Heavy Low Low) takes their piano propelled songs that layer spastic hardcore noise atop fractured Soul inspired pop to a new level, one that emphasizes…..well….good times, tells vocalist Eric Nally. "The whole point of the album is to be a feel-good dance party." You might dig Foxy if you like Panic At The Disco, Modest Mouse or My Chemical Romance.

In rock news, the bastards at Ticketmaster tried to swindle Bruce fans this week by switching people trying to get tickets for Bruce directly to Ticketmaster's scalping (er, secondary market) site, TicketsNow, when Bruce tickets sold out. Some people were confused enough that they accidentally bought tix at 2X - 3X the regular price. And somehow a lot of good seats were available on the the TicketsNow site within minutes of the onsale time. So if you don't think brokers, venues and Ticketmaster are all in cahoots to scam artists and fans, that's a point against you. Bruce fans got mad. Bruce got mad enough to write an open letter to Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster wrote an open letter to Bruce fans saying "Yes, we suck". In the meantime, Ticketmaster & LiveNation are talking merger which would lead to a ticket seller monopoly once again. For the full bloody war, here is the story from Rolling Stone: "Ticketmaster Apologies to Bruce Springsteen After Onsale Blunder ".

In other news, the first big music festival of the season, Langerado, is no longer the first music festival because they have canceled the gig. Whether this is due to the economy, or that they were moving the festival from a campsite to a park in the city of Miami with no camping, this doesn't bode well for festival season. We'll have to see what happens next. Bonnaroo meanwhile announced their schedule and ticket prices of about $225, including a layaway plan to buy tix. But with Bruce closing one night and Phish the other two, I suspect they'll sell a few tix. Its the smaller festivals that may go under.

After all this bummer news, I know you're sitting there thinking, "Man, if only a band would play my favorite Pink Floyd tunes in the style of a polka, all would be right with the world again". Well, friends, your prayers have been answered. I give you Polka Floyd! (thanks to Mike K.)

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Monday, February 2, 2009

New York Times article on Springsteen

Here's a link to the New York Times article on Springsteen from Wednesday, January 28: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/arts/music/01pare.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1. Hope you all enjoyed the Super Bowl Halftime show. I thought it was great, though it was hard to see a 12 minute Springsteen show, when you are used to 3 hours.