Sunday, January 31, 2010

Of Montreal Canceled

Just in from The National: Due to the continued hazardous travel conditions, the OF MONTREAL show has been canceled for this evening. We are working on a new date. If you would like a refund they are available at the point of purchase.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Widespread Panic & Ben Folds @ The National

Widespread Panic will play The National on Monday April 26, 2010 @ 7pm & Tuesday April 27, 2010 @ 7pm. General Admission Tickets are $40* in advance and will be ON SALE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5 @ 10AM.

Also announced today, BEN FOLDS w/ a Special Guest Sunday March 21st @ 8pm. Tickets on sale next Friday February 5th at all Ticketmaster outlets,,, and The National box office.

More on Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger

It occurred to me later, after I saw that Irving Azoff, manager of the Eagles is the CEO of this new company, that the Eagles were the first band who broke that $100 ticket price barrier, with tickets for their "Hell Freezes Over" tour going for the outrageous sum at the time of $150. If you think this guy isn't going to jack up prices as high as he can, you got another thing coming.

Anyway, here is some good commentary on the merger from the Springsteen fan site, Backstreets. There is a link in there to a good article, too.

Talk about your Blue Mondays. On January 25, the U.S. Justice Department’s Anti-Trust Division officially approved a “watered-down” version of the merger between ticket-sales agency Ticketmaster and concert-promoter/venue-owner Live Nation, creating a new company called Live Nation Entertainment. (One of the better initial reports/analyses of the deal can be found here.) In reality, there’s very little “watered down” from the original proposal first made a year ago, which essentially will solidify and strengthen what many considered to be a live-entertainment monopoly already since Pearl Jam et. al. unsuccessfully sought restrictions on Ticketmaster from the Anti-Trust Division back in the ’90s, during the Clinton presidency. Springsteen fans in particular should be appalled that not a single item in the “significant changes” ordered by the Justice Department even pretends to address the blatant conflict of interest that is Ticketmaster’s wholly-owned “secondary ticket market” (legal scalping) subsidiary TicketsNow, the source of so many problems for fans who attempted to buy tickets during the Working on a Dream tour last year.

Speaking of conflicts of interest, one of the other "concessions" that the new company surprisingly did not have to make allows it to keep its artist-management wing, headed by Irving Azoff, to boot. To understand just how anti-artist and anti-fan this move is, just remember that when Springsteen was forced to mount his famous lawsuit against former manager Mike Appel, Bruce's major source of revenue to sustain him and his band through that period came from their live performances. Any artist managed by Ticketmaster could be restrained from repeating such a strategy now, with the new company's increased power to control access to venues, ticket sales, etc. Even if you're an artist who's not directly managed by Azoff, if you don't like any aspect of how you or your audience get treated by Live Nation Entertainment, it now will be even more difficult, if not impossible, to oppose the company's policies and continue to make a living as a professional musician.

This latest action (or, more accurately, inaction) from the Anti-Trust Division comes in spite of the public opposition of many, including Bruce Springsteen, his management and touring organizations, and many of his fans who wrote letters, sent e-mails and/or made phone calls urging the Anti-Trust Division to stop this merger. As Springsteen's official website previously noted, "[T]he one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing." Barring any significant actions from Congress or the President (who still could actively oppose the Anti-Trust Division's ruling if they chose to do so), it looks pretty certain now that we're headed further down that road.

Despite the discouraging news, however, the battle isn't over just yet. Click here for more information.
- January 27, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Of Montreal (SUNDAY!), Blues at Canal Club

This weekend, dadaist art rockers Of Montreal come to The National. But be aware because of the impending winter weather the OF MONTREAL date scheduled for 9pm on this Saturday has been moved to THIS Sunday January 31st @ 8pm. All tickets purchased for the Saturday show will be honored on Sunday. For a taste of the strangeness that is an Of Montreal concert, here is Susan Sarandon spanking pigs at their recent show in NYC.

Now that's something you don't see everyday.

At the same show, Solange Knowles (Beyonce's younger sister) performed a pretty straightforward rendition of the Jackson 5 classic, "I Want You Back" (with no discipline of the piggies):

A little something for everyone at an Of Montreal concert. Doors will open at 8 PM on SUNDAY, show starts at 9 PM, tix are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. James Husband will be opening.

Still scheduled for Saturday night (as of now, call the venue to be sure) is a pretty good blues show at the Canal Club. Terry Garland (our local blues man), Mark Wenner (of the Nighthawks), Bruce Courson plus Mark Wenner and The AcoustiCats featuring Ester Haynes will play with doors opening at 8. Tix are $12 in advance and $14 at the door. Here's what happened when they got together at the Canal Club last time, they pitched a little "Wang Dang Doodle" (tuning ends at about 2:10):

Paul Magill Smith MySpace Video

In case you missed it last Friday, Conan O'Brien went out with class on The Tonight Show and also with an all-star jam featuring Will Ferrell (with "Dawn"), Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top), Beck and of course Max Weinberg and the Max Weinberg 7. We'll see you on Fox in September, Coco. Who knew Conan could rock on guitar? The man can do it all.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger Approved

This is bad news. Its not as much that ticket prices will go up. The supply & demand driving ticket prices is probably right. It you really want those $300 Madonna tickets, more power to you I guess. But with little to no competition, Live Nation Entertainment will be able to raise ticket purchase fees and lockup venues in markets to exclusive deals forcing bands to play with Live Nation Entertainment if they want to play a lot of venues. I just don't see this working out well for bands or consumers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zappa review, Haiti benefits, The Machine, Atkinsons, Wrinkle Neck Mules

Much to cover tonight so let's be on our way!

First, Zappa Plays Zappa last Thursday at the Hat Factory was an excellent show. If you have ever liked Zappa, or thought you might like Zappa, you really need to catch these guys next time they come. The band is made up of great musicians led by Dweezil Zappa, who plays a mean guitar. They play some of Frank's more accessible tunes so even those unfamiliar with Frank Zappa's music can get into the music. They opened with the instrumental Purple Lagoon into Stinkfoot in which the new singer with the band (Ben Thomas) introduced himself by doing a dead-on impersonation (vocally not visually) of Frank. Ben would add his own spin to the songs too so he wasn't just an impersonator. That's one of the beauty things about the band. They play the music faithfully but add their own spin and improvisation to the music. They played some of my favorites next, Jones Crusher and Montana. Other highlights included multi-instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez doing You Didn't Try To Call Me, which really showed that Frank could write almost normal, soulful R&B songs. Keep It Greasy and the religious war satire, Dumb All Over were another highlight.

An unexpected somber part of the show came after "What's New In Baltimore?". Dweezil said "I want to tell you a story about that song", and someone from the audience yelled out "Freak us out, Dweezil!", expecting (as we all were) a humorous tale about the song. Dweezil said, "Well it's freaking me out, too. That song was the favorite song of Chance Keesling. He died in Iraq. (at this point we could see Dweezil was tearing up and he paused for a moment to collect himself). His family asked me to play it and some of them are here tonight." It was a very touching moment. Dweezil would say on his website ( after the show, "Your family (Keeslings)has been through a lot and I am pleased that my father's music has made a positive connection for all of you. We'll keep playing What's New In Baltimore. It's got a lot of emotional layers for me. Your story adds to it as well. Best Regards, DZ"

Other highlights included an absolutely stellar jammed out version of "Apostrophe", and "San Berdino" along with my kids' favorite song "Muffin Man". Whenever we have muffins, I have my kids singing the line from that song "He thought he was a man, but he was a muffin!". We enjoy it. Here's video of the band playing "T'Mershi Duween" named after Dweezil's sister Moon's stuffed camel, then "Keep It Greasy":

Onto this weekend's events. Friday night at Plaza Bowl, you'll find an Americana show with The Atkinsons and Wrinkle Neck Mules. The show starts at 8 PM. There is a cover charge of some sort but I was unable to determine what that would be from the Plaza Bowl MySpace site. Here's the Mules playing "Mecklenberg County" at the Cinco De Mayo fest in Richmond way back in '06.

Friday night on almost every channel on TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, BET, the CW, HBO, MTV, VH1 and CMT among others) will be the Hope for Haiti Now - A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief concert. This will feature performances by Beyoncé, Madonna, Haitian artist Emeline Michel, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Sting, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Dave Matthews, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, a group performance by Keith Urban, Kid Rock, and Sheryl Crow, Coldplay, and a group performance by Bono, The Edge, Jay-Z, and Rihanna. Set your DVRs.

The Haiti relief benefits continue on Saturday with a number of shows in Richmond. At the Plaza Bowl, their Haiti Relief Fundraiser starts at 5 PM and will feature Souvenirs Young America, Snack Truck, The Lost Souls, Paul Ivey & the Ruse, White Laces, Nick Coward & the Last Battle, T-Division, Haints in the Holler and Ladies Night.

Haiti-Palooza to benefit The Patricia Sullivan Haitian Outreach goes down at The Canal Club on Saturday. The doors open at 7 and will feature Foundation, Soul Providers, and Docs Of Rock. Tix are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

There is also a benefit concert for the Make a Wish Foundation at the Capital Ale House Downtown on Saturday night featuring Sloth Loves Chunk. Show starts at 10 and tix are $8. Per their site "SLC is a rock & roll cover band that prides themselves on putting on a high energy and exciting live show. This is a cover band that covers the spectrum…..from AC/DC to The Killers, from Aerosmith to The Foo Fighters. This is a band with a simple agenda and a simple motto. Their agenda; To make sure that anybody who comes to a show is having just as much fun in the audience as the guys in the band are having on the stage. Their motto; If you can drink to it, they can play it."

Its great to see all these Richmond bands giving their time to play these benefits. Its hard to make it as a local band and each gig is valuable time and money to those bands so its a real tribute to them that they are willing and able to do these shows.

Also on Saturday, THE MACHINE: PINK FLOYD EXPERIENCE will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of THE WALL by performing the entire THE WALL Album and a set of GREATEST PINK FLOYD HITS w/an Interstellar Light Show at The National. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8, tix are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Here's the band performing "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2":

Finally, Sunday at the Capital Ale House some good ol' blues with the River City Blues Society Presenting Richard Ray Farrell with Pete Ragusa, the drummer formerly with The Nighthawks on drums. The show starts at 3 PM and tix are $8 in advance, $10 day of show. Here's Richard Ray Farrell & Marco Pandolfi doing "Dollar for Dollar":

If you are interested in signing a petition against the Ticketmaster - Live Nation merger, click HERE. If you think your ticket prices are bad now, if these two corporations get together it'll be real ugly.

If you aren't already watching the show Spectacle with Elvis Costello on the Sundance Channel(and you should be) Bruce Springsteen is on the latest show in two parts. The first part debuted last night and part 2 will be next Wednesday but they repeat them a lot so be sure to catch them.

I'll leave you tonight with this video to raise awareness about the genocide and refugee situation in Sudan. Its called "A Beat For Peace" and features some drummers you may know (Nick Mason, Stewart Copeland and others). In 2011, a referendum will determine whether or not the Southern region of Sudan becomes independent from the North. Experts fear that instability in the run-up to the referendum or its aftermath could reignite a civil war and cause massive human rights abuses unless international efforts are intensified to find a peaceful path through the next 12 months. If you are a drummer, you can post a video reply to this on YouTube (in your video description add a line about who's doing the drumming and where it's happening, then tag it with 'Sudan365' and 'beat for peace'). They'll take the best responses they receive and mix them into a final video - containing clips of drummers from across the globe - to demonstrate the support for international action to prevent further conflict.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zappa Plays Zappa, Skydog, January Allstars, Robbin Thompson

Thursday night brings Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa to town at The Hat Factory. Tix are $35, doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8:30. There is no opener and if I recall correctly, they started right on time when they played here a year and a half ago. As a big fan of Zappa since I was introduced to his music one evening in South College dorm by Joe & Joe, who knew all the words to the "Sheik Yerbouti" album, I will be attending this show. Listening to Frank Zappa's music this week, I realized his songs are still as relevent as ever as we continue to deal with the same issues of race, politics and religion that he satirized during his time with us. Dweezil is a great guitar player in his own right (even playing with Frank on some songs. You'll see what I mean if you go to the show.) and he brings some fantastic musicians with him to carry the torch of Frank's music to new generations. Here's the drum solo and then "Apostrophe" from last week's show in Ft. Lauderdale:

Friday night, Allman Brothers Band tribute, Skydog, will be at The Canal Club with Tom Petty tribute band, The Hard Promises, so a good night of classic Southern rock here. Tix are $10 and doors open at 8, show starts at 9. I believe The Hard Promises is opening but I'm not completely sure and you'll want to see them both anyway so just get there when it starts. Couldn't find any videos of these bands so here is some prime Allmans from 9/10/73:

Also on Friday night, Pete Ragusa, former drummer from The Nighthawks (he just left the band after 35 years!), will be playing with The January Allstars (Pete Ragusa, Catfish Hodge, Tommy Lepson, Tom Principato and Steve Wolf) at Shenanigan's Eatery & Pub. Should be a fine night of blues rock. The show starts at 8:30 and there may be a cover charge. Here's the band doing "Two Turntables & a Microphone" almost exactly a year ago at Shenanigan's:

Saturday at The National, The Robbin Thompson Band (with all original members) will play. Robbin is a Richmond native who played with Bruce Springsteen in Steel Mill (before the E St. Band) and then had some solo success of his own. Tix are $20 in advance, $25 day of show, this is a reserved seat show, doors open at 7 and show starts at 8. There is no opener listed. Here's the band doing "Candy Apple Red" at their show at the NorVA last month:

If you are in a metal mood and want to do something good on Saturday, head down to The Hat Factory for the Benefit For Missing Metallica Fan Morgan Harrington. Morgan is the woman who disappeared after the October Metallica concert in Charlottesville. Tix are $15 which is a donation to the Harrington family to help them continue their search. Doors open at 8 PM with a candlelight vigil. Bands playing include Dangerous New Machine featuring ex-Stereomud, Fozzy, Stuck MoJo members (GA), Memory Fade (VA), Saint Diablo (VA), Whiplash (NJ), and At War (VA).

I'll leave you tonight with the "Skynet Symphonic" a music piece made up of nothing but sounds from "Terminator 2: Judgement Day". This guy also did a cool one of nothing but sounds from "Up" a few months ago.

Have a great weekend and I'll see at Zappa Plays Zappa!

Tony Jordan

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gregg Allman, DJ Williams Projekt, Disco Biscuits, Of Montreal

Gregg Allman comes to town tonight at The National. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with opener Scrapomatic, tickets are $35, but a check this AM on Ticketmaster showed no tickets available. Gregg Allman of course from the Allman Brothers. He's got a new album of old blues songs coming out (read the article from the Times-Dispatch HERE) so I'm sure some of those will pop up in the set. Expect a somewhat jazzier edge than the Allman Brothers with the addition of a sax in the band but everything with Gregg is still based in the blues and his voice sounds great these days. Here's a little snippet of the band doing a new song "Floating Bridge" on New Year's Eve:

A couple concert announcements from The National:

DISCO BISCUITS Friday and Saturday April 16 & 17 @ 8pm ... Tickets on sale Friday January 15th at all Ticketmaster outlets,,, and The National box office.

OF MONTREAL Saturday January 30th @ 9pm ... Tickets on sale THIS Saturday January 9th at all Ticketmaster outlets,,, and The National box office

Also, this weekend, on Saturday, DJ Williams Projekt has their rescheduled (postponed a few weeks back due to the snow storm) record release party at The National. Doors open at 7, show starts at 8 with openers Beast Wellington and DJ Paul B. (who may be a real DJ as composed to DJ Williams who just happens to have the first initials of DJ but plays a mean guitar). Tix are $10 in advance, $15 day of show and you get a free copy of the Projekt's new CD "Eleven" if you go. DJ Williams Projekt gaining a good reputation in Richmond and now in the Northeast for their funky, jazzy shows. Here's the band with their song "Satisfaction" (not the Stones song) back at Cafe Diem on 12/15/09:

Also, in case you missed it this week, Soundgarden had reformed and will be touring in 2010. At first, I was a little ambivilent about the reunion. But then I remember how "Superunknown" was my favorite album in 1994. And then I remembered that live, they were the closest thing I think I ever saw to the power of Led Zeppelin in concert, with a big, awe-inspiring sound the three times I saw them (opening for Nirvana, opening for Guns N' Roses and at Lollapalooza. How's that for an ultimate 90's triumvarate). So now I am officially excited for this reunion.

Also this week, the Smoking Gun got copies of some of the letters the FCC got in protest of Adam Lambert's performance in November at the AMAs. My favorite one is the last one they posted.

I'll leave you today with the touching, reggae ode from "Flight of the Conchords", "You Don't Have To Be a Prostitute" in honor of the late great Flight of The Conchords TV show. Yes, they won't be back for a third season and I will sorely miss them.

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan

Monday, January 4, 2010

Wilco at The National

Just announced today: WILCO at The National - Monday March 29th @ 8pm ... Tickets go on sale THIS Friday January 8th @ 10am at all Ticketmaster outlets,,, and The National box office.

This one may sell out fast.