Thursday, June 16th, 2011 by The Professor
The Go-Go’s parade on stage with a catalogue jam
by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman
The Go-Go’s looked like goners in 2010. Their scheduled Farewell Tour was entirely postponed after Jane Wiedlin injured her leg while hiking a year ago. It’s therefore fitting that God blessed The Go-Go’s in 2011, marking the 30th anniversary of their seminal album Beauty And The Beat. The unanticipated calendar upgrade generated an advantageous twist of fortune after all.
Even though the lovely lassies have developed their own distinct personalities as musicians outgrowing their group association, vocalist Belinda Carlisle, guitarist Charlotte Chaffey, guitarist Jane Wiedlin, bassist Kathy Valentine, and drummer Gina Schock still produce that collective magic to effectively entertain their loyal audiences.
The Go-Go’s brought their beauty & beat to the Feline Center at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia, on Friday, June 10, 2011. A party atmosphere dominated the patrons populating the lawn section. Although the evening heat got more than a little hot, the gyrating women bebopping to the melodic music worked up unrelenting perspiration.
Strutting out onto the stage to burlesque fanfare, Carlisle barked, “Are you ready to rock?”, igniting crowd anticipation. The ladies launched their performance with “Vacation”. An `80’s revival commenced as the female fans sang in unison on the incorrigible chorus.
Valentine introduced Carlisle’s 1985 hit solo single “Mad About You” as having been refashioned into a Go-Go’s styled tune for fan appreciation. Gina Schock stepped forward to quiz the crowd, “Is it hot enough for you?”, soliciting a roar of approval in response. Chaffey wasted no time in prompting Schock to proclaim she was born in neighboring Baltimore. Gina proudly mentioned that her parents and her brother were seated in the audience.
An uncommon surprise in the concert was their cover of The Rolling Stones’ 1966 classic rock single “Mother’s Little Helper”. Carlisle seemed to emphasize the spoken intro, “What a drag it is getting old”, but they dispelled that notion as the feminine quintet rocked on a number the Stones themselves have long since abandoned from their tour repertoire.
Having acknowledged the 30th anniversary of Beauty And The Beat, the band showcased several selections in their setlist from that popular 1981 record. Touring as a nostalgia act in a lethargic economy can forecast risky business, but The Go-Go’s are indeed a unique group that attracts a loyal fanbase.
The closing three numbers, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, “Skidmarks On My Heart”, and “We Got The Beat”, were the perfect trifecta. Schock appeared front and center for a second time during the first encore to introduce her colleagues in the band. The Dollyrots power trio who opened was invited to dance about in freeform on stage.
The Go-Go’s treated the outdoor audience to a second encore of a Wiedlin composition “Fun With Ropes” identified as one of their earliest original songs. Many may not know that The Go-Go’s began their stage career as a punk band at the end of the 1970s. The ladies climaxed in a thrashing crescendo swamped by applause having delivered an energetic romp that left the Vienna crowd still wanting more.
The Go-Go’s Feline Center at Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA, June 10, 2011 setlist: Vacation * Tonite * How Much More * Get Up And Go * Mad About You * Lust To Love * Mother’s Little Helper * Automatic * Fading Fast * Cool Places * This Town * Unforgiven * The Whole World Lost It’s Head * Our Lips Are Sealed * Skidmarks On My Heart * We Got The Beat * 1st Encore: Sur > Beat > Surf * Head Over Heels * 2nd Encore: Fun With Ropes
Thursday, May 26th, 2011 by The Professor
The Cars rev up historic hits and switch into high gear with new stage oscillations
by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman
The Cars cruised into the Capitol on Monday, May 23, 2011, appearing before a sold out SRO audience at the 9:30 Club. As luck would have it for those fans without tickets staked out in front of the venue before showtime seeking to score entry, essentially every single person searching for sellers was able to buy a ticket priced marginally above face value.
Leader Ric Ocasek finally consented to a Cars reunion in the studio and on tour with his former bandmates lead guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, and drummer David Robinson. Touring only as a foursome, they made the right decision not to replace their fallen partner and bassist Benjamin Orr. Hawkes picked up a bass guitar to play on two songs during their high-octane performance.
The quartet simply walked out on stage and immediately plugged into “Good Times Roll”. Their stage motif resembled Move Like This the cover art from the new disk. The Cars were primarily preoccupied with promoting their new album as the setlist featured a total of six fresh tunes. Although the studio recordings were rather thin on Easton’s distinct lead guitar wizardry, these new numbers sounded better live.
The classic Cars tunes from their initial 1978 self-titled album were exceedingly well received. The handful of selections originally sung by bassist Benjamin Orr generated an intense response from the Capitol crowd. Hawkes voiced an acknowledgment with, “A tip of the hat to our friend Ben Orr”.
Two exceptional unanticipated album choices unearthed for this modern tour by Ocasek that deserve recognition as major stage surprises were the apologetic heartfelt ballad “I’m Not The One” and the whimsical psychedelic vibe of “Heartbeat City”. Ocasek certainly left an indelible impression on the top pop hits of the 1980s with an innovative quirkiness unmatched by contemporary composers during his career peak streak.
Their triple-whammy encore drove audience hysteria to ecstatic heights. Incredibly after the concert concluded, each member of The Cars made himself available before boarding to sign autographs for the anxious fans crammed behind a barrier set up adjacent to the alleyway where their tourbus was parked.
Ocasek may not have broken any new ground in releasing a new collection of Cars material; however, this action reconstitutes The Cars with a creative rebirth in the new millennium. Depending on the level of success this present reunion project produces, there may be hope for Cars fans that more music and tours will follow in the future.
Even though practically a quarter century has passed, The Cars were rightly welcomed on the tour circuit by their loyal fanbase. Demand for the band was demonstrated in 2006, when The New Cars conducted an overwhelmingly popular nostalgia tour orchestrated by Todd Rundgren who handled lead vocals. Cars fans have Ric Ocasek to thank for this exciting 2011 Spring tour.
The Cars, 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, May 23, 2011 setlist: Good Times Roll * Blue Tip * Since You’re Gone * Up And Down * My Best Friend’s Girl * Hits Me * Touch And Go * I’m In Touch With Your World * Keep On Knocking * You Might Think * Drag On Forever * Free * I’m Not The One * Sad Song * Heartbeat City * Let’s Go * Encore: Moving In Stereo * Just What I Needed * You’re All I’ve Got Tonight
Thursday, May 26th, 2011 by The Professor
Melissa Auf der Maur’s bass resonation batters Manhattan
by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman
Melissa Auf der Maur delivered an incendiary performance on Thursday, March 3, 2011, at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. This was the final date on her Out Of Our Minds World Tour and the only concert scheduled on U.S. soil. MAdM fans traveled from up and down the Eastern seaboard, across the border from Canada and afar as France to attend this singular event.
The second floor audience was eager for an engaging appearance by MAdM and she delivered 100% on all expectations. Dressed in form-fitting black attire and lengthy black boots, she and her trusty bass guitar rocked the intimate venue with absolute abandon. Auf der Maur enjoyed being in her element – live before an audience. Her impressive stage presence confirmed she is one woman who is secure in her sense of self as a professional female musician in a male-dominated field.
Melissa sang five titles from her old-new album also promoted as her multimedia project Out Of Our Minds. Surprisingly, seven songs in her blistering set were from her first phenomenal solo album issued in 2004. Having reached the climax of a world tour, her touring band of seasoned young musicians was tight and accelerated the jams on stage.
MAdM blew out a puff of smoke and opened her energized set with “Isis Speaks” off her sophomore effort. However, “Lightning Is My Girl” propelled the eclectic crowd into hyper activity with its kinetic melody. Her vocals were audibly captivating, and her spontaneous interaction responding to audience commentary displayed a raconteur sophistication.
“Happy Thursday New York, it’s Jupiter Day!”, proclaimed MAdM before she launched into a power-pop jam on “Real A Lie”. A lead guitar intro prefaced the band’s instrumental romp through “Lead Horse” from OOOM. “Merci Beau Coup, New York City”, MAdM said mentioning that this was the last date on her Out Of Our Minds world tour. She interjected her sense of humor during stage chatter between numbers.
“My Foggy Notion” was another high-octane highlight that prompted immediate gyrating. The energy level of the standing-room-only spectators spiked in response to the intensity of the music. In an unanticipated departure from her stage presentation, MAdM sang “Father’s Grave” as a prerecorded duet with Glenn Danzig. Her writhing body pulsed in time to the rhythm of the power-ballad melody.
Prefacing “Paranoid”, a tune Hand of Doom covered on her now out-of-print live 2001 Black Sabbath tribute album, she stated, “This is a song for those taken too soon”. To end the all-too-brief set, her distinct bass riff began “Followed The Waves” with her holding a note and hollering for maximum effect. Her band decisively cranked the volume, but Auf der Maur’s lone vocal finished in silence.
Returning for an encore, Melissa announced, “There are wild horses in my head tonight”, before kicking into high gear with a galloping version of “Skin Receiver”. She sang sans her instrument to the accompaniment of buzzing dual guitars with the charging music brought to an abrupt completion. Pausing to thank and introduce the members in her band, Baltimore was acknowledged with a shout from the MAdM.
The stellar one-its-kind concert closed with her rearrangement of the Doors’ classic “When The Music’s Over” reworked into a fantastic psychedelic blues vibe. Her unique rendition eventually surged into a climactic crescendo. Having sincerely thanked NYC, MAdM placed her throbbing bass guitar on the floor allowing the instrument to continue vibrating after she exited the stage.
17 countries in 17 weeks. Supporting MAdM on her 2011 Out Of Our Minds world tour were drummer George Donoso and dueling guitarists Alex Crow and Will Tendy. Segments of video clips from her 28 minute featurette The Hunt were projected on screen to introduce the show and then later shown behind the band to accentuate her prolific lyrics and stage action.
Melissa Auf der Maur is simply an incredible bassist, composer, singer and performer. Her live musicianship before an audience is unparalleled. Her movements on stage behind the microphone balance a subtle gracefulness with an alluring sensuality. She and her instrument of choice move and groove together on stage in a fusion of melodic bass animation.
Several dedicated Auf der Maur fans parked themselves in front of her merchandising table after the performance waiting for a meet & greet with the MAdM herself. Their investment in queuing up paid off as Melissa did indeed make a point to sign autographs and pose for pictures with a score of fans. Melissa has been blessed with an abundance of good luck being born in Montreal on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Auf der Maur built her bass career touring and recording with Hole in the 1990s. Billy Corgan later invited Melissa to play bass on The Smashing Pumpkins final tour at the turn of the millennium. Considering that she has spent a decent amount of her time as a backing musician touring with popular stage attractions, it’s amazing just how sincerely defined MAdM is as her own original artist before an appreciative audience.
Melissa Auf der Maur, Highline Ballroom, New York, NY, March 3, 2011 setlist: Isis Speaks * Lightning is My Girl * Real A Lie * Lead Horse * My Foggy Notion * Out Of Our Minds * I Need I Want I Will * Father’s Grave * 22 Below * Paranoid * Followed The Waves * Encore: Skin Receiver * When The Music’s Over
Monday, April 25th, 2011 by The Professor
Crack The Sky packs in its fans for a score of musical memories
– by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman
Crack The Sky achieved eternal Rock `N Roll glory within generations of Baltimorian hearts. Originating as a garage band from neighboring West Virginia, CTS found a permanent home playing venues in Maryland. The fact that John Palumbo and company are willing to continue to schedule scattered dates throughout any given calendar year is a testament to their desire to appear live before their loyal legions of fans.
CTS have recorded several outstanding albums during the course of their early career even if the majority of the baby boomer record buying public that should have been buying their masterpieces did not. This unfortunate oversight does not in any way negate their catalog of classic rock songs that diehard CTS fans enjoy so deeply to experience live on stage.
Once again the sultry siren of Baltimore’s rock radio airwaves, Sarah Fleischer, was on hand April 23, 2011, to introduce Crack The Sky. The never ready for prime time musicians ignited their extended set with the title tune “White Music” off their quintessential 1980 opus. The classic Crack tracks just kept on piling up one after another.
The best addition of the long evening was welcoming the Crack Pack Horns on stage to embellish and empower the classic Crack The Sky sound. The horn section comprised Barry Caudill on saxophone, Dave Makowieki on trumpet, and Jim McFalls on trombone. The horns add a new dimension to the music altogether.
The CTS anthem “Surf City” was punctuated with five Beatles segues. These Fab interludes were well received by the Charm City revelers. CTS’s musical mutation on Pink Floyd, “Hot Razors In My Heart”, was the perfect closer. Palumbo’s affection for John Lennon was reaffirmed by a double dose of Beatles psychedelia as back to back CTS’s encores. “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am The Walrus” are perennial stage faves.
Although Crack The Sky was hyped for its debut in Baltimore at Rams Head Live, the gig itself did not reach sell out status for a Saturday night. The capacity crowd certainly created an unavoidable obstructed view of the band on stage. It was a surprise to discover that there is a dull zone where the projected sound suffers directly dead center on the second level. This was not a reflection of the band or the tech mixing the sound.
Guitarist John Palumbo is the exalted leader of Crack The Sky. Founding lead guitarist Rick Witkowski is as animated as ever tearing up his axe with the intensity of a tornado. Original drummer Joe Macre continues to anchor the band behind his drumkit. Bobby Hird is no slouch on the guitar neck himself often trading or dueling guitar leads & licks with Witkowski.
Glenn Workman is their talented keyboardist. Dave DeMarco is now handling the bass guitar for live appearances. Overall, Crack The Sky have recorded 15 studio albums. Their recent efforts Dogs From Japan 2004, The Sale 2007, and Machine 2010, confirm Palumbo continues to be a prolific composer. Maryland musicians should be encouraged launch a Music Hall of Fame in Maryland to induct Crack The Sky. It’s a long overdue accolade that they certainly deserve.
Crack The Sky, Rams Head Live, Baltimore, April 23, 2011 setlist: White Music * Hold On * Nuclear Apathy * From The Greenhouse * Go * Zoom * Sea Epic * Wet Teenager * Maybe I Can Fool Everybody * I Don't Have A Tie * Here It Comes Again * Ice * Lighten Up McGraw * Skin Deep * Flashlight * Mind Baby * She's A Dancer * Surf City > Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds > A Hard Day's Night > Lady Madonna > The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (Skin Deep) > I Want You (She's So Heavy) > Surf City * Hot Razors In My Heart * Encore: Strawberry Fields Forever * I Am The Walrus
Sunday, February 13th, 2011 by Eric Loose
It doesn’t take long to figure out that Everyone I Ever Met is orchestrated in a different vein than Spokes’ rookie EP, People Like People Like You. Risks have been taken, and mind you, these aren’t “risks” like we normally think of them. People Like People Like You was a fairly conventional post-rock EP, but this description belies its beauty. Poor Spokes watched from outside the lines as less-worthy post-rockers enjoyed oodles more fame than they. With soaring violins and condensed song lengths, Spokes crafted a mellifluous Shortcut to Enjoying Post-Rock. Somehow the Englishmen crammed the magic of every spellbinding post-rock record you’ve heard into a delightfully accessible package. Three years later, Spokes sound bent on transforming this winning formula, and unexpectedly it pays off. (more…)
Thursday, February 10th, 2011 by Eric Loose
Cold War Kids keep their top spot, but only barely hold off an army of fast-approaching runners-up, Bright Eyes, Decemberists, and everybody’s favorite bearded singer-songwriter, Sam Beam. Smith Westerns debut in the Top 10 this week, fresh off the release of Dye It Blonde; and watch out for Top 40 newcomers Asobi Seksu, whose tertiary album debuts on the chart near the middle, leaving it room to ascend the list.
In other news: Yet another week without The White Stripes’ presence in the industry and music continues to be made, to the surprise of adoring fans still bed-ridden with sadness.
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 by Amanda Nolan
For new releases this week, we have an eclectic bunch of lesser-known artists. The highlights include: La Sera with her self-titled album that is reminiscent of Beach House and Tennis, Jessica Lea Mayfield’s new LP Tell Me which boasts her unique and soulful sound, and artist Imaginary Cities with their newest effort Temporary Resident. You can see more artists and albums after the jump!
Monday, February 7th, 2011 by Eric Loose
This could very well be Bright Eyes’ swan song. Hinting at the dying days of his Bright Eyes project last year in Rolling Stone, indie darling Conor Oberst sounded like he was ready to say goodbye to the band that garnered him fame as the poster-boy for skinny, bedroom-dwelling high school males everywhere, the 00’s answer to 80’s punk and 90’s emo. The kid is talented too, no denying that. Besides eliciting comparisons to the oh-so-comparable likes of Dylan, Oberst could weave his own warbly lines of genius. Whether they be drug-infused, lovelorn, or downright depressed, Bright Eyes’ lyrics tore at heartstrings with ease. Arriving at his most recent effort with the band’s impending mortality in question, we’re left with one, main query: should this be the finish line for Bright Eyes, is this how we want it all to end? (more…)
Monday, February 7th, 2011 by Ryan Nisley
The Cold War Kids hold on to their number 1 spot on our Top 40, but Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key takes the number 2 spot from the Decemberists. Although not officially released until Febuary 15, WLOY has The People’s Key for your listening pleasure. Iron and Wine, Cage the Elephant hold firm within the top ten as well. Kings of Leon’s mediocre album remains in the top ten, but don’t expect it to stay there for long. Indie favorites like Smith Westerns and Tennis are on the outside looking in, but that’ll change soon.
What to expect in the coming weeks: Mogwai’s new album, conveniently titled, “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.” Oh, how existential of them.
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 by Eric Loose
Grandfathers of post-rock, Mogwai, have had a tumultuous career of highs and lows. Pattern is, Mogwai will either floor on first listen (Young Team, Happy Songs For Happy People) or alternatively leave much to be desired (Zidane, The Hawk Is Howling). The pioneers’ most recent work displays Mogwai both drenched and layers and effects while dabbling in more minimalist pieces also, as Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will spans an impressive array of emotions aesthetics. This sensation is compounded when compared to the tepidness of their recent output. Mogwai’s ferocity on Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will is evident at once, and the album lives up to its intriguing name. Immersive and intense, Mogwai’s seventh LP sets the bar high in early 2011. (more…)