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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Chicago's Blues Festival, Free Eric V.
Friday, June 8, 2007
The Chicago Blues Festival is always known for bringing together the best in vintage and modern day renderings of the genre and this year in particular boasts an exceptional line-up. Following a kick off last night in Grant Park with Koko Taylor & Her Blues Machine, Friday's main attraction is the 30th anniversary reunion of Billy Branch's Sons of the Blues. From there, Saturday's sets include Irma Thomas and the Professionals (paying tribute to her New Orleans roots), along with Magic Slim and the Tear Drops. The weekend closes with a headlining show from Bobby Rush, plus a tribute to Howlin' Wolf featuring some of his sideman and proteges, such as James Cotton, Hubert Sumlin, Eddie Shaw, Abb Locke, Henry Gray, Jody Williams, Smokey Smothers with Lafayette "Shorty" Gilbert and Willie Smith. For a full line-up, log onto www.chicagobluesfestival.org.
As previously reported in the "Daily Dish," 28-year-old Eric Volz remains in a Nicaragua prison under a 30-year sentence after being wrongfully convicted on a murder charge. The inmate is the son of Jan Eric Volz, of ex-Island rockers' The 77's turned tour director for AEG Live/Moore Entertainment (Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, David Copperfield). This Friday night just outside of Nashville (in Summertown, TN to be exact) supporters calling for amnesty of his case can check out a benefit show at the Farm Community Center featuring indie rockers Strut, THB and The Running. For additional information about the case and the concert, log onto www.friendsofericvolz.com and www.strutproductions.com.
Anyone who's purchased Ozzy Osbourne's latest release Black Rain (Epic) and scored a pre-sale password can pick up tickets for this year's Ozzfest before they are available to the general public. Starting Friday at 9:00 p.m. (EST), fans can log onto www.livenation.com/ozzfest and hope to score sweet seats before they are opened up to masses on Tuesday, June 12.
Gore Gore Girls' gustiness, Black Francis goes blue
Thursday, June 7, 2007
After sharing the stage with today's top garage rock acts like The Strokes, Mooney Suzuki and Eagles of Death Metal, plus originators such as The Zombies and The New York Dolls, Detroit's Gore Gore Girls are readying a rollicking guitar attack on record. Come June 26, the ladies turn in Get the Gore (Bloodshoot), which is already drawing comparisons to the aforementioned, plus the female fronted Pipettes and Holly Golightly. Add in the infectious harmonies a la The Ronettes with the distortion of The Stooges and this ambitious outfit is craftily reviving the 60s with a modern day flavor.
For those who caught the last few years of The Pixies' reunion tour, front man Frank Black was in fine form all across the board. The overwhelming amount of attention from the group also helped revive his solo career, which continues with an unusual twist. Rather than releasing his next record under that birth name, he'll go back to old school Pixies' alter-ego Black Francis on the September 11 release Bluefinger (Cooking Vinyl). "I privately went back to the old stage name, if that even makes any sense, almost as a joke," says the singer/songwriter. "I couldn't get The Pixies back into a studio, but I would transform into my alter ego of yesteryear..."
Also looking ahead to September is neo-soul man Raul Midon, who's readying A World Within A World (Manhattan/EMI) for a September 25 release. The performer is known for his eclectic mix of that base genre with electric guitar, woodwinds and Latin-tinged percussion, plus the occasional insertion of strings, piano and even hip-hop breaks. The relative newcomer scored his first round of mainstream attention with an opening slot on last summer's collaborative tour between jazz giants George Benson and Al Jarreau.
The White Stripes enlist Grinderman & Porter Wagoner for NYC show!
Sippy Cups' "Summerlove," a plea for Parsons
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The White Stripes' upcoming July 24th Madison Square Garden gig in New York could easily translate into one of the most bizarre, yet monumental, lineups in recent rock shows. They've not only invited 79 year-old country legend Porter Wagoner (featuring Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives) to open for them, but those nasty aging punks Grinderman as well (featuring Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey and Jim Sclavunos). Kodak moment: When Porter's pompadour falls flat as he witnesses Nick and the boys unfurl their Stooges-infected raunch during "No Pussy Blues."
(Posted by Tony Bonyata)
No we're not talking about the actual artist Kid Rock, but rather the new "kid-rock" genre perpetuated by The Sippy Cups. The days of Elmo and Barney entertaining little ones are long gone in favor of this indie rock version of toddler tunes, who've most readily been compared to the Flaming Lips for little ones. But the band isn't just a hit with the child-aged crowd, inspiring grown-ups to flashback to their youth thanks to over the top but incredibly artistic educational renderings. The group's SUMMERLOVE 2007 tour touches down at New York's Central Park Summerstage, Chicago's Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, along with various House of Blues and club shows across the country.
Ireland's The Frames have never had a problem being accepted in its home country, though American audiences have still restricted the group to underground circles. Even so, the iconic Bob Dylan has fallen in love with the band, so much so that he's invited the gang to open his August tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Frames are touring in support of the slightly folk tipped alt-rock album The Cost (Anti-), which follows up the same label's Burn the Maps (a chart topper at home).
Despite being regularly regarded as one of the first artists to unite country and rock music, Gram Parsons has yet to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. As a result, anxious fans are petitioning for the legendary singer/songwriter to officially be granted that status, especially considering his coining of the "Cosmic American Music" movement that inspired The Band and The Byrds through the more current likes of Wilco, Son Volt, My Morning Jacket and Lucinda Williams. Other Hall of Famers include the obvious likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley, though only time will tell if Parsons will make the cut.
Street Date: Macca is back, Manson at it again
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Ever since "Silly Love Songs," Paul McCartney has made his fair share of mistakes. There was a series of sub par Wings material, a pair of Michael Jackson collaborations that don't hold up all that well in current contexts, plus the King of Pop's purchase of Beatles' catalogue portions against Sir Paul's wishes. And hot on the heels of Macca's divorce comes yet another questionable call in the form of ditching Capitol Records for Starbucks' label Hear Music. Though the move may open up his music to a wider audience of coffee-sippers, the concept certainly waters down his credibility at face value. Hopefully the tunes on today's Memory Almost Full truly hearken back to his heyday and pick up where the somewhat impressive Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (Capitol) left off.
In other transitional news, Bruce Springsteen seems to have shed his "Born In the U.S.A." mentality all together on his latest double disc and DVD collection Live In Dublin (Columbia). The Boss teams with his remarkably tight The Sessions Band, which backed him on a recent Pete Seeger tribute project. The concert collection touches on many of his classic tunes and overall folk favorites, including "Pay Me My Money Down," "When The Saints Go Marching In" and "We Shall Overcome." For those going through original Bruce withdrawal, there's also rearranged versions of a few old-time chestnuts, most notably "Atlantic City."
The 1990s are also coming back in full force with a pair of releases from some of the decade's most profitable stars. Over publicized shock rocker Marilyn Manson turns in his usual blend of insanity and upheaval on the new Eat Me, Drink Me (Nothing), featuring the blood sucker "If I Was Your Vampire." Soundgarden's Chris Cornell steps aside from his most recent gig in Audioslave to turn in Carry On (Interscope), which finds the grunge figurehead sober, empowered and occasionally downright odd. The track listing alarmingly includes a cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" adapted to much more brooding contexts than the pulsating original.
Glastonbury glee, A Police publicity stunt?
Monday, June 4, 2007
When The Police reunion tour kicked off last week in Canada, fans from all across the globe rejoiced with jubilation. But band members themselves were less than impressed, particularly drummer Stewart Copeland, who was quite vocal on his website about the band's poor performance during opening night of the tour. Aside from writing Sting jumped like a "petulant pansy" and that other members were off step with one another at times, the beat keeper even went so far as to say "this is unbelievably lame. We are the mighty Police and we are totally at sea." However, one can't help but wonder if the move was merely a publicity stunt to draw additional attention and interest in what's undoubtedly this year's biggest tour. After all, news wires picked up the story from the second it hatched, popping the brash quotations all over the internet and keeping the message boards buzzing. In any case, almost every show is completely sold out, so aside from sparking up a shred of controversy, the statements may have little effect on ticket sales.
The annual U.K. extravaganza Glastonbury Festival just took the shroud off its lofty line-up, which combines the best of today and yesterday. Out of the old timers, The Who and Iggy Pop & the Stooges lead the pack, while relative newcomers in comparison include The Fratellis, Bloc Party, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Modest Mouse. Sets by the Arcade Fire and Bjork should not be missed, but the overrated Amy Winehouse and Klaxons may not be worth their critical salt. Either way, the gig takes place June 22-24 with additional information at www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk.
Though Tesla may be most often linked to the metal world (with ample amounts of hairspray alongside their instruments), the group is exploring the straight forward rock n' roll road on its latest CD. Reel To Reel (Electric Company) pays tribute to several of the band's favorite artists and songs, such as The Rolling Stones, The Guess Who and UFO. The disc hits stores June 5 (with bonus content for Best Buy shoppers), while a full-fledged tour of America winds throughout June and July (with ticket buyers scoring a free 12-song additional disc called Reel 2.
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