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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Bonnaroo blast, Midwest Rage
Friday, June 15, 2007
Yesterday marked the official beginning of Bonnaroo 2007 in Manchester, Tennessee, though the heavy hitters won't come out until the weekend. Friday's lengthy line-up includes shows from Tool, The Black Keys, Lilly Allen, The Roots and Paolo Nutini, plus late night sets from Aesop Rock and The String Cheese Incident. Saturday centers the entire event around The Police's reunion, plus Spoon, Fountains of Wayne, Damien Rice and Franz Ferdinand, along with a midnight show from The Flaming Lips. The weekend wraps with the reemergence of The White Strips after its lengthy hiatus, Wilco, The Decemberists, Feist, Wolfmother, Mavis Staples and many more.
Aside from the music, Bonnaroo is also known for its comedy and cafe stages. Friday's highlights include Tea Leaf Green, Brazilian Girls and The Whigs, plus various sets by belly dancing troupes. The randomness continues on Saturday with Alexa Ray Joel (Billy Joel's daughter), The North Mississippi Allstars and John Paul White. Sunday shines with a short set from roots legend Ralph Stanley, along with a series of Rock the Earth panels and interviews. The entire line-up and all the weekend's many specifics has just been posted at www.bonnaroo.com.
After kicking off its reunion at Coachella, Rage Against the Machine announced its only Midwestern American concert date at Alpine Valley Music Theatre on August 24 (with openers Queens of the Stone Age). The only other chances fans will have to see the band come during the traveling Rock The Bells festival dates in New York, San Francisco, and San Bernardino. As for the coveted Alpine Valley show, tickets go on sale this Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. CST at www.ticketmaster.com.
New "Soundstage" season, Wanna be in "Blue Man Group"?
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The revived version of PBS' famed concert series "Soundstage" enters its fifth season on the air tonight, starting with a show from Matchbox Twenty's front man Rob Thomas. Though the full line-up is still being cememted, early announcements include a July 5 broadcast with Macy Gray, a July 12 special with Dashboard Confessional and a two part July 19 and 26 episode with Jewel. Previous seasons have boasted the likes of Robert Plant, Tom Petty, Wilco and Sonic Youth, while current broadcast information can be found at www.pbs.org/wttw/soundstage.
The national musical sensation "Blue Man Group" tours theatres and concert stages from coast to coast (including a tag team with Moby and David Bowie during the acclaimed Area 2 tour). Its consistent run continues at Chicago's Briar Street Theatre, which is staging open cast auditions for men and women from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, June 18. Before bothering to try out, all candidates must be between 5'10" and 6'1" (with an athletic build), possess solid drumming and acting skills, plus be willing to relocate to the Windy City.
Between a recent tour with shock rocker Alice Cooper and recovery from Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans settlers Supagroup have been spread pretty thin time wise. But every free second outside of the road and rebuilding has been spent in the studio working on Fire For Hire (Foodchain), which will hit streets September 25. It may seem like a long way away, but the group will be debuting its blend of bluesy and ballsy AC/DC-inspired anthems on the road all summer, especially pumping up the July single release "What's Your Problem Now?"
Grinderman mini-tour, Cabin EP action
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
After debuting to critical acclaim and fan curiosity, Grinderman announced a mini-tour in support of its self-titled CD. The group (comprised of Nick Cave and his fellow Bad Seeds mates Warren Ellis on violin, Martyn Casey on bass and Jim Sclavunos on drums) starts off with a London gig at The Forum on June 20, followed by a July 24 opening slot for The White Stripes at Madison Square Garden. From there, the extremely limited run visits Chicago's Metro (July 25), San Francisco's Great American Music Hall (July 26) and San Francisco's Slims (July 27).
Another new band boasting a violin player is the Louisville-based Cabin, who just turned in the new EP I Was Here (Machine). The project pulls from a diverse body of influences including Radiohead and Andrew Bird, while careful listens can also pick up pieces of My Morning Jacket. Regardless of the muse pool, the project continues to climb the CMJ Top 200 Chart, reaching #77 at press time and scoring props from the highly influential WXPN World Cafe.
Though the CTA abbreviation has been used once before (the brass soaked days of Chicago Transit Authority), the letters are being put to creative use once again. Original Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine has teamed with Tower of Power's Larry Braggs and a host of solid session players under the banner California Transit Authority (representing their current geographic whereabouts). The August 14 release Full Circle (Street Sense Records) combines brand new horn-heavy tunes with old school classics retouched, including "I'm a Man," "Make Me Smile" "25 or 6 to 4." In other words, no sappy 80s Chicago ballads or Peter Cetera crooning, but rather a flashback to the band's more adventurous and experimental era.
Street Date: Double link to the Fab Four
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
After being tipped off on these very pages, the decade long wait is finally over for the Traveling Wilburys' short but sweet catalogue to be re-issued. Rhino has put together an incredibly comprehensive self-titled two CD/one DVD package that blasts away all the pricy bootleg versions to aptly summarize the classic collaborations between George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. Aside from several audio selections (including the band's signature track "Handle With Care"), the package includes video footage, including "The True History Of The Traveling Wilburys" documentary.
Speaking of CDs with a link to the Beatles, today also marks the release of Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur (Warner Brothers). The project complies some of John Lennon's most beloved tracks (with the blessing of Yoko Ono) in hopes of spreading themes of peace and unity amidst the country's constant turmoil. The track list includes the cream of the crop for both classic and current rock, such as U2's take on "Instant Karma," R.E.M.'s rendition of "#9 Dream" and Black Eyed Peas' cover of "Power to the People." Other acts include Christina Aguilera, Lenny Kravitz, Youssou N'Dour, Green Day and The Flaming Lips, plus the oddball combo of Jack's Mannequin and Mick Fleetwood.
The list goes on and on with star power for this week's release schedule, including Queens of the Stone Age's Era Vulgaris (Interscope), sure to continue in its raucous alt-rock tradition. From there comes a new solo disc from former Peter Gabriel background singer Paula Cole, who drops the angelic Courage (Decca), along with Latin lover Enrique Iglesias, who turns in Insomniac (Interscope). Last but not least, soul combo Eddie Levert Sr. & Gerald Levert hit shelves with Something To Talk About (Atlantic), which sadly marks the pair's last following Gerald's unexpected death in 2006, (though Eddie continues his role in the Philly soul sensations O'Jays).
Bon Jovi's bad bounce, Folk Uke fun
Monday, June 11, 2007
After jumping back into the public eye with a performance at this year's Country Music Television Awards and the upcoming Live Earth concert, Bon Jovi is taking a step backwards this week. Guitarist Richie Sambora entered an undisclosed treatment facility for an unidentified problem, only offering a vague publicist statement. "He asks that you respect he and his family's privacy at this time." Though the band may have been on the comeback trail (with its next album dropping June 19), it's been a rough year for Sambora. Besides finalizing his divorce with Heather Locklear, the player's father passed away.
Acoustic duo Folk Uke (comprised of Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie) loaded up the books up with some prominent summer shows, kicking off July 14 at Woodyfest (www.woodyguthrie.com). Along with that gig saluting the late great Woody Guthrie and other spots dates, the pair is primed for appearances on Sirius Satellite Radio Howard 101's The Red Peters Comedy Music Hour. The group's satirical single of sorts "Mother****er Got ****ed Up" is featured this month throughout the "All Submission Show" series, with listeners voting at www.sirius.com/howard101. for their favorite turns (to be announced July 2). And last but not least, Amy's musical father recently posted a website dedicated to peacekeeping efforts found at www.willienelsonpri.com.
Brooklyn turned Berlin band The Boggs has recently retooled its line-up to include Peter Hale and Leif Huckman, formerly of Trick and the Heartstrings, along with Ellie Everdell and Alex Luther. The newly tied together group recently released Forts (Gigantic Music!), which bridges between the seemingly polar opposite worlds of folk and punk a la The Pogues. The band visits America all month, including two west coast shows with Hot Chip and a gig with The Long Blondes.
June 4 - 8
May 28 - June 1
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May 7 - 12
Apr. 30 - May 4
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Jan. 30 - Feb. 2