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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: B96 Summerbash, KCRW World Festival
Friday, June 22, 2007
Rather than stacking itself as a marathon weekend event, the annual KCRW World Festival spread itself out over several weekends at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. The festivities kick off this Sunday, June 24 with the incredibly diverse bill of Brazilian percussionist Carlinhos Brown, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, plus a collaborative turntable set between DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist. Several other acts will appear this summer, from neo-soul gal Macy Gray to alt-poppers the Brazilian Girls to dance floor packers Underworld and fellow club mainstay Paul Oakenfold. A complete listing of each individual line-up, plus ticketing information can be found at www.kcrw.com.
Connoisseurs of rap, hip-hop and top 40 pop will descend upon Chicagoland's Toyota Park for the annual B96 Summerbash on Sunday. Though past line-ups have boasted the likes of Shakira, Brian McKnight and even the Spice Girls during its prime, this year's roster is somewhat weaker in comparison, though there are a few diamonds in the rough. Key acts include Akon (who takes a break from moonlighting on tour with Gwen Stefani) and Ne-Yo (the R&B bedroom crooner who's currently writing for the comeback albums of Michael Jackson and Britney Spears). Hilary Duff headlines, but the pop tart isn't all that innovative and could be an easy excuse to leave early in hopes of beating the traffic. Others on the bill include Rihanna, Ciara and Gym Class Heroes (with tickets available at www.ticketmaster.com).
On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, Chicagoans can also catch a very special screening of the acclaimed indie film "Sounds of Silence," which traces the lives of young Iranian musicians. Aside from following their creative paths, the documentary also follows each artist striving to fledge forward with progress amidst the country's conservative traditionalism. The GOAt (Globally Occupied Attention presents...) event also features a panel discussion with director Amir Hamz, both of which take place at the famed Schubas on Monday, June 25 (www.thechicagocouncil.org or www.soundsofsilencefilm.co.uk). .
Dolly scores scout honor, Rhine readies release
Thursday, June 21, 2007
She's already found fame in the country music world, on the silver screen, in theme park spheres and as a celebrity in general, but Dolly Parton continues to add assets to her resume with a recently announced lifetime role in the Girl Scouts. At her Dollywood establishment, the Girls Scouts of Tanasi Council inducted the star as a lifetime member, though she quickly gave back by calling out the troupe's young Gold Award winners. "While I was never a Girl Scout myself when I was a kid, I always wanted to be," Parton offered in a statement. "This great honor lets me live out a dream and to be part of an organization that stands for many of the same values I do and Dollywood does." (Hey Dolly, does cosmetic surgery for the kiddies count as one of them?)
Organic rock duo Over the Rhine is readying the release of The Trumpet Child (Great Speckled Dog), due to hit stores August 21. The project was inspired by several decades worth of horns and strings in American music, centered around front woman's gorgeously bizarre vocal channeling of Lucinda Williams and Billie Holiday. The band's previously toured with Bob Dylan and was also credited as one of Paste's "100 Greatest Living Songwriters."
Troubadour Ben Lee (who was discovered over a decade ago as a mere teen by Sonic Youth and The Beastie Boys) is also gearing up for the brand new Ripe (New West Records), which hits shelves September 4. The project will be produced by John Alagia (Ben Folds Five, John Mayer) and features a diverse swath of collaborators including Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers), Rachael Yamagata, Benji Madden (Good Charlotte) and Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek). Aside from the standard CD format, hipsters and old school cats alike can collect the 180-gram audiophile vinyl pressing. .
Silverchair returns, Live Nation nixes fees at HOB
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The hiatus is finally over for Australian alternative favorites Silverchair, who just announced a return trip to America. The summer outing marks the band's first full-fledged trek since 1999 and is slated to combine the group's greatest hits with selections from the July 24 release Young Modern (Eleven). Aside from showcasing the band's signature grunge sound (updated to modern contexts), expect to hear orchestral arrangements from Van Dyke Parks (who's worked on many of the classic Beach Boys' tracks). And for those who need a quick refresher course, the band is known for the iconic alt-rock singles "Israel's Son," "Tomorrow" and "Pure Massacre" (amongst many others).
Concertgoers in Midwestern America can no longer complain about high priced Ticketmaster charges thanks to a bold move from promoters Live Nation. Now that they produce concerts at the House of Blues Chicago (and a variety of other chain venues across the country), patrons can score seats at that hall's box office without paying outrageous service fees. In the Windy City circle, this offer applies to First Midwest Amphitheatre (Tinley Park, IL), Alpine Valley Music Theatre (East Troy, WI) and Charter One Pavilion (Chicago), all of which can now be bought at that HOB location.
Aside from the slew of pre-planned programming at last weekend's Bonnaroo extravaganza, Chicago rapper/singer/songwriter N Visible Man set up shop spontaneously on the campgrounds to hustle mix tapes hip-hop style. The project he put together tied into the festival's themes of unity and equality, aptly titled Peace, Luv, Beats, which was passed out to over 500 newly earned fans following an impulsive free style session after The Roots' like-minded set.
Street Date: Re-hashed Van, Stripes take a thumpin'
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It's been a busy week for The White Stripes, starting with the kick-off of its tour at Bonnaroo, followed by the transformation of Los Angeles' former Tower Records into Icky Thump Records. All the movement builds up to the release of today's Icky Thump (Atlantic), the long awaited follow-up to 2005's Get Behind Me Satan (V2). The project was cut at Nashville's famed Blackbird Studio, taking almost three weeks to record (which is the longest session time in the band's history thus far).
From a product perspective, it's also been a busy year for Van Morrison, who releases yet another rehash project following At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits (Manhattan). Today the same label drops The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3, a double disc collection that picks up where the last 1993 installment left off. In addition to culling studio songs, the collection covers previously unreleased live tracks, updates of oldies and a series of duets (including partners Bobby "Blue" Bland, the Chieftains and Ray Charles).
Other key releases include Lifehouse's lingering moment come Who We Are (Geffen), which is said to showcase an evolutionary alternative pop/rock direction. Bon Jovi picks up where Have a Nice Day (Island) left off on Lost Highway (Mercury Nashville), which digs even deeper into the band's country flirtations. And then there's legitimate classic country re-creator Brad Paisley, who puts his guitar into 5th Gear (Arista) with appearances from special guests Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton. Last but not least, it may not look like The Polyphonic Spree, but the military uniform clad troupe on the cover of The Fragile Army (TVT) is indeed these celebrated indie rockers adapting a more aggressive and brooding artistic base.
Vegoose in Vegas, Rod gets married (again)
Monday, June 18, 2007
Organizers of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival aren't even taking a day off following the weekend's extravaganza, diving right back into planning a new event. Superfly Productions and A.C. Entertainment just announced that the third annual Las Vegas-based festival Vegoose returns on Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Though no line-up has been announced, previous performers include Beck, Tom Petty, The Killers, Fiona Apple, The Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips and The Raconteurs. Full updates can be found as the event date nears at www.vegoose.com.
Other carry over news from the weekend includes a surprise wedding announcement for Rod Stewart. The 62-year-old former Faces front man tied the knot with longtime girlfriend Penny Lancaster (36) in Italy. Following the civil service, the couple and family visited a small restaurant, posed for pictures in a boat and then departed on Stewart's yacht.
For once an artist canceling their tour isn't giving some lame lie to cover up a blunder. The honesty surprisingly comes from "American Idol" alum Kelly Clarkson, who had her sights set on arenas this summer, but simply couldn't sell enough tickets. "Kelly is a spectacular artist and an incredible performer who undoubtedly has what it takes to sustain a long and prosperous career," said Gregg Perloff, CEO of Another Planet Entertainment. "The day when she will play in sold-out arenas is, no doubt, coming, but for now her fans should look forward to seeing her in a more intimate concert environment. Kelly deserves a tremendous amount of praise for her courage in not only being a part of, but in supporting, this difficult decision." Faithful fans and even detractors who think she's a mere pop tart can simultaneously respect the frank explanation that could quite possibly send some better luck her way with the next round of booking.
June 11 - 15
June 4 - 8
May 28 - June 1
May 21 - 25
May 14 - 18
May 7 - 12
Apr. 30 - May 4
Apr. 23 - 27
Apr. 16 - 20
Apr. 9 - 13
Apr. 2 - 8
Mar. 26 - 30
Mar. 19 - 23
Mar. 12 - 16
Mar. 5 - 9
Feb. 26 - Mar. 2
Feb. 19 - 23
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Feb. 5 - 9
Jan. 30 - Feb. 2