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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Summerfest heats up, Lovin' Lyle
Friday, June 29, 2007
America's largest music festival (Milwaukee's Summerfest for those needing a reminder) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and is already in full-swing. While everyday is packed with star power, the weekends generally heat up with even mightier line-ups of familiarity, plus mounds of buzz bands waiting to be discovered. Friday night's roster includes the hair metal headliners Def Leppard, who might be well past its prime, but continue to pack in sheds with Aquanet users and former spandex appreciators. Yet anyone falling outside of those boundaries are better off taking in sets from electronic rockers Shiny Toy Guns, indie upstarts Silversun Pickups and old school soul crooners Mint Condition.
Saturday soars a bit higher with The Fray taking top billing, along with OK Go (known primarily for the treadmill music video "Here It Goes Again") and alt-rockers Mae. Others of notoriety include the Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and Rise Against. The weekend rounds out on Sunday with the hip-hop cavalcade Ludacris, Chris Brown, Ciara and T-Pain, plus the smaller stage steadiness of Built To Spill, Big & Rich, Bob Schneider, Pat McCurdy and Saliva. For detailed line-ups and specific day schedules, log onto www.summerfest.com.
Friday and Saturday also finds the double bill tour of Lyle Lovett and K.D. Lang weaving its way to Ravina (www.ravinia.org), Chicagoland's acoustically pleasing, garden-like venue getaway. The country cowboy (and former Mr. Julia Roberts) brings his large band for a mixture of traditional and insurgent styles, Tex-Mex and occasionally the blues, while Lang literally interprets every genre under the sun- from her own pop hit "Constant Craving" to her affinity for Sun Records-era Elvis Presley to collaborative time with living legend Tony Bennett. Following the long weekend at Ravina, the tour winds throughout the west coast, wrapping up July 29 at Concord, California's Sleep Train Pavilion.
Purple Door's alternative underground, Waits' single release
Thursday, June 28, 2007
It may not pack the star power of the Vans Warped Tour or even Ozzfest, but Lewisberry, Pennsylvania's Purple Door generally provides an accurate barometer of tomorrow's alternative superstars. This year marks the festival's twelfth anniversary and includes over a dozen bands who've had hit albums on Billboard's "Top 50" or "Heatseekers" charts. Top acts include Relient K, Anberlin, Haste the Day, Norma Jean, As Cities Burn, Sherwood, Denison Witmer and The Devil Wears Prada, with many more to being announced as the event date nears. All the action takes place at Ski Roundtop from August 17-18.
Speaking of seasonal festivals, Milwaukee's On a Sun scored a sweet slot at the city's annual Summerfest (also the biggest musical extravaganza in the entire country). The hometown boys lined up a direct opening gig tonight for classic rock re-creators Wolfmother, which is the latest in its string of prominent appearances (including Chicago's famed Mobfest). The band also drops the new single "Takin' Off" this week at online outlets, which features a tag team with famed producer Johnny K.
Anticipation continues to mount for the July 10 benefit CD release Healing The Divide: A Concert For Peace And Reconciliation (Anti-), based off the 2003 concert featuring Tom Waits and the Kronos Quartet with Greg Cohen, Philip Glass and his Holiness The Dalai Lama. Earlier this week the project's lead single "Diamond In Your Mind" was released, which is a Waits penned and sung tune that was first cut by Solomon Burke. As for the collaborative spirit of the project, Waits recently remarked: "Working with the Kronos Quartet was like firing a .38 Special with a clam shell holster: beauty meets brains."
The Cure's comeback, Tina on DVD
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Robert Smith and company are returning for a full-length fall tour to promote The Cure's upcoming CD, marking its follow-up to 2004's self-titled release. The band is currently in the studio putting finishing touches on the project (street date yet to be announced), but the concert plot is already cemented. The jaunt kicks off September 13 in Tampa and winds through an October 17 finale in Dallas. Though the line-up has been a revolving door over the years, Smith's long time studio/tour mates will include bassist Simon Gallup and drummer Jason Cooper, plus guitarist Porl Thompson (back for the third time).
It's been awhile since Tina Turner released a record, and given her retirement from touring, it's likely we won't be seeing her on the concert stage anytime soon. Thankfully Eagle Rock Entertainment is keeping the lady with the sexy legs and even more sultry rock n' soul voice alive with the archive DVD release Rio 88. The collection comes hot of the high heels of her peak 80s period, addressing classic dusties such as "What's Love Got To Do With It?" and "Better Me Good to Me," plus choice covers of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" and The Beatles' "Help."
After releasing 2006's Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook: Volume One (Bloodshoot), the same label steps up to the plate once again with the next two editions of a four volume series. The Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook: Volumes Two and Three tracks the Chicago-based school and subsequent venue's 50 year history through the eyes of indie rockers The Zincs, Kelly Hogan and Scott Ligon, Amy Allison (daughter of Mose Allison), The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Foghorn Stringband and Folk Uke (comprised of Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie), amongst many others.
Street Date: Low key Lowe, Wordless Beasties
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Nick Lowe may be best known for the pub rock single "Cruel To Be Kind," though his career is filled with a number of suave non-solo crests, including work with Elvis Costello and The Pretenders. Yet the sophisticated rocker returns to recording for himself on the cheekily titled At My Age (Yep Roc), picking up after a six year hiatus of all original material. Though not as aggressive as his younger years, Lowe take a cue from fellow late 70s/early 80s scenester Graham Parker, touching on the alt-country direction with flourishes of dusty soul.
Though The Beastie Boys are notorious for taking forever in between records, fans hoping for a proper studio album will have to keep waiting as The Mix-Up (Capitol) is merely instrumental. Sure, the guys are masters of the electronic world, but without their signature rap attack, one has to wonder if the project will fall flat on its face. Thus far the material was presented in wordless contexts during an afternoon set at Washington's Sasquatch! Festival, though reviewers focused on the group's regular headlining performance later that evening, indicating the most interest still comes from the trio's original aura.
Following his time in alt-country superheroes Whiskeytown, Ryan Adams released a remarkably prolific streak of CDs, making today's Easy Tiger (Lost Highway) his ninth overall offering. He's certainly had his fair share of hits over that time frame (despite a few misses that have tainted the troubadour's catalogue) though this project takes a generally productive direction. Expect insurgent lyrics, country flourishes (even for folks who don't like the genre) and the occasional folk influence, all backed by his superb band The Cardinals.
Fully loaded Voodoo line-up, Alarm again
Monday, June 25, 2007
Anyone worried about New Orleans' concert conditions two years after Hurricane Katrina won't have any tears to cry come this year's exceptional Voodoo Music Experience. Not only has the event expanded from two to three days, but the line-up is loaded with a genre defying blitz of brilliance. Early forerunners for the headliners included the newly reconvened Rage Against The Machine, the partially reunited Smashing Pumpkins, plus the city's very own living legend Dr. John. From there, expect sets from Wilco, Kings of Leon, Sinead O'Connor, Common and Ben Harper, amongst over one hundred others. The event takes place this Halloween weekend in New Orleans' City Park with additional information at www.voodoomusicfest.com. (Both the $100 pre-sale weekend tickets and VIP passes are available on a first-come, first-serve limited edition basis).
Following the Wicked Cool Records' releases CBGB Forever and Coolest Songs In The World Vol. 1, Little Steven Van Zandt continues in his tradition of releasing key compilations. The most enlightening of his latest stash (due to hit stores August 7) is Coolest Songs In The World Vol. 2, which features choice cuts from Joey Ramone, Buzzcocks, The Soundtrack of Our Lives and The Donnas.
The 1980s continue to come back in a variety of ways including the "Rockin' The Colonies" package tour between the Psychedelic Furs, The Fixx and The Alarm. Though the first two groups are regulars on the road in support of its greatest hits, the latter operation has recently released Under Attack (Eleven Thirty). The project features front man Mike Peters sharing his recovery from leukemia, complete with the band's anthemic, stadium-filling sounds and giant guitars.
June 18 - 22
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
Feb. 12 - 16
Feb. 5 - 9
Jan. 30 - Feb. 2