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By Andy Argyrakis
Foo Fighters Weekend Report: Loaded Live Earth line-up
Friday, July 6, 2007
Don't get it confused with Live Aid or Live 8 because Bob Geldof has absolutely nothing to do with it. Instead, Al Gore steps up the concert promotion plate for Live Earth, focusing global warming awareness and environmentally conscious behavior. Despite his sincere (albeit political) intentions, Geldof has been one of the many citizens saying this Saturday's event lacks a clear directive, such as wiping out African poverty like his first mega-concert attempted in 1985. Either way, the various line-ups across the world are packed with star power who will simultaneously spread a green message, while unloading massive hits on the cross continental collective.

The most impressive line-up comes from London, which is co-headlined by relatively consistent pop queen Madonna and a partially reunited Genesis. From there it also features the Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Duran Duran, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bloc Party,Panic! At the Disco Black Eyed Peas, David Gray and countless others. In America (New Jersey specifically) Pink Floyd's Roger Waters takes top billing alongside The Police, plus Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, Fall Out Boy, John Mayer, The Smashing Pumpkins, Melissa Etheridge, Kanye West and Sheryl Crow. Additional concerts invade Sydney, Hamburg and Rio with a complete listing at www.liveearth.org.

The ongoing 40th anniversary of Milwaukee's Summerfest comes to a conclusion this weekend, once again focusing on diversity amongst all genres. Friday night is led by "American Idol" alum Daughtry, along with Chevelle, Cowboy Mouth, Dashboard Confessional and Morris Day & the Time. Saturday finds punk rock taking center stage thanks to sets from Panic! At the Disco, The Academy Is..., The Hush Sound and Gym Class Heroes, plus side stage sets by Marty Casey & The Lovehammers, Guster and The New Cars (featuring Todd Rundgren on vocals). The event comes to a close with Toby Keith on main stage, in addition to smaller sets from INXS, Brian McKnight and G. Love & Special Sauce. A complete schedule and breakdown of stages is available at www.summerfest.com.
Billy Corgan SxSW on DVD, Pumpkins Chicago diss?
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Following in the footsteps of Coachella and Bonnaroo, the internationally recognized SxSW Festival finally comes to DVD. This year's edition of the industry event will be chronicled on the August 21 release SXSW "Live 2007 (Shout! Factory)," featuring performances from the two newly established venues The Bat Bar and The Lonestar Lounge. In the former, expect more alternative offerings, including Peter Bjorn and John, The Bravery, Aqualung and The Polyphonic Spree. From the latter comes the slightly softer and more mainstream leaning sounds of Rachel Fuller with Pete Townshend, Razorlight and Marc Broussard, amongst many more.

After a warm up residency and numerous festival performances, The Smashing Pumpkins plotted its official American fall tour. The club, theatre, auditorium and festival run kicks off September 8 in Montreal and wraps November 5 in Nashville, though at press time, no Chicago dates were listed. Though Normal, IL was on the docket, no proper Windy City gig was somewhat surprising,Nickelback especially considering the band started and ended its initial run at the famed club Metro. And while much speculation came prior to this year's Lollapalooza line-up about a possible reunion of the Pumpkins, those rumors proved without merit as well. Come on home Billy, unless of course you're trying to build the hype and publicity machine, which is something you've been known to thrive on over the years.

Though Nickelback is far from the same alt-rock icon class as the aforementioned, the incredibly popular jock rockers just announced an additional block of summer and fall tour dates (kicking off August 9 in Vancouver). The outing marks the second leg in support of All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner), the remarkably over hyped record that refuses to die. Openers include Puddle of Mudd on all dates, plus select shows with Daughtry and Finger Eleven.
Trey
Anastasio Trey turns instrumental, Universal against Apple
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
He may be forever linked to Phish, but Trey Anastasio's solo career continues to climb, especially in the wake of the band's break-up. Though the reunion fans have been hoping for won't be coming true anytime soon, they can look forward to the front man's entirely instrumental new album The Horseshoe Curve (Rubber Jungle Records), slated to street July 24. The project's recording sessions were split between Anastasio's The Barn studio in Vermont, Trout Recording in Brooklyn, plus a pair of live tracks from the Amphitheatre at Station Square in Pittsburgh. Unlike his hippie-inspired jams in Phish, the disc traces Afro-Cuban influences with mounds of brass and multiple percussion players.

The seemingly endless back and fourth battle between iTunes and specific record labels continues as Universal recently threatened to pull its entire collection from the online library. As reported in the New York Times, the two companies have collided over contract negotiations,Cartel and though specifics were not disclosed, it could mean the world's most massive record company taking its music elsewhere for download. If that were indeed the case, iTunes would loose catalogue material from band's like U2 and No Doubt, plus current releases from The Cure, amongst thousands of other major acts.

After earning numerous debut nods in 2005, including a spot on Alternative Press' 2005 list of "Bands You Need to Know" and a "Breaker" artist slot on AOL, alternative rockers Cartel are plotting its sophomore steps. The ramp up to its second CD started with a cover of Oasis' "Wonderwall" last year and time on the Vans Warped Tour, though the Atlanta-based band finally settled down in its Bubble recording studio to craft a self-titled release (out August 21 on Epic). As the title of the studio implies, the band literally lived and recorded in a bubble-like structure, sealed off from the rest of society and traced through expansive internet coverage.
Velvet Revolver Street Date: Velvet re-loaded, Child of Destiny
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
After several different proposed street dates, putting down the bottles of booze for good (or at least for now) and mounds of anticipation, Velvet Revolver finally releases its sophomore CD Libertad (RCA). The disc is once again loaded with Slash's slicing guitar riffs and Scott Weiland's mighty wails, not to mention stadium shaking rhythms and a few token lighter wavers. Though a cover of Electric Light Orchestra's "Can't Get It Out of My Head" seems a bit out of the ordinary, the guys keep enough of their signature elements in tact to further distance themselves from the past parts (Stone Temple Pilots, Guns N' Roses) of its three years and counting sum.

Throughout much of Destiny's Child's duration together, the jokes constantly flew about it being Beyonce's baby and that she was the one who called all the shots. Though that may have been the case (as evidenced by her thriving solo career), other members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams helped her play the part and provided crystalline harmonies in the process.Kelly Rowland And now Rowland's attempting to enter center spotlight once again with her second solo CD Ms. Kelly (Sony), which was originally supposed to be released last year. Despite the delay, the extra time to formulate her smooth soul, dance and R&B sound has produced the slick single "Like This," though only time will tell if she can usurp Beyonce's solo prowess.

Enduring rapper T.I. continues his relatively prolific release stream with T.I. vs T.I.P. (Grand Hustle/Atlantic), which once again balances bling over beats, plus concepts of grandeur. The disc is divided into three decidedly different movements, chronicling his rise from rags to riches with mounds of crazy characters, emotions and attitude thrown in for dramatic effect. Whether or not the themes will stick, he still holds the crowning as "the Jay-Z of the South" by The Neptunes' Pharrell Williams.
The Spice Girls Girl power, Kittie drama, Pearlman problem
Monday, July 2, 2007
Love them or hate them, The Spice Girls are coming back to spread messages of peace, love and "Girl Power" to all the ends of the earth yet again. Though the group was formed as nothing more than a teen pop novelty, the fivesome found global acclaim throughout the late 1990s and made a massive bundle of money. Ironically enough, the ladies split for solo careers, but now that those have flopped even more than anticipated, it's time to ride the nostalgia wave once again. The girls (who are all now in their 30s) will stage a reunion run throughout December and January, hitting a handful of cities in America (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York), plus London, Sydney, Hong Kong and others.

Speaking of female performers, hard rockers Kittie aren't experiencing as good of luck this week with the recent announcement that bassist Trish Doan will sit out of the band's upcoming tour. "Due to pressing personal health matters, KittieI must sadly inform you that I will be taking a hiatus from touring with Kittie commencing immediately," she vaguely wrote to fans. "With the complete and ongoing support from the band and management it is clear, as unfortunate it is, that these matters be addressed promptly. I want to thank everyone for the tremendous support over these past two years..." Jeff Phillips from Thine Eyes Bleed is slated to fill her shoes for the summer run, though it's unclear when Doan will resume her position.

Boy band mogul Lou Pearlman has also been sidelined once again, this time in relation to an indictment on three counts of bank fraud and single counts of mail and wire fraud (totaling $20 million). Though it's far from his first fall from grace, the charges come with much more serious to be announced consequences than his bitter divorces from the multi-million album selling acts 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys, both of whom he helped create.

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