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By Andy Argyrakis
Sheryl Crow Weekend Report: Clapton's Crossroads collaborations
Friday, July 27, 2007
Whenever Eric Clapton sporadically announces a new Crossroads Guitar Festival is in the works, fans clamor for the line-up and city location within seconds. Given the cavalcade of star power for the 2007 edition (which boasts one of the most diverse and intriguing rosters to date) it's easy to see why. The festivities kick off at noon on Saturday, July 28 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL, featuring the headliner alongside the following alphabetical (and not necessarily performance order) list: Jeff Beck, Doyle Bramhall II, Robert Cray, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, BB King, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Sonny Landreth, Albert Lee, Los Lobos, John Mayer, John McLaughlin, Willie Nelson, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Robbie Robertson, Hubert Sumlin, The Derek Trucks Band, Jimmie Vaughan, Johnny Winter and Steve Winwood.

Aside from individual performances, expect a hybrid of complex genre collaborations all centered around guitar jams. And speaking of the six-string, a series of instruments from Eric ClaptonClapton and the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan will be on display, similar to Thursday's exhibit at a nearby Guitar Center. The event also unveils the Fender limited edition "Eric Clapton Crossroads Stratocaster," designed by Slowhand himself and limited to 100 custom pieces.

Beyond just the entertainment scope, the event seeks to raise awareness and auction funds for the Crossroads Centre, Antigua. The organization was founded a decade ago to provide treatment and education to those suffering with chemical dependence and/or compulsive addictive behaviors, along with their families and significant others. For additional information about the cause, log onto www.crossroadsantigua.org. Concert details are available at www.whereseric.com. For those wanting to get warmed up for the show (or those unable to attend), the 2004 edition is currently on DVD via Warner Brothers, featuring a few of the aforementioned, along with James Taylor, J.J. Cale, Carlos Santana and many more.
KMFDM KMFDM return, Guitar gods on display
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Industrial rockers KMFDM continue to defy convention over 24 years and two million albums worth of sales into its career. The heavy handed head bangers are never shy about smashing the sonic barrier or covering the political and social spectrums, which permeate the August 21 release Tohuvabohu (Metropolis/KMFDM Records). The title is taken from an Old Testament term meaning "wild and chaotic," a description that also applies to the band's constant breaking of language boundaries. German, Latin, Hebrew and Africa's Lingala are all found within the project, along with an electronic-based Spanish cover of German cult band Liasions Dangereuses' "Los Ninos Del Parque."

In anticipation of Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival (hitting Toyota Park in Chicagoland this weekend), one of the Windy City's Guitar Center locations hosts an exhibit of instrumental artifacts. Slowhand's "Blackie" and "Gibson 335" are all on display, along with Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Lenny" (which the store purchased for $2.4 million during Stevie Ray Vaughan a Clapton Crossroads Centre auction in New York.) Aside from browsing the famous collection, attendees can also catch sets by legendary bluesman Hubert Sumlin and "King of the Blues" winner Aaron Loesch. (The event takes place today from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Guitar Center Chicago, 2633 N. Halsted).

After showcasing at SxSW this year and releasing No, Not Me, Never (Stolen Transmission), The Photo Atlas was just named "One Of The 22 Best Underground Bands That Likely Won't Stay Underground For Long!" by Alternative Press. Outside of that accolade (which comes on the heels of the same magazine's "One Of 100 Bands To Watch In 2007" nod) is a summer tour, slated to launch July 13 in Portland and wrapping up August 25 in Seattle. Aside from The Photo Atlas' hammering rhythms (think Fugazi meets Bloc Party), expect an opening slot from fellow alternative sluggers Portugal The Man.
Siouxsie Sioux Siouxsie solo, Dispatch shows hit CD
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
First and foremost, Siouxsie Sioux is known for leading the influential alternative rockers The Banshees, who at one time housed Robert Smith and have since rubbed of on The Cure, Morrissey and Scissor Sisters (to name a few). From there, she took to The Creatures, which provided an alternate outlet to her other band, though she continued to rotate between the two projects from the 1980s through today. Believe it or not, after thirty years in the music business, the fierce front woman never released a solo record, though she's finally gearing up for the October 2 release Mantaray (Decca). Early forecasts indicate a blend of industrial and glam-rock over Sioux's unmistakable vocal stylings.

In an ambitious marketing move, roots rockers Dispatch just released recordings from all three of its mid-July Madison Square Garden concerts. The performances marked the band's first appearances together following a break-up in 2002, though rather than keying in on only a trip down memory lane, members reachedReel Big Fish out in support of The Dispatch Foundation's quest against disease, famine and social injustice in Zimbabwe (beat that Bono). The series of recordings can be picked up via the band's MyStore at www.myspace.com/Dispatch.

Twisting a play on words from the Dire Straits/Sting collaboration "Money For Nothing," Reel Big Fish recently released Monkeys For Nothin' And The Chimps For Free (Rock Ridge Music). The primarily ska-based band is also rejoicing over its emancipation from "major label hell," along with a July and August tour of America with fellow shankers Less Than Jake (plus Streetlight Manifesto and Against All Authority). Along with the staple "Sell Out," expect cheekily titled new tunes such as "Please Don't Tell Her I Have a Girlfriend" and "Why Do All Girls Think They're Fat?"
Pet Shop Boys Street Date: PSB on DVD, Purple reign
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Although electronic music sometimes has difficulty translating to a gigantic concert stage, the Pet Shop Boys have always stepped up to the challenge with generally lavish productions and occasional live instrument supplementation. Though its latest DVD Cubism In Concert (Rhino) isn't the most over the top affair in the pair's history, it combines pageantry with pulsations, making the project a close second to 2001's Montage: The Nightlife Tour (Sanctuary). The track listing follows quite closely to last year's world tour, including many of the group's most obvious club hits ("West End Girls," "Left To My Own Devices," "It's a Sin," "Always On My Mind") with the more recent returns to form ("Minimal," "I'm With Stupid," "The Sodom and Gomorrah Show"). Yet the real surprise is an acoustic set featuring a stripped down version of "Home and Dry," showcasing a more delicate but equally delectable side of the retro dance duo.

He started the year by rocking the Super Bowl halftime show with a medley of original greatest hits and covers (including a killer version of the Foo Fighters "Best of You"),Prince followed by a series of secret club shows all across America and a controversial free CD giveaway with a British newspaper. But antics aside, Prince returns to the his funk saturated grooves on Planet Earth (Sony), which continues the Purple One's resurrected streak following his ditching of a mere symbol for a name.

Relative newcomers Deepfield also turn in Archetypes And Repetition (In De Goot) today under the production tutelage of Skidd Mills and Paul Ebersol (whose combined credits include ZZ Top, Three Doors Down and countless Memphis blues greats). The South Carolina based band demonstrates an southern streaked alternative rock flair that will sit well with fans of Nickelback or Fuel, minus the stadium cliches and overblown vocal effects.
Brian
Jonestown Massacre Power in Portland, Tammy Faye passes away
Monday, July 23, 2007
The indie rock community is celebrating the lauded line-up for Wilmette Week's Musicfest NW, slated for September 6-9 in Portland Oregon. The lengthy list of performers includes Spoon, Clipse, Aesop Rock, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Girl Talk, Roky Erickson & The Explosives, The Thermals, Rilo Kiley, Wolf Parade, Lifetime, The Bronx, Grizzly Bear, Deerhunter and Viva Voce (amongst many more). Wristbands for the entire event are at an extremely reasonable $40, with portions of the proceeds going towards the Oregon Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame and the Rock N' Roll Camp for Girls.

Her name may be forever linked to a religious scandal that rocked the globe, but Tammy Faye Messner more recently amassed a cult-like following of fans, ranging from punks to hipsters to the gay community. However, after a lengthy battle with cancer, the one time televangelist/gospel singer turned VH1's "The Surreal Life" star passed away at 65 over the weekend. The death came a mere day after appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" where she encouraged followers with an inspirational messageTammy Faye Messner clad in her signature eyelashes, mounds of make-up and costume jewelry, despite weighing only 65 pounds. She is survived by children Tammy Sue and Jamie Charles, the latter of whom recently spoke to Concert Livewire about his famous family and the Sundance Channel reality show "One Punk Under God" (www.concertlivewire.com/bakker.htm).

After a healthy life on Matador, Interpol made the leap to major label life come the recent release Our Love To Admire (Capitol). Thus far the move has been working band's direction, debuting at number four on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts, plus landing in the top twenty throughout fifteen countries. The attention comes right on the heels of its tour launch late last week, which runs through November 30 after scouring America, Europe and Asia.

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