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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: V Festival's double dose of deja vu
Friday, August 17, 2007
England's annual V Festival just tipped past the decade mark, once again returning to Hylands Park in Chelmsford and Weston Park in Staffordshire this Saturday and Sunday. Both venues boast identical line-ups for the weekend and will simply swap rosters each day, ensuring concertgoers in each territory the exact same opportunity to catch some of the globe's most acclaimed and anticipated talent. Despite the corporate stranglehold on the event (the Virgin group splatters its logos and products all over the place), the roster is ripe with a wide faction of favorites across several genres.
The V Stage boasts headliner level talent, including Foo Fighters, The Killers, Kasabian, Snow Patrol, Pink, The Fratellis, Kanye West, KT Tunstall, Paolo Nutini, Editors and The Goo Goo Dolls, along with a somewhat rare concert appearance by 90s alternative rock heroes James ("Laid," "Say Something"). Secondary slots on the Channel 4 stage are rounded out by The Kooks, Manic Street Preachers, Lily Allen, Jet, The Fray, The Cribs and Basement Jaxx (amongst many others), while the JJB/Puma Arena boasts Iggy Pop & The Stooges (who should be higher up in the line-up), Damien Rice, Corinne Bailey Rae, Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, Jarvis Cocker and Sinead O'Connor. Breakthrough bands on the Virgin Mobile Union stage include The Bravery, Boy Kill Boy and Bright Eyes (and that's just the "b's"!) on the incredibly lengthy list.
While the entertainment industry is always subject to change at a whim's notice, all of the aforementioned have honored their concert commitments in the past, leaving one to wonder just how serious Amy Winehouse is about showing up. Though her touring calendar confirms these gigs, the unpredictable performer recently suffered from a bout with exhaustion, causing the cancellation and rescheduling of several dates. (And that's in addition to backing out of several SxSW appearances with virtually no notice whatsoever. In any case, up to the minute reports and exact schedules on the event (with or without Winehouse) can be found at www.vfestival.com.
Perry throws a Satellite Party, CMJ acts announced
Thursday, August 16, 2007
For those who missed Perry Farrell's Lollapalooza throw down (either as a host or with his latest band Satellite Party), there are plenty more chances to catch the colorful entertainer this fall. The one time front man for Jane's Addiction and Porno For Pyros announced a forty city tour throughout theatres and clubs, boasting material from the Party's recent Ultra Payloaded (Columbia), plus his solo and past band annals. Given the current project's guest list (which includes Peter Hook, Fergie, Flea, John Frusciante, Hybrid and Thievery Corporation), expect anyone to show up at any given time. At Lollapalooza, Porno's Peter DiStefano served as surprise guest during the band's smash "Pets."
The 27th annual CMJ Music Marathon is officially in full swing now that the line up's been laid out for the October 16 through October 20 club hopping extravaganza. Despite the lack of specific schedules, the following artists are confirmed to appear thus far (with additional acts to be announced as the event date nears): Spoon, UNKLE, Justice, British Sea Power, Mates of State, Coheed and Cambria, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Xiu Xiu, Del tha Funky Homosapien, Dirtbombs, Mute Math, Jesu, Devin the Dude, The Ponys, Islands, Tiny Masters of Today, Eisley, Vietnam, Little Brother, Mickey Hart & Zakir Hussein, Brother Ali, Marnie Stern, No Age, Crystal Castles, MSTRKRFT, Chromeo, The Brunettes, 1990s, Ruins, A-Trak, Foreign Islands, Kavinsky and Simian Mobile Disco.
Troubadour Dick Prall is said to be taking a Ryan Adams meets the Beatles approach on his forthcoming Weightless (Authentic Records), slated for release September 22. The singer/songwriter recently hit the studio alongside producer Joshua "The Colonel" Shapera (Veruca Salt, Verbow), while calling upon long time touring partner Glen Phillips as a special guest. Outside of hitting the road with that famed Toad the Wet Sprocket front man, his road resume also includes Jon Brion, Mike Doughty, Ari Hest and Lloyd Cole.
Common makes history, Van Halen hits the road
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Following ongoing tensions for decades, a false alarm earlier this year and an incessant stream of internet rumors, the Van Halen reunion is officially on. Though it was previously hinted at, front man David Lee Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie's son) announced a full-fledged world tour this fall. While the outing marks the first time Diamond Dave stepped up to the band's microphone in 22 years, the line-up is missing key bassist Michael Anthony, who's ironically on tour with the band's second singer Sammy Hagar for the rest of this year. Regardless of the incomplete picture, it's possibly the closest die-hards will ever get to the group's glory years and could be the last chance to see the health-plagued Rock and Roll Hall of Famers before additional dissention sets in.
The attention keeps pouring in for Chicago bred rapper Common who's seventh CD Finding Forever (Geffen) recently hit #1 on the Billboard Album Chart. The all-star affair was executive produced by Kanye West, along with guest appearances by that very rapper, Lily Allen, will.i.am, D'Angelo and Gang Starr's DJ Premier. Aside from the stellar backing cast, the disc is known for its blend of sophisticated hip-hop, street savvy beats and lyrics, plus an underground appeal (while simultaneously appealing to the mainstream masses).
Though Irish alternative rockers The Frames are currently reveling in an opening slot on Bob Dylan's tour of Australia and New Zealand, the band's singer Glen Hansard also embarked on another exciting project. The famed front man recently scored a starring role in the film "Once," playing in theatres across the globe under the praise of the Sundance Film Festival. But when it comes to the concerts, he promises to put the silver screen aside to focus on the band's latest CD The Cost (Anti-), which hit streets in February.
Street Date: Stewart solo, DM minus the B
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
No one can dispute Stewart Copeland's ability as a drummer, and even after The Police's original demise, he stayed incredibly busy with session, soundtrack and super group work, along with being in high demand at clinics. But unlike Sting, the beat keeper's solo catalogue hasn't exactly flown off store shelves, making the timing of The Stewart Copeland Anthology (Koch) somewhat suspicious. Sure The Police's reunion is amongst the year's top grossing tours, but this double disc collection doesn't contain those type of sounds, instead trading in three minute pop/punk hits for jazzier and much more technical playing (best suited for die-hards or other proficient players).
Speaking of a record label pushing the product line, Dave Matthews once again finds himself with a live release alongside his on again/off again acoustic partner Tim Reynolds. Live at Radio City Music Hall (RCA) drops in double CD and DVD formats, taking the band's best loved to tracks to stripped down contexts next to some solo and cover selections. Had this been the first, second or even seventh time releasing a Matthews concert collection, it might have been a bit more anticipated, but he's truly reached a countless level of titles. The only detail skeptics can't complain about is the fact these releases came from an extremely limited theatre tour, leaving many of Matthews' most faithful fans shut out (though at least here's their much cheaper chance to find out minus the scalpers).
Indie rockers Eisley just wrapped up some summer dates with The Fray and OK Go and also put the finishing touches on its sophomore CD (which was two years in the making). The ethereal, female-fronted outfit combines guitar pop pretenses with airy experimentalism, providing a sometimes perplexing but generally ear pleasing experience. The new Combinations (Reprise) bows as both a standard and special edition, the latter of which includes a half hour behind the scenes DVD.
Monolith schedule situated, Manager's tell all tale
Monday, August 13, 2007
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the most famous venues in the world, hosting the most prominent bands from all genres and boasting DVD releases from U2 and Stevie Nicks (just to name a few). But the Denver area establishment plays host to its very first festival September 14 and 15 with the long awaited day schedules finally announced. Friday night features headliners Cake alongside The Decemberists, Kings Of Leon, Editors, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Ghostland Observatory, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ra Ra Riot, The Broken West and Das EFX. Saturday wraps up with a sure to be show stopping performance from The Flaming Lips, plus Spoon, Art Brut, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Cloud Cult, Hot IQs, Au Revoir Simone, Matt & Kim, Lords of the Underground and Earl Greyhound.
After a lengthy period of silence, legendary rock manager Tony Defries promises a tell all book behind the acts he oversaw and encountered since the 1960s. The lengthy list of artists on his dossier includes David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, along with the diverse likes of Mott The Hoople, Luther Vandross and John Mellencamp. Aptly titled Gods And Gangsters, the text chronicles his efforts in raising such artists to fame, alongside early career credits with Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. However, the project is certainly taking a particular leaning toward the Thin White Duke, who Defries helped establish as a superstar through one of the most successful public relations campaigns in rock and roll history.
Despite the false starts, lead singer switches and behind the scenes drama, the latest incarnation of Van Halen is convening for a press conference today, hinting at a very special announcement. Though rumors have included everything from a "reunion" tour to a new album, nothing has been confirmed by the band's camp outside of the line-up. As of press time (though it could change any second given the group's explosive nature), Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen are slated to appear.
Aug. 6 - 10
July 30 - Aug. 3
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