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By Andy Argyrakis
Long Weekend Report: Music-related holiday happenings
Friday, August 31, 2007
There have been a plethora of Beatles-based films, from the band's very own "A Hard Day's Night," "Help," "Yellow Submarine" and (gulp) "Magical Mystery Tour" to a slew of unauthorized concerts and documentaries. One of the forgotten films that combined the best of both worlds was Tony Palmer's "All My Loving," an independent assessment of the music culture in the 1960s (also featuring footage from Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Pink Floyd) that subsequently earned raves from the Fab Four. ("This is just great; absolutely what we meant," said Paul McCartney of the special). Though the project comes to DVD on September 18 via MVD Entertainment Group, a special series of screenings kicks off this weekend. Saturday's showing takes place at New York's Pioneer Theater, while future tour dates can be found at www.allmylovingdvd.com.
Who could've bet that The Shins and Snoop Dogg would ever be mentioned in the same sentence, let alone share the same stage? Well that pipe dream becomes a reality at the remarkably diverse Download Festival 2007, taking place at Chicago's Charter One Pavilion this Sunday. Other acts include Brand New, Band of Horses, Wolf Parade, Minus the Bear and Honeycut, with additional details on the interactive event at www.downloadfestival.com.
With Labor Day tacking on some extra time for the weekend, consider hitting iTunes for an iPod update. The leading online retailer recently unloaded several top notch exclusives, starting with a free download of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's new single "Radio Nowhere." Outside of The Boss returning to his old school roots, several EPs were just culled from the iTunes Festival in London, including separate sets from Travis, Amy Winehouse, Stereophonics, and for those still craving the Beatles after catching "All My Loving," an exclusive new set from Macca.
Peter Gabriel's Icon honor, IAMX looking for excitement
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Phil Collins-led version of Genesis may be getting all the attention this season, but Peter Gabriel is racking up some positive publicity stemming from a prestigious honor. The former front man will become a BMI Icon on October 16 during the organization's annual ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel. The black-tie, invitation-only event recognizes U.K. and European songwriters and publishers of the past year's most-played BMI songs on American radio and television, which Gabriel achieved through both the group and solo renderings. Though it's been several years since he released new material, Gabriel is currently active in spreading the word about the human rights awareness website www.TheElders.org (a joint effort with Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela).
After experiencing a series of health problems this year, bluesman Bo Diddley experiences yet another set back. According to his publicist, the 78-year-old singer suffered a heart attack earlier this week, but is currently in stable condition at a Gainesville hospital. The living legend hasn't performed since a stroke in May, and while he hoped to return to the road following the ordeal, this latest hiccup is sure to prolong the process even further.
Former Sneaker Pimps' figurehead Chris Corner continues to fire on all cylinders with his IAMX moniker, known for merging electronic rock and the self-coined "glam noir" genre. Thus far he's already staged a full-fledged American tour (that sold out in several cities), festival appearances in Brussels, Berlin and Russia, plus opening slots for Placebo, Franz Ferdinand and The Cardigans. A full-fledged fall outing is currently in the works, hitting cities that weren't on the previous outings. "I am looking forward to the culture shocks," says Corner. "The last time I was in Salt Lake City, someone threatened to shoot me in the face with their shot gun for wearing high heels. Hopefully something a bit more exciting will happen this time."
Nutini's new dates, Boss is back
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Even though he was left without any concert dates on the books following a cancellation by tour headliner Amy Winehouse, opening act Paolo Nutini won't be sitting at home for the rest of summer and fall. Instead he's rescheduled the outing all by his lonesome, kicking off September 7 in Buffalo, New York and wrapping up October 28 at New Orleans' famed Voodoo Music Experience. "I'm terribly disappointed that I won't be sharing the stage with Amy," Nutini said in a statement. "I'll be thinking a good thought for her, she is a remarkable talent. In the meantime, I'm truly excited about this upcoming tour of North America - I guarantee it will be my best yet."
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the songs of Pete Seeger proved to be remarkably hopeful, which made the timing of Bruce Springsteen's treatment of his tunes with the Seeger Sessions Band at New Orleans' Jazz & Heritage Festival practically perfect. But after touring through several continents, that phase of The Boss' career seems to have run its course and he's ready to crank out the stadium filling anthems with the E Street Band once again. Though that reunion at the end of the 1990s was especially monumental, it's not as rare of an undertaking these days, though still highly anticipated come the October 2 release Magic (Columbia). The project marks the proper follow-up to 2002's chart topping project The Rising (Columbia), reuniting the band with producer Brendan O'Brien.
This year's Coachella may have been centered on the reunions of Rage Against the Machine and Crowded House, though The Jesus And Mary Chain was also amongst the reconvened bands on the bill. Apparently the one off experience went so well that members will return to America after finishing its current European tour, hitting several House of Blues venues this fall. Providing all goes to plan with interpersonal relationships, members hope to hit the studio for the first time in over nine years, featuring the aptly titled "All Things Must Pass" (already performed on the live circuit).
Street Date: Ringo retrospective, Prog rock power
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
He may always be best known as the beat keeper for the Beatles, but Ringo Starr also had a fairly productive solo career prior to being relegated to the All Starr Band touring circuit. Back in the day, he turned in a series of infectious singles, including "Photograph," "It Don't Come Easy," "Act Naturally" (to name a few), while also rebounding on a couple of occasions in recent decades (such as 1990s comeback "Weight of the World"). In any case, all the essentials are complied on Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr (Capitol), which hit stores today as a standard CD or deluxe edition with DVD of music video footage.
One of the most coveted Yes related concert films finally sees a proper DVD release after being extinct for quite some time and fetching upwards of two hundred bucks a pop on VHS. Key members Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe originally taped An Evening of Yes Music Plus (MVD Visual) in 1989 when touring behind its sole self-titled CD (which paved the way for a massive reunion record and tour at the turn of the decade). Aside from addressing new tunes at the time like "Birthright," members also take time in the spotlight to highlight their solo careers. Yet as the title implies, there are also plenty of true to form takes on the Yes annals, including the classics "I've Seen All Good People," "And You And I" and "Close to the Edge."
Other key titles come from alternative country crooner Lyle Lovett, who teams with his Large Band to crank out the honky-tonker It's Not Big It's Large (Lost Highway). Ben Harper also returns with the Innocent Criminals to deliver Lifeline (Virgin), jumping between blues, soul and gospel. The Ronnie James Dio version of Black Sabbath (who now has to tour under the moniker Heaven & Hell) also turns in a CD and DVD souvenir of its 2007 reunion on Live from Radio City Music Hall (Rhino).
The Cure's cancellation, Double dose of Decemberists
Monday, August 27, 2007
When The Cure announced a fall 2007 tour in support of an upcoming album release, members must not have factored in enough time to simultaneously complete new songs and rehearse for the shows. As a result, Robert Smith and company have removed all 2007 North American gigs from the calendar and are pushing the dates to April and May 2008. According to a band statement, it appears perfectionism was partially to blame, though it could be worthwhile in the long run: "The schedule as it stands only gives us a couple of weeks to finish our new double album before we hit the road again, and we know this just isn't enough time to complete the project to our genuine satisfaction... Once again, our genuine apologies to anyone who is upset by this announcement- please be encouraged by our promise: The spring 2008 Cure shows will be even better than the fall 2007 ones would have been!!!"
Fans of The Decemberists have a double dose of reasons to celebrate thanks to an ingenious new tour announcement that finds the band visiting the same city for two shows in a row. But rather than repeating the same set list, "The Long and Short of It" outing will feature one evening of more experimental and epic selections, followed by a night of quicker, more accessible material. Given the band's brilliant ability to balance both sides of the coin throughout its varied catalogue, either experience is likely to be a worthwhile endeavor. However, members are making it very clear that the tour's name doesn't mean one gig will be longer or shorter than the other, just packed with a particular theme derived from each tune's time limits.
Progressive metal mavens Dream Theatre are using its longevity to lend a helping hand. A recent "Dream Pod" auction was stacked with 950 of the band's songs and autographed by each member with 100% of the proceeds going to Camp Good Days and Special Times. The non-profit organization strives to improve the quality of life for children, adults and families affected by cancer and other life threatening illness.
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