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By Andy Argyrakis
Billy Corgan Weekend Report: Voodoo vs. Vegoose
Friday, October 26, 2007
American music fans will have to pick between a battle of the best festivals this weekend as New Orleans ushers in the newly expanded Voodoo Music Experience and Las Vegas attempts to build upon its recently created Vegoose brand. In terms of the Crescent City throw down (taking place at City Park today through Sunday), headliners include the heavy handed Rage Against the Machine, the newly "reunited" Smashing Pumpkins, plus Sunday slots with homegrown hero Dr. John and indie rock mainstays Wilco. Other acts on the bill include Fall Out Boy, Common, Sinead O'Connor, M.I.A., Kings of Leon, Mute Math, Spoon, Coheed & Cambria and The Black Crowes (with a complete list at

A handful of acts such as Rage Against the Machine and M.I.A. also perform double duty at Vegoose, though other major players include Muse, Daft Punk, Iggy & the Stooges, The Shins, Cypress Hill, Queens of the Stone Age, Public Enemy,M.I.A. Ghostface Killah and Robert Randolph & the Family Band. The event officially kicks off with series of night shows on Friday, but swings into full gear Saturday and Sunday at Sam Boyd Stadium. For a complete list of performers and stages, log onto

Those going the DVD rental route can get prepped for the upcoming Led Zeppelin reunion by casing out the recent whereabouts of drummer Jason Bonham (son of the late great John Bonham). The famed offspring is splitting his time between the high profile one off with a role in classic rock act Foreigner, who completely revamped its sound in a more raucous direction on Alive & Rockin' (Eagle Vision). Guitarist Mick Jones may be the sole original at this point (with front man Lou Gramm replaced by the much more aggressive Kelly Hansen) but the group ignores its sappy ballads in favor of purely scorching selections. Familiar standouts include "Double Vision," "Head Games," "Hot Blooded" and a medley of "Juke Box Hero" with Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."
Stevie Nicks Stevie on "Soundstage," A masked prog-rock super group
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Fresh in the middle of her solo tour behind the career retrospective CD Crystal Visions (Reprise), Stevie Nicks heads to Chicago tonight for a taping of PBS' enduring "Soundstage," now entering its fifth revived season. The previous subject of programs (and subsequent DVDs) by Robert Plant, Tom Petty and many more now hosts the Fleetwood Mac front woman, who first appeared on the same stage a few years back with group mate Lindsay Buckingham. Expect hearty doses of solo hits and perhaps a Mac tune or two, but perhaps more fittingly, lots of "Leather and Lace." For additional information about the season (and eventual airdates) log onto

Progressive rock may be back in full swing thanks to bands like Porcupine Tree and The Mars Volta, though another intriguing outfit known as The Sound of Animals Fighting is finding additional time in the limelight after signing with Epitaph Records. Similar to the identity hidden Daft Punk,The Sound of
Animals Fighting this super group strives to be anonymous about its players and where they came from, referring only to members' animal names and costumes. The group first formed in 2004 but has rarely performed in public, though this signing promises additional concerts in the not too distant future.

With the recently announced Cake CD B-Sides and Rarities (Upbeat Records), the band is also re-launching its multi-act Unlimited Sunshine Tour. Previous participants included The Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, Cheap Trick and De La Soul, though this year's bill is rounded out by the somewhat lesser known but still buzz worthy Brazilian Girls, The Detroit Cobras, Oakley Hall, King City and Agent Ribbons. The outing launches November 29 in San Diego and plays through the end of 2007.
Paul Raven Remembering a Ministry member, "Final Fantasy" live
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The music industry is still reeling over the sudden and completely unexpected death of Ministry bassist Paul Raven, who recently passed away at his French home due to a heart attack. Aside from his stint in the heavy handed goth rockers, the player was also part of Killing Joke and Prong. "I am in total shock," said Ministry's Al Jourgensen in a statement. "The world of music is a sadder, emptier place. Not only was Raven an extraordinary talent, but one of my closest dearest friends. Our condolences and prayers go to his immediate family. He will be truly missed by artists, musicians and his fans the world over."

It's not all that often when a video game has a full soundtrack worth of music, let alone earns a translation to the concert setting. But gamers of all generations have fallen head over heels for "Final Fantasy" since debuting twenty years ago and can now find the score coming to life on stage early next year. The ensuring program "Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY" makes its American debutSondre Lerche on March 1, 2008 at the Rosemont Theatre (in Rosemont, IL), tied around the symphonic interpretations of Japanese video game composer Nobuo Uematsu by the Chicagoland Pops Orchestra. Tickets are expected to sell out well in advance of the outing.

Singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche is also turning to the world of soundtracks to co-produce and perform several tracks throughout the new Dan In Real Life (Capitol). The disc includes his new single "To Be Surprised," three previously released tunes and a cover of Pete Townsend's "Let My Love Open The Door." The collection features Lerche's duet with Regina Spektor on "Hell No," plus A Fine Frenzy's version of Peggy Lee's "Fever."
Plant/Krauss Street Date: Depeche Mode singer solo, Plant and Krauss together
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The wait is finally over for one of this year's most curious collaborations- the unexpected merger of Led Zeppelin leader Robert Plant with roots rock/bluegrass queen Alison Krauss. Rising Sand (Rounder) combines the pair's remarkably diverse creative talents, tied under the fine tuning of legendary producer T Bone Burnett. Expect a steady stream of artistically challenging covers ranging between several styles, including the country flair of Mel Tillis, the oldies appeal of The Everly Brothers, the unclassifiable tunesmith Tom Waits and fellow acclaimed troubadour Townes Van Zandt.

Dance rockers Depeche Mode may be in between albums, but that doesn't mean charismatic front man Dave Gahan is laying low. The group's fearless leader is following in songwriter/fellow vocalist Martin Gore's footsteps by continuing a solo career, which first emerged on 2003's Paper Monsters (Reprise).Dave Gahan Though that disc was more guitar driven, his latest Hourglass (Mute/Virgin) turns to purebred electronic form, slapped heavier with the synthesizer and his unmistakable goth-tipped groans. (And just for the record for fans that "just can't get enough," the band isn't breaking up, just taking a break).

Ryan Adams can't ever seem to enjoy a month off and he continues an astoundingly prolific streak on the new EP Follow the Lights (Lost Highway). The seven song spread includes the brand new tunes "Follow The Lights" and "My Love For You Is Real," plus re-workings of previously released material cut live in the studio with his longtime live backers The Cardinals. This project marks the singer/songwriter's second 2007 release, following the summer's stellar Easy Tiger (Lost Highway).
Pete Wentz Bayside's back on tour, Fall Out Boy's fashion
Monday, October 22, 2007
When Fall Out Boy headed home over the weekend for a sold out arena show, front man Pete Wentz took time away from performing to unveil one of his other loves (and we're not talking Ashlee Simpson). The modern punk hero now joins Gwen Stefani and a slew of other fashion divas by debuting his own line and setting up a shop in the Windy City. He was on hand at the launch of Clandestine Industries, his clothing line and store of the same name on Chicago's northside destined to be a "lifestyle" boutique. Outside of the shopping experience, a hang out zone includes a free video arcade (complete with a vintage "Ms. Pac Man" station) and naughty unisex dressing room doors that boast the signs "I'll show you mine...If you show me yours."

More indie rock/alternative leaning punkers Bayside are also continuing this year's endless streak on the road by headlining this fall's Victory Records marathon bill. The Vans Warped Tour mainstays are joined by label mates June,Bayside The Sleeping, A Day To Remember and Driver's Side Impact. The socially conscious organization To Write Love On Her Arms is also on board, spreading a message against self-injury, depression and suicide.

In Tex Mex country contexts, Lyle Lovett is flying high over the announcement he'll receive the Americana Music Association's inaugural "Trailblazer Award." Aside from accepting the honor, the famed troubadour is slated to perform during the ceremonies at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium on November 1. He'll also appear at the organization's annual conference the following day to give a keynote address (similar to a SxSW or CMJ Music Marathon presentation).

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