Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Tours Preview

Well with Memorial Day being the unofficial beginning of summer, it's time to get ready for the Summer Concert Season. While the economy continues to be poor, some bands are trying to give you the most for your concert dollar, so choose wisely. Here are some of the acts making their way to Connecticut this summer.

While Coldplay opened the Comcast Theatre this past weekend, the party doesn't start until June 5 & 6 when the Dave Matthews Band visits the state for their annual summer tour stop. The Comcast Theatre will go country on June 13 when Brad Paisley comes to perform. His performance kicks off the 2009 IGA Country Megaticket, which gives fans the opportunity to buy tickets to all four country artists appearing at the Comcast Theatre for a valued price. The other artists appearing on this Megaticket are Rascal Flatts with Darius Rucker (June 26) Toby Keith with Trace Adkins (July 17) and Kenny Chesney (Aug 13). The Comcast Theatre will also play host to the 2009 Vans Warped Tour on July 12. Alternative rockers Nickelback make a return visit to Connecticut on July 25 and on August 20, a reunited Creed stops by on their reunion tour. The summer concert season for the Comcast Theatre will end with a couple of veteran southern rock acts. August 22 with feature Lynyrd Skynyrd with The Doobie Brothers and on August 30, The Allman Brothers Band will perform along with jam-band Widespread Panic.

The Mohegan Sun Arena will heat up this summer with a wide arrange of musical acts for everyone's taste of music style. Country artist Hank Williams Jr. gets things going with a performance on Friday (May 29). Return visits from Fleetwood Mac (June 17) and New Kids On Block (June 18) will bring back fans for a second memorable experience. Living legend Andrea Bocelli will make a rare appearance on June 20 at the casino. No Doubt's reunion tour stops at the Mohegan Sun Arena on June 24. Finishing up the month of June will be a classic rock assault by ZZ Top and Aerosmith (June 28). Appearing in July are classic rockers REO Speedwagon, Styx and 38 Special (July 1), country legends The Judds (July 2) and Montgomery Gentry (July 12), rapper Jay-Z (July 10), alternative artists Stone Temple Pilots (July 17) and Jason Mraz (July 31).

The MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods will feature a more veteran summer line-up which got kicked-off this past weekend with Carol King and Gloria Estefan. The month of June begins with R&B singer Keyshia Cole (June 5) followed by legend Gladys Knight (June 6), Huey Lewis & The News (June 10), jazz great Diana Krall (June 12), harmonizing trio Crosby, Stills, & Nash (June 13) and jazz-funk greats Earth, Wind & Fire (June 19) and Tower of Power (June 21). Comedy makes is way to the MGM Grand Theatre in late June and July with Kathy Griffen (June 26), legend Don Rickles (July 3) and Jim Gaffigan (July 11). July will also feature some of the all-time music greats like Smokey Robinson (July 10), Jackson Browne (July 17), Sting (July 19) and Tom Jones (July 24).

The Chevrolet Theatre in Wallingford, CT starts the season off with a bong, I mean bang featuring the return of Cheech & Chong on June 5. A reunited Jane's Addiction comes to the theatre June 14. Heavy Metal giants will make their presence known this summer when Judas Priest with Whitesnake take the stage (July 5), Dream Theater (August 5) and classic metal artist Heaven & Hell (August 27). August will also feature musical legends Bonnie Raitt with Taj Mahal (August 9) and The Moody Blues (August 15).

With so many great artists coming to Connecticut, hopefully this will help you out with your summer plans. Don't forget to check JP's Music Blog and Record-Journal newspaper for concert reviews of some of these upcoming shows.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dave Matthews Band Lends A Helping Hand

If you haven't bought tickets to the Dave Matthews Band show on June 5 & 6 at the Comcast Theater in Hartford, now is the perfect time. Multi-platnium selling artists, The Dave Matthews Band announced Thursday, May 21, that they would be participating in the 2009 Susan G. Korman Connecticut Race for the Cure fundraiser. The band will be donating a portion of each ticket sold for their upcoming performance to the cause.

It is a great feeling knowing that no matter how big and popular some bands get, that they still recognize local fundraising causes. The Dave Matthews Band has become a big advocate for fighting cancer. Last year the band held a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden called "Stand Up For A Cure" which went towards cancer research.

Chairman of Live Nation's Northeast Division, Jim Koplick said that he "always appreciated working in the music business more when it has been able to help support a charity". Jim Koplick also "personally supports" the Susan G. Korman for the Cure cause.

The 2009 Susan G. Komen Connecticut Race for the Cure will take place on Saturday, June 6th in Bushnell Park, Hartford. Online race registration is open through May 31 at www.komenct.org and provides opportunities for people to register as an individual or team captain; or pledge support for a team or individual.

Tickets for the June 5th and 6th Dave Matthews Band performances at the Comcast Theatre are on sale now, exclusively at LiveNation.com or by calling 877-598-8689. Also, don't forget the new album by The Dave Matthews Band entitled "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King" will be released on June 2nd. You can still pre-order the album at www.davematthewsband.com. The band is offering a 3-CD live set with all pre-orders (while supplies last). So, don't pass up on this great deal offered by one of today's biggest and best bands around.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Re-mastered! Remixed! . . . Re-buy?

It seems that today's music industry has trouble finding that next multi-platinum selling album. Well, with many classic, multi-platinum selling albums celebrating anniversaries, music companies feel the need to re-release these albums. But, these are not just basic releases (for the most part), most of these albums are getting the re-mastered treatment with the latest technology so they sound better than they ever had before. Plus, some of these albums are being released with bonus tracks or even an entire extra disc of bonus songs. So, are they worth re-buying?

Well, let's look at a few examples. The Rolling Stones recently released re-mastered versions of their late '70s / early '80s albums. These releases include no extra music, but does advertise that they sound cleaner and crispier than previous releases. The Rolling Stones are releasing these re-masters on vinyl as well as CD. So, you have to ask yourself, if it is worth the upgrade.

Another example is with the Beastie Boys. Back in April, the Beasties re-mastered their 1989 masterpiece "Paul's Boutique" for its 20th Anniversary. No new music was included, which frustrated some fans, but they recreated the album's artwork with an "eco-friendly" package. So is it worth getting? But, the Beastie Boys didn't stop there. They also recently re-mastered their 1992 album "Check Your Head" and their 1994 album "Ill Communication". Also included with these original albums is a bonus disc of "B-sides", which makes this more appealing to the consumer. Does a second disc of music make it worth the upgrade?

In September, one of the biggest re-mastering projects with be released. The entire Beatles catalog is finally getting re-mastered on CD, but will fans go for it. Beatles' fans will definitely be buying these new re-mastered discs, but how about the casual music fan. It might take a little persuading and the right price, but this could be one of the biggest sellers of the year.

My question to you is, is it worth upgrading your music by re-buying music that you already own? A little extra incentive never hurt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cromwell Record Riot! Part 2

Yes, it's that time again, time for the next Cromwell Record Riot. This latest show will take place this Sunday, May 17th, from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. There has been only two other "Record Riots" this year, one show was last month in New Haven, but the last Cromwell show was way back in January. I know there are some of you that can't get enough of these shows, myself included. With so much good stuff being released these days, this should be a great show. If you haven't gone to one of these record riots, do yourself a favor and check it out. Whether you're in the mood for some new or used vinyl, new or used CDs, new or used DVDs, concert shirts, concert posters, etc., I'm sure you'll find something there.

The Cromwell Record Riot is located at The Crowne Plaza located off exit 21 from I-91. Admission to the show is $3. Check out www.recordriots.com for more information and be sure to sign up to their mailing list for upcoming shows.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CD Review: The Perms Keep It Up On New Release

Canadian alternative rock band, The Perms, are not new to the music scene, releasing their debut album in 1998, but they are back with their latest release, "Keeps You Up When You're Down". The Perms found success with their previous effort "Better Days" which charted well on campus radio and created a strong buzz in the music industry. Their new album takes that success a step further.

The band is very good at writing lyrics and music that stick in your head even after listening to the album. Songs like "Running Away" and "World To Me" are two prime examples with their repetitive chorus and uptempo sound. The album flows from some of their heavier sounds with songs like "Give Me All Your Lovin'" and "You Don't Know" to their more pop oriented songs " As You Were" and "The Mess". Jaime Carrasco's drums along with Chad Smith's guitar give the songs "Nightshift" and "Big Mistake" their energy. The songs "Who Are You Fooling" and "Things Left Unsaid" are only two examples of the great harmonizing between Chad and Shane Smith which gives these songs a fuller, more polished sound.

The Perms new album, as well as their past albums, is available from their web site, www.theperms.com. The Pearms also have a new video out for their song Running Away. On the band's website you'll also find song clips, videos, tour information and more.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Concert Review: Keith Urban Kicks-Off Tour At Mohegan Sun

Night number one of his worldwide “Escape Together World Tour” took place Thursday at the Mohegan Sun arena. Keith Urban stated that he wanted to start his tour here because the Connecticut crowd always showed an amazing amount of love and comfort on past tours and tonight would be no exception.

The evening began with a short, but energetic set from Jason Aldean. Aldean became a last minute fill-in when original openers Sugarland had to cancel due to illness. It seemed that Aldean had no trouble winning over the crowd with a cover of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and his soon to be released new single “Big Green Tractor”. But, it was his latest single, “She’s Country” that brought the audience to their feet in preparation for headliner Keith Urban.

As tribal beats rang through the arena, a large black curtain was drawn back to reveal country superstar Keith Urban rising from underneath the stage. With his electric guitar in hand he strolled down to the microphone awaiting him at the end of the catwalk, performing the appropriately titled “Hit the Ground Running”. Urban was flashing smiles all evening while he and his band were firing on all cylinders with performances of fan favorites “Days Go By” and “You’re My Better Half”. Slowing down only for a moment to catch his breath with the song “Stupid Boy” before ripping into a jamming solo. Urban was very interactive with the audience, trying to make them feel part of the show.

A smaller stage located at the opposite end of the arena is where Keith Urban took up residence for a solo version of “Once In A Lifetime” and “Making Memories of Us”, which was dedicated to a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Keith Urban’s return to the main stage was signaled by “Standing Right In Front of You” from his latest release “Defying Gravity”. As the stage transformed and smoke covered the floor, Urban would go on to perform a timely ballad “Til Summer Comes Around” before blasting the audience with another new song “Sweet Thang”.

The giant background screen display a video collage of fans performing “You’ll Think of Me” before Urban stepped in to take-over the lead vocals. The audience was no boundary for Urban as strolled through the crowd performing the hit “You Look Good in My Shirt”. He finished his set with an explosive version of “Somebody Like You”, which shook the arena.

With no surprise, Keith Urban returned to roaring applause. The encore began slowly with the acoustic “Tonight I Wanna Cry” before blasting the roof and confetti with “Better Life”. Urban said he felt nervous about his first show of the tour, but these Connecticut crowds made him feel right at home. Upcoming shows at Mohegan Sun feature Hank Williams Jr., New Kids On The Block and No Doubt.

Monday, May 4, 2009

CD Review: Dark Room Notes Loves Dark Matter On Debut Album

Dark Room Notes is a new band that hails from Ireland. They found local success with their 2007 single "Love Like Nicotine" and have recently released their full-length debut album "We Love You Dark Matter".

The album relies heavily on keyboards and synthesizers with an occasional acoustic guitar creating room for itself in this soundscape. The band starts off strong with the modern rocker "Each and Every One of Us" followed by a rerecorded version of the 2007 single "Love Like Nicotine". The updated version of the song takes advantage of of the knowledge the group gained since it was first recored in 2007. Songs like "The Same City Awaits Me" and "Broken Nail" seem to revive the '80's alternative pop sound with its heavy synthesizers and dance style drumbeats. The album doesn't sway far from this formula. The album reaches its peak with a remake of the one band's earlier releases "Shake Shake My Ceiling" and the album's first single "Let's Light Fires".

The album is getting airplay at college radio stations throughout the country, including WSIN at Southern CT State University. Check out the band's website, www.myspace.com/darkroomnotesireland for sound clips, album info and more.