Friday, August 8th, 2014 – Andrew Tinker Gets the Party Going at House of Blues

image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

Opening up the party Exit 380 was throwing for themselves in celebration of their first ever vinyl record was Andrew Tinker.

It was fitting that the Denton-based musician be on the bill, given he recorded Exit 380s’ Photomaps record at Big Acre Sound. He wasn’t alone, though, and had a couple band mates to make this a full-band show.

Part of me was skeptical in a way, because after seeing him solo a few months prior, it was absolutely chilling, while another part of me was excited to see what kind of difference a full-band made.

The trio of Andrew Tinker, bassist Jacob Smith and drummer Lupe Barrera (who was so new, he had only done a couple of rehearsals with them) got their show going with a catchy, upbeat number. “…Lord knows it’s been quite, but the music never dies…” went one of the lines from the chorus. As it neared the end, Andrews’ playing on his guitar got less intense, while Lupe also greatly softened his drumming, as the three of them bridged themselves perfectly into their next track.
image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

One of the most striking parts of the entire night came at the end of it, when Andrew belted out some of the line a cappella. It was jaw dropping. He formally introduced his band mates before they tackled “I Can’t Do it Alone”, which was one of several songs they did from the Upon the Ecliptic album. The song about realizing you do need others to help you along your journey is a beautiful one; and the bass and drums made it all the more inspiring.

“…Must have been in love, must have been out of my mind… To think that you would stay through another season or two…” crooned Andrew, with nothing but his voice filling the Cambridge Room of the House of Blues. He went a little further into “Must Have Been in Love”, before he placed his hands back on his guitar and his band mates joined along, creating a sort of cinematic effect. A light drum roll then segued them into “So Does a Season End”, which found each instrument getting its moment. Andrew started the break by busting out a harmonica and doing a solo, which snowballed into a drum solo, and then Jacob letting loose some thick bass lines, as they gradually brought it back up and exploded into the final part of the song.

The soulful and poppy sounds continued with “I’ll Come Around”; and they kept the great flow they had going alive as Andrew quickly strummed on his axe, relenting some when they began “Always Loved”. Another lengthy instrumental break was thrown in, and it turned into a drum solo, with Jacob quickly getting in on the action. Eventually, they backed off it, creating the impression the song was almost done, but that was when Andrew struck with a guitar solo.
image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

They offered up one last song — another peaceful number — and that concluded their 43-minute long set.

Like I said, I was a little hesitant as to how the full-band would sound, ‘cause Andrew Tinker is the epitome of what a singer/songwriter should be in its rawest form, but man, the additional band members made the music so much more powerful in every regard.

The tight trio gave the songs more of a punch; and with it being fleshed out, the lyrics even seemed to carry more weight. Making it all the more impressive was knowing that Lupe had only practiced with them a couple of times, because they all looked like they had more chemistry with each other than that.

If you got out here early enough this night, you witnessed something special; and it proved to me that Andrew Tinker excels in all musical environments, be it with a band or alone.

He has a couple of records available in iTUNES, which you should definitely check out if you don’t have them.
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image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

Single Review: “Exactly” by Abacu5

imageBack in March, after some extended time off, the Dallas-based alt/rock band Abacu5 made  their return to the stage.

It was pretty much the same lineup, with one big difference: they had added a fifth member to the group, and Cory Martin took over on lead vocals.

Since then, they’ve performed a little more than half a dozen shows with this incarnation, doing both new songs and retooled versions of some from their debut EP. Fans have no doubt been hungry for a taste of this new music. Something to get an idea of how these new jams will sound played through some speakers, and something they can listen to whenever they want.

Today, they finally got that, in the form of the brand new single, “Exactly”.

It perfectly captures the slightly new direction the band is going in. Instead of some semi-heavy rock songs (like those found on their first EP), “Exactly” is even a little more radio friendly, though still retains originality. It boasts an excellent music bed, with some guitar riffs that instantly mesmerize you, and that alone can hold your attention for the duration of the track, as it transitions form soaring riffs to serene notes. The song derives its kick (no pun intended) from the ferocious drums; and while the bass is harder to hear in the mix, you can catch it accenting things here and there.

Lyrically, it’s a lovely tune about finding someone (in the romantic sense) and rekindling a spark that they had lost. “And I will bring you back to life again. And I will show you where you never been…” goes the first part of the chorus. It’s teeming with hope, with a message that no matter how cruel the game of love may have been to you, there is someone out there to make you whole again.

That’s the main difference between “Exactly” and their previously released stuff: it exudes hope. Now, by no means was the bands past stuff dark or anything, nor was it as upbeat as what this one is. That may well just apply to this one song, but that still makes it a good choice as a new single, because it does display a different side of Abacu5.

A new beginning, I guess you could say.

Abacu5 is:
Jonathan Sprang
Samuel Holder
Adam Manning
Eric Petrinowitsch
Cory Martin

Purchase the single on:
iTUNES

Visit Abacu5’s websites:
Official Website / Facebook / Reverbnation / Twitter

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Slipknot Announces The Prepare For Hell North American Headline Tour with Very Special Guests Korn and Openers King 810

imageThe Prepare For Hell Tour - a major North American headline tour with very special guests Korn and openers King 810 - kicks off October 29 in El Paso, TX and traversing North America through December 7. 

"We’ve been waiting a long time for this," stated Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. “Not only do we get to tour with friends who we respect, we’ve also chosen a band that represents the fury of the future. Slipknot is coming to your town. And hell’s coming with us.”

The nationwide run will see Slipknot coming hot off the heels of their US live return at their own KNOTFEST, with two unique sets at their very own three-day metal and heavy music destination festival slated for October 24 through 26 at San Bernardino, California’s San Manuel Amphitheater & Campgrounds. Powered by Rockstar Energy Drink and curated by Slipknot themselves, KNOTFEST will see Slipknot headline the Main Stage on both Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26, offering fans a taste of the upcoming album with a unique concert experience each night. KNOTFEST will feature over 60 bands – including Danzig, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Tech N9ne, Of Mice & Men, Black Label Society, Testament, Hatebreed, Atreyu, In This Moment, Carcass, and many others – performing on five stages on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a Friday Night VIP Pre-Party Bash (featuring Slipknot’s DJ Sid), band performances and other activities for those that purchase VIP or Camping Packages. A

“KNOTFEST is a chance for Slipknot to bring the sensory overload of a wild European festival and now we’re coming for you, California,” says Slipknot’s M. Shawn Crahan (Clown). “Playing two different sets over two nights at one location is a new experience in the history of this band. This year’s KNOTFEST is going to be on another level.”

KNOTFEST tickets are available now at www.knotfest.com, while tickets for the Prepare For Hell tour go on sale September 5 at www.livenation.com and through the Live Nation mobile app. All fans who purchase their tickets through October 5 will receive a digital download of .5: The Gray Chapter upon its official release.

Prepare for Hell Tour Dates:

October
25 San Bernardino, CA Knotfest
26 San Bernardino, CA Knotfest
29 El Paso, TX El Paso County Coliseum
31 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion

November
1 Corpus Christi, TX American Bank Center
2 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
4 Little Rock, AR Verizon Arena
5 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena
6 Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center
8 Madison, WI Alliant Energy Center
9 Sioux Falls, SD Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
11 Denver, CO Denver Coliseum
19 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Arena
21 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
22 Lexington, KY Rupp Arena
23 Ft. Wayne, IN Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
25 Moline, IL iWireless Center
26 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
28 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena
29 Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
30 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre

December
2 Reading, PA Santander Arena
3 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
5 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun
6 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
7 Boston, MA Paul E. Tsongas Arena

 

Jack Kerowax to Release Debut 10-Song Album in November

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The band’s debut is a full length 10 track work that was recorded and mastered 100% analog. Jack Kerowax are a formidable collection of DFW musician’s from a number of local Dallas-Fort Worth, TX bands. An interview with Johnny Beauford recently published in Indie Houston summarizes the band’s back story and their organic formation and recording process.

Kerowax due out 11/25 was recorded at the newly established and analog focused Ferralog Studios in Dallas, TX. For the Jack Kerowax debut full length the band worked with long time Dallas based producer Jonathan Jackson as well as co-owner of Ferralog Studios, Nathan Adamson.The album was mastered in Corpus Christi, TX by veteran analog specialist Billy Stull of Masterpiece Mastering (Warner Brothers, Okkervil River). The end result is pop-infused Americana at its finest, delivered with an ultra-cohesive finesse. The forthright tone of the album can be heard most clearly in standout tracks, “Fever”, “Huck Finn’s Hideout”, and “Bliss”.

Wayne Static Announces Co-Headline Tour with Powerman 5000

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Wayne Static, the founding member and leader of Evil Disco innovators Static-X will be hitting the road this fall on a co-headline run with Powerman 5000. American Head Charge will provide support on most dates. The tour will kick off November 6th in Waterloo, IA and is currently scheduled to run through November 30th in McCallen, TX. A complete list of dates can be found below. More dates will be added in the coming weeks.

STATIC on the upcoming tour:
“2014 has been an awesome year! We just finished up the 15th anniversary Wisconsin Death Trip tour. I’ve got the best band behind me that I’ve ever had, and I am very excited to round out the year with a co-headline tour with Powerman 5000. It’s another 15th anniversary tour! It’s a testament to both bands that we are both still going strong and the timing is perfect for us to tour together again. I am equally excited to share the stage with American Head Charge again. I believe it was 2005 when we toured together last. This is a great line up and this tour is gonna kill!”

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Wayne Static w/ Powerman 5000:
11/6: Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s Rock Garden/Reverb* 
11/7: Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon 
11/8: Kimberly, WI @ Savagefest @ Tanner’s Entertainment Complex 
11/9: Fort Wayne, IN @ Piere’s 
11/11: Joliet, IL @ Mojoe’s 
11/12: Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater 
11/13: Flint, MI @ Machine Shop 
11/14: Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon 
11/15: Stafford, CT @ Palace Theater 
11/16: New York, NY @ BB Kings 
11/17: Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage 
11/19: Wilmington, NC @ Ziggy’s 
11/21: Atalnta, GA @ 120 Tavern 
11/22: Winston-Salem, NC @ Ziggy’s 
11/23: Knoxville, TN @ The International 
11/26: San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live 
11/27: Tyler, TX @ Clicks 
11/28: Houston, TX @ Scout Bar 
11/29: Dallas, TX @ Trees 
11/30: McCallen, TX @ Metropolis

*No American Head Charge

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Friday, August 22nd, 2014 - Aerosmith Lets Rock Rule in Dallas; and Joey Kramer Returns

Just a couple weeks before Aerosmith was set to play American Airlines Center in Dallas, fans were not only concerned about the health of drummer Joey Kramer, but also if the show would even be going on in the first place.

Whatever the minor procedure was that Kramer had to undergo had kept him away from the kit; and while the show had gone on in other cities (with his son filling in), he had yet to make a full return to the stage.

Whether he would be present in Dallas or not remained to be seen, as the masses filled the arena. By the time nine-o’clock rolled around, all three levels of the venue along with the floor were packed with fans that covered the age spectrum.

I’ll also point out that one of the many songs that played over the PA system to entertain the crowd happened to “Backslider” by The Toadies. Sure, they’re nowhere on the global level of fame that Aerosmith is, though I still found it neat that a track form that iconic Texas act would happen to get played.

The lights went out at 9:12, and the massive space was filled with nothing but screams.

“Please welcome, from Boston, Massachusetts, the world’s greatest rock band!” said the voice of an announcer, barely audible over all the excitement that was being expressed.

A runway led from the stage out deep into part of the crowd, to those who were lucky enough to have floor seats; and the stage of sorts at the end of it was suddenly blanketed in smoke. A panel in the floor opened up, and from it rose Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, still engulfed in the thick haze. Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford entered from the wings of the stage, as did Joey Kramer. It had been two weeks since he last played a full show with his band mates, and the Dallas fans would be fortunate enough to see his triumphant return.

So began 79-minutes of near non-stop action, as the legendary rock group kicked off their set with “Love In A Elevator”. Of course, the guitar solo belonged to Perry, who now stood alone at the end of the platform, shredding, though Whitford also shone brightly on it; and he and Tyler stood back to back for a bit during that time. Tyler was also getting in on the guitar action, using his mic stand (which was in tow almost constantly as he traversed the stage) as a faux axe, and he was owning it. Some fun was also had with the lyrics this night, like on this one, when Tyler shouted, “Kiss my fucking ass!” instead of “Kiss your sassafras”.

As the guitars and bass fell silent, a sample track kicked on. Kramer got no down time as he laid into the kit, delivering some powerful, steady beats. For that opening number, Tyler paraded around the stage draped in a sparkly robe. Even from up in the nosebleed section you could see all the lights reflecting off it, so it may well have been somewhat blinding to those on the floor.

Now, he took said robe off and looked at one of the cameramen, waving it in front of the camera. The impressive screen at the back of the stage showed all of it, while it quickly flashed between a host of colors, creating a psychedelic experience. The track took shape once the guitars and bass were added, and “Eat the Rich” was one of a few cuts they did from Get a Grip. Tyler was back out at the end of the runway, and he pointed the mic out towards the crowd on the first chorus, letting them shout each of the “Eat the rich!” parts. The coolest moment of the song came during the solo — again dominated by Perry — while Tyler crouched by the stacks of amps and pressed the microphone against them before they eventually brought things way down. Kramer then delivered some rapid succession beats as they picked back up; and Tyler ended it in true form to the recording. However, he first began to cough. A little violently at that, giving the impression he had gotten chocked. He stepped back from the mic for a second, then leaned back towards it, letting loose a belch, the likes of which would only come after a satisfying meal.

After two full-blown rock songs, they slowed things down slightly with “Jaded”, which came immediately after. Admittedly, I’m biased, since the Just Push Play Tour in 2001 was the first time I saw Aerosmith (or even attended a concert in general for that matter), but that’s a favorite of mine. It was a highlight of the night for me; and Tyler impressed the hell out of everyone when singing “…And ecstasy’s what you prefer,” holding that last word for several seconds. Even in his mid-sixties the man still has a voice that any singer should be envious of.

“Cryin’” kept up the slower, more emotional pace they were on; and Tyler wailed on “…makin’ love”, making a sharp transition to a high-pitched tone, before bringing it back down to his normal register. He even got face to face with Perry at the end, constantly yelling, “Baby!” at him, though Perry never broke focus on his guitar.

“Dallas, I need your help!” shouted Tyler, leading the entire area in chants of, “Yeah!” “Livin’ on the Edge” has been relevant for a few decades now, though with all the goings on all over the world, it seemed to be even more important this night. The first chorus was even changed slightly. “Every time you turn on the news, you’re living on the edge. When you catch your husband fucking around, he knows he’s living on the edge.” Later on, he bent down towards the fans, even letting a woman sing one of the lines, before pulling the mic back over to him. “…And everybody knows we’re fucked,” finished Tyler. Things tapered off, and the audience applauded, thinking it was done. Kramer then brought the song back to life, and Tyler ran around behind the kit and over to him, holding the mic by his head to let him sing the chorus. You could tell he was glad to have his friend and band mate back.

They had yet to show any sign of letting up; and once that one was done, Tyler mentioned a year. 1977 to be exact. “Come on, gentlemen. Take me back,” he said to Hamilton, Whitford, Kramer and Perry. A guy behind me was racking his brain trying to come up with all their songs from ’77, but one I did not hear him say aloud was “Kings And Queens”. Whitford became the focal point for a minute or two when he showed off his prowess on the guitar solo; and afterwards, they jumped even further back then ’77. The title track off Toys In The Attic made the spectators reach a fevered pitch. “Joe, help me out,” Tyler requested as they hit the first chorus, and both of them leaned towards the mic and sang. Tyler even had some fun at one point, holding an open water bottle down in front of his crotch and walking over to the edge of the stage. He squeezed it a couple of times, as a little bit of water shot out, and then the remainder of the contents were dumped on to people.

“Joey Kramer in the house tonight!” exclaimed Tyler, as he proceeded to lay down the beat for the next song. “He’s on fire! Watch it, he’ll get ya,” Tyler finished. Perry laid his guitar down, using it a little more like a pedal steel as they knocked out “Rag Doll”. “How are you doing up there?” Tyler asked, addressing all those in the middle section and the “cheap seats” up above. He was sincere with it, too, echoing how their performance had gone so far, because they weren’t putting on a show just for the ones who had paid for floor seats. “This place is fucking packed!” he said ecstatically, before handing the mic stand off to Perry. “… It feels like forever…” he said after welcoming Joey back, noting how good it was to have him back out there with them. “We’re going to play a little Boston blues for ya. It goes like this,” he then informed the crowd. They rolled out their cover of Fleetwood Macs’ “Stop Messin’ Around”, and Perry owned it for that time, encapsulating the frontman persona, even if he was stationed behind the microphone. Fans were also treated to one of Tyler’s harmonica solos, which was fiery and raw.

“What the fuck was that about that!?” yelled Tyler once he reclaimed the mic. “That was some original shit!” You know what else was original? “Same Old Song And Dance”. That classic was beloved by all; and making it all the more engaging was the clap along that commenced during it. “Show us some skin!” Tyler asked, referring to having people put their hands in the air. The end was ruled by Hamilton and his bass lines; while there was also a neat moment during the track when one of the crowd shots that wound up on the video screen included a young boy in the frame, and when he realized he was up there, you could tell it made his day.

“We’re gonna slow it down a bit. This is off the first album,” remarked Tyler. “I’ll give you a hint: I do not play guitar,” he joked. I don’t know how much “Mama Kin” slowed things down (if it even did at all); but even now, forty-one-years after that classic was released on their debut album, it still packs a serious punch. If anything, I’d imagine it’s only gotten better with age. As Perry launched into the guitar solo, Tyler, who had been “dancing” with his mic stand, left it out there on platform, and then raced up the runway back to the main stage. He danced about to the music his band mates were making, before having to make a return trip back down the runway when the next line came around.

“Do it! Do it!” he commanded, as they slowed things down with the gorgeous, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”. (You can’t deny that is a beautiful love song, and that beauty was conveyed wonderfully this night.) “Do you like the old shit, or the new shit?” Tyler asked once they had finished. It easily could have been a rhetorical question, because he had to know what the answer would be. “OLD SHIT!” the audience boomed. “The old shit? Yeah, me too,” he responded. Perhaps that was why they were playing so much of it this night, totally neglecting 2012’s Music From Another Dimension!.

They returned to the “old shit” with “No More No More”; and then they served up the first Aerosmith song I ever heard, and the one that made me into a fan: “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”. Considering this was the first time I had heard it live, it made my night. Right at the very end, Tyler grabbed the mic stand, picking it up from the middle of it, and effortlessly tossed it back and forth in his hands. Usually you see a frontman carry the stand around for part of one song at most, and think, “That’s cool.” Tyler takes that to a whole new level, though, making you realize that any vocalist who doesn’t drag the mic stand along with them for every step they take is simply half-assing it.

From there, they dove right into “Walk This Way”, continuing their trend of not allowing for any breaks. Somehow, a woman ended up on stage with them during that song. I missed if she was personally invited up there or somehow got past security, but the band didn’t mind it. She was harmless in the first place; and she and Tyler shook their hips to the music for a bit before he motioned for her leave so they could get back to work. The instrumental outro was a little longer, providing an epic finish.

“Thank you, and good night,” both Tyler and Perry said to the crowd, as all five of them waved to the fans, and then walked back into the darkness of the wings of the stage.

Some people left. Others shouted that they had paid money and they needed more, even yelling songs, demanding to hear them.

Five minutes passed, and then, from the same trapdoor he and Perry had made their entrance from earlier, Tyler again returned to the spotlight. This time seated behind a piano.

“Darkness, darkness…” he crooned while lightly plucking the keys. It sure sounded like he was beginning the final track off Done With Mirrors, which threw everyone for a loop. He suddenly switched gears, though; and the fans burst into cheers. The applause and cheers were deafening, but that’s just how much “Dream On” is loved. When the rest of the band appeared, Perry wound up leaping onto the grand piano, spending a few minutes up there. When he hopped off, Tyler — who was now back in frontman mode — pulled his mic stand up there to deliver the rest of the track. At the end, he swung it in the air like a sword, bringing it around to his back, where he let it rest against his neck and gripped it with both hands behind his back.

“Going down,” he spoke as the piano disappeared back into the floor. He jumped off it when it got more level with the stage; and as he walked back towards the main stage, Hamilton was strolling down the runway. His bass solo stretched on for a minute or so, before turning into the familiar intro of “Sweet Emotion”. When the video board switched to Tyler, he was suddenly decked out in some neon like colored face paint, more pastel based. “…‘Cause a month on the road and I’ll be coming in your hand,” he sang later on, again switching up the lyrics.

The pinnacle moment of the song came when everyone except Perry left the stage. The guitarist had wandered over to the amps, where he leaned in close, creating some feedback as he continued to pick away at it. He then dropped it to the floor and proceeded to bat out an imaginary fire, and then came the best part. With it still on the ground, he laid onto the whammy bar, and one by one broke nearly all six strings, still holding them in his other hand, making for an amazing effect. With that guitar being rendered useless, he was quickly handed a new one, while his band mates retook the stage, wrapping up this 15-minute long encore.

The five of them marched to the platform at the end. The money shot was delivered in a blizzard of confetti that covered that fell on everyone in the first several rows, and looked like it may never stop. All the while, the audience was giving them all the noise and applause they deserved.

“Dallas! Dallas! Thank you so much for coming and watching this band rock out,” Tyler stated. He meant it. These guys still care. Even after all these decades, they still aim to please everyone who attends, and they do it.

One by one, Tyler introduced the band, including Buck Johnson, who had been back there on the keys and some other instruments. “He’s the one making me sound so good,” said Tyler. They then bid their farewell to the city.

The house music came back on, but then, Perry returned to the mic. “Turn that down,” he ordered. He informed everyone they had been challenged to the “ice bucket thing”, and they would be doing it in Houston, saying if anyone wanted to see it, then hopefully they’d see them in Houston.

One of the last things Tyler said this night sums it all up perfectly: “Fuck, yeah! Rock n roll, baby!”

I could go on and on, but I won’t. It’d serve no point, because everyone knows (or at least should) how amazing Aerosmith is. Even if you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a live show.

Bands aren’t made like this anymore. I doubt many bands who have found fame in the last decade or so will still be doing what they’re doing thirty to forty years from now. It’s even more remarkable when you think of all the turmoil they went through, and despite it all, they patched things up.

They still put their blood, sweat and tears into their shows; and even though there were parts of different songs that Tyler kind of mumbled though, no one cared. It would maybe just be a sentence or two when it did happen, and it was beside the point. Hell, I think he could have forgotten every word for every song and people still wouldn’t have cared, because he was so dynamic on stage. They all were, and it made for an extraordinary night where rock ruled.

Patio Sessions Announces Fall 2014 Lineup

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Patio Sessions will return for it’s Fall 2014 installment, and something about it will be different from the previous spring and fall series. It has been pushed back an hour and won’t start until 6:30.

That later time should make it even easier for some folks to attend; and given all the local talent they’ll have coming through, why would you not want to attend at least a few of these?


Sept. 4
- Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward w/ Tyler Rougeux of Whiskey Folk

Sept. 11 - Salim Nourallah w/ Chris Holt

Sept. 18 - Boxcar Bandits

Sept. 25 - Cassie Holt and the Lost Souls w/ Haylee & Amanda

Oct. 2 - The Roomsounds w/ RTB2

Oct. 9 - Luke Wade & No Civilians w/ Kirk Thurmond

Oct. 16 - Home By Hovercraft w/ Low Dark Hills

Oct. 23 - Calhoun w/ Catamaran

Oct. 30 - Mariachi Quetzal - Dia De Los Muertos celebration!

Son of Soul Music Legend Johnnie Taylor, Floyd Taylor, Announces New Deluxe Edition Album

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The name “Taylor” is royalty in Soul music thank to the late Johnnie Taylor. His son, the recently departed Floyd Taylor, took the torch and ran with it following his father’s death and made a name for himself all the way up to his own death this past year. 

After successful albums with Malaco Records he had signed with CDS Records for one album. That album is now being released in expanded form as “‘Bout It ‘Bout It: All Of Me Deluxe” . This 16-track package features the full out-of-print All Of Me (which features the hit songs “I’m ‘Bout It ‘Bout It”, “All Of You, All Of Me”, “Baby I Love You” and “(Time Out) Cut To The Chase”) album along with six bonus tracks, five of which have never been released.

Floyd Singletary (Taylor), was born in Chicago and sang with a band at Dusable High School in Chicago, where he graduated. His first shows were at the Regal Theater in Chicago but Floyd held day jobs working at Children’s Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital while waiting for his chance to follow in his father’s footsteps.

During the 1970’s, Floyd joined his father on several concert tours and also performed with other big names like Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Bobby Womack, & more. Floyd remained a member of the Johnnie Taylor revue, off and on, from the mid-seventies until 1999. He also worked around Chicago on the local club circuit; his uncanny resemblance to Johnnie, both physically and vocally, immediately attracted attention. Then, on Wednesday, May 31, 2000, Johnnie Taylor died in his home in the Dallas suburb of Duncanville. Among those who sang for him at the service that day was Floyd; among the congregants who heard Floyd sing was Tommy Couch Jr. of Malaco Records, who signed him shortly thereafter. (Ironically, Johnnie himself had joined Malaco after Couch heard him sing at the funeral of soul-blues pioneer Z.Z. Hill in 1984).

3 Pill Morning Set to Hit the Road with Theory of a Deadman and More

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This fall get ready for a “Do Not Miss” U.S. national tour with Theory of a Deadman and 3 Pill Morning.  Select dates will also be with Black Stone Cherry and Fozzy!  3 Pill Morning has been in the studio working on new music and is eager to hit the road again sharing something new and ‘Black Tie Love Affair’ favorites.

Tour dates:
Aug 29 at Route 20 in Racine, WI
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Aug 30 at Taste of Madison in Madison, WI
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 03 at The Pageant in St Louis, MO
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 04 at Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln, NE
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 06 at The Myth in Saint Paul, MN
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 07 at Midland Theater in Kansas City, MO
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 08 at Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 10 at Knitting Factory in Boise, ID
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 11 at Toyota Ice Arena in Kennewick, WA
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 16 at Grove in Anaheim, CA
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 17 at The Marquee in Tempe, AZ
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 19 at Backstage Live in San Antonio, TX
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 20 at House Of Blues in Dallas, TX
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 21 at House of Blues in Houston, TX
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 23 at Center Stage in Atlanta, GA
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 24 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 25 at Muncheez in Beckley, WV
w/ Fozzy

Sep 26 at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 27 at Ziggys in Winston Salem, NC
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sep 28 at Six Pence Pub in Parkersburg, WV
w/ Fozzy

Sep 30 at The Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, TN
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 01 at Piere’s in Fort Wayne, IN
w/ Fozzy

Oct 02 at Rams Head Live in Baltimore, MD
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 03 at The International in Knoxville, TN
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 05 at Gramercy Theatre in New York, NY
w/ Fozzy

Oct 06 at Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 07 at House Of Blues in Boston, MA
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 08 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 10 at Waterstreet in Rochester, NY
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 11 at House Of Blues in Cleveland, OH
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Oct 12 at Number One Cycle Center in Centre Hall, PA
w/ Theory of a Deadman

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 - No Weapon Formed Delivers a Precise Rock Show at The Curtain Club

The Saving Abel show wasn’t originally supposed to be held at The Curtain Club, but that was where it wound up. I was okay with that, given my immense love for the venue; and actually, it made me all the more excited to see the stacked bill of local talent that had been assembled to open the show.

No Weapon Formed took the stage with quite a few eyes on them. Many were fans — some sporting their NWF shirts; and frontman Brandon Thomas stepped on stage shortly after his band mates got their opening number going. Lead guitarist Josh Presley started showing off his skills from the get go, knocking out a killer solo at one point in the track, before they dove right into the next. Drummer Dylan Burt quickly grabbed his kick drum and pulled it closer (I think it had moved slightly during that song), and then joined them.

“Thank you.” Brandon told the crowd once they had finished the track. They didn’t allow much downtime, and now rhythm guitarist Nolan Bradvica opened up their next tune, which ended with an instrumental outro between he, Josh, Dylan and bassist Soleh, while Brandon exited the stage to allow the crowd to fully focus on them. “We love Curtain Club. This is like our second home.” Brandon remarked before they unleashed another couple of songs. Brandon seemed even more charismatic than usual on the latter of those two; and both he and Josh harmonized at one point on the track, which sounded awesome. Perhaps the best point came at the end, when Brandon grabbed the mic stand and pulled it off side to his left, though he was still screaming loud enough it had no trouble picking up the sound.

It was here they found out their set was nearly over, prompting a decision to have to be made on what to close with. They choose what Brandon called their “best one”. It was, indeed, one of the highlights from their 27-minute long set, and during it, he again thanked the Curtain Club for having them out. “We fucking love you!” he told the crowd, shortly before they brought it to a rip-roaring end.

Having to axe one song may have been slightly disappointing for the band, but that didn’t dampen what was a killer show.

They have a great sound that’s not solely hard rock, but certainly isn’t just your standard rock music, either; and the wails Brandon is capable of evokes almost an 80’s rock sound.

It’s good stuff; and you should go see them if you get the chance.

They’ll be at The Rail in Fort Worth on September 5th; then on the 20th of that month you can find them at The Boiler Room in Dallas.

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 - Story of a Ghost Makes Their Mark on Dallas

The Saving Abel show wasn’t originally supposed to be held at The Curtain Club, but that was where it wound up. I was okay with that, given my immense love for the venue; and actually, it made me all the more excited to see the stacked bill of local talent that had been assembled to open the show.

For the past few shows, Story of a Ghost had been playing main support to Saving Abel; and this was their final show of their run with them.

The quartet hailed from Joplin, Missouri; and when the curtain opened on them, Logan Graves was putting a beat down on the drums. Bassist Rikki Ramirez emerged from stage right shortly after; and guitarist Aaron Hearse wasn’t far behind. The roaring instrumental intro earned them lots of attention, though the venue wasn’t nearly as crowded as it had been for the local act before them.

“How the hell you doing Dallas, Texas?!” frontman Davin Casey asked once they were done. “…Let’s make it a helluva night!” he shouted after mentioning this was their final date with Saving Abel. Rikki proceeded to clap his hands together, eventually getting much of the couple dozen people watching them to do the same; and there came a point in the track when Aaron rushed off the stage and stood with the crowd as he rocked out.

“This kinda shit does not happen in Joplin!” stated Davin, who was riding high on the crowds’ energy. Number wise, the audience may not have been strong, though people were very engaged with the outfit. “…This is a Texas exclusive!” he remarked, before glancing at all the plaques of bands that adorn the Wall of Fame. Some of them went on to achieve national fame, others will always be Dallas legends, but the one constant as they all cut their teeth here at the Curtain. He said something to the effect that this place was here because of all those bands, and then they launched into another song. Davin screamed some on that track, and when he was doing it, he executed excellent control over his voice. Really, it was impressive to hear; and when it hit a lull, he moved over to the keyboard that sit in the stairwell on and off the stage.

“I don’t know if you know this, but it’s fucking hot in Texas,” he remarked afterwards. The audience cheered, affirming they were all too familiar with this. “Are there any rock fans here?” he then asked, using that to setup a cover of “Wasteland” by 10 Years, which concluded with Aaron again getting out in the crowd.

There were some fans out there who were familiar with Story of a Ghost before this night, and now, Davin pointed them out, saying he thought they’d know this one. “…I don’t expect you to sing it with me, though,” he told them, clearly wanting to be proved wrong. So, a few people were happy to do that, and did help them out on “March”, which was backed up with a strong stage performance. With that, they were already onto the final number of their 28-minute long set; and during it, Aaron jumped into the air, doing a nice 360° spin while he was up there.

Their hard rock style was very melodic, and at times sounded a little commercialized, but not in a negative way. In fact, it gives it a broader appeal to your general audience, which of course can’t hurt any band.

They were very tight and had some great chemistry with one another, which really showed through during their performance. Would I go see them again? Yes, yes I would.

Annalise Emerick Premieres on The Boot

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In just 4 short weeks, the debut full-length album of Nashville singer-songwriter Annalise Emerick will hit shelves across the country, but in the meantime, The Boot is giving fans an exclusive sneak peek of the shimmering Americana record before you can hear it anywhere else. Yesterday, the country music news site exclusively premiered “The Sun and The Moon,” the lead single from Emerick’s new record, Field Notes.

"The Boot is always excited to premiere new music from up-and-coming artists, and Annalise Emerick’s ‘The Sun and the Moon’ is no exception," TheBoot.comeditor, Angela Miller, confessed. “We hope our listeners enjoy the song as much as our staff does, and we look forward to seeing where Annalise goes from here!”

Dropping on September 16th, Emerick’s new, 11-song album will showcase a unique blend of Americana overtones highlighted by Emerick’s indelible pop songwriting sensibilities and unique penchant for spinning stories. The autobiographical nature of the record is palpable, giving it a feeling of intimacy that makes Emerick’s songs uniquely personal yet still universally recognizable, and inField Notes, it seems that there’s something for everyone. Sparkling, mellow tracks like “The Sun and The Moon” still feature her trademark acoustic-pop vibes, while songs like “Simple Life” and “A Good One” surprise with a newfound and completely unapologetic twang. Emerick’s cover of the Shake-Russell-pennedWaylon Jennings tune “Deep in the West” solidifies the fact that the Nashville songstress isn’t afraid to let her home flag fly. In either element, the quiet power in her vocals makes it easy to see how she situates herself among fans of Brandi CarlilePatty Griffin, and Natalie Maines alike.

The unbridled nature of Field Notes marks a more mature turn in tone for Emerick. In 2011, she released her first musical project, Starry-Eyed, to heavy critical acclaim after it debuted at #9 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. The seven-song EP featured adult contemporary pop tracks sprinkled with twinkling production value that Performer Magazine hailed as “undeniably good.” Skope Magazine praised the record’s “mellow and moving” tunes, while The Deli New England celebrated Emerick for “crafting melodies as pretty as her name.” The album went on to also catch the attention of American Songwriter Magazinewho premiered her first single and music video, “This Love Won’t Break Your Heart.”

The Sun and The Moon" is now available to purchase via iTunesSpotify, andAmazon MP3.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 – Gemini Syndrome Goes Full Throttle at Cain’s Ballroom

Just in seeing the Gemini Syndrome banner being put up on stage was enough to send their die-hard group of fans into fits of excitement.
image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

The Los Angeles-based hard rock outfit was doing main support for Sevendust on this current tour; and even on a Tuesday night at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they had a strong showing of fans out.

Causing even more excitement was vocalist Aaron Nordstrom, who wandered out in the crowd several minute before they hit the stage, even posing for a picture with one very young fan. It was cool to see.

The lineup was a little different this night, as it was one of the dates Rich Juzwick was missing to attend to personal matters, meaning Gemini Syndrome would be performing as a four-piece.

The audiences’ anticipation mounted when the house lights dimmed, and many roared at the top of their lungs. Nordstrom bowed to the spectators after he stepped out on stage. “Tulsa! Tulsa!” he yelled, getting substantially louder with the second one, before screaming in more of a heavy metal voice, “OKLAHOMA!”

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(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

With that, their intro faded out, and they jumped in to the super heavy, “Resurrection”. Guitarist Mike Salerno and Nordstroms’ vocal interaction on the first couple of verses is really something to see live, with Salerno screaming one word in a throaty voice, before Nordstrom repeats it in a slightly less intense tone. Drummer Brian Medinas’ actions easily earned him people’s attention as well, from tossing one of his drum sticks into the air and then standing to catch it, to bowing to Salerno during his stellar guitar solo. Upon finishing the song, Medina again rose up from his seat, beaming at the crowd.

“How we feeling tonight? Is everybody ready for this?!” Nordstrom asked, checking in on everyone. Not only was the crowd ready for this, they seemed to have been waiting for it for weeks. “Here we go,” he finished, as they began “Falling Apart”. Bassist AP and Medina delivered a monstrous rhythm section on the track, particularly at the start; and plenty of fans were singing right along to the chorus, “…You push me to the side every single time, and I can’t help you from falling apart again.”

Just two songs in and these guys were already on fire. There was also a great dynamic at work, where the band had plenty of energy to feed off of from the crowd, and in turn, the more action packed show they were delivering just helped the audience get more lost in it all.
image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

“We are Gemini Syndrome. Thank you for being here,” Nordstrom then told everyone, before hitting a more serious note. “…I’m guessing every single person here is like myself, and have something you don’t like about yourself…” he remarked. “…But that shit is what makes you different…” he preached, before bellowing, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE!” Salerno then knocked out the opening lines of “Basement” — as they continued working their way backwards on the Lux album. “Let me see your hands!” Nordstrom requested before the first chorus, resulting in a slew of hands shooting up into the air. Medina continued showing off his skills as a drummer and pure love for it by flipping one of the sticks around, and later twirling it between his fingers.

“Y’all are beautiful,” Nordstrom informed the crowd, while another sample started to play. Medina was on his feet, lightly tapping some of the cymbals. “We still having a good time?” Nordstrom then asked, before saying that the first word ever in existence was “love”. “And from the bottom of our hearts, we love you,” he said sincerely. The track led to the epic intro for “Mourning Star”, which saw this hard rock band showing off the slightly softer side they are capable of, and they pull it off exceedingly well.

The segue into their next song was seamless; and now, another guitar was brought out on stage. “Y’all don’t mind, do you, if I play a little guitar tonight?” asked Nordstrom. There were no objections to it. Then again, why would there have been? “Pay for This”  was dedicated to liars and thieves; and while it was slightly strange seeing Nordstrom abandon his role of frontman (even if it was just for one song), he still managed to pack a ton of energy into the performance, even breaking away from the microphone stand when he could. AP was also completely in the zone on that track, and he hunched over his bass for the first verse or so, just dominating it.
image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

Like the previous transition, a sample track led them into what was coming next; and as Nordstrom handed his guitar off, he thanked the crowd for “indulging” him on that.

“Tulsa!” he suddenly shouted, raising his voice when he repeated the city’s name. “Make some fucking noise!” he then stated, making it sound more like a command, and one fans were happy to meet. “…Let me see everyone’s hands in the sky, like you’re reaching for heaven,” he then told everybody, after saying they’d need some help with this next one. The onlookers proceeded to clap along as “Stardust” got going. “…It’s no mistake; …you are perfect in my mind…” the audience sang along, loud enough you could kind of hear them at times, something the frontman highly encouraged. Medina had continued to be a driving force this night; and as they hit the songs’ lull, he again stood up and flipped a stick into the air, still smiling, as if he was having the time of his life.

“THANK YOU!” Nordstrom hollered as soon as it was over. Already, this incredible set had reached its end, and they had packed so much into it, I was surprised they had only been on stage about thirty-minutes at this point. “We’re going to end this very similar to the way we started.” Nordstrom announced. His voice dropped to a sudden whisper. “Tulsa,” he quietly said, as if he were about to share a secret with everyone. It progressively got louder, though, and the rise in it was rapid. “Get the fuck up!” he instructed as they wrapped it up with “Pleasure and Pain”. It induced a lot of head banging among everyone; and the band made sure to pull out all the stops during it. Salerno and AP jammed next to one another during the second verse, and Nordstrom stamped his foot and banged his head to the most brutal parts of it; while Medina couldn’t resist doing one more toss of his drum stick, and I think this one was the highest yet.
image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

“From the bottom of our hearts, we fucking love you,” Nordstrom stressed at the end, his gratitude being purely genuine. “Sevendust is about to destroy you…” he finished, as their 35-minute long set came to an end. That wasn’t the last time he was on stage this night, though. He also joined Sevendust to co-sing their encore of “Splinter”.

Coincidently, the only other time I have seen Gemini Syndrome also happened to be in Oklahoma (at Rocklahoma), and while they were great then, this slightly longer set made all the difference.

Even being down a member these guys still laid waste to the stage at the historic Cain’s Ballroom with ease. Their showmanship was superb, and you can tell each one of them thoroughly enjoys being on a stage and performing for whoever is watching. They functioned at a level that is well above many of their counterparts, and this show made it all too easy to see why Gemini Syndrome is a band on the rise. They even gave Sevendust a serious run for their money, which is no small feat.

The final show of this run with Sevendust is August 23rd in Sioux City, Iowa at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Gemini Syndrome also has some dates through the rest of the month, scattered about Colorado; New Mexico and Nevada. Full info on when and where can be found HERE. Also, if you don’t have Lux, do your ears a favor and go pick it up in iTUNES.

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image(Photo credit: Ronnie Jackson Photography)

Here’s one of the pieces I’ve written for On Tour Monthly recently.

Here’s one of the pieces I’ve written for On Tour Monthly recently.