Thursday, September 22, 2016

Big weekend on its way... wheels up, and yes, there will be F.E.A.R.



Midnight tonight, UK time, Marillion's latest album, the 18th studio album, Fuck Everyone and Run (aka F.E.A.R) will be officially released. Already seeing reviews stating that it's likely the band's best-ever--here's an interview with Steve Hogarth from the UK's TeamRock... and timed just-right for everyone to listen to before the band begins their North America tour in San Francisco on 21st October, at the Regency Ballroom. (Yes, it's the evening before Aftershock festival in Sacramento. Yes, we can do both. Yes, I WILL be at both. We can sleep when we are dead, OK???)

I'll be putting my digital release of F.E.A.R. onto my player for listening to on the flight tomorrow, because I'm heading down to Houston for this weekend's Houston Open Air festival! Alice in Chains, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones, The Cult, Anthrax, Gemini Syndrome... and Dinosaur Pile Up. Among many, many others... a few of whom will also be appearing at Aftershock in October, so expect to see a lot of review/preview posts here on Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos between this weekend and then! (Can't believe it's already three years since Avenged Sevenfold were last at Aftershock... they are appearing at both Houston Open Air and Aftershock in 2016! And I *think* there are a few tickets left, for both, but you'd better get a move on.)

Avenged Sevenfold, Aftershock 2013
Avenged Sevenfold, Aftesrshock 2013

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Kungs, City of Trees, and this city is missing something huge this year


Kungs -- aka Brunel Valentin, from Aix-en-Provence in France--delivered an excellent DJ set at City of Trees this weekend, albeit underlit... we just absorbed the music, and danced in the dark... for certain Sacramentans, this could have gone on all weekend...

(It took me back in time to the two TBD Festivals that were held in West Sacramento. Different venue, rather a different audience, but all loving this kind of music.It reminded me once again how big and diverse the music market is here in Sacramento. This city can, and should, support multiple music events... TBD Fest has left a huge hole, and I'm not going to rehash the reasons why it hasn't happened again. I just hope that someone, someday, has the courage and the financial know-how and integrity to fill that hole again... because dancing in the dark to one excellent DJ set is just not enough for late summer in Sacramento. IMHO.)

Merci encore une fois, Kungs... Hear from Kungs on Souncloud , check Kungs Facebook, and go dance some more!

City of Trees: The Struts, Phantogram and Panic! at the Disco photogalleries

Luke Spiller, vocals, The Struts
Luke Spiller, The Struts, City of Trees 2016
Photo galleries for The Struts, Phantogram and Panic! at the Disco from this weekend's Radio 94.7 City of Trees music festival in Sacramento are now up! Click on one of these photos to go to the full galleries, or see the links below.

The Struts continue to tour throughout the USA until late this year, and their album Everybody Wants is out now! These guys are to see... don't miss an opportunity!

Sarah Barthel, vocals, Phantogram
Sarah Barthel, Phantogram, City of Trees 2016
Phantogram have a huge tour ahead of them; USA, Canada, and then over the pond to Europe. Catch them too!!!

Panic! at the Disco
Panic! at the Disco, City of Trees 2016
And Panic! at the Disco... awesome!!! A couple more dates coming up in the USA, then they are off to Europe, and a major tour of Australia... most of which are already sold out!!!

Here are the full galleries:

Panic! at the Disco
Phantagram
The Struts

If you want to share any of these images on social media, there is a share button on each picture, please use it :-)

Monday, September 12, 2016

A new playlist... old, new, borrowed and a little blue...


A few songs that I'm listening to right now... they are all in the YouTube playlist below, :

Zakk Wylde featuring Corey Taylor: Sleeping Dogs
Dinosaur Pile-Up: 11:11
He Whose Ox Is Gored: Oathbreaker
Marillion: Somewhere Else
Highly Suspect: My Name Is Human
The Struts: Kiss This
Art of Dying: Torn Down
Gemini Syndrome: Say Goodnight
Jan Gabarek: Ramy
Stone Sour featuring Lzzy Hale: Gimme Shelter

See what you think...


Sunday, September 11, 2016

City of Trees: new location, alternative-rock lineup, and lots and lots of happy faces

Fans, Panic! at the Disco
Panic! At The Disco fans, City of Trees festival
Noon till night yesterday, Bonney Field in Sacramento, next to the California State fairgrounds, was the home for this year's Radio 94.7 City of Trees music festival. Staying true to the radio station's mainstay, alternative rock was the theme, with Panic! At The Disco and Weezer headlining, Phantogram, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Unlikely Candidates and many more on the two main stages, plus lots of Sacramento bands playing too.

Brendon Urie, vocals, Panic! at the Disco
Brendon Urie, Panic! at the Disco
There will be many more band photos--just a few here today--but first, let's focus on what music festivals are all about: the people, the audience, the crowd, the people who set the whole thing up, the people who worked all day to keep everyone safe, fed, hydrated and entertained!  A huge thumbs up and a major THANK YOU!!!

Fans, Panic! at the Disco
Happy at City of Trees
I heard people saying that they were happier with this venue than last year's: easy to park, and no dust! There were certainly a huge number of happy, smiling faces, many of them teenage girls and possibly at their first-ever music festival, and what a great introduction to the wonderful world of festivals! (A shout-out here to all the moms and dads and grandparents who were there with their kids yesterday, in the middle of the huge crowd, as hot as everyone else and standing there, all day!!!)

Weezer
Weezer, City of Trees
There was laughter, there were smiles, there were tears (of happiness) and screams (of joy); there was music, there were The Struts (for me, the standout performance of the day, but then I'm an old fogie who grew up in England, and their Stones-Queen-Sweet sound was just the ticket... though the entire crowd seemed to enjoy their performance as much as I did, too! (If you have no clue who The Sweet were, click here to find out!)

The Struts
The Struts, City of Trees
Bonney Field was transformed into a festival venue, with two stages, one large main stage, one smaller music discovery stage, both at the river end of the soccer pitch, with VIP areas and beer tents on the field too. By late afternoon, every spot on the playing field with a view of the stage was filled with people; the side bleachers too. Outside, food trucks and merch stands and yoga and jewelry; the Brooklyn Water Ice was yummy and there was something for everyone's hunger.

Phantogram
Phantogram, City of Trees
And the young ladies who had been at the front line from the moment the gates opened? They survived a very hot-and-sunny Sacramento September day. (Extra thanks to the security guys who were handing out and spraying water throughout the day!)

Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, City of Trees
The day was a hit--nice job, Radio 94.7!

Were you at the festival? Maybe your photo is in the Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos photogallery: there are many more pictures, click here!!!

More photos of the performers comiing soon... links will be added and posted on Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos, so bookmark this site or follow @alisontoonphotographer on instagram, @alisontoon on Twitter.

People of City of Trees
People of City of Trees 2016, you rock!!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Festivals, festivals, festivals... City of Trees tomorrow, and who's this I see on a poster for Hofday???



Tomorrow is City of Trees at Bonney Field! The set times and stages have been announced: click here for details. Parking is free, and I think there are still a few tickets available... headliners Panic! At the Disco, Weezer, Phantogram.... and many, many more!  See the full lineup here and all the festival details on the website... and I'll see you there!

And then coming soon... I found out about this one because something blew against  my legs as we were walking around downtown last weekend, and what was it but a poster for the party that's so big it thinks it's a festival... Hofday!  And look who's on the poster! Sacramento's own Kenny the Dancing Man!

Hofday will be happening on the river's edge at River Walk Park, Sacramento, on September 24th. More info on the party/festival website here... music, food, games everything to celebrate this city!

Also on 24th (and 25th) of September, for those who are prepared to travel a little further afield: Houston Open Air has announced set times for two days and three stages of metal and hard rock... one or two tickets still available there too and you know we have an airport in Sac, right? It's going to be the biggest rock experience in Texas (and everthing's super big there of course), with more than 35 bands and lots, lots more. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund... click on that link for more info. Such a good thing to do, festival organizers... kudos!!!


And then... and then... it's not so long now.... AFTERSHOCK!!!!  Tool is coming to Sacramento!!!  I hope you bought your tickets already!!!  It's going to be fun.  <--- that's an example of a British understatement.



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Old Sacramento and Gold Rush Days, the place to be this Labor Day Weekend!

Sheriff, Gold Rush Days 2016
Sheriff, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
This weekend, Labor Day Weekend, is Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento! The annual event which was paused briefly due to concerns with the drought, is back and better than ever. The whole of Old Sacramento has been whisked back into the 1850's--if you look carefully, you'll find some people who are carrying time machines but don't tell anyone--and there's everything from panning-for-gold and gunfights to the high drama of the 1852 Sacramento fire (complete with firemen, ladies of the night, water, and a rescued boy).

Gold Rush Days 2016
Friends, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
You can explore history, find out about the Buffalo Soldiers, have your head-bumps read, drink Sasparilly from beautiful blue bottles, see an army camp, ride in a carriage or on a little pony, and of course, sample all the food that Old Sacramento has on offer.

Gold Rush Days 2016
Outside the Saloon, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
It's fun for all the family... and for all the cowboys whose horses tied up outside the saloon... they'll probably be still there tomorrow, sleeping it off before the next gunfight with the Sheriff and his deputies (all of whom were rather short and some of whom were under five years old).

Pony express,Gold Rush Days 2016
Pony Express, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
The Pony Express is in town (and if you're looking for a job, they are hiring skinny, wiry fellows under 18 years old, preferably orphans, who do not mind risking their lives daily... it says so on the sign, go take a look.)

Gold Rush Days continue tomorrow, Monday 5th September!

Many more pictures here in the photo gallery:http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/life/gold-rush-days

Fire department, Gold Rush Days 2016
Ready for the fire!!!
Don't forget: there's now a new way into Old Sacramento, the bridge from Capitol Mall is ready for use! (Pedestrians only this weekend; it opens to vehicles later in the week). Another step to reconnecting the waterfront with downtown Sacramento. (If they keep adding bridges, one day the whole I5 might be hidden from view, like it always should have been.)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Next weekend: City of Trees!!!


Radio 94.7 and Budweiser-sponsored  City of Trees 2016 is next weekend at Bonney Field!!! Did you get your tickets yet? If not, here's where you find them: click here!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

... and sometimes, it's all in a name... He Whose Ox Is Gored


Sometimes, but by no means always, I'm drawn to music by hearing it; a song on the radio, a random tune pulled up by Pandora, a snippet in a TV show, and of course, live bands. Sometimes, the artwork can quite simply entice me to take a listen--that's exactly what started me listening to Marillion, walking into a record store, many-many years ago, and leaving with an unheard-yet album, just-because of the sleeve. (It's also what would have me picking up and picking out Gemini Syndrome's albums even if I hadn't heard the music, yet.)

But sometimes, the name of the band just begs a listen. You win some, you lose some... for example, I couldn't resist checking out We Butter The Bread With Butter because, for crying out loud, whoever names a band like that??? (See the review for the answer.)

And so today: I couldn't resist checking out, He Whose Ox Is Gored. The name conjours up Vikings and rampage and ancients and myths and legend and darkness and primitive-yet-possessive man... and what do you know, that's exactly how the music sounds. An alchemic mix of sludge, metal, prog, trance, synth, drone, psychedelic, stoned, Viking-from-Seattle... vocals taking backstage to the instruments yet deeply entrenched and as a whole, rather beautiful. In a heavy-yet-dreamily-hypnotic-way.

Check out He Whose Ox Is Gored's music on their website.  You can find their album, The Camel, The Lion, The Child as digital downloads on Amazon and iTunes as well as on the band's website. More info about the band on Facebook, too.

This album deserves to be on vinyl... just saying.

He Whose Ox Is Gored have a few dates left on their current tour--catch them if you can!


Art Of Dying's new EP, Nevermore, out tomorrow! Watch out for them on tour, too!


Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos are often invited to review new music; here's one new release that is very much worth the listen.

Art Of Dying have just begun a forty-plus-show headlining tour of North America, and tomorrow sees the release of their EP, Nevermore.  With six songs, each one with the theme of overcoming adversity, the Canadian rockers from Vancouver, British Columbia, have radio hit material in plenty. Hard rock, with a sharp edge, strong vocals and some really nice harmonies...

Check out the official video for Torn Down:


Throw caution to the wind, go buy this EP, sit back, jump up, STAND UP! and enjoy... at only $2.99 for preorder today, buy a copy for a friend or ten, too... well worth it!

Art Of Dying are Jonny Hetherington (vocals), Tavis Stanley (guitar), Cale Gondier (bass), and Cody Watkins (drums). Find more information on their Facebook and website, including all the tour dates (San Francisco is the closest date to Sacramento, September 16th at the DNA Lounge)

Marillion North American tour dates... got tickets???


For ticket info, go to http://marillion.com/tour   See you there!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bored, waiting for next year's Chicago Open Air already? Here's something to keep you busy...



In among all the Chicago Open Air festival photos was this gem... but something happened... can you fix it? Were you there? Are you HERE, in this picture? Can you help put it back together again?

preview198 pieceHR-Crowd-ChicagoOpenAir-20160715-803
If you are bored, but not THAT bored, then maybe take a road trip to one of the other festivals... Aftershock maybe?

(All the crowd shots from Chicago Open Air are here, in the photo gallery, just click!!)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Memento Mori, Gemini Syndrome, it's here... and so will they be, soon!

Gemini Syndrome
Aaron Nordstrom, Gemini Syndrome
I think I'll name this, Gemini Syndrome week!

A week ago tonight--at 9 p.m. to be precise, midnight east-coast time, but when we were at the Fitz and the Tantrums show--Gemini Syndome's new album, second album, sophomore album, Memento Mori was released. I had to wait until I arrived home to download it... it was a struggle... but worth the wait? Absolutely. Worth the wait since the seemingly-ages-ago announcement that it was on the way? Yes, indeed. Well worth the wait.

Memento Mori is the second in a planned trio of albums from Gemini Syndrome, with Lux the first. When a band releases an album as strong as Lux, waiting for the second, there are questions: Will it be as as good as the first? Will the band develop, move further? Will they just repeat more of the same, or will they build on what they were two years ago? Is the new album something to be listened to once, or played over, and over, again?  (Maybe you just need to ask me how many times I've listened to it already during the past week. You know how much other music I get to listen to, and how often this happens? Memento Mori has been on repeat almost constantly... and will continue to be so.)

It's the latter. Memento Mori is strong, layered, deep, meaningful, hopeful, full of life. Each song is a gem, each song has a message. Whether it's the humanity of Anonymous, the politics of Zealot and Sorry Not Sorry, or the subtle, stunning beauty of Say Goodnight... another intense and memorable album from Gemini Syndrome.

Brian Steele Medina, drums, Gemini Syndrome
Brian Steele Medina, Gemini Syndrome
They release a new album... and almost immediately they are on Sirux XM's Octane, performing a brand new acoustic mashup of Basement (from Lux) and Anonymous (from Memento Mori). I hope there's a recording of that available soon; it's a wonderful example of how talented this band is.

Find your own copy on Amazon, on iTunes, on your usual streaming service, at the local music store...  There will be vinyl. I know there will be vinyl, coming a little later. Look out for the artwork that Gemini Syndrome is fast becoming renowned for; it began with Lux, and continues with Memento Mori. Take a look at their website...

While Gemini Syndrome fit very well with the metal and hard rock genre on tour and at festivals, fans who lean more towards prog--including bands such as Katatonia and Marillion--may very well also enjoy listening to Memento Mori. Check it out.

And Sacramento?  Here's another reason why this is Gemini Syndrome week. Tickets go on sale tomorrow for Sevendust's show at the Ace of Spades. If you didn't look at the supports... maybe you should. Its's really, really important to always check who the support acts are. Seriously. Go on...

Alessandro Paveri, bass, Gemini Syndrome
Alessandro Paveri, Gemini Syndrome
Gemini Syndrome are on tour, including dates with Sevendust,  and will also be appearing at Houston Open Air. For all tour dates, check their website.

Photos in this post are from Chicago Open Air this year: the review and an interview with Brian are here, and click here for the full photo gallery!

I'll leave you with Remember We Die, official video, from Memento Mori... and there really is plenty of time to see the other side. Live live to its full. Be kind. Love each other. 


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Fitz & The Tantrums filled the Ace of Spades to bursting point... so much fun!

Fitz & The Tantrums
Fitz & The Tantrums, Ace of Spades, Sacramento
If you are yearning for a happy show, go see Fitz & The Tantrums. If you were one of the lucky ones with at ticket for Thursday evening's show at Sacramento's Ace of Spades--it sold out, really fast--you already know what I mean. It was a wonderful evening; indie-pop-neo-soul, Motown with an LA twist, the Get Right Back tour is off and running.

Noelle Scaggs, vocals, Fitz & The Tantrums
Noelle Scaggs, Fitz & The Tantrums
Front man Michael Fitzpatrick and the delightful Noelle Scaggs partner up as vocal leads, weaving a wonderful tapestry of song, emotion, desire and dance. James King plays saxophones of various shapes and sizes, and the show includes a major instrumental section which raises the roof.

Fitz & The Tantrums
Fitz & The Tantrums
I last saw Fitz and the Tantrums here in Sacramento in 2013, and loved the show then... they are on my must see list. This time, they brought a big-time light show, complete with confetti cannons for the finale, The Walker. With songs from the latest self-titled album including the single I Can Make Your Hands Clap, plus from More Than Just A Dream  and Pickin' Up The Pieces, this was one major party.

If you still haven't heard them... you really should!

Here's the setlist:

Fitz and The Tantrums Setlist Ace of Spades, Sacramento, CA, USA 2016

Well worth a roadtrip to see them... check out all the tour dates here on Fitz and the Tantrums' Facebook or website. You can also listen to samples of the latest album and more, find Fitz and the Tantrums music on Spotify and other streaming services, all from their website homepage .

All the photos--many more--from Thursday's show in the photo gallery: click here!

Confetti, Fitz & The Tantrums
Fitz & The Tantrums, Ace of Spades, Sacramento

Boy George, Culture Club, and they are back with a force! Thunder Valley!

Boy George and Mikey Craig, Culture Club
Boy George and Mikey Craig, Culture Club
Before this weekend, you may have heard me mention the lack of dancing at concerts in Northern California. I thought it was a USA vs. UK cultural-difference thing, but I'm hearing that it's a Northern-California-thing more than an American versus British thing... but that changed on Saturday night, at Thunder Valley Casino Resort's outdoors concert series, when Boy George and Culture Club took the stage. EVERYONE DANCED!!! At their seats, in the aisles, in the parking lot... dancing!!!

Boy George and Culture Club
Boy George, Culture Club, at Thunder Valley, Lincoln, CA
There were more people dancing at a concert than I have seen in the entire sixteen years that I've lived in the USA, all concerts combined! Maybe it was the high number of Brits in the crowd... but much more likely, it was the wonderful, soulful and you-just-can't-resist-dancing show that these guys brought to the full-to-the-brim-with-fans audience.

Boy George and Culture Club
Boy George and one of his many hats
The original Culture Club lineup of Boy George, Mikey Craig on bass, Roy Hay on guitar, and Jon Moss on drums, together with a beautiful trio of singers and a couple of additional musicians whose names I didn't catch. A show full of the Culture Club hits plus new songs such as Human Zoo, the show opened with Church of the Poisoned Mind, and closed with Karma Chameleon followed by a cover of T Rex's Get It On, and contained much more soul and gentle reggae than anyone only familiar with the old hits might have expected. A beautiful cover of The Crying Game, with a thousand cellphone flashlights, an orange harvest moon rising behind the stage, seen from the high bleachers, a poignant moment.

Several Boy George costume changes, several hats. There has to be a Boy George Hat.

I had forgotten how this band can make me dance, and laugh, and cry, all at the same time. Wonderful show!!!!

Mikey Craig, bass, Culture Club
Mikey Craig,  Culture Club
Boy George's characteristic naughtiness still shines through. His voice has matured. The band are cohesive, excellent, and the camaraderie, after all these years, is tangible.

This is the first big, worldwide tour by Culture Club in almost-forever. There are a few dates left: if you missed it here in Lincoln, near Sacramento, you missed a real treat. But wait... there's a new album expected early next year, and keep an eye on the tour page for new dates. Also, keep an eye on Boy George's page for other musical adventures... he's also a DJ, and has just co-written-produced new material with longtime friend, (Mister) Marilyn.

Boy George and Culture Club
Boy George
More photos in the Boy George and Culture Club photo gallery, click here!

HR-CultureClubFans-ThunderValley-19Aug2016-2311
Dressed up ready for the show; audience participation, Culture Club
There were one or two Boy George lookalikes in the crowd... more in the photo gallery.

Friday, August 19, 2016

New video/single from Sacramento's A Foreign Affair


Sacramento alternative-rock band, A Foreign Affair, today launched a new video single, which you can watch below... and then head over to their Bandcamp to buy! It's taken from the EP planned for later this year.



A Foreign Affair are Alex Strobaugh (vocals), Jared Cambridge and Nick Blevins (guitar), Jordan Hoover (bass and vocals), and Andrew Kinsey (drums). Find out more on their Facebook!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

If you can't wait till Aftershock... take a roadtrip or three!

Corey Taylor, vocals, Slipknot
Slipknot, who will be headlining Louder Than Life
... then just hop on a plane, or jump in the car. There are festivals going on all over the place, including Houston Open Air (September 24th and 25th) and Louder Than Life (October 1st and 2nd, Louisville, Kentucky)... both of which can be reached from Sacramento from under $200 (Southwest Airlines' price today). And take a look at the lineups: here's Houston and here's Louisville's!

This coming weekend, a road trip up to Tahoe for the Reggae Festival?
Chino Moreno, vocals, Deftones
Deftones will be playing Houston Open Air
That's a hop, skip and jump of festivals all the way to Aftershock. Nice way to plan the time from Olympics to Discovery Park!

Ky-Mani Marley
Ky-Mani Marley, who will be at the Reggae Festival this coming weekend in South Lake Tahoe
More info:
- Tahoe Reggae Festival:  https://www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeReggaeFestival
- Houston Open Air: http://houstonopenair.com/
- Louder Than Life:  http://louderthanlifefestival.com/

Friday, August 12, 2016

This is not a pop album... the storm is coming. Marillion, F.E.A.R, video preview, documentary

HR-Marillion-Sun--PZ-2015-5507
Marillion
I wake up this morning to find this video in my Facebook inbox: a new documentary-preview of Marillion's upcoming 18th studio album, F*CK Everyone And Run (F.E.A.R.). Take a few minutes to watch this... it's not only a preview of the album, it is insights into how the band uses Soundcloud when preparing a new album, how they work when recording, the marrying of music, cinema, visuals, light... and really, why you, yes you over there in the corner, YOU! really do need to see Marillion when they are "over here" in North America, on tour later in the year.

F.E.A.R. has a release date of late September.

Now grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and watch...



For examples of live shows and what you might see, here's the photo gallery (just click).
For a good introduction to Marillion's music, click here for a sample playlist.

See you on the road late October!!! Oh and don't forget the weekends... don't forget the weekends.