Sunday, December 10, 2017

Changes are afoot...


I realise, I haven't posted anything in far too long. Sometimes time is needed for a deep breath, a closing of eyes, a resting and a recharging and a rethinking about what happens next. Yes, there are changes afoot (and no, I haven't been shoe-shopping in Montreal again... not yet anyway, but I'm making a list and checking it twice)... yes, there will be news, very soon; yes, there will be more photos, many more...

But if you didn't notice the couple-of-weeks-or-more-off, here's a song for you ;-) (It's a treasure from Peter Hammill, check out all of his back catalog... it may take a while!)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Nothing More: Aftershock photos, tour news, and coming soon to Ace of Spades!

Jonny Hawkins, vocals, Nothing More
Jonny Hawkins, Nothing More, Aftershock 2017
All the acclaim that Nothing More is receiving lately: so very well deserved. Their latest album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, of which they should be proud. The touring--soon headed to Europe. The festivals here in the USA, where I was able to see them both at Louder Than Life and then here in Sacramento, at Aftershock in Discovery Park, where they played in the bright sunlight of the early afternoon on the Monster stage.

Daniel Oliver, bass, Nothing More
Daniel Oliver, Nothing More, Aftershock 2017
Not only is Nothing More's music strong, meaningful, memorable, demanding to played on repeat, their live show is compelling, exciting and visual. Jonny Hawkins, barefoot on stage, intense. The contraptions, all the drums... always something to see, to watch.

Mark Vollelunga, guitar, Nothing More
Mark Vollelunga, Afershock 2017
If you are kicking yourself (you should be) because you didn't see their set at Aftershock, you can redeem yourself... they'll be here in Sacramento, at the Ace of Spades, on 3rd March. Tickets are on sale now. There are still some Meet and Greet package tickets left, but be quick... there are not many available--the VIP package already sold out!

Jonny Hawkins, vocals, Nothing More
Jonny Hawkins, Nothinig More, Aftershock 2017
All the photos from Nothing More's set at Aftershock: click right here!

For more of Nothing More (sorry, couldn't resist) from other shows, click up a level in the photo gallery.  Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and check out the website--note that it's a .net not .com site: http://nothingmore.net

Nothing More
Nothing More, Aftershock 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pop Evil: new album on its way... and new song, Waking Lions, out now!

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Leigh Kakaty, Pop Evil, Chicago Open Air 25016
The music video for Pop Evil's Waking Lions was released today through VEVO: see it below! Just as I was starting to crave a Pop Evil fix... pow!!! Here it is.


Due for release on February 16th, 2018, the new album is available for pre-order now: click here for digital pre-orders and here to pre-order physical CDs and vinyl.

Beautiful Waking Lions artwork by Mike Chardcore (Mike Cortada), and video: Columbia Tatone.

The band spent much of the summer in Nashville, recording this their fifth studio album, at Sound Emporium Studios, then finishing up at Sphere Studios in Los Angeles, California.

The new album follows on from 2015's UP -- reviewed here.

Pop Evil are Leigh Kakaty on vocals, Hayley Cramer on drums, Matt DiRito on bass, and Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling, guitars.

See also: review and photos from Pop Evil at Sacramento's Ace of Spades, Chicago Open Air 2016, and Aftershock 2015.

See upcoming tour dates on their Facebook and website!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

More photo galleries: Butcher Babies, Code Orange, New Years Day and Deap Vally

Reba Meyers, vocals and guitar, Code Orange
Reba Meyers, vocals and guitar, Code Orange, Aftershock 2017
More from Aftershock festival in Sacramento last weekend, where 50,000 fans came to the sold-out event in Discovery Park. This year, there were many more bands fronted by women. Halestorm, (see here), and also Butcher Babies (added to the lineup close to the event), Code Orange, Deap Vally and New Years Day.

Code Orange brought intense and metallic hardcore to the dusty, mid-afternoon Capital stage. Check them out here and here... and don't miss them if you are at Ozzfest meets Knotfest next weekend.

Carla Harvey, vocals, Butcher Babies
Carla Harvey, Butcher Babies, Aftershock 2017

Heidi Shepherd, vocals, Butcher Babies
Heidi Shephard, Butcher Babies, Aftershock 2017
Butcher Babies, always entertaining, rocked the crowd from the Monster stage. Their latest album, Lilith, is out now (released October 27th), and they have a major USA tour ahead of them--dates here!

Ash Costello, vocals, New Years Day
Ash Costello, New Years Day, Aftershock 2017
New Years Day also appeared on the Monster stage on Sunday--keep an eye on their Facebook for upcoming show dates!

Lindsey Troy, guitar and vocals, Deap Vally
Lindsey Troy, Deap Vally, Aftershock 2017
Deap Vally made a huge impression for a two-piece band: Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards.   Check them out here!

Many more photos in the galleries:

Butcher Babies: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/butcher-babies/butcher-babies-aftershock-2017
New Years Day: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/new-years-day/new-years-day-aftershock-2017
Code Orange: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/code-orange/code-orange-aftershock-2017
Deap Vally: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/deap-vally/deap-vally-aftershock-2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

Photogallery: Halestorm at Aftershock 2017

Halestorm
Halestorm, Aftershock, 2017
Many more photos here in the Halestorm photo gallery from Aftershock 2017.

Seems that every time I photograph Halestorm's Lzzy Hale, she looks very different... even when it's only three weeks apart! Last weekend at Aftershock... young Liza Minelli in biker leather... Visuals may change, but the voice and music remain!

Arejay and Lzzy Hale, Halestorm
Arejay and Lzzy Hale, Halestorm, Aftershock 2017
Halestorm, who comprise Lzzy Hale on vocals and guitar, brother Arejay Hale on drums, Joe Hottinger on guitar and Josh Smith on bass, started their set on Sunday at Aftershock in Sacramento's Discovery Park a-capella, then went on to play almost a full hour on the Monster stage. Full setlist is here.

Lzzy Hale, vocals and guitar, Halestorm
Lzzy Hale, Aftershock, 2017
Many more photos here in the Halestorm photo gallery from Aftershock 2017... click up in the gallery to see other Halestorm shows!

Photo gallery: Stone Sour at Aftershock!

Corey Taylor, vocals, Stone Sour
Corey Taylor, Stone Sour, Aftershock 2017
The full photogallery for Aftershock's appearance by Stone Sour: click here

Stone Sour, fronted by Corey Taylor, took to the Monster stage at Aftershock in Sacramento, California, in brilliant sunlight, on Saturday afternoon. Currently touring their latest album, Hydrograd, the forty-five minute set included the recent hits Taipei Person/Allah Tea, Fabuless and Song #3, plus Made of Scars, Say You'll Haunt Me, 30/30-150, and Through Glass from earlier albums.

Corey Taylor, vocals, Stone Sour
The band has very different persona to Corey Taylor's other project, Slipknot (who performed at Aftershock in 2015): more melodic, alternative hard-rock than Slipknot's masked, extreme, scary-clown-and-horror-story, hard-and-heavy metal. Corey Taylor reveals a gentler side, but just as intense a performer: the music, wonderful.

The festival-length set's time length; a tantalising taster that left the listener longing for more.

Stone Sour are appearing at Knotfest Mexico, 28th October, Ozzfest Meets Knotfest in San Bernadino, California, on November 5th, and then they head to Europe for a tour that lasts several weeks and hits many cities!

The photogallery for Aftershock's appearance by Stone Sour: click here

Corey Taylor, vocals, Stone Sour
Corey Taylor, Stone Sour, Aftershock 2017, Sacramento

Photo gallery: In This Moment at Aftershock; beautiful, new, powerful

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
In This Moment, Aftershock, 2017
In This Moment at Aftershock 2017 photo gallery: click here.

One of the most difficult decisions to make at a festival, when there are overlapping schedules for different stages, is which band to see when their set times overlap. At Aftershock this year, that choice was between Steel Panther, who were playing on the Capital stage, and In This Moment, playing on the Blackcraft stage. I'd seen both at Louder Than Life earlier in the month. They are both musically and visually interesting... what a dilemma!

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
Which to choose? I went with In This Moment... I'm sure Steel Panther were amazing and hilarous, but... In This Moment were stunning.

New outfits, new performance... like a red, spiky Durga. gracious and be-weaponed and beautiful, Maria Brink and her dancers moved serpentine and seductive across the stage.

In This Moment's performance over the years has evolved into one of the most enticing of all hard rock and metal bands. It's a full-on theatrical show, with many costume changes--more soulful, less overtly sexual than in previous incarnations--yet with a heart of pure rock.

Their latest and sixth studio album, Ritual, was released in July this year.

Many more photos from In This Moment at Aftershock 2017 in the gallery: click here.

Travis Johnson, bass, In This Moment
Travis Johnson, In This Moment, Aftershock 2017
In This Moment are on tour in North America during the rest of the year--find tour dates here.

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
Maria Brink, In this Moment, Aftershock 2017

Maria Brink, vocals, In This Moment
In This Moment, Aftershock 2017
Many more photos from In This Moment at Aftershock 2017 in the gallery: click here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Paul Weller: A Kind Revolution, at the Ace of Spades, Sacramento

Paul Weller
Paul Weller, Ace of Spades, Sacramento, 2017
It's not often that someone who fills arenas and concert halls around the world, comes to Sacramento and plays to an audience that fits snugly into a venue the size of the Ace of Spades. It's really not often, especially when it's the first visit to the city in a career that spans the success and years like Paul Weller's has. And yet, there he was, the Modfather himself, on the Ace's dark stage on Friday night.

The set was huge: songs from Mr Weller's latest and wonderful album, A Kind Revolution; songs from his earlier solo works; songs from the Style Council days, and to finish it all, at the end of the second encore, with the Jam song; A Town Called Malice.

Paul Weller
Paul Weller, Ace of Spades, Sacramento
At the barrier, in front of the stage, a group of people from all over the country, who had hired a minibus and were following the tour: like me, fans from the UK now living in the USA, fans from other countrie. Upstairs in the bar, with a great view of the stage: four or five people, dancing their hearts out. In-between these two groups of enthusiastic people, a large audience who I felt took a while to warm up... they'd had an awful lot to say earlier in the evening, but seemed rather quiet--maybe in awe? maybe just being a Californian, and not a British, audience? (sometimes I feel the culture gap like a chasm)--right until just before half-way through the show, somewhere between a couple of Style Council songs, Ever Had it Blue and Shout to the Top, at which point the audience really clicked and erupted into a show of warmth, excitement, waving and dancing to the beat of Paul Weller, right through to the very last note of the second encore.

There are a couple more USA dates on this tour: tonight in San Diego, Friday in Los Angeles... then he's off around the world. Check all tour dates here.

Paul Weller
Paul Weller, Ace of Spades, Sacramento
I was so happy to be there. It had been far, far too long (see the story here--last time I saw Paul Weller perform, it was in Leicester's De Montfort Hall, which is a little larger than Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium, and nowhere near as big as the Sydney Opera House, which he plays for two nights in January. See how lucky we were on Friday, Sacramento?). I hope he comes back again, soon... or maybe I'll have to join the gang in that mini-bus.

Paul Weller
Paul Weller, Ace of Spades, 2017
More photos here in the photo gallery: one day maybe the Ace of Spades will purchase some new light bulbs.

A Perfect Circle, live at Aftershock: review and photos

A Perfect Circle
A Perfect Circle, Aftershock 2017
Guest post by Jade Anna Hughes: you can find more of Jade's writing here: http://www.jadeannahughes.com  All photos by Alison Toon. Photo gallery here: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/a-perfect-circle/apc-aftershock-2017

Just over 17 years ago I was waiting impatiently for NIN to play in the early California summer heat, madly in love with the music, and with Trent of course. I had no idea who A Perfect Circle were and had watched some Tool videos earlier that day, but hadn’t really made the connection between the bands.

Twenty minutes later I was standing there in the pit, mesmerized. Maynard James Keenan was standing in front of the crowd in teeny tiny shorts, his voice carrying across the crowd, backed by some amazing music. He then pulled his wig off, having shaved his head not long before, revealing a new, completely bald look. While I will remember the headlining NIN performance for the rest of eternity, I also took A Perfect Circle back home with me to France, listening to their first album on repeat, transported, literally. I have since seen Tool several times, as well as Puscifier, all amazing, but that APC performance was a huge deal. I really, really thought that Mer de Noms would be the first of many, many albums, but sadly, it was only followed by the equally brilliant Thirteenth Step in 2003 (and then eMOTIVe, an album of covers/remixes in 2004). So you can only imagine my high pitched scream for joy when I saw that both APC and NIN would be playing at this year’s Aftershock festival here in Sacramento! And then, after months of wondering whether there would be any new material, several new songs have been played at different live shows.

Maynard James Keenan, vocals, A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan, A Perfect Circle, Aftershock 2017
We were super lucky, because a brand new single, The Doomed, was released earlier this month, and was played for the first time live at Aftershock.

While visually their set this time around was starkly different from back in 2000, as all members were shrouded in darkness and smoke, the few lights playing with the shadows, the music punched me in the stomach in the exact same way it did the first time around. Magdalena has pretty much followed me through every place I have lived for the past 17 years, and hearing a perfect, live rendition was about as good as it gets! The 12 song set was a brilliant span of my favorite APC pieces, and I’m really excited to see what they have up their sleeves for this new album that has been promised for 2018. And if we listen to what Maynard has to say, it promises to be heavily political, which of course also makes my day.

Maynard James Keenan, vocals, A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan, A Perfect Circle, Aftershock 2017
I hope we can catch them on tour in the area next year again, because my APC appetite has awakened and wants MORE!

Setlist from Aftershock 2017: The Package, The Hollow, The Noose, Weak and Powerless, Rose, 3 Libras, Thomas, Magdalena, Hourglass, Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums, The Outsider, The Doomed.

More photos: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/a-perfect-circle/apc-aftershock-2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Aftershock festival: Them Evils: take a listen!

Jordan Griffin, vocals and guitar, Them Evils
Jordan Griffin, Them Evils, Aftershock 2017
One of the wonderful things about music festivals is discovering new music. Yes, you're drawn by your favourites and well-known bands that you've not yet had the chance to see. But there are others, waiting for you to discover them for yourselves.

Jake Massanari, bass, Them Evils
Jake Massanari, Them Evils
My "find" this time was Them Evils. The three-man, hard-driving bluesy-rock band, currently based in Southern California, were playing on the Capitol stage on the far side of Discovery Park on Sunday, tucked into the schedule between New Years Day on the Monster stage, and Starset on the Blackcraft stage. I managed to get over there to hear a little of Them Evils' set: I certainly want to hear more!

David Delaney, drums, Them Evils
David Delaney, Them Evils, Aftershock
Them Evils have toured recently with Zakk Sabbath and The Pretty Reckless, participated in major USA festivals, and released music including the self-titled EP. Them Evils are vocalist and guitarist Jordan Griffin, bassist Jake Massanari, and David Delaney on drums. Check out their music here on their website, and follow them for more info on their Facebook.

More photos here in the Them Evils photo gallery!

Five Finger Death Punch at Aftershock, 2017; photos and review

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
Ozzy Osbourne and Nine Inch Nails may have been the headliners of Aftershock, but Five Finger Death Punch, at least for me, stole the show. (Here are all the photos.)

HR-FFDP-Aftershock-22Oct2017-8681
Jason Hook, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
Happy, upbeat, loud, angry, emotional, heart-wrenching, tough, and fun... on top of their game. Ivan, Zoltan, everyone, smiling, together. Whether it was the news that the long-awaited album will be released soon (a greatest hits plus a couple of new songs in December, and the new studio album in 2018),  or just the sight of so many thousands and thousands of happy FFDP fans crowding the stage in Sacramento, the band were on top form. The crowd? Simply enormous.

Zoltan Bathory, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
A Five Finger Death Punch show, full of memorable moments; a wedding ring lost, found and returned; little kids, up on stage, while all the adults went mad to Burn MF; the entire crowd singing along to acoustic versions of Wrong Side of Heaven and Remember Everything. This was a show... this, Five Finger Death Punch at their best. (And remember... they do this, night after night. If you missed them at Aftershock, make sure you see them next time. Anywhere. Everywhere.)

(It's my birthday, don't expect me to write any dry, factual, emotionless editorial review of a Five Finger Death Punch show... it's a fan-girl day, no matter how old the fan is today, OK???)

Chris Kael, bass, Five Finger Death Punch
Chris Kael, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
It's not just music. It's heart and soul.

Jeremy Spencer, drums, Five Finger Death Punch
Jeremy Spencer, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
Five Finger Death Punch stole the show, but gave the audience back in time for Ozzy to show why he's been the metal king for as long as I can remember (just don't ask, don't ask).

All the Five Finger Death Punch at Aftershock 2017 photos here in the photo gallery. And if you click up a level in the gallery, you'll find a load more FFDP too!

Five Finger Death Punch
Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
More Five Finger Death Punch stories and photos:

FFDP at Louder Than Life 2017
FFDP in Reno, 2015
FFDP at Aftershock 2014, including interview with Ivan Moody
Zoltan, Bring Me The Horizon... still waiting to be friended back my friend, still waiting! ;-)

People of Aftershock 2017... and yes, you did it, again!!! (Photos!)

People having fun at Aftershock
Aftershock 2017
Were you at Aftershock this weekend? Of course you were... you came from all over the city, the state, the country and the world! What a lineup! What a mix of music! Something for everyone, and everyone for something... from a few months old to older than me! And you are all right here in the photo gallery!

People having fun at Aftershock
Aftershock 2017
My first set of photos from the weekend, as always, you the people.

People having fun at Aftershock
Aftershock 2017
Those who worked hard to give us a wonderful weekend; those who partied hard, fell over, tripped us up; those who ran to the barrier as the gates opened, and remained there throughout the entire day, waiting for the headliners... the security team who caught the crowdsurfers and handed out water... all the people who were cooking the great variety of festival food, serving up the festival beer and booze... the people at the Music Experience showing the next generation how to get started in the music business, the people from FxCK Cancer and Dyin 2 Live and Take Me Home pet rescue, all the merch vendors... the folks who organize and promote this entire, huge and amazing weekend along with many others throughout the country and the year... all of the bands and musicians, and most of all, YOU, the huge, enormous, amazing, awesome crowd, the listeners of music, the dancers and the headbangers and the families and friends and all.

People having fun at Aftershock
Aftershock 2017
Wasn't it a wonderful weekend??? Thank you, Aftershock Festival, from the bottom of our rocking, metal hearts!!!

People having fun at Aftershock
Aftershock 2017
Here's the full gallery: People of Aftershock 2017. Take a look, I bet you are in there. All tens of thousands of you.

Band photos will be added over the next few days. Keep coming back!

(There are other years' Aftershock photos here too--just take a look!)

People having fun at Aftershock
Aftershock 2017

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Punk In Drublic at Papa Murphy's Park, Sacramento: craft beer and music festival

Beer tasting
Beer samples, Punk In Drublic
Happening right now in Sacramento: Punk In Drublic, at Papa Murphy's Park, Exposition Blvd, Sacramento. Presented by Fat Mike, Punk In Drublic is a unique experience; four or more hours of beer tasting, and then a music festival -- six punk bands, with NOFX headlining.

Less Than Jake
Fun at Punk In Drublic, Sacramento
With a huge number of beers to sample, and--to many attendee's delight--included in the ticket price, the first few hours of the festival saw beer tents all over Papa Murphy's football (soccer) pitch, with people collecting sample after sample of the various beers; all different, and so varied; some dark, like an English stout; some amber, glowing, and some as clear as a German white wine. On entering the park, everyone received a glass, a 4oz sample size, for trying all the beer. At four o'clock promptly, the beer tents were packed away, allowing for the crowd to spread out for the rest of the music.

Get Dead
Get Dead, Punk In Drublic, Sacramento
The music had begun with San Francisco's Get Dead, followed by Bad Cop Bad Cop, an all-women band currently based in Southern California. (I don't know why I should have to mention that the band is all women. It shouldn't matter; it's a band of musicians... that's really all that should be important, but... it still matters. Check them out here and here.)

Bad Cop / Bad Cop
Bad Cop / Bad Cop, Punk In Drublic, Sacramento
Next up: Less Than Jake, punk with a touch of ska... and I somehow became obsessed with trying to capture the rapidly-growing crowd in the reflection of the trombone's bell...

Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake, Punk In Drublic, Sacramento
The other bands in the line up: Goldfinger, Flogging Molly and NOFX! Sadly I wasn't able to stay for the entire day... I hope everyone had a wonderful time!

Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake, Punk In Drublic, Sacramento
More photos here in the gallery--more will be added!

Check out the Punk In Drublic website for further dates in the festival tour--there are at least two more during October!