Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vikings!!! Sheringham, Norfolk, England

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Battle reenactment, Sheringham Viking Festival
What more appropriate for the first proper post from my new home in Norfolk, England, than a Viking invasion? It happened yesterday, in Sheringham; the seaside town's fifth annual Viking festival, ending a week of activities with battles on the beach, a torchlight procession, and the ceremonial burning of a boat at the edge of the tide. It was a beautiful, sunny, calm and clear February day. Perfect weather for an invasion. Perfect weather for a fight on the beach.

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Vikings and Anglo-Saxons like ice-cream too!
I learned that Vikings love to eat chips. And ice cream. And that the leaders of today's Sheringham are happy to walk down the street with the mauraders. And that people come from all over the country to see the festival... and that it's growing bigger and better every year.

The Wuffa and Dragon Shields, Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons battled it out on the beach at low tide, clad in heavy chain-mail, wielding huge wooden shields, battle-axes and swords. Cut down in their prime--or weighted-over by the weaponry--they fell into the cold, wet sand, only to spring back to life, time and again, when the the crowd summonsed the help of Vallhala and cried, "Rise, Rise!" (or as one youngster in the crowd called, "Rice!") This generated some interesting, overheard conversations, children asking their parents about death and dying, which I'm sure were answered in creative British style.

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Fire eater, Sheringham Viking Festival

There was a fire-eater, and a fire dancer, and a witch, and dog-lion who came along to watch the show and sat patiently waiting for the parade to pass.

And then, the boat burned, fueled by heaps of not-so-Viking wooden pallets, warming the cockles of our hearts, young and old. And yes, that's a human shape you see... Vikings buried their dead by burning them with their boats. Don't worry, this was as human as the Guy that goes on the bonfire in November. At least, I think it was...

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Boat burning, Sheringham Viking Festival
More photos here in the Alison Toon Photographer photo gallery: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/life/vikings/sheringham-viking-festival-2018

Organized by the Sheringham Carnival team, you can find out more about it here, and another set of photos and a writeup in the North Norfolk News today.

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Battle on the beach, Sheringham Viking Festival 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Avatar at Sacramento's Ace of Spades tonight!

Avatar

I am jealous. I would love to be at this show. Avatar is in town!!!

You'll have a wonderful time... did you get a ticket? Here's where to check in case there are any left on the Ace of Spades' website.

I want to hear all about it...

(Photo gallery from Avatar's show at Aftershock, Sacramento, 2016 is here.)

Monday, January 1, 2018

New music coming in 2018 from Sacramento's Zeroclient


One of my favourite Sacramento bands--and there is a lot of excellent music in this town--Zeroclient, will be releasing a new album, their second, in 2018. Here's a preview... with a very cool video:


Find out more on their Facebook page!

2018: look at the lineup already!!! And but... and but...

Avatar
Avatar, coming to the Ace of Spades this month
It's been pretty quiet around town since Aftershock in late October, metal/hard rock-wise, which left me time to sort out "other stuff" (see later), take a little time away from the camera (sometimes we have to do that), apart from family photo sessions and non-concert photography... but heck, look at what the new year has lined up for Sacramento! Hard rock, metal, and some big names in pop.

At the Ace of Spades:
  • Avatar on 25th January
  • Meshuggah on 26th January
  • Motionless In White, February 20th
  • Black Label Society and Corrosion of Conformity, February 21st
  • Theory of a Deadman, 22 February
  • Pop Evil, 28th February
  • Starset, 2nd March
  • Nothing More, 3rd March
  • Stone Temple Pilots, 13th March
  • Flogging Molly, 21 March
  • Ministry, 26th March
  • and many, many more: see https://www.aceofspadessac.com/ for all shows and tickets.

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Ministry, coming to the Ace of Spades
  • Katy Perry, January 31
  • Lorde, March 12th
  • Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, 30th January
  • Tyler The Creator, 31st January.

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Pop Evil, coming to the Ace of Spades
I'd love to see all of these shows!!! If you haven't already, buy tickets ASAP because many of these will be sold-out shows.

Avatar, Pop Evil, Nothing More and Ministry would be right at the top of my DO NOT MISS list.

Nothing More
Nothing More, coming to the Ace of Spades
But... and this is the "but" from the title of this post... Most likely, I won't be here in Sacramento for these shows! (Though it's SO VERY TEMPTING.)

It's time for my next adventure. I sold my house here the day after Christmas. I even sold my lovely, red truck, which made me shed a tear, last week. Everything is sorted: I'm headed back to Europe, at least for a while; not sure to exactly where yet--that's part of the adventure--but I have a need to go back to my roots, and to leave the USA for a while.

If you follow my social media posts, you'll know my opinions on the way this country is heading, politically and socially, and... it's just time to go explore somewhere else and to take a break from what's happening here. (It won't make me silent--probably the opposite, when the comparisons start settling in.)

I'm not leaving because of Trump; I'm leaving because Trump is not the problem, he is simply and quite terribly the most-visible symptom of a chronic and dangerous disease. Like a meningitis rash. Like a nasty and unrelenting cough.

I'm very lucky and I know it; I have the right, and the privilege, that enables me to do this, to decide to up and leave, and still have the option to return at whim. With both a USA and a UK passport in my pocket, and a little money in my bank account, I can do this. I don't this lightly, nor do I expect the grass to be magically greener on the other side of the pond. But... I have to find out. And so, the bags and the cameras are all packed and ready to go.

I will be back; I have precious family and friends here in Sacramento and around the country. It might be sooner, it might be later. It will certainly be for regular visits, for tours, shows and festivals. 

Just expect the next posts to be written and photographed from somewhere other than Sacramento, USA!

Download Festival? Don't mind if I do...

See you at the next show!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye, 2017... what a lot you contained. The good, the bad and the ugly... and the hope.

Marillion plus In Priase of Folly string quartet, Leicester
Marillion plus string quartet, Leicester DeMontfort Hall, UK
So.. the final day of 2017 is here, today, and on the far side of the earth people are already celebrating the dawn of a new year; fireworks in Australia and Hong Kong already dazzling the skies. Before that happens here in California, here's a look back at 2017 from the perspective of Alison Toon Photographer. It's been a good year, it's been a bad year, and it's been, from my view of American politics, an ugly year too.

Yes, it has been an "interesting" year, in all spirits of the word, interesting. Politically painful; living in a country which, more and more, I see heading in a direction diametrically opposite to the direction in which I was raised, and in which I believe. I see people living on the streets and along the rivers of Sacramento, with nothing but canvas or cardboard to keep them, and their few belongings, safe overnight. At the beginning of 2017 there was a lot of rain--much needed after several years of drought--but terrible for anyone who is sleeping rough. Shocking statistics: there are more people homeless in Sacramento than in all of the UK. The homeless population of California, according to this article from the New York Times, is approximately 554,000 people. That's more than the population of some entire countries; Iceland, for example, has a total population of approximately 336,400 people and while the climate for sleeping outdoors is definitely preferable in California to Iceland, it's totally shameful that such a huge, rich state has so many people living in dire conditions.

Driving through Sacramento in the rain last winter, seeing people without shelter, was one of the triggers to writing my first novel, Jo and the Old Man of the Sea, which was published in February 2017 and is available through Amazon and other booksellers around the world. (Find more details here.) The other inspiration for Jo? My favourite place in the whole wide world... North Norfolk, in England, where I was happily able to spend a few weeks this year.

I also launched another website, telling the stories within my family history research. The family tree has for too long been a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle hidden inside my brain and within Ancestry.com's databases; this is the time to make the data human again. It's not just a linking of statistics and DNA; it's a whole encyclopedia of human lives, struggles, loves and achievements.

Jason Hook, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Jason Hook, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
Photography... the year has been super-full of amazing experiences.

I covered three of the four Marillion Weekends this year: in Port Zelande, The Netherlands; in Lodz, Poland; in my hometown of Leicester, England, UK! De Montfort Hall, Leicester, still one of the best and most beautiful concert venues. Perfect acoustics... These weekends were amazing experiences, attended by people from all around the world, some travelling huge distances. The next weekends are planned for 2019, but Marillion have a USA tour coming soon in 2018; not to be missed!

Corey Taylor, vocals, Stone Sour
Corey Taylor, Stone Sour, Aftershock 2017
Festivals: this year's included Louder Than Life, in Louisville, Kentucky, City of Trees in Sacramento, Aftershock, also in Sacramento, to name just a few. (Incidentally, my step tracker tells me that my most active weekend this year was the Aftershock weekend... if I took that number of steps every day I would never, ever have to be concerned about how many times a day I eat chips.)

Chevelle
Chevelle, Ace of Spades Sacramento, 2017
Concerts: a few major highlights: Paul Weller!!! Wow... Paul Weller. I photographed a Paul Weller show. Still smiling about that one. Midge Ure, too: that was in January, at Harlows. Hellyeah were awesome at the Ace of Spades. Chevelle taught me how much I love their "indoor" show, bringing some superb lighting on the road. Trace Adkins, at California State Fair. Dropkick Murphys and The Selecter at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium.

So many shows, so much excellent music. New and rising bands such as Greta Van Fleet and Joyous Wolf. Old(er) favourites, including some wonderful shows from Five Finger Death Punch, Nothing More and Stone Sour. Rob Zombie getting high (it's a pun, check the photo, my most-shared image of 2017). Halestorm and In This Moment. New twists including Mike Patton's Dead Cross and Davey Havoc and Dreamcar.

For all the photos, go to http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music; the galleries are in date order, latest are at the top!

Musically, a wonderful year... a little short on shows since Aftershock, but I've been really really bust with plotting for the new year (info coming soon), and there's been a big gap in decent shows here in Sacramento, but that is all going to change next month. More on that in the next post, looking forwards to 2018... plus more (personal) news! See you at a show and/or festival or a hundred, next year!!!

In the crowd
Festivals, festivals.. Louder Than Life, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Struggling to find last-minute gifts? EASY! Music!! Adventure!! FESTIVALS!!!

People having fun at Aftershock
Having fun at Aftershock, Sacramento 2017
Have you left shopping until the very, very last minute? Or maybe you've already started planning for next year's vacation? You know you can buy next-year festival tickets, right now, right? Why not combine the two... a trip and a festival. It's a great opportunity to see another part of the world... see futher below for more distant opportunities.

Here are just a few ideas!

1) Several of the Danny Wimmer Presents festivals already have their dates and lineups announced, and tickets are on sale:

 Muse play their only North American festival date in 2018 at Carolina Rebellion. The May 4th, 5th and 6th lineup looks amazing! You can find tickets here.

Then there's Northern Invasion with another stellar list of performers: Tool and A Perfect Circle at the same event!


Find more info for Northern Invasion here, including tickets and hotel deals. May 12th and 13th in Somerset, WI.

Louder Than Life will be in Louisville, KY, the weekend of September 29th and 30th, and earlybird tickets are already available. I was there this year and it's a huge amount of fun. Take an extra few days and explore the city, visit the Muhammed Ali Museum, discover more about boubon... oh and there's a boubon festival too.

Check Danny Wimmer Presents for other festival dates and tickets... there is much more to hear!

Closer to home in Sacramento, First Festival tickets are on sale too: the festival will be the weekend of May 5th and 6th, in Tanzanite Park, Sacramento. Lineup includes Blackalicious!

And if you really want to combine a music and a travel experience... go big and go to Europe! Here are a few ideas:

- Download (UK)
- Download (France)
- Rock am Ring
- and many, many more. In fact... here's an interactive map to all the metal/rock festivals in Europe. Find your bucket-list destination, plan your trip, and enjoy the music. Make today a gift to yourself... plan your festival year 2018!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoy whatever you are celebrating, eating and listening to!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of FFDP and Marillion. And why I say, listen to everything. Ignore labels. Listen to it all.

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Steve Hogarth, Marillion, The Netherlands weekend 2017

Over the past few weeks, two of my all-time-favourite bands, Marillion and Five Finger Death Punch, have released new albums. Both albums are somewhat "best of's". Marillion released The Gold, the best of convention 2017, a compilation of songs from the four weekend-long, three-day concert events which gathered fans from around the world, in The Netherlands, Poland, UK and Chile; a selection of songs that span the band's career to date. Five Finger Death Punch released A Decade of Destruction, a compilation of many of their best songs, plus two new titles: Trouble and Gone Away (Offspring cover).

Five Finger Death Punch, labelled metal and hard rock, grouped with all the heavy, angry metal bands. Marillion, labelled prog and too often grouped with bands such as Yes and Genesis. If you pick music by someone-elses' assignment to genre, you might never listen to both. Never make assumptions about your own musical tastes... ignore the labels. Listen to it all.

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
So why are such diverse bands both in my all-time favourite list? Let me count the ways...

- Both have wonderful vocalists. Each has an extreme; Ivan Moody's honey-monster growl, Steve Hogarth's sometime-falsetto. But for the most part, they are both heartwarming, gut-wrenching, incredible vocalists, both able to rise to anger and break to tears; both bringing an empathy that few vocalists are capable of.
- Both bands have loyal, for-life fans around the world, many of whom do not hesitate to travel long distances to see the bands perform live, time and time again.
- Both bands are a family of strong and creative musicians and unique characters who have found the way to work together, and build deep, strong, engaging music, year upon year
- Both are capable of bringing me to tears, of breaking me with joy, and of being my companion in times of trouble.
- And they both put on a hell of a live show. Again, and again, and again. So much so, that the moment the last one ends, you're starting to plan when you can attend the next.

Yes, the styles are different. Instead of judging by a genre label, I sometimes think of bands, of musicians, of performers, like shining comets zooming and hurtling through a dark universe. And at a point in that imaginary, universal, musical time, a special moment occurs; that moment at which we gasp, Listen! Oh! Amazing! I like that sound, too! the comet's musical paths intersect, and magic happens.

This is where it happens for me for Five Finger Death Punch and Marillion: see what you think. (These songs are not from the new albums!)




If you've only heard one of these bands before, listen to both of these songs... you might want to check out more. And if you're ready for more live shows, check out Marillion's dates here, and FFDP's tour here. This week, I wish I was in Europe. I do...

Both of these new albums, The Gold, and A Decade of Destruction, are a good introduction to each band's catalog of music. If you've just discovered a new band to listen to, it's a good place to begin.

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.