Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pop Evil in the UK: O2 Academy, Islington, London (and The Fallen State, too)

Pop Evil
Pop Evil, London's O2 Academy Islington
Links to the photo galleries are at the end of the post.

It was a last-minute trip (and a big thank you to those who made the photo access happen): Wednesday, I didn't think I'd be able to go, but there were still tickets (a few, unlike the earlier sold-out Birmingham show) and there are trains with tables for working on... seems like the O2 Academy Islington might be my go-to venue (it's only a three-hour-each-way commute!) as they do host some amazing bands... Jonathan Davis and now Pop Evil, to name just a couple. It's an intimate venue - around 800 capacity -- tube and trains and hotels are very close by, there's street food and shopping and everyone needs a night in London every so often, right?

Leigh Kakaty and Hayley Cramer, Pop Evil
Leigh Kakaty and Hayley Cramer, Pop Evil
Every Pop Evil show is a gem -- this was no exception to that shining, energetic, rule -- and the London fans made them very welcome. Playing songs from their full repertoire from the opener Boss's Daughter through to the last notes of Trenches (duet with Leigh Kakaty and Ben Stenning from support band, The Fallen State), the show rocked: legendary!

Pop Evil
Pop Evil at the O2 Academy Islington, London UK
Having missed Pop Evil last year in the USA - they were scheduled to play at Louder Than Life, I was on my way, but weather happened and it was cancelled - this was my first time seeing the band with British drummer, Hayley Cramer. If you want to see the epitome of someone enjoying their job? Go see Pop Evil, and watch Hayley play. Indeed... all the band. It's an infectious delight.

Have you listened to Pop Evil, yet?

Matt DiRito, bass, Pop Evil
Matt DiRito, bass, Pop Evil
The O2 gig and then a final date in Amsterdam was the last of the current European tour: Pop Evil head to Australia in early April, then back to the USA for dates beginning in Cincinnati on April 10th. To keep up with tour dates - including this year's festivals - see the tour page.

Leigh Kakaty, Pop Evil and Ben Stenning, The Fallen State
Leigh Kakaty, Pop Evil and Ben Stenning, The Fallen State, singing Trenches
Main support for Pop Evil on the European dates - The Fallen State, hailing from Barnstaple, Devon - the beautiful southwest of England. Already well-known around the UK, the band have released five EPs to date. Their first full-length album, A Deadset Endeavour, is due for release very soon and can be ordered here. If you haven't heard them yet, check them out - hear Torn, from the upcoming album, here on YouTube and find more info on their Facebook too.

Ben Stenning, vocals, The Fallen State
Ben Stenning, The Fallen State
Photogalleries:
The Fallen State
The Fallen State, O2 Islington

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Buckcherry, Hoobastank and Adelitas Way at The Waterfront, Norwich

Josh Todd, vocals, Buckcherry
Josh Todd, Buckcherry, Norwich Waterfront
Buckcherry have been touring the UK again, this time with Hoobastank and Adelitas Way - their first time in the UK - on the lineup too. Their new album, Warpaint, will be released in early March - you can preorder on their website now! Sunday's setlist included the title track along and Bent from Warpaint, plus songs from throughout the band's career: It's a Party, Gluttony, Crazy Bitch and the beautiful Sorry.

Kevin Roentgen, guitar, Buckcherry
Kevin Roentgen, Buckcherry

Stevie D, guitar, Buckcherry
Stevie D, Buckcherry
I've heard Josh Todd in better voice. I've seen them perform on bigger, more impressive stages to massive festival audiences. But a Buckcherry show is all about the party... it's fun, it's wild, it's one hell of a show and yes, Sunday was no different. Full setlist here!

Francis Ruiz, drums, Buckcherry
Francis Ruiz,  Buckcherry

Norwich was the last night of the UK leg of the tour: Buckcherry now head to Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Germany again for four shows, back to Sac and then off to Canada. Find all their tour dates here and all the photos from Sunday's show in Norwich are here.

Rick DeJesus, vocals, Adelitas Way
Rick DeJesus, Adelitas Way
I was very happy to see Adelitas Way on the bill: about time the Brits heard them, I'm sure this tour has brought a whole new crowd of fans and that one day we'll see them at the UK and European rock/metal festivals. Last time I saw Adelitas Way was at the Boardwalk in Orangevale, Sacramento in 2016: they stood out then, they stand out now. If you missed them, catch up and listen. (Rick DeJesus gave a nice shout out to Sirius XM Octane radio... I MISS THAT RADIO STATION. Planet Rock is way too oldschool, Kerrang! video channel is a poor substitute. Let's get Sirius XM to the UK too, right?)

Adelitas Way
Adelitas Way at The Waterfront, Norwich, UK
And after about twenty? years since a first encounter, I have to admit that Hoobastank is growing on me. Forgive me for taking my time.

Doug Robb, vocals, Hoobastank
Hoobastank at The Waterfront, Norwich, UK
The Waterfront is an interesting, cosy, friendly venue in the heart of Norwich and as its name suggests, right near the river Wensum in an area that's a mix of homes and warehouses and restaurants. The venue has been host to an incredible list of bands for over 25 years, and is connected to the other major Norwich concert hall at the University of East Anglia. Signs outside The Waterfront ask concert-goers to leave quietly so as not to disturb the neighbours, but the sound level inside is good and loud and the light show is brilliant for a smaller concert hall.

Audience
Crowd at The Waterfront, Norwich, Norfolk, UK
The stage is low - barely two feet high - and if you don't get there early and to the barrier, you can spend the evening peeping at the performers between other fans' heads: the floor isn't raked, there's a small platform at the back, four people wide, where the shorties among us can see over other peoples heads... but the strangest thing is the set of giant pillars in front of the stage, obviously holding the floor above, adding to the atmosphere. Amost like being in a cellar, but upstairs. Smaller than Sacramento's Ace of Spades by far (Buckcherry play the Ace in a couple of weeks, on March 6th) and it's a cosy place to enjoy a great night of music.

Photogalleries:
- Buckcherry at The Waterfront in Norwich
- All Buckcherry photos by Alison Toon Photographer
- Hoobastank at The Waterfront
- Adelitas Way at The Waterfront
- Adelitas Way at the Boardwalk, Orangevale, CA.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Time to come out of hibernation. Today, right now. Out. Awaken!


It's been a while, way longer than planned. Life, and death, have that trick of shifting plans and routine and expectations, and then it takes time to return to "normal", whatever normal is. Some normals have no going back to - you start afresh, a new day, a new year, another life. And a brand new garden to grow.

Anyway... it's time to emerge from the cocoon.

What better way to do it than with this new video from Pop Evil for "Be Legendary" from their latest album, Pop Evil. Heartwarming, brave, meaningful... and something to share with the kids, too.


Constantly on tour, Pop Evil are currently on the road in the USA, then will be heading over to this side of the Atlantic for UK and European dates... then several gigs in Australia, before returning to the USA for yet more shows. If you've not experienced their live show yet, now is the time. Legendary!

Then this evening, off to the Waterfront in Norwich to see USA rockers Buckcherry, (new album coming in early March), with a both Adelitas Way and Hoobastank. Note the venue - it was earlier listed as being a show at the UEA but the location was changed a while back! There might be a couple of tickets left - see you there!

See the photo galleries for earlier Buckcherry shows here in the gallery. And Adelitas Way too!

Josh Todd, vocals, Buckcherry
Josh Todd, Buckcherry, at the Ace of Spades, Sacramento USA

Saturday, November 24, 2018

I Who Have Nothing (listen to this)

If you grew up after the 1960's and '70s, the idea of a song being a hit--rather than the band or performer--is a strange concept. But back then, as well as the fame of being a major star, there was often a scramble to cover a song that someone-else had been successful with. The same song was recorded and sung by many performers, each giving their own interpretation. Singers like Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley were not composers or considered to be songwriters (though Sinatra had the occasional writing credit)--rather, they worked with composers and lyricists, chose the songs they liked best, and made them their own.

Songs like My Way (made most famous by Frank Sinatra, lyrics by Paul Anka, also recorded by Elvis Presley... set to the music of a French song Comme d'Habitude which was a hit for Claude Francois). Songs like those written by Randy Newman, which were covered by Gene Pitney--a wonderful singer-songwriter who wrote songs for others such as Roy Orbison and The Crystals, while himself recording songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David as well as Randy Newman). Popular TV variety shows would showcase many, many cover versions by performers who were very well known.

As a kid, it was never obvious which song "belonged" to which singer. One song that I adored though was "I Who Have Nothing. An English-language version of the Italian "Uno Dei Tanti" (direct translation: One Of Many), music by Carlo  Donida, lyrics by Guilio Rapetti, with the English words written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. The first English-language version was recorded by the American Ben E King (The Drifters), but was better known in the UK through cover versions by Tom Jones and--the one that has always been my go-to version--Shirley Bassey. The name of the song and the name Shirley Bassey are inseparable in my memory... despite so many, many other cover versions.

Ben E King, Tom Jones, Joe Cocker. Neil Diamond.
Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway
Liza Minelli, Donny Osmond.
It's often heard on TV talent shows, to greater or lesser success.
Sylvester released a disco version (really, really don't go there)

Definitely... Shirley Bassey's was my lifelong favourite version, of a lovely, lovely song. That is, until I heard this. This version, by Bloodshake Chorus.


Find out more about Bloodshake Chorus on their Facebook. Read an earlier review from a Bloodshake Chorus show in Cromer, Norfolk, here. Try to see their live show: roadtrip is worth it!!!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Photos and tour: Sevendust, All I See Is War, coming to the UK

Sevendust
Sevendust, Aftershock 2018

Always a crowd favourite at festivals, Sevendust took the stage at Aftershock this year as part of the All I See Is War tour. They'll be continuing the tour in the UK in December, with dates in Southampton, London, Manchester, Glasgow, Nottingham and Bristol (including VIP packages).

Lajon Witherspoon,, vocals, Sevendust
Lajon Witherspoon,, Sevendust, Aftershock 2018
Both energetic and atmospheric, metal and soulful, catch them if you can: if you haven't heard the album yet--check out All I See Is War here, plus the rest of their catalog!

More photos from Sevendust at this year's Aftershock Festival in Sacramento in the gallery, here.
All Toon's Tunes' photos of Sevendust to date, here.

Lajon Witherspoon,, vocals, Sevendust
Sevendust, Aftershock 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Aftershock: Action Bronson, photo gallery

Action Bronson
Action Bronson, Aftershock 2018
Link to photos at the end of this post

You go to a festival, and there is something for all musical tastes. Some you love. Some you don't. Going by comments posted by Aftershock attendees this year, probably the most polarising performer at this year's festival in Sacramento's Discovery Park was New York rapper and talk show host, Ariyan Arslani, better known as Action Bronson. He certainly had people talking.

Those who love him, raved about the performance; non-fans, and some who didn't know Action Bronson or his TV personality before this year's Aftershock, didn't. Sometimes you need to have listened to and understood a performer's recordings before seeing them live.

Action Bronson
Action Bronson, Aftershock 2018
The man has presence on stage. Squinting his eyes into the blazing, late-afternoon sunshine--or was it because of the smoke from the five or six blunts he smoked--he kept the fans entertained.

Find out more about Action Bronson here on Wikipedia, on his website, Facebook and on Twitter (why is it ALL CAPS?)

More photos here in the Action Bronson Aftershock 2018 photo gallery!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Aftershock: Jonathan Davis, Black Labyrinth tour, photos

Jonathan Davis
Jonathan Davis, Aftershock 2018
Link to the photogallery is at the end of this post

4.15 pm Saturday, the sun a hot, bright lance striking straight to the eyes of anyone looking out from either of the Aftershock festival main stages; it's Jonathan Davis' time on stage, with his touring band for Black Labyrinth, the solo album released earlier this year. With him on stage this time, double (string) bass, guitar and drums, and Jonathan Davis himself, expressive as ever.

The show starts with Underneath My Skin and Everyone from Black Labyrinth, then Forsaken (which Jonathan Davis wrote for the soundtrack of the movie Queen of the Damned).

Jonathan Davis
Jonathan Davis, Aftershock 2018
I thought of a friendly-but-wild lion, prowling the stage, roaring. Dressed in goth black.

Jonathan Davis
Jonathan Davis, Black Labyrinth tour, Aftershock 2018
A festival set is not long enough to appreciate the entire album plus the other gems that Jonathan Davis puts into his full Black Labyrinth tour shows. See if you can catch him on tour: more dates have been added.

Jonathan Davis
I saw Manchester at the end of the tour lists, and I thought about train tickets before understanding that it's Manchester Music Hall, Lexington, KY, not Manchester, England. Lucky Kentucky.

If you haven't heard Black Labyrinth yet, here's a review... here's a review of the show at the O2 in London, UK... and here's where you can buy your copy, either digital or physical media.

Find more info on Jonathan Davis' website, Facebook, or Twitter.

And the photogallery, Jonathan Davis at Aftershock 2018, is here!

For more Aftershock festival reviews and photos, go to http://camerasandcargos.com

Jonathan Davis
Jonathan Davis, Aftershock 2018

Aftershock: Godsmack, bringing the heavy

Sully Erna, vocals and guitar, Godsmack
Sully Erna, Godsmack, Aftershock 2018
Link to the Aftershock 2018 photo gallery at the end of this post

The magic of festivals: there's something for everyone. Hard rock and metal has a wide spectrum of sounds, and as one of the folks running from stage-to-stage throughout the days of the event, we photographers see and hear all the shades. At the top end of my own, personal spectrum at Aftershock festival this year were Godsmack. They brought the heavy. (NOTE: Very shortly after Aftershock, Godmack cancelled their current tour due to the very sad loss of Tony Rombola's son. Click here for the press release and keep Tony and his family in your thoughts.)

Sully Erna, vocals and guitar, Godsmack
Godsmack, Aftershock 2018
It's been a few years: last time I saw Godsmack live was at an earlier Aftershock, back in 2014, when there was different festival layout and Godsmack were headlining but playing on the third stage, had (we thought) brought pyro but didn't use it (fire risk), but were on fire all the same.

Godsmack
Godsmack Aftershock 2018
This time, at Aftershock 2018, Godsmack played on the Discovery stage in the early evening: darkness had fallen, the stage lights were on and... interesting. Sully Erna was perfectly lit, but the rest of the band lurked in the shadows, only giving us glimpses now-and-again. (After three or four songs, Sully Erna asked for the stage lights to be extinguished, and for the audience to provide the lighting... cell phones, lighters, flashlights. It was quite magical.)

People of Aftershock
Lit by the audience: Godsmack playing Aftershock 2018
Godsmack's Aftershock 2018 setlist included When Legends Rise (title song from their last album, released April this year), 1000hp, Voodoo, and ended with Bulletproof and I Stand Alone. (You can find the full setlist here.)

Sully Erna, vocals and guitar, Godsmack
Sully Erna, Godsmack, Aftershock 2018
For more information, visit Godsmack's website, Facebook and Twitter.

Full photogallery for Godsmack at Aftershock 2018, click here!

(For all the Monster Energy Aftershock reviews and photos, go to the home page.)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Aftershock: Deftones, very much at home in Sacramento

Deftones
Deftones, Aftershock 2018
Link for the photo gallery is at the end of this post.

Headlining the first day of this year's Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California, and playing to a sold-out, capacity crowd (60,000 people for the weekend, this year), and in their home town, Deftones and their unique, alternative-metal sound returned to Aftershock for the first time since 2015, much to the delight of the fans, many of whom had waited at the barricades all day in the blazing sun.

Chino Moreno, vocals, Deftones
Chino Moreno, Deftones, Aftershock 2018
The moment Chino Moreno arrived on stage, the crowd went wild.

In the crowd
Front-row fans, Deftones, Aftershock 2018
Stunning light show, challenging to photograph, but beautiful to watch, fully complementing the music.

Deftones
Deftones, Aftershock 2018
See the Deftones setlist from Aftershock here.

Deftones photo gallery from Aftershock 2018? You bet... click here! (And if you want so see earlier shows, click here.)

Stephen Carpenter, guitar, Deftones
Stephen Carpenter, Deftones, Aftershock 2018
Saturday, November 3rd will see the first Dia de los Deftones, at Petco Park in San Diego, California. The lineup includes Deftones, Future, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Rocket From the Crypt, and others. It's the only date on their tour page right now... maybe they are working on the next album?
For more info see http://deftones.com, Deftone's Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Aftershock: Shinedown photos--and upcoming UK/European/USA tour!

Shinedown
Shinedown, Aftershock 2018
Link to the full photogallery is at the end of this post.

Shinedown took the stage at Aftershock late afternoon, 5.55 pm on Saturday: the sun was still glaring, in-your-eyes bright, but the band was the first of the day with a visible lightshow that grew better and better during the show, as the California sun set, gold and warm, behind the crowd.

Brent Smith, vocals, Shinedown
Brent Smith, Shinedown, Aftershock 2018
Huge crowd, and Brent Smith was off to meet them all, down into the crowd, third song into the set.

This was Shinedown's third appearance at Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California so far, and each performance has been as different as could be: the first, back in 2013, when they shocked-and-awed the crowd with an over-the-top, jaw-dropping, fantasy pyro show; the second, in 2015, where the boys looked more like college kids smartened up for Sunday dinner with a few flames thrown in here and there... and now Aftershock 2018, with lasers and mist and the background an intricate construction of lighting rigs.

Whatever the format, Shinedown always delivers an excellent performance.

Brent Smith, vocals, and Zach Myers, guitar, Shinedown
Shinedown, Aftershock 2018
I'll be seeing them again soon in Norfolk, England, UK, at the local university, and am already wondering what the show will be like in a smaller venue. Can't wait.

 All the European and UK tour dates are here: many (including all the UK dates) are already sold out (road trip to Russia anyone?) with a return to the USA in late December, beginning with three dates in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, (House of Blues Orlando), just before the New Year. Might appreciate the Florida weather after Russia in winter...

Click here for the setlist from Aftershock 2018, and right here for the full photogallery.

Here's the review from Shinedown's latest album, Attention Attention.

All of Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos Shinedown photogalleries are here!

Shinedown
Shinedown, Aftershock 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

Aftershock: The Fever 333. Catch the fever. It's infectious. There will be no cure.

Jason Aalon Butler, vocals, The Fever 333
The Fever 333
(Link to full photogallery is at the end of this post.)

If you read the Aftershock Preview, you will have seen my dilemma: which set to photograph/see/hear, Slash with Myles Kennedy, or The Fever 333? I wanted both, but they were on stage at exactly the same time: Slash on the Discovery stage, and The Fever 333 on the Capital stage at Monster Energy Aftershock 2018.

Jason Aalon Butler, vocals, The Fever 333
The Fever 333 at Aftershock, 2018
In the end, the decision was made easy for me: only a few photographers were approved to photograph Slash, so I headed to the Capital stage... and so very happy I did.

The Fever 333
The Fever 333, boundless energy, strong message
I overheard the security team being briefed on what to expect from the band. Having seen Jason Aalon Butler's previous band, letlive, a couple of times, I had an inkling... but the show started with a lone, hooded figure, tattooed hands clasped, wearing a navy boilersuit, standing silent and still for several minutes while soundbites play. Then all hell is let loose as Jason Aalon Butler rips off the hood, drummer Aric Improta and guitarist Stevis Harrison leap onto the stage, and the protest, the demonstration, the show, begins. With sky-high leaps, both on stage and into the crowd, constant movement, several water bottles poured and sprayed, the energy is intense, the message electric, the crowd empowered.

Jason Aalon Butler, vocals, The Fever 333
The Fever 333, Aftershock 2018
Right by the freeway bridge, with no backdrop between the performers and the blinding-bright sky, with concrete pillars and the metal of the Capital stage, it was the perfect setting for the gritty, fierce and high-power energy of The Fever 333.

The Fever 333
The Fever 333, Aftershock 2018
Some people think politics should be left out of music. Those same people do not share my musical tastes. Those people should probably avoid The Fever 333... because The Fever 333 are exposing and railing against the politics and culture that are the USA today. Against racism. Against misogyny. For human rights. Against abuse.

"Subversion is in the project’s dna. So is hip hop. So is punk. So is ART."

The Fever is here... catch it.

All the photos: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/the-fever-333/the-fever-333-aftershock-2018

(In case you were watching Slash, you missed a treat. Check out The Fever 333 on YouTube; find them on their website, on Facebook, and catch them on tour... European and UK dates coming up very soon!!!)

Jason Aalon Butler, vocals, The Fever 333
Jason Aalon Butler, The Fever 333

Thursday, October 18, 2018

People of Aftershock 2018: thank you, thank you, thank you! (Loads of pictures: were you there?)

People of Aftershock
Aftershock 2018, Sacramento, California
There is a link to all the People of Aftershock photos at the end of this post.

It happened, again... seven years running, the People of Aftershock delivered and enjoyed a huge, enormous, fun weekend. And so, before we get to the perfomance photos, I want to take a moment to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved:

- To the festival organizers, Danny Wimmer Presents, the PR team, the street team, to Sacramento's Discovery Park, and to everyone involved in creating, organizing, managing and delivering the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California. It was bigger than ever--and it sold out! That's huge!

People of Aftershock
Aftershock 2018, Sacramento, California
- To all of the performers... from those who opened the show each day as the crowds began to arrive, right through to the headliners with their rib-cracking, boisterous, moving-like-the-sea gigantic, thousands-and-thousands audiences. With a special call-out to those who performed in full, roasting-and-blinding sunlight throughout the afternoon, because despite the calendar saying October, it's still mighty hot in Sacramento in the heat of the day, and the hottest is late afternoon.

People of Aftershock
In safe hands at Aftershock
- To all the security staff who worked hard to keep us all safe and well-behaved, and who caught the crowdsurfers even though there were huge signs forbidding crowdsurfing (but maybe only if you have a specific hairdo). Signs which seemed to have been a deterrent early on, both days, but then heck, it's a festival, you crowdsurf, right, even on crutches or in your wheelchair! To all the folks from KSS and NES West and other teams who rescued those who wanted out from the crowd, and who handed out water to those dying of thirst waiting all day, up front at the barrier, for their favourite bands.

No crowdsurfing sign
No crowdsurfing with spiky hair
- To the cops who danced (I saw you, I did!) and who held up their phone-lights when Godsmack requested (you can't deny it) and who truly did community policing this weekend.

- To the first-aiders and first-responders who helped anyone who fainted, passed out, cracked a rib or fell out of a tree. (Yes you did. You fell out. I hope you are OK. You can't hide from YouTube.)

- To everyone who was kind to the photographers as we ran around like mad things, trying to see as many of the performers as possible. We appreciate it.
People of Aftershock
Aftershock 2018
- To the folks from The Music Experience for showing everyone how the music business works, and for giving such a rich insight and encouragement to so many young people. And to the peeps from FXCK Cancer for all that you do.

- To everyone who prepped, cooked and sold food and drink to the enormous crowd of hungry and thirsty people. There was something for everyone, even me.

People of Aftershock
- To all the volunteers who helped out in so many ways to keep the festival running, and to those who cleaned up all the debris left behind after the music had gone...

- To the guys and gals who operated the portapotty vacuum. We really appreciate you doing that. We don't want your job and we really, really, really give you a huge thank you. Seriously. Because clean loos make for a happy festival.

- And most of all... thank you to you, the people, the crazy, fun, adventurous, friendly, music-loving, loud, crowd of people without whom no festival would exist. You keep the music alive! Rock on!

Until next time... here is this year's People of Aftershock photo gallery. Are you there? And... when can we do this again??? (See this news article if you are in the USA--not visible outside.)

All the performance photos and reviews coming soon--watch this space, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

People of Aftershock
People of Aftershock 2018