Friday, July 26, 2019

Cromer Pier Show -- show two, 2019

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show two
Cromer Pier Show Dancers, show two, 2019
Earlier this week I had the pleasure - the enjoyment - of seeing Show Two of this year's Cromer Pier Show (see here for the review and photos from Show One). It's a delight: hours of entertainment, ranging from crack-me-up and (ouch!!!) jokes to poignant melodies and beautiful contemporary dance. It's world-class performers and it's a happy night out and it's for all the family - from kids to Great Aunt Jane.

Cromer Pier Show with Marlene's School of Dancing
Dancers from Marlene's School of Dancing and the Cromer Pier Show Dancers
Local young dancers from Marlene's School of Dancing join the cast at the end of the first half of the show.

Matthew Pomeroy with Natasha Lamb
Matthew Pomeroy with Natasha Lamb, it's magic!
The magic and illusion of Matthew Pomeroy and Natasha Lamb really stunned me in show two. (She floated! She did! And that was after being somehow squished and stabbed and vanished and made to reappear... I have no clue how they did that. And I have photos, which yes, I have examined, and no, I still have no idea how they did that. It's magic, it has to be!

Emily Yarrow and The Man They Call G
The Man They Call G and Emily Yarrow, Cromer Pier Show 2019
The Man They Call G shines again - not only as a wacky funnyman with a million voices and faces, but as a singer of songs, partnering with soprano Emily Yarrow for a duet.

Harvey James, singer, Cromer Pier Show 2019 show two
Harvey James, Cromer Pier Show 2019, show two
Harvey James sang Tom Jones and had the whole crowd singing along. Comedian and compere Paul Eastwood keeps the show moving on at a high level of hilarity.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show two
(One of the) hilarious moment: Ms Yarrow singing sweetly on stage right, and four hooded and becloaked males suddenly reveal the percussion section. It involves saucepans, wooden spoons, dangly bits and knee bends. You might want to cover Great Aunt Jane's eyes for this one.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show two
Miss Saigon, Cromer Pier Show 2019
Miss Saigon is the musical for show two, with lovely performances from Emily Yarrow and gorgeous backdrops and costumes from the designers. And the Cromer Pier Show Dancers as always making the stage their own - and so much bigger than a theatre at the end of a pier in an English seaside town.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show two
Finale! Cromer Pier Show 2019, show two
Don't miss the Cromer Pier Show! See here for ticket details and schedules for shows one, two, and the end-of-summer "best of".

Many more photos from both show one and show two here - show two begins at image number 88 in the Cromer Pier Show 2019 gallery.

Paul Eastwood and The Man They Call G
Paul Eastwood and The Man They Call G

Monday, July 8, 2019

Road or air trip, anyone? Aftershock!

People of Aftershock
People of Aftershock 2018 - be there this year!
California has been having aftershocks this week - several major earthquakes inland from Los Angeles. I'm not inviting you to one of those, but to the biggest and best Aftershock - the festival in Sacramento, California, from 11th to 13th October, that will this year be three days long!

Since its beginning in 2012 as a one-day event it's been the place to be... the lineup is always wonderful, the crowd intent on having fun, and the experience just grows every year. Located in Discovery Park very close to hotels and to Old Sacramento (a must-see) and downtown Sac - make a week of it and explore the city and the region.

This year's lineup: a-maz-ing. And... it looks like this will be Korn's first show after the release of their upcoming album, The Nothing, on September 13th. And Tool???? That is going to be a show...
Slipknot, Staind, Lamb of God on the first day. Blink-182, Rob Zombie, Bring Me The Horizon... Manson! Highly Suspect! Gojira!! We will gorge on music... too many fantastic bands to list, so here is the lineup poster:

Tickets - those that are still available - can be found here. You can even preorder your festival T-shirt and go prepared.

So many brilliant bands. Watch this space for more previews! And if you want to see how much fun there is to be had at Aftershock, check out the People of Aftershock galleries here.

Aftershock in Sacramento, California, is just one of the many festivals from Danny Wimmer Presents. Check them out! I hope to see you there!

Friday, June 28, 2019

It must be summer because... Cromer Pier Show!!!

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show one
Cromer Pier Show 2019
It's back! It's back! For its 42nd year! The only full-length variety show at the end of a pier in the entire world!  Award-winning it is... and so much fun, for all the family. In a lovely theatre, right at the end of the pier in beautiful Cromer, North Norfolk, England.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show one
Yes! The Wizard of Oz!
The show runs from now until the end of September, with tomorrow - Saturday 29th - being the gala performance to officially launch summer. There are two shows - completely different sets - that will be running, and there are matinee and evening performances. All the show dates can be found here (at the end of the summer, there is also the Ultimate Show, which takes parts of show one and two... but that's a long way off yet!)

Harvey James, Emily Yarrow and the Man They Call G
A beautiful interpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody
This year's cast includes very-funnymen Paul Eastwood and the hilarious The Man They Call G, singers Emily Yarrow and Harvey James, whose repertoires stretch from opera to musicals to rock; Matthew Pomeroy, magician and mind-reader, and his magically-disappearing partner in illusion, Natasha Lamb, plus the Cromer Pier Show Dancers, and their young friends from Marlene's School of Dancing. Beautiful choreography, really good sound and lighting, excellent timing, a really fun escape from mundane reality... that's what a show should be.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show one
Yes, there is a superhero
The show is packed with laugh-out-loud comedy, poignant melodies, beautiful dance. Highlights for me were the Harvey James singing Human, accompanied by the dancers; a contemporary ballet under haunting video and lighting... I love the Rag'n'Bone Man song and this put it into a whole new setting. And Bohemian Rhapsody, sung by Harvey James, G, and Emily Yarrow.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show one
And, of course, The Man Called G. That dude just cracks me up. The man of a thousand voices... and faces... impressionist, but much more than that. He takes the essence of a celebrity, a personality, and moulds it into something new. He tells you to expect Elvis, surprises you with Costello, but sneaks Presley in at the end. A wardrobe that doesn't fit anyone's corporate dress code. And funny? Did I already mention that?

The Man They Call G
The Man Called G
Show One of the Cromer Pier Show includes mind-bending performances from Matthew and Natasha - if you work out how he folds the lady in the box, runs her through with swords, then abra-cadabra brings her back with not a drop of blood on the stage, please let me know. And the numbers trick? I'm still trying to figure that one out. Guess I'll have to go back and see it again!

Find out all about Cromer Pier Show and get your tickets here. Don't miss this!

More photos in the Cromer Pier Show 2019 photo gallery.

Cromer Pier Show 2019 show one
Cromer Pier Show 2019

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Marillion weekend, Port Zelande, 2019... and more to come!

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Steve Hogarth, Friday, Marillion Weekend PZ 2019
It's already two weeks since the first Marillion weekend of 2019, when thousands of fans from all around the world - literally, all around the world, there were people from more than 45 countries - spend the whole, long weekend at Centre Parks, Port Zelande, The Netherlands. It was a feast of music, a celebration of friends, three huge Marillion concerts and a light show to compete with any ever seen.

Before the show: Marillion
Marillion, Saturday, Marillion Weekend PZ 2019
The series of Marillion weekends happen every two years, and continue throughout early 2019: next weekend at the Wytwornia in Łódź, Poland; April 26th-28th at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, UK; 17th-19th May at L'Olympia, Montreal, Canada; then 31st May-2nd June at Aula Magna, Lisbon, Portugal. The Leicester and Lisbon weekends are sold out, as was PZ within minutes of the tickets going on sale. You might still be able to get in to the events in Lodz and in Montreal, but hurry up - those tickets will soon be gone.

Once you have experienced one Marillion weekend - or even one live Marillion show - it's an addiction. You have to see them again, and again, and again.

Port Zelande, The Netherlands, 24 March 2019: Marillion performing on the final night of the PZ weekend 2019.
Marillion, Sunday, Marillion Weekend, Port Zelande, Netherlands, 2019
Not revealing the PZ setlist here, as there are many fans who like the surprise for the first weekend they attend. If you really want to know, go to and search - that's what it's for. But be aware there are some spoilers in these photo galleries.

Photos from the Port Zelande weekend:

See you all next weekend in Łódź, Poland!

Photos are for sale permission of Marillion and with contribution to the band. For more info about Marillion see

Marillion, PZ, 2019
Marillion, Port Zelande, The Netherlands, 2019

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
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.

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.

- 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, 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

Jonathan Davis
Jonathan Davis, Aftershock 2018