Saturday, September 23, 2017
It's time for festivals!!!! City of Trees, Punk in Drublic, Aftershock and it's all going to be Louder Than Life!!!
Quite a few festivals are coming up, beginning with today in downtown Sacramento, and happening right now: Farm to Fork festival on Capitol Mall. Lots of opportunities to eat well, and some good music too!
Then tomorrow, at Papa Murphy's Park, Cal Expo, Sacramento, it's City of Trees, presented by Radio 94.7 and headlined by Blink-182, and also featuring Dreamcar and many others, including a set of Sacramento musicians and some new sounds to discover! If you haven't seen the entire lineup, here it is, and I think you might still be able to get a ticket.
Then (also at Papa Murphy's Park at Cal Expo), on October 15th, the Punk in Drublic festival tour stops off in Sac, with NOFX, Flogging Molly, Goldfinger and many more bands. Plus, of course, all the craft beer you can imagine and probably more than that. Check out all the details here and don't forget to buy your tickets!
And then... drumroll... October means Aftershock!!! The weekend of 21st and 22nd October, (just before my birthday, please bring gluten-free cake!) Aftershock takes over Sacramento's Discovery Park, with not only huge metal and rock bands, but also food, food, and even more good food; Maynard James Keenan's wine at the Caduceus Wine Garden, Heavy Grass (the loudest weed brand in the world), free samplings of Monster Energy drinks... the wonderful Music Experience for kids and young adults and musicians of all ages... Dyin' to Live and FXCK Cancer, bringing some wonderful experiences and help to people who are fighting cancer.
If you haven't gotten your Aftershock tickets yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Ozzy will be there. Nine Inch Nails. A Perfect Circle. Stone Sour. Five Finger Death Punch. Marilyn Manson. Highly Suspect.... and oh so many more great bands. Check out the full lineup!
And in case you fancy jumping on a plane with me next weekend, on the other side of the country there is Louder Than Life in Louisville, Kentucky! Prophets Of Rage, Incubus, Gojira... here's the full lineup to tempt you!
The next few weeks are going to be loud. Very, very, loud!!!
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
|Nothing More at Chicago Open Air, 2016|
Powerful, heavy-hitting and emotional lyrics, beautiful sounds, intense drumming, each song very different but so very connected; haunting earworms, moving from hard, headbanging and screaming rock to ballad and back; at times metal, at times prog, a touch of industrial, but always Nothing More.
The lyrics: a decaying relationship... hanging on in love... family members growing older... anger, resentment, hope... Don't be surprised if you have an emotional, as well as a musical, response.
|Nothing More, Chicago Open Air 2016|
You may already have heard two or three of the songs on the radio; at one time recently there were three Nothing More songs in the Octane Big 'Uns. But this is not simply a collection of songs, packaged together; it's a true album, a listen-all-the-way-through rock album, the sort of thing that we used to wait months and years for, back in the days before streaming and MP3. Just start at the beginning, and listen to it all the way through...
Everybody always wants to change the world, no one ever wants to change themselves
I first saw Nothing More at Aftershock Festival, Sacramento, in 2013. That year they played early in the day, tucked away on the smallest stage. Then again, last year, at Chicago Open Air, on the main stage before a much bigger crowd.,Their live show is something to see (described here).
I plan on experiencing the show again in a couple of weeks, at Louder Than Life, in Kentucky, and then here in Sacramento, back at Aftershock once more!
The bottom line is above our heads
And go buy the album, if you haven't already. This is one for the ages. (There are a very few special packages left through Pledge here, including vinyl, and the album is for sale through all the usual outlets and CD stores.)
IMHO, Nothing More will be headlining festivals worldwide, very, very soon.
Nothing More are Jonny Hawkins, Mark Vollelunga, Daniel Oliver and Don Anderson. For more info, see their website and follow them on Facebook. As well as the festivals mentioned here, Nothing More are in the middle of a huge USA and Canada tour, and then they are off to the UK and Europe. Find a date or two near you here!
Here's Go To War:
Thursday, September 14, 2017
California Capital Airshow: Patriots Jets, Patriot Parachute, Kent Pietsch and Bill Stein photo galleries
|Patriots Jet Team at California Capital Airshow, Rancho Cordova|
(All photogalleries click here.)
Last weekend, the Mather Airport in Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento, California, was home to the annual California Capital Airshow. With parachutes, one-and-two seater planes through to giant examples of aviation engineering, both the skies and the ground were filled with the spirit of the air, past, present and future. Beautifully-restored vintage planes, all flown in to compete in the National Aviation Heritage Invitational, all correct down to the last rivet. Huge, military transport planes, big enough to carry a village. The first-ever airshow fly-by by a Doomsday plane. A huge audience of military veterans of all ages, young families and teens; people with stories to tell and pictures to paint in the sky; food to be eaten and water to be drunk by the gallon under the relentless, close to 100 degree September sun.
The sky overhead was a beautiful, clear turquoise, and the planes made their own clouds, streaming red white and blue, orange and yellow, across the sky. Sacramento's 70-plus days of poor air quality was evident closer to the ground, appearing like a foggy haze against out of which the low-flying jets zoomed.
|Patriot Parachute Team|
|Kent Pietsch, gliding down from 6,000 feet|
|Bill Stein at the California Capital Airshow|
|Patriots Jet Team at California Capital Airshow|
|Bill Stein... which way is up???|
Here are the first photo galleries: more coming soon, jets and the Doomsday plane, an A-10 and the Heritage Flight, the ground show and much more! Links will be added below as the photos are available.
- Patriots Jet Team photo gallery
- Patriot Parachute Team photo gallery
- Bill Stein photo gallery
- Kent Pietsch photo gallery
- All the airshow photo galleries, 2017 and 2017
|Patriots Jet Team|
Friday, September 8, 2017
Tomorrow and Sunday, it's the California Capital Airshow at Mather Airport: last chance to buy discount tickets is today! Click here for more info.
I'll see you there... and in the meantime, click here to see photos from last year!
|Marillion, Leicester DeMontfort Hall, 2017|
There are four tracks on the single:
1. Living in F E A R (edit)
2 The Leavers: One Tonight (live)
3 Neverland (live)
4 Dry Land (live).
The single is available on limited edition CD, a numbered 12" vinyl, and by digital download.
Friday, September 1, 2017
Did you get your tickets to Aftershock yet?
How about nipping cross-country to Rock Allegiance? Or Louder Than Life?
It's time for more festivals! Check out Fall For All right here for more details.
BOTH AFTERSHOCK AND LOUDER THAN LIFE ARE 30% OFF THIS WEEKEND ONLY!!! Use the password, "LABORDAY17".
Rock Allegiance has a special deal on tickets this weekend, too. The deals start at midnight tonight... if you've been procrastinating, now's the time to stop and get those tickets safely in your pocket.
This is the weekend to buy those tickets... with that much of a savings, you can hop on a plane and take in the other festival too, right??! (You know one festival a year is never enough!)
|Gold Rush Days, 2016|
Gold Rush Days are happening in Old Sacramento! If you've never been, it's like a trip back into the wild, wild west, with all the fun and games and drama that go with it: the pony express, the ladies of the night, a gunfight or two... cowboys, gold prospectors, and Sacramento as it was in the days of the Gold Rush. Because it's going to be so hot, get there early: take a tour through Sacramento's original streets--underground... it's going to be a tad cooler down there than above ground! Check the schedule to be sure of finding a tour.
|Part of a design by Andrea Johnston at last year's Chalk It Up|
A little further into Sacramento, the Chalk It Up festival is happening too: at Fremont Park, on 16th and Q streets. Sacramento's annual chalk art extravaganza, plus a lot of music! There's a list of all the performers and times here. You'll see a huge variety of creative, beautiful, quirky--and temporary--art at Chalk It Up--always a fun event!
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
|Mike Patton, Dead Cross|
|Dave Lombardo, Dead Cross|
Dead Cross were on stage last night at Sacramento's Ace of Spades, one stop on their current tour. The music is loud, jumping-up-and-down angry, it's screaming-raging-ranting-hardcore punk... and yet there's a distinct, twisted sense-of-humour. It's like Mike Patton is schooling all the wannabe hardcore-deathcore-whatevercore vocalists out there, and showing them how it's done if you really can sing. That sort of humour. Tongue-in-cheek and having a load of fun in the process.
|Mike Patton, Dead Cross|
If you haven't seen or heard Dead Cross yet, catch them on tour and check out the album!
Dead Cross signed off with a teasing few bars of what Setlist.fm is saying was a Slayer song, but I swear I heard Faith No More...
(Last time I saw Mike Patton, he was dressed all in white and in the midst of a flower garden, at Aftershock, Gibson Ranch, in 2015. Story and photos here. That Sunday-morning-secret-show was something special.)
For more photos from last night's show, click here to go to the photo gallery.
|Dead Cross, Ace of Spades, Sacramento California|
Sunday, August 27, 2017
|The War On Drugs: A Deeper Understanding|
It's beautiful. The upbeat songs with the driving beat; close your eyes, you're on a train in the dark, you're riding horseback through the desert under the moon, you're dancing blind. The slower songs, emotional and thoughtful and drifting, timelessly. Deep, layered, timeless, wonderful music.
And, those moments when The War On Drugs hits a sequences of sounds that resonates somewhere so deep, you laugh and cry and sigh at the same time.
I know Adam Granduciel has a reputation for perfectionism. This time? It's not only the music itself. It's perfection of the delivery of the release, too. The electronic download arrived overnight, and by midday someone was knocking at the front door to deliver the vinyl. I had forgotten what I'd ordered--it's been a while--thought it was just the the vinyl edition. But no: it's a box set, a treasure trove containing layer after layer of goodies: the double vinyl, and a special mix 12" for Record Store Day, and the album on CD, plus a vinyl 45of Holding On/Nothing To Find; a beautiful lyric booklet, same size as the box, and even a poster.
That's how you do a release.
This album is going to be on repeat in my house for a long time to come. Here's a sample: the official video for Holding On.
In case you missed it, here's The War On Drugs at Sacramento's TBD Fest in 2014, when I saw them for the first time. Click through to the photo gallery!
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
|Capitol Mall, Sacramento, full of people for #ImagineJustice and Common|
Build schools, not prisons, a strong message. Wonderful to see so many people, so much of Sacramento, coming out in support. With inspirational speeches by guests such as Van Jones and author Susan Burton (whose book, Becoming Ms. Burton, I ordered as soon as I arrived home).
|Brother to Brother, #imaginejustice|
Impressive how Common made his songs really fit Sacramento. Impressive how this Oscar-and-Grammy winning man, with an international music career and TV stardom, is giving so much time and effort to helping others. This is something every one of us who calls this country home needs to hear. The words that really hit home to me: "The new plantation, mass incarceration". Such a sign of the racial inequalities that are built into American society in a way that I have not experienced, not anywhere else in the world but in America. It needs to stop.
|#schoolsnotprisons: Be your ancestors' wildest dreams!!!|
Take action and contribute: see Common's website plus the Common Ground Foundation. Also check out http://www.antirecidivism.org
More photos: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/common-imaginejustice
Monday, August 21, 2017
|Pauline Black, The Selecter, Sacramento, 2017|
They had the crowd dancing. I don't know how many of Sacramento's American punk fans knew about The Selecter before Saturday night, but they sure do now.
|The Selecter, Sacramento|
|Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson, vocals, The Selecter|
|Pauline Black, The Selecter, Sacramento|
For many more photos from the Sacramento show, click here to go to the photo gallery.
|The Selecter, Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, 2017|
Sunday, August 20, 2017
|Were you there? Dropkick Murphys at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium|
|Dropkick Murphys, Sacramento|
This may have been the most-fun concert I have been to in a very long time.
The Boston-Irish, punk storytellers and a very enthusiastic audience... circle pit going wild through the band's entire set. Enough crowdsurfers to keep the friendly security team busy. Bagpipes and accordions, electric guitars and banjo. Rousting sing-along songs, more than a little heartbreak, rebel Irish, traditional melody, a touch of sea shanty and a huge heart of punk. They are not America's version of the Pogues: they are, quite definitely and uniquely, the Dropkick Murphys. And I defy anyone to go to one of their shows and keep still.
|Dropkick Murphys, Sacramento, 2017|
"We stood in your footprints, 'till the rain washed them away
The memories never fade, well they'll still always stay
We stand here together, we bow our heads and pray
For those gone but not forgotten, we remember you each day"
But the album ends, like the Dropkick Murphy's set last night, with the party's-over, boisterous, didn't-we-have-a-good-time-tonight, Until The Next Time... a plan for the next get-together. We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when... but be there. Not to be missed.
More photos from last night's show in Sacramento: click here to see the photo gallery.
Links to photo galleries for Rancid, The Selecter, and Kevin Second will be added soon.
|Dropkick Murphys, Sacramento, 2017|
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin. Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love and, of course, Immigrant Song: those being the songs everyone remembers, but there are far than that in Led Zeppelin's catalog. Check out the full discography on their website, and indulge your craving for remastered vinyl Zepp to your heart and wallet's content...
Robert Plant's voice and vocal style are not only at the heart of Zepp, they are an influence for a myriad of other vocalists. The whole band has, over the years, influenced and inspired so many other musicians: if you drew a family tree of bands, Led Zeppelin would be at the root of an entire dynasty: a diverse, musical family that today often has little resemblance to its forefathers yet can still trace roots back to the New Yardbirds.
But... it's 2017, almost fifty years since Led Zeppelin formed... and suddenly it seems there's a new wave of hard, heavy, rock appearing... and they are coming out of Michigan, USA. They may never have heard Zepp when they were growing up... yet, the legacy is there. A bit like a great-great-grandchild having the same blue eyes and musical soul.
Here's an example from Michigan-based band Spiral Crush: their third album, Electric Life, is out now. This track, Get It On, really harks back to early Zeppelin...
This is Highway Tune. It's an earworm... learn the words and sing along!
Spiral Crush on Facebook and their website
Greta Van Fleet on Facebook and their website
Aftershock festival right here!
(And please... if you work out the meaning behind the cryptic messages appearing on Robert Plant's website, let me know!)
Monday, August 14, 2017
|One-Eyed Doll, Orangevale CA, 2016|
See reviews of One-Eyed Doll's live shows here and here and here (when the guy at the merch stand told me, "Never seen One-Eyed Doll before? Then you're in for a treat!". Mark your diaries! Get tickets! You, too, are in for a treat... seriously.
One-Eyed Doll are Kimberly Freeman (guitar and vocals) and Jason Rufus Sewell AKA "Junior" on drums.
Here's a preview. Tickets go on sale this Wednesday, August 16th--don't forget (otherwise I'll keep reminding you.)
More One-Eyed Doll photos in the photo galleries: you can never see One-Eyed Doll too often!
Saturday, August 12, 2017
|730 R St, mural by Miles Toland|
An early-morning walk today revealed the murals in various stages; from cleaned and prepped walls, ready for the first splash of paint, through sketched-on designs and partly-finished designs, right through to a beautiful, finished work (by Miles Toland, on the SMUD building at 730 R St.)
|Cristina Angelina, working the wall near to the Jade Hotel, setting of the Art Hotel project|
But wait... there's more to come. The festival runs until 20th August and by then, not only will the city be more beautiful, it will have enjoyed many Wide Open Walls events, including mural tours every day, both on foot and on bike; gallery openings, and culminating with the Wall Ball on 19th August. The Ball is an arts-themed fundraiser for arts education.
All information about the festival can be found here on the website, and if you have the "in the Sac" app on your phone, there too. Find out about the founders and organizers, and all of the sponsors who are helping to make this happen!
|Beginnings... this one by Lora Zombie on R|
More photos here, in the Wide Open Walls gallery: more will be added as the festival progresses.
Other Sacramento art collections:
Street Art (Sacramento and elsewhere)
Friday, August 4, 2017
|Avenged Sevenfold, in the crowd, Golden 1, Sacramento|
Sometimes, it's OK to go to a show without cameras. I have a hard time persuading myself of this, but... sometimes you have to remember what it's like, in the center of the crowd, at the front, at the side, behind a giant with his metal horns up or waving his smart phone, or being stepped on by someone dodging backwards to avoid a hurricane of a circle pit... working your way through the gaps to a spot closer to the stage, then back out towards the back for a different view, trying not to get in anyone else's line of sight while they step right into yours. The crush of the crowd, the spilled 14-dollar beers, the balanced soft cup of water because they wouldn't let any bottles onto the floor, the thousands and thousands of happy, excited, jumping, shouting, singing, moshing people.
It was fun. It was a great show.
|Ho99o9, Golden 1, Sacramento|
Then A Day To Remember... and remember it, we most certainly will. Hugely entertaining from start to finish; loud, hectic, guys going crazy in huge circle pits in the crowd, crowd surfing (with one person standing on another, like a guy on a surf board), beach balls and loo rolls thrown into the crowd... the music, oh yes! Here's the set list. I'm glad someone noted it down; I was far too busy just watching and jumping and dancing and keeping out of the way of the huge bald dude who was hurtling round and round in the crowd.
|M Shadows in the middle of the crowd, Sacramento|
A show to remember.
Avenged Sevenfold are alternating dates as headliners with dates on tour with Metallica; see if you can catch one of the shows!
I did take a few photos. On my phone. Everyone else seemed to be taking videos on theirs. I guess I'm just a photographer through and through... cameras or phone or just somewhere inside my brain.
(More Avenged Sevenfold photos here, from Aftershock.)
Saturday, July 29, 2017
|Trace Adkins, California State Fair, 2017|
I don't listen to country, much. I'm the person on the red-eye in Trace Adkins' Songs About Me. More about this here... but... this man's voice. And this man's songs. Yep.
|Trace Adkins, California State Fair, 2017|
Click here to see all the photos from Thursday evening's Trace Adkins' show at California State Fair. For tour dates, click here on Facebook or here on Trace Adkin's website.
(There's something wrong about all-seated concerts. I found the dancing people. We were outside the barrier, on the bridge, cameras and all. You know where to find me, after the first two or three songs.)
At risk of repeating myself... I don't listen to country, much. I'm more hard rock/metal/prog. I'm the person on the red-eye in Trace Adkins' Songs About Me. but... this man's voice. THIS MAN'S VOICE. Check out Trace Adkins' acting career, too. Standouts include cameo roles in The Lincoln Lawyer and more recently, Deepwater Horizon. I'm still waiting for him to kick Tom Cruise out of the Reacher role. You know Trace would do a far better job.
And... if you like what Five Finger Death Punch do for military veterans, check out what Trace Adkins does, too. (Now there's an idea. A show with both Trace Adkins and Five Finger Death Punch. I'm not crazy. Someone else has already built a YouTube playlist with songs from both artists.)
|Trace Adkins, Golden 1 Stage, California State Fair, 2017|