Monday, October 24, 2016
Monday morning, and every single bit of me aches... clocked over 36K steps over the past two days, walking from stage-to-stage at Aftershock, and while those of you who didn't have the luxury of nipping through the VIP area probably walked a few more miles than I did, carrying around 16lbs of equipment and stuff I think we're probably about equal and I definitely earned those delicious fries from the variety of food trucks that you saw me scoffing on both days, so don't ask what happened to the diet this weekend, OK???
The weekend started with Marillion at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on Friday evening--did I mention they are on tour right now??--then a 6am Greyhound back to Sacramento (sleep? what's that?) in time for Aftershock's Saturday openers... and somehow now it's Monday, it's MY BIRTHDAY!!! and as a present to share I have about a million photos to edit. (There are one or two already up on the Facebook page so please follow it if you don't already!)
So much good music... Marillion were, as always, incredible, inspiring, wonderful. Aftershock was so many tens-of-thousands of people enjoying a huge variety of music in the beautiful setting of Sacramento's Discovery Park. Of the bands I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing live before, Avatar far-and-away were my favourites... I hope, no, I expect to see them headlining sometime very soon. The Mendenhall Experiment and Ghost, amazing too. Of bands I've seen before, Disturbed and Korn were incredible.
Overall, Sunday's Aftershock lineup was more my kind of music than Saturday's (apart from Avatar), but that just goes to show how there is something for everyone at these festivals: it's fun seeing your favourite bands, it's fun discovering new music, and it's great seeing other people really enjoying sounds that you might not always listen to yourself.
It's going to take a while to edit all the photos. First I have to go pick up the cat from the cat hotel... then the work will begin. I will start with Marillion, then Aftershock... please be patient and keep checking back here for updates! (And if you're heading to the Marillion gigs in Boston, Washington, Philadelphia or New York, I'll see you there!)
May the music be with you!
Thursday, October 20, 2016
And this weekend... AFTERSHOCK!!! Back at Discovery Park, close to downtown Sacramento, the river, and the place where it all started... headliners Tool, Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Primus... such a huge lineup!
But don't forget the bands who are appearing earlier in the day. The show will be huge... so much good music (and a whole lotta other stuff going on too: don't miss the Music Experience and everything else)!
Here's a preview set of YouTube videos, for some of the earlier-than-the-headliners bands, in case you don't know them (yet). There are way more than these on the lineup... I got as far as adding The Mendenhall Experiment to the playlist, started reading the guitarist' and band's story, and it was so compelling and inspirational... so don't miss any of this festival, it's going to be brilliant!
letlive, Reluctantly Dead, and probably at the calmest that you'll see them at any point in the Aftershock set. Do not, and I repeat, do not miss this band!!! On stage on Saturday at 1.25 pm.
Whitechapel, Our Endless War: on stage on Sunday at 12.50
Avatar: Bloody Angel: can't wait to see these guys for the first time: Saturday at 2 pm.
Baroness: Chlorine & Wine: Saturday at 3.10
Parkway Drive, Vice Grip: currently seeing a lot of radio airplay, Parkway Drive will be on stage on Sunday at 2.30 pm.
Silver Snakes, Glass: check these guys out at 1.20 on Sunday.
Deafheaven, Sunbather: on stage at 4.45 on Saturday.
Sacramento's own Some Fear None, Out of Our Hands... and opening the Sunday show at 11.50 a.m. See. You need to be there at the beginning of the day!
Aeges, Another Wasteland: see them at 12.20 on Saturday.
The Shrine, Coming Down Quick: Saturday at 11.15 Saturday. Again: be there when the gates open!
And last but by very means not least in this preview, The Mendenhall Experiment and Seize The Day. If you haven't heard about these guys before, check out the story... Courage, strength, faith in oneself... you can be who you are meant to be. What an inspirational story!!! Go see them, 12.20 pm on Sunday.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
|Steve Vai, Bad Horsie, Sacramento, CA|
It's twenty-five years since guitar virtuoso Steve Vai released Passion and Warfare, in itself the culmination of years of work--and yet, he didn't tour the album when it was first released. Now, with a superb band on stage to help, he's touring the world, playing the album end-to-end, already passing through Scotland, England, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, France and many other countries, and now here in the USA. with a few surprises, and some video, if not live-on-stage, guests: Brian May, Joe Satriani, a wookie-esque John Petrucci, and the late, great, Frank Zappa, whose music, in a past lifetime, Steve Vai transcribed to paper. I don't know how the heck he did that, but he did... The "guests" didn't steal the show... Mr. Vai did that himself, hands down.
|Steve Vai, Ace of Spades, Sacramento|
|Steve Vai, with Philip Bynoe on bass|
|Steve Vai and Dave Weiner|
The end of the album, stunning, but not the end of the show... after Love Secrets, the finale to Passion and Warfare, the band played at least three (four?) more ... What a huge show!!! ... and then took the time to thank everyone for being there. No, Steve Vai, we thank YOU, for the show, for the music, for bringing your show to Sacramento (again), and for everything you do to help and support other musicians. We know you care. It shines.
|Beautiful music, happy maestro|
The tour continues: check here for other dates. And for those guitarists out there, Mr. Vai is holding the third Vai Acadamy Guitar Camp in Carmel, CA, from January 2nd-6th, You can find more information here on the Vai Academy website. Nice start to the new year!
And all the photos are here: click! http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/steve-vai
|Steve Vai, Ace of Spades, Sacramento|
|Jeremy Colson, drums, Steve Vai|
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
It's been a couple of weeks since Marillion's 18th studio album, F.E.A.R., (Fuck Everyone And Run), was released, and while I haven't reviewed it here until today, here are a couple of major publications that have--take a look, and then go buy tickets for the upcoming tour, before it's too late:
- Classic Rock "... Marillion have taken all the most emotionally potent and fervently dynamic moments from this line-up’s 27 years and moulded them into some new, exponentially emboldened form"
- The Guardian: "Prog veteran's best album in 20 years"
|Marillion, Montreal Canada, 2015|
I always wait to review a Marillion album. Because there are so many layers to the sound, so many emotions to the lyrics, that it takes several, many listenings. F.E.A.R. is a protest album: Eldorado, The New Kings embody the concept; rule by money, rule by banks and by big money, not by values and morality. It's a protest album, and it's angry, but angry in a sad and soulful way. It's a global story, and yet the album is, to me, also very English, probably because it tugs, hard, at my own homesickness for that walled garden full of singing blackbirds, buzzing bees, beautiful flowers, blue sky with cotton-wool clouds, and a bi-plane flying past on a Sunday morning, of old-school values...
"We're melting our guns, as a show of strength... we're not green, we're just pleasant"
But of all the album, which is magical, end-to-end, there's one song that immediately messed with my heart, my brain, my memories, and my guilt. You see... that's what Steve Hogarth's lyrics do: they make you think.
White Paper. An aging relationship. One person content, the other asking questions. Hurt, secrets, trying. A beautiful song, but what did it make me think of? It made me remember just how difficult it is to live with a writer, an author, a poet. I've been there, read the words and felt the hurt. And I've written them myself, and no doubt hurt others by doing so.
A writer sometimes takes an emotion, and asks, "What if?", and that's where the stories come from. It's not so much reality as such; it's the extension of a thought: what might be, what might have been. And sometimes they don't. A writer sometimes takes an element from their long-distant past, and writes about it as if it's today: building on it, expanding it, making it real, developing the intensity, making it hurt and bleed. And sometimes they don't. A writer sometimes takes someone else's story: a friend, a family member, something they read in the news, and bends it into something personal, something their own, something that's theirs and now yours... and sometimes they don't. Sometimes it's real, and it's now, and it's today, and it's their own pain they are writing about, right now. And neither you, nor I, nor anyone else will ever really know. Because none of us are ever, ever, truly and completely, inside someone else's head... and nor should we want to be.
So yes, White Paper is the song from F.E.A.R. that's stuck in my head right now, because once-again, Marillion have seized my heart and soul and wrung them out, pegged them to the washing line to dry in a rainstorm...
|Last time Marillion were in San Francisco: 2012|
Here's The New Kings from F.E.A.R. Obtain the full album from your usual source: iTunes, Amazon, http://marillion.com, record stores...
More Marillion photos: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/marillion
|Marillion weekend, Port Zelande, The Netherlands|
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
|Devin Townsend, Ace of Spades, Sacramento|
|Tommy Rogers, Between The Buried And Me (BTBAM)|
|Between The Buried And Me, Sacramento, Ace of Spades|
|The Devin Townsend Project|
Check out the photo galleries here:
- Between The Buried And Me (BTBAM)
- Devin Townsend Project
The show was opened by Falluja, whose prog-metal music provided a really good start to the evening... I need to listen to them some more!
And if you enjoy these bands, don't miss Marillion's North America tour, which kicks off in San Francisco on October 21st!
Thursday, October 6, 2016
The band schedules for this year's Aftershock festival, in Discovery Park, Sacramento, have been announced!
This is going to be a good weekend... if you haven't bought tickets yet, I wouldn't wait much longer, as I understand that they are close to sold out.
As well as the music, there will also be a huge amount of things going on: lots of food, drink, entertainment, even golf! (If you didn't have a chance to Keep Golf Metal at last year's Aftershock, it's back!!!)
One thing that I really love about these festivals, is that they always give back to the people... this year, a portion of every ticket fee is being donated to the Living the Dream Foundation. This organization brings the music industry together with fans who are fighting terminal illnesses, by giving them All Access VIP experiences backstage with their favorite bands and artists. Find out more about the foundation on their website.
And for young musicians (and the young-at-heart), be sure to check out the Music Experience, where you can test-drive instruments, enter challenges, and keep an eye out for the musicians who will no doubt be dropping in...
There's lots of other things going on too: check out details below, and see more on the festival website: http://aftershockconcert.com
Monday, October 3, 2016
|"Fifi', B-29 Superfortress bomber|
Sunday lunchtime, 2nd October, and I'm feeling a little deja-vu. A leaden sky hangs over Mather Field air base, and it looks like it's going to storm, or worse. A week before, I'd been in Houston for Houston Open Air, and Sunday started exactly like this. On Saturday, in Houston, the show had been dramatically cut short, and bands cancelled, due to things outside of the festival organizers' control--the weather. At California Capital Airshow, the Saturday show too had been cut short, again not by choice: the lead pilot for the US Navy Blue Angels was unwell, and for safety's sake, the flight could not happen.
And then here we were, Sunday, and there's a really ominous sky...
|US Army Golden Knights parachute team|
|Mike Wiskus flying the Lucas Oil aerobatics plane... stunning!!!|
|US Navy Blue Angels... flying upside-down, as you do!|
This was my first-ever airshow. It will definitely not be the last.
|US Navy Blue Angels, mid-air pass|
|Wings almost touching, four US Navy Blue Angels in formation|
|Carrying in the POW/MIA flag, US Army Golden Knights|
|US Navy Blue Angels, solo|
NOTE: All the photo galleries are linked below. Follow on Twitter (@alisontoon) and Instagram (@alisontoonphotographer) for announcements of new events and photo galleries!
- All galleries
- US Navy Blue Angels
- US Army Golden Knights
- WWII reenactment
- Mike Wisus Lucas Oil
- Canadian and USA Air Forces; Hornet and Viper jets
- Plus planes on the ground, people watching the planes... all the fun of the airshow!
Sunday, October 2, 2016
|Waiting for Highly Suspect|
|Johnny Stevens, Highly Suspect|
|Highly Suspect, The Boardwalk, Orangevale|
The live show covers, of course, their best-known songs, including Bath Salts, Lydia, My Name is Human, Serotonia. Mom--already heartbreaking on record--is soul-crushing and hypnotic, live. The show, and the band's repertoire, includes influences from blues to punk to seventies rock (not forgetting a drum solo), and demonstrates, yet again, just how musically-together and talented these guys are. Really excellent musicians... and something really special.
The Highly Suspect tour continues throughout October and into November throughout the USA--and then, a couple of dates in the UK! Don't miss them!!!
|Johnny Stevens, vocals and guitar, Highly Suspect|
More photos in the Highly Suspect photo gallery: click here (there are also photos from Aftershock, too). The lighting on Saturday at the Boardwalk was very, very low... they are what they are.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Dateline Thursday, 29th September, 2016, and the sky is written with strange symbols; now a shooting line, now a drifting face; airplanes rise, and fall, and there's the sound of engines in the sky.
Don't worry. It's not the apocalypse, it's not an invasion, and as far as I know, aliens haven't landed yet. It's the preparation for the California Capital Air Show, which happens this weekend, 1st and 2nd October, at Mather Field.
All the info is on the California Capital Air Show website, click here!
We'll be there!
Headliners? U. S. Navy Blue Angels! Fat Albert!
Supports: Hornets and Vipers! Superfortress! Jet car! And many more... including a WWII tribute,
Gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. each day. It will cost $10 to park, but there's plenty of parking space, and you can also buy a parking pass and your tickets online to save time on the day. Children under six years of age go free.
See you there!
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
I've spent many years working with language, with translations, and also dealing with the differences between British and American English in my daily life. But this week? It's the music... making me notice, making me think.
- I like music by Shaman's Harvest, but I probably won't mention them to you, or you won't know who I'm talking about, because I pronounce Shaman the British way ("Shay-man" not "Shaa-man")
- I will probably never, ever sing along to A Day To Remember's new song, Naivety, because... I just cannot pronounce the word that way. To my ears, it's totally wrong. Wondering if they are considering a localized version for sale in the UK and other anglophone markets? The US version either won't work, or it WILL work just-because of the strange-sounding pronounciation to non-US ears...
- But--the other way around--the most endearing thing I have heard on the radio recently, is Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon telling me that there's "nuffink you can do". Now THAT'S proper English like how I talk it.
It's not only the written word that needs translating, or rewriting, or adjusting, for another market. It's not only politicians, presenters and business(wo)men whose speech must be interpreted. The way a song, or a band name, is heard and understood can have an effect on music appreciation, and sales, too.
I Survived Houston Open Air!!! (and other such quotes... here's what we DID see, and the refund info)
|Storm clouds above the festival|
|Saturday afternoon crowd, Houston Open Air|
|Slayer, Houston Open Air 2016|
We want to thank all of you for your support and patience over the past few days. As a result of the weather/safety related delays and cancellations from last weekend’s event, we are offering all buyers the following refund:
- Only Ticket— 50% refund of your ticket price.
- Only Ticket—100% refund of your ticket price.
- Two-day Ticket — 75% refund of your ticket price (I.e. 50% refund of the portion of the ticket price and 100% refund of the portion of the ticket price.
- The above refunds apply to all GA and VIP tickets at each applicable price level.
For those of you who purchased via Front Gate Tickets via internet or phone, please email info@frontgatetickets.
com or call 888-512-7469 to request your refund. All refunds must be requested by .
If you purchased tickets via a third party such as Groupon, Songkick, or Street Team, please contact that company directly.
|Al Jourgensen, Ministry, Houston Open Air|
|The Cult, Houston Open Air|
|Alter Bridge, Houston Open Air|
|Josh Todd, Buckcherry, Houston Open Air|
(I've been to many other festivals organized by Danny Wimmer Presents, and without exception, they are well planned, well organized, and well scheduled. The evacuations from this festival happened in a very well-behaved way... it just took a long time, as people had to walk a long way from the stages to their vehicles-of-safety. The evacuations didn't just affect the audience. They effected all the staff working... for example, setting up and soundchecking. Weather happens...)
|Evacuating the venue, in a very orderly manner|
|"Yes, it's his own hair"|
|Front row, Houston Open Air|
Now, I'm setting sights on Aftershock, here in Sacramento: looking forwards to seeing some of the bands missed this weekend, including Ghost and Avatar. Sevendust and Gemini Syndrome have a date here, at the Ace of Spades. So let's move on and forwards...
Here are the photo galleries (a few more will be added soon, come back and check):
People of Houston Open Air: photo gallery click here
Slayer: photo gallery click here
The Cult: photo gallery click here
Alter Bridge: photo gallery click here
Buckcherry: photo gallery click here
Ministry: photo gallery click here
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Midnight tonight, UK time, Marillion's latest album, the 18th studio album, Fuck Everyone and Run (aka F.E.A.R) will be officially released. Already seeing reviews stating that it's likely the band's best-ever--here's an interview with Steve Hogarth from the UK's TeamRock... and timed just-right for everyone to listen to before the band begins their North America tour in San Francisco on 21st October, at the Regency Ballroom. (Yes, it's the evening before Aftershock festival in Sacramento. Yes, we can do both. Yes, I WILL be at both. We can sleep when we are dead, OK???)
I'll be putting my digital release of F.E.A.R. onto my player for listening to on the flight tomorrow, because I'm heading down to Houston for this weekend's Houston Open Air festival! Alice in Chains, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Deftones, The Cult, Anthrax, Gemini Syndrome... and Dinosaur Pile Up. Among many, many others... a few of whom will also be appearing at Aftershock in October, so expect to see a lot of review/preview posts here on Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos between this weekend and then! (Can't believe it's already three years since Avenged Sevenfold were last at Aftershock... they are appearing at both Houston Open Air and Aftershock in 2016! And I *think* there are a few tickets left, for both, but you'd better get a move on.)
|Avenged Sevenfold, Aftesrshock 2013|
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Kungs -- aka Brunel Valentin, from Aix-en-Provence in France--delivered an excellent DJ set at City of Trees this weekend, albeit underlit... we just absorbed the music, and danced in the dark... for certain Sacramentans, this could have gone on all weekend...
(It took me back in time to the two TBD Festivals that were held in West Sacramento. Different venue, rather a different audience, but all loving this kind of music.It reminded me once again how big and diverse the music market is here in Sacramento. This city can, and should, support multiple music events... TBD Fest has left a huge hole, and I'm not going to rehash the reasons why it hasn't happened again. I just hope that someone, someday, has the courage and the financial know-how and integrity to fill that hole again... because dancing in the dark to one excellent DJ set is just not enough for late summer in Sacramento. IMHO.)
Merci encore une fois, Kungs... Hear from Kungs on Souncloud , check Kungs Facebook, and go dance some more!
|Luke Spiller, The Struts, City of Trees 2016|
The Struts continue to tour throughout the USA until late this year, and their album Everybody Wants is out now! These guys are to see... don't miss an opportunity!
|Sarah Barthel, Phantogram, City of Trees 2016|
|Panic! at the Disco, City of Trees 2016|
Here are the full galleries:
Panic! at the Disco
If you want to share any of these images on social media, there is a share button on each picture, please use it :-)