Saturday, July 29, 2017

Something's going on... Trace Adkins, California State Fair; photos and words

Trace Adkins, California State Fair
Trace Adkins, California State Fair, 2017
(Full photo gallery click here)

I don't listen to country, much. I'm the person on the red-eye in Trace AdkinsSongs About Me. More about this here... but... this man's voice. And this man's songs. Yep.

Trace Adkins, California State Fair
Trace Adkins
The crowd was huge at California State Fair on Thursday evening. All the seats were taken; people were crowded against the barriers, up across the bridge, and sitting on the grass by the lagoon.

Trace Adkins, California State Fair
Trace Adkins, California State Fair, 2017
The show included songs from throughout Trace's career to date, including Something's Going On from his latest album of the same name, right back to one of the oldest songs, There's a Girl in Texas;  Just Fishin', You're Going To Miss This, Every Light in the House... a cover of Gregg Allman's I'm No Angell.. and of course, Brown Chicken Brown Cow and Honky Tonk Badonkadonk. (I don't suppose he can do a show without those last two. He's so much more than those two songs.)

Trace Adkins, California State Fair
Trace Adkinis
Trace Adkins' new album, Something's Going On, is available now at your usual place for buying music!

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 AdkinsSongs 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, California State Fair
Trace Adkins, Golden 1 Stage, California State Fair, 2017
See also review and photos of the 2013 show at Sunrise Mall, Citrus Heights.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Photo gallery: Good Charlotte at the California State Fair

Good Charlotte, California State Fair, Sacramento
Good Charlotte bringing in the crowd at the California State Fair
Long-time fans were out in droves to see Good Charlotte performing at the California State Fair on Friday night! Big crowd who were all there to enjoy the show.

Joel Madden, vocals, Good Charlotte,
Joel Madden, vocals, Good Charlotte
Here's the setlist: if you were there, and heard anything different, go to setlist.fm to update the list. (I'f you've never used Setlist.fm, it's where fans share setlists from shows that they have attended.)



Good Charlotte continue to tour, including dates in Canada and the UK: find all the dates here on their Facebook.

More photos, including the crowd, in the Good Charlotte gallery--check it out. You might find yourself, if you were at the show.

Good Charlotte, California State Fair, Sacramento
Enjoying the show!

A Day At The Races: California State Fair

Racing at Sacramento
Race eight, Sacramento, California State Fair
Once again, like last year, I spent a whole day at the racetrack, in Sacramento, at the California State Fair. Came home a little sunburned--it was a hot day, and the cool of the indoor area was a very welcome respite between the races. There were nine races on the card, with the first at 1.45 p.m.

Racing at Sacramento
Sponsor family in the winner's circle for the first race
The first race was a quarter horse race. Those guys are so fast! Quarter horses are an American breed, and they are the sprinters of the horseracing world. Quite logical naming: a quarter horse runs the quarter mile!

And did you know that you or your company can sponsor a race at the State Fair? You too can be in the winner's circle! Have your name in the program and a special box for you and your guests, all day of the race. Check out all the info here.

Senorita, winner of the mule race at Sacramento
Senorita, winning the mule race at Sacramento, California State Fair
The second race was... mules. Yes, mules. Last year, we arrived just before this race, and I hadn't had a chance to read the program. I was expecting thoroughbreds and thinking, that horse over there looks like a donkey... wait, that one does too, and that one... But no, they are not horses, they are not donkeys, they are the best of both: they are mules, and they can run.

The winner of the mule race was Senorita. Everyone kept out of her way. She has a reputation for being a little feisty, a little... mulish... in the winner's circle. But what a run!

Senorita, winner of the mule race at Sacramento
Senorita, on her way to the winner's circle
Race three was special. As the horses were parading in front of the stand, before the race began, number 2, WMA Red Pepper unseated his jockey, and decided to race the course by himself, before they were anywhere near under starter's orders. The three-year-old bay colt zoomed off around the track, leaving jockey Jesus Velasquez frustrated, on his feet on the dirt racetrack.

Racing at Sacramento
Before race three, California State Fair... WMA Red Pepper about to begin his solo race
The young Arabian horse was eventually rounded up, checked by the track vet, and pronounced OK to start the race. I thought he had no chance...

But guess who was way out in front at the start of the race!

And look who won! Yes, it was WMA Red Pepper, living up to his name, and bringing in the prize for trainer and owner Helen Shelley. Big smile on jockey Jesus' face at the end of the race, and the crowd went wild!

Racing at Sacramento
WMA Red Pepper winning race three
Race eight, the California Governor's Cup, had the biggest field of the day, with twelve horses listed to begin the race.

Racing at Sacramento
Heading into the final straight, race eight, Sacramento

Racing at Sacramento
Alliford Bay, winner of the 2017 California Governor's cup, ridden by jockey Irving Orozco, trained by Blaine Wright and owned by Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd.
More racing today, and next weekend--Thursday to Sunday--too! It's included in your entry to the California State Fair!

Many more photos from all of the races are now in the California State Fair photo gallery: click here! (You can find these and more horseracing images in the horse racing gallery, too.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I think these guys are crazy-mad. But fun to watch. Still... crazy-mad.

Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross
Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross at California State Fair
Every day at California State Fair, there are three chances to see the Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross team. Three riders, riding motorbikes up a ramp, doing all sorts of crazy things in midair, then landing safely. All in a split second. Sometimes two, or three, in the air at the same time. Doing handstands on the handlebars. Riding with no hands. Letting go of the bike, completely.

Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross
Look, no hands!!! 
Yes, I think they are crazy-mad. But you have to see them!!! (And unlike bull riding, there are no animals involved, but just as much daredevil crazy-skilled performance.)

Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross
One hand!!!
Check them out: shows are at 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm, every day of the fair. In the lagoon.

Jack in the Box Freestyle Motocross
Let's do a handstand. On the handlebars. In midair.
Many more pictures are in the gallery:  California State Fair 2017  (and if you missed last year's photos, find them here).

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Photo gallery: Lita Ford at California State Fair!

Lita Ford
Lita Ford, California State Fair 2017
Lita Ford rocked the  California State Fair last night, opening the show on her famed Stoli guitar!

She's on tour: more dates can be found here, on Facebook and here on her website.

All the photos are in the photogallery, click here or just click the picture!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Photo gallery: Sacramento Republic Football Club vs CF Pachuca

Sacramento Republic FC v CF Pachuca
Sacramento's Tower Bridge Battalion leading the crowd
Saturday night's friendly international between Sacramento Republic FC and CF Pachuca of Mexico at Papa Murphy's Park, Sacramento: with attendees also gaining access to the California State Fair, a great evening out for all the family! End result: Sacramento 0, Pachuca 3.

Don't miss the next match! Sacramento Republic FC versus Seattle Sounders FC 2 next Sunday, 23rd July!

See the full photo gallery here: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/life/football-soccer/sacvpac-2017 or click the photo below. That was so much fun!

Sacramento Republic FC v CF Pachuca
CF Pachuca score against Sacramento Republic FC early in the match

Thursday, July 13, 2017

California State Fair opens tomorrow!!! Concerts. And DINOSAURS!!!

Tradional fairground ride
All the fun of the fair!!!
California's State Fair opens tomorrow, July 14th, and runs until July 30th. There are fairground rides, there are concerts galore, and there are... dinosaurs!!!! Yes, DINOSAURS!!! They have taken over Expo buildings 4 and 5. Put on your timetravel kit and be ready to zoom 165 million years into the past.

There is racing. Yes, horseracing. Yes... weiner dogs (dachshunds).

There are Hollywood Horses. See the horses from the Walking Dead and Seabiscuit. I don't think there are zombies, but you never know. Be on the lookout.

There are exhibits and competitions and music and dance and livestock and petting zoos and pony rides and whales' tails and steampunk and video shows on the water tower and FAIR FOOD and so much that you can't talk about it all without running out of breath.

Just be there. You know you'll have fun!

Find all the info here: http://castatefair.org

(If you see me with a very-large reptile, it's just my T-Rex.)



Ready for some festivals... lots of new music! E.g., Stone Sour!

Corey Taylor signing
Corey Taylor, of Slipknot and Sone Sour, at Aftershock in Sacramento
I'm really, really ready for festivals! Whether in Sacramento (City of Trees, Aftershock) or further afield, I'm ready! I bet you could find a festival to go to, every weekend from now until the end of October, if you set your mind and your bank account to it... Louder Than Life, Outside LandsOzzfest meets Knotfest, to name but a few.

This weekend, Chicago Open Air has a wonderful three-day lineup. If' you're there, I'm jealous--last year's inaugural festival was wonderful, this year's lineup is WOW.

One band that you'll see in several of the festivals during the rest of the year, including Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, is Stone Sour. If you're a Slipknot fan, you just might consider Stone Sour as Corey Taylor's "other" band, but Stone Sour began before Corey fronted the masked metal crew, and while very intense, heavy, metal rock, Stone Sour leans more melodic. And there are no scary masks or nightmare clowns to deal with.

Corey Taylor signing
Corey Taylor, meeting fans, Aftershock 2015
Stone Sour's latest album, Hydrograd, is out now and I've been listening to it all week. The single, Song #3, has been receiving a lot of airplay, is high in the charts, and has a wonderful hook. St. Marie has steel guitar and a country twang. But the song that's sticking in my ear is When The Fever Broke... it's such a good album. Take a listen! Learn the words to sing along when you see them!


A couple of years back, I was very happy to be asked to photograph Corey Taylor's signing session at Aftershock festival in Sacramento. So many happy fans!!! Such a gracious man... Corey spent ages longer than planned, giving every fan attention, making them each feel special. And then he went off to do some fighting... does he ever stop? I hope not!

Which reminds me... when you go to a festival, don't forget to check out which bands are doing signings and meet-and-greets: they usually happen all weekend, sometimes at radio stations' booths, sometimes at The Music Experience as was the Corey Taylor signing in 2015. Check out the festival website to find out. Go meet your favourites... and you too may come away with an amazing memory and, on top of all the music, a happy face like these:

Corey Taylor signing
After meeting Corey Taylor

Corey Taylor signing


Corey Taylor signing

Corey Taylor signing
Signed by Corey Taylor!
See you at the festival!!! I can't wait. Did I say that already?

Northern Ghost releases new video: Heart of Stone


If you enjoy Bring Me The Horizon, check out this band from Cleveland, Ohio: Northern Ghost. This is the video of Heart of Stone: "... One of the more painful ones to write. The subject of being a good person who has done bad things, tearing into regret, dealing with judgment. It can weigh extremely heavily on a soul", said Tony McVaney about this song.



Northern Ghost is vocalist Tony McVaney, guitarist Alan Bryan, guitarist Nolan O'Renic, bass player Kenny Pohorence and drummer Mike Mazzoli.

Nothern Ghost have signed with Tragic Hero Records, and their debut album Happy : Sad : Depressed : Suicidal was released on July 7th, and is well worth a listen! Check out the album here on Amazon, or here on iTunes... or wherever you usually buy your music. Metalcore but melodic; powerful yet thoughtful.

Follow Northern Ghost on Facebook to see upcoming tour dates. If you are headed to the beach, see them in Santa Cruz tonight!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Red Sun Rising: Uninvited... and it's stunning

Mike Protich, vocals, Red Sun Rising
Mike Protich, vocals, Red Sun Rising, Sacramento 2016
I don't quite know how I missed this when it was released as a single a couple of months back, but I only heard Red Sun Rising's cover of Alanis Morissette's "Uninvited" on the radio this week. They played Uninvited live to us back in October, at the Ace of Spades, and yes... it's special. Vocals, guitar... all of it. Not on an album (yet), but you can buy it now (for example, here on iTunes).

Remember this song? Morissette wrote it for the soundtrack of City of Angels, the movie with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan... and City of Angels, as Jade Anna Hughes reminded me, was a remake of the wonderfully haunting movie, Wings of Desire (Der Himmel ├╝ber Berlin). Red Sun Rising's video of the cover of the song of the movie which was a remake has much more in common with the heaven over Berlin than Hollywood... and it manages to be creepy while engaging; kindly yet unnerving, thought-provoking, worrysome and beautiful, all at the same time.

You can watch the official video here; be aware that there is nudity, in case that offends you (or the person looking over your shoulder). There's also a guy who puts more emotion, longing, shame and love into his eyes in a couple of minutes than most actors do in a lifetime.



If you have any doubts about the vocal skills of Red Sun Rising's frontman Mike Protich, they disappear with this song.

Simply stunning... both this recording of the song, and the video.

Red Sun Rising are still out there touring: find all dates on their website or Facebook.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Buy your festival tickets TODAY! Or TOMORROW! Before end of July 4th!

People of Aftershock
Festival time!!!
If you are planning on attending a Danny Wimmer Presents festival later this year, take a look at ticket prices right now, because there's a special offer that runs until a minute to midnight on July 4th for Aftershock, and if you can't wait that long, for Louder Than Life -- hop on a plane to Kentucky! There's no service fee right now... you know how annoying it is to have extra costs slapped on top of the ticket price? Do it today!

You've seen the lineups, right?  If not, click here for Aftershock, here for LTL.

Aftershock tickets are here:  http://aftershockconcert.com/tickets/

Louder Than Life tickets are here: http://louderthanlifefestival.com/tickets/