Monday, February 29, 2016

Free show lineup for the California State Fair 2016 announced!

Queen Nation at CA State Fair, 2014
Queen Nation, California State Fair 
... and once again, our favourite tribute band, Queen Nation, is on the list (see why their are faves: 2013, 2014 and 2015 reviews). Plus several more tribute bands, some oldies but goodies, country stars, and a couple of TBDs.

It's going to be a fun summer!

Opening night is 8th July, with Salt'n'Pepa and Spinderella; the concerts are every night of the State Fair, until the closing evening of the 24th (which is a TBD).

Here's the lineup so far: keep an eye on the California State Fair music page for updates to the TBAs!

7/8 - Salt-N-Pepa with Spinderella
7/9 - TBA
7/10 - Sebastian Maniscalco
7/11 - Chaka Khan
7/12 - Journey Revisited - Reliving The Glory Days Of Journey
7/13 - Tower of Power
7/14 - Parmalee
7/15 - Creedence Clearwater Revisited
7/16 - Queen Nation - A Tribute to the Music of Queen
7/17 - Dwight Yoakam
7/18 - Styx
7/19 - Matchbox Twenty Too
7/20 - TBA
7/21 - Lincoln Brewster
7/22 - Don Felder
7/23 - Joe Nichols
7/24 - TBA

My Nemesis: New video from Five Finger Death Punch

Check out the new video from Five Finger Death Punch: My Nemesis. As with previous FFDP videos, there's a strong and meaningful message here. Meet your nemesis, and take the steps to overcome...

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Trixie Whitley, Porta Bohemica, my most-played album so far this year

Porta Bohemica, only released a couple of weeks ago, and I must have listened to it thirty or more times... a beautiful work by a true vocalist. The wistful "Closer" is a classic, "Hourglass" and "Eliza's Smile", beautiful. The entire album: well worth the wait.

One day soon, I hope to see Ms Whitley in concert. April 8th in San Francisco? Check out tour dates near you here.

(If you come to this album expecting to hear Trixie's father's ghost, you'll enjoy the first few bars of the first song, a lingering guitar riff, familiar as sleep. And then, you'll be drawn into the world that is all the daughter, all grown up, pure Trixie Whitley.)

If you prefer Winehouse to Madonna, or Gaga's national anthem to her Bowie, take a listen to Porta Bohemica.

Here's Soft Spoken Words:

For more information, see Facebook or

Friday, February 26, 2016

Blaze Ya Dead Homie, and the Casket Factory Tour, at the Boardwalk

Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk
Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Orangevale
I preface this review with: I was way, way out of my musical comfort-zone last night. I don't know what a Juggalo really is, and I find it hard to explain the difference between rap and hip-hop, other than that rap is part of the hip-hop lifestyle; I like Eminem, I really love what From Ashes To New are doing, blending rap and rock (and did you know, their album was released today!), and I enjoyed what I saw and heard at TBD festival. But I think this was the first time I'd consciously made the decision to go to a hip-hop/rap show. It was fun!!!

Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk
Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Orangevale
So Blaze Ya Dead Homie and the Casket Factory Tour -- last night, comprising Blaze, four support acts: Lex the Hex Master, Trelogy, The Dreammasta, Killa Teeth, No Genre--plus a guy and entourage who jumped on stage for just one karaoke-like song (I have no clue who they were, but it was amusing) -- was an opportunity to hear and see something new. At the Boardwalk in Orangevale, and the fans who were there were well prepared; greasepaint, insane clown faces, ready for anything.

Lex the Hex Master, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk, Orangevale
Lex the Hex Master, Orangevale
All of these performers have a great ability to spit rhyme after rhyme at the speed of light.There's lots of talk of family, but the words... oh the words. I still find the words hard to equate with "family", but that's me.)

The Dreammasta, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk

Trelogy, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk, Orangevale

No Genre, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk, Orangevale
No Genre
Killa Teeth, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk, Orangevale
Killa Teeth
Blaze Ya Dead Homie definitely has that star presence on stage. He commanded the audience; wearing the persona of a long-dead gang member, a smart suit, a mortician's hat, and carrying a striped stick, he made an entrance through fog that would have made Eliza Doolittle proud. Smoke, a stunning mic stand, and his presence like a horrorcore version of George Clinton. (And that, my dears, is a huge compliment.)

Blaze Ya Dead Homie and mystery man, Casket Factory Tour
Mystery man...
The smoke and lights made for some interesting photos--digital cameras don't record exactly what they "see" in these conditions--some are almost tapestry-like in texture. See what you think! (And if any of the photos of the support bands are mis-labeled, please let me know in the comments, and I'll fix them. Info on these bands is a little elusive... including the Masked Mystery Man who was onstage with Blaze. Who is that masked man???)

Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Casket Factory Tour, The Boardwalk
Blaze Ya Dead Homie
The Casket Factory Tour continues: check out the dates here (Reno tonight, Vegas tomorrow), and the album of the same name here!

More photos in the Blaze Ya Dead Homie gallery--click here. All the others: click on their image above to go to their sets!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ne Obliviscaris...something special, from Melbourne, Australia. Wow, seriously!

Tim Charles and Xenoyr, vocals, Ne Obliviscaris
Ne Obliviscaris, Ace of Spades, Sacramento
Also on tour with Cradle of Filth, and touring the USA for the first (and definitely not the last) time are Ne Obliviscaris.

Xenoyr, vocals, Ne Obliviscaris
Xenoyr, extreme vocals, Ne Obliviscaris
Reading a description of their music is not enough. It won't explain it. "A six-piece progressive death metal band", says Wikipedia, "using a variety of instruments".. Nope, that doesn't explain it. There are heavy, extreme, death-metal vocals, beautiful gypsy guitar, racing guitars running in synch with the bass, moments of almost-classical beauty... all merged into one.

Tim Charles, vocals and violin, Ne Obliviscaris
Tim Charles, Ne Obliviscaris
The only experience I can compare it to is my first time at a Bill Frisell jazz concert, where at first every musician seemed to be creating their own individual magic... and then it all came together as one beautiful, intricate and memorable fabric.

Ne Obliviscaris
Benjamin Baret and Brendan "Cygnus" Brown, Ne Obliviscaris
You have to listen to Ne Obliviscaris, and again.

There were many people in the audience at the Ace of Spades on Saturday night, who had come to the show, just for Ne Obliviscaris. And many others who were blown away for the first time, like I was, hearing this band playing so early in the evening.

Ne Obliviscaris
Ne Obliviscaris, playing to a sold-out Ace of Spades
Wow, guys, wow. Thank you for the music.

Catch Ne Obliviscaris on tour with Cradle of Filth and with some headline dates too: see their tour page for details. And check out the album,

More photos in the photo gallery:

Butcher Babies photos are up!

Heidi Shepherd, vocals, Butcher Babies
Heidi Shepherd, Butcher Babies
Butcher Babies are on tour, supporting Cradle of Filth, and were in town on Saturday night at the Ace of Spades. As always, a very entertaining show, and I appreciate them more and more each time I have the opportunity to see them perform.

More photos in the gallery:

Find all the tour dates here for the tour with Cradle of Filth plus headline dates--and a trip across the pond to the UK and around Europe soon!!!

Butcher Babies
Carla Harvey, Butcher Babies

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cradle of Filth, Ace of Spades, Sacramento... and a mother's tale

Dani Filth, vocals, Cradle of Filth
Dani Filth, Cradle of Filth
Last night, I did something that I never, ever thought I'd do. I went, with my eldest daughter, to a Cradle of Filth show.

Richard Shaw, guitar, Cradle of Filth
Richard Shaw, Cradle of Filth
If you're a parent, your kids probably have one band or singer that you just can't get along with. It's mandatory, right? For some, it''ll be Beiber. Others, One Direction. My sweet, shy, polite, innocent-teen-daughter??? It was Cradle of Filth. This black metal, heavy-on-the-Anglo-Saxon-cuss-word, and hell-and-brimstone-spitting band that my young-teen daughter played really, really loud, and which I, as the parent, didn't want her singing along to. Not singing Those Words, nor wearing T-shirts with Those Words on them. Just doing the right parent thing, OK?

Cradle of Filth
Cradle of Filth, Ace of Spades, Sacramento
Those days are well past and now, she's all grown up and very well too, if I might say so, and last night we together watched Cradle of Filth together, live, at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento.

Dani Filth, vocals, Cradle of Filth
Dani Filth, Cradle of Filth
And yes, they were very entertaining. Of course they were. Provocative? Of course they were... that's the intent, right? But entertaining and fun. Hellishly and emphatically, yes!!!

Cradle of Filth
Cradle of Filth, Sacramento, USA
Those of you with Beiber kids? Bet you do the same thing one day. New Direction... if they stay together that long. (Personally? I think you have a harder job than I did!) Hang in there, you can do it... and the T-shirts are a little more wearable in polite company that those of Cradle of Filth. Unless you really want to make an impression. Evil grin.

Cradle of Filth continue their tour of the USA and Canada--see if there's a show near you! Latest album, Hammer of the Witches, is out now.

Full photo gallery with many more photos:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Buckcherry + Country (Gretchen Wilson) = The Feeling Never Dies

I think I like this...

Plan your summer NOW! Festival announcements galore!!! Local and road trip!

Are you ready for festival season??? There are lots of announcements this week--here are a couple of big ones.

First, we have Sacramento's own First Festival, this year to be held in Southside Park in downtown Sacramento. Lots of local-and-good music over two days in the city: metal, rock, Cali-rock: something for everyone. More details here:

Then looking further afield, have you seen the lineup for Chicago Open Air???? Wow... and wow again! Once you see it, you can't unsee it... and might be already on the way there before you get to the bottom of this post. Rammstein! Disturbed! Slipknot! Korn! Five Finger Death Punch! Marilyn Manson! Ministry! Gemini Syndrome!!! Pop Evil!! And so many, many many more... good grief. What a lineup! Enough to make any metal fan drool...

This festival will run for three days: July 15th, 16th and 17th, at Toyota Park, Bridgeview IL, very close to Chicago's Midway airport. For those of you in the Sacramento area, that's under $250 return on Southwest right now. Summer-metal vacation in the midwest? Sounds like fun to me...

And is this lineup a taster for what we might see here, later in the year, at Aftershock??? Can't wait to find out... (And another suggestion--go look at the Ace of Spades' new concert lineup... a few familiar names in there, too. This is going to be a good year.)

Tickets for both First Festival and Chicago Open Air are on sale now. Start planning your summer today!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Geoff Tate and Operation: Mindcrime, in Sacramento last night

Geoff Tate
Geoff Tate, Operation: Mindcrime
Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime took over the Ace of Spades in Sacramento last night. Former Queensrÿche frontman Mr. Tate (and we won't go down the rathole about band names and singers here), now fronting a new band, named with the same name as Queensrÿche's third studio album, and yes... much to the joy of the front-row fans, they played a lot of Queensrÿche classics, including opening with Neue Regal, Screaming in Digital, and I am I.

Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime
Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime
But also, music from Operation: Mindcrime's first album, The Key, expected to be the first album of a trilogy, and well worth a listen.

Plenty of stories from Geoff Tate too, and great vocals of course!

Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime
Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime
More information on the current USA tour can be found on the band's website or Facebook. It's a huge tour that stretches into the spring, covering the entire USA plus a few dates in Canada. Go see them!

More photos from last night's show in the gallery, click here. The show was house-lights only, no additional tour lighting, so pink and purple and nothing extra.

Geoff Tate
Geoff Tate, Operation: Mindcrime

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Art Hotel, downtown Sacramento temporary art project: awesome!!!

Art Hotel, Sacramento
Art Hotel, Sacramento
Today is the final day of the art project at the building at the corner of 7th and L Street in downtown Sacramento. Called the Art Hotel, the project is the work of more than 60 artists from near and far, and is a very temporary installation in this building which is scheduled for demolition in springtime of this year. Only open from the 5th to the 13th February 3016, and led by the new downtown arts initiative M5ARTS, the artwork fills four floors of this old hotel and apartment building.

Art Hotel, Sacramento
Art Hotel, Sacramento
Today, people were waiting in line for several blocks, and by no means everyone managed to see inside. Only 45 people at a time inside, for 30 minutes, and it was a very short time to take everything in. While it was only ever intended to be a temporary--very--installation, it's a shame that there wasn't just more time... and yet, that's also a statement in itself; the building is now temporary, on short time, and the short glimpse into this art-home-gallery-abandoned-building is all we have.

Art Hotel, Sacramento
Art Hotel, Sacramento
(Personally... I wish the building would not be demolished. I wish America would value old structures more. I do not understand why all must be destroyed, and rebuilt, over and over again. Better not go down that rathole today, or we'll arrive at the discussion about what to do with the Sacramento Community Theatre near the Convention Centre.)

Art Hotel, Sacramento
Art Hotel, Sacramento
The art in the hotel was diverse, with every room, bathroom, hall, bedroom, staircase, breath, full of inspiration. Some intricate and detailed and intense; some pretentious, some questionable, and some absolutely beautiful. (I particularly call out the work of Franceska Gamez.) The skateboard ramp paintings; the black-and-white graphic-novel mural; so much and so little time to see it.

Art Hotel, Sacramento
Art Hotel, Sacramento
If you didn't manage to get to the Art Hotel, check out the website here:

More photos in the Art Hotel gallery, too: click here. I didn't manage to capture anywhere near the extent of the hotel, just a few glimpses.

Sacramento needs more of this. Thank you to M5ARTS and all the artists who spent a very long time making this happen.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nothing But Thieves... how did we miss that?

One of those evenings following musical threads through YouTube and iTunes and back, and I find Nothing But Thieves, and why? By the artwork. Yes, good artwork does still make me want to see if the sound matches up and... wow... another British band taking me away.

Singer Conor Mason's voice is at times reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, this five-piece alt-rock band from Southend-on-Sea have supported Muse and played many European festivals, and are now touring the USA. San Francisco... last night. Darnit. Why didn't I come across them earlier? I guess I should have watched Jimmy Kimmel???

I have to have a word with some of my English friends back across the pond about this...

Check out all the remaining USA tour dates on Nothing But Thieves' Facebook or website. And their self-named album is available at all the usual places, including on vinyl.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Average League is not average. Opened for From Ashes To New on Saturday.

Average League
Darian, Average League
Opening for From Ashes To New on Saturday evening at the Boardwalk, Average League showed that musically, they are not-at-all average. Another Sacramento-area band well worth a listen.

Check out Average League's first single, Run Away:

More photos in the Average League photo gallery: click here!

(Guys: please one day update your Facebook page with full names etc., then I'll label all the photos properly!)
Average League

Sunday, February 7, 2016

From Ashes To New, headlining at the Boardwalk in Orangevale

Matt Brandyberry, vocals, From Ashes To New
Matt Brandyberry, vocals, From Ashes To New
All I can say is: you should have been there. Seriously: these guys are that good.

Chris Musser, vocalist, From Ashes To New
Chris Musser, vocalist, From Ashes To New
First time I've seen them as headliners: won't be the last. They walked out of the Boardwalk last night with more fans than they had when they entered, before they tore up the room in high-energy From Ashes To New style.

From Ashes To New
From Ashes To New, The Boardwalk, Orangevale near Sacramento
I think I mentioned earlier: their first album will be released on 26th February. If you can't wait till then, go preorder it--there are a few songs available in advance.

Tim D'onofrio, drummer, From Ashes To New
Tim D'Onofrio, drummer, From Ashes To New
The sound is a blend of rock and rap in a way that few others have made so musically intriguing. The high energy is infectious. You cannot, and I mean cannot, stand still. I'm listening to them while I edit the photos, and I cannot stay still.

Branden "Boo" Kreider, guitar and vocals, From Ashes To New
No, the Boardwalk wasn't full last night, though there was so much energy and responsiveness in the crowd that it might well have been. Not this time... but soon, it will be. FATN played as if it was full to the gills, bursting-at-the-seams, stadium-full. That's what they do. Go see them.

From Ashes To New continue their tour throughout the USA--lots of dates all over the country.
More info about From Ashes To New:

More photos from last night's show at the Boardwalk, Orangevale are in the photo gallery: click this link or any of the photos above.

See also Band to watch (and listen) out for: From Ashes To New and Christmas Vacation Tour

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February already, and 2016 is ramping up. Who will you see this month? How about Appalachian Punk Bluegrass and some metal too?

After a very-quiet beginning to the year, (apart from far-too-many passed-on-passed-over-to-the-other-side), things are ramping up, musically, in February. Here are a few choice dates for your calendar: but go check out each of the venue's lists, because there are a lot more shows than this on the way!

Tonight, at the Boardwalk, catch From Ashes To New: their debut album, DAY ONE, will be released on February 26th. This will be the third time I've seen them during the past months, and with two front men, great metal, intense and meaningful lyrics and a major live presence, we'll see each other at this show, right?  7 p.m. at The Boardwalk in Orangevale.

Also this evening: the Rock Out Violence memorial show at the Colonial in Sacramento. Performers include White Knuckle Riot, Shirlee Temper, DEDVOLT, D-ONE, Chernobog, and many others... and special guests! The event is being held to raise money and to heighten awareness within the community about acts of violence that are not making the headlines. Either buy a ticket in advance, or donate $10 at the door.

Tomorrow evening? Go check out something very different: Gallows Bound are in town with the Delta Bombers, and performing at the Cock Pit. Check out the video!!! Nice blend of musical styles creating something quite unique. "Appalachian Punk Bluegrass" gives an idea... but take a listen! (It's a little bit of a mystery show, can you find the venue and point me to it please???)

Then thinking about next Saturday, and the next, we have Geoff Tate's Operation Mindcrime on 13th (yes, the very same Geoff Tate as the one who was singer with Queensryche), and Cradle of Filth on 20th, both at the Ace of Spades, and closely followed the last week of Feb by Johnny Marr and Dead Kennedys!

Check out all the calendars! There's more, much more than this... see you there!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Korean Fire Drill album launch, Saturday evening at the Boardwalk: The Alpha Complex, Madison Ave., Heat Of Damage

Saturday evening saw Sacramento's Korean Fire Drill launch their album,"More Badass Than Halfass", at the Boardwalk in Orangevale. A full evening of Sacramento music, including The Alpha Complex, Madison Ave, and Heat of Damage.

A few pictures from each of the supporting bands below... click a photo to go to the full gallery!

The Alpha Complex
The Alpha Complex
Madison Avenue
Madison Ave.
Heat Of Damage, Boardwalk, Orangevale
Heat of Damage
Don't forget: you can see Heat of Damage again this coming Wednesday, at the Ace of Spades, supporting Trivium!