Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Yigga Digga, (where did they get that name? Now you know) and Faded Glory: interview and review

From time-to-time, we're invited to review an artist and their music, someone or a genre who is completely new to us. (For example, that's how Zardonic came to be played on the Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos playlist... see here for more.)  There's always something new to hear, and enjoy, and that's also what happened with Yigga Digga, who not only pointed us to their music, but were kind enough to spend some time answering our questions. Take a read and a listen and check them out!  (This post written by Jade Hughes)

Released on May 13th, Yigga Digga’s second album, Faded Glory, is a collection of strong, powerful metal anthems, melodic enough for the more hard rock fan, heavy enough for the thrash metaller to enjoy. Yigga Digga is a four piece (Tom Dillon (Guitar/Vocals), Bill Colflesh (Bass/Vocals), Chris Semonik (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Billy Beggs (Drums)), hailing from Pittsburgh with a strong identity and an even stronger voice.

The first single, Slave to the Life, is a great precursor to the rest of the album: full of epic guitar riffs, political stances and topics everyone can relate to. If you are into bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Megadeth, Metallica or Clutch, Yigga Digga will be right up your alley.

Tom and Chris kindly answered some questions about the band and the album: here's the conversation!

You seemed to have been on a long hiatus since the release of your first album. Why such a long time between the two albums? 
Tom Dillon: Life got in the way...

There is definitely a sense a musical and personal growth in Faded Glory. Maybe a deeper perspective? How do you create new songs as a band, altogether? 
Tom Dillon: Some songs we do write as a collective, other times one guy will have an idea that we run with. Either way, everyone has a voice. We all make sure it’s got the right vibe for Digga. On this one, some of the songs are more political, which is probably based on a political climate change around us. Riff-wise we're definitely learning to play together better so there's growth there.

 How did you decide on your album title? (Besides the fact that it is one of the songs on the album!) Tom Dillon: We wanted something we could form an album cover around, and it seemed to be a good image. It happened real quick, once we visualized it, it fell into place.

 As a writer I love figures of speech. I’ve seen you describe Yigga Digga as onomatopoeic words – can you give our readers more background on why you decided to call yourselves Yigga Digga?
Tom Dillon: That's easy man, back before we had the ability to record, somebody would be half in the bag writing riffs, and you'd call your brethren, and when they'd ask "well how's it go?" Dun Dun yigga digga dun dun yigga digga

I love how your album is a real melting pot of many types of rock genres. What are your main, collective influences? 
Chris Semonik: We're all over the board on influences, and it’s different for each of us. The Beatles, Neil Merryweather, Alice In Chains, Frank Zappa, Cream, COC, Life Of Agony, obviously from a metal perspective, the first three Metallica records, the first three Coronor records, most all the other old school thrash.

Are you planning a tour in the near future to back up the release of Faded Glory? 
Chris Semonik: Nothing major on the horizon, we'll probably be doing some short jaunts here and there. You can always check our shows on yiggadigga.com

If you were planning and playing at your own dream music festival who would you want to play alongside? 
Chris Semonik: Our influences and contemporaries of course. Bands like Metallica, COC, Clutch, Megadeth, Lamb Of God.

Our pick of stand out tracks from Faded Glory: Slave to the Life, Into Eden, Faded Glory

Website: http://www.yiggadigga.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YiggaDigga/

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Chuck Ragan and Humble Wolf photogalleries: CiTP 2016

Chuck Ragan, singer, songwriter
Chuck Ragan, Concerts in the Park, Sacramento
Headlining this week at Concerts in the Park, Cesar Chavez Plaza, Sacramento, was singer/songwriter Chuck Ragan. American Folk bordering on country, his voice grew stronger and more gritty throughout the set, at times showing a trace of the punk roots that you might not notice if you didn't know Chuck's history. Chuck Ragan's Facebook is here and website is here. Lots of tour dates this summer! See the tour page for more details.

Chuck Ragan, singer, songwriter
Chuck Ragan

Humble Wolf
Humble Wolf, Concerts in the Park
Very ably supported by Sacramento's indie-blues-pop-rock team, Humble Wolf, who had the crowd rocking! Humble Wolf's Facebook is here, and website is here. See them again soon, on Sunday 19th June, at First Festival!

Jesse Sherwood, drums, Humble Wolf
Humble Wolf

- Chuck Ragan
- Humble Wolf

Another Concert in the Park next Friday!  See you there!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Concerts in the Park, 27th May... you're all having fun!

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Watching the show and adding to the music
More pictures added to the People of Concerts in the Park 2016 photo gallery... were you there last night? Click the link to see if you are in the gallery!

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Kenny the Dancing Man has followers!
See you next week at Concerts in the Park!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Aftershock is back at Discovery Park for 2016!!!

After one year at Gibson Ranch, the organizers of Aftershock today announced that the festival will, this year, return to Discovery Park, closer to downtown Sacramento. The lineup for the event will be announced at midday on June 7th, earlybird tickets on sale on June 8th

The Gibson Ranch location was idyllic, the camping experience was wonderful and added another level to the experience, but for anyone who wasn't up for sleeping on the earth, hotels were further away, and driving/parking proved problematic on the first day of the festival (but were definitely fixed on the second day, and if you camped, you didn't even notice).

Discovery Park has hotels close by and is a very short distance from downtown Sacramento and beautiful Old Sacramento... which this weekend hosts another, different music festival: SacMusicFest. So if you're planning on travelling a fair distance for Aftershock, maybe plan a couple of extra days, and take in the city while you are here!

Have you started making your wish-list for the Aftershock lineup? Here are a few of mine: Disturbed, Rammstein, Gemini Syndrome, Alter Bridge,  Hands Like Houses, Between The Buried And Me, Pop Evil, and heck, get Marillion here for a late-Sunday set, after their gig in LA on the Saturday evening (they play San Francisco on the Friday immediately before Aftershock, and yes, I will be at both events. There's time enough to sleep when you're dead.) You'll note I don't have Five Finger Death Punch in my wish-list, and that's only because I don't think that anyone has yet perfected a beam-me-up transporter--FFDP have gigs in other Kansas and Colorado that weekend. And what about Catfish and the Bottlemen for the younger crowd, and The Virginmarys for a touch of British punk rock? Who is on your wishlist?

Memorial Day weekend!!! What will you do? What will you hear?

So it's here, at last... one of the very, very few national holidays in the USA. (If you've never lived and worked outside the USA, you probably don't feel the pain as much as those of us who have spent time in the UK, France, Germany... just about anywhere other than the USA... where vacation time is longer, too. And yes, people are just as productive, if not more so, when they have decent down time. Don't get me started...)

What will you do with this precious free time?

First of all: let's remember the reason for the day off. It's Memorial Day; a time for remembering those who died while in the service of the country; those who gave their lives in the military, in wars, in service, in the belief that they were protecting our freedom. There are remembrances held around the region; I've been to the service at Mount Vernon, Citrus Heights, and it moved me to tears. The service there this year is from 11 to 12 a.m.

And I swear it's because we have so few long weekends here, that everything happens at the same time. This weekend:

- BottleRock in Napa, big music/food/wine festival, sold out long ago, and if you have tickets, you're probably already on your way over there
- Sacramento Music Festival; not-so-jazz any more, (people don't listen to jazz so much now, so we stop playing it, so fewer people hear it, and fewer people listen to it? Strange argument... there's something really wonderful in discovering music that's new to you, just by hearing it played around the streets of Old Sacramento). There is still jazz in the mix, but with other music mixed in. See the full lineup here on the SacMusicFest website. In particular, listen out for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Tom Rigney (I love jazz violin), The Stray Cat, Lee Rocker, and our friends Queen Nation, Here's the full list of performers--it's huge!!!
- Sacramento County Fair, at CalExpo--the State Fair's little sister. All the fun of the fair, animals, (camels! we saw camels!!!), fair food, music, the works... and it's only $5 admission (don't forget to take cash for the entry fee, they were not accepting cards yesterday), with $10 parking.
- Concerts in the Park, this evening, Friday: tonight it's Chuck Ragan headlining, and personally I'm also really looking forwards to Humble Wolf, who take the stage, I believe, at 6 pm.

Loads of other stuff going on, too. Frightened Rabbit returns to the Ace of Spades tonight, Katchafire tomorrow, and the Insane Clown Posse on Monday. The Mowgli's are at the Boardwalk in Orangevale.

Whatever you do this weekend: have fun, keep safe, and spare a moment to remember what Memorial Day is all about!

Photogalleries: Suffocation and Lody Kong

Suffocation, The Boardwalk, Orangevale
Two more photo galleries from the tour with Soulfly, and a date at the Boardwalk, Orangevale:

  • Suffocation, extreme/death metal from Long Island, NY (Centerreach, Suffolk county, Long Island, to be exact, gettit, gettit?), with touring vocalist Ricky Myers
  • Lody Kong, sludge grooves (that's how they describe themselves on Facebook: think sludge/heavy/metal with a dash of punk thrown in)  from Arizona, and with two of Max Cavalera's sons, Igor on vocals and Zyon on drums. and Travis Stone on guitar, Noah Shephard on bass.

Click on either of the photos to go to the full galleries, or here for Lody Kong, and here for Suffocation.

Lody Kong
Lody Kong, The Boardwalk, Orangevale

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Five Finger Death Punch sign with Rise Records for future recordings!

Five Finger Death Punch and fans
FFDP, Reno, 2015
Anyone who was concerned about the future of Five Finger Death Punch's recording career, given recent news about their contract with Prospect Park, need worry no more. They've just announced that they have signed with Rise Records for recordings following their final obligation with Prospect Park.

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
To date, Five Finger Death Punch have released six highly-successful albums, including five that went gold, one platinum (so far). Now fans can expect one more to be released under the current contract, and then onwards with Rise Records.

 Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2014
Chris Kael, bass, Five Finger Death Punch
Craig Ericson, CEO of Rise Records, said, "I'm honored to be working with one of the biggest arena rock bands in the world. I'm very confident in the future of Five Finger Death Punch and Rise Records and can’t wait to hear the music they make with our company.”

Ivan Moody and Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody and Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch
Find out more about Five Finger Death Punch, their upcoming tour with Shinedown, and several festival dates both in the USA and in Europe this year, on their website and Facebook. We're guessing that they will not be in the Aftershock festival lineup this year (lineup will be announced in June), as the dates clash with FFDP tour dates, so Sacramento fans must plan a road trip!

More photos in the Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos Five Finger Death Punch photo galleries.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New video from The Virginmarys: Motherless Land

Great new video out from The Virginmarys today, and premiering on the Wall Street Journal: "Motherless Land".

Young lovers, hobos, train-hopping, beautiful landscapes, emotion, music, more trains... don't we all sometimes just want to go jump a freight train and ride around this huge, extreme, country? The video is directed by Kyle Cogan  and produced by Drew Morris, involved a 1,500 mile road trip plus the train riding, and it's gotten me packing a little backpack and digging my Docs out of the closet.

Take a listen. Watch the video. This one rocks.

More about this British punk rock band from Macclesfield, England on The Virginmarys' website and Facebook. Their new album, Divides, is available now at your usual store or through the band's website: 

Friday, May 20, 2016

... and here it is, the Soulfly photo gallery!

Max Cavalera, vocals, Soulfly
Max Cavalera, Soufly, at the Boardwalk, Orangevale
Mr Cavalera, looking really happy onstage at the Boardwalk, Orangevale, on Wednesday evening. It really was a Cavalera family show; son Zyon plays drums with Soulfly, and both Zyon and Igor Cavalera perform in the opening band, Lody Kong (photos from that set will be added soon).

Mike Leon and Max Cavalera, Soulfly
Mike Leon and Max Cavalera, Soulfly

Many more photos in the gallery (or click on the image above to zoom there at the speed of extreme metal).

Max Cavalera, vocals, Soulfly
Add caption
Such a good evening!!! Th setlist included both Soulfly and Sepultura songs. Good selection of music and merch on sale--fans could even buy an instant-meet-and-greet with Max Cavalera, after the show.

Soulfly, The Boardwalk, Orangevale

Photo gallery: Battlecross, on tour with Soulfly, at the Boardwalk, Orangevale

Battlecross, at the Boardwalk, Orangevale, May 18
Kyle Gunther walked on stage, shook his hair loose... and transformed into the thrash-metal monster, at times resembling the Wookie on his shirt.

Kyle Gunther, vocals, Battlecross
Kyle Gunther, Battlecross

Kyle Gunther, vocals, Battlecross
Kyle Ghunther and Wookie
I had fun with these photos. Check out the entire gallery from the Battlecross show at the Boardwalk, Orangevale this week here in the Battlecross photo gallery (or click on one of the photos).

Kyle Gunther, vocals, Battlecross
Kyle Gunther, Battlecross
Battlecross are Kyle Gunther (vocals), Tony Asta (guitar), Hiran Deraniyagala (guitar), Don Slater (bass).

It's the last night of their tour with Soulfly tonight, but Battlecross have other dates lined up in the USA and in Europe--see their Facebook tour page for details.


Extreme metal: Abnormality, and a surprising vocalist

Mallika, vocals, Abnormality
Mallika, vocals, Abnormality
I'm starting off my reviews of Wednesday's concert at the Boardwalk, Orangevale, with Abnormality.
Part of me doesn't want to write this review--I just want you to go and experience the show yourself, totally-unprepared, without reading any of this, or checking out the band beforehand. If you're prepared to do that, log off right now, and track them down as they continue to support Soulfly around the country. Hurry up--this tour is almost over!.

But in case you missed it... the venue, slowly filling: it's still early in the evening, middle-of-the-week; the crowd is mostly 30- and 40-something men, with lots of band patches on black denim, long hair, dreads, some ink. About 96% male audience for an extreme metal evening, but yes there were some women in the crowd, and a few kids too. But for the most part; guys who grew up with Sepultura, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse.

Abnormality, on tour with Soulfly, at the Boardwalk, Orangevale
Extreme and death metal; you expect big men on stage, loads of hair and beards, headbanging, deep, growling and angry vocals that you likely can't often understand on hearing, but when you read the lyrics, they are provocative, controversial, doom-filled, full of four-or-more syllable words, and yes, angry.

What you don't expect is a petite, beautiful, and feminine vocalist. Who produces full death-metal growls as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

Mallika, vocals, Abnormality
Mallika, vocals, Abnormality
In the moment between Mallika Sundaramurthy walking on stage with a mic in hand, and opening her mouth to let the vocals pour out, you wonder; is this the female-fronted-hard-rock act as a gentle rest between the extremes of Lody Kong, Battlecross, Suffocation and headliners, Soulfly. That thought flitted through my brain for about a millisecond... because as soon as Mallika produced the huge, deep, death-metal growl, that flowed like a natural river Styx from her lips, the thought of Abnormality being anything other than extreme vanished. Her vocals are surprising; so natural-sounding, and so different to anything other female metal artists are doing.

Excellent guitar work, crushing rhythms, and Lody Kong's expressive bassist Noah Shephard filling in for unwell Josh Staples on bass; Abnormality are far from the 'norm'. Yes, the lyrics are angry and doom-filled; check out Swarm from their latest album, Mechanisms of Omniscience. It's about germ warfare. Or Vigilant Ignorance... school slaughter and mass media. Take a listen on YouTube too.

If extreme and/or death metal is your kind of music, check out Abnormality. They had a whole new set of fans by the end of their set at the Boardwalk; everyone pressed close to the stage, wanting more.

Sam Kirsch, guitar, Abnormality
Sam Kirsch,  Abnormality
Check out Abnormality's Facebook for more info and links to music. And for more photos from the show at the Boardwalk, click here!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Kingston, reggae and family on a warm May evening: Concerts in the Park, Sacramento

Tahir, keys, New Kingston
Tahir, New Kingston, Concerts in the Park
Nice to see Brooklyn-based, Jamaican-roots, reggae band New Kingston back in Sacramento and performing in the open air at Concerts in the Park, Cesar Chavez Plaza, Sacramento, on Friday evening. The Panton family, brothers and dad, have a real Jamaica sound... smooth and just right for a sultry end-of-the-work-week evening.

Stephen, guitar, New Kingston
Stephen, New Kingston
New Kingston are on tour around the USA, and then off for several dates in Europe. The tour includes an appearance at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Boonville, California, June 17th-19th at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds.Peace. Music. Road trip!!!

Courtney Jr, drums, New Kingston
Courtney Jr, drums, New Kingston

Courtney Sr, bass, New Kingston
Courtney Sr, bass, New Kingston
More photos in the New Kingston, Concerts in the Park, photo gallery: click here. And here's a previous Sacramento New Kingston show, from the Ace of Spades in February 2013

Here's a sample of New Kingston's work, filmed in Brooklyn, NY:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

25 years of Concerts in the Park, Sacramento... get down there on Friday evenings, have fun!

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Dancer, Concerts in the Park, Sacramento
This year, Concerts in the Park celebrates twenty-five years; twenty-five years of Friday-evening, happy-hour, open-air concerts in the middle of downtown Sacramento. The park, or rather, city square, is filled with people, ringed with food and beer trucks, and very-well-entertained by local and touring bands.

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
It's a gathering-place for young and old, from every walk of life; last night I saw newborns and old people, people who love hip-hop, people who love metal; those who were there to dance, those who were there to relax on the grass, those who climbed the fountain to have a better view of the concert. Those who won prizes at one of the booths, those who were there for their very-first concert, and those who were only there for the beer. Everyone, having fun.

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Having fun at Concerts in the Park, Sacramento
Sacramento's own Kenny the Dancing Man was of course there. I challenge you to a dance-off with him next week!

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Kenny the Dancing Man, Concerts in the Park, Sacramento

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Gentleman watching Concerts in the Park, Sacramento
People having fun on a Friday, springtime evening: that's what 25 years of Concerts in the Park are all about. The shows run throughout the spring and summer until July 29th: much more information on their website, including all the lineups.

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Watching the show, Concerts in the Park, Sacramento
More people-having-fun pictures here in the photo gallery--see if you are one of them! I'll add more pics here for other Fridays!  Music photos next but truly, these Friday evening shows are really all about you, Sacramento!

Concerts in the Park, Sacramento, 2016
Dancing, Concerts in the Park, Sacramento

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

10 Years... I hope it's not that long until the next time

Jesse Hasek, vocals, 10 Years
Jesse Hasek, 10 Years
10 Years are currently on the road with Apocalyptica's Shadowmaker tour, and what a wonderful show they make. Opening with From Birth to Burial from last year's album of the same name: Jesse Hasek on stage, shrouded, a white, long-nosed plague-doctor mask, lit only by an uplight, center stage, all else in shadow. Miscellania, then Dancing With The Dead from Minus The Machine.

10 years
10 Years, Ace of Spades, Sacramento
I had forgotten how progressive (yes, I mean Prog), 10 Year's music is. Metal, rock, prog, intricate, beautiful. And how every song is going to sound different, new, reborn, each and every time they play it. (And how that makes me want to hear them again, and again.)

10 years
10 Years, Sacramento
Don't expect the same setlist every night of this tour; this is live music, it's alive, it moves, it changes shape, and 10 Years embrace the art.

Wasteland, live, is a different being to the official video (which, if you still haven't seen it, watch it now, here); it's poignant, and we all sing along.

Jesse Hasek, vocals, 10 Years
Jesse Hasek, vocals, 10 Years
Great show; the capacity crowd at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento revelled in it, and I know I could see them over, and over, and over again, and enjoy each and every time. There's something special in music like that.

The tour with Apocalyptica continues: find all the dates by clicking here.

More info on 10 Year's website and Facebook. More pictures from the Sacramento show here: http://www.alisontoon.com/-/galleries/music/10-years

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One-Eyed Doll, last night of the Visions tour... all eyes on One-Eyed Doll!

Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll
One-Eyed Doll, The Boardwalk, Orangevale
We are very lucky, here in Sacramento. One-Eyed Doll has come to town every year for at least four years, performing at the Ace of Spades, and at the Boardwalk in Orangevale. Last year, on the Witches tour; last week, for the last date of the Visions tour on Saturday, 30th April 2016 (both the co-headliners Eyes Set To Kill, and support Open Your Eyes, had eyes in their names too).

One-Eyed Doll
One-Eyed Doll

Total entertainers, this two-person-band keeps the all-ages audience engaged, enthralled: Jason "Junior" Sewell on drums, Kimberly Freeman on guitar and vocals. Kimberly, the ultimate storyteller, a contortionist guitar-player, beautiful vocalist. The stage is littered with skulls and a furry unicorn. Kimberly wears a crown, a jester's hat, and the personalities of the characters in the songs.

Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll
Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll
With music ranging from fun songs about straying boyfriends, propane tanks and serial killers to serious American history (the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692) a One-Eyed Doll show is an adventure and a musical experience. Don't miss them next time they are on the road... I bet it won't be long!

Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll
Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll
For more information about One-Eyed Doll, check out their Facebook and website.
More photos in the One-Eyed Doll Visions tour photogallery!

Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll
Kimberly Freeman, One-Eyed Doll