Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's not the apocalypse: it's the California Capital Air Show!

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

British English, American English, music and localiz/sation

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)

Houston Open Air
Storm clouds above the festival
So... Houston, We Have A Problem.

HOUSTON, 24t and 25th September 2016: People having fun between the mandatory Code Red storm evacuations, at Houston Open Air
Saturday afternoon crowd, Houston Open Air
Houston Open Air happened this past weekend... or at least, part of it happened, but the majority was under a weather "Code Red", meaning that the entire NRG Park complex, the venue where the festival was being held, had to be evacuated, time and again, because of the real risk of lightning strikes. The weather was oppressively hot and humid; the show was disrupted, and bands cancelled on Saturday, but the show went ahead from late afternoon, when the most threatening storm had moved around without any lightning, little thunder, and just a little rain. Alter Bridge, Ministry, Buckcherry, The Cult, Alice in Chains were all able to perform and put on a really good show for the crowd who had returned, excited, after the Saturday evacuation.

Tom Araya, vocals and bass, Slayer
Slayer, Houston Open Air 2016
On Sunday, just one band, Mothership, was able to perform, before another Code Red was announced, we had to evacuate the site, the rain came down like an ocean, and then the storms just hung around, until the announcement came that the festival was cancelled. The festival organizers have today shared information about ticket refunds:

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:
  • Saturday Only Ticket— 50% refund of your ticket price.
  • Sunday Only Ticket—100% refund of your ticket price.
  • Two-day Ticket — 75% refund of your ticket price (I.e. 50% refund of the Saturday portion of the ticket price and 100% refund of the Sunday 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  or call 888-512-7469 to request your refund. All refunds must be requested by Thursday, December 1st, 2016.

If you purchased tickets via a third party such as Groupon, Songkick, or Street Team, please contact that company directly.

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Al Jourgensen, Ministry, Houston Open Air
But let's focus on the positive... Ministry were on top, heavy, really-heavy form, Alter Bridge stunning, and Slayer? They slayed the crowd... forgive the pun, but they did. Buckcherry? I want to know what superhero powers Josh Todd has, because that heat and humidity was killing me just jogging from one stage to another, nevermind moving with any kind of energy... The Cult had everyone dancing, at least those of us who were over twenty-two... Alice in Chains (I don't have photos of them, don't bother asking)... they ALL put on huge shows.

Ian Astbury, vocals, The Cult
The Cult, Houston Open Air
Yes, it's a real shame that we didn't get to see all the bands who were scheduled--many were in the middle of tours, and had to move on to the next show immediately. One or two were able to put on pop-up shows in venues around Houston: Avatar stayed in town for an extra night, Avenged Sevenfold found a venue to accommodate a small subset of the festival audience, Deftones made a huge effort too.

Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti, Alter Bridge
Alter Bridge, Houston Open Air
If you want to see the sentiments of people who were at the festival, check out social media comments... makes for a fun read. But: it's so very important to note that the safety of the audience, all those thousands of people, and that of the people working at the festival, the security teams, the medics, the vendors, the stage crews, and all the musicians and their staff, were safe. The amount of work that's put into planning, organizing, setting-up and operating a festival? Nobody wants to cancel, nobody. But... safety first.

Josh Todd, vocals and tambourine, Buckcherry
Josh Todd, Buckcherry, Houston Open Air
I usually love thunderstorms. Huge clouds, big weather, angry skies, nature's emotion. But this time... not so much. I'm really glad that I didn't have to witness any musician or stage worker be fried on stage, nor anyone who was sheltering under a tree. It's elementary physics: electricity will take the shortest and easiest route to ground. You know... like down a metal stage support, or a sound-deck tower, or a light pole. You don't shelter under a lone tree during a thunderstorm; you don't mix electricity with water. That's it. Elementary physics. On the other hand... it was Houston, it was September, and September is still hurricane season... weather, beautiful and crazy weather, happens. NRG should have had a more time-efficient way to manage evacuations, not just through one exit from the Park, not just through the main gate, and more permanent places of safety on-site, not just a half-mile-or-further run to a remote parking lot and personal vehicles (the closest doors into the NRG building, by the weird sculpture of the impaled bulls, were closed). Or alternatively... NRG shouldn't market the NRG Park facility as a location for open-air events during hurricane season. Period. In my not-very-humble opinion.

(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...)

Leaving NRG Park
Evacuating the venue, in a very orderly manner
In the crowd at the front gate, during Sunday's evacuation, after the torrential rain had subsided, there was a mosh pit, the crowd was singing, "Let the Bodies Hit the Ground", and at least one young woman managed to crowdsurf from the other side of the street to the front.

HOUSTON, 24t and 25th September 2016: People having fun between the mandatory Code Red storm evacuations, at Houston Open Air
"Yes, it's his own hair"
This dude wins the prize for relaxed tolerance; I know his hair is his own, because several young women ran up to test it, then ran back to their friends, "it's real, it's his, it's his own hair".

HOUSTON, 24t and 25th September 2016: People having fun between the mandatory Code Red storm evacuations, at Houston Open Air
Front row, Houston Open Air
If you really think that the show should have gone on during the risk of lightning strikes and heavy rain, then maybe you'll want to plan to go to one of the UK festivals next year. Here's what happened at Download 2016. (aka "Drownload"). Yes, the show went on. Yes, everyone was camping in floodwater, and covered in mud. No, it didn't stop the music, not for long. But you know what? The safety rules are different there, and a killer thunderstorm is rare; it's just wet. The public expectations are different: it always rains at festivals in the UK, it's rare if it doesn't. And to put it bluntly: the weather is different. It's not as extreme. You don't have tornados, or hurricanes, at least not as often or as violent as we do in the USA (though climate change is busy doing its thing). I wouldn't feel anywhere near as much risk in a muddy field near Castle Donnington in Leicestershire, as I did on a street in Houston during hurricane season. So before you clamour to sign a "risk disclaimer" for continuing a festival during a Code Red here, nip over to the UK and try a wet festival first, and see how much you really enjoy it ;-) Just don't forget your wellies!!!

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 Airphoto gallery click here
Slayerphoto gallery click here
The Cultphoto gallery click here
Alter Bridgephoto gallery click here
Buckcherryphoto gallery click here
Ministryphoto gallery click here

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Big weekend on its way... wheels up, and yes, there will be F.E.A.R.

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, Aftershock 2013
Avenged Sevenfold, Aftesrshock 2013

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Kungs, City of Trees, and this city is missing something huge this year

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!

City of Trees: The Struts, Phantogram and Panic! at the Disco photogalleries

Luke Spiller, vocals, The Struts
Luke Spiller, The Struts, City of Trees 2016
Photo galleries for The Struts, Phantogram and Panic! at the Disco from this weekend's Radio 94.7 City of Trees music festival in Sacramento are now up! Click on one of these photos to go to the full galleries, or see the links below.

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, vocals, Phantogram
Sarah Barthel, Phantogram, City of Trees 2016
Phantogram have a huge tour ahead of them; USA, Canada, and then over the pond to Europe. Catch them too!!!

Panic! at the Disco
Panic! at the Disco, City of Trees 2016
And Panic! at the Disco... awesome!!! A couple more dates coming up in the USA, then they are off to Europe, and a major tour of Australia... most of which are already sold out!!!

Here are the full galleries:

Panic! at the Disco
The Struts

If you want to share any of these images on social media, there is a share button on each picture, please use it :-)

Monday, September 12, 2016

A new playlist... old, new, borrowed and a little blue...

A few songs that I'm listening to right now... they are all in the YouTube playlist below, :

Zakk Wylde featuring Corey Taylor: Sleeping Dogs
Dinosaur Pile-Up: 11:11
He Whose Ox Is Gored: Oathbreaker
Marillion: Somewhere Else
Highly Suspect: My Name Is Human
The Struts: Kiss This
Art of Dying: Torn Down
Gemini Syndrome: Say Goodnight
Jan Gabarek: Ramy
Stone Sour featuring Lzzy Hale: Gimme Shelter

See what you think...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

City of Trees: new location, alternative-rock lineup, and lots and lots of happy faces

Fans, Panic! at the Disco
Panic! At The Disco fans, City of Trees festival
Noon till night yesterday, Bonney Field in Sacramento, next to the California State fairgrounds, was the home for this year's Radio 94.7 City of Trees music festival. Staying true to the radio station's mainstay, alternative rock was the theme, with Panic! At The Disco and Weezer headlining, Phantogram, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Unlikely Candidates and many more on the two main stages, plus lots of Sacramento bands playing too.

Brendon Urie, vocals, Panic! at the Disco
Brendon Urie, Panic! at the Disco
There will be many more band photos--just a few here today--but first, let's focus on what music festivals are all about: the people, the audience, the crowd, the people who set the whole thing up, the people who worked all day to keep everyone safe, fed, hydrated and entertained!  A huge thumbs up and a major THANK YOU!!!

Fans, Panic! at the Disco
Happy at City of Trees
I heard people saying that they were happier with this venue than last year's: easy to park, and no dust! There were certainly a huge number of happy, smiling faces, many of them teenage girls and possibly at their first-ever music festival, and what a great introduction to the wonderful world of festivals! (A shout-out here to all the moms and dads and grandparents who were there with their kids yesterday, in the middle of the huge crowd, as hot as everyone else and standing there, all day!!!)

Weezer, City of Trees
There was laughter, there were smiles, there were tears (of happiness) and screams (of joy); there was music, there were The Struts (for me, the standout performance of the day, but then I'm an old fogie who grew up in England, and their Stones-Queen-Sweet sound was just the ticket... though the entire crowd seemed to enjoy their performance as much as I did, too! (If you have no clue who The Sweet were, click here to find out!)

The Struts
The Struts, City of Trees
Bonney Field was transformed into a festival venue, with two stages, one large main stage, one smaller music discovery stage, both at the river end of the soccer pitch, with VIP areas and beer tents on the field too. By late afternoon, every spot on the playing field with a view of the stage was filled with people; the side bleachers too. Outside, food trucks and merch stands and yoga and jewelry; the Brooklyn Water Ice was yummy and there was something for everyone's hunger.

Phantogram, City of Trees
And the young ladies who had been at the front line from the moment the gates opened? They survived a very hot-and-sunny Sacramento September day. (Extra thanks to the security guys who were handing out and spraying water throughout the day!)

Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness
Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, City of Trees
The day was a hit--nice job, Radio 94.7!

Were you at the festival? Maybe your photo is in the Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos photogallery: there are many more pictures, click here!!!

More photos of the performers comiing soon... links will be added and posted on Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos, so bookmark this site or follow @alisontoonphotographer on instagram, @alisontoon on Twitter.

People of City of Trees
People of City of Trees 2016, you rock!!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Festivals, festivals, festivals... City of Trees tomorrow, and who's this I see on a poster for Hofday???

Tomorrow is City of Trees at Bonney Field! The set times and stages have been announced: click here for details. Parking is free, and I think there are still a few tickets available... headliners Panic! At the Disco, Weezer, Phantogram.... and many, many more!  See the full lineup here and all the festival details on the website... and I'll see you there!

And then coming soon... I found out about this one because something blew against  my legs as we were walking around downtown last weekend, and what was it but a poster for the party that's so big it thinks it's a festival... Hofday!  And look who's on the poster! Sacramento's own Kenny the Dancing Man!

Hofday will be happening on the river's edge at River Walk Park, Sacramento, on September 24th. More info on the party/festival website here... music, food, games everything to celebrate this city!

Also on 24th (and 25th) of September, for those who are prepared to travel a little further afield: Houston Open Air has announced set times for two days and three stages of metal and hard rock... one or two tickets still available there too and you know we have an airport in Sac, right? It's going to be the biggest rock experience in Texas (and everthing's super big there of course), with more than 35 bands and lots, lots more. A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund... click on that link for more info. Such a good thing to do, festival organizers... kudos!!!

And then... and then... it's not so long now.... AFTERSHOCK!!!!  Tool is coming to Sacramento!!!  I hope you bought your tickets already!!!  It's going to be fun.  <--- that's an example of a British understatement.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Old Sacramento and Gold Rush Days, the place to be this Labor Day Weekend!

Sheriff, Gold Rush Days 2016
Sheriff, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
This weekend, Labor Day Weekend, is Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento! The annual event which was paused briefly due to concerns with the drought, is back and better than ever. The whole of Old Sacramento has been whisked back into the 1850's--if you look carefully, you'll find some people who are carrying time machines but don't tell anyone--and there's everything from panning-for-gold and gunfights to the high drama of the 1852 Sacramento fire (complete with firemen, ladies of the night, water, and a rescued boy).

Gold Rush Days 2016
Friends, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
You can explore history, find out about the Buffalo Soldiers, have your head-bumps read, drink Sasparilly from beautiful blue bottles, see an army camp, ride in a carriage or on a little pony, and of course, sample all the food that Old Sacramento has on offer.

Gold Rush Days 2016
Outside the Saloon, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
It's fun for all the family... and for all the cowboys whose horses tied up outside the saloon... they'll probably be still there tomorrow, sleeping it off before the next gunfight with the Sheriff and his deputies (all of whom were rather short and some of whom were under five years old).

Pony express,Gold Rush Days 2016
Pony Express, Gold Rush Days, Old Sacramento
The Pony Express is in town (and if you're looking for a job, they are hiring skinny, wiry fellows under 18 years old, preferably orphans, who do not mind risking their lives daily... it says so on the sign, go take a look.)

Gold Rush Days continue tomorrow, Monday 5th September!

Many more pictures here in the photo gallery:

Fire department, Gold Rush Days 2016
Ready for the fire!!!
Don't forget: there's now a new way into Old Sacramento, the bridge from Capitol Mall is ready for use! (Pedestrians only this weekend; it opens to vehicles later in the week). Another step to reconnecting the waterfront with downtown Sacramento. (If they keep adding bridges, one day the whole I5 might be hidden from view, like it always should have been.)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Next weekend: City of Trees!!!

Radio 94.7 and Budweiser-sponsored  City of Trees 2016 is next weekend at Bonney Field!!! Did you get your tickets yet? If not, here's where you find them: click here!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

... and sometimes, it's all in a name... He Whose Ox Is Gored

Sometimes, but by no means always, I'm drawn to music by hearing it; a song on the radio, a random tune pulled up by Pandora, a snippet in a TV show, and of course, live bands. Sometimes, the artwork can quite simply entice me to take a listen--that's exactly what started me listening to Marillion, walking into a record store, many-many years ago, and leaving with an unheard-yet album, just-because of the sleeve. (It's also what would have me picking up and picking out Gemini Syndrome's albums even if I hadn't heard the music, yet.)

But sometimes, the name of the band just begs a listen. You win some, you lose some... for example, I couldn't resist checking out We Butter The Bread With Butter because, for crying out loud, whoever names a band like that??? (See the review for the answer.)

And so today: I couldn't resist checking out, He Whose Ox Is Gored. The name conjours up Vikings and rampage and ancients and myths and legend and darkness and primitive-yet-possessive man... and what do you know, that's exactly how the music sounds. An alchemic mix of sludge, metal, prog, trance, synth, drone, psychedelic, stoned, Viking-from-Seattle... vocals taking backstage to the instruments yet deeply entrenched and as a whole, rather beautiful. In a heavy-yet-dreamily-hypnotic-way.

Check out He Whose Ox Is Gored's music on their website.  You can find their album, The Camel, The Lion, The Child as digital downloads on Amazon and iTunes as well as on the band's website. More info about the band on Facebook, too.

This album deserves to be on vinyl... just saying.

He Whose Ox Is Gored have a few dates left on their current tour--catch them if you can!

Art Of Dying's new EP, Nevermore, out tomorrow! Watch out for them on tour, too!

Toon's Tunes/Cameras and Cargos are often invited to review new music; here's one new release that is very much worth the listen.

Art Of Dying have just begun a forty-plus-show headlining tour of North America, and tomorrow sees the release of their EP, Nevermore.  With six songs, each one with the theme of overcoming adversity, the Canadian rockers from Vancouver, British Columbia, have radio hit material in plenty. Hard rock, with a sharp edge, strong vocals and some really nice harmonies...

Check out the official video for Torn Down:

Throw caution to the wind, go buy this EP, sit back, jump up, STAND UP! and enjoy... at only $2.99 for preorder today, buy a copy for a friend or ten, too... well worth it!

Art Of Dying are Jonny Hetherington (vocals), Tavis Stanley (guitar), Cale Gondier (bass), and Cody Watkins (drums). Find more information on their Facebook and website, including all the tour dates (San Francisco is the closest date to Sacramento, September 16th at the DNA Lounge)

Marillion North American tour dates... got tickets???

For ticket info, go to   See you there!!!