The Psychedelic Furs and Bash & Pop at The Paramount
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon
October 21, 2017
The Psychedelic Furs are one of the most iconic bands of the modern rock era. The British band found initial fame in the early 1980s with what was originally an art-rock sound that developed into the more robust New Wave and Modern Rock with which the band achieved its biggest successes. The band initially consisted of Richard Butler (vocals), his younger brother Tim Butler (bass), saxophonist Duncan Kilburn, Paul Wilson (drums) and guitarist Roger Morris. Over time the line-up expanded into a six-piece as guitarist John Ashton was added to the line-up and Vince Ely took over on drums. Drummer Paul Garisto and saxophonist Mars Williams joined the band in 1987 for the Midnight To Midnight (Columbia Records) album. The current Psychedelic Furs touring line-up is Richard Butler, Tim Butler, Garisto, Williams, Amanda Kramer on keyboards and Rich Good on guitar. During its career, the Psychedelic Furs has released a number of essential Modern Rock and New Wave singles that are quite well known. The albums that these songs were originally released on are integral parts of the record and CD collections of Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and in-the-know Millennials.
Bash & Pop is led by ex-Replacements, Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum member Tommy Stinson. The band had its genesis in 1993 after the Replacements went their separate ways. Friday Night Is Killing Me (Sire Records) was a critical success, but, unfortunately, for the music buying public, it took until earlier this year for the long-anticipated follow up, Anything Could Happen to be recorded and released on Fat Possum Records. Stinson was a teenager when The Replacements came to prominence is still a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll performer. His career has been both lengthy and enviable. In the mid-‘90s, he was the singer and bassist for the rock band, Perfect. He joined Guns N' Roses in 1998. Stinson released his debut solo album, Village Gorilla Head on the Sanctuary label in 2004. He was a member of Soul Asylum from 2006 until 2011. As former WDRE/WLIR Staffer and current WEHM-FM disc jockey, Drew Martin once opined, “If I ever meet Axl, I’ll be sure to remind him how lucky he was to be in a band with Tommy.”
On a cool, Long Island evening the Psychedelic Furs and Bash & Pop graced the stage at the Huntington, NY rock emprorium, the Paramount. The cozy mid-sized venue opened in 2011 and has been ranked among the best music clubs--both locally and nationally. Before the festivities began, there was a tangible excitement in the air as the crowd began to fill the theater and work its way into the main performance space.
Bash & Pop was the evening’s opening act, but the show, to those in the know, was more of a double-bill. Stinson played like a man possessed. He appeared sporting a sports jacket and spiked hair with an old and weathered Fender Telecaster slung over his shoulder. Stinson and his band (Steve Selvidge on lead guitar, Justin Perkins on bass and Joe Sirois on drums) fired up the crowd with a raw and boisterous set. The foursome played as if their lives depended upon it. Bash & Pop’s short, but highly charged and energetic set was highlighted by: “Bad News,” “Anybody Else,” “Too Late,” “Not A Moment Too Soon,” “Zero To Stupid,” “Never Aim to Please” and “Friday Night Is Killing Me.”
After a short intermission, the lights again dimmed and the Psychedelic Furs stormed the stage. Though he rarely spoke between songs, Richard Butler spent the evening interacting with the crowd. His distinctive vocals as well as the band’s driving renditions of the group’s iconic canon had all of the vitality, vim and vigor of the original versions recorded during the group's heyday. Both the band and Richard Butler seemed quite stoked on the Bowie-esque "Mr. Jones" (from 1981’s Columbia Records LP Talk Talk Talk) which was played at breakneck speed. During the performance, Richard Butler commanded the attention of every member of the audience with his dancing, his pirouettes, his jumping up and down and his constant movement. It was impossible to not keep one's eyes pinned to his every move. He clapped and gestured theatrically throughout the set. His gravely, raspy, growling vocals were crisp and clear as the band roared through muscular sing-along versions of “Pretty In Pink,” “Love My Way” “Until She Comes” and “Heartbeat.”
The audience cheered mightily throughout the band's highest charting single, "Heartbreak Beat" (during which Richard Butler reached out from the stage to shake hands and “high-five” the lucky fans in the packed venue who had made their way close to the stage) and “Don’t be A Girl” (from World Outside released on Columbia Records in 1991). The thirteen song main set ended with “Heaven,” the signature song and first single from the band's fourth studio album, Mirror Moves (Columbia, 1984).
The encores, much like the entire show, were short, sweet, high-energy and right to the point. “Sister Europe” and “India” from the band’s eponymously titled debut album (Columbia, 1980) provided a fitting end to a strong performance.
Though the members of the audience had heard all of the Psychedelic Furs songs many times before, the band breathed life into them with a dynamic performance that left the crowd in a state of euphoria. The band will return to the Paramount and the New York/Long Island area…and the fans will also be back.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.
The Pixies at The Space at Westbury
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon
The Pixies The Space at Westbury Westbury, NY September 22, 2017
On a pleasant Friday evening in Westbury, NY, The Pixies channeled The Beatles by delivering a letter perfect, note-for-note standout version of "Helter Skelter" during which every aspect of the song, even the scream, was perfectly executed. It was a perfect ending to a show that began with the band appearing onstage as the Fab Four's novelty tune "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)" served as its intro music.
The Pixies were formed in Boston, MA in 1986. The band is currently comprised of Black Francis AKA Frank Black (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Joey Santiago (lead guitar), David Lovering (drums) and Paz Lenchantin (bass, violin). Lenhcantin, took over the bass duties following the departures of original member Kim Deal and touring bassist Kim Shattuck.
The Pixies' music is a combination of many genres containing bits, pieces and elements surf rock, blues, alternative, pop, art rock, punk, psychedelia, indie rock, country and hard rock. The band's song lyrics center on interesting and sometimes bizarre topics. The lyrics have been known to be about fantastic and outrageous subjects such as extraterrestrials, violence, The Three Stooges, mutilation, voyeurism, outer space, California, incest, Puerto Rico and a number of biblical characters.
After a short stalwart set by the local Long Island band, Sunflower Bean, The Pixies took command of the sold-out The Space at Westbury venue and delivered a powerful performance that treated the audience members (many of whom came dressed in vintage WLIR, and, of course, Pixies t-shirts) to an amazing show. The venue's stage was decked out with a set-up that could have easily been used on the main stage of an outdoor festival featuring backlighting, large amplifiers and a smoke machine that billowed so intensely that, at times, the band was all but obscured behind its output.
The band provided its fanatic followers with a just under two-hour, sonic assault featuring eccentric, eclectic and thunderous modern rock. On this evening the main area of the venue was configured without seats. The Pixies performance had the crowd bopping, dancing and singing along from the first notes of "Wave Of Mutilation" through the ending notes of "Helter Skelter."
The band crammed 30 songs into the performance. It functioned as a well-oiled machine. There was no talk between songs, just one song after another. The band members approached the performance much like a Starbucks barista approaches coffee. The set featured some of the group's more radio-friendly songs such as "Where is My Mind," "Monkey Gone To Heaven" and "Velouria." It also included many favorites and album cuts that sent the audience out of its collective mind. "Nimrod's Son," "Silver Snail," "Ed Is Dead," "Plaster of Paris," "Motorway to Roswell," "Magdalena" "Oona," "Snakes," "U-Mass," "All I Think About Now," "Havalina," Snakes," "Tame" and “Hey" each made their appearance during the main set. At the end of each song, it was obvious that the band had crowd dying and hoping for more. Anyone questioning this fact was assured that this was true by the constant barrage of song requests thrown toward the stage. Many were answered as the band rocked and rolled through its extensive canon, but some were not. Noticeably absent on this evening was "Here Comes Your Man"--which is arguably the band's biggest hit. The encores were an amazing version of "Into the White" and the previously mentioned tour-de-force version of "Helter Skelter."
The performance was outstanding. A Pixies show always features tight but raw musicianship. The band delivered the songs with arrangements that were very much like the original studio recordings. These songs presented live were perhaps a little louder and due to the live environment slightly more passionate...and the audience loved it.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.
Alison Moyet at Irving Plaza
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon
Alison Moyet Irving Plaza New York, NY September 15, 2017
Alison Moyet is not an artist who resides in the past. Not her's or anyone else's. Many fans feel that her biggest hits were as part of Yazoo with Vince Clarke and then perhaps a few songs some from early in her solo career. These same fans often feel that her concerts should serve as nostalgic remembrances of those past glories--and not much else. The fact of the matter is that Moyet has continued to make music, releasing nine studio albums since the demise of Yaz and she shows no signs of wanting to stop.
Her concerts, of course, give a nod to the songs that first made her famous, but they also pay attention to the thirty-some-odd years that have passed since her first solo release Alf (Columbia Records, 1984) hit the shelves. Moyet has not let any grass grow under her feet. She has grown and adapted as the times have changed and the years have moved forward. And that is what makes them special.
On Friday evening, September 15th, dressed smartly in a tailored suit as smoke billowed across the intimate venue's stage, Moyet opened her fabulous concert with "Germinate" from her recently released Other CD (Cooking Vinyl, 2017), "When I Was Your Girl" from 2013's Cooking Vinyl release The Minutes and "Wishing You Were Here" from Hoodoo (Columbia, 1991).
It wasn't until the fourth song, "Only You," that Moyet visited the past when she was a member of Yaz. Moyet's synth-pop cum electronic gumbo has the mostly middle-aged audience dancing and bopping in place in the crowded club.
Other highlights of the main set included: "Changeling," "Beautiful Gun," "The Man in the Wings," "This House," "Lover, Go," "Right As Rain," "All Cried Out," and the three other Yaz songs that graced the basic performance--"Nobody's Diary," "Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)" and a sparse version of "Don't Go." The beauty of the performance was the fact that many of the songs featured slight re-workings that made them both fresh and contemporary without losing the DNA that made these songs and Moyet the artist and the treasure that they are and that she is.
The encore consisted of fantastic versions of "Love Resurrection" from Alf and "Situation" from Yaz' Upstairs at Eric's (Sire/Mute, 1982).
Even after thirty-plus years, Moyet's voice remains a most amazing instrument. Her incredible range was on display early and often. Her voice is both husky and sultry, poppy and rockin' when need be and finally smooth as silk when she delivers a heartfelt ballad. Her vocal styling remains instantaneously recognizable and real without the need for auto-tune or using vocal gymnastic tricks. It is truly a god-given treasure...and on this night that treasure was on display.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.
Alison Moyet at Irving Plaza - 9/15/17 Setlist: Germinate; When I Was Your Girl; Wishing You Were Here; Only You; Ski; Other; Nobody's Diary; Getting Into Something; Changeling; Beautiful Gun; The Man In The Wings; This House; Lover, Go; Right as Rain; Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I); The Rarest Birds; All Cried Out; Happy Giddy; Don't Go; Alive Encores:Love Resurrection; Situation
Midnight Oil with The Living End at Terminal 5
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon
Midnight Oil with The Living End
Terminal 5 New York, NY August 21, 2017
On a warm Monday evening in late August, Australian rock icons Midnight Oil brought its The Great Circle 2017 World Tour to New York City's Terminal 5. After spending almost ten years (October 2004 through August 2013) as a member of Australia's House of Representatives, lead singer Peter Garret has returned to his rock 'n' roll roots.
The evening's performance was the group's second trip to New York in 2017 (it had played two nights at Webster Hall in May) since reuniting. As with the earlier stops on the tour, the locals were filled with anticipation and excitement. It is not often a band decides to reform and it is even less often that the reunited group delivers a performance that is considered to be in the same league as those from its earlier incarnation. Luckily the reports from May confirmed that Midnight Oil was functioning on all cylinders and that the time off had not diminished lead singer Peter Garrett's voice or the band's potency.
With that in mind, New Yorkers again flocked to the sold-out venue to see and hear the band perform favorites such as "Dreamworld," "Kosciusko," "My Country" and "Truganini" as well as the megahits "Power & The Passion," "Bed Are Burning," "Blue Sky Mine" and "Forgotten Years."
The night's performance began with a strong nine song opening set by fellow Australians, The Living End. The band, which usually headlines, delivered a powerful 45 minute mini-concert of highlights from its twenty year career that included "Second Solution," "Roll On," White Noise" and "Prisoner of Society." The band's tight and rocking set ended with "West End Riot," during which guitarist Chris Cheney stood on Scott Owen's double bass during the guitar solo to play his guitar solo.
After a short intermission, Midnight Oil (Garrett; guitarist and keyboarist Jim Moginie; guitarist Martin Rotsey; bassist Bones Hillman and drummer Rob Hirst) hit the stage and launched into a powerful version of "Redneck Wonderland." After the second song, "Read About It," Garrett took off his long-sleeved collared shirt. Underneath he was wearing a black t-shirt featuring a drawing of Donald Trump and a bold "You're Fired!" statement. as one can imagine, Garret, (whether as a member of Parliament or as a private citizen) has never been one to suppress his political thoughts and impressions. In addition to the statement on his t-shirt, he opined to the crowd, "Just think what would have happened if everybody had voted?" and that people should learn from history before "the same things happen again and again...if you don't learn the lessons of history, you are condemned to repeat the mistakes!"
The evening's biggest surprise was the cover of The Clash's "London Calling" done as a tribute to Joe Strummer on what would have been his 65th birthday. The brawny version of the anthem caught the audience by surprise and brought smiles to the faces of the mostly middle-aged crowd. Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon would have been proud.
The lyrics of "When The Generals Talk" took on added meaning as Garrett sang, "So the General has a purge, cause he wants to win elections." "U.S. Forces" with the "Will you know it, when you see it?" lyric also got quite a rise out of the crowd.
The main set ended with a mighty combination of "Power and the Passion," "The Dead Heart," "Beds Are Burning," "Blue Sky Mine' and "Best of Both Worlds." The five song flurry was beyond powerful. If the audience had been a prizefighter, it would have been knocked-out.
Many audience members thought that the show had ended, but Garrett and the band had other ideas. Midnight Oil returned to the stage. First, Garrett gave an audience member his Trump t-shirt and then the band burned through "Forgotten Years."
Though the band members have aged, they continue to play with the energy and passion (some might say the power) of younger men. Garret, who is now in his mid-60s, ran around the stage and delivered a performance that would have made a frontman half his age jealous. The band played tight and strong. Midnight Oil can still bring it. Let's hope that there will be a new CD in 2018 and that the band will tour behind it.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.
Midnight Oil at Terminal 5 - 8/21/17 Setlist: Redneck Wonderland; Read About It; Golden Age; Brave Faces; Short Memory; Heart Is Nowhere; Dreamworld; Truganini; London Calling; Is It Now?; My Country; When the Generals Talk; U.S. Forces; Tin Legs and Tin Mines; Kosciusko; Now or Never Land; Power and the Passion; The Dead Heart; Beds Are Burning; Blue Sky Mine; Best of Both Worlds Encore: Forgotten Years
Retro Futura Tour 2017: Katrina, Paul Young, Modern English, The English Beat, Men Without Hats and Howard Jones
State Theater, New Brunswick August 9, 2017
By Christine Connallon with Mike Perciaccante
Ahhh, the 80’s…let’s harken back to a time when blazers were oversized, hair rose to great heights, denim was acid washed and music stood out. America’s premiere 80’s concert tour, Retro Futura was just the time machine to transport fans back to the era that made synths so popular. This year’s Retro Futura Tour kicked off on July 18th and over the next month played 26 concerts, providing a summer of song.
Essentially a mini festival each evening, the cavalcade of musicians and tour buses pulled into the college town of New Brunswick, NJ and prepared to strut across the stage of the State Theater about 2/3 of the way through the tour. With this stop being the closest to New York City, attendance was high with Gen X’ers excited to enjoy the tunes that formed the soundtracks to their high school and college days.
First to hit the stage was the lovely Katrina Leskanich (ex-Katrina and the Waves) who packed plenty into her four song set. Opening with “Rock N Roll Girl,” Katrina engaged the crowd and thanked the Bangles for “Going Down to Liverpool.” After high energy renditions of “Do You Want Crying” she told the crowd that she had one more song, having to leave time for everyone and broke into the ever-popular “Walking on Sunshine.” When the wild applause died down, she introduced Paul Young, saying she was lucky to share a tour bus with him, giving him props for being an iPod expert. They hugged warmly and the dapper 6’3” Young took over the stage.
The charismatic crooner who made blue eyed soul so fashionable hasn’t lost a step and his set was full of the microphone-stand twirling that was a staple at his shows in the Live Aid era. Fantastic versions of “Some People,” “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down,” “Everytime You Go Away,” and “Come Back and Stay” were well received by the crowd as fans danced in the aisles and filled in the area in front of the stage. Playful and charming, the only complaint about his set could be that it wasn’t nearly long enough to satisfy fans who haven’t had the opportunity to experience his life shows here in the U.S. in decades.
Modern English, dressed in bright white attire, grabbed the stage next. Original singer Robbie Grey fronted the band on hits like “Ink & Paper” and “I Melt With You” as if they were released only yesterday. Though they had gone their separate ways for more than 3 decades, the reunited members of Grey, Mick Conroy on bass and Gary McDowell on guitar and Steven Walker on keyboards have created new music in addition to hitting the road to tour. The magic has been recaptured and the audience responded enthusiastically to “Hands Across the Sea” and “Moonbeam.”
The intermissions to remove instruments and reconfigure the new sets were swift and didn’t distract from the action, instead allowing fans to scoot out for a drink or restroom break. People watching at the historic theater was a fascinating side project, with some fans unafraid to break out some vintage garb from the back of the closet.
One of the best sets in a night full of striking moments was The English Beat’s high energy, fast paced romp through a catalog of fan favorites. With front man and guitar wizard Dave Wakeling at the helm of this iconic ska, pop, soul, reggae and punk rock machine and perpetual motion man King Schascha adding his vocals, the action never stopped for a moment. The band, who prolifically tours, has never sounded better than they did this summer night. “Mirror in the Bathroom” was followed by a General Public cover of “Tenderness.” “I Confess,” “Save it For Later” and “Never Die” helped form a brilliantly curated set that left the orchestra actively wanting more. With 10 musicians partying up on the stage, the set turned into a celebration that truly was a highlight of the evening.
Ivan Dorschuk graced the stage next with Men Without Hats and proved to be the biggest surprise of the evening. The audience followed their instructions on “Safety Dance” by dancing if they wanted to, in fact, twice to that catchy tune, once at the beginning of the set and again as their finale. For those who forgot their other tunes “Pop Goes the World” and “Where Did the Boys Go,” they were in for a treat. And when Dorschuk and crew covered “SOS” from Abba, it worked brilliantly.
The last to take the stage was Howard Jones with the longest set of the night. Walking through the stage under an enormous lighted umbrella contraption, Hojo emerged and took on the keyboards, keytar and more. “Like to Get to Know You Well” was the perfect way to start things off, followed by a string of hits including “Equality” and “You Know I Love You, Don’t You?” Very few sat during Jones’ time on stage, thoroughly enjoying “No One is To Blame,” “Everlasting Love,” “What is Love” and “New Song.” With his signature spiky hair, easy grin and tonight’s red and black patterned outfit, Jones was an ideal way to close out the musical spectacular that was Retro Futura 2017. As fans filed down the aisles, songs reverberating in their heads, conversations turned to wonderment of who might be on the bill for next year’s tour.
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats
The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY August 1, 2017
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats were formed in Denver, CO in 2013. The band's genesis occurred when Rateliff, a singer and songwriter who had released Desire and Dissolving Men on Public Service Records in 2007 (as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Wheel); a solo record on Rounder Records entitled In Memory of Loss (2010); as well as an independent released called Falling Faster Than You Can Run in 2013, realized that the new songs he had been writing required a full-band to bring them to life. As a result, he formed the Night Sweats. Rateliff and his band play music that defies one specific label. It is best described a a music gumbo that mixes and is influenced by folk, funk Americana, rock, pop, roots, blues and R&B. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have dropped two critically acclaimed Stax Records albums: the eponymously titled debut release in 2015 and A Little Something More from Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats in 2016. It has achieved success on the singles chart with "Look It Here," "I Need Never Get Old," "Wasting Time" and the group's biggest hit, the rockin' "S.O.B."
The band is known for its reputation as a "must see" live act. It is known for stage shaking shows that not only leave the performers dripping with sweat but the audience (from those upfront and pressed to the stage to the fan with the seat in the venue's very last row) members equally spent and sweaty. The group is comprised of Rateliff, the burly front man on guitar and vocals as well as seven backing musicians including Joseph Pope III (bass), Patrick Meese (drums), Luke Mossman (guitar), Mark Shusterman (keys), Wesley Watkins (trumpet) and Andy Wild (saxophone) and, on this evening, another gentleman on sax.
On a warm evening following a very warm and humid day, Rateliff and his band stormed the stage at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. The band's ferocious set opened with "I’ve Been Failing." Rateliff has such a bigger than life persona. When he paused prior to playing the new song "Cooling Out," the audience members were already on the edge its seats as he asked, "How's everybody doing tonight?" He worked them into a frenzy with a simple statement of, "My name's Nathaniel Rateliff. We're happy to be here...I guess we REALLY are on our own island. Everybody ready to have a good time?" The crowd responded with rousing cheers, applause and whistles.
The energy on the stage was incandescent. Rateliff and his crew brought a nostalgic flair with a rocking and rolling esthetic to the powerful set. The band members strutted through kick-ass versions of "Out On The Weekend, "Wasting Time" and another new song "Why You Gotta Wait." Other highlights included the driving Memphis soul influenced "The Intro" and the horn-driven "Look It Here."
As the show wound down, the band stomped through an amazing version of "I Need Never Get Old." As the first notes of the song were played, the members of the standing-room only pit as well as the seated audience members jumped to their feet and bopped to the beat. Even the ushers and venue security staff were seen dancing in-place at their assigned stations.
The band saved the best for last. "S.O.B." caused the mid-sized venue by bay to shake, rattle and roll. Audience members danced and let loose with abandon. They sang along and took special relish in shouting the song's epitaph--"son of a bitch!" They even took it one step further as they sang along with Rateliff on the chorus:
"Son of a bitch
Give me a drink
One more night
This can't be me
Son of a bitch"
and the repetitious call-and-response "Oh oh oh oh oh" lyric.
As the lights came up, Ratelif took a moment to thank the audience when he stepped forward to say, "Once again, my name's Nathaniel Rateliff, and we are the Night Sweats. It's been a pleasure playing for you!"
It was a pleasure seeing the band. The performance was everything that a live concert should be--strong, powerful, raucous, rocking and fiery. Rateliff's voice was soft and sweet when it needed to be and deep and resonant, like thunder, when required. The crowd was worked into a frenzy from the very first note. The fans danced the night away as did the band members. Rateliff's voice combined with his band's energy and showmanship made the evening one for the ages. Both the audience and the musicians left the venue with huge smiles on their faces.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.
Social Distortion with Jade Jackson At The Paramount
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon Social Distortion with Jade Jackson
The Paramount Huntington, NY August 5, 2017
Social Distortion is Mike Ness (lead vocals, lead guitar); Jonny Wickersham (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), A.K.A. Jonny Two Bags; Brent Harding (bass, backing vocals); David Hidalgo Jr. (drums) and David Kalish (keyboards). The band was formed in 1978 in Fullerton, CA. Since its inception, Ness has been the only constant band member. Over the years the band's lineup has Changed, evolved and changed yet again with many members coming and going. There have been at least a dozen players who have manned the drum kit and six bassists. Social Distortion is known for its fiery mix of punk rock, rockabilly, alternative, cowpunk, pop, country and blues that has created a brand all its own.
During its career, through 2017, Social Distortion has released seven studio albums, two compilations, one live album, and two DVDs. The band's first two albums Mommy's Little Monster (13th Floor Records/Triple X Records, 1983) and Prison Bound (Restless Records 1988) gained them a following. Social Distortion achieved its greatest popular acclaim with its 1990 self-titled third album, (Epic Records) which featured the hit singles "Ball and Chain," "Story of My Life" and the cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." The album was certified gold by RIAA.
Social Distortion's fourth album Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell (Epic Records, 1992) included the band's highest-charting single "Bad Luck," which peaked at number 2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. White Light, White Heat, White Trash was released on Epic Records in 1996 and is the last Social Distortion studio album to feature guitarist Dennis Danell who died on February 29, 2000 of a cerebral aneurysm. The album reached number 27 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll was released on Time Bomb Recordings in 2004 and reached number 31 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, Social Distortion's seventh studio album reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, marking the band's first ever Top-10 album and what is currently the group's highest position on that chart. Social Distortion continues to tour and record music; its next studio album is tentatively scheduled to be released in 2018.
Jade Jackson is a Santa Margarita, CA-based singer-songwriter signed to Anti/Epitaph Records. Her debut album, Gilded (2017), was produced by Mike Ness. Jackson was a bit of a child prodigy. She began playing guitar and writing songs at 13 (coincidently after seeing a Social Distortion concert). She had developed a growing fan base by the time she entered high school. After graduation, Jackson formed her band and shared the stage with numerous Americana and country music icons including Merle Haggard, Rosie Flores and Dwight Yoakam.
Along the way, Jackson was able to connect with Ness. Serendipitously Ness' wife, it turns out is friends with Jackson's mother. After hearing her perform the die was set and Ness became her mentor Jackson and the producer of Gilded.
The album is a country rock affair, but much more than that. It owes as much to Ness and Social Distortion as it does to the influences of Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen, the Smiths, the Damned, Echo and the Bunnymen, George Jones, Ray Price, and Hank Williams.
On a warm Saturday evening in early August Social Distortion and Jade Jackson arrived at a packed to the gills Paramount in Huntington, NY. With the doors opening at 7pm, the line at the merchandise stand snaked around the upper lobby and bar area outside the main concert space as Social Distortion fans gobbled up t-
shirts, baseball caps, sweatshirts, license plates, posters, beer coozies, key chains, CDs and other memorabilia. When Jackson hit the stage and began to play, the fans took notice and began purchasing an additional item. Many were seen leaving the area with not only their Social Distortion purchases but with Jackson's CD.
Jackson's short set was long on power. She appeared on stage wearing a Tom Petty (another influence) t-shirt and delivered a finely honed confident well-beyond-her-years performance that channeled the country aesthetic of the past while embracing the modern alt-country vibe that is today's genre with nods to rock, folk, modern rock, pop and even a touch of goth. Jackson is completely aware of her good fortune. During the performance, she took a moment to thank Ness when she smiled said, "Seeing how Mike Ness produced my album, I think that's how we got this gig."
Highlights of her short set included: "Finish Line," "Troubled End" (which she described as being "completely autobiographical. It took place in my hometown."), "Better Off" and "Gilded."
After a short intermission, during which even an EMT was seen purchasing a Social Distortion bandana, the main event was ready to begin. Ness and his band arrived on stage while a pre-recorded version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" blared across the loudspeakers.
The thirteen song main set opened with a number of tunes from Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell and Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, starting things off with "Still Alive" and "99 To Life" which allowed Ness to show off his guitar and vocal skills. "Gimme The Sweet and Low Down" which included a bit of a jam was followed by "California (Hustle and Flow)" and "King of Fools." Each song was greeted with an enthusiastic round of applause as audience members from those crowding the stage to those at the back of the mid-sized venue (and the fans in between) called for their favorite tunes.
Ness appeared to be in a jovial and talkative mood. Between songs he took the opportunity to speak on many issues touching on the political climate, the news media and many other topics. Ness' social commentary was delivered with an honesty and earnestness that never veered toward lecture. He approached each subject with objectivity and care--never offending audience members who might feel differently.
Other highlights of the performance included" "Ball and Chain," and "Another State of Mind" the Jonny Two Bags song, "Hope Dies Hard" from his Salvation Town album (Isotone Records, 2014). Ness and his compatriots also offered up nice versions of "When She Begins" (which seems to have been given a new life on this tour), the new tune "Scars" (which should be released on the 2018 album) and the set closer "Mass Hysteria" from the Mainliner: Wreckage from the Past (Time Bomb recordings, 1995) collection of B-Sides and singles
If the show was a high energy affair (it was), the four song encore set was even more fiery and energetic. "Angel's Wings" a song about hope and love from Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll "Misery Loves Company" from Ness' 1999 solo album Cheating at Solitaire (Time Bomb Recordings) sent an already delirious audience over the edge. On the final two songs, "Story of My Life" and the powerful performance ender "Ring of Fire" Social Distortion really drove it home. The balconies shook and the floors felt as though they were bouncing up and down as the fans sang along with Ness from the first word to the last.
As the sweaty and spent audience left the orchestra pit, mezzanine and balcony, many stopped at the merchandise stand to purchase more tchotchke or to get back on line to purchase what they had wanted to make prior to the show. The line again snaked its way down the hall and back around the bar as another large scale and spontaneous retail therapy session had broken out.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.
Soul Asylum and Cracker with Special guests Iridesense at The Space at Westbury
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon Soul Asylum and Cracker
The Space at Westbury Westbury, NY July 20, 2017
Soul Asylum celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2016. The alternative rock band was formed in Minneapolis, MN and originally called itself Loud Fast Rules. The band changed its name to Soul Asylum in 1983.
The band's original lineup consisted of Dave Pirner on vocals and guitar, Dan Murphy on lead guitar, Karl Mueller on bass, and drummer Pat Morley. Grant Young replaced Morley in 1984. The band's first five albums (three recorded for Twin/Tone Records and two for A&M Records) received some critical praise but did not chart. In 1992, it released the multi-platinum Grave Dancers Union (Columbia Records) album, featuring the Grammy Award–winning single "Runaway Train." The following year, Soul Asylum played at President Clinton's Inauguration. The band has also scored a platinum album with Let Your Dim Light Shine (Columbia Records, 1995).
In the ensuing years, Soul Asylum has continued to release albums--Candy From A Stranger (Columbia Records, 1998), The Silver Lining (Legacy Recordings, 2006), Delayed Reaction (429 Records, 2012) and its most recent effort Change of Fortune (Entertainment One, 2016). The band has also released several compilations and two live albums.
Over the years there have been a number of personnel changes. Currently, Soul Asylum is comprised of Pirner, Ryan Smith on lead guitar, Michael Bland on drums and Winston Roye on bass.
Cracker is also an alternative rock band. The band's signature one-of-a-kind sound mixes rock, punk, grunge, psychedelia, country, blues and folk. Lead singer David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman formed the band in 1991, shortly after Lowery's former group Camper Van Beethoven disbanded (for the first time).
In 1992, Cracker released its eponymously titled debut album on Virgin Records. The album included the singles "Happy Birthday To Me" and "Teen Angst." The band achieved its greatest success with the best-selling 1993 album, Kerosene Hat (Virgin Records). Kerosene Hat featured the hit songs "Low" and "Euro-Trash Girl." In 1996, the band released The Golden Age on Virgin Records. Gentleman's Blues was released in 1998 on Virgin Records and featured a number of hidden tracks including: "1-202-456-1414" (the touch-tone phone number for the White House) and "1-202-514-8688" (a U.S. Department of Justice phone number, formerly held by Ken Starr) as well as "Cinderella." During the 2000s and 2010s, Cracker has continued to record. It has released Forever (Virgin Records, 2002), O' Cracker Where Art Thou (Pitch-a-tent Records, 2003) which contained bluegrass versions of Cracker songs, Countrysides (BMG, 2003), Greenland (Cooking Vinyl, 2006), and the 429 Records releases Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey (2009) and Berkeley to Bakersfield (2014). Cracker has also released several compilations, collaborations and live albums.
During its career, Cracker has featured twenty band members. Currently, the band is comprised of Lowery on lead vocals and guitar, Hickman on lead guitar, bassist Bryan Howard, drummer Carlton (Coco) Owens, Thayer Sarrano on keys and Matt "Pistol" Stoessel on pedal steel guitar.
Iridesense is a four piece band formed on Long Island in 1993. The band is comprised of Tara Eberle-Drouin on lead vocals and bass, Rick Eberle on guitar and vocals, lead guitarist Rob Viccari and Rich Drouin on drums.
The group has released three full length CDs: Cool Dream Tomorrow (Rock Diva Records, 1997), iRideSense on LLJ Records in 2001, and A Trip Called Life (Paradiddle Records, 2008). Its Secret Constellation and Thought Parade EPs were independently released in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
Over the years, Iridesense has licensed tunes to Nickelodeon and had songs placed in several indie films, toured the U.S. and opened for, among others: Spin Doctors, Something Corporate and Gin Blossoms.
On a pleasant Thursday evening in late July, the Space at Westbury was host to a powerful and fun evening of alternative rock as Iridesense opening the night's festivities in the lounge with a short poppy set of songs that covered its entire career. Highlights included: "History In The Making," "I've Got It Good," "Fire Fly" and "Mind Control Society."
Cracker was up next on the big stage. Opening its set with "One Fine Day," the band rolled through strong versions of "Gimme One More Chance" and "Euro-Trash Girl." Lowery handled the vast majority of the vocals with strong harmonies provided by Hickman and Howard. "California Country Boy" featured a nice call and response vocal between Lowery and Hickman.
Other highlights of the band's powerful eleven song set included "Teen Angst," "Low" and "Sweet Potato." The performance ended with a lively version of "Get Off This" (during which the players each took short but engaging solos allowing them to show off their virtuosity) and "St. Cajetan" ( a deep cut from the band's debut album).
Though the venue did not feature a sold-out crowd, Cracker played as if it was performing in front of an audience that was 50,000 strong. The band gave it's all and delivered a superb set featuring its classic psychedelic blues, punk, alt-country songs that had those in attendance bopping to the beat and singing along.
The headlining act, Soul Asylum, chose to appear on stage to the familiar WWE opening salvo--"Ladies and Gentlemen, Let's get ready to rumble!" The crowd was primed and the band wasted no time getting down to it. "Somebody To Shove," a huge hit was a powerful choice for an opening number. Pirner addressed the crowd, stating, "You're much too kind. Thank you! I want to also thank Cracker. Thank you, Cracker!"
The band delivered a nice set that offered a cross-section of classic hits and new material. Highlights included "Spinnin'," "Misery," "Shut Down," "Lately," Black Gold" "Cool," "Supersonic," "Eyes of A Child," "Never Really Been" and, of course, "Runaway Train."
"Without a Trace" was introduced as being "dedicated to Mr. Karl Mueller" (the band's late bassist who succumbed to cancer in 2005). Prior to "Don't Bother me," band members took exception to an annoying fan who was videotaping the entire show on a cellphone. He was told in no uncertain terms to "turn the fucking light off, asshole." Earlier Pirner had referred to the fan as Francis Ford Coppola. Evidently, when the initial hint didn't cause him to stop, the band had to resort to stronger measures. The fan was told that if he didn't stop recording the performance, he would be escorted out of the venue.
Though the evening could have been marred by the over-zealous fan, Soul Asylum and most-notably Pirner did not let it get in the way of making music. His performance and that of the band was top-notch. Pirner's voice hasn't aged. His stage presence continues to be magnetic. The performance was somewhat nostalgic, but in the best possible way. The players delivered powerful, enjoyable and dynamic modern/alternative rock. The audience loved it and the band fed off of the vibe.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon. Cracker Setlist 1. One Fine Day 2. Gimme One More Chance 3. Euro-Trash Girl 4. California Country Boy 5. Almond Grove 6. Movie Star 7. Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now) 8. Mr. Wrong 9. Another Song About the Rain 10. Low 11. Sweet Potato 12. This Is Cracker Soul 13. Miss Santa Cruz County
Tears For Fears at the Prudential Center
Article By Mike Perciaccante | Photographs By Christine Connallon Tears For Fears
The Prudential Center Newark, NJ June 17, 2017
On a pleasant Saturday evening in mid-June, Tears For Fears made its way to NJ's Prudential Center. It was definitely pop and soul night in Newark.
Tears For Fears, the English band formed by Curt Smith (vocals and bass) and Roland Orzabal (guitar and vocals) in 1981, was initially seen as a new wave synthesizer band. Eventually the public and critics came to realize that the group was much more.
The band is now seen, because of its Beatles-esque melodies, song construction and arrangements, as a rock and pop group. As part of the Second British Invasion (popularized and driven by MTV), Tears For Fears found immediate success with its platinum-selling debut album, The Hurting (Mercury/Phonogram, 1983), which reached number one on the UK Albums Chart. Its second album, Songs From the Big Chair (Fontana/Mercury/Phonogram, 1985), propelled by the mega-hit singles "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Shout" and "Head over Heels," reached number one on the US Billboard 200. Songs From the Big Chair achieved multi-platinum status in both the UK and the US. Smith and Orzabal parted ways in 1991, following the release of their third platinum-selling album The Seeds of Love (Fontana/Mercury/Phonogram, 1989). Orzabal continued to use the Tears for Fears name throughout the '90s (with a group of mercenary musicians backing him). The duo re-formed in 2000 and released an album of new material, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (New Door, 2004). Secret World: Live In Paris was released in 2006 on XIII Bis Records. In the ensuing years Tears For Fears has toured the world and is currently working on a new CD. During the course of its career, Tears for Fears has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
When Tears For Fears took the stage, the mostly middle-aged crowd in the sold-out arena became almost delirious. Appearing onstage to a backdrop bathed in slowly rotating colors of light and darkness while Lorde's eerie, almost gothic dirge-like version of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" teased the crowd for a tantalizing two minutes, Smith, Orzabal and their band took their places and paused for a moment. When the lights came up it was an engage the throttle, full speed ahead moment as the band launched into a powerful version of the song with the sweet-voiced Smith singing it as it was intended. Audience members rose to their feet and remained standing dancing, swaying and singing along with the band during the anthem (and every other song during the 13 song performance). As the final notes played, fans offered up whistles and a lengthy round of applause.
When the applause died down Smith, Orzabal and the band delivered a very poppy version of "I Have A Secret" that showed their Beatles influence by featuring a snippet ("Somebody's knockin' at the door, somebody's ringin' the bell") from Paul McCartney's "Let 'Em In." The show then continued with the very Beatles-esque "Sowing The Seeds of Love," and note-perfect pristine versions of "Advice For the Young At Heart" and "Everybody Wants a Happy Ending."
When Smith finally addressed the crowd, he said, "Hello! Thank you! Good evening, New York! It's nice of you to get here early for us...We released our first album quite a while ago. We'd like to do a few songs from our first album." He made the statement about playing in New York (even though the arena is just across the river in Newark) and the crowd didn't care. It jumped to its feet and erupted into prolonged applause.
"Change," "Mad World" and "Memories Fade" were all embraced by the audience as long lost friends. There was a mixture of nostalgia and extreme happiness as the faithful sang along with the band and thrust their arms (as though they were brandishing tomahawks) to and fro along with the beat. Smith and Orzabal's intertwined vocals were magical and magnetic. The crowd members were literally leaning forward while the band played, the palpable energy reaching the stage and being sent right back out to the rafters.
The band is known for choosing interesting cover songs. It is almost as though Tears For Fears pick cover songs that are not the "same-old, same-old" songs that many bands do. Orzabal and Smith seem to choose well-known songs that are a bit off the beaten track of the "usual." The band has been known to perform Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," Arcade Fire's "Ready To Start" and the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love." On this tour, the band covers Radiohead's "Creep" with Orzabal's vocals delivering just the right amount of atmosphere and moodiness. It was a flawless rendition and, of course, the audience sang along.
The stunning main set concluded with Smith providing a fantastic version of "Pale Shelter," a very nice version of "Break It Down Again" from Elemental (Mercury/Phonogram, 1993), which represented the lone song from the Orzabal-only era of the band, and a stunning version of "Head Over Heels" that rang true and proved timeless. In fact, when the song came to its conclusion, the crowd delivered the final "time flies" words of the song.
The encore was preceded by band introductions. Smith gave props to "the Reverend Charlton Pettus on guitar, on drums the one and only Jamie Wollam, NJ resident, Mr. Doug Petty on keys and Carina Round on vocals." He paused and simply said, "Oh yeah, this is Roland. My name's Curt and we're Tears For Fears. Thank you very much!" What followed was a rousing rendition of "Shout" augmented by audience participation and the stage lights flooding the audience members as they sang-along while turning the clock back over 30 years. Underneath a color changing neon set of squares that hung above the stage like a set of UFOs, Orzabal and Smith powered through the vocals and forcefully stomped through the well-known anthem with a renewed energy that was even more pronounced than they possessed three decades ago. Everything old is new again and the audience shouted the words as if protesting against the things that bother them. As the last notes died down, Orzabal stepped forward and said, "Thank you so much." He, Smith and the band took their bows waved good-bye and were gone in a flash, the catharsis and joy apparent on the band's faces as well as everyone who witnessed the spectacle of their set.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon. Tears For Fears Set List 1. Everybody Wants to Rule the World 2. Secret World 3. Sowing the Seeds of Love 4. Advice for the Young at Heart 5. Everybody Loves a Happy Ending 6. Change 7. Mad World 8. Memories Fade 9. Creep (Radiohead cover) 10. Pale Shelter 11. Break It Down Again 12. Head Over Heels Encore: 13. Shout
Nick Lowe at City Winery
Article By Mike Perciaccante I Additional Article Contributions by Christine Connallon
Photographs By Christine Connallon
Nick Lowe City Winery New York, NY