Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman Remembered

Gregg Allman performing at
Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point
on May 17, 2014.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
I am very sad to learn that musical great Gregg Allman has died. He was only 69.

“Gregg struggled with many health issues over the past several years. During that time, Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans, essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times,” according to a statement posted on Allman's official website.

The Allman Brothers Band also confirmed the sad news via Twitter: “It is with deep sadness we announce that Gregg Allman … passed away peacefully at his home.”

The Recording Academy™ issued the following statement regarding Gregg Allman on
May 27, 2017:

"As a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman helped give birth to Southern rock, blazing a trail for a generation of musicians who were equally influenced by the blues, Southern soul, and rock. His earthy vocals graced songs that have become rock standards, including "Midnight Rider" and "Whipping Post”, in addition to his own solo records. The band won a GRAMMY® Award in 1995 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Jessica," a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and their groundbreaking album At Fillmore East was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame® in 1999. We have lost a pioneering force in American music, and our condolences go out to Gregg's family, friends, colleagues, and music fans everywhere." 

Neil Portnow
Recording Academy

You can learn more about Allman's long legacy and death via a story on CNN here:

I most recently got to see Allman when he performed a memorable set at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point in May 2014.

See my album review of a tribute collection titled All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs & Voice of Gregg Allman released in 2014 here.

Robert Kinsler

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sights and Sounds: U2, Nick Lowe, Silversun Pickups, Third Eye Blind

Before we all break for the holiday weekend, here is a round-up of notable music news!

To mark 30 years since the release of U2's fifth studio album The Joshua Tree, an anniversary edition of the seminal record will be released by Island Records on June 2nd, 2017.

Alongside the 11-track album, the super deluxe collector's edition includes a live recording of The Joshua Tree Tour 1987 Madison Square Garden concert; rarities and B-sides from the album's original recording sessions; as well as 2017 remixes from Daniel Lanois, St Francis Hotel, Jacknife Lee, Steve Lillywhite and Flood; plus an 84-page hardback book of unseen personal photography shot by The Edge during the original Mojave Desert photo session in 1986.

Released to universal acclaim on March 9, 1987 and featuring hit singles 'With Or Without You', 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' and 'Where The Streets Have No Name', The Joshua Tree went to #1 in the U.K, U.S., Ireland and around the world, selling in excess of 25 million albums, and catapulting Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr '...from heroes to superstars' (Rolling Stone). Time Magazine put U2 on its cover in April 1987, proclaiming them 'Rock's Hottest Ticket' and the 12 months that followed saw U2 create iconic moments including the traffic-stopping Grammy Award-winning 'Where The Streets Have No Name' video on the roof of a Los Angeles liquor store, and go on to win a BRIT Award and two Grammys - including Album of the Year - their first of 22 received to date; as well as a triumphant return home for four unforgettable shows in Belfast, Dublin and Cork in the summer of 1987.

This collector's boxset includes:

-The Joshua Tree 2007
-Live from Madison Square Garden 1987
-The Joshua Tree 2017 Remixes
-The Joshua Tree B-Sides & Outtakes

The Joshua Tree Photographs by The Edge. An 84-page hardback book of personal never-before seen photography by The Edge, taken during the original Mojave Desert Joshua Tree shoot, 1986 and a folio of 8 rare 12' Anton Corbijn colour prints.

Yep Rock has just announced that music fans can now own six Nick Lowe reissues! Nick the Knife, The Abominable Showman, Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit, The Rose of England, Pinker and Prouder Than Previous, and Party of One are coming to both CD and Vinyl! When you purchase them from Yep Rock together, you also get a deep price discount and a limited edition Nick Lowe lunchbox for free! Cool.

These albums mark the period in Nick Lowe's career where he was experimenting with numerous genres, ranging from roots rock to country to reggae to the pub rock and power pop sounds that he made so famous. These albums are absolutely worthy of second listen and showcase his collaborations with artists such as Elvis Costello, Huey Lewis, Paul Carrack and many more.

Bundle all six reissues together and save over 30% + get a limited edition Nick Lowe lunchbox! Click here to order yours.

Photo Credit: Citizen Kane Wayne
Silversun Pickups are sharing "Latchkey Kids (Joywave Remix)" as they get set to kick off a 30-date "Summer Gods" Amphitheater Tour with Third Eye Blind beginning on June 9, 2017. Here is the media release that landed in my inbox this morning:




“It’s...time to finally give the Pickups their influential due.” 
—Los Angeles Times 

“Better Nature is a clearly realized vision of rocking guitar, deep musical landscapes and fluid style.”
—The Daily Beast
This morning, Silversun Pickups shared “Latchkey Kids (Joywave Remix)”, a swirling and frenetic iteration of the third single off 2015’s Better Nature, remixed by Rochester, NY band, Joywave. Listen to “Latchkey Kids” (Joywave Remix) here:

Silversun Pickups will embark on a 30-date amphitheater tour opening for Third Eye Blind. The “Summer Gods” Tour celebrates Third Eye Blind’s 20th anniversary, and kicks off on Friday, June 9 in Miami, FL with stops including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, and New Orleans. Dates below and tickets are now on sale here.

Their fourth studio album, Better Nature, which Entertainment Weekly called “…worth the wait,” was released on September 25th, 2015 via the band’s own New Machine Recordings. Produced by Jacknife Lee (U2, Two Door Cinema Club, Crystal Castles) and mixed by GRAMMY winner Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails, Royal Blood), Better Nature is a revelatory manifestation of a band entirely in touch with the muse and each other. Hailed for their inimitable merging of ethereal melodies and pure sonic force, Silversun Pickups are among the most dynamic and creative rock bands of the modern era. From the indie rock opening salvo of 2005's Pikul EP to 2012's far-reaching Neck of the Woods, each successive release has seen the Silver Lake-based band boldly venture into uncharted terrain, bravely pushing their imagination and ability toward new and surprising summits. Their 2009 album Swoon featured the Billboard Hot 100 hit "Panic Switch" and earned the group a nomination for Best New Artist at the GRAMMYs that year. Better Nature marks the debut release from Silversun Pickups' own New Machine Recordings. The label — which takes its name from the Pikul favorite, "…All The Go Inbetweens" — allows the ever-autonomous band to fully determine its own course without any interference.

Silversun Pickups’s video for “Latchkey Kids” was directed by Maryam L'Ange, and explores the realities and challenges of adolescence through the eyes of a teenager, played by Julian Rapaport, and you can watch it here: Silversun Pickups also performed at Chicago’s Grant Park for 2016’s Lollapalooza Festival, and you can watch their stirring performance of "Panic Switch," off 2009’s Swoon, which garnered the band a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, here:


Fri, Jun 09           Miami, FL- Bayfront Park Amphitheatre
Sat, Jun 10          Clearwater, FL – Coachman Park
Sun, Jun 11         Jacksonville, FL- Daily’s Place 
Tue, Jun 13          New Orleans, LA- Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square
Thu, Jun 15          Nashville, TN- Ascend Amphitheater
Fri, Jun 16            Charlotte, NC- Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Sat, Jun 17           Raleigh, NC- Red Hat Amphitheater
Sun, Jun 18          Baltimore, MD- Pier Six Pavilion
Wed, Jun 21         Boston, MA- Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
Fri, Jun 23            Holmdel, NJ- PNC Bank Arts Center
Sat, Jun 24           Wantagh, NY- Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Sun, Jun 25          Philadelphia, PA- Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
Wed, Jun 28        Toronto, ON- TD Echo Beach
Thu, Jun 29          Darien Center, NY- Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Fri, Jun 30             Syracuse, NY- Lakeview Amphitheater
Sat, Jul 01             Saratoga Springs, NY- Saratoga Performing Arts Center
Sun, Jul 02            Wallingford, CT- Toyota Oakdale Theatre
Thu, Jul 06            Chicago, IL- Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
Fri, Jul 07              Detroit, MI- DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sat, Jul 08             Cleveland, OH- Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
Sun, Jul 09            Indianapolis, IN-- Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park
Tues, Jul 11          St. Louis, MO- Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Wed, Jul 12          Rogers, Arkansas- Walmart AMP
Fri, Jul 14              Houston, TX- Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sat, Jul 15             Dallas, TX- Starplex Pavilion
Tue, Jul 18            Phoenix, AZ- Comerica Theatre
Thu, Jul 20            Los Angeles, CA- Greek Theatre
Fri, Jul 21              San Diego, CA- Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Sat, Jul 22             Las Vegas, NV- The Joint at Hard Rock
Sun, Jul 23            Berkeley, CA- Greek Theatre

  1. Cradle (Better Nature)
  2. Connection
  3. Pins & Needles
  4. Friendly Fires
  5. Nightlight
  6. Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)
  7. Tapedeck
  8. Latchkey Kids
  9. Ragamuffin
  10. The Wild Kind

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Arroyo Seco Weekend update: Great Music, Chef-Curated Picnic Baskets, Kidspace, more!

Arroyo Seco is only a month away and the news just keeps getting better and better...

Mike Campbell and Tom Petty of the Heartbreakers perform at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
in October 2010. Photo: Kelly A. Swift 


JUNE 24 & 25, 2017



Arroyo Seco Weekend Announces Chef-Curated Picnic Baskets; Kidspace Programmed Family Jam; Magic Giant & Rachel Platten Added To Lineup

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer performs at Pacific
Amphitheatre in August 2011.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
Goldenvoice's inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival, coming June 24th and 25th to the shady oaks and parkland of Brookside next to the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium, has announced its chef-curated picnic basket program from celebrated local restaurants Crossroads KitchenRépubliqueBarrel & AshesRose Cafe and Redbird.  A modern take on the classic picnic, each basket is packed with a full three-course meal for two, beverage vouchers, snacks and unique festival necessities. Order your picnic basket now to secure preferred pricing. Available for pre-order from Thursday, June 1 at 10 a.m. via the festival site. Deadline for orders is Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

Tom Petty is Arroyo Seco bound.
Photo: Kelly A. Swift
The festival, headlined by Tom Petty & The HeartbreakersMumford & SonsAlabama ShakesWeezerThe Meters and The Shins, has now added two further artists to the line up: Magic Giant and Rachel Platten.

Arroyo Seco Weekend can also reveal details of its unique Kidspace Family Jam created by Pasadena's renowned Kidspace Children's Museum. The museum will be closed for the weekend as its staff joins Arroyo Seco Weekend to create a program of entertainment and interactive activities for families attending the festival. From noon - 7 p.m. each day Family Jam will feature an array of activations, including make your own instruments, jam with drummers, rock star photo booth, instrument petting zoo and create your own concert buttons. More information on the Kidspace event page.

Arroyo Seco Weekend is a world class culture event featuring three stages of live music along with the most sought-after dishes and award-winning restaurants the Los Angeles and Pasadena communities have to offer. The selection offers a wide range of cuisine, from classic Italian dishes, authentic Mexican, to Korean BBQ and gluten-free and vegan options celebrating Los Angeles' melting pot of a food scene.  With an extensive line-up of craft beers by Beer Belly and an incredible raw and natural wine list, participating chefs and restaurants include:

Bruce Kalman | Union
Dakota Weiss | Sweetfin Poke
Ilan Hall | Ramen Hood
Jason Neroni | Rose Cafe
Neal Fraser | Red Bird
Marcel Vigneron | Wolf
Phillip Frankland Lee | Frankland Crab & Co
Ray Garcia | Broken Spanish
Rory Herrmann | Barrel & Ashes
Steve Samson | Sotto
Walter Matzke | République
Beer Belly
Dog Haus
Fat Dragon
Fritzi Coop
Genghis Cohen
Kettle Black
Petty Cash
Sumo Dog

The festival will include performances by:


Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Alabama Shakes

The Meters

Broken Social Scene
Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra
Roy Ayers
William Bell
John Mayall
The Bennie Maupin Ensemble
Mumford & Sons
The Shins
Fitz & the Tantrums
Andrew Bird
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
The Revivalists
Andy Grammar
ZZ Ward
Jamtown (ft.. G. Love, Donavon Frankenreiter & Cisco Adler)
Alice Smith
The Mowgli's
David Lindley
Con Brio
NK Band
Rachel Platten
Magic Giant

Mumford & Sons during on the opening night of
U2's North American tour on May 12, 2017.
Photo: Kim Kinsler
Pass Prices
Single day GA:  $125 + fees
Weekend GA:  $225 + fees
Weekend Preferred parking:  $50

Picnic Basket Pricing & Options:

Chef curated basket (available for purchase in advance)  $100 - $120  
Festival basket (available for purchase in advance and on site) $80

Baskets Include: Entree for two, salad for two, 2 side dishes, dessert, snack and two drink vouchers. Comes with utensils.

Restaurant curated baskets (available as pre-order only):

Crossroads' Mediterranean Basket  - Chef Tal Ronnen / Crossroads Kitchen - $120
Classic French Bistro Basket -  Chefs Walter Manzke & Margarita Manzke / Republique - $120
Barrel's Best BBQ Basket - Chef Rory Herrmann / Barrel & Ashes - $100
Beachside Basket  - Chef Jason Neroni  / Rose Cafe - $110
Angeleno Picnic Basket - Chef Neal Fraser / Redbird - $110

Arroyo Seco Weekend is truly Pasadena taking its name from The Arroyo Seco stream, meaning "dry stream" in Spanish, that passes through Brookside Golf Course and Pasadena from the San Gabriel Mountains.

Arroyo Seco Weekend:

About Goldenvoice:  Goldenvoice, creators of Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach: California's Country Music Festival, also operates successful Los Angeles music venues including the Fonda Theatre, El Rey Theatre, and Shrine Auditorium.  Beginning as an independent punk rock promoter in the early 1980s, Goldenvoice grew to be the preeminent alternative promoter in Southern California by forging strong relationships with both bands and music fans.  Goldenvoice promotes over 1400 concerts a year in California, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii and Canada.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review: Doheny Blues Festival marks 20th Anniversary

Moreland & Arbuckle performing on the Backporch Stage at Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, CA. From left, Dustin Arbuckle, Kendall Newby and Aaron Moreland.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
As Orange County's most celebrated and enduring live music event, it's no surprise that the 20th Annual Doheny Blues Festival offered a slew of great sets on Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, 2017.

The seaside event featured a total of 23 artists playing on three stages, as well as a full-length breakfast set staged outside the front gates each morning. Here is a recap of a dozen highlights this writer caught over the sun-drenched weekend in Dana Point.

From left, Monster Mike Welch and
Mike Ledbetter.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
As the first artist to perform on the Doheny Stage on Saturday, the Casey Hensley set the tone for the strong day to come. Armed with a powerful voice, the San Diego-based songstress and her backing band used their 45-minute slot to play a powerful mix of original and classic covers. Highlights included the Chicago blues-flavored "Put Your Lovin' Where It Belongs" with Hensley's potent soprano front and center, and a erstwhile take on Big Mama Thornton's "Big Mamas Coming Home," the latter featuring the singer holding out notes to dramatic effect and some flashy guitar work courtesy of Steve Wilcox.

The teaming of virtuoso blues guitarist Monster Mike Welch and singer Mike Ledbetter provided a good shot of vintage blues to the blues bash. Featuring live selections from their new collaboration, Right Place, Right Time (released on Delta Groove Music in April 2017), the two top-tier talents seemed to be having a genuinely great time sharing the stage; soulful performances such as "Down Home Girl" were the beneficiary of the magic. 

Janiva Magness on May 20, 2017.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
Janiva Magness' 75-minute outing was my favorite set of Saturday. An artist whose recordings and concert appearances seem to get better and more compelling as time goes on, songs from her latest disc Love Wins Again were particularly affecting on the intimate Backporch Stage. The full set was terrific, with "Love Wins Again" and "As Long As I Can See the Light" showcasing Magness' amazing voice and artistry.

A fun-filled battle pitting Northern California blues hero Rick Estrin and the Nightcats against Inland Empire favorite Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers was really just a great excuse to get both artists playing on the PCH Stage for a satisfying 90-minute showcase of great harmonica-centered blues. 

While the world forever waits for another Led Zeppelin reunion, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience continues to offer concertgoers an authentic-sounding trip down memory lane. Performing on the Doheny Stage, the son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and his talented troupe of players (including singer James Dylan, who is able to deliver Robert Plant's memorable stylings to the live setting in spades) delivered a dozen versions of Zep classics, including "Dazed and Confused," "Good Times Bad Times" and a blistering set-ending "Rock and Roll." 

Rocker Joe Walsh in action.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
Joe Walsh brought his unique brand of blues-rock to the Doheny Stage, backed by a large ensemble including two drummers and four backup singers. His witty lyrics are a trademark and go over well live. Classics such as "Ordinary Average Guy" and "Life's Been Good" and the timely "Analog Man" were delivered effectively to cap Saturday.

Sunday's run of sterling performances got off to a quick start via a memorable parking lot set from the Mighty Mojo Prophets, with the Chicago blues-heavy "Lucky Man," and speedy "West Coast Girl" thrilling a good-sized audience catching the quartet.

The Backporch featured two must-see performances on Sunday. 

First up came Junior Brown blending his wry style of original songcraft and dazzling guitar chops (all delivered on his two-neck guit-steel instrument which features an electric guitar on top and lap steel guitar below) for a 70-minute crowd-pleasing set. Armed with his bass-baritone voice, the Cottonwood, Arizona native unleashed a mix of country, blues and surf-flavored originals. Favorite "Highway Patrol" and several new songs were simply outstanding; Doheny is the rare festival willing to feature seminal artists so early in the day.

Junior Brown killing it on the Backporch Stage.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Following was groundbreaking Kansas trio Moreland & Arbuckle. The band's fiery 80-minute performance came in the midst of the threesome's farewell tour. Singer-harmonica virtuoso Dustin Arbuckle, guitarist Aaron Moreland and drummer Kendall Newby attracted cheers and standing ovations as they tore through a fast-moving set of originals and select covers. Highlights included "Mean and Evil" with Moreland's great slide work, a lovely reading of Lee McBee's "Woman Down in Arkansas" showcasing the trio's grace and Arbuckle's potent vocals, and the blues-rocker "When the Lights Are Burning Low."

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Samantha Fish.
Photo: Bob Steshetz
The Doheny Blues Fest is a great place to discover new talent, and singer-guitarist Samantha Fish made plenty of new fans on Sunday. Her 70-minute showcase was anchored by her top-tier talents as both blues singer and lead guitarist. Blending soul, R&B, blues and rock 'n' soul skillfully, the Kansas City, Missouri native attracted a huge crowd to the PCH Stage via dazzling performances of "He Did It," "Chills & Fever," "Either Way I Lose" and other songs. The infectious blues-rocker "Wild Heart" was a grinding blues rocker as powerful as anything delivered all weekend.

Chris Isaak is that rare performer who could perform at Coachella, Stagecoach, KAABOO and Doheny Blues Festival and attract an adoring crowd, Performing on the Doheny Stage late Sunday afternoon, the singer-songwriter-actor delivered a set that now only featured his greatest hits ("Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing," "Somebody's Crying," "Wicked Game," the latter particularly effective), but also rollicking covers of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" and Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman."

Southern blues were celebrated fully with JJ Grey and Mofro, an ensemble able to tap into singer/multi-instrumentalist JJ Grey's Florida and Georgia roots with affecting performances of "Country Ghetto" and other works celebrating his roots and the lives of his family in the Deep South. 
Melissa Etheridge on May 21, 2017.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Capping the weekend event was a full-length set from Melissa Etheridge, who featured material off her latest full-length disc Memphis Rock and Soul at the event. Backed by a large ensemble including a full horn section and backing singers, the fast-moving set featured Etheridge's fine and powerful voice in the service of classic soul burners such as "Hold On I'm Coming," "Memphis Train" and "Born Under a Bad Sign."

Review by Robert Kinsler

Photos courtesy of Bob Steshetz