Friday, July 18, 2014

Sights and Sounds: Elvis Presley, writer Ben Wener, Johnny Winter, Ted Nugent, Pistol Day Parade

Happy Friday everybody. Here is your morning roundup...

Photo: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
In 1970 - after spending much of the 1960s making movies - Elvis Presley made a highly-celebrated return to the concert stage. Elvis: That's the Way It Is is a long-unavailable documentary that looks at Elvis' rehearsals and road back to music that is being remastered by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Click here to see the trailer and learn more.

As many Southern California-based readers know, long-time Orange County Register pop music critic Ben Wener left the newspaper last month voluntarily as part of a buyout that impacted approximately 75 writers, editors and photographers at the publication. Fortunately, Ben continues to write on a freelance basis (welcome to my world...) and has had several reviews published in the Hollywood Reporter. You can read his review of several jazz greats who performed at the Hollywood Bowl on July 17 including Boz Scaggs here. You can read his review of Steely Dan's July 12 concert at The Forum here.

Johnny Winter at the Doheny
Blues Fest in 2012. Photo: Bob Steshetz
Sadly, I never saw Texas guitarist Johnny Winter at the height of powers, and actually only watched a bit of his set at the Doheny Blues Festival in May 2012. But his impact on the blues scene, including influencing a number of blues fans, was notable. Read the nice celebration of his legacy penned by Randall Roberts in the Los Angeles Times here. Billboard also has a nice appreciation of the guitarist, who died while on tour earlier this week.

I think one of the lessons of the loss of giants such as Winter is that if you have a chance to catch a legend in concert, don't wait. For example, over the years I have sought out to attend to attend shows to catch aging masters before time ran out. John Lee Hooker, Link Wray, Joe Willie "Pintop" Perkins, James Brown and Glen Campbell are among the other greats I caught live not long before they stopped performing or were taken from us far too soon...
Ted Nugent on July 14.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Finally, I caught the forever loud and proud Ted Nugent for the first time (okay second time; I did catch him as part of a brief Damn Yankees reunion at the NAMM show in 2010. You can read my coverage of that in The Orange County Register here) when he performed at the second night of his two-night run at the City National Grove of Anaheim on Monday, July 14, 2014. I had heard that his political rants were the norm, so I expected that. But to the 65-year-old Detroit rocker's credit, he sure played the heck out of his guitar and seemed pumped up from start to finish. From his high-powered opening ("Gonzo") to the satisfying night-ending one-two punch of "Cat Scratch Fever" and an extended "Stranglehold," I did come away with a somewhat deeper appreciation of his powers playing the electric guitar.
Pistol Day Parade in Anaheim on July 14.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

I was also very impressed by the opening band, Detroit-based Pistol Day Parade. The band, whose hard-rocking straight ahead approach recalls 3 Doors Down and Chris Daughtry impressed early with the infectious "Better" and not long after with the power ballad "Where I Lay." The quintet closed with the ultimate sing-along, the catchy "Rockstar's Girlfriend."
Visit the band's official Web site to learn more.

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