Tags: Concert, Dodge Theatre, Hayley Williams, Paramore, Phoenix, Review
All I can do is hope that Hayley Williams (known to me mostly as @yelyahwilliams on twitter) reads this.
This is an empire in the making, folks. Really.
I’ve been looking forward to this concert for a long time, and it finally arrived. Why I looked forward to it, I’m not sure. The songs aren’t on my Ipod, the vids aren’t faved by me, I haven’t had the tunes drummed into my head via radio airplay…I just don’t own this music, yet. However, something inside me kept nagging that this was the concert to see at Dodge Theatre this year. (Frequent readers know I have season tickets to Dodge courtesy of a @LiveNation twitter contest)
Well, I can sum up this concert really fast. GO SEE IT. It’s the Honda Civic Tour 2010. Honda tossed some money into a tour that kicks ass. Period. Mind you, I’m not a car-show kinda guy, but I know Honda has “done their time” in the trenches of promotion, and they understand PR costs cash. Apparently, they also know what good money vs bad money is. Paramore headlining a music tour with their (Honda’s) logo emblazoned everywhere is great money. Bottom line.
How can I describe this to you? If you have read my previous reviews; you know I tend to applaud the musicianship (and denigrate lack thereof) whilst leaning towards documenting the technicalities of a show. I try to convey whether a show kicks ass or sucks ass; giving kudos or criticisms to those behind the scenes.
This show kicked ass. Technically? Yes. Moving lights, check. Smoke, check. CD-quality audio, Check. Cool video, hi def and lo-def, Check. Risers and interesting layout, check. Crisp highs, discernible vocals, and thundering bass, check. Pyro, check. What didn’t this show offer from a technical standpoint? Damned if I know.
Okay, technicalities aside – was it any good? Ummm, have you seen Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger and Joan Jett? Imagine if those 3 were to have a crazy love child (yes I know there are problems with that – you are imagining, remember?) Imagine she grew up to front a band. Now, picture that she happens upon a bunch of guys that can play some rock songs really well, and can also play a fantasmagorical acoustic set. Imagine that they are down with things like couches being brought onstage during the set. Imagine that all that is set to awesome lighting with killer sound. Now, try and keep the goosebumps from happening.
Here’s the deal – I don’t know what to tell you… if you are on the fence about seeing this show, I can verify that the openers are worth listening to for sure. New Found Glory made me want to set up a show with them and Black Flag. They are a hot band. Tegan and Sara are like any Canadian group I’ve ever seen….great. The musicians from that country are unstoppable. I did not see the opening band, so can’t give an opinion.
This show rocks, beyond belief. See it. I can’t say much more. All of the stops are pulled out. Paramore Brings It. Honda is a great sponsor of this tour (no, I did not get paid to say that).
(unfortunately my trusty phone decided to save all my photos as 320*240 images so I wont bother to upload those – lol)
Paramore rocks. I will buy their stuff. You need to hear them and see them. MAny reviewers say Hayley is a firecracker; She is more of a fuse that just doesn’t stop burning. My reveiw in a nutshell? Paramore is my new favorite band (not counting Queensryche).
Tags: Awesome, Dodge Theatre, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon, Review, Rock, Roll
Rule 1 – Kick ass.
Rule 2 – Have Fun.
Rule 3 – Make sure everyone in attendance knows you are abiding by rules 1&2. (Involving them in the process helps immensely.)
Edwin McCain Review
Kevin Cronin of REO ran out to introduce this guy as his good friend while the house lights were still up. Those house lights were immediately killed and Edwin started to tell stories. Yes, actual stories. He talked to the audience. Why? Because, it turns out the guy is pretty easy to listen to, and his songwriting is awesome. It also tells stories. Good stories. Listenable stories.
Along with his long time buddy, Craig Shields, they told stories and played great songs that kept the crowd engaged the entire half hour that they were in front of us. This guy grabbed my attention from word one, and captivated me through the last note.
REO SPEEDWAGON REVIEW
What can I really say here? If you normally read my reviews, you know what it boils down to – they suck or they don’t.
This is different. This should be the encyclopedic definition of ROCK CONCERT. Okay, aside from the fact that Dodge Theatre isn’t going to allow pyro, nor smoking inside the venue – this was a rock show by definition in any form.
Kicked ass. Guitars made of solid pieces of wood and sporting fresh steel strings, wailing under fluid fingers. Turned to 11, I’m pretty sure. Drum beats were so solid, so tight that I can’t begin to tell you how great they sounded.
Kevin Cronin, the lead singer, sang the songs just like you always heard them. Whether you heard them on vinyl, CD, or 8-track; it doesn’t matter. That’s how you heard it live, assuming you heard a live version. 🙂
The players played. They interacted with one another like they had been friends for years. Probably because they have. They gave their stage techs a hard time over mis-tuned guitars or the inability to hear something through their stage monitors. It was all casual and fun, like friends ribbing each other over a mis-spelled word in a scrabble competition.
Seriously, the band was incredible. Sound mix was incredible.
The light show was awesome. Finally, a lighting operator that understands you can mix colors. Orange and purple – cool. Red and white – very cool. Move the color zones, very nice. Not everything has to be a wash of one color. Complementary and contrasting colors are put into a wheel in art school for a reason. This operator used those wheels well. Kudos.
I believe the stage and light setup was designed by Paul of Masterworks. Looked awesome, and you should give him credit for that. He is, apparently, a badass that doesn’t subscribe to the front/back linear truss theories but likes triangular lighting designs married with a clean back line. I like that too. Cheers, Paul.
Bottom Line – REO Speedwagon Kicked Ass. No need to take our names.
What do you want me to say? She subdued the video intensiveness of REO, preferring to go with primal colors and simple objects for the most part. The moving lights, that were so accentuated during REO, became bit players in a choreography that did nothing but drive her vocal abilities home.
Tonight proved that Patricia, as her husband and guitar player calls her, was not an MTV fluke. She didn’t sell millions of records because she looked cute. She sold them because she can belt out lyrics like nobody else, and present a story that is timeless.
Pat is a vocal powerhouse. She’s a girl with a voice 50 feet tall. I want to see her do a duet with Rob Halford, or Bruce Dickinson; perhaps Geoff Tate. I don’t know. She is in that class. The waters where nobody wants to even tread.
Her hubby, Neil, is a guitar master. The two of them together have to be seen to be believed. Well, maybe not. You know the songs. They are just like that in real life, only better. She belts, he makes his guitar scream. It’s awesome to witness. The drummer is surrounded by glass, because his drum kit really is that badass. Of course, the bass player is up to par too. You really have to see the four of them onstage to really understand why MTV made theirs’ one of the first music videos ever aired. They rock.
Kick ass rock and roll. Go see them. Don’t miss them. Plan on being on your feet for at least 3 hours. This, my friends, is a rock concert. Moving lights, smoke, video, and above all awesome musicianship and vocal abilities that will keep your fists pounding and ass shaking. Rock on.
Tags: Concert Review, Dodge Theatre, Tony Bennett
Last night’s performance at the Dodge Theatre was, as you’d expect, very well received by the audience. This is a performer that has been around the block a time or two. His distinctive vocal stylings are unmistakable and pitch perfect.
What I realized at that show is that performers like Tony and his musicians are more than the sum of their parts. They produce music that seems almost tangible. The air fills with the sounds emanating from the stage. You can feel it, and the emotion behind it. Tony’s voice, his band’s musical artistry, and traditional craftsmanship combine to transport you on your journey right into the sound.
His band uses their instruments as extensions of themselves to reach out and envelop the audience. There’s no new-fangled technical wizardry in their bag of tricks. They rely on old-world craftsmanship. Hardwoods bent and shaped by an artisans hands. Strings stretched taut across the Steinway soundboard, or the length of their stand up bass. Cymbals hand hammered and tuned by ear.
It takes instruments like these, and capable musicians to play them to back a legend like Tony Bennett. The man has one device – his voice. He projects that voice into his only aid, a handheld wireless microphone, expertly.
From a technical aspect, all the sound and lighting crew have to do is remain as transparent as possible. Expertly engineered microphones reinforce the sounds emanating from these works of art, or propel Bennett’s voice to your ears. Lights change color and intensity, but never distract from the performers.
This is not a modern audio-visual extravaganza. This is expert musicians expressing emotion through well-crafted instruments. This is Tony Bennett, tradition personified.
Tags: Alice In Chains, Audio, Concert, Dodge Theatre, Lighting, projection, Rock, Sound, Visual
I’m happy to report that rock ‘n’ roll as we know it is still alive and kicking ass.
Warm up act Creature With the Atom Brain sounded pretty tight with a solid back beat. However, the guitars and melodies were probably more suitable for an all day festival where you could really get into a nice groove a la Deep Purple. Their stage set consisted of nothing but a big black curtain behind them and 8 moving lights in the front which were limited to color and iris changes. But hey, as an opener even being allowed iris changes isn’t always guaranteed.
As their set ended a big white drape came down in front so the set change could happen in privacy. Turned out that it really wasn’t just a privacy screen. Alice In Chains used it to project their shadows on as they opened their show. Definitely caught me off guard, and looked really damn cool.
That shadow screen dropped to reveal what we called a rock concert back in the day. With Sean Kinney pounding the skins and Mike Inez on bass; an incredibly tight, awesomely loud vibe filled the room at Dodge. I’m sure that had a lot to do with the fact the pit chairs were removed for Standing Room Only GA Pit admission. Something we almost never see anymore.
Jerry Cantrell’s definitive guitar sound and new vocalist William Duvall let us know immediately that Alice In Chains is back in full force. That was a big relief, as I’m sure many of my fellow concert-goers were unsure that AIC could rock like they did before the loss of frontman Layne Staley in 2002.
Opening with old, familiar tunes brought even the seated crowd to their feet, where they stayed all show. Familiar material dominated the first half of the show before they threw in new material from Black Gives Way to Blue at us. even though the new stuff was unfamiliar to me I can tell you it kicks ass. William has a great voice for rock in roll, though he did let us know he was “sick as a fucken dog”. That definitely accounts for his voice tiring a bit near the end.
Like I said above, this was definitely a rock concert. Moving lights were the order of the day. Looked like perhaps a mix of Vari-lites and some cool new stuff from High End Sytems including three DL-3 projectors and some fancy LED automated wash luminaires. I’ll have to see if Mike Baldassari can give me specifics. Update: Mike did get me some specifics. I was wrong on the Vari-lites. The majority of the movers used were actually Martin MAC 700’s. I knew something was different about their shape, but I didn’t grab any pictures – sometimes its hard to guess make/model numbers by memory.
Those DL-3’s are ultra-cool little units. They look like a standard moving light, but they pack some secret weapons. Namely, the ability to project and shoot full motion video. That means they can film the band and project them on any surface they can reach. They’re bright, so they can reach just about anything in the theatre, too.
Concert audio was supplied by the standard Dodge line array system (not sure of manufacturer – EAW perhaps? I’ll have to ask the guys next time) which, for the most part, sounded great because of all the standing people really tightening up the bass. It had some fleeting moments where the high mids broke up slightly and I’m starting to wonder if perhaps my “usual seats” might be a “weird spot” for those frequencies in particular, or if the system could use just a tad more headroom (insert standard soundman joke here).
All in all it was another great concert at Dodge Theatre. As usual, we took the light rail down there and I definitely encourage you to do the same as its very convenient and costs less than parking in the garages!
~~I’m throwing some photos up on the photo page but be aware that Dodge has a policy against ultra-zoom cams so these are done with a tiny pocket cam~~
Tags: Arizona, Concert, Dodge Theatre, Jazz, Phoenix, Review, Solo, Trumpet
Sound the horns, err…horn…there was a jazz soloist at Dodge Theatre. A trumpet soloist of all things. Yeah, I know – it sounds as crazy as a cello soloist or a guy that plays vibraphone taking center stage for an entire show. Oddly, these things all have something in common. Musicianship.
Soloists like this have come to terms with the fact that these instruments aren’t solo instruments, traditionally. However, if you can establish a rapport with an audience upfront then you can entice them to listen to what you have to say whilst saying it through whatever instrument you choose.
In the case of Chris Botti, that instrument is a trumpet and when Chris plays the audience listens. Then they applaud. Sometimes they yell funny things and Chris speaks back to them. His performance seemed more like sharing music with an audience than performing it in front of them. That’s jazz for ya.
Chris is a good entertainer. In addition to the great music, he tells back-stories for songs which immediately engages you on a personal level. He also seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. Nice enough that since there were a few open seats right up front he had his crew round up some young musicians that were seated in the back of the venue and escort them to prime viewing and listening area so that they could experience music up close and personal, rather than via the internet. That’s cool. Jazz guys are like that…nice and cool.
Now, I don’t claim to be a jazz aficionado, in fact I don’t even know if jazz listeners like the word aficionado…but this guy is good. His band consisted of Billy Childs (piano), Billy Kilson (drums), Mark Whitfield (guitar), Tim Lefebvre (bass), and Geoffrey Keezer (keyboards). They were all spot on. The guest vocalist Sy Smith, aka @syberspace on twitter, and violinist Caroline Campbell were awesome. The sound man understood the nuances and dynamic range of the band he was dealing with and had the sound dialed in very nicely. The light show was nonexistent, which is par for the course at a jazz show, so no qualms there. However, the follow spot person needs some practice.
Aficionado or not, when I get a chance to see a soloist perform, I definitely check it out. No matter what the instrument, you can bet that if someone is backing a nationwide tour that there is probably a good reason. That reason is almost always great music without any frills. You can never go wrong with great music.