California Rocker

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The Blessings Rock The Heather Harris Photo Exhibit at Pop Obscure Records in Downtown LA

Musicians, Artists and Friends on Hand at Showing

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Blessings performed as fans of photography and music gathered at Pop Obscure Records in downtown L.A. for an exhibit by photographer Heather Harris.

Harris has been shooting rock stars for 50 years, but you would never know it by her youthful appearance and never ending passion for her craft.

Heather Harris and Marijke Koger-Dunham – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians and Friends Celebrate

“Heather has been great to us,” said Jeremy White of The Blessings. “She has been supportive of us and she makes us look good.”

The Blessings, who have three CDs, played some of their well-known tunes in a mini-set, including “Shipwrecked on The Shore.”  Frontman Jeremy White said new music is on the way.

The Blessings band members were among the artists, local as well as well-known, who are  portrayed in the many photos that grace the walls of Pop Obscure. Pop Obscure is the latest entry into the vinyl-seller niche.  The store has racks and racks of old and new records.

Ron Young, wife Renee and Kurt Ingham at the Heather Harris photo exhibit – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

DoGs, Metalers and Photogs

Others on hand to see the work of Harris, which is on display through June 18, included musicians aplenty like Loren Molinare of The DoGs with his wife, Julie, Ron Young of Little Caesar with his wif Renee, Leslie Knauer of Precious Metal, Al Teman of Naked Hand Dance, Inger Lorre, Richard Duguay and wife Paula and snapper Ellen Berman and many others.

The Hailers, April and Robert – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photos on Display and on Sale

Harris’ husband Kurt Ingham, known to many as Mr. Twister of the bands Chainsaw and Christopher Milk, was on hand to photograph the event.

Among the artists in the featured photographs which are for sale are David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Rod Stewart, The Blessings, James Williamson, Lemmy, The Bell Rays and many others.

For more information check out Pop Obscure Records.

Paula and Julie – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Jeremy White of The Blessings – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ruby Friedman and Kurt Ingham alike attend the event – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris and Twister – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Loren Molinare and Ellen Berman – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Photographer Alyson Camus and unknown attendee – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Blessings – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Musicians Alex Stiletto of Modern Kicks and Leslie Knauer of Precious Metal share some music talk – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Heather Harris introduces The Blessings at her photo exhibit and quickly departs the stage – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Kurt Ingham, known in his younger days as rocker Mr. Twister, stands next to a photo of him snapped by his wife, Heather Harris – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

California Rocker reviewer Craig Hammons with photographer Alyson Camus – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Lights Out Levine of The Blessings and Prima Donna – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Cool couples: Loren Molinare and wife, Julie, with Ron Young and wife, Renee; the guys are in the band Little Caesar – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Chris Carradine, Marijke Koger-Dunham, Kurt Ingham and Heather Harris – Photo (c) Donna Balancia

Hammons Review: Sir Rod Stewart Makes A Knight To Remember in Knockout Caesars Palace Performance

By CRAIG HAMMONS

The curtain was drawn and anticipation was running high.  At 7:30 P.M. sharp the theme to The Magnificent Seven came roaring out of the public address system.  The curtains then opened to Rod Stewart’s band kicking into the Bar-Kays instrumental “Soul Finger.”

Rod then came prancing out on stage in his new leopard skin jacket to a thunderous round of applause and went right into “Having a Party.”  Now the mood was set for this evening of fun and foolish behavior. Rod didn’t miss a beat and went right into “Some Guys Have All the Luck” and “Young Turks” to make for a very energetic start.

Sir Rod Stewart lit up the crowd at Caesars - Photo by Craig Hammons for California Rocker

Sir Rod Stewart lit up the crowd at Caesars – Photo by Craig Hammons

Rod is doing residency here at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas before heading out on a world tour with Cindy Lauper that starts in the United Kingdom in May.  Rod welcomed the audience and said “We’re going to be here for the next 90 minutes so enjoy yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, it’s later than you think.”

A beautiful blonde sat down behind a very large gold harp and played the opening of “Tonight’s the Night.”  The audience knew this one by heart and sang along to every word.

Rod didn’t slow things down for long as he then paid honor to Chuck Berry who he had just learned had passed away earlier in the day.

Rod Stewart performed the classics at Caesars - Photo by Craig Hammons for California Rocker

Rod Stewart performed the classics at Caesars – Photo by Craig Hammons for California Rocker

“The first album I ever bought was Chuck’s Live at the Tivoli and I was never the same,” Rod said. “He was the founding father and you can hear his influence in every rock n roll band from my generation on.”

A picture of Chuck Berry flashed on the big screen and they went right into a rocking version of “Sweet Little Rock & Roller” with Rod working the stage like the true showman he is.

There was then a nod to Sir Rod’s recent knighthood before going into “Rhythm of My Heart” followed by “Forever Young” in which the crowd was signing so loud Rod gave it to us to sing all alone.   There was a percussion solo in the middle of the song which allowed Rod to slip off stage to make a costume change.

Rod and the band - Photo by Craig Hammons

Rod and the band – Photo by Craig Hammons

In true Rod Stewart fashion, in his band are beautiful and talented female violinists, harpist, mandolin players and three backup singers that keep the party going.  The impressive work from his male guitarist, drummers, bassist and sax player brought an age of freshness to these timeless classics.

Next up was a powerful and uplifting version of Tom Waits “Downtown Train” which, like many other covers he does, Rod made entirely his own.

Rod then decided to have a sit-down and brought the band to the front of the stage for an acoustic set starting with “The First Cut is the Deepest.”  He then asked “How many of you remember the Faces?” and the cheers rang out as they went into the Faces “Oh La La” off the Faces final album in 1973.   While they were are still seated it was time for Rod’s solo classic “You’re in My Heart” and the Van Morrison song “Have I Told You Lately” which Rod covered perfectly on his Unplugged and Seated album.

The three backup singers came back out center stage to shake it up to a rip roaring version of Ike and Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.”   The band was tight and rolling down the river at full speed while the girls were dancing so hard Tina Turner would be proud.  Rod is a generous frontman who does put the spotlight on the band allowing them solos and the attention they deserve.

The one and only Rod Stewart plays Vegas before world tour - Photo by Craig Hammons

The one and only Rod Stewart plays Vegas before world tour – Photo by Craig Hammons

Rod now back out center stage with a new jacket and fresh pair of trousers played the song everyone grew up with the ever irresistible “Maggie May.”  Everyone was on their feet singing along when Rod decided to take a trip out into the audience.   He worked his way around the back of the orchestra section shaking hands, giving hugs and singing his heart out.   Once he got back on stage the band launched into “Stay With Me” and balloons fell from the ceiling and out came the soccer balls.  Rod at 72 still plays with a local soccer team and showed off his talent kicking some all the way up to the second level.

Sir Rodrick David Stewart played us the hits but saved one of his biggest for last “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy.”

The crowd loves Rod Stewart and he's still got the moves - Photo by Craig Hammons for California Rocker

The crowd loves Rod Stewart and he’s still got the moves – Photo by Craig Hammons for California Rocker

 

This two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree showed us after over 100 million records sold he still is very relevant and “forever young.”  Tonight was the night and everything was better than alright.  The curtain was closing but the energy still filled the room with the crowd screaming for more.

The curtain came back up and the band wished everyone a good night and went into the Guy Lombardo’s “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”   Rod Stewart gave us a selection of his hits, no American Songbook or new material just the songs we know in our heart by heart.

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