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HAMMONS REVIEW: Woolly Bandits and The Weirdos Bring Old Style Punk Back to ‘Destroy All Music’

Sweet But Wild Reunion at Echo

By CRAIG HAMMONS

After being held captive by my Uber driver I finally made it to The Echo for the long awaited homecoming of Hollyweird’s own premiere punks, the Weirdos.

I missed the opening act Dirty and His Fists, but maybe that was a good thing. Tonight was also going to be special as it would market he reappearance of the mighty Woolly Bandits.

Christa Collins Brings It

The Woolly Bandits are a high energy get up off your ass rock and roll garage band led by the majestic dynamo Christa Collins. A lot of Woolly Bandits fans were here tonight and ready to rock.  The crowd let it be known by giving them a thunderous round of applause as they took the stage.

They were like a rocket ship taking off as they ripped into their opening number, “Woman of Mass Destruction,” from their album of the same name.

I had no idea of what was going on behind me as I was front and center on this rock and roll ride to partyville.

The Woolly Bandits captured the crowd – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Hard to Forget You’

The band was stage tight and well-rehearsed as they roared through song after song before getting to “Hard to Forget You,” which was the second song KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer played on his farewell show last Sunday night.

Christa prowls the stage like a panther who was just released from her cage. She is a mixture of Iggy Pop and Wendy O. Williams. She shakes her tambourine with a fierce vengeance and interacts with her bandmates and the audience by demanding a good time is had by all.

Rik Collins plays the bass like his fingers are on fire, guitarist mark bellgraph rips through every song like a man on a mission and tonight’s show had a keyboard played that added an extra layer to each song. Rik then joins in on vocals for “Bomp Shu Bomp,” a toe tapping shimmy shaker. The Woolly Bandits know they have a job to do and waste no time.

Christa Collins rocked the Echo – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Shear, Intense Energy’

They deliver song after song with shear intense energy you can feel it in your rock and roll shoes. They went right into “Watch Your Step,” which let the keyboard player drive while Christa steered. Next was one of my favorite tracks, “I’m a Bug,” in which Christa sings “I’m a bug, I can’t get no love.” The Woolly Bandits raised some hell tonight. Let’s hope they don’t stay away so long and come back to kick out the jams.

A break in the action was needed before I get back into my punk time machine and head back to 1977 for The Weirdos. I have to give a shout out to The Echo as their staff is professional, cool, friendly and the bartenders are fast and mix a good Jack and Coke.

Rockin’ Reunion – The Weirdos are punk to the core – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

The Weirdos

After a pause on the patio I made my way back in only to find the place packed full of punk rockers reado to see the Denney brothers get their punk on. The Weirdos were packing clubs like the Whisky in 1977 and tonight was no different.

They came on stage like no time had passed and gave the fans a wide array of songs from “It Means Nothing,” to “Happy People.”

The Woolly Bandits – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

‘Helium Bar’

John roamed around the stage singing and staring into the audience lie he was ready to rumble and Dix pretty much played like it was “Helium Bar.” “The Weirdos showed us why they were one of the best punk rock bands from the era by still playing with abandoned passion and attitude.

They did “Destroy All Music,” and made all the punks and rockers happy to be in the house tonight. Now where did I park my time machine? I need to get back home!

The Cranberries Release a New Album, ‘Something Else,’ and Announce a New North American Tour

Beloved Irish Band To Make Stops at Wiltern, Masonic in SF

By DOTTIE PARIS

The Cranberries have released Something Else, featuring re-worked renditions of their major hits, as well as brand new material, including the single “Why.”

Something Else is available today via BMG on digital and CD formats, and includes Cranberries songs like “Linger,” “Zombie,” “Dreams,” and “Ode To My Family.”

Last year, over two weeks in the University of Limerick, at the home of the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Dolores laid down vocals as small booths were created to record the instruments as if live.

Cranberries’ ‘Something Else’ available now

She now sings her songs not as a young lady, but as a mature woman now, with the capacity to throw her life at the music, the benefit of hindsight, she said.

“I prefer them like this,” she says of the new recordings of old songs, “With a little bit more experience behind them, with a new lease of life. They sound fresh again.”

Cranberries Tour Dates:

Check out Something Else Tour Dates:

11 Sep – Nashville, TN; Schermerhorn Symphony Center

13 Sep – Atlanta, GA; The Tabernacle

16 Sep – New York, NY; Terminal 5

18 Sep – Washington, DC; The 9:30 Club

20 Sep – Philadelphia, PA; The Fillmore

21 Sep – Boston, MA; House of Blues

23 Sep – Montreal, QC, Canada; Place des Arts

24 Sep – Toronto, ON, Canada; Rebel

26 Sep – Detroit, MI; The Fillmore Detroit

28 Sep – Chicago, IL; Riviera Theater

29 Sep – Council Bluffs, IA; Stir Cove at Harrah’s Casino

01 Oct – Denver, CO; Paramount Theatre

04 Oct – San Francisco, CA; Masonic Auditorium

06 Oct – Los Angeles, CA; The Wiltern

Artist/fan club pre-sale begins May 2 at 10AM local time. VIP packages will be available.

‘Drama Rock’ by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, Debuts at Coachella Amid Innovative Acts, Music

By DONNA BALANCIA

Powered by Dreamcar, Roisin Murphy and Lady Gaga, “Drama Rock” made its debut at Coachella this year.

The Davey Havok-fronted band Dreamcar, and the Irish-born Murphy took the blending of music and art to a new level at the annual festival season-opener in the desert.

Tony Kamal and Davey Havok – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The dapper Havok of the new group Dreamcar, sported a slick suit despite the triple-digit heat and he crooned to the audience like a torch singer from the 1940s. The act is very physical as Havok runs the length of the stage, jumps into the audience, high-fives the people and sings with tremendous, in-your-face force.  There seems to be a side of Havok that hasn’t left the hardcore punk behind, despite his tidy outward appearance. Havok has matured in his approach to music and he gives Tony Kanal and the No Doubt core a frontman that can carry the group forward.

Havok is clearly an audience favorite as fans scream for him and adore him — particularly the California contingent — as he’s from Ukiah, Calif.  The band played cuts off the new, self-titled album due May 12.

The many faces of the incredibly talented Roisin Murphy – Photo by Coachella

Roisin Murphy takes costume changes to a new level, as she must have changed either shirt, skirt or facial attachments at least 16 times during her set.  This amazing artist is like a combination of Gloria Gaynor and David Bowie.  It’s avant-garde music but set to the disco beat, which got all the festival attendees in the Gobi Tent up and dancing with each other.

Strictly from her appearance it would seem she is the Irish Bjork, as Murphy’s accessories are very bizarre.  Fuzzy flowers with faces, masks, and offbeat but feminine clothing is the name of the game here. The music, though, carries through the shenanigans and resonates with deep impact despite the visual whirlwind on stage.

Murphy’s a producer and has cut her teeth in the theatre and it’s easy to identify that background.  She was a special treat at Coachella and the festival would be well suited to bring on more performers like Murphy. Her latest album is Take Her Up to Monto.

Blossoms brought the drama among the press that surrounds a band on the rise – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Blossoms didn’t have theatrics to incorporate into their show, but the drama that surrounded the U.K band was noted as their appearance caused a splash with the media. There was a lot about Blossoms that drew the media and the fans around the Outdoor Theatre stage at the early part of the day. The music is upbeat and catchy. U.K. band is comprised of Tom Ogden, Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock.

Ogden made a sure bet that Blossoms is the only band at Coachella in which the band mates were all born in the same hospital. The hospital is back in Stockport, Manchester.

Also making a splash on the hot weekend 2 were Car Seat Headrest, War Paint, Toots and the Maytalls, The Allah Las, Grace Mitchell and Sunday headliner Kendrick Lamar whose Damn is a major hit.

Banks and Steelz had a great afternoon set and they brought Bishop Briggs up to the stage to join in on the song, “Wild Season,” and she held her own. Florence Welch is the featured singer on the song on the Banks and Steelz debut album, Anything But Words.

Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest – Photo courtesy of Coachella

Then there’s the drama that goes with the artist who didn’t want his photo taken. We’re not sure what the purpose is for any musician to not want to be photographed by anyone when they are performing to the people who (sometimes) buy the music.

The artist who didn’t want his photos taken – courtesy of Coachella

Lady Gaga, whose tireless theatrics make people tired just observing, did not fail to impress on weekend 2.  This time, she brought her parents, but still veered little from the week before.  She played the classics as well as her new song, “The Cure.” She said she wanted to find out how many people had been listening to it since the song debuted the week before.  And as if not to be outdone by any of the other acts during weekend two, Gaga punctuated her final Coachella set with a dramatic fireworks display.

Lady Gaga and her men – Photo courtesy of Coachella

The ASCAP Expo 2017: ‘Livelihood’ and ‘Advocacy’ are The Important Words for Songwriters Today

By DONNA BALANCIA

Musicians need to present one singular message to change laws and be paid what they’re worth, ASCAP representatives said at the 2017 ASCAP EXPO Kickoff Thursday.

Paul Williams, president and chairman of the board of ASCAP, Beth Matthews, CEO, and membership EVP John Titta kicked off the 2017 ASCAP EXPO with a serious but hopeful message to attendees.

Tom Higgenson with John Titta - Photo 2017 Donna Balancia

Tom Higgenson with John Titta – Photo 2017 Donna Balancia

“You want to have a livelihood, keep writing,” Williams said. “You are a songwriter, you don’t want to be flipping burgers.”

William said he is hoarse from yelling at the television screen for the last three months, but that the new administration presents new opportunities.

“We are songwriters we don’t build walls,” he said “We even put bridges in the middle of our songs.”

He said music touches people in a way that forms cannot.

“When they walk up to you and say ‘My girl is playing one of your songs,’ That’s when I’m proud to be an American songwriter.”

Beth Matthews says ASCAP continues to grow through membership and partnerships - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Beth Matthews says ASCAP continues to grow through membership and partnerships – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Williams went on to say the consent decrees are outdated that songwriters’ music is underrated and over-regulated.

“We live in a world where we stream music, and that crap has got to change,” he said.

He said a free market system like in other industries is needed.

“If millions of people around the world want to stream your music, you need to be paid for it.”

Williams said that reforming licensing was a priority with ASCAP and that the big words are “advocacy” and “livelihood.”

Beth Matthews, CEO, said there was some good news for songwriters.

Beth Matthews says music business growth is solid but slow - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Beth Matthews says music business growth is solid but slow – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The music industry is rebounding now but still has a ways to go, she said.

Revenue is growing but not at a good enough rate, she said.

Matthews said ASCAP’s growth last year was more than $1 billion in revenue with a $45 million increase over the prior year.

The music has incredible value and the customers don’t know and most of our politicians don’t know, she said.

Tom Higgenson with John Titta - Photo 2017 Donna Balancia

Tom Higgenson with John Titta – Photo 2017 Donna Balancia

Music licensees don’t want to pay the fees and they have to understand why they should be paying, she said.

There is a need for copyright law reform and ASCAP has resorted to litigation in at least 39 cases, Matthews said. She added that there’s a need to involve the department of justice.

Matthews said there is an overwhelming need to get along with other aspects of the industry so that musicians can approach and change laws in the united fashion.

Ashley Gorley has written songs for Carrie Underwood and many more - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Ashley Gorley has written songs for Carrie Underwood and many more – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

“We believe one of the reasons the Department of Justice didn’t help us is because they are confused and we didn’t have a singular message.”

ASCAP is working on a range of projects to enhance community and advocacy, Matthews said. Are our new ideas being floated out there involving digital assets and also improving the website.

Various musicians performed during the kick off including Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s, Ashley Gorely and Brett McLaughlin.

For a powerful finale, Michael McDonald, played some Doobie Brothers tunes with the house band.

Michael McDonald launches ASCAP EXPO with Doobie Brothers tunes - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Michael McDonald launches ASCAP EXPO with Doobie Brothers tunes – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Richmond Sluts Rock Harvard and Stone, Band Plays New Album, And Leaves for European Tour

Richmond Sluts Promote Catchy ’60 Cycles of Love’

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Richmond Sluts headlined a great Thursday night at Harvard and Stone, part of the Cheap Satisfaction series.

The Richmond Sluts are off to Europe - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts are off to Europe – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Our best local drummer, John Tyree, booked the night — he got the guys together for a Thursday night gig at Harvard and Stone. Not and easy feat having a band that is comprised of half LA members and half Northern Cal guys. Yes, Richmond, Ca., in case you wondered.

The Richmond Sluts keep rock and roll alive - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts keep rock and roll alive – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

But when they get together for a gig, wherever it is, it’s pure mayhem. And lots of fun too. The club should be renamed “Echo and Fuzz” after the retro rockers’ performance.

CHECK OUT THE RICHMOND SLUTS ON BANDCAMP

The scene is what lends a certain comeraderie with some of the local notables on hand, Johnny Witmer and Emil Edinger, the better half of promoter Asia Muka.

Frontman Shea Roberts takes over - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Frontman Shea Roberts takes over – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Richmond Sluts took it to new levels as they ramp up for their European tour.

“We’re loved over there,” said keyboardist Justin Lynn. “It’s going to be a great tour.”

Dynamic frontman Shea Roberts said the French label, Beast, is coming along great and having success distributing the Sluts’ records. The new. 10-track LP is 60 Cycles of Love and it’s a winner. One of the songs we like is “Different Tune,” a haunting 1960s-style fuzzy anthem of relationships. Another standout is “Into These Eyes,” a bluesy rock n roll love letter.

The Sluts' new album is 60 Cycles of Love - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The Sluts’ new album is 60 Cycles of Love – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

We first caught up with The Richmond Sluts at James Williamson’s “Re-Licked” all-star punk show at The Bootleg back in January of 2015.  The Sluts did a nice job holding the fort as one of the openers.

The Richmond Sluts have certainly progressed in a few short years. There’s a new album and more stage presence.  Shea still does the crouchy dance thing and his voice is an unlikely cross between Elvis Costello and Jim Morrison. We love the surfy punk guitar style.

Hello Shea - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Hello Shea – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band — John Tyree, Chris Beltran, Justin, Rob Easson, Lee Gallagher, Shea Roberts and Jesse Nichols — put on a tight set and they have a certain fan base that looks forward to their visits.

They’ve put out an LP on Disaster Records in 2001 and touring the US, The Richmond Sluts began to draw attention in the underground garage and rock scene, playing with bands such as The Brian Jones Town Massacre and, remarkably, Sky Saxon and the Seeds.

Check out The Richmond Sluts on Bandcamp. 

See video of The Richmond Sluts from Harvard and Stone:

Tickets for This Summer’s Bi-Coastal Classic East and Classic West Music Festivals Go On Sale April 7

By JOHN DALY

The Classic East and Classic West music festivals finally have a presence on the world wide web and tickets for the July concerts go on sale April 7.

The hotly anticipated classic music festivals feature Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Journey and Earth Wind and Fire.  On the East Coast, the event will be held at Citi Field in NYC on July 29-30, and on the West Coast the event will be held at Dodger Stadium on July 15-16.

 

 

EastCoastRocker.com and WestCoastRocker.com will be on hand.

Among the companies involved are Live Nation, Azoff MSG Entertainment, CAA and Oak View Group.
Classic East and Classic West will be the first concert performance by the Eagles since the death of band founder Glenn Frey in January of last year.

Classic rock has been recognized as driving force in live music, and gained widespread attention since the success of Desert Trip last October. The Goldenvoice-AEG blockbuster concert held in Indio featured Paul McCartney, The Who, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and Neil Young and drew the 40s-plus demographic.

Nicknamed “Oldchella,” the concert pulled in an estimated  $160 million in revenue.

New Goldenvoice Festival: Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena This Summer to Feature Tom Petty, Weezer

By DOTTIE PARIS

Goldenvoice has created another music festival to add to its impressive mass music events portfolio.

Arroyo Seco Weekend, to be held on June 24-25 will feature Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mumford and  Sons, Alabama Shakes, The Shins, Weezer, and more.  There are even a few performers we don’t get to see too often, including Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin with his Bernie Taupin Orchestra, and even actor Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.

There will be curated menus, food, and wine from LA’s well-known chefs and restaurants, including chefs Walter Matzke, Jason Neroni, and Ray Garcia. The event takes place June 24 and 25, 2017 at Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Passes go on sale Monday, March 20 at 11 AM PDT

SATURDAY JUNE 24:

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Alabama Shakes
The Meters
Dawes
Live
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

SUNDAY JUNE 25:

Mumford and Sons
Weezer
The Shins
Fitz and the Tantrums
Andrew Bird
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Galactic
The Revivalists
Andy Grammar
ZZ Ward
Lettuce
Jamtown (ft.. G. Love, Donavon Frankenreiter & Cisco Adler)
Alice Smith
The Mowgli’s
David Lindley
Con Brio
NK Band

Passes

Weekend and single day GA and VIP passes go on sale Monday, March 20th at 11 AM PDT onArroyoSecoWeekend.com. American Express Card Members can purchase passes before the general public beginning Friday, March 17 at 10 AM PDT through Sunday, March 19 at 10 PM PDT.

Arroyo Seco Weekend will also be a food lover’s haven, featuring 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 lineup of craft beers by Beer Belly and an incredible raw and natural wine list.

CHEFS:

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

RESTAURANTS:

Beer Belly
Chego
Dog Haus
Fat Dragon
Fritzi Coop
Genghis Cohen
Kettle Black
Kogi
LocoL
NoMad
Petty Cash
Sawyer
Sumo Dog
Tikifish

Pass Prices

Single day GA: $125 + fees
Weekend GA: $225 + fees
Single day VIP: $225 + fees
Weekend VIP: $399 + fees
Weekend Preferred parking: $50

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.

Goldenvoice, creators of Coachella Valley Music and 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.

Hammons Review: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown Still Amazes the Fans Almost a Half Century Later

By CRAIG HAMMONS

Still Crazy, Arthur Brown - Photo by Craig Hammons

Still Crazy, Arthur Brown – Photo by Craig Hammons

When growing up one of the first records I ever bought that changed my life was The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.   Little did I know that almost a haft of century later I would be witnessing an amazing night of theatrics, psychedelic blues and the compelling showmanship of the man himself Arthur Brown.  He goes through more costume changes than Cher and has better dance moves than Jagger.

The evening started out with a quartet from Ohio name Electric Citizen led by the very dramatic and animated lead singer Laura Dolan.  Their brand of heavy rock was well received by the crowd and was a perfect opening for what was to be an epic night.  Most of the songs they played were from were from their latest release Higher Time.

Next up was White Hills who have been around since 2005 playing their brand of fuzz heavy psychedelic rock and roll.  The two members Ego Sensation (bass) and Dave W. (guitar, keyboard and vocals) led us on a trip into space filling the room with sonic sounds of ethereal heaviness.  But as their set progressed we just wanted what we came for the mighty and majestic Arthur Brown.

The moment we were all waiting for had finally arrived the man, the myth and the legend was now ready to grace the stage.   The band started things off with an instrumental introduction while we all waited enthusiastically for our leader into the crazy world we were about to visit to take the stage.   Once Arthur Brown arrived he was greeted with a thunderous round of applause from a very excited crowd.

They opened with the title track from their latest release Zim Zam Zim.  They then went on to captivate the audience with their classics and tracks from their vast catalogue of releases.  Arthur Brown’s singing ability at 74 is in fine form.  He can hit the high and low notes with ease and sing the blues like a true bluesman especially on his fine cover of Screamin Jay Hawkins “I Put a Spell on You.”

Arthur Brown at The Regent Theater - Photo by Craig Hammons for California Rocker

Arthur Brown at The Regent Theater – Photo by Craig Hammons

The show moved at a brisk pace while Arthur Brown mesmorized the audience with costume change and riveting vocal power.  One of the craziest costumes of the night was him dressed in a coat of LED lights during the song “The Unknown.”

With each song the energy got higher and Arthur decided to go out into the audience to touch the fans that were worshiping a power of passion they could have never imaged.  As he passed by me I patted him on the back and felt some of the electricity he was generating.

The Regent was ready to explode as the God of Hellfire lit his headdress on fire to sing the song we all know “Fire.”   To see this man at his age dance, sing and entertain the way he does is nothing short of an experience that will live on in our minds forever.

The band then played their last two songs of the night leaving the audience in total awe.

I feel very lucky to have witnessed one of the greatest rock acts of all time.  Tonight was rock and roll history.

This was a short run of only eight dates but from what I understand there will be another run of shows in September.  Do not miss this undisputed master of mayhem next time.

PHOTOS: An Evening With the Photographic Greats Richard Young and Chris Cuffaro in West Hollywood

By DONNA BALANCIA

They have captured greatness, these rock photographers, but tonight Richard Young and Chris Cuffaro were the center of attention. Young’s show, “Rebels” was held at the Leica Store in LA and Cuffaro held an exhibit at Gibson’s Tower Records.

© Donna Balancia

From Rebels to Greatest Hits

Ranging from Marvin Gaye to The Sex Pistols, Young’s exhibit showed the inner rebellious spirit of the musicians he shot primarily in the early 1980s.  It was a time of transition for many with music moving into the disco era, as his photographs — taken in the dance clubs of New York City  and beyond showed.

As for Cuffaro, whose event was punctuated with performances by emerging bands and appearances by other photographers notably Henry Diltz, the 1990s was his heyday. In addition to Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and NXS, Cuffaro captured a range of artists whose legacies continue on.

Sweet Relief was supporting and President Bill Bennett and Executive Director Rob Max were on hand.

For more information on Richard Young, check out his page.  Chris Cuffaro has a website where all his work is displayed as well.

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© Donna Balancia

 

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© Donna Balancia

 

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© Donna Balancia

On Eve of New Record Release, Doubts Remain about the Peculiar 2003 Death of Elliott Smith

Kill Rock Stars to Release ‘Either/Or: Expanded Version’

By DONNA BALANCIA

Lingering doubts and strange revelations about the death of Elliott Smith persist 14 years after his passing.

The subject of Smith’s untimely death emerges again as Kill Rock Stars releases Either/Or: Expanded Edition, out March 10th on 2LP, 2CD, and MP3. Kill Rock Stars released a live recording of Smith’s “Angeles” today.

Elliott Smith - Photo by Constantina for CaliforniaRocker.com

Elliott Smith – Photo by Constantina for CaliforniaRocker.com

 

Justice for Elliott Smith

There are few people who have put in more effort to try to get justice for Smith than photojournalist Alyson Camus.

She has put together a website called Justice for Elliott Smith, that shares information she has canvassed from the police, investigators and friends. Alyson, who has attended many of Smith’s concerts in Los Angeles, has spent years in pursuit of the truth as to what really happened on the night the influential alt artist died.

Photo by Alexis for California Rocker

Photo by Alexis for California Rocker

 

Cops: Elliott Smith Investigation ‘Still Open’

“None of it makes sense,” Camus told CaliforniaRocker.com. “The supposedly self-inflicted stab wounds, many people believe, could not have been done because of the angles.  I am heartbroken by his death and the fact that they say the investigation is still open.  What is being done?”  Check out her site.

Smith built a fanbase in Portland and rose to mainstream attention when his song “Miss Misery,” which was used in the film Good Will Hunting, received a Best Original Song Oscar nod.

On the new release from Kill Rock Stars, listeners can expect many previously unreleased versions of Elliott’s work.

Check out Either/Or: Expanded Edition

EXCLUSIVE: Stevie Wonder and The Story Behind The Facebook Video That Has More Than 3.4 Million Hits

Music Manager Marcy Kraft Captures Stevie Wonder with Performer in Hotel Lobby

By DONNA BALANCIA

When you’re in the music business you never know who you’ll run into … maybe even Stevie Wonder.

Marcy Kraft, a music manager in Hollywood, was walking a young musician from the band “The Villanovas” around the National Association of Music Merchants convention in Anaheim on Saturday when she had a great stroke of good luck.

While strolling through a hotel on property at the convention, she noticed Stevie Wonder enter the lobby and Marcy asked the young musician she was with if he wanted to try and get a photo with Stevie. At that same moment, she saw the performer in the lobby — Grayson Erhard — who without yet seeing Stevie Wonder coincidentally began singing and strumming “Superstition” on his guitar.

“The performer, Grayson, had no clue his life was about to change,” Marcy said. “The audience alerted Grayson that Stevie was there watching and Grayson turned to him and said, ‘I’m sorry Stevie, but I don’t know the words to the second or third verses.’ Next thing you know, Stevie was heading to the stage.”

Stevie Wonder Video

Marcy was already in place with her phone in her hand.

“It was the perfect coincidence,” Marcy said. “The musician just happened to be playing Superstition when Stevie Wonder was walking through the hotel lobby. Stevie was kind enough to stop and join the young man on stage, and even whispered the lyrics to the unknown verses to Grayson. Stevie Wonder is an amazing talent, a joy and a national treasure in any circumstance. But this was such a powerful moment.”

Marcy Kraft Stevie Wonder video hotel California Rocker

Music manager Marcy Kraft with Julian Lennon, Roger Daltrey and Steven Tyler – Photo courtesy of Marcy Kraft for California Rocker

Marcy is fairly active on social media and posts many similar videos. But this is the first one that’s gotten 3.6 million views. The thing that was different this time, is that she set the post to “public.”

“I was hoping that the young musician on stage would somehow find my video so that he could remember this amazing moment,” Marcy said. She never dreamed that the video would hit more than half a million hits by mid-morning and over a million by the end of the day on Monday. But Wednesday it was up to 3.4 million views.

Stevie Wonder Facebook Video

“I got home Saturday night around midnight and figured,’OK I’ll post this video, it’s cute,’ and then by the morning it exploded and I had requests from news outlets,” she said. “I’m glad that I at least identified the performer and linked my video to his page. Stevie Wonder absolutely changes the energy when he enters the room. He’s a faithful visitor each year to the NAMM convention and it was truly a ‘wonder’ to be in his presence.”

Marcy worked at ICM Partners and Live Nation Entertainment before stepping out on her own to help elevate the careers of young artists.

NAMM 2017 Draws Those Who Love Music, Computer Apps, Rocker Style and The Bright Lights

The Music Merchants’ Show of Shows Still a Hit

By DONNA BALANCIA

As music evolves, so does the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim. But one thing remains the same: The music merchants convention is still a true Rock Show.

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At NAMM, you can find rock and roll stars mingling with retailers as they check out the latest cool stuff in music technology, instruments and recording gear. Over the last few years, synthesized music has emerged as the industry leader but traditional instruments and recording techniques are making a comeback.

“I’m a D.J. and I love coming here to check out the latest tech,” said D.J. Jon from Cleveland, Ohio. “But I’ve noticed a lot of the new effects sound a lot like regular instruments, like strings and drums.”

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That could be both good and bad. Traditional instrument manufacturers are having a challenge putting their products into the hands of young people. And there’s the argument that there’s a more penetrable barrier to entry getting into the EDM world than dealing with the steep learning curve of actually taking up a traditional musical instrument.

At NAMM, the guitar, piano and percussion manufacturers are still out in force, but the biggest spaces taken up at NAMM these days are inhabited by audio equipment, recording companies, truss makers and lighting dealers.

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Regardless, the retailers and the fans turn out in droves, despite the cost to get in, despite the rainy weather that had been prevalent except for Saturday, which was sunny and cool. Food trucks line the main entranceway corridor, offering almost every nationality of food vendor — even a reality show winner, Tasting Spoon.

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And all genres of musicians take the main stage outside while rock stars in the making hang out by  the Convention Center. Some true rock and roll characters pack the inside of the adjacent Anaheim Hilton Hotel, where musicians also perform on an interior stage.

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A big highlight Saturday was the keynote by Peter Asher, who gave good advice and regaled he crowds with fabled stories of his work with James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and The Beatles.

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In other big events during the show, Ronnie Spector was given the She Rocks award on Friday night and Joe Perry was presented with The Les Paul Award by his pal and Hollywood Vampires bandmate Johnny Depp at the TEC Awards on Saturday night.

So while Rock Is Dead, they say, you wouldn’t know it by the packed attendance at this most anticipated convention that each year turns Anaheim into America’s Rock City.

Ronnie Spector to be Honored as the She Rocks Award Recipient at WIMN Gala During NAMM

Photo by MK FEENEY

Ronnie Spector will be presented the 2017 She Rocks Award at the The Women’s International Music Network gala at the Anaheim Hilton during the NAMM Show.

Ronnie’s award is presented by The NAMM Foundation and The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, in honor of her influence on multiple generations of aspiring musicians.

The live awards event takes place on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Anaheim Hilton Hotel during the NAMM Show. This year’s event will be live streamed at Parade.com/SheRocks.

Ronnie Spector photo courtesy WIMN

Ronnie Spector photo courtesy WIMN

Spector, who is best known as the founder and lead singer of the pioneering female vocal group The Ronettes in the 1960s, joins the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus at NAMM to help celebrate and launch the non-profits’ 20th Anniversary as the featured performer at their annual Imagine Party on January 21st.

The Ronettes’ chart-topping, timeless hits include “Walking in the Rain,” “The Best Part of Breaking Up,” and the number one hit, “Be My Baby.” As a solo artist, she collaborated with diverse artists, and in 1986 teamed up with Eddie Money on the GRAMMY Award-nominated duet, “Take Me Home Tonight.” In 2007, she and The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For more information about Ronnie Spector, visit her website www.ronniespector.com.

“It’s a privilege to be able to recognize someone who has been influencing and inspiring female musicians since the early days of rock and roll,” said Laura Whitmore. “We are very happy to be honoring Ronnie Spector.”

The She Rocks Awards pays tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show. This year’s award recipients include female industry leaders such as Lita Ford, Shirley Manson, Lisa Foxx, and many more. The event brings together industry professionals, music icons, artists, fans and media to celebrate women in music.

It is the fifth anniversary of the gala this year.

Find out more and purchase tickets at  www.sherocksawards.com.

The 2017 She Rocks Awards is sponsored by Neumann, Gretsch, Seymour Duncan, Avid, PRS Guitars, Roland, Boss, #SaveAGuitar, Breedlove, Marshall Amplification, The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, Zildjian, Guitar Center, MAC Cosmetics, Casio, 108 Rock Star Guitars, Sabian, Linear Integrated Systems, Schecter Guitars, Gator Cases, Berklee College of Music, Martin Guitar, Fishman, The Music People, Tech 21, Korg, Lee Oskar Harmonicas, Dean Markley, KMC Music, LAWIM, Music Inc., Music & Sound Retailer, Music-News.com, Premier Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Keyboard, Bass Player, Electronic Musician, Parade magazine, and more.

EXCLUSIVE: After Turning Down Trump, Moby To Play ‘Anti-Inauguration Show’ at Hotel Cafe on Jan. 20

By DONNA BALANCIA

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Moby to play ‘Anti-Inauguration’ show at Hotel Cafe – Photo courtesy of NAMM

Since his cause to get Donald Trump to reveal his taxes apparently failed, Moby will perform an “Anti-Inauguration” show on Jan. 20 at The Hotel Cafe to benefit charity.

The renowned DJ last week said a booker called to ask him if he’d play at incoming President Donald Trump’s inauguration but Moby said only on the condition that Trump reveals his tax returns.

Instead he will play what sources are calling an “Anti-Inauguration” set that is expected to include some of the musician’s favorite tunes, a few special surprises and special guests, sources say.

Last week on his Instagram account Moby said he would play in Washington D.C. under one condition.

“I guess I’d DJ at an inaugural ball if as payment #trump released his tax returns,” He wrote on Instagram. “Also I would probably play Public Enemy and Stockhausen remixes to entertain the Republicans. I’m still laughing. Hahahaha. So #trump what do you think, I DJ for you and you release your tax returns?”

The Hotel Cafe gig is presented by Lilac Sessions and Sundays Best and the night is a benefit for the womens center. The show is hosted by “The Internship” star Harvey Guillen.

Moby’s playlist for the inauguration was to include “Fight The Power,” by Public Enemy, “Get Up Stand Up,” by Bob Marley and “American Idiot,” by Green Day.

Tickets are $30, doors open at 6:30 and it is a 21 and up show. The Hotel Cafe is located at 1623 Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood. For more information visit The Hotel Cafe website.

Nile Rogers Keynotes SXSW Music Amid Diverse Musical Offerings from Peelander Z to Death Valley Girls

Peelander Z

Peelander Z – Photo by Craig Hammons

By DONNA BALANCIA

Legendary producer Nile Rogers will be the music keynote speaker at SXSW 2017, which, musically will be more diverse than ever.

With performers ranging from Jesse Colin Young and Modern English, to Peelander Z, Death Valley Girls and The Sloths, the annual Austin-based tech-music-film festival, March 13-19, continues its innovative agenda.

Modern English will stop the world and melt at SXSW - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Modern English will stop the world and melt at SXSW – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

There are expected to be 498 performers from all over the world and encompassing all genres descending on Austin, the university town. The annual festival helps the indie community to do as its slogan reminds: “Keep Austin Weird.”

The conferences at SXSW are equally interesting with topics addressing everything from how music can handle the aftermath of Brexit and using new music tech, to a look into the success of the Vans Warped Tour. Check the SXSW website.  See SXSW California Rocker 

Rogers, who has produced everyone from Bette Midler to David Bowie, will make the music keynote address. He will be accompanied by fellow keynoter Zane Lowe, lead DJ and innovator of Apple Beats 1 Radio.

Many new technologies, ideas and music are introduced during the well-regarded annual Austin fest.  Tickets and passes are still available and for information go to SXSW.com.

Sad Girl's Misha gives a maniacal laugh at a recent concert at The Regent Theater. Sad Girl plays SXSW California Rocker - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Girl’s Misha gives a maniacal laugh at a recent concert at The Regent Theater. Sad Girl plays SXSW – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Among the California bands set to play are: The Ceremonies; Chain Gang of 1974; Cherry Glazerr, Death Valley Girls; Dead Meadow; Dear Boy; Girlpool; JJUUJJUU; The Regrettes; Sad Girl; The Sloths; Distractor; Tennis System and Zipper Club.

For a full list of performers, for tickets and passes, and more information on SXSW, go to SXSW.com

SWSX California Rocker

 

EXCLUSIVE: The Foo Fighters To Release a New Album in 2017, Sources Tell California Rocker

Foo Fighters Working In The SoCal Studio on New Album

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Foo Fighters are recording a new album to be released this year, sources confirmed to CaliforniaRocker.com.  The name of the album or its contents are not yet known.

The Foo Fighters had been on hiatus for 19 months, but will headline Bottle Rock Festival in Napa this May, it was recently announced.

Foo Fighters to "reunite" for Bottle Rock Fest in May. The band has been in the studio recording a new album, sources say. - Photo by Brendan C for California Rocker

Foo Fighters to “reunite” for Bottle Rock Fest in May. The band has been in the studio recording a new album, sources tell CaliforniaRocker.com – Photo by Brendan C for California Rocker

The album, which insiders say has been in the works for a while, is still under wraps.  The source told California Rocker they were not allowed to disclose any information.

“They’ve been recording and it’s no secret,” said the source. “Things didn’t look so good last year, when Dave sent out a letter to the fans that was pretty dire and it it was pretty lengthy.  But there is definitely a new album in the works.”

No details are available about the album, which is being recorded in Southern California. The Bottle Rock Festival is set for May 26-28 in Napa.  The Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and Maroon 5 headline.

Sonic Highways, the band’s eighth album was released on Nov. 10, 2014.  The creation of the record — during which Grohl traveled through the United States — was filmed and released as Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways a complimentary series to the album.

Best LA Concerts of 2016: Big Stars in Small Venues, Young Trailblazers, and California Rockers

Bob Weir, Desert Trip, Eagles of Death Metal, The Cure, Make Beautiful Music in 2016

Jesse Hughes and Eagles of Death Metal put on a high-voltage show - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jesse Hughes and Eagles of Death Metal put on a high-voltage show – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Eagles of Death Metal at The Teragram Ballroom

The band members in The Eagles of Death Metal have coped with a lot and keep going. The most recent excellent performance was a benefit for Dave Rosser, held at Teragram Ballroom. Frontman Jesse Hughes AKA Boots Electric, is one of the most compelling performers — or poseurs — today and holds the audience spellbound with his wild maneuvers, great voice and excellent guitar work. We got an extra bonus on this night: Josh Homme debuted a new song.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Eagles of Death Metal

 

 

The Reluctant Apostles with Katey Sagal: An impressive crew - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Reluctant Apostles with Katey Sagal: An impressive crew – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Reluctant Apostles at Molly Malone’s

The Reluctant Apostles have come a long way in a short time.  The Katey Sagal and Bob Thiele-fronted band like to play at Molly Malone’s and was formed based on their teamwork during Sons of Anarchy.  The Reluctant Apostles are an offshoot of The Forest Rangers, which came to prominence during the uber successful run of SOA. But new things on the horizon from this star-studded cover band: A new Pledgemusic album and more shows to come.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of the Reluctant Apostles

 

Dick Dale gives his fans all he's got - Photo © Donna Balancia

Dick Dale gives his fans all he’s got – Photo © Donna Balancia

Dick Dale and Se7en Reasons Why at Whisky A Go-Go

Where would modern rock and roll be without remarkable performers Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why and the ultimate surf guitar master Dick Dale?  Dale’s varied health issues seem to fade away when Dale is on stage, never far from the watchful eye of his wife, Lana.  New Year’s eve at the Whisky A Go-Go has never been better. Dale comes from an era when you performed no matter what ails you. He led the way in the development of the California sound and he’s a true California Rocker.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go

 

The mystical Robert Smith and The Cure are enduring - Photo by Craig Hammons for CaliforniaRocker.com

The mystical Robert Smith and The Cure are enduring – Photo by Craig Hammons for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Cure at The Hollywood Bowl

On one of three sold out nights at The Hollywood Bowl, The Cure would cover over 37 years of Cure songs including the hits, rarities and two unreleased tracks. Reviewer Craig Hammons noted that the set list changed each night with The Cure digging deep into their catalog of impressive material.  Robert Smith and the crew would cover 35 songs in just under 3 hours.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Cure at The Hollywood Bowl

 

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he's depicted here performing from his Never Twice album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he’s depicted here performing from his Never Twice album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse at The Regent Theater

We can’t say enough good things about Nick Waterhouse and His Tarots.  Every time we see Nick, the performance gets better if that’s possible, as was demonstrated at The Regent Theater a couple of weeks ago.  A multi-faceted musician, who writes, performs, and produces others, Nick is a California Rocker on the rise. Openers Sad Girl and Cutty Flam impressed.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Nick Waterhouse, Sad Girl and Cutty Flam

 

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Desert Daze

Desert Daze, the enduring fest where up-and-comers and veterans alike kick around in boots, bandanas and shorts still reigns supreme.  An eclectic mix of newbies and veterans, the fest offers a chance to hear new music and gives veterans a chance to show their stuff. Television, Primus and Thee Oh Sees mingled with Brian Jonestown Massacre, L.A. Witch, and Thee Commons.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Desert Daze

 

Gavin Rossdale of Bush on a speaker at The Observatory - Photo © Donna Balancia

Gavin Rossdale of Bush on a speaker at The Observatory – Photo © Donna Balancia

Bush at The Observatory

Gavin Rossdale is a high-energy performer, leaping into the audience and jumping on speakers.  Bush performs all the favorites and this particular show at the Observatory was extremely interactive. After a few rounds of hugs and kisses among his fans, Rossdale jumps onto a speaker and finishes “Monkey” from high above.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Bush at The Observatory

 

Robert Plant - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robert Plant – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Robert Plant at Theatre at the Ace

Robert Plant and his audience share a special bond and that was illustrated clearly at the Theatre at the Ace.  Bringing flowers, love letters and gifts, Robert still has the gals on the edge of their seats.  Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters put on a show that is Led Zeppelin inspired, but takes us to a new and earthy place.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters

 

Soul Asylum takes off at Whisky A Go-Go - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Soul Asylum takes off at Whisky A Go-Go – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Soul Asylum at The Whisky A Go-Go

Dave Pirner keeps going. Whirling around with his guitar and speaking honestly to the audience, with little regard for his sweaty appearance, Pirner is happy to be on stage.  If nothing else Pirner and Soul Asylum are truthful in their performance and the crowd appreciates it. Soul Asylum’s tour started with The English Beat and wrapped solo.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Soul Asylum at The Whisky A Go-Go

 

The English Beat draws the crowds with great performances - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The English Beat draws the crowds with great performances – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The English Beat at The Canyon Club

The English Beat hits a home run every time.  There is not one song from all their famous hits that goes unheard at an English Beat concert and the crowds are devoted.  Dave Wakeling drives the band that has undergone some changes over the years, but the musicians on board are top talents.  Fortunately, The English Beat plays a lot of dates and 2017 shows are all set.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The English Beat at The Canyon Club

 

Michael Franti and the Soulrocker tour - Photo © 2016 Craig Hammons

Michael Franti and the Soulrocker tour – Photo © 2016 Craig Hammons

Michael Franti and Spearhead

Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Pacific Amphitheatre spreads the message of love and compassion for all. The show was such a warm experience that reviewer Craig Hammons said he felt like he left the stadium with 7,000 new friends.  The crowd interlocked arms, danced and sang songs of inclusion and love.  What’s better than an uplifting performance?

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Michael Franti and Spearhead

 

Fartbarf puts all the electronic bands to shame - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Fartbarf puts all the electronic bands to shame – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

FartBarf, David and The Curse at El Cid

Who would think with name like Fartbarf this band would be amazing?  Something must have happened along the way for three guys in caveman masks to call themselves something so silly but play so good.  The electronic music we heard at El Cid blew us out of our shoes.  This is a talented group that does the creators of the Moog proud.  Opener David and The Curse shows how it’s done as this young veteran gives us a new sound that blends Americana with pure rock.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Fartbarf and David and The Curse

 

Kam Franklin and The Suffers triumph at The Echo LA - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Kam Franklin and The Suffers triumph at The Echo LA – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Suffers at The Echo

The Suffers bring you to your knees, they’re that good.  Whether you call it, “Gulf Coast Soul” or good ol’ rock and roll, Kam Franklin and the band bring a blues-influenced power sound to the masses. We caught The Suffers at the Echo, one of our favorite venues, and the place was busting at the seams trying to contain the adoring fans.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Suffers at The Echo

 

Sad Lovers and Giants - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Lovers and Giants – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Lovers and Giants at The Echoplex

Sad Lovers and Giants put on a show for a lifetime at our well-loved venue the Echoplex, bringing 80s new wave to a young, enthusiastic crowd. It’s sad for fans that this beloved British band may not return to the U.S. any time soon, but we are thrilled to have caught Garçe Allard, Tony McGuinness, Nigel Pollard, Ian Gibson and Will Hicks at least once.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Sad Lovers and Giants at the Echoplex

 

The Who - Photo courtesy of Desert Trip for CaliforniaRocker.com

The Who – Photo courtesy of Desert Trip

Desert Trip

Reviewer Bob Busby called Desert Trip one of the best experiences of his life.  That comes from someone who has been to thousands of shows and festivals. Aside from Roger Waters’ rantings, the moon appearing during Neil Young’s performance of “Harvest Moon,” was a highlight.  And how can you do much better than Sir Paul McCartney sharing the stage with the pop princess Rihanna? Stay tuned for next year.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Desert Trip

 

Mike Campbell and Jason Sinay - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Mike Campbell and Jason Sinay – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The Dirty Knobs at The Echoplex

Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs put on a fun, upbeat show, complete with cover songs you haven’t heard in a while. Jason Sinay and Campbell play off each other as “Gator” and “Ape” in a band where nicknames are abundant as dolphins in Florida.  The Dirty Knobs is a band to check out when they play their few gigs every year. They haven’t recorded anything so go live or go home.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Dirty Knobs at The Echoplex

 

Bob Weir on tour with 'Blue Mountain' album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir on tour with ‘Blue Mountain’ album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir at The Wiltern

The well-worn co-founder of The Grateful Dead only gets better as the years go on. He introduced a new album and played to a crowd at The Wiltern that was comprised of not only Grateful Dead veterans but young, rainbow-clad and dread-sporting fans. Bob still has the verve and enthusiasm and the sounds ring true.

See the CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Bob Weir at The Wiltern

 

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

At The Drive-In at Hollywood Palladium

It’s a rare treat to get to see At The Drive-In, but frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala is one of the most entertaining performers in the business. It’s clear from his leaping at The Hollywood Palladium last summer that he’s got a background in skateboarding and he’s a no-holds-barred, balls-to-the-wall musician, saving nothing for himself and giving the crowd his all.  See our award winning-shot of Cedric Bixler Zavala.

The CaliforniaRocker.com Review of At The Drive-In

 

Teri Le Butcherettes Photo by Donna Balancia

Teri of Le Butcherettes surfs the crowd – Photo by Donna Balancia

Le Butcherettes at Hollywood Palladium

Teri Gender Bender is the most physical female performer out there and her shows at The Regent Theater, The Echoplex and opening set for At The Drive-In prove it. There are few who can compare to this precious young rock and roll veteran whose demeanor after the show is remarkably calm compared to her rebellious and taunting onstage persona.  Despite personnel changes over the years, one thing remains a constant: Teri’s talent.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review for Le Butcherettes

 

Joe Bonamassa performs during celebration of B.B. King - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Joe Bonamassa performs during celebration of B.B. King – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

GRAMMY Foundation Honors BB King at Wallis Annenberg

BB King may be gone, but The GRAMMY Foundation hosted a bevy of blues slinging rock stars to honor him at The Annenberg: Slash, Tedeschi Trucks, Joe Bonamassa and a heavenly host of blues performers sang and played the blues in BB’s honor.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review for B.B. King at the Annenberg

 

Wayne Kramer and Marshall Crenshaw - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer and Marshall Crenshaw – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Wayne Kramer’s Jail Guitar Doors at The Ford Theatres

Wayne Kramer, Don Was and pals put on an amazingly entertaining show at The Ford Theatres to raise money for their charity that serves those behind bars.  The show featured Marshall Crenshaw and a slew of talent to help Wayne raise money for the charity that is close to his heart.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Wayne Kramer and Jail Guitar Doors

 

Bad Boy Eddy - Photo by Donna Balancia

Bad Boy Eddy Rocks Cruefest – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cruefest 2016 at Whiskey A Go-Go

Cruefest Hollywood 2016 brings the kindest hearted metal performers to the Whisky A Go-Go stage each year.  It was a Who’s Who of metal with  Heartbreak Heroes from Oklahoma and Los Angeles; Snake Bite Whisky from Brisbane, Australia; Bad Boy Eddy from Northern California; Stonebreed; Wreking Crue from Detroit, and Mick Scott and Se7en Reasons Why; Blacklist Union, Lunden Reign, Westfield Massacre, and L.A. Story; all of whom are from Los Angeles.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Cruefest 2016 at the Whisky A Go-Go

 

Brian Wilson and band at Hollywood Bowl - Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson and band at Hollywood Bowl – Photo by Craig Hammons

Brian Wilson at The Hollywood Bowl

Brian Wilson never disappoints and his performance at reviewer Craig Hammons said his performance at the Hollywood Bowl was one of his best.  Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, considered a unique collection at the time of its release, Wilson held the Hollywood Bowl audience enraptured.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Brian Wilson at The Hollywood Bowl

 

Iggy Pop destroys the mic stand during his show at The Hollywood Bowl - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop destroys the mic stand during his show at The Hollywood Bowl – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Iggy Pop at The Greek Theatre

At a time when most people are slowing down, Iggy Pop is going strong, having his best year yet. The “world’s forgotten boy” has a GRAMMY nomination for Post Pop Depression, there’s a Jim Jarmusch movie out about him, and also a new book released about his life.  He’s a 69-year-old anomaly in the world of rock, proudly resplendent in his hard-earned success. Via his partnerships with the young and hip, Iggy continually adds new admirers to his list of longtime fans. It doesn’t hurt to have the “Ginger Elvis,” Josh Homme and the rest of the crew on stage with you.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Iggy Pop at The Greek

 

Burning Spear, the legendary reggae rocker - Photo by Craig Hammons

Burning Spear, the legendary reggae rocker – Photo by Craig Hammons

Burning Spear at The Hollywood Bowl

Reviewer Craig Hammons says Burning Spear is one of the best shows of the year simply because Burning Spear is a solid reggae performer.  The legendary musician among a sea of young upstarts bid adieu to his fans as “I Man” takes a step down from the stage. Over the many years, with grace and dignity Burning Spear has brought new fans to the reggae flock.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Burning Spear 

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jackson Browne at Lucky Strike Live

It was a pleasant shock to find Jackson Browne appearing at Lucky Strike, which hosts mostly metal-style rockers every Wednesday night during its weekly Lucky Strike Live events.  Browne is a good-hearted type who shows up for a good cause and for the fun of the performance.  At Lucky Strike Live, he gave the regulars — plus about 600 others — a thrill, jamming with some regular players and he had fun to spare.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Jackson Browne

 

Glam Skanks release new album, "Glitter City" - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks release new album, “Glitter City” – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Glam Skanks at MIME

Where are the young women in rock and roll? Answer: The Glam Skanks are right in Los Angeles and they put on a terrific show each and every time. Climbing on speakers, throwing glitter, taunting the audience. Their show at MIME in Echo Park put on by Echo Box heated up the room and had fans screaming for more. There’s a new album and they’re going on tour with Adam Ant.  Stay tuned!

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of The Glam Skanks 

 

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth at The Canyon Club

Say what you will about the in-your-face frontman, but Smash Mouth has made it in a tough rock and roll world. When Paul DeLisle teamed with Steve Harwell, as odd a combination as that may have appeared it worked.  With a little help from a hit animated movie, Smash Mouth reinvigorated “I’m a Believer” from The Monkees and a whole new generation was jumping at The Canyon Club. Openers Paper and Strange Case lit a fire.

CaliforniaRocker.com Review of Smash Mouth, Paper and Strange Case

Editor’s Note: The “Best Concerts of the Year” coverage only includes the performances CaliforniaRocker.com staff attended during 2016.

Review: Holidays Heat Up As Nick Waterhouse, Sad Girl and Cutty Flam Band Rock The Regent Theater

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots: "The cards don't lie" - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots: “The cards don’t lie” – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

Nick Waterhouse is a terrific showman and always puts together a night of interesting acts.  This time in Los Angeles at The Regent Theater during his tour for the new album Never Twice, was no different. Nick headlined and the stylish bands Cutty Flam and Sad Girl opened.

Happy not sad: Misha puts a maniacal twist on some very cool music - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Happy not sad: Misha puts a maniacal twist on some very cool music – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Sad Girl

Despite the name, Sad Girl was not a bunch of girls crying but instead a trio of surf-style musicians who have a lot of fun on stage.  Comprised of facial-contortionist frontman Misha, Dakota on bass and Paul on drums, these guys hold the promise of a warm SoCal day even in the dead of winter.

Misha of Sad Girl has the crowd at The Regent Theater enthralled - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Misha of Sad Girl has the crowd at The Regent Theater enthralled – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Not Sad, Happy

Sad Girl makes us happy. We’re fans of the tunes “Little Queenie,” “The Hand That Did the Deed,” and “Love Storm” in particular. Sad Girl’s music makes us feel like we’re enjoying a double feature of a 1950s western, followed with a romantic but nonsensical surf movie.  Misha’s chiseled features initially lead one to believe there’s a movie star quality about him, but any thoughts of that disappear when you see his puppet-like, maniacal expressions as he plays his fuzzy guitar riffs.

Bang Bangs of Cutty Flam Band is the hottest drummer around, prom dress and all - Photo © Donna Balancia

Bang Bangs of Cutty Flam Band is the hottest drummer around, prom dress and all – Photo © Donna Balancia

Cutty Flam

Cutty Flam a rock and roll-inspired band, impressed on several levels. They’ve got a gal on the skins named Bang Bangs who is extremely accomplished despite the foofy bad prom-date dress. Bang Bangs is worth the price of admission on this night. Cutty Flam bassist Chewy Lewy is stylin’ with his rockin bass lines, cool suit and slicked back hair. Frontman Cutty is a big guy who’s got the moves like Elvis. He really interacts with the audience and the crowd enjoyed the band’s ’50s-style sound.

Cutty Flam rocks the house at The Regent Theater - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cutty Flam rocks the house at The Regent Theater – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse and His Tarots

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots present their big band sound in a similar vein. “The Cards Don’t Lie” proclaims the banner hung behind the band during the night. This is absolutely true.  Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots are true blue rock and roll. The music is upbeat but some of it, like “The Old Place,” is tinged with remorse over the changes for the worse that modern society brings.

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots pack The Regent Theater in Downtown LA - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots pack The Regent Theater in Downtown LA – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Thinking Man’s Musician

As we have written before, Nick Waterhouse is the thinking man’s musician.  He produces, he writes and he performs his blues-influenced music to an audience that goes absolutely nuts for him. In the Regent Theater‘s bar — which boasts some of the best whiskey in all of Los Angeles — we were treated to some vinyl-spinning that included Waterhouse-prouduced records by The Allah-Las.

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots: Fine musicians - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots: Fine musicians – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Never Twice

The new Nick Waterhouse album, Never Twice, was on the front burner on this particular night, but everyone in the crowded house knows the words to mostly every song Nick plays anyway.  Favorites of the night were the haunting “Stanyan Street,” “It’s Time,” and the kooky “Katchi,” which always gets a smile out of the various bandmembers and audience alike.

nick waterhouse donna balancia california rocker

Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots: SoCal’s finest musicians play the big band blues sound – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

SET LIST:

1. It’s Time, 2. I Had Some, 3. Dead Room, 4. Holly, 5. I Can Only Give, 6. Straight Love, 7. High Tiding, 8. Stanyan Street, 9. Sleeping Pills, 10. Voodoo, 11. Tracy 12. Old Place, 13. L.A. Turnaround, 14. Katchi, 15. Is That Clear? 16. Indian Love Call, 17. Trouble, 18. Say I Wanna Know, 19. Some Place, 20. Game, 21. Time’s All Gone, 22. Pushin Too Hard, 23. Don’t You Forget

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he's depicted here performing from his Never Twice album - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse fuses jazz blues and rock and roll, he’s depicted here performing from his Never Twice album – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Good Musical Blends

Nick, who produces all sorts of bands, has good taste. Last time in LA his openers were Pearl Charles and Paul Bergmann, who each brought their own cool style.  Charles has been getting some air time on Los Angeles stations. Nick is going on tour in Japan and returns next year.  Nick Waterhouse and his Tarots are worth checking out “live and in person,” where he and his big band shine.

Nick Waterhouse: Performer, producer and writer - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Nick Waterhouse: Performer, producer and writer – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

Leapin’ Lizards: Smash Mouth Packs The Canyon Club, Strange Case Brings Dino and Paper Impresses

Hoyt of Paper gets major air during Smash Mouth Show - Donna Balancia

Hoyt Yeatman of Paper leaps during Smash Mouth Show – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

Smash Mouth put on a crazy show alternating between storytelling and singing favorite tunes to a capacity crowd at The Canyon Club last weekend.

The place was so crowded with Smash Mouth fans — mostly in the age range of late teens to mid-20s — it was hard to navigate through the audience.

Obnoxious frontman Steve Harwell had the crowd laughing for most of the night, taking drinks from the patrons, and telling stories about stealing weed and his daily hijinx.

Smash Mouth: It's all about the drinks and storytelling - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth: It’s all about the drinks and storytelling – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Harwell, who was a painter in the old days while trying to make it as a punk rocker had a run-in with the law after stealing a couple of pot plants and throwing them in the back of his pickup truck.  Apparently some of the white paint was leaking out while he was making his getaway and led the police right to him.  In addition, when he was reading about his own escapades in a popular rock magazine, the guy standing next to him said, “Hey those were MY plants!”  Some guys can’t catch a break.

But Smash Mouth — Harwell and all — is sure getting a lot of breaks today.  They had critical success with “Walking on The Sun,” crazy popularity with “All-Star,” and financial success with The Monkees cover “I’m a Believer,” which landed in top kids movie Shrek.  But the guys are more than that.

Paper rips it up at Canyon Club during Smash Mouth opener - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Paper rips it up at Canyon Club during Smash Mouth opener – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Harwell’s super entertaining, even if the band prefers to perform sitting down these days.  Doesn’t matter, these guys bring it and have a ball on stage, cracking jokes and taunting the audience.  The fans, most of whom had parents lurking in the back of the venue, enjoyed every minute.

Smash Mouth played the favorites like “Walking On The Sun,” “You’re The Fonz,” and finished out with “I’m a Believer” and “All-Star,” which had the audience up on their feet and jumping around.

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Smash Mouth duo Steve Harwell and Paul DeLisle hang together – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“Steve and I have been together a long time now and we’re just having fun,” Smash Mouth founder Paul DeLisle told CaliforniaRocker.com after the show. “We love playing the Canyon and our fans are so great, it was a great night.”

The Dinosaur was a highlight of the Strange Case set - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Dinosaur was a highlight of the Strange Case set – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

What was unexpected and excellent, were the opening bands, Strange Case and Paper, the former of which brought out a gigantic dancing dinosaur.

Packed house at Canyon Club - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Packed house at Canyon Club for Smash Mouth, Paper and Strange Case – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Paper impressed with their energy, and sound and image that was complimentary to Smash Mouth. DeLisle even commented on how much he liked the Southern Caliifornia-based band.

“Their music is really good, this was a good fit tonight,” he said. “They have some cool songs.”

Paper is Hoyt Yeatman, singer-guitarist, Jeff Demorest, drummer and Kyle Hart, bassist and backing singer.

Check out Paper on Soundcloud

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Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth gets a drink delivered while on stage – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Mick Jagger-Peter Tosh Song Lives on With Mick’s Video for Tosh Museum in Kingston, Jamaica

Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh Famously Collaborated on ‘Walk and Don’t Look Back’

By DONNA BALANCIA

Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones sent congratulations and delivered a video message to family and friends in Kingston, Jamaica for the new Peter Tosh Museum.

The museum honors the famous Reggae musician, whose works and memorabilia will be on display at the newly opened collection.  That includes work with the Rolling Stones frontman.

Peter Tosh Museum Grand Opening from PeterTosh on Vimeo.

The museum hours of operation are Monday-Friday: 10:30 AM to 7 PM and Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM at Pulse Centre – 38a Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, Jamaica.

The Mick Jagger-Peter Tosh collaboration began as Tosh was also the only reggae artist signed to the Rolling Stones record label from 1978 to 1981. The Mick Jagger-Peter Tosh work resulted in the 1978 hit “Walk and Don’t Look Back.”  Tosh opened for the Rolling Stones throughout their 1978 U.S. tour, and is featured in the opening scene of the group’s video for “Waiting On A Friend.”

A self-taught guitar and keyboard player, he and The Wailers became pioneers of the burgeoning reggae scene in the late 1960s, and together they toured the world for over ten years. He left the band in 1973 to pursue his solo career and earned huge success with “Legalize It” and later solo releases.

The Museum gives fans a deeper look into the man behind the music. Tosh died at the age of 42 in 1987 during a tragic home invasion.

 

Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger / “Walk (And Don’t Look Back)” SNL 1978 from midnightraverblog.com on Vimeo.

Eagles of Death Metal Rock, Josh Homme Goes Solo, at Teragram Ballroom Fundraiser for Dave Rosser

Josh Homme premiered a song or two and covered others in acoustic set - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Josh Homme premiered a song or two and covered others in acoustic set – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Gutter Twins and Pals Play for a Cause

By DONNA BALANCIA

Eagles of Death Metal, The Gutter Twins, Josh Homme and more top musicians donated their time for Afghan Whigs guitarist Dave Rosser.  Rosser has stage 4 colon cancer.

The Gutter Twins opened with Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan and were joined by musicians including Duff McKagan and Petra Haden.

Greg expressed his concern over Rosser’s condition and thanked the audience for participating in the evening. Many of the audience members paid for VIP tickets and the money goes to the care Rosser and expenses he’s incurring from what doctors say is inoperable cancer.

The Gutter Twins and friends took the stage - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Gutter Twins and friends took the stage – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Gutter Twins

To call The Gutter Twins alternative is like calling Beethoven a piano player. The band had its faithful in the audience who sang along to most of the tunes in the set, including “Belles,” “God’s Children,” “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” and Twilight Singers cover “Number Nine.”

The voices and guitar work by the remarkable musicians were intertwined to present a collaborative effort that appeared long-rehearsed.  The end result was obviously made with love and respect for Rosser.

Eagles of Death Metal – “Save A Prayer” LIVE from Teragram Ballroom LA here:

Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Headliner Eagles of Death Metal put on an excellent and appropriately raucous show that covered the bases. The set didn’t kick off until 11 p.m. and two set lists later.  Jesse wore a white suit with trademark suspenders and was his usual friendly self, greeting audience members with handshakes and blowing kisses.

Josh Homme and Matt Sweeney - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Josh Homme and Matt Sweeney – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Josh Homme

The star of the night was Josh Homme who did a acoustic set and was later joined by Matt Sweeney.  He was relentless with the kid in the pit right in front of him, named Diego.  And try as he may have he could not censor his language and that was a source of many jokes. He played “Villains of Circumstance,” and with Matt performed Cab Calloway’s “Minnie The Moocher,” and Johnny Cash mining song “Dark as a Dungeon.” One of the highlights of the set was “Spinning in the Daffodils.”

The Eagles of Death Metal came on a 11 p.m. and put on a crowd pleaser - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Eagles of Death Metal came on a 11 p.m. and put on a crowd pleaser – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

And Josh swigged from a bottle and joked during the night but said Rosser’s affliction was a sad matter and he appreciated the audience coming to celebrate his friend.

To contribute to the Dave Rosser GoFundMe page go here.

The GoFundMe page reads:

“Every once in a while a human being comes along that transcends everything: life, art, friendship, wit, music and love. They are among the true ‘one of a kinds.’ Dave Rosser belongs to that category.  A New Orleanian for nearly 25 years, he is widely considered to be a true virtuoso guitar player by some of the most influential artists in the industry.

Jesse Hughes, AKA Boots Electric of Eagles of Death Metal - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Jesse Hughes, AKA Boots Electric of Eagles of Death Metal – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“He has toured the globe extensively with The Afghan Whigs, Twilight Singers, Mark Lanegan and Marc Broussard.  He’s worked on projects with Ani Difranco, Joseph Arthur and a list of who’s who in music.  He’s played with local bands too numerous to mention.  A working man’s musician.  If that wasn’t impressive on its own, he is also one of sweetest human beings on the planet.  His sense of humor and generosity rival his musical prowess.”

 

 

“Save A Prayer” VIDEO

California Rocker Wins Best Photo Essay, Best Action Photo at Prestigious LA Press Club Awards Gala

California Rocker Wins Three Awards at 2016 NAEJ

By DOTTIE PARIS

California Rocker, the online music magazine, won Best Photo Essay and Best Action Photo categories Sunday night at the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards by the Los Angeles Press Club.

The awards were presented to California Rocker producer Donna Balancia at the annual awards gala that honors the best of entertainment journalism.  The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles.

California Rocker Wins Best Action Photo

Donna Balancia Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In - California Rocker Wins

Donna Balancia won Best Action Photo for this image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Best Action Photo was awarded to Donna Balancia for her image of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, the high-energy frontman for At The Drive-In, leaping into the air at the Hollywood Palladium.  California Rocker wins included third place in the same action photo category for a beautiful image of the legendary surf guitar master Dick Dale performing to an adoring crowd at The Whisky A Go-Go.

Best Photo Essay for Suzanne Allison Witkin

Suzanne Allison Witkin - Vampires California Rocker Wins

Suzanne Allison Witkin took first place for her photo essay “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin

Renowned rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin won Best Photo Essay for “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires,” a photographic documentation of behind-the-scenes with the supergroup featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

The gala was attended by hundreds of writers, editors, producers and photographers and honored renowned songwriter Diane Warren, actress Angela Lansbury, and late-night talk show star Chelsea Handler.

‘Voices of Independent Artists Heard Tonight’

Dick Dale at the Whisky A Go-Go California Rocker Wins

The photo of Dick Dale taken at the Whisky A Go-Go was honored with a win in the action photo category – Photo © Donna Balancia

“I started California Rocker three years ago to give independent artists a voice,” Donna said. “Their voices were clearly heard tonight as our work was selected over that of the corporate media.  We will continue to work with up-and-coming and established musicians, writers and photographers so talent and truth can shine through.”

Previous wins include the work of Heather Harris in the LA Press Club’s first-ever Photo Essay category, for her images of musician James Williamson’s all-star concert at the Bootleg, and Donna’s image of Flyin’ Jay Armant, of the band Fishbone, launching into the crowd at the Roxy Theatre.

California Rocker has had several finalist designations and this year was no exception. California Rocker took three finalist designations among five in the action photo category and Suzanne’s Photo Essay was among three finalists.

The Kills + Chris Isaak Appear at Ron Robinson for Fundraiser Benefitting Rational Animal

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The Kills with Rational Animal founder Susan Brandt, getting photobombed by Chris Isaak and Rodney – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA

The Kills and Chris Isaak were on hand Tuesday night at Ron Robinson in Santa Monica for a fundraiser called Artists With Animals, to benefit the charity Rational Animal.

Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince recently returned from their tour for their latest album Ash and Ice, and spent time chatting with guests and shopping at the Ron Robinson Santa Monica flagship store.

For a limited time, a portion of all sales at the store goes towards the charity.

The ladies and their pups at Rational Animal benefit - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The ladies and their pups at Rational Animal benefit – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Ron Robinson carries a lot of branded T-shirts, Rock N Roll jackets emblazoned with Rolling Stones and Guns N Roses patches and logos, as well as other stylish duds and cool fragrances and accessories. The event at Ron Robinson was also sponsored by Soundwall and Morrison Hotel Gallery.

Rational Animal was founded by Susan Brandt and is supported by The Morrison Hotel Gallery among others.

Helping Shelters

Rational Animal works in cooperation with no-kill shelters to give animals a second chance at life.

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Susan Brandt, founder of Rational Animal, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Rational Animal, operating out of New York and LA, works on various projects to encourage animal welfare and teach guardianship. Through the Mother’s Comfort project, the group sews and delivers beds to animal shelters, bringing relief to animals.

Rational Animal produced the Tails to Trails map to make it easy for New Yorkers to find local shelters and rescue groups when they’re ready to adopt. Rational Animal also teaches good animal guardianship through the community events, the Orange Ribbon for Animals Campaign and the humane education program.

Rational Animal Mother’s Comfort Project has sewn more than 7,000 blankets for shelters.

Rodney with his master, Chris Isaak - photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Rodney with his master, Chris Isaak – photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“We work in LA and New York to provide beds in shelters and to educate kids and adults on how to be a good animal guardian, spay and neuter and foster,” said Susan Brandt. “We do promotional pieces, videos and we put on events. And today being Giving Tuesday, we wanted to have an opportunity to put on an event so people could give for the animals.”

Artists With Animals photography exhibit continues to run through Jan. 14. During that time, a portion of the purchases in the store will go towards Rational Animal.

Buy Rational Animal Photo-Notecards

But even if you didn’t attend the event, there is an opportunity to participate and help give to the animals.

The dog as companion - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The dog as companion – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Rational Animal developed gift packages of boxed notecards called Artists With Animals, two collections of famous photographs on notecards depicting well known musicians, actors and artists with their animal pals.

Henry Diltz and Jamie Hince are among the photographers whose work is included. Among the favorite known and newly discovered works is a great photograph by Hince of Mosshart lying on her bed with pet Archie the dog. The Artists With Animals notecards are available here.

“This is a really good cause and Rodney and I are happy to support Rational Animal,” said Chris Isaak, the singer known for his mega-hit “Wicked Game.” Isaak brought his pet along for the evening, as did several guests.

Friends of Rational Animal celebrate with pooch - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Friends of Rational Animal celebrate with pooch – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Also on hand were representatives from No Kill LA, an initiative led by Best Friends Animal Society to turn LA into a no-kill city by 2017. The mobile pet adoption mobile was also on hand.

“It’s a really nice opportunity to get together with other animal lovers and enjoy ourselves,” said party-goer Marianne Palermo. “Rational Animal does great work, the animals are grateful and so are we.”

VIDEO: Kanye West Stops San Jose Show for 25 Minutes: ‘I Would Have Voted On Trump’ He Says

VIDEO courtesy of KMEL

Photo by BRANDON WINTERS, Story by By DONNA BALANCIA

Never one to shy away from controversy, Kanye West drew boos at a San Jose, Calif., concert when he told the crowd he ‘Would have voted for Trump’ … that is, if he had voted.

West, who has announced that in 2020 he would run for president, used up 25 minutes of ticketholders’ time, apparently to prime the pump for his own political career. He went into his speech after a fan threw something at him while he was on stage at the SAP Center.

“You threw something at me,” he asked, singling out the alleged perpetrator. “Does someone else want to throw something at me? I’ve got the power to get that guy kicked out, roughed up, whatever. But stay here. That’s your opinion. Express your opinion,” he said.

Kanye West fele photo by Jason Persse

Kanye West file photo by Jason Persse

“That’s a woman right there saying ‘I love you,’ after I just said there were things that I liked about Trump’s campaign,” he said. “That’s not supposed to happen, right? Case in point they’re saying ‘I want that old Kanye not that new Kanye.’ I guess we’re not gonna sell out the rest of the tour now.”

“Sometimes things you don’t like to happen, need to happen for change to happen,” he told the crowd.

“There are things that Benjamin Carson believes in that I believe in,” he said. “I think that Benjamin Carson should be a consultant. I think HIllary Clinton should still be a consultant, I think Bill Clinton should still be a consultant. I think Obama should still be a consultant. Instead of (I didn’t vote for you for) president so now I’m not gonna give you information that could help you help all of us. … I loved the debates.

“This is already the beginning of change. Sometimes you think things that are bad have to happen in order for change to happen,” he said. “Sometimes you might have to not get your way to really understand what to do in the future to be able to get your way.”

CaliforniaRocker.com Nabs Four Finalist Nods for Arts and Entertainment Awards by Los Angeles Press Club

By JOHN DALY, CaliforniaRocker.com

HOLLYWOOD – CaliforniaRocker.com, a music industry website and fanzine published by Donna Balancia, received four National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards finalist designations, it was announced by The Los Angeles Press Club.

The finalist selections all came in the area of photography: Three images were in the Action Photography category and one finalist selection came in the Photo Essay category.

Suzanne Allison Witkin scored a Los Angeles Press Club nod with her photo essay, "On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires" - Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

Rock photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scored an LA Press Club nod with her photo essay, “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires” – Photo courtesy Suzanne Witkin

“Our work reflects our commitment to the highest quality music journalism,” said publisher Donna Balancia. “Our independent website and fanzine strive to give up-and-coming as well as established musicians a voice amid the overwhelming coporate clatter.”

Winning Images: Hollywood Vampires, At The Drive-In

CaliforniaRocker.com, which first went live in 2014, dominated the photography categories, with photographer Suzanne Allison Witkin scoring for her Photo Essay called “On Tour With The Hollywood Vampires.”  The project included a diary with exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and all of The Hollywood Vampires.

Los Angeles Press Club Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At The Drive-In leaps into the air during a performance at the Hollywood Palladium: A winning image – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

 

California Rocker Dominates Action Photos

CaliforniaRocker.com also scored a record three finalist designations in the Action Photo category. The photos, taken by Donna, captured Fishbone’s “Flyin’ Jay” Armant launching himself into the audience at The Roxy Theatre; Cedric Bixler-Zavala of the band At The Drive-In leaping into the air at The Hollywood Palladium, and the 80-year-old Dick Dale, “King of the Surf Guitar,” revving the audience with his upbeat music.

Los Angeles Press Club Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour - Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

Suzanne Allison Witkin captured images of The Hollywood Vampires on their historic tour – Photo © 2016 Suzanne Allison Witkin for CaliforniaRocker.com

 

Los Angeles Press Club Keeping Journalism Alive

“We are honored to be selected as finalists for the National Arts and Entertainment Awards,” Donna Balancia said. “The Los Angeles Press Club strives to keep journalism alive. We too not only support independent journalism, but through our stories and images we also help musicians at a time when the music business is extremely challenging.

“CaliforniaRocker.com has the best reviewers, writers and photographers in the music world working together with us, and we are delighted with the finalist designations.”

Los Angeles Press Club Fishbone image has been named a finalist in the action photo category of the National Arts and Entertainment Awards - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The remarkable ‘Flyin’ Fishbone’ image was captured by Donna Balancia at The Roxy Theatre – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Cold War Kids, Kaleo, Empire of the Sun to Headline ‘Altimate December 2 Remember’ Concert Series

Popular Bands in Intimate LA Venues Dec. 5-12

Empire of the Sun - Photo by Julio Enriquez

Empire of the Sun – Photo by Julio Enriquez

Kaleo, Cold War Kids and The Lumineers are among alternative all-stars headlining Alt 98-7, L.A.’s Second Annual ALTIMATE December 2 Remember Holiday Concert Series.

The ALTIMATE December 2 Remember series features live performances at iconic, intimate Los Angeles venues, providing a unique experience for the lucky few fans who are able to get a ticket to one of the shows.

The ALTIMATE December 2 Remember Series 2016:

  • Kaleo at The Roxy on December 5
  • Miike Snow at El Rey Theatre on December 6
  • Cold War Kids at El Rey Theatre on December 7
  • The Lumineers at Fonda Theatre on December 7
  • Empire of the Sun at The Novo on December 8
  • Fitz and the Tantrums and Arkells at The Roxy on December 12
  • Glass Animals and Judah and the Lion at El Rey Theatre on December 12

Tickets to all the ALTIMATE December 2 Remember series shows go on sale to the public on Friday at 10 a.m. PT.  Tickets for The Roxy concerts are sold via ticketfly.com.  Tickets for The Novo, El Rey Theatre and Fonda Theatre concerts will be available via AXS.com.

Cold War Kids - Photo by Tammy Lo

Cold War Kids – Photo by Tammy Lo

Members of the ALT 98-7 “The List” Rewards Club will have a chance to purchase tickets during an exclusive pre-sale on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m. PT.

The pre-sale link and password will be emailed to “The List” members on November 2.

To join the ALT 98.7 “The List” Rewards Club for the chance to participate in the exclusive pre-sale, log on alt987fm.com.

Alt 98-7 is a leading media outlet in the Los Angeles market and its programming and content are available across multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; online via its branded digital sites; mobile; and social, with nationwide listening through iHeartRadio — with its more than 700 million downloads, more than 75 million social media followers and 87 million digital uniques across the Network.

Fans can also listen to Alt 98-7 via the station’s website alt987fm.com, as well as on iHeartRadio.com and the iHeartRadio mobile app, iHeartMedia’s all-in-one music streaming and digital radio service. iHeartRadio is available across web, mobile phones, tablets, automotive partners, smart TVs, gaming devices and more.

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