California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

John Waite Won’t be ‘Missing You’ as he Launches 40th Anniversary Tour at Canyon Tonight

By DONNA BALANCIA

John Waite, lead singer for The Babys, will celebrate his 40th anniversary of making music with a tour kicking off at the Canyon in Agoura tonight.

Waite, known for The Babys songs “Isn’t It Time,” and “Everytime I Think of You,” has amassed a following of not only veterans but young followers as well.

He launched his solo career in 1982 with the album, Ignition, and never looked back.

His next album, No Brakes, released in 1984 brought the megahit, “Missing You,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is one of the classic love songs of the 1980s and was in high rotation on MTV.

Tina Turner Cover

Tina Turner covered the song, “Missing You,” after Waite’s version knocked her “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” out of the top spot on the charts.

No Brakes sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S.

After The Canyon, Waite hits the Coach House on Friay, The Rose in Pasadena on Saturday, Talking Stick Resord in Scottsdale on Aug. 11, and then takes his tour back East, hitting Plymouth, N.H., Richmond, Va., and Daryl’s House in Pawling, N.Y.

A New Record for California Rocker – Five Journalism Awards with Two First Place Finishes in One Year

Site Wins Social Media and Best Blog Awards

By JOHN DALY

LOS ANGELES – The team at CaliforniaRocker.com has set the standard: Donna Balancia and her editorial team have won five journalism awards in one year.

CaliforniaRocker.com won two first-place awards and a third-place award for photography categories in the National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.  The accolades were followed by two third place awards in social media and best website categories at the Southern California Journalism Awards this month.

In total, the CaliforniaRocker.com reporter and photographer team  has collected nine journalism awards in the last three years.

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

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

Balancia: ‘Great Honors’

“These are great honors and we are excited and happy to be rewarded for our hard work,” said Balancia. “With photographers Heather Harris, Suzanne Allison, Alyson Camus as well as writers like Craig Hammons, John Daly and Dan MacIntosh we have a great team.”

The most recent awards, in the Best Blog and Best Social Media categories were for innovative work based on new media delivery and social media for coverage of Smashmouth at The Canyon Club.

Suzanne Allison Witkin won first place for her photo essay on The Hollywood Vampires – Photo by Suzanne Allison Witkin

‘Great Team’

Balancia credits her team with keeping CaliforniaRocker.com as well as EastCoastRocker.comand WestCoastRocker.com on the cutting edge.

“It requires dedication to journalism with great reporters to keep publications rolling today,” Balancia said. “We want to provide a service to musicians and we keep going.”

Dee Snider with son Jesse at the Whisky A Go-Go were among the artists whose stories brought a best blog win – Photo © 2016 Heather Harris

Support of the Musicians

“CaliforniaRocker.com has received the support of musicians and artists alike and it’s a satisfying feeling to win on their behalf,” Balancia said. “We have a great staff and we put out quality reports.”

In addition to interviews and photographs with Johnny Winter, Mike Campbell, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and many young and up and coming bands, there are works that have brought tons of hits behind the scenes.

Heather Harris won for her coverage of rocker James Williamson’s Alternative A-List Concert at The Bootleg, Balancia won for her coverage of supergroup The New Basement Tapes and CaliforniaRocker.com has won best blog categories in previous years.

Another such multimedia package was the exclusive interview of Keith Levene done by Ivor Levene and Melanie Smith. 

Keith Levene exclusive interview by Ivor Levene and Melanie Smith

 

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

‘Winners Overcome Obstacles’

Balancia said the awards come at a time when journalism is under attack and companies are cutting more reporters, editors and content creators than ever before.

“We are honored that we continue to win despite the odds,” Balancia said. “These awards are special because true journalism — and not ‘selfie’ reports — is becoming more and more rare. Music journalism in particular is not given the credit it deserves for the important role it plays in today’s culture. We are proud to be a force representing creative arts.”

Living Colour Rocks the Canyon Club, Corey Glover and Crew Bring Elite to Agoura Hills Scene

Band’s ‘Personality’ Attracts Friends and Fans

By DONNA BALANCIA

Living Colour brought their style of bluesy punk to Canyon Club playing new songs and favorites to a packed house.

The band will release a new album, called Shade, in September.

corey glover donna balancia

Corey Glover is dapper – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Like a Fine Wine

Comprised of frontman Corey Glover, Will Calhoun on drums, Doug Wimbish on bass and Vernon Reid on guitar, this band only improves as the years go on.

The band is styled by the Style Diva herself, Leisa Balfour, who celebrated an early birthday during the Canyon show.

Vernon Reid is among the best and most underrated lead guitarists around – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Vernon Reid

Living Colour has got what it takes. If there’s such a thing as getting better like a fine wine, these guys have it nailed. Vernon’s guitar work sounds more and more remarkable each time out, Corey has the chops and the warmth of one of the best frontmen in the business, Wimbish plays one of the most wicked slapping basses in music and Will Calhoun is one of the most underrated drummers on the planet.

Bassist Doug Wimbish puts on a show - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Bassist Doug Wimbish puts on a show – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Fans and Friends Visit Backstage

Their songs, in particular the hit “Cult of Personality,” electrify the room.

It’s hard to tell why Living Colour isn’t in the mainstream still after all these years. This band packed the Canyon and draws the fans even to side gigs, including supporting acts for other performers. Corey was on hand to celebrate the Sound Barrier reunion party at the Whisky A Go-Go several weeks ago.

Drummer Will Calhoun rips it on the kit – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Sound Barrier

Speaking of Sound Barrier, Bernie was among those hanging out with the Living Colour guys at the Canyon the other night. Sound Barrier recently released its single “I’m Just A Man,” and an EP is on the way.

 

A Collection of Photos: Living Colour at The Canyon Club

Bernie K. of Sound Barrier with stylist Leisa Balfour and Darius McCrary – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

smash-mouth-7-balancia-1-of-1

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

Smash Mouth Plans to be ‘Walking On The Sun’ at The Canyon Club and at The Rose This Weekend

Photos by EVA RINALDI

Smash Mouth, known for its hits “Walking On The Sun” and “All-Star” will play the Canyon Club and The Rose this weekend.

The band, led by Steve Harwell and Paul De Lisle, have endured the ups and downs of rock stardom. Their music has become synonymous with the movie Shrek, which featured their Monkees cover of “I’m a Believer.”

Smash Mouth: More than 'Shrek' - Photo by Eva Rinaldi

Smash Mouth: More than ‘Shrek’ – Photo by Eva Rinaldi

But Smash Mouth never intended to be the heartthrob of youngsters and their parents worldwide.  Co-founder Harwell started out in a rap band called Freedom of Speech.  Harwell got together with De Lisle, a punker, and Smash Mouth was formed. Their 1997 album Fush Yu Mang went double-platinum powered by ‘Walking On The Sun.”

The current incarnation of the band, is Harwell, De Lisle, Jason Sutter, Michael Klooster and Sean Hurwitz.

Harwell and crew are no newbies to touring and recording as the group has been on the road and recording since they formed in 1994 in Northern Cal.

Smash Mouth plays the The Canyon Saturday night and The Rose Sunday. For more information go to The Canyon website.

 

Mike Campbell and The Dirty Knobs Get The Canyon Club Crowd to Their Dancing Feet

Originals and Covers by ‘Under The Radar’ Band Delight Fans

Mike Campbell - Photo © 2016 Heather Harris

Mike Campbell – Photo © 2016 Heather Harris

By DONNA BALANCIA

Mike Campbell and his band The Dirty Knobs have vast riches: Their fans are more precious than gold.

“We love Mike, we have been following him for years,” said Cheryl Marino and her husband Bill Drews. “We see him when he plays in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, we’ve seen Mudcrutch and we love The Dirty Knobs. We’re true ‘Knob Heads.'”

The Dirty Knobs band may be a “side” project for Campbell with his band mates Jason Sinay, Matt Laug on drums and Lance Morrison on bass, but it’s front and center to the audience.

“This band is under the radar but we have a very solid group of fans,” Campbell told CaliforniaRocker.com.

“It’s a small group but they’re extremely devoted.”

Campbell and Sinay

dirty-knobs-canyon-balancia-1-of-1

Jason Sinay – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Campbell is a prolific songwriter whose work has been performed and recorded by everyone from The Eagles to Stevie Nicks not to mention his own Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. In addition, he’s performed with or produced more artists than most people can name. Check out his work at Allmusic.com

Sinay, known as Ape, is no slouch as he has been establishing himself as a working musician over the years.

We recently came across his solo LP on which he has an assortment of impressive originals and covers.

Dirty Knobs Keep it Fresh

Cheryl Marino and Bill Drews are self-confessed 'Knob Heads' - Photo by Donna Balancia

Cheryl Marino and Bill Drews are self-confessed ‘Knob Heads’ – Photo by Donna Balancia

The Dirty Knobs like to change it up. When we saw them at The Echo a year ago it was a different crowd than it was at the Canyon Club and the set list showed that. The Canyon show wrapped with Jimi Hendrix, which was “off the set list,” as Mike said. But other tunes included “Easy Wind,” by the Grateful Dead,” and even “Hippy Hippy Shake.”

The Dirty Knobs haven’t recorded an EP and it doesn’t look likely in the near future, but if they did it would likely be in their casual style.

Opener Marc Ford, taking a page out of Campbell’s book, sported a felt fedora and had the audience on its feet with a strong performance.

The Dirty Knobs play on Dec. 11 at The Rose in Pasadena.

Mike Campbell with the fans - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Mike Campbell with the fans – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

%d bloggers like this: