California Rocker

Award-Winning Online Music Magazine

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Alabama Shakes, Charles Bradley Rock Arroyo Seco Weekend

Pasadena Fest Draws Mixed Music Demo

By DONNA BALANCIA

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ripped through the hits and put on an award-worthy rock and roll performance at the first-ever Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival in Pasadena.

The first day of the inaugural Goldenvoice event drew fans of Petty and Alabama Shakes, the latter of whose fan base concentrates mainly in the under-35 crowd. But up-and-coming and established rock, blues and Americana bands filled out the remaining weekend slots.

Estimates pegged the Saturday crowd size in the range of 45,000-50,000.

Most of those attendees Saturday came for the headliner, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, celebrating a 40th anniversary tour. They did not disappoint.

Tom Petty – Goldenvoice Media photo

The Hits Keep Comin’

Petty and his Heartbreakers brought out hit after hit, getting the devoted to their feet.

Highlighted by a backdrop of outstanding video work and complemented by a group of remarkable musicians, Petty took the stage with superb energy and humor.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers opened with “Rockin’ Around,” followed with “Mary Jane,” “You Don’t Know How it Feels,” “Forgotten Man,” “You Got Lucky,” and the anthem “I Won’t Back Down,” and other hits before and closing out with an encore of “You Wreck Me,” and “American Girl,” and taking time for a few stories along the way.

“They put on a great show,” festival attendee Justin Hagler said. “I’ve seen them 14 times, and it never gets old. True professionals.”

Mike Campbell and Tom Petty – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Mike Campbell

Petty’s partner-in-arms, Mike Campbell, was wearing dressy garb — a Japanese-style shirt — and trademark hat, and showed his prowess as guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire. Petty regaled the crowd with the story of how the two met back 47 years ago in Florida.

“In 1970, I went to look for guitar player to put together a band and saw an ad, there was no phone number, just an address, so I drove out there and it was a sketchy-looking place,” he said.  He added that his soon-to-be colleague “came out packing a 90-pound Japanese guitar plugged the thing in and played ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ and when he got to the end, I said ‘You’re gonna be in my band forever.’ And he is.”

But his other bandmembers all have a story too – a mix of longtime pals and colleagues including Scott Thurston, Benmont Tench III, Ron Blair, and drummer Steve Ferrone.

Alabama Shakes put on their ripping blues rock show with typically outstanding vocals and great guitar work.

Alabama Shakes – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Alabama Shakes

Shakes, as well as the Taylor Goldsmith-helmed Americana band Dawes, may have gained new followers among the Petty lovers at the Oak stage.

On the Willow stage earlier, Jeff Goldblum and The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra attracted its largest crowd to date. His band has had a regular gig at Rockwell’s for a couple of years. Star appeal goes a long way.

The highlight of the day was Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, whose cancer diagnosis loomed over the crowd as he sang the blues songs that have made him famous. Not a dry eye was in the house at many points during the show as the audience was touched by this legendary performer who gives his all to the fans.

Charles Bradley – Photo courtesy Goldenvoice Media

Charles Bradley

“If I could come out and hug every one of you I surely would,” he said. It is because of the love of the fans he proclaimed that he is cancer-free.

The food ran the gamut from designer hot dogs to spicy pizza and organic ice cream but the real headliner was the craft beer that drew long lines on a hot Pasadena day.

Blues great John Mayall was also on hand to wow the crowd.

Sunday: Mumford and Sons, Weezer

Mumford and Sons, Weezer, Fitz and the Tantrums, ZZ Ward, The Mowgli’s and Magic Giant take The Oaks stage, The Shins headline The Sycamore stage and Con Brio and Lettuce are on The Willow stage.

NOTES: Photo booths seem to be the marketing tool of favor as advertisers ranging from liquor companies to tourism bureaus all drew in concertgoers to strike a pose …

Lockers are available to rent on the grounds and there is shuttle service to the Rose Bowl adjacent site. Advice: Read security rules before passing through the metal detectors, info is on the website.

 

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.

Dandy Warhols, Jim James, Dragonette and Illenium Play Goldenvoice Venues During Month of December

Holiday cheer and great music are on the horizon for the month of December. The Dandy Warhols with Telegram and Warbly Jets will take the stage at The Fonda Theatre on Dec. 16 and Jim James will be at the Orpheum on Dec. 9.

Check out the other Goldenvoice shows coming up:

Dragonette brings Autumn to LA with her new Soundcloud playlist – don’t miss when she brings her show to the Roxy on 11/30.

Jim James just released a new video for his song, “Here In Spirit” – can’t wait to be there for real at his show 12/9 at the Orpheum.

Illenium put together a Spotify playlist of songs to know before his shows – tickets still available for 12/11 at the Novo.

The Dandy Warhols joined Moshcam for an intimate studio session and discussion of their new album – don’t miss them 12/16 at the Fonda.

AC Slater, Bixel Boys, Craze and more are putting a positive spin on the holidays by hosting a show at the Roxy on 12/18 and donating the proceeds to Inner City Arts.

After unbelievable circumstances, The Architects (3/18 at the Roxy) are still bringing a powerful emotional experience to every show.

On Sale Now 
12/15/2016 Lil Yachty @ Fox Theater Pomona

On Sale Friday
3/8/2017  Isaiah Rashad @ El Rey Theatre

Added Support 
11/29/2016  Young Thug with 21 Savage & Divine Council @ Shrine Expo Hall 12/10/2016; Louis the Child with Bearson & Elohim @ The Fonda Theatre 12/10  +12/11;  Illenium with Dabin and William Black @ The Novo 12/16/2016

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