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Musicians on Tour – Great Concerts in 2016

31 Jan

Are you available to see a concert in the year 2016? You are? Excellent. This post will have some applicability for you. A great concert is ineffable. From the purchase of the tickets to the anticipation to the moment when the band/artist comes out on stage to the tinny sound of ringing ears as you are pouring out the venue, live shows have a special place in the musical muscles of melody seekers. To help you in the quest to find that perfect concert this year, here are a few tours that might be coming to your backyard in 2016.

Note: Billy Joel is not on this list, even though he has almost taken a permanent residence in Madison Square Garden – much like a Broadway play or Las Vegas residence.

Black Sabbath – The End Tour

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Although Ozzy had to postpone some recent dates because of a bout of sinusitis, Black Sabbath – as current constituted with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler – started its goodbye tour in Omaha to be completed in September. The pioneers of heavy metal music are technically touring their recent release The End. This is the last time you will be able to see the band that brought the music world “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” and, well, Ozzy Osbourne.

Tour Dates

Fall Out Boy – Wintour is Coming

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Fall out Boy has made an impressive comeback after a 4-year hiatus (which ended in 2013) with songs like “Uma Thurman” and “Centuries,” which line its new album American Beauty/American Psycho. Now, the band is touring, and if the Game of Thrones pun is any indication the tour will be quite engaging. What’s even better is FOB wisely chose AWOLNATION (and Pvris) to open for the show; AWOLNATION is one of the most exciting bands out there. This should be an awesome show.

Tour Dates

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – The River Tour

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BRUCE!!! To celebrate the release of The Ties that Bind: The River Collection, a 52-track, 4-hour video collection celebrating the 35th anniversary of The River, Bruce has once again set out on a massive tour that will seem him traversing the continental U.S.; he will also be heading to Portugal for a date in May. The show has been typical Bruce, fit with 30+ songs from his extensive collection.

Tour Dates

Florence + The Machine – How Beautiful Tour

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Florence Welch, who my sister widely regards as “The Goddess,” is an unbelievably talented musician who, with her tremendous Machine, recently released How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which features songs like “What Kind of Man,”  and “Queen of Peace” and has been widely regarded as a mature, strong release. The tour, which starts in May, is well worth seeing if you have the ability to do so.

Tour Dates

Coldplay – A Head full of Dreams Tour

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Oh, Coldplay. You have to give the Britpop band some major credit; Coldplay has been around since 1996 and is still creating unique music. The band is a true chameleon; it is constantly transforming its sound, not necessarily to create mass-market sounds, but, instead, to constantly recreate its music. This strategy is clearly working as the band is gearing up for another tremendous world tour that will include a stop in San Francisco next week for the Superbowl. Go to a Coldplay show if you can; the band is awesome live.

Tour Dates

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Check Out These Summer Music Tours

12 Jun

Hey all. If you haven’t noticed, summer is right around the corner. It’s time for Music Court writer Beth Kelly to tell us a little about some tours you may want to check out over the summer.

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Across the country summer is the season for music tours, giving artists the opportunity to connect with their fans in towns throughout the U.S. and beyond. This year some of the biggest names in popular music are preparing to hit the road – even aging rockers AC/DC and the Rolling Stones are loading up their buses for another act. So what are you waiting for? Grab your friends and push your way to the front of the stage.

Ambivalent, indecisive, or unsure of who to see first? Here are a just a few of my suggestions:

  1. D’Angelo

This 7-date cross-country American tour starts in early June and closes with two dates at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Of course, the show itself stars the inimitable D’Angelo backed by his band The Vanguard, concentrating on material from last year’s critical success Black Messiah and his upcoming new album. The funk/soul singer songwriter is also a multi-instrumentalist whose versatility on stage, combined with his soulful voice and eclectic compositions, delivers the kind of unique performance you won’t find from anyone else.

  1. One Direction

The British/Irish pop supergroup is coming off of one of their strongest records yet, 2014’s Four, and their catalog has grown to encompass a large variety of rock styles, incorporating dance, punk, piano rock, and dubstep. Even without Zayn Malik, the boys from 1D remain one of the hottest touring acts in the business. Following their rapid rise to fame and enormously successful 2013 tour, as chronicled the film One Direction: This Is Us (check here for listings), the popsters are predicted to continue their streak of selling out even the largest auditoriums. This time around the group’s tour covers major cities in Europe, Canada, and the United States. Swedish electropop duo Icona Pop, who have also toured with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, will be opening most of the dates.

  1. Death Cab for Cutie

These indie rockers from Washington have built a solid and varied discography, furnished with understated, emotional lyrics and lush instrumentals. More than partially responsible for pushing the prehistoric emo look on middle school malcontents, we all remember how important cardigans and thick-rimmed glasses were for the quiet boys with nice handwriting. Maybe your high school crush played “When Soul Meets Body” the time you drove in his mom’s Volvo to see Garden State at the local megaplex. Maybe Transatlanticism was the soundtrack to your first foray into obscure pin-collecting.

Either way, the crown princes of hipsterdom are back and ready to (gently) rock you all over again. In support of their recent release Kintsugi, the 5-piece ensemble will be playing over 50 dates in the US and Europe. There will be a variety of openers throughout the tour, including instrumental post-rock outfit Explosions in the Sky and recent R&B/New Wave sensation Twin Shadow.

  1. The Rolling Stones

Is it okay for grandfathers to look this good in leather pants? No time for questions, the Stones are on the road again and ready groove with music lovers of all ages. Mick and the lads have always been among of the most creative and exuberant of all arena rock acts, and this year’s tour will be no exception. Covering 15 major American cities from May to July, and pairing up with amazing and diverse openers like The Avett Brothers, Kid Rock, Grace Potter, and Ed Sheeran, this tour promises to be truly unforgettable. And if you’re worried about the Stones’ notoriously high ticket prices, you’re going to see a dip in ticket prices this time around – but unless you get in on a groupie pass, it’s still going to cost you.

  1. Jill Scott

Scott’s expansive upper range, along with her soulful fusion of spoken word and jazz, has made her one of the most original R&B acts around. Her 25 date US tour will be supported by up and coming crooner BJ the Chicago Kid, whose remarkable voice has landed him guest appearances on a slew of hip hop tracks with the likes of Warren G, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West. If you love great singing, don’t miss the chance to catch two of the best vocalists in the industry on this tour.

  1. Imagine Dragons

These Grammy winning alt-rockers from Las Vegas are hitting the road in support of their recent release Smoke + Mirrors. A powerful synthesis of rock, punk, metal, and electronica contributes to their expansive, high-impact sound. The Dragons will play nearly 100 dates between the US, Europe, Japan, Australia, and Russia, and will feature indie rock group Metric and singer/songwriter Halsy in support.

 

This year, don’t sweat alone in your room and let the summer pass you by. Get outside and immerse yourself in the timeless seasonal soundtrack of stale beer, sweat and pounding synth beats. No matter which tour you plan to see, it’s sure to be something you’ll remember for many summers to come.

Airborne Toxic Event – Summerstage Preview

10 Jun

Airborne Toxic Event

There are many reasons to like Airborne Toxic Event. As I have written in the past, the band plays an infectious alt/rock style that pulls influences from the 80s and mixes these influences with theatrical vocals and riffs. This amalgamation creates an intriguing aura of orchestral sound that echoes and pulses.

The music is also “smart” rock. It’s a neoteric genre. Let’s be honest; a lot of music today is, well, nescient – intellectually dumbed down for an audience that just wants to hear a consistent beat. That is not to say that the producers and creators of the music are unintelligent – they are simply playing to what will make money. But Airborne Toxic Event is different. The band is made up of uber-talented musicians who understand how to mix “smart” rock with infectious rhythms.

I initially became interested in the band because of lead vocalist Mikel Jollett. Jollett, a fiction and freelance writer, began seriously writing songs after a string of moribund events in his life. He named the band after a tremendous section of my favorite Don DeLillo book “White Noise.” The life-altering events that engendered the band’s creation are similar to “The Airborne Toxic Event” portrayed in DeLillo’s masterpiece. Thus, as a writer, Jollett’s lyrics are laden with symbolism and passion.

The Airborne Toxic Event, fresh off the release of its new album Such Hot Blood, will join a large Summerstage crowd in Central Park (5th Avenue and 72nd Street entrance) on June 18. Best of all – the concert is FREE. Yes, free as in no money. The band will be joined by The Calder Quartet, a LA-based string quartet, who have been called “outstanding” and “superb” by the New York Times. So, yeah, free Airborne Toxic Event show with The Calder Quartet in Central Park – you should probably come.

“The Fifth Day” is one of my favorite songs off of the new album. The song features one of my favorite Airborne Toxic Event elements. The music is almost subtle. While you can drown in the elaborate instrumentals and production, the music progressively rises and falls like waves before ultimately crescendoing. In this case, the music perfectly matches the melancholic lyric.

Check out more about the Airborne Toxic Event and don’t forget to keep track of the diverse Summerstage schedule!

Jones Beach Concerts 2013 – A Preview of the Top 5 Shows

14 May

Jones Beach Theater

Summer is creeping closer to the shores of Long Island and soon the lingering cold will be replaced by a moist warmth that will hover over the pencil-like island that juts out of New York for a few months. With an impending fresh Long Island summer comes the 2013 Jones Beach Theater concert schedule. So, to continue my preview of New York outdoor concert venues (a few weeks ago I previewed the Summerstage schedule), let’s delve into the always eclectic Jones Beach Theater line-up.

Jones Beach Theater is one of my favorite concert venues. On a toasty evening, the music takes on an etherial feel as it oscillates with the  cooling ocean breeze. The venue is spacious and comfortable, and, because of its openness, the music carries beyond the confines of the stage to a small patch of beach adjacent to the theater and to the parking lot where I have seen many individuals bring beach chairs to enjoy the music without a fee.

If you are planning to make your way out to the Theater this summer for a concert, here is a list of my top five concerts on the 2013 schedule.

Top 5 Shows:

5.) Fleetwood Mac – 6/22

Touring for the first time since 2009, Fleetwood Mac is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its album Rumours, which featured tracks like “The Chain” and “Don’t Stop.” The band will truck through the vast majority of its extensive hits collection, and I’m sure a crowd of eager Mac fans will be in attendance. The concert is one of the earlier shows on the schedule.

4.) Bob Dylan & His Band / Wilco / Ryan Bingham / Beck (Acoustic) – 7/27

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The collection of sheer musicianship power here is tremendous. The collective makes sense, as each act plays with an Americana/Folk flair – some experimenting with more alternative sounds. The “AmericanaramA Festival,” as it is coined, will actually feature artists like Bob Weir and My Morning Jacket at other locations. The sweet concoction of artists is malleable. No My Morning Jacket at Jones Beach but instead a Beck acoustic set. The concert, like the name, will probably be a bit jumbled, but in a good way like a satisfying puzzle.

3.) Imagine Dragons – 7/25

Imagine Dragons is an Indie Rock band from Las Vegas that is touring its tremendously successful debut full length Night Visions. It’s a jam-packed album with around 5-6 memorable songs – an excellent haul for a first release. If you do not think you know of the band, you most likely have heard “It’s Time,” which hit mainstream success and went platinum in the U.S. (below). This is a show I’d be interested in scoring tickets to. The band still has some of the debut gold dust aura surrounding it and will most likely put on an exciting show.

2.) John Mayer / Phillip Phillips – 8/28

Phillip Phillips’s final song on American Idol (the song that was written for him and ultimately won him the competition) was “Home.” The song has ballooned. It fits Phillips’ folk croon perfectly, and it is germane in the current climate of Indie folk resurgence heralded by bands like Mumford and Sons. Phillips, though, has proven he is not a one-song pony. His debut album has a few memorable tracks on it aside from home. Pair him with guitar demigod John Mayer and you have quite a show.

1.) Allman Brothers Band / Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – 9/7

There is not much that needs to be said about this show. Anytime the Allman Brothers are playing anywhere you should see them. Add Grace Potter and the Nocturnals to the mix and you have one awesome show at the end of the season.

And…of course…how can I forget the King of Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett, who will bring his Coral Reefers to Jones Beach to embrace the annual flock of parrotheads. To get you all thinking of summer here is Buffett’s classic.

 

The Top 3 Concerts at Summerstage 2013

22 Apr

Summerstage

While the cold air continues to linger over New York, one of the first signs of summer presented itself in the form of an e-mail this afternoon. The 2013 Summerstage calendar has been released. Summerstage, a product of the NYC City Parks Foundation, is a uniquely New York. From June 4 – August 29, Summerstage provides over 100 free music, dance, film, comedy, family and theater programs in 17 parks across all five boroughs of NYC. It is an ubiquitous city-wide arts fest and all are invited. The schedule, like in year’s past, is packed with several savory events, including a few premier cost events – like the ones I will discuss in today’s post.

While I urge you to check out the Schedule when you have an opportunity, I am going to preview three events I am most excited about, all occurring at the 69th St. & 5th Ave, Central Park location.

3.) Bobby McFerrin – Tuesday, August 20th at 7:00pm EDT

No, this famous song of sincere contentment was not created by Bob Marley. The song was released seven years after Marley’s death, and, last time I checked, Marley is not 2Pac. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” is the wise advice of Bobby McFerrin, and, in some form of twisted irony, this simple ditty of humorous happiness that is clearly his most known work suffers from authorship mistakes and does not do McFerrin justice. McFerrin is a tremendously talented musicians with a perspicacious musicality that shines through everything he creates. Although I am still trying to figure out the “Don’t Worry Be Happy” video that truly marks the song as one of the weirdest pieces to ever hit the top spot on the charts, I’m sure McFerrin will put on a very “happy” show in August.

2.) The Zombies/Django Django/Adam Green and Binki Shapiro/DJ Modest P – Saturday, June 15th at 3:00pm EDT

Wow. This is an eclectic mix of old/new musicians. The Zombies released Odessey and Oracle in 1968, and those who have listened to it can attest to it being one of the better rock albums of the 1960s. The band combined pop/rock with prog/psych to establish an intriguing blend of 60s genres. I saw them at a previous Hippiefest, and they were quite good.

Django Django released their self-titled debut in 2012, and it’s combination of electronic rock and indie influences is upbeat and poppy with Franz Ferdinand influences. Heck, there is even some embedded 60s pop in the music. Take a listen to “Hail Bop” below. Enjoy the odd video.

Of what I know about the other two performers, Adam Green and Binki Shapiro are folk/pop artists with a pull towards the 60s and DJ Modest P is a skilled New York spinner known for his long time Saturday night residency at the legendary East Village club Nublu. I’m interested to hear what kind of show this will be.

1.) Airborne Toxic Event – Tuesday, June 18th at 7:00pm EDT

I have had an itch to see the Airborne Toxic Event for quite a while. The Californian Indie Rock band – with a name alluding to my favorite Don DeLillo novel – saw well-deserved success with the release of their sophomore album, All At Once, and, by the time this concert rolls around, will be supporting their third release, Such Hot Blood, set for release in late April. Quite simply, this will be an awesome show. Perfect band for the Summerstage.

Those are my top three. Feel free to check out the schedule (above), and you can follow Summerstage on Facebook or Twitter

 

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