Tag Archives: The Rolling Stones

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.

The Deity of British Blues – Alexis Korner

8 Sep

Alexis Korner

Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Son House, Ma Rainey, Big Bill Broonzy – Names that are forever linked with their god-like status among the propagation of American Blues – an extensive genre that had an indelible impact on the future molding of rock ‘n’ roll.

On the other side of the pond, British jazz musicians and fans became ensconced with the Blues music of musicians like Ma Rainey and Fats Waller, acquiring much of these tunes from African-American GIs stationed there during the Wars. After the Skiffle craze died down in the 1950s, many Skiffle-influenced musicians turned their attention to pure Blues music. Muddy Waters had a shocking electric (literally) visit to England where he shocked Brits with his amplified electric blues. Some were appalled by his lack of reverence for the classic style, but the youth ate up this edgy playing. Among them was a guitarist by the name of Alexis Korner, who, like the Blues ancestors above, would spark a focus on Blues in Britain and influence a slew of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest musicians. Thus, he too should be considered a true Blues god, and it should come to no surprise that he is often given the moniker of the “Father of British Blues.”

Korner’s elaborate music history is extensive and impactful. It is not easy to keep the plenitude of anecdotes to a minimum, but for the sake of the reader I shall limit my focus to a few stories. Like, for example, in 1969 while touring with a new band, Korner was jamming with a little-known singer named Robert Plant. Jimmy Page, who often performed with Korner at the Marquee Club, was intrigued by Plant’s voice and asked him to join The New Yardbirds…who would soon turn into a rock band called Led Zeppelin with Page and Plant at the helm.

But I am getting ahead of myself. That was in the late 60s. Korner’s career (even though he dabbled in Skiffle) really began in 1961 when he founded Blues Incorporated with Blues harmonica extraordinaire Cyril Davies. Blues Incorporated (like The Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, and Cyril Davies’ All-Stars) was an early example of a “supergroup.” But, in truth, it was just a platform for talented blues musicians to play music. Blues Incorporated, though, has the special mark as the first electrified Blues band in Britain. The band secured a residency at the Marquee (mentioned above) and even established an R&B Night at Ealing Jazz Club.

Remember what I said about the youth loving electrified Blues music? Well, where do you think they went to hear this music? And who do you think inspired them to pursue this music? So when I tell you that Korner played with musicians like Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Paul Jones, Eric Burdon, and many, many others, you should not be too surprised. Most of the early Blues musicians in Britain are linked with Alexis Korner in some way. He is like the Kevin Bacon of British Blues. And when Cyril Davies left Korner to form his All-Stars he played with musicians like Nicky Hopkins and Long John Baldry until he died far too young in 1964. The All-Stars were led by Baldry who created Hoochie Coochie Man, featuring a singer named Rod Stewart. Page also had a few All-Stars jam sessions, adding individuals like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, and Mick Jagger to the mix.

But back to Korner for one more story before I urge you to watch this documentary about him.

Blues Incorporated was asked by BBC radio to broadcast a session in the early 60s, but the producer only had room for six musicians. The seventh member of the group with a singer named Mick Jagger. Jagger was asked to gather some friends and play the normal spot at the Marquee. The friends he gathered were Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart on piano, Dick Taylor on bass and Tony Chapman on drums. The band went by the name of  Rollin’ Stones after a Muddy Waters tune.

Cyril Davies on vocals and harmonica. Alexis Korner playing a mean acoustic guitar. Released in November, 1962.

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