Archive for October, 2009

Live: The Pogues, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on October 30, 2009 by 30daysout

Pogues better

It wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day but Thursday night sure felt like it – or something like a wild, drunken Irish party – as the legendary Pogues rolled into town to play at the House of Blues.  This punk-Irish-rock unit hasn’t visited Texas in 20 years but here they were in all their glory and best of all, they were led by dissipated frontman Shane MacGowan, singing and smoking and drinking and slurring right where he belongs.

To see MacGowan in the flesh is to wonder how this man is alive at all. Obviously damaged by decades of boozing and whatever, MacGowan is a serious mess.  But he is also the brilliant songwriter who created the great songs that the Pogues are famous for.  And they rolled out one after another Thursday night: “The Broad Majestic Shannon,” “Sunny Side of the Street,” “A Pair of Brown Eyes,” “A Rainy Night in Soho” and so on.  As I said, brilliant – and MacGowan, magically, sang with growing strength as the nearly two-hour set wore on.  Was it the frenzy of the (obviously) alcohol-fueled crowd, or was it the glass of liquid he kept sipping (gin? vodka? water?) during the set?

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30 Days Exclusive Interview: Tommy Farese, vocalist, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 30, 2009 by 30daysout

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This is our third interview with the great Tommy Farese, vocalist, for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO). Farese is lead vocalist for the tunes “Ornament” and “This Christmas Day,” two show highlights. With a new album and a new tour starting this weekend, we figured we would check in with Tommy to see how things were going. Enjoy.

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30 Days Out Exclusive Interview: Anna Phoebe, violinist, Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by 30daysout

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Editor’s note: Anna Phoebe is *not* on the 2010 Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour.

Anna Phoebe is the dynamic, sexy, and ultra-talented violinist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO). When Phoebe is on stage, her presence is such that it is hard to take your eyes off her. She’s that good. After releasing their latest disc, Night Castle, Tuesday, she and the rest of TSO hit the road for their annual winter tour beginning this Sunday. If you haven’t seen them yet, I suggest you buy a ticket. It’s amazing show with some of the best musicians in the world. Phoebe was nice enough to take the time to speak with us during a break in rehearsals and tell us about her beginnings, how she got involved with TSO, her love for Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and her solo work.

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Your Big Sister’s (Record) Rack: “In Search Of The Lost Chord,” Moody Blues

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by 30daysout
Chick with record player

Nobody's big sister, that's for sure.

That’s not my big sister up there … I don’t have a sister and in fact I was the eldest child in my family.  Growing up in the 1960s, and hitting my teenage years in the summer of 1968, I was in a position to be the big brother who was knowledgeable about music.  And in fact my younger brothers did indeed “borrow” my albums – my first hope is that they learned something, and my second hope is that one day they will return them.

Ha, ha.  A little levity is in order, because today we’re talking about the Moody Blues.  Just their name implies gloominess – or at least moodiness – but in fact these guys were quite enjoyable and upbeat back in the day.  In 1968 everything was pretty heavy: that was the year of RFK, MLK, the Watts riots, etc.  The Beatles were trying to make it In_search_of_the_lost_chordbetter for Jude, the no-longer-Young Rascals were saying people got to be free and the Jefferson Airplane’s newest album (Crown of Creation) pictured the group in an atomic fireball.   The Moodies were sort of psychedelic Lite – their breakthrough album (from ’67) was Days of Future Passed, with an orchestra no less.  “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights In White Satin” from that LP got played enough on the radio to hook us all on the Moody Blues.

When In Search Of The Lost Chord came along in 1968, they just gave us more of the Moody sound – only without that pesky orchestra.  The Moodies were their own orchestra, overdubbing their voices and instruments using a device called a mellotron, a keyboard instrument that plays back pre-recorded sounds from tape (now that job is done by a synthesizer).  British musician Mike Pinder worked for the company that made these instruments, and after he introduced it to the Beatles (who used the mellotron on Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Pinder joined the Moody Blues.

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Review: “Soulbook,” Rod Stewart

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2009 by 30daysout

Music Review Rod Stewart

OK, enough is enough.  Yeah, I know Rod Stewart has been selling a shitload of records with his “Songbook” series.  And I realize that boomer nostalgia is golden and it makes those cash registers ring.  And really, an album full of Rod Stewart covering mostly Motown songs is probably a good thing to sell at Starbucks and Wal-Mart around Christmastime.  But man, I listened to this a couple of times and really got a miserable feeling.

Because despite the title, nothing here even remotely resembles “soul.”  When songs like “My Cherie Amour” and “Tracks Of My Tears” were big hits, nobody really considered them “soul” songs – they were more like “pop” songs, you know?  Rod also covers a few Sam Cooke tunes and duets with people like Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson but this is all pretty cold stuff.  Aside from a few high spots – his cover of Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night In Georgia” comes close to being interesting and his version of the O’ Jays’ “Love Train” is peppy – everything here is pretty slick and overplanned.

Maybe Rod could have picked some lesser-known tunes, maybe he could have played them more “live” with less slickness.  But he didn’t.  So we have Soulbook – all cleaned up for the “American Idol” crowd and pretty soulless.  “It’s The Same Old Song,” indeed.

MP3: “It’s The Same Old Song”

YouTube: Soulbook photo session – this is what it’s all about, I suppose.

Rod Stewart official website

Your Big Sister’s (Record) Rack: “Ramatam”

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on October 26, 2009 by 30daysout

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Riffling through your big sister’s (or big brother’s) records, you often came to the conclusion that maybe he or she was cooler than you.  Maybe not a lot cooler, maybe just a little.  And you usually came to this conclusion by realizing that your elder sibling listened to music made by people you never heard of.  So today we focus on Ramatam, the 1972 self-titled debut album of a band that had big aspirations.

Ramtatam has been described as a “poor man’s Blind Faith,” and I suppose Ramatam - Frontthat’s appropriate – the band included guitarist/vocalist Mike Pinera, best known for writing and singing “Ride Captain Ride” with the group Blues Image.  He served some time as a member of Iron Butterfly before forming Ramatam.  The band’s drummer was Mitch Mitchell, formerly of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the focus of the five-piece group was April Lawton, a chick who was hyped at the time as a guitarist as good as Hendrix himself.

So this group had a lot to live up to – Tom Dowd (Allman Brothers Band, Derek and the Dominos) produced the album but its combination of hard rock and jazz rhythms with totally incongruous horns kind of made it sound like a mess.  “Heart Song,” written by Pinera with Les Sampson (also a drummer, he played with the Experience’s Noel Redding), takes the group into Traffic territory, while the harder rockin’ “Ask Brother Ask” sounds like Rare Earth or Jethro Tull with a sax instead of flute.  Lawton does some nice shreddin’ lead guitar on “Ask,” and she contributes three songs co-written with Ramatam keyboardist Tom Sullivan.  Probably the best of these is “Changing Days,” which sounds like a Crosby, Stills and Nash throwaway.

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Friday is Boss’ Day: Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” available at iTunes

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , on October 23, 2009 by 30daysout

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Columbia Records has released Bruce Springsteen’s new song “Wrecking Ball” exclusively on iTunes. The bundle features the live track newsWreckingBallCoverand video, both recorded at Giants Stadium a few weeks ago. Check out all the details at Backstreets magazine and Bruce’s official website. Any new Bruce is good, so enjoy. By the way, I was listening to Howard Stern this week and Clarence Clemons mentioned that he will be “retiring.” Not exactly sure what that means, but if you haven’t seen the band in a while, now is the time.