Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

17May/092

Quick Hits: Alice in Chains, The Grog Shop, Coldplay

Greetings all,

I hope this dispatch finds you in the best of places and moods.

I'm typing this to you on the other side of day one of the annual Columbus, OH mega-rock weekend Rock On The Range.

I went down for the first day with D.X. Ferris from Scene Magazine, and for this guy, the day was all about Alice in Chains. I caught strong performances from Saliva, Rev Theory, and Chevelle, but there was no denying why I was really there.

Chevelle were definitely the surprise hit of the day with me - I've always liked my share of the radio hits, but hadn't ever seen the band live. They delivered a really tight 50 minute set that even had a nice one-tune preview of their forthcoming new album due this summer. Korn were also performing last night, and if you've seen one Korn show in the past 10 years, you've seen them all - same tunes each time, slightly different setlist order, but for what it is, it's good. I wasn't looking forward to seeing them at all, but I have to admit that drummer Ray Luzier (Army of Anyone, DLR Band) adds at least something different to watch during the Korn experience. Great drummer.

Alice in Chains hit the stage about 15-20 minutes late for their scheduled performance and turned in a setlist that was just under 50 minutes and way too short. No real surprises in the setlist, but it was very happily heavy on song choices from Dirt, including the set-opening "Rain When I Die" and also "Dam That River" a few tunes later. I was worried that their performance might lose impact in such a large festival setting, but they held up and delivered a great performance, despite what the Columbus Dispatch said about the show. They must have been at a different show, because from where I was standing, AIC went over great with the crowd.

The band were joined by Duff McKagan (introduced by Jerry as the "fifth member of Alice in Chains") for the set-closing "Rooster," and one of the most humorous rock and roll slip-ups EVER came when Cantrell introduced AIC bass player Mike Inez mid-set as "Mike Starr" (i.e. the original bass player for AIC who departed during the touring cycle for Dirt.)

The new Alice in Chains album will be in stores in September via their new label Virgin/EMI. Rumor says that Elton John might make a guest appearance. Really? Very interesting!

So there you go - a mini-report from the Rock on the Range weekend. Ferris had to drive back after day one, due to prior commitments, and I opted out of driving back down with him for the second day - AIC covered all of my rock and roll needs for the weekend!

So what else is going on? We'll start with a couple of Cleveland-specific items:

Cleveland radio legend Ed "Flash" Ferenc shares an update on his daughter Stephanie one year after her diagnosis with MS. It is a positive update, and there are details on how you can offer support to the Ferenc family and their fundraising efforts dedicated to fighting MS, titled Motivate Steph.

Sad news to hear of the passing of former Grog Shop co-founder Matt Mugridge who passed away on May 7th at age 42. Grog Shop owner Kathy Simkoff told Scene Magazine that "there would be no Grog Shop without him." There is a Facebook group that has been established for friends, family, and Grog Shop patrons to share their memories and photos of Matt. I have to share the following photo of the old Grog Shop stage, because I know that it will spark fond memories for many of you like me, that attended amazing shows at the old Grog.

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For me personally, I'll always remember some of my favorite groups that I saw jammed on the tiny Grog stage - Blue Rodeo probably had the most equipment and band members I ever saw shoved onto the Grog stage, and I'm sure there are many other similar shows and bands that you can think of. One of my favorite Grog experiences is a tie between seeing Fred Schneider from the B-52's play a solo show there in the late 90s, and also seeing John Squire's post Stone Roses project Seahorses at the Grog during their brief U.S. run. If there was someone really cool doing a short/limited run of dates in the U.S., you could always count on finding the Grog on the tour schedule.

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Coldplay have released a new 9 track live album for free download, recorded during the Viva La Vida tour, originally planned as a bonus item for ticketholders attending the latest round of Coldplay tour dates, and instead now available to anyone with an internet connection via the band's website. I am sure that there are some that might have snickered when Lefsetz mentioned the new live album in the same sentence as Live at Leeds....but have you listened to it? For those of you that have dismissed Coldplay as cold, corporate, and void of any emotion, I dare you to listen to LeftRightLeftRightLeft and change your opinion. As someone that didn't dig Viva La Vida, this new live album made me want to take a second look, based on the material that was included from the album. There are at least two moments on this live disc that will paralyze your ears with their emotional beauty - "The Hardest Part/Postcards from Far Away," and the performance of "Fix You."

During the classic Springsteen Agora performance from 1978, Springsteen describes his favorite live albums in which the audience was "twice as loud as the band," and that is definitely the feeling that runs throughout LeftRightLeftRightLeft, a release that features the audience offering audible vocal accompaniment, most notably during "Fix You," which Lefsetz notes in his piece. It's a great listen and a must for your Ipod, and if you're not a Coldplay fan or on the fence, this one will convince you once and for all in 9 tracks, what side you are on.

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Wilco NOW!

The new Wilco album is streaming now via the band's website. To these ears, the album sounds like a mix of the layered production of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot combined with the more stripped down Sky Blue Sky. I'm wishing they would have sequenced "Wilco (The Song)" later in the album, instead of track one. Favorite tracks: "You and I" (with Feist,) "You Never Know," and "Everlasting Everything."

Todd Rundgren will perform his classic A Wizard, A Star album during a September performance in Akron. Tickets are on sale now, and a Rundgren junkie friend of mine tells me that a short tour featuring the album is rumored, but to play it safe, he bought tickets for the Akron performance and will come in from New York for the show. Something tells me that he won't be the only one!

My buddy Brian at Brokenheadphones has your first look at the new videos from 311 and Rancid. I've been listening to quite a bit of 311 lately on the Ipod - Music and Grassroots specifically. I would love to hear another great album from 311, but I'm not holding my breath.

Good ol Bear takes a look at the dirty words "tribute band," and spends some time talking about Shaw/Blades, one of my favorite projects of all time featuring Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades. I love that Bear is one of the 9 people besides me that bought the My Hallucination album.

Soundtrack Saturday at Popdose features the classic 80s flick Krush Groove. C'mon, you know you wanna check it out!

Gregor offers up a disc's worth of Altered Beast demos from Matthew Sweet, and I think that is part of a two disc compilation that I've got somewhere of Sweet demos from those first few albums. Choice stuff. There are a ton of Matthew Sweet b-sides and rarities floating around out there, so if you don't have any of them, this is a good place to start!

Go on over to Swap's house and find out how Led Zeppelin saved his ass!

Site Stuff:

Mel generated some reaction with her list of "bands that sold me out." Drop by and add your opinion if you haven't done so, already!

Kurt drops his first post full of lament about loudness wars and that darn new music stuff.

Kevin takes a crack at picking "the worst single of all time."

Check out our reviews of the Queensryche tour stop at House of Blues here in Cleveland, which we both loved, and hated!

That's what I've got for this week, folks!

Hope that ya'll have a great week!!

Cheers,

Matt