Written by: Matt Wardlaw
I am WAY jealous of the residents of Santa Monica, CA, and their opportunity at the end of this week to catch one hell of a triple bill.
Locally based California studs Venice, the coolest band of brothers and cousins that I've ever came across in my time as a music fan, are part of a very cool benefit show happening in Santa Monica on Saturday night at Santa Monica High School.
The Venice boys will be joined by the king of the 80's sneer, Billy Idol, and classic rocker Dave Mason for one unforgettable evening at the For The Arts Benefit Concert, loaded top to bottom with an enviable setlist of hits. For those of you that are familiar with the Venice covers side project Pine Mountain Logs, the pairing with Dave Mason will make complete sense. But I'm highly intrigued by Idol's presence on the bill. There are a lot of cool setlist possibilities, and I'd LOVE to see the Venice boys back Idol for a killer version of "Eyes Without A Face!"
Fans that caught the Venice performance over the weekend at Topanga Days Festival got a nice preview of this weekend's performance when Billy Idol joined Venice onstage during their set to perform "Dancing With Myself," "Rebel Yell," and Idol's signature cover of "Mony, Mony."
Venice will stop by The Mark and Brian Show on Wednesday morning between 9am and 10am PST to chat about the Santa Monica benefit concert, and perform a track with Billy Idol. You can stream the interview and performance right here.
Some tickets are still available for Saturday night's benefit in Santa Monica, and you can purchase them right here. If you haven't ever seen Venice, I can't stress enough what a great first show this would be.
The band performed at a similar benefit concert earlier this year with Michael McDonald, Tommy Shaw, and Christopher Cross to rave reviews, and if you haven't been, these shows are always a ton of fun. I'd love to be at this one, but sadly the ATV travel budget is a bit depleted with Bonnaroo on the way.
I'll leave you with some sample material to dig into, including a recent video performance of the Venice original "Weight Has Been Lifted," that was edited by longtime Venice fan and site webmaster Matt Levitz. Directly below that, you'll find fan-shot video of two of my absolute favorite Venice tunes back-to-back, "World On My Back" and "Time On My Hands."
For your enjoyment, check out some Pine Mountain Logs live videos as well!
And for all of your Venice info, check out the band's website here.
I like the lighting/sound on the following video just a bit more, so here's an additional performance of "Time On My Hands," because you can never have enough live performances of "Time On My Hands." This one was filmed at the special Lennon Lounge concert earlier this year.
I'll leave you with a couple of heavy hitter endorsements:
“Venice is the best vocal group in America right now. They're better than anybody else I know. They're fantastic. I’m a student of harmony.
That’s my thing. I love all kinds of harmony. But I particularly love theirs, because it’s so natural. It’s not like anybody else’s. Very unforced, very from their hearts. I’ve been telling people about them since the first night I heard them. I’ve told everybody I could find that they were the best. This is my favorite band in the world.”
"Venice, one of my favorite bands, is quintessentially Californian, with soaring harmonies. We’ve played together at numerous benefits and at each other's concerts. What they do is sing amazingly. There are two lead singers, there are four harmony parts a lot of the time, and what it most resembles is CSN, or sometimes Sly and the Family Stone. Well, anything unique is pretty hard to describe, but that's the general musical terrain. They sing and play their asses off, and I have seen them knock out many an unsuspecting crowd. On two separate occasions I booked them for large outdoor venues where we were doing benefits and they took the audiences, who had not come to see them, completely by surprise. It's such a pleasure to play with these guys, because they have that power."
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
Some of the most talented musicians on the planet seem to get lost sometimes in the liner notes, next to the more recognizable "star" power. Billy Sheehan has luckily gotten more notice than some of his peers, and maybe a little bit of that has something to do with the fact that he's so frikkin' tall, but it's likely that it has even more to do with his legendary skills on four strings. Chances are, you know Sheehan's name from the celebrated Eat 'Em and Smile lineup of David Lee Roth's solo career, as a member of Mr. Big, Talas, his work with Steve Vai, and the list goes on and on.
As a musical nerd who really digs the cats like drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Stu Hamm, and guitarist Steve Lukather, Sheehan was of course one of the early names that wound up on my list of players that were just a ton of fun to watch, visually. My "nerd-out" record of 2008 was Lukather's Ever Changing Times, and like a rock to the head, along comes Holy Cow!, the new solo entry from Sheehan making sure that I won't find my "nerd-out" musical category lacking in 2009.
It's a bass player's record, which means that unlike OU812 and Justice, you can actually HEAR the bass on this one. And let's face it, some of these solo excursions can get pretty damn artistic, which is thankfully avoided by Holy Cow!. In fact, this album is a must for fans of King's X, Eric Gales Band, and yes, Mr. Big. While it isn't a King's X record, or even a solo record from a King's X member (although it does feature a guest vocal on a track from King's X vocalist Dug Pinnick,) I think that King's X fans in particular will enjoy Holy Cow!. The sound of Holy Cow! flies comfortably in the zone of what many fans (myself included) have come to love about King's X - AND it contains the SONGS that in my opinion have been missing from some of the more recent King's X efforts.
But this is a Billy Sheehan album, not a King's X album, and what you'll quickly learn from listening to it is that Sheehan is just as comfortable playing guitar as he is playing the bass. Sheehan plays the bulk of the instrumentation on the album himself (14 tracks total, including 3 bonus tracks for the U.S. release,) handling all vocals, bass, guitars, and even some harmonica. Drummer Ray Luzier (DLR Band, Army of Anyone, Korn) lays down the thud on Holy Cow! and the whole thing is wrapped together with an in your face mix that really shreds. In addition to Luzier and Pinnick, Sheehan managed to dial a few more digits in his cell phone for guest appearances, including, um, Billy Gibbons, who drops some sleazy Texas riffing on "A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To Ya Ev'ry Time."
The fretwork blisters to a fever pitch on "Dynamic Exhilarator" revealing the arrival of fellow Mr. Big bandmate Paul Gilbert on lead guitar, which might inspire some to remove their Holy Cow! artwork and rename it Holy F*ck! For ye who are in search of some instrumental wank, "Dynamic Exhilarator" will do ya right.
Holy Cow! is one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable albums that I've received this year, and really, I don't know why I was so surprised that it is so good. It's Billy Sheehan, folks!
Here's a coupla sample tracks to feed your ears and after you hear these, you'll be heading out to get your own Holy Cow!
Billy Sheehan - A Lit'l Bit'l Do It To Ya Ev'ry Time (with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top)
Purchase Holy Cow! from Amazon - CD or MP3more
Written by: Matt Wardlaw
I've been ill over the past 24 hours after reading D.X. Ferris's rundown of the downward spiral of Phil Lara and the Jigsaw Entertainment Group. In the past couple of years, Lara has purchased or taken a controlling interest in 4 prominent Cleveland-area landmarks - The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, Peabody's Down Under, The Hi-Fi Concert Club, and the world famous Cleveland Agora.
What sounds like a recipe for trouble has become a lot worse, and Ferris chronicles the downfall, with several big reveals, including this:
Since Lara's team took over, the Agora has bounced checks for big shows, including a December concert by Dragonforce and a sold-out, two-night stand by Akron's Black Keys, with tickets at $28.50 a pop. "I don't think we will ever play there again," says Keys drummer Patrick Carney.
Lara declines to guess how many checks his clubs have bounced. Laeng, the former Jigsaw GM, estimates the number around 500. He says he's never knowingly written a bad one. One of his last loyal soldiers says that's possible.
I'm not going to comment on this much, except to say that it makes me sick to have a lot of friends that have lost employment as a result of this mess, during the current economic times where finding employment is already challenging. Some of my worst fears regarding the business practices of the Jigsaw Entertainment Group have come true, with the potential loss of The Jigsaw Saloon and Stage, a Parma staple and landmark for over 30 years, and the amount of damage that has been done financially, and credibility-wise, to the Cleveland Agora.
I'm disappointed but not surprised to read the quote from Patrick Carney. I would have expected to read a quote like that from a national band, but not from a "hometown" group like The Black Keys. I can understand why they would be pissed about getting screwed on payment for two completely sold out shows, but in the context of this article, which is about an individual, Carney's statement is a heavy quote that has little to do with Phil Lara, and one that will go far beyond the Scene article and ultimately hurt the Agora's ability to get shows.
Read the complete article here.
And in other news.....
On a much lighter note......let's continue onward with some musical stuff!
In less than a year, my good pal Brian from Broken Headphones has turned out some pretty cool interviews with folks that you don't hear a lot about these days, including Stompbox (one of my personal faves,) Face to Face frontman Trevor Keith, and his most recent interview with Todd Kowalski of Propaghandi.
Propaghandi is one of those bands that make me think of high school, and my friends Casey and Steve, who were both fans of the band. Thanks to them, I knew plenty about them, and they also introduced me to bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, All, Season to Risk, and so many more.
That's probably one good reason why Brian and I are such good friends - he writes about a lot of music that I'm not personally familiar with, but thanks to Brian, I've learned a little bit more after I read his stuff. Broken Headphones also has a review of the new NOFX DVD Backstage Passport. Check that out right here.
Sound The Alarm!
Good ol' Swap over at TheFrontloader.Com takes a look at one of my favorite bands, The Alarm, and their Strength release. Life for me got a little bit better the first time that I heard The Alarm and "Sold Me Down The River" from the Change album. As compilations go, The Alarm Standards package is one that pops up fairly often in my musical listening travels. "Devolution Workin' Man Blues," "The Stand," "The Road," and of course, "Sixty-Eight Guns" - love 'em all! I'd love to see a show from Mike Peters and crew in my neck of the woods someday soon!
The Alarm - Sold Me Down The River
Swap also has some tunage for you from John Mayer, someone that I've become a big fan of in the past few years. Standing in Illinois at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007, I finally paid attention to John Mayer, and quickly became a convert.
Bruce and Bono = Paradise
Pete at Blogness had a bit of fun churning up the rumor mill with this post, and what I really enjoyed about it all was the tasty video rendition of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" that was at the end of the post. Taken from U2's 2005 Rock Hall induction, how did I miss this one? I must have been sleeping during all of the coverage pre/post, and during the ceremonies!
The Ultimate Drinking Mixtape!
I almost left this one out! Popdose made sure that St. Paddy's Day 2009 went down in style with a mixtape featuring "116 minutes of pure malt goodness" featuring tunes from Social D, The Hold Steady (Hey Jason, Hey Narm!) The Replacements, my man Willie Nelson, and many, many more. Even if you're drinking nothing stronger than Dr. Pepper (the officially endorsed drink of Addicted to Vinyl,) you'll enjoy the heck out of this one.
Drink up and be merry! Welcome to the China Club!more