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Tony MacAlpine

PSMS - BB King’s, NYC, 11.18.12

by Michael Sherer

On occasion, a group of musicians from various bands, which may include a solo artist or two, join together and form what’s often called a “super group.” The common denominator should be musicianship that’s off the charts, but often big egos match it, which can cause issues. If things go right though, there’s no stopping a colossal force like many such experiments turn out. PSMS most certainly are everything a progressive, heavy rock fan could hope for, and are such a super group.

The initials stand for Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Tony MacAlpine and Derek Sherinian. These are all crack musicians that are at the top of their game. Drummer Portnoy, 45, was a founding member of Dream Theater 25 years ago, and left the group in ’10. Bassist Sheehan, 59, was a founding member of Talas in the ‘70’s, as well as Mr. Big in the late ‘80’s. MacAlpine, 52, has been a solo artist since the mid ‘80’s. Sherinian, 45, has been a professional session and touring man since the late ‘80’s. They’ve all been heavy, progressive rock players in their own right, and together they continue in that genre, with enviable ferocity and combined skill level. Their cohesive abilities push each other even higher than usual, and they clearly love playing together. This show concluded what I trust was an exhausting 22 date tour of Europe, Israel, Russia and Asia. It was their only U.S. gig.

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Greensky Bluegrass 9/28/2012 at the Majestic Theatre

Greensky Bluegrass 9/28/2012 at the Majestic Theatre

by Sal Serio

I like living in the capital city of Madison, Wisconsin, but it sure is “feast or famine” sometimes when it comes to cultural offerings. Last Friday, September 28th, the feast was definitely ON, and quite a bounty it was! The evening got off to a rocking, lubricated start with a free concert on King Street by The Hold Steady, and well before their set had reached it’s last crunchy, eardrum-rattling, power chord, the fragrant jamgrass faithful were lining up in front of the Majestic Theatre to see the late night Greensky Bluegrass concert.

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Sam Moore at the City Winery in New York City 7/17/2012

Sam Moore, City Winery, NYC, 7.17.12

by Michael Sherer

After fifty years on the scene, soul legend Sam Moore still has the pipes and presence to stir up his audiences around the world, and in this case the intimate and tasteful City Winery in downtown NYC was the spot. Moore, of course, is half of the dynamic duo Sam & Dave, an act who’s stage moves and energy in the ‘60’s were in the same league as the late James Brown. Their company to do what they did was few and far between. At 77, Sam is now quite subdued, but with his voice and conviction intact, he was a pleasure to hear live. The fine acoustics of the venue allows for an instrument, including a voice as rich as Moore’s, to sound natural and clear.

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Ronnie Spector

Ronnie Spector

by Michael Sherer

It was nearly fifty years ago when Ronnie Bennett, then 16 and living in Spanish Harlem, went with her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra to audition for a record producer on the rise, Phil Spector. He would become known for his “Wall Of Sound” and being a hit machine in the first half of the ‘60’s. Spector, originally from the Bronx, was bowled over within seconds of hearing lead singer Ronnie vocalize. He excitedly exclaimed that this was the sound that he’d been searching for. He immediately signed them to his two year old Philles record label and christened them The Ronettes. They were to be one of Spector’s flagship acts, and set a high bar for all such “girl groups” to follow.

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Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley

Vans Warped Tour - Milwaukee, WI

by Joanna Fox

Founded in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, the Vans Warped Tour is one of the largest alternative music tours in North America. For the first time in 14 years the tour will be going overseas to visit London this November.

Even on the walk from the parking lot to the entry gates, anyone can tell that today belongs to Warped Tour. Crowds of people old and young anxiously await a day filled with sunburns, lost shoes, and more live music than most of this year’s newbies have seen in their entire lives. Every color of hair dye imaginable can be identified with a quick sweep of the crowd and half the day’s attendees haven’t even shown up yet. Local musicians mingle and promote their bands latest endeavors. As the clock strikes 11:30am the first of many sets starts as fans pour into the Marcus Amphitheater grounds.

From the moment one enters, there is no escaping the music. With 86 scheduled performances spread over 8 stages on today’s lineup, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From the mosh pit inducing breakdowns of headliners Of Mice & Men, to the scandalous rhymes of T. Mills, to the reggae jams of The Green, and even an acoustic performance by Thursday’s Geoff Ricky. There will be no lack of happy festival goers today.
As the lineup of headlining bands work the main Kia Rio/Soul stages, fans work their way in and out of the main amphitheater, but at no point from the opening of the gates to a good half hour after the last performance are the areas in front of the stage empty. Fans pack the floor and most of the lower level seating in anticipation of their favorite bands taking the stage and when they do, the floor turns into a sea of bobbing heads, mosh-pits, crowd surfers, and bodies jumping to the beat of the kick drum.

When festival goers aren’t aurally fixed on the various stages they can often be found perusing Tent City, network of booths dedicated to band merchandise, information from non-profit organizations, and even a cell phone charging station.

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