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Michael Schenker in Milwaukee, March 18, 2018

Michael Schenker Fest obliterates the Pabst in Milwaukee! 03.18.18

by Sal Serio

For a Sunday night, guitar legend Michael Schenker and band did not hold anything back for those who needed to get up early the next morning. I knew going in to this that it was a long show, but I was still unprepared for just exactly how expansive and what an incredible event the Michael Schenker Fest concert was. Any fans of Schenker’s career, especially but not exclusively the Michael Schenker Group years, should not miss this experience. Again, it was a Sunday night in Milwaukee, and the day after Saint Paddy’s Day to boot, but there was not fatigue and hangover in the air, rather a bristling electric excitement from the moment I walked in to the ornate and welcoming lobby of the historic Pabst Theater. From the look of the audience’s black t-shirts, many longtime Schenker fans were in attendance, but quite a few younger faces were present as well.

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Denis Gagné of The Musical Box, at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, March 8, 2018

The Musical Box at the Orpheum Theater, 03.08.18

by Sal Serio

A small but enthusiastic crowd assembled for this concert, and as the lights dimmed and the stage was bathed in fluorescent black lights, the five musicians launched in to “Watcher Of The Skies”, and it was obvious this was going to be a top-tier production. Adding to this excellence was a pristine audio presentation by the sound man; indeed, this may have been the most impeccable sound I have ever experienced in the Orpheum. Vocalist Denis Gagné was dressed in long black cape with striking chiaroscuro make-up on, made more intense illuminated by the black lights. Adding to the contrast were the other four musicians dressed in all white, while Gagné was in black. The current presentation by The Musical Box is an exact reproduction of the 1974 Genesis U.S. Tour titled “The Black Show”. As such, the second song of the evening was “Dancing With The Moonlit Knight”. Sébastien Lamothe, the Mike Rutherford member, faithfully and exceptionally played Rickenbacker double-neck 12-string and bass, with bass foot pedals, while Gagné accompanied with celestial flute. Stoic guitarist Francois Gagnon stayed seated for the entire performance, surrounded by vintage effects pedals.

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Anthrax live at the Eagles Ballroom

Killswitch Engage/Anthrax - Killthrax Tour

by Emily Sisson

Personally, I grew up attending every concert I could afford to attend. I came from a family with a musical background and I always felt the most memorable moments were ones spent going to concerts with my best friend or father. Sure it was $40-$50 of my money that could have been spent on T-shirts or lunch, but that ticket was a sure sign that I would have a unique memory and story. The Anthrax and Killswitch Engage “Killthrax” show in Milwaukee WI was no different.

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Jann Wenner in conversation with Alex Gibney, 92Y, NYC, 11.1.17

by Michael Sherer

Rolling Stone magazine is fifty years old. Jann Wenner, 71, was 24 when he founded the then newspaper form publication in San Francisco with the help of veteran Bay Area journalist Ralph Gleason. (The magazine relocated to NYC, Wenner’s hometown, in 1977.)

Wenner was in conversation with Alex Gibney, the director of a new documentary called ‘Rolling Stone - Stories From The Edge,’ released by HBO. An engaging discussion between the men was enjoyed in an intimate theater at the 143 year upper east side old institution 92Y.

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Noah Gundersen High Noon Saloon

Noah Gundersen with Silver Torches

by John Noyd

A healthy helping of heart and soul powered Noah Gundersen’s Thursday night show at Madison’s High Noon Saloon. The five-piece band doubled up on keyboards and percussion to deliver a well-coordinated arsenal combating existential crises with ballistic conviction and social afflictions with vengeful chords. From the light-drenched staging to the well-executed pacing, Gundersen threw out musical life-lines and walked emotional tight-ropes with breathless power-ballads exuding a David and Goliath vibe, uniting the crowd and rallying hope all the while seamlessly moving from full band to trio then solo and back to full band. Opening with the slow burning, “After All,” and closing with the climatic, “Bad Desire,” the evening never stopped changing dynamics. A rotating wheel of funeral pyre finales and flickering intimate interludes that inspired alliances between dancing air-guitarists and romantic mosh-pit singers.
A far cry from his simpler acoustic folk beginnings, Gundersen’s recent album, “White Noise,” shows an artist whose compound sound drives earnest certainty into parading crusades and self-conflicting benedictions into crucial resolutions. In performance, the lengthier tunes like, “Cocaine, Sex and Alcohol,” and, “New Religion,” blossomed in epic connections dredging deep and soaring high as sister Abby’s violin swept through brother Jonny’s lusty drumming and ace guitarist in the shadows fleshed out Noah’s passionate passages with delicate intensity while supporting the roaring choruses with finely-tuned fury.
Opener Silver Torches consisted of lead singer Erik Walters playing a solo acoustic set that drew incredible fire from his bold, rich vocals for a ferocious busking of his new rockin’, “Let It Be A Dream.” Both acts took time to remove the spotlight from themselves and point out they had brought on tour a spokesperson for SOS Children’s Villages, an independent, non-governmental international development organization which has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children since 1949. A giant clue as to Erik and Noah’s focus in song and beyond, their grateful sincerity filled the night. Frankly, compassion never sounded so fierce or so good.

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