Today is: Tuesday September 25, 2018 | Status: Under Re-development | Version 2.99.03


Aimee Mann captivates the Barrymore audience

Aimee Mann brings “Mental Illness” to Madison’s Barrymore Theatre 5.2.17

by Sal Serio

After more than 30 years in the role of “Music Reviewer” I am happy to report that the activity hasn’t become rote and automatic. Because, often I am pleasantly surprised by the concert experience, especially when it is outside the limitations of my initial expectations. After being asked to review last night’s Aimee Mann concert at the Barrymore in Madison, I definitely walked away feeling like I got way more than I initially bargained for (in my mind, that is). Which clearly begs the question, what did I expect? Well, first let’s look at the latest release by Aimee Mann, titled ‘Mental Illness’, a beautifully crafted album of strong material, anchored by Mann’s driving acoustic guitar rhythms and her lilting singing style. The 11 songs are typically in an introspective, borderline melancholy mood, perfect for a rainy day. But this shouldn’t shock anybody. Mann’s nearly 25 year solo career has been founded on this sort of emotion… a dark humor balanced by melodies that stick in your head long after the record is off the turntable. Akin to watching an excellent drama, and having it’s major themes stuck in your subconscious for days or weeks after.


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Bob Dylan circa 1963

The Photography Show - Presented by AIPAD, March 30 - April 2, 2017, Pier 94, NYC

by Michael Sherer

Now in its 37th year, The Association of International Photography Art Dealers, (AIPAD), has been presenting its annual exhibition in New York City. This year it was at Pier 94 on 12th Ave at 55th Street. Featuring more than 85 prominent photography galleries from throughout the country, this is a major show indeed. There’s so much to see throughout the isles of this spacious venue. There’s a bar on hand as well. A variety of genres are on display, including contemporary, modern, nineteenth-century and photo-based media. There are also talks given by photographers and artists. This year I was especially keen on hearing veteran photographer Lee Friedlander. He and his wife Maria were interviewed by their grandson Giancarlo. They’re all in business together owning the longstanding Haywire Press, which publishes Lee’s work since he started photographing in the late ‘50’s. Much of that work is known for its urban “social landscapes,” with many of Lee’s images incorporating store-front reflections, structures outlined by fences, street signs, etc. He also loves jazz and took photos of many musicians of this American invented genre, including John Coltrane’s Giant Steps, that wound up on many covers of Atlantic Records in the ‘60’s.


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The Zombies

The Zombies - The Town Hall, NYC, 3.25.17

by Michael Sherer

I was quite pleased to be present for The Zombies’ last tour as it came through the most major of all its U.S. stops, my hometown of NYC. And what a venue to experience it, the fabled Town Hall, one of the oldest and charming venues in the city. Opened in 1921 in the Times Square area with a capacity of 1,500, its acoustics and sight lines are excellent, especially from my seat a few rows away from center stage.

Some contextual history for this band is in order. They were founded in 1961 in St. Albins, Hertfordshire, England by Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy, with Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joining soon after. All were late teenagers still in school. They were originally called The Mustangs, with Arnold suggesting changing it to the far more unique The Zombies. After scoring some hits, the band unfortunately broke up in December of 1967, months before their second record was released in April, 1968. That record, Odyssey & Oracle, is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. This final tour is to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its recording. It contains one of their best songs, written by Rod Argent, called “Time Of The Season.” It was a big hit, peaking at number 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1969, after building up from its release the year before.


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Saxon & UFO, BB King’s, NYC, 3.29.17

by Michael Sherer

With UFO being around since ‘69 and Saxon since ‘77, some vintage British hard rock rolled into NYC at BB King’s in Times Square. Saxon opened, and played their hits such as Denim and leather, Wheels Of Steel, Princess Of The Night, Crusader, Motorcycle Man and Strong Arm Of The Law.

Saxon are a prominent band in the movement called New Wave Of British Metal (NWOBM) that came about in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. Iron Maiden also came out of this movement and would go on to have the most mainstream and worldwide success. British Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the late 1970s, coinciding with the period of punk rock’s decline and the dominance of new wave music.


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Neal Schon of Journey rocking the Madison crowd!

Journey and Asia at the Coliseum in Madison 3.28.17

by Sal Serio

First, I must make a few disclosures in advance of this concert review. In a nutshell, I honestly did not know what to expect. My personal years of digging the band Journey were circa the ‘Infinity’ and ‘Evolution’ albums, so… late 1970s… geez, almost 40 years ago now. By the time they became a mega-huge pop band in the early 80s, my tastes in music had changed toward the more aggressive and/or more esoteric. Most of the Journey hits on classic rock radio were songs I truly disliked at the time they came out, since they directly flew in the face of my angry-young-man/anti-commercial attitude and lifestyle. However, we all age, and as a result we mellow out… one can’t stay an angry young man forever. Indeed, I now often find myself scouring the used record bins to reacquire LPs that I had in my youth that had been sold back in the hardcore punk rock days.

So, here I was on the evening of Tuesday, March 28, attending the Journey and Asia concert at the Coliseum in Madison as a member of the press. I had many ponderances and tried to avoid speculations. I wondered if there was still an audience for this type of concert in Madison, especially at a venue the size of the Coliseum, whose heyday was many decades earlier. I wondered if I would enjoy myself, or be caught in a quagmire of revulsion being lumped in with the members of my own generation that never went down the path of expanding their musical or artistic horizons, and never experienced anything alternative-whatsoever in their lifestyles. I wondered whether this concert would have energy and appeal. Generally speaking, I was wondering what I was getting myself in to.

And so… (cue Bugs Bunny) “tonight what heights we’ll hit, on with the show, this is it!”


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David Cassidy

David Cassidy - BB King’s, NYC, 3.4.17

by Michael Sherer

With David Cassidy, 66, retiring from touring this year due to the onset of hereditary dementia, I was glad to catch his last NYC appearance. Cassidy told a few stories to provide context to his 47 year career, and I’ll give some too here, as he’s had an interesting journey.

Cassidy explained from the stage that he chose BB King’s for his last NYC performance because he really likes the club and the late B.B. King himself, and due to it being in Times Square, which is where he made his acting debut in a Broadway musical. It was called The Fig Leaves Are Falling and it was in 1969 when Cassidy was 19. Although it closed after only four performances, a casting director saw it and asked Cassidy to do a screen test, whereby he moved from West Orange, New Jersey to Los Angeles and signed with Universal Studios soon after arriving. He then appeared in a few T.V. shows, but of course his big break came the following year when he landed the role as Keith Partridge in the show The Partridge Family. The program, which ran through March of 1974, was about a musical family with the lead being matriarch Shirley Jones, Cassidy’s actual step mother in real life. While Cassidy was signed primarily for his teen idol looks in addition to being able to act, he convinced the show’s musical producer Wes Farrell that he was good enough as a singer to be the family’s lead vocalist, rather than Jones, who was and is an actual singer. They then soon had a big hit with “I Think I Love You,” composed by Tony Romeo.


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