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Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson - The Town Hall, NYC, 10.21.15

by Michael Sherer

I find that versatility and having the ability to combine a cross range of musical genres is one of the most important qualities to posses. Joe Jackson, pianist, keyboardist, saxophonist, harmonica player, composer, lyricist and singer, certainly has it. And so does his band, as he’s not going to have any slouches with him. They combine jazz, swing, classical, rock, blues, salsa, techno, dance and more.

Jackson, 61, (born David Ian Jackson) has been recording since 1979, after being signed by A & M Records. He’s been prolific, having released nineteen more since his debut. Jackson’s latest was released early last month by Caroline/Universal. Titled Fast Forward, Jackson still sounds inspired and has always stayed true to his muse and broadening musical forays.


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Shirley Manson of Garbage

Garbage with Torres at the Orpheum Theater Madison, WI

Garbage celebrates Twenty Years Queer 10/18/15
by John Noyd

Declaring their intentions right from the start, Garbage kicked off their sold-out Madison show with, “Subhuman,” and the line, “burn down your all your idols.” Dropping the curtain for, ” Supervixen,” the band exposed a well-oiled machine engulfed in blinding lights and purple haze with pink princess, Shirley Manson holding court. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their self-titled debut, the Twenty Years Queer tour spotlights the heady years of 1995-96 with a robust roster of international hits, b-sides and covers. Even the pre-show music of Cornershop and Stereo MCs circled around those transformational years when Garbage exploded on the scene with their techno-funky synthesis of rock and electronics; flirting with convention and trashing preconceived notions of gender and power.

As the city where much of this all started, Madison greeted the band with unchecked adoration, gobbling up every reference to Madtown Ms. Manson threw out, turning the Orpheum into a mosh-pit of mutual appreciation among old friends. “This is our home away from home,” Shirley announced at the beginning of their exhaustive two hour performance and soon followed it up with stories of being hammered at Cafe Montmartre, flying into Madison for the first time and her experiences with downtown hotels from cockroaches to yellow satin waterbeds.


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Phil Campbell & Lemmy

Motörhead - Nikon At Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, NY, 9.16.15

by Michael Sherer

It’s been forty years since a thirty year old Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister started Motörhead in London, England. The band name is a slang term for a user of amphetamine. Many line up changes and fifteen million album sales later, the only constant throughout the four decades is Lemmy being at the helm, and a band that plays nasty, greasy, fast and loud rock and and roll throughout the world. Unfortunately, Lemmy has been drinking Jack Daniels and Coke and smoking a whole lot of cigarettes for over fifty years, and his health has been declining. Unfortunately, it may spell the end of touring soon.

With this very much in mind, I was determined to make the trek from Manhattan to Jones Beach, Long Island to see them for the first time. I was also keen on catching the opening act, Anthrax. Motörhead’s speed and aggression influenced legions of bands that followed them, Anthrax being one in the early 1980’s. They were in top form here, and are surely proud to be on the bill with Motörhead.


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Ace Frehley at Diamond Jo Casino

Ace Frehley at Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, IA

September 11, 2015
by Sal Serio

September 11th… a date that will live in infamy. Not only because of the tragedy in New York City and Pennsylvania in 2001, but because of the brutal rock ‘n roll concert that completely leveled Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2015! This show was apocalyptic! Another conspicuous anniversary was that this Dubuque concert was almost 40 years to the day since the definitive live album of the 1970s, ‘KISS Alive!’, was released.

The large concert room at Diamond Jo’s (named the Mississippi Moon Bar) has always been a favorite concert venue of mine because of it’s comfort level, excellent sight lines, and the sound is typically impeccable. The Ace Frehley concert on 9-11 was no exception… but, now if they could only do something about the train tracks on 5th Street that lead in to the casino. I literally waited almost a half hour for the train to move out of the intersection so I could get to the place!


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Carlos Santana

Santana - Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, NY, 8.14.15

by Michael Sherer

Carlos Santana has a new and first time all Spanish language CD out called Corazón, and he’s on tour for it. He’s been performing since the late 1960’s, getting a huge and very early break with 1969’s Woodstock Festival in upstate New York with approximately 500,000 people in attendance. Venues and its audiences are a big part of the concert experience. For this concert, a tennis stadium in Queens, NYC was the locale. Opened in 1923, the newly renovated and reopened Forest Hills Stadium has about 13,500 seats, with some 1,200 of them having been added in the lower section. It’s been about twenty years since the was last used for a concert, and it was ‘77 that it ceased to be used for professional tennis and the U.S. Open championship.

The place looked to be at full capacity, with a wide cross section of fans. This is a very good thing, as it’s indicative of timeless and quality music that appeals to all ages, ethnicities and genders. Santana himself is of Mexican descent, and grew up in the Bay Area of Northern California. San Francisco was, of course, an absolute hotbed of counter cultural activity during Santana’s formative years, so he was in the right place at the right time.


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Eddie Van Halen & David Lee Roth

Van Halen - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 8.13.15

by Michael Sherer

Since 2007, Van Halen has consisted of Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen (son of Eddie and former wife Valerie Bertinelli) and original singer David Lee Roth. One wouldn’t be able to guess that Dave and the rest of Van Halen, especially he and Eddie, had a falling out in 1985 that led to twenty three year split when seeing them hit the stage at Jones Beach in Long Island, New York for their first of two shows there. The first thing we saw was Alex sit down at his sprawling drums. Then came Dave and Eddie sauntering out, spinning around arm-in-arm, and shaking hands while grinning at each other. Finally, Dave kissed Eddie’s hand.

Dave has said that they had the same same old conflicts immediately upon his return to the band, but my solid guess is that the joy and excitement of playing together in the group that they were in since the mid ‘70’s, and in front of huge adoring crowds, makes that go away for the duration of the performances. Surveying the packed audience of about 15,000, I saw a lot of guys in their 40’s and ‘50’s cheering them on. I fit right in as a 45 year old.


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