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  • Show Reviews

    by Max Ink Staff Writers


    Phil Campbell & Lemmy - photo by Michael Sherer

    Phil Campbell & Lemmy - photo by Michael Sherer

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

    Show Review By Michael Sherer
    Posted: Sep 2015
    (2337) Page Views

    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 - photo by Sal Serio

    Ace Frehley at Diamond Jo Casino - photo by Sal Serio

    Ace Frehley at Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, IA
    September 11, 2015
    Show Review By Sal Serio
    Posted: Sep 2015
    (3841) Page Views

    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 - photo by Michael Sherer

    Carlos Santana - photo by Michael Sherer

    Santana - Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, NY, 8.14.15

    Show Review By Michael Sherer
    Posted: Sep 2015
    (2111) Page Views

    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 - photo by Michael Sherer

    Eddie Van Halen & David Lee Roth - photo by Michael Sherer

    Van Halen - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, 8.13.15

    Show Review By Michael Sherer
    Posted: Aug 2015
    (2268) Page Views

    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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    Ginger Baker - photo by Michael Sherer

    Ginger Baker - photo by Michael Sherer

    Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion - BB King’s, NYC, 6.17.15

    Show Review By Michael Sherer
    Posted: Jul 2015
    (2427) Page Views

    As is often the case with jazz based groups, this band said nothing as they took the small stage of BB King’s and began delivering their first song, “Footprints”, by saxophonist Wayne Shorter. (This was their sole cover song.) The only man to eventually speak throughout the set was Baker, and his first words were about how he was in hospital and at death’s door with pneumonia just a couple weeks prior, but that God didn’t want him yet. Baker added that he thanks the Almighty for that.

    Baker, 75, a habitual cigarette smoker for at least fifty five years and former heroin user for many years is actually quite lucky to be alive. He’s frail, but yet defies his outward weakened state when behind a drum set. Not with power, speed or flash, but with his lifelong gift of great timing, finesse, dynamics, accents and especially the difficult odd time signatures that pointedly separates him from the majority of rock drummers. Baker, after all, started as a jazz drummer in the ‘50’s, and has never left that mindset. If anyone in the audience was expecting even one Cream song, or anything resembling rock, they were in the wrong place. Baker, notoriously cantankerous and volatile, made it clear that has has no tolerance for any prodding from the crowd for such music. He summed this up by getting right to the point when quipping: “Hecklers Will Be Shot.”

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    Belle & Sebastian stinking up the Pabst Theater - photo by Sal Serio

    Belle & Sebastian stinking up the Pabst Theater - photo by Sal Serio

    Courtney Barnett
    Enduring the petty jealousy of Belle & Sebastian - Milwaukee, 6.19.15
    Show Review By Sal Serio
    Posted: Jun 2015
    (2506) Page Views

    I’m not sure who else recalls the sad condition of 1970s and 80s concerts when the headlining band would deliberately sabotage the opening group in various ways to ensure they would not be upstaged, but it seems those days have not entirely gone away. Truth be told, many elements of this concert pairing befuddled me. Diminutive yet charismatic Australian rocker Courtney Barnett has been surfing a wave of popularity, topping the CMJ charts, and appearing on major late night television programs. Yet, she was opening for boring old fart Scottish band Belle And Sebastian?

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    Todd Rundgren - photo by Bruce Alexander

    Todd Rundgren - photo by Bruce Alexander

    Todd Rundgren - The Highline Ballroom, NYC, 5.6.15

    Show Review By Bruce Alexander
    Posted: Jun 2015
    (1506) Page Views

    As he has been for well over forty years, Todd Rundgren is again out on tour promoting his new recording “Global.” Rundgren usually changes up his shows and it’s usually a mixed bag. This was certainly the case here.

    Rundgren was actually the only musician on stage. There was a DJ and two dancing girls dressed in futuristic space age disco jumpsuits. Rundgren came out dancing as well, and did some aerobics for good measure. This was all with psychedelic, trippy background strobe lighting. It was a very weird show

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    The Blues Magoos - photo by Bruce Alexander

    The Blues Magoos - photo by Bruce Alexander

    The Blues Magoos - The Bowery Electric, NYC, 5.23.15

    Show Review By Bruce Alexander
    Posted: May 2015
    (2238) Page Views

    The Blues Magoos is a band from the psychedelic past, and they’ve reemerged to put on great live shows as they always have. I just saw them in a small club in the East Village just like the old days. Having the two original main guys - guitarist/vocalist Peppy Castro and keyboardist Ralph Scala/lead vocalist made for a great night of mind blowing music.

    They started heir set with “Rush Hour,” a song from their classic record Electric Comic Book. They followed with more songs from that album. One was a B-Side called “Pipe Dream,” which was quite amazing.The band did a killer version of “Gloria,”  which had the whole crowd stomping. Peppy then introduced a new song, saying that he and Ralph it wrote while having food in Chinatown. It’s called “Crapo De Stinko,” and was quite amusing. They then performed another great tune from their ‘Psychedelic Lollipop” album called “Gotta Get Away,” which lead right into a rip roaring take on The Seeds’ “Pushing Too Hard.”

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     - photo by Bruce Alexander

    - photo by Bruce Alexander

    The Sonics - Irving Plaza, NYC - 4.7.15

    Show Review By Bruce Alexander
    Posted: May 2015
    (2159) Page Views

    The Sonics, a band formed in ‘60 in Tacoma Washington by then teen-aged guitarist Larry Parypa are still performing, which is quite amazing. The audience was a mix of young hipsters and older people that are the band’s contemporaries.

    This group were the original frat party band along with The Kingsman and The Wailers. With the Garage Rock Revival going strong they reformed in ‘07, (after a few other brief reformations), to play two sold out shows at Warsaw, a small club in Brooklyn, NYC.

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     - photo by Bruce Alexander

    - photo by Bruce Alexander

    Randy Bachman & The Heavy Blues Band - The Concert Hall, NYC, 4.25.15

    Show Review By Bruce Alexander
    Posted: Apr 2015
    (3022) Page Views

    Randy Bachman, a founding member of both The Guess Who and Bachman -Turner Overdrive was out with his great new band that contains two talented and attractive young women. Anna Ruddick, bass, was dressed in psychedelic striped bell bottoms and a fringe vest. Dale Anne Brendon, drums, rocked away behind the skins in a black tank top. The drums obscured the rest of her attire.

    Bachman, a very talented guitarist, took care of that. He mainly played a classic sunburst Gibson Les Paul.

    Bachman’s new record, titled “Heavy Blues”, is the impetus behind the touring, and there was plenty of blues played. It sounded great acoustically at The Concert Hall, a church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that’s a wonderful venue to hear and see performances.

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    Miles Davis - photo by Carole Reiff

    Miles Davis - photo by Carole Reiff

    Carole Reiff at AIPAD Photography Show, Park Avenue Armory, NYC - April 16 - 19, 2015

    Show Review By Michael Sherer
    Posted: Apr 2015
    (1797) Page Views

    This is the most interesting and far ranging photo show I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a lot. I look forward to it every year. The Association of International Photography Art Dealers is a collective that has been in existence since 1979, and exhibiting since 1980. They currently represent more than 120 leading world wide fine art galleries, with 89 of them participating this year, the 35th anniversary of of the exhibition. U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Asia were some of the counties represented.

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    Lily Tomlin - photo by Michael Sherer

    Lily Tomlin - photo by Michael Sherer

    Lily Tomlin - NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 3.22.15

    Show Review By Michael Sherer
    Posted: Apr 2015
    (1762) Page Views

    Lily Tomlin is a true talent and a veteran force in a comedy world that has far more men than women in its stand up milieu. Tomlin is an equally talented actress and can play any type. She’s also an accomplished writer and producer.

    This performance was strictly stand up, and Tomlin was all alone. Daunting indeed, but if Tomlin felt that, it didn’t show at all. The stage at Westbury is a rotating one, so that everyone will get a frontal view. It was stationary for this show though, which was a matinee.

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