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Elias Soriano of Nonpoint 5-21-13 at the Orpheum Theater in Madison

Nonpoint Slays The Orpheum In Madison

May 21, 2013
by Sal Serio

“Did you miss us?” ROAAAAAAARRRRRRRR! This was how Nonpoint cannonballed their way into a 50 minute sweaty, impassioned, high-octane hard rock set of musical solidarity May 21st in Madison. The only thing wrong with that report is the “50 minute” part… I mean, really? Nonpoint has a fervored fanatical following here in the Mad City… and they got billed as an OPENING ACT? To a trendy, kitschy, flavor-of-the-moment act? Utterly ridiculous, but let’s dwell on the positives.


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Joel O'Keeffe of Airbourne tearing it up at the Frequency, April 17, 2013

Airbourne and Convoy

Rock and Roll On The Rocks, at The Frequency, 4-17-13
by Sal Serio

When you’re on a roll, it’s best not to upset the balance. Lately, I have been picking the BEST rock shows to attend, and this streak has been consistently smokin’ HOT! Without question, one of my most anticipated shows of this Spring was the fist-pumpin’ power-chord double-bill of Australia’s mighty Airbourne, and the Chicago area’s main contenders, Convoy. Not only were my expectations fully met, but far, far, exceeded! The pure spirit of sweat, volume, and energy, had this show rocketing the stratosphere from the opening notes.

The atmosphere inside Madison’s Frequency rock emporium was surely one of anticipation when the doors opened at 8:00. Since the bands were still sound checking, basically the club’s bar area went from empty to cram-packed instantaneously, as we all grabbed drinks and waited to get in to the band area. This was definitely a “black t-shirt concert event” with many fired-up head-bangers donning their Airbourne apparel from past aural assaults.


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The Consequence of Being Crystal

by Mario R. Martin

The third installment in the Crystal Castles legacy was released in late 2012, just in time to become the soundtrack for the demise of music, as we know it.


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Bill Dickens

Icons of Funk - Highline Ballroom, NYC, 2.5.13

by Michael Sherer

The nicely-renovated Highline Ballroom, with its couches and tables on the sides and inviting atmosphere, was an ideal venue for these Icons of Funk. From start to finish, the audience was enveloped with the deeply resonating, bad-ass bass grooves of Bill Dickens. It was this that struck me first, especially as it shook the house much like the old elevated trains that used to inhabit the area would have while they ripped past.

While some casual listeners of music aren’t aware of just how literally fundamentally imperative the bass is, and completely so in black orientated music, this listener couldn’t be more cognizant. Dickens knows it so well that he was armed with a white, gold pegged, SEVEN stringed extended bass. (Probably custom made) This provided ranges above and below what a standard four string allows. Bottom line? (Pun intended) MF’s like Dickens unleash seemingly rather simple bass lines that are the most responsible element of the sound that makes people move and dance. In reality, cats like Dickens, and the number one influence on them all, the late, great and sometimes uncredited James Jamerson of the Motown house band, make it seem easy to play like this, but it isn’t. If one doesn’t have the right feel and funk within, one just can’t do it right.


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Al Schnier of moe. Feb. 8, 2013, at the Capitol Theater in Madison.

moe. - back in the Madison saddle again!

Feb. 8, 2013, at the Capitol Theater in Madison
by Sal Serio

Sometimes bands are like sports teams, and when one member of the team is under the weather (or injured in a sporting contest), someone else has to step up and give more than 100% to make up for the loss. This was the scenario when the progressive rock jam band moe. came back to Madison after an eight year absence.


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Dweezil Zappa at the Barrymore in Madison 12-8-12

Zappa Plays Zappa

Dec. 8, 2012, at Madison's Barrymore Theatre
by Sal Serio

I have no way of really adding up all the bands that I’ve seen over the years at the Barrymore, but I would guess it would have to be well over one thousand at this point. There’s been some incredible events to be sure, many of my favorite bands… the Meat Puppets, Butthole Surfers, Todd Rundgren, Cheap Trick, Emmylou Harris, Hawkwind… way too many to list. However, there was something really special about the Zappa Plays Zappa concert that took place December 8th. For one thing, I don’t think any concert has ever sounded this crystal clear and pristine in the Barrymore, which generally has pretty good acoustics, but this was just exemplary. There was also a genuine buzz in the air, like all the attendees knew they were in for something truly special and unique.


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