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LIVE SHOW REVIEWS


Lifehouse at the Rave in Milwaukee

Lifehouse

Live at the Rave in Milwaukee Nov. 11, 2010
by Paul Weber

When you think of bands with longevity, you may easily forget that Lifehouse has been releasing music since 2000. With their latest release, Smoke and Mirrors, the band adds to an already impressive list of well written, catchy songs. Its easy to see why the fans love Lifehouse. Between an endless list of songs that stick in your head to a polished live show they give you every dollars worth, and I would argue even more.


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Sevendust at the First Avenue in Minneapolis

Sevendust

Live at the First Avenue in Minneapollis on Nov. 5, 2010
by Paul Weber

There are few things worse than being excited about a band who has a great CD but when it comes time to deliver it live they fall short. With Sevendust, I am happy to say that is never a problem. In the tradition of other legendary touring bands such as Pantera, Sevendust brings the music to a new level during their live shows. From the stage at Woodstock, to the smaller sized venues like First Avenue, its all about the music and the fans. Sevendust gives 100 percent to their fans, and by the reaction at First Avenue, the fans loved every minute of it. With crushing songs like Denial, to the pit fueling Black, it is one solid song after another.


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Styx

Styx Live at the Beacon Theater

New York City, October 28, 2010
by Michael Sherer

How many artists or bands have the distinction of having four consecutive triple platinum albums? Very few. Styx was the first rock band to achieve this during the high flying long playing record sales era of the latter ‘70’s. ‘78 was the peak year for sales since the invention of the LP in ‘48. So why not take two of their records from their glory years, ‘77’s The Grand Illusion and its follow up, ‘78’s Pieces Of Eight, and perform them live, back to back, both in their entirety and song order? (With a twenty minute intermission between the sets.) That’s indeed what Styx is doing on their current U.S. tour. Hits and favorites like “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” were all on display.


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Billy Idol

Billy Idol

at Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC - 9/15/10
by Michael Sherer

When William Broad introduced the members of his band toward the end his great show, he referred to himself as “Billy fuckin’ Idol.” This reminded me, and I assume many of the approximate 2,500 fans present that this is one of the biggest music stars of the ‘80’s. I never saw him live then, but I was impressed with what I experienced now. Idol, 55, is probably less active on stage than he was in his 30’s, but his voice sounded about the same and he gave his all. So did everyone else in his band, which includes his original guitarist and co songwriter Steve Stevens (real last name is Schneider), rhythm guitarist Billy Morrison, bassist Stephen McGrath, drummer Jeremy Colson and keyboardist Derek Sherinian. Stevens, 51, is Idol’s side kick as well as the musical director, and has a strong following of his own. His trademark wild, black hair is still intact, albeit more tamed than its ‘80’s heyday. He played brilliantly and moved around quite a bit. For his solo, he incorporated some excerpts from Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, undoubtedly a big influence of his. When Idol introduced him at the end of the show as being from Far Rockaway, NYC, the crowd roared. This prompted Stevens to bow and give the peace sign.

The stage show is very cool and tasteful. It includes colorful and exciting lighting, an upper level plank type set up above the drums for Idol to stand and move on, and to do his signature fist pumping from. Three large drawings of Idol high above the stage appear intermittently in different sequences, and bright white lights that make up Idol’s face are particularly eye catching as they move in the darkness.

Most of Idol’s biggest hits were played, such as Rebel Yell, Dancing With Myself, Flesh For Fantasy, Eyes Without A Face and, of course, White Wedding. The Doors’ classic LA Woman was covered with much spirit and energy.

Idol is loosely in the punk rock category, although his music has always been very accessible and radio friendly. He was huge on MTV in the early and mid ‘80’s, the glory era for both him and the then new channel that was finding its way.

The band’s summer tour neared its finish when it rolled into NYC, the country’s biggest market and birthplace of the American punk scene when it broke at CBGB’s on The Bowery in the mid ‘70’s. This bloke from Middlesex, England couldn’t have been more welcomed in The Big Apple, where Idol lived during the ‘80’s. His fans at this 98 year old ballroom indeed had a ball as they made it amply clear to him that there’s no place like home.


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Deborah Harry of Blondie - Live at Nokia Theater in New York City

Blondie

Live at Nokia Theater in New York City - 8/31/2010
by Michael Sherer

Blondie made their hometown and enthusiastic crowd in the middle of Times Square proud. The band was in very good form, and front woman Deborah Harry sounded and looked great. The venue was very close to its full capacity at 2100. The stellar acoustics and spacious room was a big plus to the fun. This is a long way from their humble beginnings at the biker bar/dive CBGB’s on The Bowery in NYC during the mid to latter ‘70’s. This venue was formally the Astor Plaza movie theater until it became the Nokia Theater in ‘05. In early September of ‘10, it changed its name to the Best Buy Theater after the expiration of Nokia’s five year contract.

In addition to the audience being quite excited, so was Harry. Winding up their summer tour in their hometown was clearly a thrill for the band. Although Harry was actually raised in Hawthorne New Jersey by adoptive parents, she moved to NYC in the late ‘60’s. Co founder Chris Stein is from Brooklyn, as is original keyboardist Jimmy Destri. Original drummer and bassist Clem Burke and Gary Valentine, respectively, both hail from Bayonne, New Jersey. Harry made it clear that it was very special for them to be back where it all started for them. Since June, they had been far from home on their summer tour, covering the UK and Ireland.


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Michael Schenker soloing at Scatz, August 4, 2010

Michael Schenker Group

Scatz in Middleton - August 4, 2010
by Sal Serio

Those of you following former Scorpions and UFO guitarist Michael Schenker no doubt remember the days of his notorious no-shows in the 1990s. Well, several hundred faithful Wisconsin fans came and SAW the master of the Flying V show up and tear through a tight set at Scatz in Middleton on August 4th. While MSG’s vocalist was plagued with P.A. problems, Schenker and veteran rock drummer Carmine Appice were in fine form, treating the assembled metal maniacs to a slew of UFO tunes at the sets’ end: Lights Out, Rock Bottom, and Doctor Doctor! It was a night not to have missed.


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