Category Archives: Music News

Focused specifically on what’s of interest in the world of Rock News.

Orlando Jai Alai Fronton – Historic Rock ‘n Roll Venue

When I heard that the Marshall Tucker Band was playing the Orlando Jai Alai Fronton I was surprised. I never picked it as the right atmosphere for a rock show. So, when I trekked out to Fern Park to review the band, I was just as curious to check out the venue as I was the show. As it turned out, it was an excellent experience. (Check out the concert review here)

The Jai Alai can accommodate around 1,200 fans, with every seat fairly close to the stage. The stage is set-up on the playing surface, with the seating area being narrow and wide. The result is that there are only about 20 rows of seats, giving the venue an intimate feel. I’d strongly recommend the seats within the first 10 rows or so (anything under Row G) as the seats are huge and comfortable with copious leg room.

During the Marshall Tucker show, the sound system was excellent. There were a few issues with a buzz on one of the guitars, but that appeared to be an issue with the band’s equipment.

After returning from the show, I researched the Jai Alai venues after hearing Marshall Tucker front man Doug Gray comment about playing the venue in the 70’s. I was surprised to learn that huge acts such as Bruce Springsteen, U-2, Kiss and David Bowie have played there. I’ll definitely keep my eyes out for another opportunity to see a show here and hopefully catch some other future rock legends.

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

  • Plenty of free parking on-site
  • There were about a dozen seats available literally on the stage
  • Decent bar selections at decent prices
  • Security strongly discouraged folks from standing during the show

Central Florida April Concert Calendar

After a rocking March, we’re in for another great month for Rock And Roll Animals who love live Rock ‘n Roll  There are a few interesting shows headed to Central Florida, as well as a cool festival in a beautiful part of the state.

Van Halen

Yup, they’re still together after six weeks on the road.  I’m surprised, but that’s good news for Floridians.  They’re one of the rare big acts to hit all three major Central Florida venues. Thu, Apr 12 in Orlando at Amway Center, Sat, Apr 14 at Tampa Bay Times Forum and Mon, Apr 16 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. When they are on top of their game they are one of the best acts around.

Orlando

4/12, Daughtry – saw him just after his American Idol success and the band put on a good show. He’s at The Hard Rock Cafe for those folks not headed out to see Van Halen.

4/13, Marshall Tucker – the classic rockers are at The Orlando Jai Alai.  Interesting venue selection, but sometimes these shows are nice surprises.

4/19 – 4/21, Florida Music Festival – Diverse festival at locations around the area. The Dirty Heads, Filter and Candlebox are the big attractions, but there’s tons of offerings for new and emerging artists, too such as two of our favorites The Dropa Stone and Jackie Bristow. Check out their site here: Florida Music Festival

4/25, Say  Anything – they’re at The Beacham with Kevin Devine and Fake Problems

4/26, Lit – this month’s Velvet Sessions at Hard Rock Hotel is a good one.  These guys rock and put on a great show.  And you know how much we love this intimate little gathering place.

Tampa Area

4/11. Daughtry – Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater

4/12, Marshall Tucker – this time they hit the fairground circuit with WAR.  Sounds cool to us; Manatee County Fairgrounds

4/20, Candlebox – they hit Jannus Live in St. Pete.

4/20, Dick Dale – this one is intriguing.  Dick Dale is the greatest surf rock guitarist ever, and is just basically a guitar god.  He’s at State Theater in St. Pete.

4/21, Filter – Another good live act with a powerful show. You can catch them at State Theater, too.

4/24, Elvis – This guy is hit or miss. We’ve seen Mr. Costello rock and also seen him kind of suck.  If you want to roll the dice, he’ll be at Ruth Eckard Hall in Clearwater.

4/27, Lit – State Theater

4/28, 98 Rockfest – The Tampa Bay Times Forum will be rocking. Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch and Evanescence headline this big show.

4/28, Sister Hazel – Gainesville rockers head West.  They usually put on a solid show.

4/28. Greg Lake – fantastic and under-appreciated musician. Highly recommended. He’s also at The Capitol Theater in Clearwater on the 30th.

Jacksonville

4/6, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Fun, fun stuff, and a BIG sound. They are a blast and you can see them at Cafe Eleven

4/10, Candlebox – Maverick’s

4/15, Daughtry – Moran Theater

4/27, Elvis Costello – Florida Theater

4/28, Rise Against – Help is on the way, Jacksonville! Get your hard rock fix at St. Augustine Amphitheater

4/29, Greg Lake – continues criss-crossing the state; he’s at Florida Theater

4/29, Welcome to Rockville – take Tampa’s 98 Rockfest and kick it up a notch or two by adding Korn and P.O.D. Powerful.  They’ll all be at Metropolitan Park.

Rock By The Sea

How about a rock festival with a good line-up, a great cause and a fantastic location? It’s Rock By The Sea in Panama City. Sister Hazel and Shawn Mullins are two headliners, but we’re really stoked about Stroke 9. These guys rarely play in Florida and are phenomenal live.  They alone might be worth the trip.  Get more information on the festival and this year’s charities at: Rock By The Sea
Cheap concert tickets

Back Booth – Orlando Cool Coziness

I had a chance to check out BackBooth when Lovedrug bright their Wild Blood tour to Orlando recently.

The small club formerly in the UCF area is now located downtown on Pine Street just off of Orange.  The venue accommodates around 350 people and is a truly intimate place to see a show.  Despite the relative small size, they still get a good mix of national and local acts.

There are a few stools around the place, but it is generally a standing room kind of place, yet site lines are pretty good throughout.  There’s a riser towards the back of the room, and a small balcony, both offering nice views of the stage.

It’s a tight room and the sound mix is a bit of a challenge. Surprisingly, the sound was pretty good for the room configuration.  Not the best sound system you will find in the city, but more than adequate for this club. Overall, it is a great cozy place to see a show.  You’re never more than fifty feet from the stage, there’s always a clear view and the sound mix is decent.  Definitely a good place to catch a show and a cool crowd to spend a few hours with.

Offering about 20 diverse beers on tap, they have a fantastic draft beer selection. It’s fairly priced, and they also offered cheap deals with PBR oil cans.

The one down side – short set lists.  They seemed to be in a rush to get the bands off the stage to start a late night dance party.  I’d rather see fewer bands play longer sets if they need to clear the crowd out early in the night.

Miscellaneous Ramblings:

  • The staff was friendly both at the door and behind the bar, and they graciously let us sample some of the more unusual brews.
  • Ticket prices are reasonable.
  • For the show, the room was non-smoking, but pretty sure that ban is lifted when bands are not performing.
  • Parking available and plentiful at local garages ($5 to $10)

Bottom line: Worth a visit, and definitely check out the beer selection!

Central Florida Concert Update

Lots of good music headed our way as we hit Spring in Central Florida, as March wraps up with a ton of great shows.

Orlando

Tonight, Friday March 23rd, it’s Ohio’s Lovedrug at Backbooth.  They are playing in support of their excellent new album – read our review here: Wild Blood review.  Cretin will be there to review the show.  You can also check out Cretin’s interview with Lovedrug’s Michael Sheppard here.

For you 70’s Rock And Roll Animals – the Guess Who are at Epcot all weekend.  Those shows are typically fun, but do require park admission.

On Saturday, it’s Alternative rockers Blue October at House of Blues, and more interesting to me, Chuck Ragan playing “The Revival Tour” at The Social. We saw Ragan open up for Social Distortion in November, and he put on a great show. His album, Covering Ground was also in our Top albums of 2011. The guys are in Jacksonville at Jack Rabbit’s the following night.

On Monday, it’s Atlanta’s The Black Lips at The Social, and they are supporting their latest album Arabia Mountain, and they are rumored to be fantastic live.

Thursday Hard Rock Live features Snow Patrol, and over at the main Hotel, it’s Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions with Tonic; then they visit Williams Park in St. Petersburg on Saturday.

Friday 3/30, you HazelNuts can catch Sister Hazel at House of Blues.  It’s the perfect-sized venue for the semi-local crew from Gainesville, who usually put on a good show.

Then on Saturday, The Red Hot Chili Peppers close out the month at the big house at Amway Center.

Tampa

Friday – two different ends of the spectrum, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band playing at Tampa Bay Times Forum and the aforementioned Black Lips at Orpheum. We’ve seen Bruce many times, and he’s great live, but I’d be inclined to check out the Black Lips this day.

Sunday you can take a “Slow Ride” with Foghat at Screwy Louie’s Porpoise Pub.

Wednesday 3/28, it’s hot Alt-Rockers The Naked and Famous at State Theater in St. Pete.

Thursday, RHCP hits Tampa at the TImes Forum.

Friday, the 30th, Blue October hits the West Coast with a show at Jannus Live. All of The Parrotheads will be inland at the Ask-Gary Amphitheater in Tampa. Here’s our review of last month’s Buffet Show in Orlando to whet your appetite.

Enjoy the Rcok – Mike G.

 

Monday’s Musical Manure – Random Crap Around the Farm

First a few reminders, then some random rock thoughts.

We reviewed the latest release from Lovedrug, Wild Blood today. Check it out here: Wild Blood Album Review

And, in case you missed it, we had a fun interview with David Uosikkinen, the drummer from The Hooters.  Read about his latest project: In The Pocket

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Some thoughts on some of the better new music I’ve been listening to lately:

  • I know I mentioned this before, but Provo Utah’s Neon Trees has absolutely nailed it with the first single off of their forthcoming  Picture Show album.  “Everybody Talks” is a great song that truly highlights Tyler Glenn’s excellent vocals. The full album hits the streets in late April.
  • Civil Twilight’s “Fire Escape” brings back memories of early U-2 Bono with a different sound.  The song is excellent with or without the Bono feel.  The South Africans’ album will be released on March 26th.
  • While we are comparing new music to legendary rock icons, let’s chat about Chappo.  It’s quirky stuff, but damn, it’s addictive.  And, Alex Chappo conjures up good memories of the great Neil Young. Check out Come Home
  • I love Shinedown’s “Bully.”  It’s an excellent song with a powerful and timely message. This should be mandatory heavy rotation in all high school cafeterias.
  • Walk The Moon had a great, fun, passionate song with last year’s release of “Anna Sun They signed a major label deal and truthfully saw all of the life get sucked out of the song.  It’s getting more airplay, but they wrecked the song.
  • From the “I Can’t Believe I Love This” department. Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra)” – this one continues to grow on me.
  • The Boo – “I Want Revenge.”  Yup, there’s good reason it reminds us of Green Day. It’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s family project, featuring sons Jakob and Joe, as well as his wife Adrienne on vocals.  It’s a blast, but unfortunately not yet available on iTunes.
  • Yukon Blonde’s “Stairway” is another fun poppy alt rock tune, this one from North of the Border.
  • Not Your Fault” from AWOLNATION is another one that keeps growing on me.  Aaron Bruno’s vocals are distinctive and carry the song.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra meets Abba and it’s a beautiful thing.  Finland’s Nightwish tears it up with their classic metal and their powerful Storytime.”

Lots of good new rock these days, and with a bunch of albums headed our way, it only promises to get better.

As for some of our Veteran Cosmic Rockers, the Moody Blues have started their 45th Anniversary tour! They are in Florida this week for anyone interested in checking them out.  Back in the day, they put on a pretty good rock show, and their collection of rock classics is quite deep. Moody Blues Tour Dates

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, a quick shout out to the best Irish band in the country: Black 47.  They’ll be in their second home of New York City this weekend.  Another damn good Irish band is Flogging Molly – here’s our review of their recent show in Orlando.

Rock On! – Cretin

 

 

Musical Manure – Random Crap from the Farm

OK – It’s been a few weeks since I emptied this fragile mind, and there are a slew of little tidbits threatening to drip out and disappear forever. With a full-day Jimmy Buffett tailgate experience looming, I need to free up some room for the insanity I’m sure to witness.

It seems like the rumors of a Queen tour with Adam Lambert on vocals is about to become a reality. TMZ is reporting it, so it has to be legit, right?  I love Freddie, and think he’s one of the greatest rock and roll performers ever.  His voice was powerful, passionate and unique, and no one will ever be able to replace him.  Still, Adam might just be the best choice to follow. I think he’s a better fit than Paul Rodgers who gave it a shot years ago. The greedy folks at MTV have some good video of the new incarnation but it’s a bear to access. Try Youtube for some lower quality snippets.

I recently stumbled across Sleeper Agent’s “Get It Daddy.” They’re a young garage band out of Kentucky with a ton of potential. The sixsome is led by 24 year-old singer-guitarist Tony Smith and features riveting vocals from 18 year-old Alex Kandel.  Check out “Get It Daddy and the rest of their album, as our album of the week: Celabrasion – Sleeper Agent.  And, here’s a nice bonus find, follow this link to get to know the band a little better: Prison Sessions

The Kaiser Chiefs exploded onto the rock scene at the end of the last decade and then just disappeared. The Brits took a hiatus.  Now they’re about to release a new album in March.  The first single, On the Run has hit the streets.  Good stuff!

Listening to Slow Poison The Bravery’s 2009 release.  I’m surprised it was never a bigger hit. Great song by an excellent band. Here’s the video which is actually pretty damn good, too: Slow Poison.

Remember The Neon Trees from their gigs opening for The Killers a few years ago?  They’re back with the first single Everybody Talks off of their forthcoming album, and it absolutely rocks.

About a month ago, RARA’s Contributor Kari wrote an interesting piece about the Emergence of the Banjo in rock music today.  Since then, I seem to hear it everywhere, particularly with music from the Great White North, with bands like The Acorn and Elliott Brood. It’s a welcome addition.

OK, that’s enough for today.  Have a great week, and look for my post-Parrothead tailgate experience shortly…

Of Monsters, Men and a Nashville Muse



A friend of RARAs Farm recently made us aware of a nice offer for fans of Alt-Country / Folksy Rock. In advance of the release of her forthcoming album, Kate Tucker is offering a free download of her latest EP, Ghost of Something New, beginning today, January 9th. The talented singer songwriter from Akron, Ohio has relocated to Nashville where her music has taken a bit more of a country feel.

The first song on the EP, “Revolution”is fantastic. It’s got a great driving beat, excellent guitars and most of all superb, memorable vocals from Tucker. All-in-all, it’s a nice collection of songs from a talented singer songwriter.  Dwonload the EP for free during the month of January at Noisetrade.

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After downloading the EP, make sure you check out Tucker’s poignant cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” This video also features RARAs Farm favorite Michael Sheppard and his Lovedrug band mate Jeremy Michael Gifford.

In the same genre, Of Monsters and Men, a young band out of Iceland have found a bit of notoriety over the past few weeks.  Sirius XM’s AltNation has added their wonderful new single “Little Talks” into their rotation, and the single was the Free Single of the Week on iTunes (linked on our Free Music Friday page). The band reminds me a bit of Mumford and Sons, and even more of the under-appreciated and immensely talented English band The Beautiful South. Keep your ears tuned for this quintet – big things are on the way.

From these two hot new bands to the other end of the spectrum: Van Halen returns to the airwaves with Diamond David Lee Roth, nearly three decades from his last album.  The new single “She’s The Woman” is rumored to be released in the next few days. It’s actually not all that new, as it was originally recorded by the band in 1976.  Here’s Rolling Stone’s review of their preview show at NYC’s tinyCafe Wha last week.

I stumbled across this Youtube channel recently from FrontStepGames, where they feature good new Indie rock each month: check it out, good stuff: Songs You Wish You Found

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2012 – Not Just the End of the World

I took a quick tour around the internet to capture some of the items we have to look forward to before the impending end of the world.

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Here’s a primer for the next few months:

  • In the first five weeks of the year, both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr release new albums.
  • As they announced from Times Square on New Years Eve, Van Halen will release their first album with David Lee Roth since 1984 (that’s 28 years for those of you counting at home). They’ll release their first single and start selling tour tickets on January 10th.  The odds of them finishing the tour? 12:1.
  • Albuquerque’s The Shins  will release their Fourth album, Port of Morrow this March

Heavily anticipated 2012 releases with unknown dates:

  • Punk legends Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid all have new stuff on the way.
  • Six of today’s top bands will return to the charts in 2012: Muse, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, MGMT and Linkin Park
  • Classic Rock fans will see new albums from legends Bruce Springsteen, Rush, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Guns and Roses (Slash has an album on the way, too).
  • Hard Rockers Metallica, Alice in Chains and Marilyn Manson deliver new goods.
Two RARAs Farm favorites have new albums o the way:
  • Lovedrug
  • The Last Royals
A few other artists who may be of interest to RARAsFarm readers:
  • Adam Ant
  • Alice In Chains
  • Bad Religion
  • Garbage
  • Keane
  • Kiss
  • Queensryche
  • Soundgarden
  • Suicidal Tendencies
All told, lots to look forward to, while we still can, of course…
Mike G – January, 2012