25 Years of Cinderella in the Shadows of the Castle

One of the 1980’s premiere Hair Bands made a return to Orlando’s House of Blues on Saturday night, as they celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their hugely successful debut album “Night Songs.”

I remember stumbling across them in a local Philly club in the mid-eighties and thinking they did not have much of a future. Jon Bon Jovi saw them shortly afterwards and saw the talent, and over the years they’ve sold millions of albums, and packed a slew of arenas.

Tom Keifer, is clearly still the heart and soul of this Philadelphia area quintet. His vocals were fantastic. He’s gone through two difficult surgeries on his vocal chords including one just 5 years ago, but you’d never know by listening to him. His distinctive voice is still powerful, and he hit every note perfectly.

Keifer also showed off his musicianship throughout the evening, playing an assortment of guitars, as well as they keyboards and piano. While he played impressive leads and solos, the rest of the band didn’t really shine. They were all adequate, but no one really stood out and sounded good, despite the majority of them being original members.

“Heartbreak Station” featured drummer Fred Koury stepping up front to share the vocals, and Keifer playing a slide guitar solo. During “The More Things Change, Keifer and guitarist Jeff LeBar traded off the lead and seemed to be having some fun on stage.  The highlight for me was Keifer sliding behind the piano for one of their biggest hits “Don’t Know What You Got.”

Overall, the show was good, although brief. They played the exact same set list that they’ve been rolling out nightly throughout this tour, and the show seemed a bit devoid of energy.

The set list featured 11 songs, and clocked in at a meager 57 minutes, and they followed that with a ten minute encore which closed with a smoking version of “Shelter Me.” Overall, the song selection was excellent and a diverse sampling of their catalog, both metal hits and bluesy rockers.

Here’s the Setlist:

  • Once Around the Ride
  • Shake Me
  • Heartbreak Station
  • Somebody Save Me
  • Night Songs
  • The More Things Change
  • Second Wind
  • Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)
  • Nobody’s Fool
  • Gypsy Road

Encore:

  • Long Cold Winter
  • Shelter Me
Here’s a link to a small snippet of “Nobody’s Fool.”

The evening opened with an acoustic set from rock and roll nomad John Corabi. Corabi’s voice sounded great and he interacted with the crowd throughout, and was a very nice surprise. His set was highlighted by an abbreviated version of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” reprising his role as the group’s lead singer he held for 15 minutes in the mid-nineties. He closed with a fantastic cover of The Beatles “Oh! Darling” that featured the full range of his powerful voice.

HOB – Orlando Review

The House of Blues – Orlando

This venue located in Downtown Disney became my home away from home in 2009. That summer, I had the chance to see four alternative rock concerts. The wide variety of bands that performed at this venue led to a wide variety of experiences.

The sound quality in this venue is excellent! The voices of the artists are easy to hear and the bass is at perfect volume to where you feel it throughout your body. During changes in acts the venue plays current hits to keep the audience entertained.

There are a few different options for viewing the shows at the two story House of Blues. The upper floor tends to be more VIP seating with nice cushioned booths in a balcony jutting out towards the stage. There is also general admission standing room upstairs and bar seating – for those who are trying to escape the crowds and wish to listen as opposed to watch the show. Downstairs is usually very crowded and depending on the artists performing can become very aggressive. I strongly advise wearing close-toed shoes! The area in front of the stage known as the “pit” is the most crowded of the entire venue, this is an all standing section and is the best way to get close to the stage. Mosh pitting, fighting, and pushing generally take place in the pit so beware!

One of the my favorite aspects of the venue is how many opportunities you have to bond with the bands… many bands chose to stand outside the venue after shows and sign autographs, many also stand at their souvenir tables before they perform. I had a chance to see Boys Like Girls and Parachute at the HOB-Orlando and both lead singers performed their last song in the middle of the pit and stayed around to mix with their fans afterwards.

Fun Facts:

  • Two large bars around the perimeter of the venue. Friendly staff and cups of water are readily available for… free!
  • Tickets can be purchased online, at the box office (no service charge), or day of show if the show isn’t sold out.
  • The bathrooms are covered in band stickers and tend to be small and overcrowded – with the mayhem taking place in the bathroom there is a women or man (depending on what bathroom you are in) sitting by the door offering warm cloths to dry your hands, perfume to freshen up, tooth paste, or an abundance of other items – all for a hope of a tip.
  • Parking is free and within a short distance of the venue, There is a large lot for all of Downtown Disney so depending on the night and attractions some nights are more difficult to park then others.
  • No smoking is allowed inside the venue.
  • Bouncers are placed strategically around the venue and are extremely quick to break up any fights and very helpful in helping people escape the crowds and mosh pits – generally very friendly people.

Bottom Line: This venue will give you an up close and personal experience with some of your favorite bands.

Random thoughts – On the way to DC

Just some random thoughts on a Sunday night:

As I hear more about the tragic news out of Norway, I can’t help thinking of the lyrics to Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks. ” I realize that song probably is a glimpse into some young guys struggles fitting in with society vs. the nut case in Norway. Nonetheless, my mind keeps going there…

Lots of talk about the budget issues in the US gets me thinking about the song “Money.” I knew that Barrett Strong recorded it originally back in 1959, and I have the 45 to prove it:)  But, so many other great versions have come along. Out of curiosity, I looked at Wikipedia and they list over 70 single versions of the classic.  The Who, Beatles and Zeppelin all recorded versions you’ve probably heard. My favorite: The Flying Lizards. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_iQZiVD_zA&feature=related

I fly out of DC Wednesday and miss by a few hours a chance to see the Eels at the iconic 930 club. If you live in the area, check out the show – it should be a real Hootenany.

So, with Amy Winehouse’s death, there’s more attention to this phenomenon where famous musicians die at the age of 27. Listen to the list of names: Brian Jones (Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Ron Pigpen McKernan (Grateful Dead), Kurt Kobain and now Amy. And, there are a bunch more only slightly less famous. Lesson for you young rockers: lay off the drugs and alcohol(at least until your 28th birthday).

This weekend I got the new EP from the Last Royals in preparation for a feature on the talented new band from New York. Great stuff – check it out at thelastroyals.com

Finally. We’ve added all of the country’s largest cities to our “On The Road” Section of the website.  Now we need your help fleshing out the info for your fellow rockers. You can find the link at the top of this page, or get there by clicking here: ON THE ROAD.

Radio Review – Underground Garage

Tractor Tunes are our 30 minute radio station reviews. So, grab a PBR, slide on your headphones, hop on the tractor, and decide if this one is for you…

Sirius XM’s Underground Garage, Channel 21

Another journey into one of Sirius XM’s commercial-free music channels.  This station is just a little bit different than anything I’ve heard anywhere else; different in a good way. They describe their music as “The Coolest Rock and Roll Records Ever Made.” HOnestly – it is pretty damn cool stuff.

They dig deep into their music library and constantly unearth cool garage bands we never hear anywhere else, and toss in some deep cuts from more popular bands, as you see below with the Kinks. They also feature newer tunes, such as the ones from Social D and Joey Ramone in the sample below.

Just look at the diversity of artists to see how interesting this station is.

All of the DJ’s truly add to the experience. On this Saturday morning it was Bill Kelly behind the microphone, and he shared interesting and often little-known factoids about each song and artist – definitely high value-add information!

  • New York City – Joey Ramone 
  • Dedicated Follower of Fashion – Kinks 
  • Alligator – Foxboro Hot Tubs 
  • Social Distortion – Machine Gun Blues 
  • Sparklers – Ain’t No Friend of Mine
  • Pop – Down on the Boulevard
  • Otis Redding – That’s How Strong my Love is
  • Grip Weeds – Ready and Waiting
  • Smithereens – Rings on her Fingers

Stats:
Date: 7/9/11
Music: 95%

Chatter: 5%
Commercials  0%

Bonus Tip: Breakfast with the Beatles on Sundays at 9AM.


banner

 

 

 

 

Gabba Gabba Hey from the Grave

Heard Joey Ramones’ new release “New York City” the other day. It’s a cool tune reminiscent of late Ramones stuff, and I think we’ll see it become an anthem of sorts for the Big Apple – if it ever gets any airplay, and that’s a big “if.”. This one actually has the potential to be a hit. Interesting stuff considering Joey died more than 10 years ago. Heard it twice on Sirius XM’s, Little Steven’s Underground Garage in the past few days, but can’t find it on the web.  If I recall correctly, this album has been tied up in legal proceedings for about  five years. Sure, hope it sees the light of day.

Found a very cool live Foo Fighters song on Youtube. This one features the Foo’s drummer Taylor Hawkins getting behind the mike and stepping out in front of the band, while Roger Taylor slides into his seat behind the drums, and Brian May joins them on-stage for a cover of Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down.” It absolutely rocks, and would have made Freddie proud. Check it out here!  I’ve seen the Foo Fighters a few times, and truly believe Taylor could someday front his own band similar to the leap Dave Grohl took after Nirvana.

My current favorite new tune is “Crystal Vases” by The Last Royals. They’re a new duo out of Brooklyn New York, and this first tune is a killer.  If you live around Brooklyn, check them out at Pete’s Candy Store on July 25th. If you don’t live around New York, you are out of luck, as nothing else is planned at this time.

 

Furs – Still Pretty Good After All These Years

I’ve now seen the Psychedelic Furs about half a dozen times over the past 30 years, and it’s amazing how reliable and consistent the shows are.  This time around I was able to catch them at the Velvet Sessions venue at the Hard Rock hotel in Orlando.

This band just doesn’t get enough credit for the breadth and depth of their musical library, and their musicianship remains fantastic. As a nice twist on this tour, the band celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the release of their breakthrough 1981 album Talk, Talk, Talk by playing it straight through in its entirety.

The constants throughout all of the incarnations of the alternative rock stalwarts have been brothers Richard and Tim Butler.  Richard is still a consummate front man, his voice as pure as ever, and his engaging performance still reeking of charisma.  He never stops interacting with the crowd, and seems to still truly enjoy performing.  Tim’s bass coupled with the driving beat of near original drummer Paul Garisto kept the crowd hopping all night. Mars Williams was back with the band and stole the spotlight several times with riveting sax solos.  The talented band was rounded out by Amanda Kremer on keyboards and Rich Good on guitar.

The highlights for me:

  • Richard Butler’s performance – still delivers the vocals with energy and passion
  • Talk, Talk, Talk – a rare chance to hear some tunes they probably haven’t played in 30 years, including the under-rated “Into You Like a Train.”
  • The cohesion of the band. They just sounded great together, and ever musician shined at one point in time or another.

Disappointment:

  • I didn’t time it, but their set seemed short. Although I really enjoyed the focus on Talk, Talk, Talk, I missed hearing a few of their classics.

Setlist:

Dumb Waiters
Pretty in Pink
I Wanna Sleep With You
No Tears
Mr. Jones
Into You Like a Train
It Goes On
So Run Down
All of This and Nothing
She is Mine

Love My Way
Sister of Mine
President Gas
Highwire Days
Heaven
Heartbreak Beat

As for the venue; it was my first trip to Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions, but I will be back. It’s a temporary set-up in the hotel lobby (across from the Velvet Lounge). Along with the price of admission, you have a 90 minute free bar, and free appetizers. The food and the drinks, as well as the service were excellent, and the sound quality was surprisingly good.

Cretin, June 30, 2011

Check out Rara’s Best Driving songs of all-time.

The Top Driving Songs of All-Time


As I get ready to embark on a 20 hour road trip up the East Coast, I was thinking about the best driving songs of all-time. Back in the day, it was Jolt Cola and No-Doz, now it’ll be Monster and 5 Hour Energy, but it doesn’t matter if you’re stuck listening to Air Supply and those frenetic backwoods preachers who monopolize small town late night radio.  I’ll have my trusty XM radio to get me through the many miles of rock-free radio badlands, but it would be nice to throw a handful of tunes on my iPod to help me through the painful late night hours as my body tries to nod off.

So, the Best Driving Songs of All-Time? That pretty subjective, eh? It sure is – and I’ll admit, my tastes are probably a lot different than yours. I tend to like the songs a little heavier and maybe a bit darker than the norm. No, you will not see Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love the Rainy Nights” on this list, but you’ll know most of these tunes.

My rules – Pretty Simple: I like the song and only one per artist.

Follow @rarasfarm

So, here they are in reverse order – one for every hour of the trip:

20. “Stop,” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, 2003 and  “Head On,” The Jesus and Mary Chain, 1989 – sorry, couldn’t leave either one out with a clear conscience. Two hard charging cuts.
19.  “Hey Tonight,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1971 – Great for cruising down a long country road, singing along with your buddies.
18. ” L.S.F.,” Kasabian, 2004 – Good modern driving stuff from these talented Brits.
17. “Running Down a Dream,” Tom Petty, 1989 – Another artist with a bunch to choose from. Not my favorite Petty song, but the best to drive to.
16. “Sleep Alone,” Heart, 1983 – This one from Passion Works is very under-rated, with fantastic guitar work and great soundtrack for the highway.
15. “Highway Star,” Deep Purple, 1972 – Machine Head is just a great driving album with a few worthy candidates, I thought this was a little better than “Space Truckin.”
14. “Life On A Chain” Pete Yorn,  2001 – under-rated song, and a great driving tune, from an under-rated artist.
13. “Lunatic Fringe,” Red Rider, 1981 – featured in half of the movies and TV shows from the 80’s – typically while the protagonist was fleeing down a dark roadway in the dark of night.
12. “Midnite Maniac,” Krokus, 1984 – these hard rockers were the pride of Switzerland, and had some great driving music. This was their best.
11. “Slow Ride,” Foghat, 1975 – another classic rock tune that is just perfect in the car.

SMS Audio STREET by 50

10. “Lucretia My Reflection,” Sisters of Mercy – This 1988 tune has a great driving bass line and haunting lyrics about the destruction of an empire. Cheery stuff to keep your energy going.  Crank it up!

9. “Immigrant Song,” Led Zeppelin – A 1970 song about Iceland, surprisingly from my least favorite Led Zep album. It’s a great driving tune that starts with a wicked scream from Robert Plant and features a furious driving Bonham beat the remainder of the song.

8. “The Passenger,” Iggy Pop – This one was reborn a few years ago, but initially released in 1977.  Written about riding a train in Germany. If it’s good for train travel, that’s close enough for us.

7.  “Take It Easy,” Eagles – It was the Eagles first single way back in 1972. This Jackson Browne penned hit requires the top down, or at least the windows open.

6. “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues,” The Eels – This was actually an after thought and a bonus track on their 2000 album Daisies of the Galaxy. It later became the theme to Road Trip. Fun, fun stuff; “It’s a beautiful day, uh huh…”

5. “Gonna Raise Hell,” Cheap Trick, 1979.  9 minutes and 20 seconds of perfection.  Bun E. Carlos drives the beat, Robin’s vocals are fantastic, and Rick’s guitar doesn’t exactly suck either.

4. “Sherry Darling,” Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Springsteen has more than a few good candidates, but this one from 1980’s The River, is a blast to drive to – again: windows down. “I got some beer, and the highway’s free.”

3. “Ride On,” AC/DC – From the 1976 Dirty Deeds album, this haunting driving song is Bon Scott at his absolute best. So perfectly Bon, that Brian Johnson won’t even touch it. Perfect for late night cruising down a deserted highway.

2. “Back Where I Started,” Box of Frogs – the only hit from this reformed incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 1983 hit features Jeff Beck’s guitar and a killer beat. I picture this one cranking loudly as I drive through the swamps of Louisiana or backwoods of WV trying to avoid the locals from Deliverance.

1. “Radar Love,” Golden Earring – This 1973 hit from the veteran Dutch rockers was an instant driving classic. It stands the test of time and is as great today as it was 30 years ago. It was the first tune I thought of, and nothing I considered knocked it out of my top spot. Crank down the windows, crank up the volume and watch out for the cops…

So, how did I do? If I survive the drive, I look forward to reading your feedback.

-Cretin-

9/19 – Yo Animals – I just set-up a Playlist on Spotify with the great majority of these songs. Check it out next time you hit Route 66, The Highway to Hell, or the Backstreets… RARA’s Farm Top Driving Songs


The Muppets are Coming – and that’s Good News, Rockers

Muhna-Muhna!

Hey, who didn’t love the aforementioned tune, or Rainbow Connection, or the Muppets theme? Now imagine them performed by some of the best bands playing these days. It sounds like we are still a few months away, but here’s the track listing for The Green Album to whet your appetite.

  1. OK Go: “Muppet Show Theme”
  2. Weezer and Paramore’s Hayley Williams: “Rainbow Connection”
  3. The Fray: “Mahna Mahna”
  4. Alkaline Trio: “Moving Right Along”
  5. My Morning Jacket: “Our World”
  6. Amy Lee: “Halfway Down the Stairs”
  7. Sondre Lerche: “Mr. Bassman”
  8. The Airborne Toxic Event: “Wishing Song”
  9. Atreyu’s Brandon Saller and Good Charlotte’s Billy Martin: “Night Life”
  10. Andrew Bird: “Bein’ Green”
  11. Matt Nathanson: “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along”
  12. Rachael Yamagata: “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday”

A few thoughts:

  • Rainbow Connection, with Weezer and Haley Williams – that’s just cool.
  • OK Go playing the theme – nice!
  • The Fray doing Mahna Mahna – I’m thinking that’s going to be a fun one
  • Sondre Lerche – I just love his voice. It will be very interesting hearing him do this cheerful ditty
  • Airborne Toxic Event – Predicting that this will be my favorite.

While you bide your time waiting for the album, I’ll leave you with this wisdom from Kermit: “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”

 

A Rock 'n Roll Community

%d bloggers like this: