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One last look back at 2011

Here’s my 2011 list of concerts.  A little shorter than some years, but I had a lot of work distractions in the past year, so it’s actually a pretty good tally all things considered.  There’s a lot of quality there and a few once in lifetime shows.  I’ll make a few individual notes where appropriate  (But, of course there’s a review of each if you’re so inclined to read more.

Phil Vassar – A nice little private show at the PCMA conference for people with a CMP designation.  Fun and loose show.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Chromeo – A bit of a letdown, but I’m still hoping to see them again and see how they evolve.

Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine

Delgado Brothers

Jeff Beck & Imelda May – Once in a lifetime and one of the best shows I saw all year.

Prince – Another show that for all the hype was a bit of letdown.

Doheny Blues Fest – Tedeschi/Trucks, John Fogerty, Experience Hendrix, Mavis Staples, The Blasters, Funky Meters, Big Head Blues Club, (Plus others) – Two great days on the beach.  A couple misses, but mostly hits. Tedeschi/Trucks being the very best of day 1 and the Blasters the best of Day 2

KSBR Birthday Bash – Brenda Russell, Kieko Matsui, Brian Bromberg, Dan Siegel, (Plus others) – A really cool gift from my friend Eliott.

Eels – Confounding and complex.  It was great in some very unexplainable ways.

U2 & Lenny Kravitz (2x) – Night 2 was the better of the two nights, both were strong but night 2 has the edge (pun intended).

Weird Al

Kansas & Blue Oyster Cult – Not very good, one of the most disappointing shows of the year for me.

Rock Candy Funk Party – Going back in January, a top five evening and surprisingly it’s not once in a lifetime, looking forward to it very much.

Barenaked Ladies – Good, but not great.  More and more I miss Stephen Page.

Return to Forever & Zappa Plays Zappa – I’d say that along with Jeff Beck this were the most amazingly talented musicians I saw all year…or in many years.

Frank Turner – My best find of 2011.  Seeing him in February once again!

Fountains Of Wayne – I wanted this to be better, bit it wasn’t up to the pervious levels I’d seen them perform at.

Airborne Toxic Event – Another cool find of 2011 and this was the Filmore show in SF that was really cool.

Big Head Todd w/Ruthie Foster and Charlie Musselwhite – Again, a sort of letdown show and slightly disappointing overall.

Airborne Toxic Event, Tokyo Police Club, Built to Spill – Good headliner, the rest of the bill was hit and miss.

Bob Segar – Just reviewed, the man still has it!  Great show.

So there you have it.  My 2011 in a nutshell.

Looking ahead to 2011 I already have four shows slated.  Joe Bonamassa, Frank Turner, Social Distortion and Roger Waters.  Plus, I know Springsteen is touring.  So, lots to be excited about in the coming year.  Thanks as always for reading!  Happy New Year!


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Chromeo – February 19 – Pomona Fox Theatre

I’ve sadly neglected the blog for a couple weeks and feel sort of guilty.

Tons of excuses, but none of them very good ones.  Just lots of distractions.

I saw Chromeo  a couple weeks ago at the Fox Theatre in Pomona and promised a review.  First off the theatre is awesome, a great restoration it’s sort of like the place we dreamed of opening back in the 80’s when Joel B. and I worked on opening a club/concert hall in Riverside.  The seat I was able to grab in the balcony was perfect too.  Comfortable leather, on the aisle in the front row of the balcony.  Pretty much perfect.

First up was a band from Japan named, “The Susan”.  They had that sort of sloppy puck attitude that carried the Go-Go’s, Runaways and dozens of other lesser lights through the 80’s.  Initially I wasn’t very impressed, but their sheer enthusiasm with some poppy hooks sort of won me over in the end.  I didn’t rush out to buy their CD, but I’ve heard a lot worse bands kick off a triple bill show and they were listenable and fun.

Here’s a clip I found:

Sadly, I can’t say the same about MNDR the next act up.  She (just one performer) was a trainwreck of loops and tuneless vocals.  Mostly in the dark and only lit by a video projector hitting the screen behind her.  (Okay, I have to comment on that since it’s what I do for a living…hire a projectionist!  The image was not scaled onto the screen and mostly spilling past it into a void.  It looked half-assed, and unprofessional and annoyed me on a personal level before she even played (looped?) a note.)  She was bad enough that I escaped the tumult to the lobby to simply get away from her for a couple numbers.

Here’s a short demo clip of her:

Chromeo was up next.  And, let me say right off that I enjoyed the show, but now a couple weeks later I can’t really say that it stuck with me.  They pulled off a big enough live sound for two guys,  but the limit of so many loops is that the show felt sort of canned, they never really stretched out and hit a groove the way you’s hope a tight funk/dance band would.  A few more musicians on stage might have given them a little more room to breathe and stretch out.

One thing I have to note is that the lighting was awesome!  Putting back on my professional hat, I thought it was one of the more creative and great looking shows I’ve seen in that scale of a theatre in a long time.  They didn’t have a ton of gear, but the LD used it all VERY effectively and really did a cool job.

The band ran through a generous helping of their two albums.  I was a bit surprised that they tossed off a song like “Don’t turn the lights on” so early in the set (about a third of the way in), but that also sort of illustrated to me that they are pretty unconventional (in a good way).  Yet, it just wasn’t as amazing as seeing Robert Randolph a week before.  It was good but not great.  But, I set a pretty high bar for relatively unknown band with two albums by saying that.  I love the mix of funk, 80’s and electronic sounds.  Great studio band, fun enough live…give them time I suppose.

I have to say that I love some of the fun touches in their videos.  And, I’d see them again…just maybe not if MNDR was opening….

Here’s a couple videos, the first a live on Letterman clip:


This is older, but I love the Dire Straits look of the whole video:


This last one is from “Live at Daryl’s House” with Daryl Hall and his band:


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Chromeo pre show

So trying something a little different here tonight. Waiting for a show to start and blogging off my iPhone. Ain’t technology grand?

I’m at the Fox Theatre in Pomona. Never been here before, but I love the place already! This was like the vision that I had with my business partner at the time of what we wanted to do back in the mid 80’s.

A nicely restored Art Deco theatre with room for about 1000 people. It’s clean, it has comfortable seats, about all they need is food service and it would be exactly the vision Joel and I had to open in Riverside about 1983.

I’m about the oldest person here tonight to see Chromeo. I guess that means I’m one of the few people here who heard their “influences” for real when the influences were still new. In other words, mashing up Hall&Oates with the Gap Band and disco is awesome…

But, it’s very familiar sounds to me.

To the kids here it’s all new. Which actually makes it even more fun for me.

It’s a bit like I know a few secrets that they don’t. Plus, it’s fun to get the puzzled looks from the 20 somethings trying to figure out if I’m someones dad or something. It’s good to keep them guessing….:)

Almost show time, a full report later!

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