Category Archives: Concerts

Photos Gallery: Music From Big Pink and Beyond 3/25/17, Glendale CA

Dates: March 25, 2017

Location: Alex Theatre, Glendale, Calif.


Live at the Alex Theatre this past weekend, it was a songwriters’ songwriters love fest of epic proportions (what about those Continental Drifters!). According to the organizers: “Benefit-concert producers the Wild Honey Foundation present The Band’s first two records Music From Big Pink and The Band, plus bonus songs, performed by a star-studded house band and guest singers. The event will benefit the Autism Think Tank.”


Garth Hudson of The Band



Carlene Carter



David Baerwald



Gary Eaton



Jackson Browne



Jerry Riopelle



Julianna Raye



Keith Allison



Louise Goffin



Luther Russell



Morty Coyle



Carlo Nuccio & Peter Holsapple






Sarah Kramer



Steve Wynn



Susan Cowsill



Van Dyke Parks



Victoria Williams



Damn, It’s the Damned, Ready to Tour America


Trek kicks off next week in celebration of the punk band’s 1977 debut.


Ladies and gentlemen, The Damned are coming back to America to complete your Spring (or ruin your day). Yes, the iconic British punk band, at it for over 40 years now, will be doing a full tour of America, hitting just about every part of the country.

The tour begins on April 6th in Los Angeles and will end on May 21st in Phoenix, hitting parts far and wide; half of the dates will be with opening act Bleached, while the other half will have The Bellrays as support). See the itinerary, below.

The band, including co-founders Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible along with longtime members Monty Oxymoron, Andrew “Pinch” Pinching and Stu West, are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their debut lp, Damned Damned Damned and decided to throw a party, or several of them, of sorts. 7830627d4e434ab3912f6c58cca47b73

To say that the band’s classic debut (produced by Nick Lowe and the first British punk album) has been a huge influence on every punk band worth their salt is an understatement. With classics like “Neat Neat Neat,” “Fan Club,”  “New Rose” and too many others, the record rips from start to finish. Last month BMG released a special edition of the record complete with bonus tracks and thus the band decided to hit the road and show everyone how it’s really done.

In addition the band are working on a new record to be released later this year. It will be their first since 2008’s So, Who’s Paranoid?

Personally, the last time I caught the band was at Denver’s Riot Fest in 2015 and they delivered a stunning set complete with songs spanning their extensive catalog (I still think that they were the best band of that particular Riot Fest).

If you’ve never seen the Damned before or if you’ve seen them countless times this tour promises to be an event, so in the words of Classy Freddie Blassie, don’t miss it.

More details at the band’s official website, of course.

The Damned 2017 Tour Dates

4/06 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Belasco Theater
4/07 – San Diego, Calif. @ House Of Blues
4/09 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ House Of Blues
4/11 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Fillmore
4/12 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace Of Spades
4/14 – Portland, Ore. @ Crystal Ballroom
4/15 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ The Commodore
4/16 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Showbox
4/18 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Depot
4/19 – Denver, Colo. @ Summit Music Hall
4/21 – St. Louis, Mo. @ Del Mar Hall
4/22 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ Fine Line
4/23 – Chicago, Ill. @ House Of Blues
4/24 – Louisville, Ky. @ Mercury Ballroom
4/26 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ Deluxe at Old National Ctr.
4/27 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ Bogart’s
4/28 – Cleveland, Ohio @ House Of Blues
4/29 – Detroit, Mich. @ St. Andrews Hall
4/30 – Toronto, Ontario @ Phoenix Theatre
5/02 – Montreal, Quebec @ Club Soda
5/04 – Boston, Mass. @ Paradise Rock Club
5/05 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Warsaw
5/06 – Asbury Park, N.J. @ Stone Pony
5/07 – Philadelphia, Pa @ TLA
5/09 – Baltimore, Md. @ Sound Stage
5/11 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Masquerade/Heaven
5/12 – Lake Buena Vista, Fla. @ House Of Blues
5/13 – St, Petersburg, Fla. @ State Theater
5/14 – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. @ Revolution
5/16 – New Orleans, La. @ House Of Blues
5/17 – Houston, Texas @ House Of Blues
5/18 – Dallas, Texas @ House Of Blues
5/19 – Austin, Texas @ Mohawk Outdoors
5/21 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ Marquee Theater

Rain (Beatles Tribute) 2/21/17, Seattle

Dates: February 21, 2017

Location: Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Performing live at Benaroya Hall, the veteran trib outfit covered all the expected bases while giving the Fab Four’s timeless music a unique feel.


You can expect a lot of Sgt. Pepper hoopla this year, as 1967 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. At the time of its release, it was hailed as the greatest album ever made — a claim that’s been constantly picked over ever since, but that’s another story. As a prime artifact that epitomizes the heralded Summer of Love ™, the Sergeant still reigns supreme.

Sgt. Pepper was Paul McCartney’s idea of how the Beatles could reinvent themselves, and make an album without the pressure of being “The Beatles.” Which makes it a bit ironic to have it as the centerpiece of a Beatles tribute show. Rain is the premiere Beatles tribute band (they don’t call them “impersonators” any more) in the U.S., going all the way back to 1975 when they were based in Laguna Beach, California, and called themselves “Reign.” They weren’t a full on tribute band at the time, but did perform a lot of Beatles covers, which landed them a gig providing the Beatle music for the first feature film about the Fab Four, Birth of the Beatles (released in 1979, and for my money still a better film than Backbeat or Nowhere Boy).

Today, Rain is more of a brand than a band; there are various touring line-ups of the group. The band has grown and changed over the years, and I hadn’t seen most of the members of the line-up that played Seattle on February 21: Jimmy Irizarry (John), Paul Curatolo (Paul), and Aaron Chiazza (Ringo). I had seen Alastar McNeil (George) in Fourever Fab, a Beatles tribute act in Hawaii (a Beatle tribute artist can always land a gig somewhere), and I’ve seen Curatolo’s father, Joey, who’s also a member of Rain, playing Paul (like father, like son!). Also on hand was Chris Smallwood, playing keyboards discreetly at the rear of the stage.

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Rain’s shows follow a pretty standard format. Open with the group in their Fab Four Mop Top suits performing on The Ed Sullivan Show. A couple of A Hard Day’s Night songs, and then we’re into the Shea Stadium concert and “Yesterday.” Then to the Sgt. Pepper era followed by The Beatles (aka “The “White Album”) and Abbey Road period. But with this show featuring Sgt. Pepper as the centerpiece — Rain performs the album in its entirety — some adjustments had to be made. And this is what made the show especially interesting, for band rejigged the set list to include some songs that Beatles tribute bands don’t normally play.

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

The mood was set as you entered the venue; Benaroya Hall, home to the Seattle Symphony, so the acoustics were great. Rain has the best production values of any Beatles tribute band, with an attention to detail evident even before the show begins. There’s a black-and-white backdrop featuring pictures of 1960s signifiers (a peace sign, a lava lamp) and images related to the Beatles’ history (a Cavern Club sign, an Abbey Road street sign). The pre-show music is drawn from the early years of the decade (e.g. “Stand By Me”). There are numerous screens built into the set, with clips showing Rain re-enacting Beatles press conferences, and used to good effect at the show’s start, when a clip showing an Ed Sullivan impersonator introduces the band.

The first sequence emulates the Ed Sullivan shows, right down to “applause” signs flashing at the side of the stage after each song. You get the expected hits: “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Though right handed, Curatolo taught himself to play bass left handed — so important to that visual image of the Fabs (he did swap to a right handed guitar when playing “Yesterday”). By the middle Beatles period, the band had started to loosen up, delivering hard rocking versions of “Ticket to Ride” and “Day Tripper.” The screens flashed images tied in with each song (such as trains when the band sings “A Hard Day’s Night,” reflecting the train trip the Beatles make in the movie of the same name), along with vintage commercials shown during the breaks for costume changes (the one showing Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble taking a cigarette break drew the biggest laugh).

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Then came a melding of the Rubber SoulRevolver and “White Album” period, which brought the first surprises. I’ve never before heard a Beatles tribute band perform “The Word,” and they rarely tackle “Eleanor Rigby,” due to its having no rock instrumentation. Rain did both songs, along with other less expected material like “Drive My Car,” “In My Life,” and, skipping ahead, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” It was refreshing to hear a Beatles tribute band vary the “just play the hits” formula. The Beatles were a band with a fantastic catalogue — why not explore more of it?

McNeil’s star turn in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (a song which invariably brings down the house) brought act one to a dramatic close. The drum head on Chiazza’s bass drum was then changed to one emulating the drum on the cover of Sgt. Pepper, and we were ready for act two, with the band naturally attired in the colorful costumes also featured on the album’s cover. (Below photo by Richard Lovrich; courtesy Rain)

RAIN - A Tribute to the Beatles is a LIVE multi-media spectacular that takes you through the life and times of the world's most celebrated band. Featuring high-definition screens and imagery - this stunning concert event delivers a note-for-note theatrical event that is the next best thing to The Beatles.

Again, it was exciting to hear a Beatles tribute band play songs you never generally hear: “Getting Better,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Good Morning, Good Morning” (complete with animal noises) Also, it was great to hear the entire album, not just the highlights you usually get in a tribute show. The album stands as the Beatles’ most imaginative work, as well as being one of their most musically versatile, and Rain clearly relished the opportunity to dig into the album start to finish. Though it’s a shame they didn’t take advantage of the Sgt. Pepper suits to perform “Hello Goodbye,” a song whose video also featured those iconic outfits.

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Then it was back to basics with the late era stuff, including a singalong to “Give Peace a Chance,” “Get Back” and “Revolution,” and an encore singalong of “Hey Jude.” The band was first rate throughout. Curatolo seemed to have the most fun, mugging and pointing at the audience just like the real McCartney, while Irizarry looked increasingly like Lennon as the show progressed. McNeil was suitably laid back as “the Quiet One,” and poor old Chiazza only got one song to sing. Never mind. As a group effort, Rain delivers. And with a crop of new songs in the setlist, even those who’ve seen Rain before will want to check out the new show.

Rain tours the U.S. through April 23, 2017.

Live! @ Benaroya Hall

Live! @ Benaroya Hall



Act One: “She Loves You,” “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “If I Fell,” “I’m Happy Just to Dance With You,” “Yesterday,” “Ticket to Ride,” “The Night Before,” “I Feel Fine,” “Day Tripper,” “Twist and Shout,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “The Word,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Drive My Care,” “In My Life,” “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Act Two: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help From My Friends,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Getting Better,” “Fixing a Hole,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Within You Without You,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lovely Rita,” “Good Morning, Good Morning,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise),” “A Day in the Life,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “Get Back,” “Revolution,” “The End.”

Encore: “Hey Jude.”


Author contact:, Twitter: @GillianGaar

Photographer contact: (Copyright Peter Dervin)

Suicidal Tendencies + Havok + Crowbar 3/7/17, Memphis

Dates: March 7, 2017

Location: New Daisy Theatre, Memphiis TN

ST 3


On March 7th the old school cross over thrash/punk group of Suicidal Tendencies took the stage at New Daisy Theatre in Memphis, Tn. Lead singer Mike Muir has been kicking ass and taking names ever since he was young and wanted a Pepsi and couldn’t get one. Mike is out on tour in support of the World Gone Mad Tour with bands Havok and Crowbar.

Havok 2


Havok (above) reigning from Denver Colorado took the stage first with lightning fast riffs and began to get the crowd into the mood for a great night.

Crowbar 2

Crowbar 3


Crowbar (above) was up next and the crowd received them by beginning to mosh all around the front and middle of the crowd. I actually felt sorry for one young lady who apparently had never been to a heavy rock show, or at least not up front. She eventually worked her way out of arms way and scurried off to the back. Crowbar was a perfect setup for Suicidal Tendencies. Crowbar’s set was just as heavy as Havok’s set and both bands are gaining new fans and winning over the old heads who once thought that the bands such as Megadeth and Slayer might be an end to an era. After Crowbar said goodnight and left the stage the crowd was shouting ST over and over waiting for Mike and the crew to take the stage.

ST 2

ST came out with their powerhouse song “You Can’t Bring Me Down” and didn’t slow down for the entire night. It’s hard to believe that Muir has put out thirteen albums under the Suicidal Tendencies band since forming in 1980, and that’s not counting the side project Infectious Grooves with Robert Trujillo who is now with Metallica. Trujillo and Muir even got Ozzy to sing the line “therapy” in the song “Therapy”. It’s a cool story how they managed to get Ozzy who was down the hall in studio to sit in with them. You can see interview on YouTube for the full story.


ST 4

Mike may be getting older but you would never know it with his stage presence. He never stood still and kept up the iconic stomp that he has always strutted on stage. The band did stop the show just long enough to invite a few skater and young fans on stage to jam with the band for a couple of songs. The night wouldn’t have been complete without hearing “I Saw Your Mommy” and “Institutionalized”, and Mike didn’t disappoint!

Bryan Ferry 3/14/17, Atlanta

Dates: March 14, 2017

Location: Tabernacle, Atlanta GA

Blurt Bryan Ferry - March 2017 - John Boydston-15

Roxy Music mainman turns Atlanta’s Tabernacle venue into a temple.


Bryan Ferry is on tour – and it’s a don’t miss show for even the most casual Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music fan, as if such a person exists. Not a Roxy Music reunion, but no complaints from this packed Atlanta crowd, with plenty of great RM songs on the playlist.  Ferry is in unbelievable form — looks great, voice amazing, crooning set to stun, rocking hard, and he’s still Mr. Suave.  He’s 71.

And get this, Brit guitar rock legend Chris Spedding is in the band, bringing his never-not-brilliant-chops to the upbeat mix of excellent players.  From the best Nilsson stuff, to helping record the Sex Pistols, to Robert Gordon’s rockabilly heyday later in the decade, Spedding played on or steered some of the best rock of that era and he’s still got the magic, so it was a pleasure to see this guy.  The other guitarist rocked too, but hey, this is Chris Spedding.

Blurt Judith Owens - March 2017 - John Boydston-2

Blurt Judith Owens - March 2017 - John Boydston

Don’t be late for this show – you don’t want to miss opener Judith Owen, pictured above. Think Laura Nyro, but now.  Owen’s band also features some top players, including LA legend Leland Sklar on bass. Owen, incidentally, is satirist (and Spinal Tap member) Harry Shearer’s spouse. Now THAT is show business.

Tour dates and ticket info is here – extra US dates have been added for August so fish around for those.

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Video: U2 Does “Innocence” Bonus Track “Crystal Ballroom” For First Time


And it’s a pretty solid quality video to boot…

By Blurt Staff

Last night in Chicago (June 29) U2 gifted the United Center audience to the official debut of Songs of Innocence deluxe edition bonus track “Crystal Ballroom.’ The show was the fourth of five in the Chicago run, and as Bono put things, “There’s a bunch of people that have been on the road since we started this tour. I have no idea how they’re paying for it. I have no idea how they’ve skipped school and work, husbands and wives. But they’ve been on the road and they’ve been asking for one song, so we kinda nearly figured it out.”

Parquet Courts 2/11/17, Atlanta

Dates: February 11, 2017

Location: Terminal West, Atlanta GA

“Fight back!” On February 11, the Artist Sometimes Known as Parkay Quarts stormed the gates of Atlanta’s Terminal West venue, ultimately selling out (the venue, not the band). And we were there.
Photo Gallery By John Boydston















Bigger galleries of this and other curiosities in rock and nature are at

Los Campesinos 2/27/17, Denver

Dates: February 27, 2017

Location: Bluebird Theatre, Denver CO


Live at the Bluebird Theatre of course!


Things were relatively quiet down on Colfax Ave on Monday night, unless you were at the Bluebird Theatre. There, seven folks from UK band called Los Campesinos (formed at university in Cardiff, Wales) took the stage and proceeded to light the sucker up for most of their 90 minute or so set.

Though I’ve enjoyed their records for the past several years I hadn’t seen this bunch live but heard that they put on a good show, one that’s not to be missed.

They took the stage, walking out one after another and they kept coming until all seven of them were comfortably on the stage. One girl and six guys (poor girl) and proved to be real loose yet dedicated to their craft, a band that wants to have fun and knows how to go about it.

Though the band members don’t stray too far from their respective spaces on stage, there’s plenty of energy coming out of each member (2 guitarists, drums, bass and 2 keyboardists, one of who is a multi-instumentalist but mostly played keys). Lead vocalist Gareth was a charming sort, cracking jokes (“Geez Denver, it’s not as if the elevation here is enough on us, now you’ve got us even higher on this 5 foot high stage….jeez!”) and really engaging the crowd.

They’re touring for their new record Sick Scenes (Wichita Recording) though the18-song set included cuts from their catalog (six  full-lengths starting with their debut, 2008’s Hold On Now, Youngster…  , my personal favorite).


They began with the effervescent “As Lucerne/ The Low” and continued on  with a few cuts from their latest effort including “I Broke Up in Amarante,” “A Slow, Slow Death” and “5 Flucloxacillin.” The band are a keen mix of straight indie pop mixed with louder bits (a pal and I both described them as “shouty” early on and that was a compliment) and reminded me a bit of the Go Team! minus that band’s occasional forays into hop hop.

They played several fan favorites like “Romance is Boring,” “Here’s to the Fourth Time,” “We Are Beautiful , We Are Doomed” and “Cemetery Gaits” (a smirky nod to The Smiths there).


They came back out for an encore and played two more favorites including the bouncy “You! Me! Dancing!” and “Baby I Got the Death Rattle” before calling it a night. Thr Denver crowd didn’t want to let them go but realized that the band gave all they had. Another fine eveniong at the Bluebird.


Incoming: Big Star’s Third Live CD/DVD


Concert film will also be screened at SXSW.

By Blurt Staff

Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live … And More gets released on April 21 via Concord Bicycle Music. A 90-minute concert film that will also have its world premiere at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 16, it will be released as 2-CD/DVD or Blu-Ray combo pack, as well as a standalone, 2-CD album.

We’ve had quite a bit of coverage to date for the Chris Stamey-spearheaded Big Star’s Third project. You can check it out at the links below. For the released version, a core ensemble comprising Stamey, Big Star’s Jody Stephens, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), and the Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer performed in April 2016 in Glendale, California. Directed by Benno Nelson of Yes Equals Yes, the film includes performances by Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone of Wilco, Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo), Robyn Hitchcock, Dan Wilson (Semisonic), Benmont Tench, Jessica Pratt, Brett Harris, Django Haskins, and Skylar Gudasz. Also on hand was a full chamber orchestra helmed by San Francisco’s acclaimed Kronos Quartet and conducted by Carl Marsh, who wrote the original orchestrations for Third/Sister Lovers.


Incidentally, in addition to the screening at SXSW, there will be a post-screening Q&A with Nelson, Jody Stephens, Mike Mills, Chris Stamey, Ken Stringfellow, and Skylar Gudasz. Then the next night, March 17, an orchestrated live concert by many of the core ensemble featured in Thank You, Friends will take place at the Central Presbyterian Church.


SISTERS, LOVERS, FRIENDS, BROTHERS… COMRADES: Big Star Third Live in Chicago (exclusive photo gallery)

Big Star Third Album Gets Choice L.A. Show (preview of the Thank You Friends concert that was filmed)

BIG STAR – Complete Third  (review of the Big Star box set)




Pegboy 2/17/17, Denver

Dates: February 17, 2017

Location: 3 Kings Tavern, Denver CO

Pegboy Facebook page image

As part of the Don’t Panic festival, the Chicago punk legends laid waste to Denver’s 3 Kings Tavern


Wait….Pegboy is still around?? I had no idea. I had posted one of their songs on my Facebook page last month when a pal asks me if I’m going to see them next month. I’m like “Where? In Denver??! Uh…hell yes I’m going!.” Sure enough I checked the schedule and they’re playing this thing called the Don’t Panic fest. For me just seeing Pegboy was good enough thought I did catch a few other bands (Black Dots were real good).

Pegboy crawled out of Chicago in the late ‘80s loaded with talent, including ex-Bhopal Stiffs guy Larry Damore on vocals and guitarist John Haggerty, ex of Chicago legends Naked Raygun. Haggerty has always been one of my favorite guitarists, the sound he’s able to get out of that instrument still slays. On drums is Haggerty’s brother Joe (formerly of Bloodsport) and on bass is Mike Thompson (for a long stretch it was N.R. bassist Pierre Kezdy but he has been suffering some health issues the past few years).

Oddly enough, in all of my years of gig going, I don’t think I had ever seen Pegboy before so that made me doubly jazzed. It was going to be a late night, they were gonna hit the stage at 11:45 PM, but hey, if the guys in the band can do it (all over 50 years old ‘cept for the bassist) then this 50-plus year old can do it.

Damore was great, smiling throughout the set, cracking jokes, throwing his arms up in the air and then letting the crowd know “It’s been 17 years since we were last in Denver, if you can believe that.” The kind of guy you wanna throw your arm around him after the gig and buy him a beer. The rest of the band kept their heads down and went to work, Haggerty grinding and slashing on his axe while the rhythm section were powerful yet precise and they all really made these great songs come to life.

As far as the song selection? Pretty damn great, we heard “Strong Reaction,” “My Youth” and the unbelievably great “Dangermare.” They didn’t let us down on the covers either handling Mission of Burma’s “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver” (which they’d recorded for their 2nd album Earwig) and Naked Raygun’s “Soldier’s Requim.”

Toward the end of the set we heard “Field of Darkness” and the instrumental “Locomotivelung”  to which the packed house was going ballastic. Damore stated that “We usually don’t played any encores but we will tonight” when the band launched into “Slipped Through My Fingers’ (off the band’s debut EP, Three Chord Monte) and then, at the end, Damore stated “Thanks everyone , that was great, we’re gonna be hanging around if anyone wants to chat and get a beer with us.”  And with that Pegboy were off into the night. Let’s hope it’s not another 17 years before they make it out this way again. The band is too damn good to keep these songs under wraps for so long.