Friday, February 27, 2015

Soto - Inside the Vertigo (2015) @SOTOtheBand

Soto - Inside the Vertigo (2015)
earMusic International - February 10, 2015
Review by Edwin van Hoof

S.O.T.O is the name band from name giver Jeff Scott Soto and marks his return to the music that made him famous in his debuting days. With Yngwie J. Malmsteen he recorded some of the most groundbreaking new styled metal songs and his star was rising. Joining forces with metal greats such as the talented shredders Kuni and Axel Rudi Pell enforced his name in the scene. His passion for melodic rock also made him work on classics such as Eyes, Takara and Talisman, the latter of which he was a founding member together with Marcel Jacob (R.I.P).

Over the last decades Soto has kept building his name as a performer and (solo) recording artist and has become one of rock's most celebrated vocalists recording and touring with alumni's such as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Lita Ford, W.E.T, Steelheart and the great Journey.With Soto he brings together the sounds of his long spanning career.

After the first couple of spins I have to admit that Soto has benefited from JSS' past. The songs combine the best of styles and are molded around the excellent and powerful voice of Jeff himself. "Inside the Vertigo" displays a side of Jeff we haven't heard in a long time and brings back sweet memories from his metal days with Pell and Malmsteen. One name also pops frequently, and that's the name of the underrated Panther album he recorded back in 1986.

The songs balance on the fine line between (heavy) metal and melodic hard rock with groove laden huge guitar walls and a slightly progressive undertone. "Final Say" instantly rips away with a face-melting riff and the wall of sound hitting you is a thick one. Multi layered guitars and vocals, which pull the song, forward and create a great foundation for Soto's powerful vocals. It's a constant high pace maintained by the outfit delivering some great melody driven tracks such as the Gus G song "Wrath" and "Break" with Kamelot's Casey Grillo pounding the skins.

Though Soto will be a real band as intended, Jeff relayed on his musical network for writing and performance of this album bringing in well-known and lesser known fellow musicians to work and co-write the material. Though one might frown upon that idea, the Soto sound is consistent and recognizable instantly with Jeff hitting it up loud and wild.

An absolute highlight is the amazing 9-minute epic "End of Days" which is powered up by orchestral sections and the powerful guitar work of Jorge Salan. The towering keys and brilliantly integrated string section make this one of the best tunes I've heard from Soto's hand.

Now that last statement is not to be taken lightly because even though I consider JSS one of the finest vocalists in the field, I also frown upon most of his solo releases. His solo efforts never managed to strike me. The material always seemed inconsistent and widely varied whilst the vocal lines also stayed behind. Passionately he pens his tunes, but only a few tunes really gripped me over the years and his albums always ended shelved to collect dust.

With Soto however he moves in a direct outlined direction leaving no room for funky outbursts or unexplainable choices. It hits full frontal and the songs move onwards like a freight train on course. The immense power and drive even takes away my focus from the somewhat tacky vocal melodies ("The Fall," "Break," "Jealousy"), which almost ruined it for me. Almost....

Songs like the futuristic title track and "Trance," the semi-ballad "When I'm Older," and epic "End of Days" however are too good to be true, too good to be discarded by fans of metal as well as melodic rock. And what to think of Jason Bieler's (Saigon Kick) "Karma's Kiss" which features the typical taunting trademark riffs by Bieler combined with a sticky melody that could easily be featured upon "The Lizard", without lacking the identity of this SOTO album.

"Inside the Vertigo" is the debut of SOTO the band, evolving around a real band starring Jeff Scott Soto on vocals. This is a wise move by JSS who delivers a great and powerful rock album, planting the seed for a new chapter in his illustrious career. Maintaining the momentum and closing the ranks in terms of songwriting as a band will be the key to a glorious new album. I have high hopes.

79 out of 100


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Karyn Crisis' Gospel of The Witches Launches New Video for "The Alchemist"

Karyn Crisis -- best known for her trademark melodic singing and growling roars as the vocalist of CRISIS (1993-2006) and EPHEL DUATH (2011-2014) -- will return with a new project, KARYN CRISIS' GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES, and consequent album, Salem's Wounds, this Spring. Due out March 9th in Europe and March 24th in North America via Century Media Records, Salem's Wounds contains 13 tracks recorded by Karyn together with Davide Tiso (EPHEL DUATH), Ross Dolan (IMMOLATION), Mike Hill (TOMBS) and Charlie Schmid (VAURA). A new video for the album track, "The Alchemist", can now be viewed below:

For fans in Germany:

Karyn Crisis comments: "I'm thrilled to release a new track off our forthcoming album entitled 'The Alchemist,' which is one of my favorite songs. While we've mostly released images and video clips full of atmosphere around the concept of this album, I felt that now is the perfect time for you to meet the band. We've all been rehearsing in preparation for our upcoming March shows, and we've been making a lot of magic in that rehearsal space, and have filled it with our hearts and souls. Bob Vigna of IMMOLATION filmed and edited this video. Enjoy the vibes and meet the band: Davide Tiso guitars, Bob Vigna guitars, Ross Dolan bass and vocals, Charlie Schmid drums, and Karyn Crisis vocals."

For another preview of Salem's Wounds, be sure to listen to the previously released track, "Mother": (for fans in Germany:

Salem's Wounds was financed by fans via websites like Indiegogo/Etsy and was recorded at The Basement Recordings in North Carolina with producer Jamie King (BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, THE CONTORTIONIST). The album cover was
painted by Karyn herself, who (in addition to her vocal talents) is a respected painter and leatherworker. See below for the complete album track-listing.

Salem's Wounds track-listing:
1. Omphalos
2. The Alchemist
3. Ancient Ways
4. Aradia
5. Mother
6. Father
7. Goddess Of Light
8. Howl At The Moon
9. Pillars
10. The Secret
11. Salem's Wounds
12. The Sword And The Stone
13. The Ascent

To pre-order Salem's Wounds, please visit CM Distro for a variety of album formats and exclusive bundles:

Salem's Wounds can also be pre-ordered in Europe at the following locations:

In support of this upcoming release, KARYN CRISIS' GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES will perform two special shows in New York this March. See below for all dates.

March 28 - Trick Shot Billiards and Music Hall - Clifton Park, NY
March 29 - Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY

KARYN CRISIS' GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES online: Read the full story at

The Luck of the Irish Comes To Arizona’s Tempe Beach Park With Pot of Gold Music Festival

What is better then St. Patrick's Day.  That rocking to a weekend long music festival heading by some of the biggest bands today.  The years St. Patrick's Day kicks off early with a rocking four day total blowout weekend which gives you a day of rest on Monday and continues the next day.

The Annual Pot of Gold Music Festival, slated for March 13-15 and 17, 2015 at Arizona’s Tempe Beach Park. Started 11 years ago in 2005, which has grown to multi-days with 29 acts on two stages over four days – including headliners Bastille, Kendrick Lamar and Korn – even the hungriest of music fans can expect to get their fill of outstanding music.

Single-day tickets for the all-ages festival are on sale now. The first 500 tickets per day are available for purchase at $29 (plus ticket and order fees) at, Tempe’s Marquee Theatre Box Office, by phone (480-829-1300), Arizona Bookman’s locations, Zia Record’s stores and Headquarters in Tempe. When the daily $29 tickets run out, the next 500 tickets (per day) are available for $39 (plus ticket and order fees). All remaining tickets will be available for $49 (plus ticket and order fees), while they last.

The full lineup and set times appear below:

Friday, March 13

3:00 p.m. Gates open
4:30-5:30 p.m. Joywave
5:30-6:30 p.m. Future Islands
6:30-7:30 p.m. Bleachers
7:30-8:30 p.m. Girl Talk
8:30-9:30 p.m. AWOLNATION
9:30-10:30 p.m. Chromeo
10:30-1145 p.m. Bastille

Saturday, March 14
12:30 p.m. Gates open
1:15-2:00 p.m. Aer
2:00-3:00 p.m. Grieves
3:00-4:00 p.m. Tribal Seeds
4:00-5:00 p.m. Hoodie Allen
5:00-6:00 p.m. Expendables
6:00-7:00 p.m. Dirty Heads
7:00-8:00 p.m. Kongos
8:00-9:15 p.m. Slightly Stoopid
9:15-10:15 p.m. School Boy Q
10:30-11:45 p.m. Kendrick Lamar

Sunday, March 15
12:30 p.m. Gates open
1:15-2:15 p.m. Katastro
2:15-3:15 p.m. Big Data
3:15-4:15 p.m. Knox Hamilton
4:15-5:15 p.m. New Politics
5:15-6:15 p.m. Echosmith
6:15-7:30 p.m. Rebelution
7:30-8:30 p.m. Milky Chance
8:30-10:00 p.m. Fallout Boy

Tuesday, March 17
3:00 p.m. Gates open
4:30-5:00 p.m. TBA local
5:30-6:30 p.m. Chevelle
7:00-8:15 p.m. Godsmack
8:45-10:00 p.m. Korn

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cindy Alcuizar Video Review of the week A Filipino Perspective Featuring Magic and 5 Seconds of Summer

Cindy Alcuizar Video Review of the week A Filipino Perspective Featuring Magic! and
 5 Seconds of Summer 

Cindy Alcuizar

By: 5 Seconds of Summer
Amnesia was written by Benjamin Madden, Joel Madden, Louis Biancaniello, Michael Biancaniello and Sam Watters. Also produced by L. Biancaniello, M. Biancaniello and Watters. Amnesia was released as the third single of the debut studio album of 5 seconds of summer entitled 5 seconds of summer last July 15, 2014. Vevo published the music video last July 31, 2014 and right now it has almost 57 million views in Youtube.

The music video was filmed in Los Angeles. It is about remembering the happy and unforgettable memories they made. While the lyrics were stating sad feelings and being doubt if the girl really loved him because why it’s easy for her to forget everything about them. It’s really hard for the guy to move on because he remembers the girl in everything. Lyrics also state how the guy missed her and how he wished that one day he will wake up with amnesia and forget everything about her. To move on and to escape from the memories the two of them made. 

For more information on  5 Seconds of Summer, visit there profiles at




By: Magic
Rude is the debut single by Canadian reggae fusion band Magic, from their debut studio album, Don't Kill the Magic. It is written by Nasri Atweh, Adam Messinger, Mark Pellizer, Ben Spiyak and Alex Tanas. It is also produced by Adam Messinger. Vevo released their music video last December 5, 2013 which is currently now has 415 million views in Youtube. Last February 24, 2014 Sony Music Entertainment released it and "Rude" peaked at number six on the Canadian Hot 100. The song was featured in a 2014 Nestea commercial in the Philippines

 "Rude" was named after the reggae term "rude boy" and originally based on a real-life situation. The woman in the music video was played by a model named Ayla Parker. The lyrics and the video states how the father of the girl rejects the boy. The father never liked the boy for his daughter. He liked other guy that he thinks that will be good for his daughter. But his daughter really loved the boy and ready to marry him no matter what happens. Even though the boy and the girl fought for their love but still the father won’t give his blessing. The reason why the boy calls  the father “Rude”. 

For more information on Magic, visit their profiles at





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Video Reviews for Week of February 22, 2015

Video Reviews for Week of February 22, 2015

By Cynthia Duke

Brooke Fraser – Something in the Water: One of the most popular and top selling artist of all time in New Zealand, Brooke Fraser, is best known for her third studio album, “Flags”, (2010) and her hit single, “Something in the Water”.

Born December 15, 1983, Brooke took piano lesson from ages 7-17 and at 12 started songwriting. At 15 she taught herself acoustic guitar.

Brooke signed with Sony Music in 2002 with a multi-album deal. She has four albums under her belt, the newest being, “Brutal Romantic” (2014).

This is an upbeat song with just acoustic guitar and a drum beat joined with a bass on chorus. It’s not a newly uploaded (2011) video but, as one YouTuber comments, it’s 2014 and still a beautiful song.

The video is pretty simple. Brooke is sitting in different indoor settings with a bit of animation interweaved. The animation looking like the old sets of puppet shows and play backgrounds of the early 1900’s.

The animation is set in an ocean mostly and there is another water reference in the video with a coffee cup and water dripping into it. At the end of the video Brook sticks out her tongue at the camera.

Lyrically, Brooke sings that there must be something in the water that makes her so crazy over…someone. “I’ll pretend that it’s no thing that’s skipping my heart when I think of you/Thinking of me babe I’m crazy over you.

For more information on Brooke Fraser, visit her profiles at






G – Outer Space (feat Genevieve): “I Live in outer space…” begins Genevieve in this Bjork-esque tune. This spacey song has a floating, spacious, relaxed, light but, dark feel to it. You can actually close your eyes and imagine yourself floating along, turning and flipping slowly on a trajectory toward deep space. Genevieve’s voice is set against some reverbed piano in the beginning along with her background vocals. Light beats that add up to more then, a saxophone subtly

comes in filling out the sonic landscape. This tune makes you feel almost sad but not. Peaceful, content, cradled in the womb of space and empty.

So, who are G and Genevieve? Well, G is the name of the project of producer Jimmy Giannopoulos. He is a member of Reputante and also plays in Lolawolf and M O T H X R.

Genevieve is an American indie pop singer from L.A., CA and former frontwoman for Chicago indie rock band, “Company of Thieves”. She has now been a solo artist since 2014. The first track as a solo artist being, “Colors”. Outer Space is the debut single from her EP to come out later this year.

The video is set at a carnival with Genevieve walking the carnival grounds and riding various rides as she sings with it abruptly ending.

For more information about Genevieve, visit her profiles





For more information on Jimmy Giannopoulos, visit his profiles on

Katy Tiz - The Big Bang: This deep voiced British pop singer/songwriter gained acknowledgement in the mainstream after releasing a cover from “Rock Mafia’s” popular single, “The Big Bang”. This led to a record contract with Atlantic Records in April of 2014. This video was published to YouTube thereafter in July of 2014. Katy is currently working on her debut full-length album.

Let’s not beat around the bush. This song is about organisms. Look at the lyrics, “…You got me right here, combustible and I can’t wait to finally explode…/When all the stars collide in the universe inside/The big, big bang”.

The video has 20-esque music or earlier playing then gives way to an almost Spanish guitar strum. It reminds me of a 60’s pop tune along the lines of Nancy Sinatra or Tom Jones. Anyway the scene during the beginning is a shot of a hotel’s neon sign and flashes to the interior, at guitar strum, with Katy cleaning the hotel rooms. The next cut it of Katy in a chair getting a tattoo on her hands and the next cut is various people partying in a hotel room. Next Katy is a bathtub with a man and is singing into a spray faucet that looks like a skinny stick microphone. The scenes are interlaced from here on out as Katy sings.

The video ends with Katy cleaning again and elevator music playing in the background.

For more information on Katy Tiz, visit her profiles at






Beth Hart - Bang Bang Boom Boom (official music video) 2012: Beth Hart has been around for a while but those of you not familiar with her should know that she is an American singer/songwriter from L.A., born in 1972, who rose to fame with her 1999 single, “LA Song (Out of this Town)” from her second album, “Screaming for my Supper”.

Beth’s most recent album, “Bang Bang Boom Boom” spawned this single of the same name which is the lead song off the album. This video was published to YouTube in September of 2012 and the album was released the following month.

The song, a catchy number, to me, seems to be about two characters from the seedier side of life in cahoots with each other in the life of crime. A Bonnie and Clyde type. With her loving him so much she would die for him and she’s just waiting for him to make his move.

The video starts out with an old car traveling toward us on a dusty desert road at sunset. This is blackmail setup with the blackmailed coming to pay up in some undisclosed location. They park and the driver gets out of the car and looks at his watch before getting a chair and parasol out of the trunk for Beth while she sits in the backseat singing and applying lipstick. She steps out and sits holding her parasol, waiting for the other car to show up.

The blackmailed man shows up and does an exchange of money for a picture of himself naked. He departs quickly and Beth and her man/driver pack up the car and drive off into the sunset. As simple as that.

For more information on Beth Hart, visit her profiles on






Maroon 5 – Sugar: If you don’t know who Maroon 5 are then you’ve been under a rock for ages. If you’re that one hermit, this is who they are; an American pop

rock band. Adam Levine is the frontman. He is one of the judges on The Voice. Adam is good looking. This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to the review.

The song is an upbeat love song about missing his lover/girlfriend/wife and wanting some loving. “I don’t wanna be needing your love/I just wanna be deep in your love/And it’s killing me when you’re away”. He sings falsetto during the chorus of, “Sugar/Yes, please/Come and put it down on me…”.

The video is pretty simple and pretty original. Adam starts out on the video saying it’s December 6, 2014 and that they are gonna drive across L.A. and hit as many weddings at they can.

For what? They come in setting up to perplexed wedding goers and start playing. The white curtain drops and the astonished and shocked audience scream when they see who it is. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat...

For more information on Maroon 5, visit their profiles on






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Monday, February 23, 2015

Toto – XIV (2015) CD Review

Toto XIV (2015)

Frontiers Records (Universal Music)
Review by Edwin van Hoof

TOTO is one of the longest running touring bands on the globe and it has had an off and on line-up change of former vocalists reuniting with the bands founding members Steve Lukather, David Paich and/or Steve Porcaro. Alongside vocal masters Bobby Kimball and Joseph Williams, TOTO has had several front-men handling vocal duties over their long spanning career, including Luke (Steve) himself. With Joseph Williams closing the ranks on this reunion, the band grips back to their acclaimed "Fahrenheit" and hit spitting success of "The Seventh One." With this being set, stakes are extremely high and "XIV" cannot fall short of being a miracle recorded by one of melodic rock and AOR's finest.

Let's start by saying that this new album is exactly what anyone, fans and music aficionados, do have expected it to be. "XIV" is the embodiment of the grandeur of TOTO's albums, whether they featured alumni's Kimball, Jean-Michael Byron or the late Fergie Frederiksen. But it is above all a celebrational return of Joseph Williams marking the return to the bands most fruitful period sprouting hits by the dozen. To make the everlasting TOTO sound as gripping as during their "The Seventh One" days, the band also reunited with recording partner Michael McDonald who provided the underscore in many ear mingling choirs and choruses per se. Alongside McDonald, the band also reunited with original bassist David Hungate.

"Running Out of Time" opens full-blown with the typical neo-progressive hooks and twists working towards the larger than life chorus pleated by the swirling keyboards of Mr. Paich himself. Lukather spits his riff into the airwaves establishing one of the trademark sounds of TOTO instantly. "Burn" enters with an ear mingling verse accompanied by piano towards an explosive pompous hook line on which Williams' vocal supremacy is highlighted. The semi-ballad is furthermore powered by sublime guitar drops and Paich' layers of keys and awe's and ooh's making it feel all fuzzy and warm. With "Holy Wars" Lukather steps up to spit some sublime licks to the front, driving the song forward as one of those convertible classics. Feel good vibes contrasting with the lyrical content of the song. The eclectic midsection features a jaw dropping solo by the master over progressive twists and turns. "Holy Wars" is the second song the band made available to fans paving the way for the album. "21st Century Blues" touches base with the title with a bar blues groove opening towards the slick chorus that features the typical TOTO gene. It hints the classic "Africa" era with Williams' crystal clear and warm voice drenching the song in the present. "Orphan" debuted as the band's single and made clear aside the TOTO trademark sound there was a lot more to be expected. The song features a stop and go motion with impressive drum breaks by new drummer Keith Carlock. The beat and drive of the song make Williams pushing the envelope and TOTO manages to break the boundaries of the genre. "Unknown Soldier" is as confronting lyrically as it is musically. The song has a mesmerizing and powerful resonation in the bridges and choruses, which are dense and powerful, reminiscent to Kansas' early classics. Musically there's a lot happening on the song without ever coming across forced or eclectic. It's exactly that art mastered by TOTO, which makes them so beloved.

"The Little Things" hooks onto the subtle mood change with light footed guitar and drum interaction over a vivid bass lick propelling it forward. Again Joseph's voice highlights the ear-mingling sugar coated chorus. His vocals are appealing and warm, even in this (near) whispering mode. The interaction between Lukather and Williams' vocals gives the song an excellent momentum. "Chinatown" is an utterly cool prog outburst with a seventies feeling to it. The song grooves along a jazzy hook, stokes by Paich' piano swirl and the blazing withheld power of Lukather's guitar licks. "Chinatown" keenly unites TOTO's frontline singers in close harmony stepping forward for some excellent interaction and features some of the better Paich-Williams vocal interaction in TOTO history.

"All the Tears" instantly has me stoked. Jazzy warm piano tones balance with the high tech keyboard swirl from Paich, creating a subtle tension in the warm environment by the slick guitar lick in the background. Vocally Paich challenges Williams once again and the chorus is slick and comfy revealing the band's unmatched feeling for sentiment and drama.

"Fortune" is opened by a steep cornered distinctive guitar lick directly from the band's "Hydra" (hello!) era. A seventies prog inflicted song with on-going thrive and slick vocal interaction.

"Great Expectations" perfectly sums up the feeling I had surrounding this mythical reunion. The epical, almost 7 minute spanning song features the bands key ingredients. Eclectic neo progressive hooks and breaks perfectly timed by Porcaro and Carlock, vibrant and subtle guitar twists topped off by towering keyboard pasting it all solid. Mid-section Luke fires one of his elusive solos paving the way for a dose of mathematically timed progressive complexity that melodically blooms towards the end. It's the ultimate way to end this varied new album.

TOTO managed to break the boundaries and live up to the great expectations surrounding their fourteenth studio release. The band manages to surprise without lacking the typical TOTO DNA, and step up with multi layered bedazzling song structures in the best TOTO manner. Larger than life hooks and choruses contrasting with the band's varied musical spectre, providing tension and untimely thought provoking melodies and musical twists. The band consistently keeps pushing the envelope and tests the outcome of their collaboration at an unmatched high level. Never cutting corners or any sign of laurel resting is to be found on this classic. Because that's what "XIV" is: an instant TOTO classic.

98 out of 100

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

May 2015 is the World’s Loudest Month

2015 World’s Loudest Month Festival Dates Announced Including New ‘Northern Invasion’ Festival Rock On The Range Pre-Sale Layaway Packages On Sale Now

The dates for the 2015 World’s Loudest Month festival series have been revealed, including the addition of the new Northern Invasion festival outside Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Created by AEG Live, Danny Wimmer Presents and Rock house Presents, The World's Loudest Month features the biggest names in rock music performing in eight distinct U.S. concert atmospheres in April and May. Last year saw new attendance highs for the World's Loudest Month festivals, with more than
368,000 fans turning out to see over 150 bands perform, proving that the hunger for rock and metal music in America is growing.

In addition to the already established festivals taking place in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri, the World’s Loudest Month creators are proud to introduce the newest addition to the series, Northern Invasion , which will bow as a one day, multi-stage camping festival just outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

The 2015 World’s Loudest Month festival dates and locations are as follows:

Monster Energy Fort Rock: April 25 in Fort Myers, FL
Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville: April 25 & 26 in Jacksonville, FL
Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion: May 2 & 3 in Concord, NC
Northern Invasion: May 9 in Somerset, WI
Rock On The Range: May 15, 16 & 17 in Columbus, OH
Rocklahoma: May 22, 23 & 24 in Pryor, OK
River City Rockfest: May 24 in San Antonio, TX
RockFest: May 30 in Kansas City, MO

 “With each passing year we continue to work hard to bring something special to the rock fans around the country and to make it easy and convenie nt for them to attend our events,” comments Joe Litvag, co-executive producer of the WLM series for AEG Live. “That was the reason behind starting Northern Invasion in the upper Midwest. There is such a tremendous community of rock fans in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and nothing was all that convenient for them. So, we t hought, ‘Why not bring them a rock festival that they can call their own?’” 

“After selling over 360,000 tickets last year for World’s Loudest Month we are constantly looking for great cities and strong markets to add to the family of festivals associated with WLM. Minneapolis has an incredible rock radio stat ion and it’s only fitting that we bring Northern Invasion to the region as our newest destination to the Wor ld’s Loudest Month,” says Danny Wimmer, co-executive producer of the WLM series for DWP.  

Here are additional details about each World’s Loudest Month festival: 

Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville (April 25 & 26, Jacksonville, FL) After selling out in 2014 , Monster Energy Welcome To Rockville kicks off the World’s Loudest Month and celebrates its 5th year anniversary, returning to Jacksonville, Florida April 25 and 26th. Florida's biggest rock festival lineup will be revealed Monday, December 8, with tickets going on sale Friday, December 12.

Monster Energy Fort Rock (April 25, Fort Myers, FL) The World's Loudest weekend includes South Florida’ s Biggest Rock Festival, Monster Energy Fort Rock , Saturday, April 25 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox, for its 3rd consecutive year after selling out last year. The full festival lineup will be released Monday, December 8, with tickets going on sale Friday, December 12.

Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion (May 2 & 3, Concord, NC) Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the fifth annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion. In 2014, the mid-Atlantic's biggest rock festival sold out of camping and VIP packages, and over 60,000 fans were treated to two and a half days of picture perfect weather. For the 2015 festival, layaway packages will be offered for the first time beginning Cyber Monday (December 1, 2014). Further details regarding layaway (ticket prices, camping and hotel packages) will be announced in th e coming weeks, with the concert line-up to follow in early 2015.

Northern Invasion (May 9, Somerset, WI) Look for details soon about this new rock and camping festival that will take place during the World’s Loudest Month . Lineup, ticket information, and camping information will be announced in December.

Rock On The Range (May 15-17, Columbus, OH) #ROTR sold out in advance for the second year in a row in 2014, with 120,000 concert-goers on-hand at Columbus Crew Stadium to experience blistering performances from 60 of the world’s hardest rocking bands on three stages over three days. In 2015, ROTR will welcome live music’s top cable channel, AXS TV, to film the weekend as part of their live festival coverage. Weekend Field GA and Stadium GA layaway tickets are on sale now at Also new to Rock On The Range in 2015 will be the Jack Daniels Old No 7 VIP Lounge which features amenities such as dedicated Wi-Fi, charging stations, private restrooms, premium food options and more, this upgrade will be available on all ticket purchases. Returning packages like the ROTR VIP Packages, Hotel and Ticket Bundles and Camping packages will go on sale Monday, November 10 at 10:00 AM ET. Details and prices for VIP, Hotel, and Camping Packages are available at . Regular tickets will go on sale once the band lineup has been announced in early December.

Rocklahoma (May 22-24, Pryor, OK) In May 2014, a record crowd of over 60,000 fans turned out for the eighth year of America’s Biggest Memorial Day Weekend Party featuring the best current active rock artists and classic bands at "Catch the Fever" Festival Grounds. Rocklahoma’s seat renewal process will begin on Monday, November 17, 2014 and runs through Wednesday, January 7, 2015. The renewal option is available to those who purchased a Weekend Reserved or VIP Package ticket in 2014. To renew seats for 2015, please call 866-310-2288 or e mail and a team member will contact you as soon as possible. Rocklahoma’s 2015 line-up will be announced in January.

River City RockFest (May 24, San Antonio, TX) River City RockFest returns to the AT&T Center in San Antonio for its third year. Look for concert line-up details to be announced soon. In 2014, nearly 20,000 were in attendance at San Antonio’s premier rock festival, with 25 top rock bands performing on four stages.

Rockfest (May 30, Kansas City, MO) Rockfest returns to Penn Valley Park in downtown Kansas City for its 23rd year. In 2014, Rockfest closed out the World’s Loudest Month festival series with over 50,000 in attendance for the seventh consecutive year of America's largest one-day music festival.


About AEG Live:
AEG Live, the live-entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG, is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance.AEG Live is comprised of touring, festival, broadcast, merchandise and special event divisions,fifteen regional offices, and owns, operates or exclusively books thirty-five state-of-the-art venues. The current and recent concert tour roster includes artists such as Alicia Keys, American Idols, Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Kenny Chesney, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, The WHO, Trey Songz and Juanes. The company is also currently producing residency shows at The Coloseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart and Shania Twain and is the exclusive promoter at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. AEG Live is also the largest producer of music festivals in North America from the critically acclaimed Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival to Stagecoach Country Music Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

RockHouse Presents:
RockHouse Presents is a boutique concert company specializing in talent buying for the best hard rock and alternative rock music events across North America. RockHouse, while serving as a co-executive producer for destination festivals Rock On The Range, Carolina Rebellion and the 1st annual Northern Invasion also books, markets and curates such branded events as EdgeFest/Dallas, XFest/Dan Diego, MMRBQ/Philadelphia, BFD/San Francisco and several other nationally known radio hosted shows across the country. |

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mahalia Barnes - Ooh Yea! The Betty Davis Songbook (2014)

Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates

Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates featuring Joe Bonamassa - Ooh Yea! The Betty Davis Songbook
J&R Adventures, Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group - February 24, 2015
Review by Edwin van Hoof

Insiders will most likely know the story about the iconic yet controversial sexy Betty Davis who was married to Jazz legend Miles Davis. Not only was she one of the great voices of funk herself, she also paved the way for many bands by breaking the boundaries of the genre inflicting it with soul and blues as well as more psychedelic structures. By doing so she introduced her husband to new sounds and established herself a solid name by musicians all over the world and in every musical genre. Albums such as "They Say I'm different" and "Nasty Girl" stood the test of time and are still cherished by many. Milestones in music which must have influenced Australian Mahalia Barnes, who recently impressed with her powerful vocal performance on her father's (Jimmy Barnes) "Hindsight" album.

Much like her renowned father Mahalia is blessed with an impressive set of pipes, roaring loud and powerfully. The charismatic Aussie has the ability to bend Davis' classics out of shape just enough to give them new bravado and warp them into the presence.

To do so she managed to lure in none other than Joe Bonamassa alongside her band The Soulmates spectacularly reproducing the cross over Davis tracks while Kevin Shirley turned the knobs and pushed the buttons, ensuring the best possible sound. The outcome is a vivid and inspired collection of songs, which is nothing short of spectacular.

Hammering away with tons of enthusiasm Mrs. Barnes managed to revive the roaring blues-o-tauris that has been tugged away recently inside of Bonamassa. Joe throws around his wild riffs and blues chops from the old days with such panache that it must awaken his raw blues feeling for the upcoming tour. The opening powerful hammer "If I'm in Luck I might get picked up" instantly creates the wave needed to stir up the silence. Loud hammering drums, pumping bass and Joe ripping it up to launch Mahalia into orbit. The song keeps up the pace and has a jam feel which empower the songs on this album even more. Check out the funky piano rocker "Steppin' in her I. Miller Shoes", a ¾ paced stomper with Barnes pitching it up high and raw. It's that pace that slams you backwards for over 50 minutes, it's Mahalia Barnes' voice that grips for the same amount of time. "He was a Big Freak" grooves heavily keeping Davis' well known punk funk vibe alive. Undistorted guitars, funky drum shuffles and the bass slaps away wild. It's that same slapping bass playing a leading role announcing "Your Mama wants to Rock" making way for some fine vocal interaction between Mahalia and the choirs over the ear mingling chorus. "Game is My middle Name" grooves further onwards and has the same lush and sexy vocals which made it beloved by fans of Davis. Barnes manages to inflict it with a ton of soul and lifts the powerhouse soul chorus to bedazzling heights. "Nasty Girl" is propelled by grim vocals kicking it up as intended. The song upset the scene in the mid 70's thanks to the sexual controversial attitude of both, the song and the performer, having it boycotted on radio and tv. The load mouthing lyrics add up to Mahalia's vocal approach, which is as sexy as it is anger-laden. "Ooh Yea" is the typical funky 70's outburst which sounds recognizable due to the Isaac Hayes reminiscent vocals which are deep and soulful. Towards the end the song suddenly comes alive and swings away with a tremendous drive, contrasting severely with the following free wheeling "You won't See Me in the morning" and the soul funk "Anti-Love Song."

Absolute highlights are to many to mention, but the soulful "In the Meantime" is certainly one for the books. It swings slowly and has the vocalist exploring her wide range in optima forma over lush Hammond tones and an drama oozing solo from Bonamassa.

"Walking up the Road" is another memorable tune with Jimmy Barnes joining forces with his eldest. Together they scream and shout out their lungs revealing the anguish and joys of life's road to travel. Mahalia clearly inherited the vocal power from her father but is blessed with a much wider range and much more warmth displayed on this track.

The album is closed by the amazing funk ballad "Shoo-B-Doo and Cop Him" leaning on the lush guitars and excellent choirs making it end up all sexy and soulful.

"Ooh Yea – The Betty Davis Songbook" is the perfect launch board for one of Australia's most powerful and charismatic voices today. Mahalia Barnes revives the Betty Davis classics with such enthusiasm and power that the songs bloom 40 years after their original release. The outcome is an excellent soulful album with punk funk power and slamming rock outbursts, outlined in shiny gold by Barnes' inspired powerhouse vocals and jaw dropping performance. This is likely to be one of the best releases of 2015!

98 out of 100


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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dancing with the Stars: Live! North American Tour Review

Dancing with the Stars: Live! North American Tour Review

Balboa Theater San Diego, CA - February 9, 2015

Photos and story by Cynthia Duke

Dancing with the Stars live tour is a spectacular 90 minutes of adrenalized performance. Just what you’d expect from the ABC hit show that first aired in 2005. The 40 city tour started in Niagra Falls, NY December 27, 2014 and will be ending in L.A., CA. With just four tour dates left, all in California, there’s not much opportunity left to catch this event. For those of you in Cali, the following are the remaining dates:

Wed 11-Feb San Jose, CA Center for the Performing Arts

Thu 12-Feb Santa Rosa, CA Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

Sat 14-Feb Thousand Oaks, CA Fred Kavli Theatre for the Performing Arts

Sun 15-Feb Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre LA Live

Season 19 contestant and winner, Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), host this shin dig in a very humorous tone. Alfonso and his dancing partner from the show, Witney Carson, bounced well off each other giving each other quips and jabs throughout.

The cast line up including Alfonso and Witney are Kym Johnson, Keo Motsepe, Sasha Farber, Mark Ballas, Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Emma Slater. Personally I thought this was going to have some of the celebrity cast throughout the seasons,
but I was wrong. It’s all pros. Except for Alfonso, of course, but he’s pretty light on his feet too and as soon as he did the Carlton dance the audience applauded and screamed in excitement.

Alfonso introduced us to Mark Ballas and Valentin’s other passions. Playing musical instruments. Valentin with violin and Mark with guitar. Mark currently has a CD out called, “Kicking Clouds”, available on iTunes.

Mark Ballas and his musical partner, Dillon Chambers then perform one of their tunes followed by Valentin on violin with a dance. They are just as talented with their instruments as their feet. I might add at this point that when Alfonso told us what they played, Witney was on stage as well and chimed in that she played “something” too. Alfonso hilariously brushed her off and ignored her. So when the other too finish their performances, she comes out with a trombone and stood in front of a music stand and played a not so impressive few notes. Purposely, of course.

This is then followed by a Q and A with Witney, Emma, Sasha, Valentin and Mark. The latter brought up former dance partner Candice who was in the audience. She affectionately confessed that Mark was a pain in the butt to work with.

An unexpected moment was when they brought up three senior audience members to dance and then interview them.
They had them dance a second time to really show their stuff and this one senior, who was very spry, really shook his booty and had the audience and cast roaring with laughter.

Before closing out with some more dance routines, Mark, Dillon and Valentin performed some Latin music together on their instruments. These musical performances where a nice way to break up the show as well as Alfonso’s witty retort.

After a night of watching dance routines in Latin, jive, cha cha, rumba, and so forth, I was looking forward to watching the next season of the program with renewed enthusiasm. Nothing like seeing these dancers do their thing live. Do try to catch this event if you are near one. You won’t be disappointed.- Read the full story at