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The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven DVD Review: An Appreciation of the Duo's Impact on Early Rock 'n' Roll

The rock pioneers set the standard for impeccable harmonies, and wowed audiences with their special blend of rock, country, and R&B.
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Early rock pioneers the Everly Brothers set the standard for impeccable harmonies, and wowed audiences with their special blend of rock, country, and R&B. The duo gets their just due in the BBC documentary The Everly Brothers: Harmonies from Heaven, newly released on DVD and Blu-ray. Featuring interviews with surviving Everly brother Don, Keith Richards, Art Garfunkel, Albert Lee, Dave Edmunds, and Graham Nash, the film is a thoroughly fascinating look at an underrated family act. Harmonies from Heaven follows Don and Phil from their early years as singers with the Everly Family, a group comprised of the brothers and

Styx: Live at the Orleans Arena Las Vegas Blu-ray Review: A Quality Performance Even Without the Band's Biggest Songs

Instead of having someone else singing some of the songs Dennis DeYoung sang, Styx just completely leaves them out of the rotation.
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Filmed while on tour in July of 2014, the Blu-ray shows off some of the band’s well-known hits. Interspersed between the eight-song concert are interviews with the band and crew members detailing their adventures and lifestyle on the road. Topics covered range from what they do during their off hours to the inner workings of the business and how the technology has changed their experience of being away from home and their family. The line-up for the concert is Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar); James “JY” Young (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Todd Sucherman (drums); Lawrence Gowan (vocals/keyboards); Ricky Phillips (bass, backing vocals);

Toto: Live at Montreux 1991 DVD Review: Shows a Band in Transition

This 1991 performance showcases the band's versatility and captures one of their last performances as an original quartet.
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By 1991, Toto was at a crossroads. Only four original members remained: guitarist/lead vocalist Steve Lukather, keyboardist/lead vocalist David Paich, drummer Jeff Porcaro, and bassist Mike Porcaro. They were in the midst of recording the album Kingdom of Desire, a harder-charging work featuring Lukather on all lead vocals. Sadly, shortly after completing the album, Jeff Porcaro unexpectedly passed away; his brother Mike would succumb to ALS in 2015. The new release Toto: Live at Montreux 1991, a new release in the DVD/CD, Blu-ray/CD, and digital video formats allows fans one more glimpse at the legendary lineup. While not well filmed,

Album Review: The Claypool Lennon Delirium: Monolith of Phobos

Trust us: "You oughta try it, you really oughta try it...".
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Thank the fates Sean Lennon's Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger opened for Les Claypool's Primus last summer because it led to a bonding that resulted in The Claypool Lennon Delirium. Their outstanding debut album, Monolith of Phobos, takes listeners on a marvelous psychedelic-rock trip, simultaneously back to the '60s while traversing the present. The duo begins by setting a course for "The Monolith of Phobos" with sounds of futuristic machinery preparing for the journey as they tinker with their instruments. Main character Buzz is affected by the Monolith, making him ponder life, which only brings more questions as will

Concert Review: Sting & Peter Gabriel, Hollywood Bowl, 07/18/16

It was such a treat to see musicians so filled with joy playing together.
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In the same vein as his 2014 co-headlining tour with Paul Simon, Sting teamed up with his former Amnesty International touring mate Peter Gabriel for “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” which found them playing concerts across North America in June and July. They combined their talented bands and in addition to Gabriel on keys and Sting on bass, the blended ensemble was comprised of two guitarists, another bassist, two more keyboardists, two drummers, three back-ups singers, an electric fiddle player, and a percussionist. The night began with Gabriel coming out first and performing “Rhythm of the Heat” with powerful percussion highlighting the

The Rolling Stones: Totally Stripped Review: Totally Enjoyable

Live from 1995, it's the Rolling Stones.
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During 1994/1995, the Rolling Stones (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood) toured the world behind Voodoo Lounge, which not only found them playing stadiums, but also three small European venues: The Paradiso in Amsterdam in May 1995, and L’Olympia in Paris and Brixton Academy in London in July 1995. Performances from those intimate concerts along with acoustic studio sessions recorded in Tokyo and Lisbon resulted in Stripped, a different type of live album from the band. Twenty-one years later, Totally Stripped revisits Stripped in updated and expanded versions. The CD delivers 14 tracks, with only one performance,

Louder Than Love - The Grande Ballroom Story DVD Review: It Was Quite a Place to Be

A key player in the birth of rock and roll as we know it, you just didn't know about it until now.
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When most people think of live music in the late '60s, they probably think of Haight-Ashbury, The Fillmore East and West, "Summer of Love"-type things. The new documentary Louder Than Love tells the story of The Grande Ballroom in Detroit and the musical revolution that happened in its hallowed halls. In the midst of economic and racial struggles that led to riots, fires, and other unrest, there was a haven of peace downtown where local bands were blossoming and the top British acts were making their debuts. The venue may have been peaceful but the music was anything but. The

Album Review: Mudcrutch: 2: Tom Petty Returns to His pre-Heartbreakers Band with Great Results

The long-awaited sophomore release from Mudcrutch doesn't disappoint.
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In 2007, Tom Petty decided to reform Mudcrutch, his pre-Heartbreakers band, to record their long-overdue self-titled debut. Mudcrutch of course is the band that eventually became the Heartbreakers, with Petty retaining keyboardist Benmont Tench and lead guitarist Mike Campbell. While the original Mudcrutch had other members come and go, the trio of Petty, Tench and Campbell, along with guitarist Tom Leadon (brother of Bernie) and drummer Randall Marsh round out the current incarnation of the band. The group played a handful of shows before Petty reconvened the Heartbreakers for a pair of albums, 2010’s Mojo and 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. Mudcrutch

Album Review: Bad Company: Live in Concert 1977 & 1979

Classic rockers Bad Company finally release a live album and it's well worth the wait.
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In 1979, an 11-year-old me took a major step in my musical appreciation evolution. It was the year I embraced the vinyl album and moved from radio listening to purchasing records. Some were older, Revolver, Hot Rocks and some were new - Breakfast in America and Bad Company's Desolation Angels. Bad Company is one of those bands that I've always liked and while that was my first purchase of their music, over the next few years I assembled the full collection. Fast forward more than 30 years, and while I still like and appreciate them, I rarely if ever dig

The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead Movie Review: Behind the Punk Music

This movie should have more rocking and less talking.
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When you hear the words "punk music," the first names that pop up are usually The Sex Pistols, The Clash, or The Ramones. In recent years, there were bands like My Chemical Romance, Good Charlotte, and Fall Out Boy joining the ranks. I’m sorry, but it’s hard to consider these bands as punk. There are way better bands that don’t get any exposure but should, groups like Catbath, Fuzzy Machete, Rapedoor, Breed, and TsuShiMaMiRe. One band that helped start the punk movement and the one that recorded the very first album was The Dammed. However, they never got much credit

KISS Rocks Vegas Cinema Event Review: Exactly What You'd Expect from a KISS Concert

The only issue in regards to the concert is that every time they perform they give the exact same performance.
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Fathom Events is known for bringing one-time events into movie theatres throughout the country. These presentations can range from plays and ballets to full-scale rock ‘n' roll concerts like the one KISS filmed during their residency in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Casino. Before the film started, there was some KISS trivia flashed on the screen. The best two were how on December 31, 1972, Gene Simmons debuted his fire-breathing trick and managed to set fire to his hair at the same time. And the other was that during KISS’s first photo shoot the photographer did not realize they

Rainbow: Monsters of Rock - Live at Donington 1980 Review

Oft bootlegged festival footage finally gets an official release.
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Rainbow Monsters of Rock is a DVD / CD combo that will be accepted differently based on your expectations. The DVD is standard stadium / festival-rock fare. Lots of sparks and flashing lights, stage theatrics and post set fireworks. The setting is Donington Park Race Track in England at the first Monsters of Rock Festival in August of 1980. It's quite a bill and Rainbow is the headlining act. The video is a time capsule, a bridge between '70s jammers and '80s hair bands and also the time when Rainbow was moving towards a more radio-friendly sound. The star here

Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies: Sullivan Stadium, MA - 07/02/89 Review

It was so good I am already anticipating next year's event.
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Hosted by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment at theaters across the country, the sixth annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies presented the band's performance at Sullivan Stadium, MA on July 2, 1989, which happened 17 days before the Alpine Valley concert shown at the 2015 Meet Up. While the line-up was the same (guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Brent Mydland, and guitarist Bob Weir), the setlist didn't repeat one song. After a promo piece for the new Grateful Dead July 1978: The Complete Recordings, which presents five complete shows on 12

Turn It Up! Movie Review: A Celebration of the Electric Guitar

A history of the electric guitar and the people who love them.
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I was sixteen years old, standing in a pawn / jewelry shop owned by family friends. I looked up at the wall and there it was, a beautiful mahogany wood grained Gibson SG Electric Guitar. I had always loved the look of that particular guitar, the double-cut design, the deep brown color, the Gibson logo on the headstock. Besides, a Gibson SG was what Pete Townshend played at Woodstock. Frank Zappa, Angus Young, Tony Iommi, and Frank Marino had all played similar guitars. I had to have it so $300 later it was mine. This wasn't when I started to

TV Review: American Masters: Carole King: Natural Woman

PBS salutes the legendary singer/songwriter with a fond look back at her career.
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Over the last few years, singer/songwriter Carole King has enjoyed a career resurgence. Her bestselling memoir, A Natural Woman, bowed to positive reviews in 2012 Beautiful, the musical based on King’s life, debuted on Broadway in 2014 and is still going strong. Last year, she was feted at the Kennedy Center Honors, with Aretha Franklin bringing King to tears with her passionate rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The celebration continues with the American Masters salute borrowed from that song title, a program which airs this week on PBS stations. Through King’s words, rare photos, archival

TV Review: American Masters: B.B. King: The Life of Riley

The documentary examines the blues legend's life and music.
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The latest installment of the PBS series, American Masters, documents the life and music of blues maestro Riley “B.B.” King. A sharecropper’s son who first played guitar in church, he also worked as a DJ before becoming the undisputed king of American blues (and an inspiration to countless rock musicians). This documentary features interviews with Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Ringo Starr, John Mayer, and other musicians. There are plenty of original and archival interviews with B.B., including one conducted on a trip back to his birthplace in Mississippi. It follows King’s story from his early life working in the cotton

About The Young Idea DVD Review: A Revealing, Reminiscent Look Back at The Jam's Rise

This thoughtful history of the evolution of The Jam is heavy on band anecdotes, fan praise and a chipper Paul Weller enjoying the stroll down Stanley Road.
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The late John Weller, Paul Weller’s father and perhaps The Jam’s biggest fan, would ring in shows by shouting, “Put your hands together for the greatest band in the f@%king world!” And to legions of fans in the late ’70s and early ’80s, they absolutely were. The band not only echoed youth’s frustrations with politically poetic lyrics and riffs drawing from earlier periods of unrest, but they also taught their peers on the floor a thing or two about literature, autonomy—being someone intelligent enough to form and express an opinion boldly. With a heavy emphasis on fan lore, About The

The Rolling Stones: From the Vault: Live at the Tokyo Dome 1990 Blu-ray Review

This entertaining performance proves all the naysayers wrong.
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The Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle stadium tour ran for nearly a year. The North American leg started in Philadelphia on Aug 31, 1989, and the European leg ended in London on Aug 25, 1990. The tour is notable for many reasons. The 10 nights they played at the Tokyo Dome in February 1990, from which the material on this live album comes, was the first time they ever performed in Japan. It was the band's first tour since their 1982 European Tour. It was their first tour without touring pianist Ian Stewart. It would be bassist Bill Wyman's last tour before

Jaco DVD Review: Tribute to a Jazz Legend

Jaco is a balanced and compassionate look at the legendary jazz bassist.
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“It’s not about bass playing, it’s about being a storyteller.” The documentary Jaco traces the life of iconic jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, from his childhood in Florida and first gigs as a teenager to his innovative style of bass playing, work with Weather Report, and his untimely death at age 35. Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, the documentary’s producer, saw Weather Report in 1979, and the experience helped mould his own musical journey. Jaco compiles archival footage, home movies, personal photos and interviews to form a balanced and compassionate look at the groundbreaking musician’s life. Directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen

David Bowie: Station to Station (Special Edition) Album Review: A Great Piece of Work

Station to Station is special on its own, and the Special Edition is well worth owning for the live album.
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Station to Station is Bowie’s tenth album. Considered a transitional album as its title indicates, it blends his musical past and future as elements of funk and soul from Young Americans commingle with the synthesizers and electronic sounds that would soon appear on his Berlin Trilogy. In 2010, it was re-released in expanded formats. The album opens with a brief audio prologue as a train moves across the speakers on the title track. Bowie sings of “The return of the Thin White Duke/ Throwing darts in lovers’ eyes,” reflecting the coldness the persona would traffic in during its existence. The

David Bowie, The Heart's Filthy Lesson, Se7en, and Me

A creepy song on the end credits of a creepy movie created a lifetime fan.
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David Fincher led me to David Bowie. I doubt that was a typical path to the Thin White Duke, but it's how I got there. I went to watch Se7en because the review in the Daily News said it should have gotten an NC-17 for its grisly crime scenes, so that was something I had to see. This was back when it was easier for young and impressionable teens to get into R-rated movies (two years later I would be barred from seeing Lost Highway at the same theater, even though I was 17 - I just couldn't prove it.)

Remembering David Bowie and 'Under Pressure'

RIP to the Thin White Duke.
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Being an only child, but having some hip uncles who were more like older brothers, I got exposed to a lot of great musical artists at a very early age. One of those musicians was David Bowie. Not unlike Prince after him, Bowie was one of those performers who were so diverse, it was nearly impossible to like everything he did (You can’t please all of the people all of the time), but when he hit the mark, he hit it hard. Being a Queen fan as well, I was intrigued when I saw that the new track on the

David Bowie's 'Life on Mars?' Signified the Arrival of an Innovator

Bowie defied convention musically and visually, intertwining rock and film in a way no other artist will equal.
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Against a blindingly white background, a man stands alone. Clad in a sky-blue suit and sporting technicolor makeup, the figure appears as if he has stepped out of a watercolor painting. Occasionally swinging a leg back and forth, he stares into the camera, lip synching the words to a sparsely arranged song. In extreme closeups, the singer evokes the lyrics’ complex imagery through facial expressions. Is this short clip a viral video from 2016? No, it is David Bowie’s video for “Life on Mars?” released in 1973. Over four decades later, the song and clip seem timeless yet strikingly modern.

The Who: Live in Hyde Park DVD Review: The 50-Year Anniversary Show

A really great bookend to an amazing career by an amazing band.
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What else can be written about The Who that hasn't already been written over the course of their 50-year career? I mean, they are the quintessential Rock 'n' Roll band. They are a singles band, they are an album band, but most of all, they have always been the best live band in the business. From Live at Leeds, The Isle of Wight, Woodstock, and more, The Who have always been a force to be reckoned with on the stage. On June 26, 2015 the band celebrated their lengthy career with a 50th Anniversary show in London and documented the

JACO DVD Review: Portrait of a Tortured Genius

JACO presents a complicated yet fascinating portrait of a gifted musician who reinvented the bass.
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In 1976, an album was released that would revolutionize not only how the jazz bass is played, but the very concept of the instrument. Until Jaco Pastorius, few considered the bass as a lead instrument, one with as much dimension and virtuosity as the piano or guitar. The phenomenally gifted musician demonstrated the true meaning of fusion, melding together everything from Cuban to jazz to rock to R&B influences. His speedy yet tuneful style and use of harmonics changed the bass and inspired countless musicians after him. Mental illness and drug abuse cut his life and career horribly short, but

Sinatra: All or Nothing at All Blu-ray Review: That's His Life

A thorough documentary that still leaves the viewer curious to learn more about Sinatra and explore his work.
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Frank Sinatra was one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling singers of all time, won an Academy Award as a supporting actor, and drew big audiences with his TV specials and his concerts. His life off the stage was even more compelling, and together they are presented in Alex Gibney's HBO documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing At All, available on Blu-ray and DVD. In 1971, Sinatra held a farewell concert to announce his (what would be short-lived) retirement at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theater. He picked 11 milestone songs from his career

Amy Blu-ray Review: The Permeability of Private and Public Footage

Asif Kapadia's documentary on Amy Winehouse transcends the typical with an unusually and uncomfortably intimate collage.
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The narrative beats of Asif Kapadia’s documentary on Amy Winehouse are eminently familiar, tracing a musician’s rise to fame and the subsequent downfall fueled by substance abuse. Like a number of showbiz stories, Amy is possessed by a heartbreaking sense of inevitability. Nonetheless, Kapadia — best known for 2010’s Formula 1 doc Senna — transcends the typical with an unusually and uncomfortably intimate collage of almost entirely pre-existing footage, structured around audio-only interviews with collaborators, friends, and romantic partners. Home video of Winehouse goofing around with childhood friends bleeds into on-air interviews promoting her 2003 debut album Frank, which gives

Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Glimpses into the Heart of the Artist

Come gather 'round people and watch one of the greatest documentaries ever made.
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By the time Bob Dylan toured England in the Spring of 1965, he’d released five albums (two of which went platinum), scored a couple of number one hits, been covered by such luminaries as Joan Baez and The Byrds, written some of the greatest songs in popular music, and became the voice of a generation. Critics loved him, fans mobbed him, and journalists followed him about, asking him an endless supply of inane questions. Though he started out writing protest songs and was heavily involved in causes such as the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement, by this point

Black Stone Cherry: Thank You: Livin' Live, Birmingham, UK Review: An Enjoyable Performance in Spite of the Low Vocals

The concert was fun to watch but there were some issues listening to it.
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Recorded October 30, 2014 on their Magic Mountain tour, the four-man band from Kentucky brought their brand of hard southern rock to England. The concert featured 20 songs picked from each of their four studio albums. The show was high energy, featuring a straight-forward performance with a minimal amount of visual effects and stage decoration. There’s a giant drop cloth behind the band with mountain scenery sketched on it. The only other extras on the stage are two short tables that the guitarists used to stand on giving them a little more elevation for the audience to be able to
Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd had quite the homecoming this year. More than 50 years after Jacksonville teenagers Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, and Ronnie Van Zant formed their first band, My Backyard, Rossington brought the current incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd to Jacksonville’s Florida Theater. Over the course of two nights in April, they performed the band’s debut album and follow-up, (pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) and Second Helping, in their entirety for the first time. Although Rossington is the sole member to have played on those albums, the 2015 line-up does the music and former members proud with their faithful recreations. Playing both

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