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Concert: Tower of Power At Club Nokia

Tower of Power (www.tofp.com) is a soul band from San Francisco that has been performing for 41 years. Their concert on December 11, 2009 at Club Nokia left no doubt that they still deliver a dynamic brand of soul, funk, and incredibly tight horn arrangements. Prior to the Tower of Power show, Average White Band opened with some fine soul and funk of their own. Tom Politzer, Tower of Power's lead tenor sax player, sat in for the encore, "Pick Up The Pieces". While both bands fall into the same genre, AWB's sound is more subtle. The crowd enjoyed the set, but clearly the highlight of the evening was yet to come. [...]

Concert: The Black Crowes at Club Nokia

The Black Crowes (www.blackcrowes.com) were on fire at Club Nokia on Saturday November 28, 2009. They took an already excited crowd to near hysteria with their brand of raucous, blues inspired rock. The show’s opener, Truth & Salvage Co., a band that has the honor of being the first signed to the Black Crowes new record label Silver Arrow Records, warmed up the audience. With a style that follows the Crowes’ blues roots, while injecting some country, soul, and roots rock, Truth & Salvage Co. wowed the crowd (www.truthandsalvageco.com). [...]

Concert: Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors at Club Nokia

I was able to cross off one of my bucket list items on Tuesday, October 6, 2009, at Club Nokia. Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, with a strong supporting band, played the music of the Doors. The band was one of my earliest musical influences, and is still near the top of my list of favorites. Seeing them live became impossible long ago with the premature death of lead singer Jim Morrison, in 1971. The surviving members could have continued to play together with a new singer, but chose not to. [...]

CD: Joe Henry: Blood from Stars

As a songwriter, Joe Henry is a mighty fine producer. When “Blood from Stars” comes to its conclusion, you can barely remember individual songs because they all seem to run together. What lingers is the CD’s atmosphere – dank, jazzy, vaguely sinister. Not unlike Bob Dylan’s “Love and Theft” or Tom Waits’ recent run of CDs, the album could have been recorded on Fats Waller’s back-porch on a dark and stormy night. Marc Ribot’s guitar thunderbolts occasionally brighten up the inky darkness but Henry’s songs will put you in mind of Depression-era blues and minstrel shuffles. [...]

Music: The 2009 Voodoo Experience in New Orleans

New Orleans is known for its music, and there's no better way to experience the harder edge of that musical town than to visit over Halloween weekend and take in the legendary Voodoo Experience. Three full days of musical madness held in the center of City Park, this year's fest was a combo of heavy metal madness, returning rapper, and the coolest Swampland band ever. It all began on Friday, October 30, when a slightly overcast warm day went south as the party started, just after Janelle Monae took to the Voodoo Stage and the Black Keys started up across the meadow at the Playstation/Billboard.com Stage. [...]

CD: The Stone Roses: Legacy Edition

Nobody mixed and matched house-music beats and psychedelic jangle with as much ingenuity as the Stone Roses. The Manchester, England, outfit's 1989 self-titled debut is still dreamy, driving, and playful. [...]

Concert: Soulive at the El Rey Theater

On Thursday, September 17, Soulive (www.soulive.com) shook the El Rey Theater with their unique blend of soul, funk, jazz, and improvisation. The band celebrated both their tenth album, and their ten-year anniversary. The New York-based band released “Up Here” on their brand new label, Royal Family Records, earlier this year. Some talented friends that performed on the new release were on stage to support the band. [...]

CD: The Best Is Yet to Come: The Songs of Cy Coleman

Listening to “The Best Is Yet to Come,” a 13-track tribute to the late, great Broadway composer Cy Coleman, you’d never know he wrote some of the most infectious, buoyant music this side of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning.” Overseen by producer/arranger/piano player Dave Palmer, the CD enlists a dozen left-of-center female artists, including Fiona Apple and Madeleine Peyroux, to interpret selections from the Coleman songbook. [...]

Concerts: Sunset Strip Music Festival

It was a crazy day in L. A. on Saturday, September 12, as approximately 10,000 locals descended onto the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood for the inaugural Sunset Strip Music Festival. With two outdoor stages and six venues on the closed-off Strip between San Vicente Boulevard and Doheny Drive, the eclectic line-up seemingly had something for everyone, featuring performances from more than 50 different artists, that went on for seven music-packed hours. [...]

CD: The Beatles: The Stereo Remasters

I should have known better. I thought I could make it through a review of Capitol’s box set of Beatles’ CDs without punning on song titles like “Yesterday” or resorting to phrases like “fab.” But listening to one newly remastered album after another, all I could think was: here comes the sun. [...]
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