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Concert Reviews

Cinderella with John Corabi

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Cinderella w/ John Corabi  :  July 29, 2011  :  Atlanta, GA – Wild Bill’s

I have been looking forward to seeing Cinderella again since seeing their mind blowing performance last summer. My wish came true when Cinderella announced that they were hitting the road for their 25th Anniversary Tour. For this tour, Cinderella brought along former Mötley Crüe/Union/The Scream singer and songwriter John Corabi who opened the show with a heartfelt, engaging and entertaining solo acoustic performance. Corabi had the nearly impossible task of opening the show to a capacity crowd armed with nothing but a guitar, water, a Diet Coke, great stories and even more amazing songs. He delivered a set made that played like an anthology of a career as long as it is obscure to most. Corabi pulled out a couple of Scream classics like “Mother, Father, Son” and a goose bump raising “Man in the Moon.” He also performed amazing acoustic renditions of “Heartshine” and “Hooligan’s Holiday” from the “Mötley Crüe” album. Corabi shared a hilarious story about meeting Steven Tyler while recording the Mötley Crüe album and how he corrected him for playing this particular song wrong and delivered an amazing version of “Seasons of Wither.” Corabi really brought the house down with the Mötley Crüe classic “Home Sweet Home.” I honestly have to say that I considered that moment the first time I’d ever heard what an amazing song it truly is delivered with a sincere passion that Motley Crue themselves completely lack in performing it themselves. I had always appreciated of John Corabi’s work but after seeing this performance, I’m a fan for life.

A lot can happen in 25 years to a hard rock metal band. If you’re Mötley Crüe, you just break down and get fat. If you’re Dokken, you completely blow your voice out and look tired and worn down. If you’re Cinderella, you look and sound like you have just been unearthed from a cryogenic chamber as if completely untouched by time. Cinderella hit the stage to a roaring and packed crowd as they opened the show with “Once Around The Ride” which completely floored and blew everyone away. What made this particular opener special was that this was the show opener for their very first tour for the “Night Songs” album. I knew this was going to be an amazing night as the band was firing on all cylinders. The crowd was electric with fists pumping in the air and singing along at the tops of their lungs. This wasn’t just a rock crowd. This was a Cinderella crowd.

Last summer’s Cinderella tour was the first one since Tom Keifer’s vocal surgery so while that show was great but hesitant, this show was confident and proof that Keifer was back and in top notch form. Cinderella busted out “Shake Me” for their 2nd song which is pretty early in the set for a hit so I just know that they were confident that the rest of the set would wow us. Bassist Eric Brittingham and guitarist Jeff LeBar were flipping around themselves as they played with audience and urged them all on while Tom Keifer front and center proved that he is still and even more so now one of the best front men in Rock N’ Roll. Throughout the night the hits were nailed one after another as they played songs like “Heartbreak Station”, “Somebody Save Me” and “The More Things Change” as if they were just written yesterday. The songs and performances were fresh and fun and the band looked to be having the time of their lives.

There was nothing tired or worn out about Cinderella. Cinderella was giving 100% and then some as they poured their hearts and souls into every chord, every note played and every lyric sung. Tom Keifer made it loud and clear that he was not going to let up until everyone had given the band as much as they were giving the crowd. Its been a good 15 years or so since I’ve seen an audience this pumped to be seeing a band and they did not disappoint. After performing their classic “Gypsy Road”, the band bid everyone a good night only to return to the roaring crowd by giving us a real treat. Tom Keifer came out noodling a sweet little blues jam and turning to drummer Fred Coury, nodded and then slid right into “Long Cold Winter” which I hadn’t heard them play since the actual “Long Cold Winter” tour back in 1989. The guitar work between Keifer and LaBar was jaw dropping and full of passion that brought on a roar of approval. Cinderella closed out the night with “Shelter Me” complete with Tom Keifer showing off his saxophone ability by taking a solo as the crowd loudly begged for more. The band took front and center stage for the ceremonial bowing to the crowd and then called it a night. I’ve heard people say that they can’t believe that Cinderella plays such a short set. I say that if you saw just how hard Cinderella works on stage night after night, you’d feel guilty asking them for any more than they’re giving us. Cinderella packs more punch into an hour and half than most bands do in 3 hours.

Cinderella once again reminded me just why they will always been one of my favorite bands. The songs are still great and performed with energy, passion and fun. In a time when many of their peers are just going through the motions and cashing in, Cinderella is still full of that fire and hunger that has long since dissipated in most of their peers. As for the audience at this show, I couldn’t have been more proud. For once I was proud to be a part of an audience who was showing their respect and appreciation to a band who has given us 25 years of unforgettable performances and albums that will be classic albums for a very long time to come. Here’s to another 25 years of great rock n’ roll.

Cinderella Setlist:

Once Around the Ride, Shake Me, Heartbreak Station, Somebody Save Me, Night Songs, The More Things Change, Second Wind, Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone), Nobody’s Fool, Gypsy Road
Encore: Long Cold Winter, Shelter Me

Concert Reviews

Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad

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Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.

Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”

Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.

The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.

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Concert Reviews

Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair

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The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.

What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.

Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.

Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.”  The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.

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Concert Reviews

Years & Years at Royale Boston

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During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.

Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.

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