Music

Music

Sun
06
Sep

Rob Thomas with Plain White T's and Vinyl Station Rocks The Peabody

Rob Thomas on "The Great Unknown Tour" at The Peabody in St. Louis 9/4/2015. Photo Credit: Jeff Ritter

The old adage “good things come to those who wait” was proven true once again on September 4, 2015 as Rob Thomas finally arrived in St. Louis. He had to cancel is tour stop earlier in the summer due to an illness in the family, which is more than understandable. As an apology of sorts for the hassle of having to make folks reschedule their plans, Thomas and his supporting acts, Plain White T’s and Vinyl Station, really cut loose with fun-filled, more-than-your-money’s-worth performance.  Apology happily accepted, Mr. Thomas.

Mon
24
Aug

Iron Maiden Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

Iron Maiden is arguably one of the most innovative and influential metal bands in existence. Despite little support from radio or television, they are still considered one of the most successful bands throughout heavy metal history. Known for frontman Bruce Dickinson's piercing vocals, and the bands lengthy musical interludes, their songs often contain dark themes, such as 'Hallowed be thy Name', or historical context like 'Aces High' and 'Alexander the Great'.

According to NME, Dikinson spoke to an Italian publication about what song from the new album BOOK OF SOULS, was his favorite. Unfortunately, the publication was not credited in their article.

Mon
17
Aug

STYX LIVE is No Grand Illusion, But The Real Thing!

Styx Live Orleans Arena Las Vegas Eagle Rock Entertainment

STYX: LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA IN LAS VEGAS from Eagle Rock Entertainment is a recording done, as you would guess by the title, live at the venue during the 2014 “Soundtrack of Summer Tour.” What you do not know, and you can’t tell by this review, is that I am writing it totally exhausted -- exhausted because this CD rocks! Really rocks! Because Styx still really rocks!

Normally when I review a record or CD, I sit myself down in the sweet spot of my listening room, have something to drink by my side and listen through the first time just to experience how it “moves” me, and then another time or two in a more in-depth, critical-listening manner.

This CD, however, had me just rocking out not only the first time I played it through, but the next several times over the next couple of days, before I could even get to a point where I could remain seated and put on my critical listening ears, which I even now have to fight (and ultimately fail) to maintain.

Fri
14
Aug

Warning: 'Speed of Light' May Cause Extreme Nostalgia

Heavy Metal Band Iron Maiden has released its first official music video to the upcoming album: BOOK OF SOULS.

Titled, 'Speed of Light', the video has their mascot, Eddie, going on a journey through a history of video games as the graphics grow increasingly better. On a quest to collect hearts, he battles his way through each 'level' until reaching the final altar in which he must display his collection. The ending offers a nice little 'heart-wrenching' twist. It's a fun and nostalgic progression through video games and can be appreciated by anyone who has been playing them for as long as they've been around.

The visuals are a treat for any gamer and the accompanying track is pure bonus.

Sun
09
Aug

MIGHTY is Mighty Worshipful and Mighty Good

Mighty Kristene Dimarco

Recorded live in Redding, California at Bethel Church, with additional recording at the Soundhouse, MIGHTY did not immediately strike me as a live recording. It was very polished sounding. Oftentimes in live shows the audience sound is immediately heard before and during the performance and usually very much so in Christian recordings. Replete with a full band, strings, and a choir, this album is quite a production, many times giving the songs immenseness.

Wed
08
Jul

John Fogerty's 1969 Tour Proves Age Is Irrelevant When You Can Rock

John Fogerty 1969 Tour Photo Credit Jeff Ritter 7/7/15

1969. What does that year make you think of--hippies, Woodstock, Vietnam? If you were a alive and old enough to recognize music you couldn’t have made it through 1969 without hearing Credence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty, the band’s guitarist, singer and songwriter, was perhaps the most prolific musician ever in a single year. Who else has put out three full albums of all new material in a single calendar year? Not even in the Internet Age does this happen. Credence Clearwater Revival was like a star just bout to go nova—it blazed white hot that year before fading away soon after. Infighting broke up the band and legal battles have kept them from reconciling for decades. Despite the hardships, John Fogerty has endured. He seems pretty happy, just a little more than a month beyond his 70th birthday. He’s got an incredible band on a highly successful tour highlighting the glorious year of CCR and promoting his new book, “Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music” coming out this October.

Tue
07
Jul

SPECTRUM Pieces Together a Journey of the Senses for Autism

There's a good chance that if you're reading this, you or someone you know has been touched by autism. It's not often we find ourselves reading about subjects that have nothing to do with us. Only the few seek knowledge in areas they are unfamiliar with, but if not for those select few, we would not gain the wisdom required to understand it better.

If you're one of those people, let me give you a brief introduction to the world of autism.

Tue
30
Jun

Enter to Win The Who: Live at Shea Stadium 1982

The Who Shea Stadium 1982 DVD

This contest is over. The randomly selected winnier is SHANNON B. of EMMETSBURG, IA.

The Who's 1982 tour would prove to be their last with Kenney Jones on drums and the band wouldn't do a full scale tour again until 1989. The tour promoted the then recent IT'S HARD album, which had been released in June 1982, and the set list included a number of tracks from that album, some of which the band would only ever play live on this tour.

The main film features the show from the second of their two nights at New York's Shea Stadium on October 13, 1982, with bonus tracks from the first night.

The Who remain one of the finest live rock acts of all time, and this show will be a great addition to any fan's collection.

 

Mon
29
Jun

Outrigger Resorts, Blue Note Entertainment Group Partner to Open Internationally Recognized Music Venue in Waikiki

Blue Note Outrigger Resorts Music Theater Waikiki Critical Blast

WAIKIKI, HONOLULU, HAWAII – Outrigger Resorts is proud to announce a partnership with the iconic Blue Note Entertainment Group, with music clubs in New York, Washington D.C., Milan and two locations in Japan, to bring world-class music performances to Hawaii. Blue Note Hawaii will serve as the state’s premier venue for world-renowned artists, from jazz and blues to Hawaiian favorites.

Located in the former Society of Seven showroom inside Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, Blue Note Hawaii will feature a wide range of musical entertainment – from local talent to international sensations – for limited engagements. As a part of Outrigger’s ongoing commitment to the musical arts, the performance venue will undergo an extensive, multi-million-dollar revitalization, creating a brand new venue in the heart of Hawaii’s most famed beach resort destination. Blue Note Hawaii is expected to open no later than early 2016.

Thu
25
Jun

THE WHO: LIVE AT SHEA STADIUM 1982 is finally on DVD!

The Who Live Shea Stadium Bluray Critical Blast

I've been a fan of THE WHO since I was a young boy. No, I'm not straight out of their '60s heyday, but I was bopping around in the late '70s and '80s getting an education in the best rock music from my father. I was exposed to "Tommy" at an early age, heard all their best tunes, knew all about the guys destroying their equipment, and always was amazed when my Dad told me he saw THE WHO open for HERMAN'S HERMITS. Can you imagine seeing one of the most legendary bands in history before they were famous?

Tue
23
Jun

This August, 'Disturbed' becomes IMMORTALIZED

The American heavy metal band, 'Disturbed', announced on their Facebook page that new music is forthcoming. Having taken a hiatus from both music, and each other, the band secretly came together and has been working on the new album IMMORTALIZED.

"This album had the arduous task of, in some way, justifying the hiatus; giving the fans something that made it worth our time away from one another. We hope that it succeeds in that task. Thank you for staying with us over the years." - Official Statement from Disturbed via Website/Facebook

The first song released titled, "The Vengeful One" is accompanied by a music video. Fans of Disturbed will recognize the style of music right away. While they haven't done anything revolutionize their sound, they certainly didn't alienate their fans.

Thu
18
Jun

Iron Maiden to Release "Book of Souls" in September

Iron Maiden "Book of Souls" image courtesy of ironmaiden.com

UPDATE (6-23-2015): You may now pre-order this album!

According to Iron Maiden's website, they plan to release BOOK OF SOULS; their first studio album in nearly five years and their 16th overall.

Recorded in Paris, with their producer Kevin “Caveman” Shirley in late 2014, they put the finishing touches onto it earlier this year. Given the recent health problems with frontman Bruce Dickinson, they wanted to wait until he was fully recovered before the album's launch.

Bassist (and founding member) Steve Harris, contributed to seven of the eleven tracks. And for the first time since 1984's POWERSLAVE, Dickinson has two tracks written entirely by him. BOOK OF SOULS is expected to have a total running time of 92 minutes, making it the bands first ever double studio album.

Sat
13
Jun

Skynyrd Comes Home Sweet Home Alabama in Rockin’ 2 CD Live Collection

Lynyrd Skynyrd Rockpalast double album Dennis Russo Critical Blast

This 2 CD set from Rockpalast features something not usually found on Live CD’s. While the entire first CD and half (give or take some minutes here or there) of the second features the the post-1977 era (which took the life of Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gains, Cassie Gains and others) version of the band led by Johnny Van Zant and recorded in 1996, the last half of the second CD features 4 songs from a 1974 concert and features Ronnie Van Zant. (Steve and Cassie Gaines, brother and sister, were not members of the band yet in 74’).

Sat
13
Jun

Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer: Creating Gold

Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer Ava Gold Havana Critical Blast Interview

So you have a new music single and video debuting, "Havana," and I understand that this is inspired by the story of your parents coming to America from Cuba. Can you elaborate on that story a little bit?

My dad came from Havana. My mom came from Santiago. There was just a lot of crazy things that happened and challenging sacrifices they had to make to get to this country. You know, in pursuit of the American dream.

Fri
29
May

Laurie Berkner Sings Kids Songs for the Ages -- All Ages

Laurie Berkner Band Critical Blast Dennis Russo

Okay, here’s the deal. I have been around a long time, and have seen many of the greatest musicians and bands from multiple genres live many times over. I have over 2000 LPs and 500 CD’s and listen to music dedicatedly every day. And I am also a bona-fide Laurie Berkner fan!

It started several years ago when my now teenage daughter was in single digits. We bought her many children’s music CDs from many artists, some with words, some without, and there was one artist in particular that rose to the top of her/our playlist: Laurie Berkner. Her music was/is so catchy, so upbeat, so tuneful that it didn’t matter if you were a kid or an adult, it sticks in your head and you can’t help but sing her songs to yourself. Then we’d see her videos on Nick Jr and that just let us enjoy her music all the more, because you could see just how much she enjoyed playing it.

Wed
20
May

Atlantic City Boardwalk Con - AKA ACBC is da place to be!

ACBC Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention Critical Blast

I've been a regular at comic and sci-fi conventions, or whatever you want to call them these days, since the '80s.  The experience has changed quite a bit in those decades.  In the past, they were mostly a place to shop for merchandise and meet creators.  Today cosplay, video games, movies, and, most especially, celebrity signings, are the predominant aspect of cons.  Geek has inherited the Earth and everyone wants to take part in the fun.  That popularity has caused ticket prices to spike, show floors to be overcrowded places impossible to navigate, and worst of all, it's increasingly difficult to get tickets for San Diego Comic Con or New York Comic Con.

Sat
16
May

Rush's R40 Tour Rocks Scottrade Center

rush R40 Tour May 14, 2015 at The Scottrade Center, St. Louis. Photo by Jeff Ritter

Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Three pretty unassuming Canadians fellows who, unlike many high profile celebrities, can often enjoy a peaceful meal without people recognizing them. I don’t know when they arrived in St. Louis for tonight’s gig at the Scottrade Center, but I bet they’re not quite as incognito here as they might be in Denver or Atlanta or Houston. St. Louis is a Rush town. If Sammy Haggar is our musical mayor, Rush is our Board of Aldermen. Kind of makes you think of their hit “Subdivisions” in a whole different way, doesn’t it?

Fri
15
May

The Thrill is Gone: B.B. King Passes at 89

BB King Blues Legend Obituary Critical Blast

The angel choir just got a whole lot sweeter Thursday night. Legendary blues guitarist Riley B. King -- "Blues Boy" King, and better known as B.B. King -- passed away in his Las Vegas home while undergoing home hospice care for dehydration.

King's particular guitar style and soulful voice were instrumental in elevating the blues genre into the mainstream. Together, he and his trusty Gibson ES-355 went on to produce more than forty albums, including "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere," "There is Always One More Time," and the unforgettable "Lucille," named after the moniker he gave his guitar after rescuing it from a burning bar in Twist, Arkansas, caused by a fight by two men over a girl named Lucille.

Twitter today is overflowing with tribute posts from musicians of all genres, a testament to the influence the man had on all of music.

BB King Tributes Twitter

Mon
11
May

LucasFilm's Strange Magic Not That Enchanting

Strange Magic DVD George Lucas Fairies Evan Rachel Wood Alan Cumming

George Lucas gets a lot of Internet anger directed his way. In fact, I've made some choice criticisms about his work over the years.  Still, it's hard to argue that for many of us he created our favorite fictional world.  It doesn't just stop with STAR WARS either. My God, the Indiana Jones trilogy is amongst my most loved films, as well.

While most of the work he's created in the past twenty years doesn't stand up to those classics I mentioned above, he did release the wonderful RED TAILS a few years ago.  Like any creator, Lucas is hit or miss, but his highs are so far above most others, it boggles the mind.

Sun
12
Apr

Stomp Makes Music Out Of The Mundane

Stomp plays the Fox Theatre in St. Louis April 10-12, 2015.

When I was just a small child, I would get my hands on a couple of my mother’s pots and a couple of wooden spoons, and go to town making the most unharmonious racket you can imagine. It wouldn’t take long before those cooking implements were taken away and peace and quiet was restored to the Ritter household. I can’t honestly say that I remember having seen a drummer of any sort before that experience, so maybe it’s more of a primal instinct for humans to make music, however they can manage it. Some people are just plain gifted—prodigies on piano or guitar at a young age that make it look effortless to produce sounds some trained professionals would be hard-pressed to achieve with a lifetime of practice. Some are only concert megastars in the shower or in their car, but either way only in their own heads (that’s me!). Some rare, lucky individuals blaze a new path, turning the kitchenware cacophony of my youth into a fusion of jazz, rock, tap dance and sketch comedy.

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