Fifty Gigs In A Day: BILL BAILEY

Comedian and talented musician Bill Bailey will be sending a social media message for Fifty Gigs In A Day. Great bit of coincidence as he appears at the Victoria Hall, Hanley on February 8 – a venue where I watched many bands and comedians during the late 80’s.

Larks In Transit tour dates –

  • Jan 29 2018  Coventry Warwick Arts Centre  SOLD OUT
  • Jan 30 2018 Coventry Warwick Arts Centre
  • Jan 31 2018 York Barbican
  • Feb 1 2018 York York Barbican
  • Feb 2/3 2018 Newcastle City Hall
  • Feb 5/6 2018 Southend-on-Sea Cliffs Pavilion
  • Feb 7/8 2018 Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Hall
  • Feb 9/10 2018 Sheffield Memorial & City Hall
  • Feb 12/13 2018 London New Wimbledon Theatre
  • Feb 14/15 2018 Llandudno Venue Cymru
  • Feb 16 2018 Carlisle The Sands Centre
  • Feb 17 2018 Glasgow SECC
  • Feb 19-22 2018 Truro Hall For Cornwall
  • Feb 23/24 2018 Plymouth Plymouth Pavilions
  • Feb 26/27 2018 Leicester De Montfort Hall
  • Feb 28 2018 Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
  • Mar 1 2018 Nottingham Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall
  • Mar 2/3 2018 O2 Apollo Manchester
  • Mar 5 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall SOLD OUT
  • Mar 6 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Mar 7/8 2018 Basingstoke Anvil Arts
  • Mar 9 2018 Warrington Pyramid & Parr Hall
  • Mar 10 2018 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
  • Mar 12-14 2018 Reading Hexagon
  • Mar 15-17 2018 Watford Colosseum
  • Mar 19/20 2018 Blackburn King George’s Hall
  • Mar 21 2018 Preston Guildhall
  • Apr 18/19 2018 Northampton Derngate Theatre
  • Apr 20 2018 Brighton Centre
  • Apr 21 2018 Margate Winter Gardens
  • Apr 22 2018 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
  • Apr 24 2018 Cheltenham Town Hall
  • Apr 25/26 2018 Hull City Hall
  • Apr 27/28 2018 Southport Theatre & Convention Centre
  • May 1 2018 Chatham Central Theatre SOLD OUT
  • May 2 2018 Chatham Central Theatre
  • May 3/4 2018 Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre
  • May 5 2018 London Eventim Apollo
  • May 6 2018 Southampton Mayflower Theatre
  • May 8-10 2018 Swansea Grand Theatre and Arts Wing
  • May 11 2018 Bristol Hippodrome SOLD OUT
  • May 12 2018 Bristol Hippodrome
  • May 14/15 2018 Hastings The White Rock Theatre
  • May 16/17 2018 Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre
  • May 18/19 2018 New Theatre Oxford
  • May 21-23 2018 Guildford G Live
  • May 24/25 2018 Portsmouth Guildhall
  • May 26 2018 Bournemouth The BIC
  • May 28/29 2018 Reading Hexagon
  • May 30/31 2018 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
  • Jun 1 2018 Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
  • Jun 2 2018 Birmingham Arena
  • Jun 4/5 2018 Ipswich Regent Theatre
  • Jun 6 2018 London Eventim Apollo
  • Jun 8 2018 Leeds First Direct Arena
  • Jun 9 2018 Peterborough East of England Arena & Events Centre
  • Jun 12 2018 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
  • Jun 13/14 2018 Warrington Pyramid & Parr Hall
  • Jun 15/16 2018 High Wycombe Swan Theatre
Advertisements

Albums of the Year 2017

1  CATS IN SPACE Scarecrow
Their debut was pretty damn fine, so high expectations and they delivered! A marvellous mix of 70s’ rock, pomp, pop and more melodies than you can shake a stick at.

2  THRESHOLD Legends of the Shires
Returning vocalist Glynn Morgan helps the band to make one of the finest albums to date. A real return to form.

3  LONELY ROBOT The Big Dream
Part two of the trilogy and another fine set of musical adventures. No name guests this time as John Mitchell does it all bar the drums and some backing vocals.

4  BOULEVARD IV
Finally we get a new album from Boulevard. Fantastic tunes and production, deserves a place in every melodic rock/AOR fans collection.

5  THE YOUNG ‘UNS Strangers
Folk acapella from this talented three piece. Each song is based on a true story and the songs are all positive and uplifting.

6 STEVE WALSH Black Butterfly former Kansas vocalist returns with an album chock full of melodic rock treats.

7 SONS OF APOLLO supergroup featuring Jeff Scott Soto, Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinan and Billy Sheenhan. Fantastic joining of music talents and the music lives up to expectations.

8 LIONHEART only 20 odd years since their last album…with Lee Small (Shy/Phenomena) on vocals, Lionheart deserve a place in any melodic rock fans collection.

9 IT Home thought provoking and timely progressive rock backed by oodles of melody.

10= H.E.A.T. Into The Great Unknown they have changed their sound a bit which may upset some fans, but for me they are heading onwards and upwards.

10= PUGWASH Silverlake the power pop album of the year. If you like ELO, Duckworth Lewis grab a copy of this.

10= BARENAKED LADIES Fake Nudes another set of memorable melodies and lyrics that don’t always take themselves too seriously…

Honorable mentions…

HAREM SCAREM United they keep on churning out classy melodic hard rock and long may that continue.

THE BITERS plenty of retro on this one, with the T Rex sounding songs

JEFF SCOTT SOTO Retribution not as instant but stick with it

BIGFOOT one of the debuts of the year. Modern hard rock and the singer doesn’t half sound like Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn at times!

THE NIGHTS more classy Scandi melodic rock with hook filled choruses big enough to land a whale.

THE NEW ROSES One More For The Road good time hard rock, no frills and plenty of riffs.

NIGHT RANGER Don’t Let Up they show no sign of letting up quality wise, another ‘must have’ for fans.

DANKO JONES Wild Cat if you like 70’s rock, Thin Lizzy and foot tapping tunes look no further.

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Amber Galactic like Brother Firetribe their ‘day bands’ are heavy yet here they show their love of 80’s melodic rock and AOR.

Fellow GRTR! reviewers choices can be found here

Music Gets Me By…JEFF SUMMERS

Guitarist Jeff Summers of Weapon UK, the Loudshirts and Mick Underwood’s Glory Road, also formerly in Statetrooper, talks about a couple of songs that mean a lot to him…

WEAPON UK dates –

17 Jan The Cavern, Raynes Park, London

20 Jan Cancer on the Rocks (Macmillan Cancer charity concert) Nantwich Civic Hall, Cheshire

As a guitarist and songwriter I have always listened to many forms of music. The first guitar orientated band that whispered (roared) in my ear is Deep Purple. Although I love many of their songs, the live version of ‘Highway Star’ from their multi platinum selling ‘Made in Japan’ inspired me like no other. The sheer hard rock brilliance of this piece has everything that is great about the genre. Subject matter, composition, attitude, excitement and brilliant musicality rarely seen before or since. This all topped off with an extraordinary vocal rock n roll performance.

When I was very young, I heard a song which fired up my imagination and continues to do so today. Glen Campbell’s delivery of Jimmy Webb’s ‘Wichita Lineman’ is that song. Campbell’s beautifully understated delivery of this perfect melancholy melody still inspires me to try and write something as brilliant as this nearly 50 years later. The perfect song and performance.

 

EVANESCENCE RETURN WITH FOURTH STUDIO ALBUM  ON NOVEMBER 10TH

EVANESCENCE are returning with SYNTHESIS, their fourth and most ambitious album to date, set for a November 10th release. The album features a reworking of some of EVANESCENCE’s best-loved songs recorded with a full orchestra and electronica combined with the band and Amy Lee’s virtuoso piano and voice.

EVANESCENCE – lead singer-songwriter and pianist Amy Lee, bassist Tim McCord, drummer Will Hunt, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Troy McLawhorn and guitarist Jen Majura – worked with producers Will Hunt and orchestra arranger and composer David Campbell on SYNTHESIS which will also feature two new EVANESCENCE songs, the first of which, entitled “Imperfection” will be released today.  The album includes guest performance by famed violinist Lindsey Stirling on “Hi-Lo” the other new song on the album.

AMY LEE describes the meaning behind “Imperfection,” “For me, this is the most important song on the album. I struggled with the lyrics for a long time because there was a lifetime of work to live up to and I wasn’t sure what to say or how to be good enough. When it finally started pouring out of me, it was undeniable. I had no choice. It’s for all the people we’ve lost, all the people who we could lose, to suicide and depression. I’m singing from the perspective of the person left behind, the person in the waiting room. It’s a plea to fight for your life, to stay. Don’t give into the fear- I have to tell myself that every day. Nobody is perfect.  We are all imperfect, and it’s precisely those imperfections that make us who we are, and we have to embrace them because there’s so much beauty in those differences. Life is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for.”

“This album is a total passion project for me. There are so many layers in our music, underneath the huge drums and guitars,” explains AMY LEE. “I’ve always wanted to shine a light on some of the gorgeous David Campbell arrangements and programming elements in our songs, and that idea snowballed into completely re-doing them with full orchestra, not just strings, elaborate programming and experimentation. This will be our first time touring with orchestra and I’m so excited to perform this way-really focus on the vocals, and the emotion and the story we’ve built over the years. I’m also really excited about the new material on the album. Besides the two new songs, there are some really beautiful instrumental in-between moments. The whole thing flows like a big, dynamic soundtrack.”

Both Standard CD & Digital versions of the album are available now for pre-order, as well as a Deluxe version which include the CD plus a DVD featuring a documentary on making the album as well as instrumental and 5.1 surround mixes of the songs.

In what promises to be the biggest year for EVANESCENCE yet, the group also confirmed that their “Synthesis Live” tour will continue in UK & Europe, starting with two nights at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2018. The band will be bringing a live orchestra and electronic programming out on the road with them, which will truly deliver a transcendent experience.

“Synthesis Live” fan and VIP pre-sales are on-sale beginning September 20th with general on-sale—beginning September 22nd. Fans who preorder the new album by September 19th HERE will receive access to the tour pre-sale, ensuring the best seats in the house.  They will also receive songs from the album prior to release date, beginning immediately with the stunning new reworking of the band’s biggest hit, “Bring Me To Life” and new single “Imperfection”.

A variety of VIP ticket packages are available to ensure fans obtain the best seats in the house.  Other VIP benefits include the opportunity to meet and enjoy a champagne toast with the band, attend their sound check, and receive exclusive merchandise items.  For full tour details go to: www.evanescence.com.

Catch EVANESCENCE on “Synthesis Live” in the following cities:
March 2018
Fri 30th                   Royal Festival Hall, London
Sat 31st                  Royal Festival Hall, London
April 2018
Mon 2nd                02 Apollo, Manchester
Tue 3rd                  Arena, Nottingham
Thurs 5th               Armadillo, Glasgow
Fri 6th                     City Hall, Sheffield

Fifty Gigs A Day – Spotify playlist :)

Click here for a Spotify playlist – one song each from the artists kindly supporting my fundraising efforts. A truly eclectic playlist showing the wide variety of great music out there.

50 gigs in a day

SONS OF APOLLO – featuring former Dream Theater, Journey members

INTRODUCING… SONS OF APOLLO FEATURING EX-MEMBERS OF DREAM THEATER, GUNS N’ ROSES AND JOURNEY DEBUT ALBUM, ‘PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY,’ DUE OUT 20th October ON INSIDEOUTMUSIC/SONY MUSIC

APOLLO: The ancient Greek and Roman God of music and poetry.

SONS OF APOLLO: The new supergroup featuring members of Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Guns ‘N Roses, and Journey.

For the past few months, rumours have been circulating about a new secret project including former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian. Now, the time has come to make the grand and highly anticipated introduction to their new band, SONS OF APOLLO.

Reuniting to form SONS OF APOLLO, Portnoy and Sherinian have joined forces with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force). Their debut album, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY, will be released 20th October on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. An album teaser can be seen on InsideOutMusic’s YouTube page here:

PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” which is the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

SONS OF APOLLO got together very organically, as Portnoy explains: “Derek and I reunited shortly after I left Dream Theater in 2010 and we put together an all-instrumental touring band with he and I, Billy Sheehan, and Tony MacAlpine. That was my first time working with Derek since the ‘90s when he was in Dream Theater and it was just great to be working with him again. Ever since that tour, which was really just a one-off live thing, he has been nudging me to start a real, original, full-time band. The timing just had never been right, because I had too many other things on my plate. Long story short, the time was finally right to take the bait and put together a band.”

“Mike and I work at a relentless pace in the studio,” continues Sherinian. “The music is modern, but we have an old school soul. What is unique about SONS OF APOLLO is that we have true rock n’ roll swagger along with the virtuosity– a lethal combination!”

But what to call the next great supergroup? “Derek was mainly the one behind the name,” says Portnoy. “I have a list that I keep on my phone of about a hundred different band names, which I constantly have to refer to every time I have a new band every year (laughs). So, I pulled up the list and Apollo was one of the names on the list. It was a word that both of us really liked. We started fiddling with different variations of the word. One of the original band names we were working with was Apollo Creed, the character from the ‘Rocky’ movies, but after lots of different discussions on different variations, Derek suggested SONS OF APOLLO and it seemed to stick. Apollo is the God of Music so with that in mind it seemed like a fitting name.”

Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian and Billy Sheehan previously toured together in 2012 and 2013 as PSMS (along with guitarist Tony MacAlpine), playing all instrumental versions from each of their previously recorded music. SONS OF APOLLO is the next logical progression by adding a vocalist and creating all-original material. The band incorporates the progressive style and individual technical prowess that Portnoy & Sherinian shared together in Dream Theater combined with the swagger and groove of Van Halen, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

“I have known Mike and Derek for a long time, so when they came to me with Sons of Apollo, I jumped on this straight away,” says Thomas Waber, Label Manager/A&R International of InsideOutMusic. “However, the album they ended up recording exceeded my already high expectations by a long mile! We couldn’t be happier about it!”

SONS OF APOLLO will hit the road in 2018 for their first worldwide tour.

“This is a real band,” Portnoy declares. “This is going to pick up for me and Billy where The Winery Dogs left off, in terms of this being the next logical full-time thing for us. I’m not saying The Winery Dogs have broken up, because we haven’t, we’re just on a break. SONS OF APOLLO is absolutely going to be a full-time band and we plan on touring all over the world all throughout 2018 and, honestly, it is the priority for all five of us.”

Sherinian agrees, “We will go on a worldwide crusade in 2018 to bring SONS OF APOLLO to as many people as possible. Apollo was the God of Music, and we are his mighty offspring!”

SONS OF APOLLO online:

www.sonsofapollo.com

www.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

www.Twitter.com/SonsOfApollo1

INSIDEOUTMUSIC ONLINE:
www.insideoutmusic.com
www.youtube.com/InsideOutMusicTV
www.facebook.com/InsideOutMusic
www.twitter.com/insideouteu
www.myspace.com/insideoutlabel

Slowly the giants of rock stop touring…

I first posted this on my Rock N Roll Oatcake blog last year. Since then Rick Parfitt has sadly passed away, yet Status Quo carry on first announcing further acoustic dates and then deciding to plug in for a full electric tour.

The latest twist in keeping rock alive came as it was announced the late, great Ronnie Dio would tour as a hologram backed by Dio’s Disciples – the band features ex-Dio members Simon Wright, Craig Goldy and Scott Warren. Not something I’d personally want to see, but you can see the idea is keep the music alive. It could come across as a bit ghoulish though and of course every night would be the same vocals and presumably the same musical backing/solos, which loses a lot of the live thrill for fans.

Black Sabbath have finished their ‘The End’ tour earlier this year, but again they are open to future one-off shows. Aerosmith and the Scorpions seem to be happy to carry on touring, despite both saying in the recent past they were embarking on farewell tours. Deep Purple have announced a ‘Long Farwell’ tour for later this year but conversely Queen are still packing them in and touring worldwide with Adam Lambert fronting the band. Roger Taylor’s son Rufus (also a member of the Darkness) joins his dad on drums in the shows now. Jeff Lynne has reactivated ELO after many years and has recently completed a series of successful stadium shows here in the UK. Shows that you can never fully write off a musician or band coming back to the live arena. On the recent dates long standing ELO member Richard Tandy was absent and it is unsure if he will be in future ELO plans.

Do we have enough bands coming through to replace these rock giants? There are a few stadium filler bands like Foo Fighters, RHCP and Muse, with a healthy number of arena sized fillers like Nickelback, Alter Bridge, Arcade Fire, Avenged Sevenfold et al. Rock will carry on in the live arena, maybe in smaller venues and festivals, with different names as headliners, but the days of the 70’s rock giants are drawing to a close sadly…

‘First we had the sad passing of Lemmy which meant no more Motorhead, a band that lived to be on the road touring and playing to their fans.

Now we have the news that AC/DC have had to postpone their remaining US tour dates as vocalist Brian Johnson has been advised to stop performing live to save his hearing. The band have said they will be rescheduled later in the year with a guest vocalist. But it won’t be the same without Brian Johnson plus of course illness forced Malcolm Young to leave the band.

Age is catching up fast with the rock giants of the 1970’s sadly, even the mighty Status Quo have said no more electric gigs and their UK tour later this year will be their last.

The latest band to call time on touring has been Rush. Guitarist Alex Lifeson confirmed in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine that the band won’t tour again due to the pain that drummer Neil Peart goes through.

When rock bands started way back in the 60’s and 70’s, they would not imagined the longevity many of them would have and now we are way into the twilight years for them sadly. But hey, they will still be drawn back to the stage I am sure for one-off shows and it is not all bad as Motley Crue have stopped as well 😉 ‘