Andy Grammer Announces Summer Headlining Tour

Courtesy:  S-Curve Records/MSO PR

Courtesy: S-Curve Records/MSO PR

Pop star Andy Grammer has announced that he will hit the road this Summer beginning Tuesday, June 10th.

Grammer’s headlining tour is in support of his upcoming sophomore record. The as-yet untitled record features Grammer’s new single ‘Back Home’, which he recently debuted on Ryan Seacrest’s On-Air with Ryan Seacrest. Fans can check out Grammer’s new single for free online now at http://www.ryanseacrest.com/2014/03/25/andy-grammer-unveils-new-feel-good-single-back-home-listen/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIPMkDT3Ebg&feature=youtu.be/ It is also available for download now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/back-home-single/id849196730?ls=1.

Ticket information for Grammer’s upcoming tour is available online at his official website, http://www.andygrammer.com. Grammer’s current tour schedule is listed below. It includes a performance at the Visulite Theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday, June 23rd.

DATE              CITY                           VENUE

Spring college tour:
Fri        4/11                 Ames, IA                                 Iowa State University
Sat       4/12                 Portland, OR                          University of Portland
Mon     4/14                 Pocatello, ID                           Idaho State University
Tue      4/15                 Provo, UT                               Brigham Young University
Thu      4/17                 Columbia, SC                         University of South Carolina
Sat       5/3                   Collegeville, MN                     College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University

National headlining tour:

Tues 6/10 Phoenix, AZ The Crescent Ballroom
Thu 6/12 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s
Fri 6/13 Austin, TX The Parish
Sun 6/15 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Tues 6/17 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
Wed 6/18 Atlanta, GA The Loft
Thu 6/19 Jacksonville Beach, FL Freebird Live
Fri 6/20 Clearwater, FL Capitol Theatre
Sat 6/21 Orlando, FL Beacham Theatre
Mon 6/23 Charlotte, NC Visulite Theatre
Tues 6/24 York, PA The Pullo Center
Wed 6/25 Boston, MA House of Blues
Thu 6/26 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Fri 6/27 Ridgefield, CT The Ridgefield Playhouse
Sun 6/29 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
Mon 6/30 Alexandria, VA The Birchmere
Tues 7/1 Millvale, PA Mr. Smalls Theatre
Wed 7/2 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Sat 7/5 Covington, KY Madison Theater
Sun 7/6 Pontiac, MI The Crofoot
Tues 7/8 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
Sat 7/11 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
Sun 7/12 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
Tues 7/14 Seattle, WA Neumos
Fri 7/17 San Francisco, CA

Great American Music Hall

 

More information on Andy Grammer, Grammer’s tour, upcoming album and more is available online now at http://www.andygrammer.com, http://www.facebook.com/andygrammer, and http://twitter.com/andygrammer. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Andy Grammer Debuts New Single

Courtesy:  S-Curve Records/MSO PR

Courtesy: S-Curve Records/MSO PR

Andy Grammer is back. The pop sensation debuted his brand new single on ‘Back Home’ this week on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, “On Air With Ryan Seacrest.” ‘Back Home’ is the first single off of Grammer’s as-yet untitled sophomore album, which is due out this Fall on S-Curve Records. Fans can check out Grammer’s new single online now at http://onair.rs/1fy1bEJ. The song will be available for download via iTunes beginning Tuesday, April 8th and will start running on Adult Pop radio in May.
While they wait for more new music from Grammer, fans can catch him live on his Spring College Tour beginning Friday, April 4th at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. His current tour schedule, listed below, also includes stops at Washington College, Iowa State University, and the University Portland among others.

Catch ANDY GRAMMER on his spring college tour:
Fri 4/4 Auburn, AL Auburn University
Sat 4/5 Chestertown, MD Washington College
Fri 4/11 Ames, IA Iowa State University
Sat 4/12 Portland, OR University of Portland
Mon 4/14 Pocatello, ID Idaho State University
Tue 4/15 Provo, UT Brigham Young University
Thu 4/17 Columbia, SC University of South Carolina
Fri 4/25 Springfield, MA Western New England University
Sat 5/3 Collegeville, MN College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University

Fans can keep up with all of the latest updates on Andy Grammer’s tour schedule, album, and more online at http://www.andygrammer.com, http://www.facebook.com/andygrammer, and http://twitter.com/andygrammer. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 Box Set A Must Have For Any Diehard PR Fan

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory’s release of Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is an absolute must have for anyone that is a true hardcore fan of the Power Rangers franchise.  This latest box set was released in late 2013, only months before the planned release of the franchise’s next box set, containing Seasons 13 – 17.  Audiences that grew up watching Seasons 8 – 12 will appreciate this box set primarily because of its writing.  Seasons 8 – 12 mark a complete cutting of ties so to speak from the original Power Rangers franchise, which ended with Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.  It was a surprisingly clean cut, too.  The bonus DVD included in this set adds to its value for any true hardcore Power Rangers fan.  That’s because of the abundant amount of extras included just on the one disc alone.  And rounding out the whole thing is the bonus booklet that comes with the set.  All of this together makes Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 a set that the most hardcore Power Rangers will want to add to their personal collection.

Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is an important addition to any hardcore Power Rangers fan’s collection first and foremost because of the writing behind each season.  It all starts with Season 8 a.k.a. Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.  This season and those that follow mark a clean cut from the Power Rangers’ original franchise, which ran technically six seasons.  The franchise’s seventh season saw what would be the first attempt at cutting ties from the original franchise.  But even that season maintained at least some link to the original franchise with the re-introduction of the Astro Megaship, which was used in Season 6 (Power Rangers in Space).  That essentially makes Season 8 the very first time that the franchise’s writers made a complete and clean break from the original series.  It did this quite well, too.  It is interesting to see the Power Rangers go from almost superhero-like status in its previous incarnations to being made into a semi-militaristic force in Season 8.  A similar approach is taken in Power Rangers Time Force.  The writers behind Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue made a clean, solid break from the Power Rangers’ original franchise.  For all of their ability to break from that franchise, audiences will appreciate that they did throw back to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers with the introduction of the Titanium Ranger in this series.  Just as Tommy was originally brainwashed by Rita, so was Ryan brainwashed by Diabolico.  Fans that grew up with the original Power Rangers franchise will appreciate this throwback, whether it was intentional or not.

The eighth and ninth seasons of Power Rangers exhibited brand new chapters in the long-running franchise’s mythology.  They showed in their writing that the Power Rangers brand could keep running even in a whole new universe separate from the one created in the its first seven seasons.  This trend continued on through Seasons 10 and 11.  The most intriguing of the seasons included in this set would have to be Season 12, though.  Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) returns in Season 12 a.k.a. Power Rangers Dino Thunder as the head of a new team of Power Rangers.  What makes this season so enjoyable is that while it lives within the confines of its own universe, it also makes no attempt to ignore Tommy’s past as one of the original Power Rangers.  The very fact that it would be titled Dino Thunder and that the new Power Rangers would have their own dinozords of sorts is a full on throwback.  It brings everything full circle in this set.  It goes without saying that this was not the longest series in the Power Rangers canon.  But it was nice to see the writers and the franchise’s heads make that re-connection with the early days of the Power Rangers once again, just as Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue did in Season 8.

All involved behind Power Rangers Season 8 – 12 are to be commended .  These five seasons prove to be some of the best from the Power Rangers franchise in its post-Zordon era.  Fans will see this for themselves when they order the complete five-season box set from Shout! Factory.  The solid writing in each season and the inclusion of each season are only the starting point in what makes this collection a must have for any hardcore Power Rangers fan.  The set also comes with an extra sixth disc loaded with bonus material that fans will love.

The bonus sixth disc that comes with Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is a bonus in itself.  It is loaded with more than its share of background on each season beginning with an in-depth look at how the actors voiced their parts for the big fight scenes.  Audiences will laugh along with the cast members as they recall being in the recording booth, recording their lines and even fight sounds as they see the action on screen.  The “Ranger Tales” segment is just as in-depth.  It offers insight on each season from different members of each season’s cast.  What’s more, this segment proceeds chronologically from Season 8 – 12.  Viewers will also enjoy watching “A Web of Fans.”  This bonus feature takes a look at the impact of the show on its fans and vice versa.  It showed how close-knit the Power Rangers fanbase is to this day and how it has helped to keep the franchise alive such a long time.  There are even more bonuses including one that discusses the introduction of the Titanium Ranger and a semi-promo from Tommy himself pushing Power Rangers Dino Thunder and even a promo by two members of the Dino Thunder cast for Power Rangers S.P.D. which is part of the next Power Rangers box set.  The bonuses don’t end here.  There is still at least one more aspect of this set that fans will appreciate being included.  That bonus is the booklet that comes with the box set.

Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 includes as a companion to the bonus sixth disc, a bonus booklet that includes character bios for each season as well as a complete episode guide for each season as well.  Along with the character bios are the actual names of each cast member from each season.  This includes both the Rangers and the villains.  There are even stills of various scenes taken from different episodes of each season to enhance the booklet even more.  From the stills to the episode list and character guide, those responsible for assembling this booklet put in a lot of work to make it the perfect addition to the overall set.  Together with the bonus sixth disc, the two bonus additions collectively make for one wonderful bonus to a set that simply put is a must have for any true hardcore Power Rangers fan.  Power Rangers Seasons 8 – 12 is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-seasons-8-12.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN3 To Broadcast 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Draw

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Super Bowl is over.  The confetti has dropped.  The pizza and beer are gone.  So what’s a person to do now?  Simple.  Check out ESPN3 Monday, February 3rd for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Draw.

ESPN3 will carry live coverage of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Draw Monday, February 3rd.  Coverage begins at 1pm ET.  The draw sets up the picture for this year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.  The annual draw is set up with twenty-four teams being split into four groups of six teams each.  Among the teams involved in this year’s tournament are the defending world champion United States, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Iran, Lithuania, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea and Ukraine.  Four wild card teams have already been announced for the tour.  Those teams are: Finland, Brazil, Greece, and Turkey.

The2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup tournament begins Saturday, August 30th.  It runs through Sunday, September 14th and will be held in Spain this year.  Audiences will be able to catch every game of this year’s tournament across the ESPN family of networks.  ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ESPN Deportes will combine to carry full coverage of this year’s tournament.  The preliminary rounds of this year’s tournament will be played in Bilbao, Granada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Seville.  The tournament’s final rounds will be held in Barcelona and Madrid.

Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Marc and Pau Gasol are thought to be potential names involved in this year’s tournament.  More information on the tournament is available online at http://fiba.com/spain2014.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date For Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

The Power Rangers are back once again.  Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 will be available in stores and online Tuesday, February 11th on DVD.  The second volume from the Power Rangers’ Zeo incarnation sees Tommy, Katherine, and the rest step up their Zeo powers once again in order to defeat King Mondo and his Machine Empire minions.  Fans can also expect to see some familiar faces return on both sides of the battle in this volume of adventures.

Along with more high-energy battles and incredible new zords, Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 also continues Saban’s long-running tradition of tying important life lessons into each episode.  Volume 2 teaches lessons about teamwork, believing in one’s self, friendship and much more throughout its twenty-five total episodes.  There are also plenty more laughs courtesy of Bulk and Skull (Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy).

Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 will be available in a three-disc set for SRP of $19.93. It can be pre-ordered now via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-zeo-volume-two.  More information on this and other upcoming releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Band Perry Receives Two ACM Award Nominations

Photo Credit: Mickey Brown

Photo Credit: Mickey Brown

Good news for The Band Perry.  The superstar country music trio has been nominated for two ACM Awards.

The announcement was made this week that the band has been nominated for “Vocal Group of the Year” and “Music Video of the Year.”  The second of the nominations from the Academy of Country Music is for the video for the band’s #1 single, ‘Better Dig Two.’  That song was also the lead single from the band’s latest album, Pioneer.  This year marks the third consecutive year that The Band Perry has been nominated for “Vocal Group of the Year.”  It is the fourth consecutive year that the trio has received nominations from the Academy of Country Music.  The band’s biggest year to date was 2011.  It was that year that the band received five total ACM nominations.  It won the award that year for “New Artist of the Year.”

Reid Perry spoke on behalf of the band after the announcement.  He expressed the band’s excitement of being nominated again, and getting to come to Las Vegas again.  Las Vegas is the home of the ACM Awards, which will be broadcast on CBS April 6th on CBS.  “It’s such an honor to find out about our two ACM Award nominations,” he said.  “We love the theatrics that happen in Vegas, and remember, what happens in Vegas … gets broadcast on live TV.”

The announcement of the band’s latest nominations comes at a high time for the band as it is scheduled to perform live on Fox as part of the network’s Super Bowl pre-game party.  The band will perform alongside American Idol Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips.  Reid’s brother and fellow band mate Neil jokingly discussed the band’s anticipation of playing the pre-game show and being back in temperatures above zero.  “We’re all huge football fans, and there’s nothing more exciting than to be a part of football’s biggest day,” he said. “We’ve been up in Canada on our We Are Pioneers World Tour for the past month, so we’re just glad it will be above zero degrees in New York!”

The band won’t be slowing down any time soon after its performance this weekend on Fox.  That performance is just part of its ongoing North American tour in support of Pioneer.  It will be in Independence, MO next Thursday, February 6th.  The band also has a planned performance later this Spring in North Carolina.  It is scheduled to perform live in Cherokee, North Carolina on Friday, April 25th at the Harrah’s Cherokee.  The band’s latest schedule of performances is listed below.

 

 

THE BAND PERRY FULL LIST OF TOUR DATES

JANUARY

31st

Bangor, ME

Cross Insurance Center

FEBRUARY

6th

Independence, MO

Independence Events Center

7th

Brookings, SD

Swifter Center

8th

Bemidji, MN

The Sanford Center

9th

Grand Forks, ND

Ralph Englestad Arena

13th

Dubuque, IA

Five Flags Center

14th

Kearney, NE

Viareo Event Center

15th

Rapid City, SD

Rushmore Plaza Civic Center

16th

Billings, MT

Rimrock Auto Arena @MetraPark

20th

Rockford, IL

BMO Harris Bank Center

21st

Cape Girardeau, MO

Show Me Center

22nd

Corbin, KY

The Corbin Arena

23rd

Saginaw, MI

Dow Events Center

27th

Green Bay, WI

Resch Center

28th

Mankato, MN

Verizon Wireless Center

MARCH

1st

Duluth, MN

Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena

2nd

Cedar Rapids, IA

U.S. Cellular Center

7th

Savannah, GA

Savannah Civic Center

8th

West Palm Beach, FL

Cruzan Amphitheater – WIRK Rib Roundup

9th

Plant City, FL

Florida Strawberry Festival

15th

Dublin, IE

Country to Country 2014: O2 Dublin

16th

London, UK

Country to Country 2014: O2

21st

Melbourne, FL

Runaway Country: Wickham Park

22nd

Houston, TX

Rodeo Houston

APRIL

11th

Florence, AZ

Country Thunder USA

25th

Cherokee, NC

Harrah’s Cherokee

26th

Dothan, AL

Toad Lick Festival

MAY

16th

Gardendale, TX

Texas Thunder

30th

Virginia Beach, VA

Patriotic Festival

JUNE

21st

Dallas, TX

Gexa Energy Pavilion *

27th

Dauphin, MB

Dauphin’s CountryFest

JULY

20th

Cincinnati, OH

Buckle-Up Music Festival

AUGUST

8th

Detroit Lake, MN

WE Fest

SEPTEMBER

5th

Phoenix, AZ

Ak-Chin Pavilion *

6th

San Diego, CA

Sleep Train Amphitheater *

12th

Sacramento, CA

Sleep Train Amphitheater *

13th

Mountain View, CA

Shoreline Amphitheater *

* Blake Shelton Tour

More information on The Band Perry’s tour, album and latest news is available online at http://www.facebook.com/thebandperry and http://www.thebandperry.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Power Rangers Zeo Volume 2 A “Powerful” Way To Wrap Up Season 4

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Saban Brands

Saban’s Power Rangers franchise is one of the most successful mainstream children’s program’s in modern television history.  It is currently celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.  And it’s doing so in a big way thanks to a partnership with Shout! Factory.  While the new mega Power Rangers DVD collection might be out of the price range of many Power Rangers fans, the latest stand-alone collection from Shout! Factory and Saban is right up the alley for any old school Power Rangers fan.  The new collection in question is Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 (or Power Rangers: Season 4 Volume 2) finishes off the latest incarnation of the franchise.  It is also one more wonderful collection for those yearning for the franchise’s golden era.  The writing in Season 4 Volume 2 is the key to this collection of episodes.  Just as worth noting is the acting carried on the part of the cast.  The packaging is the final touch that makes Season 4 Volume 2 work.  All three factors come together to make Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 another hit for any old school Power Rangers fan.

The first thing that stands out about Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 is the writing.  Season 4 Volume 2 contains the final twenty-five episodes of the Rangers’ Zeo incarnation. Within that set of episodes, the show’s writers crafted no fewer than three separate extended story arcs.  There is also a stand-alone Christmas episode in “A Season to Remember” that was previously only available as a bonus episode in one of Lionsgate’s previously released Power Rangers Samurai compilations.  The story arcs included in this volume are prime examples of what made the Power Rangers franchise so enjoyable in its early days.  That’s because they were used as a means to keep the show fresh and keep it moving forward without losing any of the ground that it had gained over the course of its first three seasons.  One of those storylines sees the introduction of the very first Gold Ranger (played by returning original star Austin St. James). Another sees the return of Lord  Zedd and Rita after the eventual defeat of King Mondo.  And even after King Mondo is defeated, he does return again.  This leads to another ongoing story arc late in the collection that eventually leads into the Power Rangers’ next incarnation, Power Rangers RPM.

The extended story arcs written into the second half of Season Four are a big part of this collection’s success.  The stand-alone episodes do their own part in making Volume 2 a success.  One example of that is in the Christmas themed episode, “A Season To Remember.”  This episode is a “what if” scenario of sorts.  It presents Tommy as an old man telling his grandson about the Power Rangers, remembering fondly his adventures as a young man.  It continues the series’ long-standing tradition of including positive messages within each episode. This episode includes the message of tolerance towards others.  It’s not the only positive message shared in this collection of episodes, either.  “Mondo’s Last Stand” teaches viewers that it’s okay to ask for help.  This lesson is taught as Rocky tries to take on King Mondo himself because he feels like he has been essentially replaced upon Jason’s return to the Rangers.  It’s just one more example of how the writing in Season 4 Volume 2 makes this collection one more that every old school Power Rangers fan will appreciate.

The writing behind the episodes in Power Rangers Zeo: Volume 2 is the biggest part of this collection’s success.  It isn’t all that audiences will applaud in this set.  The acting on the part of the cast is just as enjoyable as ever.  A big part of that is the cast’s familiarity with one another thanks to the series’ various story arcs.  The chemistry between the cast members made for better and more believable acting.  This especially applies in the case of Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (A.K.A. Bulk and Skull).  The pair’s Lauren & Hardy style comedic acting is as entertaining as ever.  While they were only supporting cast, their physical comedy and gags made them the real stars of the show.  That’s not to say that the Rangers themselves weren’t believable in their roles.  Despite some lineup changes over the course of the franchise’s first three seasons and its fourth season, the story arcs crafted for the show kept the core cast together long enough to establish its own chemistry.  That chemistry meant that the core cast had more reason to take its acting seriously.  And that is visible throughout each of the episodes in this volume. A prime example of this comes in “King for a Day Part II.”  The Rangers have to convince Tommy that he’s not the Machine King.  And Kat (the Pink Ranger) takes the lead in that effort.   It would have been so easy for her to ham it up.  She took the moment with full seriousness instead.  That led this to be one of Season 4’s most memorable of moments.  It isn’t the only memorable moments in terms of the cast’s acting, either.  Audiences will find even more memorable acting on the part of the cast when they purchase this set for themselves.

Writing and acting are pivotal to any movie and TV series.  And that is proved time and again in Power Rangers Zeo:  Volume Two.  There is still one factor in this new set that audiences will appreciate.  The factor in question is the set’s packaging.  Season 4 Volume 2 has already been included in a pair of Power Rangers box sets.  Not every Power Rangers fan is a fan of every Power Rangers series.  So on Tuesday, February 11th, this collection will be available for fans of PRZ as a stand-alone, triple-disc set. This means that fans of this specific incarnation won’t have to shell out the money that they would otherwise had to have spent on the previously released box set just to have this set. The three discs that make up the set each have their own spot inside the case. This means that each disc is protected from the other, thus making them enjoyable even longer.  While it will not be available until Tuesday, February 11th, it can be pre-ordered now from Shout! Factory’s online store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/power-rangers-zeo-volume-two.  More information on this and other Power Rangers collections is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Fox Adds The Band Perry To Its Super Bowl Pre-Game Party Performers List

Photo Credit:  David McClister

Photo Credit: David McClister

The Band Perry will join American Idol Season 11 winner Philip Phillips at this year’s Super Bowl.  The Perry siblings—Kimberly, Reid, and Neil—will join Phillips at the NFL Tailgate Party.  The NFL Tailgate Party is part of the FOX Super Bowl Sunday broadcast.  Parts of both Phillips’ and The Band Perry’s performances will appear on the network’s pre-game broadcast.

The Band Perry achieved major success with its most recent full length studio recording.  Pioneer has garnered two consecutive #1 Country hits in ‘Better Dig Two’ and its Gold certified follow-up ‘DONE.’  Pioneer as a whole record has been certified Gold.  It debuted at the top spot on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart and #2 All Genre.  ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely’, the band’s latest single, currently sits in the #2 spot at Country radio.  The siblings have enjoyed numerous sold out shows on its first ever worldwide headlining “We Are Pioneers” tour and just as many awards.

The Band Perry and Phillip Phillips will be joined at Fox’s pre-game party by cast members of the Broadway musicals Rock of Ages and Jersey Boys.  Renee Fleming will perform the National Anthem before the game.  Bruno Mars will headline this year’s Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show.  More information on The Band Perry is available online at http://www.facebook.com/thebandperry and http://www.thebandperry.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Danny Phantom Complete Series Set Is Loads Of Ghostly Fun For All

Courtesy:  Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Nickelodeon/Shout! Factory

Nickelodeon’s programming today is comprised largely of live action sitcoms aimed at teen viewers.  However, from the early 1990s up until the mid-2000s, the network was known more for its vast array of cartoons.  It’s “Nicktoons” were its heart and soul.  While Nickelodeon does have some cartoons today, the network’s sole remaining real Nicktoon is Butch Hartman’s hugely successful series Fairly OddparentsFairly Oddparents is a standout series, too.  Interestingly enough, it isn’t his first series to have the honor of being added to Nickelodeon’s list of beloved Nicktoons.  His first notable “Nicktoon” was the short-lived supernatural series Danny Phantom.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon, fans of Danny Phantom will be able to own the complete series in one box later this month.  Danny Phantom only ran for three seasons.  In its defense, it could be argued that this was because it was ahead of its time.  That aside, series creator Butch Hartman and his writers crafted a number of enjoyable episodes throughout the show’s short run.  Just as worth noting about this new upcoming box set is that is alleviates some minor problems raised in the box sets containing the series’ second season.  Lastly, those that know their Nicktoons history will appreciate the voice talent that made up the series’ cast.  That who’s who of voice actors combined with the enjoyable stories, and the fact that they are all available together for the first time collectively make this upcoming set well worth picking up for any Danny Phantom fan.

Fans of Danny Phantom: The Complete Series  will appreciate this new complete series set first and foremost because it presents the series’ entire three-season run in one complete box set.  Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have already released three complete series sets from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rocko’s Modern Life, and The Angry Beavers.  Those sets proved to actually take up far less space on DVD racks than the stand-alone season sets that had originally been released.  This set is no different.  All nine discs that make up all three seasons are included in this box.  Shout! Factory and Nickelodeon have sweetened the deal even more for fans in that they have maintained the established wise packaging that was used in the aforementioned complete series sets.  The discs are placed inside the box on either side of their own “insert” with the ninth and final disc being placed in its own spot inside the back of the case.  As with the previously noted box sets, this protects the discs and allows the episodes contained within each one to be enjoyed much longer.  It is the starting point of what audiences will appreciate about Danny Phantom: The Complete Series.

The packaging for Danny Phantom: The Complete Series is a good starting point in discussing everything that makes this box set well worth its price.  The episodes contained across the set’s nine total discs make the presentation as a whole even more enjoyable.  It would be easy to say that because its main characters were high school students, Danny Phantom was just another program aimed at audiences of the same age. To a point, it could be seen how teen audiences would take an interest in the series.  Case in point, one of the series’ story arcs involved a potential inter-racial romance between Danny and black classmate named Valerie Gray (voiced by Cree Summer—The Cosby Show, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Codename: Kids Next Door, etc.).  It really is a sign of the times that the show’s writers would include this without making a big fuss over it, either.  It is a subtle, but nice addition to the series.  There are also the constant struggles to balance trying to be a regular teen with being a superhero. But the jokes that are tossed in each episode aren’t above some younger viewers, either.  So while teens might have been the primary audience, younger viewers would have obviously enjoyed the show, too.  The same applies to today’s teens and pre-teens, too.

The packaging and writing that make up Danny Phantom’s episodes are collectively a big part of what makes the series so enjoyable even for today’s younger audiences.  There is at least one more aspect of the series’ new set that audiences will appreciate in examining the presentation as a whole.  That aspect is the series’ voice cast.  The series’ primary cast reads like a who’s who of voice acting.  It has already been noted that veteran voice actress Cree Summer is part of the primary cast (even though she doesn’t come into play until the second season).  Along with Ms. Summer, Grey DeLisle (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Clifford The Big Red Dog, Clifford: The Puppy Years, Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, etc.) Kath Soucie (Futurama, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Beauty and the Beast, etc.), Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, etc.) and a whole slate of others each play roles in the series.  Fans will also recognize the voices of Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim, Hellboy & Hellboy II), Martin Mull (Roseanne), and the man who is perhaps the busiest male voice actor in the business, one Frank Welker (Curious George, The Real Ghostbusters, Scooby-Doo Where Are You, etc.)  Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men), Taylor Lautner (the Twilight saga), and the late David Carradine even make appearances throughout the series among so many other big names.  If the massive list of A-listers that play roles in Danny Phantom isn’t reason enough to check out the new Danny Phantom: The Complete Series box set, then one need only set that alongside the enjoyable writing and the equally wise packaging to see just how worthwhile this set is for kids and kids at heart.  It will be available in stores and online Tuesday, January 28th.  It can be pre-ordered online now from the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/product/danny-phantom-complete-series.  More information on this and other releases from Shout! Factory is available online at http://www.shoutfactory.com and http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Power Of Three Has Potential Staying “Power”

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

2014 is only a week or so old.  Despite the infancy of the year, things are already picking up within the music industry.  If the many lists of the year’s most anticipated albums are any indication, there is a lot to look forward to this year.  That’s especially the case in the world of rock and metal.  Albums from Slipknot, Tool, Earth Crisis, Corrosion of Conformity, Foo Fighters, Mastadon, Black Label Society, and so many others are already making purist rockers and metal heads the world over excited about the months to come.  Now, yet another performer has added his name that already extensive list of bands and artists whose albums are highly anticipated this year.  The performer in question is Monte Pittman.  Pittman will release his new album The Power of Three.

The Power of Three is quite the interesting listen for those that might be unfamiliar with his body of work.  While Pittman has had the honor of recording and touring with veteran New York based metal band Prong, he is most well-known for his work with none other than Madonna and former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert.  He has also recorded with former Spice Girl Melanie C. on her 2003 album Reason.  Considering that he has spent more time recording and touring with pop artists, Pittman’s new record, which will be released via Metal Blade Records on January 21st, will shock audiences.  That’s because it is anything but a pop record.  Rather, he and his band mates—Kane Richotte (drums) and Max Whipple (bass)—have crafted a ten-track record that is an early contender for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best hard rock records.  The album’s second song, ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ is a pummeling song that hints at influences from the likes of thrash pioneers Pantera.  This is the case at least in terms of the song’s musical side.  Pittman’s guitar work, alongside Kane Richotte’s solid drumming, make this an excellent first impression from Pittman and company.  Pittman shreds with the best of them.  And his vocal style may even lead some to compare it to that of Fireball Ministry front man James A. Rota III.  Whipple adds just enough low-end to bring everything together in this song.

Just as interesting to take in on this record is the album’s opener and lead single, ‘A Dark Horse.’  What makes the song so interesting is that there almost seems to be an old school Black Sabbath influence mixed into the song’s more prominent modern metal sound throughout its bridge and verses.  One wouldn’t think the two sounds would gel.  Low and behold, they work quite well together.  As a matter of fact, there’s no doubt that Pittman and company will have listeners putting their horns high with pride.  Yet again, all three members of the band work together here to make a song that will leave listeners breathless by the end of its near five-and-a-half-minute run time. And as with the album’s other songs, the production is just as solid as the music itself.  Not one member of the three-man organization overpowers the other at any one point throughout the song.

For all of the heavier material that comprises this record’s body, Pittman also proves that he can hold back even if only a little bit.  That’s evident in the almost Alice in Chains style ‘Everything’s Undone.’  Even more intriguing about the song is that the setup in the song’s opening moments may even conjure thoughts of Aerosmith’s ‘Back in The Saddle Again.’  It’s only momentary.  But it’s there.  On its lyrical side, it comes across as being rooted in the standard relationship issues that make up so many songs.  He sings, “Driving faster/getting closer/But I feel farther from you/Here we go again/Who’s to blame/Am I gonna get closure from you/Now you’re gone/Is there something I’ve done wrong…Now everything’s undone.”  It’s pretty obvious that Pittman is delving into a personal realm here.  The catch is that unlike so many songs that are rooted in relationship issues, this one takes that lesser travelled road, opting for a less “oh, woe is me” vibe and more for something with energy about it.  This is the case even in the song’s chorus. The song as a whole is just one more that makes this upcoming album well worth the listen and a definite early contender for a spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock/metal albums.  Fans will get to hear even more music from Pittman and his band mates when they perform February 22nd at Los Angeles’ famed Whisky A Go Go.  Tickets for that show can be purchased via Pittman’s official website, http://montepittman.com. Fans can keep up with the latest addition to Pittman’s tour schedule and all of his latest news online at http://montepittman.com, http://www.facebook.com/MontePittman, http://www.myspace.com/montepittman, and http://twitter.com/montepittman.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.