ShipRocked Cruise’s Fourth Year Its Biggest Yet

The annual ShipRocked cruise has officially wrapped.  This year’s cruise was the biggest yet for the annual event.  It saw a total of nearly 2,500 people on board the MSC Poesia.  The cruise featured the likes of:  Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, P.O.D., Sevendust, Geoff Tate, and a slew of other acts.  It was sponsored by General Suns, and was fueled by Monster Energy. 

The cruise’s record breaking attendance was just one high point for this year’s event.  Along with the band lineup and record breaking attendance, the cruise’s annual Cancer Sucks charity auction raised some $70,000 for cancer research.  The auction featured one-of-a-kind memorabilia from bands on both this year’s cruise and those bands who took part in past cruises. 

Plans are already in the works for next year’s ShipRocked cruise.  A pre-sale for returning guests will begin soon.  For all the latest on next year’s ShipRocked cruise and to sign up for the ShipRocked newsletter, audiences can go online to http://www.getshiprocked.com, http://www.facebook.com/GetShipRocked, or http://twitter.com/ShipRocked

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Rock on the Range Expands For 2013

Courtesy: MSO PR/Ashton-Magnuson Media

Organizers of the annual Rock on the Range music festival have made a big announcement.  The festival will expand in 2013.  The festival has typically been a two day event.  Next year, it will expand, adding one more day.  Organizers have announced that the festival will be a weekend long event, running from Friday, May 17th to Sunday, May 20th.  The festival will remain at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH. 

The official lineup for next year’s festival is still being firmed up at this time.  However, reports hint that some new very big name acts have been added to next year’s festival.  Pre-sale tickets for Weekend Field and Weekend Stadium will go on sale next Monday at 10am.  VIP packages, Hotel and ticket bundles, and Campaign packages will also be available.  They will be available beginning next Thursday, November 29th 10am.  Information on all packages as well as general admission ticket pre-sales is available online at http://www.rockontherange.com.  Fans can also keep up with all the latest news announcements regarding next year’s festival at http://www.rockontherange, and on the festivals’ official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/rockontherange and via Twitter at http://twitter.com/rockontherange

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New Hotel Lets Guests Get Away Without Getting Too Far Away

If there’s one thing that Los Angeles is known for, it’s the high class hotels and busy lifestyle.  So who would have ever thought that it would be possible to have a taste of the country life right in the heart of one of the country’s biggest cities?  Now anyone visiting L.A. and the surrounding area can get just that thanks to the new Farmer’s Daughter Hotel.

The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel is in the heart of Los Angeles, within walking distance of the famed CBS Studios (where The Price Is Right is taped each day).  It’s also very close to Museum Row and the pedestrian friendly region of 3rd Street and Melrose.  The hotel mixes high class with country living all into one setting, letting guests get away without being too far away from it all.

And for those worried about The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel being too high class, the hotel offers guests a little video to show that things there are more laid back than one might think.  To get an idea of what to expect at The Farmer’s Daughter Hotel, just check out the link here, http://www.youtube.com/user/farmersdaughterla.

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Black Taxi’s New LP Good For Fans Of 80’s Music

Courtesy: Black Taxi

New York based Black Taxi has been making a lot of noise in the underground scene for a number of years.  The band has earned a “Webby” award for the video for the song, ‘Shoeshine’ off of its 2009 album, “Things of That Nature.”  The band started off 2012 in positive style, too.  The band debuted the first single from its newest album, “We Don’t Know Any Better” on AOL.  The band’s new album is good fodder for anyone that is a fan of old school 80’s acts the likes of The Talking Heads and Men at Work or for more modern acts such as Cake or The Killers.  There’s even a semi Pink Floyd style piece and some Franz Ferdinand influenced music on this disc, too.

Speaking of ‘Hand’, this is one of the album’s highlights.  It’s an interesting hybrid of that old school 80’s sound mixed with a newer version of said old school style.  ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ boasts some of that same style.  The mix of the synthesizer with the guitars in this song give it a really catchy almost Cake-style sound.  There’s some of that also in the album’s title track.  Fans of Franz Ferdinand will also enjoy this record thanks to its sound.  Black taxi sort of emulates Franz Ferdinand in the catchy ‘Balloon on a Barbed Wire.’  The solid drum beats mixed with the guitar work make it an instant hit for audiences.  Fans of prog-rock masters Pink Floyd will be intrigued by the change of pace when the band moves into the more melancholy drone of ‘Holding On To Nothing.’  Thankfully, that doesn’t last long as the band kicks things back into gear right afterwards with the more catchy ‘Politics.’  The band keeps the energy up right to the album’s end from here with the blatantly 80’s style of ‘Tell Me What You Need’ and the almost hippie-esque vibe of ‘Hope I Never Know.’

While “We Don’t Know Any Better” was released back in January, the band is currently touring in support of it.  The band will be in Charlottesville, VA tonight.  Tonight’s show is followed by a pair of dates in Georgia tomorrow and Wednesday and a stop in South Carolina Thursday evening.  The band will close out the work week with a trio of dates in Florida this weekend.  Fans can go online to http://www.blacktaxi.com or http://www.facebook.com/BLACKTAXIMUSIC for a full tour run down, and to get all the latest news from the band.  

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Sedaka’s Live Show Is A Simple, Beautiful Set

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Records

Neil Sedaka’s newly released live CD, “The Show Goes On:  Live at the Royal Albert Hall” is musical simplicity at its finest.  This companion CD to the musical legend’s DVD release of the same performance has been six years in the making.  Being that this performance has already been released via DVD, and now on CD, it makes one wonder if it will eventually see a blu-ray re-issue.  Until then, at least audiences have this wonderful audio record of a performance that is simple.  The simplicity of the performance makes the show fun and makes his classic hits that much more beautiful. 

Sedaka’s performance was simply him and his piano.  There was no band.  There was no pyro.  Nothing.  It’s proof positive that the old k.i.s.s. formula does work.  His vocals, and his ability on the keys, shows why he is just as respected as fellow pianist/vocalists Billy Joel and Elton John, if not even more so.  The show’s opener, ‘The Other Side of Me’ is a beautiful, gentle piece that shows Sedaka’s control of both his vocal instrument and his piano.  The dynamic contrasts throughout the piece make it flow with such ease.  The emotions of the song are perfectly expressed through those dynamic contrasts.  It pulls the audience right in.  And the airiness of the sound thanks to the size of the Royal Albert Hall makes the emotion of the song echo throughout the building.  That in itself gives the song that much more power.

Another wonderful moment from this recorded performance comes in the classic, ‘Love Will Keep Us Together.’  Sedaka explains to the audience in attendance how he came to write the classic song.  His interaction with the audience as it collectively claps to the music exhibits a chemistry between everyone involved that makes the song that much more enjoyable.  Listeners won’t be able to hold back the laughs as he talks about he writes songs, from developing a melody to experimenting with vocals and more.  His lighthearted delivery makes this such a fun song.  Of course, the song itself is just as fun as his interaction with the audience as he performs.

“The Show Goes On:  Live At The Royal Albert Hall” is loaded with great moments for any Neil Sedaka fan.  The set list is comprised of twenty-one total songs.  So it would be impossible to touch on each and every one.  But there is at least one more memorable moment in this performance.  Being that it is such a classic, what Neil Sedaka show would be complete without the one and only ‘Calendar Girl.’  Sedaka shows why the piano is considered a percussion instrument in many circles.  The way that he plays it is what really gives the song its identity, believe it or not.  His vocals match that style, too.  It combines to make just one more of what proves to be a great listen for any oldies fan.

Some people have commented on the “airy-ness” of the performance’s audio.  Given, the Royal Albert Hall isn’t a small building.  But that “airy-ness” is part of what makes this show so spectacular.  This show is just Neil and a piano.  The manner in which his vocals and his music echo throughout the hall add so much to the show’s simplicity.  It’s one more bonus to what is a great show simply from the set list.  But keeping that in mind, one can only hope that it will eventually see a blu-ray re-issue.  Audiences will appreciate the concert that much more seeing the dichotomy of how simple Sedaka’s stage set was versus the size of the hall.  That visual image alone makes it all that much more powerful.  Until then, audiences at least have this new audio recording of Sedaka’s show.  “The Show Goes On:  Live At The Royal Albert Hall” is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online at http://www.eagle-rock.com.

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Gwar To Tour This Fall

 

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Gwar is returning to the road this Fall.  The intergalactic metal mutants will take to the road along with Devildriver and Cancer Bats for the Fate or Chaos Tour.  The tour will kick off October 12th at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania alongside Devildriver, Cancer Bats and Legacy of Disorder.  Cancer Bats addition to the tour follows its recent string of U.S. dates with Demon Hunter.  The band is touring in support of its new album, “Dead Set on Living.” The Fate or Chaos tour stretches thirty-four dates across the country, including a date at Amos’ in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 22nd.  Fans can get a full list of Gwar’s tour dates online at http://www.gwar.net, http://www.facebook.com/gwar, http://www.myspace.com/gwarofficial, http://www.gwarjapan.net and http://www.youtube.com/gwar.

More information on Cancer Bats is available online at http://www.facebook.com/cancerbats and http://twitter.com/cancerbats.

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Staind Still Strong On New Live Release

Courtesy: Armoury Records/Atlantic Records

Nineties aggro-rock band Staind has released its very first official live CD.  “Live From Mohegan Sun” is a career retrospective that covers songs from across the band’s current catalogue of seven albums, dating all the way back to 1996’s “Tormented.”  The show is the first in a series of releases documenting the band’s November 25, 2011 performance at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Montville, CT.  A DVD and blu-ray portion will follow this release August 14th. To check out ‘It’s Been A While’ from the upcoming DVD and blu-ray release, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9tA6mErJNU&feature=youtu.be.

The show opens with the driving, ‘Eyes Wide Open.’  Drummer Sal Giancarelli gets the audience moving with his beats, with the rest of the band following immediately after.  The band keeps the energy moving on ‘Falling’, before slowing things down just a little bit on ‘Right Here.’  The band really slows things down right after that with the darker, more moody, ‘Throw It All Away’ before kicking the show back into high gear on ‘Spleen.’  Fans will love that the show also includes some of the band’s biggest hits including, ‘So Far Away’, ‘For You’, It’s Been A While’ and ‘Mudshovel.’    

The show’s set list is a solid example of the band’s body of work.  What makes the songs better is one of the key’s to any good show.  Rather than just playing them exactly as in the studio, the band switches things up here and there.  The audio transfer on the show is relatively solid, too, from start to finish.  It makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable.  For fans that grew up with Staind from its early days, this live show really brings back memories of their youth.  For less initiated fans, it’s a way to experience the band in a way that they perhaps haven’t yet had.  Speaking of having the opportunity to see the band live, Staind will be out on the road this Summer on the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival.  Fans in North Carolina will get the opportunity to see the band live as the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival will be making a stop at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek on Tuesday, September 11th.

Fans can get a full list of the festival tour dates online at http://www.rockstaruproar.com, http://www.facebook.com/RockstarUPROAR, http://twitter.com/RockstarUPROAR, and http://www.myspace.com/uproarfest.  Staind fans can get the latest news and more from the band online at http://www.staind.com, http://www.facebook.com/Staind, and http://twitter.com/staindmusic.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.