Hats Off To Dr. Seuss A Mostly Welcome New Set

Courtesy:  Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

Hats Off To Dr. Seuss is one of the year’s best new family and children’s release.  It boasts plenty of positives.  Yet there are some peculiarities that makes one wonder if the price of this set could have been lowered both on DVD and Blu-ray.  This multi-disc set takes all of the classic animated Dr. Seuss stories and combines them all into one multi-disc set for the whole family.  It all starts off with the most classic of Dr. Seuss’ characters, The Cat in The Hat.  This timeless animated tale is so much better than the live action take on the book.  And now that it has been remastered on Blu-ray the already pleasing hand drawn animation looks even better.  Of course, The Cat in the Hat is just one small portion of what makes this new box set an absolute must have.  Disc one also includes the bonus TV specials The Hoober-Bloob Highway and Daisy Head Maizy.  Both of these were previously released on DVD along with another of the Dr. Seuss classics.  So to have them combined in with this set allows those with the DVDs one more reason to replace them with this set.

The deeply charged story, The Lorax is next.  This is not the recent digitally animated story.  This is the original, much darker, yet still hopeful story that warns the world of its misuse of nature.  And for parents that might be concerned about this original take on Dr. Seuss’ tale of environmentalism is too dark for some younger audiences, the bonus feature explaining the importance of trees is kid and family friendly.  A group of activists explain just what makes trees so important to the world and what their favorite trees are.  This can make for a good catalyst for a discussion both in the living room and the classroom.  Looking at how urban sprawl has done so much damage to the world to this day, this is still very much an important piece for audiences of all ages, and a reminder of what can and already is happening.

What is perhaps most intriguing about this set—for all of its positives—some of the bonus features are actually doubled up.  For example, audiences can watch The Butter Battle Book both on the disc containing Horton Hears a Who and on the Blu-ray set’s second disc containing The Lorax.  And it would seem that some of the trailers might be doubled up, too.  At least one of the presentations of The Butter Battle Book could have been replaced with another of the Dr. Seuss stories not included in this set.  There is still one story surprisingly missing from this five-disc set.  That story is The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat.  Had that been included instead of a double presentation of The Butter Battle Book, then this set might have been considered the year’s best family and children’s release.  Perhaps there were rights issues to be worked out or other contractual issues.  But viewers should not be fooled.  Should this set ever be re-issued with that missing story, then perhaps it could be considered complete.  But without it—and with doubled up trailers and a doubled up animated feature—this is not the complte Dr. Seuss box set.  One can’t help but take off points for that.  And for that matter, considering the price of the sets, hopefully if it is re-issued somewhere down the road, the price will match the content.  Right now it doesn’t.

Hats Off to Dr. Seuess is not a perfect box set, as one should be able to tell by now.  For its issues with pricing and with doubling up stories and trailers, the positives are enough to make up for the negatives at least a little bit.  The inclusion of all of D. Seuss’ other famed animated features make the overall presentation of both the DVD and Blu-ray set largely a success.  There is one more positive to this set.  That one remaining positive is the general packaging.  Four of the set’s five discs are placed on either side of two “plates” inside the box.  The final disc containing How The Grinch Stole Christmas is placed in its own spot as well on the back of the box.  This form of packaging is ever increasingly the standard for packaging of multi-disc box sets.  This saves space on DVD/Blu-ray racks.  And because each disc has its own space entirely separate from other discs, it protects each disc, thus preserving them and making them watchable for much longer than sets that are less wisely packaged.  Luckily, it would seem that the number of box sets being packaged in that less wise fashion is becoming less and less each year, and more are moving toward this more “modern” form of packaging.  When taken into consideration of the bigger picture of the whole box set, it’s one more piece of the puzzle that despite the one blaring negative, still makes this a set that any family will want to add to their home library.  Hats Off to Dr. Seuss is available on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online.  It can be ordered online at the WB Store at http://www.wbshop.com/product/dr+seuss+hats+off+to+dr+seuss+collectors+edition+bluray+1000271763.do.

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Brother Bear 2 A Simple, Fun Story

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Disney’s Brother Bear 2 is one of the better of the crop of sequels released by Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.  Unlike sequels such as Mulan II and The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Brother Bear 2 lives up to the reputation and label of a sequel.  This roughly hour and five minute long movie picks up not long after the events of its predecessor.  Kenai and Koda are enjoying life as bear brothers out in the wilderness.  Enter Kenai’s old childhood friend Nita (Mandy Moore), and just as with other Disney romances, it leads to a very difficult choice to be made by the protagonist (I.E. Kenai).  Kenai is forced to choose between life as a bear or returning to human form so that he and Nita can marry.  Sure, it’s a predictable story.  But the messages of love and sacrifice make up for that predictability.  Add in a relatively short run time, the return of both Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis as everybody’s favorite pair of moose, musical backing from none other than Melissa Etheridge (who can easily be mistaken for Sean Lennon), and animation that is just as solid as the previous movie in this franchise, and viewers get a movie that actually stands out as one of the better sequels in Disney’s modern era.

The central plot of Brother Bear 2 has already been explained.  Just as the story is simple enough for viewers of all ages to understand, so are the messages tied into the story.  The most obvious message of Brother Bear 2 is the same as any romance movie.  That message is that true love conquers all.  Tied directly into this is that true love means true sacrifice.  And a sacrifice (albeit a predictable one) is made.  What that sacrifice is will be left for viewers to find out for themselves.  It’s one from which parents will take more value than their children.  Though, as heartwarming as the story is, the sacrifice in question will mean more to children when they get older as this movie is worth more than just a passing glance once or twice.

The messages contained in Brother Bear 2 are ones that both children and adults will value and appreciate with each viewing.  Appreciation of the messages will also lead to appreciation of the movie’s central story.  It’s a relatively easy story to follow.  This applies to both children and their parents.  And unlike Brother Bear, the story it’s just over an hour long. The run time on the new triple disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack lists this animated feature at seventy three minutes.  The actual feature itself runs just over an hour.  This is a good fit for younger viewers, especially considering the general attention span of the movie’s intended audience.

The story and run time of Brother Bear 2 are the most notable of this movie’s positives.  Though there is more that can be said of it.  Another of its positives is the musical backing of another famous musician.  Melissa Etheridge explains in the movie’s behind the music feature, explaining how she came to be part of the movie and what writing and performing its songs meant to her.  Her discussion of the song played in the movie’s closing minutes (that moment won’t be given away as it would be a spoiler) helps audiences to better understand the importance not just of the music, but of the moment in question.  Understanding this, one can’t help but go back and watch the moment in question again, as well as other important moments throughout the movie.  Watching them again (as Rutt and Tuke note in the bonus commentary from Brother Bear) gives them whole new meaning.  The same applies in watching the movie for its animation.

The animation of Brother Bear 2 is just as impressive as in Brother Bear.  That can especially be noted of the sequences involving the Northern Lights.  One can’t tell if they were digitally created or crafted cell by cell, frame by frame.  And what is believed once more to be the Northern Canadian wilderness is just as impressive as a background to the story.  The detail in the snowcapped mountains and the waterfalls is beautiful.  It shows yet again that digital and hand drawn animation can co-exist and really should rather than letting digital animation take over as much as it has.  It would be wonderful to see not just Disney but every company that sets out to make an animated feature do what this movie and Brother Bear 2 have done.  Brother Bear 2 is available now alongside Brother Bear in a brand new triple-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.  It’s available in stores and online.  It can’ be ordered online via the Disney Store at http://www.disneystore.com/brother-bear-blu-ray-and-dvd-combo-pack/mp/1331569/1000316/ and via the Walt Disney Home Entertainment store at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/brother-bear-two-movie.html.

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Six Big Ten Games Scheduled For Prime Time On ESPN Family Of Networks

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The upcoming college football season is still months away.  But that doesn’t mean things have slowed down from the world of NCAA football.  ESPN has announced that it will run six Big Ten Conference games in prime time during the upcoming season.  The games will be run on ESPN, ESPN2, and ABC over the course of the season.  Each of the six scheduled games includes at least one ranked team in an early ESPN.com preseason Top 25 Poll.  No. 1 Ohio State will play three times across the ESPN family of networks.  No. 9 Michigan will have two televised games in the schedule.  No. 24 and 25, Northwestern and Wisconsin will each have one game aired.  Two of the six games on the schedule will see a Big Ten member team hosting independent Notre Dame, which is currently ranked No. 10 in the ESPN.com preseason Top 25 poll.  More games will be announced in the coming months.  The current slate of scheduled games is available below.

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sat, Sep 7 8p.m. No. 10 Notre Dame at No. 9 Michigan * ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat, Sep 14 8 p.m. No. 10 Notre Dame at Purdue ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat, Sep 28 8p.m. No. 25 Wisconsin at No. 1 Ohio State ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat, Oct 5 8p.m. No. 1 Ohio State at No. 24 Northwestern ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
Sat, Oct 12 5p.m. No. 9 Michigan at Penn State ESPN or ESPN2
Sat, Oct 26 8p.m. Penn State at No. 1 Ohio State ABC, ESPN or ESPN2


* Previously Announced

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Gloomball Impressive On Its Debut Record

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer

Most people in the metal community have either heard of heard of Godsmack or heard them.  Mudvayne, Hellyeah, and Five Finger Death Punch are just as well known in the metal world.  So what if one were to take these bands, toss them into a pot and stir them all together?  One would get Gloomball.  This German five-piece is primed to be one of the next big acts in the United States, given the right support from rock radio programmers.  The band’s debut album, The Distance, is a solid mix of all of the aforementioned bands that at the same time it shows their influences, still manages to solidly maintain its own identity.  It goes without saying that this record is one of the year’s best of the hard rock and metal category.

The album’s opener, ‘Burning Gasoline’ is fittingly titled.  It’s a full throttle hard rock song that wastes no time getting listeners’ blood boiling.  The song’s chorus is just as high powered as the music itself from band members Bjorn Daigger (guitars), Danny Joe (drums), Basti Moser (Bass) and Jossi Lenk (Guitars).  Front man Alen Ljubic sings in the song’s chorus, “The more that you throw/I’ll be back for some more/I have told you before/I’ve told you/What I/Feel a-bout you/Just because/I Don’t see/The point/To help you/Anymore/You’re just gonna stay here/Progress/No less/Just like you were before/Overcome/I’m overcome.”  The somewhat syncopated style of the chorus is reminiscent of Godsmack front man Sully Erna’s vocal style from much of that band’s songs.

The ability of Ljubic to change his vocal style from one song to another on this album is interesting to say the least.  The same can be said of the band’s sound overall.  On the album’s title track, the band has gone from a heavy, up-tempo adrenaline racer to a more controlled piece that still has a certain heavy element.  It’s something more akin to something one might hear from Five Finger Death Punch.  The song’s lyrical side shows a very deeply emotional topic.  Ljubic sings in an almost mournful style, “This will be difficult/We all want things we cannot have/Don’t drown in disbelief/Control yourself/You learn it’s a lie/Don’t betray yourself/It’s just not there/Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” He goes on to sing “This distance makes the heart grow colder.”  This song’s subject is pretty obvious.  And the talent of Ljubic’s band mates to interpret the lyrics makes this one more piece of the whole that will make any rocker proud.

Save for the album’s closer—a cover of ‘Living Within My Tender Pain (from the Rocky IV soundtrack)—the album’s energy picks right back up after the title track from Gloomball’s debut record.  It carries listeners straight through to that much more subdued closer, leaving audiences completely breathless, even after this much more gentle moment.  As gentle as it is, its proof of Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde’s statement long ago that a song can be heavy lyrically and musically without heavy guitars.  The strains of the piano set against Ljubic singing, “I, I’m the only thing that’s real/Deep inside is where I bleed/Living with my tender pain/Ever since you’ve gone away/Why/Does it still feel like a dream/All my pain feels so unreal/And your shadow it will stay/Right beside me every day.”  Yet again, Ljubic has shown his talent with this piece.  Unlike so many other songs of love lost, the combination of his vocal tone expertly comes together with the sad sounds echoing from the piano to truly catch the pain one must feel in having lost someone close to one’s self.  Of course as already noted, its only one of two moments when the album slows down.  Those wanting something with more energy have plenty to choose from throughout the heart of The Distance.  And by the time that audiences have finished their musical journey with the band, they just might find themselves wanting to travel “The Distance” with this band again.  The Distance is available now in Europe and will be available in the United States on Tuesday, May 7th.  The band’s only current planned performance in support of the record is a release show in Mannheim, Germany on Friday May 17th.  Fans can check in on the band’s Facebook page and official website for all of the latest updates on its tour and more at http://www.facebook.com/GLOOMBALL and http://www.gloomball.com.

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Serj Tankian Releasing Two New Albums This Summer


Courtesy:  Serjical Strike Records

Courtesy: Serjical Strike Records


System of a Down front man Serj Tankian will release two new albums this Summer via his own Serjical Strike Records.  The first of the two new records, Orca will be released first on June 25th.  It will be followed up with the experimental jazz album, Jazz-iz Christ on July 23rdOrca mixes influences of Twentieth Century composers with works written for modern films, showing a vast expanse of influences.  Among those influences are the likes of Philip Glass and Ennio Morricone.  It was originally composed in Tankian’s home studio, and came to fruition thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that helped bring it to life.  Conductor Werner Steinmetz held the baton for the recording of the records four acts. 

Courtesy:  Serjical Strike Records

Courtesy: Serjical Strike Records

Jazz-iz Christ, the second of Tankian’s upcoming release this Summer, started with just Tankian himself.  From there, it grew into a large collaborative effort that included work from:  pianist Tigran Hamasyan, flautist Valeri Tolstov, and trumpet player Tom Duprey.  Also making appearances on the new record are Stewart Copeland (The Police), actor/musician Davis Alpay, and Vincent Pedulla.  The album contains a total of fifteen compositions, most of which are instrumental, save for four songs.  That group of songs mix together progressive jazz, electronic, ethnic and rock elements. 

Both Orca and  Jazz-iz Christ will be available worldwide on iTunes, Amazon, and other online outlets including Tankian’s own website, http://www.serjtankian.com and the Serjical Strike website, http://www.serjicalstrike.com.  Pre-orders for the deluxe limited editions of Orca begin this Wednesday, May 1st.  The deluxe limited edition of Orca includes a 180-gram picture disc, swag, and a signed copy of the actual score for the record.  Pre-orders for Jazz-iz Christ begin Wednesday, May 15th.  Audiences can check out audio samples of both records at the Serjical Strike Records website. 

A tour in support of both records will be held beginning September 19th at the Ukraina Hall in Ukraine.  The tour will come on the heels of the current System of a Down tour.  The current list of tour dates in support of Tankian’s new records is available below.  More dates will be announced at a later date.  To keep up with all of the latest tour information and news from Serj Tankian, fans can follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Serjtankian and on his official website, http://www.serjtankian.com

19 Sep 13 Thu Kiev Ukraine Ukraina Hall
21 Sep 13 Sat Yekaterinburg Russia Kosmos Hall
23 Sep 13 Mon Novosibirsk Russia DK Zheleznodorozhnik
25 Sep 13 Wed Krasnoyarsk Russia Philharmony
27 Sep 13 Fri Moscow Russia Crocus City Hall
28 Sep 13 Sat St. Petersburg Russia Orjktybyrsky Concert Hall
03 Oct 13 Thu Florence Italy Teatro Comunale
04 Oct 13 Fri Padova Italy Gran Teatro Geox
05 Oct 13 Sat Rome Italy Auditorium Parco Della Musica


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Brother Bear A “Beary” Fun Family Flick From Disney

Courtesy:  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Brother Bear is one of the better animated features from Walt Disney Studios in the company’s modern era.  This unsuspectingly enjoyable feature came at a time when the company was churning out a pretty big number of pieces that were largely being panned by the press and audiences alone.  Considering this, Brother Bear could not have come along at a better time.  Its largely animal cast, simple story, impressive mix of hand drawn and digital animation, general lack of song cues (though there are songs peppered in), and comedy make it a wonderfully piece for the whole family.  Though, it should be noted that some scenes early in the story that might be a little bit scary for much younger viewers.  Despite that and what so many critics had to say of this movie, it’s a welcome return to form of sorts for Disney.

The story behind Brother Bear is simple enough for viewers of all ages to follow.  It sends an obviously environmentally themed message through its story.  Audiences are introduced in this story to young Native warrior Kenai (pronounced keen-eye).  Kenai lives in what appears to be an unnamed corner of prehistoric era Canada.  This seems to be the case being that included among the mostly animal cast are mastodons and a pair of moose (played wonderfully by veteran actor Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas).  Audiences will love the comic relief provided by Moranis and Thomas.  They expertly serve to alleviate the story’s more emotional moments and bring viewers back from said moments.  Young Koda (Jeremy Suarez) offers his own share of funny moments, too.  The story though, centers on Kenai (voiced by Joaquin Phoenix).  Kenai learns a very valuable lesson about respecting Mother Nature and all of her creatures after he kills a bear that killed his brother.  He killed the bear because he did not understand or know that the bear in question was only defending her child, who turns out to be Koda.  Upon killing the mother bear, Kenai is then forced to live as a bear and see life from a different vantage point.  It’s sort of the message of “walk a mile in my shoes.”  This adds an extra element to the otherwise environmentalist plot line, and thus adds more depth to the overall presentation.

The cast and the story are both positive elements in the overall presentation of Brother Bear with their mix of emotional depth and comic relief.  They together make for their own share of enjoyment in this movie.  The mix of traditional hand drawn and digital animation add even more depth to the presentation.  The colors are so deep and rich throughout each scene.  And even the digital animation used in correlation with the more traditional hand drawn art is just as incredible when viewed on an HDTV in “cinema” setting.  The difference between the hand drawn and digital animation is noticeable.  However, one doesn’t overpower the other thus making each scene more fluid.

As one can already tell, there is a lot to like about Brother Bear.  It impresses with its animation and with its balance of comedy and drama through a well stocked voice cast.  And the story is simple enough to keep audiences engaged throughout its near ninety minute run time. There is at least one more aspect of this underappreciated movie that makes it enjoyable for audiences.  That aspect is that it doesn’t follow the standard formula for so many of Disney’s musicals.  There are musical numbers.  But unlike so many of Disney’s musicals, this movie boasts music from the likes of Phil Collins to aid in setting the emotional tone of given scenes.  That aspect mixes with the positive message of family and its other positive aspects to make Brother Bear one more movie that stands out as one of the better releases of Disney’s modern era.  It is available now alongside Brother Bear 2 in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online via the Disney store at http://www.disneystore.com/brother-bear-blu-ray-and-dvd-combo-pack/mp/1331569/1000316/ and at the Disney DVD Home Entertainment Store at http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/brother-bear-two-movie.html

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MTV, Letterman, More On Atlas Genius’ U.S. Tour

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Records

Things have really been picking up for the men of Atlas Genius as of late.  The Aussie rock band has kicked off a full American tour in support of its debut release on Warner Brothers Records, When It Was You.  It will perform as part of Edgefest today in Dallas, TX.  That’s not all that the band has going on right now.  The band has also released the video for its new single, ‘Centered On You.’  It can be viewed online at http://www.refinery29.com/atlas-genius.  The official video for the single can be viewed via YouTube at http://www.youtu.be/vf39NInxM_A.  The new video and American tour are just a couple of reasons for Atlas Genius and its fans to be happy.  Along with its tour, the band has a couple of rather high profile performances coming up.

As one of MTV’s “Artists to Watch”, the band will perform live across all of MTV’s platforms on Tuesday, April 30th.  The performance will be streamed live online at http://www.MTV.com.  Audiences can check out MTV’s spotlight on the band online at http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/2013/04/22/artist-to-watch-atlas-genius.  The performance will be held at the Studio at Webster Hall.  The band’s live MTV performance will be followed up with a live performance on the Late Show with David Letterman on May 2nd.  The band’s WB debut is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via the Warner Brothers Records store at http://store.warnermusic.com/catalogsearch/result/index/?cat=81&q=atlas+genius.

The band’s complete U.S. tour schedule is available below.




25 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s East *  SOLD OUT

26 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds *  SOLD OUT

27 – Dallas, TX @ FC Dallas Stadium – Edgefest

30 – New York, NY @ The Studio at Webster Hall – MTV Artist To Watch Live



3 – New York, NY @ Original Penguin SoHo store

4 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Piazza at Schmidt’s w/Family of the Year

7 – London, UK @ Electrowerks

19 – Mountain View, CA @ Live 105 BFD Festival

20 – Santa Barbara, CA @ SOhO Restaurant and Music Club **  SOLD OUT

22 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Night Club **

24 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom **

25 – Quincy, WA @ The Gorge – Sasquatch! Music Festival – Bigfoot Stage

26 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue **

29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court ***

31 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater ***  SOLD OUT



1 – Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep ***

4 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café ***  SOLD OUT

6 – Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe at Old National Centre ***

7 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall ***

9 – Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindley ****

11 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa ****

12 – Richmond, VA @ The Canal Club ****

14 – Albany, NY @ Bayou Café ****

15 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair  **** SOLD OUT

17 – Pawtucket, RI @ The Met Café ****

18 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom  ****  SOLD OUT

19 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom ****  SOLD OUT

20 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Casino – Wolf Den  FREE SHOW

21 – Dover, DE @ Firefly Music Festival

23 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House *****

24 – Detroit, MI @ Shelter *****

27 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest



6 – Vancouver, BC @Kelowna’s Waterfront Park

10 – Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Blues Festival

13 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bunbury Music Fest



2 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza

4 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Music and Arts Festival

8 – Bakersfield, CA @ B Ryders

TBA – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands



20 – San Diego, CA @ 91X Fest


Supporting acts:

*The Neighbourhood

**The Postelles and The Colourist 

***The Postelles and Haerts

****Pacific Air and Haerts

*****Pacific Air

Fans can get every update on the band’s tour and all the latest news from the band online at http://www.atlasgenius.com, http://facebook.com/AtlasGenius, http://www.youtube.com/user/atlasgenius, and http://twitter.com/#!/atlasgenius.

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Holy Grail Releases Video For New Single

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Prosthetic Records’ Holy Grail released earlier this year an album that stands nearly halfway through 2013 as the best new metal record of the year.  The band also recently finished up a tour stint with Anthrax on the band’s “Metal Alliance” tour.  Now, the band has released the video for the latest single from its new album.  The band’s latest single is the title track from said album, Ride The Void.  The video for the new single can be viewed now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzXtHJcC5I0&feature=youtube_gdata_player.  It’s fitting that this new single has been released fresh on the heels of one tour and in the midst of another.  The video for the single presents to viewers what a live Holy Grail set looks like.  It was directed by Will Knapp.

Holy Grail is touring alongside Exodus right now, making its way to the West Coast.  It will be in Billings, MT tonight and at L.A.’s famed Viper Room on May 15th.  That show will be without Exodus.

Fans can find out about all the band’s latest tour dates and news when they “Like” the band on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/holygrailofficial.

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Black Sabbath Reveals Dates For Full North American Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Universal Republic Records

Courtesy: Universal Republic Records

The hatchet has largely been buried between the members of veteran hard rock band Black Sabbath.  After over three decades of waiting, fans of this groundbreaking band will finally get to hear new music from the band this Summer.  And in support of the new album, titled 13, Black Sabbath—Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler—will hit the road in support of the album with a full North American tour.  Drummer Bill Ward will be replaced on the band’s upcoming tour with a replacement drummer.  Tickets for the band’s upcoming tour will be available Friday, May 3rd.  Fans can get early access to the pre-sale tickets on May 2nd when they RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/147056262140133/?context=create or at http://bit.ly/Sabbath_RSVP.

The band’s upcoming North American tour begins Thursday, July 25th at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, TX.  It spans nineteen dates that will take the band from the East Coast to the West and even into Canada.  The full list of tour dates is available below.

DATE                    CITY                     VENUE

+Thu- Jul 25          Houston, TX          Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

+Sat-Jul 27           Austin, TX             Frank Erwin Center

<Mon-Jul 29          Tampa, FL             Live Nation Amphitheatre

+Wed-Jul 31          W. Palm Beach, FL Cruzan Amphitheatre

~Fri-Aug 02          Bristow, VA           Jiffy Lube Live

*Sun-Aug 04        Holmdel, NJ           PNC Bank Arts Center

+Tue-Aug 06        Detroit, MI            DTE Energy Music Theatre

+Thu-Aug 08        Uncasville, CT        Mohegan Sun Arena

+Sat-Aug 10         Philadelphia, PA     Wells Fargo Center

^Mon-Aug 12        Boston, MA           Comcast Center

*Wed-Aug 14        Toronto, ON          Air Canada Centre

+Fri Aug 16           Tinley Park, IL       First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

+Sun-Aug 18        Indianapolis, IN       Klipsch Music Center

+Thu-Aug 22        Vancouver, BC       Rogers Arena

*Sat-Aug 24        Seattle, WA           Gorge Amphitheatre

+Mon-Aug 26        San Francisco, CA  Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View

+Wed-Aug 28       Irvine, CA              Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

+Fri-Aug 30          Phoenix, AZ           US Airways Center

+Sun-Sep 01        Las Vegas, NV       MGM Grand Garden Arena

*Tue-Sep 03        Los Angeles, CA     Los Angeles Sports Arena


*Previously announced date.

^On sale Friday, May 3

+On sale Saturday, May 4

~On sale, Friday May 10

<On sale, Saturday, May 11

>On sale TBD

Before the band hits the road and the album hits stores, fans can get a glimpse of what is to come now.  The band has released 13’s lead single, ‘God is Dead?’, and fans can check it out now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVfUimq2KeI.

To get more tour information and all of the latest news from Black Sabbath, fans can go online to the band’s official website, http://www.blacksabbath.com, its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath, and via Twitter and Instagram at http://twitter.com/OfficialSabbath and http://instagram.com/officialsabbath.

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 keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Satriani Releases First Round Of Dates For New Tour

Courtesy:Sony Music/Epic Records

Courtesy: Sony Music/Epic Records

Guitarist Joe Satriani is set to release his latest album, Unstoppable Momentum.  In celebration and support of the album, Satriani has announced the first slate of dates on his supporting tour.  The first group of tour dates includes thirteen dates, beginning in San Diego, CA on Thursday, August 29th.  The Steve Morse Band will serve as supporting act on the tour.  Satriani will spend the majority of the first thirteen dates on his tour on the West coast and Southwest.  The current slate of performance dates is available below.

August 29             Balboa Theatre                                                                   San Diego, CA

August 30             Pearl Concert Theater at Palms Casino Resort          Las Vegas, NV

August 31             Orpheum Theatre                                                              Los Angeles, CA

September 1        Talking Stick Resort Ballroom                                         Scottsdale, AZ

September 2        Kiva Auditorium                                                                  Albuquerque, NM

September 4        Historic Paramount Theatre                                           Denver, CO

September 5        Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center                          Midland, TX

September 6        Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie                                   Grand Prairie, TX

September 7        House of Blues                                                                    Houston, TX

September 26      Beacon Theatre                                                                  New York, NY

September 27      Orpheum Theatre                                                              Boston, MA

September 28      Tower Theatre                                                                    Upper Darby, PA

October 26           Fox Theater                                                                          Oakland, CA *

*Steve Morse not supporting this date.

Unstoppable Momentum will be available in stores and online Tuesday, May 7th.  Fans that pre-order the album now through Sony Music’s Epic Records store at http://www.myplaydirect.com/joe-satriani will have the chance to bundle new signed copies of the album with exclusive t-shirts and guitar straps.  Fans that pre-order the new album via Satriani’s own website, http://www.satriani.com, will receive a never before released book of artwork and doodles drawn by Satriani himself throughout the course of his career.  He explained in a recent interview, his reason for releasing the exclusive book.  “This book represents my first effort to finally compile my oddly drawn friends into one place, a wildly colorful portfolio of sorts. A collection of drawings meant to inspire and entertain,” he said.  As he also notes, “Some of my drawings have made their way on to guitars, straps and picks, LP and CD booklets, t-shirts, hats, keychains, etc and even my live stage productions.”

All the latest tour dates and news from Joe Satriani is available online at the official Joe Satriani website, http://www.satriani.com and Joe’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joesatriani.

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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.