Independent rock band The Midnight Preachers debuted its latest single and the song’s video this week.
The band kicked off the weekend by premiering its new song, ‘Summertime‘ and its companion video Friday. Produced by band member Eogan McSheain and mastered by Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Sons of Apollo, Guns N’ Roses), the song opens with a guitar riff that while not exactly the same, very closely mirrors that of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song ‘Under The Bridge.’ That riff continues through the song alongside the gentle vocal delivery of bassist/vocalist Emer McLaughlin and steady time keeping of drummer Colin Kenny to make the song a catchy pop rock composition.
No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the premiere of the single and its video. In listening to the song however, it is clear that this song centers on the all too familiar topic of a romantic relationship.
The video for ‘Summertime’ is a black and white presentation that features the band in what is meant to mirror a live setting. The black and white effect is used to heighten audiences’ engagement and entertainment.
Trent Reznor is returning to his industrial roots…sort of.
Reznor, the mind behind Nine Inch Nails, has partnered with famed composer Danny Elfman for a new take on Elfman’s song, ‘True.’ The song is featured in Elfman’s latest album, Big Mess, his sophomore album. The record was released June 11 through Epitaph Records. The record is Elfman’s first solo album in 37 years.
Elfman spoke highly of Reznor as he talked about the updated take on the song.
“This is the first duet/collaboration I’ve ever done in my life, so to do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat,” said Elfman. “He’s always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time favorite singing voices.”
Reznor’s vocals are just as rich here in ‘True’ as they are in Reznor’s expansive catalog of Nine Inch Nails albums. Elfman’s vocals meanwhile conjure thoughts of David Bowie from the years that he went industrial. The industrial elements and strings pair with that vocal combination to throw back to works from Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails records from the mid-late 90s.
Along with the premiere of the song’s updated take, Elfman also premiered a companion video for the song Wednesday. Aaron Johnson directed the video and created the unsettling visual effects and imagery for the video. That imagery in question are items, such as what looks like barbed wire, a brain, and some disfigured people. This in itself throws back to the days of Reznor’s videos from The Downward Spiral.
While Reznor provides guest vocals to this updated take of ‘True,’ fellow Nine Inch Nails musician, guitarist Robin Finck (also of Guns N’ Roses) provides his talents to the 18-song record along with drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, The Vandals, Weezer), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill) and second guitarist Nili Brosh (Tony McAlpine, Paul Gilbert).
The band made the announcement in a news release distributed Friday. The band’s forthcoming tour is scheduled to launch Oct. 1 in Sacramento, CA and to run through Nov. 28 in Albuquerque, NM. The nearly two-month run features performances in cities, such as Asheville, NC; Dothan, AL and Houston, TX.
Prong and Obituary will share time as support for the tour, dubbed the “Doom Trooping Over North America Tour.” Tickets are available now. The tour’s schedule is noted below.
Oct. 01 – Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades Oct. 02 – Ventura, CA – Ventura Theater Oct. 04 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Oct. 05 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Oct. 07 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo Oct. 08 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater Oct. 12 – West Des Moines, IA – Val Air Ballroom Oct. 13 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theatre Oct. 15 – Bowler, WI – Mohican North Star Gaming & Resort Oct. 16 – Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Club Stage Oct. 17 – Chicago, IL – House Of Blues Oct. 18 – Minneapolis, MN – The Fillmore Oct. 19 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater Oct. 21 – Biloxi, MS – Hard Rock Live Hotel & Casino Oct. 22 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theater Oct. 23 – Dothan, AL – The Plant Oct. 24 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues Oct. 26 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Revolution Live Oct. 28 – Huntsville, AL – Mars Music Hall Oct. 29 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel Oct. 30 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s Oct. 31 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works Nov. 02 – Philadelphia, PA – Franklin Music Hall Nov. 04 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium Nov. 05 – Albany, NY – Empire Live Nov. 06 – Stroudsburg, PA – Sherman Theater Nov. 07 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza Nov. 09 – Hartford, CT – Webster Theater Nov. 10 – Montclair, NJ – The Wellmont Theater Nov. 11 – Rochester, NY – Main Street Armory Nov. 13 – Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Kewadin Casino Nov. 14 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit Nov. 15 – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues Nov. 16 – Fort Wayne, IN – Piere’s Entertainment Center Nov. 18 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom Nov. 19 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theatre Nov. 20 – Grand Prairie, TX – Texas Trust CU Theatre Nov. 21 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Nov. 23 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater Nov. 24 – Las Vegas, NV – House Of Blues Nov. 26 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex Nov. 27 – Denver, CO – Summit Theater Nov. 28 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
Black Label Society’s latest release, the None More Black vinyl box set April 21 through eOne. The collection boasts all 12 of BLS’ albums on vinyl along with a 32-page hardcover book, None More Black bottle opener and back patch.
The full album and track listing for Black Label Society’s new vinyl box set is noted below.
Vinyl Selections in Boxset: Grimmest Hits 2LP Stronger Than Death 2LP 1919 Eternal 2LP The Blessed Hellride LP Hangover Music Vol. VI 2LP Mafia 2LP Shot To Hell LP Order Of The Black 2LP Catacombs Of The Black Vatican 2LP Nuns And Roaches LP Sonic Brew 2LP Song Remains Not The Same II 3LP
Bonus Tracks: Song Remains Not The Same Vol. II 1. My Dying Time 2. Blind Man 3. Graveyard Disciples 4. The Nomad 5. Scars 6. House of Doom 7. A Love Unreal 8. We Live No More 9. Cry Me A River 10. The Chosen One 11. Empty Promises 12. Lead Me To Your Door
More information on Black Label Society’s new tour dates and box set is available along with all of the band’s latest news is available online now at:
Veteran metal outfit Machine Head kicked off the weekend by releasing three new songs.
The band premiered its new three-song single, ‘Arrows in Words From The Sky‘ Friday. The single features the songs ‘Become The Firestorm,’ ‘Rotten,’ and ‘Arrows in Words From The Sky.’
Front man Robb Flynn talked about the songs in a prepared statement.
“The lyrics to these songs took to me places inside I didn’t want to go, from the bile and negativity on “Rotten,” to nothing-will-beat-me-down fury of “Become The Firestorm,” to the title track “Arrows” being one of the saddest songs I’ve ever written, yet somehow has the power to lift me up out of what was a very dark time in my life,” he said. “My hope is that by sharing these dark experiences with the Head Cases of the world, it can save someone else out of that same dark place.”
The exclusive digital-only release opens with a song whose guitar riffs exhibit a full-on thrash/death style approach and sound. The ferocity in the guitars and precision in the time keeping, bass, and vocals partners well with the uplifting lyrical theme about overcoming life’s obstacles and adversity.
‘Rotten’ meanwhile boasts a sound that will appeal to Machine Head’s longtime fans. The riffs, vocals, bass, and drums immediately lend themselves to works from the band’s debut album, Burn My Eyes, which the band released more than 25 years ago. The arrangement partners just as well with the anger and frustration presented through the song’s lyrical theme. The thoughts and emotions that front man Robb Flynn presents here will resonate with a wide range of audiences. The pairing of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the song stand out even more.
‘Arrows in Words From The Sky,’ with is deeply contemplative and introspective content (which ultimately proves uplifting in its own right) makes for its own accessibility. The heaviness here is a blend of sludge, doom, and 80s hair metal riffage along with some heavy bass and drums. Flynn’s own vocal delivery is powerful in its own right here, especially in the presentation of the layered screams.
‘Arrows in Words From The Sky’ features Machine Head’s first new music since the release of its then latest single, ‘My Hands Are Empty‘ and its video in November.
More information on Machine Head’s new music is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Blues rock guitarist Jared James Nichols debuted his new single and its companion video this week.
Nichols debuted his new single, ‘Skin ‘n Bones‘ Wednesday along with its companion lyric video. The song is Nichols’ first new music since the release of his single, ‘Throw Me to The Wolves’ in 2020.
The press release distributed announcing the new single and video’s premiere did not note if it will feaure in Nichols’ forthcoming EP, Shadow Dancer. The EP is scheduled for release Sept. 17 through Black Hill Records. It will be Nichols’ third studio recording, following Black Magic (2018) and Old Glory and the Wild Revival (2016).
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Skin ‘n Bones’ is a steady, blues rock composition. The production pairs with specific elements of the arrangement to also give the song a clear classic rock style and sound, too.
According to Nichols, the lyrical theme featured in the new song is meant to deliver a message of unity.
“The idea stems from making sure our eyes our open and coming together instead of breaking apart, and I express it all through this energetic trio,” he said. “I may not be great at sitting down and having a conversation with you about my feelings, but I can play a song like ‘Skin N’ Bone’ that shows you how I’m feeling and support it with sound and with guitar and with all the bombastic craziness that I put on it.”
The lyric video that accompanies Nichols’ new song features the song’s lyrics over the backdrop of a gently burning campfire.
In other news, Nichols has announced a series of live dates in support of his forthcoming EP. The three week-plus tour is scheduled to launch Aug. 10 in Iowa City, IA and to run through Sept. 2 in Memphis, TN. It also features performances in cities, such as Leesburg, VA; Fort Wayne, IN and Birmingham, AL.
In even more news, Nichols announced Wednesday, he has become a Gibson brand ambassador. That means he now endorses Gibson guitars along with a wide body of other famed guitarists.
Nichols was humble as he talked about the new honor.
“I get to release new music and become a Gibson brand ambassador on the same day, this is a dream come true,” he said. “So much more than just 6 strings and a piece of wood, Gibson Guitars embody who I am and have been the soundtrack and inspiration of my life. I am honored and grateful to be recognized as an ambassador for the most iconic guitar maker in the world.”
Added Nichols, “From being born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the same town as Les Paul, to now being a Nashville-based and part of the vibrant music scene here, I feel like this a testament to Les, and the legacy, as well as the future of this iconic brand. So here is my cheers to every 15 year-old-kid with a dream to someday join a band, play some gigs, and hopefully get a Gibson guitar…keep on pickin’ and play from your heart!”
Cesar Gueikian, Brand President of Gibson spoke warmly of Nichols in his own statement.
“Welcoming Jared, aka the Blues Power man, as our official Gibson ambassador is a confirmation of the symbiotic partnership we already have with Jared and a recognition of his success as a guitarist, modern riff-lord, musician, band leader and overall ambassador of rock n’ roll,” said Gueikian. “Since the age of 15, Jared has made Gibson his own DNA, celebrating Gibson’s influence in his music by naming his guitars – starting with ‘Old Glory’ and most recently, ‘Gold Glory’. Jared is not only a virtuoso guitarist and soulful songwriter, he’s also one of the hardest working young musicians of his generation. Today, we celebrate Jared, his passion for Gibson and for music and we get to enjoy his new single ‘Skin ‘N Bones’. The future is bright for Jared.”
More information on Nichols’ new honor, tour, and music is available along with all of his latest news at:
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Marc Ribler unveiled his debut album this week.
Ribler, who is the musical director of Little Steven and the Disciples, premiered his debut single, ‘Shattered‘ Friday. The song is the lead single from Ribler’s latest album The Whole World Awaits You, which is expected for release in June through Steven Van Zant’s Wicked Cool Records.
The Whole World Awaits You is Ribler’s third album. It is preceded by his first two albums, This Life and Life Is But A Dream. Both albums are available to order here along with ‘Shattered.’
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Shattered’ generates its own engagement and entertainment. Ribler’s vocal delivery style leads to comparison to Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl as does the sound generated through the song’s instrumentation. At the same time, the arrangement also features a light, Tom Petty style approach and sound.
The lyrical theme that accompanies the song’s musical content touches on the all too familiar topic of a broken relationship.
Ribler co-produced his new single along with Van Zant. Ribler mixed the song.
More information on Marc Ribler’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:
Small Town Titans has, over the course of the past two years, become quite a big deal in the rock community. Yes, that awful pun was intended. From its surprise hit cover of the holiday song ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ to original songs, such as ‘Dragonfly,’ ‘Devil’s Choir,’ and ‘War Cry’ to other equally popular covers and originals, this band has made quite a name for itself, and it has done so with the least amount of label help. Now on Friday, the band will take its next step forward on its journey with the release of its new album The Ride. The album has already spawned six singles ahead of its release – more than half of its album. As much as they do to show what makes this album so appealing, they are only a portion of what makes the album stand out. ‘Behind The Moon’ is another notable addition to the album. It will be addressed shortly. ‘When It All Comes Down’ does its own share, too, to show the album’s strength. It will be discussed a little later. Much the same can be said of ‘Let Me Breath,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midpoint. It will also be discussed later. When all three of these noted songs are considered along with the noted singles and the one remaining unmentioned song from this record, the whole proves to be a presentation that, given the right support, could finally be that record that breaks this band into the mainstream.
Small Town Titans has, ever since its inception, been one of the rock and hard rock communities’ best kept secrets. Its star has quickly risen since 2018 though, and now with the pending release of its new album The Ride, the secret could finally be out about this outstanding band. The six singles that the album has already produced have more than proven that true. They are only some of its notable works, though. ‘Behind The Moon,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is notable in its own right. That is due in no small part its musical arrangement. The arrangement in question forms the song’s foundation. What makes it so interesting is that between the harmonies and guitar lines, audiences get a song that crosses elements of modern/active rock and a clear classic rock influence for its whole. One could argue that there are touches of Queen and The Allman Brothers Band mixed along with something more modern along the lines of Alter Bridge, for the same of comparison. When that musical presentation is coupled with the song’s clearly uplifting lyrical content, the song in whole gains even more traction.
The lyrical theme featured in ‘Behind The Moon’ is that of being willing to take risks and make the most of life. That is evidenced clearly in the song’s chorus, in which front man Phil Freeman sings, “The sun don’t shine/When you stand behind the moon.” The message is made even clearer as he sings in the song’s lead verse, “I was walking on the other side of the moon/Looking for another sign of life/I was trying/To buy another man’s dreams/In exchange for something nice/Then I saw it /I saw it coming from miles away/Then I saw it/I saw it coming from miles away/The break of day.” What audiences get here is that message, with Phil stating metaphorically, the song’s subject was trying to be someone and something that he wasn’t. That is made clear in the statement about trying “To buy another man’s dreams/In exchange for something nice.” As he continues, the song’s subject notes he saw reality in what he was doing. The optimistic, uplifting message continues as he sings in the song’s second verse, “There was a fork in the road and no time left/But I finally had a place to go and a reason to live/And from that moment on I flew into space/Towards all those burning stars with a reason to give/And you’ll see me/You’ll see me coming from miles away/Yeah you’ll see me/You’ll see me coming from miles away/To find my place.” When all of this positive mindset is considered along with the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the whole leaves zero doubt as to what makes it such an appealing addition to The Ride. It is just one of the additional entries that makes the album so strong. ‘When It All Comes Down’ is yet another powerful addition to The Ride.
‘When It All Comes Down’ wastes no time catching listeners’ attention once it gets started. The song’s musical arrangement lends itself to comparisons to works from the likes of Hellyeah and Dope in its verses. On the other hand, the choruses once again conjure thoughts of Alter Bridge. That sounds on paper, like quite the musical contrast, and it is. At the same time though, Freeman (who plays bass along with handling vocals), drummer Johnny Ross, and guitarist Ben Guiles make the balance work. The end result is a fiery composition that stands completely on its own musical merits separate from the rest of the album’s works. That high-energy composition partners well with the song’s lyrical content, which delivers a message of making sure we realize where we set our priorities in life.
The noted message is familiar to rock fans, but interestingly not overly used, which keeps it fresh in this case. That is even more so in the fashion in which it is delivered. Freeman sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “You put stock in temporary things/Yet you cry, cry, cry when they fail to make you sing/You miss the forest for the trees/As if you’ll live forever and never bleed/Forever and never bleed/Ring around the dollar/Pocket full of power/Ashes to ashes/It all falls down/Ring around the dollar/Pocket full of greed /Ashes to ashes /As we all bleed/Tell me what it’s worth/When it all comes down/When it all comes down/Tell me what it’s worth/When it all comes down/When it all comes tumbling down.” The message is just as stark and powerful in the song’s second verse, which finds Freeman singing, “No one’s gonna save you better than yourself/No one’s gonna steal your soul better than/your wealth/Put two and two together/And measure out the way they make you feel/Feel, feel, feel.” This message is a statement of which listeners need to be reminded daily. We put our focus on all the wrong things so often, and we need to step back and make sure we know what is really important in life. When this loudly echoing statement is coupled with the power in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song leaves no doubt why it is yet another notable addition to The Ride. It certainly is not the last of the album’s most notable works. ‘Let Me Breathe’ is one more song worth examining here.
‘Let Me Breathe’ is the most Alter Bridge-esque song featured in The Ride in terms of its musical arrangement. That is made clear through the combination of the song’s instrumentation and Freeman’s vocal delivery style. Even the choruses play out like a mirror image to Alter Bridge’s work. That is not necessarily a bad thing because the work still maintains its own identity despite the clear comparison. It is just one part of what makes the song worth examining. The song’s lyrical theme adds its own touvh to the work.
The lyrical content featured in ‘Let Me Breathe’ comes across as a familiar story of one’s battle with one’s inner self. This is a familiar lyrical theme for so much music, not just rock. It is inferred right from the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Freeman sings, “There’s a game of hide and seek tonight/Between my shadow and I/And it starves for something greater now/As I sit here satisfied/It whispers in my ear and tries/To sell my soul for things that I don’t need/It seems it won’t stop until I break/Especially when I start to speak/Let me breathe as I try to clear the weight inside/As I find my saving grace this time/Cause the hunger never fades /No the hunger never fades/Let me be as I try to steal away this night/As I try to clear the weight inside/Cause the hunger never fades/No the hunger never fades/Let me breathe as I try to clear a space inside.” That inner battle theme is made just as clear in the song’s second verse, in which Freeman sings, “This game we play is zero sum/There’s no winner and no higher ground/But at least these words they save my pain/From this battle to which I’m bound/I say/Trust me you don’t want any of this/Trust me you don’t want any of this/Trust me you don’t want any of these empty lies/So get behind me and follow the leader/Get behind me and follow the leader/Don’t forget your place and remember why.” The existential message is confirmed without doubt in the song’s third and final verse, which states, “And I hope to God that this saves you too/Cause we all have shadows in our minds/And all they want is everything and all we have is time/And all that we can try to do is lead them to the light.” Overall, the song’s message is one of hope for listeners, reminding audiences that those shadows can be eliminated and that we can breathe again. This is a positive message that will resonate with listeners every day. When it is couple with the song’s radio ready musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes a work that every listener will appreciate. When the song is considered with the others examined here, the album’s current singles, and its one remaining song, the whole of this record proves to be a “rock solid” (yes, that awful pun was intended, too) album.
Small Town Titans is on the verge of becoming a big name in the rock community. The band’s forthcoming album The Ride leaves zero doubt as to that statement’s truth. Its musical arrangements and its lyrical themes collectively fully support the noted statements. That is proven clearly in all three of the songs examined here as well as through the album’s existing singles. When that collective is considered with the album’s one remaining work, the whole of the album proves itself a memorable musical “ride.” The Ride is scheduled for release Friday through AntiFragile Music.
More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA
Devildriver debuted the video for its latest single this week.
The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Nest of Vipers‘ Thursday. The song and its companion video are the third from the band’s forthcoming album Dealing with Demons 1, which is scheduled for release Oct. 9 through Napalm Records.
Its premiere comes more than a month after the band debuted the album’s second single ‘Iona‘ and its video, and more than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Stay Away From Me‘ and its companion video.
The video for ‘Nest of Vipers’ — directed by Vicente Corder (Industrialism Films) — centers on a man who has gone to visit a psychic. The psychic uses a deck of tarot cards to tell the man of visions she is having about what is to come. The visions that the psychic presents are anything but positive. The whole thing ends with a surprise twist.
The musical arrangement at the center of Nest of Vipers harkens back to Devildriver’s early works while its lyrical content is a social commentary.
Front man Dez Fafara talked about the song’s lyrical content in a recent interview.
“This is my first co-written lyric on any Devildriver track with another band member, penned with our guitarist Neal Tiemann. Working with Neal is a good time. We always want what’s best for the song. Lyrically, the chorus says it all –“the kings sworn men make perfect liars,” added Fafara. “This is the cold, hard truth, as people’s loyalties are often bought and sold. The lyric “she sleeps with bones beside her” refers to another theme touched upon in this track – a woman laying in misery next to her “bones” of contention, harboring guilt as her loyalties are also bought and sold… It’s all a sad state of affairs once you get into that bought and sold mentality, whether it’s with your work or friendships.”
Pre-orders are open now for Dealing With Demons I on a variety of platforms. All pre-order pre-orders enter fans into a giveaway for a Dealing With Demons 1 banner. the album’s track listing is noted below.
Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever
The 10-song record was co-produced by [Devildriver guitarist Mike] Spreitzer and Steve Evetts. It is also the first Devildriver record to feature a song co-written by Fafara and another individual — ‘Nest Of Vipers.’ The song was co-written by Fafara and Tiemann.
More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:
ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish language sister network, will have live coverage of Jungle Fight 55 tomorrow night, Saturday, July 20th. The event will be broadcast live from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil tomorrow night at 9pm ET.
Jungle Fight 55 will be headlined by a bout between Robson “New” (Tigre Gold Team) and Marcos Vinicius “Cabecinha” (Manguiera Team) for the interim belt (57 kg).
The night’s co-feature will see Caio “Caiao Alencar” (Kimura/Nova Uniao) facing off against Edson Conterraneo (Otavio of Almeida Team) in the GP semifinal.
Other fights scheduled for tomorrow night’s show are listed below.
Renato “Moicano” (Constrictor Team) x Nilson “Feijão” (Team Tavares/ Nobre Arte) – up to 61kg
Ary Santos (Champs Team) x Marcos Reyes (MÉXICO, team Bullfighters Nayarit Gym) – up to 70kg
Fabiano “Jacarezinho” (XGym) x Patrick Tavares (BPT/Cordero) – up to 66kg
Ederson Moreira (PRVT) x Fabian Quintanar (MÉXICO, team Chakal MX Gym) – up to 70kg
Junior “Abedi”(Relma Team) x Péricles Sampaio (Marajó Brothers) – up to 57kg
Las Vegas is typically known by its nickname, “Sin City.” The other “city that never sleeps” is dominated by gambling, girls, and much more. Because of that reputation, few people would ever associate the famed city with a center for the performing arts. But there is in fact a center for the performing and cultural arts in Las Vegas now in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Thanks to PBS, audiences that weren’t able to be in attendance at the celebration of the center’s opening can now re-live the concert event any time that they want.
from Dust to Dreams: Opening Night at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts chronicles the celebration held in honor of the center’s opening. What can be said of this performance but it was an impressive show from a who’s who of the music and entertainment community. Performers the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Mavis Staples, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and more than can be named here took part in the two-hour long celebration of the arts coming to Las Vegas at long last. Host of the Tonys and star of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother served as emcee of this presentation. What’s interesting to note about his presence in this performance is how much different it was in comparison to what audiences have become accustomed to from the actor. This isn’t a bad thing, either. If anything, it only serves to heighten the enjoyment of the overall presentation. Add in expertly mixed audio and video, and audiences get what is in retrospect one of the best live recordings of 2012.
The very first thing that can be noted of from Dust to Dreams is that it opens and closes in fine fashion. The opening number performed by trumpet player Arturo Sandoval. Sandoval’s performance was an outstanding opener for the two-hour event. His control over his instrument shows the result of his years of training. This is especially the case when he hits the final high note of his opening number. Far too often, some overzealous performers hit high notes in songs, thinking they sound good. But in reality the performers in question are blasting out the notes, resulting in a very harsh sound. That wasn’t the case with Sandoval’s performance. His performance got the energy flowing and set the bar for what was to come through the rest of the show’s performances.
The performances that follow that of Sandoval hold the bar quite well. Whether the medley of songs from Man of La Mancha and West Side Story, the classic country of veteran artist Willie Nelson, or even the more rocking sounds of John Fogerty, this show spans the musical spectrum and will entertain audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Adding to the enjoyment of the concert is the presence of emcee Neil Patrick Harris. Yes, Harris was more subdued in his hosting duties here than as host of the Tonys. But this was an entirely different event. Even the performers had their time on stage limited as there were so many performers. What’s more, Harris did offer his share of pretty funny jokes when he was on stage. Audiences need to keep this in mind in considering his performance as emcee of this event. In doing so, those same individuals will enjoy the laughs that Harris shares when he is on stage.
The performance of host Neil Patrick Harris and that of the show’s performers make from Dust to Dreams quite the enjoyable live recording. One would be remiss though, to ignore the importance of the show’s audio and video mix. Going back to the show’s opening number by Arturo Sandoval straight through to the show’s closing number, the audio and video have been expertly mixed. There are some songs that absolutely soar throughout the course of this program. And then there are other, more subtle pieces that were captured so well. Whether one has a home surround sound theater or not, one can still experience so much. Those that do have home theater systems will appreciate the performances even more. That’s because the picture will look crystal clear on an HDTV and the sound will sound just as clear. This is especially true for those with surround sound. It is these aspects that make the overall presentation on this DVD so enjoyable. In retrospect, it makes this collection of performances one of the best live recordings of 2012. From Dust to Dreams is available now. It can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=13233132&cp=&sr=1&kw=from+dust+to+dreams&origkw=from+Dust+to+Dreams&parentPage=search&searchId=1374600.