Metallica To Stream Its First Concert Of The Year Online

There has been a lot of speculation in recent months about whether or not Metallica will release the follow-up to its hit 2013 album Death Magnetic this year. Now Metallica is in the headlines for another reason that is just as exciting. The band will hold its first live performance of the year this weekend. And fans in attendance won’t be the only ones that will get to see the show.

Metallica will hold its first live performance of the year this weekend when it takes to the stage this Saturday at AT&T Park as the headliners for CBS Radio’s The Night Before. the concert is a celebration set to build expectations for this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50, which will be held live at Levi Stadium in San Francisco, Metallica’s home town. And fans that won’t be able to be there in person need not worry about missing out. That is because the band is going to stream the concert online and for free no less. It will be streamed online for free in 1080p FullHD at http://webcast.livemetallica.com, delivered by nugs.net. The band is currently scheduled to take the stage promptly at 8:30pm PST/11:30PM EST. Along with being able to see the show for free, audiences will also be able to pre-order professionally mixed audio recordings of the show as downloads and collectible CDs.

 

Courtesy:  BBGun Press/CBS Radio

Courtesy: BBGun Press/CBS Radio

 

 

Metallica drummer and founding member Lars Ulrich spoke with the media about this weekend’s year-opening concert. In discussing the concert he explained the decision to perform at this weekend’s event and the band’s reason for sharing the concert for free online. “We can’t wait to play our first show of 2016 and there’s nowhere we’d rather kick off the festivities than in our own backyard,” he said. “Even though the show has been sold out for months, Metallica fans around the world will be able to join in on the madness.”

nugs.net founder and CEO Brad Serling also shared his thoughts on the upcoming concert noting the importance of the first-ever HD stream of the band’s performance at its website.

“We’ve released audio recordings of every Metallica show for the past 12 years at LiveMetallica.com,” he said. So naturally we’re excited to deliver the band’s first live HD stream from their hometown on their own website.”

This weekend’s free broadcast from Metallica and nugs.net is not the first online stream from nugs.net. The company has also streamed pay-per-view webcasts of performances from Phish at Madison Square Garden over New Year’s and 2015’s Grateful Dead “Fare Thee Well” shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

More information on Metallica’s upcoming show is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.metallica.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/metallica

Twitter: http://twitter.com/metallica

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.

Hullabaloo’s Latest LP Proves Simplicity Breeds Success

Courtesy:  Hullabaloo Music

Courtesy: Hullabaloo Music

Later this month, Hullabaloo will release its latest album I Chew. The album, the band’s twelfth full-length studio recording, will be released Friday, February 26th. It comes almost two years after the release of the band’s most recent release, 2014’s Shy Kid Blues. And needless to say that this latest offering from the San Diego, CA-based trio is yet another impressive collection of songs. That is thanks in large part to the album’s mix of country and bluegrass sounds and its mix of lyrical themes. From the album’s fun, upbeat opener about appreciating what one has in ‘Birthday Fish’ to the socially conscious ‘I Wear Pink’ to semi tribute to the late great Johnny Cash in ‘Flowers on My Shirt’and more, this album impresses from beginning to end. The end result is a sixteen-song, twenty-one minute record that proves to be another early candidate for a spot on this year’s list of top new children’s albums.

Just as with its 2014 album Shy Kid Blues, Hullabaloo’s latest full-length studio recording is any easy, early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new children’s albums. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s country/bluegrass sounds, its deeply insightful lyrical themes, and their accessibility for listeners of all ages. That is clear right from the album’s fun, upbeat opener ‘Birthday Fish.’ On the surface it sounds like a silly song as front man Steve Denyes sings from the vantage point of a kid who got a fish instead of a dog for a pet; on his birthday no less. It isn’t just about that, though. On a deeper level, the song teaches an all too important lesson about appreciating what one has. That is clear as Denyes sings, “Well I was a fish hater/But a few days later/I found myself falling in love/Now this fishy little guy/Is the apple of my eye/And I thank my parents/My lucky stars above.” He is saying that just because something might be this or that does not necessarily mean that it is all that. It’s a lesson that can be applied in any number of scenarios both for children and adults alike. The song’s catchy, upbeat rhythms add even more enjoyment to the song making the song in whole a composition that even in its simplicity is truly a deep work. The fact that the song is still made accessible for listeners of all ages makes it even more enjoyable and important to the record’s whole. It all comes together to make the song not just an important addition to I Chew but a great start for the album.

‘Birthday Fish’ is a great start to Hullabaloo’s latest full-length studio recording. That is thanks to the depth of its lyrical theme contrasted by the accessibility of said theme. The upbeat sounds of its musical content adds even more enjoyment to the song. For all of the enjoyment that all of that brings to the song, ‘Birthday Fish’ proves to be just one example of what makes I Chew one of 2016’s top new children’s albums. The socially conscious ‘I Wear Pink’ is another example of what makes this album stand out, too. It’s a very timely addition to I Chew especially considering all of the headlines about gender roles in America, transgender children and sexuality. As Denyes notes in this song, “The first time I sang this song somebody said, “You can’t sing this song for kids, it’ll mess with their heads”/I heard what they said/I just disagree/So I sing this song for the pink kids like me/Well here’s to all the outlaws both little and grown/You might be different but you’re not alone.” What is interesting here is that Denyes sings this song from the vantage point of an adult rather than a child. This direct aim makes the song just as accessible for adults as for children if not more so. It also helps make the song a good starting point on said headlines and related topics. There is even mention here of a girl who played football, bucking that social norm of only boys playing football. So yet again, it becomes even more of a solid starting point for some very deep discussions that both children and adults alike will enjoy. Adults might appreciate it more than children. But some children will appreciate it especially if they grasp the concept. Keeping this in mind, ‘I Wear Pink’ proves in the end to be yet another important addition to I Chew. It is hardly the last remaining example of what makes this album stand out, too. ‘Flowers on My Shirt’ is yet another example of what makes this record stand out.

‘Birthday Fish’ and ‘I Wear Pink’ are both key examples of what makes Hullabaloo’s latest album stand out early on in this year’s field of children’s albums. That is thanks, again, to their mix of fun musical content and deep yet easily accessible lyrical themes within each composition. They are just a couple of examples of what makes this record stand out. The band’s semi-tribute to the late great Johnny Cash in ‘Flowers on My Shirt’ is one more example of how that mix of music and lyrics makes I Chew stand out. On the surface it is a tribute of sorts to the legendary country music superstar. On another level, it is much more than that. It is a lesson that looks aren’t everything. As Denyes sings, “Well everybody called Johnny Cash The Man in Black/Well he wore those dark black clothes for the ones that were left back/Well Johnny’s always been/A hero to me/I just choose/To choose my clothes a little bit differently/I wear flowers on my shirt/To chase your blues away/Some Hibiscus to remind us all it’s gonna be okay/together we can change the world/And I will do my part/With flowers on my shirt/And love inside my heart…With all respect to Mr. Johnny Cash/I humbly assert/That life is just a little bit better/ With flowers on your shirt.” The statement that is seemingly being made here is that old adage about the man making the clothes not the other way around so to speak. The playful, slightly joking address to Cash is hardly meant as a stab at him or his legacy. Denyes clearly notes his respect for Cash and his legacy here. Rather it is meant as part of the argument that a person’s clothes shouldn’t matter whether in music or any other aspect of life. What should matter is what is in a person’s heart. Keeping that in mind, this song becomes even more of an important addition to I Chew. It shows even more why I Chew stands out as an early candidate for any critic’s list of this year’s best new children’s albums.

All three of the songs noted here are excellent examples of what makes I Chew one of 2016’s top new children’s albums. As important as they are to the album’s overall presentation they are hardly the only songs that could be cited as examples of what makes this album stand out so well. The “PSA” ‘Senator John Arthur Clydesdale III’ will leave adults laughing as it pokes fun at the country’s politicians. Adults will laugh just as much as Denyes jokes about the minimal snack offerings on plane rides. If that isn’t enough ‘Waterfront’ shows to be just as much of a joy as it paints a picture of a laid back weekend evening on the waterfront. It could be a riverfront, beachfront, or any other waterfront. Regardless, this laid back piece is one that listeners of all ages will appreciate and enjoy. The two-part a capella/acoustic closer ‘You Are Loved’ is yet one more example of what makes I Chew stand out so brightly. It is a short, simple song. But it says so much in such a small space. It reminds listeners that no matter what they are loved. It is a beautiful piece that parents can use as they put their children to bed each night both for its gentility and its positive message. The band has posted a video of Denyes performing the song on its official Facebook page complete with signs that can be used as teaching tools for parents and educators alike. Whether for this song, any of the others noted here or the pieces more directly noted, it can be said of the album in whole that it is one of 2016’s top new children’s albums thanks to its depth of material and its accessibility despite that depth. It is an album that every family should have in its music collection regardless of familiarity with Hullabaloo and its expansive body of work. It will be available Friday, February 26th and can be ordered online via CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/hullabaloo11.

Hullabaloo will hit the road in support of I Chew beginning this Friday, February 5th in its hometown of San Diego, CA. The band also has performances planned on March 6th, March 10th, April 4th, and April 30th. Audiences can keep up with all of the latest updates on the band’s tour schedule online now along with all of the band’s latest news, updates on I Chew, news, and more at:

Website: http://www.hullabalooband.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hullabaloo-220028144692974/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hullabaloosteve

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Round 2 Records Announces Schedule Changes For Upcoming Live & Loud Tour

Courtesy:  Round 2 Records

Courtesy: Round 2 Records

Later this month, indie rock label Round 2 Records will launch its inaugural Live & Loud Tour. The tour hasn’t started yet but has become so popular that additional dates have been added to the original tour schedule.
Round 2 Records’ original Live & Loud tour saw its bands–The Veer Union, Bobaflex, Artifas, Bridge to Grace–performing a total of twenty-three dates. That schedule was updated today with the addition of two new dates early on in the tour and the removal of one date. The newly added dates are: Flagstaff, AZ (February 20th) and Las Cruces, NM (TBA). The one date removed from the schedule is the tour’s stop in Lafayette, Louisiana. That stop was originally scheduled for February 29th. The updated tour schedule for the Round 2 Records Live & Loud Tour is noted below.

 

Round 2 Live & Loud Tour Dates:

2-18 San Diego CA – Brick by Brick

2-19 Phoenix AZ – Last Exit Live

2-20 Flagstaff AZ – The Green Room

2-23 Las Cruces NM – TBA

2-25 San Antonio TX – Fitzgeralds

2-26 Abeline TX – Legends Rock House

2-27 Tyler Tx – Clicks Live

2-28 San Leon Tx – 18th Street Pier

3-2 Slidell LA – The Corner Pub

3-4 Clarksville TN – The Warehouse

3-5 Madison AL – 11th Frame

3-6 JACKSON TN – The Empourium

3-9 Tallahassee FL – Pugs Live

3-10 Charlotte NC – Amos Southend

3-11 Anderson SC – TJ Whispers

3-12 Fayetteville NC – The Rock Shop

3-13 Greensboro NC – Blind Tiger

3-16 Charleston WV – TBA

3-17 Morgantown WV – TBA

3-19 Hagarstown MD – Hard Times Cafe

3-25 Kent OH – The Outpost

3-26 Southbend IN – TBA

3-27 Crest Hill IL – Bada Brew

The Veer Union will still serve as the headline act for this tour with Bobaflex, Artifas, and Bridge to Grace serving as support acts throughout the tour. Ticketing information is available online now along with venue information and more at http://www.round2live.com. More information on the Round 2 Records Live & Loud Tour is available online now along with all of the tour’s latest updates at:

Website: http://www.round2liveandloud.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lonestarbayouent

Twitter: http://twitter.com/round2liveloud

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.

Brahim’s Latest LP Is An early Pick For 2016’s Top New World Music Albums

Courtesy:  Glitter Beat Records

Courtesy: Glitter Beat Records

This March, Aziza Brahim will release her latest full-length studio recording Abbar el Hamada. The album, her third studio offering, will be released Friday, March 4th in stores and online. For those that might be unfamiliar with Brahim’s body of work so far, this record serves as a good starting point. Those that are more familiar with her work will agree that it is just as much of a welcome return for Brahim. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s musical arrangements and their deep, insightful lyrical content. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Buscando la Paz.’ The song incorporates traditional Sahrawi musical elements with a modern sound and deep, politically charged lyrics for a song that is a solid starter for this record and an equally welcome addition to the album’s overall body. ‘Baraka’ is another good addition to the album’s body. Its lyrical content will empower her female audiences while the song’s musical content with its mid-tempo, guitar-driven sound will impress male and female alike. The combination of both elements together makes the song a composition that is certain become one of the album’s favorite numbers among Brahim’s listeners. ‘Mani’ is yet another of the album’s welcome additions. The song’s gentle, flowing guitar line and percussion create a sound that will hold listeners’ ears with ease. Brahim’s pained vocal delivery as she sings about her lost homeland will tug at listeners’ heartstrings and not in a cheap, cheesy manner either. Rather the genuine emotional pain in her delivery makes the song all the more believable. That set against the song’s musical arrangement shows in whole why this song is just another example of what makes ‘Mani’ another good addition to Brahim’s new album. Together with the rest of the album’s ten total songs, the album in whole proves to be a record that is an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new World Music albums.

Aziza Brahim’s latest full-length studio recording Abbar el Hamada is an early candidate for any critic’s list of 2016’s top new World Music albums. That is thanks to a mix of musical and lyrical content within each song that will keep listeners’ engaged from beginning to end of the ten-song, thirty-eight minute album. The album’s opener ‘Buscando la Paz’ is a prime example of how that mix of music and lyrics makes the album so impressive. Translated, the song’s title means ‘Searching for Peace.’ The song combines traditional Sahrawi musical elements with more modern elements to create a mid-tempo piece that will instantly catch listeners’ ears. The song’s musical arrangement is so important to note here because in comparison to the song’s lyrical content the two sides present quite the interesting dichotomy here. That is clear as Brahim sings, “These people want peace/For decades they’ve been demanding it/But year after year it seems/the hope for peace is fading.” This verse alone instantly conjures thoughts of someone singing almost mournfully, especially considering its subject matter. The statement made here is likely in regards to the conflict in her West African homeland that led her to be a refugee, now living in Barcelona, Spain. Considering this and the reality of the song’s lyrical base, it shows even more clearly why the juxtaposition of the two elements is so important to note here. Brahim goes on to sing from here, “How I hope we meet again/In the land of the lost homeland/She calls for me and I listen/I claim her, too/I need her.” It is not known who the “her” in question is here as Brahim doesn’t necessarily make clear who she is. Regardless, the way in which the lyrics are presented makes Brahim’s statement here powerful in its own right. And when set alongside the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole shows why it is just one example of what audiences have to expect from Brahim’s new album. It’s just one example of what audiences have to expect from this record, too. ‘Baraka,’ or ‘A Blessing’ is another example of what audiences have to expect from Brahim’s new album.

‘Buscando la Paz’ is in itself a clear example of what audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim’s new album Abbar el Hamada.’ The combination of its musical arrangement and its lyrical content will move listeners deeply. That is because it isn’t one of those obviously cheesy, over-the-top pieces that are so common among other musical genres. ‘Baraka,’ or ‘A Blessing,’ is another example of just how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim’s new album. The song’s mid-tempo musical content by itself presents a positive vibe. It is driven largely by its guitar line and percussion. When examining the song’s lyrical content, the song’s upbeat vibe presented by the song’s musical content makes even more sense. That is because the song is a tribute to Brahim’s fellow women. She writes of women’s deeds in this song, “In every aspect/The woman has played her role/She had children/She educated and taught/Through admirable acts/Having children or not/No doubt/The woman has educated and taught/Vibrant woman/You meet the challenges/In democracy/With union and equality.” It is quite the positive statement. And whether used in an African nation, Middle Eastern or even American, it is a song that will empower any female listener. The combination of that positive lyrical message and upbeat musical arrangement assures that. It’s just one more example of just how much audiences have to expect from Brahim in her latest full-length studio offering. It is hardly the last, too. ‘Mani’ is one more example of hwo much audiences have to look forward to from this record and from Brahim.

Both ‘Buscando la Paz’ and ‘Baraka’ are clear examples of how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim in her latest full-length studio offering. Both songs show in their own way that there is quite a bit for audiences to look forward to in this album. They are only a portion of what audiences have to look forward to from this record and from Brahim. This song especially stands out because its musical and lyrical content presents such a stark contrast. The song’s musical content is reserved to say the very least. And Brahim’s vocal delivery is almost mournful as she sings. This is important to note because the song’s lyrical content comes across as being confident in its defiant stance. As Brahim sings, “I’ll never renounce the love for my homeland/I’ll never give up Mijik/Glab or Haulia/I’ll never forsake/Sahrawi is who I am/And they belong with me/They’re central to my land.” One would expect with such firmness in these words the song’s musical content would have more fire. Yet interestingly enough the approach that Brahim has taken here actually works when set against these lyrics. Of course it works even better as Brahim sings in the song’s second verse, “This extraordinary love/Pours from my heart and being/I miss the view of Bulautad/And I want no other homeland.” The same can be said of the mix of the song’s music and lyrics in its third verse, too. Taking into consideration the song’s music and lyrics in whole, the song is one of the most telling examples of how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahiz in her new album. It is a mix that surprisingly works and quite well at that. At the same time it is just as powerful and moving as ‘Buscando la Paz’ and ‘Baraka.’ Keeping this in mind all three songs paint a picture of Abbar el Hamada as an album that is both a welcome return for Brahim and an equally welcome introduction for those that are less familiar with her body of work.

Aziza Brahim’s latest full length studio recording Abbar el Hamada is a welcome introduction to Brahim for those that are not familiar with the Sahrawi artist’s body of work. Examining the mix of the album’s deeply thoughtful lyrical content and equally moving musical content, it becomes just as welcome of a re-introduction for those that are more familiar with her work. That is evident in the album’s opener ‘Buscando la Paz,’ the smie-celebratory ‘Baraka’ and the intriguingly politically charged ‘Mani.’ All three songs are clear examples of the ability of this album’s musical and lyrical content to keep audiences engaged. That is not to discount any of the songs not noted here. Those songs could be used just as easily to exhibit how much audiences have to expect from Aziza Brahim’s new album. All things together, Abbar el Hamada proves to be an album that is a welcome return for those that are familiar with her work and just as welcome of an introduction for her new audiences. It is an album that is an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new World Music offerings. It will be available Friday, March 4th in stores and online and can be pre-ordered online now via Glitterbeat Records’ online store at http://glitterbeat.com/glitterbeat_store/. More information on her new album is available online now along with all of her latest news at:

Website: http://glitterbeat.com/artists/aziza-brahim/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Glitterbeat

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Glitterbeat_Rec

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Leprous Embarks On New Tour

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Leprous is heading back out on the road.

The Norwegian prog-metal quintet recently announced a new slate of tour dates that takes it to Australia and across Europe this winter, spring, and summer. The band’s current schedule kicked off January 30th in Perth, Australia. Next up for the band is a performance in Brisbane on February 5th, and then Melbourne on February 6th. The band’s current schedule also includes a performance in Israel on March 23rd. After finishing up its show in Israel, Leprous will kick off its latet European tour schedule on Marh 31st in Berlin, Germany. The twelve-date schedule includes dates in France, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium just to name a handful and runs through August 8th. The band’s current tour schedule is note below:

05.02.2016 Brisbane (Australia) – The Brightside / http://www.thebrightsidebrisbane.com.au + Voyager *

06.02.2016 Melbourne (Australia) – The Evelyn Hotel / http://www.evelynhotel.com.au + Voyager *

23.03.2016 Tel-Aviv (Israel) – Theatron Tmuna *

31.03.2016 Berlin (Germany) – Musik & Frieden / http://www.musikundfrieden.de + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets *

01.04.2016 ‘s Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) – W2 / www.w2.nl + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

02.04.2016 Helmond, (The Netherlands) – Cacaofabriek / www.cacaofabriek.nl + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

03.04.2016: Hoofddorp (The Netherlands) – Podium Duycker / www.duycker.nl + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

05.04.2016 Hamburg (Germany) – Logo / www.logohamburg.de + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

06.04.2016: Essen (Germany) – Turock / www.turock.de + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

07.04.2016 Pratteln (Switzerland) – Z7 / www.z-7.ch + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

08.04.2016 Strasbourg (France) – La Laiterie / http://www.artefact.org + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

09.04.2016 Durbuy (Belgium) – Durbuy Rock Festival / www.durbuyrock.be + Voyager & Earthside / Tickets

28.-30.04.2016 Koparvik/Haugesund (Norway) – Karmoygeddon Metal Festival / www.karmoygeddon.no

23.06.2016 Halden (Norway) – Tons Of Rock / www.tonsofrock.no

08.08.2016 Josefov (Czech republic) – Brutal Assault / www.brutalassault.cz

More tourdates in the works…

Leprous’ latest album The Congregation was recently nominated for Best Metal Album in the Spellemannprisen, Norway’s equivalent of The Grammys. Also nominated in that category were Enslaved, Tsjuder, and Kampfar. Kampfar came out on top in that one. That aside, the band and its fans still have plenty to be happy about. The band also recently debuted the lyric video for ‘Slave,’ from The Congregation. Audiences can check it out now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GWPzBXNY2g&feature=youtu.be. Along with that the band also premiered a tour documentary that audiences can also check out for themselves. It can be viewed via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTAsVeos4Bg&feature=youtu.be. If that isn’t enough the video for ‘The Price’ is also available now online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G9Qd_84YZs&feature=youtu.be. ‘Rewind’ can also be heard online via SoundCloud now at https://soundcloud.com/officialinsideoutmusic/leprous-rewind/.

 

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

The Congregation is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online at:

InsideOut Music: https://www.insideoutshop.de/Search?q=The+Congregation

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Congregation-Leprous/dp/B00VU7KYPI?tag=smarturl-20

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/leprous/id322022617?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Germany (JPC): https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/poprock/detail/-/art/leprous-the-congregation/hnum/7268465

More information on Leprous’ current tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.leprous.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leprousband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/leprousband

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 entertaiment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Take Me To The River Hits All Of The Right Notes At All Of The Right Times

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Music, it is often said, is the universal language. It is a language that bridges cultures and transcends generations. Even with audiences’ varying tastes music still does more to bring together the world’s people than any politician could ever do. That includes not just American politicians but politicians in general. That has been proven time and again throughout the music industry’s rich history. It has helped make some of America’s best moments even better. It has also helped the country get through some of its most trying times. That ability to get America through its best and worst times shows its immense power. In 2014 director Martin Shore presented audiences with just one example of that power in the documentary Take Me To The River. The roughly hour and a half documentary follows the collaboration of a number of legendary Memphis musicians and modern artists in the creation of a new album that resurrects the songs of said legends. While that presentation lies at the heart of the documentary it is just one aspect of the program’s story. There is far more to the documentary than that process. And thanks to Shout! Factory, audiences will get to see just how much more there is to the story when Take Me To The River will finally be released in stores and online next week. That story is just one part of what makes the documentary worth the watch, too. The music that audiences get to hear throughout the course of the documentary is just as important to the program as its multi-faceted main presentation. Rounding out the documentary’s presentation is its bonus interviews and recording session featuring the recording of ‘Be Like Me’ with The Bar-Kays and rap duo 8Ball and MJG. Each element plays its own important role in the whole of Take Me To The River. Altogether, they make it a documentary that even not being new per se, still hits all the right notes at all the right times from beginning to end even almost two years after its original debut.

Nearly two years after its theatrical debut, director Martin Shore’s music documentary Take Me To The River is finally coming home. Why it took so long for it to finally be released on DVD and Blu-ray is anybody’s guess. Regardless of why it took so long, it can still be said that it is a welcome “new” release for music lovers even if audiences were not lucky enough to see it in its original theatrical release. This is proven primarily through the program’s multi-faceted main story. At the heart of that story is the recording process for an album that was meant to celebrate the relationship between some of Memphis’ most legendary performers and the artists who were influenced by those legends. Audiences will be interested to see the broad spectrum of acts that were influenced by the Memphis music scene of days gone by. On a related note, the respect shared between the two groups exhibited in the recording process is just as impressive. Of course that portion of the program’s main story is just one part of its whole. Along with that story Shore also presents the story of Stax Record, which was based in Memphis and its role in not just the Memphis music scene but in the nation’s history in whole. That story is the real story. Viewers learn about the founding of Stax and how its founding was influenced by the racial tensions of the day. Despite said tensions, it became a refuge of sorts; a place where artists white and black alike could record their music together. And as is revealed in the extended interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell, it was much more than that. It played just as much of a role in the music industry at the time as it did in the nation’s culture and history. There is even a lesson on the artists that made Stax so great then and still does today as the recording process for the album proceeds. Audiences get to learn about William Bell, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Booker T, Charlie Musselwhite, and a number of other legends of the Memphis music scene. The combined music history lessons and recording documentary that are presented within the main presentation of Take Me To The River show clearly together why the program’s central story is key to its overall presentation.

The multi-faceted story that lies at the center of Take Me To The River shows in itself quite clearly how this documentary hits all the right notes at all the right times. Of course it is just one element within the program’s presentation that proves this argument. The songs that are featured throughout the recording process are just as important to note as the story of the process of their recording. The songs–twelve in all–are classic pieces that have been re-worked with a modern touch. One of the best of the featured songs is ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ The song featured Memphis legend Bobby “Blue” Bland teaming up with rapper Yo Gotti for a piece that is one of the recording’s best numbers. Bland’s gentle chorus works with Yo Gotti’s verses and the song’s solid, infectious hip-hop style backbeat to make it a song that gives the classic tune a welcome update. ‘Wish I Had Answered’ is another great number. Audiences will find themselves tapping their feet in time as legendary singer Mavis Staples and North Mississippi All Stars work their magic in this bluesy/gospel hybrid. ‘If I Should Have Bad Luck’ is another impressive and enjoyable song that audiences get to see come to life. Charlie Musselwhite’s vocal delivery and harmonica work are the song’s magic elements. It’s just one more example of how the songs featured in the documentary make it more enjoyable in whole. It’s not the last example of the song’s importance to the documentary either. Any of the recording’s dozen tracks could just as easily be cited as examples of what makes th songs their own important element of the documentary. The songs, when coupled with the documentary’s central story, make even clearer why Take Me To The River hits all the right notes. They still are only a portion of what makes the program such a worthwhile watch. The bonus interviews that are included with the program give it even more interest.

The story at the center of Take Me To The River and the program’s featured songs are both equally important elements in its success. That is because together they tell a deep and engaging story that any music history buff will enjoy. For all of the importance of the program’s story and its featured songs those elements are but a portion of what makes it worth the watch. The bonus interviews that are included with the presentation round out the documentary. Audiences will be interested to learn how Al Bell came to write the hit song ‘I’ll Take You There.’ Even as Mr. Bell doesn’t allow himself to become choked up in telling the story, the same cant’ be said of audiences. That is especially the case as he notes that he “didn’t write the song, but that it wrote through him.” He explains in full depth to narrator/interviewer Terrance Howard (Hustle & Flow, Iron Man, Red Tails) how the violence of the era played a direct role in the song’s creation. That is the extent of what will be told here so as to not ruin the story for others. Needless to say th full story is truly moving and enlightening. On a related note, the interview with Snoop Dogg and William Bell is just as interesting. The pair’s discussion runs th gamut from the serious to the silly throughout. One of the most interesting discussions shared in this interview is the comparison of Stax Records to Motown. Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, and Bell discuss how Motown wrote songs more for the masses while acts signed to Stax made music more for the people so to speak. They weren’t trying to make money in other words. They just wanted to get their songs out there and share the struggles that everyone felt through their songs. Snoop Dogg’s affirmation of the importance of Stax both to itself and the culture in which it was founded and to the modern hip-hop industry is believable. He really sounds serious about its importance. At a later point in the interview, Bell and Broadus change gears and start talking about DJs and Soul Train of all things. It was completely off th topic. But it was also so natural in the bigger picture of things. And it is hardly the last of th discussions shared between th pair in its interview. There is far more for audiences to take in here. And audiences that purchase the program for themselves will discover just how entertaining and informative those other noted topics are. They will also agree in discovering this that the bonus interviews included alongside the central story of Take Me To The River and its featured songs round out the presentation, making it a presentation in whole that once again hits all the right notes at all of the right times.

Shout! Factory’s new home release of Take Me To The River is a presentation that hits all of the right notes at all of the right times. This is the case even with the documentary having originally debuted in theaters nearly two years ago. That is thanks in large part to its multi-faceted story. The program’s featured songs present their own interesting music history lesson. That lesson and the lesson taught in the program’s central story double up to show clearly why Take Me To The River hits all of the right notes at the right times. The bonus interviews included as part of the documentary’s home release round out the program. The background and bonus information that thy share rounds out the program and shows once and for all that while this documentary may not be new per se, it is still a piece that hits all of the right notes at all of the right times. Take Me To The River will be available next Tuesday, February 5th in stores and online. It can be re-ordered online now direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/take-me-to-the-river. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Veer Union To Headline Inaugural Live & Loud Tour

Courtesy: Round 2 Records/Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Round 2 Records

The Veer Union is heading out on the road this winter.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based band will headline Round 2 Records’ inaugural Live and Loud Tour when it heads out on the road on Thursday, February 18th. The twenty-three date tour—in support of the band’s upcoming album Decade–kicks off in San Diego, California and runs through Sunday, March 27th in Crest Hill, Illinois. Bobaflex, Artifas, and Bridge To Grace will serve as support acts for the tour. Ticketing information is available online now along with venue information and more at http://www.round2live.com. The current schedule for the Round 2 Live & Loud Tour is noted below.

 

Round 2 Live & Loud Tour Dates:

2-18 San Diego CA – Brick by Brick

2-19 Phoenix AZ – Last Exit Live

2-20 Flagstaff AZ – The Green Room

2-23 Las Cruces NM – TBA

2-25 San Antonio TX – Fitzgeralds

2-26 Abeline TX – Legends Rock House

2-27 Tyler Tx – Clicks Live

2-28 San Leon Tx – 18th Street Pier

3-2 Slidell LA – The Corner Pub

3-4 Clarksville TN – The Warehouse

3-5 Madison AL – 11th Frame

3-6 JACKSON TN – The Empourium

3-9 Tallahassee FL – Pugs Live

3-10 Charlotte NC – Amos Southend

3-11 Anderson SC – TJ Whispers

3-12 Fayetteville NC – The Rock Shop

3-13 Greensboro NC – Blind Tiger

3-16 Charleston WV – TBA

3-17 Morgantown WV – TBA

3-19 Hagarstown MD – Hard Times Cafe

3-25 Kent OH – The Outpost

3-26 Southbend IN – TBA

3-27 Crest Hill IL – Bada Brew

 

 

While audiences wait for the tour to launch they can check out the video for Decade’s lead single ‘Defying Gravity’ online now. It can be viewed via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEDD_s5dk2M.

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

Courtesy: Pavement Entertainment

More information on The Veer Union’s upcoming tour is available online along with information on Decade and all of the band’s latest news at:

Website: http://www.theveerunion.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theveerunion

Twitter: http://twitter.com/theveerunion

 

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.