Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Scared In Jersey at the PNC Bank Arts Center!



On Thursday, October 5th , I was invited to a press event at the opening night for Scared In Jersey.at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. "Scared In Jersey" is a new Halloween themed event created by Bobby Alt, Adam Alt and Frank Zummo of Blood Drums. The event takes the folklore of the Jersey Devil, and starts off with a reenactment of the "birth" of the Jersey Devil, followed by a walk through the haunted Pine Barren Maze, and then ends with a performance by Blood Drums. As a horror fan and someone that loves Halloween, this event was definitely a lot of fun. Everything from the skit that showed the birth of the Jersey Devil to the maze and the Blood Drums performance was worth the trip. The maze had its creepy moments, but nothing that will give you nightmares. And the final performance by Blood Drums was a very intense and energetic way to end the night. The guys from the band were nice enough to invite the fans up for photos on stage after their set. Overall, a great new Halloween attraction for the NJ area. I would like to see them add on to the maze and try to crank up some of the creepy parts in the future. But overall, it was a fun event that I wouldn't mind seeing again!












Friday, September 15, 2017

CREEPSHOW: LIMITED EDITION SOUNDTRACK (LA LA LAND RECORDS)



I've been a horror fan ever since I was a kid. Growing up in the 80's, I was fortunate to have gone through the best decade for horror films. There are so many to choose during that time that are really good, quality films. In fact, when I think back to the films that catapulted my interest in horror movies, I narrow it down to a trinity of films: A Nightmare On Elm Street, Fright Night, and Creepshow. I remember seeing these on VHS tapes rented from the local video store, and they terrified me. Yet, they also sparked an interest in the genre. The matching scores for these movies also made them more terrifying to watch. Creepshow in particular, had a very heavy, synth driven score that was the perfect sound to drive the movie. The sounds in this film highlighted each creepy moment and became embedded into my subconscious. It was a brilliant score. So when I saw that La La Land Records released a limited edition, restored version of the soundtrack on CD, I absolutely had to cover it here.

Let's get to the point. If you are a fan of this movie, then this CD is an absolute must have!

If you haven't seen the movie, but are a fan of 80's pop culture and horror movies in general, definitely check this out.

To fully realize how creepy this score is, just listen to it without even watching the film. The other day I had it playing in the car, and I got flashbacks of being creeped out exactly how I was as an 8 year old watching it for the first time. 

From the beginning on down, the tracks are in the same order as the film. It takes you from the film's intro (with the creepy kid), to Father's Day, to The Lonesome Death Of Jordy Verrill, to Something To Tide You Over, to The Crate, to They're Creeping Up On You, and then the Epilogue. The tracks sound crisp, and really make you feel like watching this classic again.

Listening to this reminded me how much I like this movie, and probably will never get tired of it. Kudos to John Harrison for a brilliant score that still holds up after all these years. And kudos to La La Land Records for providing such a diverse catalog for all us nostalgic movie fans!

With Halloween coming up, this is a great CD to have to make the season much more fun!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Replay America - Live at the NYCB Theatre - August 3rd, 2017

On August 8th, the crowd at the NYCB Theatre was brought back to the 80's when the stars of the Replay America came to town. Fans of 80's music all throughout the NYC area met at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, Long Island to see the star studded lineup of The Motels, Naked Eyes, Taylor Dayne, and Billy Ocean! And each artist really gave the fans their money's worth with a show to remember.


Opening the show was The Motels...
















When the band came out, I wasn't sure what to expect since I only knew The Motels through their hits Only The Lonely" and "Suddenly Last Summer". When their set was over, I honestly wanted to hear more! Martha Davis vocals still sound great, and they were a real breath of fresh air. Their performance was just the right act to set the mood of the show. Meeting them backstage after their performance really gave me much more respect for them. They were very nice and down to earth. Martha mentioned to me that they'd be releasing an album later this year, so be on the lookout!






Next up was Naked Eyes...



If you know anything about 80's music, then you'll remember the big synth driven hit "Always Something There To Remind Me". That song is one of the many from the 80's that are guaranteed to be stuck in your head upon hearing. I was always curious how this would sound live. Well I got my chance on this night and it was real cool to hear it. Basically it sounded just as you would expect it, with a slightly more acoustic guitar sound thrown in by lead singer Pete Byrne. Once this song came on, everyone got really into it and was singing along. It was a great moment that drew the crowd in. Also a side note: Pete was a really cool guy to meet with after the performance. I was glad that I got the chance to chat with him for a bit after his set. Now on to digging up some more songs in the Naked Eyes catalog to listen to.








Next up to perform was... Taylor Dayne

Now this is an artist that I am very familiar with. Who hasn't heard the opening notes to "Tell It To My Heart" and then immediately got transported back to a middle/high school dance?? I know that this song in particular was a HUGE part of my middle school years because it was played EVERYWHERE and the video was constantly on rotation on MTV! So this was one act I was looking forward to see. Before Taylor went on stage, I had the privilege of meeting with her for a bit. She was very friendly and is the kind of artist who is great with her fans. So it's no surprise she still has a loyal fanbase after all these years.



As soon as she went on stage she immediately energized the audience and had (mostly) everyone on their feet singing along and dancing. Her set was a compilation of her biggest hits. The obvious highlights were "Don't Rush Me", "With Every Beat Of My Heart" and then her finale "Tell It To My Heart"! The crowd really got into it as she belted out her biggest hit. After all these years, her voice is still powerful and can really captivate an arena. She really gave her fans what they wanted with her memorable performance that night. 






After Taylor was.... Starship!



Another staple from the 80's, Starship was best know for their hits "We Built This City" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (the theme song from Mannequin). The band is still touring these days, however the only original member is Mickey Thomas. After all these years, Mickey still sounded great. Yes, his voice is not the same it was 30 years ago, but it was still vintage Mickey. But don't let that stop you from seeing them! Singer Stephanie Calvert had some big shoes to fill, but she did an awesome job filling in as the female vocalist. Mickey and Stephanie sang their hearts out to the crowd with the obvious hits like "Sara". But it was "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and "We Built This City" that got the crowd into it. Sometimes certain bands have the tendency to mail in a performance, Not Starship. They seemed grateful for their fans and did what they could to give everyone a good experience.  And what more could you ask from an act that's been around since the 80's? Overall, I'm really glad I finally got to see them in person.










Last but not least was.... BILLY OCEAN!



This was the performance I was looking forward to the most. Billy has been once of my favorite artists since the 80's, and I still play his music on a regular basis. His supporting band got the crowd pumped when introducing him, and once he came on stage, the energy surged in the theatre. For a guy who is 67 years old, he does not slow down one bit! He was singing and dancing all around the stage and moving with more stamina than some guys half his age! The crowd fed off of his energy and was enthusiastically singing and dancing along with him. 







Billy's was, by far, one of the best live performances I've ever seen. And I've been to quite a few. With a smile that lights up a room, and a true passion for his music, there wasn't one part of his performance that disappointed. If you weren't singing along in the crowd, Billy made sure he did his best to get everyone to join in. He was a professional in every sense of the word. Some of the songs he sang were "Loverboy", "The Colour Of Love", "Suddenly, and of course "Caribbean Queen", "When The Going Gets Tough", and "Get Outta My Dreams (Get Into My Car)". There was even a cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" which is on his latest album! Every second of his performance was pure fun. This is a guy that knows how to work a crowd. Next time Billy comes to the NYC area, I'll be sure to see him again!

On a side note, I met Billy after the show,. Not only is he one of the nicest celebrities I ever met, but he is one of the nicest people that I've met in my life. He seemed very genuine and a true class act that cares for his fans. 

Thanks Billy for giving us a performance to remember! 





Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blues Traveler - Live in Morristown, NJ - 7/15/17


 It was like '95 all over again...

This past Saturday, Blues Traveler made a stop on their current tour to Morristown, NJ at the MPAC (Mayo Performing Arts Center). On this night, old and new fans were treated to an energetic performance that showcased BT's catchy sound. John Popper lead the band with his amazing harmonica skills and belted out songs from the band's wide catalog of songs. As if this show didn't already have a cool 90's vibe to it, it was really cemented when they performed a cover of Sublime's "What I Got" that hammered it in. I found that to be a nice version of one of the great songs of the 90's. Of course, the band is still putting out some good new songs, but BT will always be associated as one of the 90's greats. Not surprisingly, the audience got the "Hook" and the "Run Around", which got everyone out of their seats and dancing. It was a fun time that the fans really enjoyed. Their set ran close to 2 hours, and the audience enjoyed every minute of it. The band's got a knack of seamlessly flowing from one song to the next without long breaks in between. And the jam sessions! What can I say? Each member had their moment to shine throughout the show by having their own jam session, showcasing their skills. They were all good, but I must say the keyboard solo really stood out to me. It's just something you have to see in person to really appreciate it. Overall, the performance was a lot of fun and I wouldn't hesitate to see them live again next time they come around.






Monday, June 26, 2017

Huey Lewis & The News - Live at NYCB Theatre in Westbury, NY



When it comes to slowing down, these guys apparently didn't get the memo.

For the second time in less than 6 months, Huey Lewis & The News were back in the NYC area to treat local fans to another live show. Last time they were here, they performed at the historic St. George Theater in Staten Island. This time around (June 21st) they played in Long Island at the NYCB Theatre. So how'd they do this time? Well let's just say the 2 plus hours sitting in traffic on the Long Island Expressway was totally worth it.




From the moment you heard the "thump thump" heartbeat played in the theatre, we knew we were in for something special. Naturally, the boys came out and got right down to business by opening the show with The Heart Of Rock and Roll. The crowd broke into a frenzy during the opening song. Feeding off of the energy, the band elevated their performance and carried that on throughout the entire show. 

There's no surprise that the band went through almost the entire catalog of their greatest hits. Hits like  "I Want A New Drug", "If This Is It", and "Stuck With You" soared through the theatre while the fans joyfully sang along. One minor complaint from me would be that they didn't play "Perfect World". But hey, we can't always get what we want right? 



Huey, a true professional at getting the crowd pumped up, would occasionally shout "Are you still with me??" The audience would reply with a boisterous "YEAH!!!" I noticed once they broke into "Heart and Soul", the crowd participation felt like it was at its peak. Most of the crowd was up out of the seat singing along and dancing. 

Leading towards the end of the show, they played hits like "Back In Time" and of course "Power Of Love", For the final song, the boys broke out into a full on jam session by playing "Working For A Living". In my opinion, that was the best song to close out the show. 

For all the fans, old and new, it truly was a night to remember. This is a band that has been at it for almost 40 years and they're still going strong. Their music has been the soundtrack for my youth, as it was for so many others, And you could see that the fanbase is still loyal after all these years. It was a truly memorable show, and hopefully they'll come back soon! 





Monday, February 27, 2017

Huey Lewis and The News - Live at St. George Theatre, Staten Island, NY (Feb. 26, 2017)



Huey Lewis and The News rolled through NY last night and put on a memorable show for all ages.

To be honest, I'm ashamed to say that despite being a lifelong fan of these guys, I have never seen them live. When Huey (who's quite the showman) asked the crowd if there were any first timers, I was one of the many that shouted. Huey then sarcastically said something like "Where have you all been? We've only been doing this the past 39 years?" Laughter ensued and then the band jumped into the next song on their list.

That was a common theme of the night. The band would play a few hits. Huey would interject with some funny anecdotes to get the crowd laughing, and then go right back into another song. Needless to say, there wasn't a dull moment during the show.

So, overall how was the show?

AMAZING!

It was everything I expected it to be. The band sounded as tight as ever. For those of us (like myself) that were too young to see them during their prime in the 80's, this was as close as you could get to experiencing that. Sure, this wasn't the Sports tour, but if you were to close your eyes during the show and imagine you were there, you'd be able to go "Back In Time" and live that moment.



To open the show, the band came out to Heart of Rock and Roll which the audience responded with a raucous applause. They then jumped into My Other Woman, and then I Want a New Drug. Following that was an extended version of Jacob's Ladder, which was one of the highlights of the night that featured a wonderful harmonica solo by Huey. The run time of the song was just over 7 minutes long!



Of course, they then proceeded to play fan favorites like Hip To Be Square, Heart and Soul, and Power of Love. In the midst of all that, they even squeezed in a recent song titled While We're Young. The catchy tune is a testament to the band itself. While they may be getting older in age, they're "not quite done yet" as Huey said introducing the song.



And thankfully for us fans, they aren't done yet. They're still touring with the energy and passion of a band in their 20's. And hopefully, it stays that way for more years to come!



A huge thanks to Huey's manager (pictured with me below) Lol Halsey for setting all of this up.



Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Huey Lewis and The News in NY (Sunday February 26th!)



38....

THIRTY EIGHT!!!

That's how many years Huey Lewis and The News have been together!

How many bands can you think of that have been around that long and are STILL TOURING?

You'd be hard pressed to find any.

And yet, the band that took us Back In Time, showed us the Power Of Love, and reminded us the Heart of Rock & Roll is still beating is right in the middle of a tour, and is coming straight to NYC on February 26th!

If you're like me and grew up listening to this legendary band, but never had the opportunity to see them in concert, here is your chance. The band is coming to the St. George Theater in Staten Island, NY.

Fellow residents of the NYC area, you don't want to miss this!

You can find out how to get tickets by going here!