Happy 2019! While I know most of you were suffering from political fatigue we were having one of the biggest years of our life both professionally as well as personally. And we partied right to the very end. Here's to a prosperous & peace filled year.
The Revolution - December 31st - House of Blues - Dallas, TX
Just like last year we are back for Round 2 (technically Round 3 as we caught their show over the Summer in 2017) as we went out to nowhere Louisiana to party like it's 1999 (& well worth it) but now they were coming to us to ring in 2019!
The Revolution, the band that backed the icon Prince- returned to Dallas to celebrate his music for a sold out show for NYE.
The band consisted of Matt Fink on keyboards Lisa Coleman on keyboards Bobby Z on drums Wendy Melvoin on guitar and Brown Mark on bass.
Over the course of almost two hours, the band unfurled an incredible set of Prince’s early hits from Take Me With You to DMSR and culminated with a hits package that included all of your favorites like 1999, Let’s Go Crazy, Delirious, Controversy, Kiss, and of course the classic, When Doves Cry.
Following Prince’s death, the band was mostly quiet allowing themselves and fans time to heal and mourn properly, but they are clearly now hitting the road, so we can all remember and celebrate the legendary song book of Minneapolis’ favorite son. For eight songs, the band brought up Stokely to sing the vocals. He handled those duties with respect and skill, trying hard to supply the vocals, but without attempting to steal the show.
It just has that vibe & the time was right - I've now seen them 3 times since Prince passed and the last two were on NYE but even that first time still felt like it could have NYE as the party is so perfect & the genuinity is all there. Every time guitarist (& now singer) Wendy Melvoin would speak to the crowd it was always heartfelt & seemed to be exactly what was on my mind. As she likes to say "We are the Encore" and our voices were heard loud & proud on this evening. What a way to end & begin a year - I'll do it again as long as they have a show, you count on us. Happy New Year!
Take Me With U
Let's Go Crazy
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby I'm a Star
The Toadies - December 30th - Billy Bob's Texas - Fort Worth, TX
And annual local tradition now in it's 7th year of Texas Treasures The Toadies playing their hometown landmark Billy Bob's the day before NYE.
A tradition that I haven't been available to partake in the last few years & happy to be back. This show is always unique as it straddles a very fine line as they are not the normal demographic of Billy Bob's clientele nor is their audience whom the majority of have probably only seen the inside of this tourist institution thanks to the Toadies.
Though it's not NYE, it definitely has that year end vibe & is always the last show of the year (at least these last 7 years) for the band so their's this kinda mean "fuck it" vibe. It's also interesting to note that this is that only Toadies shows I see that are littered with fights in the crowd, sometimes so severe & so often that singer/guitarist Todd Lewis has had to stop the show on multiple occasions. Thankfully that wasn't the case this time but I still saw several fights, a sea of uptight security & just a general vibe that wasn't entirely welcoming.
Still the band delivered with a long set spanning their entire career that now stretches almost 30 years which is unbelievable as I was there at the very beginning.
Push the Hand
I Come From the Water
When I Die
Song I Hate
Take Me Alive
You'll Come Down
Summer of the Strange
Mama Take Me Home
You Know the Words
Hell in High Water
Hanson (w/ the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra) - January 5th - Bass Hall - Fort Worth
So now you know how we ended the year, how about how we started the year? To know me is to know that my younger sister & I are very close & as the amazing big brother that I pride myself on - I've been taking her to see Hanson since 1998 when she was only 13.
Here we are, 21 years later and am proud to say that the tradition continues & just as proud that these guys are still doing it & constantly finding ways to challenge themselves & present the music & ever changing styles. This time is was about getting dressed up & being fancy in this historic building that normally hosts operas & other high brow affairs.
New symphonic arrangements, courtesy of Oscar winner David Campbell (a.k.a. Beck's dad....whose last name is also Hanson (but with an E!), and pick apart how they compare to the originals. You could examine the trend of veteran bands performing with orchestras as a way of refreshing their catalogs. You could question the appeal of the idea to anyone outside a preexisting pool of diehards.
But in this case,it's perhaps best to view the concept as a means of highlighting Hanson's remarkable songcraft. Hanson has been a band for more than 25 years, and has had a serious commercial legacy to live up to ever since Middle of Nowhere and the inescapable MMMBop sold millions back in 1997. When that record came out, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were 16, 14 and 11, respectively — and, as a result, were widely viewed outside their fan base as a prefab boy band. But even then, they were accomplished players and songwriters, capable of airtight arrangements and impeccable sibling harmonies. Now that they're in their 30s (and still writing new records, selling out theaters and even brewing their own line of beer), they're better positioned to demonstrate what's long been obvious: These guys write hooks sturdy enough to hold up any kind of arrangement you can name.
But at their best, Campbell's new arrangements lend force as well as beauty. A rich surge of strings and percussion gives way to the full weight of the orchestra in the chorus, transforming a rousing song into something approaching a cataclysm.
Over the course of the evening, the music ebbs and flows through reworked hits, fan favorites and other optimistic odes to tenacity and self-reliance and escalates the grandiosity in what feel like long-anticipated encores. Even in a studio, backed by an orchestra, these guys know how to work a room.
Reaching for the Sky - Part 1
Where's the Love
Dream It Do It
Chasing Down My Dreams
Got a Hold on Me
Me Myself and I
Reaching for the Sky - Part 2
This Time Around
Something Going Round
You Can't Stop Us
What Are We Fighting For
No Rest for the Weary
I Was Born
The Sound of Light
Yawning Man - January 4th - Gas Monkey Bar & Grill - Dallas, TX
And just the day before this, how we technically started the year was with the legendary Yawning Man, the desert titans from Southern California.
Insane to think that we have seen them twice now, as just a few years ago it was thought that if you didn't live in that part of the world or traveled out to some obscure European nation on one of their many endless tours (bless those Europeans who have always appreciated more of what we have than we do collectively) that seeing this amazing cohesive unit in the flesh was just a pipedream.
A good general rule for life is any time you can see Yawning Man, do it. For this tour, the traveling three-piece was what’s become the modern core of the group: guitarist Gary Arce, bassist Mario Lalli and drummer Bill Stinson. And they’re masters of what they do. Their legacy as one of the principal architects of Californian desert rock is inpenetrable but what gets discussed far less is just how much they stand out even from so many of the groups they helped inspire. With Arce‘s signature tone ever at the center of their instrumental, wide-open approach, their atmosphere is immediately identifiable, and the character with which they bring their material to life is as vibrant as that material is subtle. Over the course of more than three decades, they’ve carved a niche for themselves that is theirs alone.
Mario Lalli basically invented cool, switching between picking and fingering his bass in such a way as to add nuance to Arce‘s echoing lines or emphasize a sonic weight with a strummed chord, Lalli — who also fronts Fatso Jetson — was locked in immediately and incredible to watch as he held down the low end. Looking kind of gaunt in a lined hoodie and with a cap pulled down over his face, he was all-business save for jumping on mic quickly to thank the crowd for showing up, etc., but just unreal to watch him play, and as Stinson held together the molten vibes encompassing the room, Lalli and Arce showed off the inimitable chemistry that’s served as the root cause for the spread of their influence. Yeah, it was cold out, and yeah, it was a weeknight, and yeah, real life loomed outside the door like some kind of invisible babadook, but as they peppered last year's excellent The Revolt Against Tired Noises material with Perpetual Oyster, it was hard to think of them as anything other than a classic band living up to their reputation.