Three-Word Reviews of 51 Performers

1. Jane’s Addiction 

Phenomenally wild time.

2. with NiN

Poor show outdoors.

3. Iron Maiden

Best metal show.

Wikipedia Commons
Alice Cooper

4. Alice Cooper

Classic and wonderful.

5. with Warrant,

Not really recommended.

6. Slaughter,

Not very memorable.

7. and Dokken

Very good performance.

8. The Decemberists

Incredible Heart cover.

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9. Stanley Jordan

Mesmerizing guitar tapping.

Wikipedia Commons
Ron Carter

10. Ron Carter

A classy time.

11. Deep Purple

Rocked socks off.

12. with Dio

Band was tight.

13. and Motorhead

Amped my testosterone.

13. Judas Priest

Had crowd going!

Wikipedia Commons
Rob Halford of Judas Priest.

14. Talib Kweli

Not too shabby.

15. KISS

Gimmicky but rocked.

16. Neutral Milk Hotel

Dream come true.

17. The Black Crowes

Could’ve been better.

18. Ms. Lauryn Hill

Late but great.

19. with Common

Freestyle was amazing.

20. B.B. King

An entertaining night.

Wikipedia Commons
A legend, R.I.P. (1925-2015)

21. Sigur Ros

Pre-recorded tracks distracted.

22. Katy Perry

Sexy pop extravaganza.

23. with Tegan and Sara

Not that entertaining.

24. Reverend Horton Heat

Guitar on point 👌

25. Santana

A Hippie Indulgence.


26. Colbie Caillat

Pleased the wife.

27. Stone Temple Pilots

Full of energy.

28. José Gonzålez

Very well-rehearsed.

Wikipedia Commons
The gifted performer, José Gonzålez

29. Motley Crue

Fun and depraved.

30. Barry Manilow

Not too bad.

31. Cage the Elephant

Singer went nuts.

32. Black Sabbath (original line-up)

Surreal and unbelievable.

33. Jeff Mangum

(In 2015) Better than ever.

34. TransSiberian Orchestra

Dragged on sometimes.

Wikipedia Commons
The Pixies performing in 2004

35. The Pixies

Best reunion ever.

36. Queensryche

Kind of embarrassing.

37. The Strokes

Pretty damn good.

38. with Elvis Costello

Not as good.

39. Kid Rock

Suprisingly amazing show.

40. Ted Nugent

Greatness despite arrogance.

Edgar Winter

41. Edgar Winter Band

Jaw-dropping solos.

42. Saves the Day

A mediocre show.

43. Mindless Self Indulgence

Raucous and superb.

44. Foo Fighters

They killed it.

45. Girl Talk

A total blast.

Reel Big Fish in Santa Cruz

46. Reel Big Fish

Many good covers.

47. Sublime (with Rome)

Sounded like original.

48. Brand New

Pretty disappointing time.

49. Far East Movement

Glad that’s over.

Wikipedia Commons
Far East Movement a.k.a. “Overhype”

50. Bright Eyes

He was drunk.

51. Dropkick Murphy’s

Exciting and interactive.

Tweet us any question you have about any of these.


Music Feature: Joshua Redman

If you’ve read my previous post, you know of my undying conviction that jazz must be preserved in this country. That’s not only up to our government, but up to us as a community. We must direct our attention to the struggling jazz artist, even if we can’t get enough of the new BeyoncĂ© album.

(This is a digression, but as I wrote BeyoncĂ©’s name, WordPress autocorrected her name to add the little accent onto the e. BeyoncĂ© is now in the realm of autocorrect. She is an archetype of the digital unconscious.)

Anyway, Joshua Redman is no struggling artist. With NPR features, a $13,000 horn, and a Grammy award for his album Songs of Joy and Peace, you could say he’s doing pretty well. And he deserves it. Listening to this man flow through warm, miraculous tones is like getting lost in an oceanic reverie. Here’s one sample:

For those not familiar with the saxophone, it requires an intricate control of breath and lip over the reed to play well. This selection is a perfect example of how the tone should sound. It has to be free from extraneous noises, go from quiet to loud subtly, and sound on time. Redman plays with a sensitivity that is deceptively simple. This particular piece was written by him, and he’s joined by Brad Mehldau on piano. When you have one of the world’s greatest living pianists at your side, magic is bound to happen.

Joshua Redman doesn’t just play the soft romantic stuff though. He can swing, and he can attack a melody with abounding energy. Here’s one of his more upbeat pieces that still maintains the quality tone:

I’m pretty certain that this man has worked harder than we could ever imagine. A summa cum laude graduate from Harvard, he turned down Yale Law School to become a professional jazz musician. He won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in 1991. Since this time, he’s put out 17 feature albums. He’s touring as I write this, performing in venues from Reno to Geneva. His trio is going to be featured at the upcoming “Bachfest” in Leipzig, Germany. Though he’s been on the scene since the mid-90’s, he shows no signs of slowing down. Except maybe on a ballad 😉

What I also respect about Redman is that he’s a true thinker. And I’m not the only one who feels strongly about the United States’ nationalistic connection to the spirit of jazz. In 2014, he was quoted as saying:

“I do feel there’s something special and unique about playing for audiences that are really engaged when you’re in the United States. There is a connection that’s special, and I think that has something to do with the fact that this is a music that comes from this country. Although it’s become a world music and, obviously, there are great jazz musicians from all over the world and it connects with audiences all over the world, there is a fundamental core of this music that comes out of an American experience.” – Joshua Redman

I wish I could articulate my point that well. I also wish I could get my tenor to sound as pristine as he does. But I’ll leave it up to the pro. So I’ll leave you with this, a supreme collaboration between Joshua Redman and the Bad Plus. I urge you to sit quietly and do nothing other than listen. Close your eyes if you have to. Even if you don’t “get” jazz right now, I promise there will be some meaning you gain from it…

Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau’s latest album, Nearness, is available on iTunes. This blog is not affiliated with them in any way. But I do suggest you buy the album right now. Or at least stream it on Spotify. Because it’s awesome.

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Check out the #HMPYG Spotify playlist!

A Treatise on Political Harmony in the United States of America

It is apparent to the nation that there is a moral crisis affecting us all.

We agree that we disagree on just about every issue facing the nation. It wasn’t always this way. The turn of the 20th century was marked by various groups proclaiming their own set of ideals. We had the Bull Moose party, the Populists, the Progressives, the suffragettes, the Labor movement, etc. The turn of the 21st century seems to be more of a two-party polarization, which is obviously Democrats vs. Republicans, Left vs. Right, “Conservatives” vs. “Liberals.” We need to re-examine our ideals, and form a guiding set of principles that unite us as the people of the United States of America. We need a physical document, just like the Founding Constitution, signed by our Current Fathers (and Mothers) of America. We need people from both sides coming together to draft this much-needed proclamation. Chuck Schumer. Donald Trump. Janet Yellen (Federal Reserve), Bill and Melinda Gates. Wayne LaPierre (NRA). Noam Chomsky. Peter Salovey (president of Yale). You get the idea.

Though I feel this needs to be determined by a diverse group of national leaders, I am going to put forth my own set. I encourage other people to draft theirs and share.

1. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

This needs to be the first principle. We need to acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution will always hold our primary principles. Though certain ideals change (e.g. the right for all races and sexes to vote), this document will be the supreme law of the land. The welfare of all people is our priority. It is our duty to strive toward justice and fairness.

2. Jazz and blues music is integral to American culture. It is an artistic embodiment of freedom. It must be preserved and revered. Public funds are necessary for this preservation.

As Dave Brubeck stated, “Jazz stands for freedom.” This is America’s music. We must not let it die. It is up to both us as a people, and our government, to make sure its legacy lives on.

3. The right to bear arms is a serious priority for all citizens that are law-abiding.

We do not ban guns. We do not begin policy with a distrust for the populace. The second amendment was written for a reason. The people must be empowered, in both knowledge and force. With that being said, if you commit a felony, you are surrendering certain rights. If you do not have the mental capacity, you are still a valued human being, but the Welfare of all is our priority (as stated in the constitution preamble).

4. Freedom of speech, religion, petition, assembly, and press is non-negotiable. Along with this principle, it is up to each entity to practice respect, righteousness, and responsibility. This is helped achieved by government through government investments in education, research, and scientific development.

It is government’s duty to promote the general Welfare, as stated in principle 1. Science and education is vital to our society. We put a man on the moon, and we will empower the people with knowledge.

5. The English language is the official language of the United States.

The federal constitution and related documents were composed in English, and English proficiency is required to serve office. This does not mean that other languages are not accepted and accommodated. Secondary languages must be accommodated whenever possible. But we must all agree that our country has a heritage and identity that was founded with the English language.

6. All races, sexes, ages, genders, and creeds are entitled to equal rights, publicly and privately.

All law-abiding citizens must have their right to vote secured. We are not “separate but equal” in any way. We are together and equal. Just as African-Americans are entitled to the same dining car as Caucasians, Hispanics and Arabs are to be treated equally to all. Legislation guaranteeing the rights of all needs to be passed whenever possible.

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