Posts Tagged Brian Setzer

2011 in Photos – A Look Back at Bruno Mars, Duran Duran, INXS and U2

by Cindy Robinson

Here we are at the end of the first week of 2012 and I wanted to do a post on my favorite photos of 2011 from the various rock & roll events I attended last year. While the list was small in comparison to years past, I still had the opportunity to see some great live bands.

I feel like I’ve conquered the technology mountain to get to this little post I want to share with the world. Laptop software issues continue to plague me as do the internet connectivity issues (do we hear a New Year’s resolution here?? Solve the tech issues in 2012!) and when I finally made it over these hurdles, I learned that WordPress blogs typically don’t support embedding slide shows from Picnik. Say what? I battled computer issues, stayed up until wee hours working on my slide show and my blog won’t host it?

Thankfully the information superhighway quickly led me to information that allowed me to solve this issue. I discovered Vodpod which allows you to embed your Picnik slide show into your WordPress blog. Shazam! It isn’t perfect, it’s much smaller in scale than the original so I feel some detail is lacking but I’m happy I was able to embed it and share with readers.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Let’s get down to the subject at hand – 2011 in photos. Wow, narrowing down a plethora of images shot over the past year turned out to be a daunting task. I intended to pull just one image from each event but soon found that impossible as image after image drew me in. So I grabbed my favorites and went from there.

For me, 2011  included live shows from the likes of  My Chemical Romance, Bruno Mars, Brian Setzer, Duran Duran, Honor Society (a band my daughter really enjoys who rose to fame as the opening band on the Jonas Brothers tour in 2009),   INXS , a book signing by Guns n’ Roses Duff McKagan and the long postponed U2 at Angels Stadium show finally came to fruition!

My Chemical Romance were incredible as their live show is always an intense throbbing mass of music loving people. This was our first time seeing Bruno Mars and it definitely won’t be our last. His live show was amazing, just non-stop energy from start to finish. The audience was also amazing – a complete mash-up of every type, size and age of concert goer imaginable. Brian Setzer always puts on a great live show too!

Duran Duran are my favorite band so my opinion of them will always be biased and I always enjoy seeing them live! Their Unstaged performance directed by David Lynch at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles in early 2011 really kicked it up a notch though when they added a list of special guests for their show that included Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, Beth Ditto of the Gossip and super producer Mark Ronson.

INXS breezed through the USA for a short summer tour before singer J.D. Fortune departed the band for a second time. INXS look to be back on track for 2012 though with their new Irish singer, Ciaran Gribbin. Youtube footage shows his performances to be of a more mellow variety with awkward dance moves but I’ll wait to fully assess the new line up until I see it for myself. He’s got big shoes to fill and it takes time to grow into a role of that magnitude.

Then there was U2! I think there are few people who would dispute the awesome spectacle that is a live U2 show. This show seemed especially sweet to me as I had originally purchased my tickets in November 2009 and the show ended up being postponed due to Bono’s emergency back surgery and subsequent recovery. Finally, in June of 2011, they rolled back into town and blew us all away. U2 with Lenny Kravitz were worth the wait!

It’s always hard to narrow down the list of favorite shows, to choose just one for the top spot. Even though my list was much shorter than normal for 2011 (darn bad economy!) it didn’t make things any easier. I know I can cross My Chemical Romance off the contenders list because their record release show at the House of Blues in Hollywood in November of 2010 was their best to date that I have seen.

After thinking long and hard about it, I narrowed down my top choices to U2 and Bruno Mars. U2 live is so much more than just a rock & roll concert but ultimately I’d have to award the top slot to singer Bruno Mars. It was refreshing to see an artist I hadn’t seen before and to be thoroughly excited and energized by the set.

What were some of your favorite shows you saw in 2011? Who are you looking forward to seeing live in 2012? Are we all jazzed for the return of Van Halen in 2012? 80’s icon Adam Ant is due to tour the USA for the first time in 15 years! Preliminary tour buzz shows his fans are coming out of the woodwork like crazy. INXS are set to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their iconic Kick album. 2011 breakout band, Foster the People are scheduled to hit the road hard during 2012 moving up to larger venues as they trek across America. And it’s almost time for the big Coachella announcement! Who will they get for 2012?

2011 in Photos, posted with vodpod

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Brian Setzer Blows the Roof off the Belly Up

Brian Setzer

 Brian Setzer, the three-time GRAMMY Award winning sometime Stray Cat, and leader of the Brian Setzer Orchestra brought  his eighteen piece orchestra to the Belly Up Tavern in the Cedros Design District of Solana Beach, CA for a sold-out show on April 3, 2011.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra played a rescheduled show at Agua Caliente Resort in Palm Springs, CA on April 2nd, to make up for a cancelled New Year’s Eve performance from last year when Setzer became ill and added the Solana Beach show as Setzer prepares to launch his next musical venture, Setzer Goes Instru-Mental, out on April 19th via Surfdog Records with MP3 pre-order available now via Amazon with special edition vinyl and CD versions available from the Surfdog shop.

Setzer will hit the road crisscrossing Europe during June and July with Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot featuring Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom on drums, as well as Noah Levy on drums; Chris D’Rozario on bass; Brian Setzer on guitar and vocals; Kevin McKendree on Piano; and Johnny “Spazz” Hatton on bass. Double the stand up bass and the double the drums looks to be a rockabilly good time for Setzer’s fans in Europe this summer!

Back to the task at hand – Setzer, his Orchestra and his Vixens (back up singers Julie Setzer and Leslie Spencer) blowing the roof off the Belly Up Tavern last night. Wow, what a treat to see this guitar legend play such an intimate venue that only holds 600 people! Many of their shows of late have been to really big audiences such as the Doheny Blues Festival with an audience of about 20,000 blues loving fans and the Montreal Jazz Festival with well over 100, 000 swaying to the smooth jazz sounds music loving fans.

Setzer recognized a lot of faces in the crowd and told the audience it felt like he was playing in his living room at home as he called out hello’s to a few friends in the crowd. He was the consummate professional as a liquor loving lush with long blonde hair did her best Willow Smith Whip My Hair impersonations in the front row and tried to grab, many times, not Setzer, but his guitar. Yes, attempting to grab the Gretsch as Setzer’s fingers worked their magic! However, being a 30-year music veteran the guitar legend knew how to swiftly retreat from her many drunken advances.

Brian Setzer

There was also the muffin top baring, 49-year-old woman who nearly pulled him off the stage in her drunken super power strength to declare to him that she would be turning 50 the next day. Gracious as ever, Setzer wished her happy birthday over the microphone while reminding the audience he’s been 50 three times now.

I do digress on the drunken lot of women in attendance though, but seriously, do they even remember the awesome show they attended last night?

Back to the music. Setzer, and his fantastic band were in fine form last night. Really, really on fire figuratively, and almost literally as the Belly Up turned into a sauna for the searing one-hour and forty-five minute set that dealt nary a sour note the entire evening. The Brian Setzer Orchestra revved things up and got the audience boogie-ing to their energetic rockabilly sounds before they departed the stage and let the Brian Setzer Trio take over which includes Johnny “Spazz” Hatton on stand-up bass and fill in drummer, Danny Glass from Royal Crown Revue and Setzer rockin’ the roof off the joint!

The two versions of Setzer’s band covered songs across his illustrious 30 year, award-winning career including  the Stray Cats hit  Sexy & 17, The Dirty Boogie and Sleepwalk along with Red Hot and Gene & Eddie. The Brian Setzer Trio seamlessly brought the Orchestra back on stage to crowd pleasing roar as the band gave us a medley of the Stray Cat Strut with the Pink Panther theme.

The full band then brought the house down as they launched in early hits like Rumble in Brighton and Rock This Town along with the 90’s hit Jump Jive An’ Wail from the Dirty Boogie album. Setzer is the kind of musician that oozes love for his craft while playing on stage. You can see the smile spread across his face when he knows he’s hitting it out of the ballpark. He doesn’t look like just another musician getting through the live show. It was a stellar show of fine musicianship, one for the books as they say.

The always busy Setzer will also do his annual Christmas shows this year and has already confirmed a December 17th date at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.

He’s also got a new track from his forthcoming album Setzer Goes Instru-Mental, called Go-Go Godzilla on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Soul Surfer starring AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. Soul Surfer opens in theaters April 8th.

For a complete list of European tour dates and Christmas dates as they become available, check out Brian’s site.

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