Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fire Sale: MySpace is Sold to California Ad Network for $35 Million

The heart of rock & roll is still beating, but does MySpace still have a pulse? Its new owner hopes to resuscitate the once-dominant social-media site.

Oh, how the (formerly) mighty have fallen. After years of decline and several leaders at the helm, MySpace has finally been sold at deep discount like a one-hit wonder CD in the cut-out bin. It was announced Wednesday that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will sell MySpace to California advertising network Specific Media for a mere $35 million.

And speaking of 35 million, that's how many people visited MySpace in May, less than half of its highest total, which came in October 2008.) But the selling price is far below what News Corp. had hoped to attract for MySpace (it was looking for $100 million), and it's minuscule compared to the $580 million that the media conglomerate paid for MySpace back in 2005.

Irvine-based Specific Media (which has only been in business since 1999) is hoping to turn MySpace around by focusing on its former strength as a portal for musicians and actors and their fans.To add some celebrity juice to that effort, Specific has brought in none other than pop star Justin Timberlake as a minority investor. (Is it just a coincidence that JT played Napster and Facebook entrepreneur Sean Parker in the movie "The Social Network"?)

Specific says that Timberlake will "play a major role in the creative direction of Myspace," according to an L.A. Times article. News Corp. will retain a small stake in MySpace, the article says.

So will Specific's MySpace strategy succeed where others have failed? It's hard to say. I've enjoyed using MySpace as a way to find new music (though not to connect with "buddies," etc.), so I'll be looking in on the retooled version.

It's a sad ending for MySpace, which was once the hottest social-media website before it got lapped by Facebook. The good news for MySpace is that it's fallen so far from its heights that there's nowhere to go but up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Gillian Welch, Eilen Jewell, & More

"The Harrow And The Harvest" by Gillian Welch (shown above with David Rawlings), which comes out June 28th, is available for free online preview. Photo: Flickr user furtwangl.
There are quite a few good new albums available for free preview this week, especially from AOL Music and Spinner. Among the ones I'm most looking forward too are the new CDs from three Americana singer-songwriters: Eilen (pronounced "feelin'") Jewell, Gillian Welch, and Jolie Holland (former of the Be-Good Tanyas).

There are many other new releases you can preview (as always, I've listed just a sampling below), and Spinner is also offering online streaming of some of the CDs its dubbed the year's best so far, including those by Adele, Fleet Foxes, Tennis, and Yuck (odd name, good album).

NPR First Listen:
  • "The Harrow And The Harvest" by Gillian Welch's Listening Party:
  • "High Horses and Heels" by Marianne Faithfull
  • "Phoenix Rising" by Deep Purple
  • "Culture of Fear" by Thievery Corporation
  • "Pint of Blood" by Jolie Holland
  • ... and Spinner's Best of 2011 albums (so far), including "21" by Adele, "Arabia Mountain" by Black Lips, "Dye It Blonde" by the Smith Westerns, and "Helplessnes Blues" by Fleet Foxes
AOL Music Listening Party: 
  • "Taking Back Sunday" by Taking Back Sunday
  • "Queen of the Minor Key" by Eilen Jewell
  • ... and a number of albums by artists I haven't heard of, but sound interesting, including: "Liquid Zoo" by 100 Monkeys, "Idle Ages" by Junior Battles, and "The Verge" by There for Tomorrow

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Music Notes: Free Soul at Summerstage; Case & Cave Cover The Zombies; Danny Amis Benefit; More

Neko Case and Nick Cave cover The Zombies' "She's Not There," and you can hear it at the link below.

Here's a collection of music news items from New York and Hoboken to Brazil and Croatia.

* Soul is on the menu at a free SummerStage show today, June 25th, at the main stage in Central Park. Lee Fields & The Expressions headline (6:30 p.m.), preceded by neo-soul band Fitz and the Tantrums (5 p.m.) and the trio KING (4 p.m.). Doors open for the show at 3 p.m. (See NY Daily News article on Fitz and the Tantrums)

* Neko Case and Nick Cave have teamed up to record a cover of the classic 1960s hit "She's Not There" by The Zombies, and you can stream it from KCRW. The song was recorded for use in the HBO TV show "True Blood," and at the blog post above you can hear the story of how the version came about by Gary Calamar, who is both a KCRW DJ and the music supervisor for "True Blood." The Case & Cave version of "She's Not There" will be for sale on iTunes after the June 26th premiere of "True Blood"'s fourth season.

* Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley Yo La Tengo will headline a show this Wednesday at Maxwell's to benefit Hoboken native Danny Amis, a member of the band Los Straitjackets. Amis was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of bone-marrow cancer, last year. Other bands playing at the show are The Individuals, The Schramms, Purple Knife, and Tall Lonesome Pines. Tickets for the show are $15. (Buy Danny Amis benefit tickets here.) Also, Los Straitjackets play Maxwell's on August 4th.

* I ended up missing the big Bottom Line tribute to New York show at the World Financial Center the other night, but it sounded like a great night of music, according to the review here. And the live show wasn't the only news: it was apparently mentioned at the gig that the defunct club's owners, Allan Pepper and Stanley Snadowsky, are near a deal on opening a new Bottom Line. That would be great news indeed, and I look forward to hearing more about where the club will be located and when it will open.

* Looking for some interesting rock/pop music from different countries? The L.A. Times has an article featuring songs from nations around the world (with streams of them), chosen by music journalists or critics from the home countries. You'll hear tunes from countries you may not have heard from in terms of music, including Germany, Austria, and Romania. I'm glad to see that the tune representing the U.K. is from Glasgow rockers Sons & Daughters, whom I'm a fan of.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Free Shows in NYC Tonight: the Bottom Line's New York, Tift Merritt, Ozomatli

Willie Nile is one of the many NYC artists playing the "New York on My Mind" show at Rockefeller Park tonight.

In one of those abundance-of-riches situations you often see in the summer in NYC, there are three great free concerts in the City Wednesday night. The one I'll be at is the The Bottom Line Presents: New York on My Mind at Rockefeller Park [UPDATE: the World Financial Center's Winter Garden] in Lower Manhattan. This show features many of the local New York artists (often in the singer-songwriter vein) who often played at The Bottom Line, the much-loved Greenwich Village club that gave many acts their start or a welcome place to come back to (and that closed down several years ago).

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had a multi-night stand their early in their career, and the artists I've seen there range from The Waitresses (in the early '80s) to Suzanne Vega and Patty Griffin and former Cream bassist Jack Bruce.

Appearing at Wednesday's "New York on My Mind" show are Rosanne Cash, Marshall Crenshaw, Garland Jeffreys, Willie Nile, Martin Rivas, Suzzy and Lucy Wainwright Roche, Catherine Russell, longtime NYC DJ Vin Scelsa, Loudon Wainwright III, Dar Williams, and more guests. Producer and guitarist John Leventhal (who is also Cash's husband) serves as music director for the show, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Rockefeller Park, north end of Battery Park City, at the corner of River Terrace and Warren Street.

Tift Merritt performs "Broken" at SXSW in 2008.

Over at at Madison Square Park, Americana singer-songwriter-guitarist Tift Merritt and band will play the 2011 Mad. Sq. Music series. Merritt's albums and performances have attracted praise from many quarters, and she'll no doubt be playing a number of tunes from her latest album, "See You On the Moon." (See an NPR story on Tift Merritt here.) The show is scheduled to run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. 23rd Street & 5th Avenue.

Out in Brooklyn, the Los Angeles-based Latino band Ozomatli, which mixes salsa, funk, hip-hop, and more, will play Red Hook Park as part of Summerstage. The band's diversity of influences and styles was no doubt part of the reason Ozomatli was chosen to serve as official U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors. Ozomatli is known for its energetic shows, and they'll be performing at 7 p.m. Red Hook Park, Otsego, Bay, Hicks, Lorraine, Court, Halleck Streets. (See Google Maps directions here.)

NOTE: Rain is predicted for Wednesday afternoon and evening, which may affect these shows. The Twitter accounts for each series should be a good source of up-to-date information: @R2RFestival, @MadSqParkNYC, and @Summerstage. [The River to River show has been moved indoors; the Madison Square and Summerstage shows are rain or shine.]

Monday, June 20, 2011

Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Gomez and Dave Alvin; Buddy Holly Covers; & More

The latest album from British rock band Gomez is one of the new CDs available for free preview this week.

The new album by British band Gomez and a couple of collections featuring big names highlight the free album previews available this week.

"Rave On Buddy Holly" features cover songs of the rock pioneer by the likes of Paul McCartney, Fiona Apple and Jon Brion, The Black Keys, Florence and The Machine, Patti Smith, Cee Lo Green, and more.

And "Red Hot + Rio 2," the latest in the series of HIV benefit records, features performers including John Legend and Bebel Gilberto, as well as intriguing collaborations between American and Latin musicians such as Beck and Seu Jorge, Of Montreal and Os Mutantes, and Mia Doi Todd and José González.

NPR First Listen:
  • "Rave On Buddy Holly" by various artists
  • "Red Hot + Rio 2" by various artists

KCRW Album Preview: 
  • "Sound Kapital" by Handsome Furs - the duo of Wolf Parade frontman Dan Boeckner and his wife Alexei Perry (streaming until July 20) and AOL Music Listening Party:
  • "Whatever's on Your Mind" by Gomez
  • "Eleven Eleven by Dave Alvin
  • "We Are the Champions" by Jeff the Brotherhood
  • ... and many more, including albums by artists I don't know but am listening to this week, including Bobby, FM Belfast, Skysaw (featuring former Smashing Pumpkins member Jimmy Chamberlin), the Parlotones, Crossfade, Danko Jones, the Emily Zuzik Band, Pixikill, Noise by Numbers, Priory, and Miracle Parade

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band Dies of Stroke Complications

Bruce Springsteen introducing Clarence "Big Man" Clemons in concert.

It's a sad day from the Jersey Shore to the rest of the rock and roll world: Clarence Clemons, the "Big Man" who anchored Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band for decades, died Saturday from complications of a stroke he suffered last weekend.

Though he was nearing the age of 70 (I didn't realize he was quite that old) and had suffered a number of injuries, Clemons had been planning on joining the E Street Band on its next tour, planned for 2012. Clemons had played with Springsteen for 40 years, and his importance to the singer and the band was evident from the cover of the breakthrough album "Born to Run": Clemons is the only member of the band to appear with Springsteen, with the scruffy young singer holding his guitar and leaning on the Big Man, who is blowing his sax.

For more details about Clarence Clemons and his life, see this detailed article from's Tris McCall. (I found the introduction video above at the article as well.) You can find the New York Times obituary here and an L.A. Times blog post here.

As the article mentions, Clemons remained a force and kept playing, with Springsteen and with other projects, right up until the end, despite numerous health setbacks. (Besides knee replacements, he apparently also had had spinal operations.) Recently he had played on Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" album, and had performed with her on an American Idol episode. Clemons can also be seen playing his sax in Gaga's just-released video for "The Edge of Glory."

Statement on Bruce Springsteen's website on the passing of Clarence Clemons:
It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th.

Bruce Springsteen said of Clarence: Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.
It's not uncommon for musicians to pass away, of course, and Clarence Clemons lived a longer life than many of them. But this one hits me harder than almost all others, not only because he was such a key member of the band but because I've followed Springsteen's career (and that of Clemons) for so long.

I first heard of Bruce Springsteen in 1973 and saw him for the first time at the Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park, where he was a late replacement for Boz Scaggs, the second of three acts on the bill. (The headlining act was... Anne Murray, yes, the Canadian singer known for the pop hit "Snowbird.")

Rest in peace, Big Man. You gave a lot of people a lot of enjoyment over the years, and for those of us in the NYC/NJ area who knew of you before "Born to Run," we got to enjoy your playing a little longer than other people. Thanks for all the great music.

What are your favorite memories of or stories involving Clarence Clemons?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Brooklyn Northside & Other Festivals this Weekend; Tickets for Foo Fighters & X On Sale

The annual Clearwater festival in Croton Point Park takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

There's a mish-mash of news and events involving live music today and this weekend in the greater New York area. The live stuff coming up:

* Clearwater's Hudson River Revival takes place tomorrow and Sunday at Croton Point Park in Westchester County. Saturday's lineup includes Josh Ritter, Janis Ian, the Low Anthem, and the Felice Brothers, among many others. Taking the stage on Sunday are Drive-By Truckers, Suzanne Vega, Indigo Girls, Justin Townes Earl, Joel Plaskett, and many more.

* Brooklyn's Northside Festival began yesterday in Williamsburg and runs through Sunday the 19th. There's plenty of music going on during the day and evening, in venues ranging from Brooklyn Bowl to Bruar Falls. A number of the shows are free, and others have low admission of between $5 to $10.

One of the Saturday night Northside shows features Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces, Ida, and Rebecca Gates of The Spinanes at Europa; tickets are $15 and $17.

The most high-profile event of the Northside Festival is tomorrow's show at McCarren Park Pool featuring Guided by Voices (scheduled to hit the stage at 7 p.m., preceded by Wavves (6 p.m.), Surfer Blood (5 p.m.), and The Babies (4 p.m.) Tickets are available here for $30 or $35 day of show.

* The Governors Ball on Governors Island takes place Saturday, beginning shortly after noon. The festival has music all day and into the night and claims no overlapping sets, so fans can see all the music. Acts include Girl Talk, Pretty Lights, Empire of the Sun, Neon Indian, Big Boi of Outkast, Das Racist, and Passion Pit doing a DJ set.

And, tickets went on sale Friday for what are sure to be two in-demand shows later on this Fall:

* Foo Fighters at the Prudential Center, Newark on Mon., Nov. 14

* Legendary L.A. punk band X plays Irving Plaza for two shows on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The show is billed as "X - the Unheard Music and Los Angeles," so I'm guessing they'll play the Los Angeles album in its entirety, as well as songs from Unheard Music, the 1980s documentary about the band.

Also, I got an e-mail today that Steely Dan will perform "The Royal Scam" album and "select hits" at the Beacon Theatre on Fri., Sept. 20. Tickets went on sale a few weeks ago.

These should all be fun shows.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Coverville, the Cover-Song Podcast: The Who, Guns 'N Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, & More

Recent episodes on the Coverville podcast include covers of songs by everyone from The Who and Bob Dylan to Guns N' Roses and Grace Jones.
It's been a long time since I posted an update on recent episodes from Coverville, the free cover-song podcast. So here's a look at some of the episodes that have come out lately (OK, going back to April). As usual with Coverville, most episodes spotlight a specific artist, but there are also podcasts on a certain genre (such as the country music episode).
  • The Who #2 (including "Substitute" by Graham Parker, "I Can't Explain" by Scorpions, and "The Seeker" by Rush)
  • Guns 'N Roses (featuring "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Taken by Trees, "Don't Cry" by Mogwai, and "Welcome to the Jungle" by Wave in Head)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers (including "Give It Away" by Bjørn Berge, "Under the Bridge" by Straight No Chaser, and "Californication" by Vitamin String Quartet)
  • Country song covers #2 - country-style covers of pop hits (including " Life In a Northern Town (Live)" by Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen; "You Shook Me All Night Long" by Big and Rich, and "Tequila Sunrise" by Alan Jackson)
  • The Pretenders #2 (featuring "Don't Get Me Wrong" by Lily Allen, "Brass in Pocket" by Kelis, and "Talk of the Town" by the Pernice Brothers)
  • Bob Dylan #4  (including "Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright" by Curtis Stigers, "Blowin’ In The Wind" by Jools Holland and Ruby Turner, and "Girl from The North Country" by Eels)
Also recently featured on Coverville: Steve Winwood, Grace Jones, Muse, the podcast's second Madonna cover song episode, and more, including covers of songs from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Goodfellas."

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Free Album Streaming: New CDs from Garland Jeffreys, My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver, & More

    My Morning Jacket plays the title song from its new album "Circuital" on VH1 Storytellers.  "Circuital" is currently streaming free on KCRW.

    This week's free album previews include a lot of indie and alternative bands, including the new CDs from the hugely popular jam band My Morning Jacket, New York singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys,  and Justin Vernon, who performs under the name Bon Iver.

    KCRW Album Preview: 
    • "Circuital" by My Morning Jacket (streaming until June 21)
    • "It’s A Corporate World" by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (streaming until June 28)
    NPR First Listen:
    • "Bon Iver" by Bon Iver's Listening Party:
    • "The King of In Between" by Garland Jeffreys
    • "There Is a Way" by Dananananaykroyd
    And a couple of notable collections/re-releases:
    • "A Treasure" by Neil Young (live tracks from his 1984-85 tour, including several previously unreleased tracks. Find an L.A. Times story on the album here)
    • "Bakesale" by Sebadoh (re-release of the band's fifth album)
    Also, Spinner and AOL Music have some new albums by indie artists I'm not familiar with but want to check out, such as the Dear Hunter, WOODS, and Radical Dads.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Live Festival Music: Watch Bonnaroo's Final Day; Download Sasquatch Sets

    Bonnaroo 2011 draws to a close today, but the good news is that you can watch live sets online from the final day (and night), with continuous music from different stages. From the other side of the U.S., There are also podcasts of live sets from Memorial Day weekend's Sasquatch festival that you can download from NPR Music (yeah, I'm a couple of weeks late to posting this, but there are plenty of good sets posted online, and they're still available).

    First up, the live webcast schedule for today's Bonnaroo finale:
    • 4 - 4:30 p.m. ET - Bootsy Collins
    • 4:30 - 5:15 - Chiddy Bang
    • 5:15 - 6 - Galactic
    • 6 - 7:15 - Cold War Kids
    • 7:15 - 7:45 - Warren Haynes Band
    • 7:45 - 9:15 - The Strokes
    • 9:15 - 9:45 - Explosions in the Sky
    • 9:45 - 12:15 - Widespread Panic
    About 40 live sets from Sasquatch 2011 are available for streaming (and many for download too, it seems). Among the ones I'll be checking out in this abundance of live music are the sets by:
    • Bob Mould
    • The Thermals
    • Death Cab for Cutie
    • Death from Above 1979
    • Guided by Voices
    • Foo Fighters
    • Basia Bulat
    • Flogging Molly
    • The Flaming Lips
    • Wye Oak
    • Deerhunter
    • Rodrigo y Gabriela
    • Rebecca Gates
    • Sharon Van Etten
    • The Head and the Heart 
    Happy listening!

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Music Notes: Hot Shows on Sale; Les Paul Google Doodle; & the Deal Sisters Turn 50

    Happy 50th birthday to those rock & roll twins, Kim & Kelley Deal!

    Here's a mish-mash of musical updates for June 10th...

    * The most timely news involves some in-demand gigs that went on sale today:

    * Many work hours were no doubt lost on Thursday to employees playing around with the very cool Les Paul "Google doodle" featuring playable guitar strings (Les Paul, who died in 2009, would have turned 96 on Thursday). The guitar-string doodle was so popular that Google kept it as its logo on Friday, and now it has gone one step further: it has created a permanent home for the Les Paul guitar doodle, says the L.A. Times. You can find it, and play it, at

    * And speaking of birthdays, June 10th marked The Big Five-0 for those rocking twin sisters, Kim and Kelley Deal. The Dayton, Ohio natives have been on the scene a long time, in bands from The Pixies and The Amps (Kim) to The Breeders (Kim and Kelley). (See the video for the Breeders' classic song, "Cannonball," above, from their Last Splash album.) Happy birthday and many more to the Deal sisters.

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    Schedule for (the Remaining) "Today" and "Good Morning America" Free Summer 2011 Concerts

    Florence and the Machine (featuring Florence Welch, above) play the GMA Concert Series on June 24. Photo: Rosario López
    For music fans in NYC who don't mind rising really early for the chance to see some big-name pop acts for free, the Today show and Good Morning America summer concerts are a welcome rite of the season. If you don't like waking up quite so early, you can watch the performances on TV. But you'll only see a few songs (maybe a couple), whereas if you're there in person you'll see a longer set and possibly a couple of takes of some songs as the bands warm up.

    In a perfect world I would have posted these lists before the series actually started (instead of several weeks in), but there are plenty of shows to come, so better late than never.

    All shows for both series take place on Friday mornings.

    NBC Today Show Free Summer Concert Series, Rockefeller Plaza
    Listed show time: 7 a.m.
    June 10 - The Script
    June 17 – Kenny Chesney
    June 24 – Bruno Mars
    July 1 – Pitbull featuring T-Pain and Ne-Yo
    July 8 – Blake Shelton
    July 15 – Chris Brown
    July 22 – Cee Lo Green
    July 29 – Journey
    August 5 – Maroon 5
    August 12 – Zac Brown Band
    August 19 – Enrique Iglesias
    August 26 – Train
    Sept. 2 – Lenny Kravitz

    ABC Good Morning America Summer Concert Series, Rumsey Playfield (Central Park):
    Listed show time: between 7 and 9 a.m. (the TV show's air time)
    June 10 – Jennifer Hudson
    June 17 – Selena Gomez
    June 24 – Florence & the Machine
    July 1 – Beyonce
    July 8 – Miranda Lambert
    July 15 – Brad Paisley
    July 22 – Goo Goo Dolls
    July 29 – Debbie Gibson and Tiffany
    August 5 – Nicki Minaj
    August 12 – American Idol Top 11
    August 19 – Taio Cruz
    August 26 – TBD
    September 2 – Mary J Blige

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Free NYC Concerts This Week: Black Eyed Peas (Central Park, June 9th); Coheed & Cambria (Williamsburg, June 11th)

    All the Black Eyed Peas tickets are spoken for, but you can get in to see Coheed and Cambria Saturday.

    UPDATE #3, 6/10: Robin Hood says in a statement on their website that it's not giving up on the Concert 4 NYC idea, and notes, "We are exploring our options and hope to announce to you soon what our next plan will be."
    UPDATE #2, 6/9: The Concert 4 NYC with the Black Eyed Peas has been CANCELLED due to inclement weather, and spectators are being asked to leave the Park. The start of Thursday's Black Eyed Peas concerts is delayed by an hour due to thunderstorms expected to move through the NYC area. According to the Robin Hood Foundation's Twitter account (follow the for the latest updates), "Gate opening delayed. Pending weather conditions, gates are projected to open at 7:30 with an 8:30 show start."
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    In addition to the free concerts being staged by Celebrate Brooklyn and SummerStage, this week features two no-cost rock shows with very different types of music.

    The Black Eyed Peas play Central Park's Great Lawn tomorrow night, June 9th, in a show called the "Concert 4 NYC" to raise money and awareness for the poverty-fighting Robin Hood Foundation. Tickets are free, but ticketholders have already been chosen via a lottery.

    I haven't been around one of these huge Central Park free shows in recent years, so I don't know if you can get inside the Park close enough to hear if you're not one of the 54,000 lucky lottery ticket recipients. With some shows, I believe people were prevented from entering Central Park at various locations to try to prevent overcrowding.

    The Black Eyed Peas show is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., and if you can't be there you can watch it live online on LiveStream here.

    According to a blog post at, the B.E.P.'s will have a host of special guests, including Taylor Swift, LL Cool J, Natasha Bedingfield, and Blondie's Debbie Harry, among others. Note: temperatures of up to 97 degrees with high humidity are predicted for tomorrow, so dress and hydrate accordingly.

    For something completely different (and at a much smaller scale), Coheed and Cambria are playing a free gig on the Williamsburg Waterfront on Saturday, June 11th. Also on the bill are the Adrian Belew Power Trio and Tigers Jaw. You won't need a ticket to get into this one, but entry is on a first-come, first-served, and doors open at 5:30 p.m. It's unclear what time the show actually starts, but it's scheduled to end at 10 p.m.

    The location for the show is East River State Park at North 8th Street and Kent Avenue.

    According to a post on their Facebook page, Coheed and Cambria the band will be "playing a free encore performance of their wildly successful Neverender: SSTB tour," featuring an acoustic opening set; an electric performance in its entirety of their debut album, "The Second Stage Turbine Blade;" and a "short encore set of songs from other albums."

    Legendary guitarist Adrian Belew, best known as a member of King Crimson, will be on the bill with his current trio.

    Are you going to either of these shows? What other live gigs (free or otherwise) are you looking forward to seeing this week?

    Sunday, June 05, 2011

    Review: Go-Go's Mark 30th Anniversary of First Album with NYC Concert

    The Go-Go's at Irving Plaza: Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, Jane Wiedlin. (Not seen: Gina Schock, on drums).

    It's been 30 years since the Go-Go's first album, "Beauty and the Beat," and Friday night they returned to New York, the city where it was recorded. Despite all the years that have passed, the Go-Go's still sound great. Belinda Carlisle's voice is still in fine shape, and the playing sounds as good as ever. Friday's show sounded as good as the last Go-Go's show I saw, at the Nokia Theatre Times Square, which was to mark the 25th anniversary of "Beauty and the Beat" (and which featured the band playing the album start to finish).

    After an opening set by the Dollyrots (whose song "Because I'm Awesome" I've been a fan of for the last nine months or so), the Go-Go's took the stage and kicked things off with "Vacation." Though it's one of their biggest hits, it was one of only a few songs from that album that the band played. Most of "Beauty and the Beat" found its way into the setlist, and I was glad to hear not just the hits but tunes like "How Much More" and "Skidmarks on My Heart." (I would have been even happier to hear "Can't Stop the World," but I'll live.)

    Belinda Carlisle, Kathy Valentine, and Jane Wiedlin.
    A few songs you won't find on a Go-Go's album: a cover of Carlisle's "Mad About You" ("Go-Go-fied," as the band put it); "Cool Places," which guitarist Jane Wiedlin recorded with Sparks; and the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper," which they said they played because it was older than their songs. The band also played "Surfing and Spying" (an old B-side) and "Fun with Ropes," which had been previously unreleased until the "Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's" album.

    "Talk Show," which I've always felt was a very good and underappreciated album, was represented by just one song, the single "Head Over Heels" (which Wiedlin said was her favorite Go-Go's song).

     The band seemed to be having a ball, and I hope this means that they will keep an open mind to continuing their tour or staging another one. These ladies can still rock.

    - - - - - - -
    UPDATE: The Go-Go's had to postpone two gigs (official statement) after the NYC show (Atlantic City and Foxwoods Casino) because Belinda Carlisle had vocal problems and was advised by a doctor to rest her voice. You can check the official Go-Go's Twitter account (@officialgogos) for updates. No word yet on when the Go-Go's will reschedule these dates. The tour will resume tomorrow in Westbury, NY.

    Friday, June 03, 2011

    Go-Go's on "GMA" This Morning; Playing Irving Plaza Tonight (Tix Still Available)

    Those icons of 1980s girl-power rock/pop, Go-Go's, are back together and touring this summer, and they appeared on "Good Morning America" this morning. If you couldn't be in Central Park at 7 a.m. to watch (or be awake at that hour to watch on TV), you can see a replay of some of the songs above.

    Better yet, you can see them live at Irving Plaza tonight, because Go-Go's tickets are still available as of this writing (maybe because tickets cost $80 with fees, etc. included, which could be steep for this still-sluggish economy).

    The Go-Go's are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their "Beauty and the Beat" album, which featured such hits as "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips are Sealed."

    Billed as the "Ladies Gone Wild Tour," this is the rescheduled tour that was supposed to take place last summer but was scratched when Jane Wiedlin injured her knee while hiking and had to undergo surgery and a long recovery. Last year's tour was billed as the group's farewell, but this one isn't—a sign that the group may continue on?

    They were asked about that on "Good Morning America" and Wiedlin says that this is the "we don't know what the heck we're doing tour," and Charlotte Caffey said the band was staying together "as far as we know."

    You can find all the Go-Go's tour dates here. Other tri-state dates include Atlantic City tomorrow, Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut on Sunday, and Westbury Music Fair on Long Island on June 7th.