Time to lift a tall one in honor of Willie Nelson, who turned 76 today. As if there weren't enough reasons to love the guy, now there's heartwarming news that Nelson recently crossed paths with Phosphorescent, the indie-rock band from Brooklyn whose "To Willie," a tribute album featuring some of Nelson's lesser-known songs, was released earlier this year.
When I interviewed Phosphorescent frontman Matthew Houck (above with Nelson) back in February, he told me he had never met Nelson and didn't know if the country legend was even aware of the album.
Well, it turns out Nelson has heard "To Willie" and loves it. So much, in fact, that he invited Houck and his Phosphorescent bandmates to a recent show in New Jersey. Phosphorescent, in turn, recorded an exclusive session for "Willie's Place," Nelson's Sirius XM satellite radio channel. It airs tonight at 9 p.m. EST.
It's nice to see Willie appreciates the heartfelt tribute, which I've had in heavy rotation the past few months. You can hear some songs here (don't miss "Can I Sleep In Your Arms"). Oh, and for the record, Houck says his favorite Nelson record is probably 1982's "Always on My Mind."
The Bat for Lashes show scheduled for the Paradise tonight has been canceled. The only reason given was "unexpected circumstances." The show will be rescheduled in early August but no specific date has been announced yet. All tickets from tonight's show will be honored for this date.
Correspondent Scott McLennan was our man at the WBCN Rock ’N Roll Rumble Friday night:
The finals of the 31st annual WBCN Rock ’N Roll Rumble pitted polish, flamboyance, and grit against one another at the Middle East Downstairs Friday night, and in the end, polish conquered all as the Luxury took home the prize.
The pop rockers, playing in the wild card slot, faced off against the glam rock of Gene Dante and the Future Starlets and the guitar rock of the Dirty Truckers. A panel of five judges was left to decide which finalist, culled from an opening field of 24 bands, best played to its particular strength, and the Luxury left little room for argument.
The Luxury went on first, never the desired position in a battle of the bands. Yet rather than merely building up sandbags against formidable opponents, the band set a high standard with a wildly entertaining performance that never felt forced. It deftly deployed vocal harmonies and smartly employed keyboard-bolstered song arrangements to bridge arena bombast with club intimacy. Well-honed material such as the psychedelic “Malcontent” and gauzy “Rockets and Wrecking Balls” grounded the set, while new songs like the hard-charging “Next in Line” injected new energy.
The Luxury’s convincing Rumble win (one judge said the band was the runaway favorite) followed its selection to open for Coldplay last year at the TD Banknorth Garden, setting the stage nicely for a Luxury record release in July.
Singer Gene Dante and his Starlets offered a bit of lusty decadence that drew from such glam wellsprings as David Bowie and Duran Duran, while the Dirty Truckers kicked out old-fashioned rock bound up in roots and twang. Somewhere between the polar span separating the two, the Luxury found the sweet spot.
The Outlets, a Rumble band from the Class of 1981, performed a blistering special-guest set after the competitive rounds. The Barton brothers -- Rick on guitar, Alex on vocals -- expertly led their band through such past glories as “Knock Me Down” and “So Wired” that once defined Boston’s garage-punk-infused scene.
Witnessing the vets and aspiring Rumble participants together, it was easy to appreciate the expanse and continuity of the city’s vibrant music scene.
With Sum 41, Frank Turner
At the Tsongas Arena
Friday, July 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Tickets are $37.00 and go on sale Friday, April 24 at 4 pm
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival ’09 featuring Marilyn Manson and Slayer
With Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse and more
At the Comcast Center
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm
Tickets are $25.25, $39.75, $49.75, $69.75, $99.00 and 4-pack lawn ticket special for $79.00* (* plus $7.00 venue charge and applicable convenience fees per ticket). Tickets go on sale Friday, April 24 at 10 am
Blazed and Confused Tour featuring Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg
With Special Guest Stephen Marley
At the Comcast Center
Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 6:00 pm
Tickets are $13.50, $22.50 and $30.15 *(* plus $7.00 venue charge and applicable convenience fees per ticket). Tickets go on sale Monday, April 27 at 4 pm (Not 4:20?)
PJ Harvey & John Parish
At the House of Blues
Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $25 and $35 and go on sale Friday, April 24 at 10 am.
Tickets are available at www.livenation.com, www.hob.com/boston and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone 800-745-3000.
It seems fitting since it's Earth Day that 92.9's Earthfest line-up was announced today. The Lemonheads, Soul Asylum, Seven Mary Three, and Shawn Mullins will respectively be alt, grunge, and folk-rocking the 16th annual free show at the Hatch Shell in support of all things green on May 30 from noon-5 p.m.
As in past years the esplanade will be filled with environmental exhibits and an interactive family area with a stage featuring kid-friendly music. Bike valet service will once again be offered by Mass Bike. For more information check out the Earthfest website.
Kelly Clarkson has yet to unveil tour dates to promote her new album "All I Ever Wanted" but she will be playing a gig in Boston next month. The pop star is taking part in the Grammy Celebration Concert Tour, which comes to the House of Blues on May 4. Lady GaGa will return to the scene of her recent sold out performance to play as well.
The concert tour -- which has featured artists like Leona Lewis and Natasha Bedingfield in other cities- is sponsored by T-Mobile Sidekick and getting tickets involves a dance with the cell phone company. Starting today you can go to one of the participating local stores and either: buy a phone, play some in-store game, or show them your existing T-Mobile Sidekick to get free tickets to the show.
You can find the participating stores and get all the "no purchase is necessary"-type details here.
Correspondent Scott McLennan reports back from the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in Worcester last Friday:
For heavy-metal fans, the opening of the 11th New England Metal and Hardcore Festival at the Palladium was like an early Christmas. Only louder. And sweatier.
Metal is not a style of music lauded for its nuance, but a creatively packaged fest brings to light the twists and turns the genre has to offer. On Friday, the bill ranged from the dire menace of the Acacia Strain to the subhuman thrash of UK vets Napalm Death to brutal diatribes from Suffocation to the taut wallop of All That Remains (above). It was gratifying to see the locally bred Acacia Strain and All That Remains deliver on the promise of so many previous Metalfest sets, which served as stepping stones in their respective careers. North Carolina's Between the Buried and Me delivered Friday’s most memorable set, rising above the din with manically paced epics that pushed the quintet past the traditional boundaries of aggressive music.
Best T-shirt of the night: a Spinal Tap-inspired “This festival goes to 11.”
With Saturday’s show headlined by Lamb of God sold out in advance, it seems Metalfest was able to trump the recession blues.
For the second annual Record Store Day celebration, independent music retailers throughout Massachusetts are selling a slew of special products. In honor of the day artists from Bob Dylan to Radiohead to Slayer are offering everything from t-shirts to CDs and DVDs and exclusive vinyl 7" and 10"'s.
Newbury Comics will also be hosting live performances and signings at its various New England outlets. Sarah Borges and the Low Anthem will perform at the flagship store on Newbury St. Lamb of God will be signing in Shrewsbury. And State Radio will be appearing at Faneuil Hall.
For a complete line-up of Newbury Comics performances click here.
For more info on the musical exclusives visit the Record Store Day site.
Here's a list of participating stores in Massachusetts:
Aboveground Records, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
Listen Up Music, Natick
Music DNA, Methuen
Newbury Comics, 28 locations throughout New England
Rebel Sound Records, Pittsfield
Record Connection, Waterville
Spinnaker Records, Hyannis
That's Entertainment, Worcester
Turn It Up! Northampton
Weirdo Records, Cambridge
Here are the pertinent deets:
Tickets for this all-ages event are $36 in advance, $40 day of show (plus any applicable fees). Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 18 at 11am online at www.wilcoworld.net, www.highergroundmusic.com/wilco, or charge by phone at 888-512-SHOW (7469). Tickets will also be available in person at the LeLacheur Park Box Office starting Tues, April 21st.
LeLacheur Park is located at 450 Aiken St., Lowell. No outside food or beverages allowed. Gates open at 5:30pm with the show beginning promptly at 7pm, rain or shine.
In other Wilco news, the band's latest concert DVD "Ashes of American Flags," will be released this Saturday April 18 at independent retailers nationwide in conjunction with Record Store Day. Recorded at five shows on the group's 2008 tour, the DVD includes concert footage and band interviews.
Phil Spector, the legendary music producer who's stamp is all over the past 50 years of pop music, was convicted this afternoon of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a film actress at his mansion six years ago.
Check out the video below.
The summer concert season is filling in fast. Here's the latest:
At the Orpheum Theatre
Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Tickets are $32 and go on sale April 10 at 10 am
At the Berklee Performance Center
Friday, May 29, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Tickets are $30 and go on sale April 10 at 10 am
New Kids on the Block
At the Comcast Center
Friday, June 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm
Tickets are $10-$75 and a 4-pack lawn ticket special for $40.00* and go on sale April 13 at 10 am. (* plus $7.00 venue charge and applicable convenience fees per ticket)
Judas Priest/ Whitesnake
At the Comcast Center
Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm
Tickets are $20-$45* and go on sale April 11 at 10 am. (* plus $7.00 venue charge and applicable convenience fees per ticket)
With Amanda Blank, Trouble Andrew
At House of Blues
Monday, June 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $25, $35 VIP and go on sale April 11 at 10 am
With Man Man
At House of Blues
Friday, June 5, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $22.00 adv. and $25.00 d.o.s.and go on sale April 11 at 10 am
SMV- Stanley Clark, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten- THUNDER
At House of Blues
Saturday, June 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $35-$45 and go on sale April 11 at 10 am
Get The Led Out
At House of Blues
Friday, June 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $22 and go on sale April 10 at 10 am
At House of Blues
Thursday, June 13, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $25 adv. and $30 d.o.s. and go on sale April 11 at 10 am
An Evening with Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine
At House of Blues
Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $25 and $35 VIP and go on sale April 10 at 10 am
An Evening with Queensryche- Performing Extended Suites: Rage for Order/American Soldier/Empire
At House of Blues
Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $25 and go on sale April 10 at 10 am
For everybody shut out of Phish's June shows at the Comcast Center in the Great Phish ticket debacle of '09, the reunited Vermont rockers are confirming, with a fun little video on their website, that they will play Fenway Park on May 31.
According to the website a limited number of tickets are available directly through Phish Tickets' online ticketing system here until April 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Tickets - priced at $49.50 - will go on sale to the general public on Saturday April 18 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online through Live Nation, at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office, or by phone at 800-514-3849. No tickets will be sold at Fenway Park.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony returned to its hometown of Cleveland for the first time in 12 years last night to welcome the latest class of classic artists, early influences, and sidemen. It was a seriously diverse group with metal, funk, doo-wop, rockabilly, r&b, and hip-hop all represented.
For the first time the public was invited to attend and the balconies were chock full of fans, many of them there to see heavy metal titans Metallica take their place on the venerable roster.
The four hour and forty minute show was broadcast on Fuse live in its entirety. ("Sound Effects" had a live show in Boston to attend so we time-shifted and boy are we glad we got to zip through the commercials.)
Little Anthony and the Imperials
"Give yourself a treat, go see them somewhere because they are the bomb." - Smokey Robinson.
Robinson kept his induction speech short and heartfelt talking sweetly about the brotherhood shared by his group the Miracles and this Brooklyn vocal group who still sounded impressively tight 50 years on, singing a trio of their harmonious hits including "Tears on My Pillow."
"For girls with guitars, myself included, Wanda was the beginning of rock and roll." - Rosanne Cash
Cash gave one of the night's most touching and thoughtful speeches, detailing "early influence" Jackson's pioneering path and her ability to retain her femininity while competing as an equal in a serious boys club that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Jackson, looking fabulous and sounding tough as ever, was a treat as she ripped through her growly rockabilly hits like "Let's Have a Party" strumming her hot pink guitar, backed by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra.
Shaffer ushered this keyboard legend into the Hall with a very savvy induction speech, stringing together his famous piano and organ parts - from songs like "When a Man Loves a Woman," "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," and "Cry Like a Baby" - perfectly illustrating why this sideman and songwriter was such an integral part of the songs on which he played.
"Anybody who started work with Sam Cooke is alright with me." - Ronnie Wood
Wood rambled on a bit, at times incoherently but he rightly extolled the virtues of this Cleveland homeboy. Womack has an impressive list of credits as a guitarist (Sam Cooke, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone), songwriter (the Rolling Stones had their first U.K. number one with "It's All Over Now" and the J. Geils Band famously rocked out "Looking for a Love"), and solo perfomer ("Across 110th Street," "If You Think You're Lonely"). He sang the latter two with great grit and grace.
"If you grew up on hip-hop like I did they are the Beatles." - Eminem
Given his way with words when he's on his game it was no shock that Eminem did a bang-up job honoring his childhood heroes, even getting a little choked up in the process remembering his pre-teen self skipping school and running off to the store to buy "Tougher Than Leather" on cassette the day it came out.
The late Jam Master Jay got a lovely tribute from his proud mama and Rev Run got a little bit of his preacher on as he repeatedly expressed gratitude for "so much help, so many smart people." He also thanked his brother, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, for the brilliant ideas he came up with, apparently while drinking screwdrivers and smoking weed. DMC gave props to his adoptive parents and offered himself as a symbol of hope for foster children. Although few expected the surviving duo to perform it was disappointing- and inexplicable- that no one paid live tribute to them especially since Eminem and Joe Perry were both in the house.
DJ Fontana and Bill Black
Max Weinberg and Gary Tallent of the E Street Band could've taken a cue from Shaffer as their induction of these Elvis sidemen was heartfelt but l-o-o-o-ng and kind of dry. Fontana and Black's kids on the other hand were funny and poignant, with Black's daughter pointing out that the drummer and bassist should always be cherished since they "were the music behind the voice that shook the world."
"He leaves us mere mortals just wondering and having so much respect for him."- Jimmy Page
Page, a dear friend of Beck's since they were teens, paid both lovely lip service and actual musical service during a fiery jam of "Immigrant Song" that, along with "Beck's Bolero," proved that the guitar god, who plays the House of Blues on April 13, retains his singular tone and dexterity. An extremely humble Beck said "I've been naughty all my life and I don't deserve this."
"Whatever the intangible elements are that make a band the best, Metallica has them." - Flea
The voluble Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist obviously loves Metallica and that came through in his thoughtfully crafted homage, especially the part dedicated to late bassist Cliff Burton. And how classy was it of the band members to invite Burton's dad Ray and Jason Newsted to come up and accept along with them? (Apparently, they also invited original guitarist Dave Mustaine but he declined.) I also liked James Hetfield's not-at-all subtle directive to the Hall of Fame folks to include more metal pioneers including bands like Deep Purple, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest. The band, including Newsted, performed horns-up versions of "Master of Puppets" and "Enter Sandman."
Unfortunately, instead of several tunes featuring a variety of participants celebrating all of the inductees, the finale jam was a one off of "Train Kept A-Rollin.'" The line-up was certainly impressive though with a phalanx of guitars -Page, Beck, Wood, Hammett, Hetfield, and Joe Perry- a trio of bassists- Newsted, Rob Trujillo, and Flea - and Lars Ulrich on drums.
If you weren't one of the 72,000 people who snapped up tickets on Monday to the Sept. 20 U2 show at Gillette, pull yourself together and gear up for another try. The Irish rockers have added a second Gillette show on Sept. 21, and tickets go on sale Monday, April 6, at 10 a.m.
Tickets -- $32.50-$252.50 -- are available at www.livenation.com and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone 800-745-3000.
Get on your boots, people!
About Sound Effects
ContributorsSarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.
Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Julian Benbow is a staff writer at the Boston Globe, covering sports and music.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.