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Lady Antebellum: Brightens Up the Bowl

Lady Antebellum in Concert
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Hollywood Bowl

Special guests: Brett Young, Kelsea Ballerini

“You Look Good” World Tour

Merchandise purchased: T-shirt

Songs performed: Downtown , Our Kind of Love, This City, Dancin’ Away with my Heart, Heart Break, Compass, We Owned the Night, American Honey, I Run to You, Good Time to Be Alive, Thy Will, Hello World,You’re Still the One, Just a Kiss, You Look Good, Lookin’ for a Good Time, Something Like That,Crazy in Love,Love Don’t Live Here, Bartender, Need You Now, Allman Bros. cover songIMG_1239

Comments: Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum brought their trademark sound to the Hollywood Bowl last weekend. The “You Look Good” World Tour is in support of their new album “Heart Break” that is due to be released on June 9. The group is composed of Hillary Scott (lead vocals), Charles Kelley (lead vocals) and Dave Haywood (backing vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin). The group was formed back in 2006 in Nashville.

In 2016, the group took on various solo projects including Charles’ solo album “The Driver” and Hillary’s solo album (with the Scott Family) “Love Remains.” The new album is the group’s first since 2014’s “747.”

I have been a big fan of this group since the beginning. I saw them back in 2009 as an opening act for Keith Urban. They were a last-minute replacement for Sugarland, who had to cancel due to illness. I was happy with the change.

After the 2 opening acts, popular dance songs from Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Salt N Pepa and Justin Timberlake among others were played. People were shown on the big screens dancing in the audience. It all served as a warm-up to the headliners. In their Hollywood Bowl debut, the group delivered and then some. You got the big hits and album tracks, plus a few surprises too.

The show started with “Downtown” from their “Golden” album. For this tour, the band has added a horn section including a trumpet and a trombone. The horn players were the first band members seen and heard before the group made their entrance at the back of the stage in separate lighted rectangular boxes.

The stage set-up had a large video screen and panels of lights that moved around during the show. They have definitely upped their production values for this tour, which includes stops in Europe and South Africa too. The band utilized the ring around the front seats several times in the night. Charles also made his way out into the audience too for one number. (No where close to me, oh well!)

The 2 trademarks of the group were on full display: the harmonies/vocals plus their hit-making songwriting. This group has 2 excellent vocalists in Hillary and Charles. What is interesting is how often they are flirting with each other in song, and they are both married to other people.

The group did a little unplugged segment in the middle of the show including one of the songs from Hillary’s faith-based solo album, a track called “Thy Will.” No songs from Charles’ album. They also sang Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” during the unplugged segment.

For “You Look Good,” they brought out a full horn section to back them up. Is it country? Not sure, it is a very funky horn-filled number. So there were trumpets, trombones, sax, tuba, French horn and more. The show was a good mix of songs from their six studio albums. They are in the enviable position of having too many good songs to fit in one show. I would have liked to have heard more from the “747” album, but that was featured on the last tour.

There were some inspired cover songs during the last few numbers: “Something Like That” had Charles and Brett Young singing on a song originally performed by Tim McGraw. Then for “Crazy in Love,” you had Kelsea Ballerini and Hillary singing on the Beyoncé classic. It was one of the highlights of the night and there were many that night.

Southern California native Brett Young opened the show. He was wearing a gold Laker’s jersey that showed off his tanned and tattooed arms. The crowd responded well to his short set which included the current #1 country song “In Case You Didn’t Know.” For me, he is another good-looking, but forgettable, country boy in a crowded market.

The second opening act was Kelsea Ballerini. She has broken through in the last year or so on the strength of her debut album “The First Time.” She was also nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2017. She is filling the role of the country-pop female that was left by Taylor Swift. She debuted some new songs from her 2nd album that she is currently working on. She has a nice voice and a good personality. I can see her going further.

Thanks to Hillary, Charles and Dave for a great evening of music and artistry. I look forward to many more years of Lady Antebellum. I waited 8 years to see them in concert — and it was definitely worth the wait.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

 

 

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Concerts I Am Looking Forward to in 2015

As a huge live music fan, going to concerts is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I love the entire experience: you get to see your favorite artists and sing along to their songs. I love the energy of the crowd; the production values — lights, costumes, choreography; the big spectacle of it all. Like Madonna says “Music — makes the people come together”. So what shows am I looking forward to in 2015, read on:

Maroon 5
One of my favorite groups of the last 10 years, surprisingly I have never seen them live before. It’s not that I haven’t tried to get tickets, as I have, but they are always sold out. Yes, their albums have gotten more pop, and commercial since their first album, but I still like them. The group heads out of the “V” tour with special guest, Magic! this coming spring.

Taylor Swift
She is winning me over. When she first came out, I was shocked at how bad her vocals were. But she’s grown up, and gotten better control of her instrument and her range. She will never be Faith Hill, but that’s OK. Plus the whole pop thing fits well with her, she was always more pop than country anyways. Her tour will be in support of her “1989” album. She has quite the song catalog now too.

Little Big Town
This 4-person country vocal group has been one of my favorites since their song “Bring It on Home.” I have described their sound as the country version of Fleetwood Mac, as they trade off between male and female vocals on their songs. I am not so thrilled that their biggest hit “Pontoon” was pretty lame. But they have albums of great songs, so I can overlook that one. Opening acts include: Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne.

Bette Midler
The Divine Miss M is headed back on the road to promote her covers CD “It’s the Girls” — a tribute to female groups. She is looking to go “green” on this tour. I have seen some of her shows on video before. It should be a good show as she is a consummate performer.

Kenny Chesney/Jason Aldean
Two of country’s big guns head out for a series of co-headlining shows in stadium across the country. Jason is supporting his CD “Old Boots, New Dirt,” while Kenny is supporting his recent CD ‘The Big Revival.” Country hunk newcomer Brantley Gilbert will be opening for them on select dates.

Lady GaGa/Tony Bennett
2014’s most unlikely collaboration will result in some live shows in 2015. Their CD of standards “Cheek to Cheek” proved to be a success on many levels including a Grammy nomination. It will be interesting to see how much of their own song catalogs they fit into the shows. The tour even includes a stop at the legendary Hollywood Bowl.

Ariana Grande
She was definitely one of the biggest breakthrough acts of 2014 with her string of irresistible sing-along hits (Problem, Break Free, Bang Bang). Now she is heading out on the Honeymoon Tour with boy band Rixton and Cashmere Cat as opening acts. From what I have seen of her on TV, she will definitely be hitting the right notes on stage.

Idina Menzel
Broadway star Indina Menzel helped the “Frozen” soundtrack dominate the charts in 2014. She will be singing songs from Rent, Wicked, IF/Then and more I am sure. Maybe even some songs from “Glee” too. But for me, hearing her sing “Let It Go” live would be worth the price of admission alone.

Lady Antebellum
Country’s top trio head out on their Wheels Up Tour in support of their recent album “747”. Supporting acts include: Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt. Their irresistible vocal harmonies and catchy songs will make for a great concert.

So that’s my list. I hope you have a chance to catch these artists on the road in 2015. Look for me in the cheap seats. And of course, every show I go to I will blog about it too. Let me know who you want to see in 2015.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Concerts I Want to See in 2014

Seeing a performer live is one of my favorite things in life. The roar of the crowd, singing and dancing your heart out, the elaborate staging, choreography, special effects, lighting, great musicianship — I love everything about going to concerts. So who do I want to see in 2014? Read on:Katy Perry

Katy Perry
Katy-cats will be out in full force for her Prismatic World Tour 2014. Starting in the UK in May, it will be sure to hit the US later in the year. Featuring songs including her recent #1 smash “Roar” plus all the old favorites like “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed a Girl.”

Lady GaGa
Yes, she has taken a few lumps in the media and on the charts recently. But reality is she is an exciting live performer and is sure to come up with another pop spectacle. Lady GaGa’s ArtRave — the ArtPop Ball is sure to keep us entertained and make us fall in love with her again.

Lady Antebellum
Country’s reigning trio takes their signature harmonies back to the road on the “Take Me Downtown” Tour. Supporting the recent deluxe edition of their LP “Golden” along with special guests Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves.

Robin Thicke
Coming off the biggest year of his career thanks to  “Blurred Lines”, Robin will be taking his white-boy soul to arenas along with Jessie J. and DJ Cassidy.

Cher
Coming out of her touring retirement and after her Vegas engagement, Cher returns with her “Dressed to Kill” tour in support of her recent album “Closer to the Truth.” I saw her on her “Farewell” tour. But I am not so sure I am going this time… but I am sure it will be a good show.

Miley Cyrus
She has a career! Nobody was talking about her last year. And now she is coming off 2 big hit singles (We Can’t Stop, Wrecking Ball) and a hit album too (Bangerz). I hope that she does some of her old Hannah Montana songs too.

Sting and Paul Simon
Two old-timers touring together for the first time. Both came out of groups: Sting from the Police and Simon from Simon & Garfunkel. Both have long song catalogs and have been known to rework their old songs to new arrangements. It will probably be a 3-hour plus show.

Darius Rucker
Coming off one of the biggest hits of his career as a solo artist with “Wagon Wheel”, the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has had quite a run on the country charts. Supporting acts include: Eli Young Band and David Nail.

One Republic
Ryan Tedder’s group One Republic is heading out on a headlining tour for summer 2014. Besides leading his group, Ryan is an in-demand songwriter and producer. Opening act is The Script (Breakeven [Falling to Pieces], Hall of Fame).

Journey/Steve Miller Band
Classic rock mainstays Journey (Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms), and Steve Miller Band (Fly Like an Eagle, Abracadabra) are heading out on a co-headlining tour next summer. Opening act is horn-heavy funk group Tower of Power.

And lastly, a couple of acts I wouldn’t mind seeing on the road:

Duran Duran
They haven’t had a new album in a few years, but they are one of my all-time favorite groups. Great songs like The Reflex, Hungry Like the Wolf, and Wild Boys. They have only gotten better over the years with their performances.

Annie Lennox
I loved her with the Eurythmics, and her solo career was pretty good too. She is an awesome vocalist and a fantastic performer. Such a powerful vocal presence. She doesn’t have to have any new material, just come on tour already!

Tickets are on sale for most of these shows in 2014 already. So who do you want to see on tour next year? I would love to hear from you. And look for me in the cheap seats.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Summer Entertainment Wrap-Up 2013

Here’s my capsule reviews for various movies and CDs that have come out in the last few months. I hope you find the time to seek out quality summer entertainment where ever you are. So for what I did like, and what I didn’t like, read on.Fast and Furious 6

Movies

Fast and Furious 6

Hard to believe this series is 6 movies in. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson lead the latest venture mostly centered in London, plus Spain too. You like the cast of characters and root for them. It has great car chases, fist fights and spectacular stunts. You will definitely be entertained by this over the top piece of movie fluff. Grade: B+

Frances Ha

What a pleasant surprise! I love a good independent movie. Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner star as 2 female friends in NYC. They are navigating careers, family, boyfriends and different living situations. Funny and very touching at times. I highly recommend it. Also cool was the use of pop music on the soundtrack. Grade: A-

The Great Gatsby

Baz Luhrmann was the draw for me with this. Great cast (Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire). And the movie looks great. This is my first exposure to this story, having never read the book or seen a previous movie version. But from what I saw on screen, I’m like — what’s the big fuss? And this book is a classic because? There is not much that happens in the movie compared to what happens in a night time soap. Then I wondered too if Tobey’s character is in love with Gatsby, what with the insane asylum backdrop. Overall, an interesting experiment, not sure it really works. Grade: C+

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Terrific Trios Part 1

What’s better than a duo, why a trio of course! Here are some of the best trios that have dominated the music scene.

 

Bee GeesBee Gees
The Brothers Gibb (Robin, Maurice and Barry) had incredible success during the 70’s and 80’s with hits like “Staying Alive,” “To Love Somebody” and “How Deep is Your Love.” Sadly, Barry is the only one left, but their music will live on. Let’s hope they get the Mamma Mia treatment and have a musical made from their songs.

 

The Supremes
Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard (and later Cindy Birdsong) were the jewel of the Motown label during their heyday. Stylish, sophisticated and classy, these ladies sang some of the most memorable songs of the 60’s and 70’s. “Love Child,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” were some of their biggest hits.

 

Dixie Chicks
Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison only recorded 4 albums during their career together. They have won 13 Grammy Awards and have been on an extended hiatus since 2008. Let’s hope they get together to record some new music soon. I listened to their debut album again recently, and I really miss their vocal blend. “Goodbye Earl,” “Sin Wagon” and “Ready to Run” are all great songs.

 

Exposé
Fans of 80–90’s dance music remember this trio from Miami. The brainchild of producer Lewis Martineé, they recorded only 3 albums, before being let go from their label and breaking up. Ann Curless, Jeanette Jurado and Gioia Bruno were the ladies who sang such favorites as “Point of No Return,” “What You Don’t Know,” and “Seasons Change.” They are now back together and performing occasionally.

 

Rascal Flatts
Country pop trio Rascal Flatts (Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney) have been one of the most successful country bands of the last decade on stage and the radio. Their hits include “Bless the Broken Road,” “Prayin’ for Daylight” and “What Hurts the Most.”

 

Lady Antebellum
Another country pop trio, but with a guy and girl trading leads. Hilary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood have come up with a winning combination. This has brought them legions of fans and few Grammys along the way. They have a new album coming out in 2013. “Love’s Looking Good on You,” “Need You Now” and “We Own the Night” are just a few of their hits.

 

Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
Lisa Velez, Alex “Spanador” Mosely and Mike Hughes formed this trio. Created and produced by Full Force, they were responsible for such club and dance hits as “I Wonder If I Take You Home,” “Head to Toe” and “Let the Beat Hit ‘Em.”

 

The Human League
The ground-breaking group from Sheffield, England wasn’t always a trio, but since 1987, they pretty much have been. Phil Oakey, Joanne Catherall, and Susan Ann Sulley are the group these days. I have seen them a couple of times in concert in recent years and they still put on a great live show.

 

Pointer Sisters
This real-life sister act (Ruth, June and Anita) conquered the world with their strong vocals and fun dance-pop songs. Sadly, June died of cancer in 2004. But songs like “I’m So Excited,” “Slow Hand” and “Neutron Dance” still sound great today.

 

More trios to come in Part 2 of this posting coming soon.

 

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Great First Albums

Music is part of my life. It brings me up when I am down, makes me want to dance, and moves my soul. Sometimes artists come on strong, never to make an album as strong again. For others it is just a glimpse of all the greatness to come. Here is my list of the Top Ten Greatest First Albums (in no particular order):

  • The B-52’s — “The B-52’s”
    The band from Athens, GA came on strong with their first album. The music scene didn’t know what to make of them. Were they punk? A comedy group? Were they retro? All I know is this is one fun party album. Classic tracks included: “Rock Lobster,” “Lava” and “Planet Claire.” They would hit the big time finally with “Love Shack.”The B-52's
  • Cyndi Lauper — “She’s So Unusual”
    Benefitting from the early days of MTV, she was a breath of fresh air from the pretty dance queens. This was a girl who definitely marched to the beat of her own drum. Classic tracks included: “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Time After Time” and “Money Changes Everything.” She is still a popular artist on the touring circuit, and released a blues album in 2011.
  • Duran Duran — “Duran Duran”
    “Rio” was the band’s breakthrough for sure, but the success of that one brought their first album back in the spotlight when they added “Is There Something I Should Know?” to it and re-released it. Classic tracks included: “Girls on Film,” “Planet Earth” and “Careless Memories.” Another MTV ready band, they also tour regularly and are still going strong.
  • Alicia Keys — “Songs in A Minor”
    The pretty girl who played piano, hit the big time with her debut. In the process, she has inspired plenty of up and coming singers. Classic tracks included: “Fallin,” “How Come You Don’t Call Me” and “A Woman’s Worth.” She has had many more hits in recent years, slowing down to get married and start a family.
  • Culture Club — “Kissing to Be Clever”
    Another great band from MTV’s early days, when they played videos. Boy George may have looked different with his makeup and outfits, but his voice was pure soul. Classic tracks included: “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?,” “Time” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.” (more…)

Country Hunks

I am a country music fan. I started out liking the women first: the Judds, Dolly Parton. But as I heard more and more from the guys, I got into them too. The things I like about country music, are the stories they tell, the way the melodies get stuck in your head, and how relatable the songs are to so many people. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the hottest stars in country are pretty darn good–looking. Here is a list of my favorite country hunks and their essential albums/singles:

Keith Urban
I first heard him described as country music for people that don’t like country. His music is very rock oriented. And the songs are so catchy, you will be singing along to them after the first listen. Essential albums: “Be Here” and “Golden Road.” Songs: “Once in a Lifetime” and “Making Memories of Us.”

Dierks Bentley
The frat boy from Arizona has hit the big time. He’s got beautiful curly hair, but he looks good with it cut too. When he sings “Come a Little Closer,” you can feel the sexual tension. Essential albums: “Modern Day Drifter” and “Long Trip Alone.” Songs: “So So Long” and “Sideways.”

Kenny Chesney
OK, so he was married to Rene Zellweger for like 15 minutes. And he is hiding a bald head under his cowboy hat. He still has a hot body and puts on a great live show. Essential albums: “When the Sun Goes Down” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” Songs: “Live Those Songs Again” and “The Good Stuff.”

Tim McGraw
Mr. Faith Hill is a superstar in his own right. More often seen with his hat on, he is a real man who treats his lady well. I can see why some girl grabbed his crotch in concert. Essential albums: “Set This Circus Down” and “Let It Go.” Songs: “Live Like You Were Dying” and “Over and Over.”

Josh Turner
Before Scotty McCreery made us fall in love with him singing “Your Man,” the song belonged to this hunk with the beautiful bass voice. Plus he also includes one spiritually themed song per CD. Essential albums: “Your Man” and “Everything is Fine.” Songs: “Would You Go with Me” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance.”

Big & Rich
Country never met a duo like Big & Rich. They love to mix up genres, and add rock, funk and hip hop to their sound. Essential albums: “Horse of a Different Color” and “Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace.” Songs: “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and “Lost in This Moment.”

Darius Rucker
The former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has made a name for himself in the country world. He brings soul and rock n’ roll to his songs. He has a great duet with Jill Scott on her “Collaborations” CD. Essential albums: “Learn to Live” and “Charleston, SC 1966.” Songs: “Alright” and “This.”

Billy Currington
One of the hottest bodies in country music (See the video for “Why, Why Why”), and another hunk with beautiful curly brown hair. Essential albums: “Doin’ Something Right” and “Little Bit of Everything.” Songs: “Good Directions” and “Don’t.”

Blake Shelton
Now mentoring new singers on “The Voice,” this hunk is married to tough country chick Miranda Lambert. I became a fan when I saw him open for Rascal Flatts: Essential albums: “Barn and Grill” and “Pure BS.” Songs: “Cotton Pickin Time” and “Honey Bee.”

Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum)
The key to this group’s popularity is in the vocal interplay between Charles and Hilary Scott. They are not a couple, but they sure sound like one. Charles is tall, handsome and bearded. Essential albums: “Lady Antebellum” and “Need You Now.” Songs: “Lookin’ for a Good Time” and “Just a Kiss.”

So who are your favorite country hunks? I hope you check out their music… they don’t just look good, they sound good too.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including the Real Men Wear Kilts line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Concerts I Am Looking Forward To In 2012

In no particular order, the 10 shows I am looking forward to in 2012:

Lady AntebellumLady Antebellum They have arrived at headliner status. Following their breakthrough with “Need You Now” and their wins at the Grammy and other award shows, this country-pop trio is heading out on the road to promote their latest CD “Own the Night.” Support acts include Darius Rucker and Thompson Square. Dates are already on sale.

Kelly Clarkson
The first American Idol winner’s career is still holding strong. Or should I say “Stronger”? After 5 albums, Kelly has a good body of work to pull from as she heads out on the road to promote her latest CD “Stronger.” I’ve seen her twice before and she is a great live performer, I can’t wait for this new tour. Dates are already on sale.

Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney
Two country hunks on one big stadium tour, count me in. Both big ticket draws on their own, together this is one to not miss. The “Brothers of the Sun” tour promises to be one of the biggest tours of the year. With support from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as well as Jake Owen. And maybe a Faith Hill appearance too. Dates are set and on sale soon.

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