Photos and words by G.
From left to right: Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley – Spandau Ballet!
This much is true – to say I loved every second of Spandau Ballet’s first full concert in New York in 30 years is an understatement. The British quintet played a sold out show at New York’s legendary Beacon Theatre on May 2, 2015 and everything about the night was legendary.
Tony Hadley and Steve Norman
Aside from being a fan of Spandau Ballet since I was young, lead singer Tony Hadley was the first rock star I ever did a phone interview with (which you can read here and here), which is something I will probably never entirely get over, and at the time he was doing a solo tour where he exclusively added “Chant No. 1″ to his setlist for readers of According2g.com! I also want to throw out there that if you can hear Tony Hadley’s cover of “Life on Mars” by David Bowie, he sings the hell out of that chours and you should really try to track it down because it’s amazing. But I digress… Seeing that show made me fall in love with Spandau Ballet all over again and I kept hope alive that they would one day tour the USA again. On May 2, all New York fans got their wish and Spandau Ballet reunited for their first show in 30 years!
Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet
If you know nothing of the group, the Spandau Ballet story has been depicted in the excellent documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World,” and in it, you’ll hear about their global success with massive hits such as “True” and “Gold,” as well as their 20 year hiatus, which saw an acrimonious break up over song royalties. They have since patched up their differences and they showed the audience exactly why they became superstars over 30 years ago.
Martin and Gary Kemp
I am not sure what magic elixir the Soul Boys have tasted from, but they look and sound better than ever. Their 2 hour set was a mutual love fest, as the audience lost their minds when the hits were played and Spandau Ballet seemed so relaxed and humbled by the response of the crowd.
Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet
Tony Hadley’s voice showed no signs of aging and as the night went on, you realize how many of their songs have extremely high notes, and Tony nailed every single one of them flawlessly, and if I may suggest it, I think Tony Hadley’s voice sounds better now than it did on the records! Songs from every stage of their career were played, from the new track “Soul Boy” to their reunion song “Once More” as well as some of their earliest songs such as “Reformation,” “Mandolin” and “The Freeze.”
Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet
The “secret weapon” of the band is Steve Norman who not only played those amazing sax solos you remember from so many Spandau hits, but he also sang back up, played guitar and percussion!
Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet
In between playing global smashes like “Communication,” “Highly Strung,” “Only When You Leave,” “To Cut A Long Story Short,” “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On),” “Instinction,” “Lifeline,” “True” and “Gold” (which was played both acoustically and with the full band – and made the audience go absolutely bonkers both times), Tony Hadley played a bit of percussion.
Gary Kemp promised the crowd that it will not be another 30 years before we get to see Spandau Ballet perform again and I speak for all Spandau fans by saying “YES!!!!!!!” When the show was over, the audience didn’t want to see the band go, and the crowd rushed the stage and the band shook hands with members of the audience for several minutes before retreating back stage. Despite having seen Eric Clapton the night before in concert, this was the most fun I’ve had at a show in quite some time.
Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet
Thanks again to the Soul Boys for an amazing night and again, on behalf of all Spandau Ballet fans, we look forward to many more new albums and tours! PS. Original drummer John Keeble is in the band, but I had a bad vantage point to get a decent photo (despite being in the 5th row), so apologies that he is not pictured.
The setlist was: Soul Boy / Highly Strung / Only When You Leave / How Many Lies? / Round and Round / This Is the Love / Steal / Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) / Reformation / Mandolin / Confused / The Freeze / To Cut a Long Story Short / Raw / Glow / Empty Spaces / Gold (acoustic) / Once More / I’ll Fly For You / Instinction / Communication / Lifeline / True.
Encore: Through The Barricades / Gold.
Photos and words by G.
Eric Clapton! The legendary rocker celebrated his 70th birthday (a bit late as his actual birthday is March 30) with a pair of sold out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. I attended the first show on May 1, 2015. I’ve seen nearly every living rock and roll legend in some fashion over the years, but this was my first glimpse of Eric Clapton, so you can imagine my excitement.
Saying very little to the crowd (aside from “thank yous” after each song), Eric Clapton brought out his first guest star 3 songs in – John Mayer. The two jammed on the song “Pretending.” For what Clapton lacked in saying in words, he sure made up for it by playing some amazing guitar solos all night that let you know without a doubt you made the right choice by attending the concert.
John Mayer and Jimmie Vaughan
John Mayer was not the only guest of the night as Clapton also brought out Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks. Also in his band was Paul Carrack, who sang a few songs including “You Are So Beautiful.” Clapton also saluted Ben E. King, who died earlier in the day and dedicated “Driftin’ Blues” to him.
Doyle Bramhall, Derek Trucks
Aside from the absence of Cream songs, Eric Clapton played songs from all eras of his career from “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith to the acoustic rendition of “Layla” that he’d made famous decades earlier with his group Derek and the Dominoes. He also played “Tears in Heaven,” which resulted in tears in Madison Square Garden from the audience as the song is about the death of his child.
Other highlights of the night were covers of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “Cross Road Blues” “Hoochie Coochie Man” as well as “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Cocaine.” You can imagine how cool it was to have the whole of Madison Square Garden shout out in unison – “COCAINE!” The show ended with an all star jam on the Joe Cocker cover “High Time We Went.” Eric Clapton told the audience that this was the best birthday he’s ever had and with that, the 2 hour show was over.
The Finale at Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday show (from left: Eric’s backing singers, Paul Carrack, John Mayer, Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, Nathan East)
The setlist was:
Somebody’s Knocking / Keys to the Highway / Pretending (with John Mayer) / Hoochie Coochie Man / You Are So Beautiful (with Paul Carrack) / Can’t Find My Way Home (with Nathan East) / I Shot The Sheriff / Driftin’ Blues (acoustic) / Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (acoustic) / Tears In Heaven (acoustic) / Layla (acoustic) / Before You Accuse Me (with Jimmie Vaughan) / Wonderful Tonight / Let it Rain (with Derek Trucks and Doyle Brahmhall II) / Cross Road Blues / Little Queen of Spades / Cocaine.
Encore: High Time We Went (all star jam)
Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton
HD Video, photos and words by G.
When Nirvana’s music was new in the early 1990s, I was in a “I will only listen to classic rock and Prince” phase, so I missed out on being present for arguably the last band that really changed the world. About 10 years after Kurt Cobain committed suicide, I was ready to hear Nirvana’s music with an open-minded ear, and I had a way after the fact epiphany on their greatness. For those who gave Kurt that crown in his life time, they are about to see a whole different side of Kurt Cobain that until now has only existed in myths and legends.
Courtney Love and Brett Morgen
At the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19, 2015, I went to the premiere of Brett Morgen’s documentary “Montage of Heck,” and if you are even remotely interested in Nirvana or Kurt Cobain, I cannot recommend this movie enough to you. The film has everything you could ask for – from lots of home movies of a young Kurt Cobain to interviews with mother, father, sister, generous helpings of entries from his journals that come to life (you’ll see!), performance footage and home movies that show him as a loving, but drug addicted father (and apparently 80% of the footage in the film has never been seen before by the public). You will see that from an early age, Kurt was tremendously talented, yet also very troubled. From bad family relations to chronic stomach problems, to drug use, Kurt Cobain had the odds stacked against him from the very beginning, but he did not let any of these things deter his love of music and he made his vision of becoming a rock star a reality. What he didn’t expect (and memo to everyone post 1900 that becomes famous – everyone wants a piece of you all the time! If you don’t want that, look for a different path in life), was that you can’t just be famous and have people leave you alone. At the height of Nirvana’s fame in 1991, Kurt canceled a tour to instead do drugs and hang out in his apartment. Every time Kurt would get his shit together, the moment was fleeting and he would relapse into drug use, even after he and his wife, Courtney Love, had a child. He was haunted by magazine articles that openly called out their drug use, as Courtney owns up to being on heroin while pregnant. Coupled with the paranoia that she was cheating, Kurt Cobain overdosed on pills while on tour in Italy and committed suicide a month later at the age of 27. You’ll probably never hear “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” from their legendary MTV Unplugged appearance the same way again.
Courtney Love and Brett Morgen
“Montage of Heck,” will make you will feel like you are eavesdropping in intimate moments, when you see footage of Kurt and Courtney in the bathroom getting ready (the footage was shot by a member of Courtney’s band Hole) and you might even feel disgusted when you see the shambolic state of their living quarters, riddled with trash, but most of all, when you see Kurt nodding out from heroin use while he and Courtney are cutting their daughter’s hair, you will feel sad for a man who may have had fortune and fame, but had a pretty shitty life in most respects. After the film, director Brett Morgen and Courtney Love discussed the film and Courtney alluded to the fact that a sex tape exists (it’s thankfully not in “Montage of Heck”). Much of what they discussed is readily available in articles you’ll see about the film, but I thought the most poignant moment was Courtney Love discussing what it was like to see the film. Get the tissues ready and check out this clip.
“Montage of Heck” will be shown on HBO on May 4, 2015 and you should not miss it! Hopefully a DVD release date will be announced soon, because this is possibly the most important document that Nirvana fans could ever own (and if Brett Morgen is reading, please fill it with bonus features!!!!). Coincidentally, I recently read the book “Heavier Than Heaven” by Charles Cross and I also recommend it as it will fill in some of the gaps that this amazing 2 hour and 12 minute movie didn’t have time to get to.
Montage of Heck Poster
Photos and words by G.
On March 23, 2015, Sweden’s Erik Hassle played a sold-out show at Pianos in New York. The show was announced at the last minute, making it even more impressive that fans packed the house for the criminally underrated pop/soul singer. Erik Hassle is currently supporting New Zealand’s Broods (see video I shot at one of their first ever US shows here) and decided to book a solo gig where he showcased several new songs in front of an adoring crowd, which also included his parents and many of his friends from Sweden. Erik Hassle has a hell of a voice, very soulful and his dance moves on stage will make you fall in love with him.
I would normally be posting a video I took at the show, but sadly the Youtube police are after me at the moment for copyright infringement – despite the fact that I don’t make a penny from my Youtube account AND I post concert videos with the intention of turning my readers onto music they probably would not be exposed to without my site. Thanks for sticking up for me (and all the others that are in a similar position) bands, managers, etc – NOT! Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?!
Erik Hassle – Pianos
So in the absence of a live version of “Innocence Lost,” which I would have loved to have posted, you should definitely check out that song. It’s amazing! If you want to see the video, you can come over to my place. Ha! As an alternate plan, for my international readers, you can see a little clip of “Fuck The Pain Away” on my Instagram account. In addition, you can hear samples of many Erik Hassle tracks on his official website (link will open in a new window). Before his final song of the night “No Words,” Erik mentioned that the song will be available as a single in the next few weeks, so be on the look out for that song. It was great! Follow him on his Soundcloud page for updates.
Erik Hassle is supporting Broods on the following dates, so make sure you don’t miss his set (because it will likely be as good if not better than the main act).
03/25 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
03/26 – Trocadero Theater – Philadelphia, PA
03/27 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
03/28 – Visulite Theatre – Charlotte, NC
03/29 – Masquerade (Hell Stage) – Atlanta, GA
03/31 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
04/01 – Trees – Dallas, TX
04/02 – Emo’s – Austin, TX
Erik Hassle Pianos Setlist
Thanks for a great show Erik. Can’t wait to see you again!
Photos by G.
Chris Glover of Penguin Prison
Great news music fans! Penguin Prison is back! After touring the world as a DJ and producing remixes for the likes of Lana Del Rey and Imagine Dragons (just to name a few), Chris Glover and his band Penguin Prison have announced their second album “Lost In New York,” which drops on May 5, 2015. Penguin Prison debuted a handful of new tracks at a sold out show, their first full band show in 2 years, at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on March 12, 2015. If you liked the funky and extremely catchy dance/ pop songs on their debut, you will not be disappointed with the material on “Lost in New York.” Pre-order the new album at this link (which will open in a new window).
You can stream the new track “Try To Lose” below.
After the show, Chris revealed that Penguin Prison will be playing Music Hall of Williamsburg some time during the release week for “Lost In New York,” so be sure you don’t miss it. Welcome back Penguin Prison! We’ve missed you!!!
Penguin Prison – Rough Trade Setlist
The setlist was:
Calling Out (new song) / Golden Train / The Worse It Gets / Try To Lose (new song) / Multi-Millionaire / Caught In A Daze (new song) / Never Gets Old (new song) / Don’t Tell Me (new song) / Show Me The Way (new song) / Don’t Fuck With My Money.