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Soul Crush at Cafe Du Nord

Soul Crush Live CD Cover

My band, Soul Crush, played a gig last night at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco.  Our group came together through the non-profit Blue Bear School of Music.  There was a good crowd and the sound system was great.  Vocals came through loud and clear, but oddly enough, the guitars probably could have been louder! (How often do you hear that?)  We covered a range of R&B, blues, rock and indie tunes including "Respect", "Oh Darling", "Valerie", "I'll Play The Blues For You" and more.  I sang vocals on "Sweet Jane" and we were able to pull off some nice drum hits during the song along with a great guitar solo.

This was my first time playing bass in a band, and other than a few minor hiccups, everything went well.  Here are a few photos from the gig:

And for die hard fans, here's a higher quality MP3 version of Sweet Jane:

Soul Crush - Sweet Jane (live)

There are more photos and a videos at the official site

Cheap Trick - Live in Saratoga

Cheap Trick 5

On a whim, I went to see Cheap Trick at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA this week.  While I was familiar with their hit songs from the '70s I wouldn't say I was a die hard fan, by any means.  But this was still a fantastic concert.  The Mountain Winery is a fantastic open air venue.  Every seat is has a great view of the stage as well as majestic views of the surrounding area south of San Jose.  If you aren't put off by $20 parking, $18 burgers, and $11 beers, it's quite a special place.  

I've posted some photos on PicasaWeb:

We were in the upper section, a bit further than I would like for photos, but I was able to get pretty close to the stage for some photos towards the end.  Most importantly, I got some nice shots of Rick Nielsen with his 5 neck guitar.  Pretty amazing to see him sling that thing around.  I have no idea why you would want 5 necks on a guitar, but then again, nothing succeeds like excess when it comes to rock and roll.

Here are a few HD videos from the show.  Unfortunately, the sound overpowers my Sony RX100 and is a bit distorted.

Cheap Trick rocks a lot harder than I would have guessed from their more pop oriented hits.  And when they played those hits, like "I Want You To Want Me", "Dream Police" and "Surrender" the audience went completely nuts.  This was a great performance by a band that is way underappreciated.  The only disappointment was the set lacked an encore; I was hoping to hear a couple of covers or cuts from their most recent album 2009's "The Latest," which is an awesome album.  Robin Zander may not have the long flowing locks he had in the 70s, but it was impressive to see the boys from Rockford still rocking.   

Stranglers - Live in Toronto

Stranglers toronto alt 3

It was a night to remember.  After 35 years, I finally got to see the Stranglers live yesterday in Toronto. Having waited so many years to see the Stranglers live, I'm happy to report that this was one of the best concerts I've ever seen.  They played a ton of old classics ("Toiler on the Sea," "Walk On By,"  "No More Heroes," "Hanging Around," "Golden Brown" as well as newer cuts ("Freedom is Insane," "Mercury Rising.") 

Here are some photos shot with my Sony RX100.  I must have caught every smile that crossed JJ Burnel's face that night, because he seemed pretty serious.  And no karate kicks that I could see.  Still, his singing was and bass playing were top notch.

The band played had a really tight sound, vocals were excellent and Dave Greenfield's keyboards were as brilliant as always -- especially his one handed, beer-drinking solo.  Baz is a huge asset to the band and has injected some new energy with his excellent guitar playing and overall showmanship.  Regrettably, Jet Black did not play the gig and it seems unlikely that he will be on the North American tour.  (Though this is admittedly speculation on my part.)

And here are some videos I've posted.

While it was disappointing that Mike Marlin, who was originally scheduled to play the North American tour, could not make it, local band Organ Thieves more than held their own.  I'll post a separate write up on them in the future.  The Stranglers would do well to consider taking them on the road for the rest of the tour.