VIDEO: BoDeans on WXRT

Destined to forever grace club stages, and rock to 600 people a night throughout the Midwest (while dolts like Adam Lambert do second rate Madonna acts to a momentarily bigger audience….), the BoDeans make an appearance on the legendary WXRT in Chicago. Some excellent video and audio here. And I bet Lambert won’t still have an audience in 20 years later. Viva BoDeans.

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VIDEO: Green Day – ” I Fought the Law”

Hundreds of bands have played and recorded “I Fought the Law” – Hundreds make it rock. Here’ s the song channeled through Green Day… the pop/punk/killer harmonies version. And you can NEVER go wrong with the six snare shots any drummer worth a shit will play following the line “…Robbing people with a six gun”.

Seger Back with a New Old Album

Bob Seger in 1976, right before "Live Bullet" came out

Sometimes, the magic can sneak up on you.  One of the very best concerts I’ve seen in the past ten years was Bob Seger at Conseco Fieldhouse  – no shit – in 2007 .  Bought a $60 ticket from a scalper for 15 bucks ten minutes before the show.  Went to the back of the arena and found a seat with great sound, straight look at the stage.  Upper deck.  Seger went old-school, with no video screens; forced the audience to commune with the  band and the singer.  Who does that anymore? Brilliant move.  Great, energetic, connected-to-the moment crowd at the cavernous arena.  And he sounded damn good for a man with 40-odd years in the rock show businees, who smokes a little too much.  Seger had it that night. Even from the upper deck.  That doesn’t happen too often.

Seger’s got a new/old album coming out this week, so I’ve been reading some stuff online, and I’m always surprised when someone writes how they don’t “get” Bob Seger.

He has one of the greatest voices ever in rock and roll, but I get a feeling he’s not really thought of as influential or A-list by some.  Yeah, he ‘s in the Rock Hall of Fame.  But there’s this nagging reminder that Seger is too, what shall I call it, pedestrian and old-fashioned?  Everytime I hear (like twice a year?) a person say Bob Seger ain’t that good, I think “dude, what are you talkin’ about?”  I was reading a blog last night about songs that didn’t quite reach the top 40, and how this writer says he can’t listen to Seger.  He then goes on to gush over Scritti Politti.   So that explains a lot.

For kicks, let’s look at those five 80’s songs that didn’t hit Top 40 for Seger. 
“Horizontal Bop” — 1980, #42
“Feel Like a Number” — 1981, #48
“Old Time Rock and Roll” — 1983, #48
“It’s You” — 1986, #52
“Miami” — 1986, #70

The first three are legendary classic rock radio songs, and that’s why we think they were huge songs; because they were.  Just not huge on Top 40 stations.  “Feel Like a Number” may be one of the ten best rock and roll songs of the decade (though this is the live version), depending on th night, and what youmay be drinking (or smoking).  My list changes all the time, but that’s a song can bounce onto my list of all-time faves right now.   Underrated. It’s like CCR on steroids – with lyrics of desolation and resignation.  Rock lyrics.  Sad words hidden by swinging, groovin’, jet-propelled rock music.

“Old Time Rock and Roll” is the re-entry after appearing in the “Risky Business” movie.  The last two songs are off the Like a Rock album – and I really like “It’s You”  So whatever.  You don’t like Seger?  Then I don’t like you.  Bob was Midwestern rock and roll  before Mellencamp.  Before REO Speedwagon got big.  Before Cheap Trick. Before Springsteen.

Now, he wasn’t a rock star until “Live Bullet” in 1976.  (He had released eight albums before hitting with the album recorded at the legendary Cobo Hall). But after that, nobody was bigger than Seger for the next 5 or 6 years. 

Seger’s new album, Early Seger Vol. 1, features recently remastered versions of numerous classic Seger songs from the early 1970s and four previously unreleased recordings.

It will be available to Midwestern fans through Meijer in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky.

Starting the following Monday, November 30th, fans can purchase the CD or a full album download at  bobseger.com, where the 10 songs can currently be heard.

In September, Seger headed to Kid Rock’s studio in Detroit to re-record elements of four previously unreleased tracks for the collection: “Gets Ya Pumpin’,” “Star Tonight,” “Wildfire” and “Days When the Rain Would Come. Seger also re-recorded much of “Long Song Comin'” from 1974’s Seven.

Early Seger Vol. 1 includes five remastered tracks – “Someday” and his version of Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” Seger’s cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider” and “Get Out Of Denver” and “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)” , two best known from the Live Bullet record.

Intriguing little collection; I’ve heard much of it and it benefits greatly from the remastering.  And you get what are essentially five new songs. 

You don’t like Seger?  Highly unlikely.  You read this far.  Now check out the video below the track listing, for some long-haired Dee-troit rock and roll.

The track listing for Early Seger Vol. 1
1. Midnight Rider (remastered from original Back in ’72 tapes)
2. If I Were A Carpenter (remastered from original Smokin’ O.P’s tapes)
3. Get Out Of Denver (remastered from original Seven tapes)
4. Someday (remastered from original Smokin’ O.P.’s tapes)
5. U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class) (remastered from original Seven tapes)
6. Long Song Comin’ (originally appeared on Seven; extensively re-recorded for Early Seger Vol. 1)
7. Star Tonight (Seger recording previously unreleased; first released as a cover by Don Johnson for his 1986 album, Heartbeat)
8. Gets Ya Pumpin’ (previously unreleased; Seger’s earliest version of this song, written in 1973, was entitled “Pumpin'”)
9. Wildfire (previously unreleased)
10. Days When The Rain Would Come (previously unreleased)

Concert Review: Will Hoge Brings His Influences to Indianapolis

Will Hoge began the final night of his 2009 tour by sitting in a chair at the front of the stage, playing acoustic guitar. By show’s end Saturday night at Radio Radio, he was in full Pete Townshend windmill, testifying frontman mode. He was sweating, screaming and generally doing what Will Hoge does in a live setting: channeling his inner Petty and Springsteen to create Memphis via Nashville soulful rock and roll. And damn, if he isn’t about the best at what he does.

Ambling on stage in a white dress shirt, back vest, and black tie with an unbuttoned collar, Hoge dotted his 2 hour, 10-minute, 28-song show with songs from his five studio albums, leaning most heavily on his first (“Carousel”) and his latest (“the Wreckage”). Opening with the title cut to the new record – it served as a metaphorical reminder of the nearly year-long battle Hoge fought to recover from a serious scooter accident in August 2008, suffered on his way home from a studio session during the recording of the album.

While the sold-out show (a sign was posted on the front door of Radio Radio just before 8:30pm) pushed showgoers together and created a palpable energy of expectation, Hoge’s initial two songs, played seated, had much of the audience struggling to see the singer and dive into the moment. His voice is gritty, blue-eyed soul when he slows his music down, and his plaintive, tough yet-sensitive lyrics shine.

But with “Highway Wings” from the new record, Hoge stood up, the audience energy came with it, and the rock and roll began. The three song-suite, featuring the ultra-hooky “Secondhand Heart” and the rocker “She Don’t Care”, played to Hoge’s strengths: Petty-esque, anthemic pop/rock, dirtied up with loud Fender Telecaster rhythm and a band that fits nicely and loudly into the mix.

The sound at Radio Radio is always some of the best for any venue in the city, and this night was no exception, treating the audience to clean, crisp instrument separation: just the right thump of Adam Beard’s bass and Sigurdur Birkis’s drums (and they may be the best rhythm section I have seen in 2009), with dueling, jagged guitars, and vocals that rode just atop the mix. Nearly perfect.

Hoge and his band built energy in five or six song bursts, starting with an acoustic song or two before heating up the room with the electric guitars. As the band rocked Hoge would hold his blond Tele above his head, and lean backwards and sideways into the microphone to sing a lyric.

He mentioned how nice it was to have an audience that knew the words, and responded by playing “Heartbreak Avenue”, a song he said the band rarely tries, pulled from the “Carousel” album. “Favorite Waste of Time” had a Smithereens crunch to it, while “Better Off (Now that You’re Gone)” from his underappreciated “Blackbird on a Lonely Wire” album showcased the band’s ability to take a sugary rock song and infuse it with off-the-beaten-Nashville-path twang. Halfway through the show, it was evident Hoge was back. Sure, he sat a few times, either to rest or for effect. Either way was OK, because when he did stand, strap on the electric guitar, and rock, that’s the Will Hoge experience that most seemed to relish.

And you have to be proud of Indy to pack 500 or so into a club for a band whose music doesn’t fit neatly onto the radio in 2009. It’s a shame, a sham, and a pity; Hoge is the guy delivers energy and connection with his rock music, not to mention some great fuckin’ lyrics on top of the guitar snarls and snare snaps.

The staccato riffs of “Your Fool” revved the song and audience up, and the current radio song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” proved to be anthemic, as expected, singing about the powers of ambition filtered through the radio of a kid. It began a sweep into the back half of the show that found the audience finding their voice, and singing with Hoge.

The crowd knew and sang with “Ms. Williams”, the Elvis Costello-ish “Hard to Love” and laughed along with a story of him breaking into one of the band’s two hotel rooms to find the guitar and bass players on the web, watching video’s of 80’s heavy metal band the Scorpions..

Ending the set by sitting at the piano for “Too Late Too Soon”, Hoge and the band soon came back for a nine-song, end of tour blowout encore, channeling the Georgia Satellites, Todd Snider, The Faces and The Who as they sweated their way through “Just Like Me,” , Long Gone” and a beautiful “Highway’s Home” featuring guitarist Devin Malone on pedal steel.

Near the end. Hoge said the band was going to do a “social experiment” and took them into the back of the room, with only acoustic instruments, and sang and played unamplified, quieting the crowd with harmonies, before he jumped back on stage to perform a sublime, gospel-influenced, “Washed by the Water”. It found Malone moving over to play the keyboard, and eerily emulating a church organ. The audience sang the chorus back to Hoge as the singer waved and walked off the stage.

Will Hoge’s ability to rock and roll with aplomb and walk away with a big smile was a far cry from the days following his accident, after a van driver failed to yield and Hoge smashed into the side of the vehicle. He broke numerous ribs, his sternum, leg, knee cap, shoulder blades, and required more than 100 stitches. So it’s quite a distance traveled for Hoge. Just only once did he quickly mention how “tough it had been” before he fell back into his show, performing like he was glad to be back.

Great, up-close video from the show – November 21, 2009 at Radio Radio

Cancel the Vote: It’s the Country Music Song of the Year from Cracker and Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood

They waited until November, but there’s the freakin’ country music song of the year. Love the sound of the recording too, and the killer lead guitar lines. Buh-rilliant.  Cracker and Patterson Hood team up to blend their stuff together.  And it works.