VIDEO – Bruce Springsteen – “Human Touch” – Live in Australia

Bruce Springsteen just wrapped up a month-long residency-of-sorts in Australia, touring from west to east, and finishing up in Brisbane on February 26 with what is being called one of his greatest shows ever: a nearly four-hour long set that swerved away from the setlist after the first song, and included a live, in-sequence take on entire 1973 album The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle.

But here’s the hidden secret: it was a few nights before, on February 23 at a place called the Hope Estate Winery, that Bruce blew the doors off “Human Touch”, a forgotten, 1990’s non-E Street song that, in the middle of a winery,  captured his – and the band’s – skills, all in high gear.  Start with what is at the end: a long, impassioned, rising, killer guitar solo.  The song, in slow-burn early, builds slowly. Mid-song, check out how he waits.  And waits.  And waits some more for the right moment to kick it in after resting on drummer Max Weinberg’s 1-2-3-4 cymbal ride.  Here’s the YouTube clip.  How the hell does he create a rock and roll gospel-like firestorm at nearly every show?  Don’t know, but the audience is blessed.

read more about the Australian shows

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VIDEO: Rick Springfield with Dave Grohl and Sound City Players

Highlight of the music weekend: Dave Grohl’s new movie Sound City debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and he had a concert featuring Rick Springfield, John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks and more…but it sounds like Springfield stole the show… (VIDEO BELOW)

from Movieline review: Rick Springfield’s set resonated even more with Sundancers judging from how violently their dancing and jumping shook the club’s floor.  It was an extended moment of pure rock bliss in which all the labels that get applied to music in terms of what’s cool (Foo Fighters) and what’s not (Rick Springfield) fell away and infectious, enduring pop music was celebrated for its essence. Grohl introduced the former General Hospital actor as “the one, the only, fucking Rick Springfield,” and the band played together on a number of the former pop star’s 1980s radio hits, “I’ve Done Everything For You,” “Love Is Alright Tonite” and “Jessie’s Girl.” And watching the beatific look on punk pioneer-turned-Foo-Fighter Pat Smear’s face as he played along to these Top 40 hits was indisputable proof that a good song is a good song.

As Grohl said archly between songs: “You’ve cracked the code, Rick Springfield. You’ve figured out how to write the perfect song. Goddamn you.”

Meanwhile, Springfield rose to the occasion of playing with one of the most balls-out rock bands in show business. In Sound City, he reveals somewhat sheepishly that Pat Benatar’s husband Neil Giraldo was pulled into the recording studio to lay down the famous guitar riff to “Jessie’s Girl” because the song’s producer didn’t think Springfield’s playing was up to snuff.”  But that humiliation was very much in the past at Friday’s concert. Onstage at Park City Live, Springfield behaved like a bona fide guitar god as he traded licks with Grohl.

FROM ROLLING STONE: The supergroup grew out of Grohl’s Sound City documentary, which goes inside the fabled Van Nuys recording studio where Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Metallica and Nirvana recorded some of their most acclaimed albums.

 

Review – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Louisville

After his last trip to Indianapolis in 2008, and only drawing 12,000 or so fans to his show at Conseco Fieldhouse on his “Magic” tour, it was pretty clear Bruce Springsteen would not be making a return appearance in Indy.

And that has, sadly, been the case.

While he’s playing nearby Midwest cities (Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Detroit, Omaha, Neb.) on the current tour promoting the Wrecking Ball album, Indiana fans of the Boss found Louisville to be the closest stop.

On Saturday night, he brought his 17-piece E Street Band to Kentucky’s largest city, and was met by a full house, and gave back with a 26-song, three-hour performance equal parts gospel music, bone-crunching rock and loose-limbed rock and soul. In his first six songs, he and the band played four songs from the new album, including an explosive “Shackled and Drawn” as the opener.

Making his first appearance at the new downtown KFC Yum Center, Bruce was greeted by a boisterous, ready-to-participate crowd.  He and the band rewarded them with no less than five tunes not on the printed setlist, and invited fans on four different occasions to jump, sing, dance on stage and bask in the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of being under the lights with the band. Continue reading “Review – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Louisville”

Plug pulled on Springsteen in London

On a night that began with Bruce Springsteen jumping in during John Fogerty’s set to sing “Rockin’ All Over the World”, and ended with Paul McCartney on stage doing Beatles rave-ups, the show was killed a bit early for Springsteen, as someone with access to the on/off switch shut down his show at Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park in London.

Bruce had pushed well past the three-hour mark during his show with the E Street Band, headlining the Saturday night schedule in front of about 80,000.  Curfew was 10:30pm and he was more than 10 minutes past the cutoff.

Up to that point, reports on the web say Fogerty had returned to duet on “Promised Land” and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello had joined for a trio of songs, supplying incendiary guitar solos.  But the big surprise was when McCartney ran on to do “I Saw Her Standing There’ and a raucous “Twist and Shout”.

And here’s where it gets ugly.

After “Twist and Shout,”, as McCartney was leaving the stage, Bruce motioned the band back to their positions after a bow.  They wanted to play one of the signature songs of the tour, the Clarence-remembrance  “10th Avenue Freeze Out”.  According to witnesses, Bruce tried to count off the song, but the PA had been shut down. Backstreets.com reported that “Bruce’s monitor engineer had to come on stage to advise that the PA had been cut off, though the stage monitors were on. Unwilling to just walk off without doing something else, Bruce sang a few lines of the folk standard ‘Goodnight Irene,’ audible only to those near the stage, before leaving.”

Review: “The Wake” – four Indianapolis American rock bands turn it up

Dubbed “The Wake,” the four-band bill at The Earth House in downtown Indianapolis on Friday night was a well-paced night of throwback Midwestern heartland rock, updated for the times. Held in an old church (with the gospel influence that brings) is most certainly a good thing in rock and roll.

All four bands were almost entirely Indy-based. The Weakenders, with only a guitar player not from Indy (he was the from-the-gut guitar-playing, long-haired Nashville cat) were the final band of the night, and brought home the two-guitar rock and roll turned-up-to-11 noise.

The Dead Hearts showed the promise and original music that warrants following the Tom Petty/Bryan Adams/Springsteen vibe they throw off when they play. Attakula was a surprisingly diverse and mature roots rock version of Arcade Fire. And Henry French and The Shameless worked as a three-piece; French wrangled rock and roll grit and beauty out of his Telecaster guitar and was helped along by the cranked-up drums.

The show was a model of efficiency, moving from one band into the next in about 15 minutes each; it roared to a start with French, whose sound channeled a rocked-up version of Son Volt. They tore through just over 45 minutes of originals. French, who has said he is taking a break from the band and music for a while, was most effective when taking a song’s energy, and twisting it higher as the song roared. A neo-Bo Diddley beat, and Henry stomping his right foot while facing the drummer during the last song of the set, was goose bump-inducing.

Attakula, six-piece band of nuanced roots rock, revealed themselves as a contender for best local talent working in the Americana genre. They can come with twin guitar attack, or bring on a mandolin to replace the Gibson Les Paul. A full, intricate sound and Petty blues mixed with The Band country-rock moments were highlights.

With “Not What I Wanted to Say” coming early in their set, The Dead Hearts brought the most accessible songs of the evening. They, as all the bands did at some point in their set. worked moments of beauty mixed with barbed wire electricity, By the time they reached “Bad For You” at the end of the 50-minute set, singer Brandon Perry had found sweet spot of chunky rhythm guitar with Brian Gropp’s gospel-tinged Hammond B3-like keyboards. The band is only one year old, and they’re still growing in confidence. If they find a way to let loose a bit more during performances while continuing to write, I like their future,

The most polished, and also pleasingly Shooter Jennings-like rugged, of the groups was the Nashville-based The Weakenders. Three of the four members are from Indy, and have recently moved to Tennessee. Guitarist Eli Chastain led them through “Sink or Swim,” echoing a Neil Young rawness; the two hard-strummed guitars worked together with slamming drums to show off the band’s efforts to take their musical game up a step by moving to Music City. Their effective harmonies and a nicely rehearsed set closed the show, using high-energy rock and roll with country-via-“Exile on Main Street” touches to pull the crowd in.

Were there things to that could have been better? There were moments with each band when lyrics needed to be sold harder, as they stopped being words and blended into melody. I would have loved a cover tune from each band; sometimes I need one, even on a night of originals. And the crowd of a 100 or so felt large enough to make it seem like the night was appreciated, but they did hang back until The Weakenders took the stage.

In reality, these are minor qualms with a show that was meant to refute the notion that American rock and roll is scarce — or dying — in Indianapolis.

As Brian Gropp of the Dead Hearts told me between sets during the show “American rock is out there” — at house parties and in basements; it’s just harder to find.” For one night, it seemed lost no more, and instead found in an old church in downtown Indianapolis.

And it may be in the hands of these four – and the others who mine the same sound — to keep playing, elevating their on-stage energy, and continuing to honor their true voice. We know it is rarely a one night or one week or one month endeavor to get anywhere worthwhile in life, professionally or otherwise.

It’s up to one band to make themselves heard with American rock in Indy. If any one of these bands, or others who were not at this show, takes their musical game to the next level — in popularity and with creativity — then others could follow. This was a good step in the process. What’s next?