As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the road for a summer tour, their Indianapolis stop on Saturday night (June 15) is the first after multi-night stands at small theaters in both New York and LA. The band heads to Bonnaroo the day after Indy, so this will be the first outdoor/shed/large venue show of the trek – not that it should matter. Petty always rocks. This time, however, they have decided to scatter a few hits while hitting a lot of great forgotten album tracks. Hell, they are playing “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, one of the great, largely buried cuts from the first Traveling Willbury’s album.
If there’s one band that best represents American Rock music in the past 30 years, I’d give the title to Petty & the Heartbreakers. Sounding not from one place (belying the band’s strong Florida roots), but from everywhere. It enables them to connect with rednecks and hippies, east coast attitude and west coast shine. They can rock loud. Tom can be acoustic quiet. Lyrics resonate. Petty can sweat and smile at the same time. It is a band that has been making music for almost 40 years, the most recent album, Mojo, released in 2010. That record is both a departure for the band, and a rejuvenating set of music. I’m a big E Street Band and Pearl Jam fan, but still give the nod to the quintessential American rock and roll to Petty and his boys when it comes to the package of accessibility, passion and sweet-ass rock and roll hooks.
Here for you, my friends, is the Rockforward list of Petty’s 7 Essential Albums (and a couple that were too good to leave off).
Saturday, November 10 – 8:30 pm
Morning Goldrunner 10:00
Funky Junk 10:45
Coup D’etat 12:15
And Away They Go 1:00
Special Encore Performance By 2011 Champions – Phoenix on the Fault Line
This story was featured in NUVO in August. Nice little interview piece I did with Don Main, who fronted The Late Show/Recordio/Rockhouse; essentially the same band, with different names. He and the main lineup is back together and playing shows in Indianapolis. I first saw them at a 150-person venue in Madison Indiana – I think it was 1989 or 1990 – so was nearing the end of their run. Best band the club booked in the Electric Lady in the two or three years that I lived down there. Also saw the Rockhouse version of the band, but my recollection was they were burned out by then, and the Rick Clayton Band (Late Show guitarist) was around in the ashes of the band separation, but not for long. So it is good to hear they are back and power-popping…and working on a new album.
In 1974, the band went to New York City and worked with producer Jack Douglas — known for his work with John Lennon, Aerosmith and, appropriately, The Knack — at the Record Plant. Major labels CBS and Epic offered them record deals.
The band, who created a potent mix of power pop vocals, guitars and reverberating drums, said no. They thought there were better offers to come. But, none came.
So why is their independent debut album Portable Pop now getting acclaim, more than 30 years after its original 1980 release? The band can thank the record label Trashy Creatures Records. They re-released the record in late May, and it picked up airplay on more than 70 radio stations of varying formats and dial positions.
The Late Show is playing a number of Indianapolis shows in 2012 and according to leader Don Main, prepping a new record. NUVO caught up with Main — who went on to own the Puccini’s restaurant chain — to talk about the albums, his other band and how the hell this all happened 40 years after The Late Show got together.
As radio station 92.3 WTTS continues to host artists (already in town for club/theatre shows) in their terrific Studio 92 concert space, they welcomed Brett Dennen, as he (and personal favorite Dawes) got ready to play at the Vogue last Thursday night. Dennen talked about his new album, Loverboy and The Mosaic Project.
You can hear four songs from his performance, now posted on WTTS’ webpage. We also grabbed an excellent, up close video of Dennen, shot at the radio showcase.
Almost a week after the Bob Seger show at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, I’m caught myself thinking about the show, and how soulful and energized the Detroit rock icon was.
He played 2 hours, 20 minutes, and mixed the setlist up just enough to make it interesting with some deep cuts. Seger played to the back of the hall as much as the front row. And he did both. We weren’t standing close, though dead-ahead center with the stage, 20 yards behind the soundboard.
When I saw him in 2006, I found a happy place in the top row of the upper deck, with a straight on view of the stage. I had moved four songs into that show that November night, after having heard enough of the muddy sound the venue is so famous – that’s what a cheap upper deck, side stage ticket from a scalper 10 minutes before the show will sometimes get you. But once I relocated, it was magical. Because Seger is about the voice, the songs and the band. Not the flash, the light show or the wardrobe changes.
Last Saturday night, Seger reinvested in the heartland rock and roll that he does better than anyone else, and has formed the template for hundreds (thousands) of bands. And, defying a bit of age and both the good and band of having spent so much of his life on a stage, he did that magical rock and roll thing again, aided mightily by a crowd that knew that songs, and songs that are still rock and roll relevant.