East Coast Rocker

Putting You in the Front Row

Trigram Predicts a Dim Industrialized Future With ’90s Metal Sound


Trigram obviously has problems with authority, but don’t we all?

The new EP is simply called Trigram, named after the group.  But it’s clear the band could have had a lot of thoughts to project on the title space on the EP. Trigram has composed and has recorded some innovative industrial metal-based tunes that are thought provoking if not a bit scary.

With tracks called “Assimilate,” “Entropy,” “Bleed Out,” and “Tick Down,” it’s apparent Trigram is just counting off the days ’til doom occurs.

Trigram has produced some interesting, action packed videos as well, check out “Assimilate.”

The video shows one man’s struggle to keep the rest of the population from going under the spell of a creepy leader on TV.  It’s a social commentary based on modern-day issues related to mind control. Try as he may, he has difficulty breaking the ball and chain on his ankle and he tackles the odds.

Check out the video here:

The music is hard rock with a heavy 1980s-1990s vibe and blends metal style with dynamic vocals.

Trigram is Rodney Warner, vocalist, guitarist and composer and drummer and lead guitarist Brian Mansell.  The guys have some additional artists on board including Carlos Hernandez who sits in on drums for the single “Bleed Out.”

With lyrics that cover topics from tech addictions to drug addiction, killing and mind control, the band takes a turn at projecting a distopian and somewhat hopeless future.


Patrick Grant Paints Eclectic Picture with Album ‘A Sequence of Waves’


Patrick Grant’s album, A Sequence of Waves is appropriately titled as the listener is bombarded with all types of soundwaves for a series of 13 songs.

It is hardly rock. It’s not new wave, nor is it electro or hip-hop or any particular style of music. It is a collection of symphonic, wordless songs that convey a range of emotion packed neatly into a convenient delivery. And, oddly, amidst the studied random approach, there is something peaceful about this quasi-chaotic production of instrumental music.

What’s In a Name?

With enticing names and elegant execution, Grant’s work is a combination of the best of all genres rolled into one captivating and joyous collection.


Songs Communicate Without Words

The songs don’t have words, but that’s not to say they don’t each have something important to say. There is yearning, protest, love and wonder in this collection of eclectic tunes.

In “Seven Years At Sea” the listener can practically hear someone calling out across a barren ocean — calling out to no one — and it is as lonely as you would expect.  Then there’s “Lonely Ride Coney Island,” that puts the listener on a slow-moving ferris wheel and “Primary Blues,” a bold and serious approach. But these tunes are each at once fascinating and mystifying in their exacting approach.

One would never have believed a song called “Alcohol” could be so compelling.  The listener can hear the creeping danger in the song “Tobacco” and as to be expected the song “Firearms” is truly explosive and helter skelter.  It’s humorous that the three songs follow each other in order on the album.

Awards and Accolades for Grant

Grant has a multitude of accolades and awards. He is a multiple recipient of the ASCAP Plus Award, he’s a Detroit Music Awards nominee and he created scores for legendary theater and dance companies. Grant is also a member of Robert Fripp’s Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists for five years and he’s a professor at the NYU Film School.

Obviously this professor can teach us all a thing or two about communicating in a world so driven by self-centered writings and ego-enhancing endeavors.


Patrick Grant: guitar, bass, viola, piano, keyboards and percussion

John Ferrari: drums, mallet instruments and percussion

Nick Didkovsky: guitar solo on “Primary Blues”

Dan Cooper: 7-string electric bass

Lynn Bechtold: violin

Dan Barrett: cello

Production: Patrick Grant


‘Where Were You?’ Is the Latest Feather-Ruffler by Polished Provocateur Les Techno


The question is asked by Les Techno that a lot of people can’t answer.  So, “Where Were You?”

Les Techno has created — in a Thomas Dolby sort of fashion — a protest song for the new milliennium.

It’s the first music released since “Whatever Happened to Les Techno?” his acclaimed EP released last July.


Les Techno asks ‘Where Were You?’

Techno Has Cool Style

Techno has got cool style. His music is fun and has a great beat, reminicent of the 1980s electronic new-wave era.

The video is very well done, bringing in this Max Headroom-esque vibe.  We have the feeling Les is a fan of video games and has watched a lot of TV news.

Check out the Les Techno Facebook page.

Techno is a New York City rocker who played guitar, and sang in popular rock hangouts, including in the bands Sim-Stim and Love Posse.

His pals include the late Larry Coryell and Techno trained himself in synthesizers and analog music tech.  It’s obvious Techno’s got a strong background in tech and music and it’s a pleasure to hear this innovative artist do his thing.


New Album by Coral the Merknight, ‘It Weaves a Web of Metal’ is Novelty Music by Excellent Musicians


Coral the Merknight vs. SEARANTULA is a one-man comedy metal act that once you get past the ridiculousness, you hear the great music. The album It Weaves a Web of Metal is great and great fun!

Coral the Merknight, Travis Orbin (Darkest Hour) and Adōn Fanion (Ghost Ship Octavius) are the band members – we think – but we’ll never know for sure.

Coral the Merknight vs. Searantula - a backyard battle of wits. Who wins?

Coral the Merknight vs. the inflatable Searantula – a backyard battle of wits. Who wins?

What’s a Merknight, Anyway?

Either way the sound is tight.  OK, Some of the things that Coral the Merknight sings about are extremely silly, but the cool metal sound is entirely serious.  BTW, is a “merknight” supposed to be a male mermaid? I don’t think I want to know.

Coral the Merknight even does a metal version of Vanessa Carlton’s mopey “A Thousand Miles,” that actually makes the song tolerable.  Who would have thought singing this teeny bopper song in a gravelly metal voice would actually work?

We love “All This Walking Is Making Me Thirsty,” the song that appropriately enough follows the “A Thousand Miles” cover on the album. It’s all too much.

Porcupines and Refrigerators in Maryland

Then there is “Tragedy,” which is aptly titled because it’s a real depressing song about a porcupine – we think – who meets his fate in the water and then gets stuffed by the rip-off taxidermist.

“Ballad Of The Broken Refrigerator,” is another sad one about a middle of the night discovery that no one wants to find — a fridge gone bad.  All the food inside is ruined.

It’s all too much to take.  Is this what life in Coral’s town in Maryland is all about? If life were this difficult it woiuldn’t be too bad at all.

What is very positive is that there are still musicians out there who like to have a laugh and poke a little fun at the very serious demise of our lives.

“Whip My Hair” is particularly amusing as we all know metal people who live to “Whip My Hair Back And Forth.”

There are a lot o musicians who could take a page out of Coral’s book of jokes, and we wish they would.  This is fun, novelty stuff and it’s a tough genre, all joking aside.

Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Cryptkicker 5, Spinal Tap and Steel Panther all have done well with the comedy genre and Coral is destined to be in this great company.  We are going to stay tuned.

Kris Heaton Band Releases Hot New Album Appropriate for Our Time Called ‘World Gone Mad’

Heaton Band Hits This One on the Head


It’s a ‘World Gone Mad’ according to the Kris Heaton Band and the group is not far off from the truth.

Heaton and his band have hit some high notes with the fans and maybe it’s because he taps into what people are really feeling.

Heaton has won the Miller High Life Rock To Riches Award as well as numerous Akademia Music Awards including “Best Rock Song 2017” for “Who Let The Bullets Fly,” the album opener.

Kris Heaton’s Blues and Rock

Check out his records page HERE on his website

The record has a unique quality: It features the Brandenburg Germany State Symphony Orchestra and a European Choir.

Heaton’s music is rock-blues-pop and his words hit home, reinforced by bandmate Ace Foster.

Track Listing:

1.   Who Let the Bullets Fly
2.   World Gone Mad
3.   When We Danced
4.   Something New
5.   I Want You
6.   When the Sun Goes Down
7.   Drink to the Girls
8.   The Moment
9.   One Thin Line
10.  Where the Wind Blows
11.  Way of the World
12.  Better World

Heaton’s An East Coast Rocker

Find the Kris Heaton Band albums on CD Baby.

Heaton grew up in Connecticut in the late 1970s. His first band was Control Group, which he formed with five friends from Connecticut and New Jersey. He got into the New Wave/Metal fusion style.

Check out the Kris Heaton Band Facebook Page.

He began by appearing on Star Search and winning a Miller High Life Rock To Riches Award with Control Group and In recent months, he won the Akademia Music Award for Best Rock Song 2017, for his song “Who Let The Bullets Fly.”

He has had four songs on the National FMQB Charts, “Stand Up” at No. 21 in the nation, and “The Rain Song” at  No. 10. His YouTube videos sometimes reach over a million views.

He’s opened for Stevie Ray Vaughan, Greg Allman, Molly Hatchet, The Romantics and Leon Russell.

VIDEO: Vajra Gives Us a Look Into its Exotic Style of Rock with New Single, ‘The Mirror’

Metal Takes a New Turn

Featured Photo by MAX R. SEQUEIRA, Review by DOTTIE PARIS

Vajra shows some chops with the new song “The Mirror,” a pure rock anthem that proves a there is nothing like a haunting melody.

Photo courtesy Vajra

The music by Annamaria Pinna and her crew is melodic and progressive with a metal undertone, and her performance is also compelling as she uses mystical movements to convey her songs.

The New York City-based Vajra has wrapped up a 29-show co-headlining tour, and will focus on regional shows through the summer. They’re also recording a new album.

Check out the Vajra website

Pinna has a voice like a metal angel. She’s the band leader and also plays keyboards. Her colleagues are Dave Sussman on guitar and Shusuke Inaba on drums.  Vajna’s is a mystical metal that is a truly unique rock style.

Vajra has a new album called Irkalla coming out this Fall 2017, the first EP in a series of three EPs called the Trilogy Series.

The band also gets its music out there. Vajna has signed licensing deals with The Discovery Network, Viacom, Showtime, Bravo, Red Lab and MotherWest.

Vajra works hard and is familiar with the road. The band has played festivals ranging from the Dewey Beach music festival in 2013 to the Richmond International Film Festival this year and everything in between.

Check out the new video:

It’s Just Craig Makes Arduous Sea-Faring Journey Memorable with New Album, ‘Dark Corners’

Remarkable Musicians Team on Synth Release


With Dark Corners by It’s Just Craig may be relaying the story of a difficult voyage over water but as they say, not all who journey are lost.

In this case, this musical journey is an innovative vocal and synth album by It’s Just Craig called Dark Corners.

It’s an Americana-Goth take aboard a sea captain’s odyssey throughout the deep dark waters. With that in mind, the synth sound takes on a whole new meaning as the abstract loneliness echoes through the album.

The Journey through Dark Corners

Dark Corners is about a cargo boat captain and his torturous journey.  He fights through a desolate, lonely path, getting stuck just before he reaches his destination port, fighting temptations of the sea, only to come to realize his fate is not in his control.

There’s an interesting pattern to Dark Corners. Tracks 1 through 8 comprise the story. Track 9 is blank.  Track 10 is “Thirty-nine.”  Our favorite tracks are “Go,” “Captain” and the single “Goodbye.”

Dark Corners captures a combination of different talents on this album, including the production team, and even with modern-day instruments ancient sea-faring travels are ahead.

It’s Just Craig – Photo courtesy of band

Indianapolis and Nashville Band

The band It’s Just Craig is based in Indianapolis and Nashville, and has attracted some well-known musicians to its mission.

The band features Marc Ford (Black Crowes, Ben Harper, Magpie Salute) on lead guitar, Elijah Ford on bass, piano, and acoustic and electric guitars, Jason Slota (Thao and the Get Down Stay Down) on drums, Rob Shelton (Meernaa) on synths, and Jess and Kels Von Strantz on background vocals and cello.

The tone of the album is familiar and maybe that’s because the album was produced by John Vanderslice, who brought Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, St. Vincent success with their recordings. He also plays some synth on Goodnight.  Assisting on production is Jacob Winik.

It’s Just Craig – Photo courtesy of band

Unique Recording Process

There was a unique process in creating the recording of Dark Corners. The album was recorded to 2-inch tape at Tiny Telephone Oakland and stayed 100 percent analog, then Vanderslice mixed it to 1/2-inch tape.

Bernie Grundman — who did the Prince: Purple Rain; Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker Reissue and Pink Floyd Remasters mastered the album and cut the lacquer for the 45 RPM vinyl being pressed by QRP in Kansas.  The CD, streams and downloads will be released June 30.  The vinyl is likely to be released mid- to late August.

ATMIG Shows Us How to Cope With the ‘Fight or Flight’ Conundrum with New Release, ‘Trip’


Michigan rockabilly group ATMIG shows flight may be better than fight.

With their new video, “Trip,” ATMIG, which is short for After the Money Is Gone, is a look at how you may react when thrust into an argument.  In the case of the featured young performer in their video and song by the same name, she builds a rocket and gets the heck out of Dodge.

“I am sitting in your back pocket
I am flying like a rocket in the sun tonight
I am seeing all the good things
But believing all the wrong things all at once
All right … let’s go tonight…

“Let’s show our parents that we don’t recall their lies
And take a trip down someone else’s awesome life.
So, we can see what happens when you do not have to hide who you are.”

“Trip” is the first non-label release pressed at Jack White’s new Third Man Vinyl Pressing Plant in Detroit.

Detroit-based Gravity Red Productions produced the “Trip” music video.

While her parents are fighting, a young girl daydreams she can escape reality and she builds a rocket, blasts through the roof of her house and fights a giant robot — and wins.


ATMIG Accolades

The band has performed at Harsen’s Island Music Festival, and on WAYN Radio as part of Make music Detroit 2016. The vinyl can be found in Michigan record stores and across the globe via the website.

The band is tight and fun. Tobias has warm vocals that punctuate each phrase and his guitar work emphasizes the lyrics. Julia is a great co-front person and she has a contagious smile. Dave keeps the beat on the kit, Phil is a multi-talented musician playing bass, mandolin, cello and cigar box and Otto plays bass.

The songs were recorded, mixed and engineered at Soundscape Studios, Royal Oak, Mich., mastered by The Foxboro in Grand Rapids, Mich.


1) Trip
2) Pail

Tobias and Otto met through an online ad. Otto introduced Tobias to Dave and Julia and subsequently Phil. However it all happened, it’s a group with some chops and we’re looking forward to more.

North Carolina-Based Rich Lerner and The Groove ‘Push on Thru’ With New Release

Cool and Funky New Album Inspires


With the new album, Push on Thru, North Carolina-based Rich Lerner and The Groove show they know how to succeed.

It’s an inspiring title song and the collection on the record is an impressive group of funky Americana,  much in the vein of late 1970s-style rock and roll.  They create cool harmonies, great stories and Rich Lerner’s voice is warm and appealing. And the guys have been making catchy music for years.

Rich Lerner and The Groove have a jam each year to help the homeless – Photo courtesy Bob Powell

Groove Jam Music Festival

The band even has its own Groove Jam Music Festival that benefits the local homeless shelter and food bank. The Groove Jam Music Festival has been a big attraction for the locals and non-locals alike since 2012.

Check out Push on Thru on Spotify: https://goo.gl/cfEJ6G

It’s also available on CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/richlernerandthegroove1

‘Not The First Rodeo’

It’s certainly not the first record for these musicians.

Rich Lerner and The Groove are a North Carolina staple. In the 1990s, Rich recorded and released four solo albums on the Rockduster label. Since 2000, Rich Lerner and The Groove have released albums on their own Freethemusic label.

Many Genres from One Band

It’s a cool group of musicians and they’ve built a good reputation in the region. The band features Rich Lerner on guitar and vocals; Sammy Smith on guitar and vocals; Craig Pannell on bass and vocals; Sam Seawell on drums; Bob Sykes on pedal steel and guitar

Steve Taub – keyboards. As for production: The album was recorded and mixed by Benjy Johnson at Earthtones Recording Studio, it was mastered by Ty Tabor, and produced by the band and Benjy Johnson.

Particularly of note are the songs “She Kept My Room Warm,” which is remincent of a island-style calypso tune; the rockin “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down,” and the updated Flamenco-style “Soul Sistah.”


Jay Regan Album, ‘Wash Me’ an Eclectic Collection of Great Life Stories

Album by Alt-Folk Musician Appeals on All Levels


Jay Regan doesn’t profess to be anything but a musician, and in part it’s that humility that makes him a great singer-songwriter. Wash Me is a great album.

Considering he was the frontman for several 1990s bands makes it even more interesting. He was the lead singer and guitarist for the 1990s bands April Fool, Dezire and Today We Live.

Wash Me

His latest release, Wash Me, released April 7, 2017, is a fine collection of feelings, adventures and plain ol’ great songs.

There are a lot of lessons here. This is an album that is full of melody. Some melodies sound a little familiar, but it’s the unique voice and arrangement that make these retro sounds new again.

Our favorites on this simply good album are “No Place To Turn,” “Little Fish,” and “March of the Romans.”  It was no easy feat creating this album of great music. And Jay did it all himself as he sings and plays guitar, foot drums, harmonica, keys and just about everything else that you hear. The album is self-produced and well-mixed and mastered for all the different platforms to boot.

Jay Regan – Photo courtesy of Jay Regan

Refreshing Music

It’s refreshing to find a songwriter who actually has something to say and Jay Regan is that and more — he’s a great musician as well. He released his first solo album, Dreams and Nightmares, in 2014. Since then he’s been working on Wash Me and it goes to show that taking your time pays off.

Regan’s been playing the circuit around Philadelphia and we plan on making the time to catch this superb musician. His voice is reminicent of fellow Philly rocker Todd Rundgren,  and the arrangements on this album are interesting and appealing as well.

It’s seems like it’s refreshing to be excited about a musician — there’s so much new music out there — and Jay Regan proves you don’t need all the bells and whistles to put out a great rock record.

Sara Ontaneda Fills the ‘Spaces’ Beautifully with New Album, ‘Entre Espacios y Colores’


Sara Ontaneda has released an album entitled Entre Espacios y Colores and it’s clear she could be the next hot crossover artist.

Entre Espacios y Colores is comprised of Her beautiful songs are in English as well as Spanish and they communicate on an ethereal level.  Sara’s voice is incredible and her songs tug at your heart and don’t let go. If you’re into alternative music with a hint of retro and South American flavor, Entre Espacios y Colores is for you.

Sara Ontaneda: Beautiful voice and music – Photo courtesy of Sara Ontaneda

There’s a haunting feeling about Sara’s work, her music is a mix of Brazil 66 with the attitude of Feist and very special on many levels. We are taken aback by the voice, the music and the production quality of this album.

Check out the Sara Ontaneda website.

So is the artist herself. Sara recently hosted a CD release show at The Bitter End on Bleeker.  To take that legendary NYC stage, you know she knows she’s got what it takes.

Sara’s no stranger to the music scene, having appeared at SXSW 2016, South Florida Folk Festival, and her Marte y Jupiter EP Ecuador Tour where she played in 4 cities: Guayaquil, Piñas, Quito, and Cuenca.

Check out Sara on Bandcamp.

In addition to performing the vocals on this new album, Sara writes the music and lyrics and plays synth. Her band is comprised of Alejandro Zorrilla on bass, Fabio Rojas on drums, David Manuhutu and Santiago Bosch on keys, Yoo Sun Nam on alto sax, Samuel Batista on Tenor Sax, Dustin Beardsley on trumpet and Kiho Yutaka on violin.

The music was recorded by Daniel Pasquel, Daniel Alba, Sebastian Ontaneda, Sara at Converse Rubbertracks Brooklyn and mixed and mastered by Sebastian Ontaneda.

This is truly an album for the collection.

Check out Sara’s Facebook page.


1. Chico Bien
2. Aprovechar
3. My City
4. A Pensar
5. Darling
6. Huecos
7. Waiting Outside
8. Park Drive
9. Guíame

January Zero Shows Diverse Range and Wistful Edge With New Album, ‘The Long Radio Silence’

Gareth Phillips and Band Create Americana-Jazz Style


January Zero has a unique ability to take us back in time, but give us a wide range of diverse musical sounds on the new album, The Long Radio Silence.

It’s a compilation of mellow and upbeat tunes in the Americana genre. January Zero reminds us of a modern-day cross between Donovan and James Taylor with a little avant-garde thrown in.

Gareth Phillips is the songwriter and put the band January Zero together – Photo courtesy of Gareth Phillips

But just when you’ve decided to enjoy the style, January Zero switches it up with tunes like “Desperation Shuffle,” a song that brings to a dusky hot evening one might enjoy in a jazz club in Miami. But none of the guys in the band are from Miami, as the band is based in Appomattox, Va.

Much of the credit should be shared as all the instruments and the production are top game.  Gareth Phillips, songwriter, is on guitar, vocals, piano and synth, Dan Piccolo is on drums, Jim Roll is on organ and Noelle Beverly is on vocals. Jim Roll and Phillips oversaw production.

Phillips began writing and recording music in college, and pursued the discipline through the MFA program at George Mason University. After completing his degree there, he entered a discovery time, during which he produced a sequence of demos, creating versions of the songs which would become the collection The Long Radio Silence.

With The Long Radio Silence, January Zero uses poetry like a key that unlocks stories and scenes that have been tucked away in your mind.

The album The Long Radio Silence has a lot of great songs to it.  There are no favorites but we particularly like “Going Quietly,” as well as “Desperation Shuffle” and “Decrescendo.”

The Long Radio Silence Tracklisting:

1.   Gravity

2.   Jackie Paper

3.   Going Quietly

4.   The Borrowed Lives

5.   Desperation Shuffle

6.   After Christmas

7.   Decrescendo



Audio Jane Takes Indie Shoegaze in a Different Direction with Release of Band’s New Album ‘Naive’


Audio Jane brings a cool, fuzzy flair to the troubles of life with the new album, Naive.  The more I listen to this record, the more great sounds I hear.

The Hartford indie rock group blends a dreamy progression of shoegaze, grunge and indie with understated instrumentation. It’s clear this band has a good future in music.

Audio Jane hits the right notes with ‘Naive’ – Photo courtesy of Audio Jane for EastCoastRocker.com

Audio Jane is Sarah Pech on vocals and guitar, Mike Goldberg on lead guitar, bass and vocals,  Mark Coté on drums, Jesse Perkins on bass, and Dave Ciciotte on guitar and vocals. The record was produced, mixed and mastered by Mike Goldberg at B11 Studios in Tariffville, Conn.

A Full Bird’s Wing was the band’s 2016 EP and Naive is a compliment to the music collection with Sarah’s voice ringing clear. The album explores new sounds throughout the record. If we thought the growth of shoegaze and indie was at a stalemate, Naive may prove there is plenty of room for growth in this genre.

The band tours New England and New York throughout 2017 and they’re worth checking out.

Tracklisting for Naive

1. Smile
2. Naive
3. Atmosphere
4. High On You
5. Ocean
6. Gone For Good
7. Starry Eyes
8. Love Passion Sex
9. 1000 Miles
10. Slow

Audio Jane is on tour – Photo courtesy Audio Jane for EastCoastRocker.com

International Bands Dengue Fever and Tinariwen Bring their Beautiful Music Across US


Dengue Fever and Tinariwen may from different regions of the globe, but their tour together is building new musical bridges.

Dengue Fever, complete with its beautiful front woman Chhom Nimol, and her American bandmates, has tapped into a niche that few can pull off well.

Dengue Fever at The Fonda - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dengue Fever at The Fonda – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

If you’ve ever been to Cambodia, Thailand or anywhere else in the region that used to be referred to as Southeast Asia, the music brings back memories of times good times as well as a tough time in American history.  The unique regional music of the area formerly known as Indochina is embedded in the minds of many of the U.S. people who were in the military during the Vietnam War era.

But Dengue Fever takes that sound and brings it to a new generation of young fans who can appreciate that the music is more than reminicent of R and R in better places than the jungles of Vietnam.

Dengue Fever at The Fonda - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dengue Fever at The Fonda – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Dengue Fever is Chhom Nimol, Zac Holtzman on guitar and vocals, Ethan Holtzman on keyboards, Senon Williams on bass, Paul Smith on drums and David Ralicke on horns.

A young Chhom Nimol and her family in the Thai refugee camp - Photo courtesy of Chhom Nimol

A young Chhom Nimol and her family in the Thai refugee camp – Photo courtesy of Chhom Nimol

Chhom is a survivor, having grown up in a Thai refugee camp, where she was safe from the cruel Khmer Rouge regime.  But music sustained her through all her life experiences and she eventually rose to be one of the most popular singers in her homeland.

The band has teamed on tour with the popular band Tinariwen, who also have an international story to tell. The members of Tinariwen have survived many hardships but the resulting music is beautiful.

Tinariwen: Beautiful music as a result of hardship - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tinariwen: Beautiful music as a result of hardship – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

Tinariwen is from the Sahara Desert area of Mali and was formed in 1979 in Tamanrasset, Algeria.  They returned to Mali in the 1990s. The group gained a following in 2001 with the album, The Radio Tisdas Sessions as well as their early concerts in Mali and abroad.

But it’s clear that the group’s founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib has funneled the tragedies he has endured — including witnessing the murder of his Toureg rebel father — into beautiful music.

The band Tinariwen is known internationally - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band Tinariwen is known internationally – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The music reaches all types of fans as evidenced at The Fonda the other night.

“I love them,” said Albert Ratchley, who was lucky enough to get a ticket to the sold out show a few weeks prior. “They are from so far away and we don’t get a chance to see them often.”

Dengue Fever has added new dates to their schedule. New headline dates include Lafayette, LA at the Festival International de Louisiane, Ft. Worth Texas on April 30 at the Fortress Festival, Taos, New Mexico on May 2 at Taos Mesa Brewing and Phoenix on May 4 at the Crescent Ballroom. A full list of confirmed live dates are:

The band Tinariwen is known internationally - Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

The band Tinariwen is known internationally – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia


Dengue Fever Tour

April 2017

4/04 @ Benaroya Hall – Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, Seattle, WA  (with Tinariwen)

4/05 @ The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts – Chan Shun Concert Hall, Vancouver BC, CANADA (with Tinariwen)

4/07 @ The State Room, Salt Lake City, UT (with Tinariwen)

4/08 @ The Oriental Theater, Denver, CO. (with Tinariwen)

4/10 @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN (with Tinariwen)

4/11 @ Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL, (with Tinariwen)

4/12 @ Massey Hall & Roy Thomason Hall, Toronto, ONT. CANADA (with Tinariwen)

4/13 @ Palais des Artes – Selle Wilfrid-Pelletier Montreal, ONT. CANADA (with Tinariwen)

4/14 @ Royale, Boston, MA (with Tinariwen)

4/15 @ Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn NY (with Tinariwen)

4/16 @ Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn NY (with Tinariwen)

4/18 @ Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA, (with Tinariwen)

4/20 @ Berea College, Berea, KY 

4/21 @ Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Pittsburgh, PA (with Tinariwen)

4/22 @ AMP by Strathmore, Bethesda, MD 

4/23 @ The ArtsCenter, Carrboro, NC

4/24 @ City Winery Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

4/26 @ Sidewinder, Austin, TX

4/27 @ Walter’s Downtown, Houston, TX 

4/28 @ Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette, LA (New Date)

4/29 @ Festival International de Louisiane, Lafayette, LA (New Date)

4/30 @ Fortress Festival, Ft. Worth TX (New date)


Daly Review: Xombie Releases New Single, ‘Might As Well,’ Hardcore That’s Easy on the Ears


When you hear the new single, “Might As Well” by Xombie, you might just want to go jump off a stage. But you better do it before Xombie’s concerts get so packed that you don’t get a turn.

“Might As Well” is the first single from the Xombie upcoming album Super Cell, to be released June 2.  And these guys really know how to rock.

New York City Connection

Xombie is from New York City and they’re not fooling around with their style: They’re covering all the bases infusing punk, hardcore and rap. They’re the most fun since the Bad Brains. Stay tuned for the release of Super Cell and try to catch a show.

Formed in New York City in 2010, Xombie is Atom Crews on lead vocals, Roy Galvan on guitar and vocals, “Cadillac” Mike Martabano on bass and Eric Castillo on drums and vocals. Xombie will be a household name if your household likes hardcore.

Might As Well

The single, produced by Eric Castillo and John Naclerio (Nada Recording) is crisp and clear on all platforms, which in today’s world is an accomplishment in itself.

The guys are pretty stoked about their success. Xombie has supported acts like He is Legend, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Butcher Babies, Rittz, (Hed)PE, Like Moths to Flame, Otep, Dope, Bobaflex, Psychostick, Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna, Apathy.

The group got almost 100,000 streams on Spotify last year. Their “Excuse Me Miss” video premiered on MTV-U in 2012.

How do they do it in such a tough genre? They raised $11,000 on Kickstarter in 2012.

Bailey Mullins Review: Adam Bonomo Debuts His Album, ‘Phases,’ at Joe’s Pub in the East Village

New York Songwriter Impresses at Joe’s Pub

Photos and Review By BAILEY MULLINS

Adam Bonomo, a NYC- based songwriter, pianist and producer, celebrated the release of his debut album, Phases, with an hour-long intimate show at East Village standby Joe’s Pub.

Going through the album’s tracks, Bonomo showcased his strong vocals and ability to capture a room. His habit of introducing each song before playing gave the audience understanding and connection to the music.

Bonomo at Joe’s Pub

Bonomo, on piano and vocals, was joined on stage by a bassist, a drummer, two background singers, and guitarist, friend and longtime musical partner Andrew Renfroe. They started the show with “Redshifted,” a chanty song off Phases with blues hooks and Southern gospel influences. The band asked the crowd to join in for “Water,” a soft, folk-inspired track with lyrics that are easy to sing along to.

Taking a pause from his original music, Bonomo performed a mashup of The Beatles’ “Yesterday” and “Blackbird,” adding his own upbeat twist and jazz riffs.

The rest of the band quieted for a duet performance of another song off the new album, “Repeating,” by Redfield and Bonomo. Bonomo closed out the show with “Baby’s Alright,” which he described as a lullaby written from a child’s perspective, with the central message that everything will be alright if you work hard enough.

Bonomo’s debut album, Phases, is available for purchase on Bonomo’s website and for streaming on Spotify.

Check out Bonomo’s video for “Water” here:

Review: Under the Radar, Luxury Mane Has Released The Best Indie Shoegaze Album — Maybe Ever

For Luxury Mane, It’s all About Excellence

Billy Summer of Luxury Mane: Talent to the Max - Photo for EastCoastRocker.com

Billy Summer of Luxury Mane: Talent to the Max – Photo for EastCoastRocker.com


Indie rock band Luxury Mane has released a new album called Lux Runnin Out but it’s clear these shoegazers’ luck is only just starting with music like this.  This recording is amazing.

Lux Runnin Out is a new-wave type indie sound that captures the mood of today while also bringing a welcomed familiar sound of the 1980s.  This music makes reviewers extremely happy and is proof that creators in the new wave genre are still out there producing beautiful work.

Luxury Mane hails from St. Pete, Fla., — which has been quietly building a reputation for nurturing indie artistic talent paced by Luxury Mane and fellow musicians and creatives. The band is comprised of the outstanding songwriter-vocalist-guitarist Billy Summer, Kyle Lovell on drums and Aaron Nelson on bass. Lux Runnin Out  is recorded by Summer and Nelson and mixed by Summer and Eric Stamile. It was mastered by the dynamic Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering in Portland, Ore.  Stollenwerk is another one with immense talent worth checking out.

Luxury Mane isn’t exactly a newbie; the band has played with Diarrhea Planet, Jay Reatard, Monotonix, The Lemonheads, Natural Child, and many more.  It is definitely no surprise they’ve been awarded numerous Best of the Bay Awards (Tampa, Fla.) by Creative Loafing.

The notable predecessor to Luxury Mane is the band The Semis, which gained a serious reputation in Tampa as one of the outstanding bands on the East Coast.

Not only do we recommend a listen and a purchase of the new music, but there are albums that these guys have put out that are equally excellent, Gold Standard (2014) in particular.  Other excellent recordings by Luxury Mane are Natural Beauty (2013), Isn’t This Great? (2015) on cassette with Wiener Records, and the latest release Lux Runnin Out.

Unfortunately for us, Luxury Mane doesn’t tour. But their music has been featured and heard on networks such as Bravo, VH1, The Sundance Channel, Showtime, and ABC. The song “Youth Envy” was the theme song for the AOL web series Act Like A Musician, and the song “Curtains” was recently used in the Showtime series The Affair. 

While they may have been influenced by some of the greats, Luxury Mane blows doors off many of the other shoegazey bands out there. Their use of melody and upbeat tempos lends a vibrance that pulls the genre off the floor and uplifts. With this band, there are excellent drum riffs, super interesting basslines and amazing vocals and lead guitar.

Above all, the songwriting by Summer is outstanding.  It’s clear his influences are the more eclectic of the genre, and he has taken sounds of retro new wavers like Sad Lovers and Giants, New Order and The Cure and has made them his own.  There’s a lot of style here. And Luxury Mane doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, adding a good sense of humor to their cool and artsy aura.

Luxury Mane doesn’t tour, which is unfortunate for us, but why spoil a good recording band with physical obligations? Seems the guys enjoy the recording process more than anything. Lux Runnin’ Out is a sophisticated effort and it’s clear our luck has not run out because we get to hear their excellent music.

Tracklisting:  1. Got A Need

2. Julian

3. Eating A Milky Way Tonight

4. The Bay

5. Hard To Be Easy

6. Alex Van Halen

7. Funny Feeling

8 Things In The City

9. Medical Mind

See related reviews: Sad Lovers and Giants at The Echoplex, Peter Hook and The Light at The Fonda, The Cure

Nick Cave Film ‘One More Time With Feeling’ an Emotional Look at Musician’s Difficult Process


One More Time with Feeling is a dark emotional black and white film about the making of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds new album Skeleton Tree.

This is not your normal album or film by any means. It comes after the death of Nick’s 15-year-old son, Arthur, who died after falling off a cliff near his hometown in Brighton. The film was originally going to be performance-based but the director Andrew Dominik wanted to look into the tragic and sensitive background of the writing and recording of the album. Cave did the film to address any questions and to avoid the press for his new album Skeleton Tree.

The film is very touching at times and even a tear-jerker as we watch Nick Cave try to explain how he made it through the darkness to record which may be his best album yet. He says: “Time is elastic. We can go away from an event but at some point the elastic snaps and we always come back to it.”

Skeleton Tree is very raw but complex, revealing, yet personal. The meat of the songs have been stripped away to let the emotion and lyrical content be strong and prominent. In between footage of the band’s album performances are in depth interviews and candid shots with Cave’s narration of thinking about the aspects of what happened. Cave says: “What happens when an event occurs that is so catastrophic that you  just change … You change from the known person to an unknown person.”

At the start of the film and the album’s first track “Jesus Alone” we see Cave laying down the eerie vocal track. His writing partner and mystic bandmate Warren Ellis create a true Nick Cave sound while sounding like nothing he has ever done before. As Cave sings “With my voice I am calling you,” we hear his plea for closure. Most of the time on screen Cave seems shattered when he says “Imagination needs room to breathe and when a trauma happens, there’s just not room to breathe.”

Dominik and his crew do a good job at capturing the eight beautiful and stripped down songs that make Skeleton Tree. Each song is showcased with a full live run through. Towards the end of the film the camera follows him as he heads home from the recording studio. The film and album is a fragile and true testament to an artist working his way through darkness and heartbreaking loss. Cave left Skeleton Tree in a primitive and raw state but says: “There is something about the naked nature of these songs that have Arthur in them.”

The film ends with him and his wife Susie deciding to be happy and the last shot “In Loving Memory, Arthur Cave.” The credits roll and we realize we have just seen how hard it must have been to make this film.

One More Time with Feeling
Directed by: Andrew Dominik
Returns to Theaters December 1
Skeleton Tree
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Teen Vice Has A Lot of Angst and It Shows Through Their New Style of Punk-Surf Sound

Driving Beats and Great Vocals Power Teen Vice

Teen Vice Rocked Pianos - Photo © 2016 Dani Miller

Teen Vice Rocked Pianos – Photo © 2016 Dani Miller


Teen Vice brought a combination of post-punk and surf rock to their show at low-key NYC bar and venue Pianos.

The Brooklyn-based band, consisting of Tammy Hart (guitars and vocals), Joshua Ackley (bass and vocals), May Dantas (guitars and vocals) and Derek Pippin (drums) is full of raw energy.

The alternative rock group has been playing for years – and it shows.

Lead singer Hart’s music career began in high school and led her to tour with big names Sleater-Kinney, Indigo Girls and The Butchies. Dantas formed her first band at just 13 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Pippin and Ackley began their musical careers together, founding acclaimed punk band The Dead Betties. Hart, Pippin and Ackley met on tour at the legendary punk club 924 Gillman in Berkeley, Calif.

While Teen Vice has a new single, 'Out of Excuses,' their music needs none - Photo by Dani Miller

Teen Vice has a new song, ‘Out of Excuses,’ but their music needs none – Photo by Dani Miller

Although Pianos’ concert room is small, Teen Vice did not diminish their sound or the atmosphere of a rock to show to match the size of the venue. Hart kept up a steady conversation with the crowd, introducing songs with quips like, “That song was about when people f*ck you over at work” and “This one’s for my Southern friends.”

The setlist included singles “Out of Excuses,” “Cry for You,” “Aneurysm” and “White Guilt,” a catchy song that wouldn’t be out of place on a 2005  The Strokes album.

With their extensive music backgrounds, it’s clear that Teen Vice knows how to produce and perform excellent rock music.

Teen Vice is working towards their first studio album, and you can listen to their singles on Soundcloud. To find out about upcoming shows, follow the band on Facebook and Instagram @teenviceband.

The Human Darts Score a Bullseye With Surf Punk, Zombie Songs on New EP ‘Explicit Thoughts’


Better strap yourself in for a wild ride — The Human Darts have released a new EP called Explicit Thoughts and it’s amazing.

The Human Darts have a pretty weird story that we still can’t figure out but we don’t care because the music is excellent.

The songs are fun, stuff you would expect to hear while you’re at a beach party or surfer stomp.  No surprise as these guys are from Tampa and apparently have spent a lot of time at the beach.

Cool Songs, Fast Darts

The EP consists of four original songs, “Tell My Sister,” “Zombie Man Chant,” and “Stitches.” We even like their cover of the oldie “Hey Good Lookin.'” These guys are slightly sarcastic, they’re way off-center, and they put out in-you-face music, keeping it rocking at a brisk pace.

If you like punk-alternative, these guys take it to a modern level, blending fun songwriting with excellent performances — at least on the record.  We’d like to see these guys perform live because right now all we can picture is Beach Boys on acid.

The Human Darts have released the new EP, Explicit Thoughts - Photo courtesy of the Human Darts

The Human Darts have released the new EP, Explicit Thoughts – Photo courtesy of the Human Darts

The Story of The Human Darts

So the story goes something like this: There was a Darts band back in the 1970s that put out a coveted underground single and toured around. Apparently one of them was named Mr. Zelk.  It was a fractious band, with continual splits and with some underground punk success.

Years passed and Zelk found Shane Close, the son of one of the original members and he also found John Arduser, the Darts original guitarist.  So they went into Parsonage Studio in Tampa and engineer Jeff Knauf went to work, and voila, the Human Darts are back on the tracks.

What we really like is, as if in keeping with the times, the band threw a zombie-themed song, “Zombie Man Chant,” into the new EP — almost as if they knew The Walking Dead is in full swing again. It’s an amusing piece much in the same tone as “The Monster Mash,” and designed to sound like it’s from the same era.

All the tunes on the EP Explicit Thoughts are rockin. It’s a pretty wild ride overall, and the band plans to continue doing it’s thing apparently, as they say there’s a full album coming in 2017.

This is full-on reckless rock n roll, the way it’s supposed to be.  Bring on the Human Darts!

East Coast Rocker Rating: ★★★★

James Vincent McMorrow Serenades Sold-Out Webster Hall With His Soulful Irish Sounds

New Album for McMorrow is ‘We Move’

Photos and Review By BAILEY MULLINS

Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow brought his soulful falsetto and strong vocals to a sold-out show at Webster Hall. Fresh off the release of his third studio album, We Move, released Sept. 2, McMorrow treated fans to a healthy mix of old hits and new favorites.

McMorrow kicked off the night by announcing that it was the largest New York show he’s played so far. His gratitude resonated throughout the show as he continually thanked the audience for their support. McMorrow began — accompanied by an ensemble band — with “Red Dust” and “I Lie Awake Every Night.”

The band exited the stage and he moved into a solo acoustic set featuring vocals accompanied by an electric keyboard, which included “Lost Angeles” and his popular cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love.”

James Vincent McMorrow performs at Webster Hall - Photo by BAILEY MULLINS for EastCoastRocker.com

James Vincent McMorrow performs at Webster Hall – Photos by BAILEY MULLINS for EastCoastRocker.com

Although his first two albums, Early in the Morning and Post Tropical, are acoustic, quite slow and melancholic, his latest release, We Move, represents a shift towards alternative R and B that suits McMorrow’s wide vocal range and widens his appeal to a new set of listeners.

Halfway through the set, McMorrow announced that the dancing portion of the show had begun. He brought the band back onstage and launched into elevated, bass-infused versions of his songs “We Don’t Eat” and “Evil.” The second half of his show exhibited the shift in musical style we see on his newest album.

His easy rapport with the audience made the 1,500-person show feel more a small coffee shop. McMorrow joked about the upcoming election and forgot to introduce one of his band members, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

Webster Hall was McMorrow’s first US stop on his tour. He’ll be traveling the US and Canada through December. You can find tickets here. McMorrow’s music is available on Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes.

Highly Suspect Introduces New Album, ‘The Boy Who Died Wolf’ To Fans at Rockin’ Irving Plaza Show

Highly Suspect - File photo by Roberta

Highly Suspect – File photo by Roberta


From local Brooklyn bars to the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, Highly Suspect has spent the last seven years rocking out the crowds at more than 800 shows around the world.

The band has earned its appeal.

Highly Suspect, comprised of twin brothers Rich (bass, vocals) and Ryan Meyer (drums, vocals) and their best friend Johnny Stevens (guitar, vocals, synthesizer), played New York’s Irving Plaza as part of their country-wide tour.

‘Little One,’ ‘My Name is Human’

Highly Suspect brought the bluesy-hard rock that their amped-up fans have come to love and expect. The setlist included “Little One” and “My Name Is Human” two already-released singles off the band’s upcoming sophomore album, The Boy Who Died Wolf, which is set for release on Nov. 18.

Highly Suspect - File photo by Roberta for EastCoastRocker.com

Highly Suspect – File photo by Roberta for EastCoastRocker.com

And of course, they rocked the crowd with “Lydia,” “Claudeland,” “Bath Salts,” “Mom” and a number of other songs off their debut album Mister Asylum (released June 25, 2015). Concert-goers sang along with every song, adding to the electric atmosphere at the show.

After getting their start playing covers in their hometown of Cape Cod, Mass., Highly Suspect moved their classic rock sound to the music-drenched streets of New York. Over the years, they’ve polished and matured their sound, pumping out relatable lyrics that tell of personal experiences, anger and heartbreak.

Highly Suspect GRAMMY Nominations

Highly Suspect was nominated for two awards at the 2016 Grammys. “Lydia” received a nod for Best Rock Song, and Mister Asylum was up for Best Rock Album. There’s no doubt we’ll be hearing more from this trio, and we can’t wait to see where they’ll take their music next.

Highly Suspect is touring the United States through the end of November. For tickets and a list of Highly Suspect’s upcoming shows, visit Ticketmaster. You can find their music on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, Amazon Music and Google Play.

With Neil Young, The Who, The Stones, ‘Oldchella’ Desert Trip Was Event For the Ages, Not the ‘Aged’


“Welcome to the ‘Catch ’em before they Croak Festival!’” Mick Jagger greeted the sun baked throng of 75 thousand gathered at the Polo Grounds in Indio, California for the second weekend of Desert Trip the music festival featuring six of rock’s penultimate iconic artists – Bob Dylan, The Rolling Sones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters and The Who.

Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones

Mick and the boys had followed a spirited set by Bob Dylan who despite failing to utter a single word to the audience, still delivered a quality set with several crowd pleasing selections spanning his 50 year career. Opening with “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” (Everybody Must Get Stoned); other selections included “Don’t Think Twice. It’s All Right”; “Highway 61 Revisited”; “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”; “Tangled Up in Blue”. He also played his classic “Like a Rolling Stone” for the first time in nearly three years. (Videos courtesy of Prestoff2000)

The Rolling Stones, like Dylan and Neil Young too — who we’ll get to later and in my opinion stole the show — did not play identical sets from the previous weekend, choosing to vary things up a bit. There may not have been a head exploding “whoa!” moment like doing the Beatles’ “Come  Together,” but amazingly, of the first 11 selections of the Stones’ set 7 of them were not done the week before.

In what would prove to be a recurring theme over the weekend time was taken to acknowledge the noteworthy occurrence of Dylan being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the day before with Mick noting “We have never shared the stage with a Nobel Peace Prize winner before. Bob is like our own Walt Whitman.”

Neil Young

Paul McCartney and Neil Young - Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

Paul McCartney and Neil Young – Photo courtesy of Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

Saturday night saw a vintage Neil Young firing on all cylinders. Opening with a few classic acoustic numbers “After The Gold Rush,” “Heart of Gold,” and “Old Man” then signaled the end of those oldies with “Comes a Time” and “Helpless.”

The most magical moments arguably of the festival occurred when he performed “Harvest Moon” with literally a super full moon rising in a cloudless sky for all to see which when projected on the giant 240-ft-wide screen and taller than the towering palm trees the moon’s image was gigantic.

A moving performance I suspect I and all in attendance will long remember. However, whereas none of the six festival’s acts had to come out of retirement and all tour continually with consummately professional productions, it was Mr.  Young who stood apart from the others by the sheer force of his vitality. He and his band The Promise of The New Real featuring Lukas Nelson son of Willie Nelson proceeded to burn the place down with incendiary playing, highlighted by a jaw-dropping “Cowgirl In The Sand” clocking in at 19:07.  Neil also made note of Dylan’s Nobel Peace Prize saying looking at his watch saying “We started five minutes early so we could fuck around like this!”

Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney followed with his customary hit filled show featuring songs spanning Beatles’, Wings, and solo career with songs that everyone knows every word to and gleefully sings along with. Surprise guest and highlight was Rhianna coming out to sing their collaborative 2015 hit “FourFiveSeconds.” Rhianna dressed conservatively for her in a patterned frock albeit with a severely plunging neckline sounded fantastic and seemed thrilled to be there.

Paul had Neil come out to do a wonderful “A Day In The Life” into “Give Peace A Chance” and then a debut for Paul with “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”, a wild and raucous rendition where Neil was let loose to shred and boy did he ever. Sir Macca’s show’s have been virtually the same for a decade but the underlying all you need is love communal feeling is tailor made for music festivals. I am certain Beatles’ songs will still be sung in a hundred years.

The Who

The Who - Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

The Who – Photo by Kevin Mazur for Desert Trip

Sunday’s final night saw The Who in the opening slot surprising it seemed many people including myself. Again, another constantly touring excellent production technically. However, the first slight vibes of complaint came from The Who first before a note was even played with Roger Daltry asking if someone could turn off the fan, referring to the hot desert wind which was constant at that point.

Then after the second song, “The Seeker,” Pete Townshend asked the crowd “Are you tired?” apparently referring to the less than wildly enthusiastic reception.

Regardless, The Who executed their 22-song set with the consummate skill we’ve come to expect from them over the past few decades.

Roger Waters

As the final act, Roger Waters’ set was mesmerizing and the sound was astounding. He reportedly spent many days working on the sound and he took full advantage of the tremendous array and placement of speaker towers throughout audience. Sound, both musical and effectual, came from any direction at any time. Time and time again there would be the sound of a helicopter, or plane, or God knows what else that would cause everyone to look in whatever direction expecting to see that helicopter or plane. It was that realistic.

A Pink Floyd fan’s fantasy come true the song list was comprised entirely of Pink Floyd songs, eschewing Roger’s solo material, sometimes going way way back and way deep. Waters’ shows are always a spectacle comprised of spectacles. The flying pig has been a staple of the shows for decades however this time around the pig was imprinted with the image of Donald Trump in conjunction with images and messages on the giant screen on stage many of them way past R rated that left no doubt the level of detest Mr. Waters has for Mr. Trump. Interestingly, songs like Mother are amazing for how completely relevant they are to today’s times. Predictably, “Comfortably Numb” was the closing number and as usual was magnificent.

Lastly, it would be a crime not to mention the real star of the festival which was the venue itself. Veteran concert goers with hundreds of shows and a score of venues under their belts like myself walked around in awe marveling at the facilities, vendors, lighting, exhibits, food. Even the parking and traffic was handled exponentially better than at any other big shows I’ve attended. Seriously, a model for how to run a festival. A huge tip of the hat to the organizers who hit it far far out of the park.

Darrin James Releases ‘Strange Storm,’ An Important Work That Really Tells It Like It Is

James Makes Up for Journalism’s Apathy With ‘Strange Storm’


Detroit singer-songwriter Darrin James has released his third full length album, Strange Storm, which explores some of today’s tough subjects.

“Walking in the Footsteps” opens the album and sets the tone for the recording, which tackles violence, greed, politics and the double standard of religion in the United States. James’ style is aggressive — he talks about subjects few choose to mention — and it’s appealing.

darrin-james - East Coast Rocker

Photo courtesy of Darrin James

It’s musicians like James that give journalists hope that there is still a way to get out the news on controversial topics that “big corporate media” won’t touch.

James has clearly been influenced by Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie folk music, but he takes it a few steps further applying his poetry to world beats of blues and rock n’ roll. It’s obvious he’s a Frank Zappa fan as much of his music is outstanding in its unconventionality.

Strange Storm is an interesting work. The songs are innovative and give the impression the listener has entered a foreign land — except for the fact that the song subjects hit close to home.

“Bombs Away” is a cool, almost free-form work that takes the subject of bombing fromthe beginning and puts forth the question “Will it ever end?”  “Covert Mission Anthem,” sounds just like that. It’s got a cool spy-tone to it and it creeps along and a slinky and sultry pace, lurking behind the fuzzy guitar.  Avant-garde work takes center stage on the song  “Downdrafts Cold Fronts,” an important work on the Strange Storm album.

Strange Storm closes on a not very optimistic song, called “Still Believe in Love.”  James writes: “The Earth is dying from man’s blind ways; can’t find a way out of this maze and the storm it is no passing phase, but I still believe in love.”  OK there’s world catastrophe and we’re all going to die, but have a nice day.

strange-storm-darrin-jamesJames has amassed a good base of artists to help him out with this one. Included on Strange Storm are David Johnsen, Phil Kester, Dan Bennett, Tim Haldenman, Dan Piccolo, Ingrid Racine, Ross Huff, Heather Schwartz, and Brittany Willis. The supporting vocals are outstanding, supplied by none other than Detroit’s Queen of the Blues, Thornetta Davis.

While he is devoted to Detroit, James spent time in New York, honing his craft as producer and performer.  He put together a solid lineup of Brooklyn musicians, and in 2006 James released his debut album, Thrones of Gold, which got a lot of radio play.

Meanwhile, Strange Storm is an interesting collection.  The writing is so strong that this recording by this R and B style rocker communicates where the news media has fallen down.  Young, on-the-rise artists should take note of James style of work.  Their future may depend on it.

Bob Weir Takes a Traditional Turn as Tour for New Album, ‘Blue Mountain’ Heads East

Weir Joined On Stage by John Mayer and Matt Berninger

Bob Weir packed in the Deadheads young and old at The Wiltern - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Bob Weir packed in the Deadheads young and old at The Wiltern – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


Bob Weir mixed ranch stories and fireside songs with Grateful Dead favorites during a 3-hour show at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles.  It’s a stop along his tour to promote his solo album, Blue Mountain.

Bobby, as he is known to his loving fans, takes center stage with his band, and the Grateful Dead co-founder has only gotten better over the years.  He has a full beard and head of white hair but his voice is strong and so is his passion for performing.

Bob Weir Rocks The Wiltern

The Wiltern was sold out — a line of rainbow-sporting Deadheads young and old wrapped around the corner — a testament to Weir’s huge impact on music and his lingering appeal.  At 68, the folksy Weir is a welcome touchstone for Rock ‘N’ Rollers in a world that has largely ditched tradition for digital everything.

The Fans - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Fans – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Blue Mountain is a traditional record in a sense that it brings out a side of Bobby that he has longed to release — the record has stories of being out on the range, enveloped in deep musings about life.  As only Bobby can tell them.

The fans welcomed the new music which Bobby played throughout the first set.  OK, he did throw in Dead favorites “Loose Lucy” and “El Paso,” the latter written by Marty Robbins.

The second set was pure Grateful Dead including “Me And My Uncle,” and “West LA Fadeaway.”

Leader of the Band

Weir is casual and comfortable in the spotlight.  After years of being known as “the cute guy” in the Grateful Dead, he has proven that all along he was the understated anchor of the outfit — preppy golf shirt and all.

The Bob Weir tour heads East - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The Bob Weir tour heads East – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

His preppy, pretty look is long gone as Weir has opted for the white hair and white-bearded mustachio look and he sticks to T-shirts and Birkenstock-style sandals with white socks.

Special additions to the band in the second set were John Mayer and Matt Berninger of The National.

Mayer earned new respect as he has apparently honed his Grateful Dead-style guitar abilities to the crowd’s delight.  Mayer plays with Weir in Dead and Company, and he came to the stage halfway through the second set to thunderous applause, rocking familiar tunes including “Jack Straw.”  Berninger sang on “Morning Dew,” and “I Know You Rider.”

The Band Plays On

Weir’s spectacular tour continues with engagements at The Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, Penn. tomorrow; two nights at The Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15; The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. on Oct. 16; Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Oct. 19; and The Chicago Theatre in Chicago on Oct. 20.


Kaleo Brings Semi-Southern Blues to Irving Plaza in First of Two Sold Out Shows

Kaleo by Guilherme da Silva for EastCoastRocker.com

Kaleo – Photo by Guilherme da Silva for EastCoastRocker.com


NYC’s Irving Plaza was packed on Friday night with fans ready for night two of Kaleo‘s sold-out stop in New York.

The Icelandic rock newcomers bring a surprisingly southern sound and deliver a show so polished and seamless you’d think they’ve been touring for a decade.

The crowd sang along to tracks off A/B including “No Good,” “Vor I Vaglaskogi” (the only song in their native language), “Way down We Go,” and “All The Pretty Girls,” arguably the band’s best-known track. Kaleo also threw some new songs – “Alter Ego,” “My Gun,” and “Walk on Water,” to name a few – that fit the band’s sound and were well-received by the audience.

Although the quartet – comprised of Jökull Júlíusson (vocals and guitar), Davíð Antonsson (percussion and vocals), Daníel Ægir Kristjánsson (bass guitar), and Rubin Pollock (guitar and vocals) – has only been touring the United States since 2015, the band’s music carries a more all-American feel than most actual American bands.

kaleo-album-cover-abCheck out Kaleo on Soundcloud.

The Americana vibe is most blatantly exhibited in the track “Automobile,” a honky-tonk number about roadtripping through California that wouldn’t be out of place on a country music radio station.

2016 has been a big year for the blues-rock band who, in addition to releasing their debut major label album, A/B, on June 10, has already seen some mainstream success. In February 2016, Kaleo’s single “No Good” was included in the HBO drama Vinyl‘s companion album. Another of the band’s singles, “Way Down We Go,” was featured in the season 4 trailer for the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black in May, as well as in promos for FOX’s Empire and NBC’s Blindspot.

Kaleo’s classic sound is one we’re sure to hear a lot more of. The band’s Handprint Tour continues through the U.S. until May 2017. You can find a complete list of tour dates here.

Glass Animals Light Up Manhattan’s Terminal 5 in First of Two NYC Performances on US Tour

Glass Animals - Photo by Bailey Mullins for East Coast Rocker

Glass Animals – Photo by Bailey Mullins for East Coast Rocker

UK Band Impresses With New Album ‘How to be a Human Being’


Glass Animals, a UK-based synth/indie/rock/pop quartet, played the first of two NYC shows on their U.S. tour to a sold-out audience at Manhattan’s Terminal 5.

Glass Animals Festival Power

The band released their sophomore album, How to be a Human Being on August 26 to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Their triumphant return to T5 is a testament to their success in the live arena.

The influence of Glass Animals’ past two years on the festival circuit is clear in their performance. Every song was a hyped, elevated version of the album’s tracks, with rhythmic builds leading to crowd-pumping drops. The lighting and production added to the rock-show-meets-EDM atmosphere.

The band opened with “Premade Sandwiches,” a short, spoken rap track.

The seamless flow of songs included favorites off 2014’s ZABA including “Gooey” and “Toes,” and a scattering of songs off the new album including “Season 2 Episode 3,” “Life Itself” and “The Other Side of Paradise.” They closed their set with their always-popular cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown,” and the angry, bizarre anthem “Pork Soda.”

The band Glass Animals has been popular with the fans since their debut, Zaba, which brought the group more than 7 million listeners on Spotify in 2015. With How to be a Human Being, the band continues its momentum.

You can stream Zaba and How to be a Human Being here.

Glass Animals is touring North America through December. Visit Ticketmaster for ticket info and a full list of upcoming shows, including in Los Angeles at The Greek Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 16.

Holly Montgomery and Big Planet Send Listeners to Paradise with Her New Album, ‘Leaving Eden’

Holly Montgomery's new album, Leaving Eden

Holly Montgomery’s new album, ‘Leaving Eden’

By JOHN DALY – Holly Montgomery may be Leaving Eden, but her music takes listeners to paradise.

Holly has a talent that is rare among musicians today.  She has an amazing voice, her musical talent is abundant and she’s a great singer-songwriter who crosses the genres.

Holly truly connects with the listeners on songs like the catchy “Waterworks,” “Beyond the Veil,” the rockin’ “Jump The Gun,” and title track, “Leaving Eden.” Listen to the album on her Soundcloud Page.

The Falls Church, Va.-based musician more than 150 dates a year, mainly in the mid-Atlantic region.

Big Planet

Holly’s band Big Planet, was awarded Best Acoustic Band by the National Academy of Songwriters, she played with folk legend Dan Bern, with the all-girl modern country band The Mustangs, and with John Ford Coley. But she’s not about working in other genres: She also recorded with Ice Cube.

Photo courtesy of Holly Montgomery

Photo courtesy of Holly Montgomery

Her 2011 album called Uncanny Valley was recorded with guitarist Randall Hall of Lynyrd Skynyrd fam, and drummer and rock legend Aynsley Dunbar of Journey, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and Jefferson Starship.  Holly opened for the Oscar-winning duo The Swell Season with folk singer Mark Dignam, and for Foreigner with Billy White Acre.

Holly is the lead singer and plays bass, acoustic guitar, and piano on all of her albums. Her current band is Nashville guitarist, Buddy Speir and Washington, D.C. drummer, Andy Hamburger.

Leaving Eden was produced by Rich Isaac of Clean Cuts Studio, Baltimore, Md.

Tracklisting: 1) Drunk on the Power, 2) Waterworks, 3) Beyond the Veil, 4) Don’t Want To Fall, 5) Go Mellow, 6) Jumped The Gun, 7) Leaving Eden, 8) Morning Glory, and 9) Music On The Side.

Check out Holly’s website and follow her on her Facebook and Twitter pages.


Life of Lemmy Kilmister Celebrated with Statue at Rainbow and Concert at Whisky on Sunset Strip

Would Lemmy Have Loved The Honors on Sunset Strip?

Lemmy Statue

Lemmy Statue takes its permanent home at Rainbow Bar and Grill – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


SUNSET STRIP – If Lemmy Kilmister were alive, would he have been overwhelmed by events held in his honor on the most famous road in Rock N Roll?

— On Wednesday night hundreds gathered to see the unveiling of a statue created in Lemmy’s image that has a permanent residence at The Rainbow Bar and Grill.

— The night before, Ultimate Jam Night at Whisky A Go Go had a Lemmy Tribute, complete with the regular jam musicians and a few special guests including Tracii Guns and Dug Pinnick of King’s X.

Fan Love for Lemmy

All the festivities were probably more for the fans than for the outrageous Motorhead frontman, but in any event, Lemmy is immortalized now on his beloved Sunset Strip.

“I’m here because I loved Lemmy’s music,” said Debby Cincianella who came from New York City for the unveiling. “Lemmy meant a lot to a lot of people and we want to honor him.”

John Hammer drove all the way from Bakersfield to get the event in time for the presentation.

“I drove like crazy to get here,” he said. “I had to see this.”

READ MORE and SEE MORE PHOTOS at CALIFORNIAROCKER.COM[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”12″ gal_title=”Lemmy”]

Rockin’ Metal Band, Year of the Locust, Tours East Coast to Support Its First Full Album, ‘Devolver’

By JOHN DALY – Year of the Locust is a rockin metal band that brings a new album, Devolver and a fresh sound to the table: There are actual melodies to the songs!

Year of the Locust is comprised of Scot McGiveron on lead vocals and guitar; Fred Serrell on bass and vocals; Peter Hellers on vocals and guitar; and Raeshwan Greene on drums. They’re a talented group from New York and they’ve been turning out some innovative and truly energized music.

Year of the Locust

First Album

Devolver is the first full-length album for the band, and features a brand new video for the first single “Rise Up” and coincides with the band’s national tour, which is happening now.


Year of the Locust Tour

Previously in 2015 the band released the album entitled “Home” which included the self titled single along with an additional one entitled “The Bottom.” Both of which were promoted via music videos world wide as well as coinciding national radio campaigns in every major market in the U.S.

“Rise Up,” “Home,” and “Torn” are among the strong songs on this album.  This is a band that puts on a good show in concert.  There’s experience there as the guys have opened for Candlebox, Trapt, Hoobastank and toured with Jake E. Lee and the Red Dragon Cartel in August, 2015.

Year of the Locust will play Mac’s Mad Art Bar in Syracuse on Aug. 5; California Brew Haus in Rochester on Aug. 7; Muncheez’s in Beckley, W.V. on Aug. 12 and The Tusk in Philadelphia on Aug. 13. For additional dates and information, check out the Year of the Locust Facebook Page.

Tracklist: 1. Intro, 2. Devolver, 3. Sledgehammer, 4. Rise Up, 5. Imagine the Children, 6. My Medicine, 7. Broken Now, 8. In Your Corner, 9. Club California, 10. Movin’ On, 11. Better Than You, 12. Twenty Two, 13. Spyder