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Nationals – January 2018

    Greetings Rockers ’N’ Rollers! Happy New Year! This month marks my 10th anniversary writing for the PA Musician. It has become a very satisfying and rewarding effort to write about my passion for music. I thank the Noll family and all at the PA Musician Magazine who make it possible. I especially would like to thank our readers, there is no better compliment when someone mentions reading your article.

   The legendary KIX band returned to Camp Hill’s Radisson for their annual WTPA Birthday Bash the day after Thanksgiving. Congratulations to promoter John Harris Jr. on another successful sold-out show. It was a great night with local support bands: Steel, Grumpy Old Men and LeadFoot. Steel played an awesome set and was great to see them play to a massive audience, which they deserve. KIX continue to draw huge crowds from their long history of loyal fans and still put on an amazing live show. It just never gets old hearing such great songs as “The Itch,” “Heartache” and “Blow My Fuse.” Unfortunately radio station WTPA was recently sold – but its rumored KIX will still return next year. 

   Other local shows included: The Reverend Horton Heat brought his Holiday Hayride to HMAC on Dec 12. The show also included the incredible Junior Brown as well as The Blasters & Big Sandy. A tremendous crowd filled the huge Capitol Room upstairs at HMAC. The venue recently installed a sound system from Clair Bros. in Lititz and is nearly completed and will soon bring many National acts. Metal band Cry Tuff reunited on December 23rd at The Depot in York. It was their first show in nearly 30 years. After speaking with the band, it sounds like more shows are planned for the future. 

   The highlight of December was watching local punks NOTLebowskis practice 6 sessions. I feel very fortunate that they asked me to be a part of their preparation for NOTLebowskis show at Zeroday in Harrisburg on Dec 30. They are truly an amazing group of guys and proud to call friends. As much as I love music, I was never involved or witnessed a band practice, so it was so great to see behind the scenes. Observing the whole process was awesome: developing a setlist, structuring songs, band disagreements, determining equipment to be used, practicing the songs in a whole different way and eventually coming up with something special and fantastic. NOTLebowskis is an acoustic version of the group’s original Lebowskis punk band.

   The year 2017 ended with seeing the elusive Morrissey at DC’s newest venue The Anthem. The English singer rose to fame as the frontman for the Smiths, who were active 1982 to 1987. Since then, Morrissey has had a solo career and is currently touring his latest record Low in High School. Morrissey puts on a really great show with a powerful stage presence and amazing vocals Unfortunately, he cancelled the following 3 shows (including Philadelphia) citing an “illness in the touring party.” Moz has become known for cancelling shows and has cancelled or postponed 127 shows since 2012. Despite cancellations, Morrissey remains a potent box office draw, with an average gross of $298,000 and average attendance of 4,377 per show. 

   NATIONAL NEWS: Forbes’s Top 10 highest-paid musicians of 2017 are: 01. Diddy ($130M) 02. Beyoncé ($105M) 03. Drake ($94M) 04. The Weeknd ($92M) 05. Coldplay ($88M) 06. Guns N Roses ($84M) 07. Justin Bieber ($83.5M) 08. Bruce Springsteen ($75M) 09. Adele ($69M) 10. Metallica ($66.5M)

    Lady Gaga is currently locked in the Top 15 highest-grossing touring acts with a total reported gross of $85.7 million. Gaga played 41 headlining shows this year, giving her an average gross of more than $2 million. She sold a total of 737,155 tickets for an average of 17,979 per show. Most shows took place at arenas with the exception of a couple shows at baseball parks. The concert at Wrigley Filed was the pop star’s highest grossing show, raking in more than $5 million and selling 41,847 tickets. Gaga recently announced a two-year Las Vegas residency at MGM to begin in late 2018. “It’s the land of Elvis, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, the Rat Pack, Elton John, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli,” Gaga said in a statement. “It has been a life-long dream of mine to play Las Vegas. I’ll leave my heart on the stage every single night. Meet me in Las Vegas baby, we did it!”

     Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues and the late Nina Simone will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Cleveland April 14. Artists are eligible for nomination 25 years after the release of the artist’s or band’s first commercial recording. Each year’s inductees are chosen from votes by more than 900 industry-related people as well as online fan votes. The Rock& Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be televised on HBO, next year.

    Jay Z is the leader of the 2018 Grammy Award nominations in a year where the top four categories are heavily dominated by rap and R&B artists. The Recording Academy announce that Jay-Z is nominated for eight honors, including album, song, and record of the year. Bruno Mars is also nominated for the big three, while Kendrick Lamar — who earned seven nominations — and Childish Gambino are also up for major awards. No rock or country acts were nominated in the top four categories. Jay-Z or Lamar could make history next year when the Grammys take place in New York City on Jan. 28, 2018. This year is the first year the Grammys used online voting for its main awards show. There are 84 categories for the 60th annual Grammys.

     Pat Dinizio, lead singer for Smithereens, died Dec. 12 in Scotch Plains, N. J., at age 62. The cause of death wasn’t revealed. Dinizio said a few days before that he was looking forward to touring and was undergoing physical therapy for neck and back injuries. Smithereens formed in New Jersey in 1980 and went on to be known for hits including “Blood and Roses” and “A Girl Like You.” They were scheduled to go back on the road in January. 

    With its eighth number 1 album overall, U2 made history as the only band to ever have #1 albums in four consecutive decades on the U.S. charts. Songs of Experience debuted December 1st at number 1 with 186,000 album units and became the best selling rock album of the year. The last album to sell more than Songs of Experience was Metallica’s Hardwired .. To Self-Destruct, which hit the charts in December of 2016 with 291,000 units. Bono and the boys, who recently announced 24 arena dates for May and June, are in the running for tour of the year after the Joshua Tree 2017 stadium tour grossed $316 million.

     John Mayer’s emergency appendectomy has forced Dead & Company to postpone its remaining 2017 shows. The band has made good on its promise to reschedule three missed shows in Louisiana and Florida. Dead & Company is made up of Mayer plus Grateful Dead veterans Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti. The band’s average gross per appearance during the past two years has been $1,647,090.  

     In addition to Justin Timberlake playing this year’s Super Bowl halftime on Feb 4, Pink is joining a list of stars performing in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week. The singer will perform Friday, Feb. 2, at Nomadic Live! Imagine Dragons will headline the EA Sports Bowl on Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Armory. Jennifer Lopez will also perform at the same venue on Saturday, Feb. 3. Other Super Bowl week performers include The Chainsmokers, Florida Georgia Line and the Dave Matthews Band. There is a 10-day free concert series featuring a “Prince night” and local acts such as Soul Asylum, Mint Condition, Sheila E., The Revolution, Morris Day & The Time, Bob Mould, The Jayhawks, Idina Menzel, Dessa and The Jets. Gwen Stefani will close out the week on Sunday, Feb. 4, at Club Nomadic.

    UPCOMING SHOWS: The Killers Washington DC Anthem Jan 10. The Killers Philadelphia Wells Fargo Jan 13. Junior Brown Annapolis Rams Head Jan 18. US Bombs Pittsburgh Mr Smalls Jan 19. Junior Brown Ardmore Music Hall Jan 20. US Bombs Long Branch NJ Brighton Bar Jan 21. Jeffrey Gaines Ardmore Music Hall Jan 28.

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