Nationals – August 2018

Greetings Rockers ‘N’ Rollers! Hope you are seeing many live concerts during this peak season of Summer. Last month began with Poison, Cheap Trick and Pop Evil at PPL Center in Allentown. The Mechanicsburg natives (Poison) finalized their latest tour with the closest show to home. It’s been several years since all members of Poison toured together – but the band felt it was time after drummer Rikki Rockett’s recent battle with cancer. They played all their hits including many from their first record, “Look What the Cat Dragged In,” “I Want Action” and “Take Dirty To Me.” Legendary rock band, Cheap Trick, provided support and proved their status as Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Cheap Trick still consists of three original members (Robin Zanders, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson) from when they began in 1974 in Rockford, Illinois – original drummer Bun E. Carlos stopped touring in 2010 – his duties have been filled by Rick’s son Daxx Nielsen. I was very fortunate to meet the band before the show began and share words regarding their great song “Southern Girls.”

HMAC brought a great National show to town on July 1st with the return of Southern Culture on the Skids at Stage On Herr. The three-piece band from Chapel Hill, NC has brought their rockabilly/surf rock blend to the mid-state many times and always give an incredible performance. Singer, Rick Miller, continues to be one of the greatest guitarist I’ve ever seen – there’s just something about his playing that is extraordinary. The band continues to build a loyal following recruiting new fans with every performance. A band that when witnessed, will never be missed again. Southern Culture on the Skids return to Reading, PA on Sept 15 for a free show at the West Reading Fall Festival.

A highlight this month included a day-trip to New York City on July 18, which included visiting the gravesite of Johnny Thunders in Queens. Thunders played in the New York Dolls and also The Heartbreakers but died at the age of 38 apparently of drug-related causes, but it has been speculated that it was the result of foul play. It was then off to the neighborhood of Forrest Hills to visit sights of The Ramones who grew up there and where the band began. Lastly, the day ended seeing The Shrine play the Bowery Electric, located one block from the legendary CBGB’s. The Shrine originated in 2008 from Venice, California and recently changed bass players, adding Corey Parks (Nashville Pussy, Die Hunns, Chelsea Girls). The band have released 3 albums, with the latest by legendary producer Dave Jerden (Jane’s Addiction, Social Distortion, Alice In Chains). A fantastic show of hard rock n’ roll with a sound similar to Eagles of Death Metal.

NATIONAL NEWS: Robert Plant’s vow to never reunite with his old bandmates may have changed. The 69-year old former Led Zeppelin frontman is considering a reunion for the band’s 50th anniversary. Supposedly Plant and Jimmy Page, 74, and John Paul Jones, 72, are discussing how to celebrate the anniversary considering this will be the last time that the band has a reason to reunite. The remaining three members last played together as Led Zeppelin in 2007. Deceased drummer John Bonham is likely to be represented by son Jason at the anniversary show.

Representatives for the mayor of Philadelphia said Jay-Z’s annual Made In America festival will no longer be able to use Benjamin Franklin Parkway after this year’s edition. Jay-Z, who started putting on the festival at the parkway in 2012, seemed hurt ““We are disappointed that the mayor of the city of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city, this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event.” Jay Z also noted the benefits that Made In America has brought to Philly, citing a positive $102 million economic impact to the city, payment of $3.4 million in rent, and more than 1,000 jobs on the days the festival is held. Made In America will be held Sept. 1-2 with Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Diplo, Zedd and Meek Mill all set to perform.

Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour continues to put up blockbuster numbers, with stops reported in 10 cities so far grossing just shy of $103 million for an average of 82,125 tickets each.The mammoth tour that will take in 50-plus stadiums in North America, the UK, Australia and Japan in 2018 has her selling well more than 50,000 tickets per show. The Rolling Stones, are a close second with $9.14 million grossed per city on their recent European leg. Swift’s two nights at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (July 13-14) moved a combined 107,378 tickets and grossed $11.95 million.

New York native, Billy Joel, played his record-setting 100th lifetime show at Madison Square Garden on July 18 to the capacity crowd of 20,789. The 69-year old legend opened the show with “Big Shot” and then “The Entertainer,” Joel turns things over to the audience offering what he calls a “fielder’s choies” letting the crowd decide songs to be played. Bruce Springsteen joined the showed sitting atop Joel’s piano performing “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and “Born to Run.” After giving an epic two-and-a-half-hour set, Joel simply ended with gratitude “Thank you New York City.”

Twenty One Pilots have returned with the release of two new tracks (a new album Oct 5) and announcing a lengthy arena headlining tour of 60-plus dates hitting markets from Nashville to New Zealand to Moscow from October to March. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun new studio album is titled TRENCH. The album follows their 2015 LP, Blurryface, which has sold more than 6.5 million copies worldwide. TOP visits Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on Oct 28 and Washington DC’s Capital One Arena on Oct 31.

Gene Simmons settled a lawsuit July 2 in which a radio broadcaster accused the 68-year-old KISS vocalist/bassist of unwanted sexual advances and touching, and battery during an on-camera interview and during promotional photos. The alleged incident happened during an interview to promote a new Rock & Brews restaurant. The restaurant chain, which was co-founded by a group including Simmons and his KISS bandmate Paul Stanley, is also named in the suit. Simmons was also recently banned from FOX News studios for “allegedly exposing his torso to staff members and shouting: ‘Hey chicks, sue me!’”

Far more than 100,000 people saw Eminem’s Roskilde show – his first performance in Denmark – live, July 4, breaking an attendance record previously held by The Rolling Stones. “184 performances made up the Festival that included everything from the stars of tomorrow to the biggest headliners. The Eminem show attracted the biggest show ever in front of the Orange Stage with more than 100,000 people,” stated the promoter. Roskilde is a non-profit event that donates its profits to charity.

Elvis Costello has canceled the rest of his European summer tour after undergoing surgery for a “small but very aggressive” cancerous tumor. Costello wrote “Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, “You should start playing the Lotto”. He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery.” But after the initial thought that “normal service had been resumed” Costello realized he needed more rest. He said “therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour.” It is presumed that Costello will still be able to do his North American dates with The Imposters in November and December.

Vincent Paul Abbott, known as Pantera co-founder and Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul, passed on June 22. He was 54. Paul co-founded the Southern-rock inspired metal group Pantera with his brother, guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell. He was drummer for the band Damageplan, which the two continued after Pantera’s dissolution. Dimebag was killed by a crazed fan during a Damageplan show in Columbus in 2004. Vinnie Paul’s death was met with an outpouring of condolences from the metal community, with Tweets coming from the likes of Slash, Alice Cooper, Zakk Wylde, Megadeth, Billy Idol and many others, sharing stories of him being always approachable and grateful.

UPCOMING SHOWS: Zeke / Anthrophobia Lancaster Tellus 360 Aug 2. Steel Grantville Double K Aug 4. Strangest Hearts / Timmy’s Creepshow Harrisburg Ted’s on 22 Aug 4. The Alarm Philadelphia World Café Live Aug 7. Menzingers Lancaster Chameleon Aug 16. ZZ Top Sunbury Spyglass Winery Aug 24. Strange Love (Depeche Mode tribute) Harrisburg Club XL Aug 25. New Order Washington DC Anthem Aug 28. Ozzy Osbourne Allentown PPL Center Aug 30. The Dead Daisies / Hookers & Blow Lancaster Chameleon Aug 31