Saturday, April 21, 2018

Kiefer Sutherland and Rick Brantley at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO on 4/17/18

Kiefer Sutherland and band

We needed to seek shelter from the dangerously high winds on Tuesday before the show. So we ducked into the Goosetown Tavern across the street from the Bluebird Theater. Just after my first sip of beer, actor/musician Kiefer Sutherland walked into the bar.  He joined his band in a booth while the entire establishment glanced his way.  Sutherland was very kind and gracious to everyone.  I was waiting for the perfect moment to approach him.  But he left as soon as I went to the restroom.  I am still cursing my bladder.

Kiefer Sutherland - All Photos by 
The Rock and Roll Princess
Over seventeen-years-ago Sutherland started a record label named Ironworks.  He signed Rocco DeLuca among many others (Sutherland has DeLuca's album title I Trust You to Kill Me tattooed on his arm). The artists on his label encouraged Kiefer Sutherland to create his own music. After a successful debut album and tour, Sutherland is back on the road playing songs from his upcoming record.

The crowd consisted of fans that grew up on his movies such as The Lost Boys, Young Guns, and A Few Good Men (to name just a few). His role as counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer from the television series 24 was being passionately discussed when all of a sudden The War on Drugs' Under Pressure started to blast over the PA.  A few moments later, Kiefer Sutherland and his band took the stage. That's when he transformed from an actor into a musician.

Michael Gurley and Kiefer Sutherland
Sutherland started with the autobiographical country songs Reckless & Me and Going Home.  His colorful past is perfect material for country songs.  The pace picked up with Patti Loveless' Blame It on Your Heart. The band played the country standard with just the right honky tonk touch.  The song about his first love entitled Saskatchewan (Sutherland grew up in Toronto) made the intoxicated audience bob their heads.  It also caused the girl in front of us with a Canadian flag to lose her mind.  She waved it proudly blocking the view of everyone behind her.

The title track from his first album, Down in a Hole started the rock portion of the evening.  Guitar players Michael Gurley and Austin Valleijo traded licks while Sutherland jammed out right beside them.  Towards the end of the night, they played Tom Petty's Honey Bee highlighting the excellent drumming skills of local hero Jess Calcaterra from Granby, Colorado.  Sutherland thanked the crowd multiple times.  He was truly grateful for the crowd showing up to support his music.

Rick Brantley
Rick Brantley was raised a Baptist preacher's son in Macon, Georgia.  His father's musical tastes from The Allman Brothers to Billy Joel inspired him to create music.  After high school he moved to Nashville, TN and became a songwriter.  He is now performing his own songs opening up for John Hiatt, Steve Earle, and lately Kiether Sutherland.  His soulful voice and powerful song writing almost made the too drunk for a Tuesday night crowd quiet down and listen. The begging request for love song 40 days and 40 Nights started his set off strongly.  Tumbleweeds was introduced by explaining how his dream of becoming a cowboy morphed into a hope of becoming a policeman. His song Hurt People depicts the horrors of abuse. "Everybody's got a reason for losing faith/I guess everybody's got a scar they just can't erase/You live a little while, you're gonna have one too/You live a little longer, I bet you leave a few."  After the song, Brantley joked that razor blades could be purchased at his merch booth.  He ended with his father's favorite song, Otis Redding's Try a Little Tenderness complete with boot slams.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one missing a celebrity encounter.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Darkness and Diarrhea Planet at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO on 4/7/18

Justin Hawkins
The Darkness is fighting to keep rock and roll alive by embracing all of its ridiculousness.  Front man Justin Hawkins wears skintight leopard print jumpsuits zipped down to his navel (a little something for the ladies).  With a remarkable falsetto, he sounds like a hard rock version of Barry Gibb. The lead singer crowd surfs, leaps from balconies, and frolics around the stage.  This resulted in their current trek around North America being called Tour de Prance. The Darkness has a catalog of tongue in cheek songs that rival the comedy band The Flight of the Concords with a joyous heavy metal sound.

The Darkness - All photos by the Rock and Roll Princess
The English band started their sold out Gothic Theatre set with Open Fire from their Viking themed album The Last of Our Kind.  Justin's primal wailing along with his brother Dan Hawkins' frantic rhythm guitar playing made the mostly male audience jump up and down with their fists in the air.  Bass player, self-help book author, and shiny yellow suit owner Frankie Poullain introduced One Way ticket to Hell ….and Back with a cowbell solo (you can never have enough cowbell).
Frankie Poullain and the Cowbell
Rock royalty is a member of the self described "world's most epic rock band." Rufus Taylor, son of Queen's drummer Roger Taylor, has been playing drums for the band since 2015. Justin complimented Taylor's drumming with a Shakespearian reference nobody understood (oh, the English sense of humor).  After playing three songs from their debut album Permission to Land, the band came back for an encore.  Wearing nothing but tiny blue shorts, Justin played a slowed down blues version of I Believe in a Thing Called Love on the guitar while the audience sang the lyrics.  But the show wasn't finished yet.  Justin climbed up to the balcony and jumped into a sea of testosterone during their final song Love on the Rocks with No Ice.  After crowd surfing through the audience, he climbed back to the stage stating, "The audience usually smell like raw sewage.  But I was lucky because this crowd smells like marijuana and saliva.  I liked it."

Diarrhea Planet
As the band left the stage, the house music played Time of My Life from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.  Two intoxicated bros attempted to re-enact the famous dance lift scene from the movie with horrible drunken results.  It was the perfect end to a night of goofy entertaining music.

Diarrhea Planet, the band with four guitar players and a horrible name, opened the show. They were having a blast with their high energy celebration of guitar rock. The musicians were more polished than their headlining performance at the Larimer Lounge back in November.  The band packed in as many songs, crowd surfing, and guitar solos as the thirty-minute set allowed.

 See you at the next show.  I'll be in a skintight leopard print jumpsuit playing the cowbell.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Olivia Jean, Hallie Spoor, and Jesse RS at The Summit Moon Room in Denver, CO on 3/21/18

Olivia Jean - Photo by Greg Cocks
Armed with black lipstick, black dangerous high heels, and a black Gretsch guitar, Olivia Jean played her first headlining show in Denver on Wednesday.  With a bare bone crew, Olivia Jean manned her own merch table as the diverse crowd entered the intimate Moon Room.  The concertgoers were a mixture of unnaturally dark haired fellow Goth rockers, friends of the opening bands, and one pony-tailed homeless looking guy in sweatpants.  After offering to buy Olivia Jean an adult beverage, we learned she doesn't consume alcohol.  But Olivia Jean confessed her vice is Redbull (her tour bus is loaded with it).

Olivia Jean with her band - Photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
After joining Jack White's Thirdman Records when she was nineteen, Olivia Jean has proven to be a multi-faceted artist.  She fronted the Goth girl garage band The Black Belles, played guitar with Kate Pierson from The B-52's (even styled Pierson's hair for a photo shoot), and performed with Jack White (on stage and in the studio).  Olivia Jean also acted in HBO's True Detective series staring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as … a singer.  Now performing as a solo act, Olivia Jean has proven to be unstoppable musical force.

Olivia Jean
After changing from a leopard print blouse with a black leather jacket ensemble into a 1960's inspired red dress, Olivia Jean took the stage with a rock and roll attitude. She led her band through several The Black Belles songs including the Dick Dale surf guitar inspired The Wrong Door and a spooky dance song The Tease. Olivia Jean played an obscure cover song entitled Orange that she was obsessed with as a child. Olivia Jean mesmerized the crowd with her own song Haunt Me (the first tune she wrote on an acoustic guitar).  Her signature track Reminisce (Olivia Jean played every instrument on the recording) was definitely the highlight.  New material Garage Bat and Can U Help Me previewed her yet to be finished sophomore album.  After the show, Olivia Jean stated she would return to the studio after Jack White ends his current tour (White took her producer with him on the road).

Hallie Spoor
Denver folk singer Hallie Spoor and her band performed a very non-Goth type of music before Olivia Jean took over the Moon Room.  Sadly, Ben Van Horne, who played bass for them, lost his life a few weeks ago.  In his memory, the band donated their share of ticket sales to Van Horne's favorite charity Youth on Record.  The organization had representation at the show allowing audience members to give even more to the worthy cause. Their playing of the title track to Spoor's debut album The Brave Ones and Sheryl Crowe's If It Makes You Happy would of made Van Horne proud.

Jesse RS
Morphine (the 1990's band with the baritone sax not the drug) was played over the house speakers when the band Jesse RS was setting up.  It was the perfect preview of what was about to happen.  Lead singer Jesse Soward took his band through songs that left space for long jams. The improvisational elements were heightened when Chris Whiteley played multiple saxophones (at one point at the same time).

See you at the next show.  I'll be drinking Redbull and avoiding the guy in the sweatpants.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Glen Hansard at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on 3/14/18

Glen Hansard and the string section
Before the concert Glen Hansard went into his favorite hangout in Boulder, Colorado the Beat Book Shop.  He purchased a vintage copy of The American Mercury magazine that featured stories from famous American writers from the 1920s and 1930s for inspiration. When touring first brought the Irish singer to Boulder, the shop owner Thomas Peters introduced him to the work of Boulder born author John Fante.  The writer's emotional descriptive stories detail the struggles and humor of everyday life.  The same can be said about Glen Hansard's songs about lost souls, the broken-hearted, and redemption.

Guitarist Rob Bochnik and the horn section
His impressive band included a string section that layered lush sound and horn players that brought powerful soul to the music.   Hansard played guitar, piano, mandolin, and even a loot throughout the evening.  The altitude affected his multiple instruments tuning, Hansard's running joke was blaming it on his guitar tech each time he had to tune them.  The set list was a combination of his solo albums, the soundtrack to the film Once, music from his rock group The Frames, and an altered Woody Guthrie cover.

Glen Hansard - all photos
by the Rock and Roll Princess
Glen Hansard asked the audience, "Do you mind if I get a little hippy for a moment?"  The Boulder audience of course obliged (it was like asking if Willie Nelson would mind if you smoked marijuana on his tour bus). Hansard explained that the energy generated from the crowd was reflecting what the band was giving back to them (he admitted it was cliche). The theater's energy resulted in Hansard pouring his soul into gut-wrenching songs that touched the heart of everyone in the theater.

Hansard's new album Between Two Shores has more of a rock feel than his last two folk albums.  The song Roll on Slowly morphed into a cover of fellow Irishman Van Morrison's song Gloria.  Pianist Romy sang and played Marketa Irgolva's part beautifully on his Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly.  He dedicated it to his ex-singing partner Irgolva like he does every time he performs it without her.  Hansard started the chorus too early, but admitted to the mistake making the ladies in the string section laugh.

Glen Hansard with the band
Woody Guthrie wrote the song Vigilante Man about his landlord Fred Trump (President Donald Trump's father).  Hansard altered the lyrics to include lines about the wall, Big Macs, and the size of … buttons. The Boulder audience applauded and giggled at every hysterical line.

The three hour concert concluded when the entire band came to the front of the stage to sing the folk standard Passing Through - "I was with Franklin Roosevelt's side on the night before he died/He said, one world must come out of World War Two/ Yankee, Russian, white or tan. He said, a man is still a man/We're all on one road, and we're only passing through." When Glen Hansard was leaving the theater, he recommended the John Fante novel The Road to Los Angeles to one of his fans.  He wanted to share one of his sources of inspiration while he was … just passing through.

See at the next show.  I will be reading a John Frante novel for inspiration to alter Woody Guthrie song lyrics.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Margo Price and Particle Kid at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO on 2/20/18

Margo Price
A few years ago Margo Price and her boyfriend (now husband) Jeremy Ivey found themselves living in Colorado in a tent performing for spare change on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall.  She now lives in Nashville (assuming not in a tent) as a successful musician.  She has performed with her idols Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, and Willie Nelson. Price even played with my Lord and Savior Jack White (she is on his Thirdman Records label). Her Nowhere Fast tour is currently traveling the world supporting her second album American Made.

Margo Price - All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
The show at the Fox Theatre was sold out despite it being on a cold snowy Tuesday night. Before the performance began, a roadie placed burning incense on the stage.  The smoke lofted over the crowd (the smell is still in my clothes). Price came out wearing a fringe jacket, bellbottoms with rose embroidered patches, and a big floppy brown hat (I almost wore the same exact outfit).  Her mustached bass player Kevin Black held up the band's country music reputation by donning a black cowboy hat.

A large majority of the set list were songs from her new album.  They were political (Pay Gap, Heart of America), philosophical (A Little Pain, Loner), and confessional (Wild Women, Weakness). The few songs performed from her debut album were reworked from their original version such as the haunting Four Years of Chances.

Margo Price
Margo Price played shakers, tambourine, guitar, keyboards, and drums throughout the night.  Many singers just stand awkwardly while each member solos.  Not Price.  She played a small drum kit right next to Dillion Napler's normal size drums.  Price banged along with the band with a giant smile.  One of the most impressive moments of the night was the song All American Made.  The band left the stage leaving Price behind the keyboards. Gut wrenching lyrics poured out, "All the Midwest farms are tuning into plastic homes/And my uncle started drinking when the bank denied the loan/But now it's liver failure and his mad cows being cloned."  The band came back to play her signature song Hurtin' on a Bottle combined with Willie Nelson's Whiskey River.  The show ended with Credence Clear Water Revival's Proud Mary (Ike and Tina Turner's version). She pranced around the stage and encouraged the crowd to sing along.  The Retro-Country artist transform into a Rock and Roll powerhouse.   

The Particle Kid
Particle Kid opened up the show.  I discovered a few things during his set:

  • Particle Kid is not a kid or particles, but a twenty-seven year old man.  
  • He had chess pieces on his socks (one had a hole in the toe)
  • His real name is Micah Nelson. 
  • He is Willie Nelson's son. 
Nelson shared his concern about sneezing outside in the cold.  "Frozen boogers might become destructive missiles."  Being from California, he was excited to be experiencing inclement weather (he got to wear a stocking hat).  His set consisted of steam-of-consciousness songs about Hollywood, the ocean, and how the reality of the world is out of control. Nelson used looping and foot petal effects to create a fuller sound.  The Particle Kid came back during Price's set to sing the duet Learning to Lose. His father sung with Price on the original recording.  The Particle Kid captured the tone of Willie Nelson perfectly while guitarist Jamie Davis recreated Willie Nelson's playing (it was like Willie and his legendary old beat up guitar Trigger were there).

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one in the fringe jacket lighting incense on stage.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Killers, Albert Hammond Jr., and Amanda Brown at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, CO on 2/5/18

The Killers
The flu was slowly working its way through members of The Killers crew for weeks during their Wonderful Wonderful Tour.  The morning of the 1st Bank Center performance, front man Brandon Flowers awoke with the sickness.  The audience was surprised when he confessed he was under the weather in the middle of the show.  Flowers sang, danced, and occasionally played the bass and keyboards while channeling Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, and Bruce Springsteen. I can't form complete sentences when I am sick never mind performing a high production rock show.  And it was a SHOW with incredible video images that appeared to be popping out of the screen, lights probably stolen from an alien spaceship, confetti cannons that covered the entire arena with …. confetti, and sexy scantily clad background singers.

Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers is the youngest of six children raised in a Mormon family. After moving to Las Vegas in his teens, he became involved in the local music scene.  Two years after graduating from high school, Flowers formed The Killers.  A few years later they were headlining Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium.  Drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. and Brandon Flowers are the only official members in The Killers currently performing.  Bassist Mark Stoermer and guitarist Dave Kenuing are still in the band, but decided not to tour (bassist Jake Blanton and guitarist Ted Sablay replaced them).  Three background singers and two other additional musicians complete the current touring line up.   Despite the band member shuffle, fans were there to see Flowers returning from a five-year hiatus from The Killers music.

The Killers - All photos by The Rock and Roll Princess
Dressed in an expensive dark suit, Brandon Flowers looked more like a 1940's crooner than a rock star.  He took his place in back of a blue neon male symbol placed across his keyboard.  The background singers (two wore suit jackets without shirts and a lot of two sided tape) were behind pink neon female symbols.  The politically charged Run from Cover started the show with an intense energy that remained throughout the night.  One of the most memorable moments was during the song The Man (the neon gender symbols finally made sense) when tons of pink confetti fell from the rafters.  Flowers sounded like Tom Jones as he sang, "I got gas in the tank/I got money in the bank/I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man."  The main set ended with All These Things That I've Done with the crowd chanting, "I got soul, but I not a solider" when another batch of confetti mixed with red, white, and blue streamers rained down upon the masses.

The Book of Mormon/King of Rock
The encore combined Brandon Flowers' faith and hometown of Las Vegas together in the song The Calling.  The introduction had the voice of actor Woody Harrelson reciting Matthew 9:10-12 (as he does on the album).  Flowers came out dressed in a shinny metallic gold suit dancing like Elvis Presley singing, "I walked into town with a message for my old man/I've got the last two chapters of Matthew in my hand."  The Book of Mormon/King of Rock persona changed when he brought out his inner Bruce Springsteen for their anthem When You Were Young. The guy behind me was belting out the song louder than Flowers who had a microphone.  The night ended with Mr. Brightside one of the first songs The Killers ever wrote and their biggest hit.  As the band left the stage and the house lights went up, Johnny Mathis' Wonder Wonderful played.  The audience left the venue covered in streamers and confetti hoping they didn't catch the flu from the guy in the gold metallic suit.

Albert Hammond Jr.
Supporting act Albert Hammond Jr. (best known for playing guitar in the band The Strokes) was one of the supporting acts. Appearing in a red and black striped suit (unfortunately not a metallic gold one) Hammond performed a set of guitar driven songs featuring material from his soon to be released solo album entitled Francis Trouble.  The subject matter concerns his twin brother Francis being stillborn.  Despite the tragedy, the songs came across as upbeat.   Hammond started his own line of men's suits (he really did) that will keep the rocker looking sharp singing about the dead for years to come.  R.I.P. Francis.

Amanda Brown
 The reality television show The Voice (the one with spinning chairs) got Amanda Brown noticed when she wowed the audience with her version of Aerosmith's Dream On.  This led to background singing gigs with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and Adele.  Now she is stepping in front of the spotlight as one of the opening act for The Killers.  Brown wore all black with silver boots (unfortunately not a metallic gold suit).  Her vocals silenced the crowd who were bursting in anticipation to see Mr. Brightside.    Brown's new single Believers could easily be played on mainstream radio, but the slow acoustic number Amen impressed me the most. Brown's set was short, but she returned as one of The Killers' background singers wearing a suit jacket without a shirt.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one pulling pink confetti out of my hair wearing a gold metallic suit without a shirt.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Marilyn Manson and Amazonica at Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO on 1/20/18

After two decades of observing the controversial artist who has been blamed for inspiring horrific acts, I have come to one definitive conclusion... Marilyn Manson fans do not know how to dress for the weather.  When I saw the shock rocker open for Alice Cooper at Red Rocks, his fans came out on a sweltering hot summer day decked out in Goth wear.  Their journey up the amphitheater's many steps was extremely difficult because they were dressed like they were attending the wicked witch's funeral.  Five years later on a cold winter night, I found myself standing outside waiting for the doors to open to witness his latest production.  A large number of his fans were shivering in their black t-shirts and dangerously short skirts (Industrial Goth Metal fans do not believe in coats).  Don't they understand the flu vaccine is only 32% effective this year?

Marilyn Manson fans 
Brian Warner AKA Marilyn Manson started to shock America when Nine Inch Nails' lead singer Trent Reznor produced his first album and recruited him to be the opening act for their Downward Spiral tour in 1994.  Since then Manson had a number of hit songs, married and divorced burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, and acted in a variety of movie and television roles.  Saturday's show was originally scheduled in October, but a stage prop fell on Manson and broke his fibula in two places (Rock and Roll is a dangerous business). This delayed his Heaven Upside Down tour until the beginning of the year.

Before the theatrics begun, the auditorium filled with thick fog.  The crowd started to chant, "Manson, Manson, Manson." The haze started to dissipate and the house lights went dark.  A Marilyn Manson's cover of Cry Little Sister from the 1987 Lost Boys movie soundtrack played over the PA.  The crowd suddenly shoved closer to the stage throwing bodies across the auditorium.

Marilyn Manson
Manson entered the stage in an electronic wheelchair (shaped like a throne) with his stage-hands dressed in medical scrubs.  It was a perfect way to incorporate his injury into his act.  Manson set a dark mood immediately with the song The Reflecting God from his Antichrist Superstar album. "Saw heaven and hell were lies/When I'm God everybody dies."

Manson stood up for the next few songs showing his cast for his broken leg.  He continued to use the wheel chair off and on throughout the night.  Manson looked like he was in pain, but he has always seemed distressed.  Mobscene had the crowd singing, "Be obscene, be be obscene" like demonic cheerleaders.  This lead to a few songs from Manson's new album Heaven Upside Down.  Surprisingly, a large percentage of the crowd already knew the lyrics.  It got a little scary during Kill4 Me.  Manson chanted, "Would you kill, kill, kill for me?/I love you enough to ask you again/Would you kill, kill, kill for me?"

Manson with his Sweet Dreams
After every song, Manson would drop the microphone and the stage would go dark.  His roadie would hunt for the mic with a green light and place it back in Manson's hands before the next song.  Manson introduced The Dope Show by having his "medical" crew bring him something to smoke on stage.  He shouted with a voice that didn't sound all that sober, "I don't like the drugs but the drugs like me."   During the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams, Manson was placed on a hospital gurney while his ""doctors" tried to sedate him.  After attempting to tap the rhythm on his bass player's guitar, he ended the night with The Beautiful People with no encore. His followers left the venue quickly because they didn't have jackets to retrieve from the coat check.

There are definitely ways to win crowds over when you are an opening act.  You could compliment the audience's enthusiasm, cheer for the local sports teams, or admire the city's beauty.  But there is one sure way to turn the people against you.  It's saying the wrong name of the city.  That's exactly what supporting act Victoria Harrison stage name Amazonica did shortly into her set.   She asked if Salt Lake City was excited to be there (the tour played in Utah the previous night).  That's when the crowd booed the London DJ. Amazonica has been spinning records for after parties for the likes of Liam Gallagher, Deftones, and U2. During her set, Amazonica spun records from Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, The Beastie Boys, and The Doors.  The crowd seemed to like her pick of songs. It was almost enough to forgive her from thinking Denver was anything like the land of the Mormons.  Amazonica posted, "Denver!!! … not salt Lake City #Blonde #British #doh" on her social media.  Later I noticed that Marilyn Manson mentioned "Denver" an unusual amount of times during his performance.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one not dressed for the weather strapped down on a hospital gurney.