First listen live with Ha Ha Tonka at the Iron Horse this summer, July 19, 2010  

Meet Ha Ha Tonka:

Brett Anderson -keyboard, guitar, and vocals
Lennon Bone -drums & vocals
Lucas Long -bass & vocals
Brian Roberts -guitar & vocals

The band had great presence right from the start. The voice of front-man Brett Anderson was strong enough to wade through some of the genre changes as they happened before us. They seemed to start with a rock edge and as the set went on, moved into a comfortable folk/bluegrass set. Really great vocals with a tight guitar punch were the highlights from this comprehensive band. The bass player looked like a young Jim Morrison to me, it was eerie.

Paul "Whitey" Renstrom is a heavy metal bass player gone roots rocker with the band, The Tall Weeds. He has been writing music for decades and gets out to some great shows. Here is what he had to say about Alice In Chains, live:

Alice In Chains is my favorite band that came out of Seattle during the grunge era. The vocal harmonies and driving guitar just blow me away.

I first saw Alice In Chains in '91. They opened a show for Anthrax, Megadeath, and Slayer. I really didn't like them at first, but got into them later that year. Their singer died of a drug overdose in the early 2000s. After years of solo stuff and other gigs they got back together with new singer, William Duvall and released one of the best albums of the year,  Black Gives Way To Blue ...The Garden Show. This was the first big headlining show for them and what a better place to run it then Madison Square Garden.

Get ready. Langhorne Slim, Jeff Ratner, Malachi DeLorenzo, David Moore and the visiting Sam Duffy, are coming to a theatre near you. Their mission? To get you out of your seat. Langhorne invited this Word by Word crowd to get up and dance and the literal group politely sat in their leather Colonial seats, waiting. Someone yelled from their corner, "Make Me!" Langhorne, always the gentleman, shouted back, "That woman is fair, that's fair!" He committed to the process, "We have a job to do." By the end of the show, people were dancing on the stage ...twirling in royal blue evening wear and sparkly hippie tunics. With the guitar, upright bass, banjo, fiddle, drums, and Langhorne's rich voice, it was certainly a festival of words in color and sound ...well done and thank you.

The band opened their set with "Be Set Free" the title track of their latest album. It rolled over the scene like a reassuring summer breeze. "Restless" from the self titled second album was true to its recording and a solid foundational song to encapsulate the genre range of what to anticipate. "Say Yes," the upbeat indie anthem, pulled in the crowd and had them yelling, "Yes, Yes!" in response.

trainweb2 150You save me and Train will save the day. After a long intermission and a great performance from Butch Walker and the Black Widow Spiders, the lights went down at the Calvin Theatre. Lasers found the stage and Train blasted out "Parachute" for their first song. Massachusetts ! Oh Yeah ! and "Get To Me" came on with lights. 

Pat Monahan started belting out the first few words of "Drops of Jupiter" and stopped dead. "No, You're not ready for that yet !" He said. The frustrated crowd roared. They were ready for anything. And that is exactly what happened, anything and everything, one rockin suprise after another.

thumb bj_thomas_012I was not only lucky to have seen BJ Thomas perform live, but had the privilege of meeting him after the show. His Southern hospitality warmed the Springfield Symphony Hall, with award winning favorites such as Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, Raindrops, The Most Beautiful Girl and many more. The show opened with a spectacular performance by the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. The direction by Kevin Rhodes was energetic and inclusive. Thomas' voice was warm and rich with impeccable form as he exchanged songs and stories with the audience. Collaborating with humor and mastery, Thomas and Rhodes shared the stage with Thomas' band and orchestra accompaniment. They all looked like they were having a blast !

A Metal Rock Review by Whitey.

thumb_uproar1webOne of the best values of the summer, the Uproar Festival promises to deliver. I saw the show at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

There were a whole bunch of vendors selling anything from shirts to body jewelry. There were 2 stages. On the first were 4 bands. Unfortunately I was late and missed the first 2 bands, which were Mutiny Within and Hail The Villain. I came in on the middle of the third band, Airbourne. They reminded me a lot of AC/DC. They were pretty good but I didn't know any of their music. The headliner of the first stage was Hellyea. Vinnie Paul, the drummer from Pantera is in the band as well as members of Mudvayne. They rocked.

Colby Dix, singer songwriter from Dover, Vermont is worth a good listen if you're in that region. An independent agent of many talents, he is often found doing solo gigs at local venues. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, with studio experience throughout the Northeast. He has a broad range of experience with which to draw, while entertaining you in the spontaneous spaces you may find him.

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