Category Archives: Blog

Devon Allman – Columbus, OH (review)

Devon Allman – Park Street Saloon – Columbus, OH – 9/25/15 (review)

A concert full of feeling is good for the soul

I had forgotten what is was like to experience a great rock n’ roll show;  it had been so long.  No electronic Tom Foolery, no Auto Tune, no JumboTron – just a no-frills, kick-ass concert.  Devon Allman delivered, and then some.

Yes Devon is the son the famous Allman that used to front the Allman Brothers Band.  And, while he’ll never be mistaken for the virtuosos that have occupied the lead guitar slot in that legendary group – he more than makes up for it in pure feeling. I’ve never seen a guitarist that played with that much emotion, yet completely ignored the flashiness; every note he played seemed to come directly from his soul.  And, man what great tone he got from his guitar!

Allman came out in black shirt, jeans, and a very cool hat, with his Gibson Les Paul strung over his shoulders.  He was augmented by bass, drums, keyboards, along with young sensation Bobby Schneck, Jr on lead and rhythm guitar.  This kid barely looked old enough to drive, yet – when given the opportunity would dazzle with his supple playing.

 

The first set opened with the searing “Half the Truth,” off his very fine recent record, Ragged & Dirty, before moving to the Allman-esque “Can’t Lose Them All.”  He did several covers, including a fantastic take on Eric Clapton’s “Forever Man,” a crowd sing-a-long with Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” and a soulful but gritty run through of the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around.”

 

The band took a brief break and came back out sitting on stools – he introduced the Brothers’ “Melissa” by saying “a friend of mine wrote this back in 1969.”  The real show-stopper was the extended instrumental “Midnight Lake Michigan.”  The album version of this slow-burner blues runs about nine minutes, but live it was extended even further – yet it surprisingly never got boring.  Credit it to Allman, who ripped off passionate solo after solo, before disappearing to let his band shine.  He reappeared several minutes later in the crowd, shaking hands in-between solos.

 

The encore was a ferocious take on “One Way Out” – while his band laid down the familiar blues groove, Allman sang and played his ass off, even bringing opener Erica Blinn back to the stage to blow some mean harmonica.

 

Speaking of Blinn – she and her band, the Handsome Machine were from Columbus and opened the show with a 40-minute set that meshed Black Crowes’ grit, and sprinkled in a little Lone Justice country attitude.  Talking after the show, Blinn mentioned to me that she and the band were moving to Nashville soon.  I’d say, watch out – the band is incredibly tight and Blinn makes a great front woman, especially with her prowess on the harmonica.

 

Allman actually at one point thanked the crowd for supporting live music, saying “we’re trying to keep this alive.”  I’d say they’re doing a hell of a good job.  A Devon Allman show in your area is a can’t miss.  —Tony Peters

Jeff Healey

Jeff Healey was an amazingly talented musician

 

Listen to my chat with Stony Plain Records president, Holger Peterson, about Jeff Healey

 

I was a huge Jeff Healey fan.  His debut album, See the Light, was released just as I was taking over as Music Director of my college radio station, WASU, at Appalachian State.  I think we went six cuts deep on that record – it was just that good.  Yet, it was still a surprise when a year later, “Angel Eyes,” the only ballad on the record, became a surprise Top Five hit in the summer of 1989.  The other thing I remember is having a great Arista radio rep – although I can’t remember her name!

 

She got us free tickets and backstage passes to Jeff Healey opening for Little Feat at Carowinds (not sure they still have shows there anymore).   I remember from the moment Jeff took the stage, standing in utter awe of his amazing guitar playing.  He played with the instrument on his lap, which gave him a unique ability to bend the strings like no one else.  In a live setting, he was phenomenal.  I remember the set closer being the scorching “See the Light,” where Jeff got up from his chair, started playing the guitar with his teeth, playing behind his back, and eventually started thrashing around the stage.  It brought everyone to their feet.

 

We got a chance to meet him afterwards, and the first thing I remember was that – he didn’t seem blind to me.  For a brief moment, I actually thought the whole thing was a farce.  Jeff walked around comfortably backstage, picking up a drink and carrying on conversations.  It was only when we were introduced, and we were talking one on one that I could pick out his blindness.  I got his autograph, which was really a hoot, since it was just a couple of scribbles.

 

Lastly, we went back out to watch Little Feat, but honestly it just sounded like noise.  After being blown away by Healey’s pyrotechnics, I didn’t want any part of this boogie woogie.

 

I continued to follow Healey’s career, but was disappointed in his followup, Hell to Pay.  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” sounded like he was getting pressure from the record company to repeat his success.  When I moved on to full-time rock radio at WTUE, we played several of Jeff’s songs.  One Dayton note: he does mention the famed McGuffey’s club in his appearance in the movie Roadhouse.  I never got a chance to see him live again.  After that, he sort of faded from view.

 

I only discovered Jeff’s alter-ego of classic jazz & blues after his untimely passing in 2008.  This music is so full of positive energy – I’m sure it was incredible to see in person.  —Tony Peters

Peter Frampton / Cheap Trick (concert review)

Cheap Trick / Peter Frampton – Rose Music Center 8/9/15 – review

Two artists who built their reputation on their live show do not disappoint

Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick both had their biggest success from live albums.  In the case of the former, 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive was a mammoth seller, redefining what a live record could be, while the latter’s own Live at Budokan captured one of the most boisterous audiences in history, while introducing the band to the rest of the world.  It was fitting then that both bands are touring this summer, even though musically they seem to be an odd pairing.

Cheap Trick opened the show with the appropriate “Hello There,” the same song that kicked off the Budokan album.  Much of the band’s 70-minute set centered around their classic 1970’s material, with standouts including “Stiff Competition,” “Clock Strikes Ten,” and the Tom Peterson-led “I Know What I Want.”  The group dug out two seldom-played tracks off 1988’s Lap of Luxury – the Diane Warren co-write “Ghost Town,” and the band’s only number one hit, “The Flame.”  “Dream Police” and “I Want You to Want Me” got the entire crowd to their feet, while the band encored with two more Budokan moments – “Ain’t That a Shame,” and “Surrender.”

The group was tight, with guitarist Rick Nielsen clowning around, while switching guitars with every new song (eventually pulling out his patented five-neck monstrosity for the encore).  Peterson played his custom, twelve-stringed bass and provided some very nice basslines, and Dax Neilson maneuvered some much-needed muscle on drums.  The real standout was singer Robin Zander, who has amazingly not lost any of the high range in his voice – showcasing especially on the ballad “The Flame.”

 

Peter Frampton also relied heavily on his signature live record, opening with “Something’s Happening,” followed by “Doobie Wah,” “Show Me the Way,” and “Lines on My Face,” all staples of the 8-times Platinum album.  One surprise of the night was his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” which was a hit for Frampton in 1977. He also did an instrumental version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” where he dusted off his Talkbox.  “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” were obvious high points.  Frampton encored with a couple of interesting choices – first came the Humble Pie nugget, “Four Day Creep,” which gave the entire band a chance to sing.  Then, he closed the show with a passionate take on the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

 

Frampton did something unique that we could be seeing more of concert-wise: he posted a policy concerning the use of phones during the show – allowing the audience to take pictures or video of the first three songs ONLY.  At the end of his third song, he said – “now let’s enjoy the show and live in the moment.”  Very good idea indeed.

 

Frampton’s guitar playing was exceptional – his lead lines were always tasty, with an envious guitar tone.  Rarely does he get mentioned in the list of great guitarists, but he really should.

 

The was the first show I’d seen at the brand-new Rose Music Pavilion in Huber Heights – and I was very impressed.  The entire seating area was covered, so even with the threat of rain, there wasn’t any chance anyone would get wet.  The beer and food lines always seemed to move fast, and there didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house.  And, probably the biggest plus – the line in the parking lot moved rather quickly and got everyone up on the freeway in no time.  All around a great first impression.  —Tony Peters

Davina & the Vagabonds (concert review)

Davina & the Vagabonds – Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, Gahanna, OH, 6/21/15

 

Davina & the Vagabonds have released two stellar studio albums – 2011’s Black Cloud and 2014’s Sunshine, both of which feature New Orleans’ style jazz & blues played with reckless abandon.  But, the question is – can they deliver the goods live?

 

The answer is a resounding YES – and then some.

The Vagabonds featured trombone, trumpet, stand-up bass and drums, led by Davina Sowers on piano and vocals.  She sat front and center, her white skin and flowered dress seemed at odds with the sweltering Ohio afternoon heat (Sowers is from Minnesota, after all).  The band certainly packed a lot into their 90-minute set.  A nice mix of originals with clever cover tunes kept things moving along.  A rollicking version of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Daydream” was a nice touch, while her own “Disappears” showed off a keen melodic sense,  and “Start Runnin’” was pure sass.

A pair of songs were the high points of the show and also showed off the band’s diversity:  First, Sowers did a stunning take on Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind,” where she poured a tremendous amount of passion into an already emotional song.  Then, there was “St. Michael vs. the Devil,” her own composition, which won a songwriting contest several years ago, and is an epic tale of good vs. evil.  That track featured some great interplay between the vocals and horns, and should be available on their forthcoming live record.

 

While Davina & the Vagabonds have put out some great records, they’re even better in a live setting, where the band can display their ferocious chops, and Davina can let loose her amazing voice. They were great in this afternoon festival setting; I bet they’re even better in a late-night club.  —Tony Peters

Heart – Fraze Pavilion (review)

Heart – Fraze Pavilion, Kettering, OH – 6/16/15

Do yourself a favor and go see Heart

 

I am convinced that Heart is the greatest classic rock band still playing live.  While that might sound like a bold statement, consider this: Ann Wilson is 64 years old, yet she is still at the peak of her powers – a real vocal force of nature.  Heart returned to the sold-out Fraze Pavilion and put on another phenomenal show.

The concert opened with one of their first hits, “Magic Man,” and never let up in intensity.  The rockers, like “Barracuda” and “Straight On,” were ferocious; played with an energy belying their years. And, those songs are full of incredibly high vocal parts, which Ann never shied away from.  The band pulled out album cuts like “Bebe Le Strange” and “Kick it Out,” which were nice surprises.  Their Eighties’ output was well-represented this time, with a nice addition being the Nancy Wilson-led “There’s the Girl,” a Top Twenty hit from 1987.

Heart has always been known for their clever cover tunes, and this time around they were particularly impressive – a version of Robin Trower’s “Day of the Eagle” was jaw-dropping, while the girls paid tribute to a band from their home state of Washington by unearthing “The Witch” – an obscurity from garage-rock pioneers The Sonics.

 

The set was heavy on guitar rockers, but sister Nancy did have a chance to play some tasty mandolin on “These Dreams.”  The show-stopper was once again Ann’s heart-wrenching “Alone,” which sent goosebumps throughout the crowd.

 

The band came back for a three-song encore of all Led Zeppelin songs – “Immigrant Song,” “No Quarter,” and “Misty Mountain Hop,” and why not?  The girls have always had an affinity for their English heroes, and no band can do Zep better justice than Heart.

 

Forget the Who, the Stones, and the Eagles – save your money and grab a ticket to Heart.  I have seen these veteran rockers three times and have never been let down.  —Tony Peters

The Who – Nationwide Arena (5/15/15) (Concert review)

The Who – Nationwide Arena – 5/15/15 – review

 

I saw the Who back in 1989…and they were old then.  That was the infamous “ahhh, my ears” tour, when Pete Townshend played behind a sound-proof wall to protect his hearing.  Needless to say, my expectations weren’t terribly high.  Here’s the amazing thing – the Who were actually better 26 years later.

 

Sure, there were times when the band showed their age.  They opened with a lumbering version of their first hit, “I Can’t Explain,” while “Who Are You” just sort of laid there. Roger Daltrey struggled through “Behind Blue Eyes,” then forgot the words to “My Generation.”  Yet, after a few songs, everything fell together.  A medley of highlights from Tommy, including “Amazing Journey” and “Underture,” was played with a ferocity that would make the Foo Fighters jealous, while Townshend showed off some incredible guitar chops on a searing run through of “Eminence Front.”  And, even Daltrey surprised on a passionate take of “Love, Reign O’er Me,” which was far better than the version I saw 26 years ago.

 

There were a few surprises in the set list – “You Better, You Bet,” “The Seeker,” and especially the 10-minute, mini-opera “A Quick One (While He’s Away).”  The great backup harmonies helped cover any imperfections of both Daltrey and Townshend, while Ringo’s son, Zak Starkey, filled in amicably on drums.  The show closed with a ragged version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” which featured a piped-in Daltrey scream at the end.  But, who cares?  This is a band that released an album called Who’s Last…in 1984!  The fact that they’ve stuck around this long is testament to their stubbornness to not go away quietly.

 

The show opened with a surprisingly solid set from the ageless Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.  Her 40-minute show was full of classic punk attitude like “Do You Wanna Touch” and the Runaways’ hit “Cherry Bomb.”  She looked and sounded great, and got the crowd into it with her closer, “I Hate Myself For Loving You.”  —Tony Peters

Icon Fetch in the News!

Icon Fetch founder Tony Peters was the subject of a Dayton Daily News article (3/27/15) written by Don Thrasher.  The headline is:

“Tony Peters and Turk Logan broadcast online”

The piece talks about both broadcasters celebrating five years online.  Logan ran the legendary funk giant WDAO during the 70’s & 80’s.

The complete article can be found here.

Editor’s note: Thrasher erroneously lists iconfetch.com as one of the sites for Logan’s WTRK – his site is actually at wtrk.biz

Welcome to Icon Fetch!

Hello fellow music fan.  Icon Fetch is a website devoted to going deeper into the music.  Through our Icon Fetch podcast, we’ve had the opportunity to talk with over 200 different artists, some legendary, some forgotten, and some who’s stories have yet to be written.  We also still believe in the album as the quintessential way to listen to music.  We’ve posted hundreds of reviews of both current and classic records, hoping to help you find something new for your ears.

Above all, we still believe in the power of music.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

–Tony Peters, creator, Icon Fetch

Rockin’ Orchestra – Brass Transit – the Music of Chicago (review)

Rockin’ Orchestra – Brass Transit – the Music of Chicago – 10/4/14, Schuster Performing Arts Center (review)

What happens when a cover band is actually better than the band that they’re imitating?  That is most certainly the case with Brass Transit, a Chicago tribute band that joined the Dayton Philharmonic to kick off the 5th season of their Rockin’ Orchestra series at the Schuster Center in Dayton, OH.  And imitate is not the right word, Brass Transit embodied the music of Chicago.

The band featured a stellar horn line that faithfully recreated the sophisticated arrangements of the original group (they even jumped into the crowd to solo at one point).  Guitarist Bob McAlpine showed incredible versatility, laying back for the quieter moments like “Call on Me,” then firing off searing licks that captured the spirit of original fret man Terry Kath, especially on their tremendous take of “Make Me Smile.”  Drummer Paul Delong was a monster, even doing a wild drum solo during a medley of “I’m a Man” and “Free.”

The person that elevated the entire show into the stratosphere was vocalist Neil Donnell, whose multi-octave range had already graced several other Rockin’ Orchestra performances of the past.  Here, Donnell nailed everything – he was gruff on “Color My World,” soared to dizzying heights on “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” and was buoyant on “Saturday in the Park.”  His range and depth is truly unparalleled.

The band was delicate with ballads like “If You Leave Me Now,” (which sounded phenomenal with orchestral accompaniment), but managed to rock heavily on tracks like “Dialogue Parts 1&2.”  The encore of “25 or 6 to 4” was truly moving.  The typically subdued crowd was on their feet, furiously clapping along.  The band even did an original song of theirs called “Last Time This Time,” which fit right in with the classic material.  The audience was so moved that a large number of them stayed after to purchase CD’s and get autographs.

I’ve seen Chicago 25 years ago, and they were nowhere near this good.  Brass Transit led a high-energy, hit-filled evening that, with or without orchestra, is a must see.  I’ve been to just about every performance of this Rockin’ Orchestra series over the last five years – this was the best one, by far.    —Tony Peters

Happy Together Tour (Concert Review)

Happy Together Tour – Fraze Pavilion – Kettering, OH  – 8/6/14

While every other summer package tour has faded away, the original Happy Together Tour continues to thrive.  In fact, the 2014 edition is the biggest yet, with the tour hitting over 50 cities across the country.  The show made a stop at Fraze Pavilion on August 6th, with the near-capacity crowd treated to a hits-filled evening of Sixties and early Seventies’ nostalgia.

The night opened with Mitch Ryder, who played the Dayton area many times back in his heyday.  He started with “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” originally a hit for the Righteous Brothers, which Ryder & the Detroit Wheels put back on the charts just months after the original in 1965.  The five-song set was highlighted by “Sock it to Me Baby,” which he said “only went to #4 because people thought it had dirty lyrics.”  Of course, his slot ended with “Devil With the Blue Dress.”

Then came Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, who added a little grit to the show.  Still sporting his signature ponytail and bright red guitar, he played his five most-famous songs.  While many of the other artists’ voices showed considerable wear, Farner could still amazingly hit those soaring high notes on “Bad Time” and “The Locomotion.”  He closed his portion with a rousing version of the lengthy “I’m Your Captain.”

After a brief intermission, Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night, took the stage, dressed in a pink shirt, black jacket and sunglasses.  He sounded great through the goofy “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” but apologized for his difficulty through the ironic “Easy to Be Hard.”  The soulful “Eli’s Coming” was one of the real highlights of the evening.  His set was capped by an audience sing-a-long of “Joy to the World.”

Then came Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of the Turtles, the architects of this tour, which began 30 years ago.  Volman emerged wearing a blue sequined jacket, while PSY’s “Gangnam Style” played on the video screen.  When Kaylan joined him, he questioned “what happened to our music,” before launching into “She’d Rather Be With Me.”  The unlikeliest of rock stars, the duo ran through all their major hits, while throwing comedy bits in-between.  Kaylan did most of the singing, while Volman’s big showcase came at the beginning of “You Showed Me,” as he butchered several Doors’ songs.  Their set closed with an extended version of “Happy Together.”

As an added treat, all four artists were invited back, and each sang a snippet of his biggest hit, before reprising the last stanza of “Happy Together” for the finale.

What truly held the entire show together was the stellar band, led by smokin’ guitarist Godfrey Townsend, who they joked had been kicked out of several bands, including Alan Parsons.  Incidentally, Gary Lewis of the Playboys did not play, due to illness.  But, the remaining four artists more than covered for him.

With 2014 setting a record for the amount of shows on the tour, Happy Together is showing no signs of slowing down.  We can’t wait til next year.  —Tony Peters