The Hampton Roads Show

The 7:57 on 96X

July 31st, 2014 at 11:25 am by under THRS Live Music

It’s been a little over a year since The Local Music Show on 96X was cancelled.  That news stunned the local music community as it was their only outlet to get their music played on the airwaves.  Well, I have a bit of good news for you.  Starting Monday August 4, The 7:57 with Crizti Walsh will debut on 96X at, you guess it, 7:57pm and the best part is that the show will be on 5 days a week, Monday-Friday

So you’re asking, “How do I get my songs played?”.  Easy, just send your tracks to the757@96x.fm.  This is exciting news as our community is rich in original talent and all of it deserves to be played on the airwaves.

The 7:57 – Your Daily Dose Of Local starting Monday, August 4 at 7:57PM on 96.1 FM or 96.5 FM

75796x


The Last Bison – VA

July 31st, 2014 at 11:11 am by under THRS Live Music

newlastbisonMark September 30, 2014 down on your calendar with two simple letters: “VA”.  That date is the day The Last Bison releases their much-anticipated follow-up to their epic Inheritance.  The new album is titled VA as in Virginia.  Recorded over the span of a few weeks, the band decided to approach a more independent-style of recording much like they did with their first release, Quill.  The self-produced recordings were captured in their make shift recording studio called The Wigwam.  11 tunes will comprise VA and they will support it by hitting the road in the fall for a 15 city venture.  Dates are below and a majority of them are on-sale now, just check with the venues.  I will be hitting a few of the dates to see how the rest of country embraces are hometown band, so stayed tuned to this spot for that.

The Last Bison Fall Tour 2014

Sept. 26      Richmond, VA          The Camel
Sept. 30      Pittsburgh, PA         Hard Rock Cafe
Oct. 01        Bloomington, IN     The Bishop
Oct. 02        Chicago, IL                Schubas
Oct. 03        Minneapolis, MN    7th Street Entry
Oct. 04        Rock Island, IL        Rozz Tox
Oct. 16        New York, NY           Mercury Lounge
Oct. 17        Fairfield, CT               Stage One
Oct. 18        Philadelphia, PA      World Cafe
Oct. 22        Durham, NC              Motorco
Oct. 23        Atlanta, GA               Vinyl
Oct. 24        Athens, GA                New Earth
Oct. 25        Charlotte, NC           Visulite Theater
Nov. 6          Vienna, VA               Jammin’ Java
Nov. 7         Charlottesville        The Southern


The LMF Album Review: The Raskins

July 29th, 2014 at 11:46 am by under THRS Live Music

microphoneIt’s not everyday that you pop in a new CD (or hit play on your iPod) and are immediately hooked on this music your ears have never heard before.  Usually you groove into the first run through and then rinse and repeat a few times before you really love it – That is not the case with The Raskins.  The first moments I heard the guitar on the opening track, We Had It All, I was hooked – immediately hooked.  NY born and raised twin brothers, Roger and Logan Raskin have crafted a gem of a record.  An adult orientated rock album that you just don’t hear anymore.

In this day in age of $.99 singles, there really isn’t a priority from a lot of bands to make a complete record.  For the most part, you get a bunch of songs thrown together that just make an album – not a complete album – just an album.  The songs on this self-titled record blend really well together and never missing a beat from one power driven guitar riff to another.

A great mix of pure rock tunes like We Had It All and Save Me Now to the pop rock sound of On The Radio to the deep punch of Lost In The Dark – every one of the 13 songs on the record tell a different story but blend extremely well together to make this a complete record.  This is a record that every needs in their life.

You will be able to see The Raskins perform these great songs live on August 20 at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach as they open up for Motley Crue’s Final Tour.  I will also interview the guys earlier in the day and give you a behind the scenes look at their set.  You can pick up this CD at the show or download it on iTunes and other digital outlets.

The Raskins *****

raskins

 

 

 


Not loving Lucy

July 28th, 2014 at 5:32 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

LUCY is an action-thriller of monumental proportions.  In fact the themes explored in the movie are so big — too big — it’s hard to wrap your mind around.
It starts by questioning what we — humanity that is — have accomplished since life began.  The questioning comes as voice over from Lucy, while visually we see another Lucy — Australopithecus in her natural habitat…. and then the advancement of time to busy cityscapes.  Wow.  I think to myself — we’ve accomplished a lot.  Apparently not Lucy doesn’t think so.

Scarlett Johansson is Lucy — an American woman in Taipei, apparently as a student (at one point she says she has exams tomorrow).  Her new boyfriend wants her to help him out by delivering a case to a “Mr. Jang” in a hotel.  Of course she refuses.  He forces her to do it, and soon everything goes bad, and Lucy is taken away by thugs to meet with the said Mr. Jang.
After beatings and killings and washing of hands in the middle of the hotel room, Lucy becomes a drug mule — she’s knocked out and has a bag of a very new, very powerful drug surgically inserted into her stomach.  She has to carry this where they want her to or else.
Bad things happen; the bag begins to leak inside her body and her brain is accessing more and more of her cerebral space allowing her to do some pretty amazing things.  She can read entire volumes in seconds; she can control technology, people, her hair color and so much more.
With Mr Jang’s gang hot on her heels — Lucy recruits a policeman in Paris (Amr Waked) to help her get to an American professor there (Morgan Freeman).  I’m still not sure entirely why.

There are car chases; there are explosions; there are fights that are useless, because as Lucy accesses more and more of her “cerebral capacity” she’s unstoppable.  That gives away the end of the movie… kind of?  NO! not unless you were expecting worm holes, meteor showers, and melting humans becoming computers???  What?
Writer/director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element) has launched some pretty bad movies into theaters — this is one weird movie.  Odd nature scenes intercut at random times.  The plot is weak; the characters are weaker.
Scarlett Johansson does an adequate job trying to hold together the character that doesn’t seem to really come together as a character.  And sadly — this is not Morgan Freeman’s best work… largely because of the weak professor character.
When it was over I felt like I’d been in the theater for two hours, and when I checked the clock… It had been just 89 minutes!
If you watch the trailers — it looks like we are in for an amazing action flick with a dominant female hero.  What we get seems more like a Indy-wannabe film made by a dude that loves to create special effects and not characters to drive the film.

TWO OUT OF FIVE COOKIES.  The two are for the special effects… I am a story person — and this story gets ZERO cookies from me.

Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality.


Virginia Home Grown Roots Series

July 28th, 2014 at 11:11 am by under THRS Live Music

microphoneThe sounds of the islands will be coming to the Oceanfront this Friday at the Jewish Mother.  What will soon become a regular series, The Virginia Home Grown Roots Series will feature the best reggae and rhythm artists in the 757 as well as a handful of national and world artists.

Friday will feature the St. Croix sounds of Ras Attitude as well as Jah T with the Session Rockers and Live Music Friday alum, Greg Gutty.  More artists are being added to the lineup daily, so click this link to keep up-to-date with the ever-growing lineup.

Tickets are going fast, so get yours here.  Doors open at 8p with the performances starting at 9p sharp.  In case you missed it, check out Greg Gutty’s performance from The Hampton Roads Show from January 31:

 


Planes: Fire & Rescue has rough landing

July 25th, 2014 at 3:49 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

   Planes: Fire & Rescue is the sequel to last year’s Planes which wasn’t quite up to par. But Dusty Crophopper has new challenges to face and just how will he fare in his new gig?  That is the question.
Dusty (voiced again by Dane Cook) is back at his home airstrip after his racing champion ways of the last movie… only to discover that his aging mechanics aren’t as reliable as he’d like (welcome to your forties).  He refuses to accept his diagnosis and when he pushes things too far, a bad landing ends up shutting down the airstrip.
Before long he has to face facts: his racing days may be over.  Which leads him to travel far away for training in his new job as a fire and rescue plane.  The world of fire and rescue is dangerous and exciting, and Dusty has of course taken his he can do everything attitude with him.

Soon faced with a very dangerous fire at the park… the team has to really come together to save lives, save property and save themselves.
And there’s also a bit of love in the air… on of the fire planes is Dipper (voiced by Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen).  Dipper is very taken with her DUST MUFFIN. She has some fun lines sprinkled about.
And Planes: Fire & Rescue is chock full of celebrity voices… here’s a taste… Ed Harris, Curtis Armstrong, Hal Holbrook, Teri Hatcher, Regina King, Cedric the Entertainer, Fred WIllard, Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Erik Estrada, Brent Musberger amd of course as all disney animations must…. John Ratzenberger.
After saving the day and learning some lessons, Dusty is soon headed for home and helping to transform the airstrip.

The film is full of the standard puns we’ve seen before in Planes and it’s predecessors in the CARS series.  Even though some lines got a chuckle out of the grown ups, they are really beginning to get tiring.
The story is a bit fresher than last year’s Planes, it’s still not classic material… and it’s presented in 3D.  And for my money — 3D is a useless purchase.  Very few moments even warrant the glasses and certainly no need for the extra layer.
Planes: Fire & Rescue got a thumbs from most of the under-10 set of audience members — my son included.  But for me — while it was mildly entertaining — and I only thought about my to-do list twice — this sequel hit me much like Dusty’s problem in the film — Pushing for success so much that the engine can’t take it — Disney needs to consider falling back or risk stalling at the box office.

THREE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated PG for action and some peril.

Begin Again strikes the right note

July 25th, 2014 at 3:02 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

It’s called Begin Again and on opening weekend it wasn’t playing everywhere in Hampton Roads, but maybe it should have been… I saw it at Regal Columbus at Town Center, and the theater was thirds full.

   Begin Again is a movie about the record business that plays like an indie flick with commercial appeal.   Mark Ruffalo is Dan — a record label executive who seems to have been drunk and out of touch with his life for quite sometime.  He lives in a terrible apartment (apparently with no sheets) — apart from his estranged wife (Catherine Keener, Enough Said) and teenage daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld).  As the day started — he was late for a meeting and ends up fired from the labelhe started.  That’s got to be a bad sign right?
That’s when he stumbles into a bar and hears Gretta (Keira Knightly, Pirates of the Carribean) singing.  After imagining the entire arrangement of the song in his own mind… he quickly moves to snap her up and change the course of both of their lives in the process.
So Gretta’s story is that she moved to New York with her boyfriend, her college sweetheart Dave (Adam Levine) who had just signed a record deal.  She is the songwriter… he’s on his way to stardom and leaving Gretta in the dust — thanks to the trappings of the music industry and the temptations that come with it.  When Dan approaches her in the bar — all of the downfall has just begun … but the flashbacks give us a glimpse into their pre-fame life with Dave…

Dan and Gretta set out to record her album with her songs in an edgy and fresh way — completely natural with all of the ambient sounds of summer in New York City.  He solicits help from everyone he can think of — including a major star he discovered played by Ceelo Green.  Mos Def is also along for the ride.
The recording mission becomes somewhat of a transformation for Dan and Gretta.  It’s nice to watch it all unfold in a very authentic way.
Ruffalo does a great job with this character — making us both, not like him and like him at the same time.  Knightly is perfect in the role and despite some struggles in the acting department, Adam Levine is awesome (to look at*).
Begin Again is written and directed by John Carney (Once) for the Weinstein Company and it strikes just the right chord.  We get a very real inside look at the recording industry and all that it does to make or break an artist — and intersting characters and storyline developments to compliment it.
Begin Again is not a love story per say but it is a love-ly story.

THREE AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for language.

*writer’s opinion :-)


Tammy Totally Terrible

July 25th, 2014 at 2:56 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

This film is the story of TAMMY (Melissa McCarthy) and her very bad day… err… life.  Let’s start with her bad day.

She wrecks her car, her job (fired by her boss / Melissa McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone), and her marriage (she finds her husband Greg/Nat Faxon–whom I’ve met– cajoling in her house with the neighbor played by Toni Collette).  So she pretty much has no choice but to flee the city with her ailing/alcoholic grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon).  She’s totally broke and Pearl has a car and some cash… so they hit the road, much to the dismay of her mother (Allison Janney. Yep… that sums up her day.)
Before long the pair find themselves at a bar in Louisville, looking for a good time.   So they spend some time drinking, some time fighting and before long, there’s jail time, quasi-armed robbery for bail money, and a lesbian Fourth of July party.  I mention the party because it’s where we meet Pearl’s cousin Lenore (Kathy Bates and her partner Susanne (Sandra Oh).  They are instrumental to the change in direction of Tammy and Pearl’s lives.  (And they are known to be good actors.)
They eventually go home to face the music and reality.   And guess who comes to get Tammy at the very end of the movie?  Her Dad (played by Dan Aykroyd), whom we haven’t seen the entire film.  And as films like this do… they try to tie all the storylines up with a pretty bow.
The screenplay is written by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone and Directed by Ben Falcone — might I add badly directed by Ben Falcone.
Tammy tries to be a kind of goofball comedy, and then a road comedy, and then “I don’t know what”.  The characters are thin and when the shift happens near the end in an attempt to hit viewers in the heart with a poignant twist… it doesn’t work at all.  Awkward.
I was really wishing and hoping for something watchable with the list of truly TALENTED stars that were in this film.  Many of their lines come off like they are reading lines (more of a problem with the director and the script — not necessarily the actors) I kept thinking — what a waste of talent!  There were two laugh-out-loud moments for me.  That’s it TWO!  For a comedy!  Seeing Nat Faxon and Allison Janney made my mind wander back to last summer and one of my favorite summer films — The Way Way Back.    Rent that.

ONE OUT OF FIVE COOKIES

Rated R for language including sexual references.


Earth to Echo doesn’t really resonate

July 25th, 2014 at 2:37 pm by under THRS Movie Reviews

   Earth to Echo is the summer family adventure movie that will make you want to phone home.      The main characters are great characters.  Tuck, Munch and Alex are best friends on the verge of losing each other.  Tuck (Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley, The X Factor) is a filmmaker in the making — the entire film is his perspective;  Alex (Teo Halm) is the foster kid with the heart; and Munch (Reese Hartwig) is the technology whiz.
A massive highway expansion construction project is about to level their neighborhood.  When they begin receiving some weird kind of signals on their cell phones, they are convinced that something bigger is going on.  That’s when they set out on an adventure that none of them would have suspected.  Before long they are face-to-face with a bonafide alien, and they really can’t believe it.  They go right to work when they realize the alien needs their help.

They dub the little guy ECHO and after a series of question-and-answer sessions, they know what they need to do.  But there are bad guys disguised as construction workers trying to find Echo.
There are a series of cat-and-mouse scenes and along the way, the buddy trio takes on a fourth member — a girl from school named Emma (Ella Wahlestedt, Army Wives).  The four of them are determined to understand Echo and help him get home.  They never expected to learn so much from the little alien — who by the way is just adorable.
Dave Green makes his directorial debut with a screenplay written by Henry Gayden (no film writing credits) and struggled to find the right footing for this story.  Clearly inspired by much of what Steven Spielberg has already done, Earth to Echo never achieves any of it.  There are scenes that will remind you of E.T.  There are scenes that seem inspired by Goonies… I even saw moments that reminded my of Stand by Me.    All favorite films of mine… but Earth to Echo doesn’t come close.  It’s likeable enough, but there are flaws everywhere.  We never quite come to care about all of the characters, the adults are peripheral, and the whole deal with how and when echo ended up on earth ?    I never really got it.

Interesting to note — Disney made this film in 2012, shelved it and then sold it to Relativity who has released it now.  Seems like Disney didn’t know what to do with it and I see why.
What did I really NOT like?  The camera work.  It’s first person point of view and that makes a potentially really nausea-inducing experience.  It was for me in the beginning of the film, though I got used to it as we went along.  But for my girlfriend, she had her head buried almost the entire film.  The kids seemed to adjust quickly, but 99% of the film is shot shaky and can be really hard to watch.
I WAS absolutely stunned by one scene — you may have seen in a preview… Echo disassembles and then reassembles a tractor-trailer truck coming right at the kids in order to avoid a head-on collision.  It was worth every second of the time it spent being created!
The lesson we learn in the end is a good one about friendship… but!  The bigger lesson is bring the motion sickness meds!

TWO AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE COOKIES
Rated PG for some action and peril, and mild language.


The Last Bison at The Parlor

July 10th, 2014 at 11:29 am by under THRS Live Music

microphoneOur good friends, The Last Bison, have been busy the last few months recording their follow-up to last year’s Inheritance.  The new album is due in September but they just couldn’t wait that long to share the new tunes with you.

This Saturday they will be holding a special pre-release party at The Parlor on Granby, a new restaurant and live venue in Downtown Norfolk.  The venue is small and intimate – so intimate that there were only 135 tickets available.  As I’m writing this, there were very few left and it might be possible sold out by the time you read this.  Click this link here to get your tickets if you’re so lucky.   Tickets are $25 and the show starts at 8:30p and I’m sure it is going to be a great night!

lastbisonparlor

If you didn’t get a ticket to this show, you can still have a great night of great music in Downtown Norfolk.  Head across the street to The NorVa for a Night Of Rock ‘N’ Soul.  Revery will be releasing their much-anticipated CD, Adora De Phonic, – produced by yours truly and The Fuzz Band, Ghost Of April and Augustine will be along for the ride.  Tickets are still available for $12.50 and you can grab them at The NorVa or by clicking this link.  

I will talk about this show more tomorrow as The Fuzz Band will be our Live Music Friday featured artist on The Hampton Roads Show.