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I have definite opinions of what makes a great rock concert. Take the same things that make great rock music—energy and originality—and add one more factor: spontaneity. Ideally, the band should play a different set each night, rather than just memorizing a single list of songs. Play around with how they play their songs, not just what they play. If they play an encore, it should be an honest thing, not just another programmed part of the set. And use...

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Friday, 26 December 2008
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It was unusually cold for Long Beach. Normally, this is the kind of town where anything approaching raindrops is cause for doomsayers everywhere to break out the tinfoil headwear and prepare for the apocalypse, and the air had a certain unknowable charge to it that evening as I strode down the block to the Prospector. The Prospector is an amazing little restaurant, covered in western-themed murals, that has been almost entirely absorbed by its bar section. The eatery section of...

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Thursday, 25 December 2008
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Okay, first things first. The CD: I’m biased. I’ve seen Justice perform their Cross live show twice, I loved their album, and I have thousands of dollars of stock in crunchy basslines. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that sometimes I kiss this CD when no one’s looking. For the uninformed, Justice are a duo of French electronic musicians who took the club-destroyer aspects of their countrymen Daft Punk, blended it with the funky pop...

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Thursday, 25 December 2008
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If it can be assumed that popular music (and specifically rock 'n’ roll) has functioned to date as a sociological model, it stands to reason that the evolutionary progression of it would mirror that of the art form’s human component; those that make the music will, whether intentionally or not, follow a similar progression of development. Under that rationale, what the public bore witness to in the 1950s was not the “Golden Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” but, rather, the...

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008
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Once again The Grand Ballroom fooled me. When I see a start time of 8pm, I don't expect the show to actually start at 7:45pm. But for the second time this month, a show there started early, and for the second time I missed most of an amazing set from the opening band. After making my way through a few slight snags, I finally obtained my photo pass and walked into the venue just as Portland, Oregon's Toxic Holocaust launched...

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Sunday, 21 December 2008
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The notion of making the soundtrack to a film available for purchase has always seemed like a dubious prospect to me. Honestly, without the accompanying flicker show, how is a grab bag of basically unrelated songs supposed to make any sort of lasting impression? The idea that what amounts to a mix tape will give a listener some background and conjure images of a film seems akin to attempting to explain the step-by-step action and the subtlety of the movements...

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Thursday, 18 December 2008
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After three versions of We Are Pilots, Shiny Toy Guns have finally released their latest in electronic/dance, Season Of Poison. First things first, a new singer. Sisely Treasure has stepped into the shoes of Shiny Toy Guns' familiar frontface, Carah Faye Charnow. Though replacing a vocalist can transform a band significantly, both behind the scenes and in the spotlight, Treasure is a fine fit who has openly brought her own techniques to the table; an admirable balance between poise and...

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008
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If the measure of a classic album or document is its seemingly complete integration into a cultural vernacular, it can only be said that Cheap Trick’s At Budakan! is one of the biggest, most enduring documents in the recent history of popular song. The name of the album alone has become synonymous with excellence; when Mike Myers (in the role of Wayne Campbell) was attempting to articulate how great he thought love interest Tia Carrere’s band was in Wayne’s World,...

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008
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Don't ask me why I had ever seen AC/DC live before this show, because honestly, I couldn't tell 'ya. Maybe it's because they seemed pretty reliable over the last twenty five years or so, and it seemed like you could always count on them releasing a new album every few years, and then doing a massive world tour to support it. I guess I always thought, "I'll go see them next time." Well after waiting eight years for the release...

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Tuesday, 16 December 2008
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When thinking of San Diego usually the first thing that would pop into my mind was the zoo, or maybe the bacon cheeseburger from Hodad's. Industrial powered Doom Metal, on the other hand, was probably the last, but that has all changed now. Allow us to introduce you to Author and Punisher, Tristan Shone. He is the engineering wizard behind the Drone Machines and is the musical steamroller that has been demolishing clubs and galleries with his singular brand of...

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Tuesday, 16 December 2008