Category Archives: Reviews: House of Blues – N. Myrtle Beach, SC

Reviews of shows at House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC

HOB Review In 3: YES – At House Of Blues Myrtle Beach, August 2, 2012

By Brian M. Howle

HOB Review in 3 – YES: 1) Beginning with “Yours is No Disgrace,” their newest member – singer Jon Davison – may be the most perfect replacement vocalist I have ever heard, perfectly complimenting bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes; 2) Steve Howe, after an amazingly beautiful acoustic guitar solo romp – “Thank you, despite all you noisy bastards!” (Inevitable drawback to concerts where alcohol is served), and; 3) With the inclusion of “America” and incredibly fresh compositions from their newest album, hands down the finest of their three performances at HOB Myrtle Beach over the last 10 years – and the added jewel of having the great Procol Harum as the opening band was an extra sweet experience.

This review also appears at


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HOB Interview: Lindsey Buckingham – Lindsey In Your Living Room


By Brian M. Howle

Much like the searing memory when JFK was shot, or when Neil & Buzz landed on the moon, those of us – who were a certain age in the mid-to-late ‘70s – remember exactly where they were the first time they heard Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. It wasn’t just a hit album; it permeated the pop culture’s consciousness and burned a deep, long track on the ol’ internal hard drive. My personal file consists of tearing down Hwy. 378 between Sumter and Columbia with a friend in his VW Scirroco at about 105 mph, the tape deck pounding out “Go Your Own Way” as the S.C. Highway Patrol tagged along behind us just for contrary fun.

And now, one of the driving forces behind that band, Lindsey Buckingham, brings his much-anticipated Under The Skin tour to House Of Blues in North Myrtle Beach on Tuesday, March 13, 2007.

I had the good fortune to catch up with Lindsey via telephone , and here’s what he had to tell me:

Howle: So, tell me Lindsey, how is the tour shaping up so far?
Buckingham: Well, you know, it’s going great! I’ve been waiting to do this for awhile, and it’s very gratifying … I’m having a ball.

Howle: How long has it been since you’ve done a tour like this, as a solo act?
Buckingham: Well, I’ve only done one tour like this, and that was supporting Out Of The Cradle, and that was, I believe, ‘93 … and it was really short, you know, in like six or eight weeks we were done. I’ve given myself a pretty large window for this one. We’re starting out March 7, and then most of April, and then we’re gonna be out June and July, and I think that’ll be it. (Palpable mischievous overtone begins) …And then we’ll put out another solo album, and we’ll do the whole thing again.

Howle: (Same tone) Well, that’s what we want to keep happening! So, what’s your writing process like? Do you sit down and approach it businesslike, or does it come to you “on the fly”?
Buckingham: Oh, well, you can’t really control that much. I have to say, I haven’t written anything in a while. I had intentions to put a solo album out for a few years, and a couple or so times that got shelved. And then some of that material got to the Fleetwood Mac album, and then it finally got a home and I felt like, unstopped as you might say, and after we came off the road I started writing like crazy again. There’s different ways of writing .. I mean, if you’re in a band, you bring it in and pitch it to everyone and the group finds their parts. If you’re writing alone, it’s sorta like painting, you might say, because you’re playing most of the stuff yourself … and then the writing and recording process tend to mesh together a little more.

Howle: Do you ever get into the studio, when you hear something and then go in that direction; or does someone suggest something to you; or do you pretty much set in your head when you go in there what you’re going to do?
Buckingham: Well, you’ve got to keep an open mind to whatever. I mean, it’s gonna be a process where all the elements bring their influence to bear on what your preconceptions may have been. If you’re working with a band, people are going to play things and it’s going to take on a certain life which has its own thing that you have to be open to. The difference is, that process tends to be more conscious and a little more political, and when you’re working alone, it is like painting … you’re slapping colors on the canvas, and you’re more meditative. You don’t even have to go in with a complete song, you can have a notion for what you think you might want and at some point, the work will lead you in the direction you need to go. When you’re working alone, you tend to go a little more on the experimental side, I guess.

Howle: Okay … this is from one guitarist to another: Where did you get that acoustic/electric guitar that you’ve had for so long – the one you tend to play the most? And how did you learn your finger-picking style?
Buckingham: Ahhh … well, that guitar you’re speaking of was made by Rick Turner from up in Santa Cruz, California. Rick was around in the early days of Fleetwood Mac, and he was making bass guitars for John McVie. Now, I had a problem when I joined Fleetwood Mac, because I had been playing a Fender Telecaster, which was well suited for the style that I had. But Mac had a sound that pre-existed before I joined … a fat sound, with fat drums, and Christine’s keyboards, and everything was pretty much on the “tubby” side. But the Telecaster just didn’t fit into that, and I ended up playing a Gibson Les Paul for a while, and I wasn’t too happy with that because it’s not the best guitar for someone who has a more orchestral-finger-picking style like me. So I asked Rick, ‘Can you build me a guitar that has the properties of cleanliness that a Telecaster has, but with a fatter sound – you know, lean and percussive?’ And that’s what he came up with, and that’s the guitar that I’ve used onstage ever since .. it’s served me very well.

Howle: Yeah, and it’s such a beautiful sounding instrument, and it suits your playing style so well ..

Buckingham: Yeah, it’s one of those ‘happy accidents’ that just happened. As far as my style of playing, there’s really nothing too unique about it. When I started playing, I never had lessons … I learned out of a chord book and by listening to my Warner Brothers rock ‘n’ roll records. When the first wave of rock hit back in the day, I was playing folk music, and a lot of people were using the basic Merle Travis 3-finger picking style. It started with that, and then I listened to some classical guitar, and added the third finger and just sorta took it from there. I can’t analyze it, I can’t be too objective about it …

Howle: It’s just so natural for you?
Buckingham: Yeah, that’s pretty much it!

Howle: Is there anyone out there you’d like to work with at some point?
Buckingham: Hmmm … well, there’s always someone out there, but; no, not any one person, I don’t think.

Howle: OK … what’s the material like on this new album?
Buckingham: Basically, even though it’s been ten years since I’ve put out a solo album, I’ve gotten married and had children for the first time, so you get a different perspective not only on the present, but on the past 25 years, so it’s answered some questions for me. So I was interested in doing something kind of intimate. There are certain songs that I have been doing six or seven years that started off as ensemble pieces on record, that have made their way on stage as single guitar and voice. The impact with audiences was so obvious to me, I thought, what would it be like with someone sitting in your living room. There’s no drums, no real bass; there’s a very intimate feel to it.

Howle: And what else is in your future? Is Fleetwood Mac a done deal, or what’s going on with that?
Buckingham: (That tone again) Well, Fleetwood Mac is never a done deal! (Both laugh) That would be nice, at some point. My plan right now is to tour to support Under The Skin, and then I’ll go finish up the second solo album, and have that out 1st quarter of 2008, and then do this all over again. I’m giving myself a large window of time to do this – two albums in a row – and then when we’re done with all of that, I think that Fleetwood Mac will be hitting the road once again.

Howle: Well, whatever incarnation you choose, I think your fans will be out there for you, looking forward to seeing you no matter what. So get on out there and just have a good time, and thank you so much for your time … Everyone in Myrtle Beach is looking forward to seeing you.
Buckingham: Oh, it’s been my pleasure, Brian … we’re looking forward to it, too.
This article was originally published in the February 28 – March 15, 2007 issue of Alternatives NewsMagazine in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Aftershow: The Review
Lindsey Buckingham wails
Lindsey Buckingham wails on a lead of “Go Your Own Way” at House Of Blues. (Photo by Brian M. Howle)

By Brian M. Howle

Rating: ¶¶¶¶¶ 5 Lighters Up
There were probably some folks who thought about attending the Lindsey Buckingham concert at the North Myrtle Beach House Of Blues on Tuesday, March 13, 2007, and then somehow talked themselves out of it for a littany of foolish reasons.

If you did, now’s the time to kick yourself in the butt – repeatedly.

Out on tour to support his latest solo release, Under the Skin, Buckingham showed up loaded for bear. And as a result, the large crowd in attendance was treated to one of the greatest shows to ever grace the HOB music hall’s storied stage.

Lindsey opened up the show by himself with several great tunes, “Not Too Late,” the impish “Trouble” and “Never Going Back.” His formidable band – Neale Heywood (guitars/vocals), Brett Puggle (guitars/ keyboards/vocals) and Walfredo Reyes, Jr. (percussion/vocals) – backed him up with a constantly changing array of guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, synthesizers, percussion and sequenced rhythm tracks that created luscious, thick walls of sonic nirvana.

To appease those who may only know of the man through Fleetwood Mac, “Second Hand News” drew thunderous applause. Attired in leather jacket, black T and jeans, Buckingham has a smattering of gray in his hair, but the talent and ebullient, infectious enthusiasm endures, making him the consumate performer. Following with “Castaway Dreams,” the cynical “Red Rover,” “It Was You,” and “Big Love,” with sound reverberating thru the venue, as strong, deep vocals were immersed in chorused effect to compliment Lindsey’s rich, aural stylings.

The popular “Go Insane” was next, followed by the new CD’s title track, “Under the Skin,” as three acoustics rained down an etheral jaunt into self-discovery. Austere but with a full-stage setup, “World Turning” featured a hand-triggered percussion solo, with sequenced vocals. “So Afraid” slowed down the pace and featured killer dual guitar leads.

“Know I’m Not Wrong” was next, and if you thought four guys couldn’t reproduce the huge marching band sound of “Tusk,” well, think again. This was like spending a couple of hours in a studio that serves refreshing beverages to a couple of thousand friends, offering up only the very best
takes. The crowd finally exploded with glee as the opening riffs of “Go Your Own Way” echoed through the hall. The encores were the delightful “Holiday Road” (from the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation), “Turn It On,” “Show You How” and “Shut It Down.”

Many thanks to Lindsey and the guys for a great show, and special thanks to Nikki Herceg of Warner Brothers Records Publicity for her much-appreciated assistance.

Live Performace Rating Legend:
¶¶¶¶¶ 5 Lighters Up – Dude, Ya had to be there; Killer set
¶¶¶¶ 4 Lighters Up – Great show, you don’t leave feeling there was more they could have done
¶¶¶ 3 Lighters Up – Not necessarily bad; not necessarily good; had its moments and I didn’t feel ripped off
¶¶ 2 Lighters Up – Someone’s got an addiction problem or needs way more practice, but hey, the beer was cold
¶ 1 Lighter Up – I laughed; I cried; I want my money back, bitch

This article was originally published in the March 29 – April 12, 2007 issue of Alternatives NewsMagazine in Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Velvet Revolver Smokes House Of Blues

Slash does a vintage Les Paul justice on “Do It For The Kids”. (Photo by Brian Howle)

By Brian M. Howle

Take the most talented members of the biggest band of the early 90s (Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses), blend them with one of Slash’s old high school jammin’ friends (Dave Kushner); and add the most magnetic frontman/singer of the late 90s (Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots), and, VOILA! – you have Velvet Revolver.

Without a doubt, the hottest ticket so far this year was Velvet Revolver’s December 7 appearance at House Of Blues in North Myrtle Beach. The line of concert-goers waiting for the doors to open snaked around the side and back of HOB, an hour and a half before the show.

Opening up for VR was Luna Halo, a happenin’ little four-piece band from Nashville, TN. Pumping out a nice blend of basic rock & nouveau’ punk, they proved to be a worthy appetizer for the main event.

The packed faithful roared in approval as VR opened the show with “Sucker Train Blues” and “Do It For The Kids,” both wide-open rockers from the new CD, Contraband. Lead singer Scott Weiland delighted the crowd with his usual theatrics, decked out in all-black attire and sporting his patent leather officer’s hat, trusty bullhorn close at hand.

They followed up with two more new tunes, “Headspace” and “Superhuman.” Then the boys dusted off a STP tune, “Crackerman,” to the absolute delight of the crowd. Three more cuts from Contraband followed – “Illegal i Song”; the gorgeously melodic ballad, “Fall To Pieces” – a quasi-autobiographical tune penned by Wieland (which evoked an old-school sea of lighters amongst the fans); and “Big Machine.”

It was time to let things get relaxed, so the boys cranked out Guns N’ Roses’ “It’s So Easy” to thunderous approval. Another STP favorite was served up with “Sex Type Thing,” followed by another new tune, the raucous “Set Me Free” from Contraband.

The masses just couldn’t get enough, and the possibility of a riot crossed my mind when the band departed the stage – but all that was put to rest when they came back out for the encores.

Slash then donned his trademark top hat and pulled out an acoustic guitar to twang the opening chords of GNR’s “Used To Love Her,” with Scott’s vocals in a well-suited match – along with the crowd.

VR then paid tribute to mentors Aerosmith with “No More No More” and followed that up with another GNR classic, “Mr. Brownstone,” before finishing up strong with Contraband’s final contribution to the evening’s great lineup, as they put their all into “Slither.”

Many a rock band have fallen victim to their environment and unceremoniously imploded. The rockwagon ride is not for the faint of heart, and breakdowns can be fatal. Velvet Revolver is the prototypical rock band of the new millennium, and they solidly made their mark on a savvy HOB audience without so much as an afterthought. The trials and tribulations of various band members are well-documented, but somewhere along the way, they all grew up. And unfortunately for the competition, they got even better.

Nope, there’s no broken axle on this rockwagon.
The previous article originally appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine, December 16, 2004.


HOB Review – Doobies Do It Right At HOB

Doobie Brothers
The Doobie Brothers crank out “Dangerous’ to open the show at HOB. (Photo by Brian Howle)

By Brian M. Howle

The best of the best come our way here on the coast of South Carolina with quiet regularity, as the House Of Blues has come to spoil those who enjoy great music on a regular – or part-time – basis.

Last week was no exception, as The Doobie Brothers brought their legendary live performance to the HOB Music Venue on Friday, March 9, 2007.

I always hate it for folks who wait until the last minute to buy tickets to a show at HOB … because, when you’re a ‘70s rock icon band with oodles of Top 10 albums and singles, you need to live up to the hype – which isn’t easy after 30 or so long, hard years of touring.

And when your show sells out the joint, you dang sure better give the folks their money’s worth.

No problemo, kids.

With original members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons fronting this formidable group, those wonder years of yesterday came roaring back to life with a renewed vigor. Along with John McFee on guitar/steel pedal guitar/fiddle/vocals; Skylark on bass/vocals; Guy Allison on keyboards/vocals; Marc Russo on sax; and Mike Hossack and Ed Toth on drums, the Doobies put on a show for the packed, sold-out crowd – above and beyond the call of doobie duty.

The Doobies his the stage running with the raucous, upbeat pickin’ of “Dangerous” (the only worthwhile thing to come from the Brian Bosworth Stone Cold movie was this catchy soundtrack single) kicked the masses into a higher gear, and frothed them up for the likes of “Another Park Another Sunday”, “Takin’ It To The Streets” (Damn, Pat can nail that sucker on vocals just as good as that other dude), “Little Bitty Pretty One”, “Blackwater” (with the now obligatory verse change of Patrick’s “Carolina moon gonna keep on shinin’ on me” inserted to keep the faithful paying attention), and “Long Train Running”.

There are seven or eight songs that I consider to be the greatest songs every written – and I still contend that the Doobies’ “South City Midnight Lady” resides within that laurel, as Patrick Simmons’ vocals, John McFee’s steel pedal guitar and the entire band produced a studio-quality rendition for the fortunate folks in attendance.

And for true UberDoobies, there was a sense of remembrance for Keith Knudsen (drummer from 1974-82), who passed away from pneumonia in February of 2005.

The happily-drained crowd beckoned for the encore, as all-time sing-a-longs “China Grove”, “I Can’t Live Without You”, and the ultimate prerequisite for any guitarist/vocalist just starting out, “Listen to the Music”.

Let this be a lesson to those who waited too long and missed out: Next time the Doobs hit the HOB up in North Myrtle Beach, get those tickets early and often. Because shows like this one won’t last forever.

Except in our collective, musical memories.
The article originally appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine March 15, 20007.


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HOB Review – Ace Frehley Gives The Faithful A Show To Remember

Ace Frehley
Ace Frehley wails on that gorgeous Les Paul, as he cranks out “Rip It Out.” (Photo by Tami Ashley)

By Brian M. Howle

There was a special vibe at House of Blues on Friday, May 15, as the crowded venue revved up, appropriately enough to kick off 2008 Bike Week, in anticipation of the Ace of Rock, original lead guitarist of KISS, the one and only Ace Frehely. And per Ace’s request, both opening bands played original songs during their sets, as Lucky 13 and Psychward did great jobs of prepping the crowd with high-energy, well-honed selections, and did fine jobs vocally as well. Lucky 13 bolted on stage with verbose rock ‘n’ roll, a power-quad band with stellar guitar leads and a tight rhythm section, whereas Psychward was a more laid back, progressive style, reminiscent at times of Jeff Beck, and steeped in traditional colorations.

But when the lasers broke the darkness and the countdown began, the masses cheered the loudest when Ace stepped out in all-black, wailing on that gorgeous 3-pickup Cherry Sunburst Les Paul, taking it hard right out the gate with “Rip It Out”, “Parasite” and “Snow Blind.” He playfully interacted with the crowd, interspersing intro’s with banter, then charged into “Rock Soldiers,” “Breakout,” “Shot full of Rock,” “Into the Void,” and “Strange Ways.”

Sensing his fans needed a changeup, Ace delved into a medley of “Stranger,” “NY Groove” (gotta love that sequence-flashing-neon guitar), “Shock Me,” and “Rocket Ride.” It should be noted that his 3-piece band blended well in a tight performance, with a symbiotic frenzy amongst themselves in their stage energy.

The roar from within the music hall let Ace know all was well, so he wrapped up the night with “Duce,” “Love Her,” “Love Gun” (from 12 to 72, everyone knows this one!), “Cold Gun,” and finishing out the set with “BD Tag.”

Thanks to Ace for a great show; to Carol Kaye of Kayos Productions for her gracious help, and to Jacki Giardina at HOB for her never-ending assistance in promoting these shows.
This article originally appeared in Alternatives NewsMagazine May 22, 2008.


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Concert Review: The Monkees (July 2001)

By Brian M. Howle

monkees ticket

Rating: ¶¶¶¶¶ 5 Lighters Up

The House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach was packed with the electric anticipation as legions of fans (both old and new) greeted The Monkees – the ‘60s’ favorite television band – when they took to the stage on Thursday, July 5th, 2001.

Following a great opening act featuring boy band du jour Natural (gotta admit, ya can’t go wrong with perfect harmonizing), Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork (minus Michael Nesmith, who declined to participate in the tour) looked to enjoy the crowd’s enthusiastic response just as much now as they did back then (See latter part of review).

The boys started out the show looking quite dapper – Davy looked exquisitely English in almost formal black attire, a white shirt and black long coat; Micky sported black leather pants, white shirt and black long coat; and Peter – ever the consummate showman – chose red plaid pants, white shirt, a red long coat, and red patent leather shoes, complemented by his red Stratocaster guitar. The boys are backed by a great eight-piece band, consisting of drums, guitar, bass, two keyboardists (including a lady who also played sax and clarinet), and a three-piece horn section.

As a large, red neon “Monkees” logo glowed from the backdrop, it was almost like stepping into a time machine during the opening signature tune, “Last Train to Clarksville.” 35 years after their debut on television, adult women screamed competitively with the young girls in attendance. At times, it was like being in a cave full of bats and a band at the same time!

Dozens of fans held up original album covers, as Davy warmed the crowd with anecdotes about being on the covers of Tiger Beat and Sixteen magazine. Rotating duties on lead vocals, they performed 27 songs, including “Girl I Knew”; “Auntie Grizelda”; “Can You Dig It” (from their only movie, Head); “Girl” (Davy’s vocals had an Anthony Newly-quality styling on this one, along with a killer horn arrangement); a great cover of the R&B tune “Higher and Higher”, “#8 in Bach” (from “Puff” Bach) featuring Peter’s outstanding harpsichord keyboards, followed by “Roll Over Beethoven” with Peter’s great lead guitar work; “She Hangs Out” (this featured the aforementioned female saxophonist with a killer lead, along with a huge horn section sound); Micky’s full vocals soared on “Since I Fell”; Peter rocked out on Little Richard’s “Lucille” (and his guitar lead prevailed); then a great homage to the Swing/Big Band sound with a great rendition of “Is You Is”; and their recent reunion release “That Was Then (This Is Now)”.

They lit up the crowd for the finales with “Daydream Believer”, as opening act Natural joined them onstage for a great a cappella chorusing. Then they closed out strong with the classic hits “I’m A Believer”, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”, and “Pleasantville Sunday”, which sent the packed house into a peaked frenzy, pushing to the stage for one last touch of an idol’s hand.

Akin to Vegas floor shows of the ’50s & ‘60s, this was a great concert, above and beyond most folks’ expectations. A made-for-TV concoction produced to cash in on The Beatles’ popularity, The Monkees passed expectations back then, too. They quickly endeared themselves to Americana; right alongside baseball and Apple pie.

And for two hours, life seemed simple again. Not a bad trade for the price of a ticket.

Live Performace Rating Legend:
¶¶¶¶¶ 5 Lighters Up – Dude, Ya had to be there; Killer set
¶¶¶¶ 4 Lighters Up – Great show, you don’t leave feeling there was more they could have done
¶¶¶ 3 Lighters Up – Not necessarily bad; not necessarily good; had its moments and I didn’t feel ripped off
¶¶ 2 Lighters Up – Someone’s got an addiction problem or needs way more practice, but hey, the beer was cold
¶ 1 Lighter Up – I laughed; I cried; I want my money back, bitch

The previous article was originally published July 12, 2001 in Alternatives NewsMagazine

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