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B.B. King Holds Court Living The Life of Riley at House Of Blues Myrtle Beach on July 7


B.B. King with Lucille.

B.B. King with Lucille.

By Brian M. Howle

Rarely will you ever hear me proselytize about the need for everyone to hear this one artist at least one time in your individual lifetimes. Music, much like life, tends to be both abject and objective. So when I think of an artist who bridges all genres, all generations, all boundaries real or imagined – I can only find one, storied name.

And I don’t think you’ll be too surprised to know my choice for this title is B.B. King, which is made even more delectable by the fact that the legendary bluesman will bring his merry band of compatriots to House Of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, SC on Sunday, July 7, 2013.

I’ve attended every show that B.B. has performed at HOB since it opened in 1999, and each one remains ensconced atop my considerably extensive concert attendance record as the most enjoyable – by both the audience and the artist.

If you’ve never seen B.B. live, you’ve only yourself to blame.  In 64 years, he’s performed over 15,000 concerts … so these shows are special.

Here’s a little of the history of this true icon, from his official website:

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 87 (88 on his birthday, Sept. 16), he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don’t look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can’t get enough of him.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King – better known as B.B. King – has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.

B.B.’s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. “King’s Spot,” became so popular, it was expanded and became the “Sepia Swing Club.” Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King.

In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.’s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille.

Soon after his number one hit, “Three O’Clock Blues,” B.B. began touring nationally. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night stands. From the chitlin circuit with its small-town cafes, juke joints, and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 40 years.

Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world’s most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist’s vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.’s words, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”

The decades of bonding with his fans gives B.B. the extra comfort of being himself no matter what happens.  If he had a bad day, he’ll tell you about it but he won’t dwell on it; same if he had a great day.  Telling the stories of the blues in the context of B.B. King’s perspective makes them palpable when he regales them, interacting with his veteran bandmates in a way that transcends being a musician or a professional performer … they are the very epitome of brothers, baptized in the harsh reality of the history of their lives as black men in a predominately white market.  They don’t feed on the negative, except to draw from experience that can be put to words and music, and conveyed to us all as the blues.

His age and advanced diabetes requires that B.B. sit for the duration of his show, but it doesn’t lessen that signature sound or prevent him from sharing a laugh.  These are shows that remain, vibrant and fresh, in your memory banks forever … don’t let this chance to experience this delightful legend’s soulful sound slip you by.

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as “Payin’ The Cost To Be The Boss,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” How Blue Can You Get,” “Everyday I Have The Blues,” and “Why I Sing The Blues” are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951’s “Three O’Clock Blues,” and 1952’s “You Don’t Know Me,” and four #2 R&B hits, 1953’s “Please Love Me,” 1954’s “You Upset Me Baby,” 1960’s “Sweet Sixteen, Part I,” and 1966’s “Don’t Answer The Door, Part I.” B.B.’s most popular crossover hit, 1970’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” went to #15 pop.

I know, it almost writes itself .. but come hear the thrill before it’s gone, when B.B. King leaves his legacy at House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, July 7, 2013. Doors open 7:30 pm. For ticket info call 843-272-3000 or Ticketmaster 843-679-9333; or visit http://www.houseofblues.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com.
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This was originally published at: https://bhowle.wordpress.com.

 

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Styx Brings Classic Rock Extraordinaire To House Of Blues Myrtle Beach Feb. 16


STYX – (L-R, Top) Chuck Panozzo, Ricky Phillips (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums); (Bottom) James “JY” Young (vocals, guitars), Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitars), and Lawrence Gowan (vocals, keyboards). Photo by Ash Newell.

By Brian M. Howle

Spawned from a suburban Chicago basement in the early ‘70s, Styx would eventually transform into the virtual arena rock prototype by the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, due to a fondness for big rockers and soaring power ballads. The band – founded by brothers Chuck and John Panozzo – was heavily influenced by lead vocalist and keyboard wiz Dennis DeYoung, who wrote almost all of the lyrics along with most of the music. James Young’s distinctive guitar style complimented the style, along with guitarist John Curulewski.

Early on, Styx’s music reflected such then-current prog rockers as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Moody Blues, as evidenced by such releases as 1972’s self-titled debut, 1973’s Styx II, 1974’s The Serpent Is Rising, and 1975’s Man of Miracles. While the albums (as well as non-stop touring) helped the group build a substantial following locally, Styx failed to break through to the mainstream, until a track originally from their second album, “Lady” started to get substantial airplay in late ’74 on the Chicago radio station WLS-FM.

On the eve of the tour in support of 1975’s Equinox,  original guitarist John Curulewski abruptly left the band, and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. Shaw proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle for Styx, as most of their subsequent releases throughout the late ‘70s earned at least platinum certification (1976’s Crystal Ball, 1977’s The Grand Illusion, 1978’s Pieces of Eight, and 1979’s Cornerstone), and spawned such hit singles and classic rock radio standards as “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man” and “Fooling Yourself.”

1981’s Paradise Theater became Styx’s biggest hit of their career (selling over three million copies in a three-year period), as they became one of the U.S. top rock acts due to such big hit singles as “Too Much Time on My Hands”. It also marked the first time in history that a band released four consecutive triple-platinum albums.

Styx went on hiatus until a full-on reunion tour in 1996. But drummer John Panozzo fell seriously ill at the time, which prevented him from joining the proceedings — as he passed away in July of the same year.

Although grief-stricken, Styx persevered with new drummer Todd Sucherman taking the place of Panozzo, as the Styx reunion tour became a surprise sold-out success, resulting in a whole new generation of rock fans being introduced to the grandiose sounds of Styx.

Now comprised of original members Tommy Shaw and James “JY” Young on guitars/vocals, along with Lawrence Gowan on keys and lead vocals, Todd Sucherman on drums and Ricky Phillips on bass (along with the occasional surprise appearance by original bassist Chuck Panozzo), Styx continues to conquer the planet, one venue at a time.

Recently, the band released Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live DVD (Eagle Rock Entertainment). The landmark concert was recorded November 9, 2010 at the historic Orpheum Theater in Memphis, on the tour that saw Styx perform both of their classic albums, The Grand Illusion and Pieces Of Eight, in their entirety for the first time. The 20-song, two-hour and 11-minute presentation features stunning high-definition visuals accenting the complex musical arrangements recorded in DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM Stereo.

“This is the most magnificent piece of video we’ve done,” proclaims guitarist James “JY” Young. “Our two biggest selling albums performed live in their entirety, all captured in state-of-the-art high definition is something we’re extremely proud of. The collective skill set of the people involved in this project rivals NASA in its heyday.”

As singer/guitarist Tommy Shaw continues, “We loved creating a show around these two albums. It was a joyful challenge to match the mojo of the songs we’ve been playing for years against the edgier newness of the ones that had not been performed since the day they were recorded. And because the songs were sequenced for the album listener, it made for a completely different experience for the fans.”

Here’s the Styx: The Grand Illusion/Pieces Of Eight Live DVD track listing:

1) Intro/1978
2) The Grand Illusion
3) Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
4) Superstars
5) Come Sail Away
6) Miss America
7) Man In The Wilderness
8) Castle Walls
9) The Grand Finale
10) Great White Hope
11) I’m Okay
12) Sing For The Day
13) The Message
14) Lords Of The Ring
15) Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
16) Queen Of Spades
17) Renegade
18) Keyboard Interlude
19) Pieces Of Eight
20) Aku-Aku

Oh,  you’ll want to make sure to get there early to catch opening band Connor Christian & Southern Gothic. They wouldn’t be opening for these boys unless they were good, kids … so get there early and check out these kids as well.

Rock to the Rescue—spearheaded by Tommy Shaw’s daughter, Hannah–is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by the band, whose mission is to build strong, healthy communities through the support of grassroots organizations across the country.  It was founded on the principle that our communities are stronger when we work together in mutual aid.  Having played over 1500 shows in the last 14 years, Styx has been strongly connected with communities across the country.  With local fans and community members making an effort to join in support of Styx, it is important to the band to actively participate in these communities as well.  At each tour date, Rock to the Rescue partners with a local group to give back through community outreach, fundraising, and volunteer support.  What makes Rock to the Rescue unique is that they work on a grassroots level with small groups, giving real support to real individuals who are creating positive changes in their communities. Rock to the Rescue is building initiatives in the areas of music education, health and well-being, disaster relief and aid, and animal welfare and rescue.

At each tour stop, Hannah Shaw researches local nonprofit organizations and picks one to see if they are interested in volunteering to help the band sell $10 tickets for a drawing to win a signed Styx guitar at the shows.  They give these organizations a percentage of the sales as their way of supporting their cause and thanking them for supporting the band’s cause.

You can find out more about Hannah’s work, as well as all about the band, their schedule, history, photos and official Styx merchandise at their official website: www.styxworld.com.

The stage at House Of Blues was made for a show like this, as WYAV 104.1 FM presents Styx rocking out our own Paradise on Saturday, February 16, with opening act Connor Christian & Southern Gothic. Doors open 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32.00 Advance; $35.00 Day of Show.

For info on all shows, call 843-272-3000; for tickets call 1-877-598-8497; or visit http://www.livenation.com .

This article was also published in Alternatives NewsMagazine,  Jan. 24, 2013  http://www.myrtlebeachalternatives.com .

 

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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 http://www.myrtlebeachalternatives.com

 

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Summer Concerts Heating Up At HOB For July And August


By Brian M. Howle

Whenever it gets to be this time of year, one of those recurring statements I hear repeatedly, ever single year without fail, is the rhetorical “Man, I can’t believe it’s this hot!” Bullfeathers.

Hey, Einstein – it’s summer! Our little rock rolls right by the bigass star in the center of our solar system, with our hemisphere at a more favorable sun angle, once every year, alright?  So enough with the bitchin’.

Besides, it nicely compliments the parade of shows that are neatly aligned with the real stars at House Of Blues Myrtle Beach at Barefoot Landing, 4640 Highway 17 S., North Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the duration of the season – so here’s what’s in store for you over the next two months:

July has an eclectic mix, including a 5-night stellar string featuring just about every style of music for every taste!

Tank.

Starting it off on Wednesday, July 19 will be Tank (aka Durrell Babbs), an R&B singer/songwriter/producer from the D.C./Maryland area. He’s written or produced for Dave Hollister, Marques Houston, Omarion, Jamie Foxx, Donell Jones and Monica, among others. He released his fifth studio album entitled This Is How I Feel in May, collaborating with the artists Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, T.I. and Kris Stephens.   Opening up for Tank will be Young Deon, so take it on the down low and be there.

.38 Special

On July 19, those Wild-Eyed Southern Boys will bring the finest in southern rock to town, as Jacksonville’s .38 Special hits the stage with the setlist featuring more hits than a bong at JerryFest. Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes still front one of the best-sounding bands from southern climes to ever crunch a power chord on a Gibson. With familiar hits like “Hold On Loosely,” “Caught Up in You,” “If I’d Been the One,” and “Back Where You Belong,” there’s no messing around when they start cranking those-  and many more – out for the faithful.  Always a crowd favorite, these boys never fail to put on a frenetic, memorable show.

On July 20, another iconic band from the south comes to town, but with a totally different sound but no less loved! The B52s – delightful and effervescent and still as campy and fun as when they cut their teeth on the college circuit and FM ground-breaking – bring their own bag of hits with big hair, big smiles and glorious harmonies as Fred Schneider (vocals, cowbell), Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards), Cindy Wilson (vocals, tambourine, bongos) and Keith Strickland (guitars) take us to those carefree days of “Rock Lobster,” “Roam,” “Channel Z” and of course, no visit would be complete without cruising down to the “Love Shack!”

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Get A Dosage Of Collective Soul At HOB May 13


Collective Soul (L-R): Will Turpin, Ed Roland, Dean Roland, Joel Kosche (not pictured, Johnny Rabb).

By Brian M. Howle

As a music writer, nothing burns my butt more than seeing some fluff piece or hit piece, where the personal agenda is so blatant that even a blind man could see it.

Well, if you’re a writer with the same outlook – prepare to be burned – but, in a good way.

Because ever so often, there are bands that come along who are just good in every known interpretation of the word, in the application of it to all aspects of their being. As musicians, as performers, as professionals, and most importantly, as people.
So if you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure to get your tickets early for this one, as Collective Soul returns to the stage at House Of Blues Myrtle Beach at 4640 Highway 17 S.,  North Myrtle Beach, S.C., on May 13.

Hailing from Stockbridge, Georgia, founder and creative tour de force Ed Roland (lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar) fronts a unique group of guys who have found that magic elixir of charisma, talent, and damn good music that will stand on its own regardless of your place in the space-time continuum. Along with brother Dean Roland (rhythm guitar), Joel Kosche (lead guitar, backing vocals), Will Turpin (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Johnny Rabb (percussion), he leads a well-tuned musical machine that cranks out massive amounts of positive energy and killer tunes.

One thing about being at a Collective Soul concert that I really enjoy, is hearing the inevitable comment of “Man, I forgot they did this one, too!” over and over again during the course of the show.  They aren’t just prolific, kids; their content is chock full of quality tunes, with thoughtful, insightful lyrics and some of the bestest killer hooks to ever grace a master tape.

From the breakout hits “Shine” and “Breathe”, to the MTV monster “The World I Know,” “December,” “Gel,” “Better Now,” “Hollywood,” “You” and “Understanding;” their body of work is impressive in anyone’s book.

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