2010 Grammy Awards Review

Review of the 2010 Grammy Award show with a focus on the live performances.

Pink Performs At 2010 Grammy Awards
Pink Performs At 2010 Grammy Awards

   The 2010 Grammy Awards were a very interesting spectacle this year. At times it was entertaining, at times it was boring and predictable. The live performances overall were actually quite good and there were some great ones as well as some real duds. Since this is Live Musician Central, we’ll be reviewing the live performances more than the actual winners.

   One of the best performances of the night for me was the Les Paul tribute by Jeff Beck and Imelda May. Their performance of the Les Paul/Mary Ford classic “How High The Moon” was simply excellent. Jeff’s guitar was one of the few lead guitars that was actually properly mixed for the evening. Another of my favorite performances was Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige singing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Andrea Bocelli’s voice was simply amazing.   Continue reading “2010 Grammy Awards Review”

Lowering Your Live Band Rates To Get A Gig

Lowering your live band rates will help you get a gig, but it could hurt your band and other bands chances of getting paid full value in the future.

The Concert Was Free, But I Bet Jimi Got Paid
The Concert Was Free, But I Bet Jimi Got Paid

   The current economic conditions have been especially tough on live bands. Gigs just seem to be drying up and disappearing altogether. There is very fierce competition between bands to get the gigs that are still available. Sadly, this has led to many bands lowering their gig rates simply to get any bookings at all. So what should you do when it becomes a matter of money that is the final deal breaker between you and another band getting a gig?

   That’s a very tricky question to answer because lowering your rates will not only hurt your band, but it will hurt every band that plays at the club you lower your rates to play in. The biggest problem with lowering your bands going rate is that the new, lower rate will become the accepted pay standard for your band every time you play in that club. The club owner can then use your lower rates as leverage against other bands to get them to drop their prices as well. So as you can see, it hurts all of your local bands if you undercut everyone in pricing just to get a gig.    Continue reading “Lowering Your Live Band Rates To Get A Gig”

Alice Cooper Theatre Of Death Concert Review

Review of Alice Cooper Theatre Of Death concert in Wendover, Nevada at the Peppermill Concert Hall on October 17, 2009.

Alice Cooper Theater Of Death Tour 2009
Alice Cooper Theater Of Death Tour 2009

   I had the opportunity to see one of my all time favorite artists, Alice Cooper, in concert on October 17, 2009 in Wendover, Nevada. I’ve been a fan of Alice Cooper since I was 6 years old. I would go cruising around with my older brother Craig in his car listening to the “School’s Out” 8-track. In fact the song “School’s Out” is the first song I can remember wanting to hear over and over and over. I would beg my brother to play it while we were driving and he’d always put it on for me.

    I’ve only seen him Alice Cooper live once before and that was during the “Constrictor”  tour in the 80’s. I remember how amazed I was with the incredible stage show he put on. I was also struck with how fantastic his voice sounded live. That 80’s Alice Cooper concert is one of the concerts that I’ve been to that really sticks out from the crowd. I’ve been to a lot of shows over the years but I still remember almost all of that concert.    Continue reading “Alice Cooper Theatre Of Death Concert Review”

Weekend Gig Report – Highway 6 at 9th and 9th Festival Sept. 19, 2009

Report on the first live gig by Highway 6 at the 9th and 9th Festival in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 19, 2009.

Highway 6
Highway 6 - L. to R. Erik Rushton, Heidi Nedreberg, Tom Nedreberg, Ted Townsend, Matt Rushton, Kyle Johnson

This last weekend I played in the excellent live band Highway 6 which is fronted by my good friends Heidi and Tom Nedreberg. I’ve been playing with Tom in various bands since the late 80’s and I’ve known Heidi since she was about 4 years old. So it’s been a fascinating project to be able to play with them in Highway 6.

   Highway 6 is an original music band with Heidi and Tom sharing the songwriting duties. It’s been fun for me to play sideman in this band since I’m one of the primary songwriters in my all original band, Shufflin’ Noah. It’s kind of a luxury for me to be able to sit back and play my guitar parts while someone else does all the songwriting. Tom and Heidi do give me creative license on all the guitar parts I play so I really feel like I contribute to the overall sound of Highway 6.

   So with all the songs written and the CD recorded and ready for release, it was time to play a live show. Playing live is what I’m all about so I was excited as usual to hit the stage with a brand new project. We rehearsed the songs pretty heavily for about a month before the gig. It was really interesting trying to remember what I had played in the studio. It was also a challenge to recreate the studio sound in a live show. We had to cut out some instrument parts that are found on the recording and fill up the songs with our live stage instrumentation.          Continue reading “Weekend Gig Report – Highway 6 at 9th and 9th Festival Sept. 19, 2009”

Phil Collins – Take Me Home (Live)

Live video performance of Phil Collins performing “Take Me Home” during his farewell tour.

   This excellent video of the legendary Phil Collins is from his farewell tour with this show being in Paris, France. I really like this clip because of the great drumming at the beginning of the songs. Phil is in fine vocal form and I really enjoy the fact that Phil has Father Time playing bass in his live band.     Continue reading “Phil Collins – Take Me Home (Live)”

Concert Review – Blondie at Peppermill Concert Hall August 29, 2009

Review of the Blondie concert at the Peppermill Concert Hall in Wendover, Nevada on August 29, 2009.

Blondie "Call Me Invicible" Tour 2009
Blondie "Call Me Invicible" Tour 2009

   I got to see Blondie perform at the Peppermill Concert Hall in Wendover, Nevada on August 29, 2009. It’s the first time I’ve been to a concert at the Peppermill Concert Hall which has been booking major acts for some time now. I had heard a lot of good things about the Peppermill Concert Hall so I was looking forward to checking out the venue.

   The Peppermill Concert Hall really did live up to the hype. It is a small theater and every seat in the house has an excellent view of the very large stage. I was really surprised at how well laid out the stage and seating were. Like I said, the stage is very large and Blondie had a lot of extra space on each side of the stage. A performer with a larger stage show could easily set up on that stage. Alice Cooper is coming there in October so I may just pop out there and see him. It would be interesting to see how much of a stage show he sets up in a venue like the Peppermill. He has had some legendary stage shows.       Continue reading “Concert Review – Blondie at Peppermill Concert Hall August 29, 2009”

Weekend Gig Report – In Stereo at Canyon Inn August 21-22, 2009

Recap of the In Stereo gig at the Canyon Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 21-22, 2009.

In Stereo - Live At The Canyon Inn
In Stereo - Live At The Canyon Inn

 My live band “In Stereo” played at the Canyon Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah this past weekend. The Canyon Inn is becoming our home club since we play there so often. In Stereo seems to have pretty good success every time we play there. The regulars tell us we’re one of the better bands that play there and it’s nice to hear those kind of comments. I personally believe we’re the best band that plays there buy hey, I’m biased.

   This gig was sort of a surprise as we didn’t have it down on the band calender. But our agent called us up to “remind” us that we were booked to play at the Canyon Inn. It was news to us that we were booked at all but being the professionals that we are, we honored the commitment our agent made for us. We went into this gig without any practices but we have been playing together for about 14 years so we weren’t too worried.     Continue reading “Weekend Gig Report – In Stereo at Canyon Inn August 21-22, 2009”

Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel Live 1950’s Television Performance

Elvis Presley performs Heartbreak Hotel in this classic 1950’s live television performance.

   Elvis Presley really is the King Of Rock-N-Roll and this classic video of Elvis performing “Heartbreak Hotel” live in the 50’s shows what a dynamic performer he was. It’s really fun watching him put on his best stage moves of the era and get the girls all screaming every time he busts a move!    Continue reading “Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel Live 1950’s Television Performance”

Weekend Gig Report – Distant Thunder At The Summit County Fair

Matt Rushton performed with Kent Rushton, Frank Lee and Erik Rushton in the band Distant Thunder at the Summit County Fair in Coalville, Utah.

Distant Thunder Rocks The Summit County Fair (L.-R. Matt Rushton, Frank Lee, Erik Rushton, Kent Rushton)
Distant Thunder Rocks The Summit County Fair (L.-R. Matt Rushton, Frank Lee, Erik Rushton, Kent Rushton)

   This weekend I had a chance to play with my cousin Kent’s live band, Distant Thunder. We played at the Summit County Fair in Coalville, Utah as the last act on the main stage before the big rodeo! We had some challenges in getting set up and playing which made it a very interesting gig.

   I don’t mind playing at county fairs because there’s usually a pretty good crowd there. Another thing that I’ve found to be true about county fairs is that if your band is the headline act, they pay pretty darn well. We make a lot more playing at fairs than we do playing in bars. The Summit County Fair was no exception.     Continue reading “Weekend Gig Report – Distant Thunder At The Summit County Fair”

Using Backing Tracks In Your Live Band

Using backing tracks in your live band will give you the ability to play a more diverse range of music than otherwise possible.

This 15 year old laptop runs our keyboard sequencer.
This 15 year old laptop runs our keyboard sequencer.

   I’ve played in a lot of different types of live bands over the years. I’ve played solo with just my guitar, as a duo, as a trio all the way up to playing in a full on 40 piece Big Band. As you know, it’s great to have more musician’s to create more of a musical soundscape but it also comes with a lot more logistical problems.

   Right now I’m playing in a 4-piece band that has bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. We are able to cover a lot of music with this lineup. We also do a lot of songs that would take many times more musicians to pull off live by using a computer sequencer to play the extra parts on a synthesizer module. This gives us the ability to cover tunes that there would be no way to do live with just a 4-piece band. It solves a lot of the problems associated with using a lot of musicians in the band.

   We are able to play songs by Nine Inch Nails, Santana, Sting and many other artists that use large groups of musicians or layers of synthesizers to create their music. It really helps us to flesh out our live sound by using these sequenced backing tracks. Having this tool at our disposal has helped to set us apart from the local bands that don’t use a sequencer live.      Continue reading “Using Backing Tracks In Your Live Band”