Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 Honda Civic Tour Preview

Consistency has always been a strong point for the Honda Civic Tour, who year after year seem to bring the biggest and most popular bands of the day together for a summer concert spectacle that's like no other. And in just days, the tour will once again kick off its North American journey with two of the most heavy-hitting names in alternative rock: blink-182 and My Chemical Romance.

Southern California natives blink-182 are touring the United States and Canada for the first time since their summer 2009 reunion tour, which proved a massive success. Armed with a brand new, edgy single, "Up All Night", and a new record on the way (rumored to drop on September 27th), it's clear that blink are ready to bring new life to the term "rock show."

They're returning to play this, the 10th anniversary of the Honda Civic Tour - a tour they helped christen back in 2001 alongside Everclear.

In an interview on the Honda Civic Tour Facebook page, Mark Hoppus commented on what fans can expect to see during the coming tour. "We try and one-up every single tour and have each tour have its own look. We spent a lot of time with the set designers working on the sets, and lighting shows and things like that."

Considering their 2009 tour featured confetti machines, 20+ songs per set and Travis Barker performing drum solos while being spun high above the heads of the pit crowd, this coming tour should be a sight to see. Besides, this will be the first time fans will hear new blink music played live in eight years. What's not to love?

Add to the mix the largely popular East Coast rockers, My Chemical Romance, as co-headliners and tour seems untouchable. While still on the road promoting their latest release, 2010's Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, MCR have jumped back into the spotlight and aren't leaving any time soon.

But let's not forget about the openers. The wildly popular indie rockers, Manchester Orchestra, will be kicking off the tour in Holmdel, New Jersey on August 5th. Later dates on the tour will feature hipster act Matt & Kim, political punks Against Me! and finally punk-rock legends, Rancid.

If there's one thing that should make the 2011 Honda Civic Tour stand out against the rest of summer's shows, it's simply how eclectic the tour will be. On any given night you might hear the new wave of indie rock, or perhaps catch a glimpse at the punk-rock scene as it was a few decades ago. And, of course, you'll hear those big radio hits from the headliners every night - not to mention a few lesser known tracks packed in for the diehards in the audience.

This is one tour you won't want to miss this summer. So be sure and grab tickets while you still can. Some seats are going as low as $20. No excuses this time around.

Check out the dates, locations and supporting acts below.
  • 8/5/11 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center *
  • 8/6/11 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach *
  • 8/7/11 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach +
  • 8/9/11 - Boston, MA @ Comcast Center *
  • 8/11/11 - Buffalo, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center *
  • 8/12/11 - Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live *
  • 8/13/11 - Hershey, PA @ Hershey Park Pavilion *
  • 8/14/11 - Hartford, CT @ Comcast Theatre *
  • 8/16/11 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre *
  • 8/17/11 - Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre *
  • 8/19/11 - St. Louis, MO @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre *
  • 8/20/11 - Chicago, Il @ First Midwest Bank Pavilion *
  • 8/21/11 - Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center *
  • 8/23/11 - Milwaukee, WI @ Marcus Amphitheater *
  • 8/25/11 - Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre %^
  • 8/26/11 - Saskatoon, SK @ Credit Union Centre %^
  • 8/27/11 - Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place %^
  • 8/28/11 - Calgary, AB @ Saddledome %^
  • 8/30/11 - Victoria, BC @ Save-On Foods Memorial Centre %^
  • 8/31/11 - Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena %^
  • 9/1/11 - Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheater ^
  • 9/3/11 - Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheater ^
  • 9/4/11 - Denver, CO @ Comfort Dental Amphitheater ^
  • 9/7/11 - Minneapolis, MN @ Xcel Center #
  • 9/8/11 - Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena +
  • 9/9/11 - Kansas City, MO @ Sandstone Amphitheater #
  • 9/10/11 - Indianapolis, IN @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre #
  • 9/11/11 - Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Centre #
  • 9/13/11 - Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center #
  • 9/15/11 - Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion #
  • 916/11 - Saratoga, NY @ SPAC #
  • 9/17/11 - Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center #
  • 9/18/11 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre #
  • 9/20/11 - Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Verizon Wireless Amphitheater #
  • 9/21/11 - Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheater #
  • 9/23/11 - Miami, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheater #
  • 9/24/11 - Tampa, FL @ 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre #
  • 9/26/11 - Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion #
  • 9/27/11 - Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion #
  • 9/29/11 - Albuquerque, NM @ Journal Pavilion #
  • 9/30/11 - Phoenix, AZ @ Tempe Beach Park Amph. # (MCR will not be playing)
  • 10/1/11 - Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center #
  • 10/2/11 - Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre #
  • 10/4/11 - Concord, CA @ Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord #
  • 10/5/11 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre #
  • 10/7/11 - Las Vegas, NV @ Red Rock Resort, Spa & Casino #
  • 10/8/11 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl #
  • 10/15/11 - San Diego, CA @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre #
* -Manchester Orchestra
% -Against Me!
^ -Rancid
# -Matt & Kim
+ -To Be Announced

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Daniel Bobis Benefit Show Tonight

**UPDATE: 7/27** - Last night's Benefit Show raised over $2,000 to help the Bobis family fund the search & rescue efforts in Indonesia. Thank you to everyone who went to the show, donated or helped spread the word.

Long Island musicians are rallying together to help raise money for a
missing friend, musician and surfer, Daniel Bobis.

Bobis, 32, who works as a teacher at Long Beach High School in New York, was vacationing with his wife in Indonesia on Tuesday when he ventured out to catch a few waves. While riding one in, Bobis reportedly clipped another surfer's board and lost control, falling into the water. His board washed up on shore, but Bobis never came up.

In the time since the accident, Bobis' wife has employed helicopter search parties, dive teams and local surfers to help find her husband. But unfortunately, all this is coming at a hefty price to her and her family. In other words, funds are running out.

Having heard this, local Long Island musicians, including Envy On The Coast/North Korea members Ryan Hunter and Brian Byrne, have teamed up with other artists and the community to bring together a benefit show to support search efforts.

Tonight, Tuesday, July 26th, the Daniel Bobis Benefit Show will be held at The Leaky Lifeboat Inn in Seaford, New York at 9:30 p.m.

Hunter has reached out to musicians including Francesco Montesanto (Sainthood Reps), Ian Kenny and Tommy Fleischmann (NGHBRS), and Mike Desmond and Dylan Ebrahimian (Gabriel The Marine) - who will all be performing special acoustic sets tonight at the show.

Donations will be taken at the door and proceeds are going straight to fund the search efforts and help the Bobis family through their tough time.

In a statement about the tragic event and the show Hunter said, "Here on Long Island, we always help each other out in times of need, and I'm very fortunate to have a lot of great, talented friends who are going to come down and help raise money for Daniel's rescue. I'll be doing an acoustic set, and so will a lot of other great dudes."

"This is the quickest I've ever thrown a show together," continued Hunter, "but we've got to be quick, and I would like to get the cash to Daniel's wife as soon as possible."

For directions to the venue for tonight's show, click HERE. Again, the show starts at 9:30 p.m. and will be held at The Leaky Lifeboat Inn in Seaford, New York.

If you would like to donate but cannot make tonight's performance, a PayPal account has been set up in Bobis' name. Simply log in and send your donation to

Let's come together as the tight-knit music community we are to help bring a fellow musician home to his family.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alkaline Trio - Damnesia Review

When you've got a discography as large as Alkaline Trio, putting out another studio record seems, well... old. So what do you do to keep things fresh? Well, the dark rockers decided to release Damnesia, a 15-track rehashing of some of the band's most classic work (with a couple new songs added for good measure).

But the Trio didn't rerecord with all the bells and whistles this time around. Instead, Damnesia is a stripped down compilation of the fan favorites. Don't count on hearing anything electric on this record - but don't call this an acoustic album, either. Damnesia might be fronted with acoustic guitars but there's enough percussion, heavy bass and keyboards to keep this record from being labeled as simply acoustic.

Alkaline Trio have always had a taste for the macabre and the creepy. So getting down to the bare bones of their music on this record seems like nothing new. And to be honest, the minimalist approach makes a lot of the tracks even darker.

Take for instance "This Could Be Love" (originally off Good Mourning), which has more of a haunting presence to it with its lead melody played on keys rather than guitar. Lead singer Matt Skiba's vocal approach is noticeably better on the new version, though die-hards will hold fast to the original.

The real drawback to this album, if any, is the low level of energy. But again, it's stripped down. Where Damnesia lacks energy are also the same spots in which its dark and brooding presence are best exemplified. Looking again at some of their older work, "Private Eye" (originally off From Here To Infirmary), stands as another track that comes across darker regardless of its slowed tempo and basic nature.

But Damnesia isn't just a horror movie inspired remake of the Trio's early work. The band also recorded two new tracks including "I Remember A Rooftop", led by bassist Dan Andriano, which could easily pass as a b-side off the band's last album, This Addiction.

The other track, "Olde English 800" is a short, comical nod to the malt liquor. If anything, its lightheartedness gives you a break from the nonstop bones, blood, death theme that runs through the rest of the record. Tack onto that a cover of The Violent Femmes "I Held Her In My Arms" and Damnesia starts to feel more than just a rerelease.

Overall, the record should please most fans. Everyone always wants to hear a band play the "older stuff" anyway - and that's certainly taken care of here. Songs like "Mercy Me", "The American Scream" and "Calling All Skeletons" round out the band's newer material as well. And perhaps the best part of this record is that, while it's stuff you've already heard, it's presented in a new way.

If there's any band that can make lyrics about death sound so fresh, it's Alkaline Trio. Damnesia is a perfect addition to your heart and skull collection.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blink-182, "Up All Night" Review

It's been eight years since we last heard any new material from blink-182. But Thursday night's premiere of the band's new song, "Up All Night", solidified the resurgence of blink's presence in the 2011 rock game.

While "Up All Night" is only a taste of what's to come off their new record, Neighborhoods (tentatively set for release on September 27), it gives the blink community an idea of the direction the band are moving. With each member of the trio bringing significantly different influences to the table this time around, many critics and fans are being quick to label the new song as a recycled version of previous side-project material - which may or may not be a suitable description.

The track opens up quite heavy. It's far from the lighthearted pop-punk blink became famous on, but at the sametime it doesn't sound like a stretch. Remember, their last album was littered with darker and harder material, i.e. - "Obvious", "Down" and "Violence". The intro, which lasts around 30 seconds, is a heavily distorted and choppy mix of chords and drum beats.

If there's one thing that's evident from this track, it's that blink aren't afraid to try new instrumentation and pedal configurations. There's a lot of ear candy present.

The verses have a familiar feel to them. With guitarist Tom DeLonge and bassist Mark Hoppus trading off on lines throughout the verse, "Up All Night" starts sounding more like a Boxcar Racer song ("Tiny Voices") than anything else. There's a certain rhythm that's undeniably blink-182.

The chorus is somewhat subdued. DeLonge, along with his airy vocal approach, take us through what sounds not too far from something in the Angels & Airwaves discography ("Do It For Me Now"). And somehow, after the weakened chorus, the track leaps right back into the heavy intro.

The track is sort of a hodgepodge of sounds. It's eclectic in itself - an array of different songwriting techniques that takes a truly talented band to pull off. But despite having so many layers, it still remains catchy.

Whether you like the track or not, let's not let "Up All Night" decide the fate of Neighborhoods. If blink's Untitled record was any indication, this band are as multifaceted as they come. "Up All Night" is simply one eleventh of what's probably going to be one of the most mature, intense and eclectic records blink have ever put out. Get stoked.


Everyone wants to call it all around our life with a better name
Everyone falls and spins and gets up again with a friend who does the same
Everyone lies and cheats their wants and needs and still believes their heart
And everyone gets the chills, the kind that kills when the pain begins to start

Lets get this straight, do you want me here?
As I struggle through each and every year
and all these demons, they keep me up all night.
They keep me up all night.
They keep me up all night.

Everyone's cross to bear's a crown they wear on endless holiday
Everyone raises kids in a world that changes life to a bitter game
Everyone works and fights, stays up all night, to celebrate the day
And everyone lives to tell the tale of how we die alone some day

Lets get this straight, do you want me here?
As I struggle through each and every year,
And all these demons, they keep me up all night.
They keep me up all night.
They keep me up all night.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What's Left Of The Political-Punk Scene?

Music and politics have always gone hand-in-hand. And certainly, the punk-rock community has been at the forefront of the confrontation. With bands like Anti-Flag, Rise Against, Bad Religion, Against Me! and Green Day leading the fight today, it seems like the fuse is burning brighter than ever.

But can the efforts of these bands and others resonate with not only fans, but also within the political realm? In other words, is any of this really making a difference?

For the answer to that, you really have to look past the songs and albums. After all, the message is usually clear with many of these political-punks. To see if the bands and the genre of music really are causing a stir, take a look at the little things the bands are doing - working with political groups, attending rallies and generally being outspoken outside of their recordings.

A few months back it seemed like the world was thrown into an upheaval of revolutions and political unrest from the Middle East to the United States. Leading the rush at home were the Wisconsin protests against Governor Scott Walker's decision to place certain monetary restrictions on the state's unions.

This eventually gained national coverage and seemed to have struck a chord within our music scene, as well. Rise Against lead singer and Chicago native Tim McIlrath made an appearance during the rally (taking time out from finishing his band's latest release, Endgame) and joined the protest. Before jumping into a cover of Neil Young's classic, "Ohio", McIlrath was greeted by a chant of "Thank you! Thank you!" from the appreciative crowd.

McIlrath responded by saying, "It's an honor to be here today with so many people who give a shit about the direction of our world and the direction of this city in particular. It's an honor. I'm proud to be here. Thank you for having me."

Don't think this was an isolated event for McIlrath or the scene in general. Even those in bands that don't exhibit a political standing have stepped up to the plate to defend democracy and human rights. Back in 2009, musicians from bands as eclectic as blink-182, Bayside, Motion City Soundtrack and Anberlin took to their Twitter accounts to protest against a reportedly rigged presidential election in Iran.

By throwing a shade of green over their profile pictures (the official color for the democratic movement) the band members made it known that their political viewpoints toward the election corresponded with that of the Iranian people's.

It may have been a small gesture, but when you have thousands, or even millions, of followers on the social networking site, the ideology you project can have a profound influence on people across the globe. Don't forget, the Middle Eastern protests of this year were essentially put together via social networking sites.

These two examples may seem fairly insignificant to the big picture, but the fact of the matter is that things like this are going on everyday in the scene. With the amount of records being put out, the influence of movements like the Take Action Tour and the small hand that independent groups have within the music and political scenes, the message is getting across.

Perhaps it's not the big picture that's worth changing. Maybe it's just reaching common people that has the punk-rock community so grounded in the political atmosphere. Changing one life can go a long way, and what better way to do it than through music with a message?

**Backstage Press would like to thank our correspondent D.L. for suggesting this topic**
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