Thursday, August 23, 2018

ACE FREHLEY - "Spaceman" (Iconic Kiss Guitarist Launches New Studio Set)

ACE FREHLEY
"Spaceman"
Iconic Kiss Guitarist
Launches New Studio Set
(Entertainment One / 10.19.18)
___________

Seemingly sober and focused
fully, he's clearly on a roll. Yes,
"Ace is back and he told you so."
___________

Despite taking a whopping 20 years to complete his fifth solo studio set, Anomaly (2009), Ace Frehley clearly is now on a roll. In fact, this fall, the iconic co-founding KISS lead guitarist and Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductee returns with Spaceman, his third full-length record in just four years.

Driven by the signature-style riffage that has made him a living legend, the record's debut single, "Bronx Boy," received high praise from fans and critics alike when it debuted earlier this spring. And just this month, the second (and equally familiar-feeling) single from Spaceman, "Rockin' with the Boys," also arrived via iTunes. Recounting tales of life on the road, Frehley proclaims, "No need to worry, I'll be home soon, 'cause I'm rockin' with the boys." Frehley reportedly wrote the original version of the song during KISS' glory days in the '70s.

"Rockin' with the Boys," the latest single
from Ace Frehley - dig it on YouTube.

Brimming with WOW-factor, the nine-track collection promises a rather unlikely cover of the Eddie Money classic, "I Wanna Go Back," as well as guest bass performances from Frehley's former bandmate, Gene Simmons on "Without You I'm Nothing" (co-written by Simmons) and "Your Wish Is My Command."  

Ace Frehley, Spaceman — coming October 19, 2018 (Entertainment One)

Track Listing:
01. Without You I'm Nothing  
02. Rockin' With the Boys  
03. Your Wish Is My Command 
04. Bronx Boy  
05. Pursuit Of Rock and Roll  
06. I Wanna Go Back  
07. Mission To Mars 
 08. Off My Back  
09. Quantum Flux

-Christopher Long
(August 2018)
__________

Discover my other
KISS-related features
__________


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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: "An Interview with God"

MOVIE REVIEW
An Interview with God
Astute Films
Running time: 1:37
Limited release - August 20-22, 2018
___________

A personal encounter with God. 
While hardly new film premise,
it appeared polished enough here
to pique my curiosity and interest.
"Two $13.38 adult 7pm tickets to
An Interview with God, please."
___________

Directed by Perry LangAn Interview with God succeeds in showing moviegoers just how God "meets" us "where we are," through offering himself (in human form) to a conflicted young journalist for a series of sit-down interviews. During the three, 30-minute meetings, the journalist is allowed to ask God anything. Hmm. A logical question might then be, "What would you ask?" Food for thought, indeed.

Portrayed convincingly by David Strathairn, "God" seemingly becomes annoyed early on by journalist Paul Asher's (Brenton Thwaites) mundane initial line of questioning. "God" then challenges Paul to guess his "#1 most-asked question." Paul replies, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" "God" fires back, "Exactly!" Ugh, FYI, "God" got it wrong. While that might be the #1 question projected by today's porcelain-polished, soft-serve religious gurus, it's actually a cleverly disguised distraction.

Brent Thwaites (L) as Paul Asher
David Stratharin (R) as God.
If offering an entertaining feel-good that simply initiates a faith-based dialog was the film's primary purpose, then it delivers in spades. However, if it was truly meant to address the bigger picture issue of our ultimate eternal salvation, then An Interview with God falls flat. In fact, there's only ONE question to be asked in this scenario, "Is Jesus Christ the Messiah — the way, the truth and the life?" And that's where the movie misses the mark. While Paul (an acknowledged expert in religion) mentions Jesus by name ONCE, "God" seems to kinda shrug off the comment. "God" does suggest that there is only "one path" to salvation, however, he never reveals what that "path" is. He shoots from the three-point line and  he misses! Oh, what a crushing defeat for the home team!

Be sure, the film looks great. The general premise — engaging. The cast — talented and deliciously attractive. But truth be told, any faith-based film attempting to tackle the salvation message effectively without including Jesus, is about as ineffective as Gene and Paul showing up onstage at the Google Dome without Ace and Peter.

Charlbi Dean, Hill Harper and Yael Grobglas
comprise a talented and attractive support cast.
Despite offering an overall compelling story line, An Interview with God has other flaws. Was Paul's splintered marriage to Sarah ever reconciled? Was Paul's time (as "God" suggested) truly "running out?" And what was the relevance of Paul's mysterious (yet never seen) friend, Matt? Crucial aspects of the story that were left unresolved.

As for the aforementioned salvation-factor, the name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed during the on-screen, post film panel discussion. However, the fluff-filled conversation lacks significant bite.

In sum, An Interview with God — So much promise. So little payoff.

-Christopher Long
(August 2018)
__________


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Monday, August 20, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: "Summer of '67"

MOVIE REVIEW
Summer of '67
Mainstreet Productions
Released: June 2018
Running Time: 83 minutes
__________

An authentic American
tale set during troubled
times. Count me in!
__________

Written and directed by Sharon Wilharm and produced by Fred Wilharm, Summer of '67 is the seventh independent feature for the husband and wife filmmaking duo. And as the title indicates, the story unfolds during the turbulent sociopolitical era of the mid-late 1960s.

The story line is intriguing — sisters, Milly and Kate, witness the shocking suicide of their mother in the early '50s. As the plot develops, the two siblings each grow up to become involved with men heading off to Vietnam. And they soon both face the question of whether or not their man will return home from the war.

Cameron Gilliam as Gerald (L) and Rachel Schrey as Milly (R)
Sam Brooks as Van (L) and Bethany Davenport as Kate (R)
Now a young wife and mother, Milly is forced to live with her mother-in-law, Joanna, while her husband, Gerald, is away on the USS Forrestal. At the same time, Kate must choose between her high school sweetheart, Peter, and her new hippie boyfriend, Van. Kate's family maid and close friend, Ruby Mae, discovers true love as well with her new boyfriend, Reggie, only to have him also whisked away by the war.

Although touted as a Christian film  one based on events surrounding the real life tragedy of the USS Forrestal, Summer of '67 doesn't clobber viewers with overt rhetoric, or with a heavy message. Simply put, Summer of '67 merely tells an engaging, family-friendly story about people struggling to "do" life together during one of our nation's most difficult times.

Jerrold Edwards as Reggie (L) and Sharonne Lanier as Ruby Mae (R)
Rachel Schrey as Milly (L) and Mimi Sagadin as Joanna (R)
As a "period" piece, the film scores high marks. The scenery, wardrobe, classic cars and even some of the soundtrack music all add authenticity to the production.

An independent film, Summer of '67 may be a bit tough to find, as it currently is only showing at select events throughout the summer of '18. As a fan of independent films, I was grateful and delighted to experience a private screening of the movie, and I look forward to enjoying the Wilharm's future work.

-Christopher Long
(August 2018)

__________

Summer of '67 online:
__________


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

DON BROCO: U.K. Powerhouse Rocks Famed U.S. Festival

Don Broco frontman Rob Damiani onstage in Orlando, FL. (8.3.18)
DON BROCO
U.K. Powerhouse Rocks
Famed U.S. Festival
___________

It was the last hurrah. The
final weekend of the final
Vans Warped Tour brought
the famed traveling music
festival to my home state of
Florida. I was psyched to
experience two of the three
final shows. However, I
was particularly pumped
about finally catching one
of the most exciting acts
on today's rock scene.
___________

The band's latest record, Technology, is one of the most celebrated slabs of 2018. And their heart-stopping music videos generate slews of web views, minute by minute. The only question remaining (for me) was if British rock sensation, Don Broco, actually could deliver the goods where it counts, live onstage.

Early afternoon conditions at Orlando's Tinker Field were perfectly brutal. The scorching sun and soaring temperatures — nearly unbearable. Oh, the "dog days" of summer. By 12:20, a sense of great anticipation, along with the distinctive fragrance of local marijuana mixed with a ripe scent of B.O. filled the air as a growing sea of sweat-soaked bodies had packed in — all primed and positioned for the U.K. powerhouse to take the Owly.fm stage.

ROB DAMIANI
West Palm Beach, FL
(8.5.18)
TOM DOYLE
West Palm Beach, FL
(8.5.18)
Seemingly dressed for a casual day at the beach (Gilligan-style hat, T-shirt, zany sunglasses, shorts, tube socks and sneakers), charismatic frontman, Rob Damiani, commandeered the mic in short order, welcoming Orlando fans to what likely would be their final Vans Warped Tour experiences.

Kicking off their concise 25-minute sets (Orlando - 8.3 / West Palm Beach - 8.5) with the infectious, funk-fused riffs of "Everybody," the boys from Bedford exploded onto the stage with total rock-ribbed swagger.

Appearing both days in equally casual attire (ABBA T-shirt, super-short shorts and sneakers), animated bearded guitar wiz, Simon Delaney, dazzled and delighted the Florida faithful – leaping back and forth across the stage, while energetic bassist, Tom Doyle, hopped and bopped with unrelenting enthusiasm.

MATT DONNELLY
West Palm Beach, FL
(8.5.18)
SIMON DELANEY
West Palm Beach, FL
(8.5.18)
Driven by the machine-like precision of drummer, Matt Donnelly, the Don Broco sets were both amazingly powerful treats to behold — every bit as impressive as the band's world-class studio work.

Featuring a fistful of recent monster-sized YouTube hits, including"Stay Ignorant," "T-Shirt Song," "Come Out to LA" and "Pretty," Don Broco delivered turbo-charged, hardcore, metal-fused, pit-worthy performances — even members of various other Owly.fm stage combos could be seen standing in the wings, singing along to Don Broco's infectious earworms.

So, did Don Broco "deliver the goods?" You betcha! My only question now is, how soon the band will be returning to the U.S. — ENCORE! 

-Christopher Long
(August 2018)
__________


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Thursday, August 9, 2018

DOLL SKIN: Arizona-Based Brigade Slays Sweaty Florida Fans (Orlando 8.3 / West Palm Beach 8.5)

DOLL SKIN
Arizona-Based Brigade
Slays Sweaty Florida Fans
(Orlando 8.3 / West Palm Beach 8.5)
__________

The look on her face was priceless
 that night back in 2017, when I
confessed to bassist Nicole Rich
how I believe that Doll Skin is
the most exciting American rock
band since Guns N' Roses. And
after catching two of the band's
recent Florida Warped Tour dates,
it's an observation that I stand by.
__________

The scorching early August heat already had reached brutal intensity by noon. But by 1:00, a slightly comfy cloud cover hovered over Tinker Field. "Orlando, take two steps forward — we want to see your beautiful faces," commanded ferocious frontchick, Sydney Dolezal, as her band, Doll Skin, stormed the Owly.fm stage. Sporting a fabulously fun-looking coif, dyed fluorescent orange and neon green, Dolezal captured and conveyed the true essence of the Warped Tour in short order, announcing to the throngs of faithful followers, “If you don’t feel like you belong anywhere else, you’re part of this family” — the perfect intro to the raucous opening tune, "Family of Strangers" — game on!

Sydney Dolezal
Alex Snowden
Driven by the bone-cracking drum work of Meghan Herring, the arena-sized sing-along, "Daughter," ignited the crazed Orlando crowd completely — "time to make Momma proud," indeed!

"We're Doll Skin from Phoenix, Arizona," Dolezal declared, leading into "Let's Be Honest." "And this song is about lesbians," she added, as guitarist Alex Snowden's razor-sharp riffs soon sliced the heads off the sea of unsuspecting enthusiasts.

Meghan Herring
Nicole Rich
As for Nicole Rich, the ultra-energetic, rail-thin, flaming pink-haired bassist delivered absolutely 100% heart-stopping performances — brandishing her cotton candy-colored weapon with bona fide, rock-ribbed confidence. Somebody bring me my nitroglycerin pills, please!

Simply put, Doll Skin has NOT proven to be an impressive tour de force based on the member's young 20-ish ages, or due to the band's "all-girl" distinction. Truth be told, what makes this brash combo such an exciting collective is that the band is comprised of seasoned performers — world-class rock musicians with world-class rock songs — a point proven by their jaw-dropping live remake of the 1969 Led Zeppelin classic, "Whole Lotta Love."

The Doll Skin after-show meet-and-greet
in West Palm Beach truly was a VIP event!
Offering additional heartfelt words of encouragement to the oft troubled Warped Tour contingent, Dolezal further stated, "You are the ruler of your destiny!" a powerful sentiment, leading into the band's equally powerful set-closer, "Punch a Nazi" — a modern day, angst-filled anthem that brought both Snowden and Rich into the Orlando pit — guitars-a-wailin'. Now, that takes balls!

-Christopher Long
(August 2018)
__________

Dig my other Doll Skin
feature stories...

Concert Review

Interview

Record Review

Record Review
___________



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Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

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