Saturday, January 24, 2015

Spandau Ballet: Pure 'Gold' at Warfield Review

By Jim Harrington,

The British New Wave/blue-eyed soul band, which reunited in 2009 after nearly 20 years apart, came to San Francisco to kick off its first U.S. tour in 30 years.

Given the lengthy layoff, it was hard to know what to expect from the band in concert. One assumed there'd be some rust, maybe too much. Yet, that was not the case. Vocalist Tony Hadley, sounded as smooth as ever.

The show was mostly about celebrating the past. Yet, the group -- Hadley, songwriter-guitarist Gary Kemp, saxophonist Steve Norman, drummer John Keeble and bassist Martin Kemp -- also gave us reason to believe that Spandau Ballet might have a promising future.

The group opened the show with a thrilling version of "Soul Boy," one of three new songs tacked onto the end of the newly released collection "The Story -- The Very Best of Spandau Ballet." A bit later in the evening, Spandau Ballet showcased another new track, "This Is the Love," which was a definite winner.

Besides the three new tunes, and talk of recording a new full-length album, the band has also received much attention for "Soul Boys of the Western World," the acclaimed documentary about the band that premiered at the 2014 South By Southwest film festival in Texas. The group plans to perform more North American dates this spring, to coincide with the film's release in the U.S. and Canada.

Still, the sense of nostalgia was thick throughout the night, especially when Spandau Ballet got around to playing the hits. Each classic composition seemed to awaken cherished memories in the crowd, prompting toothy grins and cries of joy. These fans came to sing, joining together as a 2,000-strong chorus of voices behind Hadley.

The highlight of the evening was "True," the lovely, timeless ballad with which Spandau Ballet will forever be associated.

Spandau Ballet closed the show in memorable fashion, returning for an encore to perform the title track to 1986's "Through the Barricades" and the glorious "Gold" from "True."

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Spandau Ballet: Relive the Romance

Just before his band's encore at London's Royal Albert Hall on September 30th, singer Tony Hadley of New Romantic survivors Spandau Ballet told a story about seeing his vocal hero, Frank Sinatra, at this opulent Victorian theater in the late Seventies and actually meeting the Chairman of the Board backstage.
"What do you do, son?" Sinatra asked Hadley. "I'm a singer in a band, and someday I am going to play here," the younger man replied. He did – six years later, when Spandau Ballet's tiptoe-R&B ballad "True" was Number One in Britain and a lot of other countries.

The group – Hadley, guitarist-saxophonist Steve Norman, drummer John Keeble, songwriter-guitarist Gary Kemp, and bassist Martin Kemp, Gary's younger brother.

Spandau Ballet made their live New York debut: in May, 1981 at a club called the Underground. The venue was new but less than romantic – a midtown basement. But the group worked the small stage like a catwalk with a small, potent set list drawn from their first album, Journeys to Glory, and much closer in its crisp tension and funk momentum to the Chic-meets-Sex Pistols ideal of hairspray brethren Duran Duran.

Spandau Ballet were destined for more than the dole, as Hadley reiterated in the shiny 1983 gallop "Gold" ("You're indestructible/Always believing/You are gold")

Their breakup in 1990 – a combined product of exhaustion, mounting tensions over Gary's control of the writing and the Kemps' defection to acting. Even after Hadley, Keeble and Norman sued Gary in the Nineties for royalties and lost, it was Gary who largely initiated the 2009 reunion.

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Returning to Saturdays from 4-6:00 pm!

"Living In The '80s" is now on Saturday from 4 PM to 6 PM PST. Tune in with DJ Danny "On The Radio" for all your favorite '80s music, streaming at
Only on KZSC, The Great 88 - Santa Cruz 88.1 FM!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Top Songs of 2014

Compiled from the number of views received on YouTube as of 12/6/2014, here are the rankings for the best songs released this year. What was your favorite new release this year?

1. U2 - Every Breaking Wave 564,967
2. Billy Idol - Can't Break Me Down 'Kings & Queens of the Underground' 389,041
3. JIMMY SOMERVILLE - Smalltown Boy (Reprise 2014) 295,477
4. Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business, debuts at #14! 270,950
5. CHRISSIE HYNDE - Dark Sunglasses ‘STOCKHOLM’ 229,859
6. Brian Eno & Karl Hyde - The Satellites 'Someday World' 175,651
7. Thurston Moore - The Best Day 144,377
8. CULTURE CLUB - More Than Silence 87,205
9. ERASURE - Elevation ‘THE VIOLET FLAME’ 63,887
10. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - Lovers On The Run ‘METEORITES’ 59,651

11. U2 - The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) 56,343
12. Holly Johnson - In And Out Of Love 'Europa' 38,262
13. HOLLY JOHNSON - Follow Your Heart 'Europa' 29,166
14. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN - Market Town ‘METEORITES’ 25,495
15. CULTURE CLUB - Like I Used To 18,610
16. MARC ALMOND - Worship Me Now 'Tasmanian Tiger' 13,413
17. Peter Buck - Drown With Me (w/Corin Tucker) 'I Am Back To Blow Your Mind Once Again' 3,719
18. BLANCMANGE - Living On The Ceiling (Vince Clarke Mix) ‘Happy Families Too’ RE-RECORDED 3,272
19. PET SHOP BOYS - Part 09 [Sorry] ‘A MAN FROM THE FUTURE’ 2,915

U2: Unleashed a Brilliant Surprise

From Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2014

There was no bigger album of 2014 – in terms of surprise, generosity and controversy. Songs of Innocence is also the rebirth of the year. Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. put their lives on the line: giving away 11 songs of guitar rapture and frank, emotional tales of how they became a band out of the rough streets and spiritual ferment of Seventies Dublin. This is personal history with details. In the furiously brooding "Cedarwood Road," named after Bono's home address as a boy, he recalls the fear and rage that drove him to punk rock. "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" is a glam-stomp homage to the misfit voice that inspired Bono to sing. And that's his mother, who died when Bono was 14, still guiding and comforting him in the chorus of "Iris (Hold Me Close)."

This is a record full of the band's stories and triumph, memory and confession detonated with adventure and poise. In its range of sounds, there may be no more complete U2 album: The band bonded its founding post-punk values with dance momentum in "Volcano" and the raw, jagged "Raised by Wolves," and humanized the digital pathos of "Every Breaking Wave" and the harrowing "Sleep Like a Baby Tonight" with the vocal folk-soul warmth of The Joshua Tree. "I have a will for survival," Bono sings in the closing track, "The Troubles." Songs of Innocence is the proof – and the emotionally raw rock album of the year, at any price.

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Friday, November 28, 2014


MARC ALMOND has released UK tour dates for April next year in support of his forthcoming new album 'The Velvet Trail' which will be released on March 2nd...


ALISON MOYET released a live album, 'Minutes and Seconds Live', on November 10th.
The album - which was recorded at various shows on Moyet's recent tour for her album 'The Minutes' - will feature thirteen tracks including solo versions of tracks she recorded with YAZOO.