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Archive for August, 2012

Duran Duran’s live ferocity apparent at Chastain show

Simon LeBon feels the love (John Taylor far left). Photo credit: Max Blau

Simon LeBon feels the love (John Taylor far left). Photo credit: Max Blau

When Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon announced from the stage that the band’s recent trips to Atlanta were, “The most we’ve ever played anywhere,” he wasn’t exaggerating.

The still-photogenic fivesome (well, four originals and Dom Brown, their guitarist since 2006), performed a memorable, sold-out–in-minutes gig at Center Stage in April 2011 and returned in October for a solid, if unspectacular show at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.

On this quick victory lap tour – 16 dates in a month – for their excellent studio album, “All You Need is Now,” Duran is mostly playing markets they previously skipped. But the combination of a receptive audience and the band’s affection for Chastain brought them back to the venue Sunday night for a concert more aligned with their Center Stage appearance in terms of song choices and energy level.

Though technically still touring behind “All You Need,” Duran also has a new live album …

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Jason Mraz shares his sincerity in Atlanta

Jason Mraz's sincerity was on display throughout his two-hour show. Photo credit: Akili Ramsess

Jason Mraz's sincerity was on display throughout his two-hour show. Photo credit: Akili Ramsess

If all you know of Jason Mraz are his gooey radio hits – particularly the overplayed “I’m Yours” and simplistic “I Won’t Give Up” – then it’s easy to dismiss him as this generation’s Leo Sayer.

But here’s what you’d be missing – Mraz possess an extraordinarily good voice, an instrument so pretty, it shocks you when he leans back from the mic to unleash a powerfully long-held note.

He’s also got a lot to say, not unlike, say, Paul Simon. And while many of Mraz’s lyrics tend to sound like rambling journal entries instead of something deeply philosophical (a la Simon), he’s nonetheless a crafty wordsmith, imbuing many of his songs with tongue-twister lyrics, while his ballads are delivered with unquestionable sincerity.

And here’s something else: Mraz, 35, is a veritable road horse, a guy who has done the coffeehouse circuit, the club gigs, the theater shows and now, for the first …

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Cee Lo Green and sister unveil GreenHouse Foundation at Atlanta school

“I’m not able to be as politically correct as my sister,” Cee Lo Green said, breaking into a wide smile.

The Atlanta-born musician/celebrity/TV judge made his lighthearted comment in an unlikely location – standing behind a podium in the back of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy Friday morning.

Cee Lo Green, sister Shedonna Alexander and grandmother Ruby Callaway Robinson at the dedication ceremony. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Cee Lo Green, sister Shedonna Alexander and grandmother Ruby Callaway Robinson at the dedication ceremony. Photos: Melissa Ruggieri

Green was back home for the groundbreaking ceremony of the GreenHouse Foundation, the non-profit organization he co-founded with sister Shedonna Alexander.

The mission of their philanthropic effort is to make “green education” more accessible to students in underserved school districts. The presentation took place in front of the donated “greenhouse” area where the school’s students have been tending to and growing vegetables.

Green – born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway – is an alum of SACA and later smiled again when asked how long it had been since his last …

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Georgia Aquarium hits a new groove with SoundWaves

SoundWavesHeader442198For five years, Georgia Aquarium brought sonic waves into the venue with its weekly Jazz Journeys series.

But this season, the event received an overhaul, including a new name – SoundWaves – and a broader exploration of musical genres.

Scott Higley, vice president of marketing and communications at the aquarium, acknowledges that 2011 saw a drop off in attendance, so it was time for some refreshing.

“A jazz-specific series skews a little older, so we thought we could do something more contemporary to attract our target audience. And it’s family friendly.”

(That target audience, by the way, is women 25-54.)

Higley is working with Nolan Reeves Music, the booking agent for Smith’s Olde Bar, to pull in acts that “usually play bar settings,” such as recent performers Mike Bourne & Atlanta Boogie and Wesley Cook.

“It’s highly unique,” Higley says of the experience. “Most aquariums do one-off concerts, but we really wanted to work to grow the audience and expand it.”

The musical …

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Friday Riffs: Remembering Whitney with the release of ‘Sparkle’

Last Thursday, Jordin Sparks came to Atlanta to promote “Sparkle,” which opens today.

Though Sparks is the headlining name on the marquee, it would be silly to think that the movie’s greatest appeal is anything other than it features Whitney Houston in her final role.

When we talked to Sparks at the Four Seasons in Midtown (and, for more “Sparkle” insight, colleague Howard Pousner talked to Curtis Mayfield’s widow about the timeless Mayfield songs in the movie), she said she loved being part of something that helped make Houston smile.

Here are a couple of Houston tracks that always made me smile, as well as a listen to her final recording from the “Sparkle” soundtrack.

Do you plan to see the movie this weekend in memory of Houston?

“All at Once” from a 1987 awards show appearance. A song so melodic, it aches.

 

Whitney’s isolated vocal track from “How Will I Know.” If this doesn’t give you chills, you have ice in your veins.

 

“His Eye is on the Sparrow,” from “Sparkle.” …

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Mariah Carey, No Doubt also in the NFL spotlight

Mariah Carey will share the spotlight with No Doubt for an NFL pre-game show Sept. 5. Photo: AP

Mariah Carey and her bouncy locks will share the spotlight with No Doubt for an NFL pre-game show Sept. 5. Photo: AP

First Cee Lo Green, now Mariah Carey and No Doubt are entering the field, so to speak, for the upcoming NFL season.

The newly crowned “American Idol” judge and the ’90s pop-ska superstars on the comeback trail with a new album bowing Sept. 25, will perform pre-game concerts live from Rockefeller Plaza  to celebrate the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

The pre-game show will air at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5 on NBC.

Carey, by the way, also has a new song to promote – “Triumphant (Get ‘Em).”

Yesterday it was announced that Cee Lo will handle theme song duties for the NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” with “I Love Football,” set to the tune of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Fans are invited to send in videos of themselves singing the song, which will air before each game. Cee Lo’s creation debuts Sept. 13 before the Chicago …

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Remembering Elvis 35 years later

If you’re still mourning Elvis Presley on the 35th anniversary of his death, here’s a look at news coverage announcing the King’s passing.

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Concerts: Sugarland, Jason Mraz, Midnight Star, Duran Duran

68083993Jason Mraz headlines Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood Saturday, Aug. 18. Christina Perri opens the show. Photo: Getty Images

FRIDAY
Los Enanitos Verdes

This rock trio from Argentina made its recorded debut back in 1984. The band broke up for a brief period in the early ’90s when bassist and vocalist Marciano Cantero released a couple of solo albums, but returned to touring and recording together in 1992. The band made it to the U.S. in the late ’90s with a couple of Grammy-nominated albums, including “Tracción Acústica,” which revisited some of the group’s most popular songs in live acoustic mode.
8 p.m. Aug. 17. $30-$35. Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-659-9022.

SATURDAY
Jason Mraz

“Are you ready to lite-rock?” Mraz joked from the Music Midtown stage in 2004. And that’s basically what he does, but he does it with a distinctive flair, a deft melodic touch and a superior voice. Back then, he had a devoted following, but now he’s a major headliner with a pair of …

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Savannah’s Baroness injured in bus crash in England

Baroness

Baroness

Two members of metal band Baroness were injured yesterday when its tour bus fell 30 feet from a viaduct near Bath, England.

Nine people were aboard the bus. The two with multiple fractures were airlifted to local hospitals and the other seven had minor injuries. There were no fatalities and names of the injured have not been released.

 The quartet has longtime ties to Savannah, although, according to the Connect Savannah website, the band moved its headquarters to Philadelphia in 2010.

 Baroness, who released the new album “Yellow & Green” last month, was touring throughout England and had played in Bristol the night before the accident. The rest of the tour has been canceled. The band’s website has a brief posting that band members and crew are recovering at England-area hospitals.

 Here’s a link to the BBC’s story.

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Teddy Riley reunites with BLACKstreet at Atlanta show

Teddy Riley (in baseball cap) and BLACKstreet are working on a new album.

Teddy Riley (in baseball cap) and BLACKstreet are working on a new album. Photo credit: James Pray/Supreme Team Photography

It was New Jack Swing time last night at “ATL Live on the Park,” the monthly concert series/showcase held at Park Tavern.

While the event is known to spotlight big names while also giving upstarts a platform, the August edition was a special gathering that honored Teddy Riley, the King of New Jack Swing, who performed a solo set and was later joined by his group mates in BLACKstreet.

But before Riley, clad in a dark blazer and baseball cap, got situated behind a keyboard, he received a couple of awards – first from Atlanta-based music exec Devyne Stephens, who presented Riley with the “Icon” award for his commitment to the entertainment industry and then from Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who handed Riley a plaque that commended him for “his contributions as a producer, songwriter and artist” to the city of Atlanta.

“We’ve got a lot of …

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