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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Archive for September, 2012

Ben Folds Five make gracious return to Atlanta

Ready,! Photo credit: Robb D. Cohen/

Ready, set….play! Photo credit: Robb D. Cohen/

[I'm on with my rock 'n' roll pal Kaedy Kiely at 97.1 The River every Wednesday at 6:50 and 7:50 a.m. to talk about the latest rock news. Tune in to see what's up!]

It took Ben Folds Five about 30 minutes to address “the elephant in the room.”

That would be the band’s cancellation of their June show at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, announced a few days before the set date, which understandably angered their loyal fan base.

In true BFF fashion, though, the trio turned the unfortunate event into a hilarious mea culpa, an impromptu song with rapped/sung lyrics about how “We have a history in Atlanta because we recorded here…we used to play Little Five Points…” The highlight of the song, set to a ramshackle musical backdrop featuring Folds calling out key changes, was the refrain, “We’re back to kiss your a**.”

And for about an hour and 45 minutes Tuesday night at The Tabernacle, the …

Continue reading Ben Folds Five make gracious return to Atlanta »

Tickets: Rihanna, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Indigo Girls

149866661PB00031_2012_MTV_VRihanna will play Phillips Arena in April. Tickets go on sale Friday, Sept. 21. Photo: Getty Images

Yeasayer. 8 p.m. Nov. 18. The Tabernacle. $22.50. LN.

Mark Tremonti, Ultradrive. 8 p.m. Sept. 29. Vinyl. $25; $22 in advance. TA.
Makeshift Prodigy, Alchemy, Phynx. 8 p.m. Oct. 4. Vinyl. $12; $10 in advance. TA.
Makeshift Jukebox, Justin Monday. 8 p.m. Nov. 3. Vinyl. $10. TA.
Pathfinder MetalFest V featuring Raven. 6 p.m. Nov. 10. The Loft. $20; $15 in advance. TA.
Scrilla, Levi Leer, Jackie Chain. 9 p.m. Nov. 24. Vinyl. TA.

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band. Concert kicks off fundraising efforts to build “smart homes” for local heroes Army SFC Michael Schlitz and Marine Cpl. Todd Love. 7 p.m. Nov. 3. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. $39.50-$59.50. TM.

Nas, Lauryn Hill. 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2. The Tabernacle. $59.50-$69.50. LN.
ZZ Ward. 8 p.m. Nov. 12. Vinyl. $12; $10 in advance. TA.
Of Monsters and Men. 8 p.m. Nov. 29. The …

Continue reading Tickets: Rihanna, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Indigo Girls »

Lady Gaga, Pink announce Philips Arena dates

Lady Gaga promises lots of props on tour. Photo credit:

Lady Gaga promises lots of props on tour. Photo credit:

Since Lady Gaga tweeted a photo of her itinerary for the “Born This Way Ball” a couple of weeks ago, it isn’t a huge surprise that she’s coming to Philips Arena March 11. But now it’s official.

Tickets for the show, which comes toward the end of (presumably) the first leg of the tour, are on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 5. Gaga has described the spectacle as an “electro-metal pop-opera,” that contains songs from her three hit albums.

Fans can also sign up at for access to a pre-sale, which begins today. Ticket prices have not been released.

The tour, which began in April in South Korea, will hit 25 North American cities, starting Jan. 11 in Vancouver, BC, and ending March 16 in Miami. ZEDD and Lady Starlight will open the Atlanta date.


Also coming to Philips Arena in March is Pink.

The sassy singer – …

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Tuesday Tunes: Spotlight on Pink

Album_ArtworkHere’s the truth about Pink’s sixth album: It’s kind of irresistible.

On “The Truth About Love,” the coolly funky singer-songwriter is funny, self-deprecating and inspirational, all wrapped up in a cotton candy package tied with a spiked metal bow.

Sure, a song such as “Try” might be formulaic – a direct hit for Top 40 radio – but Pink excels at these glossy anthems that promote stick-to-it-ness and, given her usual candor in songs and interviews, these sentiments come across as authentic.

Meanwhile, “True Love” is the perfect Pink dichotomy. Stinging lyrics – “At the same time I wanna hug you, I wanna wrap my hands around your neck. You’re an a******, but I love you” –  are tempered by the song’s poppy vibe, skipping along on a perky chorus and notes that skitter across the keyboard.

The album is full of big hooks, guitar power chords and the occasional detour into something musically different enough from her past work to make you go, …

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Performers announced for Georgia Music Hall of Fame concert

GMHFA12_627_rev[2]We already know that Sugarland, .38 Special, Alex Hodges, Robert Spano, Gary Rossington, Bob Van Camp, Johnny Jenkins and “Skinny” Bobby Harper are being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame next month.

We now know that Sugarland, .38 Special, the ASO Choir, “American Idol” alums (and real-life couple) Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young and up-and-coming singer Riley Biederer will perform at the Oct. 14 ceremony. There will also be “special guests” performing in honor of Rossington and Hodges.

Tickets for the show, to be held at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and broadcast live on GPB, start at $60 (students are $20). The cocktail-attire event starts at 4 p.m. with red carpet arrivals and a cash bar; the ceremony and show kick off at 5 p.m.

For more information, visit,  or call 1-800-745-3000.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

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Tips for Music Midtown

The North Stage at Music Midtown. Photo: Courtesy Live Nation

The North Stage at Music Midtown. Photo: Courtesy Live Nation

With Music Midtown only a few days away, here are some other things to note:

(Updated Sept. 19 to include street closures and on-site tickets sales info.)

  •  There is no smoking in Piedmont Park.


  • Parking is extremely limited; taking MARTA, biking or walking is encouraged.


  • Street closures: Through Friday at 9:30 a.m., one lane on 10th Street from Charles Allen Drive to Piedmont Avenue (closest to Piedmont Park) will be closed. Beginning on Friday at 9:30 a.m., the two west-bound lanes (closest to Piedmont Park) will be closed. On Friday, 10th Street between Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive will be closed until Monday at 4 a.m. On Sunday, 10th Street between Charles Allen Drive and Monroe Drive will be closed until 4 a.m. on Monday for festival load-out.


  • You may leave the premises and return if you have your ticket scanned upon exit and use the same ticket upon returning.


  • Patrons can bring one …

Continue reading Tips for Music Midtown »

Usher opens up to Oprah

First Look: Usher on Oprah’s Next Chapter

Rule number one when you go visit Usher: remove your shoes.

Even if you’re Oprah.

The queen bee interviewer learned that quickly when she recently visited Usher at his Alpharetta home for an installment of “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” which aired on OWN Sunday night.

During the hour-long sitdown in a sunroom off Usher’s airy kitchen and a room with walls decorated with children’s (presumably his) artwork, Usher responded to Oprah’s questions about his failed marriage to Tameka Foster; his recently won custody battle of their two children, Usher V, 4, and Naviyd, 3; his relationship with his mom, Jonetta Patton (who also appeared on the show); the tragic death of his stepson, Kile Glover; and his fidelity to Foster.

Usher said he invited Oprah because he wanted her to see his “crib,” complete with treehouse in the backyard for the kids, and also so that he could “document” his experiences, with the plan to never discuss …

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Garbage to bring their ethereal brew to Music Midtown

Shirley Manson and Garbage are back after a seven-year hiatus. Photo: Courtesy BB Gun Press

Shirley Manson and Garbage are back after a seven-year hiatus. Photo: Courtesy BB Gun Press

Shirley Manson is philosophical about playing festivals.

She loves meeting musical peers she’d otherwise not have the opportunity to cross paths with, but unless you’re the headlining act, it’s likely you’ll be playing in daylight – a sort of kryptonite to vampiric-minded musicians.

“Would I rather be playing in darkness with my band? Absolutely,” Manson said last week, calling from a tour stop in Richmond, Va. “I don’t think festivals are the ideal place to see us, but I love the fact that it’s great for a fan to get to see a bunch of artists they might not otherwise.”

Manson, 46, is the still-striking frontwoman of Garbage, one of Saturday’s main stage performers at Music Midtown, which kicks off Sept. 21 at Piedmont Park.

The band, which includes drummer Butch Vig, guitarist/keyboardist Steve Marker and bassist/keyboardist Duke Erikson, slipped into a quiet …

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Friday Riffs: What annoys you at a concert?

A few weeks ago, I write a Sunday piece about the newest distraction/aggravation at concerts – people who spend the majority of the show not actually watching or listening, but filming on their smartphones or, yes, tablets.

Now that the summer concert season is winding down, I’m curious about what else drives you batty at shows.

Is it the person behind you inexplicably “whooooo-hooooo”-ing not only between songs, but DURING them, so instead of hearing Steven Tyler or Jennifer Nettles – the artists you paid to see – you’re instead left with nothing but a pierced ear drum?

Or how about when you score those seemingly enviable aisle seats, knowing that at least you’ll have a little breathing room on one side, but forgetting that being on the aisle essentially makes you the gatekeeper for the row?

That was my experience at the Bruce Springsteen show in Philadelphia. Sure, it was great to be able to edge a few inches away from the rest of the people in my row, but it …

Continue reading Friday Riffs: What annoys you at a concert? »

Atlanta Pop Festival to be remembered this weekend

The Second Atlanta Pop Festival. Photo: Dennis Eavenson

The Second Atlanta Pop Festival. Photo: Dennis Eavenson

For many Georgians, the Second Atlanta International Pop Festival is unforgettable.

The concert, organized by promoter Alex Cooley, took place in Byron, Ga., on July 3-5, 1970. More than 30 acts performed during the three-day fest, including Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers Band.

On Saturday, an official Georgia Historical Society marker will be unveiled at the site. Additionally, invite-only screenings of a feature-length documentary about the festival will take place in Macon and Atlanta on Saturday and Monday, respectively.

The film’s director, Steve Rash, said the 110-minute documentary is still a work in progress, but he wanted to “put the rumors to rest and show people some film.” The screenings will be followed by a Q&A session with Rash, who is looking for audience feedback.

The ceremony for the unveiling of the historical marker is free and open to the public. It takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday at the …

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