Friday, May 31, 2013

Abbey Road on the River

Mike and I went to see Abbey Road on the River this past weekend.  It's an annual Beatles fest that happens  every Memorial Day weekend in Louisville Ky...on you guesssed it, the Ohio River.  I have been a lifelong Beatles fan, so I have wanted to check this festival out for a while...and we happen to have Mondays off, so we got to see it.  There are Beatles cover bands playing all weekend long, as well as other 60's style groups performing on two stages.  The bands come from all over the world, one of the ones we saw called Nube 9 was from Argentina.  Since we went on a Monday, it was cheaper to get in, only $15.  Other days cost $25-$30 depending on how much access you want.  There is a "ticket to ride" which gets you in to see all the bands, indoors and out, and gets you some swag like tee shirts and stuff.  We also missed most of the Beatles cover bands and Leon Russel, who played Sat. night, and Peter Noone from Hermans Hermits, who played Friday night.

We did see Nube 9, from Argentina, who were really good.  They played 60's songs like the Turtles, Kinks, etc.  The girl had such anice voice, and I enjoyed their rendition of the Ronettes "Be My Baby".  They played a couple of their original tunes, in Spanish, and I liked them as well.  The sounded like 60's psych pop.  And saw a bit of Itchycoo Park, who were singing 60's hits as well. The Pranksters played hippy-style sixities rock a la the Dead and Iron Butterfly.  There was a Jimi Hendrix look alike guy there, too.  Caught the tail end of his act.  He did okay....but it's hard to be as good a s Jimi.  Tattoo Babylon was a Stones msotly cover band, and they were okay.  Saw a band of long haired kids do a metalish cover of Wings "Band on the Run" that was pretty cool.  And I was excited to see Wingsbanned, since I thought they would play Wings songs...but they played one Paul song--Let Me Roll it...and then the rest were just sixities songs taht I have heard a million times.  A little disappointing.

They had a couple vendors selling Beatles stuff, and a few handmade item vendors.  I think they would have benefitted from more vendors with more unique stuff....maybe next year we will see how much it is to vend there?   there wasn't a whole lot of people in attendance, but again, it was Monday.  What I did notice was people of all ages dancing and singing along to the songs...every one was having fun.  They had the usual food dogs, pizza, popcorn, etc.  And drinks weren't too bad for the rpice.  They had a Beatles themed drink stand...I got a Yellow Submarine which was whisky and lemonade--it was pretty damn tasty.  Beer was $6 for a 20 oz, but it was only Bud or Bud Light.  They were cheaper than the hotel drinks, however.  So all in all, not bad.  We had a good time, and the setting being right on the riverfront park, was just beautiful.  Here are some pics from the show...

The festival view from our hotel window.  We stayed at the Galt House.

Drinking the Yellow Submarine

Itchycoo Park playing their set.

Awesome Abbey Road tats on this couple..

Watching Nube 9 at the festival...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rock on the Range 2013

We had an awesome time vending at Rock on the Range 2013.  The fellow rock fans, rangers, were all so cool and there was no "rock snobbery" or out of control drunks...two things you sometimes encounter at rock festivals.  Everyone was just there to hang out and enjoy the music.  There was a lot of crowd surfing, stage diving, and horns being thrown during the crowded sets.  It was great to see the spirit of rock and roll alive and well in this era of dj's and horrible pop music.   We got sunburned (as well as a lot of other fans, too) and were super tired when it was all over, but it was a great weekend.  Our booth was busy almost all weekend long, but we got to sneak away and see a few bands.

 We saw a couple Halestorm songs, and they really RAWK!!!  I have never seen them before, but I wanted to check them out, since I had heard good things about them.  I love it when a woman isn't afraid to rock out with a guitar.  And Lizzy has a great rock and roll voice, not too perfect and not too growly.

Then got to check out a couple of  songs from the hilarious Steel Panther.  The go full on with the 80's hair metal schtick and write funny songs in the vein of Spinal Tap.  They looked like they were having a ton of fun and so was the audience.  The song I remember from their set was "My heart belongs to you...but my cock is community property." so if that kind of humor is up your alley, you will enjoy Steel Panther...

We caught a few songs from Ghost, who are a sort of avant garde metal band? They are from Sweden, and are called Ghost B.C. in the U.S.   Not too sure how to describe them....the lead singer wears a ghost mask and dresses up like a pope.  Lots of theatrics and makeup, but I thought the music was interesting, especially for Rock on the Range, because it wasn't typical hard rock music...

Saturday night, we caught a few songs from headliner Smashing Pumpkins.  I loved me some Pumpkins back in the early nineties, and Gish and Siamese Dream are still some of my favorite albums.  But I haven't really listened to them since maybe the early 2000's, and it's really just Billy Corgan as the only original member now.  I saw them play in 1993 at a small club right here in Columbus called 700 High, so I don't think anything could top that.  They sounded okay, but I think the sound was a little off.  For instance, I couldn't really hear anything but the vocals and guitars...the low ends were a little lackluster.   It just all sounded muddled to me...maybe the sound guy was having a bad day.  But they did play some old favorites like "Today", "Cherub Rock" and "Tonight Tonight".  They did play a lot of songs from their new album "Oceana"  and the crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves.  I almost wished I had been up front, and maybe the sound would have been better.  I know several  people who said it sounded great if you were in the crowd and not in the bleachers.  It sounded pretty good from the parking lot as I was leaving, so maybe I should have stayed....

Sunday's line up was the best I think, with Bush, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden all playing it was like 1994 all over again.  We watched three songs of Bush's set...that Gavin Rossdale has a ton of energy for a guy older than me!!  He was running around on stage and ran through the audience, getting the crowd all worked up.  The three songs they played were hits from the CD 16 Stone that everyone listened to in college and were radio hits--"Everything's Zen" (I usually call it find my asshole brother song), "Little Things" and "Glycerine" and they sounded just like they did back then.  Whether that was good or bad, I'm not sure.  Then Mike and I got to sneak away to watch three songs each by Alice in Chains.  They sounded great---the new lead singer sounds a lot like Layne Staley, but brings a distinctive voice to their new music---which is heavy and dark and brooding like the old Alice in Chains you know and love.  Jerry Cantrell writes a hell of a song and the new stuff is no exception.  I heard two new songs which I enjoyed, and then "Down in a Hole" which, if I closed my eyes, I could imagine it being Layne Staley singing.  The new singer has a lot more energy and breathes new life into the old songs.

And we closed up our booth early on Sunday to see all of headliner Soundgarden's set.  I was really excited to see them, as I have seen Chris Cornell solo two years ago, and he sounded great, so I was hoping Soundgarden would tour again.  The whole band sounded really grungey and heavy, and their new songs are a bit slower than their older 90's era stuff, but still really heavy.  Chris sang most of the sings well, but he did appear a little more tired than when I saw him a few years back.  And no, he didn't scream quite as high as he did in 1994, but he just sang all the songs an octave lower.  Still a great fuckin' rock and roll of the best.  They played half new songs like "Been Away Too Long"  and half old, ripping through classics like "Outshined", "Down on the Inside", "Rusty Cage" and "Fell on Black Days", "Spoonman" (my personal fave) and "Black Hole Sun" to close out the set.  Kim Thayil and the rest of the band sounded great and looked like they were enjoying playing together as a band.  The energy was a bit lower than I expected, especially on Black Hole Sun (which he was probably sick of singing,) when I saw Chris solo, the audience sang along to that song and he looked like he was enjoying it.  They played all the songs straight through without much interaction with the audience and no encore. But it really didn't matter, since they played all of their songs already. They came, they rocked, they left.  Chris Cornell said at the beginning of the set "You look like you give a shit about rock and roll" and that was the beauty of the whole night---people really cared about rock and roll.  And I am placing my bets on Soundgarden helping to bring back rock and roll from it's mediocre state that it's in.  Rock on!!!!!

All in all, I think it was the best line up for Rock on the Range yet.  I am already excited for ROTR 2014.  Here are some pictures from the event...

Our booth and the fabulous grunge sign made for us by our talented friend Bam Bam Grey.

Saw lots of mohawks at ROTR...this guys was the best...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Last Minute Gift Guide for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just three days away!!!  If you are a procrastinator and have forgotten to buy her a gift,we have got you covered.  Show your mom that she rocks buy giving her something unique that she'll love.  Here are some ideas for you:Jewelry is always a nice gift.  We have several local designers who make beautiful jewelry.  Amy Neiwirth of Sweet Stella Designs makes beautiful polymer clay and enamel pieces. I'm sure any mom would love these adorable watermelon stud earrings...   Juicy Watermelon Stud Earrings

Patrice Lehockey is another local jewelry designer who makes beautiful, one of a kind pieces out of broken pottery.  Your mom would probably love one of these lovely necklaces...

Blue Floral Broken Plate Necklace (medium sized)

Thirty One Harper makes adorable little wooden and paper pins that your mom would love to wear on a dress, hat, or sweater...

 RESERVED for Julie S.

If your mom is a rock and roll mom, she may like one of these cool bracelets made from used guitar strings from Megalo Designs

Custom Guitar String Twist Bangle Set - Choose your materials - Handmade Recycled Jewelry

And of course, Heather from What the Rock has some pretty kick ass rock and roll jewelry, too.  Perhaps your mom would like to wear a pretty guitar pick bracelet or pair of earrings?

Leopard guitar pick earrings      Moondance guitar pick bracelet   

If jewelry isn't her thing, we have other accessories that may be right up her alley, like this awesome boombox purse...

Or this extra large skull and flowers bag can fit everything you need for an entire weekend in here...including a small dog.

Or if she prefers to travel lightly, these wallets are very stylish and edgy...

  Boombox checkbook wallet

Every mom loves cute socks, and these are the cutest socks ever...

Fawn in Frame Women's Crew Socks

These housewares and decor items will for sure be a hit with your mom...

Rockin' Veggie Peeler        Lady of the Woods Platter  Day of the Dead Hand Painted Tin Cans      Anatomical Heart Pillow      Small Copper HeartAccordian File

The rockin' veggie peeler, salad spoons, and home cookin' lid will make her time spent in the kitchen more fun.  The beautiful Lady of the Woods platter is just so pretty for serving or hanging on a wall, the Day od the Dead hand painted cans are so useful for holding pens, paintbrushes, a small plant...anything really.  And show her your love her with an anatomical heart pillow or a handmade copper heart to hang on the wall.  She will think of you every time she sees it :)  And help her get more organized with an accordian file.

If she's not the domestic type...maybe just some locally roasted Thunderkiss Coffee and an awesome coffee mug will do the trick.  This mug has owls appear when hot liquid is poured into it.  Neato!!

Rise N Shine Magic Mug

Or if you want to show her she's a wonder about some Wonder Woman pint glasses?

Wonder Woman Pint Glass set

Finally, maybe your mom is REALLY cool and she plays in a band or is a musician.  We have some cool little gifts for the rock and roll mom, too...

Recycled Vinyl Record Guitar Picks    Galaxy Sparkle Vinyl Guitar Strap  



If your mom lays guitar, she will appreciate an extra set of strings or some picks.  We have a wide selection of both..the ones pictured are made from old vinyl records!!  She may also like a new guitar strap or a cool effects pedal, or a skull tuner.  It works for both bass and 6 string guitars.  Perhaps she's always wanted to play the harmonica or the ukulele?  Now she can give give them a try if you pick one up for her.  And if she loves rock music, how about a tiny replica of a Fender Strat?  Or if she's a classical music fan---a bust of her favorite composer---we have Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart.

So, whatever you decide to get for your mom this Sunday...make sure you call her or spend time with her too.  Moms love that.  And this is our shout out to moms everywhere---you rock!!!!!!  If it wasn't for her, you wouldn't be here!!