Everything was Zen at the Bush concert in Hollywood

On a warm evening two weeks ago, passionate fans lined up along the the sidewalk of Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Why were they in line in front of the Hollywood Palladium? To see British alternative rock band Bush of course! A few fans, such as yours truly, were in line over an hour before doors opened as we counted down the hours before we could see this band. The 1990s rock band are currently on tour promoting their latest studio album Black and White Rainbows. Joining them on this tour are fellow rock bands She Wants Revenge and Leopold and His Fiction.

Bush
She Wants Revenge

Leopold and His Fiction
Date:
July 28, 2017
Location: Hollywood Palladium

Story
On a warm evening two weeks ago, passionate fans lined up along the the sidewalk of Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Why were they in line in front of the Hollywood Palladium? To see British alternative rock band Bush of course! A few fans, such as yours truly, were in line over an hour before doors opened as we counted down the hours before we could see this band. The 1990s rock band are currently on tour promoting their latest studio album Black and White Rainbows. Joining them on this tour are fellow rock bands She Wants Revenge and Leopold and His Fiction. The line wrapped around the corner as individuals asked eager fans for donations for their social causes. The doors soon opened as fans scattered to every nook and cranny of the venue.

As the audience spoke among themselves and bought drinks, the lights dimmed down. The first band of the night – Leopard and His Fiction – emerged from the darkness to cheers from the crowd. This garage rock formed back in 2005 with their latest album Darling Destroyer released earlier this year. All the members of His Fiction were dressed in black; fitting as the majority of their performance would be in low lighting. Lead singer Daniel Leopold’s black tank top exposed his muscle while his dark yellow khakis complimented his blonde hair. The band’s sound (fusion between classic rock ‘n’ roll with 2000s garage band aesthetics) had the audience yelling their lyrics in delight. Though they performed for half an hour, the band sure made up the most of it. The memorable performance of theirs that night had to be “It’s How I Feel (Feel)”. That chorus reminded in my mind for the rest of the night. This is definitely a band to keep an eye out for in the future. I’d gladly go see them again whenever they’re performing in Southern California once again. A side note, through the night there were moments where Leopold resembled (at the very least reminded me) of a young Gavin Rossdale.

Idle chatter died down soon thereafter as the whole venue became shuddered in a blanket of darkness. Once the intro of “Red Flags and Long Nights” hit the air audience members scrambled to the front. The very moment that people became aware of the band’s presence on stage everyone flocked to the center vying to obtain the best view  as possible. Righteously so as this is one band that everyone should see live. This San Fernando Valley Gothic rock band formed in the early 2000s, releasing three studio albums to date. Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin are the founding members who have been with the band since day one. Accompanying them at the moment are Thomas Froggatt, Scott Ellis, and Jason Payne. As with Leopard and His Fiction, every member wore black matching the mood of their songs. Behind the band stood a large projections screen which illuminated once they started playing. The screen displayed the band’s logo (band’s name written in cursive) in orange against a black backdrop. Warfield’s mesmerizing singing left everyone in a hypnotic state as he breathed life to these songs. Warfield and Bravin stood out among the others on stage with their stylish hats. Low lighting consumed the band’s entire performance, a staple of theirs when they perform.

The hauntingly beautiful “These Things” proved to be an excellent song to jam to. This being one of my favorite songs of the band, not surprised that this ended up being a favorite of mine this evening. Dancing to this song along with everyone else wound up being a highlight of the night. Other incredible tracks performed that evening included “Never”, “Someone Must Get Hurt”, and “Replacement”. Those familiar with the band are aware of the recurring themes of heartbreak and failed romances in their songs. As they wrapped up their tremendous performance, Warfield told a story a fan asked him a few nights prior. The fan asked him, “Since you sing so much about heartbreak, how do you deal with it?” Warfield’s response went along the lines of “The heart is a muscle. Every time that it gets broken, it comes out stronger. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Coincidentally, he mentioned that evening marked his wedding anniversary to his wife Stefanie King. They saved the best for last as they ended with “Tear You Apart”. This is the second time I’ve seen them performance the song, and I have to say that it gets better every time. As I lost myself in that song, I awoke as the song sadly came to an end.

As people conversed with one another again, the lights dimmed down. Suddenly bright white lights consumed the stage as the members of Bush hit the stage. At the moment Bush consists of Gavin Rossdale (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Chris Traynor (lead guitar), Corey Britz (bass), and Robin Goodridge (drums). The 1992 British band originated from London, England. The band acquired tremendous success with their debut album Sixteen Stone which went on to sell six million copies worldwide. The band broke up in 2002, but reunited in 2010 and have been together ever since. As mentioned previously the band are on tour promoting their seventh studio album, Black and White Rainbows, on March 10, 2017. As with the previous two bands, all of Bush wore black clothing; including a black jacket that Rossdale had on. The band began the night by playing an explosive rendition of their debut single, “Everything Zen”.

Through the night the projection screen displayed colorful patterns and imagery, matching the lyrical content or mood associated with the song. For “Everything Zen” the projection screen presented silhouettes of woman walking behind an orange background. Once the song ended, Rossdale took off his black jacket. For the rest of the evening he had on a bright white T-shirt which by night’s end would be completely drenched in sweat. “Nurse” and “The Chemicals Between Us” illustrated the rocking, entertaining night in store for the audience. Of their setlist, “The Sound of Winter” ended up being the best performance of theirs. The lights on stage brightened up with a dark yet cool shade of blue. Winter imagery graced the screen as snowflake inspired patterns consumed the screen. Through those three and a half minutes I felt as if I were walking through a winter wonderland with blast of cold air blown all around. “Mad Love”, the lead single of the latest album, demonstrated the shift in the band’s evolving sound. Though different compared to their earlier work, the songs off their latest album are still enjoyable to rock out to. As the night progressed I noticed how phenomenal Rossdale is as a front man. He turned out to be more charismatic than I ever imaged him to be. Paired with his incredible guitar playing, he’s one of the best live singers that I’ve seen to date. “The Beat of Your Heart” one of the better songs off their new album with a catchy hook. It ended up being nice hearing some of Bush’s older songs such as “The People That We Love”; speed kills! During an extended version of “Little Things” Rossdale walked through the crowd all throughout the middle. The front man never lost a beat as he interacted with fans as he sang the chorus on repeat. This caught me off as one usually doesn’t see big name artists jumping into crowds. 

After a brief hiatus, the band returned for an encore performance. Upon returning they played the intro to “Machinehead”, causing the audience to give a thunderous reception. Without a doubt, this performance became the strongest of all the tracks they performed that night. Things slowed things down as they covered R.E.M’s “The One I Love”. I enjoyed their cover of the song, but felt it carried a different meaning then R.E.M’s version. Through the night whenever Ross played songs of lost love I constantly wondered if he thought of Gwen Stefani. I know, they divorced over a year ago and they both have moved on…but I can’t help in thinking about that. Once ready to perform their largest hit – “Glyercine” – Rossdale dedicated it to the men and women serving in the U.S Military. This is the first Bush song I ever heard, the track that made me fall in love with the band. Seeing it performed live is a fantastic experience that I’ll constantly remember. The night came to a triumphant end with “Comedown”. One thing about Bush is that they play LOUD! Even though I had ear plugs on, my ears were ringing for a long time. The decision to attend this concert came about last minute, I became swayed to attend by a coworker. In the end I made the right decision in seeing this explosive performance from Bush.

Bush Setlist
1. Everything Zen
2. Nurse
3. The Chemicals Between Us
4. The Sound of Winter
5. Mad Love
6. Greedy Fly
7. The Beat of Your Heart
8. The People That We Love
9. Swallowed
10. The Gift
11. Alien
12. Peace-S
13. Little Things

Encore
14. Machinehead
15. The One I Love
16. Glycerine
17. Comedown

She Wants Revenge Setlist
1. Red Flags and Long Nights
2. These Things
3. Take the World
4. Someone Must Get Hurt
5. This is the End
6. Never
7. Replacement
8. Sleep
9. Tear You Apart

After 50 years, The Moody Blues are as unique and impressive as ever

Imagine this: a world without concept albums. Strange thought, right? Especially considering concept albums are all the rage nowadays (and admittedly they have been for quite some time but c’mon, most kids think concept album and credit American Idiot or The Black Parade or even Beyonce’s take on a visual and conceptual album, Lemonade). Concept albums have a sense of unity — the collection becoming more about a theme, movement, narrative or any artistic media that becomes so much more than just a collection of songs. No one does it better than The Moody Blues who helped shape and define exactly what a concept album is with their release of Days Of Future Passed back in 1967, just months after The Beatles’ own Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Imagine this: a world without concept albums. Strange thought, right? Especially considering concept albums are all the rage nowadays (and admittedly they have been for quite some time but c’mon, most kids think concept album and credit American Idiot or The Black Parade or even Beyonce’s take on a visual and conceptual album, Lemonade). Concept albums have a sense of unity — the collection becoming more about a theme, movement, narrative or any artistic media that becomes so much more than just a collection of songs. No one does it better than The Moody Blues who helped shape and define exactly what a concept album is with their release of Days Of Future Passed back in 1967, just months after The Beatles’ own Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

1967. Fifty years ago, The Moody Blues were perfecting the lush, cohesive song cycle and introduction to fusing together a rock band with a full orchestra (later to be credited as one of the first examples of ‘progressive rock’). They were a band ahead of their time, which leaves no surprise that fifty years later, The Moody Blues are still selling out venues and spending their summers celebrating the 50th anniversary of Days Of Future Passed on a full tour, which kicked off this month in California! They played two back-to-back evenings in Saratoga at The Mountain Winery for a trip back to when music was inexplicably great. 

The 50th Anniversary Tour has been one in the making for quite some time. Back in 2015, bassist John Lodge publicly entertained the idea of bringing former band members back to the lineup in any capacity for a series of special shows — an idea that unfortunately seemed to be unable to make happen, but still goes to prove a truly impressive comprehension of the band’s thoughts, ideas and the consideration of what would make this worthy of a 50th year anniversary tour. 

The sentiment is not one that is lost tonight. At only three days into The Moody Blues’ tour, there is a quick and obvious realization to just how special this tour truly is. As fans flood into the Mountain Winery’s beautiful seating, there is a hushed conversation amongst early-birds: “is there an opening band?” Of course, there isn’t. There is no need for one, not tonight. Instead, The Moody Blues played a two-hour, two-part, beautifully crafted set which perfectly reflected the band’s success and the album in celebration. It may have taken Days Of Future Passed approximately five years to reach the top of the charts — but little did they know then that this album would prove to be timeless for decades to come. 

The Moody Blues kicked off the night with a daring challenge. The show opened with their high-energy, fun-loving “I’m Just A Singer.” The first half of the show is scattered with an amazing selection of some of the band’s most beloved hits. They jump around from the ’70’s, ’80’s and ’90’s as they perform songs off their albums of each respective decade: Prelude (1987), Sur La Mer (1988) and Keys Of The Kingdom (1991) an album began with their hit: “Say It With Love,” which when performed tonight, vocalist Justin Hayward doesn’t hold back the affection, paired with the hearts and peace signs floating on stage behind him. For a band that formed back in the psychedelic era — The Moody Blues have something to offer to everyone as they perfected the art of switching from synths and guitar riffs to orchestrated pieces and heavier sounding rock songs and everything in between made evident by their vast range of repertoire which they have no troubles flying through tonight. 

“YEAH! Now we’re getting there! Take us back!” An excited fan screams as the band progresses into their track, “Nervous,” off their early ‘80s album, Long Distance Voyager. Bassist John Lodge can be seen dancing all around the stage before teasing flutist Norda Mullen — who replaced original flutist Ray Thomas quite some years ago and continues to encapsulate the beauty and uniqueness The Moody Blues are known for with having a rock and roll flute player — by mimicking a violinist as scores from an orchestra accompany the band’s set. 

The Moody Blues continue to showcase the unusualness that has always distinctively set them apart, with a complex four-part choral vocal sound paired with a wailing falsetto surging to harmonies (thanks to Lodge’s strong falsetto range, which sounds just as good as it always has, and Hayward’s beautiful voice falling somewhere harmoniously just beneath it). As they perform one of their bigger hits, “Your Wildest Dreams,” for the first time there are several photos splayed across the screen behind them — photos of original members, of days on the road 50 years ago. Nostalgia. And it’s absolutely beautiful. As the crowd sings and dances along, there is a shared inside-look to the band’s life, which helps signify what is about to come. The emotion is nearly palpable as Hayward and Lodge trade off the spotlight on vocals, each of them unable to hide the gratitude and admiration on their faces. They perform beautifully, as the song’s lyrics loosely follow about ‘once upon a times’ and ‘I remembers,’ the old photos of their legacy and time as a band, the three original members expanding this special Anniversary tour to the two members not with them on stage… it is incredibly touching and unlike anything we’ve seen before. The band sing beautifully, too. They achieve their unique sound today with the help of drummer, Graeme Edge as well as Norda Mullen (flutist, guitarist, all around amazing musician), Julie Ragins (singer, keyboardist, saxophonist, amazing musician who also has her own duet project with husband, PEAR), second drummer Billy Ashbaugh (who has toured with several big artists – including Nsync!) and main keyboardist Alan Hewitt (big thanks to Shirley and Pamela for providing these names)! 

The second half of the evening takes on Days as though fans are listening to it for the first time on their record player. The album, which was written as a concept of a day in the life in London, is a beautiful arrangement of songs with the beautiful symphonic presence and a build-up to what remains The Moodies’ signature song, “Nights In White Satin.” 

The second act begins with the Days’ album art dispersing into a rainbow to an image of the world spinning. An orchestra piece is played as we travel around the world — images are shown of The Milky Way behind Stonehenge, to city skylines, starry skies and finally a black and white moon, preluding to the narrated words of “The Day Begins,” which the crowd booms awake to, reciting word-for-word: Cold hearted orb that rules the night, removed the colours from our sight, red is grey and yellow white, but we decide which is right and which is an illusion… 

As the band takes the stage, it has been transformed, showing more than just pictures as it becomes a key element in the storytelling of a day in the life. The Moody Blues return on stage with no gimmicks, instead, they stand as blackened silhouettes in front of beautiful meadows and the rising sun, acoustic guitars in hand: “Dawn is a Feeling.”

An impatient (albeit, probably drunk… it is a winery, after all) crowd member yells “PLAY SOMETHING!” and almost as if on cue, the band erupts from “Another Morning” which displayed a busy London street with colorful panoramic shots of pedestrians speeding by, to the hard hitting “Peak Hour” where Hayward and Lodge both add in amazing solo guitar/bass riffs that probably shut up the ‘play something’ gentleman and more. The Moody Blues still have what it takes to rock ’n’ roll… but Days is a conceptual piece of art… and even a live performance, no, especially the live performance of the album in its entirety deserves to be treated as such. For the record: the band did this wonderfully, blending the downtime with their performance in a way that kept our attention and kept the majority of the crowd ooh and awwing at the beautiful scenery on-screen while bringing to life the interludes present in the album by the London Festival Orchestra. 

There is no question that even the smallest detail was thoroughly thought-out as each of the songs have a perfectly accompanying visual behind them. There are marigolds and cattails swaying in the wind for the ‘Morning’s to deep purples, oranges, and reds for a time-lapse sunset over the ocean during “The Sunset” and primary colors whizzing over train tracks, giving an eery vibe for “Twilight Time.” 

The narration — and which is an illusion? — booms again overhead, putting forth “Late Lament” over what the crowd has been waiting for. The beautiful and timeless “Nights In White Satin” is performed with as much fervor as the studio version recorded over 50 years ago. Hayward shows no signs of struggle during the powerful chorus. The crowd sings along with teary eyes to the promise: “Oh, how I love you,” as nostalgia washes over us all to times of when we first heard this iconic piece and those in our lives who we love just as powerfully as this song entails. 

Pictured: Hayward & Lodge perform together, Edge is obstructed by his drum set in background. 
Pictured: Hayward & Lodge perform together, Edge is obstructed by his drum set in background. 

CHECK OUT OUR FULL PHOTO GALLERY OF THE SHOW. 

 

There is an attraction and appreciation that has endured all these years for fans of The Moody Blues. With the band’s performance tonight, someone unfamiliar with their work could argue that they’re still doing a promo tour for the album that has just reached its 50th anniversary. Their songs were hits back in the ‘60s and the following years and remain well-aged and relevant in the present day, in a time where the art of making actual music appears to be getting deleted and somewhat lost with the readily-available sampled beats and noises. 

The crowd roars with applause and cheers for The Moody Blues who have given us an unforgettable performance tonight, one worthy of celebrating the last 50 years and one worthy of celebrating the next 50 years to come. 

THE MOODY BLUES’ SETLIST

ACT ONE

I’m Just A Singer (in A Rock and Roll Band)
The Voice
Steppin’ In A Slide Zone
Say It With Love
Nervous
Your Wildest Dreams
Isn’t Life Strange
I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
Story In Your Eyes

ACT TWO 
The Day Begins
Dawn Is A Feeling
Another Morning
Peak Hour
Forever Afternoon (Tuesday)
Time To Get Away
The Sunset
Twilight Time
Late Lament
Nights In White Satin

ENCORE
Question
Ride My See-Saw 

 

The Moody Blues will be continuing their tour all summer long. Check out their official website for ticket information, and check out the dates below to see when they’ll make their stop near you!

Moody Blues Days of Future Passed 50th Anniversary Tour

6/03 — Rancho Mirage, CA — Agua Caliente Casino
6/04 — Pala, CA — Starlight Theater
6/06 — Saratoga, CA — The Mountain Winery
6/07 — Saratoga, CA — The Mountain Winery
6/09 — Portland, OR — Edgefield

6/10 — Seattle, WA — Chateau Ste. Michelle
6/11 — Seattle, WA — Chateau Ste. Michelle
6/17 — Los Angeles, CA — Hollywood Bowl
6/18 — Murphys, CA — Ironstone Amphitheatre
6/20 — Denver, CO — Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
6/27 — Minneapolis, MN — Orpheum Theatre
6/28 — Milwaukee, WI — Milwaukee Summerfest
6/30 — Chicago, IL — Ravinia Park
7/01 — Dayton, OH — Fraze Pavilion for the Performing Arts
7/02 — Cleveland, OH — Hard Rock Live
7/06 — Toronto, ON — Sony Centre For Performing Arts
7/07 — Toronto, ON — Sony Centre For Performing Arts
7/09 — Wallingford, CT — Toyota Presents the Oakdale Theatre
7/10 — Boston, MA — Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
7/12 — Wantagh, NY — Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
7/13 — Holmdel, NJ — PNC Bank Arts Center
7/15 — Philadelphia, PA — Mann Center for the Performing Arts
7/16 — Saratoga Springs, NY — Saratoga Performing Arts Center
7/18 — Bethlehem, PA — Sands Bethlehem Events Center
7/19 — Baltimore, MD — Pier 6 Pavilion
7/20 — Vienna, VA — Wolf Trap
7/22 — Nashville, TN — Ryman Auditorium
7/23 — Atlanta, GA — Chastain Park Amphitheatre 

King Gizzard and The Wizard Lizard follow a Coachella weekend on headlining tour

“It’s nice to get such a warm welcome from a city you’ve never played in before…” was one of the first statements that was said by the band and it hyped up the crowd with such fire that both moshing and crowd surfing was a token of affection given back to the band. One thing that I enjoyed most throughout the show was focusing on the crowd, the individual faces were in such a trance and amazement, they were in their Neverland.

 

There are different methods of discovering new music, either you stumble upon an artist on your own or you’re introduced to them by someone. When King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard was introduced to me, I was doing what I do best, procrastinating. A co-worker had mentioned that he and his girlfriend just bought tickets to this Australian band’s show, and they were stoked to check them out live after only listening to them on Spotify over the past few months.

One thing that I pride myself on is how diverse my musical tastes are, but then again, lately, I’m a walking meme – listening to the same songs I’ve been listening to for the past 20 years while rotating through the same four apps on my phone. I was passed off some recommendations and spent the remainder of my shift completing my day job’s tasks while getting lost in the world of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. A month later, it’s still a tongue twister for me, and much to my chagrin, I get corrected frequently.

With little to no knowledge of the band’s stage presence, I hoped to experience the tales of my mother and the mother of my best friend – who spent the greater part of the 60s and 70s getting lost in the Los Angeles music scene, seeing bands like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones. King Gizzard would be my modern tale, instead of hitchhiking to San Francisco to see a band, I would be crashing a date night instead. Something I made up for with the first round of beer, it’s the least I could do – even if my co-worker kept calling me the female version of the kid from Almost Famous. 

Gizz, as they’re referred to by their fans, are seven guys from Melbourne, Victoria in Australia, and on their tour across the United States — even playing Coachella, I knew that coming to Arizona would be an experience. The Crescent Ballroom is such a hidden gem in Downtown Phoenix, that it was guaranteed to be an intimate affair. The show started with ORB, another band from Australia. It was for sure a night of firsts for me, but I can tell you one thing, they were an amazing preview of what the night was going to be. Once they finished their set, I wandered around waiting for Gizz – my hunger won out and I ordered from Cocina 19, a modern take on Mexican from the venue’s restaurant, I recommend trying their Salsa Verde, it was literal fire.

“It’s nice to get such a warm welcome from a city you’ve never played in before…” was one of the first statements that was said by the band and it hyped up the crowd with such fire that both moshing and crowd surfing was a token of affection given back to the band. One thing that I enjoyed most throughout the show was focusing on the crowd, the individual faces were in such a trance and amazement, they were in their Neverland.

With playing 20 shows in the prior weeks, the band had been so mellow and relaxed – as if we were seeing a small snippet of an impromptu jam session. But the crowd stayed true giving them the intensity of the hot Arizona sun. Psychedelic projections canvassed the stage and the band that flowed so euphorically with each song that was played.

As the show concluded, I found my friends and we were ushered to the exit at the back of the venue, by then, a small crowd had formed in hopes of seeing the band. With that “concert high” still floating heavily in the air, we decided to stick around and see if the band would come around, and when they did, I was floored instantly.

The band was so genuine and kind while speaking to their fans, signing vinyl records, doodling on arms, conversing about music with their fans; it was a breath of fresh air. One of my favorite interactions that I witnessed was a flea market boomerang find that the band were so shocked, yet, stoked to sign. No face in the crowd seemed to go unnoticed, no question seemed to go unanswered, no picture request was declined, and while I was there for at least fifteen minutes, I could tell the band would have stayed out there until the last fan was satisfied.

One thing that I can say is, by that experience alone, I’ve found a new appreciation and respect for King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. On the next North American tour, I’ll be out there waiting next time with a vinyl and a gold sharpie waiting for a quick signature to add to my growing collection. 

Words by Michelle Mungaray