Friday, December 7, 2012

ZZ 3 - Mississippi Moon Bar

Walter Payton.  Gary Fencik.  Wilbur Marshall.  Although most of you may recognize one of those listed, its a fair bet that unless you are a rabid Chicago Bears fan, two of the names are unfamiliar to you.  Walter Payton, a Hall of Fame Running Back for the Chicago Bears (the greatest EVER) is the most recognizable name of the three.  Fencik and Marshall were phenomenal at the positions (Fencik - Safety, Marshall - Linebacker) so when I tell you that as a youth I wanted to be them, it should be of no surprise.  It seemed like every time my cousins and I got together and play a "pick-up" game of football I pretended to be one of them.  As the saying goes, "Imitation is the purest form of flattery" but what does that have to do with a music blog?  Well...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bang Tango - Halfway Jam

The era that was "Hair Metal" was full of bands that had been signed by record companies eager to make a buck.  Bands from the era varied from the unenviable position of "one hit wonders" to arena-worthy "mega hit" bands.  For many of the "one hit wonders", their fame faded, rather collapsed around them but some of them survived to play another day.  The three days of "Halfway Jam" and so many other music festivals provide those "survivors" with a way to bring their music to those that lived through the hair metal days as well as a new set of ears; their children.  For one of those bands, they did more than just "survive".

Monday, November 5, 2012

Everclear - Mississippi Moon Bar

When I was a mere lad, I was introduced to a concoction so horrific that it still haunts me to this day.  The concoction always seemed as if it were the work of some evil scientist, no, it was like a potion created by an alchemist in search of turning water into gold.  The sickening sweet flavor of this potion was trumped by the fact that drinking one or two would make you so wasted that you would forget your own name.  This potion was formulated by the melding a grape flavored (and colored) drink mix and...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

L.A. Guns - Mississippi Moon Bar

The terms "coulda - shoulda - woulda" can be as haunting the ghosts (or skeletons) that live within our closets.  Everyone has them (sometimes they are flat-out terrifying) but at times they can be inane.  Sure we can think back to that person we wanted to ask out, or that lottery ticket we should have bought but those opportunities that involve "celebrities" or our "childhood heroes" can be the most daunting.  Those people that are either "blessed with" or are "stuck with" living in a small town understand that when the opportunity arises to see, or meet celebrities or childhood heroes you better figure out a way to accomplish it or it may drift away quicker than a tornado in Kansas. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tales from the Stage by Michael Toney

The world of music is a primordial soup that has so many flavors and styles that it is almost impossible to breakdown a small "chunk" of a genre so attacking an entire genre is not only impossible but it is truly an exercise in futility.  As an example for someone to claim they like "country" music opens the realm of possibilities within that open pit that is said genre.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't a predisposition either for or against the genre (country music), I do enjoy some of the works that have fallen forth from its artists.  Unlike the answer given to the characters of "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues in the classic movie "The Blues Brothers" when they asked the proprietor of "Bob's Country Bunker" what kinds of music they play in the establishment (her reply "Oh, we have both kinds: Country AND Western"), country music has so many variants within itself.  Why am I mentioning country music right now?...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Molly Hatchet - Halfway Jam

Connotations of Lizzy Borden whirl through my head whenever I hear anyone talk about axes or hatchets, honestly the reason probably isn't that farfetched.  We all identify something with either an event, an experience or a simple comment (and it makes perfect sense).  Think about that for just a second then try to do it yourself, I bet you can.  As an example some might identify New Years Eve with Dick Clark or Times Square, others might identify a song on the radio and they think back to an old flame.  Expanding on the initial statement I made it makes perfect sense why I identify an axe with Minnesota.  Why?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Dog Named Lumpy

My family and I were blessed with a dog that we named Marshall (after Wilbur Marshall, ex-Chicago Bear LB), he came from some friends that had bred their dog.  Marshall was a Black Lab and when we got him, he had the greatest personality.  The dog pranced when he walked, he was always happy and he really loved us all (and we reciprocated that love).  Marshall was still young when he had a serious accident, well it was more like an attack by another dog.  That attack was so severe that we had no choice but to put him to sleep, we were all crushed.  Where does this Lumpy come in you ask.  Well....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Slash - Mississippi Moon Bar

Famous, sometimes infamous, men have slashed and burned their way through the history of man-kind.  From Attila the Hun, to William Tecumseh Sherman and his March to the Sea, to the blitzkrieg of World War II humanity has been subjected to the practice that left everything smoldering in their wake.  Each purveyor of the “slash and burn” philosophy was successful in its accomplishment of leaving the victims smashed, their very essence drained from their lifeless charred bodies.  History itself cannot describe the true aftereffects of the tactics except to describe the events that befell the victims in mere words like shock, terror and awe.  Why even Sherman must have looked back at his “March to the Sea” in awe but unlike Sherman, Dubuque, Iowa didn’t have the burnt terrain, it just had awe.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blackfoot - Halfway Jam

The history of rock is one that has far more bands that have failed, vanished, ran away screaming or just went 'POOF'.  All too often the aftermath can be so tumultuous that the whirlwind that spawns can be as Dorothy-not-in-Kansas any more.  The divisions can separate families, divide countries and set foreign policy (okay those might be just a TAD over the top).  What can happen is that the cause and effect has the ability to generate something that can be just as good or even better that the original iteration.  What on earth can I be talking about?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Heart - The Great Jones County Fair

The '80's were a time when music scrambled as quickly as it could from the '70's and the tight bell bottoms and the evil that was Disco.  Disco and its incarnates appeared from the muck and ooze of the stench filled mud of Woodstock with serious undertones of Vietnam.  It wouldn't be much of a stretch to blame Disco on the hopped up hippies and that ultra vile "peace rock" that they created.  Within the boundaries of the '70's came this amalgam that wedged itself into popular music but despite courageous attempts many of the acts lacked something.  That thing would be "Heart" (I know its corny but keep reading).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jackyl - Halfway Jam 2012

Comparisons between a jackal and a dog are relatively simple as far as comparisons go.  Jackals are in the same genus (canine), they have fur, they are carnivorous, and they mark territory using urine.  Its an interesting comparison actually but there are so many other differences that forgo any further comparisons.  As an example, a jackal will not make a good pet, jackals might on occasion actually eat their owner, dogs really don't understand rock music.  Huh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aerosmith - Summerfest

During the '80's (those of us that still remember the '80's) there was a time where all that was heard was Run DMC and their version of "Walk This Way".  It was interesting when I look back on that time (its a bit choppy so stick with me) and I remember the video of the song.  What I remember the most was the shot of those unlaced Adidas's and I remember this out of place, long haired dude beating on the wall with a mic stand.  I think that's the way it went anyway.

Jon Lord - Deep Purple Legend

Something happened in the realm of music in 1968 that sent waves through history that helped form and transform music forever.  Within the confines of rock music were legends that were so entrenched that it looked like no one could match them.  Think about the music scene at that time, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Iron Butterfly and an upstart band named Deep Purple sat in pop culture. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bobaflex - Courtside

What does Paul Simon, Dubuque, Iowa, a flying cup of ice and four bands have to do with a music blog?  When wrestling with that eclectic list I would imagine that for some of us might reflect back to the time that Illinois once had a Senator named Paul Simon and his stupid bow ties.  That could be a bit of a stretch but if I could think it, so could someone else. What would the backdrop of the movie "Take This Job and Shove It" (Dubuque) and a cup of ice have to do with Paul Simon?  Well...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Foreigner - Mississippi Moon Bar

As any American that is awake at this time in history has heard, immigration is a hot potato issue.  Sure States like Arizona, California, and Texas are on the forefront but the rest of America is in the midst of it too.  Regardless of individual political views and finger jabs to the kidneys, we can all attribute the disputes to views that are shaped by foreigners.  I think the real issue here is not every single immigrant, it can be condensed down to one group of "Foreigners".

Monday, June 18, 2012

GHS - War Remembrance Tour

There are many traits that define a person and each has its drawbacks and its positives but for the vast majority said traits are learned at the same time.  During the formative years these traits can define the person then and in the future.  Certainly sloth, gluttony and lack of attention can be “achieved” as one matures but I would contend that trait of desire cannot be learned nor become an “acquired” trait. Within the confines of the human being that possesses such traits lies the genetics that make up that desire.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

House Bands

Within the confines of a favorite pub, bar, watering hole or whatever you would like to call it, one expects certain things.  As an example when one frequents a sports bar you expect televisions full of sports and not the Oxygen network.  But are bars the only place where you expect something and then were so disappointed at the product you were seeing?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hairball - Part Two

Hairball, that quintessential '80's hair metal cover band made another appearance in the world that is my wandering aimlessly from venue to venue in search of new bands.  In December of 2011 I wrote about the band and their appearance at the Mississippi Moon Bar and I was blown away.  Could the magic befall once more and transport me back to the '80's?  Would their be mullets?  How about weird old people acting like they were fourteen all over again?  Well...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Adam Yauch - Pioneer and Original Spirit

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently inducted into their stable several deserving bands, and of those bands only one, ONE rap/hiphop act made it in 2012.  The Beastie Boys were an enigmatic group that amalgamated perceived differing generations of rap/hiphop.  At a time when it was thought (and in some instances assumed) that rap/hiphop was strictly an inner city phenomena, the Beastie Boys proved them all wrong.  At the forefront of the Beasties was Adam Yauch.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Frequency - Madison, WI

"Kenneth, what is the frequency?"  That's the question, but why do I ask?  Do I really want to know why Dan Rather was pummeled by strangers after they asked that question?  When Rather was asked that question no one could imagine that such a little question would spawn songs, parodies and constant jabs by those old guys on TV after the 10 o'clock (Central time of course) news.  I almost forgot, no I don't want to know the answer (why Rather took a beat down) but the question should probably be "What is the Frequency?"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Toy Boxx - The Ozone

Anyone that has children (yes husbands count) knows how difficult it is to get them to put their stuff put away when they are done with it.  From balls to games to those freaking nasty, sharp little pieces of screaming in agony when you step on the in the middle of the night Lego's, knows how important it is to put everything away when they are done playing.  It is really interesting when you realize how many different types of containers that this stuff will fit in but rest assuredly that a toy box is the best of them all.  As I put the final destination of out Saturday night in Omaha away it was almost fitting that the destination would be seeing "Toy Boxx".

Friday, May 4, 2012

Undercover - Anchor Inn

Television and movies have made the role of people undercover look like some glamorous adventure where everyone gets a hot girlfriend and they catch the bad guy all in a neat little 56 minute block of time.  Despite the pretty picture that has been painted (probably by Bob Ross), undercover work is a thankless, boring job.  The first night we were in Omaha recently I went "undercover" kind of and watched the band "Undercover" perform.  Did I get the bad guy at the end?  Did I get to shoot the bad guy?  Keep reading.

Monsters In The Basement - Chrome Lounge

I'm sure at some time in our lives we all have been afraid of the monsters in the closet, under the bed, in the attic and those that have been elected into higher offices in the government but after we age those fears begin to dissipate (except for the elected people).  We all have had these fears but perhaps the worst of all of the monsters were in that dark, dank basement.  Its creepy down there at age five (let alone forty five), but should we really fear those monsters?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Slaughter - Horseshoe Casino

Coincidence is defined as a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.  While my trip to the Horseshoe Casino was far from coincidental, I had a purpose to be there.  The travel from the "great" State of Illinois to Council Bluffs was to simply see a band in a venue I had never been to before, so you may ask what is the coincidence?  Well...

Local Music and You. Yes, YOU!

Anyone that has read more than one post / article that on this little thing I call a soapbox knows that I think that supporting local music is a good thing but believing is an entirely different matter.  How important can a local music scene really be?  I mean what good comes from supporting your local music and musicians right?

Three Day Meat Sale - Horseshoe Casino

As I typed the above title "Three Day Meat Sale - Horseshoe Casino" I began to think what those of you that are reading this (that would be you and the thousands that you forward to this site) might think.  The title implies that the Horseshoe Casino is selling what could be construed as large quantities of meat products but when you realize that said "meat sale" was appearing in the same venue as "Slaughter" well you can connect the dots.  Why would I talk about some type of disturbing butchering and sale of meat, and more importantly, why would I talk about it here?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - The Cold Storage of Music

As I look to the roster of the inductees to the Class of 2012 I realize that despite the perceived weight of those inductees there are many, many omissions of significant import.  Although bands such as Guns 'n Roses, the Beastie Boys, Donovan and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are incredibly deserving of the honor, the list of omissions is significant. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vice Squad - Punk Rock Radio

Generally when one talks about the "vice squad" one expects undercover police officers posing as prostitutes or police officers that investigate illegal gambling and while both endeavors are quite honorable, well I'm not talking about them.  The Vice Squad I am talking about is a British punk band.  Yes I said punk, what else would you expect so read on...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bret Michaels Band - Mississippi Moon Bar

When we all look back at our birthday parties of years gone-by many mixed memories can rush toward us with the speed of a rescue panther.  Many of us remember birthdays with large animatronic mice schlepping nasty cardboard pizza, or having some sort of obnoxious hat thrust upon our heads whilst strangers sing sweet, out of tune birthday lyrics in a plethora of different languages.  Occasionally our birthdays are marked with the simple passing of the day into night but for Bret Michaels his birthday was incredibly different.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kip Winger - Mississippi Moon Bar

As the lights went down in the city (okay, a cheap Journey reference sorry) and the lights began to raise on the stage of the Mississippi Moon Bar in Dubuque, IA a lone man with an aqua guitar took the stage.  Kip Winger was his name and he was there it make his presence known, but did he?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


As I sat reading a message I received on Facebook a great friend mentioned that there was a band I should look up from Minneapolis, its name... RapeDoor.  The name has connotations that could be quite the catalyst in the smoldering craws of those that are easily offended.  The good news is, I am not easily offended.  What did I learn as I listened, keep reading.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cornfed Bruiser - National Cattle Congress

The National Cattle Congress doesn't sound like a place where one might think good music would ever come from, not to mention a place where one probably wouldn't go to hear good music.  Had I not known of the caliber of band that Cornfed Bruiser was I probably would have never given the location a chance.  Despite that I had only heard Cornfed Bruiser through studio recordings so how would the band be live?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bobaflex - National Cattle Congress

While the name Bobaflex invokes "Star Wars" type thoughts in the remaining goo that is my brain, it became apparent that there was a pretty decent possibility that the two really weren't the same.  Sure that creepy bounty hunter "Boba Fett" was still flopping about the synopsis' as I wandered into the National Cattle Congress but that was merely a fleeting memory as Bobaflex took the stage.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Royal Bliss - National Cattle Congress

The name "Royal Bliss" has some interesting connotations and potential descriptions that could be misconstrued if one doesn't understand what is attached to it.  Certainly one could make the "dreaded" assumption that the name is some type of tribute to the nuptials of whatever the names of the latest Prince meets non-Royal are but alas me thinks it not to be true (so I tried "olde English, sue me).  What could such a name mean and why is it inside a music blog?  Well...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston

February 11th, 2012 was a simple day in the world I call my own, it was a lazy, very cold day and was really an inconsequential type of day. As I read a headline on Yahoo! the day interestingly enough became one of shock I suppose.  The headline announced the death of Whitney Houston and although I was never a fan of hers I realized that it was a substantial loss.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Cornfed Bruiser - Sneak Peek

The magic world in which we live has forever changed with Al Gore's "baby", the internet (that still makes me laugh).  Previously I had written about a band that I found in the world of Twitter, Cornfed Bruiser and with that connection I was blown away by the music that I was hearing.  With that connection I was given a great honor by the vocal machine of Cornfed Bruiser, Robert Powers as he gave me a sneak peek with a couple new songs.  Are these songs just as good as the stuff I reviewed before?  Well...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


While it is true that I think music today has been scarred by the likes of people with fashionable haircuts and those wearing meat products as clothing, there is something else in today's music that is redeemable.  The impact of the current "stars" of music pale in comparison to those undiscovered bands that are waiting in the wings to be discovered.  Every town, city or municipality has a band that one would swear should be just as popular as the current "stars" of the genre of pop music.  Given the fact that many rarely achieve such success, it shouldn't be surprising when a diamond is found in the gravel pounded down by the force of this industry.  Recently I found a band that is that diamond and SHOULD BE just as popular (if not more) as today's pop "stars".

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2011 - My Year in Rock

What an interesting year it has been for me in the wild world of music which I try to find my way through.  Music is a subjective medium and despite any stereotype of what a "music fan" should look like is about as accurate as assuming all blonde men make great lawyers.  It was a year marked with live music, recorded music, this blog (and all of the social media I use) and venues I really never knew existed.  It sounds like a fun year, but was it really all that fun?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bret Michaels Band - Prairie Capitol Convention Center

Springfield, Illinois is know for many, many things (its the capitol, politics, Abe Lincoln, prison bound former governors, etc.) and while these are all true, there is oh so much more to the city.  Sure its been the home to Abe Lincoln and his tomb, sure its the place where politicians have destroyed the entire state with mis-managment but clearly its known as the real hub of music in the entire Midwest isn't it?  What do Springfield and Bret Michaels have to do with one another, and am I really serious about it being the "real hub of music'?  Stick around and find out...

Prairie Capitol Convention Center

New Years Eve has a mystique about it like few other "holiday" events can claim (Christmas would trump all others I would guess).  The fact that those two days have a global acceptance help reinforce that mystique and often those days involve travel and occasionally those travels take us to exciting and exotic locations.  When I learned of my upcoming travel to a New Years Eve party, the potential for traveling to one of those exciting and exotic places may have presented itself.