Live Concerts

The Iron Horse Tribute to Lou Reed, Jan 9, 2014

The Iron Horse Tribute to Lou Reed, Jan 9, 2014.

"Oh ye of little faith ..." (Lou Reed, "Busload of Faith," New York).

How do we say good-bye to a person who influenced the world for generations in music, writing, performing, poetry, art and consciousness? 

We don't.

We don't say good-bye. (I've decided).

In getting ready to attend the Lou Reed tribute at the Iron Horse Music Hall, I was torn about going, because it would make Reed's passing all the more real. Yet, I did not want to miss the opportunity to be in the same room with fellow fans and bands who also love Lou Reed. The last time I saw Reed was 2008 at the Calvin Theatre . It was a satisfying performance, validating who Reed is, yet filled with surprises, humor, depth and poetics, that let us get to know him even better. The gathering of artists tonight, in their elegant presentation of Velvet Underground songs and Lou Reed classics, accomplished a similar feeling. A tribute to hold these songs and memories for the rest of our times here, allowed Lou Reed's influence to continue to be celebrated.

Read more: The Iron Horse Tribute to Lou Reed, Jan 9, 2014

Boston Tea with Robert Plant, JuJu and Messing with The Blues

Do you JuJu?

Full circles often happen in the natural evolution of living things, but the exact space and time that it takes to complete this curve cannot always be known. The given distance from the locus of a point, must be constant in order to support the return of its boundary. The seeker. Robert Plant, is true to the art of not only music, but discovery. Music fans should not be surprised that Plant's latest tour with the Sensational Space Shifters incorporated world music influences. Plant created an atmosphere of warmth, exploration and adventure

~ And he did this through ritual.

Read more: Boston Tea with Robert Plant, JuJu and Messing with The Blues

KISS with Shinedown at Harbour Station, Saint John, NB, Canada.

w/ Shinedown

Harbour Station
Saint John, NB CANADA
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Explosions, special effects, piercing screams and black giants towering over a crazed mob: it's either a summer blockbuster movie or the latest KISS tour is in town.

Celebrating 40 years, and touring for their 20th studio album, "Monster" – which debuted at #3 on the Billboard "Top 200" last fall – KISS will make 19 coast-to-coast stops in Canada, from the shores of Victoria to St. John's, Newfoundland.

They'll play some of Canada's largest cities and biggest venues (like the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto) and some smaller Canadian cities like Lethbridge, Alberta and – closer to my home base – Saint John, New Brunswick.


The KISS monster has been relatively unseen in these parts, like a Sasquatch stomping through the trees that you're never close enough to get a full view of, before it vanishes.

The first time KISS toured New Brunswick they shocked Moncton in 1977 on the "Love Gun" tour. A planned return to Moncton during 1990's "Hot in The Shade" tour was cancelled after Paul Stanley cracked his ribs onstage in Pennsylvania.

It would be another 35+ years before New Brunswick had another confirmed KISS sighting.

Jacksonville, Florida band Shinedown opened Wednesday night's show, and I found them a curious selection as I rather expected a Canadian band like Hamilton's recent Juno Award-Winning group Monster Truck to be on the bill. In an amazing coincidence, we met my barber at the show by accident (among the thousands of other people) who had cut my hair just hours earlier and had mentioned going to the show just to see her favorite band, Shinedown.

Arriving late into Shinedown's set, we made our way to the left side of the floor just as a huge, black KISS curtain was being raised. Not 15 minutes later, in total blackness, the curtain dropped and the show got underway (an extremely quick and appreciated turnaround from opener to headliner).

Flaunting their first truly original set piece design since 1992's "Revenge" tour – that featured a giant replica Statue of Liberty (which crumbled throughout the show to reveal a glaring skull; how metal!) – the latest KISS show has been reimagined as a gigantic spider-shaped set piece with metallic legs that raised and lowered around founding members Gene and Paul and (now) long-time, dependable hires Eric and Tommy.

The spider monstrosity always managed to miss cleaving their heads at just the right time and provided platforms for our heroes to float out over the ecstatic audience. Close to the very end of the show, with a blizzard of white confetti falling all around us, seeing KISS up close in this fashion was my favorite part of the show.KISS3web

Tonight was the first time I've been really impressed with the KISS stage since the early '90s, which has typically been a high-tech recreation of the '70s/"Love Gun"- era designs that didn't offer much in the way of creativity when compared to other acts like Iron Maiden, who bring out new and stunning stage themes for every tour. The modern KISS stage is filled along the back with gigantic screens, and they are impressive, but I miss the old days when a gigantic KISS logo, made from lights, once dominated the back of their stage.

The last time I saw KISS was on the "Psycho Circus" tour in Portland, Maine – 15 years ago – and coincidentally when the curtain dropped they opened with the same eponymous track, "Psycho Circus" (a top ten hit in Canada in 1998).

Needless to say it was quite a different crowd for Saint John in 2013 than back in Portland in 1998, filled with kids of every age, not unlike KISS' heydays in the late '70s when the shock rockers remarkably became a family attraction. And this night you didn't have to look far to see someone dressed up in costume, whereas dressing up like KISS was still somewhat passé in the stripped-down, angry '90s.

We sat five rows back from stage left (Gene's side of the stage) and right in front of us were a dressed-to-kill duo of Mr. Stanley and Mr. Criss (wearing one of the most convincing "Destroyer"-era Catman costumes I have ever seen) who graciously posed for photos with fans throughout the night.

Since KISS' original lineup reunion in the late '90s, and subsequent "Farewell" tour, their setlists have been generally filled with greatest hits, but this setlist was quite heavy upfront, cramming in some of their heaviest songs like "I Love It Loud", "War Machine" (both from 1982's "Creatures Of The Night", a very underappreciated album), "Heaven's On Fire" and the first single from "Monster": the fiery rocker "Hell or Hallelujah".

Greatest hits (that were never really hits) like "Deuce", "Cold Gin", and "Firehouse" – which are in KISS' top 10 most played live songs (as seen here: ) – were skipped, in favour of these heavier songs, including 2 songs from "Monster" and 1 song from their previous album, "Sonic Boom", the first album recorded by this version of the band that also debuted at #2 (KISS' highest ever album chart).

The plunky opening of "Black Diamond" was the only real ballady moment of the entire evening. I would have taken a "Forever" in place of some of the heavier songs, but this show was not about to be slowed down.

Signature songs and stage antics were in the middle of the set, starting with Tommy Thayer's rendition of Ace Frehley's signature song, "Shock Me" (only the first half of the song) that ended with his own Ace-a-like, recent tune, "Outta This World". A drum and guitar solo followed as Tommy teased the crowd with the opening notes of "Oh Canada", and he also played what sounded like some Led Zeppelin riffs.


Gene belched fire and spit blood, and absolutely no one was shocked (maybe some were grossed out), but his ascension into the belly of the monster right before his signature song, "God Of Thunder", was still thrilling. It was a speedy ascent, near perfectly timed to bring him through a rectangular opening in the spider's belly, and for a moment – when it looked like he was off course – my body froze.

Never one to be out staged, Paul Stanley flew out across the crowd during the opening of "Love Gun" and I can only imagine those in the cheap seats got quite an eyeful during his extreme close-up performance. Paul stayed at the back, in the spinning light of a purple disco ball, for "Black Diamond", this time with drummer Eric Singer on vocals. "Black Diamond" is usually sung by whatever drummer is in KISS at the time: first Peter Criss in the '70s, Eric Carr in the '80s, and now Eric Singer in the '90s and beyond.

This leads me to my negatives about the show which, as a super fan of KISS, are hard to admit.

Paul Stanley is losing his vocal range and while I would guess most of the crowd hardly noticed, certainly I noticed his struggle to scream the opening to "Heaven's On Fire", l and noticed the make-believe Paul and Peter gesture downward to eachother during "I Was Made For Loving You" (indicating how the song was down tuned to accommodate Paul's voice). Tommy and Eric filled in for Paul by singing a lot of the second half of "I Was Made For Loving You".

Still, Paul's voice issues are not nearly as apparent as David Coverdale's (from Whitesnake) who is also known for his high range, but who – like Paul Stanley – commands a stage with more than just his well-worn pipes. Now in their sixties, both Paul and Gene still move around on stage in much the same way they always did. I've never seen anyone happily throw as many picks into an audience as Paul Stanley can in one song, having maybe 30 picks strewn around his guitar body that I watched him fling for 40 or 50 feet into the crowd.

There was (and always is) lots of fan interaction from Paul, this evening during "Say Yeah" (the last song on "Sonic Boom") and "Calling Dr. Love".

I found the overall KISS sound at Harbour Station to be average and slightly harsh on the ears, and wondered if the strange setup of metallic spider legs did anything to affect the sound. I've been up close and personal for Alice Cooper and The Australian Pink Floyd at the same venue, which I felt had a better sound. The busier, newer songs weren't as discernible as the crunchy, simple riffs of something like "Calling Dr. Love". The nuances in "Say Yeah" and "Hell Or Hallelujah" kind of got lost in the noise.

The show's finale had no actual "encore" break. "Rock and Roll All Nite" closed the show, as it always should, and filing out on Harbour Stations' confetti-covered floors – with "God Gave Rock And Roll To You II" playing over the speakers – I was thinking about something simple yet effective that Paul had said earlier on.

Paul begged the question "You don't want us to go yet, do ya?". He later told the audience: "I count to three and everyone say my name as loud as you can!" to a thunderous reply that maybe he wasn't expecting when he exclaimed "Man oh man, where do we take it from there? Well hell, if you can do it like that the first time, just imagine the second time..."

Earlier he told a story about Detroit Rock City and how the essence of that song could be any rock-loving city, like, Saint John for instance. A good frontman knows how to make every venue feel special and Paul (and likewise his bandmates) excels at that.  


Psycho Circus

Shout It Out Loud

Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll

I Love It Loud

Hell or Hallelujah

War Machine

(Gene breathes fire)

Heaven's on Fire

Calling Dr. Love

Say Yeah

Shock Me / Outta This World

Guitar and Drum Solos

(Tommy Thayer / Eric Singer)

Bass Solo

(Gene spits blood and flies into the belly of the monster)

God of Thunder

Lick It Up

(Included the instrumental bridge from The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again")

Love Gun

(Paul flies over crowd to back of the venue)

Black Diamond

Detroit Rock City

I Was Made for Lovin' You

Rock and Roll All Nite

"God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II" played on speakers as we filed out

Boston Strong.

On April 15th, 2013, a beautiful sunny day finally broke the long winter of New England. The Boston Marathon was underway. With courage, persistence and lightning speed from all runners, fans and family watched in excitement along the crowded streets to cheer on inspired athletes from all over the world. Part of the event this year was dedicated to the children, teachers and staff, who perished in the Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT school shooting. Families from Connecticut traveled to Boston, to show their strength during grief, and honor their loved ones with every mile. Other runners were there for the challenge of a life long dream to complete this historic race, some of them making the trip of a lifetime. Community, support, family fun and inspiration, are forever ingrained in any marathon. People come together for a purpose. On April 15th, 2013, the people of Boston were strong for their marathon. And, in the blink of an eye, as the runners were completing the race, the sun did not fade, but bombs broke out near the finish line.

"They think they can keep us down? They can ... dream on..." Steven Tyler, Boston Strong.

Read more: Boston Strong.

BETH HART live at the City Winery, NYC


From the City Winery, 155 Varick Street, New York, NY

May 17, 2013

"Hey, little white girl do you believe in the Lord?"

~ excerpt from story as told by Beth Hart in the song
opener to, "Spirit of God."

Review by S. A. Hussey

Photography by Janet McDonald


From Her Biography:

"Beth Hart's story is one of incredible opportunity, heartbreaking loss, and now, with her recent show-stopping Kennedy Center Honors performance with Jeff Beck that honored blues great Buddy Guy, and the April 2, 2013 North American release of Bang Bang Boom Boom (Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group), redemption."

Live Show Review:

Beth Hart played to a sold-out show at the City Winery in New York City. Whether she's behind the keyboard or holding a mic, the beautiful and talented Ms. Hart sings impressively and with immense passion ~ it's as if there is no one but you and her in the room. Beth delivers note after amazing, gut-wrenching note, pouring her heart and soul right into your hand with each and every song.

Read more: BETH HART live at the City Winery, NYC

Kevin Bowe and The Okemah Prophets LIVE!

March 25, 2013

Club Passim, Cambridge, MA.

Kevin Bowe is a busy man - always has been. Driven by independence and creativity, he blazes his own paths, and there are many. With a full career of songwriting for great artists including; Jonny Lang, Etta James, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Tommy Castro, John Mayall, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, his experience in both recorded and live music stands alone. He is also loyal to the
contemporary folk collective, collaborating with Alison Scott, Lissie Wright and Freedy Johnston.

Bowe's history includes backing Replacements front man and solo artist, Paul Westerberg. He was recently invited to join Westerberg and Tommy Stinson to cut a tribute LP for Replacements' guitarist, Slim Dunlap. Once the vinyl was cut, instead of riding the 'will The Replacements reunite?' wave, Bowe packed up his guitars, harmonica, and headed out on a national tour with Okemah Prophets, Peter Anderson and Steve Price.

We reviewed The Prophets 2012 release, Natchez Trace. The album has already entered our lyrical memories and become a reference point to compare other works. It reflects extensive experience with multiple styles of music. Rock, folk, blues, and punk, all blend together in timing and proficiency. Kevin Bowe and The Okemah Prophets are individually talented in their own right, but after six years of playing together, when they team up on stage, something entirely new is created. So when their nationwide tour came through New England to Club Passim, in Cambridge, MA, they were not to be missed.

Read more: Kevin Bowe and The Okemah Prophets LIVE!

Dawes with Bob Dylan at The Mullins Center, April 6th, 2013


April 6th, 2013

Amherst, Massachusetts.

Stories Don't End.

And that's a good thing.

Los Angeles rock band, Dawes, had the honor of opening for the legendary, Bob Dylan. Dawes introduced themselves expecting that the audience didn't know their music. This surprised me, because the last time I saw Dawes, they ruled the Fort Stage at the 2012 Newport Folk Fest. Thousands of fans were gathered to see this exciting set of vibrant artists, step right in to the shoes and eventually share the spotlight, with Jackson Browne, Jim James, Tom Morello, and Sarah Watkins. We knew who they were, and I suspect many in the audience tonight did too.

Read more: Dawes with Bob Dylan at The Mullins Center, April 6th, 2013

Mike Gent of The Figgs at Club Passim, Cambridge, MA 2013

Mike Gent at Club Passim, March 25, 2013.

In support of Kevin Bowe and The Okemah Prophets - Read that review here.

What do The Figgs, Graham Parker and (the) Candy Butchers have in common? Mike Gent. A fabulous guitarist, who hates technical errors, because "reverb makes him nervous." Everything he played at Club Passim was clear as a bell. Vocally, Gent is focused, with a sound as warm and dreamy as Joe Jackson, and a timeless rebel spirit, as funky as Elvis Costello. His recorded guitar work can wail like a metal shredder, but there is a lot of acoustic finger picking too. This live show was one surprise after another. A surprise to Gent as well, was his set list. Changing it mid-stream, self effacing when the lyrics trailed off, he created an atmosphere that included everyone in the room. He delighted Club Passim on a Monday night with original songs, covers and all out requests.

Read more: Mike Gent of The Figgs at Club Passim, Cambridge, MA 2013

The Wallflowers with Trapper Schoepp and The Shades

"Love is a country that won't be overcome ..."


Northampton, Massachusetts area rock fans are patient and serious about their music. Just ask Jakob Dylan. "We've waited a long time to be here," he said, as he addressed the full house Calvin Theatre on Dec. 28, 2012. The Wallflowers concert was rescheduled from a November date. Touring with their new album, Glad All Over, The Wallflowers have had a non-stop run of great shows throughout the country, since their return to the music scene. Several songs on the set lists for these performances have been from this new record. Glad All Overhas some soon to be classic tunes on it, and fans are quickly being hooked. The band also mixed favorites into their live set list (Three Marlenas, 6th Avenue Heartache, One Headlight, The Difference), along with some hidden gems that were in a word - 'stunning.'


Read more: The Wallflowers with Trapper Schoepp and The Shades

Jason Anderson and The Best, Nov 16, 2012 at the Iron Horse

Jason Anderson and The Best, at the Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA.
November 16, 2012jason5web

Live show review and photos by Bluebird.

With many thanks to GTO for the lifetime of music.

Are you hearing soul riffs of James Brown, soliloquies of Van Morrison, sax, stories and energy of Bruce Springsteen? What about slow core, contemporary indie styles, like Nick Drake? Ray Lamontagne? Are you having connected Leonard Cohen experiences of life, in poetry? Within the same song? Well, then, sweet listener, you must be at a Jason Anderson show.

Did you rise from your seat, join the community of music dwellers and engage in moments you will never forget? Life changing moments that created the space for your thoughts to be freely validated, while your soul was fed by joyful sound? Well, then, wise person, you must have gone to a Jason Anderson show - and stayed ... until the end.

Read more: Jason Anderson and The Best, Nov 16, 2012 at the Iron Horse

Peter Gabriel: SO, Back to Front Tour











The TD Garden arena in Boston hummed. It was quiet, as the fans filed into the stadium to wait for Peter Gabriel to commence the performance. Mumbled voices and music fans of all ages were present. There was a positive tension, an anticipation, as if we were waiting for the unveiling of an art piece. We were.

Read more: Peter Gabriel: SO, Back to Front Tour


Out On The Tiles

Spin Doctors Celebrate 20 Years of Kryptonite at Pearl Street, and Promise a New Blues Record

May 18, 2012

Review and Photography by Bluebird.thumb spincloseweb

The (Original) Spin Doctors revisit Pearl Street and Promise A New Blues Record.

With opening support by Doug Ratner and The Watchmen.




Follow Bluebirdreviews for daily song posts, music reviews,

feature articles and interviews. 

LIKE US on Facebook

Find us on Google+

~ Follow the birdie on TWITTER ~

Remember to support your favorite artists through buying their products.

A good place to start is searching and


Maine Music News

Dont let the name fool you! Maine Music News provides live concert reviews and photography for shows throughout all of New England. Our photographers cover shows in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and anywhere else we can! Our writers provide detailed album reviews and expertly written interviews as well. We may be called Maine Music News, but we dont let the Maine border stop us!