Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Classic Rock Radio Movie Review - The Boy

28 June 2016
Uncle G's FUN Movie Reviews
Spotlight: The Boy (2016)
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816



Released in the beginning of this year, The Boy, in which I caught this past weekend on Blu-ray thanks to Netflix, kept me glued to my television screen, from start to finish. One reason being it's lovely star; Lauren Cohan. Followers of the television show, The Walking Dead, will easily recognize the name, for Lauren plays Maggie Greene, a character that was introduced to the program on season two of the drama. In the film, The Boy, she plays Greta, a young woman who leaves the States, and goes to the United Kingdom to be a nanny. While doing so, escaping a relationship with a seriously controlling guy, who when angry, like many other dicks out there, becomes violent. Enough so that Greta had to have a restraining order prohibiting him from approaching or contacting her. Not that it stops him, but I'm getting ahead of myself. A lot of disturbing, and spooky shit happens up to the time we finally get to meet the horse's ass. Once we do, it's obvious why she left the United States (Montana) to escape him. 

'The Boy' is described as a ninety eight minute psychological horror film. Written by Stacey Delay, and directed by William Brent Bell, who was also behind the scary 2012 film on exorcisms; The Devil Inside. A movie I admit I have not seen yet, but after seeing 'The Boy', I looked up what other movies Mr. Bell directed, and finding that, added it to my Netflix queue. Am looking forward to seeing it. Back to 'The Boy' , besides Lauren Cohan, it also stars Rupert Evans (Hellboy). He plays a likeable sort, who delivers groceries on a weekly basic to the Heelshire estate. The rest of the cast is a rather small group. A fine job by all involved. I especially liked Jim Norton, and Diana Hardcastle who portrays Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire, the elderly, parents of eight year old Brahms, aka 'The Boy'.

Now I mentioned Lauren Cohan's character, being a nanny. And I mentioned the people she works for, the Heelshire's, and their eight year old son, Brahms. But I didn't yet say the story takes place in modern day, while Brahms was killed in a fire, back in 1991. So the eight year old boy, Greta finds out soon enough, is a life size porcelain doll, being treated by the Heelshire's like it was a real human little boy. And before leaving Greta with the doll / boy, she's informed Brahms is not like any normal child. Lucky for Greta, Brahms approves of her. Something he didn't do with the rest of the nannies who applied for the job. Greta is pleasing to the eyes, whereas the others might have not been? Or maybe they just thought it ridiculous to babysit a toy, which in return upset the young lad? And as peculiar as this all is, Greta needs the job / money. So having the approval of the Heelshire's as well, who by the way appear quite wealthy, and pay weekly in cash, they go off on holiday, leaving Greta with Brahms, and the rather large home to themselves. The first getaway in ages for the older couple.


                                             Photo: Lauren Cohan as Greta

As what any normal person might do in this situation, for as soon as the parents of 'The Boy' are gone, Greta immediately concludes the doll as creepy, and covers it up with a blanket, proceeding to do more housesitting, than babysitting. Her routine a normal one, ignoring not only Brahms, but also the daily rules regarding caring for the pretend eight year old boy. Something Brahms don't like, and slowly but surely makes her aware of it.

                                                  Brahms aka 'The Boy'

Rated PG-13, 'The Boy' does all it can to focus on it's star Lauren Cohan in various stages of undress, without having her downright showing any naughty bits. The same formula with countless of horror movies before this one. We see Lauren in her panties briefly. We see Lauren in the shower. We see Lauren wearing only a towel. We see Lauren wearing a nightie that from the top half, leaves little to the imagination. And for those with foot fetishes, we see Lauren, or a stand in, for several seconds walking barefoot across the floor. No complaints from me. Not that I'm into feet. A movie's purpose, at least in this sense, is to entertain. Where some actresses are just eye candy, Lauren Cohan is not only a pretty lady, but she's a skilled, talented actress as well. Her character Greta over time starts to believe the doll, is real. And that's when things start to get really interesting.

Uncle G Rates … The Boy (2016)

Using the same one to ten star rating system that the IMDb website uses, whereas one star means it sucks, to ten stars in which means it's a cinematic masterpiece, I give the feature film 'The Boy', a solid … 8 stars! Watching it, I did kind of feel like I been there, and done that before. Whereas I'm older and seen a shitload of horror movies in my life, someone younger might think differently. The movie itself was a success financially, and served as a nice vehicle to show that Lauren Cohan could be a box office draw. Is just as good in my opinion as actress Jennifer Lawrence, and as I already implied, way more pleasing to the eyes. But then, I always preferred brunettes over blondes.

Official Website

http://theboymovie.tumblr.com

Thursday, 16 June 2016

New Live Music Review_The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
16 June 2016
Classic Rock Radio NEW Live Music Release Review
Spotlight: The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again (2016)
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter @GBrown16



The house lights fade. Full focus is now on the stage. Instrumental music (Alive Again Intro) plays. The sold out crowd at Concert Hall Boerjerij, in the Netherlands, springs to it's feet. Loud cheers and applause follow. For they know what's next. For in their immediate future, one of the most talented / tightest progressive rock bands in today's current music scene, will entertain and dazzle them for the evening. And that they do. Ladies and Gentleman, may I introduce; The Neal Morse Band. In concert, promoting their newest studio creation; The Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment (2015). 

The Neal Morse Band hails from the United States. It's namesake, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter whose attention level rose with a progressive rock band he was co-founder in called; Spock's Beard. I became aware of them after their second studio release called, Spock's Beard - Beware Of Darkness (1997). One of those albums you play once, and then give repeat plays for the next two weeks. Maybe it was longer? Their debut album called, The Light, is the same way. A prog-rock masterpiece! I got to see the band perform at ProgFest '97 in Los Angeles, California. Totally mind blowing! Long live the bearded ones!  

On drums for The Neal Morse Band is former Dream Theater personal; Mike Portnoy. Like Neal Morse, I became aware of Mike and Dream Theater, quite early on. When their second studio album, Images And Words (1992) was brand new as a matter of fact. A friend turned me on to them, one late evening. I have stayed a follower ever since. I honestly can't say I dig their music as much now that Mike isn't a part of the band anymore. No disrespect to his replacement, Mike Mangini. Different direction / vibe nowadays. I dropped a twenty of their latest studio, Dream Theater - The Astonishing (2016). Here's my three word review; "It's total rubbish!" 

Establishing that I know Neal and Mike's previous work, I can say the same isn't with the other musicians who finish making up the Neal Morse Band. Wish it was, for this live recording put each of these musicians on my radar; Randy George (bass, and backing vocals), Eric Gillette (lead guitar, and vocals), and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, and vocals). All three after hearing / witnessing for myself by watching the accompanying DVD, extremely talented multi-instrumentalist. And they can sing. Along with Neal and Mike, some beautiful harmonies. Professional musicians of this caliber, needed if playing alongside Neal Morse, and Mike Portnoy. In my opinion, these two have been at the top of their game since first entering the music business. Someone like myself might not dig everything these guys have participated in. The range here with these two players goes from Death Metal to Christian, and all in between. Both Neal and Mike, both having big catalogs of work to show for themselves. I'll quickly state that this here new two audio disc / one DVD release entitled, The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again, should be a crowning achievement for all involved. A nice new addition to the previous achievements of yesteryear.   

Uncle G Discusses … The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again. 

First off, on disc one, out of eight tracks, I am only familiar with one song. That would be a Spock's Beard tune called; Harm's Way. Brilliantly performed here by the way. The other seven numbers, were brand new to me. Two songs from the group's newest (2015) studio effort; The Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment. The five left, all from Neal's solo catalog. My favorite, a song Neal performs on his own called; There Is Nothing God Can't Change. Shocking in a way I'd pick this, when taking into account all the fine material disc one of Alive Again, has to offer. It's a song Neal performs by himself. He sings, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. A story song, that Neal introduces by saying all stories told, were true. It's an out and out Christian number. The lyrics pass along several difficult situations. A blink from death. The Grim Reaper turning the last corner to it's destination. And then things are OK. People believed. A song filled with strong emotion that I as a person, have always had a hard time dealing with. With yours truly, I'm either happy, or pissed off. And if around me, watch the latter of the two. This song, There Is Nothing God Can't Change, touched my heart. Nice something can. Worth mentioning. 

The second audio disc again includes two helpings of the groups super proggy album, The Grand Experiment. The studio has five tracks, (not including bonus tracks) and this live offering, giving forth four of the five. Enough for me to conclude that I need to add The Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment to my collection. Seeing how it's missing only one song, might as well as the studio, right? Besides, I have been kind of slack in buying Neal's stuff lately. The last CD I got of his, and totally fell into it, came out back in 2005, called; Question / Questionmark. Included Mike Portnoy, and Randy George of this band. Track five of that album (In The Fire) is performed flawlessly here, at the Netherlands, 06 March 2015 concert. Trust me … ? (the name of the album) is another Neal Morse must have! 

I'm not fond of labels, but if I had to describe what I hearing / seeing, I would say the Neal Morse Band, as a whole is a hard rocking / modern day prog-rock band. As talented as any other out there. The lyrics can sometimes push it towards the land of Christianity. While mention of God, there is no real preaching anywhere on the two disc recording. Lyrics can be inspirational. As a real representation of Neal's musical career, The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again, covers Neal's past. From the last studio album which not only did Neal have a hand in writing, but the rest of the band as well. To his involvement in Spock's Beard to his new life journey as a born again Christian. The results, a glorious set list. A collection of sounds and thoughts that don't insult your intelligence. The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again, represents Neal, then and now. 

Musically, there are times on this two disc live recording, where this band totally smokes. When there is no holding back Mike Portnoy. Which to me, is a good thing. Neal certainly rocks at times. Complimenting those two, three players, continually making their contributions known. What's nice here, is that there is plenty of room given to see Randy, Eric, and Bill each shine as not only a solid member of the band, but then on their own. For the band members solos found on Alive Again, are not only for getting up, relieving oneself, and getting another beer. Simply not the case here. Besides one can do all that either before or after the performance. Of course the listener / viewer can hit the pause button. Near blasphemy in my eyes. Each second, of each minute, of each track, deserves full attention. Stopping and starting, as annoying as listening to an old eight track tape. Click Click (insert scream). 

Uncle G RATES … The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again. 

Using the five star rating system, whereas one star means it's should be condemned to Hell, to five stars which can be interpreted as being a personal slice of Heaven right here on Earth, Uncle G rates The Neal Morse Band - Alive Again … 5 stars! I'm more into progressive rock than I am the other forms of music that have been mentioned here. This double CD / DVD is full of prog-rock, at it's finest. Performed by one of the most solid five member prog-rock groups, on this planet. It's been watching (twice) the DVD that really pushed my appreciation level up a notch. If you have not witnessed their performance yourself, the DVD demonstrates all I'm saying, plus more. Filmed beautifully by the way. In closing, when time permits, I'll next dig into the catalogs of each member, for anything I don't know about, or may have missed. And like I said, I'm going to secure the album, that the group was touring behind; The Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment. How could I not? Besides, I imagine it would go with 'Alive Again' PERFECTLY! This one I already have (insert smiley face).

Radiant Records



Wednesday, 15 June 2016

THE UNDERTONES play CHESTER – Live Rooms on Friday 17th June 2016!




2016 is the 40th Anniversary of The Undertones and they are delighted to announce that they will be celebrating this anniversary with national and international live shows and some exciting releases.

The Undertones emerged from Derry in 1976, the result of five friends learning how to play basic rock and roll. Even by the standards of that decade Derry was not the rock and roll capital of anywhere. With no live bands worth watching, they learned by listening to mail order records, reading one of the few copies of NME that made it to Derry but most of all from listening to John Peel’s wonderful show on BBC Radio One. Practicing in their bedrooms eventually led to the band recording  Teenage Kicks E.P.  in 1978 on Terri Hooley's Good Vibrations label in Belfast.

The legendary DJ John Peel received a copy and like it so much he played it twice in a row on his radio show.
The Undertones signed with Sire Records and ‘Teenage Kicks’ was released followed by  further punk pop gems such as `Here Comes The Summer`, Jimmy Jimmy`, `My Perfect Cousin`, `You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)’ and four LPs.

Tickets for the CHESTER – Live Rooms show are available from the following:

Friday 17th June 2016
THE UNDERTONES
CHESTER – Live Rooms
Box Office No: 0871 220 0260
Website - https://www.theliverooms.com/event/the-undertones/
Doors: 7.00pm
Tickets - £20.00 (advance)




For more information on THE UNDERTONES, check out the following website / social media links:
Website - http://www.theundertones.com/_/Home.html
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheUndertones
The Undertones BBC 4 Documentary - You Tube Link -   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxTOMcPax6k

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Classic Rock Radio NEW Music Review_Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
12 June 2016
ClassicRockRadio.co.uk NEW Music Review
Spotlight: Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous (2016)
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter
@GBrown0816



So there I am one evening doing much of nothing, scrolling my Facebook wall, when I see mention of a new progressive rock band out of New Jersey called; Cabinets of Curiosity. A seven piece band consisting of five males, and two females. All appearing to be in age around the twenty something range. All members having a healthy appreciation for progressive rock bands of the past; King Crimson, Jethro Tull, and Yes, just naming a few. Giants of prog rock's past. Yet Cabinets of Curiosity make it clear that they are very much a modern day unit, with a very in your face, twenty first century sound. 

So I find the band's official Facebook page, and see pretty much right away, that the guitarist / songwriter, James Naprawa, is seriously into Yes' guitar player Steve Howe. My inner voice yells out; "I am too!" So of course, I keep scrolling. Other posts I find very favorable as well. I tell myself "okay", and proceed to secure their brand new debut EP CD, in which is called; Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous. 

Cabinets of Curiosity - Band Members

James Naprawa (guitar) / Jared Hirst (bass) / Matt Montagano (drums) / Joe Oliver (keyboards) / Anthony Warga (saxophone) / Kristina Bacich (flute) / Natalie Hornyak (vocals).


The debut Cabinets of Curiosity EP entitled Eponymous was released in the Spring of 2016. Recorded in a very scenic New Jersey town called, Bordentown. The EP has a running time of about twenty six or so minutes long, in which includes a hidden track that is close to four minutes. More about that later.

The Cabinets of Curiosity EP 'Eponymous' starts off with a song called, Dr. Quantum. A tight rocker with a Jethro Tull kind of vibe to it. And not only because it has a flute in it. For Kristina does not try copying the playing style of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson, but instead plays her own style, which naturally fits everything else I'm hearing just fine. Add some badass saxophone playing. Along with keys, guitar, bass and drum, the group is so tight, they could stop on a dime if needed to. James Brown had a band like that, as did Frank Zappa (Mothers of Invention). Plus Natalie's vocal literally jumps right out at you. Smacks you right upside the head. All this combines for a very powerful introduction track (Dr. Quantum), that when primed, equates to a musical wall of sound that can move buildings.

More follows on the second track; Nowhere Near The Blade. An almost seven minute song that builds as it goes. Very proggy! Could be my favorite song on here? Well written, and is presented musically in a way that holds my attention. Got some earworm material here. Nat's in a trance with her vocals and at one point reminds one of someone possessed.

Not one musician in Cabinets of Curiosity does any slacking throughout. Jared Hirst on bass and Matt Montagano on drums seem a perfect pair. And could you even have a prog rock band without a gifted keyboard player? That answer would be, the opposite of yes. I hear good things, and expect more in the future of Cabinets of Curiosity keyboardist, Joe Oliver. Add the electric guitar playing of James Naprawa, and at all the right times.

The third track is called, The Abducted. The song itself is a mellow number, then the two tracks before this one. Anthony saxophone helps kind of push it over the edge.

The last song on the Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous EP is called, Nobody's Angel. By this time, after hearing the first three songs, one is getting accustomed to the band's music, and their vocalist. Makes for a cool closing number.

Hidden Track: A little studio fun! Kind of strange. Natalie seems to be having a good time. Has a certain Beatles quirkiness to it. Absolutely trippy!

Uncle G Rates … Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous

Using the one to five star rating system, whereas one star means it's not worth paying attention to, to five stars which means it's solid enough to buy, Uncle G rates the debut EP, Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous … 5 stars! All day long! I love the seven piece band format. A regular five piece prog-rock band with a full time flutist, and saxophone player. Presents lots of possibilities. A bright future for this group should be in store. Long live prog-rock, and those who keep the vibe alive! 

Web Links





                   Cabinets of Curiosity - Eponymous (promo video)


Sunday, 5 June 2016

New Live Music from Classic Rockers_Billy Sherwood-Tony Kaye_Live In Japan

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK) 05 June 2016
C.R.R. Presents:New Live Music from Classic Rockers 
Spotlight: Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan 
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown 
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk 
Twitter @GBrown0816


Released this past April, Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan, is a two CD plus DVD deluxe edition recorded five years ago while on tour, that completely caught me by surprise. Eighteen tracks that does any excellent job featuring songs from both of their careers. 

Tony Kaye is best known for being a co-founding member in the progressive rock band; Yes. Every day on classic rock stations all over the world, one can hear Tony's keyboard work on such outstanding Yes songs as; I Seen All Good People, Time And A Word, Yours In No Disgrace, Starship Trooper, It Can Happen, Love Will Find A Way, Hold On, and the number one YesSmash, Owner of a Lonely Heart. Just to name a few. From there Tony was in the British rock band, Badger. I play their live album, One Live Badger (1973), even since purchasing back in the 1990's as an import (compact disc). Add to that, Mr. Kaye's is also a co-founding member with the modern prog-rock recording group, Circa:, a group where we also find the second half of this performing duo that I'm currently writing about, Billy Sherwood. Released their debut release back in 2007. A new studio release is on the horizon by the way. Described by Billy as; "Super-proggy." Be sure to look for that. 

I first got to know Billy Sherwood back when he was playing with Yes, the first time around. A protege of the late and great Yes player, Chris Squire (1948-2015). Billy's work with Yes could be found as a player, or behind the scenes (studio), on several Yes projects. The guy really is amazing. A multi-instrumentalist, and singer. Others bands he was in include Lodgic, World Trade, Yoso, and the already mentioned Circa: which has a history of very cool drummers; Alan White (drummer:John Lennon_Yes), and Jay Schellen (drummer:Asia_GPS). Currently behind the Circa: drum kit, is Scott Connor, who played on what could be called William Shatner's best music CD; Ponder The Mystery (2013). 

Uncle G Discusses … Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan 

Talk about deep cuts. Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan is full of them. As a YesRelated collector, I am literally blown away by these in concert performances. A simply MUST HAVE for everyone like myself, who not only collects YesMusic, but also anything else a Yes member, past or present participates in. Something I been doing for several decades now. Not that I have everything, because that would be super hard to do, and frankly would cost a fortune. Example, pertaining just to Billy Sherwood, that would mean having all his solo records, guest spots on other albums, plus, and this is a BIG one, everything he produced or did studio work on over the years. Including all those tribute albums he participated on, in which I lost count there is so many. My all time favorite, and it's really a Paul Rodgers solo record; Muddy Water Blues - A Tribute To Muddy Waters (1993). 

Japan in the year 2011, was trying to recover one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded, as well as a tsunami, which devastated parts of the country. Over fifteen thousand people died. Over six thousand injured, and more than twenty five hundred missing, according to 2014 statistics. In it's wake, armed with pre-recorded drums and bass tracks that Billy Sherwood recorded himself, both Mr. Sherwood and Tony Kaye toured Japan, entertaining all those who were lucky enough to be able to attend. The show itself, close to two hours. Songs included tracks from Yes, Circa:, and a healthy dose of titles from work Billy did with Chris Squire, and his own solo material. Part of the show also is a wonderful as always, Tony Kaye keyboard solo. I'll elaborate on that more before I'm finished.

Highlights 

Any material originating from the two records (Chris Squire_Billy Sherwood - Conspiracy + Conspiracy - Unknown) Billy did with Chris Squire, are just special to me. The double CD Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan release, includes several songs from Billy and Chris' time together. This here alone is worth the price of admission. Not only due to the performance, which are pretty true to the original recordings, but also because they are songs that unless already a fan and playing the CD's on a regular basis, that you just don't hear everyday. One song would be a bonus track on the first release they did (Chris Squire_Billy Sherwood - Conspiracy) called, Say Goodbye. A tune that actually originates from A band Billy is in; World Trade. The track appears on their 1995 album; World Trade - Euphoria. There are other Chris Squire - Billy Sherwood / Conspiracy numbers also included; Confess, I Could, and Red Light Ahead. 

Did you know Billy helped write a Toto song? He sure did. It could be found on Toto's eighth album; Kingdom Of Desire (1992). This was the last album Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro participated in, before his untimely death at age thirty eight. So sad to have died that young. The tune entitled, The Other Side, could be found on the second disc of this two CD / DVD deluxe edition. 

Billy Sherwood's solo material I always find very well done. Intricate in nature. Musically, I'm always impressed, due to Billy himself at most times playing every instrument heard. He's as talented a drummer, as he is a guitar or bass player. I'm trying to learn keyboards myself, and getting nowhere fast. A lot of dedication involved. Billy's devoted his life to music, and one can tell. Besides the musicianship, Billy's singing stands out as does the lyrics, in which a lot of times, Billy tackles heavy / serious subject matter. From the Japan live shows with Tony, we get two solo Billy Sherwood tracks, both from the same 2003 release; Billy Sherwood - No Comment. The two songs make for a solid representation of what Billy is capable of doing when away from a group setting. 

Speaking of, I save the two biggest bands Billy is in, for last. Both also having co-founding member Tony Kaye in them. 

Circa: On the first disc of this two audio disc / one DVD collection are a couple Circa: numbers; Together We Are / Cut The Ties. Both tracks from Circa: debut 2007 release. 

Yes: Eight songs from Yes' vast catalog. Some instantly recognizable, and a few of them, songs that Yes themselves rarely do themselves live anymore, if at all. One that really stands out is a track off the band's 1993 album Talk; I Am Waiting. Performed by Sherwood & Kaye as an instrumental. 

Another track that makes this release a must have for the YesHeads out there. I was surprised how much I liked 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', with Billy's vocals. He's no where the alto tenor the main vocalist on that hit, Jon Anderson is. Yet, along with Tony's key's and Billy's instrumentation, the duo does a version that is just as delightful as the original Top 40 composition. 

Two Yes songs that could be labeled deep cuts, can also be heard on this Billy Sherwood & Tony Kate live collaboration. From Yes' 1991 Union album, a track Chris Squire / Billy Sherwood penned together called, The More We Live - Let Go, and from 1997's Yes - Open Your Eyes; No Way We Can Lose. Both presentations are a breath of fresh air, and surprised me when I played this CD, the first time around. As a matter of fact, and probably due to 'Open Your Eyes' not really being a favorite Yes album of mine, I recognized the 'Open Your Eyes' number, but could not identify it, immediately. Had to research, and actually was not really shocked I didn't know it right away, coming from the seventeenth Yes studio album. I favor about half the tracks from that album, along with the cool hidden track that Billy put together. In my opinion, 'Open Your Eyes' would have been a far better release, if the length wasn't so long, eliminating several of the tracks that's I feel appears more as filler, than actual substance. 

Tony Kaye Solo: My first time witnessing a Tony Kaye keyboard solo was back when I saw a YesShow from the band's 90125 tour. Every note / chord played counted. Nothing excessive! Been that way with every solo I heard Tony play after that. The same goes for his portion of the show here. Listen up, and you'll recognize in the almost four minutes that he plays other numbers from Yes' 90125 that Sherwood and Kaye don't perform; Hearts and Changes. 

The DVD: Songs performed are the same as the two CD audio track listing, but also has some cool behind the scenes footage that come from the tour. I wish the visual quality was better. Back in the nineteen seventies there were those who believed rock n' roll concerts were not worth filming. Mainly due to the lighting. Bullshit for the most part. Though unfortunately that might apply here. Add the fact I'm spoiled by an army of high definition camera's filming live events nowadays, and having a budget that could feed a third world nation, in which I'm guessing this production, didn't have. Seeing the DVD as a bonus disc, the audio is very good, and I'm certainly not going to hold the lack of quality in a visual sense, against it when rating. And speaking of which... 

Uncle G Rates … Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan (Deluxe Edition)


Using the five star rating system, whereas one star means one can totally ignore it, to five stars which means one should be asking themselves where they can buy it, Uncle G rates Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan (Deluxe Edition) … 5 stars! Pointing out the obvious, anyone reading this could have guessed what I would rate it, just by reading the first few paragraphs. No surprise really. Still, needed to make it official. I'm real happy adding Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan (Deluxe Edition), to my already fairly large, YesRelated collection. I strongly recommend to new listeners as well. The music these guys have involved themselves with over the years, make Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye some of the best players in the prog-rock scene. Really hard to go wrong with anything these two gentlemen do musically. 

And CONGRATS to Tony Kaye, for we now have an album with your name right on it, and not a group you belong to. Worth noting! 

                    Sales Link - Billy Sherwood & Tony Kaye - Live In Japan  
                               http://shop.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=5339

Note: This review, can also be found via the WordPress website, on the 'Gary "Uncle G' Brown Archives Page: https://garyunclegbrownarchives.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/uncle-g-reviews-billy-sherwood-tony-kaye-live-in-japan/

Monday, 30 May 2016

Uncle G's FUN Movie Reviews_Moonwalkers

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
31 May 2016
Uncle G's FUN Movie Reviews
Spotlight: Moonwalkers (2015)

Age: 16+
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk

Twitter @GBrown0816




If I'm into the subject matter, and it's a well written story, I tend to enjoy a good period piece film. In a way it's the closest thing we have to a machine that can go back in time, where we can actually see events unfold for ourselves. Researched thoroughly, it's contents can not only be entertaining, but a learning experience as well. Unless if based on a conspiracy theory, then all bets are off. And this is where the film, Moonwalkers, comes in. The premise being that the American Government had a Plan B just in case the 1969 Apollo Eleven mission was not successful landing on the Earth's only natural satellite.

Debuted in 2015, and released to the masses in the beginning of 2016, the indie comedy 'Moonwalkers' which goes back in time to June of 1969, marks the directorial debut of France's Antoine Bardou-Jacquet. Written by English writer Dean Craig. Stars American actor Ron Perlman, Irish actor Robert Sheehan, and from the mega successful Harry Potter motion pictures, British actor Rupert Grint. Together helping create a well made film, that's I'm sure any viewer who sees it, won't forget for a long time. Let me elaborate.

As soon as I put the Blu-ray disc in, and pressed the play button on the remote, Moonwalkers had my attention. Two things. The introduction of Ron Perlman's character Kidman, and the trippy animated opening titles. That's all it took. Check it out. When viewing, the credits look for the caricature of President Nixon. Here's just one of many laugh out loud moments.

The next scene takes place in the States, and is set just ten days before the United States Apollo Eleven mission is scheduled to land on the Moon. Here it's established in a top secret military meeting that Kidman has just returned from doing three years in Vietnam (Special Ops). Before this scene, we have witnessed he's strung out, suffering flashbacks that involve seeing spooky hallucinations, and that he also is racked with high anxiety. Facts he's not openly elaborating on. Yet the government thinks he's the right man for the job. His new assignment is to go to London, England, seek out famous film director Stanley Kubrick, and persuade him with a briefcase full of cash, to secretly make a movie of a successful Apollo 11 moon landing. This would also include, of course, getting out of the lunar module, and walking around on the surface. Footage that could be used just in case the real mission screws up, in which the odds of actually doing so, according to those giving orders to Kidman, are better than the odds of the mission succeeding. As I said, ten days. Sounds simple enough. What could go wrong? In this cinematic farce, the answer to that question, would be; everything. Take my word, it's really fun watching the events unfold from here.

As I already stated, Moonwalkers is a comedy. An adult comedy that is. It contains cursing, consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking, and drug use, but nothing really super hardcore, or anything I didn't do back in the 1970's myself. Except for opium. If around, I suppose I would have done that too. Oh, and I wasn't into huffing. Not my thing. I once, saw a female do that, and then shortly thereafter proceed to piss herself. Speaking for myself, when it comes to urination, I'd rather use the toilet, or go outdoors. Meaning, not in my pants.

Did I say anything about the cocaine use? Well maybe the drug play is kind of hardcore? No one really dies or anything as a result. There is a nose bleed scene, as a result from snorting blow. Keep in mind, this is a period piece on the late nineteen sixties. So whatever is depicted, is a reflection of the time. Some funny scenes involving CIA Agent Kidman and drugs, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Add some heavy comic book violence, and then some nudity sprinkled in here and there for good measure. 
Nothing real graphic. Remember, in this decade not only was there rampant drug experimentation, but there was a sexual revolution going on as well.  

Once in London, we are introduced to a bottom of the barrel rock n' roll manager, named Jonny Thorpe. Portrayed by twenty something year old actor, Rupert Grint. His character is barely getting by. For the last three years he's been managing a rock band who call themselves, The Yellow Blackguards. Things up to this point, have not gone well. Matter of fact, instead of making money, Jonny's borrowing money from a loan shark (Ironmonger) to keep the group afloat.

With things continuing to not work out, this situation goes from being bad, to even worse. Adding insult to injury, the band now holds Jonny accountable for their lack of prosperity, and threatens to fire him. Really more than it is Jonny's fault, critically speaking the blame really lies within themselves, and squarely focuses on the group's lead singer / songwriter, Glen. His live performance borders on the obscene, as do his lyrics and song titles such as 'Grandma's Nipples.' Next comes Glen's demands to be able to record a rock opera. Which is borderline absurd. Motivated by not wanting to be unemployed, and have to sink to complete and utter failure, Jonny refuses to give up. And let's not forget, The Ironmonger. For just hearing the name spoken aloud, frightens people. An undesirable who has a reputation for having hired thugs cut off body parts if not paid back promptly. And Jonny's loan, is now due.

Trying to come up with the cash to pay that back, Jonny goes to a cousin, with whom he thinks he could get some help. After being laughed at and ridiculed, that idea seems a bad one. Until Jonny meets Kidman. He's now in London, seeking out Stanley Kubrick, and by accident runs into Jonny, who quickly comprehends Kidman to be an American idiot, and an easy mark. But when over, what Jonny mistakenly concludes to be a brilliant con, with help from his best mate Leon (Robert Sheehan), whose life revolves around being wasted, turns out to be nothing of the sort. For it seems Leon forgot to mention one thing. That the one they swindled out of a briefcase full of cash, isn't really who he initially said he was. Truth is he's a CIA Agent. Surprise! 

Moonwalkers - Actors Ron Perlman and Rupert Grint
Now I hate when doing these reviews / write ups to give away the whole story. Cutting to the chase, there is no Stanley Kubrick. Story goes he's away from London doing promo for what was then his newest masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film that gave the United States government the idea that an idea like this, could work to start with. But it's OK because once Kidman catches up with Jonny, the at wits end manager states he knows another movie maker, whose name is Renatus (portrayed by Tom Audenaert), that could pull this off. An avant-garde out of this world type director, who surrounds himself with a harem of pretty women, and an assortment of talented / hippie type young people. From here till the movie's conclusion, a continual amusing tale that even the most hardened conspiracy theorist should be able to smile at. 

Uncle G Rates … Moonwalkers (2015)

Using the ten star rating system that the IMDb uses, whereas one star means it's dreadful, to ten stars which means it's the best one could hope for, I rate the Antoine Bardou-Jacquet motion picture Moonwalkers … 10 stars! It sucked me in from the very beginning, and kept me entertained all throughout. Isn't that what a ten star rating should be? Was a solid story, that along with being amusing, was filmed very well, never boring me in the process. Excellent special effects also. Watching it twice, I feel as if I certainly got my money's worth. Which by the way, it was a Netflix rental. Cool bonus features included with the disc. Kept me glued to the TV for hours.




Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Greg Lake Solo Reissues

Classic Rock Radio (Dot CO Dot UK)
23 May 2016
Classic Rock Reissues (2015 Double Disc CD)
Musician: Greg Lake
Disc # 01. Greg Lake - Greg Lake (1981)
Disc # 02. Greg Lake - Manoeuvres (1983)
By: Gary "Uncle G" Brown
American Correspondent for ClassicRockRadio.co.uk
Twitter @GBrown0816




What a pleasant surprise to find out the two albums Greg Lake did in the early 1980's have been reissued. A nice double CD, accompanied with a multi page booklet where Greg gives new insights on both releases. Plus photos! Very informative, and most importantly the CD's themselves sound great. A definite upgrade for me. I had both on cassette.

Uncle G Reflects on … Greg Lake - Greg Lake (1981)

Greg Lake's first solo record starts off with a real rocker called; Nuclear Attack. The intro screams electric guitar. Different from what fans like myself expected of Greg Lake. The song ends up being the biggest hit of the album. Written by Gary Moore (1952 - 2011). A very talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Just one of many wonderful musicians who participate on this unfortunate, over all, lack luster release. A topic that Mr. Lake himself addresses in the booklet that accompanies this reissue. His honesty / self evaluation I find to be refreshing.

The music itself, more in the vein of adult contemporary than what made Greg a household name; progressive rock. His voice instantly recognizable to fans of classic rock / rock music in general due to his participation in not only one, but two very successful prog-rock bands; King Crimson, and the mighty Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. His first record with Chrysalis Records is a mix of songs, that according to Mr. Lake, had no real sense of direction. A reflection of his professional life, being up in the air. For the 1980's was a new decade, and for Greg Lake seeing how ELP had just broken up, that meant new career decisions. Not joining another band where the main focus would not be on him, and instead recording under his own name, was one of them. Sales of Greg's self titled album wasn't exactly what the label was expecting. Disappointing, especially when compared to the millions sold under the band names he was a part of. Keep in mind, this was a fresh start.

Highlights

Nuclear Attack / Love You Too Much (in part written by Bob Dylan) / It Hurts / Let Me Love You Once / For Those Who Dare.

Not an out and out bad song anywhere. Just some might be better than others. People's taste varies. What tracks I give repeat plays too, someone else might not be that fond of. The one thing we Greg Lake fans all have in common is enjoying Greg's work in general as a musician. The man could create a song and have lyrics focus around doing a Google search on reptiles, and I'm sure it would be better than a lot of what could be found on today's record charts. Is my generations Tony Bennett or Andy Williams. Blessed with a singing voice that may have changed some as he aged, but has always remained strong and captivating. Also a very talented bass, and guitar player who knows his way around a recording studio. A professional career that started in 1969, that generated a song catalog any professional musician would be envious of.

Greg Lake - Greg Lake Reissue Bonus Tracks

01.) You Really Got A Hold On Me (Smokey Robinson song)
02.) You're Good With Your Love (recorded with members of Toto)
03.) Cold Side of a Woman (recorded with members of Toto)

Uncle G Reflects on … Greg Lake - Manoeuvres (1983)

This was Greg Lake's second solo record. I conclude it's a more cohesive effort, in which Greg is playing with one set of musicians throughout the album. His touring band in which he gotten use to working with. If I had to pick a favorite between his self titled first solo, and this one, I'd pick the latter. A mix of rockers, and power ballads. A solid listen from start to finish.

The Greg Lake Band

Greg Lake - Guitar, Vocals
Gary Moore - Guitar
Tristian Margetts - Bass
Tommy Eyre - Keyboards
Ted McKenna - Drums

Highlights

A Woman Like You / Famous Last Words / Haunted / It's You, You Gotta Believe.

Greg Lake - Manoeuvres Reissue Bonus Track

01.) Hold On (original tune by Greg Lake)

Greg Lake - Manoeuvres Song Writing Credits

Mister Lake has his name on eight songwriting credits on this album. Bonus track makes nine. Either as the sole writer, or in part.

Uncle G Rates … Greg Lake - Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (2 disc reissue CD)

Using the one to five star rating system in which one star means one can skip over, to five stars which means every Greg Lake fan should have this in their collection, I rate Greg Lake - Greg Lake / Manoeuvres (2 disc reissue CD)… 5 stars! I am so glad I have this now. Have played both disc numerous times since acquiring. A wonderful addition to the many titles I have already with Greg Lake's involvement.

For additional information, please visit Greg Lake's official Website:

www.greglake.com