The SCENES and the MEMORIES
My first KBCZ blog was about a sampling of what I enjoyed, during a week of listening to KBCZ. This blog will be dedicated to my experiences of going to 4 concerts in 8 nights. You, the music lover, like myself, understand the enjoyment of seeing music performed live and this week was no different. So, let’s begin with the first show.
The SCENE: Kuumbwa Jazz Center, in Santa Cruz, Ca. on Thursday March 21st, 2019. As you may know KBCZ has been giving away free tickets to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center and during the week that started on March 18, 2019, the tickets were for Ashwin Batish – Sitar Power. It turns out one of our regular listeners decided to go to this performance, in order to fulfill a homework assignment from one of his Cabrillo music courses, and invited me to come along. We are not familiar with Sitar based music, nor are we jazz aficionados, yet we thoroughly enjoyed the event. The group consisted of a saxophonist, a pianist, a percussionist, a bassist, and Ashwin Batish on Sitar. The music while using the Sitar as the main instrument, (How does that thing work? So many tuners, so many tall frets?), was able to blend Indian themes and Jazz into a fantastic experience. The percussionist, while sitting and playing drums by hand, in his lap, was nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, all of the musicians were able to showcase their talents, as is the case in any jazz ensemble. So, my point to all of this is that KBCZ is now a source for free tickets that should not be ignored. Whether or not jazz is your preferred musical taste, I suggest you take advantage of any ticket giveaways in the future, because you might discover something you never knew you liked.
The SCENE: The Masonic, San Francisco, Ca. on Sunday March 24th, 2019. The artist on this night was Dream Theatre. Dream Theatre has been doing their mix of progressive music, with a heavy metal edge, since 1985, and by no means did they sound dated. The Masonic’s auditorium is a U-shaped room, that also features a balcony, that provided an up-close view from all locations. Due to the fact that the band was performing their concept album “Scenes from a Memory” I was extremely excited. (Which leads me to the question, for another blog or group discussion. What is the best concept album? Quadraphenia, Tommy, The Wall, 2112, Operation:Mindcrime, A Pleasant Shade of Grey, Scenes from a Memory?) During the first set the band played 8 songs and 4 of them, including “Pale Blue Dot” and “Paralyzed”, were from their newest release “Distance Over Time”, which I would recommend to any progressive hard rock fan. With their seemingly flawless performance and amazing virtuosity that evening, Dream Theatre has re-established themselves as one of my favorite bands.
The SCENE: Moe’s Alley, Santa Cruz, Ca. on Wednesday March 27th, 2019. The artist on this night was Uli Jon Roth. This was my first time at Moe’s Alley and my first time seeing a Uli Jon Roth live performance. Uli may not be a household name, but his musical history is quite impressive. As he explained that evening, this tour was an extension of the “Triple Anniversary Tour”, which celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Scorpions “Tokyo Tapes” live album (legendary), the 40th Anniversary of his band Electric Sun (legendary neo-classical band), and the 50th Anniversary of his first ever live performance on stage, which included playing a song with the guitar he used during that first performance. The man is 68. With his 5 piece-back-up band Uli Jon Roth was equal parts captivating, enchanting, and mesmerizing as he played songs from his entire catalog. The crowd lost their cookies when they started playing the Scorpions songs. The band was thrilling with 3-part guitar harmonies and solid as they closed out the night with some Jimi Hendrix tunes. A solid 2 ½ hour performance from a shredding guitarist who should be recognized and revered for his entire body of work and not his commercial success. With a little more research, you’ll be further impressed by his non-rock musical compositions. Is Uli Jon Roth the world’s best kept, “guitar god”, secret?
The SCENE: Slim’s, San Francisco, Ca. on Friday March 29th, 2019. The artist on this night Queensryche, with support from Fate’s Warning. This was show #4 in 8 nights. I never expected to be able to see the multi-platinum artist, and one of my all-time favorite bands, Queensryche play in a small nightclub. Let alone, play with one of my other favorites Fate’s Warning. These two bands are a perfect match, as they both possess the talent to be a progressive rock band, or create superb concept albums, or just be captivating as they play their unique style of music that can be heavy and engaging. Queensryche’s live sound these days is much heavier than their hugely successful album, Empire. With Todd LaTorre on vocals, this newest generation of the band has produced three solid albums (The Verdict came out March 1st, 2019) that showcases a darker and heavier side of the band, that distances themselves from their sappy radio-riffic songs (Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman). When they played “NM156”and “Screaming in Digital”, along with the newer “Light Years” song, it made me proud to still be a Queensryche fan. The epic songs “Take Hold of the Flame” and “Queen of the Reich”, seemingly more powerful than ever, mixed in with strong new material prove that Queensryche deserves to reign supreme.
That’s it folks. Fabulous talents were showcased in the forms of Jazz, Progressive Rock, concept albums, guitar shredding, and all within a few nights. What does this prove? KBCZ (What will they play next?), is a station that can bring you all of this and so much more. Thanks for reading this, thanks for listening, keep it locked in to 90.1FM, like us on Facebook, tell your friends, feel free to share with your neighbors, feel free to get involved, it's fun, it's good for the community, and........All Hail! KBCZ!!!
The Ozzy Freak of Boulder Creek