Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jason Bonham Goes Full Circle

Last week saw the release of Sammy Hagar and the Circle's At Your Service Live CD. The album features Jason Bonham on drums, and four Led Zeppelin tracks. A full review of the album is on my other blog, At Home in Hespeler. However, it's worth looking at the album from a Led Zeppelin specific point of view. Specifically the Led Zeppelin songs:

"The master. His father was a master, he passed it on to his son. Mr.. Jason Bonham is in the house," says Sammy Hagar in introducing Jason Bonham's drum solo. Bonham rolls and paradiddles for the next three minutes and twelve seconds, offering one of three solos on the album (bass player Michael Anthony and guitarist Vic Johnson also get solos).

Beyond his solo, honour is paid to Bonham/Led Zeppelin through four Led Zeppelin songs on the album: Good Times Bad Times, Whole Lotta Love, When the Levee Breaks and Rock and Roll. Good Times Bad Times is a bit quick and has an all too modern tone, giving it the sound of an 80's metal anthem than aa 60's rock standard. Of course it's the best 80's metal anthem you'll hear, but none the less it's one of the albums few minor mis-steps.

Whole Lotta Love suffers as well from thin, non-tube-amp guitar tone, but is otherwise excellent, and the guitar tone is not really noticeable once the band kicks in. Complete with a middle theremin section, and a call and response vocal interplay to mimic Page's backwards echo (is that Jason on "echo" vocals?), Whole Lotta Love as played here is fabulous.

So too When the Levee Breaks, which begins with Jason doing his father's most famous drum riff. The double guitar attack of Hagar and Johnson make this big and full and probably worth going to see Sammy Hagar and the Circle when they come to your town.

At Your Service finished off it's Led Zeppelin attack with Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll has become such a standard that it's conceivable the band plays it even without Jason Bonham in the lineup. And like it does with every band, whether on your local bar or your favourite big arena band, it sounds like great fun here. Rock and Roll is always a good time song, and is a fitting ending. Once again the drums and double guitar fuel this version and it doesn't disappoint.

If your a Led Zeppelin fan then, Sammy Hagar and the Circle's At Your Service is probably something you'd consider a worthwhile listen. Again, for a more full review, click here.


for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Monday, May 25, 2015

Jason Bonham's Stripped Down Led Zeppelin Experience

“It’s a more stripped down version of the band,” I mentioned to Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience guitarist Tony Catania after their show last Thursday. He was having none of it, pointing out that it’s still a five piece band. And while yes, they are, new keyboard player Alex Howland doesn’t pick up electric guitar, or lap steel, on non-keyboard songs. And while he played acoustic on a couple of numbers, he sits out a few and is much less of a busy player than his predecessor Stephen LeBlanc. That’s neither a plus nor a minus, he’s just a different style of player.
Dorian Heartsong on mandolin

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience rocked the house at Casino Rama. Opening as a four piece with Song Remains the Same before Howland joined them on acoustic guitar for Over The Hills and Far Away. Bonham then mentioned they would do a couple of songs from the first album, introducing Good Times Bad Times and a rip roaring version of I Can't Quit You Baby, which saw guitarist Catania on fire.

Catania was at his best on the blues numbers I Can't Quit You Baby and Since I've Been Loving You, changing tone, moving between pickups, fingers flying around the fingerboard with speed and dexterity of a young Jimmy Page. "It's not just about the notes," Catania told a small group of fans ofter the show. "You have to know the difference between a humbucker and a single coil pickup. That's not something you can teach."
Dorian Heartsong, James Dylan and Tony Catania go acoustic
He's right, Jimmy Page was more worried about feel and sound than technicality, and Catania seems to have gotten better at channeling Page as time has progressed. He was on this night, the shows standout performer.

A couple of the shows highlights were also a couple of the surprises: a one-song acoustic set of Going to California and a surprisingly fun version of In The Evening. Going to California featured Catania on guitar, singer James Dylan and bassist Dorian Heartsong on mandolin taking center stage. In The Evening lost much of the ponderousness of the original, especially in the chorus, and it was a revelation how much that particular song could swing.

Tony Catania Goes to California
After Howland displayed some deft keyboard work on Trampled Underfoot, the band rolled through a fourth album set of songs: Misty Mountain Hop, When the Levee Breaks and Stairway to Heaven, before Kashmir closed out the main set. The band returned as a lean four piece for an encore of Immigrant Song, an audible called out onstage by Bonham, and Rock and Roll.

Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience at Casino Rama was an across the board excellent show and it's my feeling, having seen them a number of times, the band is getting better and better. After, talking to some concertgoers in the casino, not a person had a bad thing to say about the show. It was simply an exceptionalnight of music.

Post-show with singer James Dylan

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Robert Plant Signed Guitar Being Auctioned

How's the money this month? Make a few extra sales or work a little overtime down at the factory? Well then, here's something to spend that extra on, a Robert Plant signed Gretsch Electromatic Guitar.

Plant signed the white hollow body Gretcsch and it is being auctioned off for Brian Wilson's Brian Fest with proceeds to the Jameson Fund, (Jameson's whiskey and Robert Plant, this what the lyrics to "My Favourite Things" would be if I wrote it) and the Sweet Relief Musicians Cancer Fund.

The auction expires tomorrow (Thursday May 21) at 3:00 EDT. It is a beautiful guitar, brand new and comes with a letter of authenticity. Current bid is $6,750.

You can bid at CharityBuzz.

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sammy Hagar and the Circle featuring Jason Bonham Live Album

Sammy Hagar and the Circle, with Led Zeppelin's own Jason Bonham on drums, are releasing an album of live material, call At Your Service. In addition to Hagar and Bonham, The Circle features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and guitarist Vic Johnson.

At Your Service was recorded on the bands 2014 tour, and features 19  songs from Hagar's solo career, we well as songs from Van Halen and five Led Zeppelin songs: Good Times Bad Times; Whole Lotta Love; When the Levee Breaks; Moby Dick; and Rock and Roll. 

It will be released May 19 on a 2-CD set.


CD 1
  1. There's Only One Way to Rock
  2. Rock Candy
  3. Good Times Bad Times
  4. Poundcake
  5. I Can't Drive '55
  6. Mikey Bass Solo
  7. When It's Love
  8. Whole Lotta Love
  9. Little White Lie
  10. When the Levee Breaks

CD 2
  1. Jason Drum Solo/Moby Dick
  2. Why Can't This Be Love
  3. Finish What You Started
  4. Heavy Metal
  5. Vic Guitar Solo
  6. Best of Both Worlds
  7. Right Now
  8. Rock and Roll
  9. Dreams

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair