Working for Leon Russell, and Sneaking into an Impromptu Foo Fighters Concert
It's that time again to wrap up some music highlights from the weekend for all of you Q103 listeners!
To start off, with some unfortunate news from the weekend, classic rocker Leon Russell died Sunday at the age of 74. Leon was an American singer-songwriter whose music covered genres from rock and roll to gospel, and his credits span decades, and also include working with artists from Elton John to Ray Charles.
I had the blessing of being able to work for Leon Russell back in August of 2014, when he played a show in Burlington, VT at Higher Ground Music Hall. At the time, I was working backstage doing band hospitality, and was able to work directly with him and his stage production team. I also helped out his crew during the actual show to work as the 'merch girl' and work as he performed selling official merchandise inside the venue.
I'll never forget the feeling of awe that overcame me during soundcheck, as I not only was listening to such a natural force of music coming from the piano on stage, but also pulling out CD after CD after CD to lay out on the merchandise table. It literally felt as if his musical recordings never ended! I knew that I was in the presence of a legend, and not just from the sounds of the piano strings coming from the stage.
Leon Russell joins a number of musical rock legends that we have unfortunately lost in 2016, however fans in the music community are blessed with the everlasting life of musical recordings.
Also over the past week, as some of you may have heard, Foo Fighters have started to announce 2017 tour dates! This is HUGE news, as more recently, the Foo Fighters also had announced a hiatus, causing die-hard fans to fear that the band was breaking up.
During their current hiatus, we've seen a lot of action coming from drummer Taylor Hawkins, with both his band Chevy Metal and new solo material [releasing the EP KOTA]. However, it seems as if the Foo Fighters live on, releasing the news that they are going to be playing in Europe during the summer of 2017 for the Mad Cool Festival in Spain, and the NOS Alive festival in Portugal. While playing in Europe doesn't help a super fan of the Foo Fighters like me so much with the chance to see them live, it does give me hope that they will be possibly be announcing some US dates in the future.
I was able to see the Foo Fighters live back in the fall of 2014, when the band did a 'secret' tour throughout their HBO television series "Sonic Highways." The band both filmed their HBO series [focusing each episode on a different American city, touching on music history and musical figures, and recording a different song with a guest musician from the chosen city] as well as released their eighth studio album of the same name on 2014. For each week that an episode premiered, the band played an impromptu concert in the city that the episode was focused on.
The week that "Sonic Highways" focused on New York City, I got word through music contacts that the band would be playing at Irving Plaza in NYC for their 'secret show.' Clearly as a fan it was necessary to call into work sick and make the trek down to the city for a chance to see the band live! After waking up at 4:00 in the morning and driving down, I somehow managed to get one of the only 300-something tickets that were given out and see the Foo Fighters live in a ridiculously intimate crowd among some huge music names from NYC. As Dave Grohl literally jumped from the stage onto the balcony rail and hit his guitar licks from the upstairs VIP section, I stood in the front row, drenched in sweat from head-banging for an hour, wide-eyed as if i had seen a ghost in amazement. Being the music production nerd that I am, and after working in music clubs for years, I somehow after the show persuaded a worker to let me sneak the the equipment area after the show and check out some of the gear.
Mentioning my work in music brings me to my next announcement from the weekend. Young the Giant [the last concert that I ever worked while living in Vermont] announced a local show at Albany's very own Palace Theatre, coming to the Capital District on Thursday, February 23rd.
Also announced for the Holiday season is the 'Holiday Acoustic Tour' collaboration with Bayside and Hawthorne Heights. The bands will be playing an acoustic show at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY on December 17th [only a few days after Q103's very own Christmas Chaos concert on Dec. 14, featuring Sick Puppies!].
Story of the Year also announced their project to release their first record in 6 YEARS! As they mentioned on the website pledgemusic.com/projects/storyoftheyear the band states "with darkness often comes great art, and to be certain, the sun always rises. We're stepping out of the shadows with more passion and energy than perhaps any time in the last decade." They describe their hiatus time as 'confusing and difficult' but are excited to release new material. Music and packages are available for pre-order on the 'pledge music' website, and rewards such as signed cd's and hand-written lyric sheets are available for pledgers.