Posts by Chris Willman

  • Yahoo Live Week 23 Highlights: All About That Bass and More

    Chris Willman at Backstage 27 days ago


    SLEEPING WITH SIRENS (March 1 – South Side Ballroom, Dallas, Texas)

    First released in January, “We Like It Loud” has quickly become a signature song for Sleeping With Sirens, for perhaps obvious reasons. Perhaps the megaphone employed by singer Kellin Quinn is a giveaway, as is the image of mondo-giant speakers on the screens behind the band. This anthem is the cornerstone of their fourth album, Madness, with Quinn screaming, “Sell us the world, but we ain’t selling out,” even as the band sold out plenty of dates on their recent co-headling tour with Pierce the Veil. It also inspired the name of the band’s upcoming tour… sort of. That would be the “We Like It Quiet Acoustic Tour,” which kicks off June 4 in San Diego. Do megaphones count as acoustic instruments? We’ll find out.

    AUGUST BURNS RED (March 2 – House of Blues, Orlando, Florida)

    JOSHUA RADIN (March 3 – Knitting Factory, Boise, Idaho)

    MEGHAN TRAINOR (March 4 – House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois)


    PERIPHERY (March 5 – Varsity Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota)


    DAVID COOK (March 9 – Gramercy Theatre, New York, New York)

    MEMPHIS MAY FIRE (March 11 – Cone Denim Entertainment Center, Greensboro, North Carolina)


  • Yahoo Live Week 22 Highlights: Two Turntables, a Microphone, and Much, Much More

    Chris Willman at Backstage 1 mth ago


    DATSIK (February 17 – Track 29, Chattanooga, Tennessee)

    No choo-choos in a set that was webcast live from Chattanooga’s well-named Track 29 club. But there will be dubstep and implied swordplay, if not blood, on the tracks. “What up, ninjas?” asks a rap vocal incorporated into the dance track “Katana,” as performed live by the Canadian DJ Datsik. That motif made its way into the title of Datsik’s current Ninja Nation Tour, as well as informing the title of his new EP, Down 4 My Ninjas . The pre-recorded rap on the tune was done by Mayor Apesh*t. “ He's an up-and-coming rapper (who) does a lot of EDM ,” Datsik told Yahoo. “I wanted to work with him because he turns stuff over really fast and he was a perfect match with this instrumental I did. So I was like, 'Yo, rap about ninjas and doing crazy s---.'” Please, Datsik, don’t hurt us!


    KONGOS (February 18 – House of Blues, Boston, Massachusetts)


    JJ GREY & MOFRO (February 20 – House of Blues, Boston, Massachusetts)

    GREENSKY BLUEGRASS (February 21 – House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois)


    STICK TO YOUR GUNS (February 24 – Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)




  • Yahoo Live Week 21 Highlights: Living La Vida Loca

    Chris Willman at Backstage 1 mth ago

    PIERCE THE VEIL (February 6 – Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, Illinois )

    There are “a million ways to die,” as Pierce the Veil singer Vic Fuentes sings in “I’m Low on Gas, and You Need a Jacket.” There are also at least a thousand ways to be a post-hardcore punk band, one of which involves indulging your acoustic side. “This song is not quite over yet,” Fuentes announces during a pregnant pause a few minutes into this solo post-folk gem. “Is there anybody out there who knows the words to this next part?” The Chicago audience happily obliges him by providing a mass group vocal on lines like “Almost fought some b---- in the club.” In America, the group just wrapped up a mostly sold-out co-headlining tour with Sleeping With Sirens, but if you happen to be hanging around Europe, they’ll be all over the continent through mid-April.

    BIG SEAN (February 7 - House of Blues, West Hollywood, California)

    DARK STAR ORCHESTRA (February 8 – The Pageant, St. Louis, Missouri)

    ST. PAUL AND THE BROKEN BONES (February 9 – South Side Music Hall, Dallas, Texas)

    RICKY MARTIN (February 11 – Gramercy Theatre, New York, New York)

    FOREIGNER (February 12 - NYCB Theatre, Westbury, New York)






  • 11 Reasons Why Meghan Trainor Is About More Than Just That Bass

    Chris Willman at Live Nation 1 mth ago

    On Wednesday, March 4 at 6:15 p.m. PT/9:15 p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream Meghan Trainor's concert from the House of Blues in Chicago. Tune in HERE to watch!

    You may think you know Meghan Trainor, but doing an "all about" this singer's fascinating rise to fame takes a little longer than a tutorial in mere bass. There's a lot more to her than her ubiquitous, treble-free summer 2014 hit. If you want to cram for a pop quiz about the past year's top pop female freshman before her Yahoo Live concert this Wednesday, here are 11 fun facts about the bootylicious upstart:

    1. Trainor co-wrote two songs on Rascal Flatts' 2014 album, Rewind, including "DJ Tonight."

    2. Trainor also wrote Flatts' "I Like the Sound of That" with Shay Mooney, of the popular young country duo Dan + Shay.

    3. She also wrote a song with Hunter Hayes.

    It has yet to be released, but watch this space.

    4. Rock fans could hardly have guessed that Trainor benefitted a series of close and fateful encounters with members of NRBQ, one of rock's all-time great cult bands.


  • Yahoo Live Week 20 Highlights: Once in a Lifetime

    Chris Willman at Backstage 2 mths ago


    LOTUS (January 30 - House of Blues, Boston, Massachusetts)

    It’s not only ”once in a lifetime” that a Talking Heads classic is in vogue. But as you watch LOTUS do their sample-heavy interpretation of a David Byrne classic, you may wonder, well, how did they get here? The “livetronica” band uses some of the tools and ideology of dance music in a rock context that allows for old-fashioned guitar solos, too. “ When we started out it was two guitars, a bass, and drums," bassist/sampler player Jesse Miller explained to Yahoo’s Laura Ferreiro before their Boston gig, but “we were also learning more about dance music and how to take those ideas of beat and structure and add them into our instrumentation. Then we added synthesizers and samplers." Now, they can play a half-replicated, half-improvised version of “Once in a Lifetime” once a night!

    SILVERSTEIN (January 31 - House of Blues, San Diego, California)

    DAVE ALVIN & PHIL ALVIN (February 1 - Troubadour, West Hollywood, California)

    LESS THAN JAKE (February 3 – House of Blues, Orlando, Florida)

    G-EAZY (February 4 – Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, California)

    GALACTIC (February 5 – First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota)

  • Yahoo Live Week 19 Highlights: I Know This Much is True

    Chris Willman at Backstage 2 mths ago


    G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE (January 18 – House of Blues, San Diego, California)

    It’s a battle of the “Sugars.” Maroon 5 currently has a hit by that name, but if you’re a fan of looser, rootsier fare, you probably prefer the sweet stuff brought to you by G. Love, whose “Sugar” is the title track of the 2014 album that marked the trio’s 20 th anniversary in the business. As Mr. Love told Yahoo’s Craig Rosen before their House of Blues show, “ We're kind of reintroducing the blueprint of what we are, which is really the hip-hop blues. There are some other people that kind of blend some hip-hop and blues, but we're proud we're some of the people that started that." You’ll hear a fair amount of funk in this rendition of “Sugar,” too, before Love goes all B.B. King on the guitar at the climax.

    REEL BIG FISH (January 21 – House of Blues, Chicago, Illinois)


    PAPA ROACH (January 23 – The Fillmore, Detroit, Michigan)


    THE INFAMOUS STRINGDUSTERS (January 24 – Georgia Theatre, Athens, Georgia)


    SPANDAU BALLET (January 25 – Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, California)


    COLD WAR KIDS (January 28 – House of Blues, Cleveland, Ohio)






  • Yahoo Live Week 18 Highlights: International Flavor

    Chris Willman at Backstage 2 mths ago

    OZOMATLI (January 10 – House of Blues, Anaheim, California)

    As the beach balls being punched around by the crowd will attest, the bilingual Ozomatli is at least as much a party band as a political group. What you don’t normally think of them celebrating is the glamorous life. Yet there’s Sheila E. up there on stage with them at the House of Blues, knocking on the congas and even knocking over a cymbal in a kind of punk-rock move. The famed Prince accompanist joined them for “Como Ves,” a signature song so infectious that it became one of the few Spanish-language tunes ever to become a recurrent on L.A.’s alt-rock KROQ. "Our eclectic mix and the way we combine sounds is our stamp and our forte,” saxophonist Ulises Bella told Yahoo Music, “but sometimes it has been to our detriment too." Not detrimental enough to keep the band from celebrating its 20 th anniversary this year.

    THE DEVIL MAKES THREE (January 11 – Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

    DR. DOG (January 12 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York)

    ELLA HENDERSON (January 13 – Diamond Horseshoe, New York City, New York)

    ANTI-FLAG (January 19 – Visulite Theatre, Charlotte, North Carolina)

  • Yahoo Live Week 17 Highlights: Going Redneck Crazy

    Chris Willman at Backstage 3 mths ago

    CRACKER (January 2 – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina)

    Cracker’s newly released two-CD set, Berkeley to Bakersfield , is a country-rock album, but not so much in the hybrid sense: one disc is country, the other rock. In the performance clip seen here, the introductory steel guitar solo is a quick tipoff to which disc the song is from, even before David Lowery begins singing the verses of “King of Bakersfield,” his paean to the land of Merle and Buck. “The country thing is something that’s been around throughout our whole career,” he recently told the Morning Call , and the original intent was for the new project “to be sort of an Americana record.” But then a slightly different lineup of the band came up with a punkier set of tunes that belied his NoCal rock roots more than Kern County, so “we turned it into two different sets of albums.” Here’s to being the king of having it both ways.

    GOV’T MULE (January 3 – Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania)

    SOULIVE (January 6 – Paradise Rock Club, Boston, Massachusetts)

    RAILROAD EARTH (January 7 – Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, Georgia)

    TYLER FARR (January 9 – Joe's on Weed Street, Chicago, Illinois)

  • Yahoo Live Week 16 Highlights: Partying Like Tomorrow is the End of the World

    Chris Willman at Backstage 3 mths ago

    DEER TICK (December 26 – Brooklyn Bowl, New York, New York)

    The Rhode Island band busted out their bowling shirts for their six-night residency at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl — and that’s not all. To celebrate their 10 th anniversary, they covered a different classic album each night, from Meet the Beatles to Elvis Costello’s My Aim is True … and, as a bonus, a full record of their own. On kickoff night, it was a run-through of NRBQ’s Tiddlywinks followed by a full rendering of their own 2007 debut, War Elephant , including reliable warhorses like “Ashamed” and “Art Isn’t Real.” “It was a pretty ambitious project, so I’m impressed that we pulled it off,” frontman John McCauley told the Daily Beast after the nearly week-long run of wildly different shows was over. “After all the s--- we spent trying to pull these six nights together for the 10 th (anniversary), I think for the 20th we’ll do something a little easier — maybe just do twenty songs, and that’s it.”


    KELLER WILLIAMS (December 27 – Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

    FISHBONE (December 28 – Gramercy Theatre, New York, New York)


    BOUNCING SOULS (December 29 – Stone Pony, Asbury Park, New Jersey)


  • Yahoo Live Week 15 Highlights: From 'Carol of the Bells' to Hell's Bells

    Chris Willman at Backstage 3 mths ago

    Whether you’re partial to “Carol of the Bells,” as performed by LeAnn Rimes, or hell’s bells, in the form of the pentagram-favoring metal group HIM, there’s something for everyone in a week’s worth of Yahoo Live performances. When Yahoo Live’s camera crews traveled the continent to stream a different live concert every night in this particular seven-day period, they brought viewers everything from Straight No Chaser’s hilarious a cappella adaptation of “All About This Bass” to country singer Chase Rice exploring the bottom end of a bottle in “Jack Daniels and Jesus.”

    TRAMPLED BY TURTLES (December 18 – The Tabernacle, Atlanta, Georgia)

    HIM (December 19 – House of Blues, Las Vegas, Nevada)

    CHASE RICE (December 20 – Irving Plaza, New York, New York)

    SAVES THE DAY (December 21 – House of Blues, Anaheim, California)

    STRAIGHT NO CHASER (December 22 – Murat Theatre at Old National Centre, Indianapolis, Indiana)

    KOOL & THE GANG (December 24 – The Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada)

    LEANN RIMES (December 25 – Rochester Opera House, Rochester, New Hampshire)