Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Letter From The Editor

Hello all. Josh here (the founder/editor of this little blog you're reading). I decided to make this post a bit more personal than others just to let you all know why there's been nothing happening on Backstage Press for the past few weeks.

Most of you that have been following us for a while know we're a New England-based blog. And if you flipped on the news at any point last week, you probably saw that the entire East Coast of the US was getting beaten up by Hurricane Irene.

By the time Irene reached us up north, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it still had plenty of strength left. We lost power on Sunday at 5 a.m., and as I write this now (9:30 p.m. on Thursday) we still don't have power. And the State of Connecticut is saying we probably won't get power back until sometime next week. Joy.

Needless to say, we weren't prepared for this. And if you're curious, I was able to find an internet connection and a working plug to get this info out.

And to make matters even more stressful, I'm currently in the middle of a move. Believe it or not, I need a 9 - 5 job to survive (just like the rest of you). And having just accepted a position in Massachusetts, I'm busy packing, finding a place to live and balancing my check book so the transition will (hopefully) go smooth.

But I just want to let everyone know that I have not abandoned Backstage Press. I have a list of reviews, news and other good stuff I want to get to in the coming month.

So for now I'm just taking a little break from writing and the Twitter machine to get my own life in order. But rest assured things will be up and running shortly.

And as always, thanks for sticking by. I've always said my readers are the reason I do this. I love you all. Check back soon, kids.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Show Review: blink-182 Hartford, CT

Neither New England's rainy weather nor Travis Barker's busted up hands could keep blink-182 and their droves of Connecticut fans from the Hartford stop of the Honda Civic Tour last Sunday night. Playing to a nearly full house at the Comcast Theatre (their first show there in nearly two years), the band presented themselves as a cohesive trio who are once again comfortable enough with each other to take some chances on stage.

The SoCal natives opened up with their hit single, "Feeling This" off their 2003 Self-Titled effort. With the crowd warmed up, blink immediately jumped into "Up All Night", the first track released from their upcoming LP, Neighborhoods.

As the set continued, it was clear that blink had found their stride again. They seemed much more comfortable with each other on this tour than their previous North American tour in 2009 where their stage banter and song choices were more reserved.

Perhaps that was best demonstrated after "What's My Age Again?" when guitarist Tom DeLonge slipped on stage. As if it were the late 90s again, bassist Mark Hoppus wasted no time in making fun of his fallen comrade. But never to be outdone, DeLonge shot back, taking a dig at Hoppus' mother - which even got a rise out of drummer Travis Barker.

From that point on, the show proved very lighthearted and fun. Between songs, blink even busted out some rarely heard material from their earlier years including "Family Reunion", "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" and a short, mashed up cover of My Chemical Romance's "Na Na Na".

The band also made sure to cover all their bases, playing cult favorites such as "Man Overboard", "Carousel", "Down" and "Josie", amongst others. In addition to the hits, blink flew seamlessly through another three brand new songs from Neighborhoods - "After Midnight", "Heart's All Gone" and "Ghost On The Dancefloor".

But, as with any amphitheater performance, the show was much more than the music. Blink managed to put together a set design that was bigger and more visual than anything they'd previously had. Complete with moving LCD screens, a laser light show, fog machines and the unforgettable Travis Barker drum solo high above the crowd in the pit, the band have proved that outdoing themselves is an understatement.

Blink were supported at this show by the Atlanta, Georgia outfit, Manchester Orchestra and the goth-emo rockers, My Chemical Romance. For more information on tour dates near you, click HERE.

And take a look at some of Backstage Press' photos from the front row. We'd also like to give a shout-out to our new friends who held it down front row in the pit with us - Joe, Kyle, Andy, Big Lou and Abby. You guys rule!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Angels & Airwaves Premiere Their Film, "LOVE"

Since 2005, when the world first learned about Angels & Airwaves, rumors have been swirling about a movie release to accompany the band's music and overall message. And on Wednesday night, after five years of production and slight secrecy, the band debuted their feature film entitled, LOVE, as a one-night-only special event broadcasted in 500 theaters across the United States.

For eager fans and movie buffs, the film stood as a glance into the more matured mind of AVA lead singer Tom DeLonge and his fellow band mates. Prior to the start of the presentation the band chose to show four vignettes following a multitude of characters while they described their experiences with the most base form of human emotion, love.

From a soldier torn from his family, to an old motorcycle racer bracing himself for a fight with an unnamed brain disease, the vignettes were set as a sort of prologue to get the audience's minds moving. In a college lecture kind of way, the pre-show had you asking yourself, "What does 'love' mean to me?"

The Film
As the feature opened in the chaotic setting of a Civil War battle, we found ourselves following a soldier who was given the chance to escape combat and head west. As the shot closed, he was writing in his journal - penning words that would spark one of the most existential journeys to one man's life, hundreds of years in the future.

Cut to that distant future and Captain Lee Miller aboard the International Space Station, 220 miles above the Earth's surface. He is alone with only a treadmill and a few laptops that connect him back to mission control. Everything seems alright in the first few minutes of the scene, but suspense builds as we are swiftly introduced to the daily habits of our protagonist spaceman.

Amid the occasional sound of AVA intros, we are immersed in the totality of Miller's seclusion and isolation. The audience is never really able to acclimate themselves with anything familiar besides Miller's basic emotions.

As everything is just starting to feel normal, it happens - Miller loses contact with Earth. In a frantic need for human response, he spends what could be hours, days or weeks trying to repair the broken communication portals. But nothing works. Then finally, the message comes. All he has left is one short radio transmission letting him know that he is in fact, alone.

The following bulk of the film dips into the psyche of the abandoned astronaut. He develops an odd relationship with a woman in a photograph. He plays cards against himself, dealing two hands after every shuffle. His living space becomes a wreck, undoubtedly mirroring the personal torment and loneliness in his own head. And then, in one last attempt to fix his ship, Miller somehow discovers that journal from the Civil War solider.

The diary becomes his last reason for survival. Reading it is his inspiration to save his own life.

It's at this point where reality, thought and emotion blur into an almost incomprehensible state. Six years have gone by and nothing seems real anymore. It's clear the film is coming to a close because we suddenly have more questions than answers, and there is no way Miller is making it out alive - if he is even alive anymore to begin with.

In what can best be described as a dream, Miller is suddenly on board a city-like abandoned space vessel. He walks down its halls before finding a book with his name in it where he learns he is the last remaining survivor of mankind. And in another flash of cinematic effects and existential thought, Miller is all alone in space with the planets revolving around him.

And thus the movie ends. Is he God? Is he dead? Is this a dream? Did any of this ever happen? Who knows. LOVE is like an acid trip at a planetarium. It's virtually unexplainable and extremely hard to grasp. But inevitably, it gets you thinking. And after all, isn't that what art is supposed to do?

After show
After the film, a live-feed from Boston's Paradise Rock Club was broadcast to theaters nationwide as AVA took to the stage for a three-song performance. The band fumbled through "Everything's Magic", "Start The Machine" and "The Adventure" with an electronic drum kit and two synthesizers in place of guitars.

Following the performance was a Q&A session with DeLonge, as well as LOVE's director and lead actor. It was then that DeLonge announced LOVE II, the CD/DVD, would be released on November 11 of this year. And finally, to cap the night off right, AVA premiered a video for their new song "Anxiety" off the upcoming record.

For more information on LOVE II and other news on AVA, visit and continue to follow Backstage Press on Twitter.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dan Andriano - Hurricane Season Review

Following in the footsteps of his Alkaline Trio counterpart Matt Skiba, bassist Dan Andriano will be releasing his debut solo album, Hurricane Season, on August 9. Playing under the moniker Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room, the 34-year-old bassist is delivering a 10-track wonder that's some of his freshest and most personal work yet.

Hurricane Season is a deeply intimate look into Andriano's life as it stands today. The love for his family, his fear of losing them and his struggle with finding a sense of home in Florida (after spending years living in Chicago) are all themes that dominate the record. After more than a decade on the road with the Trio, Andriano used his solo platform as a sort of apology to his wife and daughter - the two of whom he had been away from for months at a time while pursuing a musical career.

Take for instance the album's third song, "Hollow Sounds". The soft acoustic track is what Andriano described to Alternative Press as a sort of "'I miss you' song, with a hint of, 'I know I'm gone a lot, but please don't leave me.'" And this certainly holds true as Andriano compares his unrelenting need for a cigarette to the longing he feels for his wife. "I want to light you up and take you deep inside my lungs/Well maybe you can shine your light inside on all the damage that I've done."

As the record progresses, it becomes evident that while his insecurities might be running on high, Andriano has come to terms with them and has put them to the wayside to just enjoy the present. During the album's ninth track, "The Last Day We Ever Close Our Eyes", he paints a picture of finding happiness with his loved ones as the world around them crumbles.

"And when they finally kill the lights, you get the glass, I'll pour the wine/On the last day that we ever close our eyes."

Ultimately what you're getting on this record are themes focused inward, rather than the usual dark and macabre scenarios played out on most of Alkaline Trio's discography. It's a completely different and fresh side of an artist that most people thought they had pegged. That itself is was makes this album worthwhile.

Hurricane Season stands as a journey of sorts that takes the listener through all the deep inner workings of a man struggling to find his place in life and hold onto it. What starts off as shaky and insecure in the beginning of the record develops into something that's happy and fulfilled at the end. At varying times, Hurricane Season is depressing, uplifting and funny, but somehow it remains catchy and honest throughout.

Simply put, the record is a must have for Alkaline Trio fans and anyone who likes things slowed down just a bit. You can preview a few tracks from the album below.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 Honda Civic Tour Preview

Consistency has always been a strong point for the Honda Civic Tour, who year after year seem to bring the biggest and most popular bands of the day together for a summer concert spectacle that's like no other. And in just days, the tour will once again kick off its North American journey with two of the most heavy-hitting names in alternative rock: blink-182 and My Chemical Romance.

Southern California natives blink-182 are touring the United States and Canada for the first time since their summer 2009 reunion tour, which proved a massive success. Armed with a brand new, edgy single, "Up All Night", and a new record on the way (rumored to drop on September 27th), it's clear that blink are ready to bring new life to the term "rock show."

They're returning to play this, the 10th anniversary of the Honda Civic Tour - a tour they helped christen back in 2001 alongside Everclear.

In an interview on the Honda Civic Tour Facebook page, Mark Hoppus commented on what fans can expect to see during the coming tour. "We try and one-up every single tour and have each tour have its own look. We spent a lot of time with the set designers working on the sets, and lighting shows and things like that."

Considering their 2009 tour featured confetti machines, 20+ songs per set and Travis Barker performing drum solos while being spun high above the heads of the pit crowd, this coming tour should be a sight to see. Besides, this will be the first time fans will hear new blink music played live in eight years. What's not to love?

Add to the mix the largely popular East Coast rockers, My Chemical Romance, as co-headliners and tour seems untouchable. While still on the road promoting their latest release, 2010's Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, MCR have jumped back into the spotlight and aren't leaving any time soon.

But let's not forget about the openers. The wildly popular indie rockers, Manchester Orchestra, will be kicking off the tour in Holmdel, New Jersey on August 5th. Later dates on the tour will feature hipster act Matt & Kim, political punks Against Me! and finally punk-rock legends, Rancid.

If there's one thing that should make the 2011 Honda Civic Tour stand out against the rest of summer's shows, it's simply how eclectic the tour will be. On any given night you might hear the new wave of indie rock, or perhaps catch a glimpse at the punk-rock scene as it was a few decades ago. And, of course, you'll hear those big radio hits from the headliners every night - not to mention a few lesser known tracks packed in for the diehards in the audience.

This is one tour you won't want to miss this summer. So be sure and grab tickets while you still can. Some seats are going as low as $20. No excuses this time around.

Check out the dates, locations and supporting acts below.
  • 8/5/11 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center *
  • 8/6/11 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach *
  • 8/7/11 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon Theatre at Jones Beach +
  • 8/9/11 - Boston, MA @ Comcast Center *
  • 8/11/11 - Buffalo, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center *
  • 8/12/11 - Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live *
  • 8/13/11 - Hershey, PA @ Hershey Park Pavilion *
  • 8/14/11 - Hartford, CT @ Comcast Theatre *
  • 8/16/11 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre *
  • 8/17/11 - Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre *
  • 8/19/11 - St. Louis, MO @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre *
  • 8/20/11 - Chicago, Il @ First Midwest Bank Pavilion *
  • 8/21/11 - Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center *
  • 8/23/11 - Milwaukee, WI @ Marcus Amphitheater *
  • 8/25/11 - Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre %^
  • 8/26/11 - Saskatoon, SK @ Credit Union Centre %^
  • 8/27/11 - Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place %^
  • 8/28/11 - Calgary, AB @ Saddledome %^
  • 8/30/11 - Victoria, BC @ Save-On Foods Memorial Centre %^
  • 8/31/11 - Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena %^
  • 9/1/11 - Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheater ^
  • 9/3/11 - Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheater ^
  • 9/4/11 - Denver, CO @ Comfort Dental Amphitheater ^
  • 9/7/11 - Minneapolis, MN @ Xcel Center #
  • 9/8/11 - Des Moines, IA @ Wells Fargo Arena +
  • 9/9/11 - Kansas City, MO @ Sandstone Amphitheater #
  • 9/10/11 - Indianapolis, IN @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre #
  • 9/11/11 - Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Centre #
  • 9/13/11 - Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center #
  • 9/15/11 - Pittsburgh, PA @ First Niagara Pavilion #
  • 916/11 - Saratoga, NY @ SPAC #
  • 9/17/11 - Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center #
  • 9/18/11 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre #
  • 9/20/11 - Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Verizon Wireless Amphitheater #
  • 9/21/11 - Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheater #
  • 9/23/11 - Miami, FL @ Cruzan Amphitheater #
  • 9/24/11 - Tampa, FL @ 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre #
  • 9/26/11 - Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion #
  • 9/27/11 - Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion #
  • 9/29/11 - Albuquerque, NM @ Journal Pavilion #
  • 9/30/11 - Phoenix, AZ @ Tempe Beach Park Amph. # (MCR will not be playing)
  • 10/1/11 - Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center #
  • 10/2/11 - Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre #
  • 10/4/11 - Concord, CA @ Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord #
  • 10/5/11 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre #
  • 10/7/11 - Las Vegas, NV @ Red Rock Resort, Spa & Casino #
  • 10/8/11 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl #
  • 10/15/11 - San Diego, CA @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre #
* -Manchester Orchestra
% -Against Me!
^ -Rancid
# -Matt & Kim
+ -To Be Announced
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