Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Sept. 17, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Last Friday the Rolling Stones demonstrated why they are called "the world's greatest rock band" with a fired-up show that had Chicago's Comiskey Park shaking on its foundations. Opening up in quick succession with "Brown Sugar," "Start Me Up" and "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," Mick Jagger and company had the crowd on its feet and dancing immediately. The band's decision to play a different set every night of the tour gives a freshness to sets that had a tendency to congeal at points during previous tours. The surprise here came when Jagger, in his white hat and coat, broke into a cover of "Love Train." The song's impassioned plea for world peace resonated strongly with the crowd, which also sang along loudly to "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Later in the set Jagger, now wearing a black hooded jacket and surrounded by smoke, launched into a vicious "Sympathy for the Devil." The band closed with "Street Fighting Man" and "Jumping Jack Flash" then returned for a rousing encore of "Midnight Rambler" and "Satisfaction."


This Friday Montgomery Gentry will join Nickelback, Filter and Hank Williams III for a day that will include an in-depth tour of the Jim Beam distillery and the rackhouse itself where the bourbon is aged prior to bottling. To mark the date, all four acts will play Louisville's Broadbent Arena -- with 100 lucky fans/contest winners being flown to join the crowd from around the country for the event.

"The folks at Jim Beam know how to throw down, and they're all about the party," said Eddie Montgomery in his guttural rasp. "If they tell us they got some friends they want us to come out and jam with, we know they're gonna be the baddest!"

"Nickelback kicks a--," agreed Troy Gentry. "Those guys make heavy music... They're not afraid to rock - and they know how to really put it over. I've never seen Filter, but their records are more of that heavy, heavy music Eddie and I like so much. And Hank the Third, well, his Daddy's such a good pal, I think it's really cool that we get to be the ones to take him to the Rackhouse for his first time. It only seems right, in a way, you know..."


The Shining, formed by ex-Verve bassist Simon Jones and guitarist Simon Tong, will release its debut album, "True Skies" on Sept. 24. "True Skies" was produced by Youth, producer of the Verve's blockbuster "Urban Hymns." The band promises a sound closer to Led Zeppelin and the Stooges than the introspective ballads for which Verve was known. Drummer Mark Heaney, guitarist Dan MacBean and the highly touted 22-year-old vocalist Duncan Baxter complete the lineup.


"I Am Mine," the first single from Pearl Jam's "Riot Act" album, goes to U.S. radio outlets Wednesday for airplay consideration and will be released Oct. 8. The full album will be released on the Epic label Nov. 12. "Riot Act" will consist of 15 tracks, several of which, including "Can't Keep" and "Thumbing My Way," were previewed earlier this year by Eddie Vedder during solo concerts in California. "I Am Mine" was debuted by the full band at last year's Bridge School Benefit concert. The album was produced by Pearl Jam with Adam Kasper and mixed by Brendan O'Brien. The group is expected to return to the live stage later this year in anticipation of a world tour in early 2003.


The Beat Goes On, the witty musical repertory of rock history tributes, will present "The Beat Visits The Wall of Sound... from the Ronettes to the Ramones" on Oct. 4 at the Bottom Line in New York. Marshall Crenshaw, James Maddock, Annie Golden, Tom Clark, Don Fleming and The Kennedys will be among the performers. This is the 15th installment of the musical series that has covered pop cultural themes such as The Jagger and Richards Songbook, The British Invasion, Rockin' in the '70s, Hullabaloo, The Brill Building, Ready Steady Go, Nuggets I & II, Summer In the City, and The Rat Pack.

Producer Phil Spector, whose layer-upon-layer approach to recording became known as the "wall of sound," created his own pop symphonies from the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" to the Ramones "Rock and Roll Radio." Each artist will offer their own renditions of early Phil Spector works, such as his first No. 1 hit with the Teddy Bears "To Know Him Is to Love Him," The Crystal's "Then He Kissed Me," the Ronettes' "Be My Baby," Dion's "Born to Be With You," the Ramone's "Rock N Roll High School," John Lennon's "Instant Karma" and "Across the Universe," Leonard Cohen's "Memories," Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High" and others. Backing them will be an all-star band led by musical director James Mastro (Health and Happiness Show/ Ian Hunter) and featuring the musical talents of Manhattan-based musicians Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith), Pat Irwin (B52's), Daniel Rey (Joey Ramone/Ronnie Spector) and Dennis Diken (Smithereens).

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