The second day of Epicenter Twenty Ten, with an announced crowd of 25,000 featured a lot of punk.
Epicenter Twenty Ten’s first day featured a lot of great moments and a surprise or two.
The first surprise, at least to me, was attendance. While the crowd at the Auto Club Speedway looked to be in the thousands, the venue was not full by any means.
There were two stages at opposite ends of the venue (the main stage and the secondary Monster Energy stage) and the crowd never swelled to go past the halfway point except for Eminem and Kiss but even for Eminem you could get a decent glimpse of him just by weaving through the crowd.
As far as headliners, Kiss put on their entertaining mix of stage theatrics (at one point Gene Simmons was at the top of the Epicenter stage playing guitar and Paul Stanley used wiring to fly over the crowd), blood and catchy songs. From “Love Gun” to “Detroit Rock City” and of course “Rock And Roll All Night,” Kiss knows how to entertain.
Toward the end of their set, they also gave a check for more than $500,000 to the Wounded Warrior Care Project (which helps injured military members returning from war to get care) and Stanley got the audience to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Stanley also made a point during the show to point out how his band used no vocal backing tracks and played all of their instruments which sounded like a subtle dig at some of the previous acts who didn’t.
Eminem’s performance topped my expectations as I had read how he reportedly rapped over backing vocal tracks during his tour with Jay-Z and I prepared for the worst.
While he did rap over the vocal backing tracks his delivery is so fast and wordy on certain songs (I’ll throw out “Purple Pills” with his group D-12 as a random example) he can get away with it because you don’t really notice it until you see his mouth not matching the lyric you just heard but he’s walking around the stage and waving his hands to get the crowd going.
He also had a backing band, his touring DJ Alchemist and hype man Kon Artis) he brought out D-12 for “Purple Pills” and “Devil’s Night.”
Eminem came out in a black hat, black hooded sweatshirt, gray shirt and black shorts and looked almost malnourished from the audience. He started with material from his latest album “Recovery” (“Won’t Back Down”) and “Relapse” (he performed “3 a.m.”) and just briefly touched on his old hits. He only did the intro to “My Name Is” but did perform a passionate verse of “Without Me” and dedicated “Love The Way You Lie” to all the women who had been in dysfunctional relationships.
He got the largest cheers for his singles “Love The Way You Lie,” “Not Afraid” and his encore “Lose Yourself.”
Bush was also strong as they started with “Machinehead” and lead singer Gavin Rossdale looked like he was having a blast as he shook hands with the crowd, would jump up and down and confidently went into their hits like “Glycerine” and “Comedown.”
Papa Roach’s high energy style brought the crowd mid-day (it had been more than 100 degrees on the hot asphault at the speedway) to their feet and pumping their fists with songs like “Scars,” “Getting Away with Murder,” “Forever” and their last song “Last Resort.” Jacoby Shaddix has really come into his own as a frontman with his constant movement, antics like jumping into the crowd and charisma.
House of Pain, headliners of the Monster Energy Stage, had a strong set at times and weak at others. They started off with Everlast putting on the “Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache” breakbeat and a live band taking things from there. What is kind of interesting is how Everlast looks now compared with 1992. He has gained some weight, wears glasses and has a gray beard but the incredible voice is still there.
On songs like “Jump Around,” where the band went into the incredible Pete Rock remix version toward the end, and an updated version of “Shamrocks and Shenanigans” he still has it. I bring this up because on the group’s second album, “On Point,” Everlast changed his delivery and deepened his voice into something almost unrecognizable. His fellow House of Pain rhymer Danny Boy also came out for some songs but they also invited La Coka Nostra which seemed to take away some of the group’s energy.
Other groups who have strong sets included The Knux, who I have seen before and recommend, with catchy tracks “Bang! Bang!” “Cappucino” and more. The group features brothers Kentrell “Krispy” Lindsey and Alvin “Joey Le’Strat” Lindsey with Al playing guitar and also rapping. The group also features a drummer and lots of energy. They threw out CDs, cups, posters, beach balls and were able to get the crowd at the secondary stage moving around.
Other acts day one included Suburban Noise hip-hop artist Big B, real name Bryan Mahoney, whose straight ahead hip-hop style with a live band entertained the crowd gathered at the Monster stage. An odd moment was when he was loudly using curse words to describe law enforcement (I can’t repeat it here) and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department was at the venue patrolling all day but they didn’t appear to take in his set. He got the crowd moving to songs like “White Trash Renegade” and “Out Here In Cali.”
Big Boi, of OutKast, was a definite crowd pleaser also. He peformed his verses with a horn section and guitar using some of OutKast’s biggest hits to keep the crowd from thinking about the triple digit heat in the early afternoon, which he also complained about and compared it to being in Georgia (Big Boi is from Savannah). He went through his verses on “Ms. Jackson,” “So Fresh So Clean,” “The Way You Move” and songs from his latest album “Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty” including “Shutterbug.”
Crash Kings also gave an inspired set early in the day with their use of alternative rock and piano pop. Vocalist and keyboardist Tony Beliveau had strong vocals and playing skills despite a sparse audience.
Nine Inch Nail’s frontman Trent Reznor’s record company, The Null Corporation, and Sony’s Madison Gate Records has decided to self-release the soundtrack. Five tracks will be available for free download tomorrow.
One rockin’ redneck woman and one former rocker are set to bring their hit country music to the Los Angeles County Fair’s End of Summer Concert Series this weekend.
On Saturday, Gretchen Wilson will perform her chart-toppers, including “Redneck Woman,” “I’m Here For the Party” and “All Jacked Up.” Darius Rucker, once and still occasionally frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, will appear on Sunday. Rucker’s smash country singles include: “Don’t Think That I Don’t Think About It” and “It Won’t Be Like This For Long.”
While Rucker said he loved the fame that Hootie & The Blowfish brought him, he admits he would have preferred to have been a country artist from the start. “We (the band) talked about being a country band, and I just got outvoted,” said Rucker, who records his country music on Capitol Records. “They also used to kid me about how I always was bringing them country songs that they had to turn into rock songs.”
Rucker’s first country CD, “Learn To Live,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2008. The project produced the No. 1 single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” which made Rucker the first African-American artist to chart a No. 1 country hit since Charlie Pride’s “Night Games” in 1983. Two other singles from Rucker’s CD also became No. 1 hits: “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Alright.”
“It’s so hard to stand out today, so I’m very grateful,” Rucker said. “Anyone can record a song on Pro Tools, put it up on YouTube and become an Internet sensation. But one reason I love being a part of country music is because it’s about much more than that. This is an industry where you actually can build lasting relationships with fans and DJs and you know they will support you no matter what.”
Growing up in Charleston, S.C., Rucker said his family supported his dream to play country music for a living. Artistically, he found inspiration in everyone from Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam to New Grass Revival and Radney Foster.
Not surprisingly, the songs on “Learn to Live” are steeped in the country traditions of heartfelt and true-to-life lyrics along with catchy melodies. Still, the production is contemporary and palatable to people of all ages, Rucker said.
As an added bonus, there are several guest artists, including Brad Paisley on the lighthearted “All I Want” and Vince Gill and Alison Krauss on the inspirational “If I Had Wings.”
“At my age, I’m not going to write many songs about drinking, chasing girls or booty calls,” said Rucker, 44. “I also hope that my sincerity shows through because if you’re real, people will figure that out quickly.”
While Rucker has found success as a crossover artist, Wilson is enjoying artistic freedom after wading through a major crossroads in her career. In July 2009, the Pocahontas, Ill. native left her original record label, Epic Records, to start her own label, Redneck Records. Her first album on the new label, “I Got Your Country Right Here,” was released in March and debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard chart. “Over the years, I’ve learned a lot,” said Wilson, whose autobiography, “Redneck Woman: Stories from My Life,” is a best seller.
“I learned what to do and what not to do,” she said. “The record industry has become such a corporate game and the music no longer seems to be the focus. So I’m very happy to be working with a much smaller team who really do care about my music and enjoy what they do.”
Prior to her meteoric rise to fame, Wilson worked as a bartender in a pub on Printer’s Alley in Nashville. It was there she got her first major break when she met John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin from the famed country duo Big & Rich, who invited her to perform with them in their Muzik Mafia show. Wilson said despite shopping herself to all the labels in Nashville, she could not get anyone interested in signing her. But after co-writing “Redneck Woman” in 2004 with Rich, Epic Records signed her up.
Her career took off in conjunction with the song’s release. It spent six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard and the album it was on, “Here For The Party,” sold more than five million copies. Wilson, 37, also won a Grammy Award and ACM, CMA and AMA nominations for best female vocalist.
Wilson’s 2005 sophomore release, “All Jacked Up,” went platinum and the title track became a No. 1 hit. The song also became the highest-debuting single for a female country artist. Along with her music career, Wilson is actively involved with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network. She said as she continues to grow as a person and an artist, she hopes to find more and more ways to inspire her friends, fans and even those she’s yet to meet.
“I think sometimes (music) is a stepping stone, and there’s something greater still for me to do,” said Wilson, who is the mother of an 8-year-old daughter named Grace. “I’m not sure what yet, but a lot of it I think comes from this overwhelming sense that my grandma knew something I didn’t know. I know what her purpose was now. She never really found her peace on this earth, but she has been my saving Grace.”
LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR
7:30 p.m. Saturday
7:30 p.m., Sunday
Where: Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona
Cost: $20-$100; $10 parking.
Information: 909-623-3111; www.lacountyfair.com
DEVORE – Radio host Art Laboe has been a staple of the California radio scene for years, taking requests and playing oldies and soul and hip hop.
On Saturday he will host “The Art Laboe Show” with some of his radio show’s most requested artists including Zapp, Lisa Lisa, The Manhattans, Peaches and Herb, MC Magic, The Temprees, The Originals, The Fuzz, Aalon and Sophia Maria.
In a 2009 interview, Lisa “Lisa Lisa” Velez was asked how she has been able to remain relevant for decades.
“I think by the fact that we had such special hits – ‘I Wonder if I Take You Home,’ ‘All Cried Out,’ ‘Can You Feel the Beat’ – and the lyrics were so relatable, for lack of a better word,” she said.
“We have a strong following. And to this day, we’re still out there performing on stage. People are still requesting us. Ninety percent of the shows that we do are because the audience called in to the radio show and asked for us to be brought into these towns to perform.”
ART LABOE SHOW
With: Zapp, Lisa Lisa, The Manhattans, Peaches and Herb, MC Magic, The Temprees, The Originals, The Fuzz, Aalon and Sophia Maria
Where: San Manuel Amphitheater, 2575 Glen Helen Parkway, Devore
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $25.95 to $112.30
Information: www.livenation.com or 800-745-3000
Tuesday, September 28
Doors: 7 pm
Fox Theater Pomona