Archive for May, 2010


R.I.P. R.J.D.

Get those devil horns up, metal-heads.  Ronnie James Dio, better known as simply “Dio,” died yesterday from his battle with stomach cancer.  He was 67 years old.  He had a great career in the hard-rock/metal genre, from his stints with Rainbow and Black Sabbath to his highly successful solo albums.  Here’s a great clip of one of the best Dio-Sabbath songs, “Mob Rules.”  Enjoy.


Ronnie James Dio – R.I.P.

 HiFi sends its heart felt condolences to the family and friends of the late great Ronnie James Dio.

In the words of Tenacious D ” No more rockin’ for you”, it is a sad day in the metal music world.

There is a nice tribute the CNN website at this link.


Tommy Emmanuel – A Living Legend (and touring!)

I was talking to a friend the other day about great guitarists and great guitar songs; the name Tommy Emmanuel came up (along with Al DiMeola, Wes Montgomery, Strunz and Farah, Aucousticl Alchemy, George Benson, and many others) and his classic rendition of “Classical Gas”; many of our younger readers have never heard of this classic song, nor Emmanuel for that fact.  I remember that my father had an album featuring Classical Gas and it was the one song I played over and over again, it’s just a remarkable composition.

I had long forgotten about the Tommy Emmanuel and decided to Google him after watching the video below; they guy is alive and well…and currently touring!  As usual he is playing everywhere but HiFi’s home turf (Albany, NY), but you never know who will roll through this town at the last minute; we’ll keep our fingers crossed.  His tour is quite extensive and he is hitting many top cities across the country and the World, so if you’re lucky to have him swinging through…get your tickets and PLEASE tell us about it.

Click here to see Tommy Emmanuels 2010 tour schedule.


Iron Maiden RingTones!

If you are geek like me you appreciate technology and the advances created like cool dorky ringtones for your cell phone. Recently I came across the comprehensive Iron Maiden ringtone collection and felt that the HiFi reader needed to know about it.

I’ve provided the link here and hope you will indulge your metalhead side and grab some of these Maiden classics.   “The Trooper Riff” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner Refrain”, so far they are my personal favorites.

If you live in the UK getting them is quite easy, however if you live outside of the UK you need to text IRON SHOP +447797 805 806

I’m sure you will have a good time finding your favorites, please tell us about them and take he time to comment; find your favorite Iron Maiden ringtone and click here


HiFi’s 1 Year Anniversary!

Yep, HiFi is officially one year old as a blog.  I’m sure that the many contributors and research lackies will be heading down to the local pub to get a pint and celebrate!  If you are in the Albany area and know Mahar’s please toast HiFi at random!

We look forward to many more, cheers!


Tool announces 2010 Summer Tour dates

Yes, Maynard James Keenan and the boys have decided that they are ready to crawl out of their hole of privacy and grace the masses with a summer tour.  As of May 3rd this is all that has been announced, but I’m hoping there are more dates to come.  I’ve never had the luxury to see them live but I have been told that it is a must see show and worth every penny.

Here are the dates:

Sat 6/19 – New Orleans, LA @ UNO Arena
Sun 6/20 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
Tues 6/22 – Cedar Park, TX @ Cedar Park Center
Wed 6/23 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Ford Arena
Fri 6/25 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
Sat 6/26 – St. Charles, MO @ Family Arena
Thur 7/1 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Center
Sun 7/4 – Winnipeg, MB @ MTS Centre
Mon 7/5 – Regina, SK @ Brandt Centre
Wed 7/7 – Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place
Fri 7/9 – Vancouver, BC @ GM Place
Mon 7/12 – San Francisco, CA @ Bill Graham Civic


Looking Through a Phish-Eye Lens: Phish 3D

This review of the film “Phish 3D” will be from a musical standpoint.  For a review from a film standpoint, please visit my movie blog.

As a sort of teaser for their upcoming summer tour, Phish has released a 2-hour film of highlights from their three-day festival called “8” (in recognition of it being their 8th festival).  “8” took place over Halloween weekend of 2009 in Indio, CA, and featured Phish’s first-ever fully acoustic set, as well as their performance of the Rolling Stones masterpiece album “Exile on Main Street” in its entirety. 

The film “Phish 3D” has 18 songs, and whoever had final say as to which ones to include did a great job.  The first few were Phish classics such as “AC/DC Bag,” “Maze,” “Tweezer,” and “Mike’s Song.”  While there wasn’t a lot of variance from the other versions they’ve played over the years, they sounded great.  Phish has never sounded so tight and polished as they have since their reunion last year.  A nice inclusion in the film was “Undermind,” a funky, weird number from the album of the same name; it’s a tune that they haven’t played too often, and keyboardist Page McConnell really shines with his Moog organ. 

The acoustic set was something I’d been really interested to hear – the film featured six songs including “Strange Design” and “Train Song,” both of which they had played acoustically before.  But most intriguing was their acoustic arrangement of “The Curtain With,” a prog-rock-fusion song and one of their earliest collaborations.  It worked really well as an acoustic song, much more than I expected, as the original version uses a lot of electric keyboard and guitar.  But the boys played a marvelous rendition.  The other stunning number in the acoustic set was “Wilson,” a hard-rockin’ song that somehow translated beautifully to the acoustic guitar.

The next four songs were from “Exile on Main Street,” and as much as I enjoyed seeing them performed on the screen, it made me really envious of those who got to see the whole thing in person.  For the performance, two female backing vocalists and three horn players joined Phish.  “Loving Cup” was the first song during this part of the film; this tune had been played by Phish many times over the years, but never without the backing vocals and brass, and what a difference – the energy, the fullness of the sound…it was the best “Loving Cup” Phish has ever played.  Drummer Jon Fishman took over the vocals for “Happy,” another high energy track from the Stones’ album.  “Shine a Light” and “Soul Survivor” finished the set off, and it was simply spiritual hearing this band pour all their heart and soul into these uplifting songs. 

The movie closed out with “Suzy Greenberg,” another old Phish song but this time the additional members stayed on stage after the “Exile” performance.  The band had played this song with a brass section before, and I always thought it added a nice dimension to the song.  The movie (and festival) ended with “Tweezer Reprise,” a short hard-rocker to send everyone home smiling. 

As I mentioned, musically speaking, the band was on fire.  You know things are going well when guitarist Trey Anastasio, during a nice jam, gets a dazed, almost mentally-ill look on his face…he’s “in the zone,” so to speak, and it’s to our benefit.  Plus the band kept smiling at each other the entire time – they could feel the magic, they knew, as the fans did, that they were doing something special. 

So if you have been curious about what a Phish show is all about but haven’t felt motivated to go see them, this film is a great way to get introduced.

Phish 3D gets 5 out of 5 stars!


Nashville Pussy – From Hell to Texas (2009)

As I’ve been posting over the past few months and enlightening the masses about newly announced summer tours of the bands we love I’ve left out one in particular that you really should catch if they come to a town near you; the one and only Nashville Pussy. 

Yes, the name does turn heads and especially so when someone walks mid-conversation (as they did in my office) and overhear you saying how much you are really “loving the new Pussy”; slightly awkward to say the least.  However, once you clarify that “Pussy” is a band and that they rock it’s all good.

A friend of mine let me borrow the newest release from Nashville Pussy entitled From Hell to Texas  and as usual, I like it alot.  The album is high energy and pure Southern rock n’ roll; but with the slight twist of raw garage band  that always creates a sound for the band of not too overproduced; more importantly easily replicated on the road.  This band is tight, I’ve seen them warm up for Reverend Horton Heat several times and it’s never a dull show, never!

The opening song Speed Machine is a great opener with plenty of energy and blistering guitar that gets your foot stomping; the signature Pussy sound starts right out of the gate.  The second song From Hell to Texas is fun and very Motorhead-esque; fast paced and gritty.  Songs like Drunk Driving Man and Lazy Jesus are fun and energetic, they mix up the album at the right times so that the songs don’t all seem to rely on the same recipe, although I’m so High brings us back down to the classic Pussy sound we know and love.  

Songs like Ain’t Your Business, Dead Men  Can’t Get Drunk, and Late Great USA are fun but after a while I found myself pressing the skip button to regain my interest in the album.  Luckily, the Pray For The Devil brings the album back to life, but then a nose dive occurs with song Why, Why, Why; this sounds like a bad cover of Once Bitten Twice Shy (yuck!); this song will cause you to shake your head in disbelief since it just is so bad.  In my humble opinion, it is just not a song that fits this album on any level; although I’m sure it’s a fun song to sing along to at a show.  The album ends with songs Stone Cold Down; this is a solid song to end the album with and gains some redemption for the band, but there are some dead spots in this album that are real stinkers, sorry Nashville Pussy.

To the bands credit, Nashville Pussy is much better live than on a plastic disc.  Their live shows are pure energy and they get the crowd involved so this is not a band that one should overlook.  The album is not a dud, but as with most albums you will find those songs that appeal to you and those that do not; please do not take my opinion as gospel.  The album is worth at least a few listens and I’m sure it will not take you long for their sound to grow on you, Pussy’s version of Southern rock is fun and easy learn to love.  Not to mention that if you are a guy, the lead guitarist Ruyter Cuys is rather fun too look at playing in her black or red satin bra; and hell, she can really play really well too!

Right now Nashville Pussy’s tour is limited to only the West Coast but I’m hoping they will make a trip to the Northeast sometime this summer or fall.  Do yourself a favor and go see these guys, they are a fun show and worth the ticket price.

Nashville Pussy’s From Hell to Texas gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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