Today’s collection of critiques includes Dave Koz presenting his Christmas tour in El Paso; Culture Club in London; Reverend Horton Heat rockin’ Columbus; Thievery Corporation in Portland, Maine; Steve Vai’s sonic assault in St. Louis and The Monkees bringing memories to New Zealand.
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.
March 25, 2016
Dave Koz & Friends: A Smooth Jazz Christmas @ Plaza Theatre in El Paso, Texas, Dec. 13 – “Koz and company, which also includes his frequent tour mate singer-guitarist Jonathan Butler and a four-piece backing band, even had me, one of the Scroogiest of Scrooges jamming to Christmas tunes. – Dave Acosta / El Paso Times
Culture Club @ The SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England, Dec. 14 – “The four band members were bolstered by 10-backup musicians, including a horn section, extra keyboards and guitar, percussion and a trio of backing singers. They were fine musicians and yet there was something loose and messy about their shiny amalgamation of funk, soul, jazz, reggae, salsa, blues and pomp rock.” – Neil McCormick / Telegraph
Reverend Horton Heat @ Skully’s Music Diner in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 14 – “Slinging a beautiful vintage Gretsch hollow-body guitar with his real name, Jim Heath, printed on its pickguard, Heat ripped into a set that constantly remained faithful to the spirit of early rock-and-roll.” – Curtis Schieber / The Columbus Post Dispatch
Thievery Corporation @ State Theatre in Portland, Maine, Dec. 12 – “The show opened with Richest Man track “Facing East,” a song that features Indian melodies set to hip-hop beats and here had Rob Myers playing a sitar while sitting cross-legged atop a chaise longue – the first passport stamp in a set that took listeners on a tour through music around the world.” – Robert Ker / Portland Press Herald
Steve Vai @ The Pageant in St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 7 – “Vai is finally (as he mentioned) touring behind the seminal Passion and Warfare album that’s now 25 years old. The show started off with a few familiar tunes to longtime Vai fans, and then Vai and the boys played Passion and Warfare front to back.” – Nik Cameron / PlayBack:stl
"Generation Axe," Paramount Theatre, Denver, Colo.
April 13, 2016
The Monkees @ Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, New Zealand, Nov. 29 – “Shrewdly, the stage show began with a screening of the TV show’s opening credits, a reminder of just how visually entertaining these precursors of music videos were. The first offering to have the audience singing along was ‘Last Train to Clarksville,’ with its catchy chorus, ‘Oh no, no, no. Oh no, no, no.’ A solid wall of highly-amplified sound blasting from the stage was countered with a joyfully singing, clapping and stamping audience blasting everything right back.” – Trevor Agnew / Stuff.co.nz